My Santa collection revisited or should I say recycled?

christmas-daywmWe are all about recycling, and living the recycling lifestyle has also given us an abundant lifestyle especially at Christmas. And especially where collecting Santas is concerned.  What started as a little collection to add some color on the sideboard at Christmas grew to over 100 Santa ornaments in no time.  How do you create such an abundant display of Santas?  Well, it’s almost all secondhand thrift shop finds and a few are gifts from friends who knew I’d been collecting.  In the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of recycling I’ve decided to recycle some of my old posts about Christmas.  Three years ago I spent some time for every day for the 25 Days before Christmas making up little vignettes of my huge Santa ornament collection.  Today, to make it much easier to view, I’ve decided to replace and recyle those posts and put all the collection on one post. Starting with my  fave Grumpy Santas and ending with my other faves, the Gumby Santas.  Enjoy….

Introducing my faves, The Grouchy Santas

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The Globe and Moon Santas

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The Wine Taster Santa

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Collector Santas

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Candle light Santas

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Skinny Legged Santas

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Odd Santas

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Santas from around the World posed on an Atlas of course

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Tropical Santas

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Santas Waving

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Tiny Santas

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Softy Santas

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Scary looking Santas

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Salt and Pepper Santas

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Night Santa all lit up

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Santa in an Evergreen Sleigh

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Santa in a Chili Pepper Sleigh

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Big Thoughtful Santa and Two rather Surprised Santas

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More Santas in Sleighs and a handsome Reindeer

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Santa on a Sledge

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Racing Santa

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Santas thinking of Tropical nights

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Santas bringing, what else, gifts

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Troubadour Santas

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And ending with my all time faves, Gumby Santas

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Of course, by now I probably have more, but I haven’t unpacked them yet.  There’s like about 5 boxes of them in the basement!  But hopefully, you’ve enjoyed my much quicker look at this runaway collection.  I swear, I’m NOT collecting any more.  Really, positively, no ….. more.

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Hot Colors, Cool Colors and Vine Covered Castle?

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This week has been so busy, doing all sorts of things to prepare for the show this Sunday at Royal Roads and Hatley Castle. It’s the Mother’s Day Paint In. We participated last year too. And there is so much to do, like get the display panels ready, get the printing done, make sure all the sculpture is ready and the mosaics… all the little details that make a good show, a good booth.

But, in all this rush, I realized that I have these hot, hot photos of tulips to share,

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and I’ve got this lovely cool photo of lilac blossoms after the rain

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and a Tree Peony in cool cool white to share too.

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Ok back to getting ready, back to organization and lists of things to cross off. Hopefully, if you live in Victoria, you’ll be able to see the show. It really is fun and the artists are great, plus there’ll be plants for sale and music and lovely gourmet goodies. Oh, can’t wait.

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A Couple of Over-the-Top, Yet Green and Recycled, Christmas Displays

We used to have the whole Santa collection on the sideboard in the living room.  Then as you may have guessed, the collection grew and grew until it didn’t fit anymore and had to be moved to the front door entry way. Of course that meant we had to move quite a few elephant ornaments out once a year but it was all worth it.

Now suddenly I had a whole new space to play with. So the first year I decided to do just a little angel ornament display. Just a few white angels, I thought, and then that idea just went completely berserk and the next thing I knew I was in my studio, fishing out anything that was white. The display became a sort of an over-the-top, (just the way I like it) crazy,  exuberant display that had angels, buddhas, geese, geishas, swans, white grapes and even quite a few white rabbits! All of it recycled finds for my mosaics.

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It was great! Friends came over and carried on with the outrageous creation and we added gold accents, the antique gold framed mirror, white doves and even a glass tray in the background in the shape of a snowflake ( a great 25 cent garage sale find by the way ) and golden Christmas globe ornaments.

This year I decided to use all the sparkly fruit I collected at thrift stores and garage sales a few years ago when I did the entire tree in sparkly fruits. I’d spent the whole summer before collecting it all and had a whole box full of every kind of glitter encrusted fruit from grapes and apples to pomegranates. Kind of obvious I’ve got Christmas on the brain way before December eh?

Last week Will and I went out to our favourite stroll, The Gorge Walkway, and collected lots of evergreen windfall.

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This was all saved in buckets in the back porch until we had time. Then yesterday, the start was made. Will created the beautiful lush and lavish wreath integrating all the fruit and evergreens. Of course I couldn’t resist putting in my two bits worth here and there.

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And I created the extravagant display on the top of the sideboard. It was supposed to have candles in repurposed globes from a junk find chandelier but that just didn’t work and finally we settled on the two matching lamps shown here.

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It’s a bit more traditional looking than I would usually have done, but if you look carefully you’ll see the old glove stretchers poking up on the left. To me these displays are all about a exuberant sense of Abundance. Well, you must admit both displays are definitely a feast for the eyes!

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The Gorge On Art Show

Our site at the "Gorge on Art" show
Our site at the “Gorge on Art” show

This weekend we’ll be packing up our tent, our mosaics and our sculptures once again and setting off for another show. We’ve participated in this one many many times. It’s always enjoyable and so far we’ve only had to take the tent down once when it threatened to take off like a sail in the wind. Hey, it keeps things exciting.

Every summer The Municipality of Saanich creates this wonderful event to show off all the artists that inhabit studios all over the town. There will be 48 artists booths, a variety of musicians and good food all along the Gorge Walkway.

My personal favourite thing is having students that I’ve taught from years past, pop in and say hello and tell me what they’ve been up to. And it’s always fun to get a chance to show off our new sculptures and talk about the fun of mosaic.

A pair of beautiful Newfoundlanders
A pair of beautiful Newfoundlanders

And did I mention that we have a weakness for some of the wonderful dogs that accompany their owners to this event. Don’t you just love these two teddy bears?

Here is the poster for the show, with a list of all the artists participating.

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So if you live in Victoria or are visiting, this is well worth taking in. Please come to #4, the Summer House Studio booth and say hello. If I’m not sneaking off to take in the variety and inspiration along the walkway, I’ll be there with Bill, breaking dishes.

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The Show at Hatley Castle

You would think that with a craft show looming on the horizon that we would be responsible and get everything ready on the couple of days beforehand but no, not us.

Instead we decided to have a little party at our house to celebrate our good friend Hart’s birthday on Friday night with our usual compliment of fun loving friends and two of our sons in attendance. It was a Mexican theme with everyone bringing food and goodies with a Tex Mex flavour and even the music I found was Mexican. I love having these get togethers on a weekend night, nothing beats good conversation, laughter and good food with friends.

Then Saturday, instead of staying home and designing a new hand out card in the morning, the lure of garage sailing was just too strong to resist. One of our three sons, Dave, in his call to wish me Happy Mom’s Day late Sunday night, said he was pretty sure we are addicted to garage sailing to which I replied that it was not an addiction but our way of having fun. And we did have a wonderful morning buying plants, finding good free stuff and taking our usual ocean side coffee break in the beautiful sunshine. Lucky for us, Eric was at home while we were out galavanting preparing the sculptures and packing them up for Sunday and doing other little odd jobs like repairing our show table.

Finally by late Saturday night we did get everything done. The new card had been designed and printed just in time before Office Depot closed. The car had been packed with all the mosaics and pots and boxes of supplies. All that remained was for Hart to come over with his truck in the morning so we could load it up with table, chairs and sculptures. With me running around telling everyone to hurry because we have to get there before the end of load in time at 9, we finally were on our way. That is, until we realized about 4 blocks away that we had forgotten the tent. Now you cannot screech to a halt when you have vehicles loaded with artwork so we coasted to a stop and turned around to get the tent. Well at least we were only a few blocks from home. You may say you should have a list of things to check off. Well we do. But we’ve done shows so many times that we sort of gave it cursory attention. Actually I think we did pretty well. The only other things I forgot were plants for the mosaic pots display and that was soon solved by buying some more plants for the garden at the show. Or was that just an unconsciously cunning way for me to justify buying more plants?

A view of the Castle from the front lawn
A view of the Castle from the front lawn

The show itself was great. Sunny, breezy and beautiful. Lots of people stopping and signing up for classes and taking a real interest in our sculptures. Our spot was on the front lawn of Hatley Castle overlooking the ocean. We all managed to take time off from our booth duties at different times to take in the rest of the show. I even managed a guided tour of the castle with our good friend and writer, Lia, who is also a tour guide at Hatley, giving lots of little known info about the history of this now popular place for shooting movies like XMen 2 and 3. Lia has written three wonderful stories about the feline friends in her life. Watch for a special segment in our blog on these literary gems and how to get them.

Of course, I’m always on the look out for other artists who make art from recycling and I was not disappointed. I just have to share a few of my finds. Unfortunately the first two don’t have web sites yet. I loved the jewelry made by Joyce Bezusko made from bits and pieces of old jewelry she finds in thrift shops and wherever.

Joyce with her creations
Joyce with her creations

Each one is different and unique and many are really playful. She has a bit of a following with some people collecting her one-of -a-kind pieces. She also sells in Hawaii, hence the name of her business Island Girl Originals. Or is that because she lives on our little island? Hmmm. You can reach her at 250-248-0637.

Bags reborn from scraps
Bags reborn from scraps

The next was a wonderfully talented seamstress, Renee Morris, from up island in Courtney, who makes these perfect bags with big shoulder straps from scraps of great materials. Her latest designs are made from recycled men’s tweed suit jackets! Amazing bags. Her little business is called Hobo’s and you can reach her at buyhobos@yahoo.com.

Amy's wonderful windows
Wonderful Windows

I loved Amy Houston’s booth with these awesome windows made with recycled glass and bottles and bits and pieces. She is part of a group called Two Glassy Ladies here in Victoria. I checked out their web site when we finally got home and it’s worth a visit for the blog and all the great glass beads they make.  The windows are created by Amy’s mom, Elizabeth.

The ladies of Wild Arc
The dedicated ladies at the Wild Arc booth

And I have to share with you the BC SPCA Wild Arc booth where they were selling baskets of flowers to raise money for Wild Arc. This is a great organization who takes care of wild animals injured or orphaned. You can find out more at www.wildarc.com.

Prospective students
Prospective students

So all in all it was a great day. I always get a kick out of the people who come into our booth and are smitten with mosaics. So many admit to saving broken dishes and wishing to make something with them. I just know I’ve met a future mosaic artist.

And now I really have to finish putting away all the stuff that we were too tired to do last night as we crashed with our supper in front of the TV and watched British murder mysteries. This week, I’m planning to do gardening and plant all the goodies I’ve been collecting that are waiting for a home in the garden. Where to grow it all? Ah well another little problem to get creative about.

My latest motto to live by is to have fun everyday. This last weekend, what with a birthday party, garage sailing and doing a craft show I think we managed it.

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