Tag Archives: Christmas forest


Revving up the Christmas Rabbit: Teddies and Tea Sets

Tiny tea sets everywhere! Waiting to be sorted and put on tea trays for the Victorian Teddy Tea Party Tree

Yes, it’s not even Halloween yet, but Christmas is underway around the rabbit’s rancheroo. Seven weeks and counting down from here to Christmas Forest and the Victorian Teddy Tea Party Tree. My 2011 extravaganza actually started the day I finished last year’s tree.

bunches and bunches of bears. 211 to be exact. All but 23 are wearing clothes.

My very favorite is this adorable Victorian style bear, I don't know if I can 'bear' to give her up!

Buried in bears in my studio loft. That's my foot. I had to wedge me in with all the bins to sort the furry beasts.

I  started thinking about 2011’s tree before 2010’s was even up! I understand from the other designers that is S.O.P. We all slink around and look over the other trees on display and start plotting on how we can top ourselves and them-next time.

These two are the most exquisite and valuable of the bushels of bears. Both handmade and incredibly high quality. I got one for 10 bucks and the other for 20 bucks. Probably 300 dollars or so, retail. Gotta love being a Value Village vulture.

And bear gear: buggies, rockers, chairs, prams, tiny desks, even an upholstered granny style rocker. A year of hunting paid off.


I found so many Victorian style dressed bears, the Victorian Teddy Tree pretty much named itself.

Sorted by size and style and binned with the number of bears inside on the bin. Whew. That's a lot of bears! I don't want to see any green on the tree, just bears, tea stuff and treats from top to bottom.

These are teeny tinies. So adorable! A whole box of fun.


I haven't even counted these yet, unpacking them was staggering enough for a start.

I started thinking about my concept a year ago : Bears and a teaparty. I loved the song, “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” as a little kid. To that end and with something Teddy Bear Picnicish in mind, I have been collecting bears and tiny sets for a year. This weekend it was time to go up into my loft and begin the sorting process, bears up and tea sets down.

From right after WWII, made in Japan. Can't you just picture a little girl getting this set for Christmas?


Exquisite, only one cup. Some of these are so beautiful they will stay in my own trinket collection. Trust me, there are so many tea sets here, no body is ever going to notice!

I have mostly been standing on the first floor and throwing bears overhand up onto the loft bed, or carrying them up and just stashing them and all the bear accoutrements overhead and ignoring the whole mess all summer. How many bears? How many tea sets? A bunch.

Teeny tiny Spode tea saucer. Wish I had the whole set.

Other side of the Spode saucer, cute no?

My goal with this tree of tea toys and teddies is to transfix every small child who sees the tree. I want to create something so magical they’ll remember it for years.

The teeny tiniest tea sets are in this cigar box. Doll's house tea sets perhaps?

I am going to use rubber cement to fasten the tea things to the tea trays and furnish the buyer with instructions on deconstructing the tree. It is my biggest wish that whoever buys this tree will take off every tea tray and tea set and every teddy bear and give them to a child. I kind of hope a pediatrician buys the tree, that would be perfect.

Funky little set from the 50's, tres cool


Gorgeous antique child's teacup with a parrot handle. I found 3 of them at an estate sale.

Tiny teapots!


teeny weeny sugar bowl, probably holds about 3 grains of sugar

My personal favorite? This Miss Muffet tea saucer. Mine,mine, mine.

antique blue willow tea set creamer. How cute is this?

Even if a few bits that aren't in sets stay behind to remind me of this amazing experience, I don't think we'll have a shortage of tea sets. I counted 14 tiny teapots yesterday and I didn't even try to count cups and saucers.

Christmas forest raises a ton of money for the Providence St Peter foundation. They do so much with the money, including providing health care for moms’ and kids’ without insurance, that I am glad to add my own funds to match theirs, along with all the time and effort it takes to do one of these trees.

Over the next seven weeks I will be posting how the tree is put together from making the giant tea pot tree topper to the “cupfakes” decorations. Furniture refinishing and detailing is taking place already. My friend Linda is waiting for measurements on the bear bed to create hand made linens which will be gorgeous. My Christmas crew is standing by and mid-October we launch all the fun details. How to projects will be shared so readers can create fun at home too.  This one is going to be fun for all of us who never really wanted to grow up, starting with me.



Introducing the Tree That Ate Seattle

My tree is in the middle, in this shot the trees are all installed and ready to roll for 2010 just before the public opening. They are between 8 and 10 feet high although they look small in this shot.

Last year my Christmas Forest Contribution got tagged with the working title, “The “Tree That Ate Cleveland”. This year I am sticking closer to home with “The Tree That Ate Seattle”,  but I have the same high-flying aspirations. The tree’s real name is  “A VictorianTeddy Tea Party”, but I kind of like the concept of a project so huge it could devour a city.

Last year's tree topper was a globe, this year's will be a giant teddy filled tea pot.

Christmas Forest is this marvelous fund-raising Christmas-kicking-off-magical-forest of Christmas trees. Providence St Peter Foundation is the power behind the throne here in Oly and in other cities and other states there are similar events, some with absolutely huge budgets. I’m almost jealous.

Mooshka is posing in his winter coat with some of the tree prezzies. It snowed last year, perfect!

We are a bit more modest here and our designers, including I am proud to say, the Artful Rabbit, accomplish miracles between begging, pleading and very small budgets. In my hunt for supplies for a spectacular tree this year I have to give props to the incredibly generous citizens of Olympia.

Close up shot of last year's tree, everything on it was hand made and repurposed/recycled. Hard to top this one (pun alert!) but I'm sure going to try!

An entire roomful of beautifully decorated themed trees  and wreaths are sold at a gala auction annually to raise funds for services like medical care for moms and kids without insurance, and a lot of other things too.

One of the other trees last year had this great Barbie and Ken, loved it!

I love being involved with this charity. Last year I spent quite a bit of my own money on the tree, but you know what? I can’t think of anywere I’d rather spend it than on making something beautiful to be enjoyed by a lot of other people–especially little kids at Christmas! Absolute magic.

Toy Story characters were my fave in 2010. Too funny!

I have been prowling garage and estate sales for a full year for just the right ‘jewels’ for my tree and I have found a few beauties. Like the tiny little antique school desk I got for a song, and the darling antique bed frame that my darling husband is laboriously sanding for me so I can repaint it. My wonderful friend Linda is going to sew the linens for my tiny bed- and boy is she ever talented! I cannot wait to see what comes out of her atelier.

ha ha ha! Terry is doing the sanding this year. This is from 2010, Teddy Bears are much more user friendly and snuggly than old metal.

The Christmas crew is lined up and ready to roll. My faithful trio of Jamie, Linda, and Carolee are ready to start. I’m trying not to panic.

Last year my friend Faye did a beautiful woodland themed tree AND a wreath. Wow.

My goal is to create a beautiful tree that has all the kiddos and the parents absolutely in love with it. I am working extra hard to make sure all the pieces which include Teddy Bears and tea sets can be disentangled, glue and goo free, and shared with children or adults who are kids at heart.

Why no glue which might make life easy? I would love to see the tree taken down after Christmas and know the pieces would be given to kids. That is why I am avoiding a ton of hot glue and figuring out how to fasten things securely without it.

Another shot of Santa in a tree from last year, 2010. All the trees were gorgeous, and if you live in Thurston county you should definitely pay the admission fee and see these stunning trees.

The rule is: the tree has to be able to be wrapped in plastic while fully decorated, put in a truck and carted to its new home when it is sold. This is after a week on display with all the other trees and topped off with the auction. We get to go its new home and “fluff and buff” to make sure its as pretty as it was when sold.

Moosh is on the team too. He makes a great furry elf...

The tree designers’ part is well underway and the installation has to be ready to roll and open to the public on Thanksgiving day. Let’s see, what is that seven weeks from now? YIKES!

Last year's labor of love, this year? Even better!