Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to...

Someone who is
at least 50...

Which means that it can not be I
although I did have a birthday
this past week...

I'm a proud 49er
and still
too young to deck my halls with
 a red hat tree

With a feather boa for a skirt.

The Red  Hot  Hat birthday girl today is
 the Duchess.
She's seventysomething today.

Here she is giving the Duchess wave in the local parade

It's my favorite picture of her because it captures her completely.
And in honor of her birthday, I thought I would post
 a few more pictures
of her favorite things.

You know...
Christmas trees

This one guards her kitchen door.

She made just about everything on it 

 And most of it is edible.

Gum drop chains and wreaths...
and popcorn balls...
and gingerbread men...

In her bedroom, she has a Victorian tree

Dripping with lace and pearls

Her sun porch has a beach themed tree

With sand dollar snowmen
and all sorts of sea shell creations.

Tucked into this little nook is her Santa tree.

I think she needs a bigger space...

And perhaps a bigger tree!

Her living room tree is less whimsical.
It's full of
 brass ornaments. 

There is an ornament for every
 birthday and anniversary

This one says
Dee and Dave 1957

Of course, the ornaments which decorated their tree
 back in  '57
have made their way to
 this vintage tree in
another bedroom.

It's full of old ornaments and vintage Christmas cards
This simple tree is one of my favorites of all.

But then,
I'm very fond of vintage things,
especially the ones 
which have been cherished by their family
for generations. 

You know...
kind of like
 the Duchess.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Progressive Nibbling

All the hustle and bustle from the last few weeks paid off as we were able to take time this week to enjoy the company of family and friends.

Yesterday, our luncheon club planned what we called a Progressive Nibbling. Not really a full luncheon, we progressed from home to home to enjoy Christmas tables and have a sampling of food of the hostess's choice.

We started at 10:30 with some coffee punch 
and nibbled our way from house
 to house...
 to house.

 Some pretty wonderful
  husbands and children 
got marching orders via cell phone 
when the group was on the way. 

We enjoyed everything
 from quiche to soup to fondue,
but mostly...
we just enjoyed the fellowship.

 We finally ended up at my house for dessert and hot beverages in the late afternoon.

I carried that shiny red kodak from table to table in anticipation of this post. I had planned to show every home, but very few shots came out at all. Apparently, I lack the ability to eat, yak and snap.

I do have a few shots of my own table
that morning
before the food was set out.

Just imagine
a variety of cheescakes sliced on this tiered dish...

I borrowed that plate stand from the Duchess
and used one each of the three dishes  in my place setting.

They're from a variety of sets, old and new.
The dinner plate is Celebrations by Radko (Target).
 The salad plate is from a set that I've had for years.

The mugs match it.

I bought this little tea set at Home Goods.
Yes, I know it's a tea pot.
I served coffee in it instead.
You can do that when you're serving friends.
Of course, I offered cocoa too.

Now, we actually only used these dessert plates
which match that tea set.

My sister gave them to me for an early
birthday gift this year.

They have different patterns.
My favorite it the pinecone in the first picture.

And even though it wasn't an actual luncheon,
I still felt the need to make these little placecard holders
from shoe ornaments.

Because they were only a dollar a piece at Walmart, and well...
they're cute.

So I assigned places even though we didn't even sit at the table.

We just grabbed our dessert dishes and mugs
and headed to the living room for more informal chat time.

We finished the day with an overstuffed
group waddle to the mall.

 All in all,
our progressive nibbling
 made for a fun Christmas adventure.
I hope we make it a yearly tradition.

I'll be posting this on The Porch
when I get home from looking at Christmas lights with the family.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Merry Duchess Christmas

Let's start at the very beginning.
It's a very good place to start...

I have mentioned that  I'm somewhat of  a simplist and a Christmas decorating dork. 
The Duchess,  however,  is just the opposite.

Around town, they call her
 The Christmas Lady.

 Her home is decorated inside and out.
The outside is always designed for children
and it's different every year.

She makes every bit of it herself.
At 72, she can still run a jig saw with the best of them.

She welcomes anyone, especially children,
 inside to visit and take a peek.

 Inside, she has  trees in every room.  

But to understand the trees,
 you have to understand how the whole thing started.  
  Like most of us, I grew up with a single tree.  

You see, for five long years back in the 90's, my dad fought cancer.  His treatments required weekly trips four hours away to Atlanta.  Every Wednesday, Dad and the Duchess would head to Atlanta, where they would sit for hours for his chemotherapy. It made for very long days.  As she became more comfortable with the area, he encouraged her to venture out a bit.  What she discovered just around the corner was a new store that she had never heard of before. It was called...


And not far from Michaels,
she spied a Christmas Shop. 

 And that's how the whole thing started. While Dad had his chemotherapy, The Duchess embarked on some craft therapy of the Christmas sort. Every year, she planned, purchased, and crafted a new themed tree, believing the whole time that my dad would be around to enjoy it. It put the sparkle back in her eye and hope back in her heart. Dad approved. Even though he finally lost that battle, I'm positive he would still approve of the hobby that she enjoys to this day.  

Because she's The Christmas Lady.
While other women buy cosmetics and jewelry...
 clothes and purses and shoes...

The Duchess buys tree ornaments.

The first tree that you see when you walk in the door is her patriotic tree. It's a pencil tree which fits snugly into a corner of her foyer.

It's full of red, white, and blue.

That little Spirit of '76 ornament is my favorite.

Turning to the bedroom wing, you'll see a simpler tree.
 She calls this one her angel tree.

It's covered with little framed pictures
 of each grandchild.
 (Apparently, she thinks they are angels...) 

They start with baby  pictures
and continue until the cap and gown.

The grandchildren spend the Christmas season
playing a little game of hide and seek.
 They hide their own pictures from the dorky years
 on the back of the tree,
 and seek a dork picture of another grandchild
 to move to the front.

Her snowman theme is in my old bedroom.

With garlands of snowflakes 
 and snowmen in every conceivable shape and size.  

A Bitty Baby in a Christmas dress tops
 the toy tree
in this room which was Grama's nursery
 when grandchildren were small.

It's full of toys and books and childish ornaments. 
Garlands are bright colored beads and wooden blocks.

She even has a children's tablescape in here.
 Since our youngest child in the family is in 15,
 it sits waiting for the next generation.

Can't hardly wait...

She made this little tree skirt
sitting in the waiting room.

The next bedroom is the nutcracker room.

I love that paper nutcracker garland stuck in there.

And all the nutcracker characters.

There are more bedrooms and trees, but I haven't snapped the pictures yet.

I did take pictures of the dining room
where two similar trees flank the table.

This one...

And this one

One of them is the nativity tree.
It tells the true Christmas Story.

The other is a  music tree.

With the Angels proclaiming the Good News.
from the top.

Oh, there's so much more...

I'll try to fit the rest of the tour in before Christmas.
You really won't want to miss it,
since the one in her kitchen is edible. 

But for now, I have one daughter home and another on the way.  Why, it feels like Christmas morning in Debbie Land.


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