Staffers at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, met months ago to decide the theme of the annual December candlelight tours of the historic home on Sycamore Road. They settled on "A White Christmas at Ashland."
"Little did we know the weather was going to be so cooperative," said Judy Ogger, staff member and decorator extraordinaire who is in charge of getting the 18-room house decorated every December.
Outside, the expansive lawn was blanketed with snow. Inside, white decorations are especially showy against the natural, dark woodwork.
The estate joined with the Living Arts & Science Center this year to have youngsters make decorations for the candlelight tours, the last of which is Sunday. What they produced are clever white decorations from everyday household items like coffee filters, paper plates, toothpicks and recycled computer paper. A tree on the second floor landing is filled with their artistic creations.
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Ogger called the center in mid-December to make arrangements for the children to come to Ashland to see their handiwork.
"They said 90 children contributed ornaments, and they were still working on them," Ogger said, chuckling.
To keep decorations economical, "We have an inventory of supplies in the basement that we try to recycle," said Ogger, who manages the museum's store and has served in a variety of capacities in her 18 years at Ashland.
Volunteers spent several weeks with gallons of white paint and brushes painting pine cones, oak leaves and small tree branches. Hydrangea flower heads were sprayed white and sprinkled with glitter.
The drawing room mantel — one of 11 throughout the house that had to be decorated — is banked with magnolia branches and armloads of white silk tulips. A large downstairs archway is swagged with garlands of greenery with white pine cones and oak leaves.
"We take decorations apart and put them together in new ways," Ogger said. "We move things around so each year the decorations look fresh."