Holiday Hearth 2014 OR Decorating Without a Tree

Baubles in a Basket

This year I did not want to pull out all the decorations, or spend the money on a tree. After our move to this house, the white tree didn’t make it, and last year we didn’t buy a tree because we were traveling for Christmas. This year, I simply do not have the budget to buy a fake tree (I also don’t want the hassle of a real one). So, trying not to spend any money on any decorations, I pulled out what I have and took a look. I have this older fake garland, but first I needed to make some room on the mantle by hanging “My Baby Wants to Rock and Roll” higher.

Decorated Mantle and Hearth Dec 2014

Decorated Mantle and Hearth Dec 2014

I reused the three mod trees I made last year, and added a vase with some sprays. Glittered ornaments and birds add some color.

Bird Ornament on Mantle

Bird Ornament on Mantle

Across the front, I tied a ribbon and hung some of my favorite ornaments. I collect ornaments from places I visit, so there are many memories associated with them. It’s my favorite part of putting up Christmas decorations– to take out the ornaments and remember what they represent.

Ornaments on Mantle

Ornaments on Mantle

That’s Henry VIII on the left, from the Tower of London, and a San Francisco Trolley car towards the middle. I hung our stockings on either side. I just hope I secured everything so that it doesn’t fall. I already had one ornament break on me this year.

Ornaments

Ornaments

The tin star is from San Diego.

More Ornaments

More Ornaments

The angel was a gift from my sister from Germany, Tuolumne Meadows at Yosemite, a ceramic star from our favorite artist’s shop in Fredericksburg (the Pon Shop), the Frank Lloyd Wright window is actually a bookmark from the Martin House in Buffalo, a colorful ornament from Hawaii, and a thistle snowflake from the Celtic Highland Games and Festival.

And More Ornaments

And More Ornaments

The moose is from the Grand Tetons. I’m so glad I was able to find a way to display them.

Mantle Left Side

Mantle Left Side

Mantle Right Side

Mantle Right Side

And on the hearth I kept it real simple with a little joy, a Santa fairy ornament, and a caroller carting cookies.

Holiday Hearth Vignette 2014

Holiday Hearth Vignette 2014

I also took some of the more colorful ornaments and put them in a basket.

Baubles in a Basket

Baubles in a Basket

Overall I’m very happy with my paired down Christmas this year.

Brass Reindeer and Ornament

Brass Reindeer and Ornament

 

 

Showing off here:  The Art of Doing Stuff

This Week in the Garden – December 7

Holly with Berries

The garden is getting closer to dormancy for the winter. Nearly all the leaves have fallen now, and some of the evergreens have put on their fall coats. The perennial plants have died back, leaving dried stalks and seed heads. I’ve cleaned up the garden as much as I am going to before early Spring, and the leaves that have fallen will stay where they lay.

Lots of Leaves

Lots of Leaves

The Annabelle Hydrangea retains its dried flowers. Billowy blooms on slippery stalks.

Dried Hydrangea

Dried Annabelle Hydrangea

The purple coneflowers left spiky seed heads that will provide food over the winter.

Purple Coneflower Seedhead

Purple Coneflower Seedhead

The tiny flowers on the sedum have died back leaving delicate dried buds.

Dried Sedum

Dried Sedum

The ornamental grasses have mostly dried out as well. The Hakonechloas’ golden glow brightens up the Hosta Stairs, now that the Hostas have all gone.

Dried Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola’)

Dried Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’)

Now that the leaves have died away, the curly branches of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, or Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ steal the show.

Harry Lauders Walking Stick

Harry Lauders Walking Stick

I was surprised by one small Japanese Maple (on the Hosta Stairs), the leaves never really changed color. Here you can see a few left on the branch, still green.

Japanese Maple Tree Detail

Japanese Maple Tree Detail

And here’s another look at the pink buds.

Japanese Maple Tree Buds

Japanese Maple Tree Buds

I’m happy to report that the Heuchera is still alive, and is still sporting a pretty little color.

Heuchera 'Fire Chief'

Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’

As some of the azaleas have turned slightly, this Camilia jumped out at me. I am not sure I noticed it hiding back there before, nestled between azaleas. It’s still rather small, and I’m not sure it will have more than a few blooms on it in the Spring.

Surprise Camilia

Surprise Camilia

And just because I found it beautiful and fascinating, a detail shot of the dried bloom from an azalea.

Azalea winter pod

Azalea winter pod

One of my garden chores this fall was to replant the small mums I bought, in the hopes that they will come back next year. The others have all pretty much died down for the winter, but this little white one just produced another bloom today.

The Mum is Still Alive

The Mum is Still Alive

I missed the Stinking Hellebore blooming last year, so I’ll be keeping a closer eye on it.

Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)

Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)

A detail of the buds just starting to emerge- which should unfurl more leaves and flowers in early Spring.

Stinking Hellebore fall growth

Stinking Hellebore fall growth

Some of the other evergreen plants are also setting up growth for next year, including the Camilias.

Camilia Buds Setting

Camilia Buds Setting

The nandina out front is covered in berries. Next spring I plan on cutting it way back to give the azaleas some more room behind them.

Nandina in Front Dec 2014

Nandina in Front Dec 2014

I have seen several small Holly bushes (or trees) starting up all over, but this more established plant is the only one I’ve seen covered in berries. I’m not sure exactly what variety it is, as I’ve read that Hollies can exhibit up to 5 or 6 different leaf patterns on a single plant. Most of the leaves on this Holly appear to have smooth edges and only one prickly point at the very tip.

Holly with Berries

Holly with Berries

“The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.”
— Natalie Angier

This Week in the Garden – November 16

Queen Crimson Japanese Maple

The leaves are really starting to fall now- and there are several trees that are completely bare now. There’s still quite a bit of color on the Japanese Maples though.

Japanese Maple in Front

Japanese Maple in Front

The Maple out front is always a beautiful bright red. The leaves, after they’ve fallen, turn a lighter shade of pink.

Fallen Leaves

Fallen Leaves

The Crimson Queen Japanese Maple is also doing nicely again this year.

Queen Crimson Japanese Maple

Queen Crimson Japanese Maple

For comparison, because I find it interesting, here it is last year:

Japanese Maple Red Dragon

Japanese Maple Fall 2013

Last year I had mistakenly identified it as ‘Red Dragon’ but I later found the information in the files left by the previous owners.

Backyard in Fall Colors

Backyard in Fall Colors

The backyard was just a riot of color the last few weeks. Instead of the pretty flowers that dominated in Spring, the fall is almost just as exciting with all the different hues at once.

Another comparison of last year and this year:

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

Backyard in Fall

Backyard in Fall 2013

The changes are so slight, that they don’t register until you compare the two shots side by side.

So Many Leaves

So Many Leaves

Leaves in the lower garden.

Japanese Maple still green

Japanese Maple still green

One tree that hasn’t changed color at all yet is this Japanese Maple on the ‘Hosta Stairs’. The leaves were twinged with pink in the Spring, so I am expecting some color (and not just brown).

Hibiscus Seed Pod

Hibiscus Seed Pod

I got a better picture of a hibiscus seed pod. I just love how it looks! This is a plant that will stay all winter long for interest.

Hosta Seeds

Hosta Seeds

And here’s another interesting seed pod- from the giant blue hosta out front. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Hosta seeds quite like this.

Aster Gone to Seed

Aster Gone to Seed

The little fairy Aster flowers have gone to seed now too- and are little fluff balls.

More Lords and Ladies Springing up

More Lords and Ladies Springing up

I’m excited to see more Lords and Ladies (Arum italicum) popping up! I’m hoping to see more and more of this every year.

Roses Love This Weather

Roses Love This Weather

And the roses have really come alive with blooms the last few weeks- they love this cooler, rainy weather.

Rose

Rose

Several have even survived the first few nights below 32 degrees F.

Even though I’ll be slowing down these posts through the next few months, I fully expect to keep finding interesting things popping up in the garden!

 

 

Quick and Easy Change – Painting the Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island After

With a hole in the drywall, and company coming, I decided it was time to address the kitchen Island.

Hole in the Island

Hole in the Kitchen Island

Here’s what it looked like before:

Kitchen Island Before

Kitchen Island Before

And after!

Kitchen Island After

Kitchen Island After

We just wanted a little color- nothing too bright or crazy, and something that would not be beige. We settled on “Quietude” by Sherwin Williams.

Kitchen Island Before

Kitchen Island Before

From the other direction. Featuring our cluttered, messy counters.

Painted Kitchen Island After

Painted Kitchen Island After

I actually cleaned up a bit! Oh but what’s that in the background? We painted the pantry door to match!

Pantry Doors Before

Pantry Doors Before

And after-

Pantry Door Painted after

Pantry Door Painted after

I also like the contrast of the color against the dining room. We wanted something that could play with it, and not compete. I’m not totally sold on the color actually. But it was so quick and easy to do, that it’s not a big deal to change it in the future. The color came out a bit more blue than gray green, but it’s a nice color on its own. It reminds me of the color of Wedgewood.

 

Linking up to these parties: Thrifty Decor Chick, Remodelaholic