Actually, I pretty much stay in scurrying elf-in-the-workshop mode. It's just that things I love doing all year long -
creating, baking, cooking, decorating, sewing - seem to become seasonally magnified threefold.
Here are some Christmas endeavors from over the years; some mine, some not, and in no particular order!
The 12.5" tall house had an icing and sugar crystal-covered base on wooden feet. A switch operated a bulb inside that shone through melted candy window panes. The pine trees were gumdrop leaves attached with icing to stacked ice cream cones of varying heights, and the topiaries were gumdrops with pretzel stick trunks in gumdrop planters. It had snow dusted peanut brittle sidewalk and steps with candy cane railings. Polyfil smoke crept up from the mixed nuts chimney, allowing one to imagine the glow coming through candle decorated windows was from a fireplace decked with Christmas stockings. It made me happy to sit in the living room, watching it and imagining happy little scenarios inside it during the Christmases it graced our home.
I finished it shortly before Greg asked me to marry him; that's how I remember the year it was made.
Watching me obsess over the project that spread throughout my entire home during its progression didn't scare him off! Good thing, because that creeping kudzu thing still happens continually; it's my standard operating procedure.
The photo at right is of part of a scrapbook page from that year. I'd forgotten some of the detail; even little licorice door hinges.
Curiosity just prompted my digging out the notebook I assembled while planning and making the gingerbread house.
It looks as though I intended to make more, because an awful lot of time had to have been spent putting together just the notebook!! It has numerous recipes; fortunately, I starred the one I used and made some notes.
The pattern pieces are labeled and all the tiny ones are in a bag; there is also a pocket of architectural references.
Maybe I'll attempt a new one next year!
May you always have an angel by your side,
Watching out for you in all the things you do,
Reminding you to keep believing in brighter days,
Finding ways for your wishes and dreams to come true,
Giving you hope that is as certain as the sun,
Giving you the strength of serenity as your guide.
May you always have love and comfort and courage.
Someone there to catch you if you fall,
Encouraging your dreams,
Inspiring your happiness,
Holding your hand and helping you through it all.
In all of our days, our lives are always changing,
Tears come along as well as smiles.
Along the roads you travel, may the miles be
a thousand times more lovely than lonely,
May they give you gifts that never, ever end:
Someone wonderful to love and
a dear friend in whom you can confide,
Rainbows after every storm,
Hopes to keep you safe and warm,
And may you always have an angel by your side.
- Douglas Pagels
In the center photo above, also from 2014, you see part of a Christmas card in a basket on our kitchen island. It's a watercolor scene done by our friend and neighbor, Mary Ann Lawler, showing her grandchildren playing in Romare Bearden Park. She also did the Santa card, using husband Neal's face for Santa's.
I see their smiling faces every year as I hang them; essentially, another Christmas gift.
This very special ornament was given to me for Christmas in 1983, by a student named Erin Nethery. I was the art teacher at Green Valley Elementary School in Frederick County, Maryland, at the time.
The tiny baby in a walnut half manger makes me smile every single time I take it out of the ornament box... even after 33 years!! I have not seen Erin since that year and wanted to let her know how much I've enjoyed it all these years. In searching online for her last week, I was able to find her sister who shared her mom's and Erin's contact info with me.
one from a vintage wooden thread spool, and the other from a shed deer antler. The sudent painting the paper mache Old Worlde Santa was in a weekly after school art program in South Carolina.
The others are three of many I have done. The one far right was made for a friend many years ago. I made quite a few like the two to its left for Holiday Open Houses I hosted in the early to mid 90s while married to my first husband. The center Santa is holding a little snow covered birdhouse made from twigs I found in our woods.
We had built a home in a rural area surrounded by Mennonite farms. Wreaths and baskets (using vines and dried sunflowers from our property), soaps, herbal vinegars and oils, crazy quilt Christmas stockings, jewelry, tin-roofed birdhouses made from rescued fruit crates, and dolls were among the Open House goodies I made...
while also teaching art to 500 students weekly in kindergarten through fifth grade!
I stumbled upon the last 2 lonely laser-cut stars and snowflakes, and the last pack of four swirly things… providential!!! They will become our tree topper; if you can’t find what you want and love, make what you want and will love!
It would be a piece-of-cake project if I had a convenient place to spray paint, but not so in a 16th floor condo.
I’m using a jar of gold poster paint that has a Chinese label. That means I have had it for a while, and it is behaving very uncooperatively... we'll see how it progresses!
and may peace and love for fellow man fill every heart in the coming year!