Monday, December 12, 2011

Expectation and Hope

The tree pruning is coming along...

...and my helpers are on the job.

I was hoping to finish the tree for Jane's Flowers in the Holiday House and Centsational Girl's party today but you can't rush perfection so I'll have to show you some of what else is going on in the house.

The window seat in the dining room has become a planting bench for the winter.
A zinc planter is filled with paperwhites surrounded by small river rocks
and a few moss-colored ornaments.

Another pot has an amaryllis.  The other zinc pots, leftover from Thanksgiving, are still filled with moss and I've top a few off with pine cones.  I sprinkled a few rose hops on the moss just for a little variation in color.  It's a very mellowed green and red color scheme.

This time leading up to Christmas is a season of expectation and hope.  Growing up, as we went to church during advent, a candle was lit each week on the advent wreath with the final candle being lit on Christmas.

I have these candle clips that were my great grandmothers and since I don't use them on the tree, I came up with an idea that would use them to make an advent wreath-type centerpiece that I could use on the Christmas dinner table.

I just clipped the candle clips onto the edge of the silver compote, added some moss and a silver partridge (which is actually a salt shaker) and few small of the same moss-colored ornaments.  I've also just added a few little loose petals from a perennial geranium just to break up all the green.

By using this on the Christmas table, it's a private nod to my family and our past traditions.

The clips on a silver compote could be used in a lot of different variations.  A small floral arrangement or sugared fruit in the center would be quite beautiful.

In the kitchen, I've simply planted another Amaryllis in a vintage McCoy planter and topped it off with moss.

When I was at Mahoney's the other day, I say a lot of handpainted and dyed flowers.  These reminded me of the overdyed rugs I showed a while back that Jane said she liked so I thought I'd pair up the flowers with some of the rugs as a hostess gift. 

The pink is really lovely and feminine.

The purple orchids and rug are quite regal.

The blue is quite unique but feels a little more appropriate than summer.

And this powerful orange combination would make quite the statement.

I'm not really sure what color she would prefer and I don't want to embarrass her with a gift that's too extravagant.  

So since this is the season of hope I should probably take a gift that would be a little more meaningful and appropriate to the season.

Season of Hope.

I know just the thing...

The Obama Chia Pet.  Merry Christmas, Jane.

You're also invited!  

For Jane's click here.


  1. Did you hear how loud I just laughed, all the way in Cambridge, at the image at the end? Brilliant writing! What a lovely post. I bet those pots look great on the window seat. I must say, the advent wreath is beyond beautiful and touching. Simply, simply beautiful in every aspect.

  2. The advent wreath is a lovely way to honor family traditions in a way that suits your life.
    I really want to try amaryllis bulbs next year but it seems kind of cruel. To the bulbs, I mean, I have a well known black thumb.

  3. How could I not know about candle clips? I need some candle clips! Where can I get candle clips? I think candle clips might change my life!

  4. Your advent wreath is beautiful, and I love that you're using your great grandmother's candle clips! I love using things that were handed down and are part of family history.

    My eyes really lit up when I saw that great McCoy planter. I am a huge fan of McCoy and other such pottery. I did an entire post on it. That planter will look gorgeous when the amaryllis blooms. We have some amaryllis bulbs in our garden that someone planted, perhaps after receiving as a gift such as this. They are beautiful and bloom year after year in the garden.

  5. The plants are lovely. (I'm jealous!)
    The fabrics are beyond amazing but I desperately want the candle clips!!!! What a truly delightful read.

  6. HA! That little tour of your lovely Christmas touches kept me in suspense. Chia Obama beats my hostess gift of the muscle flexing garden gnome.

  7. I remember doing the advent wreaths too..but I think we had oink and purple candles...? Did you have those colors and opted for white? Love your pics, they are sooo good.

  8. How many ways do I love this post?

    Maybe a million. The simple but chic pots with just the right amount of moss and balls, a bulb plant ot two...

    The advent wreath is beyond beautiful and so clever.

    Why don't our clients come up with ideas like that?

    Oh, then I wouldn't have a job.

    And the Obama chia pet? How well you know me.
    I'm going back to the top to read this all again.

    BIG Christmas hug.

    xo Jane

  9. You can find tree clips in antique shops that sell vintage Christmas ornaments but they're all over ebay and etsy. They're probably cheaper in June than they are right now though.

  10. killing it on monday morning. good job sir.

  11. dang.... I was going to get you an Obama gia pet for xmas!!! too funny. your xmas decorations are lovely and I adore your grandmother's candle clips. such a creative and safe new use! (I swear once a season you hear of someone burning their house down because they were using "real" candles on their xmas tree!!)

    happy week!

  12. Your Advent candle centerpiece is creative and so beautiful. What a wonderful salute to your family and memories of Christmases past!

  13. I love your candle clips Steve, what a clever way to use them.

    I also smile whenever you show your cat. She looks so...helpful!

  14. I love your ingenious advent wreath and twist to an old tradition! Your paper whites and succulents will look beautiful this winter. I haven't gotten around to forcing mine yet. I have everything to do it just need to do it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. I laughed out loud. You make me do that a lot. I love your take on the advent wreath, it is truly lovely along with all the other things you've done. I've done nothing so far. Nothing.

  16. *** Just found you the other day, and will continue to follow you... Your style of writing is soooo appealing and easy... you're a natural! And, everything you've shared in & around your WONDERFUL, WARM HOME just susists my fancy!!!

    Please continue your beautifully subtle Christmas touches~~~ I love them!

    Linda in AZ *

  17. Had to check in to see how you are doing on your tree, Steve...don't want to rush things. I am loving your advent wreath. Well all of your earthy decorations really, but the advent wreath is perfect...I love the idea of using clips that they used on trees, years ago (how did they not burn down the house?) Yours are much safer...I love the little partridge S/p and the flea market I know what I'm looking for. I just pinned this to my Christmas board. Oh, and love your floral/rug pairings, perfect and very creative!

  18. What a beautiful homage to your family the advent wreath makes and an ingenious way to repurpose those items. Steve you need your own design/inspiration show. Maybe you could start one on the internet. I'd definitely watch.

    Just a thought.


  19. The Advent centerpiece is just perfect. Please let me invite you to my home so that you can bring me one of those lovely rugs - they are wonderful.

    Your house is coming along so well. It will be a perfect season chez vous!

  20. You're too funny! I love those candle clips. Please don't tell me that they're from some fancy antique store handmade by Swedish elves and absolutely one of a kind, never to be reproduced again by charter of the magnacarta! Seems like everytime I ask someone now a days, "Where did you get that" they tell me it's fresh from Pope John Paul's stool and there's no way to ever get another. So, Steve - where can I pick those up?

  21. The advent wreath centerpiece is so creative--just perfect! I love everything, including your cat.

  22. A beautiful post until you got to the Chia Pet a liberal I find it offensive. We can discuss it later...I'm on my way to a store to buy one for everyone I know!

  23. Oh how lovely, can't wait to see what you do with your tree! But first I MUST go out and get all the Obama chia pets I can find, my Christmas shopping will be done!

  24. Wonderful post!
    I keep going back and forth looking at all the photos!
    I have some terrariums and now I want moss and pinecones! I love your centerpiece! I love how you paired the flowers and the rugs, but mostly I loved the kitty helping with the ornaments. Such a beautiful classy post.
    LOVE it! - Cindi

  25. I am not sure what to say after all of that.

    Your advent wreath is so lovely. Little Zazu is sweet (is that Zazu?)

    Your McCoy planter is just like one my Mom had.

    That chia pet is sad.

    xo Terri

  26. Love the chia pet of course but also those clips! I have done sugared fruit before but candled clipped around the edges would take it to a whole new level - lovely!

  27. Hello Hostess gift!!! Me likey your pairings. Not so much the chia.

    LOVE what you did with your candle holders! I used to have some also....and was blown away each year to think that they used to be lit on trees! Yikes stripes!

  28. I've been meaning to stop by for some time now. Wish I had done so sooner! Lived in North Cambridge behind the China Fair for years... Sally and I haven't even begun to do our house. (We now live North of you in Salem, MA.) Your post reminds us that we don't have to "think big".

    I'm adding you to My Favorites and our Blog Roll.


  29. You owe me a new keyboard. Afternoon coffee just flew out of my mouth. I always say my hair looks like that on a really humid summer day :)
    On the other hand...I love the rugs and wish I could figure out how to do that to my bedroom rug.....hmmmmm

  30. So I'm visiting and my one of my little helpers is on my lap. When she spotted your helper, she said, "Oh a kitty cat...I love her."

    So I went to Michaels a few days ago looking for candle clips like yours (well, not that pretty)and surprise, there were none to be found. Thanks for your resource list.

    Your idea for the advent wreath is so smart, so pretty, and a lot easier than adding greenery to the traditional advent form.

  31. You are such a tease! I want to see it ALL!!! Oh, love the garland on your header! LOL!! Oh, one more thing, my hubby got one of those Obama's last Christmas! LOL!!!

  32. Steve,
    You must be still pruning that tree...either that or adding twinkle lights to your aquarium!

  33. Wonderful post! I am really enjoying your blog!

    The kitty helper was the best. We have a few of those here..

    Happy Holidays!

  34. Great post! Obama chia pet, a classic.....On another note, your paper whites, are going to be beautiful and give me inspiration!

  35. I was at Mahoney's too. I had never seen purple or blue pointsettias until my visit there.

    Your silver compote with the candle clips is genius!