As a nod to Downton Abby, I decorated the second floor sitting room of our barn home as if visitors were about to take tea.
Dried everlasting wreaths crafted from the Farm Grove gardens hang on the celadon door and above the green velvet Mother/Daughter love seat. The silver tea tray takes center stage. An icy centerpiece strung with tiny LED lights makes a sparkling presentation. The Christmas tree cozying-up the corner next to an over-stuffed chair is decorated with silver-green ornaments and celadon green ribbon.
An antique pastoral etching hangs above the vintage drop-front desk that belonged to my maternal grandfather. An art deco print hangs above the love seat that was in the collection of my parents. More silver ornaments are hung from the chandelier.
Vintage Sheet Music Star Garland
Make a star garland for Christmas. Decorate the Christmas tree or fill your home with stars to celebrate that night when the Christmas star announced the birth of the “bright and morning star,” Jesus Christ.
You will need:
- Vintage sheet music, preferably with yellowed paper
- Mod Podge water-based sealer or Elmer’s white glue
- 1″ paint brush
- Stardust Fine White Glitter or Vintage Mica Flakes [Santa Snow]
- Star pattern
- Thin twine
- Hot glue gun
- My template/pattern is for 3 3/4 inch stars. My garland has 20 stars on about 12 feet of jute twine. For a variation on the design, use different sizes of stars.
- Begin by gluing two sheets of music together to make the stars thicker. Apply a thin layer of glue or Mod Podge on a sheet of music with music scores on reverse side. Place another music sheet on top and smooth out any bubbles. Each double sheet can be traced with 6 stars using the 3 3/4 inch pattern or template on the top sheet.
- Working with one traced double sheet at a time, paint star patterns with more Mod Podge or white glue and sprinkle with Stardust glitter. Mod Podge only the star shapes. Set aside to dry. Continue until there are about 20 star patterns glittered.
- When dry, cut out stars.
- Using a hot glue gun, glue non-glitter side of the stars to the twine by a tip, spacing them about 6-9 inches apart. Leave about 6 inches of open twine on each end; knot twine into a small loop on ends for hanging.
- If you wish, the backs of the stars can also be painted with Mod Podge and glittered after they are cut out.
Special messages can be written on each star between the music measures in fine-line black markers. Seasonal messages such as “Joy,” “Silent Night,” “Morning Star” or “Christmas Star” can personalize the garland.
We have a large area to decorate for Christmas, which gives me an excuse to begin on the second floor of our barn home before Thanksgiving. Spreading out the work makes each project more fun.
The theme of the guest bedroom that is used by our daughter and son-in-law is Christmas at the Cabin. The decorations enhance the country blue and quilt-bedspread look which already has décor of hunting and fishing. To continue with the natural look, I arranged bare river birch branches above the dresser mirror and hung them with a bit of English Ivy, which will dry in place. A deer-print package is decorated with pheasant feathers and the same join more birch branches in an English blue transfer-ware pitcher. The quilted runner on the dresser echoes the quilt on the bedstead. A vintage platter showcasing three deer adds more to the theme as does the “deer feed” feed sack pillow I needle-felted with the image. The wording was added with fine-line permanent marker.
The wide window is a great place for rustic bird houses from the porch to create a Christmas village that looks as natural outside as in… another trailing strand of ivy adds realism to faux’ fir trees. Two ornamental deer cavort among the houses and the side table holds the birdhouse chapel and a nesting pheasant. Hanging next to the bed from the wainscoting are two woolen socks standing in for Christmas stockings. I added the crocheted collars.
The most fun my creative brainstorm took was to drape the head board with fresh Virginia Creeper vines from our hedgerow. They were twisted together and tied to the posts with twine. Ivy is also lavishly threaded through the vine creating a natural bower. I love this look. The ivy retains its shape and color but will become fragile. If not tampered with, it will last extremely well throughout the season.
At the foot of the bed is an antique primitive blanket chest–a perfect place for the tiny lit tree as it has its original weathered red paint. Vintage and handmade decorations create a woodsy vignette’ for the “cabin” and remind us that a bit of Christmas in every room celebrates the season in a special way.
Tricks of the Trade: Enhance the décor you already have in place and use natural as well as faux’ decorations.
Pear Tree in Chapel Orchard
We have a variety of pears that take forever to get soft enough to eat. They usually end up on the ground and are fair game for the yellow jackets before I collect them. I was cruising the Chapel orchard taking plant debris to the burn pile when I noticed several pears on the ground were bright yellow and soft enough to can.
It consumed about two hours time from start to finish to see five quarts of canned pears on the kitchen counter but I felt I must give at least token time to the fruit. The motivation was to have fresh pears with the pork roast for Sunday dinner. It was worth it.
Peel, core and slice the raw pears into quarters and fill sterilized quart canning jars. Pour hot, light syrup of boiled water and sugar over the fruit [1 cup sugar to 4 cups water], leaving a half an inch head space. Place new canning lids and rings on the jars and tighten finger-tight. Place jars in a hot water bath canner and fill canner with water to cover jars two inches above tops. Bring to a boil. Boil for thirty minutes. Remove the jars with canning jar tongs. Let cool. Tighten the rings. Label. Store or enjoy.