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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

New Year's Sparkle

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This year's New Year's sparkle is mainly Christmas sparkle on the second floor. 
While this year's Christmas decor on the first floor focused 
on natural greenery with minimal other decorations, 
the second floor's Christmas decorations are a bit showier, 
with a lot more sparkling lights. 

In reality, these two artificial trees decorated with aviary themes 
remain up and decorated year round. 
Sparkling fairy lights ablaze any night of the year... 
The trees sit on a wooden landing outside of the 
railings of the hallway and the loft over the dining area. 
The trees are not in the path of the hall nor 
in the space of the loft. 

The decorations on the two trees include birds, nests, eggs, 
feathers, and bird houses collected over several years.  
Many are gifts from friends and families. 

Some of the bird's nests are homemade. 
One year I made bird nests using 
a honeysuckle vine from the back yard.  
The vine still was blooming and had some unopened buds. 
What a wonderful surprise when the buds bloomed on the tree! 
A little natural sparkle that year... 

There is also a grapevine that winds around an overhead open beam 
decorated with fabric roses and fairy lights. 

This photo gives a little better view of how the trees, 
a birdcage, and a swan sit outside the railings. 
The large birdcage is from my sister's florist/gift shop 
she owned in San Diego, California before moving to Texas. 
The grapevine swan is from Decorator's Warehouse 
and was bought during an after Christmas sale many years ago. 

Usually the wooden horse sits next to a railing at the top of the stairs, 
but there is a live Christmas tree there now, and the horse 
moved to this chair along another railing. 

The horse was made to look like a weather vane, but is for indoor use only. 
It was found at a local gift store in New Hampshire 
about twenty-five years ago. 

This view shows the live Christmas tree decorated with only twinkling lights 
that is at the top of the stairs. 

These first seven photos were taken from the loft that 
overlooks the living room and is above the dining area below. 
Here you can see both artificial trees and the live tree. 
The space between them is the entry into the loft. 

The blinding light is a skylight. 
Ribbons from the sloped ceiling suspend glass balls, 
silver bells, and silver colored reindeer 
that also stay up year round. 

Over the years some of the suspended ornaments have been 
replaced with different ones, but the reindeer have always been the same. 

This view is from the hallway with a better look 
at the rose decorated grapevine. 
The loft is to the right and the stairs down are to the left. 

Our house is in the country surrounded by trees. 
Two sides of the property are bordered by streets, 
and two sides are bordered by neighbors. 

Every year people all around celebrate with fireworks 
since we live in the country and have no restrictions against fireworks. 
There is always lots of merrymaking beginning at twilight 
and lasting way past midnight. 
Yes, lots of  
every New Year's Eve.

One New Year's Eve I was sitting at my desk on the second floor  
and could hear the usual whizzing, popping, and loud bangs 
of firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other fireworks exploding. 
The desk looks out into the woods toward one of our neighbor's land 
that has had as many as three trailer houses on the two acres. 

Occasionally I looked up into the night sky hoping  
for colorful explosions that accompany some fireworks. 
When I saw bright reds and yellows above the treetops, 
I thought I was seeing colorful fireworks. 
Then it dawned on me that this was not fireworks. 
No. Something was on fire. 

Immediately I dialed 911 to report the blaze, 
and the operator said firetrucks were already enroute. 
One of our neighbor's trailers burned to the ground. 
Not from fireworks, but from a heater. 
No one was home in the trailer when it burned. 

That was the year of an extra dose of 
on New Year's Eve. 
Fire truck sirens screaming with lights rotating and flashing, 
curiosity seekers' car lights lighting up the sky, 
and red and yellow flames shooting above the treetops. 
We were outside watering down our property with garden hoses 
to make sure the fire did not spread through the woods to us. 

Way too much sparkle that year... 

Soon the second floor live tree will be taken down, but 
most of this New Year's sparkle will remain sparkling 
all during 2015. 
Fairy lights can sparkle any night of the year. 

Any sparkle on New Year's Eve at your house this year? 


  1. I would agree, the year of the fire is definitely way too much sparkle. Love all your other "sparkley-ness" though. Happy New Year! Jane

  2. So pretty, Judith!
    Sparkle is my word of the year!
    I wish you Seasons Blessings and a Wonderful New Year!

  3. BONNE ANNÉE JUDITH! Oh what can I say, your home is SO GORGEOUS with all the lights but those beams, those BEAMS! I am spoiled now with our beams in the great room and in Ruben's office that I want MORE in the older part of the house!

    Every corner of your home is a special mise en scène. And I see you too love wooden horses? I have two of them....and one of them is wearing a wreath too.

    I wish you safety, health, peace and joy as you venture out into your dreams. Much love to you and thank you for a wonderful year of blogging! Anita

  4. Happy new good health...lots of love joy and Ria...!!

  5. Judith,
    I adore your uniquely beautiful home and your artistic flair that brings awe to our eyes! OMGosh that fire must of been really scary for you, smart idea hosing down your roof... What a farewell to 2014!
    Last night John and I welcomed in the New Year watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin in Jammie's. I have a really bad cold and all the coughing and sneezing is making me dizzy! I plan to return to blogland with a post on Jan. 7th.
    Love all your SPARKLE and the wooden horse is amazing. Happy 2015.

  6. I hope 2015 sparkles for you and your family!

  7. Judith, as always, your house looks lovely and inviting! Love the extra sparkle of the holidays you've added. The fire must have been extra frightening with the woods around your home! So glad no one was hurt. I hope this New Year's Eve was more peaceful and calm! I wish you a very happy, healthy and creative 2015 with lots of *s*p*a*r*k*l*e*!

  8. what a wonderful post and a special sort of word I hope your days of 2015 sparkle
    come see us at

  9. Beautiful New Years sparkle! So happy your neighbors weren't home during the fire, so sad for them loosing their trailer.
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY.

  10. Beautiful. I always love it when we get the Christmas lights out and I hate to put them up! Thanks for joining HSH!


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