Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas memories

circa 1969
Check out the style here - saddle shoes, walabees, crochet poncho, and wow that's some big collar on my shirt. pretty funny stuff. That's the blacksmith shop in the background where my dad made all sorts of iron tools and latches and hooks, etc.

We had many wonderful memories/ traditions at Christmas time when I was growing up. My dad likes to do every thing the colonial way. One of the things I especially enjoyed was making our own candles. He would build a fire outdoors and hang a big iron kettle over it filled with wax and we would dip our string in the wax, walk around the fire pit and then dip again, going round and round until we had a sizable candles. And sometimes to warm our hands we would stick our hands in the wax and then let it cool and see who could create the best finger mold. We burned a lot of candles in the house at Christmas time so we made quite a production of this. One year we were even featured in the paper because of all the traditional activities we did at Christmas time - baking gingerbread men in hand carved molds, even roasted a pig one year (that's quite a story - raising a pig in the middle of a prominent sub division). We lit candle bags made from brown paper sacks filled with sand and placed them all the way up the driveway lighting the way for our guests each year - we had a long driveway so it was very pretty; we used all fresh greenery up the banister and mantel - went out and shot mistletoe out of trees for decoration - to hang in the doorway. Back then my brothers would shoot it out of the trees with a BB gun and I would tie bows on bunches and we would sell it in the neighborhood
. Every Christmas Eve we would eat clam chowder that dad had cooked over the fire place along with Smithfield ham and biscuits when we got back from church. And THEN after dinner we would open gifts from each other before going off to bed. So many nice memories. We do things much simpler now but I'm glad Dad, and Mom, taught us some of the traditional ways of the colonial days.

I love going home at Christmas. My parents home radiates with warmth and love. There are so many wonderful decorations - German Nutcrackers, and German Smokers; hand crocheted snowflakes in the windows, handmade dolls, and Santa dummy boards all made by Mom - every where you look - something interesting.

They don't make the candles anymore or put the candles bags up the driveway but we still have clam chowder and Smithfield ham and biscuits on Christmas Eve and they still hang my first stocking. When I was born (in Nov) they placed me inside the stocking and my brother, who was 3 at the time, was dressed as Santa Claus posed for a Christmas photo . I peepeed in the stocking and the stain still remains (luckily it was on the back, but it was a felt stocking that couldn't be washed). The story has been told to every boy friend I ever had.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa over the years

1962 - me and my brothers with Santa

1992 - my daughter with Santa

2008 - my niece and nephew with Santa

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The tree is complete

oh so pretty. good kodi, just look and admire, don't touch.

no, no! I said NO touching.

This is just what I thought might happen, so the few fragile ones we hung went at the top

and the non-breakable ornaments went down low - like these paper ball ornaments we made together several years ago (made out of old Christmas cards)...

...and a lot of these croqueted snowflakes my mom made for each of us one year. I put these on last and to me it completes the tree.

Well next the last.

My forest angel goes on last. Taylor had to put her on for me - she's much taller than I am.
And now we have completed the decorating of our tree and can sit back and enjoy : )

Monday, December 15, 2008

special surprise

I was one of the lucky recipients of Vanessa Ann's giveaway. I love getting mail and especially nice packages. Vanessa Ann made these cute little votive candle holders and it just so happens that the fabrics she chose to put on them goes in my bedroom. I wanted to show you how cute they are (i need white candles to put in them, but i only had green). You should check out the other clever items she has on her etsy site. Thank you Vanessa Ann!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Transforming the home

I think I got a pretty good tree this year - still bare - waiting on Taylor to get home for the decorating.
I love this season - the decorating, the music, the Christmas cookies and hot wassail, the warmth of the fire and the glow of Christmas lights, the laughter and closeness of family gathered together.
This is very special piece my mom gave me when T was just a baby - it looked just like T with her curly red hair. And a family portrait that I have always loved - the capture before my younger brother got in the frame. If you look at it you will see every one is looking in a different direction - I love it.
A few corners of home have been transformed into their Christmas glory. The house seems warmer with all the red and "green"ery placed about. There is nothing I like better than to have the Christmas lights glowing and a fire burning and to just lie by the warmth of the fire and escape - just slow down - for a few minutes - reminiscence... reflect on all that is good.
Here stands a Santa that my mom carved and painted for me and a little clay dog I made when I was young, along with my collection of little Christmas books and a german snowman piece.

And a there is a special spot in the corner cabinet for the snowbabies that T gave me every year for my birthday until I had to tell her to stop because there was no more room on their playground.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Creative portrait

If you've read my blog in the past you've probably seen some of Taylor's "Alice in Wonderland" series she did her senior year for her photo final. This was one of the photos I took of her in our backyard as she was trying out the positioning and props for her final photos - she later used a tripod in a wildflower field we found down by the river. At the last minute she rigged the flamingo to look as if he was pulling her sash which I think adds a lot of character to the photo. I love the movement and emotion in this photo as "Alice" gets frustrated with the flamingos during the croquet game.
I show it to you because I am very impressed with what she is doing with it now. She was given the assignment to do a "creative" self portrait in her drawing class and she chose this photo to work from. I'm impressed with her interpretation of it and her great sense of design and addition of bold flowers. It's clear she didn't just copy the photo. I love the way she treated her eyes, making them larger than life, exaggerating the expression of annoyance. Even the flamingo pulling her sash has a look of mischief in his eyes, and to me the other one has a look of arrogance. I think, all together, this piece is brilliant - vibrant colors and strong composition and design - but that's just a proud mom talking. I can't wait to see it in person.