It’s Christmas Day and I promise to keep this blog, long overdue in writing, short and sweet. In my previous posts, I have long promoted the view that very few people possess a completely blank slate and whether we like it or not, we collect over our lifetime. In my case, this happens to include toys my daughter Arianne has outgrown or knick-knacks that we mistakenly considered adorable and purchased solely because we have a child at home! Been there? Well, what do you do and what does any of this have to do with the holidays? My answer is: Don’t be afraid to experiment and always see if these objects can be rotated into your decor for the holidays.
This year, with my newly discovered love of all things Scandanavian – a sparse, simple, systematic yet natural design ethos-I upcycled some of my “junk” to create a winter white look in my home.
We always start with the tree, a tall 6-7 footer. Despite having a child in the house, you won’t find bright red and gold trimmings or multicolored lights on my slice of nature. I concede that it is very unreasonable of me but I have successfully convinced my daughter that the tree is mine to decorate! After all, the tree is a key centerpiece of holiday decorating and should reflect/complement our style.
Over the past ten years, I have collected a range of handmade ornaments from various OOAK (one of a kind) artisans on etsy.com and from more commercial sources. Most of the latter has been generously gifted but I honestly find a single ornament hard to use. Seriously, raise your hand if you have ever received a Swarovski or Christofle ornament. I think that you understand. Well, think about sprinkling them judiciously through the house as accents!
From my stash, I chose handmade white ceramic angels and doves and gold glittery acorns to decorate my tree this Christmas. I am lucky enough to have floral artist and dear friend Lowdi of Tallensia Floral Art round out my theme with pine cones and white branches tied on as ornaments themselves followed by a good spray of artificial white snow all over and a big bed of pine cones spread underneath the tree.
For the tree top, felt angels that I had sewn for my daughter when she was two years ago dance around a glittery double star ornament, again from my stash. In some years, we have used a silver angel tree topper but this year was about Scandanavian country simplicity and upcycling old toys.
I accented the matching wreath from Lowdi with a Swarovski crystal snowflake while the orchids at the entrance had a Santa and elf toys dangling. A pinecone or two was stuck into the potter to add to the festive ambience.
For the windows, we used paper snowflakes, some purchased and some made by Arianne who learned to cut them herself this year.
Even my table setting included little toy ornaments which were initially posed on the floral centrepiece but then left behind on the table when the flowers was removed during the meal. So often, you remove the flowers and the table seems decor-less but you avoid this problem with the strategic use of properly themed toys. (As an aside, notice the dark blue ikat runner. Read Indonesian Ikat – Inspiration for My Interior; What’s Yours, an earlier blog.)
So take all your old ornaments and small leftover toys and see if you can get a common theme going. Throw in acorns, pinecones, branches, along with florist wire- anything readily available at a florist supply shop and see what happens (although as mentioned, I am lucky enough to have Lowdi lend her artistic flair to the process). The surprise will be a fresh new look with your old things. Winter magic!
Good luck and happy holidays!