Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dreaming of Christmas in the old house

 A dream I have had for years would be to build back the old house my great grandfather bought here as his summer place. My dad was born in and grew up in that beautiful old house.

Luckily, when my grandparents tore it down to make way for a new house, my grandfather carefully took out all the trim, doors, windows, etc., and carefully bundled and stored them where they sat untouched until Luis and I moved onto the family property. If you have ever visited here, you know that we are taking some of those things and adding them to our house little by little. 

I became fascinated with the Putz cardboard houses from Japan post WWII and tried to get some on ebay for my vintage Christmas, but kept getting outbid. Plus, they are pretty small at 4" high. I decided to make my own.

Then I thought why not make the old house? So, I gathered up some cardboard -- which in my case is easy as I recycle *everything* and usually have stacks of it. 

I started cutting and glueing and finally ended up with this...

My dad recognized it right away and told me I needed the bottle brush trees as my grandmother apparently had them. So I found some vintage ones on ebay. 

I thought the house needed a snowman out front.

I used tissue paper for the windows and Christmas lights for the inside. I dusted everything with "snow" and lots of glitter, which I was amazed to find these products "Made-in-USA." 

The old rock wall still stands around the new house my parents live in.

 I used a window from the house to showcase old photos of the house and my dad and his family here in Balsam. I made cardboard panels to fit behind each window which I covered with vintage pink-flowered paper from my parent's basement. I put some of the copied photos on sheet music or black poster board so they would stand out against the background. I then trimmed the edges with vintage lace from my grandmother's sewing room.

These photos include my dad, his brother, sister and my grandparents in front of the house. I wanted to add the photo of my children as it was taken in front of the little guest house that once stood behind the "big" house.

I decided to use this burlap runner I had made for my etsy shop then topped it with white pines in old vinegar bottles from the "store."

An antique family lamp along with my great aunt's handmade gown make every element in this vignette not only vintage, but part of my family. 

And that, for me, is one of the most important parts of Christmas -- family. 

I love taking trips back in time, and Christmas is such a wonderful time to remember. 

Thanks so much for stopping by:-)


I'll be joining:

Inspiration Friday
Feathered Nest Friday
Vintage Inspiration Friday
Countdown to Winter
Holiday Craft Link Party

A Homespun Christmas/Vignettes and Mantel Party

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas at Biltmore

Hi everyone! I hope you are all warm, safe and enjoying this beautiful season. 
I have wanted to share this post for a while, and thought Christmas would be the perfect time to do so. 
As a college student, I was involved in Early Music Ensemble, which every year presented a series of Madrigal Dinners in early December at our university. This group also performed each year at Biltmore House in costume to celebrate the Christmas season. We were actually featured on NBC's Today Show one Christmas morning singing there at the house. But singing wasn't all I was doing.  I designed and made costumes for the group totaling more than 40 by completion of my college career.  I remember so fondly being home during Thanksgiving finishing everything up for the performances. My mom, who had a clothing design business, and my grandmother always helped me get everything done and we spent many late nights sewing together. How I miss those days:-) Sewing is something I love and definitely inherited from my mom and both grandmothers. My great grandmother was also a tailor and I've been sewing and designing since I was 9.

Here are a few of the photos taken at Biltmore House. I'm amazed that I actually have photos of several of the group members. It was the late 1980s after all. 

These were mostly made from upholstery material and remnants that I put together with what I could find at home.  There are patterns for this style of costume now, but there were none then. I designed all of them myself.

This one, I designed and cut out for Dr. Bob Holquist, our director, then his wife put it together. She had been a student of my mom's when she taught clothing design at a community college here. 

I made all the hats too. 

It was always freezing cold inside the house, so we looked forward to going in costume knowing that we would be semi-warm. 

We also enjoyed looking around where visitors are not allowed to go in the house. 

The Madrigal dinners were actually presented at the university and always sold out. We looked forward to them so much each year. 

One of my favorite costumes is the red and grey one below. I made it from three different dresses I cut up and put together. I wish I had a better photo. 

Of course, Queen Elizabeth I was always in attendance. 

One last photo performing inside at Biltmore...

If you are near the Asheville N.C. area and have not been to Biltmore House, you must go see it. I always took away so much inspiration for Christmas decor and still use some of the ideas I got from the house then. The sights, scents and sounds of Christmas are honestly just unbelievable in there. 

Click on this link for info and tickets.


Thanks so much for stopping by! I posted a preview of Christmas decor yesterday, then my mom called me up to her attic, and I came away with a huge box of ornaments some of which belonged to my great grandmother. I *had* to add ALL of them, of course! Can't wait to share all of that soon. 


I'll be joining:

Inspiration Friday

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Very Vintage Christmas

Here is a sneak peek at my Christmas decor which is loaded with vintage family items and mid-century American-made treasures. Christmas was so much fun to put together.  So -- let's take a trip back in time...

My grandfather sent this doll from Paris to my mom during WWII.  The 1965 Ford Falcon was my dad's. 

This collection of American-made decor from the 1950s-60s is all on my tree now...except for the lights! I had to draw the line at vintage lights, even though these have not been used, I would not want to leave them on very long. 

The "box" is dressing the dining table all ready for family dinners. I filled it with a variety of pines, pine cones and Shiny Brite ornaments.

My grandfather's bell rests next to a yule log we made from birch. 

             Bubble lights with Shiny Brite indents and vintage tinsel.

This is part of a Hansel and Gretel set I brought from Germany for my mom several years ago.

We had these Jewel Brite angels when I was a child...

What's a vintage tree without icicles?

Vintage Coke carrier from the store...

My grandmother is holding my mom in the photo as my grandfather was away in Germany. This is her hymnal:-)

Vintage vinegar bottles from the store hold white pines with crocheted snowflakes and Shiny Brite ornaments.

These are just a few vignettes that I will share more in detail as we go through the season.  

Thanks so much for stopping by:-) If you have questions or just want to chat, please come by Far Above Rubies on facebook, and don't forget to check out my etsy shop, Knight's Store for unique handmade linens, etc. 


I'll be joining:

Wow us Wednesdays

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Simple Thanksgiving

Hi everyone! I wanted to share my very simple Thanksgiving table this year...using all things I have used before.

I filled the box with vanilla-strawberry hydrangeas, white painted pumpkins, candles and pinecones.

I used the same turkey plates I always use...Queen's Myott Thanksgiving by Churchill. I love these especially for the soft, muted colors. I am using a Mikasa "Italian Countryside" dinner plate and a silver charger.

This year I chose to add a coral/pink napkin along with the creamy taffeta napkin. 

I always love the 1893 Wallace "Louvre" sterling flatware.

Durand Cristal D'Arque Longchamp crystal glassware...

I really wanted to add the bread plates, but there was just not enough room. 

I usually have this table done sooner, but I have been so busy on other projects that the table was a mess covered in sheet music, glitter, glue and cardboard until a few hours ago. I made three billy goat costumes and an adorable troll costume for Cristian's first grade play which was last night, and I have been trying to get a head start on Christmas projects so I can get everything up by the weekend. Before that, though, I will host Thanksgiving lunch here with my family, and we always have a friend of my mom's come to share with us. He gave me a beautiful turkey platter last year I cannot wait to use. 

Thanks so very much for stopping by, and please stop by my facebook page just to chat.

I am truly thankful for each and every one of you who follow, leave comments and are encouragers. I wish each of you a beautiful Thanksgiving:-)


I'll be linking up to:

Wow Us Wednesdays

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Last Days of Autumn...

As we are getting ready for Thanksgiving next week, I wanted to share some Autumn photos from around the property before we get into Christmas decorating! 

You know how much I love this little guest house:-)

The children actually took all these photos of each other. I think I have some photographers for sure, lol!

Maybe Cristian is thinking about Christmas?

They are the absolute joy of my life these children, and I am so thankful for them:-)

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway last week. I'll be hosting 3 more giveaways so stay tuned. 

Here is a little preview of my Thanksgiving setting using the box again but not the same as last year. Can't wait to get the table set! 


I'll be joining:

Wow Us Wednesdays
Inspiration Friday
Feathered Nest Friday