Okay-I will admit it. I have a lot of Santas and again,the collection began while living in Zurich and driving up to the Black Forest with all of my American friends. They are so dear to me that the architects actually built the mantle in the Family Room to fit all of them at Christmastime.
The deer seemed a little large when the huge boxes arrived from Frontgate but I loved them on the table.
Judy and I decided to keep the windows clean and simple and just tied burlap squares around white poinsettias and finished them with red organza ribbon.We had a baking station, as if someone in the house were making cookies that day.
Judy did such a beautiful job with the Dining Room table. She took white roses and greens and put them in 6 of my Waterford “Lismore” brandy glasses. She then weaved in a serpentine shape the mixed greens,gold ribbon,white pine, cedar, seeded eucalyptus and magnolia leaves in the center of the table. We used my antique Johnson Brothers plates,Waterford “Lismore” wine and water glasses and my Cristofle flatware.
These beautiful bubble trees are from Simon Pearce.We used mixed greens,winter berries and pine cones to surround my silver tea set. The little trees I made in a pottery class in Zurich.
The family tree is very special to me. All of the ornaments have a story behind them. Interests the kids had-hiking boots for Kate’s days at Dartmouth,scrubs for Phil in Med School,Bud Light can for Peter’s favorite,computer screen for Chip,horses for Susan. We also have an ornament made by my Mom for when we got engaged-complete with the teddy bear with a ring around his neck as Bill did. I also have many handmade ornaments by me and by many members of our family.
The brass reindeer I purchased this fall from Gerard’s in Lincoln MA-love them! Judy surrounded them with beautiful balls of moss and boxwood that she created, mixed greens,gold ribbon and magnolia leaves.
These are our pyramids-each of the kids has one and I also have my Mom’s. I bought all of them either in the Black Forest in Germany or at The Christmas Haus,located in New Oxford,PA. I used to go to the Christmas Haus when my two boys were at Gettysburg College.
As you entered the front hall, my friend Judy had made a beautiful arrangement out of rhododendron,magnolia leaves, white pine, flowering kale , and some other mixed greens that she used for layering and texture.
On the other side of the front hall, we had Bill’s grandmother’s creche.She had apparently made all of the pieces at a pottery class in Pennsylvania in 1963 and painted them herself as well!
As you left the front hall,you went into the library to the left. In this room, we had a small tree with little Swiss cowbells. We lived in Zurich for 3 years and when I first got there, my new friend Joan told me to collect the bells at kiosks in every village as I travelled around with our family. “Then” she said, “you will have a second Christmas tree when you move back home- dedicated to your years in Switzerland”. I thought this was a great idea!
In addition,just as we were leaving to return to the US, my friend Sandy found a shop that sold real Swiss cowbells with a brass plaque on which they would inscribe your family name and the years you lived in Switzerland. This bell was at the base of the tree.
Bill’s trains from his childhood circled the tree but unfortunately we could not get them to go-he has ordered the missing part!
Straddling the Adige river in Veneto, northern Italy, you will find Verona which has approximately 265,000 inhabitants. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of northeast Italy. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheater built by the Romans.
Three of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew.
Piazza Delle Erbe(above) is a good place to start a visit to Verona. Originally the Roman Forum, the rectangular piazza is in the heart of the historic center and is surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings and towers. In the middle is a 14th century fountain with a Roman statue.
This is Verona’s market square- where vendors come to slice and sell whatever’s in season. People have gathered here since Roman times, when this was a forum. The whale’s rib, hanging from an archway for 500 years, was a souvenir brought home from the Orient by spice traders. Today Piazza Erbe is for the locals, who start their evening with anaperitivo here. It’s a trendy scene, as young Veronans fill the bars to enjoy their refreshing spritzdrinks, olives, and chips.
Verona’s Roman Arena is the third largest in Italy (after the Roman Colosseum and the arena in Capua). Built in the 1st century and still retaining most of the original stone, the arena holds up to 25,000 spectators. Since 1913 it has been the venue for a prestigious opera festival and a top setting for other theatrical performances. Although part of the seating is in bright orange and red chairs, it’s easy to imagine the original look of the amphitheater.
Ancient Romans considered Verona an ideal resting spot before crossing the Alps so the city has a wealth of Roman ruins. Corso Porta Borsari was the main drag of Roman Verona. A stroll here makes for a fun, ancient scavenger hunt. Remnants of the town’s illustrious past — chips of Roman columns, medieval reliefs, fine old facades, and fossils in marble — are scattered among modern-day fancy shop windows.
Verona’s most popular site is the balcony said to be Juliet’s in Romeo and Juliet. The house said to be Juliet’s house is in a courtyard off Via Capello. You can see the balcony and the bronze statue of Juliet for free .The 13th century house is a good example of Gothic architecture and inside is a museum with period furniture. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet made Verona a household word. Locals marvel that each year, about 1,600 Japanese tour groups break their Venice-to-Milan ride for an hour-long stop in Verona just to stand in a courtyard. The House of Juliet, where the real-life Cappello family once lived, is a crass and throbbing mob scene. The tiny, admittedly romantic courtyard is a spectacle in itself, with visitors from all over the world posing on the almost believable balcony and taking snapshots of each other rubbing Juliet’s bronze breast, hoping to get lucky in love.(this is supposed to happen within 7 years!)
What a fantastic event-despite the heavy rains, the houses were absolutely spectacular-the bar has been raised again. Here are some of the things I thought were particularly creative(although obviously I loved everything in the tour!)
These pictures(above) are taken at a house that was done by Hilary Bovey of Bovey Steers Design Group, Copper Penny Flowers and Comina. Some great ideas-I especially loved the “package” made of little mums. I also noticed that a lot of the houses were decorating with roping not on the rail but instead along the stairs-very nice effect!
The second house I just loved was done by Kathy Morris and Margaret DeJesus of Morris Interiors of Concord. They spent hours making every single floral arrangement in the house, and created several vignettes that were just incredible. Most of all though, I absolutely loved their “cookbook tree”-so clever!