I've been busy becoming a GRANDMA!!!!
Let me introduce you to Troy, my daughters' son, who arrived on Wednesday night and was instantly greeted by a crowd of family and friends - all with cameras! The hospital called us 'the Paparazzi'! It was a joyous celebration of life and I am so blessed to have been in the delivery room with my daughter to hear his first cry, be there to hold him, and to hand him to his daddy to hold for the first time. This is truly the best gift I have ever been given!!! Thank you, Bethy.
okay okay I'll stop gushing.....
Now, as promised, installment two of the Holiday Hullaballoo: 'Bird in a Gilded Cage'
This design is all about opulence, glamour, and bringing nature into decor.
Gold, mossy greens, browns & bronzes make up the color palette - but you could certainly adjust them to fit your own surroundings. This idea of making your holiday decor match your existing home decor has so many benefits - you can use many items that aren't necessarily 'holiday' items, like putting the wreath and candles inside the giant birdcage (which I found for just 19.99 at Goodwill!); the continuation of colors makes spaces seem larger than if you interject new ones (like red in a room that is normally soft colors); and you aren't overcome by the 'holiday' feeling - it is a 'cozy-ing up' of your surroundings without overwhelming them.
While this look is glitzy, you could take the whole outdoors theme another direction - use burlap, twigs, pinecones, rustic birdhouses, bark balls, and snowflakes, and a color scheme of greens, browns, and whites - maybe bronze or silver, too - and you've got a NorthWoods look. (Without the ubiquitious red & black hunters' plaid!) Or, maybe you like the Mediterranean idea but not the birds - substitute bunches of grapes, wine glasses, wine bottle ornaments, grapevines twisitng thru the tree, and some rich burgundian colors, and you've got a wine theme worthy of Bacchus!
This is the 'cagelet' tree topper I created to illustrate the theme, with credit and my undying thanks for permission to lift the idea going to Alicia at Posie. Hers are ever more detailled with vintage treasures, so check them out. I love using atypical things on tops of trees - those spiky glass toppers look so much better displayed on candlesticks (slide the ornament over a thin taper candle for stability) PLUS that way you can use more than one of them!!! Stars and Angels are fine, but sometimes you just want something spectacular. A ready-made cage or hat or birdhouse would have worked perfectly here, as well. I've used small lamps and even chandeliers as toppers - just use wire to suspend them for above for safety.
I made a few ornaments to illustrate the concept of using large-scale items to fill up a tree.This is a great way to make an impact AND get your decorating done faster! Cluster ornaments in groups of threes (using pipe cleaners to fasten them together and to the tree) or create 'bouquets' of silk or dried flowers, berried stems, and tie it up with ribbon - then simply lay it on a branch. This is a way to prepare things in quantity ahead of time - something we simply have to do for corporate and retail installations, in order to maximize our time. You can prep while watching all of those Christmas specials on tv!!!
The birdhouses are simply made paper boxes, using sheet music. (Jingle Bells!) That hole in front isn't real - I drew it on with a marker. And I shoved a toothpick in as a perch. We'll call this one 'Fast, CHEEP, and Easy'....ugh......sorry. The cones are made from gold embossed & foiled florist paper (it reversed to a gorgeous green and I had intended to use that too - but it didn't show up against the tree) and I added a drippy beaded trim at the top edge (which barely shows in the photo). The trim was pre-made for use on lampshades, etc. And then I plopped one big huge hydrangea blossom into each cone. Easy-peasy, as Amy would say! A yarn 'handle' is used to hang them from a branch as they are not too heavy. You could easily substitute a silk flower or even fake snow as filler for these.
You'll also see some silky sheer fabric swathed thru the tree in that photo - everyone asks how to do this. Fabric or fat ribbon needs to be about 12 to 18 inches wide, and as long as you can handle - several yards. Fold the fabric in thirds width-wise so the edges don't show, then TWIST it losely. Start at the top (after lights!) and swirl it in a diagonal pattern down the tree. (Not straight across - your tree will look short and fat. Same principle as dressing yourself applies here! Think TALL and Slender!) Tuck it in, pouf it out, make it MOVE like flowing water as it drapes....you need to keep it from being tight, stiff, and laying across the surface of the tree for it to look opulent. Get lights behind it so it glimmers (chiffon and georgette are perfect for this). And have enough so that you can continue to swirl it UNDER the tree as a skirt...a lovely finish, especially if you nestle some lights under it. You can use ribbon along with fabric, too - either add the ribbon the same way in the spaces BETWEEN the fabric, or loop the ribbon around the fabric. Use ribbon that is about 3 or 4 inches wide to keep it 'fluid' in appearance - keep it twisting, turning, and swirling all the way down the tree.
I'll post the final photos of theme three in the next few days...right now, I'm off to daughters' house to get in some baby cuddlin' time! ;o)