Friday, 23 December 2022

A DOWER HOUSE Christmas 2022

The ghost of pre-Christmas recently past


what does THAT mean?

This was my original Christmas decorating
for the Living room of The Dower House.

I had a bottle brush tree on the side table which I wired with LED's and put a few gifts on the mantle with a  couple of stockings for the grandchildren. 
Other than that, everything else remained much the same.

And although my fanciful Christmas tree 
was kinda tall for the window table, 
I thought I could learn to live with it. 

That is until it was lit! 

 That's when it really bugged me! 
 The tree lights were too bright! 
I tried to tone them down with pink glass paint 
but they still glared like lasers.😱 💥
On top of which,
 when the lights were turned on, 
 all the tree ornaments visually disappeared. 👤

It wasn't as if it was 
the  end   of  the  world 
but when little things keep bothering me,
 I usually respond to them thusly:
   a) I'll pretend to ignore them but I'm still really aggravated
        b) I'll divert my attention towards something else so I don't have to deal with it.
        c) my deliberate avoidance can no longer sustain itself 
so I surrender then I fix it!

The following photos were 
during the early 'A' and 'B' stages

To divert myself and take the focus off the bottle brush Christmas tree, 
I decided to "Festivus" the rest of the room. 

Back in late November,
in order to provide more privacy for the Dowager,
I'd frosted the front door window panes with
Matt nail varnish, 
 dabbing the product onto both sides of the
acrylic"glass" for texture.  

I liked the effect.

I hung a large wreath outside the front door
which silhouettes nicely against the frosted panes.
I also remembered that I had some mini Christmas cards tucked away
so I tacked those sent to The Dowager
  onto the wall next to the door,
and placed a couple of wrapped Christmas parcels
on the secretary. 

The parcels on the chair 
 are currently awaiting Christmas tags.

The 3 pack of Christmas wrap
was made by Fatima of beauxminis 
I was still in my 'A&B' stages of avoidance 
with the left side of the Living room done,
it was time to revisit the fireplace
I decided to take everything off the mantle 
and make a garland, 
hoping that it would take my mind off the tabletop Christmas tree.
Janine of Minworks
has an EXCELLENT method
used for arranging the shelves in her Swedish Kitchen 
which  you can read about  here.

Rather than affixing items directly onto the structure,
Janine cuts a duplicate of the surface to be decorated,
 from a sheet of thin acetate,
 and glues or waxes china, books, linens et al, 
to the plastic liner and then slides her completed arrangements into place. 
When she's ready to change things around,
she just lifts it up and out in its entirety.

 So I decided to do the same!
Since my fireplace is secured to the wall 
with Museum Wax, it was easily removed
 which made decorating the mantle a piece of cake. 

glued a long length of wired garland 
onto a clear acetate base, 
which I draped down at either end of the fireplace. 

 I glued layers of lycopodium into the garland until most of the garland base was obscured.
I'd wanted to keep it "simple" so it wouldn't compete with my Christmas tree.
The first things I added were"mandarin oranges".
I made my oranges from a stem of styrofoam berries
 found in my stash. 

Using a wire brush, I pounced over the berries until they were sufficiently dimpled. 
It's easier to do this whilst they're still attached to the stem.

After they were textured, 
I plucked them off and rolled and squished them
between my fingers to shape.

I pressed a pen nib into their centers 
for the stem indentations.

Then I glued the oranges onto the garland
and carefully painted over the bald spots of each orange with a thin mix of
grated orange chalk, water and
  Glossy Accents dimensional glue,
 which gives the styrofoam fruit a more natural finish.
 Orange slice nail appliques were also glued to the garland. 

I tied a couple of pink silk bows and glued them
to both corners of the swag
along with a few sprigs
of paper-punched holly leaves, red berries,
and some split cardamom seed "walnut"shells. 
I had a couple of large felted bluebirds
so I nestled them into the greenery too!

I enjoy birds both REAL and in mini
so after installing the bluebirds, 
 I started looking through my stash,
and found this 
 English robin Christmas card which was perfect!   

 I continued adding MORE BIRDS of all shapes and sizes  -
Until I had this

YES, yes 
but I liked it.

After executing steps A and B of my
avoidance/distraction strategy
I felt I'd FINALLY reached
I would remove the existing tabletop tree and make an entirely new one 

 the mini tree tutorial 
as outlined in my previous post.

with 4 new trees 
this is the tree I went with;
smaller, less busy,
 and without electric lights.  

I bit the bullet and swapped out the 
 the non-working table lamp 
for one that did work, 
which meant painting the replacement lamp 
to match the old one;
then hooking up the wires to the power
which THANKFULLY I'd had the foresight to diagram both on paper and in photos. 
so Much better! 
now back to the decorating
A few months ago, I'd purchased 
a large green picnic hamper from
I filled the basket with gifts 
and slid it under the table
everything nice and tidy! 

Of course it wasn't long before I revisited the 
Bird Garland
and decide to install lights
I'd wanted clear but I had blue, 
so blue it was.

The lights run behind the garland so they're
nearly invisible on top
but more pronounced on either side of the swag. 
To be frank
 I'm bugged by this too,
and so yes,
 I'm BACK TO STAGE 'A' again
 but at such a late date
I'm not going to bother fixing🤯 it -
 (makes me wonder though, if I have"a condition")

I rested a few small pieces of blue and white china inside
the garland to tie it in with the blue lights
and called it DONE! 

So this is what it currently looks like

I'd made mini plum puddings over a year ago,
 and I'd made lots!  
I selected one for the Dowager's tea table which
I'd thought at the time,
looked like a plum pudding
I actually saw a real one and realized that mine was too dark and looked like a blob,

so I repainted it lighter. 
But then it was too shiny, so I had to dull it down.
But then you couldn't see the candied fruit 
so I had to repaint them on.
But then the fruit looked too flat
so I had to make them glossy...

Then I reached the point where I had to say 
ENOUGH Already! 
 Plum Pudding

This cream and sugar were made by
and came with the tiny silver sugar tongs. 
The silver tray is by Canadian silversmith Don Henry.

Here's my big hand again
surrendering the fruitcake to the Dowager

I know the photo above is dark but I LOVE
the cosiness it evokes! 

In the photo below 
 the dowager's cat has commandeered the entire sofa! 

Next to the sofa is a poured cup of tea
and a partially obscured wedding photo
of the Dowager's grandparents.
Hanging directly behind it,
is my Treasured Painting by Catherine
(Ninette and co.) 

I'd made poinsettias a number of years ago
and had  packed them away and then forgot about them. 
After I'd rediscovered them,
I placed a white one at the foot of the tall case clock
to the right of the sofa.

At the far left of the sofa
is an old yet serviceable vacuum
which the Dowager has just unplugged.

I happened to find a length of brown cloth covered wire
which looks like old electrical cord,
which I glued to the underside of the vacuum handle.
I made an old fashioned plug
 from a round bead painted black.

Just out of sight,
a kitten is happily engaged in shredding
 the underside of the Dowagers old leather sofa- 
This entire post has been all about the extra stuff that got done in an attempt to avoid doing
Good grief Charlie Brown!  

and yet this room now looks 
 more RIGHT to me.
And if the first tree hadn't been an "issue"
then perhaps the bird garland might not have happened at all-

The holiday decorating for 2022 is complete and the Dowager 
can return to her chair by the fire
where she can either pick up her knitting 
continue reading the book she's just started-
Charles Dickens
 in the immortal words of  
Tiny Tim...

Every  One"


As a reminder:  I'm still having problems with the comment section. If you try to leave one before the sidebar finally appears, or before the whirly-thing in the tab stops twirling, then your comment won't register.  This can take up to 60 seconds before the program stops loading and finally kicks in- Talk about frustrating!😕 
oh well,... it IS what it is. 🤪


  1. Merry, merry … I did not know the dowager knits, of course she would need the light on the table! Everything is wonderful , the fire roaring. The heat helping scent the oranges on the mantle . The tea table silver looks perfect and all the decorations so cheerful.
    Love the pics and the description.
    Thank you, thank you for this post.

    1. The dowager continues to surprise me, Janine. She knits in slow motion and to date has only 10 rows to show after weeks of concentrated effort. It's actually painful to watch her when you're in the same room.
      You are right about the pervading scent of pine wood and oranges fragrancing the room and also about the dowager needing that light on the table- I don't know why I didn't do it sooner!
      AND I'm glad that you approve the mix and match silver tea service, because I really like it too- such a "lucky" find!
      As always, the photos were great fun to shoot, especially trying out different types of filtered lighting to get the right mood.
      As you well know, in this hobby you never stop learning-and back in 2012 I was blessed to learn from the best, so thanks again to you and to your "trusty man" ☃️🎄and a Merry Merry Christmas to you and all of your family too! ❤️

      p.s. no pressure, but waiting for a post from you Janine- When?... WHEN??

    2. I am so glad you linked that hint. On our blogs (especially yours), we have the space to be loquacious and share hints. I do hope you have visited Josje on her UTube Advent mini calendar as I have had quite a few “why didn’t I know that “ moments.
      Be Merry. J

    3. It took me a while to search it out on your blog Janine but I'm glad that I remembered reading it and that I finally found it because it's a VERY Useful tip!
      And Yes I've been following Josje's advent calendar and like you I've experienced many "AH Ha" moments and been astonished by so many of her and very clever and usually simple solutions- she's Amazing!

  2. Maravillosa decoración navideña! Me ha encantado sobre todo, la guirnalda! muchas gracias por todas tus explicaciones.
    Que pases unas muy felices Navidades con toda la gente que quieres y te quieren!!

    1. Merry Christmas to you too Pilar and Thank you for your comment on the decorations- they were fun to do and turned out better than I'd expected! ❤️

  3. Wow! That I call Christmas cozy! You can not imagine that is not in real world. Excellent work! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Best wishes Britt

    1. I Love your terminology "Christmas Cosy" Britt! Cosy was definitely on my checklist but the second half of your comment of it looking "real world" makes me Really Happy, so Thank You Very Much and may you have a Wonderful Christmas this year and Happy New Years too! ❤️


  4. Merry Christmas to you and yours!!! Your room is perfect and so cosy. I love your bird garland, it adds a lot to your room. I like the presents that are displayed in different places and the little Christmas tree under the glass dome. Your plum pudding with the silver set is such a nice touch to this Christmas scene.

    1. I ALWAYS enjoy reading your comments Genevieve so Thank You! I'm SO Happy that you think that the bird garland adds to the room because I like the looks of it too! And as to the plum pudding... the dowager is the only one who fancies it, so guess who'll be 5 lbs. heavier before ringing in the New Years? 😄
      Wishing you a VERY Merry Christmas and Mega blessings in the coming New year!


  5. Wonderful Christmas scene, i love the tree and pudding the room is very warm and cozy, Merry Christmas!

    1. I am DELIGHTED that you like what the dowager has done with the Living room Gonda! She's been relaxing and enjoying several quiet evenings alone by the fire,and feeling "as snug as bug in a rug" as the snow piles up outside.
      I wish you a VERY Merry Christmas Gonda and a Happy and Healthy New Year! ❤️


  6. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  7. A VERY Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah wishes to you too Drora! ❤️


  8. Elizabeth, je viens de lire votre message, c'est un vrai "roman", comme à chaque fois, les détails des réalisations nous emmènent dans une folle aventure !
    Tout est magnifique et original !
    Surtout, continuez à nous charmer . *Joyeux Noël* à vous et à ceux que vous aimez !
    Répondre Supprimer

  9. Con árbol o con pájaros está llena de vida y es un hogar cálido y acogedor.
    ¡Felices Fiestas Navideñas!

  10. Me encanta la habitación, se tan acogedora con todos los detalles y con el fuego encendido.
    Pero a mi me gustaba el otro árbol, me parecía maravilloso para ese rincón sobre la mesa y hubiese sacrificado las luces.
    El tutorial de la guirnalda es genial y el resultado espectacular.
    Felices Fiestas y Feliz Año Nuevo.
    Un saludo

  11. I love the Christmas atmosphere, even in miniature. And these Christmas decorations are perfect.

  12. Merry Christmas Elizabeth and the dowager. The Christmas decorating is lovely, and I know how these things need to be just right. Thanks again for your year of blogging. I so enjoy reading your posts and seeing all your photos. All the best for 2023!

  13. Feliz Navidad Elisabeth, la decoración del salón de la viuda es acogedora y reconfortante. Has hecho un buen trabajo como siempre.

  14. Fantastic! Utterly Fantastic! I absolutely adore the mantle decorations!

  15. Happy New Year, Elizabeth and thank you for the lovely gift of a new and charming blog post. You never fail to inspire! I do understand the length of time it take the dowager to finish a knitting project. You should see my cross-stitch progress - or lack thereof! The pleasure is in the journey - not the destination! - Marilyn D.

  16. A ne comment, that is my punishment for not waiting on the whirley thing to end... :-)

    How fortunate that your first Christmas tree was not to your liking. I do mean that well. Because the bird garland is simply excuisite. I too love birds great and small (and certainly mini) and this garland is super! And as we have seen in the last post the new tree is realyy great. A good thing you have made a new one.

    And regarding your stages A, B, ad C, that is very recognisable. I think many of us experience the same process when something is not really to our liking. See what wonderful thinkgs it produces in the end.

    Well Christmas is over and the new year has come. I wish you all the best for 2023! I look forward to the inspiring posts you will give us this year.


  17. Could not love this more!


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