One week before Christmas, I still didn't have a decorated tree, I had only bought a few presents, a menu for Christmas Eve wasn't determined, and my house was still loaded with Heirloom kit parts and pieces (and needed to be cleaned, too).
Not a pretty picture.
I just wanted to blink my eyes and make it all happen...or just make Christmas go away.
Now you have to know that this is just not me with respect to Christmas. I love this holiday and I love going over the top with everything related to the season...decorating, gifts, food, etc.
But this year, things were different...very different.
Both Vern and I were occupied most of the month with business...and, in this economy in Arizona, that was a good thing. Business was definitely coming first. I had an Heirloom Event the first weekend in December, and then Heirloom kits to get out, then trim packs to assemble and ship...all very labor intensive, which left me totally strapped for time.
The Sunday before Christmas, the tree-o went up and got decorated.
Monday morning, I hopped out of bed and started making lists...and my lists had lists. All week, I food shopped, gift shopped and wrapped and shipped those going out of state, worked on trim packs and shipped them (kinda reminded me of fast forwarding a movie...lots of movement, but all kinda blurry :)) and finally, on Friday morning, looked around my house and wondered if it would ever be ready for Christmas Eve dinner that evening.
I ended up finishing up decorating, cooking, cleaning, setting the table, showering, etc. with about an hour to spare before family came over...with huge thanks to Ashley for putting the appetizers together.
I have to tell you that I kept things really, really simple.
The table was set simply in white and silver, with a natural Italian stone pine tree wrapped in burlap in the center. A large three tiered display piece on the island held votives, freshly cut pyracantha (firethorn) berries and greens from our yard and appetizers. Everything looked natural and totally understated. I loved it.
Here's Ashley prepping the appetizer display...she was getting ready to put the bread chunks next to the crackers...and put another layered dip on the square plate.
Appetizers and dinner were a huge success. Can you believe that 8 people ate almost 10 pounds of potates that went into the French au gratin potato dish that I made? (It's not like it was the only dish I made, either, LOL!) Hearty appetites, for sure!
Christmas morning, I changed the white tablecloth to my favorite Williams Sonoma red patterned linen cloth while we enjoyed the traditional home made cranberry walnut scones I make each year.
Fresh fruit took the place of the appetizers on the bottom tier.
The sun streaming into the kitchen was glorious. What a beautiful day.
Christmas Day was so relaxing. After opening gifts, walking Bodie, enjoying a leisurely breakfast and calling family, I spent some time reading and napping...a real luxury!
I was content.
I have to honestly say that I wasn't expecting to feel contentment. After all, so many of the things that normally make up the season weren't there or weren't done. In thinking about why, here's what I learned and here's the key for me: SALT.
Simplicity isn't bad. Keeping things simple definitely made things less stressful and made what needed to be done doable.
Accepting what is. Knowing that our priorities were in the right place made it easier to accept.
Looking back instead of looking forward made me realize how much I really did accomplish in areas that absolutely had to get done.
There is a Time for everything...there will be other over the top Christmas seasons down the road.
I hope that your Christmas was one of peace, joy and contentment.
Instead of the bare trees typically seen in the Northern Hemisphere in December, here's what you'd be seeing today in our backyard.
Instead of the cacti generally expected in an Arizona landscape, you'd be seeing palm trees, green and glorious.
Instead of getting together with family to bake Christmas cookies, I spent a good part of Saturday with my two cousins and aunt, baking Grandma's bread and walking down memory lane. It was a great way for me to hear some of the stories about my grandparents, who lived far from me, but close to my aunt and cousins.
The day resulted in eight loaves of great looking and wonderful tasting bread, and lots of new memories and stories.
Instead of cleaning and prepping the area to set up the Christmas tree-o yesterday afternoon, I amused myself by making ornaments. Way more fun than cleaning and organizing! Love how this one turned out!
Making these ornaments is really simple. Just start with a clear acrylic ball ornament available at most craft stores and fill with fun things like colored or clear marbles, colored or white buttons, paper or dried flowers or leaves...add a bit of trim and voila, you have a hand crafted gorgeous ornament. Hang on your tree or display on a tray or platter with some greens. Simple...beautiful!
It sounds like I'm going to take you down a Shakespearean rabbit trail, doesn't it?
Would I be writing about The Fairy Queen, Titania, the heroine of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?
And, is Elizabeth the same Queen of England under whose reign great literary strides were made?
It all sounds plausible...but way too simple.
No, please allow me to introduce you to two brand new, hand created, very gorgeous and artsy ladies brought to you by creatologie from carol wingert studio, Titania and Elizabeth.
Titania, queen of the fairies, resplendent in nature's beauty, is just as comfortable resting on your dresser, entry table, or bookshelf as she is flitting through the forest.
With Titania is her favorite traveling companion, her fine feathered friend, "Nihtingale", who sings both day and night. And, what's not to sing about with his gorgeous golden feathers and spendid tail?
Titania is crowned with an antique glass door knob and she carries the key to the kingdom of the fairies. She is a highly decorated queen who has wrapped herself in silk and satin hand created flowers. Her "garments" are naturally dyed...only the finest, you know.
Titania adores finery, whether it be vintage pearls, crinkled hand dyed ribbon, or finely woven trims...all of them play an important part in her role as queen.
Titania stands 19" tall. She is formed from papier mache and is painstakingly layered with a variety of papers, tissue, paint and stamped images, complete with a lightly stippled finish.
She is an original and one of a kind, not to be duplicated or repeated. She is signed and dated.
TITANIA IS AVAILABLE TO ONE DISCERNING COLLECTOR OF DIMENSIONAL ART WHO LOVES NATURE, FLOWERS, BIRDS AND NATURAL FIBERS FOR JUST $147 (plus shipping).
Just click on the Buy Now button below and Titania will be yours.
Thank you for allowing me to share my ladies (and a bit of history) with you.
Titania and Elizabeth would love to grace your home with their presence.
I love it when I get a good feeling about something before it even happens.
I love the anticipation of waiting for it.
And, I love when it turns into something beyond what I expected.
"It" was the Heirloom Boutique Event/Workshop which took place this past Saturday. I'm still experiencing "THE GLOW".
For me, THE GLOW began as I was putting together the Heirloom kits for the event...and as I was building the trunk toppers and place cards.
It continued at 6:30 on Saturday morning as we pulled into Annette's driveway and saw how beautifully aglow her house and gardens were from all of the gorgeous Christmas lights.
And, when I walked into the fully decorated house, I was awake, alert and totally in event mode!
As the ladies began arriving, I saw THE GLOW in them.
There was laughter, hugs and sparkles in their eyes...each and every one of them beautiful in their attitude and anticipation of the day.
There was excited chatter as they ate their oh so delicious breakfast wonderfully prepared and beautifully presented by Annette...and, as they opened their trunks and saw the many treasures nestled inside.
There were glowing smiles as the women started building their albums and decorating their covers...
...and as they worked on personalizing their albums with rubber stamps, glitter and UTEE...
and as they enjoyed the scrumptuous mid day meal prepared by Ashley, Annette and Earleen, eaten in the gorgeous backyard, surrounded by the sound of running water...
...and, as Ashley tells me, there was still a glow in the afternoon as everyone walked through the kitchen to the patio to continue customizing their albums...or eat afternoon dessert...or just talk, laugh, take pictures, shop...
It was such an exciting and rewarding day for me.
A huge thanks to the 20 women who attended...your creativity is inspiring to all and your sense of sharing and community is heart warming...I am honored to call you my friends!
Another huge thanks to Annette and Robert for opening their home...and for preparing it for us, as well as putting up with our messy techniques!
And, to Annette and Earleen for being such wonderful co-hostesses.
To Sharon for being such a great event photographer!
To Ashley, for her hard work in helping me get the kits ready and for making all of the wonderful food, serving it on Saturday and cleaning up after all of us. I couldn't have done it without her!
To Vern, for his unfailing support, for getting up at 4:00 on Saturday morning to help load the vehicles and drive one of them up to Annettes, and for helping unload...he is definitely an enthusiatic fan!
I loved seeing THE GLOW throughout the event.
I love still having THE GLOW.
I'm still grinning (and, surprise surprise...GLOWING) at hearing that this was the most favorite Heirloom project for many of the attendees.
Can't wait to do this again!
P.S. There's just one, yes ONE, Heirloom kit left...maybe you'd like to experience THE GLOW from creating it in your home. Just head over here.