December 5, 2010

Are You in the Spirit?

Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

With temps in the high 70's to low 80's it takes a little talking into in these parts.  Plus if you're the type who really loves fall like I do, then you really have to take some extraordinary measures to get into the spirit.

This is a photo of my Japanese maple at the beginning of the fall season...

It's now sporting its lovely dark red color that catches my eye every time I walk by the window.   But it seems everyone has moved on past the beautiful fall color and is ready to take on the holiday season.  As you can see, we aren't past our fall color just yet.  This maple usually holds onto its leaves well into December.   We're really just getting started with what feels like an authentic fall.

This becomes a problem when you're the mom and the rest of the country/world has jumped head on into Christmas.  Gift procurement, holiday decorating, baking, Christmas cards, entertaining...these chores responsibilities fall squarely on my shoulders. 

So with the encouragement and inspiration from many of the gardening blogs I read, I began the melancholy ritual of taking down my fall decorations and working on bringing Christmas into my home.

I often change the curtains in my kitchen to match the season and it's a pretty quick way to change the mood of the room with little effort.  You'll only need a couple of items and you can be on your way to a whole new look.

A package of clips and a tension rod (you can find these at Target) will get you started.

A couple of dishtowels or napkins will work as a no-sew, inexpensive alternative to curtains.  These napkins were bought at a local hardware store for $5 a piece.

Simply attach the clips to the fabric and hang on the tension rod and you've got a ready-made curtain!  The dishtowels are usually too long so you'll need to fold them at the top before clipping.  These napkins were the perfect length so no folding was necessary.

The birds on the napkins coordinate nicely with the ornament I had hanging in the window through the summer.

During the fall, I added these lights to go along with the bird.  The lights are festive and look nice in the evening now that the sun goes down so early.

Here is the overall look of the curtains with the ornament and lights.  The bulb is an Amaryllis that will brighten the window through the coldest days of winter.  All in all, I think the combination works well and I get to keep a little of the autumn touches while still updating the window for the Christmas season...not a bad compromise.

The process of putting away the fall colors and textures and bringing in some fresh, vibrant color has refreshed my spirit and I can say now that I'm ready to soar into this Christmas season with a renewed sense of purpose.  It's my prayer that you will all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas season!


  1. I like your curtain idea. I just put up new curtains in one of my rooms. I just needed something with more color since my garden is brown and grey right now. Our temps have been in the 30's. Winter is almost here! Bring on the snow days!!

  2. I'm usually 'in the spirit' by now but not this year when we're in Florida - tough to do when you're sitting outside in shorts surrounded by palms ! I hear you.

    We'll be back in the snow and cold in about 2 weeks so I'll quickly catch up then ;-)

  3. You know I am in the spirit, but you just took me back to fall. I am fickle and am ready to put the pumpkins back out. Ha ha. Glad you added the color, soar away. Looks good, I love your curtains and the little bird too.

  4. Your Japanese Maple is pretty. It reminded me that our Japanese Maple was quite old and slowly attacked by under the bark beetles of some sort.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my blogging buddies...

    Patty, and Abe Lincoln
    Brookville, Ohio

  5. I like your curtain idea too. I also like the design on the dishtowels. It does brighten up one's spirit.

  6. I just adore that bird ornament, and your post has done wonders for getting me in the Christmas spirit. First, I must clean house... somehow it turned into a pigsty with all the projects I had this past week. Great curtain ideas!

  7. I know exactly what you mean, Cat. The Christmas season starts way too early for my taste, especially living in Austin where it doesn't really start to look like autumn until December. But we moms have to start early to make it feel like Xmas for our families, don't we? We got our tree up yesterday, after slogging through some dry, dusty cut-it-yourself tree farms in 80-degree weather.

  8. I will take the 70's and 80 for Christmas. I just do not do winter well. LOL! I love the idea of a changeable window for the seasons. You little birds really liven up a setting.It is a fun idea.

  9. I love the little bird and how you change her up to meet each season.

    Love the little bird fabric, I hope I can find some.

  10. Oh my goodness !
    You have such a talent for for decorating : ) I love these curtains and lights !
    I would love to still be in Autumn mode myself .. I love Autumn more than any other season and it seems to fly by so quickly .. Your maple looks wonderful as does your header picture too : ) I love cone flowers and they would compete strongly for a header picture on my blog as well : ) Thank you fro dropping by my blog and leaving such nice comments!

  11. That is absolutely charming and I am fast learning that I am WAY behind with galvanising the spirit of christmas here

  12. What a great idea - seasonal curtains! I really must have those napkins! Can you tell me where you got them?... hope there are some left!

  13. Dear TS, thank you. I'm glad you were able to bring a little pop into your home with some new curtains - I know it helped my attitude! Yes, I remember the thrill of snow days there in VA - something magical about seeing the monuments and capitol covered in snow! I look forward to seeing your posts when you get snow so I can relive my childhood a bit!

    Hi Rick, I've enjoyed your Florida posts but do so love your northern expereiences as they are so different from ours here in travels.

    Thanks GWGT - you've been much inspiration in getting myself motivated...many thanks to you and your holiday enthusiasm!

    Dear Patty and Abe, Sorry to hear about your maple...maybe time to plant another one? They add such character and charm - I can't imagine being without one. Merry Christmas to you both too!

    Dear One, There are so many birds available here in the States right now for indoor decor and I'm loving the idea of bringing the outside in! Thanks for visiting.

    Thanks Meredith! Funny how quickly the house can get away from us when we are busy pursuing the things we love!! You've always got so many wonderful, worthwhile projects going on. Thanks for stopping by ;-)

    Glad to hear you're catching the spirit Pam! Slogging through the christmas tree farm will at least make for an interesting post!!

    Dear Lona, I don't generally do winter well even though I whine a bit about it still being a bit warm for christmas, secretly I love the warm weather!!

    Dear Lifeshighway, thanks for stopping by and glad you were inspired! The fabric came from Breed & Co., a local hardware/nursery store. You may find them online?

    Dear Joy, you're welcome, I loved your blog and will visit again soon. Thanks for all the encouragement!

    Dear Catharine, thank you. I'm hoping that a little curtain inspiration will help get you in the Christmas mood! Thanks for visiting.

    Thanks Tufa! They were found at Breed & Co. here in Austin. Good luck!

  14. I love how you did your curtains with the clips and napkins. What a clever idea!
    A Japanese Maple... that's exactly what I'll need to enhance our Fall colors next year. We live in Central Florida and are also a bit deprived in the Fall Colors department. ;)
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!


  15. Tufa - There were plenty last week so I hope you're in luck!

    Thanks for visiting Mary. The maple is definitely the major attraction in my fall garden. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  16. I don't do much decorating for the season but your touches are light and I like what you have done. I imagine it would be hard to get into the spirit in Texas, but it does snow there doesn't it?

  17. I love those holiday napkin / curtains -- what a cute design. It makes the season look fresh and bright at your window. Nice touch!

  18. Beautiful post Cat! Life itself is a process. Something that happens a moment at a time, and you've really captured the passage of the seasons. It's not something that happens instantaneously and not without a feeling of loss of some kind. It's hard to transition between the seasons as quickly as our society seems to dictate is necessary. Thank you for taking the time to recognize this and let us slow down a bit and appreciate the process of life.

  19. Patty - I think when my children are grown I will be much more selective about holiday decorating! I've been leaning more toward seasonal rather than holiday decorating as I've gotten older - so using things that can stay out all winter, spring or fall as opposed to just Christmas, Easter, etc.

    It does snow here in Central Austin occasionally but not often...usually a dusting if anything or a nice slippery sheet of ice is more the norm. The entire city shuts down and it's a rather nice change for us!

    Thanks Laurrie, I appreciate your thoughtful comment ;-)

    Thanks for your perspective Diane. You always have such a nice way of making how I feel sound so philosophical! Btw, loved that you've adopted the puppies - they are beautiful!

  20. Your post made me smile, because my garden - and everything around - is covered in thick hoar frost, and Autumn seems like a distant memory! So getting in to the Christmas mood has been easy - carols while I started the cake. I love your bird. Hope the fun of the season overtakes the chored which can sap the energy from you before you get to really enjoy it all yourself!

  21. What a great idea using the towels and napkins for curtains. For some of us who are sewing challenged this is an easy way to be a little more adventurous.

  22. Dear Plantaliscious, I saw where you guys are really cold of late - hunker down! Yes, we've got the carols playing - mostly the soundtrack of Charlie Brown Christmas!

    Dear Marguerite, Ha! I definitely know about being sewing challenged! I'm the queen of the hot glue gun ;-)

  23. My dear, You are clever and I thank you for inspiring me to perk up my kitchen with a curtain change~Happiest of holiday seasons to you~gail

  24. The rain and freezing temperatures of the past week have done away with fall and pushed us into winter. The change is not unwelcome. I like cold weather for the holidays. (But after that I'm ready for spring!) I have been decorating and shopping, so it's beginning to feel like Christmas. I like how you change your kitchen curtains with the seasons; great idea!

  25. Thank you Gail! Glad you found some inspiration during your visit here! Merry Christmas to you too!

    Yes debsgarden I understand favoring a bit of cold weather for the benefit of the holiday season but I too am always ready for spring! Merry Christmas!

  26. I too love the fall season so much! I wish it could last 6 months. I love everything about fall-the colors, smells, cool crisp air, etc. Even though it is technically still fall, it is easy to move to the winter Christmas spirit when there is white snow on the ground here in Utah. Love your bird motif idea. They are quickly returning in popularity.

  27. It is bitterly cold here and so it is not as hard to feel wintery and seasonal. I like your simple ideas for adding Christmas cheer.

  28. I'm loving this time of year... wish it stayed crisp and shadowy for longer before all the wind and rain comes!


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

Thanks for taking the time to visit!