I was going to post about another project I’m working on today, but I just can’t bring myself to talk about decorating when my heart and mind are with the little angels who were brutally killed at Sandy Hook Elementary last week. I mentioned it briefly a couple of days ago but it’s a crime that’s so shocking that it’s not something I can push from my mind with the justification that it happened a long way away, it doesn’t effect me, and I wanted to more adequately express my horror and heartbreak. It’s impossible to imagine what the families are going through, but the damage done to that community and to our World community is irreparable; this horrific thing can never be undone. I want this Christmas to be fun and magical for my own children, and I want to protect them from the evil that is in the world, but how is it possible to celebrate when those innocent children were so violently deprived of their own Christmas happiness? How do we get past something like this? I’m really struggling with this tonight. And I’m praying, not only for those families whose hearts must be completely broken, but for more kindness and for change.
How are your preparations for Christmas coming along? With less than a week to go I am definitely feeling that the countdown has begun! All my presents are wrapped and ready but I haven’t thought much about food yet and I have a mountain of washing to get through. In an attempt to stay a couple of days ahead of the pack I stopped by Costco today to do the Christmas shopping; it was crazy! I can only imagine that the weekend will be much worse, so my advice would be to get there early or steer clear altogether people!
But my main focus this week is finishing up with clients so that I can take a bit of a holiday in January. I took a carload of cushions, rugs and mirrors to a client’s beautiful home this morning, where the floors have been stripped of carpet and sanded, and the painters have just finished painting in a warm light neutral with crisp white trims.
The old wingback armchairs were scored by my client at auction and were recovered in a grey/blue and green stripe. We still have a chandelier to hang and a chaise that’s getting recovered in the floral fabric from my last post – my upholsterer tells me it will be done by Monday – talk about cutting it close to the Christmas Day deadline!
I took this pic because I was struck by how festive our blue Madeline Weinrib runner looks paired with the newly-painted red front door (though I know you can’t really see the red here). Two big arched multi-paned mirrors are going above the chunky rustic table to the left, echoing the shape of the arched front doorway.
This week is a little bit mad, but it’s great to see long-planned schemes come together and bits and pieces finally going into clients’ homes. Seeing clients happy at the completion of a job really is the best part.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of real trees at Christmas, mainly because I grew up with real trees and so that Christmas tree smell has always been an intrinsic part of the anticipation and magic for me. I guess I’m also a bit of a traditionalist and a romantic in most things and like to pretend at Christmas that my real tree was cut in the woods and carried through the snow to my home (haha! – in reality we swelter every Christmas).
My husband, on the other hand, is not a romantic and for years has tried to convince me to switch to the more convenient plastic tree. Because of course, real trees are prickly to deal with and messy. Our pine trees in Australia shed a lot of needles and if you put your tree up in early December, chances are it won’t be as green and perky by the time Christmas Day rolls around. So when UK company Balsam Hill contacted me to let me know they are expanding into Australia and offered to send me a tree to try, I decided it was a good time to go artificial, at least for this year.
I had actually visited the Balsam Hill website a few years ago, when we were thinking about buying an artificial tree but I was disappointed in the tinsel-armed choices available at Myer and DJ’s. The Balsam Hill trees have been used on Ellen and Oprah and are said to be so real-looking that it is hard to tell the difference between them and a real tree! The tree they sent me is the ‘BH Fraser Fir’. I have to say, setting up the tree was A LOT faster and less scratchy than setting up a real tree. Here it is right out of the box and plugged in (the lights are attached to the tree, though you can buy the trees without lights):
We’d already wrapped our presents in gold paper so I decided to stick to decorations in white, gold and silver this year. One of things I usually hate about plastic trees is the big empty gaps between branches – this is only beautiful in real trees – but big gaps are not an issue with this little guy. The branches are actually quite full and soft, and very easy to hang ornaments on compared with our usual long-needled real tree.
Here’s a look at the branches up close without the lights on:
And with the lights:
My verdict? I would most definitely use this tree again, though if I were purchasing I’d buy a much taller size (mine is the 137cm). I do miss the smell of a real tree but I’m told that I can buy it in a bottle (Ralph Lauren’s ‘Holiday’ room scent is supposed to be good). I have to admit that given how busy the past few weeks have been, it has been a relief this year to have this very easy option. And I think it looks great! Balsam Hill have now launched the Australian version of their website, which includes sizes and pricing in Australian dollars.
How is your Holiday decorating going? I love seeing other people’s trees!