I’m Not Ready for Christmas! Not even close!

grouchy-santas

Ok, I don’t know what happened this year. I’m just way behind. It’s only 3 days til Christmas!

Now I have to tell you that I actually wrote this post 11 days ago, but due to problems with our internet provider doing some sort of change over, that caused some sort of technical mess (don’t ask me, I’m not techy at all) that made it impossible to load anything, which has taken this long to sort out, I am FINALLY able to post this.  And yes, I know that was a ridiculously long sentence.

So here it is 8 days later and to tell the truth not much has changed, I’m still way behind. I still don’t have the baking done, the tree is half decorated, and I’ve only just mailed out the Christmas cards PLUS  now I’ve got bursitis.

Last year I was sooooo ready. I had the Santas up the whole kit and caboodle of them. Check it out, the 25 Days of Christmas Santa collection. That’s the Grouchy Santas from my collection acting as the header for this post.

I had the  Christmas music, all of it pretty well second hand, nothing like recycling for creating an abundant Christmas. And even had time to write about it.
This year I’ve been working way too many hours and just haven’t had the time. Plus I decided to make some presents this year. Check out the scraps I’m using. Colorful and tropical enough? Yup, just my thing.

scraps
Here are a couple of the tea cozies I’ve made. Can’t show you the others yet. Gotta keep the surprise, just in case certain gift recipients are reading this blog.

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my-cosy

But I’m not giving up. I’m obviously going to have to scale down my plans, do a bit less, not put up as many decorations, not bake as much (Bill and I could certainly do with less in the goodies department).   But I’ll figure it out. Christmas will come, ready or not. And I plan to enjoy it.  Anyway if nothing else I’ve got chocolates!  What else do we really really need??

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Meeting the Christmas Dogs

There is absolutely no way that Christmas Day could have been any better. At least for those of us who DON’T subscribe to “Dreaming of a White Christmas” or go around singing “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”. Oh no, Snow is a four letter word to me. I love a green Christmas most of all. But yesterday was a bonus, it was a Green and Sunny Christmas in Victoria, the place where lawns green up in winter!

So after all the gifts were opened, the mince tarts eaten and a hearty brunch had by all, Will and I went off for our Christmas Day Walk. We chose the Gorge Walkway and were rewarded with Great Scenery either way, going up
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or down the walkway.

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And then as an added bonus, we got to meet the Christmas Dogs. First was this cute little guy in a red sweater sporting reindeer yet.

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Next we met the little black poodle, a quiet fellow, dressed up in red.  Such a good color on him.

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Our next meeting was with a little black and white with a curled up tail.
before-dog

Who soon drew the interest of another dog.

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This quickly became a great tangle of leads as each twirled around trying to get a good sniff. You’ll just have to imagine it. We were having enough trouble trying not to get caught up in the leashes.

And then there she was….the tiniest little charmer in a Santa suit. She had so much energy that we had quite a time trying to get a photo. Almost got her entirely in the shot here…
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Oh only the nose here…
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And finally a cute photo looking up at us.
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The Christmas dogs made the day. All dressed up to celebrate by their proud and loving owners.

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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, geisha ornaments,white swans, white grapes and even quite a few white rabbits! All of it recycled finds for my mosaics.

White ornament Christmas display, summerhouseart.com

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.

Will-w-evergrns

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.

bill-making-wrth1

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.

Evergreen Christmas display, summerhouseart.com

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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More Thoughts on a Green and Abundant Christmas

The other day I wrote about my abundant Christmas Music collection, almost all found used at garage sales and thrift stores. To me there is just no reason not to have it all when it comes to Christmas, especially when there is an abundance of everything available second hand. It’s guilt free Christmas, it’s recycled, it’s green and hey it’s fun.

Most of our ornaments and decor are recycled goodies. Every now and then I find some great things that I just can’t wait to use, something in an old fashioned box, something just a little bit different. I just loved these little ball bobbles still in their original box with the little Santa and sleigh, so small and cute.

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And I had just the right little tree in mind for them! Perfect!

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And then there were these wonderful drop ornaments, all in colors that I love, old and maybe collectible and definitely a bit “used”.

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They fit right in with the old old ornaments from the 40’s or 50’s that were passed on to us from Will’s parents years ago.

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You can just see on the left one of the ornaments that Will and I adorned with gold leaf and gold paint years ago.

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But all is not used. I do make exceptions to the recycled/used rule. And, as you may have surmised, I don’t like rules much anyway. Last year I found these wonderful ornaments at a sale in January. The colors were perfect with my big orange globe ornament with the glitter circles that I found at a garage sale one summer. It all looks great on the garland (yup it’s used too).

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Will took one of the green glitter balls and strung it on a curly red ribbon from our paper umbrella light shade. I like it so much I think I just might leave it there after Christmas.

lit-umbrella

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Some thoughts on a Green and Abundant Christmas

geneautry

Way back in April when I started this blog I wrote about abundance in a recession. And today, thinking about Christmas, my fave time of year, I’m reminded of abundance. Our Christmases are full of abundance! As I always love to say the world is an abundant place as long as you like second hand.

Just the other day I was again reminded of groups of people taking a pledge not to buy anything new for a year. And I even looked at a few web sites and blogs about it. And although I applaud the enthusiasm, I also noted how difficult they made it for themselves. No bending allowed on the pledge. And it seemed as though the pledge was abandoned after the year was up in a few cases. Everyone tired of the sacrifice, maybe?

This is just not the way we approach it. What started as way to survive tough times as students in the 60’s and to get us through other bouts of tough economic times, has now become a way of life. But it’s really not difficult for us, it’s fun and easy. I really believe that anything we do to be a little greener is helpful. So every effort counts. If we absolutely need to get something new, and after trying to find it used, well ok, buy it. No guilt. But this is so offset with all that we buy used, we feel ok with it. And anyway, part of our plan is to buy new stuff from artists and others who produce hand made and original when we can, as well.

Which brings me to Christmas. The cost of Christmas, the news is full of it, credit cards maxed, too many presents, worry over money and all that that entails. But why not resolve to have some of your Christmas recycled and reused?

So I thought as well as sharing my obviously “abundant” collection of thrift store, garage sale Santas I’d also share some of the other things we have in abundance for the season. And one of the best is music. We have a huge collection of music mostly because we still have our turntable, and our tape deck as well as a couple of used CD players. So we can buy all the good old stuff and now we’ve amassed a pretty eclectic and funky collection of Christmas music. At the top of this post is a great selection from Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole and Gene Autry, all actually a gift from our great friend Hart.  Don’t you just love that Gene Autry album cover? And as I bake for Christmas I love to play the oldies from my childhood like Perry Como, Bing Crosby which we heard always for Christmas. Would you believe most of these records and tapes we bought for anywhere from 25cents to just over $2?

comocsby

How much more eclectic can you get than this selection of Loreena McKennet  “a Winter Garden”, “A Very Special Christmas” which has the most wonderful piece by Sting, “Gabriel’s Message”,   The Masterworks Dinner Album and even Connie Francis who has “Christmas in My Heart”?

connief-tapes

And we’ve got some odd stuff too that we’ve found over the years like “A Reggae Christmas”. Always good to listen to while baking Christmas goodies.

reggae

And then for those classical moments we’ve got Luciano Pavarotti with a boys choir with my favourite Panis Angelicus. A real treasure found at the local second hand store was Christmas in Venice, full of just gorgeous classical favourites.

pavartti

We always find CD’s when we’re out garage sailing and all of our collection is used. And then there are the ones I’ve collected just for fun like “Christmas at Liberace’s”, Or the “Doris Day Christmas Album”. Then a real fave is Boney M Christmas Album with Feliz Navidad to really get dancin’. So far my all time fave CD is World Christmas which has not only the Gypsy Kings on it, and Deep Forest but also Papa Wemba and Mono Cinelu.

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So what am I saying here really? Christmas can be about abundance with out spending lots of money. And boy have we got an abundance of music! And it’s all used, recycled and we’re feelin’ green too.

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