Friday, December 16, 2011

The Merry Magpie

I am a magpie year round, collecting bits and pieces of vintage bling, flash, and sparkle, but at the holidays, my love of all that shines is at its peak.  There's no season I love more, especially because so many truly beautiful vintage ornaments can still be bought for a song at flea markets, yard sales, and even antiques shops.  In fact, I often find them for much better prices than their contemporary knock-offs, and their wonderful patina is for real rather than manufactured.

When they are broken or missing their little top inserts--or if they are too small to hang on the tree,  I simply sprinkle them liberally around the house in bowls, vases, under bell jars, or even in pretty tea cups and wine glasses in the china hutch.

Some of my favorites are ones my mother bought for me many years ago from the estate auction of writer May Sarton.  Sarton has long been among my favorite writers, and when she died, my mother gave me several boxes of ornaments that she'd bought at the sale of her estate.  Each year I have the joy of opening boxes of the very ornaments that Sarton herself hung on her tree each Christmas.

This isn't to say that I don't love new ornaments, for I adore them, too!  If it shines, I crave it, which is why I bought the beautiful red garland in the photo above a few years ago.  This year I combined it with some very old and rather "distressed" (which I LOVE) red and silver balls in a pretty pewter tray on the kitchen table.  In the center, I placed an old candle jar that I'd saved and washed out after I'd used up the scented candle that came in it.  I don't have the budget to buy tons of new candles this year, so I simply poured some sugar in the jar: first white, then a little red (think cookie sugar from the grocery store), then more white.  I nestled a votive into the top, and now I have a candle I can keep reusing all season--and into the winter.  I just keep replacing the votives for a a few pennies each time I burn one down to its end.

My favorite new ornament is one sent to my by my friend Vicki Archer of French Essence.  Like most girls I know, it has long been a dream of mine to visit Paris, so when Vicki's package arrived in the mail this week, I was over the moon.  An Eiffel Tower of my very own!  I don't think I'll put this one away when Christmas is over.  It may need to tide me over until I get to the real thing.

Wishing the Merriest of Holidays to everyone, especially my fellow magpies!  More seasonal sparkle soon . . .


  1. Oh Gigi,
    Your vintage baubles are beautiful and have that wonderful aged look that can never be reproduced. Some of ours yhave taken on a crackled look and are my favourites.
    .....and how lovely to have won one of Vicki's Christmas giveaways....and what an appropriate one!!
    Your candle idea is a great one .....and, so much cheaper than those extortionately priced ones in the shops ( and far nicer !!)
    Enjoy the build up to Christmas as I know you will....sending love and seasons greetings from the UK. XXXX

  2. Fabulous candle idea, Gigi...I may borrow that from you! I have had my eye on that Eiffel Tower ornament, so happy that you have won it! Beautiful ornaments every one of them! Happy weekend, sweet friend! xxoo :)

  3. Would you believe that vintage baubles are the hardest for me to find here in France! So I have been collecting and making hand made new ones every year for 15 years. Sigh - I do love Christmas. Saw an idea of filling old candle holders with coffee beans to get that warm aroma as the votive burns … MMMMMMM
    MUch love Gigi


  4. Oooh.. ahhh... I love your gorgeous ornaments! The sugar/candle idea is wonderful. I dug through my candle drawer yesterday & found little more than an almost new package of tea light candles. Now I know exactly what to do with them. Thanks for the idea!


  5. Such lovely ornaments and would love to have an old collection full of memories. I think you must keep your Paris pink Eiffel Tower out on your desk all year Gigi! Much love XO

  6. I adore your decorating Gigi and I am happy that the little Eiffel Tower has found it's way to you... xv

  7. Hey Gigi, what beautiful images from around your home and what a special thing your mom did ~ merriest of holidays to you and yours!

  8. I believe I'd said this before but it is worth repeating. Your blog posts/pictures bring me joy. Thank you.

  9. I would love the Eiffel Tower, but oh to have May Sarton's ornaments - WOW! What a treat. Love the way you display these crippled ones and love them all. I hadn't put my scratched red ones out for several years, but I am enjoying the immensely this year. Just loving the sparklies!

  10. Very beautiful ornaments and fabulous photography. How exciting to receive an Eiffel Tower from France, reminds me of an Audrey Hepburn film I just saw this week (at a festival of Hepburn's films in the 60's) called 'When Paris Sizzles' where a burnt out screenwriter tries to write a script in 2 days called 'The Girl who Stole the Eiffel Tower'.

    Joyeux Noël!

  11. i found a new store last night and bought lovely goodies, but nothing compared to the 2 antique Christmas balls i'd bought earlier in the day. their bling had a bit of experience to it, stories of Christmas past attached.

    (and i am so stealing your votive idea, although, on 2nd thought, it may still be warm enough here for ants to find their way inside. lol! i am not so Christmas friendly when it comes to ants in the house. :)

    xoxo this is all gorgeous.

  12. What a wonderful post! May Sarton is one of my favorite writers and how exciting that your mother purchased so many vintage ornaments from her estate sale. This post is so inspiring, I am now going to put the ornaments that I am not using in bowls around my house and I also love the idea of filling a glass container with sugar and nestling a candle inside. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us!

  13. Even the new things I bought when I was first married are now vintage:) I love them all:) Love this peek at your decorated looks so lovely and warm.

    I have never read anything by Mary Sarton butI am now intrigued! How wonderful to have a favorite authors Christmas baubles!!

    I do hope you have the merriest of holidays Gigi!!

  14. Christmas Day has flown past. Just now I have a quiet moment between bouts of after-Christmas sale shopping. I wanted to stop by and wish you all the joys of the season. As the quiet week approaches, may you find time to do all the things you most love. May you know, each day, how very blessed and loved you are. Happy Holidays, friend. ~ Relyn


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