20 December 2011

The Halls, They Be Decked

I enjoy the trappings of Christmas. The twinkly lights, the greens, the shiny ornaments--it all makes me happy. I like to start decorating Thanksgiving weekend, so I can bask in the glow pre-holiday. I'm not a lingerer. When the new year arrives, I'm done. Everything gets boxed up, and we start fresh.

This year, the decorating was done at a more leisurely pace. It took me a few weeks, because furniture has shifted and new pieces have arrived, thanks to MomMom and Pappou. I also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to hang an old ladder across my living room windows as a valance. It didn't work out, but what I arranged instead makes me reconsider my timeline. I may keep it up for a bit.

MomMom won't be here for Christmas, so she asked me to send pictures of the adorned rooms. The Captain thought it might be nice to share our home with all of you, so here is Casa de Penii, all dressed up.

 I like old things, especially hand-hewn junky antiques. I've never met a piece of furniture and thought it would look better with a fresh coat of paint. So even though the kids would like me to sand and seal these chairs, it's not going to happen. I moved them and our little fire pit to the front yard for Thanksgiving, and then I artfully filled it with greens and pinecones. Three thought I was setting up a new fire. Clearly, I need to school him in the principles of design.

I just painted my front door black, which is supposed to be good feng shui, according to Erin. In the spring I may tackle the storm door.

My brother and I went to our local auction last year and bought tons of old skis and poles. I kept one pair for outside...

...to complement these in the living room! I got them a few years ago at the same auction, because the undersides are red! I love red.

In a previous life I must have been a farmer, because I like to collect farm equipment. Most of it is stuck in gardens around the house, but this special plow got a bell wreath.

Not to be outdone, the goat halter demanded a ribbon and a place on the bench. I measured, and I'm pretty sure those collars will fit some kids. Just joking!  I meant baby goats, not my boys. I would never...

I'm a fan of vertical decorating. This sled belonged to my great-grandfather when he was a boy. I don't know who made this cabinet, but ...

...this one was built for us by my Uncle Bob , husband to my mother's dear friend B.J, who was our realtor when the Captain and I bought our first house. It was a housewarming gift, and is dearly loved, especially because Bob is no longer with us. The cradle on top belonged to my mother, and the giant pine cones were gathered in King's Canyon, California, when I was ten years old. 
The cradle lives atop the armoire all year, but I gave it a plaid blanket for the holiday, because I love plaid!

I've co-opted almost all the blankets from my mother-in-law. Each one has a story.
This year, the holiday cards are in my wooden grinder. Last year, I filled it with small round ornaments. I bought it because I loved the shape, but it was field-tested by my niece, who proved that it still works. At least to grind small round ornaments.
Over the years, I stopped buying real garland and switched to artificial for most of my decorating. It pained me to do so, because the irrational, crazed decorator in me considered it a violation of my "Country Living" aesthetic. But those greens are pricey! And, you know, no one is actually coming to my house to feature it in a magazine. But we still get a live tree, which is wrapped, of course, in a plaid blanket that my M.I.L. got when she was fifteen. Five helped hang the ornaments this year.
We had to move the all-season tree to the deck to accommodate the Thanksgiving crowd. It's sporting white lights and appropriate outdoorsy ornaments, and is now safely tethered, having been knocked over once during a very windy night. It makes me smile to see it through my windows.

The table awaits. Well, we've actually been using it for our Sunday dinners. What's the point of putting pretty things out, if you can't enjoy them? The glass jars are full of antique ornaments, most of which I found at a retirement home yard sale.

As I was writing all my descriptions, I realized our house is full of history, from many families.

Here's another antique sled, in my living room window, beneath my alternate pinecone and garland valance. You already know I love stars, as do some of my pentacle-people friends!

Everyone is waiting for Santa!
Leo volunteered  to sit in his chair  and watch out the front window.

Thanks for taking the tour--I wish we could have done it in person.
I hope you are enjoying the beauty of the season!


  1. Gorgeous, Megan! Ours is more a rustic, pre-pubescent vibe. Lots of food-fingerprints smeared on stuff, that sort of thing. Wanna switch? ;)

  2. Leo is my favorite, he is beautiful.

    Seriously, Megan, you have four kids and you still did all this?? I have ONE (at home) and my decorations still aren't up. Maybe tonight. The tree is up, and dh put lights on it last weekend, but that's it for Christmas cheer chez nous. love love the firepit arrangement. We will have a firepit after we move, I might have to try this next year. You've inspired me.

  3. "Last year, I filled it with small round ornaments. I bought it because I loved the shape, but it was field-tested by my niece, who proved that it still works. At least to grind small round ornaments."


    Now really Megan you make me ashamed--I have one tree up (artificial, hand me down) with only lights on it the ornaments are beside it in a box and the tree skirt is put up because Feisty Poodle tried to eat it.

    I haven't wrapped anything unless you count leaving crap in the amazon shipping box as "wrapping".

    And I only have one kid.

    Today my major accomplishment was writing out the water bill and mailing it.

    Your pics are GORGEOUS and I especially love the sleds.

  4. Anonymous20.12.11

    That looks gorgeous, Megan! Really outstanding. I just have a few things in amongst the clutter. I'll just ignore my house and go look at your pictures some more.

  5. So pretty! My house decorations do not look anywhere near that good and I love that there is so much stuff with great history and stories. Thanks for sharing :-)

  6. Anonymous21.12.11

    GAH!!! So amazingly gorgeous. And old, with history! PLUS STARS!!!

    (Whew, I'm exhausted now.)

    Thank you SO much for sharing this. (On my way to photograph Dan's guitar ornaments for Five, brb.)

  7. So pretty and looked peaceful, albeit in mono-dimension missing five boys, etc. You are gifted in design Megan; as you are in many other things! Merry Christmas to all...

  8. The post-post edit strikes again! My mom wrote to tell me that the little sled was actually my GREAT-grandfather's (cool!), so I went in to change that sentence.

    Then I remembered that I wanted to link to Julie's blog yesterday, after I posted my star picture. Early on in the year, she told me she loved stars too, because her family are "pentacle people." So I linked it, and changed the phrase to the same, because otherwise it sounds like I'm friends with pentacles.

    After all that, I decided to honor the Captain, who suggested the post, so I changed the title to make it more pirate-y, argh. The Captain sails whichever ship is needed--some weeks he's Captain Stubing, other times Captain Hook. This week we haven't had much time to hang out on the Lido deck, as we've been busy wrangling ruffians.

    So--same post, different words.

    @Delia: I've had that look! In the past it also included smashed ornaments, from someone climbing in and knocking over the tree.

    @Carrie: Thank you! I have seen your handiwork online, and can say the same.

    @Barb: You are welcome to steal whatever ideas you like! I actually enjoy moving--it gives me a new canvas. We will be in this house for quite a while, so I just keep re-arranging the stuff I have.

    @lora: Silly. My children LEAVE during the day, which is why I have time! Yesterday, my major accomplishment was paying the overdue oil bill by phone. You have Sweet Pea--Christmas joy incarnate! Who needs decorations?

    @karen: I just move the clutter out of the pretty rooms. And then I shut a lot of doors.

    @kris: It's years of accumulated stuff. I hadn't actually realized how long I've had some of it until I took the pictures. Now I feel like I should write some of the history down, for my boys.

    @Julie: I thought of you the whole time I was snapping away, especially when I was with my potential past-life tools! And of course, I knew you'd like the stars.

    @bobbi: I had the boys taped to the kitchen chairs so they wouldn't mess up the shots. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  9. It looks beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. It makes me feel like I am there. Leo looks exhausted. Did he help move the furniture?

  10. I'm going to try once more to post and see if it works this time.

    It is so wonderful to see items from my life in my children's homes and to know that their history is appreciated and that future generations (via my grandchildren) will have knowledge of generations past. We do live on in many ways. I will repeat myself now but it's worth it. You, my daughter, are an amazingly talented woman.. You have no idea how much joy you give me. I'm talking now beyond the greatest gift of a wonderful son-in-law and 5 amazing grandsons. It's a thrill to watch you continue to evolve.

    Your home is beautiful and prompts another post-post script. The cradle was passed on to me from Tanta who bought it at a yard sale (only God knows how long ago) because some Councilman from Perth Amboy had slept in it as a child. If you remember it in our home it was filled with those pine cones from Kings Canyon each year along with boughs of greens. And the 'sleigh bell' wreath on your plow was made by your mother.
    I'm very wordy today but I haven't been able to comment for a long time because my computer wouldn't let me. Let's hope.........

  11. Hooray, it worked!

  12. Anonymous22.12.11

    The house looks great Megan! I enjoyed this one a lot. Love to you and your many men.

  13. @June: We wish you WERE here! Leo is tired from the constant vigilance. Each time the UPS man arrives, he's certain it's Santa! He's a little depressed.

    @Norma: Thanks, Mom! I got my flair from you.

    @Frannie: I saw your comment in my email, so I don't know why it didn't post here. But I wanted to take this time to thank you for the birthday gift--the one the Captain stole from you at the office party. It's lovely! Merry Christmas to you and those beautiful girls!

  14. Very beautiful. Love the red skis. Just lovely.


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