He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866
Photo by Jesse Butkus
“It was a thing of beauty and was sent to live its life as an ornament” (From “The Young Birch,” by Robert Frost)
I am a passionate decorator. Whether I am in the house or out in the garden, I am happiest when I am creating or decorating something. In the summer, I am all about the garden. In the winter I am all about the home and the garden! Even as we prepare for the holidays, right up to the first snow, we are still cleaning up the garden, dealing with enormous amounts leaves, and planting bulbs and seeds. Lucky for us we have a very small yard!
I love to study decorating trade magazines, shops and houses just as much as I love gardening books, garden shops and garden tours. What I love most about it is that I love to see how people express themselves with their home décor and their personal style, especially when people turn the ordinary into extraordinary, with the simpliest twist. Incorporating stylish trends, with tried and true traditions, is my all time favorite design strategy. Of course, the winter holidays are a perfect time to incorporate the inside with the outside. It is amazing when you think about it. All seasonal decor, whatever the season, incorporates the elements of the outdoors.
It seems birch is a major decorating trend again this year. Home decor blogs, trade magazines, and shops ranging from garden to gift shops are all featuring this natural wonder.
This year I am expanding my theme on bringing the outdoors in. I have tripled my collection of birch branches, and thanks to my favorite assistant, Jeff, who helps me forage through the woods and lug these treasures home, I have them all cut up perfectly for my displays. Come along, I’ll show you my version of a natural holiday theme.
A natural theme also includes living things. I couldn’t resist this succulent tree. If I can keep it alive, I am going to copy it next year and give it as gifts! I adore it. Succulents were the “it” plant of this past summer, and I had good luck with them. So how could I resist?
I also love a signature holiday look. Red cyclamen is so festive and really sets the tone for a Christmas theme. You can just add cyclamen to any room, in a decorative cachepot, and you have instant holiday style. I have them throughout my house and I use them every year. I am also trying to grow, red lion amaryllis bulbs, for the first time. One of my friends has them throughout her house blooming throughout the season. . She pots them up in stages every week or so. They start blooming before Christmas and continue through New Years and beyond.
Traditional decorating offers comfort to the eye and order for a well dressed room. As a collector of such a variety of things, it is important to keep the structure of traditional design, especially for an abundant display, so it won’t be cluttered. I like a casual yet elegant mood for my surroundings, and I believe there is also always room for a bit of whimsey.
And lastly, how could I talk about home décor and style, without a little tribute to our beloved cat, Beau. She was our very favorite home accessory ~ pure love! Whatever room she was in was filled with the hum of her purr and her soft, sweet, loving personality. We are all feeling lonely for her and sometimes the grief is overwhelming, but we are happy knowing that she lived a really special life, and we are beyond grateful we had her for so long (17 1/2 years!). We have very sweet memories, and will always think of her as our standout cat; she will be in our hearts forever. She did leave us with a gift that I would love to share with you. The day she died, I went to have a photo of her developed that I had just taken a couple of days before, when she was purring away in the sun.
Notice that sweet nose ~ a heart! We had never noticed her perfectly heart-shaped nose. That little heart has been very comforting to us all.
Thank you for coming by my blog today. I hope you come back soon.