December 20, 2014

A Curated Christmas

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Hang a Shining Star Upon the Highest Bough

Here's wishing everyone a very merry little Christmas in 2o14. Last year I took my visitors on a tour after Decking My Halls. Though much is different this year, many of the changes are subtle or in the detail rather than the bigger Picture. I have mentioned in the past that Christmas is my favorite holiday by far. There is a Magic to the Winter Solstice and the observation of the birth of the Son of Light that both lightens my heart and causes me to stop for reflection on the year almost passed. While it is on one hand, probably the busiest time of the year, it is also my time to get quiet within and hear the small still voice that is too often drowned out by life's activity. A paradox perhaps, but one I have long since learned to live with.

Baking Cookies

I have been trying to get to this, my final post of this year, for days now, but I am hosting a Christmas party for my children and grandchildren this weekend, so holiday baking and finishing off the decorating has taken the front seat. I have lost count of how many dozens of cookies I have baked— there are two kinds of fudge in tins on the kitchen counter— and I have done some of the prep work for our more savory Christmas goodies. Holiday baking is one of my traditions, something that I have done for so many years now that it is ingrained, part of the pattern that I live within.

These particular cookies have been a favorite for several years now. They are Martha Stewart's Lemon-Glazed Candied-Ginger Cookies and they are yummy. I make gingerbread too. My family loves the warm, spicy sweetness of ginger, and I think it adds a bit of digestive comfort to the rich fare of the season.

Looks like some of the old cards in my Mom's scrapbook from the 1940's

I have been thinking a lot about how our Christmas Holiday is influenced by the internet and social media.

My Pinterest account has been extremely busy this month. I have numerous Christmas and Holiday themed boards, and since this is my favorite season, there are images of holiday decor and art sprinkled on many of my other boards. Some links follow for anyone interested in taking a look.
Irregardless of the time of year, I have always had a goodly percentage of my Pins that are Christmas oriented. In fact, my most repinned image ever was from the holidays last year. So, as you can see, I have Christmas covered. It was not so long ago that the Holiday Season meant pouring through magazines, sifting through clippings and files of ideas for creativity and decorating. Now, it is on this mesmerizing screen, at our fingertips, and the influence on every aspect of our lives is  unmistakeable. Sites like Pinterest, Etsy, Tumblr and the many other personal collection and curation platforms that are cropping up, provide doorways into the maze that is the world of blogs and small businesses on the internet. I have discovered numerous cool and exciting shops and blogs that I would never have found on my own. Though it sometimes overwhelms, I have been inspired by the creativity, the ingenuity and the fashion savvy of my fellow voyagers through this ocean of blogs and social media. What follows are some peeks at what I and my Step-Mom have done with some of these inspirations...

Glass Baubles

A crystal bowl filled with thrift-store glass ornaments, some bead garland and icicles becomes a study in reflected light.

Glass Worlds

Tiny worlds caught up in glass. More thrift shop ornaments adorn a shelf.

Oh Deer, o deer!

My house is filled with glass bowls and jars containing snow, trees and tiny Deer. This provides more laughter as there is a running joke among several in our family concerning deer figurines and the phrase "Oh Deer". The fact that deer are an omnipresent ornament to this Christmas Season only serves to fuel this humor.

More Deer in the Kitchen

Look, there are more Deer in the Kitchen. Along with a couple more thrift shop jars with winter scenes, the Deer on the left is a vintage candle from a hoard of items from Christmas Past that my mother recently gave me.

Hot Chocolate Station

Another cup of Cocoa please!

Another new addition to the kitchen landscape this year is the Hot Chocolate Station. The consensus among my significant other and the kids seems to beWhy haven't we had one of these before? Apparently, having it organized and appealingly situated makes the cocoa all that more delicious. I just like the cuteness factor. Also, with the little shaker of cinnamon handy, I have taken to adding it to my coffee, a tasty touch that I love.

A Little St. Nick

Just one of my many Santas. This one graces the prim bench in the foyer.  He is not vintage, but I love the style. I have Santas that are 50 or 60 years old in my collection, but many of the newer ones are just as dear to me. I usually add one or two to my growing collection every year.

Santa Tree

While the tree in my foyer is festooned with handmade and prim style ornaments, many of them made by my children and even grandchildren over the years, the living room tree is my Santa Tree. It is indeed a living tree. We still do the traditional evergreen rather than giving in to the easy convenience of all artificial trees. Though I call it the Santa Tree, it would be more apt to name it the Santa, star, angel, and Star Trek tree. What can I say. We are a household of Geeks, and a collection of now becoming vintage Hallmark Star Trek ornaments are always on the tree. 

Tiny Tree

Aside from the two larger trees, I also have a couple of tiny trees around the house. This one is in my Workroom. Look, another deer. Apparently this one wanted to ride in the sleigh rather than pulling it. This little tree is simply decorated in white and displays some beaded ornaments I made several years ago.

Christmas at my Dad and Step-Mom's House

I wanted to include this vignette of photos from my Dad and Step-Mom Sue's House as it is always a showplace at Christmas Time.  From the nine foot tall tree with winter village and toy train in the living room, to the slender tree festooned with coastal charm in the cozy fireplace room, the house is filled with seasonal delights for the eye. And yes, that is a Deer on the dining room table.

Pink poinsettias

I have rambled on longer than I planned already, but the Season is about the natural decor also, and what Florida Christmas would be complete without our outdoor beauty. Pink poinsettias line the wall before out front entrance. They began life in pots flanking the door a couple of years ago, then were transplanted in the spring to this spot. I learned the secret to getting the lush mounded blooms from my Mom. I cut them back in mid-August, and give them a good feeding. This is the lovely result.

Pink Christmas Cactus in a hanging basket

I have had this Christmas (sometimes Thanks giving or Easter) Cactus for several years. One of my photos of this one was among my most Pinned images last year, in fact. This year it actually split the difference, blooming between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will be curious to see if it follows last year's pattern and blooms again in spring.

Blush Pink and White Christmas Cactus

Last, but certainly not least is a gorgeous combination blush-pink and white Christmas cactus that I picked up at the nursery down the road from us for 99 cents last year. It was in a two inch pot at the time. It has flourished, and the color still amazes me.

Well, this is goodbye for 2014. I wish you all a safe, happy and oh so Merry and Blessed Christmas and New Year.

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