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.
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.
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.
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.
A very cool vintage Italian Humpty Dunpty
I love this little German glass diorama with a tiny putz church inside
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.
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).
I thought our front door looked especialy welcoming
The fun lights and all the Santas back at my workshop
A view of the garden
Emma loved it, too!
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.
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
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.
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?
You can follow along with me here. It’s not all about Christmas, I promise.