Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Christmas 2017: Antiques and the Garden

Welcome Christmas 2017 🌟 It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Hello, friends - Have you started decorating for Christmas and the holidays? Do you go all out with dazzling lights, seasonal colors, and a grand tree? Tom and I are nearly done and, once again, our decor is on the subtle side with a mix of old and new. 

This year I selected a theme that is very personal and dear: antiques and the garden. My inspiration came from the garden with many items borrowed from our potting shed. Crusty terracotta pots, vintage trugs and baskets, old watering cans, burlap cloths, jute twines, velvety moss, pinecones of all sizes, and tole botanical ornaments are juxtaposed with period furnishings. I love combining the utilitarian with curated antiques.

Just as in years past, I chose a tabletop tree which has become my signature. Ever since I saw this...              
...1848 engraving of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's Christmas Tree at Windsor Castle in the London Illustrated News, I have been obsessed with these elevated little beauties. The article stated that each member of the royal family had his or her own tree atop a personal table covered with presents. Don't you love it? I find their gesture of giving the tree a place of prominence on a table so civilized.

Immediately following the article, Victorian England soon copied those tabletop creations, making them fashionable and eventually common. When Godey's Lady's Book, a popular American women's magazine, published a similar print (below) in 1850, the craze for household Christmas trees spread to this side of the Atlantic. Most of the early trees were simply trimmed with homemade accoutrements at first, but became fancier as demand for imported German ornaments grew. Eventually the ornaments became bigger as did the trees.   
More illustrations of Victorian Christmas trees at Windsor.
BELOW: An early print with gleeful children on Christmas Eve.
Here is our little Christmas tree dressed in a simple but festive way to celebrate the garden. Tom and I decided to set it up among our antiques at Tone on Tone so that we could share it with friends and clients. Hope you'll come see it!
Let's check out the details. For the tablecloth, I went with a burlap round cloth in a 120" size which allows for a lot of puddling. It's not lined or pleated as I wanted a casual, unstructured drape.
The Fraser Fir is actually sitting in a glass vase (with water) nested inside an old terracotta pot. Around the pot is a Victorian cast iron tree fence dating from the 1880s. Aren't those little gates charming?
Terracotta pots, originally used to start seedlings, in sizes ranging from 3" x 3" to 4" x 4" are filled with mini pinecones over a bed of moss. In lieu of glittery wrapped boxes, Kraft paper ones tied with braided twine borrowed from the potting shed give these presents an unfussy vibe.
Sitting under the rare 18th-century architectural wooden swag from a chateau's puppet theater is a leaping stag or reindeer weathervane from the early 1900s. The patina on this reindeer is just superb. For more on weathervanes, please visit my post here.
Gilded tole flowers, golden glass pinecones as well as copper twine lights give the tree a luminous glow.
Here is another vignette from our shop. An antique toy horse sits on an early Spanish table with faux painted stone top. Under the table is an old French garden basket (not for sale - sorry) that was a gift from my dear friend Gail. With just a few oversized ornaments from Pottery Barn, it looks rather festive. See how I mix old and new??!!
Something I look forward to bringing out every December is this pair of faux boxwood candle wreaths or bobeches.
A Swedish Rococo painted secretary is styled with a small garden trug filled with Nandina berries and foliage plus pomegranates. Gathering from Mother Nature gives your holiday home an organic, fresh feel.
Another antique architectural element is this zinc laurel wreath. I like to include objects here and there that beckon to be picked up and admired.
Speaking of wreaths, this fragrant one currently hangs over our kitchen sink at home - makes me happy staring at it while doing dishes. It also adds a pop of color to the white-on-white palette.
The ribbon is wired burlap in white. Again, I continued the garden theme with the burlap.
More fruit and berries: tiny lady apples dress up a diminutive iron urn while orange pepper berries in a watering can brighten our entry.
What do you think of our Christmas decor this year? Please let me know. For more, follow along on my INSTAGRAM where I'll be sharing new photos and videos. If you have questions, please email me at info@tone-on-tone.com .

Thanks very much for your continued friendship and support. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

xo
Loi

PS - Here is a recap of our tabletop trees from past Christmases. Enjoy! 
ABOVE 3 PHOTOS: Last year's Noble Fir came from our property in Maine. The theme was silver and white.
ABOVE: This tree from a few years ago was decorated in a wintry way with dusted snow, mercury glass and icicles.

BELOW 3 PHOTOS: Another fir from Maine, this Charlie Brown tree was unusually sparse. I went with a woodland theme and layered it with birds, mossy nests with quail eggs, and pinecones. It was illuminated with votive candles.

59 comments:

  1. I am loving the tabletop trees. But I love the leaping stag weathervane even more. I LOVE it sooooo much. #envy

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    1. Hello, Ron. Thank you very much, my friend. Catch up with you soon. Cheers

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  2. Loi, thank you for sharing the interesting article. I had never heard that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert started the tradition of a tabletop tree. We put up a large tree, but I also like to have a tabletop tree on the sunporch. I decorate it with my folk art style ornaments which mostly carry out a rooster theme. I'm crushing over the stag weather vane.
    Thanks for sharing your Christmas tree! Merry, Merry!

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    1. Sarah, I'm really looking forward to enjoying your holiday home! I always love your festive MacKenzie-Childs accents. Thank you, friend.

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  3. What a lovely post. Love your trees! That iron fence with gate is to die for!!
    Love your style

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    1. The iron fence is my fav part! Whenever I use it, reminds me of a little garden plot. Thanks!!

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  4. I am an occasional visitor. I really enjoyed this post. I was especially interested in the table top tree and your explanation. I have 2 of my mother's Godey prints which she cherished, as do I. I love the tree fence! so charming! I am allergic to Christmas trees so will probably have mine outside. I am thinking of making ice lanterns too! Thanks for your lovely blog. Merry Christmas, Ann

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    1. Ann, how lovely to have two Godey prints. I'm a fan of old prints and engravings as framed artwork. Thank YOU! Merry Christmas ahead, L

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  5. Hello Loi, You have worked your miracles as always. I remember the first time I found Lady apples in the store (in New Haven). They didn't allow tasting, so I bought a single Lady apple, for two cents! After it proved its worth (I was planning to eat them, not decorate with them), I went right back and bought a normal amount.
    --Jim

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    1. Jim - the best thing about decorating with fruit is that I can eat them as well :) Have a wonderful Christmas, my friend. All the best, L

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  6. Hello Loi - your 2017 Christmas tree is restrained and yet sophisticated - extremely elegant - perfect.
    The little Victorian iron fencing and gate are charming - hope that you and Tom enjoy a lovely season, and a very happy 2018.

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    1. Rosemary, wonderful to hear from you! Thank you so much. Cheers to a happy holiday season. L

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  7. So beautifully understated. Love the pops of color and that stag weathervane. Also, the garden gate. So unique. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. My pleasure! Thank YOU for visiting and for your note....means so much to me that you enjoyed this post. Happy Holidays

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  8. Thank you for a informative and beautiful post. MC and I wish you a blesses Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
    xo
    Patty

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    1. Hi Patty! I hope you and MC have a beautiful Christmas ahead. Cheers xo

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  9. Such exquisite beauty, as always. Thank you for sharing. Wonderful ideas!
    Merry Christmas.

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    1. Jen, I thank you for visiting my blog. And for your kind words. Merry, Merry :) Loi

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  10. You have such exquisite taste and admirable restraint, Loi. I love your style!

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    1. Thank YOU!! I really appreciate your feedback, Sunny. Happy Holidays. L

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  11. You are the absolute best in decorating with the most elegant of ways....whether it be in your every day decor or during the Holidays and any seasonal time of the year. I so enjoyed reading about the table top trees of Victorian England. Thank you for that Loi ... and be still my heart....that architectural wooden swag is breathtaking! What a treasure! Merry Christmas Loi!!

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    1. Shirley, I'm so glad we got to see each other a few weeks ago. That was really fun. Thank you for your continued support and friendship. xo

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  12. I just love your taste! I wish I could accomplish your ideas in my home. Everything is beautiful-just stunning. Merry, Merry Christmas to youπŸŽ„

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    1. You are very kind, Donna! Many, many thanks.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours!
      xo
      L

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  13. Well...you made me smile and *sigh*...lovely!! franki

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  14. I Of course have seen that print but did not recall it was WINDSOR CASTLE!I have been talking about doing OUR TREE this year on a ROUND TABLE AS well as we now have a PIGGY that lives in THE CASA!!!!!!!
    I think its LOVELY................
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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    1. You have a piggy? :) My little Mocha would love to meet your baby. Have a happy holiday season, my friend. xo

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    1. Hi Miranda! Thank you kindly. Wishing you a happy holiday season. xo

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  16. Table top trees have always been my favorite. My grandparents always had a small one covered in antique ornaments and old tinsel. It was perfect for their tiny home. I think that may have inspired my love for small houses. As always your Christmas is the perfect balance of festive but calm.

    Best regards,
    Kathy
    Kcarracher-Instagram

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    1. Kathy, thank you for visiting! Welcome to my blog :) Yes, these tabletop trees are ideal for smaller homes and rooms. In a larger home, I can picture a few throughout. Cheers

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  17. I am a fan of small trees, whether tabletop or on the floor! Yours are all so lovely, I just might have to try it. We downplay Christmas so this would be perfect! I'm loving the covers on those last two pillows in your entryway!!

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    1. Thank you, friend! Tom and I were just talking about your visit to Castine this past summer. That was a treat for us. Merry Merry, L

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  19. Too many typos in my prior comment!! What it said in a nutshell is: for me and my tender soul, this all feels like heaven on earth. Not just the palette, but the spirit of it which like fine art, leaves so much breathing space for the beholder to rest, dream, and even heal a little. Thanks for sharing the lovely with the world. πŸ’❤️πŸ’

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    1. Michele, I always look forward to your visits and comments. And of course I look forward to the beauty that you share on your blog and Instagram. Cheers

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  20. I like your understated decorating. I remember a tabletop tree at least one year, if not more than one, when I was a child in the late 50s and early 60s. I'm going to have a tabletop tree myself this year - but instead of the table, it will be in the bay window. This may become a new tradition. I do not have a window over my kitchen sink, but your wreath in the window over the sink makes me think I need to put a wreath on the wall over my sink. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. You are welcome, Jeannine. Thanks for your visit. A tree in the bay window sounds lovely! What a pretty idea. Merry Christmas ahead, L

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  21. Dearest Loi, hello! I couldn't get to my computer fast enough but now that I'm here, I'm swooning here, as usual! I have gone for tabletop trees since I've been married, 37 years! But through those years, my style has evolved, and people like you have influenced my love for the subtle, fuss-less and sublime look. Nature to me, does the best decorating job for any holiday, and that's why I too go for natural elements such as twine for wrapping parcels (with brown paper), burlap or linen, fresh greens and other goodies from nature. Antiques for me also lend a feel for the natural, especially when they are covered in either a patina or time-worn scars. Oh how your photos make me SWOON! Happy holidays to you and Tom!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and for making my day, Anita! BTW, I love your white peacock that you shared on Instagram - just divine!! Many hugs, L

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  22. Soothing and beautiful choices!

    Elena

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  23. Dear Loi, This history is so interesting and the petite trees could not be more charming! I can always count on you for inspiration! xoxo

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  24. I love the Victorian Iron Tree Fence! I haven't seen one of those in years! Lucky you to have one! The Golden Tole Flowers on your tree are wonderful too! Happy Holidays!

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  25. And Merry Christmas to you, Loi, and Tom. I wasn't going to decorate for Christmas but I have some Rosenthal glass balls that I will dig out and display. Their decoration always reminds me of Chagall for some reason. I have to figure out how to decorate the outside tree. It's too cold for such fragile glass outside. I think I'm up to making a few nests like that in your tree. About prints, I have several antique etchings but in an open-area home, there is little wall space!

    P.S. I like your antique trug (it looks like a trug). I am going to put short spruce boughs in my trug. Merry Christmas!

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  26. LOVE every inch....so beautiful and peaceful. Thanks for including the history, so interesting. Just magical Loi...merry merry!

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  27. Hi Loi. Sent you an email on Info@tone....

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  28. Beautiful dear Loi, so lovely and peaceful. Love decorating with natural elements. Marry Christmas!
    Vesna - Home Chic Club

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  29. Just beautiful, I love your simple designs. I have been using a table top tree for years now. It is a feather tree all hand made. On a round table with an antique wooden fence around it. I really enjoy it. I use more sparkle the you but love your simplicity. I am 76 now, so a table tree was my answer to being able to put it up and take it down by myself. Your garden theme was great. I will try to incorporate that. Love the lights on your tree. Where can they be purchased? Have a very blessed Christmas and thank you for sharing your beautiful ideas with us.

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  30. Your imagination and creativity delights my appreciation Loi. Always stunning ideas and a caring sharing heart I leave in awe with the magical trees you create year after year.
    xo,
    Vera

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  31. Your decor is always understated and lovely, a welcome retreat from so many that are overdone! Happy Holidays to you and Tom!

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  32. Loi, I am not sure how i missed this post! I love that etching that inspired your tree, I have the same one in a book and that is why I use so many little tabletop trees in my house as well.

    As always your tree and the garden theme is superb. How wonderful that you have it at the shop to share with so many others.

    Have a blessed and merry Christmas! Will you be in Maine with Tom and your pups for a little winter and some relaxation?

    P.S. How was your antiquing weekend over thanksgiving?

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  34. Everything you create is special, Loi.
    I adore these cards, and the trees are amazing.
    Happy New Year, friend!
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  35. Loi, your Christmas decor is so peaceful and elegant. I absolutely love every single detail. Thank you for sharing it with your fans. xx, Emily

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  36. Happy New Year to you, Loi. I hope you are well. Look forward to more elegant posts from you in 2018!
    Claudia

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi