Scott’s Topiary


This is Scott’s Topiary. I just finished it.

Scott lives in Austin, TX. I live in Richmond, VA. We have never met. As you can see Austin is a looooong way from Richmond – about 1500 miles to be exact.

Through a serendipitous chain of events that happens every once in a while, Scott got wind of Glittermoon Vintage Christmas from a Tweet made at the Country Living Fair in Atlanta last fall. He contacted me right away and asked me to make him a wreath. So I did. He loved it.

A few weeks ago, I heard from Scott again. This time he wanted me to make him a topiary for his dining room table. We emailed back and forth about colors, size, etc. and then I got down to it.

Scott likes cool tones and he wanted a silver base rather than gold. I chose this classic silver-plate piece for the base and affixed a cone to it. Then, I wrapped it with vintage silver tinsel. It is not my intention to write a DIY blog but I do want to show you my basic process.

Then the fun starts for me. I plow through my collection and start pulling things out that I want to use. Scott wanted blues, magentas, greens, and so on in a cool palette. Here are some of what I chose to begin with.

These are some wonderful Poland indents that I thought would be lovely.

And here are some pretty greens and golds to add to the mix.

Now, I can start designing. It’s all about color, spatial relationships and balance. Topiaries come together differently than the wreaths – you have to be sure that the sides all match pretty well and there aren’t any lumps sticking out. So there is a certain uniformity that needs to be paid attention to. For me, it’s a little less free form than making a wreath.

Here we go!

And a little later here we are.Ta da! Finished! Overall, it took about nine hours or so to make. The final details and embellishments are what make or break a piece to my way of thinking. Scott says he loves it. I will be finding a BIG box and getting it packed up to ship to him over the next few days.

A couple more views so you can see some of the other sides.

Scott says this hot pink ball with the aqua stripe is his favorite. I’m pretty partial to the blue one behind it with the horse and sleigh on it myself.

I also really love the green teardrop shape with “Merry Christmas” on it.

Also, this graduated color ball that has the church windows on it. Isn’t it cool?

And what about the wonderful Poland one with the hot pink skier on it? Honestly, I just love them all. How about you? Do you have a favorite?

Self-portaits. Kinda sorta.

Have you read the Glittermoon Vintage Christmas tagline (it’s the statement below the title of the blog)?  Where it says: “And occasional detours just for fun.”  Well, here we go.

I am almost finished the second installment of Alan Bradley’s wonderfully clever mysteries starring eleven-year old Flavia de Luce, a delightfully precocious child with a penchant for poison. The first was “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” and I urge you to go to your bookseller post-haste if you have not yet read it.  You are in for a delicious treat.

Anyway,  at some point in the one I am reading now, Flavia refers to one of my most favorite paintings of all time: The Arnolfini Portrait, which was painted in 1434 by Jan Van Eyck.  (Have I ever mentioned to you that I earned my college degree in art history?)

Here it is, in all its glory.

Flavia reminded us that Jan Van Eyck is believed to have painted himself in the reflection seen in the convex mirror in the background.  

He is the fellow in the red cap way in the back.  Almost inconceivable in its detail, the mirror features the Passion of Christ around the edge.  But I digress….

As I was writing the last post, Behind the Curtain, I got to thinking about all those little reflections of me that inevitably show up when I photograph Glittermoon Vintage Christmas.  And then I thought of the Van Eyck.

Perhaps my thinking is not exactly linear here but it seems to me that no matter the medium – or amount of talent – an artist leaves a little bit of his or her self behind in each creation.  That regardless of whether or not his/her image actually appears in the work, it is still a self-portrait of sorts.  So in every one of my photographs, greeting cards, or vintage Christmas pieces, you get a little bit of me along with it.   And I like that because I don’t believe that any “artist” creates an oevre to keep to themselves;  we do it to share with you.  What do you think?

Behind the curtain

Remember the climactic scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and the gang finally got to see the Wizard?  And there were all those scary special effects and banging noises and smoke that were meant to put everyone in awe of the Great Oz?  But then we found out, thanks to brave Toto the dog , that it was all just an illusion.  That behind the curtain, there was just a man running a bunch of machinery.  “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!,” Oz bellowed to us.

For some reason all this  popped into my head when I was photographing this just-completed topiary yesterday evening.   That when you “look behind the curtain” as it were,  when I am set up to shoot pictures of my product, things sure look a lot differently.  

So here is a peek of what is behind the curtain.  Not terribly romantic, is it?  But, you know, somebody has to be back there pulling all the levers, don’t they?

Can you spy the Wizard?

Come on In

 

 

 

 

That’s my sweet girl, Emma P. Buttercup, puzzling over the doormat in front of Santa’s Workshop South.  It is only meant to discourage anyone hoping to sneak a peek at Christmas too early.  But today, I would like to invite you in for a look around.

If you read my previous post (Santa’s Workshop), you learned about the history of this little building, The Colon Club, and some other stuff.  As darling as it is on the outside, the inside is strictly utilitarian with not much – well nothing, really – in the way of amenities.  I have to use space heaters in the winter and I just got an air conditioner to help me through the hot, hot summer here in Richmond.  When I work out here, I dock my iPod and crank up the music to keep me company (and, no, I don’t listen to Christmas music year round – I’m not quite that crazy) .  Emma likes to check on me periodically, too.

Until not too long ago, the building was a sort of glorified repository for “stuff.”  Like old lawn mowers, tools, and other assorted things that have not seen the light of day for many moons.  With the help of a couple of friends (saints actually), I straightened it up and organized things to accommodate my Glittermoon Cards inventory & displays and to house my gargantuan collection of vintage Christmas.  So let’s take a peek.

Here’s what you see when you come in.  My card rack and photographic stock is on the left and dead ahead of you are containers filled to the brim with vintage Christmas treasures.

There is so much wonderful stuff in these boxes!

I have everything organized and stored by type                                                                         (if only the rest of my life was so ordered…sigh).

There are Santas…

And more Santas…

And little Putz houses…

And beautiful glass ornaments.  And angels, reindeer, corsages, and just about anything else Christmas you can think of.

And this is the jewel in the crown.  Hundreds of beautiful glass ornaments.  I can look at them for hours. And, honestly, I think there are some that I won’t be able to part with.

On the left is the table where I make the wreaths and topiaries.  As you can see, there is lots of Christmas inventory over here, too.  You know, there can be a problem with having so much to choose from.  Sometimes it takes me just forever to decide which one is the “perfect” one for the project I am working on.

Santa’s Workshop

I bet this is not what comes to mind when you imagine Santa’s Workshop, is it?  Well, let’s just think of it as a Southern outpost.  This is where I work to create Glittermoon Vintage Christmas and it is also where I store my Glittermoon Cards inventory.  Of course, the unwelcoming doormat is just a ploy to keep prying eyes from spoiling the Christmas magic. In case you can’t see it, it says “Go Away.”

Tucked away in the back corner of my garden is where you will find it.  That’s my dog, Emma P. Buttercup, whose lower half is sticking out on the right.  She’s waiting for some squirrel action.

We’re getting a little closer now.  Just a few more steps and a little detour around the fish pond and we are there.  Actually, this little building has an interesting history in Richmond politics.

My house was built in 1935 by a couple named Horace and Mary Edwards.  We bought it from Mary’s estate in 1995, so we are only the second owners.  Horace was rather prominent in local politics: he was Richmond’s first City Manager and he also became Mayor.  Active in the state Democratic party, he later ran for governor but was defeated in his quest.

Apparently they used to have lots of parties at the house with politically connected people.  At some point, Horace founded a club which was called The Colon Club.  Now, for you non-Southerners, that is Colon in terms of that most Southern of dishes: Chitlins (ick!).  If you don’t know what that is, I am sure google will be happy to enlighten you.  Well, Mary refused to let Horace cook his chitlins inside the house because they have a rather offensive odor (and I don’t blame her one bit!) so he had to set up the Club in what was then the garage.  He had a wood stove put in to cook on and the gentlemen would sit around and do whatever gentlemen do.  The garage also functioned as his woodworking shop.

Sadly, in 2004, when Hurricane Isabel roared into town, an enormous maple tree on the right went down and crushed it.  We had to have a crane come in to lift it off it was so big.  So, this is a replica of the original.  We wanted it put back just like it was.  In the end, some good came from it because I saved all the old bricks and used them in the garden.  The fish pond and brick wall were built using them.

At Christmas time, I love to decorate it with lots of lights and guess who is stationed right outside but our old friend Santa.

Merry Christmas (in July) to all…and to all, a good night!

Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!

Christmas in July!

In honor of the birth of the good old USA, here is a new wreath for 2012 in a patriotic palette.  A stunning concoction with the perfect colors for an election year. Featuring an unusual sliver plastic sleigh and reindeer with Santa and tree aboard, a wonderful jumbo Poland painted ball, and a host of other treasures.  Let the fireworks begin!

A closer look at some of the treasures on the left side of the wreath. Overall size is about 20 inches in diameter.

This view of the bottom half gives you a great view at the wonderful and unusual silver piece with Santa, his sleigh, and the reindeer. Even the red ribbon reins are intact. Other treats include a Polish teardrop with a painted figure carrying a tree, a big red German indent, a couple of stenciled Shiny Brites, and a blue plastic Jewelbrite ornament on the right, complete with Santa inside.

Here is a little closer look at the top half where you can see a wonderful jumbo Polish ornament that has Santa and his sleigh painted on it. There is also a corsage in the center, 3 icicle ornaments in the center top, and a host of fabulous other treats.

An even closer view of the top to tease you.

Cheers for the Red, White & Blue is currently listed in the Glittermoon Cards Shop on Etsy. It comes with a nice, zippered storage bag to keep it safe.  Please visit the shop by clicking here.