The water color version of my Shabby Chic decor
I am a person of many contrasts: this Christmas I found myself as determined to have a pink and white chic and shabby Christmas as I was to have a red and white traditional one. (Click HERE for photos of my red and white Christmas décor.) I was particularly excited to create some new Shabby Chic looks as I had acquired three wonderful décor items since last Christmas: a sparkling chandelier to replace the tired old ceiling fan (a Valentine's Day gift from my husband), an antique Gothic church window (a gift from my daughter on HER birthday) and a stunning figurine of Joseph, Mary, and baby with a donkey, all white and glittery.
I so enjoyed photographing this vignette in all of its moods.
I also love to repurpose items. The tan angel wings are fashioned from pieces of antique furniture trim and have been hung inside the frame of a mirror that broke. The frame was just too beautiful to throw away.
I adore the Swedish/French chic look of this tableaux in daylight but it is even more beautiful at night in the glow of the candles.
Perhaps sparkles are too irreverent for this sacred subject but I find my passion for glitter grows with each passing year--I was thrilled when I found this in a little shop near my home. I used to have many nativity scenes (though I believe the one above is technically referred to as "flight into Egypt") but most of them were destroyed in an unfortunate foul-smelling home mini-flood nearly fifteen years ago. I especially love this one because it is of the same composition as a porcelain figurine of my mother's when I was a young girl.
My view from the kitchen towards the church window always includes this gorgeous chandelier. It was left over stock from the little décor store my husband and I owned and I couldn't be happier when we decided to keep it and hang it in our own home (its twin hangs above the sink in my kitchen). My husband, whose many talents do not include that of "handy man", managed to hard wire this one so that I don't have to deal with a chain like the other chandeliers in our home. After my engagement ring presented to me at the base of Coit Tower with a sparkling, just-washed-with-rain-view of both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, this was my best Valentine's gift ever! I adorned it with a dozen (reproduction) mercury glass hearts and it caught the light in many delightful ways all season long.
I was so fascinated with the dozens of different ways the light reflected off of those hearts that I found myself photographing the chandelier again and again. However, I am an amateur photographer working with a point and shoot camera and I was unable to come up with pictures that did justice to what I was seeing. (Or maybe my camera just needs a pair of rose colored glasses like mine.)
This little vignette lives to the right of the dining room cabinet. I love this cherub's sassy pose and the way his face glows in the light of the lamp below.
The cabinet holds the Jim Shore Irish Angel that my daughter bought to commemorate our trip to Ireland this summer, as well as a few other Irish décor items. We decided to have Irish pub grub for our Christmas Eve meal (I was raised on the Swedish smorgasboard but we have had to forego those particular food stuffs after the household came down with the flu the Christmas morning after eating Swedish meatballs) and enjoyed how well the accompanying décor all blended in together.
I also opted for pink peonies instead of a pink poinsettia this year (this photo has been given the palette knife treatment via Photoshop).
Most of my many Santas were gifts and I have often thought I just might have too many. This was the first year, however, that I realized only one or two are the traditional Mark Twain pant-suited Santa of my American youth. Mine are almost all versions of Father Christmas with his long coat.
This is the view from my sofa. The tree (a 20 year old fake that has seen its last Christmas) gets pinker every year.
Every year I tell myself that I am going to count my ornaments (probably around 300 on just this one tree) but I get overwhelmed and decide to do it when I take it all down--an even worse idea.
This sweetest ever pink house was not made to hang on the tree. I say--hang it!
I have had the very same photos of my children in this frame (it hangs just above my computer desk) for the nine years we have lived in this house. I decided to put my antique post cards in them for Christmas and loved it so much that I have decided to change the pictures once a month.
This Santa pitcher was a gift from one of my sisters. We don't use him for the pouring of fluids so as to ensure that he remains in one piece for our continued admiration. (So far it has been a good choice.)
I always am surprised how something as simple as an icy, little branch can change the whole feeling of something. Suddenly all the white makes one think of snow.
Greenery was the main staple of my Christmas décor over the years but I have recently found that snow is much more festive.
I also find that when items are used in ways they were not intended, they stand out more, like the snowflake cookie tree ornament in this photo.
The view from my kitchen window Christmas morning. I came home from Ireland and immediately put up a shelf outside of this window to hold some geraniums--an Irish tradition. It makes me smile every single day (when I'm not scratching my head and wondering why I hadn't done it sooner).
My bedroom is the coldest room in the house so I went heavy on the red and white look in there--however, it is a pink room with Victorian accents and though they aren't strictly shabby chic, these pictures didn't fit in with the last décor post I did, either.
For me, the magic of Christmas décor is the play of light and shadow. It brings warmth and depth to what might otherwise be flat and cold surfaces. I suppose that is why I am also obsessed with this silver and gold Christmas tree (see below). It's only the second or third year I have put it up and I always have a hard time keeping my eyes off of it. There is nothing like white to play up the light and shadow and I spent a lot of time attempting to capture its beauty and mystery.
When I look into this tree, I feel like a little girl again, one filled with excitement and anticipation for a holiday filled with magic and wonder.
Isn't that what Christmas décor is all about? To recapture our childhood? A time when everything was possible . . .
And, for me, that is what the shadow and light represents: the mystery of and hope for the future.
We none of us know for sure what the future holds but, because a perfect child was born into the world, we can hope for All Good Things.
Christmas décor can be about pride and materialism and the wooing of the world but, for me, it is about beauty and love and gratitude.
It is the most special time of the year and our homes should reflect that.
It is the time when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was born, bringing light and hope into the world, as well as beauty, love and peace.
I hope that is what people see in my Christmas décor.