A Christmasy Vintage Thingies Thursday and a Giveaway!

>> Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hello to all my vintage and retro lovin' friends visiting from Vintage Thingies Thursday over at Coloradolady! I've missed VTT these past few weeks and am happy to be participating again today!

I'm stretching the meme a little this week, because I want to share with you all a very special place... this is a photo heavy post, apologies to those with slow page loads!

Welcome to the Nutcracker Suite!

The Nutcracker Suite Christmas Shop is located on historic Mill Street in downtown Newport, RI. Since it's inception in 1981, it has been housed in the Thomas Brown House, built in 1860, a home on the National Register of Historic Places AND the Newport Restoration Foundation, founded by Doris Duke.

Today, the Nutcracker is run by shop owners, newlyweds and cherished family friends Cheryl and Kevin Whittaker, who purchased it from the original owners in 2009.

Cheryl and Kevin are a fun loving couple who clearly have a passion for what they do- in the short time since they have taken over the store, they have started a website, brought in tons of new stock and carried on the time-honored tradition of literally decking the halls (and the walls and the ceilings and the mantels) with the most beautiful displays of Christmas cheer you could imagine.

To me, it doesn't matter if it's the hottest day in the middle of July- I step over the threshold of the air conditioned store and am immediately drawn in by the spirit of Christmas.

They have decorations for every taste. From vintage and traditional to modern and flashy. Small and delicate to large and ornate!

They have sports themes, music themes, snowmen themes, angels, Santa Claus, Carolers, Smokers, Nativity sets, Ornaments for bird lovers, wine enthusiasts, Newport/nautical themes

and of course- they have Nutcrackers. Oh yes, they have Nutcrackers!

One of the things that I love is that they are working hard to bring in beautiful ornaments made by local artists (of which I am but one). They have many talented RI and New England artists featured in the shop- they have hand blown eggs featuring paintings of famous Newport sites, striking ornaments made by RI company Chemart and a gorgeous sampling of other items hand painted, etched and engraved locally.

Shameless self horn tooting for a second here...

And while I definitely want to encourage everyone who is local to Newport to go visit this amazing store, I really and truly most wanted to share with you the joy I feel every time I step through their door. It is impossible not to catch the infectious spirit in this place! I have YET to walk out without a newly purchase ornament in my bag.
My favorites in the store have got to be the glass ornaments made by Merck Family's Old World Christmas. I think these have all the charm of the true vintage glass ornaments I collect.

A personal favorite is the glass pickle. Though no one seems to quite know the true origins of the pickle, they have been being manufactured and imported from Germany since the 1880's and it is thought to be a German (or at least German-American) tradition. The pickle ornament gets hidden deep in the tree and whoever finds it on Christmas morning is blessed with a year of good fortune. In my house, we have altered the tradition that the child who finds the pickle gets to open the first gift!

Old World Christmas has literally hundreds of glass ornaments each equally as beautiful as the next. I am collecting the nautical, sea life and bird pieces for our family Christmas tree.

I can't wait to get them onto my tree this year and now -thanks to the Whittaker's generosity- one of my awesome readers gets to enjoy one of these beautiful ornaments as well!

I am giving away this stunning Great Blue Heron ornament. He is approximately 5 1/2 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches wide with soft, shimmery blue wings and he stands in vibrant green marsh grass. Oh, I wish I had brought one home to put on my tree... hmmm... maybe next visit over to Newport?...

Anyway, to be entered in the giveaway, simply leave me a comment! Maybe about a tradition your family has or a favorite ornament on your tree? A special holiday collection you have? Whatever, just share with me and you're entered!

Now, because I'd like to give you all a few more shots at winning, I'll do the "extra chances" entries:

1. Become a public follower of my blog
2. Tweet or post to Facebook about this giveaway
3. Visit The Nutcracker Suite's website and tell me what your favorite item is.

This contest will remain open until Thursday, October 21st (Aidan's 7th birthday) at midnight. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.

Good luck!


Diann @ The thrifty Groove October 6, 2010 at 8:11 PM  

Oh, this looks like such a beautiful shop to go and spend several hours browsing! And thank you for the chance to sin that gorgeous ornament!

Genie October 6, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

How could you leave with even a penny left in our pocket book. This place is so beautiful and so filled with goodies I would love to have. It must be like you are in a fairy tale village when you are in that shop. I loved your post, and it was not a problem loading. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my daddy’s pencil holder. It is so unusual. I only wear it when I know it is not going to get beaten around because I am so afraid the pencil section will fall out. I wish the engraving came out better because it is really dear.
Genie @ buttonsforbaga

GardenofDaisies October 6, 2010 at 9:28 PM  

OH!! This is my kind of place! I LOVE Christmas!! I know I have way too many ornaments, but I just love the "overloaded look" on the Christmas tree. And since many of our ornaments will be going off with grown-up children in the next year or two, I need to find more! :-)
What a gorgeous giveaway! I would love to have the opportunity to win it. They had great blue herons in the woods where we used to go to church family-camp in Washington state. Beautiful birds!!
Some of my very favorite ornaments are the ones my children crafted for me I have a fish ornament made with pink feathers by my daughter. And a green and yellow beaded dinosaur made by my son. I just love the sweet memories that go along with those.
Some newer favorites are my Christopher Radko glass church ornaments. I love visiting old churches with interesting architectural features, so no one was surprised when I added these miniature, glass churches, with their tall steeples and stained glass windows, to my tree.
I have taken a quick look around the Nutcracker online shop and I really like the old fashioned santa's in the European glass ornament section. I collect nutcrackers too, so I'll have to come back later and take a better look!
Thanks for the opportunity to win the giveaway!

shari @ little blue deer October 6, 2010 at 9:35 PM  

Oh, that is gorgeous! I love Christmas, can't wait! And, I love Rhode Island! I lived in Providence for 2 years, it's my favorite place I've ever lived! So happy to find your lovely blog, so happy to be your newest follower!

LV October 6, 2010 at 10:30 PM  

You were right, you shared a lot of pictures today. It was worth it seeing that neat shop and so many lovely goodies.

Coloradolady October 6, 2010 at 11:31 PM  

What a wonderful shop and I can imagine spending lots of time there and money too! Thanks for sharing today, have a great VTT!

fitty's pinky rose cottage October 7, 2010 at 12:25 AM  

wow! what a shop and I can imagine the fun going into this shop and shopping for baubles and ornaments for Xmas.. love xmas baubles! thanks for sharing.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures October 7, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

Wow, what a feast for the eyes. How nice to have Christmas all year long and be able to get your fix. I love your creations, what an imagination. My favorite ornaments are my vintage ones from my mom and dad's tree when we were children.

Anna October 7, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

What a fun spot, thanks for sharing!

Maya @ Completely Coastal October 7, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

I have to make sure going there!!! those sailboat ornaments are cute..., and your creations of course are darling!!!

Tallulah's Antique Closet October 7, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

Thank You for your visit today. I luv the shop with all the glass ornaments and the sea shells used as ornaments. Thanks for sharing the shop with us....Julian

AshTreeCottage October 7, 2010 at 12:16 PM  

What a lovely shop and such eye candy! I could spend hours in there, but since I live in Idaho I appreciate the opportunity to view it all here. Old World Christmas ornaments are so lovely. Love the pickle too!

Susan and Bentley

Sarah October 7, 2010 at 7:34 PM  

Looks like a fun shop to spend some time in. I'm sure I'd leave with a purchase each time too.
One of our traditions is to decorate our tree (s) wtih the same ornaments each year. They are ones that we have collected thrugh the years. A new ornament might be added, but not always. ~ Sarah

Paula Palazzini,  October 8, 2010 at 7:31 AM  

Having visited the Nutcracker I would have to say that you perfectly captured the spirit and warmth of that lovely shop. Rhode Island has so many hidden treasures and this store is a perfect example! Love your blog, Tara! I am still in awe of all you do and manage to accomplish each day. It was sure my lucky day when I happened to come upon your store. Thanks for being such a wonderful friend..... You go girl!!!

A Gracious Home October 8, 2010 at 9:38 AM  

What a wonderful shop. I would love to visit it. Everything is beautiful. Doylene

Sherry October 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

How wonderful! I love Christmas and this is getting me in the mood. I will have to start thinking about it soon. Thanks for stopping by.

Megan is a secret Santa October 8, 2010 at 4:22 PM  

Oh Tara - what a beautiful post. I am right into the spirit of Christmas, but because I am a greedy little pig, I want to experience the spirit ALL YEAR LONG.

Kaybe October 9, 2010 at 10:42 AM  

I love Christmas! The heron ornament would look so pretty on my tree. I am heading to my storage locker to pull out all my holiday stuff. Looking at this shop gives me some great ideas.

badloi October 12, 2010 at 12:34 AM  

wow..nice post you have....in you blog i feel the essence of christmas although it is a long way...but to see those beautiful x'mas decors, i can see it near...love it..



Lisa - Alterity Button Jewelry October 12, 2010 at 8:27 AM  

I would LOVE to own a Christmas shop! Can you imagine Christmas all year long!!! I would also love a chance at that blown glass ornament :)
kimfdim at aol dot com

Lisa - Alterity Button Jewelry October 12, 2010 at 8:31 AM  

I am already a follower (does that count?)

Oh, I almost forgot the story:

We keep the German tradition of the pickle in the tree. The green blown glass pickle like in your blog photo. the prize is always a box of chocolates, but it is just so fun to watch the kids furiously scanning the tree trying to find it!

Lisa - Alterity Button Jewelry October 12, 2010 at 8:33 AM  

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE your seaside ornaments (so gorgeous!), but I simply can't pass up a Steinbach nutcracker! My fave? Nordic Santa. I have many nutcrackers, but only one is a Steinbach...they are so expensive! Oh, and I have a Steinbach elf tree ornament and a Steinbach Chimney Sweep smoker. Oh, so fun!
kimfdim at aol dot com

OLLIE MCKAY'S ~ A Chic Boutique October 20, 2010 at 2:25 PM  

Fab pics and ideas!! Oh man. . . now I'll start stressing about the short amount of time left to get my shopping done??!! :))

Low Tide High Style October 21, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

What a wonderful store, so many great holiday items to choose from!

In my house we have a few traditions. The first one is that my children receive a new pair of pajamas each year on Christmas Eve, to wear while waiting for Santa to arrive. Even at 23 and 18 they still enjoy this one.

The second tradition involves an ornament which we give them when we decorate the tree each year. I always buy them something related to an important milestone that year, like visiting a new country, or becoming an EMT...etc. When they eventually have their own families we'll give them these ornaments to use on their own trees.

Thanks for the opportunity to win the heron ornament! And I love the Joy to the World dog ornaments on their site...so cute!

Kat :)

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