Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings From the Past

As I look around my home which is furnished with a mix of antique and vintage items, new gift items, and collectibles, it causes me to reflect on my home and family and friends and all the blessings that I have this Thanksgiving and every day.

I'm not one of those people who hire an interior decorator and do away with every mismatched item in my home and go with the suggestions of the decorator to have everything perfect and matching.  I prefer to display all my favorite things, put together in a pleasing arrangement, so that I can be comfortable and cozy in my home. 

For example, in my living room the featured item is the grand piano that my husband surprised me with 25 years ago.  I had always wanted one, and my daughter was traveling to Kentucky from Florida to spend the summer with her Dad.  I was so uptight and depressed that he chose this time to have it delivered and surprise me on the day that she got on that plane.  Each time I see it or play it, I remember that day when I walked into my living room and said "Who put THAT there?!?"  What a gift of love - I would never dream of replacing it.

Also, in the living room is a beautiful bookcase with glass doors that belonged to my husband's father - it holds all my music books, and is a clear reminder of the past and the books and treasures that his father must have kept there.

I also have an antique corner cabinet filled with old ironstone serving pieces accumulated by my Granny and left to me when she passed away.  She loved antiques, and I think of her when I look into that cabinet. 

There are also little trinkets and gifts that friends and family have given me displayed throughout that room - a silver tussie mussie filled with flowers bought for me by my parents, a hummingbird figurine given to me by my Uncle Charles, Hallmark ornaments featuring a choir and bell ringers given to me by friends, a little dish my brother gave me where I keep my glasses for use at the piano - you get the idea.

Memories Past and Present is filled with items such as these with a past - and they can be given as a loving gift to someone who will cherish them and display them in their home.  When they see them, it will remind them of you and the occasion of the gift.  Life is made up of memories from the past and special events of the future.  Treasure your memories - and display your treasures!

This Thanksgiving take the time to look around you and remember all the blessings that God, your family and friends have bestowed upon you.  No matter what the circumstances, there are always blessings to be found!  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Thanksgiving & Christmas Spirit Can Last All Year Long!

I've been hearing a lot lately about how awful it is to rush the Christmas season - all the stores are starting to put out their Christmas trees and merchandise, Christmas music is playing, and some of the big box stores already have reduced their Christmas items.  I mean, we even skip right over Thanksgiving - how terrible is that?  Truly, Christmas has become a very commercial season; however, just like anything else in life, there are two ways of observing and reacting.

To me, the true spirit of Christmas and Thanksgiving can last all year long!  Every day we can be thinking about all the blessings we have and say to ourselves and to others how thankful we are.  We can just look around and find the simplest things to be thankful for - the beautiful, colorful Fall leaves, the sunshine, our families, our health, our friends - all these things that God has given us.  We take the time to look back at family celebrations from the past and remember those who are no longer with us and all the fun times we had together.  And we look forward to our family and friend gatherings this year!  Oh, so much to be thankful for in our lives!

When we see the Christmas trees and lights and ornaments already up in the stores, instead of reacting to the negativity of commercialism, we could instead be reminded of all the good that there still is in the world.  Remember the birth of our saviour, Jesus, and the star shining on the world the night He was born.  When we look at all the sparkling lights and ornaments, we can think of  friends and family with love and start to plan on something special that we can buy or do for them during the Christmas season.  It is a wonderful time to remember and love each other.

When I decorate my trees, whether it be at home, or in my antique store, I think about the beautiful nativities and music boxes, angels and ornaments, and who gave them to me, or whose home they will bless.  When shopping for Christmas (and we all do), let's try to take our time, take a step back to a quieter, simpler time, and reflect on each gift as a gift of love for the person we are buying for.  It's OK for Christmas to be commercial in a way - it gives us a special way to show our love for each other, and to remember the birth of Jesus and just how much his presence means in our lives.

Oh, I could go on and on about Christmas and Thanksgiving Past and Present!  Reflect on your blessings - and shop for Christmas gifts with joy in your heart this season!  No "Bah Humbug" allowed inside Memories Past and Present!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Christmas Past and Present

The Christmas season is upon us, and the stores are starting to display all their Christmas trees, decorations, cards, etc.  It's time to start thinking about how you will decorate your home and what treasures you will choose to display. 

The Christmas tree is the main focal point of the decorating for the season.  Are you one who goes with the modern trends purchasing all new ornaments for your tree and having it professionally decorated?  Maybe lime green or hot pink this year - all silver or all gold?  Well, that's not for me.  For me, Christmas is all about tradition and memories - bringing family together in a home filled with the warm glow of Christmas past and Christmas present.

My main tree (yes, I do have more than one) is Victorian in style.  It is a slim tree filled with decorations that go with the Victorian style, but I didn't go out and buy all new ornaments to decorate it - oh yes, maybe a few to fill in here and there - but mostly it was a gradual thing.  Each year a few new items are added that are special ornaments bought for me by a friend, or one I spotted in a local store that took my eye, or even hand crafted ornaments that are one of a kind. 

My Mother makes the most beautiful decorated ball ornaments, fashioned out of satin balls decorated with vintage jewelry, beads, sequins, tassels, braid and trim - each one is unique and full of her creative ability.  I probably have about 20 of those on the tree, and each year add at least 1 or 2 new ones.  She has literally made hundreds of them over the years, and I treasure each one that I have! 

Added to those are about six similar ornaments made by a favorite member of our church lovingly called "Aunt Kat" who gave one to each of our Church choir members each year.  She has passed away now, and it brings back fond memories of her each time I hang one on the tree and imagine her aging fingers making them even into her late 90's and even over 100 years that she lived.  (She was my craft teacher at the YMCA when I was a child - and a real treasure of a person!)

Added to those special ornaments are little birds nests, bird cages, glass birds with tail feathers, other glass Victorian style ornaments, little Victorian people ornaments given to me by friends, and then to top it off burgundy and gold glass ornaments to reflect the light and burgundy poinsettia blooms.  This year I will lovingly add 6 Thomas Kinkade Santa ornaments which I was lucky enough to acquire on Ebay.

This tree is filled with memories, acquired over time.  When you are shopping or looking around at decorations to place on your tree - think about what you already have and add items of meaning to them.  Shop for the unique in little out-of-the-way specialty shops, antique stores, thrift stores, etc.  Make the tree a part of "your" personality - not something that is just bought straight off the shelf and impersonal.

Each year when you decorate that tree, you will be filled with "memories" just as I am when I decorate this special Victorian tree in my home!  Of course, at Memories Past and Present, we have such a selection of treasures for you to feast your eyes on!  Each of our trees is decorated with specialty ornaments where you can pick them right off the tree - a perfect little gift for a friend or family member perhaps that they will hang on their tree year after year - and remember you with a smile on their face!  Have a Blessed Christmas!

Stay tuned for other Christmas tree ideas based on the trees I decorate in my own home!