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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

White Christmas 2013...part 1

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1 
Christmas is still present at my house. 

White ... more and more white ... 
White Christmas 

Natural greenery added to existing white items creates a look 
in the living room that says,  

My mom gave me the small white candle holder 
with the snowflake design for Christmas last year. 
A small used relish jar inside the candle holder provides both a way 
for water for the greenery and a way to hold the greenery. 

A white blanket box as the coffee table is sturdy enough to hold 
the white concrete urn topped with a traditional evergreen wreath. 

Natural greenery fills the house with a Christmas aroma 
and little needle droppings. 

A fresh-cut green tree has always been 
the Christmas tree at our house. 

By buying it as soon as tree lots offer trees, 
I am able to keep it as fresh as possible. 
The trees for sale have all been cut at the same time. 

I buy it Thanksgiving weekend and keep it outside 
in water until ready to bring it inside to decorate. 
By buying it as soon as tree lots offer trees, 
I am able to keep it as fresh as possible 
instead of the tree standing in a tree lot with no water. 

Fresh greenery is supplemented with preserved boxwood in the birdcage and with 

Fabric magnolias in the copper pot on the armoire. 
The lantern filled with fabric magnolia blossoms 
adds more white to the room. 

A small section of white vintage wrought iron adds interest, plus texture, 
to the arrangement on the armoire, 
and it serves as the third element in the grouping. 
Both are key factors (texture and odd numbers) in creating arrangements. 

More preserved boxwood on the side table by the sofa 
complements the blue green Santa print. 
Last year, this Santa was featured on my mantel arrangement.  

As I pulled together the different items for Christmas, 
the wreath atop the concrete urn seemed to be a good place 
for this large bird made with natural materials to create a nest. 

He definitely looks at home here. 
The perfect size to fill the opening in the wreath. 

Companion lanterns to the one on the armoire serve as more 
nesting places for small birds. 

The lanterns hold the blue-berried cedar from my yard. 

The bird with natural feathers in the blue cedar nests 
adds elements of both whimsy and unexpectedness. 

Birds with nests are a surprise instead of the usual candles. 

The blue berries are just the shade of bleu to complement the blues in the house. 

The birds and their nests are right at home with the 
large three-story gray birdcage sitting on the second floor next 
to the fireplace. 

More blue-berried cedar and Christmas tree discarded lower branches 
fill the fleur de lis planter on the mantel. 

The planter adds French inspiration to the room and 
is narrow enough to fit on the mantel with room for more birds and nests. 

Finding containers narrow enough for the mantel is a challenge. 
Finding this one with its French fleur de lis was perfect for my mantel. 

After about a week, I replaced the drying evergreens with potted 
maidenhair fern and ivies that will last for many months this winter into spring. 

The mirror reflects a second floor balcony that overlooks the living room. 

As daylight fades and dusk descends, the lighted tree adds more 
white to the ornaments on the tree. 

All of the ornaments are angels or are related to angels and 
have been collected over a lifetime. 
The white porcelain Lenox angel tree topper was a 
Christmas gift from my husband many years ago. 

As dusk deepens into nightfall, Lazarus settles down beside the tree 
for a long winter's nap. 

The arch-topped windows are across from the fireplace. 
Many a night I have settled down on the sofa and 
watched the moon rise through these east-facing windows. 
Seeing the moon rise here is magical each time, 
and the times I catch an unexpected glimpse of the 
full moon, I stop and stare, filled with awe, 
even after twenty-six years.  
I am filled with gratitude for my husband who 
built much of this house with his own two hands. 

When planning a new house, 
arch-topped windows may be included with 
plans for views out of them, 
but sheer joy comes when discovering 
the unexpected views of seeing moonrises. 

Such is life. 
There are often joys just waiting to be seen 
that are not planned or anticipated. 

Merry Christmas 
from my house to yours. 

May your Christmas be filled with some magic 
in unexpected ways. 
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