Of Teacups and Toto: Holiday Decorating Swap

What do you get when a fan of the Wizard of Oz, and a lover of Victoriana swap holiday treasures? Some wonderful surprises for the season.

This was my third swap arranged by the members of the Cottage Living decorating forum, and like the others, it was enormous fun planning, scheming, and scouring the shops for the right things. Our challenge this time was to create a package for our swap partners with items that reflected any of the fall holidays. and there needed to be at least one item that would be for a holiday table, and one ornament.

The package from my swap partner, Jenny, arrived this last week, and it really was a bit like Christmas opening it. This is what she sent me:

Some dried flowers-- (what good Victorian doesn’t have dried flowers at least somewhere in the house?), a paint brush to enable a bit of art, a candle which smells temptingly like orange creamscicles, a jar of olives and an amazing teacup.

The teacup is an absolutely shining addition to my collection. It’s a dark green covered in a really unusual combination of delicate spiderwebs and purple foxglove. I’ve never seen any like it and can’t wait to use it on my table!

The jar of olives I thought was an inspired bit of humor-- which is also pretty obscure, so I’ll explain. For folks who read my recent blog tag about “Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me,” (as clearly Jenny must have!) you might remember I have this inexplicable, deep-rooted love of black olives that traces back to childhood, where my family would actually put a can of them in my Christmas stocking. (Or on the mantle, really, because hey, a can of olives is REALLY HEAVY.) So this year the fine tradition of Christmas Olives carries on. I think if I can hold out from dipping into them until then, I’ll put them on the mantle at Christmastime. That would give me a laugh every time I go into the dining room.

Now onto the package from me to Jenny!

My swap partner I knew was a big fan of The Wizard of Oz. (I totally understand-- it was a favorite of mine growing up, too.) So I thought it might be fun to make her something along those lines. That’s what got me started on the “There’s No Place Like Home... For the Holidays” plaque project. (Instructions on how it was made and more photos can be found by clicking here.)

This, however, while a joy to make, didn’t fulfill my “something for the table” criteria of the swap. So I found this cute Frosty the Snowman inspired tablecloth.

Because my swap partner said she has a Craftsman house, and that she likes some non-traditional Christmas colors, I thought she might also like this basket of rustic-look apples in purples, navy and off-red. I thrifted a cute icy blue doily that appears to have poinsettias on it, just to soften it up a bit.

I also included a pretty Christmas-look tin filled with some fun vintage-look ornaments. Hopefully she’ll be able to find a place she can use them.

And that about wraps up the Holiday Swap! I hope you’ll come back next week when we step back into the late 60s and early 70s and discover “What In the Macrame Is It?” (And no, I didn’t even have to make up that title. You’ll see.)

Have a terrific week!