Recipe Links
Basil Oglio Fra Diavlo Black Pepper and Fennel Shortbread Crackers Bleu Bacon and Italian Burgers Blueberry Almond Crumble Pie Braised Beef Short Ribs Breakfast Sausage Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies Buttermilk Pancakes California Grilled Artichokes Capressa Fra Diavlo Cherry Garcia Icecream Cherry Sangria Chicken and Polenta Chicken Cacciatore Chicken Vegetable Soup with Broccoli Rabe Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting Chocolate Sparkle Cookies Christmas Shortbreads Classic Hummus Coconut Cake Coq Au Vin Wine Braised Chicken Cranberry Orange Crumb Cake Cream Corn and Lima Bean Succotash Cream of Crab and Corn Soup Devishly Chewy Brownies Eggplant Parmesan Fetticini Alfredo with Bacon and Peas Fusilli a la Vodka Sauce Ginger Chocolate Spice Cookies Gnocci with Broccoli Rabe and Sausange Gramma Daly's Cole Slaw Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Butter Grilled Swordfish Hazelnut Biscotti Cookies Heavenly Blondies Homemade Italian Sausage Homemade Sauerkraut Hot Artichoke Dip Italian Meatballs Lasagna Bolonase with Ragu Sauce Little Sister's BBQ Ribs Molten Chocolate Cake Olio fra diavlo pasta salad Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake Quiche (Sans the Lorraine) Red Velvet Cake Seafood Francaise Shaved Brussel Spouts & Polenta Cake Slow Cooker Thai Pork and Coconut Rice South Florida Fish Stew Spagetti ala Olio Aglio and Pepperoncino Spiced Pear and Cranberry Chutney Steak Braciole Sunday Tomato Sauce Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash Swordfish Oreganade Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin and Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce The White House Maryland Crab Cakes Tomato Bisque with Chichen and Rice Turkey Paprikash Soup Walnut Shortbread Christmas Cookies White Bean Pasta Fagioli

Go Flock Yourself



What was I thinking?  Volunteering to put my house on the Holiday House Tour?  I’d been on the tour the previous year, and other than getting to see other people’s houses, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the level of decorating I saw.   Most of them looked like skimpy department store decorating.

I thought to myself, “I can do better.”

Did I say that out loud?  Evidently I did and to the right people, because the next year, there was my address on the program.   The result was nothing short of spectacular.  The process, on the other hand, was exhausting. 

If you are going to put yourself and your house on display for Christmas, and you are doing this as a benefit for a worthy cause, and people are paying money to see your house, they should get their money’s worth.  I hope they did, because it cost me more than $2,000 to make my house look like it did, and that was for materials only.  The labor was free (meaning me and Susan).

I had five rooms on the first level that were decorated (so was the powder room , but somehow that didn’t make it into the photo shoot).  Three trees, all live.  With more than 1,000 lights on each tree, all wound by me.  Each room had a different color theme.  Each room had garlands (made by me) over the cornice boxes.  Each room had a vignette display of flowers, candy, candles and beverage glasses which matched the decorations in the room.  I don't miss much.

The Family Room was relatively easy, since it was the room I typically decorated.  Ditto the Dining Room, as I already had most of these decorations.  The Martini Room was the most fun.  I had my mother’s tree in there as the decorations were all silver, white, crystal and green, like the tree.  The Martini Room itself was decorated in all white, glass, silver and black.  The only color in the room was on the walls.   It was awesome.

It took me nearly three weeks to get the decorations made and put up.  I started the day after Thanksgiving to get ready for the December 9th tour.  When I finished, there was something missing.  Then I realized I needed to set the stage for guests coming into the in the Entry Way, just as spectacularly as when they finished the tour in the Martini Room. 

I needed a theme.  Winter wonderland.  All Natural.  Like a wintery storm came through and left its crystals everywhere.   I needed another tree.  I needed more decorations.  And I needed snow.   In the house. 

Out in CA, where they are so environmentally conscientious (except for their enormous SUV’s), it is shocking, but you can get a live tree with flocking on it.

What’s flocking, you ask?  Fake snow.  Actually I found out what it really is.  It’s the fibers that make up the fabric we call chenille, sprayed onto something when they are wet.  They stick, and then they dry out, and you have something that looks like it has just snowed. 

In theory.

I should have just bought a fake tree, already lit and pre-flocked.  But I’m a purist, and I wanted a live tree, and I thought you could just go down to the corner tree farm and get one flocked.  Just like when I lived in CA. 

Turns out, the EPA has more or less outlawed that practice because people throw their live trees into the environment in responsible fashion, except now there are all of those chemicals stuck to it.  Not good for mother nature.

“If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead.” thought The Grinch.

The kit showed up a few days later with thorough explanations for attaching this thingy to your garden hose, then attaching this other thingy to the bag of fibers, pointing it at the tree, and turning the water on.   The garden hose should have been my first clue.  (I thought I was just going to get something in a spray can.)

As the sun was going down, Chris pulls up to the top of the driveway, and sees me standing outside in the dark, spraying this poor tree.  He said he thought he was in the last scene in the movie "Scarface."

All I did was water the tree.  The thingy wouldn’t work, the fibers went everywhere but on the tree, and the entire kit was a complete waste of money. 

But I wasn't going to give up.

I had purchased some white glitter and a can of spray glue, and had used it on many of the decorations.  Something you want to do outside, or in your garage I might add, and not anywhere near anything you care about. 

In fact, my sister made the bird’s nests out of raffia and some Jordan Almonds, and we glittered those and stuck them on the tree.  We did the same for a bag of pine cones.  It was quite lovely.   But I didn’t think to do that to the tree until it was too late.  It was already in the entryway, and it already had decorations on it. 

  What to do, what to do?

My friend Susan is my Go To Girl.  Anytime I need advise in the way of artistic, creative, problem solving, I ask her. 

In fact, she and I together painted both the Dining Room and the Martini (nee Living) Room walls, ceiling and moldings with pearlized paint.  There was analyptic wallpaper on the ceilings that made them look like they were the old fashioned tin ceilings.  They had been painted with copper paint when I bought the house.  While they were lovely, the ceilings just crashed down on you and we decided they needed to be lightened up.    We did the ceiling, the mantel and crown molding in pearlized white.  We did the walls in the Dining Room a pearlized pink.  We called it Tin Pearls and Satin Ribbons.  If you look closely in the mirror in the Martini Room, you can see the ceiling reflected in the frame.  I hope the new owners didn’t paint over it.

But I digress.

Susan asked, “Is there anything I can help you with?” 

(You would think she would have learned her lesson by now.)

So branch by branch, she dipped into a puddle of craft clue and then into a pile of white glitter.   Branch, by branch, by branch.  It took her all afternoon, but at least she can say she got flocked.

I sent her home with a tin of these cookies my family called Nut Gems (See Recipes).


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>