Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Painting with the Society of Decorative Painters and Going To Washington 1998 and 2004

Hi Friends
Merry Christmas!

Being a member of 
The Society of Decorative Painters since 1989
has been a joy and blessing.

Once again I am remembering two special occasions being invited to the White House
after creating ornaments for the Blue Room Christmas Tree.  
These thoughts bring back wonderful Holiday memories.

Local paper feature December, 1998

 I haven't shared pics of those unique times here in blogland, so I thought this holiday,
 I would share a bit from my experience.

This is the North and South Portico of the White House.

I had the joy of painting twice for the Blue Room Tree
and actually attending a reception to view 
the collective efforts from the Society members twice as well.

For the 1998 painting assignment the theme was
Winter Wonderland.
We were asked to create ornaments with a winter snow sports theme
with specifications for sizes, scale and weight.

As most of you know,
I am a long time member of the National Society of Decorative Painters.
 This wonderful group of artists in all stages of skill levels, form a special group around the world.

Being a member has blessed me with a path I might otherwise not have taken.
As a member since 1989,
I have improved my skill, met many great artists, studied alongside kindred spirits,
and yes, even taken the road to the White House.
What an honor it was for all of us!

Each year after Christmas,
 the decorations and holiday theme is decided by the first lady and her staff of designers for the following Christmas display.
Once the theme for decorating is agreed upon,
work begins that lasts all year long
right down to every little detail for the first White House Party.

The 2004 theme was A Season of Merriment and Melody.

In the years I designed and painted for the holiday theme,
our society was invited to do so and we were all given instructions to create ornaments for the Blue Room Christmas tree.
Size, weight and theme had to be exact and followed for consideration in being chosen.

 In 1998 the theme was snow sports and in 2004 musical instruments.
 Once your creation or more were complete, it would be sent to the Society for acceptance for the Blue Room Tree.

 If it was selected, it then was sent on to Washington, if not, it would be displayed at the Society's beautiful location on display for the season in Kansas, the National Headquarters.

My attitude was, to do the best I could and if my ornament went on to Washington, wonderful,
if not,
I would be very happy and proud to be included with the Society's display for the Christmas season.

Low and behold,
 I went on to Washington both times I created.
 However my greatest surprise was,
being invited to come see the display by invitation
from the President and First Lady in 1998 
and The First Lady in 2004.

 I never dreamed I would receive an invite to see the Blue Room Tree all decked out in the ornaments created by artists from all over the nation.
350 ornaments were chosen and 313 members attended.

I will always be thankful to be included among so many talented men and women.

The following are photos from both trips.

We each could include a guest
 and of course my guest was my best friend and husband.
He loved every minute spent in our nation's capitol.

 Washington is a wonderful place at Christmas.
 The lights, the history and the pride is like nothing else.
 To be apart of that experience once is amazing,
 to be blessed twice,
is beyond my dreams.

For both visits
we spent time after the reception day,
 touring the monuments and sites for three days.
 My memories are full and my experience will last a lifetime.

To attend with my best friend was extra special
and I thank God for the blessing to swing a paint brush!

I have many photos and it's impossible to share them all,
 but here are the highlights

The dinner buffet was over the moon amazing with every kind of dish imaginable.
The dessert table was incredible.
I don't remember eating or what I enjoyed.
The day was just a dream.
We dined with fellow artists,
took photos and toured the main level.
What a day both visits!

From 1998

Six years later, visiting once again.
From 2004

The Blue Room Christmas Tree in all it's glory stands 18 feet tall and isattached to the ceiling where the chandelier normally hangs.

 The White House provided ornament finder charts for us to locate our ornaments on the tree.

The tree was magnificent.
Below in the next three photos and to the left is my ornament.
A drum in blues, reds, gold and ivory 
with gold stroke-work to meet our specific assignment
for color and strokes.
Given a location chart of each ornament,
I was able to get close enough to get this shot.

I do not have photos of the ornaments I painted in 1998.
However, I painted 11 ornaments in a variety of snow sport styles.
Sleds, skates, and skiers.

On each visit, we took the time to tour around Washington DC.

There is so much to see and enjoy about our American history
and the time was well spent.

Here are a few pics from around Washington.

My favorite site was the WWII Memorial.
 It was here I met a few Vets from my Father's home state of PA.
 When I thanked them for their service, they cried.
 We all took some pics together
and then
I stood under the marker for Dad's beloved Pennsylvania.

For both visits we stayed at the Capital Hilton and took the same pic to mark our stay.

A couple months after our trip and WH visit,
Mrs. Bush sent us both, for our offices,
 a photo taken with her by the White House Photographer
 and a very special letter that I will forever hold dear.

Thank you for sharing in my wonderful memories from the White House 1998 and 2004.

 It was a time I will never forget
and I hope our Society is invited again in the future
so I might try to design and share in the decorating of the Blue Room Tree once again.

 It is "The People's House" and painting for it was a great honor!

 There are not enough words to express my thankfulness for the joy of painting.

 God has been so good to bless me with a gift that I might bring a smile to another through painting.

 For me, that will always be enough!

Merry Christmas!

Till next time, Blessings be yours.
Celestina Marie

As a special note, The ornaments painted for the White House stay with the White House and used in other ways in the future or displayed in the Library of Congress.

The 1998 ornaments I created were hand cut from wood designs and painted my me.

The 2004 ornaments were sent to members for creation and painting.
I was actually sent two ornaments to paint with the other  being a trumpet.
 The trumpet  arrived damaged, so my chances were left to one ornament.

I also want to add, my Father passed away just 6 weeks before my 1998 invitation and before the WWII Memorial was constructed.

 When he was a teenager, he worked on the grounds of the White House for a summer job one year.

 I feel he knows I was there both times
and in 2004  met Veterans he served this country with so proudly.
God Bless!


Mihaela Nica said...

BUON NATALE e un nuovo anno pieno di idee !!! Un grande baccione -Mihaela.

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

What a wonderful honor! I can't imagine the excitement of being chosen and then spending time at the White House with Mrs. Bush.
Your photos are wonderful and I know you will cherish them forever.

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story.


Julie Marie said...

Oh Celeste... I cannot even imagine what that would be like, what a wonderful honor for you!...and to have the love of your life and best friend Larry there with you is so exciting!...you look just beautiful in every photo... I love the beautiful buffet table, and also love the dishes of former presidents. The picture of Lady Bird Johnson is exquisite in the powder room... and how cute, Larry said he used the potty in the White House! That gingerbread house was so fun to see... your drum ornament is just precious! You are so talented my friend, it is no wonder they wanted to include you! I can't believe how many themed ornaments you created!... I also love seeing the WWII Memorial, and the photo of you with the WWI Vets from your daddy's home state of Pennsylvania... these things touch my heart so, and of course your daddy looked down and saw that, and is so very proud of you!... What a precious gift from Laura Bush of the photo of you and Larry with her... she made such a beautiful First Lady!... thank you so much for sharing these incredible photos and most wonderful experiences... you so deserve the recognition for your beautiful creations... much love to you Celeste... and Merry Christmas!... xoxo Julie Marie PS I love the beautiful plate at the first with the barn on it too!

Cheryl @ Bingle Bears said...

Thank you SO much for sharing the photos and story of your visits to the White House. WONDERFUL!!! I especially loved your special note at the end.

Gone said...

What an honor - and thanks for sharing!!

Merry Christmas!!

A Hint of Home said...

It was wonderful reading about your journey to the White House! It is an amazing place to visit at any time. So much history has happened in those walls.
Love the area and all the things to see.
Thanks for sharing your amazing talent with us.
Your Dad would be happy that you were selected and got to meet and see the monument that was finally built for the brave men that served in his time.
My Dad was one of them. He served in the Phillipines.
Have a wonderful Christmas, friend!

Connie said...

Beautiful and touching story, sweetpea. I love all our service men who protect our country and our loved ones and your Dad was a great example of that. Thank you for this post!

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

Celestina Marie!!! You are stunning, and Larry handsome. You did yourselves proud. What an honor. I know you will never forget that special time.
I love the old cookies cutter.I think the cookies are just fab.
Merry Christmas,
and Blessings,
XXOO Marie Antionette

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Celestina Marie,

Just had to wait till my eyes got dry again for typing... You are above all such a natural, humble person with great talent and above all such a rare inner beauty! No brag letter; nothing like that but you pay respect to this greatest nation in the world in such a special way, together with Larry you represented the best what America has to offer! You sure can be proud and even more so, only six weeks after your Dad left us, only to be there WITH you both. Proudly touching you in order to say some uplifting words to his fellow Veterans, from his home State. This is a legacy that will live far longer than you can imagine. At least, know that we are mighty proud of you!!!

With lots of love and admiration,

Mariette's Back to Basics

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Celestina Marie,

What a wonderful post you have shared today and what proud memories you must have of your visits to the White house.
What an honour and to have all the fabulous photos to look back on.
You are truly beautiful in each photo and you and your husband make such a fabulous couple. You are so very talented and love everything you share. I am so thankful for your beautiful friendship.
May you have the best Christmas ever and wish you much joy, love and peace.

Hugs & many blessings

Lore♥ said...

La navidad es una ocación propicia para buscar los mejores sentimientos del corazón y enviarlos a las personas queridas es por eso que dejé unas tarjetas navideñas para todas las amigas que me acompañan en estos años de blog es por eso que me encantaria la tengas...
con el cariño de siempre

Susan said...

Celestina , What an honor!! You have some wonderful memories!! Your photos are so beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful visit to the White House!

Unknown said...

Hi Celestina,

I truly enjoyed the tour of the White House. What a honor to have been in such a magnicifent place. I am a big fan of both President Bush and his whole family. The pictures are beautiful and you look so good!! I also love the pics of WWII Memorial. Thank God for pictures. I am sure you treasure those moments. I can't thank you enough for sharing them with all of us.
Have a very Merry Christmas sweet friend,
Janet's Creative Pillows

Mari said...




Jillayne said...

WHat a lovely post Celestina - you should be so proud! What a wonderful thing to have done even once, never mind twice!
Merry Christmas to you!

Unknown said...

Hi Celeste,
I stopped by to wish you a Merry Christmas, and what a lovely surprise to read about your amazing artist adventures. I didn't realize you were there twice. Your artwork in the White House. What a wonderful children's book this would be to inspire little artists. Your photographs are gorgeous and so are you.

I am sure that your Father was with you in 1998 as you toured the White House, as he and your mom are today. So proud of the most beautiful daughter inside and out. Your life is blessed because you are a blessing.

I am proud that I can call you a friend. Wishing you and your family a beautiful Christmas.


Unknown said...

merry xmas!!!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Oh, I really enjoyed seeing these photos! What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing it! I read Laura Bush's book this summer and have so much respect for her! I would love to meet her! What a privilege! Merry Christmas and thanks again for giving us a glimpse into your life! ♥

Julie Marie said...

Hello again Celeste... just had to take another look at this most special post...and in reading your comments, I too got tears in my eyes again... you truly are such a beautiful example of what the American woman should be, and all the things you hold dear... I meant to type WWII in my previous comment, not WWI, but I love all veterans from all wars... love to you and once again, Merry Christmas!... I will check back on Christmas Eve and see if you posted again... xoxo Julie Marie

Anonymous said...

Celeste, this post brought tears to my eyes...for you and your wonderful experience, and for your opportunity to meet with several WWII vets. And I'm so sorry your Dad passed away just before your invitation. I think he was looking down on you though!

Hugs, Diane

Jill said...

Wow, I am in awe! what an amazing honor! Your work is so beautiful and the trip looked amazing! Such gorgeous photos! Thank you so very much for sharing them, it definitely puts me in the Christmas spirit looking at all the beauty!
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ruth Welter said...

Celeste, I really loved seeing your white house photos from 2004, what an honor that must have been.

Keep up the great work and the great attitude as well. I think we could all learn something from your very positive state of mind, I'm know I"m trying to be more like that in my daily life and you have been an inspiration to me in that regard.

Have a wonderful Christmas...see you and your artwork in the new year.


Unknown said...

G'morn sweet Celeste ~ No one better could have been chosen to join these events, than you, Celeste. They know a beautiful soul & breathtaking artist when they see one. Not just 'anyone' is afforded such a compliment to participate in the WH Christmas events. Your creations are beautiful ...

Every single photo is just awesome. The WH is so fabulously decorated during the Christmas seasons ... a sight I hope that everyone can one day enjoy. Washington, DC, is a city to enjoy all year round, but the Christmas celebrations & decors are magical. New York City is the other sight one should visit at Christmas.

What lovely thoughts of/for your precious Father ... his spirit is with you wherever you go.

Of course, my favorite pics is you & Larry with our most gorgeous & elegant First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush.

What a handsome couple you & Larry are ... so photogenic.

Thank you for a wonderful year of friendship, my precious friend.
Have a beautiful & joyous Christmas.
Hugs of love, Marydon

Rebecca Nelson said...

Dear Sweet Friend~

You are so amazing and God, no doubt, has blessed you and your family a hundred fold. You never fail to bless and inspire others and in return and I believe that is why you've been incredibly gifted yourself.

I love seeing your BEAUTIFUL smiling face and can only hope in 2011 we finally are able to meet in person.

Love to you dear friend. Merry Christmas and love...


Unknown said...

AMAZING, AMAZING post Celeste!! What an honor to get to do this. And the memories must be amazing. I just cannot get over this, lol!! The white house always looks so beautiful on tv at Christmastime. I cannot imagine being there in real life! I am happy Larry was able to be there with you! And what you wrote about your dad gave me chills. I KNOW he was there with you and so proud of you!!
Merry Christmas to you all!!

Misborda2 said...

Hello Celestina: I went to wish Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. These days, Happiness is installed in your home, you enjoy it with your loved ones, and that 2011 is a year full of wishes made. Hugs, Laura.

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Hi Celestina,
What a wonderful honor for you to visit the White House and the ornaments you created, how lovely!

I love all the photos but reading about your father and his knowing about your being there on the grounds and honoring his fellow veterans really touches my heart.

Merry Christmas to you and yours this beautiful day of His birth!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Celestina Marie,

Just had to come by and wish you and your family a very happy Christmas.
I hope it is filled with the sweetest of blessings.
I am so thankful for your beautiful friendship and all that you share.
May you enjoy this special time, with those you love.

Christmas hugs

Anna said...

Le mie congratulazioni!!!!! Un caro saluto,Anna.

Laura Quaglia (Fun With This and That) said...

I was also asked to the white house It was when Clinton was in office and we did the 12 day of Christmas. It was with the SDP's I did not go I'm now sorry I did not go .It was so nice to see your trip.Happy Pink Sat.

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

This is so fascinating! What a treasured time in your life!

Kim said...

The entire post was beautiful and enlightening. I enjoyed seeing the decor, your personal pics and reading about the trips, but I find the most fascinating information to be the fact that they provided you wth a map of where your ornament was located. Little details I would never have thought about, yet on a tree that large, with that many decorations, I can only imagine that it must be like trying to find a needle in an (evergreen) haystack!

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by. Your visits and comments are always welcome and I look forward to visiting you in return. Have a blessed day!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Celestina Marie
Celestina Marie

Welcome To Rose Garden Market from Celestina Marie Design. It is so nice to meet you. My name is Celestina Marie named after my grandmother and my friends call me Celeste.My creative journey extends over 30 years enjoying the love of painting and redesigning vintage and new treasures. I love to go treasure hunting and the fun of finding great vintage pieces to redesign..