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.

 

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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!

It’s Slowly Coming Together

I doubt I have ever been quite this far behind when it comes to Christmas as I am this year.  There’s just been an awful lot going on and my attention (which sometimes is a little challenged anyway) has been pulled in way too many directions at once.IMG_2975 - Version 2

This is how my living room looked 2 days ago as I was decorating the big tree in the living room.  I’m pretty sure this is the latest I’ve ever been getting it done.  The tree is the sort of pinnacle of my holiday decorating and the one thing that really says “Christmas” to me.  I love to be able to turn out all the room lights, put on some music, and settle down on the sofa with a glass of wine to relax, gaze at the tree, and bask in the glow of memories of Christmases past.  The ornaments on this tree are ones that I have collected over a period of almost 40 years; many of the really special ones have been gifted to me over the course of my adult life.

In the end, I had to set myself a deadline; I decided that at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon, I would cease and desist.  Consequently, the tree is not nearly as loaded with ornaments as usual.  I’m ok with that this time, though.  Doing that managed to dial down the stress level.

I also was able to decorate a smaller tree in the garden room.  That’s the one that is done with mainly vintage ornaments.  I put the ornaments I purchased last spring in Prague on this one and they look pretty happy to me. IMG_2982 - Version 2I know I still haven’t told you lots of news and I hope to be able to catch up in the next couple of weeks.

But right now, I’ve got to get on my horse and go Christmas shopping.

Merry, merry everyone!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

This one is for my Christmas peeps!

This week’s challenge asks us to use three images; it’s up to us as to how we want to use those images but they should bear some relationship to one another.

These are three images of my “mostly” vintage tree that I put up in my new garden room this past Christmas.  In prior years it was in the dining room.  I like it better out here because I can really sit and enjoy looking at all the old ornaments (with some newer ones mixed in, too).  So here you go.

With each shot, you get a little closer.

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DSC_0171 - Version 2See any particular ornaments that you like?

If you would like to see what others have shared, go here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Christmas) Treasure

I love this week’s topic, Treasure, not the least because there are about a gazillion ways to interpret the word.  And, honestly, I have about a gazillion treasures, both literal and figurative, and so much to be grateful for.  I had to think about what I wanted to share this week.  I shared some treasure of an entirely different sort in a post on my Garden Reverie blog.

This being a (mostly) “Vintage Christmas” blog, I decided to share my very most precious ornament: The Little Ballerina.

The Little Ballerina

The Little Ballerina

I have lots and lots of wonderful ornaments that have been collected over a long period of time.  Many are precious because of who the giver was and the memories attached.  Some are loved simply by dint of their unusual nature or their beauty.  Or the time and place where I found it.

But this one trumps all of the others in the treasure department.

The little ballerina was made in the year I was born by my mother’s cousin, Fran Vilas, who lived in Madison, Wisconsin.  Cousin Fran, whom I never had the good fortune to meet, sent her to my mother for my first Christmas. I’m not going to spill what year that was but, trust me, my little ballerina is vintage.

Her limbs are made from pipe cleaners and her head is a little wooden ball with curly gold metallic locks on top.  Her tutu is made of crisp tulle in a beautiful shade of blue and she holds a tiny silver orb in her little pipe cleaner hands.  Her toes are encased in gold.  She is petite and slim just as a ballerina should be.  And she is precious beyond compare.

Every year she got hung on our family Christmas tree.  Front and center.  I adored her.

She was a constant.  When I came home for Christmas, there she was, greeting me from her spot on the tree.

A few years ago, my mother wrapped her up and gave her to me on Christmas morning.

Now I hang her on my own tree every Christmas.  Front and center.  Just like all those years at home.

I can’t bear to wrap her up and put her away once I take the tree down so she patiently hangs in a special place the rest of the year where her forever cheerful countenance greets me.  She’s my little talisman; a life full of happy memories wrapped up in the tiniest of packages, smiling at me even though she hasn’t lips.  A constant reminder of just how lucky I am.  And that is treasure indeed.

To see what other’s treasures are click here.

For My Sister

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This is Nanny’s wreath.

I wanted to do something really special for my sister this past Christmas so I made her this wreath as her big gift.

She has an awful lot on her shoulders these days and since I live several hours away, there is a limit as to how much help I can be.  Since our Dad died in 2011, Nanny has more than just her own house, business, and 3 girls to take care of.  She not only sees to the care of our Mom (if you read my last post, you know our 91-year-old Mom had a stroke just before Christmas) but to a myriad of other interests that our father always took care of.  It’s a lot to contend with and I am so grateful that she is there to take care of it for all of us.  I don’t know how she manages, quite honestly.

I had such a good time making this one.  I wanted it to be fun with references to what we liked as kids but without it ending up being juvenile.  We led happy, charmed lives as children and Christmas was the pinnacle of the year.  It was almost Dickensian in its splendor.Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 7

I started with this goofy Santa.  The minute I saw him in a dusty old antiques mall, I snapped him up with her in mind.  This is exactly the sort of thing we loved as kids.  Who knows, we might even have tried to make one like it ourselves.  Somebody, sometime took a plain old red ball and gussied it up with a delightfully homemade face, beard, and hat.  I love it for its homespun look and think about who might have made it.  I hope they like the fact they it has a new, happy home.   Right next to him is a sequin decorated felt reindeer that takes me back.  We would have had this fellow playing with our trolls in an instant.  Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 1

This is a little bit of a wider shot of the top.  Can you see the little bottlebrush tree next to the reindeer?  Then there’s the terrific gold ball with the stenciled child riding a broomstick pony; we spent years riding our own stick ponies in addition to the real thing.  There’s also a red Poland ball with a little house to reminder her of home and that fabulous ball in the bottom right corner with the guitar-playing Santa (it is very special and I don’t part with those easily).  He is to remind us of all the music we grew up sharing together.

LIke the Beatles. At the risk of dating myself I will tell you that I remember vividly us sitting in our jammies in front of the black & white (!) TV watching the Beatles make their US debut on the Ed Sullivan show one Sunday night in February 1964.  Now, that was something. Ok, so I digress…

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I had been saving this wonderful 1960’s white plastic Santa with his reindeer and sleigh for her, too.  I added the tiny shopping bag as a touch of whimsy (we do like to shop!).   Of course, there is a host of other great stuff on the wreath, too.  The palette is a traditional one of red and green with dots of other colors to spice it up.  I added fabulous vintage green and gold Doubl Glo coiled garland to sperk things up a bit.

Can you spy the red C9 lightbulb on the bottom?  That’s a nod, with love, to our Dad, who always decorated our fresh-cut cedar tree with those big colored lights.  He especially loved red. Daddy would go out scouting our farm for a suitable Christmas tree months in advance.  On Christmas Eve morning we would troop out into the woods and cut it down to bring home.  We got one for our grandmother, too. Daddy would also get his shotgun out before Christmas and shoot mistletoe down from the top of an oak tree for Mom to make a kissing ball with.  If you have never had a cedar tree for your Christmas tree you can’t possibly understand how prickly they are to try to decorate – it’s torture!  But it looked awfully sweet when we were done.  I admit, though, I was glad when the day finally came where my parents decided to actually buy a Christmas tree – hallelujah!

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In this close-up on the left side, you can see a jazzy jumbo Poland ball with multi-colored dots all over it.  Just above that is tucked a yellow Jewelbrite and to the left of it is a gold plastic bell.  Then there is that great blue Poland with the mica snowman as a reminder of childhood snow days spent out in the country where we grew up. Moving to the top, directly next to the gold stenciled ball, is a clear red glass ornament with tinsel inside – that’s unusual and has quite a bit of age on it.  There are also a Shiny Brite striped bell and a Japanese lantern, too.Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 4

Here’s a close-up on the other side of the wreath with some wonderful ornaments including a big swirly teardrop, a fab red ball with a comet, the cool little teardrop-shaped indent, and a green plastic bell.  Up on the tippy top is a Shiny Brite striped top, upside down.Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 5

I wanted you to get a really good look at the Shiny Brite musical Santa ornament (I love, love, love it), the comet, and our cozy little house welcoming us home in the snow.

Detail of Nanny's  Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC 3I am going to leave you with this close up of the adorable  little 1960’s elf tucked under the reindeer.  We no doubt played with his cousins when we were little.  But perhaps the most important ornament of all is the red ball just behind the elf with the hearts stenciled on it.  That’s to remind her of me.  Because I made this with love.  Just for her.  I love you, Nanny. Thank you for being my sister.