Collecting and Reflecting

2009 White House ornament

Because my friends all come over and trim the tree while I cook, taking down the tree and all the decorations is the time for me to reacquaint myself with my favorite ornaments.

This set of seven handmade pieces celebrate my gardens, kitchen, and love of shiny objects.

I’ve always been a magpie. And I collect, organize and think in themes – a leftover from design school? – so putting everything away today, I took some pictures of my little collections.
Every year, it’s fun to decide how to display the White House ornaments. I received the first of these in the early’90s, when I was still working in government affairs, ages before landscapes and cooking. Available through the White House Historical Association, these have long been the go-to gift from a DC boss. They’re beautifully crafted and I love collecting them. It’s wonderful that my friend Nancy brings one to Tree Trimming every year and now I have such a nice grouping.
Back in 2004, Dennis and I went to Sweden to pick up our new Volvo. It was December – the sun came up and went down in what seemed like 20 minutes a day. It was a great trip – we drove the new car from the west coast city of Gothenburg to the east coast and Stockholm, about 400 miles. We went to Christmas lunches and holiday festivals. The cones are so sweet, I’ve often thought they would make a great project. These are made with vintage wallpaper and scraps of trim. They hang on the tree and I fill them with candies. The little bark one with greens and berries is also a favorite, though it’s starting to fall apart. The Swedish Lady & Swedish Gent are articulated wooden people – He has a muffler – she has a heart in her hand and curly hair. The two parka’d heads are from Barrow, Alaska. How funny that they were a gift from an old boyfriend and now m last name is Barrow! Ha! And finally, that little angel at the top? That’s the first Christmas ornament I ever received. It was made by Carol Rockwell, whom I haven’t seen since 1982. But I cherish that angel.
Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. There was a time when I adored shoes. Then I had an ankle transplant that failed and then I had a successful ankle replacement. Five years of surgeries, with friends trimming my tree when I couldn’t. And all my friends brought me shoe ornaments. I love this collection. Especially the riding boot. It’s been a few years since I soared over jumps, and I remember that feeling everytime I see this boot.

Cakes, cookies, garden implements. Not a single wheelbarrow. Weird, isn’t it?
Fox terriers, angel terrier, white angel kitty, deer, birds and the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.

The wreaths are made of spices and nuts – Ukrainian, I think. The eggs are all real – the eggs blown out of the shells and the treated, dyed, wrapped in beads. The red egg was brought back from Eastern Europe, while the white and blue (a goose egg) are handmade in Vermont. The long turned wood spindle was found years ago at a craft fair, and I wish I had a dozen. They feel gorgeous in the hand.
This is the cat’s favorite ornament. Every year, it goes on the bottom branches. Every day she takes it off the tree. Every day I put it back on. It used to look more like a sheep. It’s been loved to death.

Thanks for indulging me. It’s fun to share these lovelies.

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