...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Secretary is ready for Christmas

Decorating the "halls" has been a slight bit different this year. We have a new member to our family. Regan, the 8 month old kitten. Although he's not destructive, doesn't like to be reprimanded and doesn't like to do anything that would cause him to be reprimanded, he is still a very inquisitive kitten. All new things must be thoroughly investigated, smelled, and observed.  He is also a climber. So decorating is happening in bits and it's going so far so good. But then the tree has not yet surfaced!!

This year, I not only decorated the antique secretary, I also papered the back. I don't recommend double stick tape on furniture, especially not wood. I used 4 Command Strips, one on each corner of the paper.  Keep the pull tab facing to the center of the paper so that when you remove the paper, you can pull the tab away from the sides of the furniture. Keep your shiny paper for wrapping, you'll be happier with non-shiny paper for a background.

Cherished books sit on the top shelf. Mary Englebreit's Believe, my husband's childhood The Night Before Christmas in Texas Y'all, and a Night Before Christmas from 1953, a superb year if I say so myself. Also on that shelf is a battery operated candle, a Villeroy and Boch Burgenland coffee pot and Fitz and Floyd's Winter Garden Santa.

The center shelf holds my cherished angels that belonged to my grandmother. I can't even tell you how old these are, but I can't remember her not having them. They are made of wax and their garments are made of satin, velvet and laces. 

Also on the center shelf is a soldered house that I made this year. I've recently learned to solder and find that it's really a great asset to the DIY repetoire. These glass pieces come pre-cut in the house shape, so all that you need to do is create the artwork for the inside and then tape and solder. The other side is a winter scene.
The bottle brush tree has been bleached to remove most of the vivid green/blue coloring and then dipped in glue and glitter with coarse pewter colored glitter.

The bottom shelf holds a few of our Christmas books, some musical silver bells  and a Fitz and Floyd Winter Garden bell. 

A treasured piece of my son's Snowbabies collection. A few more bleached bottle brush trees set the scene.
An embroidered door jingler is attached to the key and guards the interior from inquisitive cats.

And now a wee history lesson. Monday the 6th is St. Nikolaus day in Germany. It's still very much alive in our home, even though the boys are now 34 an 29. So here is a bit of history from the German-Way website: 

Nikolaustag - 6. Dezember
On the night of December 5 (in some places, the evening of Dec. 6), in small communities in Austria and the Catholic regions of Germany, a man dressed as der Heilige Nikolaus (St. Nicholas, who resembles a bishop and carries a staff) goes from house to house to bring small gifts to the children. Accompanying him are several ragged looking, devil-like Krampusse, who mildly scare the children. Although Krampus carries eine Rute (a switch), he only teases the children with it, while St. Nicholas hands out small gifts to the children. In some regions, there are other names for both Nikolaus and Krampus (Knecht Ruprecht in Germany). Sometimes Krampus/Knecht Ruprecht is the good guy bringing gifts, equal to or replacing St. Nicholas. As early as 1555, St. Nicholas brought gifts on Dec. 6, the only “Christmas” gift-giving time during the Middle Ages, and Knecht Ruprecht or Krampus was a more ominous figure.
Nikolaus and Krampus don’t always make a personal appearance. In some places today, children still leave their shoes by the window or the door on the night of Dec. 5. They awaken the next day (Dec. 6) to discover small gifts and goodies stuffed into the shoes, left by St. Nicholas. This is similar to the American Santa Claus custom, although the dates are different. Also similar to American custom, the children may leave a wish list for Nikolaus to pass on to the Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas) for Christmas.

And you can click HERE for insight of a more religious nature.

Thank you so much for dropping in, I love to read your comments. I got my inspiration from Sofa and Sage.. I know you will her blog. It's been a wealth of ideas and tips and beautiful design!
I am linking up to the Tablescaper's Seasonal Sundays and to 


Sherry said...

This is lovely! Love the vintage look you have captured so well. Enjoyed the history behind Dec. 5th too. Very interesting, love to learn more about the original Christmas celebrations.

xinex said...

Your secreatry's accessories are beautiful. Love how you decorated it. I have not even started, I am so far behind, still unpacking from the trip and washing the laundry. Thanks for the interesting story!...Christine

Carol@SofasandSage.com said...

Wow! This looks great. You used paper on the back, too -- looks like out secretaries would get along great! Love the history on the 6th -- I have German in my family, so I especially love reading your things related to Germans :)

Sarah said...

Marlis, your secretary looks fabulous! I enjoyed seeing the Christmas books. Thanks for sharing the German traditions. Wish I had a secretary to decorate. ;-)
Thanks for the inspiration. ~ Sarah

Pat said...

I love how this looks Marlis!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Your secretary is beautiful, I love the books! Best of luck with the tree, I might lean towards not hanging Great Grandmom's ornaments this year:@)

Mary said...

Love this secretary displayed with all your treasures! The paper lined shelves using command strips is genius...Your sweet angels are delightful dressed in their velvet gowns & your collection of holiday books are WONDERFUL!

Maggie B said...

Hi Marlis,
Just popped over from The Tablescaper to take a peek at your secretary.
How lovely everything looks, but your Winter Garden St Nikolaus has stolen my heart.

Splurgie said...

What a beautiful Christmas display using your special pieces. I love the angels - so meaningful that they belonged to your grandmother. I really like that you didn't over crowd. There's enough room that each piece gets its full due.

Debbie said...

I don't know where to start since I adore everything about your Christmas display! I'm glad you shared the tip on using paper and command strips. Putting that on my list as I have an old secretary to decorate! Your sweet angels from your grandmother just made me SMILE. My grandmother passed away two years ago at 100 and a half :o) I have some of her beautiful creations too.

Jenny Harris said...

Your hutch is so pretty. I love the way you've put treasures on display, very nice touch. It would never occur to me to bleach a bottlebrush tree if I didn't like the color- great thinking!

Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!

The Tablescaper said...

Love your secretary!!! The touches of the added books are great! Thank you for making your secretary a part of Seasonal Sundays!

- The Tablescaper

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Marlis, what a beautiful secretary and you have it beautifully displayed for the holiday. I have always wanted a pretty antique secretary. Some day I guess.

Ann said...

Hi Marlis,
I just love the way you decorated your secretary, so pretty. The angels really are magical, I'm sure they've been around for many, many years. When I was little we lived in Germany and always put our shoes out for St. Nick to stop...thanks for the fun memory!
Happy Holidays,
The Tattered Tassel

Kuby said...

Marlis, this is so very beautiful and enchanting! Much blessing

Ann said...

Hi Marlis,
Thanks for your thoughtful comments that you left on my blog...I really appreciate it.:o)
You had asked about when I was in Germany. I've actually lived there 7 years total. 1971-1974 in Mannhiem, 1988-1991 in Frankfurt and again in 1999 back in Mannhiem. Love the country, culture, people and of course the food!!
My oldest son is a senior in college. He speaks fluent German, and will soon have a minor in German studies. He was born in Frankfurt and would love to move back to Germany and teach. I really don't want him moving that far away from me but would never ever dream of holding him back from perusing his dreams. Just a wishful momma hoping that all my children could be happy in the same town that she lives in!!

I hope you have a wonderful week~
The Tattered Tassel

Shelia said...

Hi Marlis! Your little cabinet looks wonderful. I love your little angels and it has such a sweet vintage look to it all. Very nice.
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Aledia said...

It's beautiful! I really like how you displayed the vintage Christmas books, I never thought of that...... hmmm :)
Thank You for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! Have a GREAT week!

Martha said...

Love what you did to the Secretary -- both the wallaper backing and the decoration.

Thanks, too, for the story of St. Nicholas!

Frog Hollow Farm Girl said...

Good morning Martis and thank you so very much for stopping by my blog from the Tablescaper and leaving such a nice comment! Your secretary reminds me of the beautifully decorated windows in the stores on 5th Avenue. There is so much detail and so many wonderful memories with the different pieces - just lovely! Ciao, bella!

Pat said...

Hi Marlis
I'm just stopping back by to let you know the post about our day trip to the little German town is up at the Back Porch.:-)

Tardevil said...

I've never seen a secretary with a clock before...how neat. All of your decor looks great, but I really like your grandmother's angels. Hadn't seen that Paula Deen book before...now I think I will add that to MY C-mas list. LOL...I want to learn to solder - (sp?). Looks like fun.

Johanna said...

Hello Marlis,
oh my, is Regan a sweet one. He looks very charming. Love your decoration and how nice to know it is safe before the littly boy.
You are really good informed about all the habbits in Germany. I enjoyed it very much to read all those customs.
Greetings, Johanna

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Marlis, your secretary looks beautiful. I love the paper you used in the back, and all of your Christmas treasures are lovely. How wonderful that you have your grandmother's Christmas angels. They are beautiful, and look like they are in great condition! Very interesting information about December 6Happy Nikolaustag! laurie

Nancy said...

Marlis, The secretary looks beautiful. I love the idea of the paper in the back...and I agree that the shiny paper would not look right. Love that coffee pot. It is Burgenland? I have one Burgenland platter and some Rusticana napkin rings in my collection. It's gorgeous.

I most enjoyed reading about the tradition that takes place in Germany on this day. That is so interesting! I had never heard or read it about this before and I like history. Thanks for sharing this!


Betty said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you so much for visiting My Cozy Corner.


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