Baubles, Bangles & Beads
Longtime artist, designer and holiday decorator Aleta Breese adds zest to her decor by contrasting her neutral palette with colorful accents that lend sparkle day or night.
Longtime artist, designer and holiday decorator Aleta Breese adds zest to her Christmas decor by contrasting her neutral palette with colorful accents that lend sparkle day or night.
For artist and designer Aleta Breese of Portland, Oregon, decorating for Christmas is always a labor of love. This year, however, the holidays arrived amid the remodel of the main floor of her family’s new, smaller home, which has such challenging features for decorating as loads of windows, little wall space and lower ceilings than her previous homes.
The best solution, thought Aleta, was to keep her decor simpler than usual with bolder patterns, fewer “smalls,” and pops of red, white and silver to brighten the central living area’s new gray furnishings and painted walls.
As an Alaskan native, Aleta had long been “pining” for an artificial noble fir tree to bring back memories of the small and often misshapen variety she’d grown up with. To her great surprise, she found one online that was perfect to place alongside the large family room’s central fireplace, where her color scheme expanded to include lime green, aqua and, of course, red.
“When I took it out of the box, it looked more like a Charlie Brown tree!” she says. “Once I got the lights on the tree and all the vintage and new ornaments with colors I recall from when I was little, it had a real retro feel with a funky, whimsical, modern twist to it that I loved.”
Reusing some of her favorite antiques in a new way is perhaps the most joyful element that changes each year. “I’m drawn to weird things that others might think are yucky,” Aleta says. “But put them all together, like the glass beads, red bells and old glass ornaments, and they are really pretty wonderful!”
And nary a season goes by without Aleta making her signature plush bears, but this year, a new line was invented: A little Snow Bear made from a specific type of mohair that sports her handmade clay buttons left over from a snowman doll design created years ago. Their wintry names are as adorable as their pert faces: “Burr It’sCold,” “Chilly Finklefroster,” “I’mabit Chilly,” and her personal favorite, “Freeze Yourbuttoff.”
ABOVE: Artist Aleta Breese puts the finishing touches on her new Snow Bear line.