Repurposing Christmas Ornaments and Decor for Valentine's Day and Beyond!  

Posted by Heidi

I am passionate about romance, whether it be in the regency era books that I write, the outlook I have on life or the things with which I surround myself.  It doesn't matter the holiday or the time of year, I want to romanticize it.  However, as optimistic (read: unrealistic, which is not all that different from being hopelessly romantic) as I am, there just isn't the room or the budget for all of the holiday décor I would love to buy.  So, I repurpose what I have to create the look I want, whether it is Christmas décor that I am re-imagining for Valentine's Day (or even St. Patrick's--photos at the end of this post!) or something I find at the thrift store--or even the junk yard. 
This little sweetheart in her new spot by this luscious roses yardlong print makes the perfect cherub.  She was once the base of a lamp bearing a badly soiled silk shade that I found at a thrift shop for next to nothing (really, Next to Nothing!).  I rescued her and once my husband had cut off the lamp works from the top of her head, she looked as if she was always meant to be a little lady (the lampshade frame was fashioned into something new--see the photos at the end of this post).  The bit of trim in the foreground was purchased many years ago at an antique store and attached to the cabinet we inherited from my husband's grandmother.  The empty frame behind this sweet little miss came from an architectural salvage store in Berkeley (I haunt two of them, Ohmega's and Urban Ore) which was painted white, along with everything else in this photo (except for Little Miss, though I am pondering the possibilities).

Two trays minus their glass domes (they have been pressed into service atop pretty plates) hold conversation hearts and pink and silver balls that adorned my Christmas tree less than two weeks ago.  (See my 2014 Christmas décor posts Here and Here.)
If you have read my Christmas décor blog posts, then you might recognize this little guy.  Now he is taking up the space in one of the apothecary jars that that held lighted Christmas scenes.  True, Christmas is over but the snowy weather isn't.  (Since we don't often get snow here in the San Francisco bay area at any time of year, we can pretend as much as we like.)
When contemplating holiday décor, I like to do word associations.  Nothing says Valentine's Day like pink, chocolate and roses, which is how a pink rose-strewn chocolate pot becomes holiday décor. 
Add a heart and a sentimental old photograph and cupid has strung his bow.  (This photograph, which bears my daughter's name on the back, was an irresistible find at a collectibles show in Leeds, England, and lives in a pot-metal clock case that has been painted white and distressed.)
My gothic church window vignette was so Christmas-y, but with a few simple changes, it is all about love and romance. 

This pink mercury glass heart, a Christmas tree ornament, has replaced the antique trim "angel wing" pieces . . .

 . . . while *they* have been refashioned into a heart.  The silver glittered mitten is also a Christmas tree ornament.  It all rests against a scrap of antique lace that has been secured along the top of the lampshade it adorns with a piece of twine.

Instead of the white, glittering figure of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, I have a thrift store ironstone pedestal bowl filled with the tree ornament mercury glass hearts that, last month, adorned my dining room chandelier.   (The hot pink is a reflection of the shirt I was wearing when I photographed this sweet scene.)
The silver and gold tree that took up this corner for Christmas has been replaced by the caned back chair that usually sits here.  The shutter above it has been painted many colors over the years and used in nearly every room of my house, as well as the garden.  I needed something to adorn the heater closet door and I love how this turned out!  The clothespins make it easy to change out the images on a canvas that is sure to rotate with my whims.  Note the pink wellies in the hall:  so much of holiday decor is about color--don't be afraid to use whatever you have that color-coordinates.  The French lantern was one of my favorite things this Christmas but it has been switched out, as well. 

The icy branches that adorned it for Christmas (broken off of a Christmas garland) remain but take on a new look with the addition of the pink silk rose.  The double ruffle on the chair are bed pillow shams, Old Country Roses by Laura Ashley.  The ready made shams make it so easy to switch them out for different looks as the seasons change.  

The white heart-shaped piece that has been added to the finery on this lantern is an old metal doorbell surround that I found at a salvage yard.  It didn't fit my doorbell so it sat in a drawer for years.  I pulled it out and painted it white for this lantern and I love it!  If you look at it closely, you can see that there are birds on either side and that they are upside down.  It doesn't matter--the heart shape is what one expects to see this time of year and that is what one sees. 
It is all just simply together and attached to the lantern finial with ribbon.  Very simple and easy.

Most of my genes are Scandinavian and there is a part of me that adores the plain and simple lines of Swedish design.  This spare, little Valentines tree fits right in with that look.  The branch was plucked from the side of the mountain on one of my morning walks and shoved through a bag of rice which was stuffed into the bottom of the champagne bucket.  I cut out and stitched the hearts from my fabric stash while watching TV (they go fast!) and filled them with cotton from medicine bottles.  I hot glued bits of string to them and ended up with this sweet bit of Swedish chic décor for absolutely zero dollars (we will eat the rice eventually). 

The fact that the stitches show gives these hearts a more primitive look.  Love them!

This pink house print is so cozy and Christmas-y but it fits right in with the pink, white and red hearts on my mantle.  I love items that do double duty!

This pink Pashmina (scarf) was a gift from my sister.  It lives on this antique chair for a good part of the year but I always know where to find it when I want to wear it.  The chair itself was a $10 thrift store find.  It was covered in orange herculon and I had the best time painting it up and recovering it with a glue gun and a $10 canvas drop cloth from the hardware store. 

Behind the chair is this salvaged piece of trim.  I bought it years ago at my favorite antique store/treasure shop in Santa Cruz, Ca.--Crawford's.  The sisters who run it regularly ship out pieces from the east coast that there mother had been collecting and storing in barns on her property for DECADES.  If you ever find yourself in Santa Cruz, be sure to stop at Crawford's on Soquel!  This piece holds pretty things that really have no other place to go.  At Christmas I fill it up with antique postcards with snowy scenes and nativities.  For Valentine's Day, it's all about the roses.

This glittery pink house graced my Christmas tree this year.  Now it sits in the dark corner of my computer desk to keep the winter nights at bay. The white tree with pink roses and the white dog (one of a pair gifted to me by my mother in law to represent my two living fluffy white dogs) with the red heart are both Christmas tree ornaments.  The dried roses were once youthful and alive--a gift from my 13 year old son on my last birthday.
This frame, which I found on the clearance shelf at Tuesday Morning about ten years ago, graces the wall above my computer desk.  The glass was broken so I pulled it out and painted the frame my favorite creamy white.  It has held photos of my children until this Christmas when I decided to replace them with holiday images.  I loved the look so much that I switched them out with pink and rosy pretties for Valentine's Day.  If will be fun to hunt for St. Patrick's Day, Easter and 4th of July images in the coming months.  (I have other pictures of my kids in other locations--lots of 'em!)
This red garland adorned my living room mantle for Christmas.  Now it warms the crystal chandelier in my bedroom. 
Now that the Valentine's Day decorating is done, I have begun to think about St. Patrick's Day.  My daughter and I went to Ireland this summer (see spectacular photos HERE) and I bought a number of Irish Christmas tree ornaments.  They were hard for me to put away with the other decorations so I have re-purposed them for March 17th. 
I had a lot of fun making this St. Patrick's Day decoration.  A wee bit o' green spray paint, some shamrock garland and glittering foam shamrocks that I had in my St. Patrick's Day box turned this old lampshade that once hung over the head of Little Miss (see start of post) into a showcase for my tree ornaments turned pot o' gold (or at least the jack pot!).  I love how the harp (Beautiful Ireland), shamrock  (Watervale) and Dublin Doors (Belleek China) Christmas ornaments stand out in this arrangement, as well as the tiny, shamrock-covered baby cup by Belleek that I added (in back).

However, the star of this piece is the Five Golden Rings Krinkles Christmas tree ornament by Patience Brewster in the center.

It is one of my all time favorite Christmas tree ornaments (out of close to a thousand ornaments in total over the years) but, to me, it is says "Ireland" every bit as much as Christmas.  Aside from the fresh green and white, the gold rings coupled with the gracious, outstretched hand puts one in mind of the Claddagh ring, the traditional Irish symbol of love, friendship and loyalty.  Green and gold together is also very Irish. 

I hope this post inspires you to pull out your Christmas decor and discover what you can repurpose for other holidays in the coming year!  For my next project, I am going to finish painting this antique dresser mirror frame (see below).

This was purchased at one of my favorite antique store/treasure shops, The Grove, on Lighthouse in Pacific Grove California.  Once my husband cuts a piece of wood to fit inside, I will cover it with magnetic paint and pin all of the pictures currently on the wall above it.  

I do love frames but I just don't have room for all of the images I want to display in my home.  This frame will be a beautiful space saver.   Be sure to come back and check out the finished project.

A Pink, Green, White and Silver Chic N Shabby Christmas Decor House Tour  

Posted by Heidi

The water color version of my Shabby Chic decor
I am a person of many contrasts:  this Christmas I found myself as determined to have a pink and white chic and shabby Christmas as I was to have a red and white traditional one.  (Click HERE for photos of my red and white Christmas décor.)  I was particularly excited to create some new Shabby Chic looks as I had acquired three wonderful décor items since last Christmas:  a sparkling chandelier to replace the tired old ceiling fan (a Valentine's Day gift from my husband), an antique Gothic church window (a gift from my daughter on HER birthday) and a stunning figurine of Joseph,  Mary, and baby with a donkey, all white and glittery.
I so enjoyed photographing this vignette in all of its moods. 
I also love to repurpose items.  The tan angel wings are fashioned from pieces of antique furniture trim and have been hung inside the frame of a mirror that broke.  The frame was just too beautiful to throw away. 
I adore the Swedish/French chic look of this tableaux in daylight but it is even more beautiful at night in the glow of the candles.
Perhaps sparkles are too irreverent for this sacred subject but I find my passion for glitter grows with each passing year--I was thrilled when I found this in a little shop near my home.  I used to have many nativity scenes (though I believe the one above is technically referred to as "flight into Egypt") but most of them were destroyed in an unfortunate foul-smelling home mini-flood nearly fifteen years ago.  I especially love this one because it is of the same composition as a porcelain figurine of my mother's when I was a young girl.
My view from the kitchen towards the church window always includes this gorgeous chandelier.  It was left over stock from the little décor store my husband and I owned and I couldn't be happier when we decided to keep it and hang it in our own home (its twin hangs above the sink in my kitchen).  My husband, whose many talents do not include that of "handy man", managed to hard wire this one so that I don't have to deal with a chain like the other chandeliers in our home.  After my engagement ring presented to me at the base of Coit Tower with a sparkling, just-washed-with-rain-view of both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, this was my best Valentine's gift ever!  I adorned it with a dozen (reproduction) mercury glass hearts and it caught the light in many delightful ways all season long. 

I was so fascinated with the dozens of different ways the light reflected off of those hearts that I found myself photographing the chandelier again and again.  However, I am an amateur photographer working with a point and shoot camera and I was unable to come up with pictures that did justice to what I was seeing.  (Or maybe my camera just needs a pair of rose colored glasses like mine.)
This little vignette lives to the right of the dining room cabinet.  I love this cherub's sassy pose and the way his face glows in the light of the lamp below.
The cabinet holds the Jim Shore Irish Angel that my daughter bought to commemorate our trip to Ireland this summer, as well as a few other Irish décor items.  We decided to have Irish pub grub for our Christmas Eve meal (I was raised on the Swedish smorgasboard but we have had to forego those particular food stuffs after the household came down with the flu the Christmas morning after eating Swedish meatballs) and enjoyed how well the accompanying décor all blended in together. 
I also opted for pink peonies instead of a pink poinsettia this year (this photo has been given the palette knife treatment via Photoshop).
Most of my many Santas were gifts and I have often thought I just might have too many.  This was the first year, however, that I realized only one or two are the traditional Mark Twain pant-suited Santa of my American youth.  Mine are almost all versions of Father Christmas with his long coat.
This is the view from my sofa.  The tree (a 20 year old fake that has seen its last Christmas) gets pinker every year.
 Every year I tell myself that I am going to count my ornaments (probably around 300 on just this one tree) but I get overwhelmed and decide to do it when I take it all down--an even worse idea. 
This sweetest ever pink house was not made to hang on the tree.  I say--hang it!
I have had the very same photos of my children in this frame (it hangs just above my computer desk) for the nine years we have lived in this house.  I decided to put my antique post cards in them for Christmas and loved it so much that I have decided to change the pictures once a month.  
This Santa pitcher was a gift from one of my sisters.  We don't use him for the pouring of fluids so as to ensure that he remains in one piece for our continued admiration.  (So far it has been a good choice.)
I always am surprised how something as simple as an icy, little branch can change the whole feeling of something.  Suddenly all the white makes one think of snow. 
 Greenery was the main staple of my Christmas décor over the years but I have recently found that snow is much more festive. 
I also find that when items are used in ways they were not intended, they stand out more, like the snowflake cookie tree ornament in this photo. 
The view from my kitchen window Christmas morning.  I came home from Ireland and immediately put up a shelf outside of this window to hold some geraniums--an Irish tradition.  It makes me smile every single day (when I'm not scratching my head and wondering why I hadn't done it sooner).
My bedroom is the coldest room in the house so I went heavy on the red and white look in there--however, it is a pink room with Victorian accents and though they aren't strictly shabby chic, these pictures didn't fit in with the last décor post I did, either.
For me, the magic of Christmas décor is the play of light and shadow.  It brings warmth and depth to what might otherwise be flat and cold surfaces.  I suppose that is why I am also obsessed with this silver and gold Christmas tree (see below).  It's only the second or third year I have put it up and I always have a hard time keeping my eyes off of it. There is nothing like white to play up the light and shadow and I spent a lot of time attempting to capture its beauty and mystery.
When I look into this tree, I feel like a little girl again, one filled with excitement and anticipation for a holiday filled with magic and wonder.
Isn't that what Christmas décor is all about?  To recapture our childhood?  A time when everything was possible . . .
And, for me, that is what the shadow and light represents:  the mystery of and hope for the future.
We none of us know for sure what the future holds but, because a perfect child was born into the world, we can hope for All Good Things.
Christmas décor can be about pride and materialism and the wooing of the world but, for me, it is about beauty and love and gratitude. 
It is the most special time of the year and our homes should reflect that. 
It is the time when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was born, bringing light and hope into the world, as well as beauty, love and peace. 
I hope that is what people see in my Christmas décor.
(You can see my most recent Christmas décor posts Here, Here and Here.)