By now many of you have seen that I was one of the designer volunteers this year at the White House for Christmas 2012. I am visible several times in the HGTV special which has blown my designer secret. If you happened to miss the episode it will appear again several times throughout the holiday season and the times and dates are listed here.
This was one of the most remarkable and honorable assignments of my life. I am eternally grateful that I was chosen to be a volunteer this year. Nothing in my career has made me more proud than being a designer at the White House. Please take a look at the HGTV special and see how amazing our White House is. We are all so blessed to live in this country and to have the incredible opportunities we all have as citizens of the United States. My main thought about this journey was this… it was not the designing that I found so inspiring (although that was heavenly) but the people I met along the way. I will always be touched by military mom Carrie who traveled from California to help decorate the White House. Carrie was interviewed in the HGTV special and she is the real deal. Carrie spent over 25 years as a police dispatcher, her husband is a retired police officer, her son is in the military, and she runs a food bank in California. She taught me more about service in 6 days than anyone ever has. All of the military moms and spouses were amazing, and I felt honored to be in their midst. I also had the pleasure of working with several of the Chapel Designers and this was truly incredible. I am beyond thrilled that I was selected. What a true honor!!! My grandmother would be so proud. Who would have ever thought that a housewife mom of 7, turned florist, would ever get to do something this significant. Designing at the White House, another dream and goal has been realized!!
I helped make wreaths, garland, centerpieces, and I decorated trees. One of my favorite projects was the mantle in the green room. I co designed this space with volunteer Gina. Here I created a structure of branches that was used to support the hand blown terrariums. I learned how to do this while studying in Belgium. It was pretty exciting to be able to use some of my newly developed skills in the White House.
Here is our team of amazing designers/volunteers.
As a volunteer we were invited to a reception hosted by the first lady. After a beautiful speech given by Michelle Obama guests were allowed to stand in line and meet the first lady. Yes, I got to shake her hand.
My special guest was my oldest child Alex and it was wonderful as a mother to be able to escort one of my children into the White House. Again such an incredible honor.
Here is my friend and designer Daevid with volunteer Courtney, Daevid is also a Chapel Designer. We all fell in love with Courtney and her story. Courtney’s husband nominated her secretly to be a volunteer. She was a true trooper and I would have her on my team any day of the week.
Here is a close up picture of the annual White House gingerbread house. You could actually smell the chocolate that was used to create the miniature Bo.
Here I am with one of the gigantic ornament balls we created. These balls were placed along the lower cross hall under arches of over 6,000 bobbles. These babies were a serious designer challenge. One other important fact the ornaments are recycled each year from Christmas’s past and most of the decorating is done on a volunteer basis.
Happy holidays and make sure you watch the next viewing of the HGTV special.