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06 December, 2009

Favorite Ideas I Stole...er...Borrowed from the Christmas Tour of Homes!

IMG_9297 I just returned from the Christmas Tour Of Homes In Madison, Georgia, and my head is spinning from a whirlwind tour of Victorian cottages and Greek revival antebellum mansions! This is one of my favorite things to do…peek into other people’s homes…with their permission, of course! I will show you more of the homes themselves later. I have learned to take at least one good decorating idea away with me each year. And this year I found several! These are not necessarily new ideas, but I did find a little different twist or a reminder of something I had forgotten! I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did!



page3The first is using fresh greenery in your Christmas decorations. One of the homes we toured had only fresh greenery in the house and what a difference it made! Now this may not be news to you, but in my home with my staff who will eat anything, it was so pleasant to see and smell the real thing! I especially loved this gorgeous centerpiece that also used artichokes, key limes and cranberries threaded on a wire as picks! Isn’t the cranberry idea ingenious? I will definitely try this!



IMG_9335 Along the same line, they used paperwhites or narcissus as a part of their decorations. The smell brought back memories of my grandmother’s home in South Georgia…coming through the door for a Christmas visit and being greeted by the their fragrance from her hall table. I found an article on how to force them to bloom (click here) and discovered that it’s not too late to have blooms for Christmas since it only takes about three weeks! And yes, that’s their fabulous pool you’re seeing through the window!



page Another of the homes used dried flowers, fruit and nuts in many of their decorations…beautiful! The garland made of pecans strung together in an interesting pattern was fascinating! And I loved the idea of the dried hydrangeas in the Christmas tree! I don’t believe that the little apples are real in the bottom photo, but those are real chestnuts…so Christmasy! However, we tried to figure out how to string nuts together and decided that you might have to drill holes in them. What do you think? Has anybody ever attempted this one?



page5 I was also excited to see several dough bowls decorated for Christmas, since I have been planning to use the one that was my grandmother’s as a part of my decorations. Pinecones, nuts and berries along with a few wooden stars seem to be key ingredients.



page1 Of course, candy and cookies fit right in to Christmas decor…especially in the kitchen! The little gum drop tree would be fun to make with children. I may have to try that one with my grandson! But my favorite is the gingerbread family going for a sleigh ride! Hmmm…I wonder if that sleigh I saw in Hobby Lobby half price is still there?



page2 Using children’s toys as Christmas decorations is very traditional, such as little trains around the base of the tree. But I loved the idea of putting a bow on an antique child’s rocker and incorporating it as well! That Tinker Toy Christmas tree is my favorite of the bunch…so clever! I found directions here. And the felt Nativity figures glued on blocks of wood give a child a way to act out the Christmas story without any fear of breakage! I found that exact pattern which can be ordered for $10 by clicking here. My grandson always loved his Playmobil Nativity set and we kept it out as part of the decorations.



page4And finally, this one isn’t related to Christmas, but I loved it anyway! The owner of this home used antique letters and notes as art. She even had a tiny doll hand lying on an antique note written on a scrap of paper as a little vignette on her secretary. A little creepy or very interesting? It certainly caught your attention, I’ll bet! Now I’m thinking about letters written to me by my French friends and trying to figure out how to tea stain them and make them look old without ruining them. Hmmm…




IMG_9431 So which ones have I tried? I did the easiest one first…cranberry floral picks! I simply threaded fresh cranberries on a bamboo skewer and added them to some greenery from the yard. I love this idea because I keep my holly cut back so much that it’s hard to find any berries. I also brought the last of my knockout roses into the house since we had a hard freeze last night. So far, the staff has not seemed interested in any of it! Keep your fingers crossed!
I am seeing a pattern in all of my favorites..are you? I didn’t realize it until I was re-reading my post. I seem to be drawn to simple, natural decorations this year. All of my big, shiny garlands are still in the attic. Is it the economy or am I getting older and simplifying my life? I have noticed that some of you are feeling the same way. What do you think?
Thanks so much for stopping by! Please head on over to Mary’s at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday to see one of her beautiful mosaics and to find a list of this week’s participants. You will be treated to some wonderful photos from some very talented people!
met mon Next, be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday where you can get a peek at her gorgeous home and see what sorts of changes she is making, as well as find out who else is playing along! I’m betting there will be lots of Christmas decorations!
deck the halls
And then on Tuesday, please join Susan at thoughtsfromovertherainbow for Deck the Halls! We will be showing off our Christmas decorations every Tuesday between December 1st and January 5th, so come get in on the fun! Thanks again for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine!

72 comments:

  1. Oh Debbie, what gorgeous decorations. I love all of them, but I really like the ones that you are usingin your home. The cranberries and the fresh greens along with all of your pretty red and white dishes are so pretty. Love it. Hugs, Marty

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  2. Debbie-I wish I had been with you! I always wanted to live in an antebellum home. Beloved said no way would he buy a "money pit" :) I love the fresh greenery and especially the framed notes. I have been thinking about framing some of my grandmother's old handwritten recipes for my kitchen--they won't need staining! Thanks for linking this on Tuesday!

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  3. This post is an inspiration, but yours always are.
    I don't have a resource for live greenery, other than Christmas trees (it is often hot at Christmas in South Texas), but using more would be nice- and make the house smell even better.

    Enjoyed visiting,
    Laura

    I think we are all using what we have. It's fun isn't it?

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  4. Debbie, there were some wonderful ideas here! Loved seeing all the beautiful decorations. :-) My mother always used live things in her house, and I started out that way, too. Unfortunately, I've developed an allergy to Christmas trees which follows that I can't use live greens as decorations. In Florida, we have trouble keeping them from shedding like mad with the warm weather. But I like all the other touches, and that pecan garland is PERFECT for Georgia! I've never seen that before, and it was a super neat find.

    Be careful with the berries because they have juice. I used real cranberries to make a topiary cranberry tree one year, and they got gushy on me. Of course not being the crafty type I used a "hot" glue gun. LOL! I used to string cranberry garland with Mama so it can be done, even by the craftiness challenged.

    I really liked all of this so much. The paperwhites were fabulous. This is a wonderful, wonderful post.

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  5. That had to be an awesome tour... the fresh greenery and key limes must of had a wonderful aroma! I don't think my "staff" would let the real greenery alone for long!

    The cranberry picks hav given me an idea also!! The pecan garland I loved..such a great design.

    Thanks for passing along the photos...

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  6. Morning Debbie. :) I like freshness too. We have lots of berries on our nandinas right now and I think some of them need to come in my house. Wouldn't that be pretty?

    I sure have been enjoying your blog music. It's been playing for an hour this morning.

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  7. Debbie, looks like it was a fabulous tour...ummm, your staff is like mine...no fresh flowers or greens here, they think it is time to nibble and scatter! I love the idea of threading cranberries onto a wooden skewer or piece of wire...so simple but it adds that little touch of color to the greenery. I have always loved a gum drop tree and that tinker toy tree is adorable! The doll's hand on that lovely letter would have caught my attention...that definitely is thinking outside the box. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Great ideas. I especially like the dough bowls with the pine cones. I will try it myself. Thank for sharing all the ideas. Wish I could have gone on that tour too! --Delores

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  9. Beautiful ideas Debbie. I wouldn't use the original letters though. I would copy them, mabybe on a special antique looking paper just in case you're not happy with the results. I wouldn't want to mess up the originals as the ink could run or smear.
    Hugs,
    Dawn

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  10. Debbie.. having lived away from the "Deep South" for over 25 years now, I'd forgotten how beautiful the most simple decorations for the holidays could be. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, and for the beautiful ideas of magical, creative and natural decorating ideas... hugs & happy holidays.. Dixie

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  11. Hey there Debbie, thanks for the tour and sharing all of the great ideas. I agree with you, I love the idea of dried hydrangeas on the Christmas tree, that sounds gorgeous.

    Your arrangement turned out just lovely, and it should last a long time.

    I hope you are having a delightful weekend.

    Hugs,
    Nicole

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  12. Wow! Just beautiful!!! The best ideas are borrowed from others :-) Loved t! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Fantastic post....which we had these sort of tours here in the U.k...I'd be at the front of the queue...thanks for sharing.

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  14. i love the decorations too.maybe it;s alittle of it all withall of us.....ann

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  15. Debbie, what a wonderful tour of the Christmas decorations. I love all of the natural things they used. I can't have fresh greenery or a fresh tree for the same reason as Sheila, my allergies are just too severe. But I have used cranberries in my decor for years. I really love the centerpiece with the artichokes and key limes, it is gorgeous! And the gingerbread family on a sleigh ride, how adorable. I love what you did with your decorations, hope the staff doesn't partake too much lol. Hugs, Kat

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  16. Hello-bonjour!
    Your post is fantastic!it's so pleasant to discover a bit of America through your pictures.

    The mansion you've photographed is awesome!et vos créations florales si jolies!fortunately your staff didn't attack it:)(i' ve been offered orchids yesterday and my french staff is also VERY interested in it,i keep my fingers crossed too).
    If you like french writtings i could send you a handwritten poem of your choice(or something else) but i'm not sure the result would be as elegant as the picture you've taken...

    Have a nice week!

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  17. Hi Ms Debbie, the decor ideas are so overwhelming, can't pick which ones I like most. I think I would choose the simple ones. I am more drawn to the cranberries!

    I am already enjoying the festive season through your post.

    Happy Holidays!

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  18. Wonderful decoration ideas, it all looks so beautiful. Great photos and mosaics

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  19. Debbie your mosaics are not only beautiful, they are filled to the brim with inspiration!

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  20. You found some wonderful inspiration! I love the dough bowls with the pinecones inside... so pretty! Your cranberry picks are great!!

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  21. Thanks for the fabulous tour and photos....you've given me some ideas....love the cranberries on the pics.
    Great mosaic.

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  22. Like the cranberrys & gingerbread people. Also think it would be cute to skewer gum drops. Cool ideas!

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  23. What a great post--lots of eye candy! Love the idea of framing the letters-quaint!

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  24. I am so steal... er, borrowing that cranberry idea!

    We have very, very good friends from the Milwaukee area that retired to Reynolds and she talks about taking me to Madison each time we visit! Next spring, I'm going to make sure she takes me!

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  25. Debbie, I LOVE all these great ideas...I may have to copy the cranberrie one, too! Isn't Madison a fabulous place for a home tour...I love the beautiful old homes there!
    Thanks for sharing all these awesome ideas for MM!
    Susan

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  26. Aren't house tours fun? I'm glad that you are able to share some of the ideas and inspiration that you found on your tour. My favorites are the Pecan garland, stringing the cranberries onto a pick, and using dough bowls to decorate. I've got an empty wooden bowl on my kitchen table just waiting to be filled. You gave me some ideas!

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  27. Thanks for all the great pictures, love the gingerbread men in the sleigh, may have to steal that for next year....

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  28. Debbie, love all these ideas. I just love going to these tour of homes. I always come home with fresh ideas. Thanks for bringing this one to us.

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  29. That must have been a grand tour...we once drove through Madison in spring, and I will never forget it. SO different from our Canadian prairies!
    I also love fresh greenery and fruits in Christmas decor.

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  30. Home tours are so much fun and I love to take away the ideas and incorporate them into my home. I love the cranberry idea. Thanks for sharing.
    Joyce

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  31. What a beautiful place so full of inspiring ideas, your mosaics and photos are inspiring too, happy MM, Kathy.

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  32. How delightfully FESTIVE ;-)
    Love your mosaics and appreciate you sharing all these marvelous holiday decorating ideas!
    Hugs and blessings,

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  33. TFS! It's all so nice. I love the ephemera prints and the child's christmas tree...I can't wait to try this! ~Lisa

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  34. Great ideas! I love that Tinkertoy tree! Thanks for sharing these ideas. I really love the look of paperwhites, but can't stand the smell. Weird, huh?

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  35. This home is so lovely Debbie!
    Fresh ideas everywhere.

    We have Holly trees outside full of beautiful, shiny leaves and bursting with red berries. Hmmmm...I wonder if Chestnut would try to eat them though?

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  36. WOW! Fabulous ideas, all of them! Just gorgeous! I love your mosaics! Great post!

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  37. Debbie, your pictures are just beautiful and so are those cookies!
    My paper whites are all planted as of today...so not so sure they will be blooming by Christmas. No matter..I will enjoy them when they do. I should have had them in earlier but got sidetracked.
    I have saved the helpful article you were so kind as to post. :)
    Now I am off to catch up...
    Mona

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  38. Deb, thanks for sharing such great inspiring ideas. I have not seen cranberries used like that before so that is a new one for me also.Love your application. You are such a good observer of details and a quick learner, it must be the teacher in you. Thanks for sharing,Oh how I wish I could have toured with you, Miss you,Kathysue

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  39. Hi Debbie,
    I am so envious of you getting to go on that awesome tour! What fabulous ideas and beautiful pics! I always love fresh greenery the best and love the cranberry idea, I will have to steal that idea from you! hehee! Hugs, Cindy

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  40. What a beautiful post Debbie. I love all the decorations and some are so special.I always like to decorate with fresh greens too, only the smell is already worth the try to make it yourself

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  41. Debbie I love tour. What great ideas, and let us known which ones you try and how they turned out.

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  42. Debbie, très, très jolies - toutes les photos! Quel tour manifique!J'aime bien ta copie que tu as faite de la maison à Madison. Et moi aussi j'ai des lettres de Danielle...quelle bonne idée de les teinter et les encadrer! Encore un projet...mdr....Linda

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  43. Hi Debbie...

    My friend, I just read your sweet note and had to come right over...it's been awhile since we've visited! Ohhh...I would just love to do the Christmas Tour of Homes! I can only imagine the beauty!!!

    I love your beautiful Christmas arrangement with the cranberry picks!!! I really do like the look of all the red berries in Christmas decor!!! You did a marvelous job with that arrangement...sooo beautiful, Darlin'!!! You know...I completely understand where you're coming from with the "natural" Christmas decor. I always really wrestle with "going with the glitz or the natural". This year I did both! Hehe! I did my living room in the "glitz" and went more with the natural woodland's feel in my dining room! It seems to play out like my love of so many different design styles...I never can make up my mind! Hehe!

    Thank you for sharing a few snippets from your tour with us today and also your fabulous Christmas arrangement...what a treat!!!

    Warmest wishes and Christmas Blessings to you and your family...
    Love ya,
    Chari @Happy To Design

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  44. Hi Debbie, do you really get inside other people`s homes?? this is wonderful!!! what a great idea you have given me, I always wanted to do this but I thought it was so difficult and inappropiate, why would it be if we only love to see other`s decor??? Some of my friends don´t allow me to take pictures of their homes... snif..
    Muchos cariños
    Maria Cecilia

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  45. Excellent! Thank you for mentioning the bamboo skewers. I was wondering what I HAD that would work. Okay, goes on the idea list for sure!

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  46. From what I can tell, a lot of people are feeling the way you say. And wanting to just leave boxes of shiny store-bought things up in the attic. I know I do. I love the gingerbread wagon! My "staff" eats everything real as well. Maybe I can try the cranberries, as you did, though...
    Brenda

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  47. THANKS for the wonderful tour - just beautiful!

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  48. Oh such gorgeous ideas. I'm so going to use that cranberry idea. It is so simple and beautiful...why didn't I think of that?

    Sue

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  49. So many beautiful ideas. Thanks so much for sharing. At one time I wanted a very large, old home like that. Then reality stepped in and I said - Nope not in this life time.

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  50. Oh Debbie, you found some fabulous ideas! I would never have thought of using tinker toys to make a tree, but isn't that the cutest? Your roses still look gorgeous! Now I want to make some gingerbread cookies to put in a sleigh. That is adorable! Thanks for all of this wonderful inspiration. laurie

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  51. Thanks for the tour. I like the cranberries on the skewer. I also like to use fresh greens.

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  52. I think fresh green cedar and pine are a requirement in a Georgia home. So pretty.

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  53. I love the tour, thanks for taking us along ! It just amazes me that you have "green" in the yard in December ! Thanks so much you gave me some great ideas !
    Kammy

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  54. Debbie, You showed us such fabulous ideas to implement with our decorations! I haven't been out of the house to get to the nursery to buy any greens yet. Hopefully today. I am feeling SO much better these last few days.
    I love the idea of the cranberries on the skewer. And that little tinker toy tree is precious. This post is definitely getting bookmarked!
    hugs, Sue

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  55. I loved the tour, what fun! I bet BJ would know about the nuts, she has a lot of pecan trees!
    I do use the dried hydrangea in my trees, I spray them gold and just tuck them in..
    And the cranberries I have used too..
    So many good ideas you found..write them all down..cause if you are like me..here today, can't remember tomorrow!

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  56. OMG, that Christmas tree made out of Tinker toys is just way too cute! I just get amazed at people's talent!!

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  57. Debbie I don't know if someone else mentioned it but just scan your notes into your computer and then use a photo program such as Picasa or Picnik or whatever you use and color it sepia toned there.
    You could also just photo copy them and then if they don't turn out the way you like you haven't ruined the originals.
    The doll hand...just creepy.

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  58. Oh Debbie, how beautiful! I have to remember to get some paperwhites soon, and I love to use lady apples, too. Thanks so much for sharing these lovely ideas at MM. :)

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  59. Thanks for taking us along on your holiday home tour. I always mean to do that but then time slips away and I can't. I'd also love to peak into other people's home.

    I like the cranberry idea. Your arrangement looks wonderful. I used cranberries in the vase I did my Thanksgiving arrangement in, so I'll try this also.

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  60. Yes, kitties and Christmas are a fun combination. I was surprised to see him just watching me so intently as I hung the lights. Since then he and I have had many "conversations" about knocking off the ornaments. It's a good thing most everything in my house is already dog and kid proof. I never realized something as small as a kitten could cause such havoc!

    The "baby" hands are my 14 year old daughter's. With her syndrome the finger tip pads never round out so they do indeed look like baby hands with pointy finger tip pads. She was decorating a kid's tree in our sun room. She is about 4 ft tall, another trait of her syndrome. Still, she insisted on doing the whole tree all by herself. She stretched up to hang all but one ornament that I had to help with!

    Warm hugs,
    Dawn

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  61. Debbie, what wonderful memories you brought fresh to mind. I would love the use of live plants inside. I'll have to try the cranberries, haven't done that in years. I believe a person would have to drill the nuts to be able to string them. I too, love the use of the dough bowls being used. I've used 3 so far this year and love the feeling they give me. Thanks for sharing a wonderful post. Looking forward to seeing part of the tour. hugs ~lynne~

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  62. Debbie, thanks for sharing these ideas with us. I like to use natural elements and fresh greens when possible. I've put magnolia leaves on the mantel this year. Like the idea of the cranberries. I'll have to try some of these ideas, but for now I'm just trying my best to get all my things out and in place.
    Wish I could have joined you on the home tour. It must be so special! ~ Sarah

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  63. I love the idea of the cranberry pics--I may just try that one!!
    I also love the tinker toy tree!!

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  64. Hi Debbie! I'm late getting by your blog! Sorry! I love all these ideas! I sort of stopped using real stuff because it didn't last! I would always bring in poinsettas though but now I can't but my cat loves to eat plants and I'm afraid she'd try to eat them! I do love the gingerbread family in the sleigh! Might have to try that one! God Bless! Lauralu :)

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  65. Debbie,
    It's all beautiful, but I agree that cranberry idea is brilliant. The pine cone display is also lovely. Thank you for posting these beautiful vignettes.
    Karen

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  66. What gorgeous ideas...aren't tours the best? Weare going on one this weekend and I always get so excited!
    I love the cranberries and fresh greens...so wish i could have ore of such thing but our youngest pet, Henry the very naughty cat, keeps us from having lots of things out we normally try! he is a chewer and nibbler par excellence!


    I didn't go all out like I have in years past but still enjoy decorating so much and seeing what others have done is always a treat!
    Thank you so much for sharing with us!
    Love,
    Sue

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  67. Debbie,

    I noticed the name of your blog while I was visiting Diamonds and Daisies and decided to visit (the name of your blog by the way is great:)! This post is gorgeous! I love Madison, Ga-the homes are remarkable. We drive through there when we visit family in Lawrenceville, Ga. I look forward to visiting your blog again!

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  68. That must have been an awesome tour! We did the Playmobil Nativity every year (every year is different). My daughter used to just love having them to play with all year long. I think the tinkertoy tree is just darling and that's one of my favorites too!

    Manuela

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  69. Dear Debbie, Wonderful! I am delighted dear one that your package was a surprise! LOL Certainly hope, in the future, I can utilize more artistic styling in my prose displays/presentations. I have been toying around with different medias…and have yet to be satisfied! LOL…glad you are pleased and are sensing the Musesque of it all. And I hope the gratitude of my friendship was discovered as well! :)

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  70. I so enjoyed your post today! I love the fruit and nuts. I thinking I have pecans but a lot of drilling those holes, I wondering if acorns are soft, I have a lot of large ones. lol I adore the dough bowl for I have a large one and a friend just that carves bowls just gave me a dough bowl to brighten my Days as I recover. I shall do an article and Tablescape on his bowls in a month or so. Now I love love the sleigh, Do I have one? Hubby has all the deco for Christmas out of the attic, just need some help getting it up lol We found a silver tree that was the previous owners in the attic, all parts are there. Got to deco it before my girls come and steal it. lol

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  71. Madison, Georgia...love that little Southern town! I want to live in one of the older homes in the historic section and I love the downtown section--always shop there when traveling to mama'a house! Love all the ideas, but I must say I'm obsessed with the gingerbread people in the sleigh...how cute is that! Lucky you for being able to go on that tour! I know you had fun:) Love, love, love Madison!

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  72. Fresh greenery is simply so elegant. Wish I had my grandmother's dough bowl.

    I have fond memories of a gumdrop tree( which I did have but got rid of )

    Thanks for the cute ticker toy tree idea. My grandchildren will enjoy making one.

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Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie