Christmas at Home

Dogs bearing baubles

Today is apparently the busiest day for holiday traffic as everyone heads for home and family in a grand  exodus.  Even though we’re not travelling, the dawn of the weekend does seem to signify the proper start of Christmas and the time when relaxation can begin.  We have family arriving tomorrow to celebrate, so here’s a quick glimpse of how we’ve decorated the house.  Firstly, the friendly stone dogs who stand to attention at our door have abandoned their usual froideur and now bear baubles and festive ribbon, illuminated by the bay trees which are now strung with lights and oversized bells..

Dogs with baubles!

The fir lady has been visited by a flock of robins who peck at her skirts (collective noun for robins, anyone?)..

The fir lady with robins

But aside from the fir lady, I’ve opted for a low-key, calm kitchen with just an oversized paper star to catch the eye from the hallway and distract from the frenetic preparations and clutter on every surface..

Christmas kitchen

In the hallway lies my new addition to our Christmas decor; this year we are honoured to host the North Pole Sorting Office, where every letter sent to Santa from around the world blows in steadily, falling in flurries around Santa’s desk and filling his mailbags to overflowing;

North Pole Sorting Office in Hallway

Santa's mailbag

Santa's mailsack

As fast as the letters arrive, Santa diligently replies to each one. He’s currently busy writing back to Harry;

Santa's Mail Room

His typewriter perches on a ladder, which also holds his reading glasses, special wax seals, bundles of letters and maps and a compass so he can work out where each child around the world is writing from;

North Pole Post Office Detail

(To make this, I printed addresses onto some regular envelopes using different fonts and soaked them in a tray of watery tea before drying on the radiator for an old, worn appearance.  The letters blowing in from above are wired together using lightweight florist wire and hung from a removable adhesive hook on the ceiling. For the letterhead paper, I used this lovely printable and simply added my text to it.)

North Pole Letters

Further down the hallway I’ve arranged a similar tableau to last year (below), with the addition of a basket of magic reindeer food to give to all Believers who cross the threshold and may need a little help to summon the reindeer on Christmas Eve…

Holiday tableau

Magic reindeer food

I’ve hung Christmas cards simply from lengths of ribbon and clips, wired to the base of the bannister poles..

Christmas cards hanging in the hallway

And of course, most importantly all of all, mistletoe to greet all those who arrive…

Mistletoe in the porch

 

We have a real Christmas tree in the Snug, which I’ll share next time along with a few other festive accents.  Now, though, I must sign off as I’ve set myself the challenge tonight of mastering spun sugar to decorate an over-ambitious meringue wreath for dessert at lunch tomorrow.  The wreath has already collapsed after I accidentally turned the oven on again, forgetting it was quietly cooling down inside.  Plan B is to use whipped cream liberally as a distraction…

Have a wonderful weekend!
handbag logo

A homemade birthday!

gift wrap party hats mouse

Before I get consumed by all things Christmassy, I promised a quick post about Harry’s birthday and our paper crowns and castle cake… so here goes!

We decided on a low-key celebratory lunch as we’ll have a big birthday party for Harry’s friends in January once the chaos and thrills of the festive period have abated and the days are long and …
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Personalised North Pole Telegram Giveaway

North Pole Telegram with PJs

At breakfast time on Christmas Eve last year, Harry was thrilled to discover a telegram all the way from the North Pole, which had been blown down the chimney in the night.

From Santa Claus, it announced his intentions to fly over that night and asked for food to be set out for the reindeer to keep them fuelled during their epic …
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The Dream House Renovation: The Guest Room!

Guest room rug and bedside

We moved into our house almost 3yrs ago, and it’s taken us this long to tackle the guest room.  Partly that’s due to cash-flow – living in an 18th Century house means that every year there’s an unforeseen roof leak, boiler breakdown or ceiling collapse (and in this particularly costly year; all three…) – but it’s also due to the awkwardness of the room …
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Miscellany…

Guest room makeover 1

A brief miscellany this week, of projects either finished-but-not-photographed, or started-but-not-yet-finished.  A succession of gloomy, rain-filled days has meant a lack of good light to take pictures, but conversely we’ve spent a lot of time this weekend sheltering in the warm and making, baking, painting and sticking to alleviate the weather.

I’ve a whole host of things to share with you as soon …
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California Highlights

Sea Nettles

Sea Nettles at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

How was your weekend?  We had a lovely but strange one, adjusting to the timezone shift after a wonderful trip to California.  It was a magical break, and we came back with a suitcase full of sand, beach-treasures and 1,013 photos.  Count ‘em.  Sometimes digital cameras are not
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California, here we come!

 

MarisaMidori Illustration

We’re still not packed, we have at least two meals-worth of strange, incompatible-yet-perishable things in the fridge to eat up, but my goodness we’re excited; our long-awaited Californian road trip is almost here!  We’ve made the most of your tips and recommendations and are planning to start in San Francisco and then follow the coast, stopping at Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur – …
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DIY Dutch Canal House Luminaries

DIY Dutch House Luminaries

Back in the Springtime, Mum and I went to Amsterdam for a weekend which we spent in cafes, galleries, stores, bars and – most of all – walking along all the beautiful canal streets, picking the houses we most wanted to live in, transfixed by the rooflines with every conceivable shape and architectural feature. …
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