Tuesday, December 25, 2012

wherever you may be this Christmas day

I wish you the very best.
May you be spending the day in the company of loved ones.

And feel the blessings of the season.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

snowy day

We're having a blizzard today. Schools are closed, winds decorating the landscape with blowing snow as a child with a  bowl of frosting might approach a naked cupcake. Nature's way of forcing us to take a little time and think.

Eloise as created by Anne in Dec. 2010

I'm more convinced, the older I get, that life is all about perception. The old glass half full or half empty thing. And in the face of recent tragedy, there's no time to waste letting the darkness of the empty half put out the light of the half that is full.
The house is aglow with Christmas lights and my trusty cat is moving from one windy window sill to the next as the storm rages on. And I thought I'd share a few reasons why I really don't mind snow.

Take, for example, the work of snow artist Simon Beck and here.

or photographer "Snowflake" Bentley. All the more amazing since his stunning photography was accomplished before 1930. The book, Snowflake Bentley, won the Caldecott award for Mary Azarian in 1999. Warning, this is a clip from Martha Stewart and has a commercial first. I don't know how to edit it out but it's worth sitting through in order to meet the artist. (Did you feel the sun on your face while visiting Mary's garden??)

folding an origami snowflake

cutting out  paper snowflakes.

Well, the morning is gone and I've had a great time. It's still storming, but I feel great. Hope you do as well.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gaudete Sunday

Still unable to put my own thoughts into words, I share the words of Leonard Berstein, which Jerome spoke to me just before saying goodnight last evening:
This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.

Jerome's church choir performed the Pergolesi Magnificat this morning with strings and organ. I know each heart within those walls lit by the candles of hope, love, and joy, felt the balm only music can bring.
Wherever you are this heavy morning, perhaps your soul may be lifted by these amazing examples of making music.

The Glass Duo:  http://www.thequiltshow.com/os/blog.php/blog_id/5267

The Raleigh Ringers:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxxnz3jRNZI&list=FLr4TdePTmfBL6Im34P363nw&index=2


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

first snow, second candle and a helper

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... beautiful views in every direction.

The wild birds are busy at the feeders, but the chickens refuse to leave their snug house. They wouldn't even try going out.

The peace candle has joined the candle of hope. I chose to use these beeswax candles that my sister-in-law Anne sent me last year because they'll remind me of her and my deceased brother and their lovely daughter Sarah whenever I see them. And haven't we always put things away, saving them for the "some day" that often never arrives? My pre-new year resolution... use all the lovely things each and every day.

I mentioned that I would be working on this year's Christmas cards. Well, here's my helper trying to decide whether or not to walk on the rows of newly stamped cards lying out to dry.

Some packages mailed, a trunk load of packages ready to bring down to the city tomorrow, lists keeping me organized. Two weeks to go and I'm determined to have much of what's on those lists checked off by this weekend so I can truly walk the last week slowly to Christmas, and continue the slow walk throughout the holidays.

And isn't it lovely to think that the solstice is right around the corner??

Friday, December 7, 2012

first week of December

I had a bit of a panic attack this afternoon. It struck me most clearly that this month, Christmas month, is already one week done. What????

Here are a few of my distractions this week:
Most of Monday I spent decorating inside and out, doing some much needed cleaning along the way.

Tuesday was my half day at the school library. Fun and satisfying.
Late in the afternoon I had to rush to make my nametag for the quilt guild challenge that evening. I  literally finished it the last moment before I walked out the door. When will I learn not to procrastinate??? You could have knocked me over with a feather when it won the viewer's choice award!

Wednesday I was able to drive into Onalaska with Elin to purchase the foam form, pins and wire we need to assemble corn wreaths to decorate for her daughter's barn wedding. The dried corn tassels are already cut and waiting for assembly day this coming Monday. This is a photo of my prototype.

My house plants have gotten little attention this fall. I finally got around to pitching the worst of them and taking cuttings of some that were out of control. Potting up my old amaryllis bulbs with new soil was way overdue. This year's new bulb trumpeting away reminded me it was time to do the job if I wanted to have any new growth this winter. They're getting pretty old now, each at least 5 years.

Thursday I spent a few hours shopping the craft sale in the medical building in town. I'm happy to report that lots of local art and craft will be delivered to family and friends by Santa this year. I'm already wishing I hadn't talked myself out of buying more... Shhhhh. Can't really show any photos of these treasures.

Today I sat down to design our Christmas cards. That job always seems so daunting until I remind myself that simple is best. It took me all morning but the design is chosen. However, before I got started I had to make an "I'm sorry" gift for my favorite antique store owner. Last weekend while Terri was with me I broke an item in Joanne's shop in Westby, Treasures on Main. When I told Joanne I had knocked it off the shelf and it fell to the floor behind the display, she told me she had already done the same thing herself, twice, and had glued it back together before I made it take its last dive and it had to go into the dust bin. Still, I felt responsible for the loss. Today I put together and delivered a box of gift cards thinking Joann might like to enclose a little bell card with each sale.

The cards are 2 inches square and are black on cream, the same colors as the old fashioned paper bags she uses. The jingle bell stamp is one of my favorites. There are 50 cards standing inside one of the hand folded boxes I made from an old quilt calendar. I explained the box to her and she said she couldn't wait to share it with her 10 year old granddaughter who loves to make things for people.
I did find a couple of things at her shop today that had to come home with me. I almost always do.
But these little brass candlesticks from India I bought at another antique store just down the block. They were sadly tarnished and nearly buried on a dusty shelf in the very back room, but I had faith that they'd be perfect once I cleaned them up a bit. The surprise was their price, 75 cents for the pair. I used Heloise' trick for taking off the tarnish.... ketchup. Don't they look spiffy with the peppermint stick candles? I'd been looking for narrow holders that would work with these candles for nearly two years.

And then I needed to take time for a couple of paper cranes that I hope to send to Earlham on Monday.

Jerome called from his office this morning to tell me to quickly tune into WFMT radio via the internet. They were broadcasting a hymn arrangement done by a former music director of Saint Lukes Evanson, Richard Webster. The hymn is  Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending.  For several years we had attended Advent Lessons and Carols and each year this hymn was part of the program and we all got to sing. It was Jerome's and my way of embracing the season by walking purposefully through advent to Christmas. Hearing the recording gave me goose bumps and left me nostalgic for times past.

Being the 7th of December, events of the past of another sort were on my mind. I had been thinking of my mother's brother Milton, who 71 years ago today survived the attack on Pearl Harbor because he chose to get up early and go out fishing. He was on the water far enough away from the island and his ship when the Japanese planes arrived.
I see that snow is forecast tomorrow night into Monday am, perhaps as much as 4 inches along the way.  I plan to go to the indoor farmers' market early tomorrow but have no other need to be away from home before Monday morning. I hope to watch any snow that might fall from inside, settle into my preholiday projects, listen to some holiday tunes and movies, and sip the first cocoa of the season.
What's on your weekend plans?

Monday, December 3, 2012

a little decorating

With a high of 61 degrees today, decorating the front porch got moved up on the "slow walk to Christmas" agenda.
Strong winds made the camera jiggle a bit, but you get the idea.

Jerome calls it wonderfully cozy. I think so too.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The first day of advent

The spirit of hope resides within us all no matter what our beliefs.

My prayer as I light the first candle of my advent wreath this evening, the candle of hope, will be for each of you to have what you need to face the challenges before you and keep your flame of hope alive.
And to help you walk what my dear friend Simone calls that slow walk toward Christmas, I leave you with  this ...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

goodnight sweet season

I didn't do a very good job with my first attempt at art every day month. I was able to get my mind around living in an artful way.  And though my health and my schedule conspired to hold me back, I was able to work in a purposeful way when I gave myself the chance to work at all. Guess that's positive.
On the eve of the Advent season and with the holidays fast approaching, I am about to pack my autumn things away. Just in time I finished two small projects.

This wool felt applique candle mat, approximately 8 inches wide, was a delight from start to finish.

And this "teeny tiny pumpkin" cross stitch which was back ordered for weeks arrived just in time for me to stitch it tonight. It's just an inch and a half wide.
Tomorrow I'll assemble the advent wreath but for tonight it won't be visions of sugar plums but orbs of tangerine and scarlet and ochre  that dance in my head.