Hard to believe Thanksgiving is behind us and here I am about to blog about my Christmas Decorations.  Every year I plan and plan and spend so much time studying Mary Carol Garrity's books, talking to my friend Lisa and KC and Susan about Christmas Decor.  Every year I want to do something different.  Well yesterday I spent the entire day working on my house, taking care of detail and trying to duplicate things I saw at Mary Carol's open house, at Susan's store and in books I have collected over the years.
Strange how life is.  How in one second something can change.  I was sitting in my dinning room decorating my white tree when I got a phone call.  It was one of the guys from our landscaping company.  I have had the same company for around 10 years.  The owner of the company, Jessie, has always been someone kind to us who has taken care of our 4 acres.  His foreman called me to tell me of his tragic passing.  He continued to go on and say that Jessie, who was 35 and a father of a 4 year old boy, tragically took his own life on Sunday a few days before Thanksgiving.  I had just seen him last week as he came to do my leaf clean up and we talked for a while on the porch.  It was very cold outside and I had put my coffee urn out so that his crew could have some hot coffee.  I can still see his smile and how he thanked me.
Details.  What were the details why he felt he needed to take his own life? Leaving a small child without a father?
My husband and I went early this morning to his memorial service at a Quaker Friends Meetinghouse.  It was my first time outside of my Catholic church environment.  Sure I had been to Baptist service and gone to many worship services in nondenominational gatherings but this was really different.  We sat quietly in what looked like a large white barn like building with cushioned benches all around it's perimeter.  Every seat was taken and it was an overwhelming turning out for Jessie.  He was obviously and truly loved and cherished by his friends and family.
There was a quiet, a stillness as a woman minister of the church spoke and told us that a Quaker memorial service was done in silence in order to allow true worship to happen and when moved, one could share and speak to the group.  At the end, after long silence the meeting would end by a sharing of handshaking with everyone around.
It was a very sad day and my husband and family felt a shock and a loss even though we never got to know Jessie on a personal level.  I had met his beautiful son Jake and his small face with deep set blue eyes shall haunt me forever to know that his father, for a second, was too overwhelmed, too consumed, to think of what it would be like for his son to grow up without him.  I shall never understand that.  
After I got the call and told everyone last night it took me awhile to finish decorating.  I held back my tears as I hooked a few ornaments and hung them on the tree.  I thought of how that phone call changed everything. 
We all are fragile beings.  Some may not show it initially, other's may show it too much, but clearly we all are in need of help at different periods of our lives.  I pray that we may be able to reach out to others this season and every day of our lives and be a positive supportive strength to others when we can.

Okay, I needed to share that because in everything I did today, I thought of Jessie.
I went to Lisa's home today and took photos of her lovely decorations and then I took of mine.  I thought of an idea.  If you read this and you want to share your decorations or a room that you really loved the way it came out, email me a picture and I'll blog about all the photos I get.  I think it would be fun.  As much as I would love for all of us to visit one another's homes and do house tours, geography plays an important role and unfortuantely prevents that from actually happening in the immediate future so this might be the very next best thing.  
Anyway, I went to Lisa's today and I took a few photos.  
 Lisa's foyer is grand.  Her staircase is lovely with three levels and the foyer is warm and elegant as you enter her beautiful home.
 Her love for flowers is evident in her decor.  (Now I need to clarify that my flash distorted the actual color of the burgundy flowers appearing more red than the warm dark color they actually were.)
 This year all I've seen are these sweet little cherubs everywhere.  I saw them in Kansas, and see them in magazines in this year's christmas theme and decorations.
 Lisa and I shared the use of natural objects like pinecones this year.  We also so them in the greens Susan had in her store.  Tiny pine cones, large pinecones.   This was my favorite tree in Lisa's home.  She also gave me a great tip of using a tablecloth instead of a tree skirt for the base of the tree.  Note to self:  Stop at homegoods tomorrow after church and get a satiny green tablecloth.
 I loved the cascading greens on her picture window.  She inhanced them with lovely burgundy ribbons.
 These two feather filled elegant trees were twins on either side of her hutch.  Love the gold feather effect.
 I took this photo for all of us Nell Hill Groupies.  Hopefully Mary Carol will see this post.  Lisa has two of her favorite christmas books at hand at all times on her table top.
Here go the pinecones.  I like this idea on the sconces.  Very pretty with the gold ribbon.

I hope I captured the vibrant colors.  Here is a close up of her tree with so many gold cherubs.  I loved it.  Thank you so much Lisa for letting me take photos of your home.  Hopefully I can blog about some of my blogger friends christmas decorated rooms in my next posts.  

I took some photos of my home tonight and wanted to share them.  I get so much from photos I see, books and house tours and believe me when I say none of my ideas are original.  Susan and Mary Carol and Kc have taught me so much when it comes to putting things together and creating a certain look.  So nothing I've done is original.  But I don't care.  We learn from one another and I enjoy passing along what I've learned.  
 Okay so do you see the garland hanging in the opening?  Okay it's from Ballard Design. It's the Magnolia and Pine garland.  It arrived yesterday to help me duplicate the look I saw in Kansas.  It is six foot long and beautiful.  I love it.  It is soft and flexible and the pinecones are beautiful.  It is not real so I can use it every year to come and it was 89.00 each.  I had to get three but I figured it is a wonderful investment and did give me the look I was looking for.  I have a ballard design box you can click on my side bar and if your interested get it fast while supplies last.  I am so happy with it.
The tree you see on my table is not a full tree.  It is the frontgate tree I've always put in my sunroom.  I didn't use the bottom part and only used the top two parts.   I unfortuantely couldn't use an urn that would fit since my ceilings are only 8 ft high.  But I wrapped a plastic boxwood garland around the bottom to hide the stand and then used a trees skirt which I'm going to trade for a nice table cloth in green thanks to Lisa's suggestion.

 I bought about 10 huge pinecones.  Some from Susan's store Black Eyed Susan and some from Joannes that were on sale and painted them with glue and then sprinkled silver glitter.  They are wonderful to hide the holes in between your branches.
 This is my garden statue that I brought inside.  I wanted to make her festive so I put a small little wreath around her neck.  I love it!  I think she does too even though she looks mad.  I guess it's from carrying those heavy pots forever in her hands.
 Here is a close up of my tree.  I love the way the pinecones came out.

 Now I realized today that the center of my frontgate pencil tree that used to be in the dining room, now placed in the sunroom, needs more lights in the center.  I will be adding more tomorrow but didn't want to waste another day without blogging.
On both my trees I love to hang crystals on them.  Some crystals aren't really crystals they are from Michaels and they are plastic balls and diamond shapes with small holes that I stick a string through it.  Green string for my green tree and white for the white.  
Then the real crystals I actually got from the dollar store.  They are real glass and over the last few years I keep adding to them.  I love the results and it works well if you don't have alot of ornaments.  The more you put on the more your trees will sparkle.  Ornaments can be very expensive.  I like to have a few good ones and then add to some inexpensive ones. 

 These were the little frames I got at the Briarcliff store (Nell Hill) I adore them.  I bought this sweet Santa at Susan's store.  I love how he looks near them.  I copied my photos on regular typing paper in black and white to get that vintage feel.
Here is my white tree.  I couldn't capture it with my camera the way I wanted to.  You can't see the crystals that well and I also noticed that a section of lights went out so I have to fix that tomorrow as well.  But I wanted to show you my little victoria, the plaster bust I bought from Pottery barn and painted her white.  I put a small boxwood wreath and around her neck too.  I love her.  She is dressed for the holidays.
Well, I don't have photos of my family room because I have to wait for next week when we pick our family tree at the tree farm.  I will blog about it then.  I hope you enjoyed my tour of Lisa's house and mine.  Please feel free to email me photos of your favorite rooms with a little description and I would be honored to blog about them.  
And remember, God is in the details and paying attention to details is what makes your home unique and special but let us also remember eachother and the people in our lives whether directly or indirectly.  Let us this holiday season and always remember that each life is precious and each person is like a fragile ornament.  I pray that I may only share positive and supportive words to those around me.


Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

Your decorations look so beautiful. Your room with blue sofa looks so cozy - love that garland you found. I'm so sorry to hear your sad news - there have been a couple young kids in our area that have done the same thing in recent months ... it's scary since there are not always signs. Just so sad.

Windlost said...

Lisa, what a tragic story and you wrote it beautifully. What a sad thing. You are so right when you say that he was too overwhelmed. I have had days when my headaches are so bad that I go to a very dark place, and you know what - nobody cares. They only care afterwards. People are too busy in their lives to pay attention deeply to other people. My own issues, my health, pain, have made me deeply aware of others but it is hard to pay attention all the time. All I can say is that the world and people are very caught up in themselves and don't always notice the suffering of others. It is one of the reasons I try to be kind to people, everyone, because it might be the only smile they receive that day, just like some days I am in such pain and everyone ignores me and if one person is kind it truly helps you get through the day. I am sure Jessie enjoyed your appreciation for his work and maybe that day you helped him through another day...

xo Terri

BB said...

I am so sorry for Jessie and his family. It is impossible to know exactly what drives one to the point of suicide, and it is so painful for those left to ponder the "what ifs".

Your friend's decorations are beautiful, and yours are stunning! Such attention to detail. Thanks for sharing. I felt as if I could have been looking at Mary Carol Garrity's home. Beautiful!


Jaybird said...

Your home is beautiful...Lisa's is too, but yours is so restful and lovely! I am totally mesmerized by the crystal chandelier with the shade. So pretty!!
Thank you for showing us your beautiful decorations, and yes, I think they can be used to honor the one that you have lost, by blessing the ones of us who can enjoy them in your blog.

Lee said...

Thank you for such lovely comments. I'm so blessed to have so much support. Thank you.

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