Monday, November 26

Holiday Magic at the Bartow Pell Musuem, and my dreamy Velveteen Rabbit Christmas tree!

 I want to share my enthusiasm about 
“A Storybook Christmas” at Bartow-Pell museum, 
a month-long celebration featuring artist decorated trees 
throughout this beautiful, historic home inspired by children's books. 
I'm over the moon to decorate a tree in the expansive, regal
North Main Hall.  The robin's egg blue on the walls is a Benjamin Moore historic color so I chose neutral colors of gold, natural and white for my tree colors.

"a swirl of events from November 30th through December.
Storybook Christmas trees, located throughout the mansion, will be at the center of the holiday glow. Local artists and well-known interior designers from Manhattan, City Island, and Westchester will translate favorite children’s stories into eight magical story-telling trees." 
This annual holiday event brings the community in to enjoy the
the mansion in full holiday splendor, with cocktails, carols, delicious food, and friends. 
Please join me this 
Saturday, December 1 from 7-10 p.m. for the 
Holiday Evening Celebration
Call 718.885.1461 for details
As part of the historic preservation in NYC, there have been efforts to keep this historic gem an important part of our city's culture.  
 If you read my blog, you know how much I love history 
and NYC, and also our great parks and historic properties. 
About Bartow Pell:
Bartow Pell is a museum in the Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, 
and a National Historic Landmark, nestled in a nine-acre property on a winding drive with aging towering trees.
 I love the quaint carriage house and tended gardens,
 and the 19th century stone mansion built in 1840, 
a Greek Revival mansion built by Robert Bartow.  
On the property there is also the 18th-century Pell family cemetery, 
and an early 20th-century formal garden.  The land was bought from the Native American Indians in 1654 by Lord Pell. 

 The home boasts period rooms with 19th century furnishing, decorative arts and fine art.  The museum is in a good place now 
with recently obtaining a grant which will allow a full-scale landscaping refurbishment. 
I am grateful my friend Lynn Byrne of blog Decor Arts Now, who was actively involved
in obtaining this grant, and invited me to decorate one 
of the eight Christmas trees in the home this season.
I used my stuffed green velvet rabbit and my childhood rocking chair
for under the tree and...
my inspiration board for the tree on Pinterest
decorated a 10' tree in the Velveteen Rabbit theme
I am grateful to, one of the largest Christmas stores in the U.S., and located in Frankenmuth, Michigan.  They donated 24 beautiful ornaments to my tree.  This store boasts many beautiful items from around the world with easy online shopping as well.  They donated 12 of these pretty nest ornaments and 12 glistening gold German glass ornaments.  
Thank You Bronners!!
Here's what I did:
I combined nests, natural wooden creatures and gold colored antique mercury glass ornaments together.
I painted twig garland antique gold with touches of white and first wrapped it entirely around the tree.  I painted some of the pinecones white and left some natural.  I bought berries and greens and painted them gold and white and used them to fill in the branches.
I tea stained illustrations
and pages from the book and created small three dimensional boxes to hang
as Victorian era looking ornaments. I used vintage-looking mercury glass candle clip on ornaments that seemed to glow. I used pale grey velvet from M&J ribbon to
finish off the branches with a pretty bow in a neutral aesthetic.  

I wanted a combination of rustic elements
with sparkle and shine to create an elegant, nature inspired tree

  The Velveteen Rabbit story
Set in a children's nursery, the story is told through the eyes of a stuffed animal rabbit.  Lonely at times, he yearns for the attention and love of his owner, a young boy.  The Velveteen Rabbit is sometimes bullied by the other animals in the nursery but looks to the wiser older stuffed horse who guides him and offers advice.  The book is filled with thought-provoking quotes, illustrations and in a swell of love imposing great values to kids about being kind, paying attention to the most important inner qualities versus the superficial qualities of life.
When the boy becomes ill and leaves,
 the Rabbit desires to become "real" 
and romp amongst the forest with other animals.  A fairy comes
and turns him into a real animal.
Here's how it came out:

I wanted to show the Velveteen Rabbit's desire to be a "real" animal and live in the forest, yet I tried to keep the colors neutral and
keep the elegant aesthetic of this room and interior design as my guide.

check out the other artists and designers and their trees:
*Merry Christmas, Curious George Storybook by H.A. Rey; Tree design by Bartow-Pell docents Linda Sacewicz and Christine Williams
*Eloise at Christmastime Storybook by Kay Thompson, tree decorator; City Island artist Anoosh Donahue
*Paddington and the Christmas Surprise Storybook by Michael Bond; Tree design by interior designer Jennifer Mehditash
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas Storybook by Dr. Seuss; Tree design by New York artist Mary Rumser
*The Velveteen Rabbit Storybook by Margery Williams; Tree design by interior designer Tamara Matthews Stephenson
*Babar and Father Christmas Storybook by Jean de Brunhoff; Tree design by City Island artists Mary Colby and Marguerite Chadwick-Juner
*Christmas Eve Blizzard Storybook by Andrea Vlakhis; Tree design by artist and Wave Hill Family Art project manager Ilse Murdock
*Raggedy Andy Stories Storybook by Johnny Gruelle; Tree design by interior designer Bryant Keller
 I hope to see you this Saturday evening for the cocktail party to support the museum with cocktails, holiday fare and caroling.  However, if you cannot make the gala, the house
will be open for the entire month of December for viewings of all eight trees in their beautiful rooms - what a festive day-trip for you and your family.
Saturday, December 1
Evening Holiday Celebration 7-10 p.m.
Celebrate the mansion in holiday splendor
enjoy cocktails, holiday fare, caroling, friends and more
Celebrate Support Share
BPMM will donate children's books and tree decorations to My Sister's
Place, The Pajama Program, and Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation.
Evening Holiday Celebration
Angel $250 (includes listing in program)
Cherub $200 (includes listing in program)
Snowflakes $125
Festive holiday attire rsvp 718/885/1461 
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum 
895 Shore Road, Bronx, NY 10464
check out this Video of Bartow Museum

For more information and hours visit
895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, New York 10464 
Stop back for more of the designer decorated trees at Bartow Pell on Sunday and early next week.

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara