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.




Lyrics by Edmund H. Sears 1810 – 1876

Detail of Joy-Full Wreath

        It came upon the midnight clear, 
	that glorious song of old, 
	from angels bending near the earth 
	to touch their harps of gold: 
	"Peace on the earth, good will to men, 
	from heaven's all-gracious King." 
	The world in solemn stillness lay, 
	to hear the angels sing. 

Detail of Ice Angel Wreath2.	Still through the cloven skies they come 
	with peaceful wings unfurled, 
	and still their heavenly music floats 
	o'er all the weary world; 
	above its sad and lowly plains, 
	they bend on hovering wing, 
	and ever o'er its Babel sounds 
	the blessed angels sing. 

Detail of Wings of a Dove Wreath
3.	And ye, beneath life's crushing load, 
	whose forms are bending low, 
	who toil along the climbing way 
	with painful steps and slow, 
	look now! for glad and golden hours 
	come swiftly on the wing. 
	O rest beside the weary road, 
	and hear the angels sing! 

Detail of Angel of the Morning Wreath (1)
4.	For lo! the days are hastening on, 
	by prophet seen of old, 
	when with the ever-circling years 
	shall come the time foretold 
	when peace shall over all the earth 
	its ancient splendors fling, 
	and the whole world send back the song 
	which now the angels sing.

Detail of Ice Dance Wreath

May your Christmas be filled with peace and joy, love and light.

Peace on Earth.  Goodwill to All.

The Cobbler’s Children Syndrome…..And You

Remember the story about the unfortunate children of the cobbler?  Poor things; they never got shoes since their father was too busy making them for other people.

That’s a bit like I am feeling.  After months of making vintage Christmas goodies, I find myself in the position of being incredibly behind in my own Christmas preparations.

Shopping done? No.

Wrapping?  Nothing to wrap yet.

Outside lights up? Um, nope.

House decorated?  Ok, can I have a glass of wine now, please?

I always loved to decorate the house and I keep wondering how I did it in the days when I worked full-time for someone else (someone who actually paid me a salary).  Now I get to work full-time for myself but I never sem to have time to do anything else.

Yesterday evening, I started on the tree.  The tree is the pinnacle for me – the absolute most important thing in the whole scheme of Christmas.  It puts me in the mood to do everything else.  I  love to go in the living room late at night, turn off all the lights except for the tree, put on some beautiful Christmas music, and stretch out on the sofa to drink it all in.

I do it all by myself, even the dreaded lights which, when I grew up, was always considered to be the “man’s job.”  I hate them.  And sure, enough, I had 3 strands of lights that were duds.  It was pouring down rain and I chose not to go out to get more.  The tree is a little smaller than usual (I always try to get a really fat one – and it is always a Fraser Fir) so I just went ahead.  It still looks pretty good, thankfully.

So I got the lights and garland on.  Then I went to the basement and dragged up the fake tree that is the one I put my vintage ornaments on.  I decided to put that up in my new garden room (former screen porch) instead of the dining room, its usual spot.

And guess what?  Some of the lights on it aren’t working either. Grrrrrrrr.  Time to go out to dinner.

Fast forward to late this afternoon.  I humped the tons of boxes, bins, and chests upstairs that house the ornament collection for the tree and got started putting them on.  I got a good 31/2 hours into before I decided to quit and write to you.  People have asked me to post pictures on my tree this year and I promise to do that once I am finished.  I will tell you all about it.

But here’s a little look at how it is starting to look now.  I’ve gotten some of the more “important” ornies on.  Now only about a thousand more to go…

My tree under construction

My tree under construction

As you can see, most of the ornaments are figural.  In fact, they make up a good 99%.

Here’s a close-up of some of my faves.Tree 2013I’ll tell you about the special ones when I get it finished.

But now, to YOU.

I asked folks to send me pictures of their Glittermoon wreaths once they hung them up and several of you have come through for me.  It’s exciting for me to see then in their new home.

Pink Passion at Pam's House - Version 2This is Pink Passion in its new home, Pam’s.  I am dying over her vintage Santa collection.  Wow – just incredible.  If she was closer to me, I might just lighten her load a bit.

Pam has 4 Glittermoon wreaths and she sent me pics of 3 of them so far.

Home for the Holidays at Pam's - Version 2This is Home for the Holidays in her dining room.  I bet it looks spectacular in real life with her red lanterns that really pick up the reds in the wreath.Pink Pixie at Pam's - Version 2And here is Pink Pixie with her snowman collection.  How adorable is that?  I wish I could visit her; she knows how to decorate for Christmas!!!

Heavenly Gold at Nancy & DIck's house - Version 2Nancy and Dick from upstate New York sent me this photo of Heavenly Gold hung on a mirror over their fireplace.  Doesn’t everything look cozy and warm?  I want some hot chocolate to go with this scene.Susan's Pink Memories Wreath at Home

This is Susan’s Pink Memories hanging over her sofa.  It goes perfectly with her color scheme, I think.  This was a custom order and has a terrific story which I am going to share with you this winter.

Joy-full in #1 spot - Version 2

And this is Joy-Full.  Remember this one?  I mostly made it with Joy’s own ornaments.  I love this scene!  So Christmasssy!  But she was undecided…..so she also sent this:Joy-Full on a Mirror (1)

Oh, be still my heart.  I LOVE it on the mirror with that gorgeous blue ribbon.Joy and her wreath (1)But best of all is that she sent me a picture of herself, too!  I love being able to finally put a face to her name.  Joy lives in Pennsylvania.  Isn’t she lovely?

Ice Dance Wreath in its HomeYou’ve already seen this one but I still love it. This is Ice Dance in Felicia’s New York City home.  Scrumptious.

Scott's wreath "Old-fashioned Christmas" in place at his house in AustinThis is Old-Fashioned Christmas.  Way down in Austin, Texas.  I made this one for Scott.  He wanted a wreath to lay on his coffee table.  He seems to have a real mid-century vibe going here.  Very cool.  Scott was my first custom order.  He found me when the Fabulous Beekman Boys tweeted my wreaths at my first Country Living Fair in Atlanta, back in 2011.  In 2012, I made him a topiary, too.

Wreat Boot-i-full in situ at the NapiersAnd, finally, this is Boot-i-Full which belongs to Kathy, right here in Richmond.  Something tells me that she really gets into Christmas, too!  Just adorable.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to send me your photos.  Keep on sending them and I will share them with everybody.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go upstairs, turn off the lights, and look at my Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas !

A Joy-Full Wreath (Part 1)

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I would make them a wreath using their ornaments I would be feeling pretty flush about now.  It must be a passing fancy for most people because rarely does anyone follow through.

But last fall, I received a very nice enquiry from a lady named Joy.  She had lots of nice things to say about my work and wanted to know if I would consider making her a wreath using some of her own vintage collection.  She particularly liked a custom wreath that I had made for a gentleman in Texas.  It was this one, “Old Fashioned Christmas.”

Old-Fashioned Christmas

Old-Fashioned Christmas

She liked the jewel tones and colors of this one.  And she put together a group of her ornaments and sent me pictures to show me what she was thinking.  She was thinking about my making her a nativity-themed wreath.  I loved the idea.

Since it was my crazy time of year, we decided to put the project off until 2013.  So, a couple of weeks ago, Joy packed up her goodies and sent them to me.

Wow!  It was so exciting to open her packages and see what treasures she sent.  And treasures they are!  It was Christmas in July!  See for yourself.

Some of Joy's Treasures

Some of Joy’s Treasures

Love these Shiny Brite Stencils and the bird, too!

Love these Shiny Brite Stencils and the bird, too!

IMG_0885 - Version 2

More gorgeous stuff, including a wonderful green Polish ball.

Joy's tree topper

Joy’s tree topper

This West German Nativity ornament is incredibly special.

This West German Nativity ornament is incredibly special.

As you can see, the pressure was on for me to make something fabulous.  Custom work is enjoyable but it can be tricky because I am always worrying that the person will not like the end result.  I often spend a lot of time second-guessing what someone wants.  And since I usually only know the person through email conversation it is doubly hard.

In this instance, I not only had to think about that but Joy had taken a huge leap of faith by entrusting me with her most special ornaments which she had collected over a long period of time.  I felt very honored….and more than a little nervous.  But, God bless her, she was very vocal in her confidence that I would come up with something she would like.

And so, I got started.

These are the background colors.

These are the background colors.

These are the colors I used for the background and they set the tone for the whole wreath.  I started by wrapping the form in silver tinsel.

Joy sent me many more pieces than I could actually use in one wreath so I had lots of choices to make along the way.

Stay tuned to see the outcome!

I’m Back

DSC_0353 - Version 2I’ve been gone awhile, have you noticed?  There have been a lot of things going on these past few months but now I am back and ready to get to work making more fabulous vintage Christmas!

I haven’t been ignoring my work by any stretch. I have spent lots of time scouring all over for lots of wonderful pieces to make into something.  And I can’t wait to get started.

Today’s the day!  Yippee.  I am so glad to be back!

I’m in a Fever

IMG_0577 - Version 2Just look at what came in the mail last week!  I am so anxious to get to work making wonderful stuff but, alas, it is still soooo cold here and – have I mentioned this before? – Santa’s Workshop, Southern Branch, does not have heat.

I have been collecting all manner of treasures over the wintertime and they all await me, still in their boxes.

Like a pair of fabulous LARGE (I mean BIG – never seen any so huge!) celluloid reindeer.  And little putz houses.  Masses of the solid colored balls I use for backgrounds.  Tinsel!  And vintage lights!  I am going to try something new with those this year.  Gorgeous hand-painted glass ornaments of all shapes and sizes: Polands, Shiny Brite, German, USA.  You name it, I’ve got ’em.

Last Saturday, I visited an antiques show and came away with a sweet composition angel tree topper.  Her dress is old dotted Swiss voile.

I will share some pictures later.  When the workshop warms up to something a bit warmer than a tomb.

Until then, like me, you will just have to dream of treasures to come.  Good night all.  Sleep tight.