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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Nativity Kitchen

Sunday, December 27, 2015

While my house has been taking on more and more neutral colors, mostly white, over the past five to six years, French bleu is still my first love. Finding other colors that go well with French bleu is not always easy.  So when I find something, if it is reasonably priced, and if it goes with my other decor, I tend to buy it knowing how hard it is to find.  

Recently I was just pushing my large empty shopping cart down the aisle of a local craft store when I caught a glimpse of this framed pastel nativity scene out of the corner of my eye.  I backed up that large cart, and knew this beautiful watercolor reproduction would go with the French bleu in my house. 

As I picked it up and thought about whether or not to buy it, I told myself, "The frame alone is worth the price.  If I get tired of the print, I can always reuse the frame for something else."  

But right there and then, I knew I liked the print.  Evidently, I am in the minority.  There were several on the shelves, and it was marked half-price. 

Perhaps others see Christmas as a time for red and green, but for me I have always decorated with colors that go with my normal decor.  Right there in the store, I had a flash for this year's kitchen decorations.  

A Nativity Kitchen

The metal three wisemen in non-traditional Christmas colors made their way to my house over thirty years ago, and this year sit on the top shelf of the plant stand near the sunspace in the kitchen. 

Christmas is a time for memories.  A time for remembering shopping with my dear friend, Sarah, at the seasonal Holiday Magic fund-raiser for a local women's group.  She spotted the metal silhouettes first, and we both bought some. A time when we were young and newly married to men who were friends and who worked together at a Bible translation organization.  Neither Sarah nor I had much money. We both worked as teachers to help support our families so our husbands could work with the Bible translation center for nominal salaries. They made more than Bob Cratchit, but we were on tight budgets. Whenever I bring out these wisemen each year, I remember Sarah and our friendship of so many years filled with both joy and tragedies. 

On the stone shelf that is behind the living room fireplace is a Christmas card nativity.  For those who read 7 Ways to Display Christmas Cards, here is another way to use Christmas cards. 

These cards have been collected over a period of years and are an inexpensive nativity scene. Though the cost is minimal, the cards are beautiful.  The three wisemen card was found in Williamsburg, Virginia and sent to close friends that year.  There were only two boxes in the store, the week before Christmas. 

The shepherd with his sheep gathered near him has a haunting look as his robe and head covering whirl away from his body in a strong wind.  The majestic blue angel offers calm to all who see her.

A reproduction from a painting captures the youth and serenity of Mary as she looks on the sleeping baby Jesus. Somehow I think Mary was not quite as serene in real life as she wondered about her future with a new baby born far from home.

The Long Tall Texan and I made the O Holy Night wooden painted sign in 2006. After the Long Tall Texan cut out the pine semicircle and routed the edges, I painted the sign using a stencil I made from computer-generated words and a rubber stamp of the three wisemen following a star. One of the reasons I made the sign was to have a Christmas sign in blue and white.

Yes, I buy blue Christmas decorations whenever I find them, especially when they are half-price like the pastel nativity that inspired my Christmas kitchen this year.

Christmas is not over for me until the first week of January.  So, even though it is past December 25, I am still posting about Christmas, a way of life all year.

Merry Christmas 
in whatever color you like.