We at Balsam Hill have made it our mission to provide you with beautiful home décor of the finest quality. This season, we are proud to collaborate again with some of the best artists and designers to make your dreams of a picture-perfect holiday come true. Read on to learn more about some of our partners and the wonderful work they create.


A company with a rich and storied history, Soffieria De Carlini has been around since 1947, at a time when post-war Italy was seeking to bring a sense of normalcy to everyday life by returning to its roots and deep-seated traditions.

Founded by Enrico De Carlini, the company began to produce simple ornaments in classic shapes – such as spheres, drops, and ovals. In time, their decorative pieces were recognized globally for their impeccable craftsmanship and the De Carlini name soon became synonymous with the finest Italian glass ornaments.

Craftsman with mouth-blown stag figurine
De Carlini artisan skillfully crafting a glass figurine

De Carlini takes pride in maintaining traditional practices while making every piece. The process starts when a tube is heated to a scorching 800°C, and the glass is laboriously mouth-blown into figurines – complete with arms, legs, and other features. The finishing touch is in the details, each intricately hand-painted and hand-brushed to add life to each item. The talented artisans at De Carlini exhibit skills obtained through years of practice to produce exquisite ornaments, bringing joy to everyone who sees them.


Karen Didion and one of charming vintage Santas
The woman behind some of our favorite nostalgic pieces

Karen Didion has always been passionate about the Yuletide season, and her love for the holidays shines through every piece that leaves their workshop. What began as a simple pastime soon evolved into a business of creating endearing Santa figures for exhibits at private shows and country clubs.

Balsam Hill's Karen Didion Vintage Toy Santa
Balsam Hill’s Karen Didion Vintage Toy Santa

The popularity of her home crafts grew steadily, and after many years of hard work, the company, Karen Didion Originals, was formed in 1995. Today, her family-operated company continues to thrive, producing imaginative pieces that evoke a welcome sense of nostalgia and tradition.

Karen Didion giving Santa some finishing touches
Karen Didion giving Santa some finishing touches

Each collectible is conceptualized by Karen herself, and every item is lovingly created out of distinctive fabrics like imported tapestry, satin, suede, and leather. All figurines are handcrafted with glass inset eyes, real mohair beards, and meticulously handpainted faces and hands. No Santa leaves their workshop without the personal approval of a Didion family member, ensuring that collectors get only premium quality products.


Rustic Santa with lantern and wooden snow shoes
Balsam Hill’s Santa with Snow Shoes German Nutcracker

The wooden wonders produced at the Ulbricht workshops have been described as detailed, whimsical and charming. Ulbricht has withstood the test of time and the trials of war. Otto Ulbricht originally started the business in 1928 in Seiffen, Germany, where former miners faced the challenge of finding new ways to sustain their families when ore started to dwindle.

The coming of World War II forced Otto to close the company’s doors in Seiffen, as he and his family fled to safer grounds. He re-opened the shop in Lauingen, where his son Christian Ulbricht took over in 1968. Ulbricht continues to produce exquisite nutcrackers and other wooden décor with a timeless style that adds color and cheer to any home.

Premium quality wood being prepped for production
Premium quality wood being prepped for production

At the Ulbricht workshop, wood sourced from German forests are stored and dried under ideal conditions to preserve their beauty and integrity. Christian still enjoys designing new models at his workbench, samples of which serve as patterns for their workers to turn into beautiful handcrafted pieces. Parts of the woodworking process involve skills passed down over 300 years through generations of Ulbrichts, resulting in precision-made wooden collectibles that delight the young and young at heart.

Our creative partners are dedicated to bringing you cherished pieces that will help infuse your holiday home with warmth and charm. Be sure to re-visit our blog in a few days for the second half of our special Home Decor Designer Spotlight series.

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