Stuck in a Time Warp

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This darling handmade angel was sent me by my customer Sandra who lives in Florida. I just love her.

A Christmas time warp.  Here it is, January 29th, and I have to confess to you that I have not taken down one lick of my Christmas decorations yet.  In my defense, I didn’t finish getting the house decorated until the night of December 23rd.  What about you?

I’m not quite tired of them yet but I think by the first week of February, they will be heading back to their little beds to sleep until next December.

There has been something inordinately cheery about having all these lovely things to look at during the dark days of the past month. I think we have seen the sun about 3 times. It gets wearing.  It’s nice to have a little cheer inside when the world outside is not so great.  Besides, last year, I did not get any decorating done with everything that had been going on.

But this year, we had a truly wonderful Christmas. No hospital stays (3 of the past 5 Christmases have been spent in the hospital with either my mom or the Mister).  We had so much to be grateful for. And at the very last minute, my sister and her 3 girls decided to come down here to spend Christmas with us. They rolled in about 3 in the afternoon on Christmas Day.  She even brought the turkey!  We had the most lovely time, our little family around the table for a superb dinner with all the trimmings. Then presents afterwards and a well-deserved good night’s sleep.  When they left on Boxing Day, the house seemed pretty empty for awhile.

On the spur of the moment, when they were leaving home to come down here, my sister went up into my parents’ attic and brought Mom’s snow babies with her so we could put them on the table.  My mother, who grew up in Baltimore County, MD, always loved the elaborate “Christmas garden” her family had under the tree.  Included in this set up were snow babies – the real ones. We have no idea what became of those but at some point Mom starting collecting the Department 56 repros and she put them on the dining room table where they scampered around doing whatever it is that snow babies do.  To have her collection with us this Christmas was the icing on the cake.  I put this little one on my tree.

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My mother’s snow baby, swinging on a star

Getting back to decorating, I managed to get 2 big trees up and decorated plus a feather tree for the Pleasure Dome (that’s the Mister’s music/reading/TV refuge).  Other than that, the decor is fairly minimal but I made sure there was a touch of the festive season in every room downstairs.   And Edward came by about a week before Christmas and we got the outside lights up!  It’s just not Christmas around here without them.  They are still up, too.

I thought I would share some photos with you.

This is the big tree.

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For the first time in my life, I had a fake tree for the main event.  I did not have anybody to help me wrestle a giant, heavy tree into place this year so I decided to go with a “permanent botanical.”  It was not a decision made lightly, I can attest to that. At first it was weird,  but as I kept going, I kinda started liking the way the ornaments went on – especially the big ones.  By the time it was finished, it was darn near impossible to tell that this is not a real Fraser fir. Can you tell?

Now that it is almost February, I can tell you unreservedly that it was pretty cool not to have to worry about watering.  Or having to vacuum up tons of dry needles all over the place.  Or burning the house down!

But the best thing of all is that I did not have to put those blasted LIGHTS on the tree!!!!  I hate lights!!!!

It took me bits of several days to do decorate this one but I had the absolute best time with it.  Every ornament I pulled out made me smile.  Christmas music was playing.  All was right in my world.

I put the other large tree in the garden room.  That’s the tree that has mostly vintage ornaments on it.  I like to sit out there late at night, with just the tree and candlelight, a glass of wine (or two) and listen to music. It’s glorious.

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From my vantage point, I can see the other tree in the next room.  Maybe you can see why I am so reluctant to let all this go.

Christmas came and went for me very quickly.  It’s only a month down the road but it seems so far away already.  Still I have plenty of reminders.

Including some wonderful gifts.  My friends totally get me. Here are a couple of the treasures I received from them.

I also got this adorable old elephant – the one with the red bow.  He is joining the rest of my herd of well-loved pachyderms under the tree.

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Earlier this month we had the most beautiful snowstorm. I love snow.  And I especially love it when I do not have to get out in it – as in to drive to work or something – which I didn’t.  I stayed put and gloried in it, spending a lot of time out in the garden room reading my new Christmas books and watching the snowflakes fall and then, later on, the birds flitting around (don’t worry, I kept the feeders well-stocked).

Emma loved it, too!

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Even the trees inside looked prettier once the sun came out.

I have unashamedly and without any guilt (well, almost none) not done much of anything this past month.  After the challenges of the past 2 years, it has been wonderful to kick back and just relax.  I needed a break.

But now it’s time to get back to reality.

After  great deal of thought, I have made the decision to back off from my show schedule this year to allow me to bring some balance back into my life. I have not made firm decisions yet about the second half of the year but I am going to pass on the spring shows this time around. There are many things I have neglected on the home front and I look forward to getting something accomplished there. These range from closets that desperately need cleaning out to doing some redecorating and getting back to gardening.  And traveling – I really want to do some traveling.

This most assuredly does NOT mean that I will not be working.  I will.

In fact, I intend to be back in the workshop in the next couple of weeks.  I still have people waiting for wreaths and centerpieces and I want to get more done early in the year so that I do not run out of product when the holidays roll around. That’s what happened in 2016.

I am looking very forward to getting the creative juices flowing again.  That not only makes me extremely happy but gives me a sense of purpose. We all need that.

There are signs of some life in the garden.  The so-called “stinking” hellebores are coming into bloom.  Whoever decided on that nickname maligned a wonderful workhorse of a plant.

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The hellebores are coming into bloom. This is helleborus foetidus

And I have beautiful hyacinths blooming in the kitchen.  Their fragrance is divine.

“If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves
alone to thee are left,
Sell one & from the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul”
– Muslihuddin Sadi,
13th Century Persian Poet

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I hope that you all are well and thriving in this new year.  I’ll be back soon with more. For now, I’ll leave you with a gratuitous dog picture.

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Really, you must admit she is adorable.   🙂

Oh, and I wanted to show you this collage from Instagram of the “9 best posts” for 2016.  I’d say wreaths were the winner, wouldn’t you?

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You can follow along with me here.  It’s not all about Christmas, I promise.

 

Christmas

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There is one more good thing about Winter—he brings Christmas. Through the bleak December the thought of the coming festival is pleasant—like the reflection of a fire on our faces…. Christmas-day is the pleasantest day in the whole year. On that day we think tenderly of distant friends; we strive to forgive injuries—to close accounts with ourselves and the world—to begin the new year with a white leaf, and a trust that the chapter of life about to be written will contain more notable entries, a fairer sprinkling of good actions, fewer erasures made in blushes, and fewer ugly blots than some of the earlier ones. And to make Christmas perfect, the ground should be covered and the trees draped with snow; the bleak world outside should make us enjoy all the more keenly the comforts we possess; and above all, it should make us remember the poor and the needy; for a charitable deed is the best close of any chapter of our lives, and the best promise, too, for the record about to be begun.

~Alexander Smith, “Winter,” 1863

I wish each of you a joyous Christmas.  Thank you for coming along with me again this year.

May the blessings of the season be upon you.

And may there be peace on earth.

There’s No Place like New York at Christmas

img_1107-version-2Just dropping in for a quick visit to tell you a little about my trip to New York last week. We had an amazing, fun, exhausting time and it was so worth my being ridiculously unprepared for Christmas at this late date. I needed to be in a place where you can actually wallow in the joy of the Christmas season and it lived up to every expectation.

The photo above is the view from our hotel room; we could hear the clip clop of the horses’ hooves as they carried their happy passengers along for a ride.

We took a very early train from Richmond, arriving early afternoon. First stop was to More & More Antiques because I was anxious to see my wreaths on display. Oh. My. Goodness.  All four of us felt our jaws drop as we entered the magical kingdom Steve has created in a very small space.  There were literally hundreds of ornaments hanging from the ceiling and the whole place was crammed to the gills with Christmas treasure. If you ever get to NYC, you have to check it out.

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This is me outside More & More Antiques. I made the gold wreath hanging on the mirror in the window.

 

This is a look inside the store. Can you spy a Glittermoon wreath anywhere?

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Here’s another angle. See what I mean about a treasure trove?  I was terrified of knocking something to bits it was so tight in there. But, oh, what fun it was.  We spent ages drooling over stuff, trying to decide what to buy. I finally ended up with 2 ornaments.

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Inside More & More Antiques

Once we left, we made for the Columbus Circle Christmas Market.  It started to snow!  Can you see it?  It was lovely wandering through the stalls.  img_1124-version-2After dinner, we wandered down 5th Avenue to see the store windows.  They are beyond incredible!  Over the course of 2 days, we saw a lot of windows.  Here are a few of my favorites:

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We went to Radio City and saw the Rockettes which was a big fat Christmas present right there.  Afterwards, we strolled Rockefeller Center and rode up to the Top of the Rock for a view of the city.

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Rockefeller Center

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I love this guy trumpeting our arrival at Rock Center.

We had a wonderful time strolling various Christmas markets, visiting shops on our list, and just taking in the sights.  Before we knew it, it was time to come home.  Tired but happy.

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I just finished decorating the big tree tonight and it looks glorious.  When I come up for air I’ll take pictures, but right now I wanted to show you the two ornaments I got at More & More.  Here they are:

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I adore my big owl with a monocle

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A nutcracker ornament like no other

I’ll leave you here.  I’m going to put some carols on, dim the lights,  and go sit and look at the tree for a while.

Good night, everyone.

Christmas is coming soon.  Joy to the world.

Off to the Big Apple

I’m coming up for air briefly to check in since it’s been a while. I’m still toiling away in Santa’s Workshop, Southern Branch, making goodies though I have found it darn near impossible to keep up with demand this season.  In fact, at the moment, I do not have any available wreaths for purchase. You can, however, find something on the Beekman1802.com website if you act quickly. Those of you who are still patiently waiting, I truly apologize but don’t give up hope quite yet. I do have some of my charming little topiaries in the Etsy Shop.

I have a confession to make though – I’m going to play hooky for a couple of days and head up to New York on a girlfriend excursion.  The past couple of years have been pretty tough (if you have been following along with me, you know why) and it seems like it has been ages since I did anything fun so when the chance popped up to do this, I jumped. We’re going up on the train Sunday and will be back home late Tuesday night.

I want to do all the usual cornball things you do when you visit New York at Christmas: goggle at the lights and the store windows, go see the Rockettes, and, hopefully, do a little Christmas shopping.

The other thing I am going to do is visit a store named More & More Antiques. Why, you ask?  Because Steve, the owner, commissioned 5 wreaths from me to have in his store this Christmas. From what I understand More & More Antiques is absolutely magical at this time of year.  Steve travels to Europe every year to pick out and commission ornaments for his shop.  He sent his nephew to pick up the wreaths from me and I was about to swoon by the time he finished telling me all about it.  I CANNOT WAIT to visit!

So, if you are in the Big Apple, you can find these 5 wreaths at More & More Antiques, 378 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10024.

Keep your eyes on my Instagram feed.  I’ll be posting photos of our trip. Besides, that and the Glittermoon Facebook page are where you will find news and photos first.

Like this (terrible) picture of a lovely green wreath I finished this evening for a special lady in Florida.

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Once again, it’s the cobbler’s children syndrome as far as Christmas decorating goes here…I’ve got a wreath on the front door, candles in the downstairs windows and that’s about it.  Except for a new faux tree in the living room. A first for me – and it may not prevail after this year.  Thanks to the hubby and my niece Sophie, who stopped in for an overnight on her way home from SCAD.  While I was away at my show in McLean, they got the thing out of the box and set it up. Right now, it looks like Charlie Brown’s tree – its in desperate need of fluffing. Oh, well…maybe next weekend I will get it decorated.  The beautiful thing is that it already has lights.  Whoopee – I HATE putting lights on the tree.  Hate it.

But if you look across the room at the reflection in the window, it’s not bad. I can imagine how lovely it will look once it’s had some loving attention paid to it.  Perhaps even Henrietta Maria will approve in the end.

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The other thing that is bringing some Christmas spirit into the house is this year’s Advent calendar.  A repro of a 1955 German calendar, it just charms the pants off me.

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And for right now, that’s good enough.

Happy weekend everyone!

Counting Blessings

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A year ago, we had Thanksgiving in the hospital.  Followed by Christmas, and then New Year’s.  It jokingly became known as the “Holiday Trifecta” between us and the team at UVA.

Many of you remember that we had Thanksgiving in the hospital at the University of Virginia because just a couple of weeks before, Patrick had had a liver/kidney transplant.

The week before that, I had lost my mother.

There’s no real describing the enormity of those two momentous life events, especially when they come at you with such lightning speed.  Still, we had much to be thankful for last Thanksgiving. And small as our celebration was, it was, in fact, very much a celebration.

Fast forward to now, one year and five more hospitalizations later.  We are home this time and most thankful for that.  But we are also just plain grateful that there is a “we” and not just an “I”  who are celebrating Thanksgiving this year.  It might not have turned out this way.

Recently, though, as things seem to have become a bit more stable and less fraught on the health front,  I’ve felt my thoughts turning more towards my mother.  Because in life you must focus your priorities on the living, I never really was able to grieve my mom.  Lately,  however, I find myself suddenly gripped with her loss at unexpected moments.  Those moments pass – and believe me they are as physical a moment as they are emotional – but I suspect the next few months may be kind of rocky.  The beautiful thing, though, is that while I do miss her dearly, I can’t in all truth be sorry for her.  She had lived a long (just shy of 94 years), happy life.  She bore the loss of her husband of 60 years bravely for over 4 years. But she was ready to leave us.

I’m very, very lucky to have had her for so long and I count my blessings every day that I had two amazing parents.

So, getting back to Thanksgiving, I thought of this picture (above) and the most marvelous memories just came flooding back. Memories of the Thanksgivings of my childhood and youth. Every year, we went “next door” (we lived in the country, on a family farm) to our grandmother’s for a family get together and a feast of Dickensian proportions.  It would be us (4), my grandmother (she was my dad’s mom – my grandfather died just before I was born), my Aunt Marnie, and a handful of delightful older cousins (elderly Cousin Mary and her daughters, the Fletcher sisters). Sometimes “Uncle” Rowland, another relative, would join us, too.  It was a spirited and fascinating group. After we had feasted near to bursting from a groaning board of culinary delights, we would hoist ourselves up from the table for a postprandial walk down the lane so we would not collapse into a tryptophan stupor before our annual intensely competitive game of “Guggenheim” (you might call it Categories).

Anyway, this photo was taken in the early 1970s, actually I think it was probably in 1973, my senior year in college. That’s my mother on the left, my sister in the middle, and me on the right.  We were just heading off for our Thanksgiving walk when our cousin, Mary Fletcher, snapped this.

Of all the characters we were blessed to have with us on those Thanksgivings so long ago, my sister and I are the only ones left.  But the memories are so vivid that it’s impossible to be sad.  Instead, I know just how lucky I am to have had them and the folks who peopled them in my life.

So today, Thanksgiving Day 2016, I’m especially grateful for my many blessings. I hope you are feeling thankful on this day, too.

I leave you with this lovely prayer:

 

 

 

Inspiration

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I’m always going on about how wonderful a Glittermoon Vintage Christmas wreath would look hanging over top of a mirror.

Well, I just received this picture of Ding Dong Bell after it was hung in its new home.  Talk about a WOW factor!! Jan took the mirror thing a step further and hung it over this amazing round plaque which itself is on a mirror.  It looks fabulous! And, what a festive atmosphere; check out what else is in the photo.  Looks like its time to party! I love it.

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Ding Dong Bell – this one has that fabulous bell music box on the bottom that plays Silent Night.

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If you are near Richmond, this Saturday, November 19, is the Northside Artists Holiday Artwalk.  I’m back this year and will be located in the Atrium at the Ginter Place condos, 1350 Westwood Ave., Richmond 23227.  We will have 7 artists here alone! This is a terrific way to kick off your holiday shopping by walking the lovely streets of my own neighborhood, Laburnum Park and Sherwood Park in the beautiful Northside of town.

This year we have 48 artists representing a multitude of mediums: everything from artisanal chocolates to jewelry, pottery, painting, fiber arts, and much more. I hope you will join me. This is my last event in the RVA area for the year!

For more information, please click here to go to the Facebook page.

Hours are from 9-5.

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In other news, I’m still totally swamped trying to get things made. At this point, I only have 1 wreath that is available, Blue Rocket. I’m still working feverishly to meet commitments and to have some inventory for you all to choose from so please don’t despair. As we get a bit into December, I hope to have more to choose from. I appreciate your everlasting patience!

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Blue Rocket Wreath $250

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And, finally, I am so honored that Brent and Josh, the Beekman 1802 Boys, invited me to once again be a part of their holiday website.  It went live this week. These are the 2 wreaths that are up first (though I have to tell you that the Santa one sold immediately).  I will keep making more for them as wreaths sell so please do visit their page, Beekman1802.com.  Their products are phenomenally good and are all artisanal.  If you are not familiar with them, they are 2 guys with a fantastic story, who work very, very hard, and who believe in giving back. I’ve written numerous posts about them and about their hometown of Sharon Springs, NY if you want to check them out. I’m incredibly proud to be one of their artisans.

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Santa’s Very Merry, made for the Beekman 1802 Holiday website

 

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Greetings from Paris, featuring Polka Spot the Llama, made for the Beekman 1802 Holiday website

And just in case I don’t get back to you before then, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I have more things to be grateful for than I could ever count.  I hope you do, too. xo