A Gift of Blue Spruce or Why I’m No Longer Pining Away

I should be embarrassed to pun away so shamelessly, but, alas, I am not!

Let me tell you about something wonderful that happened to me the other day.

All around our old Barn is nature’s abundance for Christmas decorations. I have a magnificent old Magnolia, golden cypress, boxwood, nandina, and cedar. Not to mention lots of holly laden with berries. And is this good enough for me? Noooo.

My friend, Joanne, up in Northern Ohio has blue spruce. The most glorious, stately, shimmering blue spruce you’ve ever seen. She knows how much I love her trees which don’t do well at all in my neck of the woods.

Me: Have I mentioned how much I love your blue spruce?

Joanne: Yes, once or twice. (Probably thinking, dear God, she is relentless!)

So guess what arrived the other evening in the mail? Really, I was just overcome. All the way from Huron, Ohio, a box for me!!!:

IMG_20141124_175505

I mean have you ever seen anything so beautiful? Wonderfully fragrant and still damp, a big box full of silvery blue boughs….. AHHHHHHH!!!!!!

And because I am so deliriously happy with this, I want to show you what I’ve done with it. First outside:

IMG_20141125_162626

1418150506862

Yes, Virginia, there is an urn under there, but it is so cold and rainy today, and I could not get a good shot. This will have to do.

And then inside:

IMG_20141129_134339

IMG_20141201_065649

20141209_133940

Christmas isn’t a particularly easy time in my household. I have to work at keeping the ghosts of Christmas Past at bay. But always, it seems, something happens to get me joyfully into the spirit and this year, it happened to come early.  In a box of branches.

1418155593687

Decking the halls,

Barbara

Advertisements

About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
This entry was posted in The Barn and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

119 Responses to A Gift of Blue Spruce or Why I’m No Longer Pining Away

  1. carolwallace says:

    This very morning, Barbara, I was wondering what the decorations looked like this year — and you provided them! Perfect! Love the spruce, love the hydrangeas with the blue & white china. But I’m missing a complete shot of the mantel. You know, to get the full effect. I’m sure your other readers would like it, too….

    Like

  2. Beautiful arrangements Barbara, very artistic, love them. Quick practical question, how long before the needles fall?

    Like

    • I conditioned them before using by soaking overnight and sprayed with a product called “Wilt-Pruf” (I know that must ignite the editorial fervor in you!). So I figure right around Christmas they should be ready to burst into flames….LOL

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sounds terrible. Never mind the editorial fervour it doesn’t do a lot for the environmentalist in me. Be it’s full of evil toxic chemicals. Just make sure you have a bucket of water or sand to hand 😀

        Like

      • I think it’s OK, Kate. It’s in a green bottle, after all. No, seriously, it’s described as non-hazardous, organic, biodegradable, and non-toxic. It is 95% inert and 5% Pinolene. I don’t like using chemicals either as a rule- I’m the person knocking the Japanese Beetles off the roses into soapy water.

        Like

  3. la_lasciata says:

    You are a most talented floral arranger, Barbara ! – any of these would grace a magazine spread with dignity and joy !!! I’m perfectly sure your kind and thoughtful friend is tickled pink !!! 🙂

    Like

  4. Wonderful images, Barbara. The blue of the pottery and the spruce were meant to be together.

    I can remember the day when I discovered that amazing fragrance. I was weeding the gardens at the base of a blue spruce and could detect the most unusual odour – a beautiful scent, not what I’d call “pine-y” at all, so I assumed it was something other than the blue spruce. But I couldn’t figure out what. At one point I found myself nose to needle and got a snootfull. Oh my word, I spent the next ten minutes just snorting up the wonderful aroma. Weeding around the tree was not a chore at all after that.

    Like

  5. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, You have made wonderful use of your generous present. I love the way the blue spruce, life a motif, enlivens so many of your vignettes. You certainly don’t have to apologize for your pun, especially compared to those old balsam pillows on which is stitched, “I Pine for you and Balsam,” or for real die-hards, “I Pine Fir Yew and Balsam.” This pun is so old that it qualifies for evergreen status on its own merits.
    –Jim

    Like

  6. reocochran says:

    I have to tell you, Barb, your special package of blue Spruce cheered me up, too! I am so happy that you are happy, holding the Christmases Past ghosts at bay, along with having this splendid visit in and around your beautiful home. I loved the blue and white Chinese container especially, Barb! Guess what? I used to collect a lot of Blue Willow and other Eastern containers. In my Great Room, I had a shelf with a sleigh, Santa and his ‘elves’ the Nutcrackers. On the other end of the room, more in the dining area I
    had a number of Chinese or Japanese or ? (unsure) umbrella stands. Some would be up on stacks of books, others were lying down, then I put a poinsettia or two, along with some bayberry branches up there. I liked the times I had eucalyptus in them, which was in the spring and summer months. Just thought I would add, I used to go to the Huron Episcopal Church by the edge of Lake Erie with my parents. The Reverend Brownlee was our minister, when I was age 3 to grade three. My parents moved us to Cleveland, then when they retired they chose to sell their home in Bay Village, Ohio to live ‘next door neighbors’ on the lake to Huron, in Vermilion. You may let your friend, Joanne, know this.

    Oh, Barb, I hope you won’t mind a ‘side track story,’ I fell in love one summer while working at Cedar Point with a young man named Ned Craun from Huron, Ohio. He went to Brown University out East, while I went to BGSU in Ohio. wish Joanne’s last name were Craun so I could hear about my dear friend and past amusement park coworker, Ned! We went to see scary movies, like “The Omen” and we also went out to eat. He and I were pen pals for our sophomore year at college. That’s all of my buzzing, you may wish to edit this, my dear!
    I love the blue spruce branch decorations and how they lifted your spirits, too.

    Like

    • Of course I don’t mind a “side track story!” I have a keen spirit of adventure and am never sure where you will lead exactly, but the bumblebee usually comes back around to the flower, so no fears! And the things is, we never who reading this might know just what old Ned is up to. Your description of your umbrella stands flanked with poinsettias and bayberry is lovely. I have really enjoyed a more natural look this year, just using bits and pieces from the yard including my dried limelight hydrangeas. And of course the spruce. And wasn’t The Omen an excellent scary movie?

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        Barb, the scary movies sometimes are good even now, to get our blood going! ha ha!
        I noticed the dried limelight hydrangeas in your photograph of your mantle. They are excellent in their presentation in amongst the greens and on the plates and in the bowls. I liked the natural look, I am trying not to be so glitch, but I tend to take a lot of the old stuff out, mainly to entertain the young ones who like to look. I am glad you liked the description of the umbrella stands. I felt this may interest you. I have only a few of my most special little blue and white things….I suppose if I were ever to go back to living in a house, I know which antique shops have some of my stuff and ones that resemble things I gave away, too. It is quite cozy in my apt, meanwhile… smiles!

        Like

      • reocochran says:

        Oops, I wrote ‘glitchy’ and the silly spell check didn’t know what I meant… it took off the “y.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joanne Butler says:

        Dear Barbara
        The old saying “It’s a small world” has never been more on point! Please tell your friend recochran to read this comment!!! My husband Brian went to school with Ned Craun, and yes, you are reading this correctly, lol! They were even in Boy Scouts together. He has made a phone call to his class president (who yes, lives here) to see what she might know about Ned. Huron is a small town and the locals know almost everyone. It never ceases to amaze me how many people my husband still knows and sees on a daily basis. He isn’t sure where Ned is now located but will let you know what we hear!
        Most of us are transplanted to different cities, states and even countries. But little old Huron, Ohio keeps many of it’s original inhabitants. I originally grew up in Rocky River, about 45 minutes east of here. Bay Village was our high school rival, always presenting an opportunity for a pep rally! Recochran probably will remember this well!!! I now live a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Episcopal Church on Lake Erie’s shore. I love the city park directly opposite with it’s picnic area and stretch of beach. Vermilion has a beautiful little downtown area that we visit often. Quaint shops, restaurants antique stores and boat docks abound. How ironic is this?!?
        Well my dear friend, I have to admit that just today I told myself “You must read Barb’s blog soon!” I am finally done decorating for clients, thank you God! I love it but my feet can’t take any more ladders, COL! Anyway, I was overwhelmed after reading this post today. I knew you would be excited but not so much as to write about it I am deeply touched knowing what this meant to you, as I too, have Christmas pasts which come back to haunt me. I lost my mother on December 19, 2001 and I still feel the pain of how quicky and unexpectedly it happended. She too loved Christmas and there are so many wonderful memories. So I bury myself in holiday decor, which may sound frivolous and counterproductive. But the joy it brings others is worth it all. Just knowing that some silly box of branches (that I could not wait to cut!) lifted your spirits is the greatest gift I could receive this Christmas. Your friendship and the kindness of your words always make my day a special one.
        Merry Christmas my friend,
        Love,
        Joanne

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joanne, I am just home from a Christmas party and have been dying to respond to you. I can’t wait to let Robin know about this! It is such a small world as is proven to me over and over!! It doesn’t sound frivolous at all to “bury yourself in holiday decor.” It means you are choosing a positive route through the pain life likes to dole out to all of us by sharing your beauty and talent with others. I think that’s important to do that whether the talent is music, art, or in your case, making somebody’s home beautiful. I’m going to pop over to Robin (Reocochran) and let her know right now! Sending lots of love and holiday cheer from my corner of the world to yours! Barbara

        Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        Dear Joanne and Barb,
        What a pleasant surprise to hear about Joanne’s being from Rocky River, while in high school and a major rival to Bay Rockets! I think our Bay Village H.S. may have gone into a smaller football conference, but it used to play Lakewood and other big time schools. I was in marching band, pep band, theater and writing for the yearbook and the literary magazine. My maid of honor from my first marriage was from Lakewood… she lives far off in Long Beach, Mississippi but she spends about 5 months a year in Charlevoix, Mich.
        I am amazed at how one domino will knock down another and how the world becomes smaller through our connections. I would love to meet either of you, many of the people I meet through blogging are so wonderful and inspirational.
        I would like to know how Ned is doing, hoping he is well and happy, too. Let him know I made Delaware, Ohio my home. Picked it on a map, knew I wanted a small college town in the center of the state. My first ex is from Cincy, my parents were (as mentioned) up North so this made me smack dab in the middle of the state… I love Ohio Wesleyan and I taught middle school (6th grade Language Arts) and special needs preschoolers. I live a much simpler life since I turned 50 years old but am very happy, busy with children and “grandies.”
        The blue spruce branches make me happy to see in Barb’s arrangements and so happy to have ‘met’ and heard about one of the really fun times in my life.
        My niece lives in my parents’ retirement cottage on the lake, near the recently updated Showse Park. My parents used to travel a lot from age 55 until my Dad died in 2001. My Mom moved from Vermilion to Westlake, where she taught Spanish for 30 years. She was a Westlake “Demons” fan, another rival for Rocky River and Bay, too!
        You may delete or edit this since it doesn’t really have to be in the middle of your lovely holiday decorations. Happy Holidays to Joannne and her family. Barb, we shall be in touch, my dear one! Bless you for this day brightener!!

        Like

    • Robin! Guess what? My friend, Joanne, has replied that her husband knew Ned Craun! He’s going to check into his location! Stay tuned for further developments….Now aren’t you glad you buzzed over here with the side track story?!?

      Liked by 1 person

    • reocochran says:

      My name was Robin E. Oldrieve. My parents lived from 1980 through 2001 (Dad) and 2012, (Mom) in Vermilion, Ohio.

      Like

  7. Parnassus says:

    Sorry, that should be “like a motif.” I’ve either got to start proof-reading my comments, or stop composing them in the middle of the night. –Jim

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can smell the fir from here. Ghosts, leave now. Right now.

    Like

  9. Love your post as always! And the glimpses of your mantle have encouraged me to take some of
    my Delft out of the corner cabinet this year and put it in with the greens & antlers on my mantle!
    And today is the perfect rainy day to do it!
    Cindy Vetrano

    Like

  10. lbeth1950 says:

    Oh, so gorgeous!

    Like

  11. Of course silver spruce in Australia would be as rare as a kangeroo hopping around inside your barn. So, if I get feeling nostalgic for a Northern Christmas I’ll will just look at this beautiful article and imagine I am one of those beautiful urns all adorned with blue spruce. It must be nice to be an urn or vase, forever getting flowers or loving glances.

    Like

    • Hello, Gerard. So that would be very rare indeed (a kangaroo, I mean.) I, just like you, tend to go a little anthropomorphic at times and I quite agree that urns and vases have a nice life with all the attention and loving glances. I can’t quite imagine the hot climes in Australia for Christmas but I guess one grows accustomed to it like anything else.

      Like

  12. dorannrule says:

    What a great friend you have to send you the coveted blue spruce branches! And what you have done with them is simply magnificent!

    Like

  13. What a splendid gift! And it was worth the contortion to achieve the photograph of your chimneypiece decoration.
    I’d love to use some of Leo’s Gouda collection in decoration but that is most definitely streng verboten!

    Like

    • Helen, I swear I learn something new on the blogosphere every day. Yes, I knew Gouda is a city and a cheese.No, I didn’t know about the beautiful pottery. It’s quite magnificent actually, and I am drawn to the colors. Has it been passed down in Leo’s family or has he collected it? Fortunately BH has his stuff (in the garage!) and the rest of the stuff is fair game for me!

      Like

  14. Kentucky Angel says:

    Oh, Barbara, I feel like you have just decorated my apartment. I’m so allergic to pine and spruce that I can’t have it inside so I can just look at your photos and imagine they are in my place and feel all warm and Christmasy that way. Much better than sneezing my way thru another Christmas, as I did most of my life. I can even imagine the smells and feel the love. Many thanks to you and your friend for this treat.

    Like

  15. Your pine pun is needling me but I’ll let it pass fir now.

    Amazing how nature’s Christmas contributions can give you the lift you need. I order my Christmas tree through Oxfam and I arrived home on Sunday to find it on my doorstep. Love the house filled with that smell. (It is as yet undecorated not being able to find a decent block of time for the boys to decorate it, but it still looks pretty. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent punning, H. I knew you weren’t a sap. You know what will happen when you-know-who reads that! A double raspberry! Yes, yes, and yes, to your Christmas tree from Oxfam serving to give a boost. Doesn’t even need any decorating sometimes…although the boys surely love it, I imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sue Mayo says:

    Just beautiful Barb. Can’t wait to see what you are doing with the owls. Is the Thanksgiving Cactus doing it’s thing?

    Like

  17. Aren’t friends the best presents ever? You transformed your house (inside and outside) beautifully. It looks stylish and elegant. I am glad you found this years spirit :-). Let me send you a virtual hug from Ohio as well….Bridget 🙂

    Like

  18. What a beautiful gift and I love what you did with it, especially the mantle. I bet it smells wonderful.

    Like

  19. Mary says:

    Relentless pest or incredible friend…probably a little of each! You deserve it. Now what do I want?

    Like

  20. Jodi says:

    How wonderful! Little random acts of Kindness everywhere. And good things come to good people!! It all looks so lovely and I am so happy for you Barbara! We all have ghosts. Xoxo

    Like

  21. Barbara, what joy you bring with your beautiful arrangements! Your friend’s gift of spruce transformed and passed on to all of us to enjoy 😉 The blue spruce is just that extra special touch to take it all over the top 😉

    Like

  22. dorothy says:

    Gorgeous Ms . Barbara. What a special gift..Goes to show it doesn’t always take money to spread joy.

    Like

  23. markbialczak says:

    Yes, Barbara, your dear Ohio friend Joanne has given you an early Christmas present that you’ve arranged carefully. And I bough to your work with the blue spruce. (If you are going to start off punning, I’m going to end up punning, that’s for sure.)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. suzicate says:

    How sweet of your friend! Blue Spruce is gorgeous; love what you did inside and out!

    Like

  25. Lovely. I was just talking about planting a small blue spruce near out horsebarn so I have a permanent tree to string lights on this time of year. They are my favorite evergreen.

    Like

  26. joannesisco says:

    Oh my!! You are one of those people who can weave magic with twigs and pine cones and bits and bobs. Beautiful! I love it and envy your talent 🙂

    Like

    • One of “those people”…..bwahaha. Only sort of, Joanne, believe me. Martha Stewart I am not, nor do I strive to be. I used to be absolutely hopeless at this type of thing, but my friend Dorothy is an incredibly talented arranger. And she is generous with her knowledge. She knew how much I admired her work and taught me the basics. Still I look at her creations and hang my head in shame!!!!

      Like

  27. Joanne Butler says:

    Barbara,
    Just want to make sure you see my reply under reocochran! She will be excited to read it!
    Joanne

    Like

  28. menomama3 says:

    Wow, you’re very clever with your arrangements – stunning! Oh and how I know ALL about those ghosts of Christmas’ past. Glad you have such a beautiful antidote.

    Like

  29. Sheryl says:

    What a thoughtful friend! And, I love how you used it to decorate for the holidays.

    Like

  30. nrhatch says:

    What a wonderful surprise . . . and what fantastic use you put those boughs to! Your decking of the halls is da bomb!

    And I love your funny punny!

    Like

  31. Behind the Story says:

    There are many beautiful evergreens, but blue spruce the king. You put them to very good use. Nice arrangements.

    This weekend I cut a bunch of cedar boughs and combined them with ribbon and candles to make arrangements for the tables at our neighborhood Christmas party. I haven’t done any decorating of my house, though. I’ll be leaving soon to spend the holidays at my daughter’s house in Indiana. She’ll be doing all the decorating this year.

    Like

    • Am I right, Nicki, that you have lots of blue spruce in your neck of the woods? Your treatment of the cedar boughs sounds lovely. Candles, ribbon, simple greens, what could be more perfect at Christmas? Enjoy Indiana!!

      Like

      • Behind the Story says:

        It grows here, mainly as an ornamental, but its native region is the central and southern Rocky Mts. It’s pretty, but not an important timber tree because it’s slow growing and the wood is brittle and knobby.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Diane Ahlberg says:

    How wonderful a gift! I must admit amongst the never ending pile of moving boxes I have thought more than once if my trips from your house with a car laden with boughs of all the greens you have on your property!
    Another good Xmas decorating job!
    Thanks for sharing-

    Like

  33. bkpyett says:

    What a joyful sharing, thank you Barbara. I loved what you did with your spruce. I can see you love blue and white too! ❤

    Like

  34. Indoors and out, your green arrangements remind me that flowers are definitely not mandatory. What a truly considerate gift. You are a lucky lady.

    Like

  35. Good Morning Barbara! I haven’t gotten with the decorating program yet this season so I am thoroughly enjoying your lovely decorations and beautiful clicks! Your decking of the mantel is exquisitely festive!

    Like

  36. I would call this a Blue Spruce decorating frenzy 🙂 Amazing, how many decorative uses you found for these lovely branches. Your house must smell wonderfully of pine (well, spruce, then). Ready for the holidays…

    Like

  37. Sandra says:

    You know, I can almost smell that Blue Spruce from here. Lovely! 🙂

    Like

  38. ritaroberts says:

    How nice of your friend to send you the beautiful blue spruce Barbara, and you have displayed it in my favourite blue and white pottery vessels, they look georgous. How on earth are you going to get through answering all your comments.?

    Like

    • Hello Rita! I guess this post struck a chord with my readers with the impact a simple act of generosity can have. I think we all grow weary of the pressure to buy, buy, buy. Actually I no longer have that pressure – gave it up years ago – for us about it’s about the food and the music and did I mention the food?….LOL. Hope your Christmas season is a merry one as well, Rita.

      Like

  39. KerryCan says:

    Wow!! Talk about your random acts of kindness!! This is wonderful and you’ve created wonderful decorations with the spruce. That smell, oh, that smell!

    Like

  40. Janis Grizzard says:

    Lovely story. Love comes in all shapes – sometimes it’s in the shape of tree boughs.

    Like

  41. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful arrangements Barbara! There is something so uplifting in the process of decorating for Christmas – what a sweet friend to send you your favorite greens. Every time you see them it makes you happy all over again!

    Like

  42. Aww, that was so sweet of your friend, and you did a remarkable job making the arrangement! ❤

    Like

  43. Joanne Butler says:

    Barbara,
    Reading all of these comments brings some happy tears, I never thought such a small act on my part would bring such sweet rewards…….
    Again with love,
    Joanne

    Like

  44. kristieinbc says:

    What a lovely, thoughtful gift from your friend! I also love blue spruce. there’s something rather stately about it. It looks lovely in all your arrangements!

    Like

  45. Joanne Butler says:

    Hi Barb and Robin (recochran),
    Thanks so much Robin for more of your background. I also knew some people from Lakewood during high school, but none that I would probably even recognize now! My parents moved from Rocky River to Westlake, before Crocker Park was developed, almost at the corner of Crocker and Hilliard Road. I still feel a connection to living in that area and still travel up that way as must as possible even though both my parents are gone. It is hard to forget where I grew up and there are many memories that take me back there!
    My husband’s class president has reported that she does not have any info regarding the whereabouts of Ned today. She said if she finds out anything she would let us know. A disappointment I am sure, but one never knows what may happen. My husband even tried facebook with no luck. But it was a great connection to make and shows us how closely we are all bound together in this world. I too have enjoyed the connections made through reading blogs and thru Instagram, they have opended up my world and given me a renewed faith in realizing their is so much kindness out there! It seems that so much time is spent focusing on the bad that we don’t give enough time appreciating the good.
    If I hear anything else Robin I will be sure to contact Barb. Until that time I hope you have enjoyed finding out a little bit about Ned and hearing from someone who grew up close to your old neighborhood! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a bright 2015!
    Joanne

    Like

  46. Beautiful! I adore Blue Spruce, but can to grow it here either. You’ve done an amazing job arranging it!! I can never figure out what to do with loose boughs, so I’ll just try to swipe some of your great ideas!! Wishing you a warm, loving Christmas. Your home is truly beautiful.
    xo

    Like

  47. Late to this holiday party. It’s the best ever!

    Like

  48. cat9984 says:

    Kind of strange isn’t it? Blue spruce is so much prettier than regular spruce. Maybe because it’s more unusual. Maybe because blue is such an unusual color for a tree.

    Like

  49. cat9984 says:

    ok – that second unusual was supposed to be beautiful

    Like

I welcome your comments:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s