Apparently, I did something right - in this life, or perhaps a past one - because, when I broke the seal on the Rubbermaid-totes-o'-mystery, I discovered that:
- Everything in the totes color-coordinated with the random stuff that I had pulled together using craft supplies, and everything sort of went together thematically;
- A lot of stuff (for example, these giant tassels that I normally hang off of furntiture in our dining room) looked like Christmas ornaments if you squinted at them; and
- The two-gallon zipper bag that was on top of the totes-o'-mystery contained a tree skirt and the holiday tablecloth that I was bemoaning having left behind.
I separated out twenty or so items that could be pressed into service as ornaments, and then I went to town with the rest. Here's the mantel:
Remember the harvest decor that I said I found a way to utilize? Yup, wrapped 'em to look like presents. Needed heavy things to anchor the boys' stockings and also some filler for the display shelf in the entry hall (photo to follow). The stack of "gifts" under the Santa and reindeer conga line (top right below) are actually some books that I brought with me to the apartment and already finished reading. The blue one, I believe, is "The Social Network." Which is appropriate because, you know, Facebook is blue and all.
Present above the mantel . . . is the painting that was hanging above the mantel, wrapped to look like a present. Once upon a time the painting was a present, and now it's a present again. [Hums "Circle of Life" from Lion King.]
I could only figure out how to anchor two of the stockings from the mantel, so my stocking and the Spouse's are hanging off of the weird chair-shelf objet that I seem to drag from dining room to dining room. Wine rack recently relocated to this wall to make room for the two new barstools that I bought for the house but decided that we should enjoy while we're in the apartment. (There's a bar counter off of the kitchen that the stools service just perfectly - the kids now have their breakfast there.)
Here's a close-up of the chair-shelf-thingie. Star on the top is our tree topper, which I did not feel like putting on the actual tree. So now it's a chair-shelf-thingie topper.
My quilt scrap-and-stryofoam cone project is in the alcove in the entry hall, displayed (along with a only-sort-of-scary Mary Engelbreit Santa head and some Santa candlesticks) in front of gifts that - you guessed it - are wrapped Thanksgiving items. (The square package is a turkey canvas that I painted that reads, "We Give Thanks for Unknown Blessings Already on Their Way," and the rectangular package is "Pie Fixes Everything.")
I was also pleased to discover some Christmas photos lurking in frames (I have a habit of layering multiple photos in a frame and rotating through them as the seasons change, so, sure enough, when I looked in these, I found Christmas photos hanging out in back).
Gittings Santa, taken at Ridglea Country Club, what? - four years ago? Yeah, based on my haircut and hair color, I think that's right. (Sometimes I wonder what it's like to be a man and to look SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME IN ALL OF YOUR PHOTOS. Looking at photos of me over the years is like looking at a montage of identity changes from "La Femme Nikita.")
Here is a photo of me and my frimily posing in Santa hats:
Yes, I know that we look like Realtors. It's part of why we like this particular shot. On account of the cheese factor.
Leaving out the tree for now, but photos to follow. Initial plan was to buy a smaller tree, but here's the thing: I'm a cheapskate, and I'm also an artificial tree snob. I have to have a certain color, and it has to have a certain fullness, and the whole thing just needs to look REAL. So, at the end of the day, I couldn't justify spending what it would take me to get happy about a new fake tree, and since I refused to skimp there was no option but to bring our real fake tree over from the house. Only problem is, it's a fairly substantial tree. Not super-tall, but really, really full.
Armed with paper chains and snowflakes, two small boxes of heirloom ornaments, and a pile of random junk, I had my work cut out for me.