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During the holidays, a cottage at Martha's Bedford farm is transformed into a magical woodland wonderland for her grandchildren, like a storybook come to life.
Bears, deer, mushrooms, and lots of evergreens were incorporated throughout, from handmade wool-and-felt stockings to tree cookies.
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Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear -- what better way to set an enchanted scene than with three oversize stuffed animals? Jude loves bears -- or osos, as she calls them in Spanish -- so much that they became the starting point for the entire holiday decorating scheme, chockablock with homemade details.
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The whimsy and, for a child, the thrill of this woodland theme comes from playing with scale and expectations: What's big is rendered small (the house) but with such an eye to detail that it uses three shades and flavors of cookie, and the roof and chimney have the realistic look of shingles and bricks.
Paint (on walls and trim throughout house), by Martha Stewart Living Paint, in Bone Folder, homedepot.com.
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Forest for the Tree
A few motifs come together on the tree, with forest animals, mushrooms, and bristle ornaments.
Martha constructs an ornament tree using branches, a project that lets you bring nature indoors for the holidays.
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The felt ornaments mix the natural and the fantastical, with silhouettes of bears carrying presents or proffering candy canes. There's a lot of luscious texture, too, since details such as toadstool caps, bobtails, and undercoats are made from wool roving.
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"I'm enamored of faux bois and anything wood," Martha says of the velvet pillows. The house is furnished mostly with a mismatched wicker collection, done in the same paint and upholstery for a cohesive look. The many windows offer a view of the farm. "We have an actual bear every now and again," says Martha.
Woodgrain velvet pillows, by Kevin O'Brien Studio, 20" by 20", in Dove, $288 each, abchome.com. Paint (on wicker furniture), by Martha Stewart Living Paint, in Lentil, homedepot.com. Upholstery fabric New Linen, in Natural, $89 per yd.; and silk taffeta welting, in Apple, $69 per yd., wolfhomeny.com.
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Illuminate the festivities with flickering light. Here, electric candles are hidden from view behind sparkly, snow-covered trees. These DIY candleholders are an homage to traditional German candle arches, with intricate silhouettes of wintry scenes.
Light antique mirror, no bevel, made to order, skyframeinc.com.
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By the Chimney, with Care
A light, natural color scheme -- sisal rugs and creamy-tone paint -- makes the small house seem much larger than it is. The beautiful millwork throughout is painted white, so it never feels overwhelming. Antique leather club chairs, stone-topped tables, and flokati and velvet pillows add an array of textures.
Stone dish-top table, $4,400; and crystal hurricanes, from $440 each; luccany.com.
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The colors of three types of cookies (two gingerbreads, one chocolate) echo the graduated tones of the wood they are resting on. Dusting sand-ing sugar onto freshly piped icing gives the impression of new-fallen snow.
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Time for Work
It doesn't get much more Tyrolean than a cuckoo clock. Its intricate texture and rich brown hue are complemented here by two store-bought pinecone garlands, twisted together to appear fuller, on the banister. Adding a bit of playfulness: a trio of Steiff bears doing the work of elves (aka wrapping presents). Even the gifts reflect the woodland theme, with the whorl of wood grain on the wrapping paper, and stiff paper ribbons that mimic wood shavings.
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Rustic, woodsy decorations naturally say Christmas. This table is set with wood-plank place mats, branch candleholders, and "snowcapped" birch stumps. The Buri animals and the pots of selaginella, or spikemoss, evoke a dreamy forest floor.
Buri animals, by Martha Stewart, in small, $15, and large, $32, macys.com. Natural maple tealight holders, from $4 each; and natural wood pieces with bark, 11" by 8", $7 each; save-on-crafts.com. Uno natural linen napkins, in Natural, $7 each, cb2.com. Feather-edge pearlware dinner plates, with Green Paint, $70 each, ruralresidence.com. Milton pots, by Ben Wolff Pottery, in White Clay, 3 3/4" by 4", $11 each, and 5 3/4" by 6", $22 each; johnderian.com.
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