Christmas Kitchen – Winter Wonderland Part II

Although certainly not as impressive as the nook, the kitchen part of my winter wonderland carries on the white theme started in the nook.  Because the kitchen gets used for three meals a day plus snacks. it is hard to decorate anything more than the walls, windows, and out-of-the-way places that aren’t used for meal preparation.

As in the nook, the window treatments get changed, but rather than white sheers over the windows, I made window frames outlined with lights, covered with garland, and decorated with white material and silver ribbon and bows.

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The light fixtures are wrapped with garland, topped with a bow, and have a silver snowflake glued to the fronts. Even the lights over the island get a little decoration.

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The breakfast bar is the only whimsical area in the winter wonderland with snowball characters that I made many years ago nestled between ceramic houses that my great-grandmother made for my mother which were handed down to me.

The newest addition to the kitchen is the garland that outlines the entire ceiling.  Last year I added this, which helps to light up the room at night.  My goal is to use nothing but Christmas lights to illuminate every room in the house. The kitchen still needs a little more light, but there is always next year.

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Even the dishes get changed for the holidays.  From November through mid-January we eat on my winter wonderland dishes and use snowflake flatware.

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The oldest decoration in the kitchen is the Styrofoam clock that my grandmother made sometime in the 1960’s.

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The newest, old decoration was given to me last year after Christmas by my father.  It is a Santa cookie jar that he made while I lived at home during the 1980’s.  I remember vividly him sitting at the kitchen table with my great-grandmother painting it.

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Even the cabinets get a new look with ribbon and bows added for a bit of festivity.

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The newest decoration is a sign that I bought at Marshall’s a few days after Halloween.  I thought that the colors would fit in the kitchen perfectly and with just a little silver garland around it for a frame, it was perfect.

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Surrounding myself with decorations that spark wonderful memories is what makes decorating so rewarding.  Being that I spend so much time in the kitchen, I was sure to surround myself with decorations that held deep meaning and sentimental value.  With every meal I prepare, with every cookie I bake, with every dish I wash, I am reminded of the people I love, surrounded by memories of holidays past, and filled with holiday joy, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Halloween’s Everywhere

The room that the family spends the most time in at our house, besides the kitchen, would be our great room.  This is also the room where I have the most decorating opportunities.  As with Christmas, this is the center of my decorating.

This year I added decorations to our stairway.  I absolutely love this.  I had a vision, but after I’d bought the tulle netting, I had to let it sit for about a week before inspiration hit me.  It took nearly three hours to complete, but I think the end product is fairly impressive.

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Grace came to me one afternoon several days after I’d completed the stairway and told me, “You know what I like most about your decorations?”

Taken aback by her question I told her, “No.”

She continued, “They look just as nice during the day as they do at night.”

I asked her which decorations she was referring to, and she told me the stairway.  I had to agree.  Actually though, the stairway looks far better during the day than at night.  Even with lights hidden among the layers of tulle and decorations, at night much of the beauty of all my hard work is lost.

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In addition to the banister decorations, new also this year are the tomato cage trees on top of my doll cabinet and hall closet.  I first wrapped the trees with orange lights and then brown tulle for the one on top of the doll cabinet and black tulle for the two on top of the closet.  Adding a few decorations to the tulle so they looked nice during the day, the project was complete.  This was a quick and easy project and cost very little as I only had to but the tulle.

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Besides the stairway, there are two other focal points in the great room — the mantle and the television cabinet.

The mantel is decorated with several ceramics I made as well as some Halloween themed pictures.

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The television area holds three more of my favorite home-made ceramics.  These are large pieces that I made back when my kids were still babies.  It took me months to complete these and now they are the absolute first decorations I have to put up.

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My Ghoul Ceramic

My Ghoul Ceramic

My Mummy Ceramic

My Mummy Ceramic

My Grave Marker Ceramic

My Grave Marker Ceramic

The bats on top of the television were made by me as well.  You will also notice the mouse and witch Annalee dolls that are front and center.  I love these hand painted dolls and have a huge collection of Christmas ones that I have been collecting since I was 16 years old.

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The coffee and end table in the great room have decorations as well.  The coffee table is home to two large character spiders that I painted and the end table has some egg-bats and a haunted tree I made.

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The remainder of the great room is a combination of homemade and store-bought decorations I’ve been collecting for more than 20 years now.

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Every morning when I come downstairs, and every night when I turn out the lights for the day, the great room is the room I see.  All the decorations hold wonderful memories and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Halloween Continues To Spread

This is the second post showcasing this years Halloween decorations around my home.  Although the kitchen is not decorated all that much, there is just enough to know that fall has arrived.

The kitchen is tough to decorate because taking up any space on the counters would be counter-productive.  I do manage to put a few homemade ceramics here and there, but most of the decorations have to be displayed on the top of the fridge, ovens, and breakfast bar — which has never been eaten at in the 20 years we’ve lived here.

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The ceramic pumpkin that sits center on the breakfast bar was made by my Great Grandmother and handed down to me by my mother.  It is one of the few decorations I have in my collections made by her and one that I hold very close to my heart.  Seeing it every morning when I come into the kitchen to make coffee stirs wonderful memories of her and the time I spent with her.  I wish I had appreciated her more while she was with us, but am thankful I have my memories and a few trinkets to keep her spirit alive.

Ceramic pumpkin made by my great-grandmother.

Ceramic pumpkin made by my great-grandmother.

The nook’s decorations are limited to the table.  Being that this table is eaten at three times a day, a centerpiece and tablecloth are about all I can manage.

The nook.

The nook.

Even though it might not be the easiest room to decorate without putting things where they would get in my way, I love to have the kitchen decorated because that is where I spend the majority of my time every day.  Even the slightest bit of festivity warms the soul, something that makes doing something as mundane as washing dishes just a bit more enjoyable, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

It’s Time For Halloween

Decorating for Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate for, however, because decorating my home for Christmas typically takes more than a month because I want it done by December 1st, more often than not, I tend to skip it.

Yes, it does take that long to decorate my home for Christmas. Hopefully this year I’ll be able to share with you some pictures so you can get a glimpse into our version of Bronner’s East (Bronner’s is a huge Christmas store here in Michigan for those of you that are unfamiliar with it).

This year, because I have not quite decided how much decorating I will have time for during the Christmas season, I decided to take out all of my Halloween decorations that have been dormant for several years.  My intension was that if I didn’t use it this year, I’d get rid of it.  With the house decorated and everything I wanted to use in its place, I had four things to drop off at the thrift shop.  Not as many as I thought I’d have, but the pressure was on.  Plus, after I was done using what I had, I decided to add to the decorations with some homemade touches.

Quite a few of my decorations are handmade.  I have a kiln and for several years made various Halloween ceramics.  I sold some, but for the most part, used them for gifts and personal use.  There are also some pieces in my Halloween collection that have been handed down through generations.  These are pieces that I hold close to my heart.

For those that don’t like Halloween or agree with what some consider to be a pagan holiday, bear with me.  I decorate for and enjoy Halloween for the fun and joyful spirit that it instills in children and adults alike.  There are no hidden religious connotations behind anything in my home, at least not in our minds.  If you are offended by the holiday or posts related to it, then I suggest you skip this post and probably the next couple on my blog as they will be consumed with showcasing my Halloween decorations.  I hope though that you will enjoy a look into our home and perhaps find some inspiration for decorating your own.

The Bathroom

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The bathroom is always the first room to get decorated it seems.  Probably because it is the easiest.  Very few wires to hide and not many lights in this room, only the leaves around the top of the mirror and the cone tree in the corner on the vanity.

It always surprises me how just a few decorations can transform a room.  I love bringing fall into the house to match the color changing world out of it, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.