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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Christmas Bedroom 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Do you know exactly how you want to decorate for Christmas? 
How about your bedroom? 

For me, decorating seems to evolve 
from a vague beginning 
that is changed, added to, and rearranged 
over a period of several days. 

Yes, Christmas Day has come and gone, 
but the Christmas season is far from over,
especially at my house. 
You have heard of the twelve days of Christmas, 
but have you heard of the thirty days of Christmas? 
The thirty days do not have to end with Christmas Day.

All the frenzy leading up to Christmas becomes
a slow-paced relaxing rejuvenation after December 25. 

Christmas Bedroom
is an example of an ongoing 
decoration process over the Christmas season and
during the non-hurried days after Christmas Day. 

The first challenge is finding Christmas decorations in 

The angel pillow is the first thing to appear when I begin 
bedroom Christmas decorations each year. 

This angel is my all-time favorite angel. 
Over the years I have found many variations of this pose in 
Christmas cards. 

This framed Christmas card is in the living room. 
At one time the colors were vibrant mauves, corals, and blues. 
Because the card is displayed all year, 
the sun has faded the colors into softer muted tones. 

For several days, the angel pillow was the only 
sign of Christmas in the bedroom. 
Well into the thirty days... 

The second challenge is finding greenery that will not dry out 
over thirty days of Christmas. 

A little rectangular preserved boxwood bouquet appeared, 
found at Tuesday Mornings, a discount decor store. 
The perfect backdrop for a favorite Christmas photo taken 
many Christmases ago by my brother-in-law who is now deceased. 

The photos on the chest of drawers stay out all year,
but are special reminders at Christmas of the ones I love and hold dear.
Six of the people in the photos are no longer with me physically,
but all are with me in my heart every day, not just at Christmas.

Looking at photos of the bedroom, not my loved ones, gives one
an eye-opening perspective. 
The bedding needs fluffing and spiffing for Christmas. 

Out comes the down comforter to replace the quilt. 

The white sheet and pillowcases with the blue scalloped trim, 
freshly laundered and ironed, look perfect with the toile pillow covers. 

The white flannel sheet with its lacy embroidered border looks like winter 
and is an extra layer that easily can be thrown back to adjust how much 
warmth is wanted on a cold winter night. 

The sheet is several years old and has begun to show its age. 
The top was tattered and torn from washing, drying, and 
softening with fabric softeners 
over many years. 

I could not bear just to throw it out. 
A first fix, with a promise to find a better solution, was 
to trim away the top of the sheet following the 
embroidered pattern. 

Part of the first fix was also to carefully hand stitch a few 
torn places in the embroidery. 

A solution for long-lasting greenery...
Preserved boxwood lasts for many years when 
spritzed with water occasionally, 
but has been out of my budget. 

I have pined for boxwood wreaths for so long, but have resisted spending the money. 
Then along came Decor Steals with a price within my budget. 
~***~A Christmas present to me...***~

A boxwood wreath on the print above the bed says,
and will last far beyond this year's thirty days of Christmas. 

Hung with a second blue ribbon from the top of the wood paneling 
adds another touch of blue curls 
without damaging the paneling. 

My husband made all the paneling in our bedroom and dining area. 
He "floated" thick pine panels set inside pine borders. 
He used a router to create all the ogee edges 
on the borders and to create the raised panel sections. 
He reluctantly consented for me to paint them blue. 
Every time I look at them I see him working on them. 

The thirty days of Christmas at my house are still in progress. 
The bedroom will probably receive a few more Christmas touches, 
but here is how it looks today. 

The best part is being able to relax under the soft flannel sheet and 
fluffy down comforter, without feeling any of the Christmas frenzy. 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...


Christmas Holly Breakfast Table

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Breakfast on Christmas Day is a simple meal 
at our house around the 

Christmas Holly 
Breakfast Table 

The table is set in the breakfast sunspace before Christmas day so 
we can enjoy it longer and so 
making breakfast on Christmas day is easier. 
After all, there are stockings and presents to open, you know. 

A simply-set table with a simple centerpiece and 
a faux holly swag hung beneath the breakfast lamp 
complement the holly decorated dishes and placemats. 

The meal is simple also. 
Slices of walnut apple raisin bread on the oblong holly tray,
 eggs, scrambled or basted, and 
crisp bacon slices 
is a quick and easy breakfast. 

Coffee to drink for some. 
Others prefer eggnog on this special day. 

My brother and sister-in-law gave me the coffee server for 
Christmas many years ago. 
I think of them each time I use it. 

Red background with holly sprigs placemats are new this year 
from HomeGoods and go with the Holly dishes by Villeroy and Boch.  

Place cards are not really needed, but these holly-decorated 
place cards are perfect with the dishes and placemats. 

I've had them for years and enjoy using them for 
decorations, not for actual place cards. 

The bare tree, fresh and natural, brings out the greens in the 
placemats, dishes, and birdcage paper napkins. 
Its fragrance says, "Christmas," in our house. 

The sterling silver flatware, Meadowsong by Towle, was a 
wedding gift from my parents. 
The birdcage napkin with its cheerful bird reminds us of the birds 
singing their "meadowsong" right outside the breakfast windows. 

The faux holly swag hanging from the wall lamp 
echoes the holly prints on the dishes, placemats, and place cards. 

The simplicity of the swag fits in well with the 
simplicity of the table setting and bare, fresh tree. 

Sometimes a simple centerpiece is the the most stunning. 

The rustic bird appears to be pecking a berry in the candle ring 
surrounding it. 

Reminiscent of the real birds outside the windows, 
this one also brings smiles to our faces on Christmas day. 

The twist of its head gives this little bird real personality. 

The Christmas holly breakfast table...  

Asymmetrical designs reflect the asymmetrical aspect of our day. 
Stockings opened before some get out of bed, 
presents opened before breakfast, and 
a simple breakfast to tide us over until a late afternoon lunch. 

Then it's off to see a Christmas day movie. 

A tradition started when I was single, 
living in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., 
and far from home on Christmas day... 
For my first Christmas day movie in 1969 
there were only two or three other people in the theater. 
Nowadays, the theater is full for a Christmas day movie. 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...


Christmas Sayings...#7

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Silent Night, Holy Night 

In the stillness of the night, 
in the stillness of our souls, 
we ponder what wondrous glories 
have occurred. 

A silent, holy night 
two millennia ago 
ushered in a birth 
filled with hope for all.  

My gift to you...

Seven days of Christmas sayings and images...

The beauty of 
*~... Christmas ... ~* 

Silent Night, Holy Night

Silent night, Holy night  
All is calm, all is bright, 
'Round yon virgin mother and child 
Holy infant so tender and mild 
Sleep in heavenly peace, 
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night 
Shepherds quake, at the sight 
Glories stream from heaven afar 
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah. 
Christ the Savior is born, 
Christ the Savior is born. 

Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber, Silent Night


Christmas Sayings... #6

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Of all the sayings of Christmas, 
Merry Christmas 
is the one most often used to express 
the sentiments of the season. 

A joyous phrase uttered 
with a smile and heartfelt warmth 
uplifts both the hearer and 
the sayer. 

Whatever the language, 
Joyeux Noël 
gladdens our hearts and 
carries us to the magical 
place in our minds we created for 
the most wonderful time of the year. 

My gift to you...
Seven days of Christmas sayings and images...

The beauty of 
*~... Christmas ... ~*

Merry Christmas 
to all and to all a good-night.

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. 
... ... ... ... ... 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. 
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, 
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!" 

~ Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit From Saint Nicholas

Please join me at these inspiring sites...


Christmas Sayings... #5

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Will Honour Christmas In My Heart 

is such a well-known character 
in literature.  
No last name is needed, 
but his last name, 
is even more well-known than Ebenezer. 

 Scrooge had a second chance to reform...  

from being a bitter old miser 
to becoming a generous benefactor. 

We have many opportunities at Christmas 

to be generous, 
but the true spirit of Christmas is 
a way of life all year. 

My gift to you...
Seven days of Christmas sayings and images...

The beauty of 
*~... Christmas ... ~*

I Will Honour Christmas In My Heart 

 I will honour Christmas in my heart, 
and try to keep it all the year.
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.
The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.
I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!

~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Christmas Sayings... #4

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's a Wonderful Life 

Christmas is a time for 
counting our blessings. 

A season for remembering 

the good that happened this year. 

For recognizing who we are 

far outweighs what we have. 
For measuring our lives by 
by intangibles, not tangibles. 

For looking at our loved ones 

with gratitude for how they 
enrich our lives. 

My gift to you...
Seven days of Christmas sayings and images...

The beauty of 
*~... Christmas ... ~*

It's a Wonderful Life 

Clarence: Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine. 

George: That's a lie! Harry Bailey went to war! He got the Congressional Medal of Honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport. 

Clarence: Every man on that transport died! Harry wasn't there to save them, because you weren't there to save Harry. 

You see, George, you really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?

~ Frank Capra, producer, It's a Wonderful Life