Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Tree 2012


The Christmas tree is up and decorated although it's hard to be joyful.

This tree was inspired by last year's tree in the dining room.  I wanted to see
if I could achieve a nature inspired tree that evoked the feeling
of a walk in the woods...well, a woods decorated for Christmas.

Let me show you some of the details.


As I revealed in my earlier post, I cut two Boston ferns and have used them as decorations.  In the end, it wasn't at all necessary to wire the ends.  I didn't like the look of them hanging as ornaments.  If you're going to use them, I would recommend adding them last, and it's really easy to stick the fronds in to the needles and just let them hang.  

Below the bird's nest are hops.  I don't know if they're naturally green or whether they're dyed.  I think they look like little caterpillars or bumble bees or something and I love their droopy nature.


I've also added pine cone garland, a few gold hydrangea, pine cones and vintage ornaments.


Even though I have a collection of vintage ornaments, I wanted a restrained palette of colors that fit the theme.  Spacious skies, amber waves of grain, green green grass of home, from sea to shining sea.  It was difficult not to use some of my favorite ornaments.



I made several of these bird ornaments just like the ones we made when we were kids.
I spray painted clothespins in a dark green paint (Montana's "Toad") and glued a nest and a partridge on each one.  The "eggs" are rose hips I cut out of the garden but you can use two or three beads.  Pearls always look nice.



In places where the clothespins were visible, I just stuck a little moss underneath.



My brother makes really beautiful rustic birdhouses and sells them.
He whipped up the cute little birdhouse ornaments are few years ago.



I was going to make a grapevine star and fill it with moss for the top but
I came up with this "birdcage" in a moment of pure genius.



You may remember my gothic light pendant from an earlier post.  I thought it make
a great crown for the top of the tree but I couldn't figure out how to attach it.

When I turned it upside down, I thought it looked like a chinoiserie birdhouse.  So I
took it apart, stuffed it with moss and added a sweet little bluebird.



The tree at dusk with a blue reflection from the mirror in the front hall.




Yes, the tree skirt is leopard.  I guess it's a little element of humor but it also kind
of looks like a speckled egg print. 



Yes?  No?



A night shot.


So there it is.  Not as inventive as last years but it's much more elegant.
And I enjoyed doing it.  

I still haven't figured out the secret to taking a great photo of a lit tree.
I did this one with two lamps on in the room.   Just automatic setting.
No flash, no extended shutter speed.  Have any secrets?

I also shot this at twilight when the camera picks up the sky color
as a beautiful blue that I think looks great.

I still have a few things to do around the house so I'll show you
when it's all done.  Are you ready?
 

76 comments:

  1. Oh Mr. Boston Fern...It is a virtual outdoor wonderland! Love the dried ferns...but that pendant light star IS pure genius!

    I bow to you, Sir.....

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  2. Hi Steve, It is an elegant tree - truly beautiful. I love the color palette you used and the woodland theme - the birds and nests are wonderful. And the 'chinoiserie' birdhouse on top is perfection. Thank you for sharing it with us!
    xo,
    Phyllis

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  3. Steve from someone who spends part of their days in the forest, blame the dang dog, you did a fabulous job! I know now what our tree needs....pine cones and luckily we have a forest filled with them. Your tree is gorgeous! I have no idea how to get great pictures except to back light them. Personally I think your tree looks perfect! I hope you're getting the little bit of snow we're getting it makes it seem like Christmas.

    XXX
    Debra~

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  4. I'm at a loss for words...

    I've looked at each photo, over and over and over again.
    I'm amazed.
    I couldn't picture what you were going to do with the ferns, I was afraid it would look odd and....
    it is STUNNING!
    I am in awe.

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  5. Hi, Steve -
    Beautiful and brilliant tree! You are very creative and talented. So, definitely inventive. You've incorporated many unusual items: hops, ferns, and that lantern! That's my favorite :) What I love most is the texture of this woodland wonderland tree!!
    Thanks for sharing all those great ideas.
    Very best for the holidays ~
    Loi

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  6. What a beautiful tree! I never would have thought to add fern fronds but it works perfectly!

    www.chattafabulous.blogspot.com

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  7. This is so creative Steve, and I love the freshness of your concept. Beautiful.

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  8. Loved this . . . over the moon loved . . . Amazing idea with the fern and the bird cage topper is so perfect! May I copy/save one of your photo images . . .

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  9. This may be the most beautiful tree I've ever seen. Each and every detail is simply exquisite. The pine cones, ferns, nests, and birds...you've put a whole forest into a single tree, and the whole is pure magic.

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    1. Pure magic is a wonderful comment. Thank you.

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  10. You are something! Just amazing! Love your topper especially. xo

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  11. Steve,
    Another masterpiece! So beautiful, like it belongs in a grand woodland lodge somewhere in ski country. You are very creative.
    Have a Merry Christmas

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  12. Steve, the "birdcage" on top is brilliant! Well done!

    When I take a pix of a lit tree, I turn off all the lights in the room-and add back lighting if needed when I edit in Picasa.

    If I had a DSLR camera I'm sure it would be way more technical :)

    Did you enter the decorating contest again? Surely you will be a repeat...

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    1. I got my entry in at the very last moment. I don't count on winning but it doesn't make me love the tree any less.

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    2. Well, you have done the Regans proud! LOL

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  13. It's lovely and though it's not a joyful time, consider just this one beautiful thing your very fitting tribute to all the little ones.

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    1. Elaine, that's a really thoughtful way to appreciate it. S.

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  14. You've outdone yourself. You put such care and creativity in evoking nature, but it is also quite sophisticated.

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  15. Wow wow wow. Cant even express how much I love this tree. It is GORGEOUS, Steve. I have never seen anything like it, and you so own it. The creativity is beyond beyond... Your tree has made this heavy heart lighter. I just love every detail and now i have to go back and look again! Xx

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  16. Wow such an amazing creation! I love all of your trees but this one is especially elegant. Like it belongs in an enchanted forest! Wonderful job and I think your night photos turned out really well.

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  17. Your beautiful tree makes me feel happy for real, when all the while I have felt such gloom and have covered with a happy face. Thank you.

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  18. Your tree is everything that I wish mine was if I had the patience. When I see "designer" trees they look over stuffed, perhaps gaudy but yours is full in all the right ways. The topper is genius and so enviable.

    On another note, we all are sad for the countless people hurt and changed by the recent tragedy. I believe that it is also right and good to delight in the things that those we miss the most would have delighted in as a way to honor their lives. I am squeezing my baby and lingering on the lights that are magic to little ones.

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  19. This must be the most beautiful tree I ever saw!! magical. Love the topper! groetjes, Gerda

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  20. Well sir, this is just incredible.

    from the topper to the hand made ornaments, to the beautiful little bird house ornaments your brother made I am in a state of pure enchantment.

    And that's how we're supposed to feel at the holidays isn't it?

    Kudos.

    xo jane

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  21. Steve, your tree is stunning! I love how you incorporated the pinecones, I have bags of them! I want to make a wreath! Love your topper too, it really makes a statement - I can almost hear it saying "I'm king of the room" - ant it is too!

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  22. I love your woodland tree with the little birds and nests and moss and fern fronds. By the way, do the fern fronds stay alive without water? So pretty.

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    1. That's a great question!

      I cut a few fern fronds when I bought them in October and they looked good for about four weeks. It's much drier now that the heat is on more often so I don't think they'll last that long but they should look okay through Christmas. I'll take some photos of them at New Years and report back.

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  23. I love the nature themed tree this year. That topper is pure genius. Love that...very much. I'm still working on my tree. I'll be up late tonight working on it.

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  24. Your tree is like a breath of fresh air - its like a fairytale come to life. I can imagine that if I were to look at it up close, there were be many moments to discover and delight me. So beautiful.

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  25. Just beautiful! I love the topper, so creative. The color scheme is so sophisticated and it is such a nice complement to your home. It's always a pleasure to see your creations!

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  26. Wow .....the Christmas tree is lovely.....
    Nice photos!

    Hug Camilla
    Norway!

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  27. wonderful tree, steve. those up-close images really do it justice. I think my favorite part is the disguised clothes pins. great idea.

    the light/bird cage at the top is a stunner! donna

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  28. Gorgeous! Truly unique. Your tree belongs in a magazine. I LOVE the last photo. It is very hard to photograph Christmas trees, but you did it!
    Claudia

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  29. beautiful, charming, creative, restful - i love the woodland theme and think all your elements are so lovely! the little birds are my favorite. i have a few birds on my tree and was just looking at glass bird ornaments yesterday trying to decide if i needed them (i did not). so it was quite sweet to see yours. love what you did with that chandelier! i think this is a lovely room - i would like to have a nap there, and hear the babbling brook and birds chirping in the distance (you do have a woodland soundtrack, right?). love your brother's wee bird houses.

    xo terri

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  30. Enjoying your post on my way to work! Wonderful nature inspired tree. My favorite is the tree topper.

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    1. of course i was....not. hubby and i work at the same place so we carpool. came back to see the photos of tree on the home pc vs little iphone. very nice.

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  31. Steve, it's absolutely gorgeous - I got tears in my eyes because it was so lovely to see such prettiness when we're so sad about CT. You put so much of yourself into making things special. Thanks for sharing with us!
    debi

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  32. Lovely, as is everything you do.

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  33. Kind of makes me wish I had taken the time to do a tree.....smashing!

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  34. Now I see why your tree looks so full and lush! Natural elements harmonizing together even if from different 'roots.' I love a rustic style; makes the shiny objects seem just a little brighter. Some Vermont tree farmers bring their Christmas trees down to NYC to sell. They pride themselves of pruning and tending them all year long. Some comments I heard were people in the Village wanted a more 'Charlie Brown' tree, as in spindle-y with lots of space between the branches. Can't please everyone, I guess.

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  35. brilliant, pure brilliance! i am already thinking about next years christmas showhouse and this really resonates with me. the ferns, the topper, birds! you may get copied steve but not topped!
    debra

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  36. Naturalistic yet elegant. Just beautiful.

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  37. Such a sweet and gentle tree.

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  38. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Like your blog a lot, soon I will take time read all the posts. And now I know the word for a cat's toilet, thanks. Groetjes, Gerda

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  39. Wow wow wow...really beautiful. Love how you made the bird and nest ornaments and so much more.

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  40. Steve,
    Love it...All of it, but especially the crown that you've made into a birdhouse. I do love the photo at twilight with the bright blue sky outside your window. Very woodsy and very Christmasy....the kind of distraction I think we all need right now. Your last post was very beautiful as well.
    xo
    annie

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  41. That tree topper is the crowning touch!! My little lake house tree is birds, butterflies and bows! Christmas fun!! franki

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  42. Steve-
    I love it from top to bottom. What a splendid tree. Merry Christmas!

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  43. Steve your tree is the loveliest I have EVER seen. I love the fern, the moss, the pagoda "star" and the birds--love it all, and especially the skirt. Now I officially have Christmas envy, but I do understand the difficulty in being joyous. It is such a fucked up world we live in.

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  44. It's absolutely the most gorgeous tree ever! You are a man of many talents.

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  45. Steve, Your tree is amazing. Absolutely beautiful! You need to begin planning for next year now! ha! ha! Have a good weekend. Bonnie

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  46. Wow. You did not disappoint. Amazing. The lantern at top is genius and I think the print on the bottom works perfectly. Only you would realize this would work. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  47. You're so sweet! My mom, the bird lover, would have loved this tree. She liked to keep the tree up through January, which drove us kids mad, but it's a Southern thing. I do miss her.

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    1. What a sweet comment. Thank you, Margaret.

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  48. How superb! You have done a beautiful job. All the details are breathtaking.

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  49. Steve, your tree and your room look so calm and peaceful. And that seems in short supply right now. It's all so lovely. Just like I knew it would be.

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  50. I love this post but was also very touched by your last one…what are we to do in a world that has so much hurt and anger in it at this time? I truly do not know except to pray…and truly seek to help each other! Your tree is just beautiful and I love your creativity! Thanks for your friendship and your encouragement over the past year! I truly appreciate it! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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  51. A beautiful tree! I love the contrast of shiny-bright ornaments against textured greens; the intimacy of the birds with their nests and eggs...And, the pagoda/crown at the top- Brilliant!

    All the best to you for the Holidays, and thank you for sharing your creativity with us.

    Jane

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  52. So pretty, Steve; I share your inability to be joyful but I guess we must try! I love the hops, in particular. It's a very British custom to decorate with hops at the holidays--I grow hops along my back fence and dried them one year, but they didn't look that great, I must admit!

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  53. An amazing tree!! I'm wanting to start mine all over again now...!

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  54. Your tree is gorgeous..was there any doubt it wouldn't be? I say go ahead and put your favorite ornament on it...if it makes you happy, why not!
    am

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  55. The tree is lovely, as is the entire room. The birds, nests and bird houses add such a great woodland touch. The leopard tree skirt is a great touch!!

    Barbara

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  56. Your home and tree look so pretty and festive! Living in the pacific northwest, my decor gives a nod to the deer, bear, and other wildlife that inhabit the area. The tree skirt is perfect and does remind me of a speckled egg:)

    Happy holidays and best to you in the coming year.

    leslie

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  57. Love your tree and the little birdhouses are adorable. Merry Christmas!

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  58. That tree skirt is the bee's knees. ;)

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  59. You are such a talent. I love the bird theme and that tree topper is a stunner. Using what you have always makes it more special.

    Photographing holday lights is always a challenge for me. You did a great job!

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  60. The 2012 tree is gorgeous once again! The tree topper is awesome too! Merry Christmas!

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  61. Your tree is absolutely gorgeous! I love every detail. Your tree from last year is still one of my faves. So glad you won the contest!

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  62. Hi, Steve! This is my first visit to your blog. I'm visiting via the J. Thaddeus Ozark blog where Adam featured your beautiful silver tip fir from last year. I was VERY impressed and wanted to see what else you have up your sleeve here. It would appear that you have a LOT!!! :-) I love this tree. It speaks elegance in a language only lovers of elegance can understand. I love the fullness of it and the rich colors of the vintage ornaments. I love how you entwined natural elements throughout. The "birdcage" topper is brilliant, and I do like the leopard print skirt. Every home needs a touch of animal print. It's quite chic! I'm going to poke around your blog a bit more later, but for now...this rocks like a hurricane! I hope you had a joyous Christmas, and I wish you and yours an equally joyous New Year!

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    1. Wow, thanks Alycia! Happy New Year to you too!

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  63. I love the tree skirt! Is it just puddles of fabric? Or an actual skirt... I desperately need a tree skirt (for next year, of course, although my tree was up until almost Valentine's Day...) and I love this!

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    1. CGG,
      The tree "skirt" is actually a drapery panel that's four feet wide and eight feet long. It didn't actually go all the way around but the tree was in the corner so it was plenty. It was also lined so there was quite a bit of volume there.
      Thanks for your comment!

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