As we’ve discussed, Martha’s 2010 holiday theme is glam. Sequins are everywhere. Normally staid wreaths are jewel-toned. Not even throw pillows are safe!
But her interior decorations are more, as she puts it, ethereal: all silvery and white and pale green. I usually go gold and bold (as in last year every available surface was festooned with gold baubles and glass, heaped atop enough live greenery to construct another tree), but I’ve always wanted to try the calmer, classier, silver route. This being a particularly hectic holiday season, calm sounded like the way to go.
I began with the mercury glass/paper white thing, with the idea of my mantel looking JUST LIKE the one pictured above. Already having some mercury glass (another reason why this plan sounded good), I hastened to get the paper whites and Dusty Miller-type greens, only to realize one…
in this plan:
A four-legged AGENT OF DESTRUCTION who is uncannily attracted to fragile items*, particularly those located way up high, this animal threw a wrench in the engine almost immediately. Not long after I hauled out the mercury glass, he lumbered onto the mantel and immediately swept two pieces to their deaths. He then sat and looked at me as if he’d done me a huge favor.
Needless to say, Winston was not part of our household last year.
BUT, he’s not going to go “live in the attic” either, as my housemate has suggested, so mantel plans were tabled. I decided to try Martha’s garland instead, which is a magnolia garland on silver steroids and involves nothing fragile, except possibly my self-esteem.
Finding a pre-made magnolia garland in Richmond isn’t easy or cheap, and easy and cheap are everything to me. A store-bought fir garland works just as well, and frankly, the one pictured above bears a scary resemblance to a giant caterpillar. Seriously, it makes my back feel funny in a way I think only Susan can understand.
I decided to stick with the magnolia leaf embellishment though, thanks to my friends Ken and Amy who let me lurk around their backyard every year with clippers and buckets.
Spray-painting is hands-down the best part of this project: clip the leaves from the branches (remember to leave at least one inch of stem or else you’ll be sorry later!), lay them right side up on some newspaper, and have at it. They dry very quickly, and they leave fun shapes on that week’s Style Weekly!
As you might imagine, these guys are a tad brittle once painted. (Mineral oil might help but that would require more steps.) The cheap fir garland in place along the banister, I simply stuck bunches of the silver leaves into the garland. Those that wouldn’t stay, or were ripped down by the Ungrateful Pound Cat, I affixed with a bit of wire.
This is a little sparse for my taste but, between animals and husbands and life, this garland’s days have been numbered since the beginning. Half of it is now on the floor. Silver leaves are everywhere. The mantel remains extremely bare, and I don’t even want to discuss the dining room situation.
Oddly, I’ve come to appreciate this year’s spare scheme. It will be less to clean up come January, a process that I dread, and we didn’t have a holiday party this year anyway. What’s more, I’d like to think I’ve repaid Winston the favor by rick racking the crap out of his water bowl.**
Glam, but sparse!
*Much like a kitten is to a litter box!
**He is unfazed.