Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The “Virtual” Christmas House Tour

It’s over a week later, yet I’m still so pleased to be receiving reactions and comments on our church’s annual Christmas House Tour!  I’ve had a few requests to do a “virtual” tour of my home, but it’s taken me a while to put that tour together, especially since I didn’t actually take any photos that night!  However, as dusk fell Saturday evening, I decided to “re-stage” the whole house as it looked the previous Monday evening.  I lit everything back up and went around taking photos. 

And now, it’s time for me to invite all of you into my home.  I hope you enjoy the tour! (And I apologize in advance for my amateur, crappy-quality pics!)

We’ll begin outside…


Outdoor lights aren’t my thing. Trust me.  Thankfully, I had a few helpers who made my outdoor lights a little more than they would have been if I’d been left to it myself!  Big thanks to my brother-in-law Chris, sister Kara, and of course my good ol’ Rolly for all their help!


This is the Nativity scene that is normally on display on the church steps next door.  Rolly set up closer to my house this year instead.


This is the Christmas greenery pot that my mom made for me which sat on my front step.  Of course, the day of the tour, the wind blew it over and I had to re-assemble it. lol  I hope I did a decent job! ;)


The wreath on my front door was a gift several years ago from my talented Aunt Brenda.  We took it back to her to “rejuvenate it” after it got rim-racked pretty badly the past few years in wind and winter weather.  The updated version was gorgeous!


This is the front entrance into my house.  The church office is behind that door.  I loved the addition of my sister Kara’s big friendly snowman, and my Aunt Marion’s reindeer.  They greeted everyone in such a festive way.


I had to include a snap of this frame!  I’m so appreciative to my friend Jaime for letting me borrow the Christmas tile that goes in this frame!



Into the living room, the room where I spend most of my time!  It was a cross between an Ottawa Senators and Winter Wonderland theme.


I trimmed the tree in red, gold and Ottawa Senators ornaments,, topped with an Ottawa Senators Santa hat, and with the beautiful light-up glass block “gifts” that my mom and aunt make.


“Sens Corner”!! – Sens stockings, all of my Senators decorations & bobbleheads, pictures of me with Wade Redden and Chris Neil,  a Wade Redden autographed puck, etc.  Oh, and of course, the Wish Book! ;)


The night of the tour, I actually had that card holder full of Christmas cards from last year, as I didn’t have any from this year yet!  Since then, the old ones have been removed and the new ones are starting to accumulate.  That Santa down there dances and sings “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble.” lol  I gave him to my Grandma one Christmas, and after she passed away, he came back to me.  Grandma always took a kick out of silly stuff like that!


I had one of my favourite Christmas movies, “Miracle on 34th Street”, playing on the TV in the living room.







I had hung red & white sparkly snowflakes from the ceiling in the living room.  It’s hard to capture how pretty they are on camera, though.  I love the look in real life.


Looking down the hallway into the dining room.


I have been cutting up snowflakes to put on this door every Christmas I’ve lived there.  This year I actually used patterns to make sure they were extra-pretty instead of my usual hack-jobs! lol!




I went with an old-fashioned Christmas theme in my dining room, as that is the room where my grandmother’s dining room table and chairs reside, as well as a display of her teacups, her collection of dogs, and so much more.  In fact, I always call it “Grandma’s Room”.  For that reason, this homemade Santa Claus that used to hang on her front door always hangs on the wall in there.


This was the first year I put a tree up in my dining room!  I borrowed my friend Sara’s idea to make it an “edible” tree.  Popcorn garland, dried orange slices, cookie ornaments, and candy canes are the only decorations on this tree - aside from the clear mini-lights, and my grandma’s angel tree topper.


Because I call it “Grandma’s Room”, my Aunt Marion suggested I offer samples of my Granny Young’s fruit cake, which Aunt M makes every year.  I was only two when Granny passed away so I don’t remember her, but I’ve always heard about her famous fruit cake.  Truthfully, I don’t like fruit cake – not even Granny Young’s, unfortunately – but I have to say it was a great idea to offer samples.  The plate was licked clean (much to my surprise! lol!  I kept saying, “Nobody’s going to eat it, nobody likes fruit cake.”)



The Gingerbread House disaster… I am NOT good at decorating, especially not when the kit I bought was faulty! hahaha!!



My dad made this wooden Nativity scene, and it is usually used at our church during the Advent season.  I stole it this year, though, to display under the tree in this room filled with nostalgia.



Ever since I “inherited” my grandmother’s collection of dogs, I thought it would be fun to deck them out for Christmas – this year, I finally did. ;)


My Aunt Marion shared an idea she saw somewhere of painted burlap panels.  I’m not much of an artist, but my super-talented mom tackled the project head-on, and I was so thrilled with how the “Let it Snow” turned out!


Toll painted sleigh was created by yet another super-talented family member, my Aunt Nora.


My teacup collection – mostly given to me by my Aunt Mona and inherited from Grandma – was on display here, along with other Christmassy trinkets from my Grandma’s house.  I decided to put the pictures of my loved ones that we miss dearly here – Grandma, Dad, cousins Jeff and Troy.  There was also a little Elvis ornament that sang “Blue Christmas”.  Seemed only appropriate…



And now, into the kitchen!  I love my wine shoe… even if I don’t really love wine! LOL!




This snowman fridge magnet set drew a LOT of attention.  Everyone is asking me where I got it!  The truth?  Stole it from my mom… and I have no clue where she got it!




This was my goodie table.  I didn’t bother taking more out of the freezer for the “re-staging”…just envision those trays filled with cookies and fudge and bark! ;)  (And to those who were complimenting my mom on the fabulous baking she had done for me – I made it all myself, you turkeys! LOL – except for the fruit cake, of course!)  And that toll painted snowman is one of my favourites – his tag says “Fat Snowmen Last Longer” – seemed only fitting he hang out at the food table, right?


Up the stairs we go!



This is “Frizzled Santa”.  OK, he’s on loan from my Aunt Marion and I don’t think he’s actually called “Frizzled Santa”, but that’s what I call him.  He has grown on me.  At first, I thought he was weird.  But now I kinda like him in all his stringy, frizzly glory.


Step into my bedroom!  Freshly painted, new bed spread and blinds… I LOVE my “new” room!





Why, yes, I DO still have to have a chocolate Advent calendar!!!


Strange thing in my room is this counter space over built-in cupboards – but it was the perfect place to display my sister’s Christmas Village!  Big thanks to her and my mom for making it look so beautiful.  I added my grandma’s ceramic tree to the middle of the setting.


My other favourite Christmas movie, “Elf”, was showing in my room.  Ironically, by the end of the night, I actually had an elf in my bed.  But that’s a story for later …


This room used to be my roomie Susie’s before she moved out.  It became the Quilt Room.  My old daybed was set up in here, with the quilt my grandma made for my sister as a wedding present on the bed (along with some fun additions from Aunt Marion – I love those “Naughty & Nice” pillows!)


My sister’s quilt rack with the quilt that I inherited from Grandma, as well as a baby quilt that my mom made, on display.



My mom also quilted this Christmas wall hanging




Back out in the upstairs hall – Meet Lynn-donne the Elf!  People kept telling me he was creepy, but he really isn’t at all.  My Aunt Marion bought him in a silent auction at a fashion show that was held in memory of our cousin’s wife, Lynn.  Lynn was a very active member of her community, volunteering and working hard for many, many years.  She passed away two years ago just before Christmas.  Aunt Marion named the elf in her honour: Lynn, and then “donne” was added on, the French word for “give” (the Elf is French, apparently) – translated, his name means “Lynn Gives”.

Lynn-donne was guarding the upstairs bathroom door, the only room in the house that I didn’t have open for viewing (hence the “Do Not Open Until Dec. 25th!” tag on the door.)  Unfortunately, he had a little accident and fell from his perch, breaking some of his fingers.  My friends who were upstairs at the time took him to safety… Naturally, they left him in my bed. ;)


I loved how this little spare room turned out!  Normally empty, it was filled with borrowed furniture from friends and family, and became a cozy little reading and writing nook.




Friends Lindsay and Ryan let me borrow this fireplace, which I LOVE!  I had many people ask about the beautiful toll painted candlesticks – another beautiful creation by my Aunt Nora, on loan to me from Aunt Marion.


On the night of tour, I had my laptop set up on this desk with a little Christmas story on the screen for people to read if they wished.  Also, my iTunes Christmas playlist was in rotation!



I made this sign for the door of the “Craft Room” (used to be former roomie Sarah’s room) – I sort of tried to make it like my own little Elfie workshop. ;)


Another Aunt Marion idea – she gave me the sparkly tree and told me I should make it into my “family tree” – so I did!  I cut out pictures of Mom, Dad, my siblings and I, and my nieces and nephews, and hung them on the tree.  I heard a few comments from people who thought it was a great idea.




This is the gift wrapping station!  My friend Stacy was upstairs watching to make sure the candles stayed under control the night of the tour, and she told me she heard a few people comment on my cool “retro” table! haha!  That’s my parents’ kitchen table, and it eventually got handed down to me. 




This was the scrapbooking table.  I had pictures from past Christmases scattered around, as well as pages in my old scrapbooks on display.  The Disney wall hanging was a gift from the Hamilton family.


The O Holy Night tile is one of my favourite decorations, made by my friend Lindsay.

Well, there we have it!  That’s the “virtual” Christmas House Tour at my place!  I hope you all enjoyed it. ;)

I’d just like to take one moment to send out a big THANK YOU to the other homes that were on the tour: Vikki, John & Mary-Sheila, and Josh & Amanda.  Also a big thanks to all who helped out with the tour in any way.  I wasn’t able to be as involved the night of as I normally would be because of my own house being on the tour, but so many helping hands pitched in and I was ever so grateful!  A special big shout-out to my cousin Donna for all her help, especially that night looking after everything in the church basement.

Last but not least, an EXTRA big thanks to EVERYONE who helped me get ready for the tour.  There were many jobs that were completed in the short span of a month, many decorations that I was able to borrow, and I couldn’t have done it without all of my little “elves” helping out:  Aunt Marion, the Hamilton family (that includes Ryan the blind hanger!), Rolly (who was there to ease my morning-of meltdown when I blew a breaker), my brother-in-law Chris, sister Kara, Aunt Brenda, Uncle Garry, Dale, Jaime, Shannon, Lindsay, Stacy, and of course, my MOM – couldn’t have done ANY of this without her!!!  If I forgot to mention anyone, I do apologize…but the list of helpers was long!! ;)


Nancy said...

Thanks, Jillian, I enjoyed this. I missed a few items, and sorry, but the elf is creepy. Your snowflakes on the door and ceiling were some of my favourite things, and your pictures of people.

Stacy said...

I loved that night - and I love seeing it all over again. I asked Aunt Sue if that Disney Wall Hanging came from them and shes like no...never seen it before - thinking she meant you were borrowing it, I was like no, i'm sure lindsay must have gotten her that when they/ya's went one time and she just walked away like no clue!

I was happy to see the fruit cake gone when I came down from hiding upstairs!

Emmy said...

Love your Christmas decor! That let it snow sign is the best! Seriously I totally want to make one.. though yeah not sure it would turn out as good as the one your mom made for you.

Stacie said...

Too many favorites to pick one, but I love the edible tree with the nativity under it and the paper snowflakes....but the elf does creep me out!

PaulaP said...

Your virtual house tour has gone viral Jill! I got forwarded the link and was so impressed with your decorated home! My faves were your fridge magnets and the teacup area with the photos. Nicely done!!

The Lovely One said...

Very nice! I especially like the snowflakes on the glass door and the edible tree in the dining room!