Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

I was honored to attend a Christmas tour this evening, in one of the most beautiful old homes in the area. My mother and sister Linda accompanied me. Don and Becky Freeman, the current owners of the Elijah Thomas Webb House in Webb City, graciously invited us to take a peek inside this grand home, decorated for the holidays.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

The Webbs of Webb City

Elijah (1851 – 1936) was the son of John C. Webb, the founder of the city that bears his name. John came to Missouri from Tennessee in 1856, settling on 200 acres. Eventually he acquired an additional 120 acres, part of which would later become the community of Webb City.

While plowing in a cornfield in 1873, John discovered lead. He quickly turned mining operations over to a partner, while he built a community. Webb platted the town of Webb City in July 1875. The following year, the Center Creek Mining Company began operations on Webb’s land. Miners flocked to the area. Most of them lived in nearby Joplin, which, at the time, was filled with gambling halls, saloons, and brothels.

However, the mine owners chose to make their homes in Webb City. The town was incorporated in December 1876 with a population of about 700. As the town grew, shops, hotels, saloons and businesses sprang up. In 1882 John and his son Elijah opened the Webb City Bank. John died the following year. Elijah continued to operate the bank and manage the family’s land and mineral interests, which were leased to numerous operators.

Having become a very wealthy man, Elijah built a magnificent Queen Anne style home during the last decade of the 19th Century. The house featured two stories with an attic and cupola, 12-foot ceilings, inlaid wood floors, three fireplaces, oak trim, and all the trimmings of a successful man of the time. This beautiful home continues to stand in the city today, a historic treasure that has been lovingly restored.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb HousePhoto from Victorian Elijah Thomas Webb Home Facebook Page.

Faithfully Restored

Mom, Linda and I arrived a few minutes early at the Webb home, so I could take photos before most of the guests arrived. Even in the dark, the exterior of the home is enchanting. Lights in the windows and on the front porch invited us in.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Don and Becky greeted us, and then encouraged us to wander through the house. We happily accepted the invitation.

Every room is faithfully restored, and filled with furnishing from the 1860s and 70s. Don shared with us that Elijah was allergic to carpet fibers. He created gorgeous wood floors instead. The detailing and the wood trim is exquisite. Themes inside the house, such as the carved fan shapes on the staircase, are carried outside onto the front porch.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

The wallpaper is hand printed, and while not original to the house, it is a perfect representation of the time period. Hot water radiators still provide heat. And air conditioning is rarely needed. The design of the house, with its high ceilings and transom windows above doors, allows for the circulation of air.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House I loved the wallpapered ceiling in the guest bath on the main floor!

Christmas Tour

Every room in the Webb Home sparkled with Christmas cheer. A variety of decorated trees graced rooms and nooks. In older homes the rooms are more intimate, more cozy, and doorways connect the spaces. That architectural detail allowed guests to circle through rooms this evening and ohhh and ahhh over the décor.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Fireplaces originally contributed to heating a home. They still can. Whether there’s a fire crackling within them or not, they add warm ambiance and draw the eyes when entering a room. Webb House has several such eye catchers.

Dressed for Christmas, the house features an impressive collection of large scale seasonal décor. Santa appears in one room. Carolers surround a lamppost in another. It was fun to wander through the rooms and be delighted and surprised.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Christmas Tour Continues Upstairs

How fun to tour the main floor and the upstairs. Up those magnificent stairs we went, to see what awaited us on the second floor. Trees shine in each bedroom, and a vintage silver aluminum tree occupies a corner of the wide landing. I laughed when I saw the leg lamp and BB gun, from the 1983 film, A Christmas Story, in a bedroom.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

The biggest surprise upstairs is the Nightmare Before Christmas room! This space, which is part of an extended bedroom suite, was originally a sleeping porch. It now serves as a family room, complete with a large screen tv.

Characters from the quirky Tim Burton animation fill this room. My family appreciates Halloween and this film, which is a blending of the two holidays. We loved this playful room.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Merry Christmas

We so enjoyed the Elijah Thomas Webb House Christmas Tour. I’m grateful that Don and Becky invited us to their home. Shortly after we arrived the rooms filled with happy people and the sounds of laughter and conversations drifted through the big old house.

What a labor of love. Historical homes require a great deal of research, work and time to restore them to their glory. They are so worth the effort. Every home has value. These old homes, however, are an important part of the area’s history. Their stories merge with those of towns and cities and the people who founded them.

Thank you, Don and Becky, for loving this home and caring for it. Truly, it is spectacular. And thank you for opening wide your doors and allowing others to appreciate the Webb Home as well, in all its Christmas finery. Merry, merry Christmas.

Christmas Tour at the Elijah Thomas Webb House

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

I set a goal this year, of spreading Christmas Joy throughout the house by December 1. That way I can focus on other things during the holidays while enjoying a decorated home. This evening I switched over the décor in the living room, completing the house. Tomorrow I’ll finish the front porch and declare it all done. Goal met.

I’m writing my blog post in the living room as I admire flickering candles and the twinkling lights on Christmas trees. The sight brings me great joy and floods my soul with peace. I can’t stop looking around, or smiling.

Here are my five gratitudes for this day.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

All That Glitters

I’ve had a fresh, undecorated Christmas tree in my living room for a week. Even without lights and ornaments, I have enjoyed the Fraser Fir tree, catching its grounding scent every time I walk by. Not once in my life have I had an artificial tree. I don’t mind at all if others do, I just cannot take that step. The scent, the imperfections, the way the heavy branches feel, all entice me to keep purchasing fresh trees. Yes, needles fall. And the water level in the stand’s reservoir has to be checked daily. I don’t mind.

My tradition with the tree is this…I hang ornaments on it that tell stories, stir memories and inspire me. Every year I purchase a unique heart ornament and something to represent the year’s symbol. One box is full of shiny ornaments that tell of past years. The butterfly, bird, dragonfly, lightbulb and acorn ornaments all remind me of my journey the last few years and how much I’ve grown.

The multitude of heart ornaments, in various sizes and made of differing materials, remind that my heart is the most important thing to bring along on my journey. I have not found the right heart ornament yet, or a representation of this year’s symbol. Hopefully tomorrow that is remedied. I’m grateful for the shining, glittering adornment on my tree tonight. Every piece tells my story.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Eclectic Finds

My chippy little entry table moves closer to the tree during the holidays and hosts an eclectic mix of found, gifted and purchased items.

One of the ways I create Christmas Joy in my home is by arranging interesting pieces together, that make me smile. The birdcage contains five red and silver votive holders while the birds perch free, outside the cage. The wire cloche is a favorite piece that I bought years ago. It holds different items for each season. During Christmas it’s full of tiny pine cones, woven wooden balls and white glittery styrofoam balls. A wooden block with Believe painted on it stands with a vintage wooden spool transformed into a tall skinny Santa.

On the bottom shelf a quartet of Santas share space with a large papier-mâché snowman. I found the squatty candle holder in a thrift store, along with the trio of Santas. That ceramic piece, that I bought for a ridiculously low price, is one of my all time favorite finds. I only stopped at the thrift store because a friend wanted to look. And I walked out with a treasure! These pieces bring me Christmas Joy and brighten my heart with gladness.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Aunt Roxie’s Box

I’ve written previously about this vintage treasure, that once served my great great aunt as a footrest. Read the story about the box here.

I repurposed the footrest into a decorative box, leaving the original paint. The rustic red box is perfect for a little Christmas vignette. Mason jars hold tea lights and three fabric trees nestle within in. Some sticks of cinnamon and dried baby’s breath complete the box. A metal birdcage candleholder and a little metal BELIEVE sign complete this fun grouping. I’m grateful for the memories I have of Aunt Roxie, a feisty petite woman who raised my grandmother and her brother after they lost their mother. I am honored to have her red box.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Something Simple, Something New

I’m always playing around with items and ideas. As I put the finishing touches on the room and carted out the empty Christmas boxes, I spied a ziplock bag full of small sparkly gold and red balls. I originally purchased those several years ago with the intention of displaying them in the wire cloche, mentioned above. The results were hilarious when I dumped the decorative balls into the tall wire container and then flipped it over onto its stand. The balls were too small. They “drained” out through the openings in the wire cloche, scattering everywhere.

I looked around the living room, seeking a place to use these brightly colored decorations. Instantly I received a visual download. I mentally saw what to use as a container for the balls and what else to display with them. That’s how inspiration often works for me…I get detailed images. They become the map that guides me.

I retrieved the items out of the storage closet and quickly assembled a new little vignette. The baby ficus tree is a start from the very old tree that died recently. It makes me think of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. The yellow bird candleholder and Bless All Who Enter mini sign are recent purchases. And the old blown glass pitcher, that I adore, was an incredible yard sale find. The red and gold balls did not escape this container. I love simple vignettes such as this one. I’m grateful for the inspiration.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Christmas Joy

Every tabletop, cupboard and shelf in the living room is decorated. An old wooden chair with a small round seat holds a third Christmas tree and a set of red ceramic birds. A white Christmas tree festooned with lights rests on a table near the front door.

My Christmas mug collection nearly overflows its customary shelf. Next year I’ll have to divide the collection, as I don’t see how I can possible squeeze in one more festive mug. The new gray cat cup sits front and center, as is fitting. My kitties approve.

Everywhere in my home there is light, there is beauty, there is Christmas Joy. Sipping hot cranberry tea, and admiring the fruits of my labor, my heart overflows.

Christmas Joy Throughout the House

Eclectic Collector

Eclectic is defined as “Deriving ideas, style, or tastes from a broad and diverse range of sources.” An eclectic is a person who lives by that definition, bringing together diverse ideas or items and putting them together in interesting ways.

Eclectic comes from the Greek words ek – out and legein – choose, meaning, literally to choose or pick out.

I consider myself an eclectic and as I moved through this day, that’s the word that kept coming to mind as I encountered gratitudes.

Eclectic Collector

Lunch with Aubrey

Before the fall school semester ends, with Christmas break, I intend to have lunch or an early dinner with each of my grandkids. I began with granddaughter Aubrey today.

Keeping with my theme here, I have an eclectic mix of grandchildren. Each child is wonderfully unique. I love seeing them developing their perspectives and growing into their gifts and talents.

At age ten, Aubrey is currently my youngest grandchild. She has always been older than her actual years. In the last few months she’s entered a new level of maturity, as she balances on the cusp of her teen years.

We had a sweet lunch together at her school, talking about a broad range of topics that included art, fashion, the holidays and friends. I am grateful for Aubrey and her broad and deep ideas about life.

Eclectic Collector

A New Idea, Reworked

After finishing online work this afternoon, I chose to stay in my studio and decorate it next for Christmas. I had one box full of dècor for this room, and I once again enjoyed the convenience of having all the items together.

Last year I implemented a change that continues this year, with modifications. In years past, as I unpacked Christmas items I used the emptied boxes as storage for my everyday pieces. It was a good idea, for many years. However, the heavy boxes got more and more difficult to hoist up onto their high storage shelves. And because I wasn’t as organized as I am this year, it was a bit chaotic finding everything when it was time to reset the rooms after Christmas. I dug through a lot of boxes, hunting.

Last year I tried something different. Rather than pack my everyday dècor in the emptied Christmas boxes, I stashed them in the room they belonged in, out of sight. So in my studio, the regular decorations, photos, art supplies, etc. went into drawers or into the closet. Empty Christmas storage containers were much easier to lift back up onto their shelves and after the holidays I knew where my regular items were. Okay…I knew where most of them were. A couple of times I had to think really hard about where I stuck something!

This year, I tweaked that idea.

Eclectic Collector

Eclectic Christmas Decorating

Rather than hide away all of my everyday stuff, I incorporated as much of it as I could into the Christmas dècor, creating very eclectic vignettes. Coloring books and colored pencils partnered with a row of metal Christmas trees, as did Harry Potter books, a framed quote and a black lion. I tied the odd mix of items together with colors.

I repeated this process throughout the room and I’m extremely happy with the results! Not only did I stash less, I combined pieces in new ways that appeal to me. One of my favorite groupings is the trio of Christmas trees…with pieces from my outdoor fairy garden! It makes me smile.

I couldn’t quite figure out an appropriate place for Absolem, my caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, and his mushroom…but I’m still thinking on it. Grateful I am for a fun and fresh way to decorate.

Eclectic Collector

Eclectic Real Estate

An odd mix of styles was definitely present in the house I showed to clients this evening. My buyers would happily consider themselves eclectic as well. We had a hilarious moment as we toured a big house that has been added onto over the years.

It was cold and dark, and although electricity was on in the vacant house, as we moved deeper into the older section the light fixtures did not have lightbulbs. Mr. Buyer clicked on a small flashlight and walked ahead of the rest of us, through a series of small dark rooms until he entered a doorway into the last room.

He suddenly made a startled sound and stumbled back out, clutching his chest. Laughing he said he nearly had a heart attack and without telling us why, made the rest of the group come and look into the room.

I could see why he cried out, as I cautiously peeked around the corner. There appeared to be a man standing there in the darkened room, holding a gun! On closer inspection, it turned out to be a life sized cardboard stand up of Hans Solo. Whew.

I’m grateful for interesting showings and clients who have a sense of humor.

Eclectic Collector

An Eclectic Dinner

Even my meal tonight was an eclectic mix of foods that don’t typically go together, ever. Into my dinner bowl went leftovers from Thanksgiving Day and two different lunches.

I refuse to waste food. Therefore my meal consisted of leftover vegan Thai food, a succotash made from non-GMO lima beans and corn, a spoonful of raw cranberry relish, and a big portion of raw chopped veggie salad, both from last Thursday’s meal.

You know what? It was good! The cool tangy cranberry relish perfectly countered the spicy hot Thai food. I grinned as I ate and thought about my eclectic day.

I value and appreciate diversity in my life. Combining things in new creative ways is fun for me and positively challenges me. My life is eclectic on so many different levels as I collect and embrace a mix of beliefs and entertain broad thoughts, bringing them all together in a way that works beautifully for me.

I love my eclectic life. It is, most assuredly, a lifestyle that I choose.

Eclectic Collector

Start your own eclectic Christmas collection with this fun set of Starfish Christmas Trees!

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Christmas Decorating Underway

Entering into my final few days of expressing gratitude daily, my focus shifted today. I got Christmas decorating underway. This season is my favorite time of year. As I changed the dècor in my bedroom, I easily found five things to be thankful for.

Christmas Decorating Underway

Grateful for Something I Did 11 Months Ago

My Christmas decorations are stored in boxes, high up and out of the way. A ladder is required to retrieve the boxes. I’m grateful for Greg, first of all, who patiently handed down box after box.

Secondly, I am incredibly happy with myself, for something I did early in the new year. As I packed away Christmas dècor, I labeled the boxes, by room. So all of the living room decorations are grouped together in boxes and labeled as such. I did that for every room. Today I simply carried boxes to their designated rooms, as Greg handed them down.

Two boxes went into my bedroom, which is where I chose to start the Christmas transformation. What a difference, opening two boxes and having everything for this room right there, versus opening all of the boxes, hunting for items.

Why have I never thought of doing this before?

Christmas Decorating Underway

Something Old…

Greg recently found a small felt poinsettia he made as a child, tucked into an old bible that belonged to a grandparent. I love these kind of finds. Rather than tuck such treasures away in a drawer, I repurpose them.

Check out a previous project HERE.

Greg’s name is written on the back of the felt decoration, in capital letters. Unfortunately there isn’t a date, but Greg must have been 7 – 8 years old, making this little poinsettia vintage now! I’m grateful his grandma or grandpa saved his artwork and that Greg discovered it.

Christmas Decorating Underway

…Becomes Something New

I gathered Christmas scrapbooking papers, double sided tape, scissors, a pencil and a 5X7 wooden frame I had on hand.

Using the removable back of the frame as a template, I traced around it on the dark red, green and white plaid paper. After cutting out my rectangle, I had the background for the poinsettia. Double sided tape secured the felt piece to the paper and then I popped it into the frame.

This cute framed art joins other repurposed art work from Greg’s childhood and vintage Christmas cards that I’ve framed as well. I’m thankful for simple, effective ways to display these keepsakes.

Christmas Decorating Underway

Kaleb’s Gift

I received my first gift of the season yesterday, from my seven year old great nephew Kaleb. My sister Debbie and Kaleb came into town for a quick overnight visit, so they could attend Lola’s Bouncy Birthday Party.

Kaleb and I have a special bond, an instantaneous connection that began the moment I held him, shortly after his birth. I can’t explain it, in a way that makes sense to anyone else. Our old souls just recognize each other.

When we get to spend time together we have fun talking and playing games and singing our favorite songs, loudly. Kaleb gave me a woven piece that he made, on a little hand loom. I had such a loom as a child, and spent many happy hours creating gifts for loved ones. I’m deeply touched to receive his work of love.

Rather than use Kaleb’s gift as a potholder, I incorporated it into the Christmas decorating in my room. I love how the little woven mat looks, with a cheerful snowman candle holder resting on it. Displayed with it is a smaller hooked yarn piece that my cousin Mindy made. She passed away almost four years ago. I’m grateful to her son William, who allowed me to bring this piece home. And I’m thankful for Kaleb’s special gift. The colors are perfect.

Christmas Decorating Underway

Christmas Music

As I decorated, I took a temporary break from listening to Queen. Instead, I pulled up channel 838 on DirectTV…the All Christmas music channel. I prefer to work, cook or clean with music playing. What better than Christmas music, for Christmas decorating?

The sound of music, from holiday classics to Christmas rock, filled my room as I worked. I hummed along and frequently broke into song. Glancing at the television screen reveals what song is playing, who is singing, the album name and the year…all great info.

I’m deeply grateful for music…all kinds…and tonight I am especially thankful for Christmas music and DirectTV for creating music channels.

Christmas Decorating Underway

Christmas Decorating Well Underway

A pleasant couple of hours later, one room is completely decorated for Christmas. I started here because this is my personal space. This is where I sleep…and where I think, write in my journal, read, and watch movies. This room, and my creative studio, most accurately reflect back to me who I am. I surround myself, in both rooms, with the things that I love, the objects that inspire me, and the items that bring me joy.

Tonight the Spirit of Christmas is alive in my room, filling my heart with peace and joy. It’s a good start.

Christmas Decorating Underway