Decoration Inspiration

For the last couple of years I’ve been thinking the outside of the Dream House needed a little something else during the holidays. Mr. Blandings does a great job the lights, but it needed….something.

Inspiration came through the mail as it often does.  I have just started acquiring Christmas china which has a toy soldier motif.  The soldiers above seemed just the thing.  I hunted around on the internet a bit but I couldn’t find it.

What I really wanted was some vintage department store display pieces but it seems these are not the kind of thing that just pop up anywhere.  My guess is, when they do, they are probably quite dear.  I thought, just maybe, I could make them myself.  If it went badly I could ditch them and no one would know.

Off to Sutherland’s to buy the wood.  Mr. Blandings has a jigsaw and he assured me he could cut out the shape that I needed.  Shamefully, I made him show me.  I know, not nice.  The thing is, once he showed me, I wanted to do it myself.  Just like my love at first sight with the cordless drill I knew the jigsaw and I had a future.

He watched while I started and I finally looked up annoyed.  “Are you going to stand there and watch me the whole time?  Don’t you think I can do it?”  “I think you can do it, but you’re getting ready to cut through the workbench.”  Oh.  “Thanks.  Anything else I need to know?”  “Don’t cut off a finger and be careful not to cut through the cord.”  The finger I’d thought of; the cord thing was good information.

It was shockingly easy.  The whole painting process was the most painful because I hate to prep.  But I did.  Then measured carefully so that my soldiers’ uniforms would look symmetrical.  Then I sealed them.  Twice.  (By the way, now do you see why I hate the basement?  It’s terrifying.)

Now they are standing guard.  They were in the hall for a few days as I hesitated to put them out.  “They’ll be so cold.”  “They’ll be fine.  It’s what they’ve trained for.”

Mr. Blandings hung the garland and the wreaths to complete the vision.   

While regaling a friend with our Burns and Allen tale he said, “But why?”   A vision?  A bee in my Christmas bonnet?  You know, the thing is, it’s just the sort of stuff I like to do.  And Mr. Blandings?  Let’s just say he’s used to it.
Images, top, Southern Accents, Nov./Dec. 2008 and just inside the first is the most charming use of Le Lac.  
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51 thoughts on “Decoration Inspiration

  1. No freaking way. I am so impressed! And looking at my fake Christmas tree across the living room now with more than a hint of shame… 🙂

  2. The second picture is also in the same Southern Accents Nov/Dec 2008, it’s on page 113. The holidays are also hitting me hard and I swear I’m going blind! Your soldiers are so cute! Happy Holidays!

  3. Love your soldiers, your spirit, determination and bravery. It takes all those things ……and then you feel so silly because you had it in you all along.

  4. Patricia, those soldiers are to die for!! I just love them. You are so innovative……pretty darn cute, indeed!…I’m impressed!

    Thanks for ALWAYS giving me inspiration, too! xoxox…L

  5. Your soldiers are fantastic! Your garland and wreath make it perfect. It would be grand to go through vintage Christmas decor from Halls!

  6. When I saw the “Crescent City” story in this month’s SA, I thought of the Blandings! The LeLac sofa, the warm family vibe.

    Anyway, this is really charming and doubly so because you did it yourself. Great job, BTW. Perfect compliment to your yellow house. Have to love the red coats.

  7. these are FABULOUS! i am so impressed! (and jealous) your house looks wonderful! (my pumpkins are still out.) i think you should pull your planters down off the steps so you can see the soldiers better- they are too cute to compete with a planter box! 😉
    We put our tree up last night… we are headed in the right direction… now I’m inspired to deck the outside tonight!
    can’t wait to see your next jigsaw project!

  8. Those soldiers are fabulous. I’m so impressed. You really did a wonderful job on the paint. You could probably create a cottage industry and sell them. I’m a power tool junkie, too. I have a jig saw, plus a mitre saw and a table saw. I want an air compressor and a power nail gun now. Christmas is coming. . .

  9. Erika – I think you’re right – we’ll see if Mr. B has clocked out on this particular project. Rosie in antlers would be the crowning touch, don’t you think?

  10. Mary – our friend actually suggested making them to sell. I’d have to set up a Dream House sweat shop in that scary basement.

  11. Brava Mrs. B. I have ideas, but lack the execution gene. Though sometimes my husband does want to execute me for my ideas.

    Alas, I too have pumpkins-my excuse they are for the small critters.

  12. I join in the chorus of folks who are impressed! What I notice most is that you got the scale right for your house and entrance. That’s the hardest part — that and not being terrified of electric equipment.

    I read your post “Circle of Friends” last night and was too teary to leave a comment. What warm memories and how inspiring to know that you all and the new member are making more.

  13. Yes, Mrs B, very impressed. They are beautiful standing guard against the Christmas Grinch. Eddie R must see your fine work.

  14. Those are so charming! A restaurant near my office here in Georgetown (dc) has some antique ENORMOUS ones outside on the sidewalk, I’ll have to take a photo at lunch and email it to you!

  15. Very very well done! An excellent idea — and a great job with the jigsaw — and the painting too! I’ll bet that the Dream House is the Best Dressed Holiday House on the block!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  16. My father was a carpenter/cabinet maker and things like this was a part of my growing up. I looks wonderful and so welcoming. Good for you.

  17. rom pa pom pom.
    and where is soldier n. 3?
    mind you all 3 of your sons will need one when they leave the “blandings army!”

  18. my husband was over my shoulder when I was typing “move those planters down”… he said “oh her husband is gonna hate you, they are probably heavy!”… I hope they aren’t! 🙂
    and YES, of course Rosie would be a wonderful addition… even if she was just standing at the front door with her nose/lips pressed against the glass in your door.

  19. Very nice work with the jigsaw and paintbrush! Those soldiers are wonderful; they are the perfect sentry for the Dream House.

  20. I don’t think I’ll stop smiling for the rest of the day. You have now put the rest of us to shame and I’m not even mad. They are too adorable. Cheers to you!!!

  21. Man, alive. She may not cook, but she’s hell with a jigsaw and a can of paint. Congratulations Patricia, I am proud of your stellar work. I’m an artist and a woodworker, and I couldn’t have done any better. Real attention to detail. You need to send that in to Wood magazine for a project!
    Bravo! I love a woman who is not afraid of anything (cept the basement, maybe) Good show!

  22. Those look fanTAStic! Now, please explain how I could have known you for so long and never been aware of our shared love for power tools?

  23. Those are darling. Could this be the start of a little cottage industry? I do see you showing in local gift markets rather than shipping them. Please tell Mr. Blandings that he is a fine teacher and garland hanger.

  24. Oh, good idea, pve design….maybe make a thrid one next year and have it guard a back or side door, this way you’ll have three to pass down to each Blandings boy.

  25. Way to go Patricia! You are so clever and handy too! The soldiers are absolutely charming. Can’t wait to see the headboard 😉

  26. What great soldiers — so much better than the kind they sell at the box stores — you have a future, perhaps in soldier making?

  27. I LOVE the toy soldiers. tres FAO in the best way.

    P.S. Do mine eyes decieve me or did Martha Stewart shoot a Christmas decorating editorial at Steven Gambrel’s place in the current issue of Living? anyone?

  28. Your house looks beautiful.

    While I was admiring your decorations your storm door caught my eye. Any idea of the manufacturer? I am looking for one that looks like yours, but all the ones I’ve seen are pretty flimsy. Thanks!

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