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Celebrating the Twelfth Day of Christmas!

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 On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

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I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~Harlan Miller

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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year to you all! My wish for you is good health, peace, friendship, love and many joy-filled moments in the coming year.

IMG_1038It’s early Monday and it is a quiet, Christmas card kind of morning with the snow falling and twirling to the ground like teeny feathers from heaven. Peaceful.

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For those living on many parts of our island, it’s a snow day for the children as schools are closed, or at least for the morning. Not here, though.  This beautiful scene won’t last long as the temperature is expected to climb to an unseasonable 11 degrees Celsius with rain, so all this fluffy snow will soon be washed away.  (I love this Bethany Lowe figure. Isn’t it precious?)

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Although I miss my garden at this time of year, the view is still beautiful, even from the kitchen sink!

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Who says rabbits are just for Easter?

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I’ve just made the bed (I like to dress the beds for Christmas) and am about to brew a hot cuppa.

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The house is so warm and welcoming at this time of year, so I am still enjoying. You can never have too many cozy pillows!

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A collection of hand painted Santas still sit on the dresser in the master bedroom.

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I am still listening to holiday music and sipping tea by the glow of the tree lights. I am loving this quiet hour. Hubby has left for work already and I am on vacation today (back to work tomorrow).

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I thought I would use the day to dismantle some of the decorations but on, second thought, I think I will enjoy them for the rest of this week and instead read some favourite magazines, be inspired and take some photos, something I haven’t had a chance to do all season.

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Maybe I’ll call up an old friend and invite her for tea. Pink transferware is wonderful at any time of year but especially during the holidays.

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I really like the Christmassy colours of this pattern.

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I know that many of you share a love for it.

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This is a nook in our petite kitchen/dining room. I love the sparkle! The house seems to say, “I’m happy!” and I want to share that. I hope it’s not too late.

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Well, Old Christmas Day is tomorrow, so I won’t leave it too long before I post some more images. Where did 2014 go?!

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I think I’ll start in the living room…

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The reflection of the lights of the Christmas trees in a framed print gives a magical feel to the room. Here are a few sneak peeks…

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The top of a Christmas tree…
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At the base of the tree…
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Special ornaments and a vignette under glass…
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Many thanks to Kerryanne for featuring my last post, Gingerbread Dreams, on her fun blog party Shabbilicous Friday! It was very sweet of you!  By the way, you might be interested to know that I gave that gingerbread house away but Santa brought me my very own gingerbread house! YES!
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The buffet/dresser in a kitchen nook is home to a fabulous smelling gingerbread display! (I tipped a little too far to the right when I snapped this one! Lol) Can you see the teeny footprints leading up to the front door of the gingerbread house. My friend Jindra is just amazing! APPLAUSE!
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I can’t thank her enough.  I’ve always wanted one for my own and she has made me a very happy girl, indeed! I get so much pleasure from looking at her creation.
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Look at that front door with the chevron wood-like pattern and pretty little wreath! You have to just admire her skill at detail! LOVE!
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It just makes my heart and feet dance together at the sight!  I hope it makes you happy  to see it, too.  I will probably be looking at this in my kitchen for a long time yet. I am very reluctant to put it away for another year. There are no ‘rules’ when to take down your holiday decor and if it makes you happy, then why not leave it for awhile longer! Celebrate Christmas every day, if you want – at least in your heart, that’s what matters. I love the spirit of the season and don’t mind one bit if it lingers awhile more.
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Oh, here comes the rain already! I’m glad I got those photos from the kitchen window when I did! This is the only snowman here today, on the kitchen table…
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I hope you’ll visit again soon! Thank you all for the very lovely comments last time.  I am always so excited to see your kind notes in my mailbox.
Wishing you a beautiful start to a brand new week,
Linda 

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The Jolliest Man, A Glad Gathering

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Dearest Friends!

The teapot’s at the ready offering a brew of orange spiced tea. Hmmm…I do hope that you will join me in a cuppa.  Let’s share a little of heart and hearth, shall we?

Since Christmas is the season for giving, is it any wonder that I chose to trim our mantle in the TV room in tribute to the most merry and generous gift giver of all – Santa himself?!  I thought I’d indulge in a little holiday bliss and share with you some photos of the end result.  

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.  ~Roy L. Smith

As some of you may know, I will be hosting “A Christmas Tea for Lucas” on December 11th, so there are some treasured teapots in honour of the occasion among my collection of merry men.  

As promised in an earlier post, I thought I’d show you the  new addition to this legion of charming fellows. He is called a ‘Possible Dreams’ Santa. Riding in his magic sleigh, he has been christened ‘World Traveller’ and is made of something called ‘clothtique’ and is a mixture of cloth and resin. 

Aren’t these fun and festive fellows so handsome all dressed up in their holiday best?! It’s no wonder that Santa’s robes are brilliant red – it is the most glamorous colour against the white snows of December.  His cheery red robes just seem to evoke instant grins…

Do you have a treasured collection of festive fellows that conjure up childhood memories of laying awake, wide-eyed well into the wee hours of  the night before Christmas, excitedly anticipating the arrival of Santa?!  I was once convinced that I could hear the reindeer on the roof and would keep jumping out of bed and running to the window to have a look…

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Twinkling white lights, loops of exquisite sparkly ribbons (I tend to use those that are sheer to let the light shine through), shiny ornaments, and strings of shimmering beads evoke the magic of the Yuletide season and capture the imagination…Varying heights add interest – I use a wooden box wrapped in a taffeta runner that serves as a perch for this season’s focal Santa – the World Traveller. He travels with his map, compass and blanket on his lap while he navigates through the skies using his magical telescope.  

The gift giver in all his forms, dressed in rich ruby robes, lend lush texture to the manteltop.  

I am enjoying the mantel this evening. Its happy colour energizes the room and lends a cozy feeling throughout  – some real comfort and joy…

Wishing you a little holiday cheer and happy decorating!  Thanks so much for dropping in and I hope to see you again very soon…

Linda

I’m joining The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursday where there is lots of inspiration!

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.  ~Peg Bracken

I am joining these wonderful blog parties for the very first time 🙂

French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday

A Thoughtful Place for Christmas Cheer Link Party

Sally Lee by the Sea for 24 Days of a Coastal Christmas

No Minimalist Here for Open House Linky Party

Sue Loves Cherries for Rednesday

Shabby Art Boutique for Simply Christmas Inspiration Party

Very Merry Vintage Style for Share The Love Wednesday

Tiaras and Bowties for 25 Days of Christmas

I hope you will visit there and join the holiday fun. 🙂

Operation Santa Cause – Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…

“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.” ~Henry Drummond~

 Operation Santa Cause

For families working hard just to meet the basic needs, Christmas can be a time of great struggle and loneliness. With money being so tight, they simply cannot afford to buy their children that special present to place under the tree.  Do you, your workplace, social or church group sponsor a family in need at Christmastime?

At my office, we start getting underway about this time of year, dreaming up ways of raising monies to purchase household items and gifts for our Christmas Families. Fundraising events may include everything from a Halloween chili luncheon and Jeans Days to gift-wrapping services and Give-It-Up Days (where people choose to go without a coffee, chocolate bar, or maybe even lunch or dinner and instead donate the money they would have spent on these things to the Christmas Families fund).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

We are matched with our Christmas Families through our local women’s centre or single parent association.  Our Families are asked to write their Wish Lists for Santa.  Items they often include are things that we usually take for granted  like new bed linens for a child’s bedroom, bath towels and soaps, a pair of jogging pants, a new pair of winter boots, baby clothes or just a few modest toys and books.

The verses below were written as inspiration for our Santa Cause project one year. Thanks to the kind-heartedness and generosity of so many of my co-workers, we were able to raise enough funds that Christmas to help several Families get everything on their holiday wish lists and then some.  What a great feeling!

I’d love to hear how you share the love at Christmastime.  I hope you enjoy my little poem that follows, as well as the photos of our kitchen last year ready for the holidays. The Santas were gifts from my husband through the years.  These jolly men were manufactured by Roman Inc. years ago.  Each merry gent stands on a brightly painted message box with a scroll that tells the figure’s legend.  They impart a lovely touch of Christmas spirit throughout the house!

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Linda

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.  ~Roy L. Smith

“A friendly look, a kindly smile, one good act, and life’s worthwhile!”‘

“The earth has grown old with its burden of care
But at Christmas it always is young,
The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air,
When the song of angels is sung.”  Phillip Brookes

Remember
This December,
That love weighs more than gold!
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

 

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.  ~Peg Bracken

 
 

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!  ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

 
 

Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.  ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

 
 

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.  ~Harlan Miller

 

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.  ~Janice Maeditere

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…

 Oh, What Fun It Is!
Gingerbread and jingle bells,
sledding fun and cinnamon smells.
Wreaths upon doors and blinking lights,
church bells ring on quiet nights.
All over the world, hearts rejoice
in prayers for peace and hope for life.
 
Oh, What Fun It Is!
Glistening snow and carol voices,
eggnog, smiles and sweet surprises!
Evergreen trees in reds and golds,
nativity scenes and Santa robes.
Packages wrapped in secret places,
hidden away from curious faces.
 
Oh, What Fun It Is!
School plays and cookie swaps,
last-minute cleaning with brooms and mops.
Turkey, stuffing, and plump raisin pudding
Watching holiday movies without even moving!
Gift returns and budgets blown,
homes undressed and families flown.
  
Thoughts of those with no riches or friends,
would YOU be able to do this again –
without giving your heart and outstretching your hand,
to someone in need – whether creature or man?
For the magic of Christmas cannot be bought,
it comes deep from within us, in what we are taught.
 
It’s never too early to learn or to teach,
or to help others discover – although never to preach.
For the lessons in life that are learned the best,
come from realizing ourselves just how much we are blessed!
 

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…

 
 
                              Thanks one and all for coming to visit!  
 
I am delighted to be sharing this post on Michelle Raven Designs for Primp Your Stuff.
 
 
 

The Santa Lady of Farm Road

The giftgiver in this photo was a gift from my husband along with the Portmeirion holly and ivy pattern teapot.

Greetings, Dear Friends!

I hope you will join me for a cuppa steaming Twinings orange  tea (it’s a delicious tasting black tea infused with the aroma of sweet oranges). It’s fitting for a day like today. Fall is here and there’s a real bite in the air outside.

It IS a little early to be talking about Santa, but the Christmas fairs are about to begin here – the largest five-day fair (Christmas at the Glacier) starts on October 19th – and many crafters are busy gearing up.  If there’s a fall fair happening where you are, you’re sure to see legions, as well as many interpretations, of the merry man in the photo at the left. I love this jolly gent in just about any form he may take.

I promised in earlier posts that I would tell you more about my friend  who creates stunning, quality Santas. And, since the stores here are already stocking their shelves with all things Christmas, there’s no time like the present!  In fact, I just could not resist picking up a new Santa earlier this week – I’ll introduce you to him in another visit…

The article in this post was actually written Christmas, 1996!  I was inspired to write it when I first met ceramic artist Jean Kelly at a local Christmas craft market in 1991. I was impressed by her spirit, her work, and her devotion to her craft.  I have been collecting Jean’s Santas since then, using them to decorate throughout our home at Christmastime.  I am so reluctant to secret away the kindly old gents after the holidays that I prolong the un-decorating of our house as long as possible before encountering strange looks from friends and neighbours. 🙂  The Santas are never too far from reach, though. My husband has an entire clothes closet that is now filled with them! And, when conversation with kindred Christmas spirits turns to Santas, I proudly reach for them and show them off!  They are truly one-of-a-kind. The story that follows was a gift to my friend Jean as a ‘Thank You’ for all her beautiful works of heart…She no longer lives on Farm Road and is no longer making quite so many of the merry men, but I treasure the ones that I do have.  All the photos below are of Jean’s creations used in our holiday decorating…I hope you enjoy them!  CLICK ON A PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT

“A passion for creating and an unwavering belief in Santa Claus inspires
Ceramic Artist Jean Kelly to keep the legend of this spirit alive and well
in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland…”
 
Nestled on Farm Road in the tiny rural community of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, the Kelly household on the outside appears like any other.  Yet inside, something magical is being created almost every day of the year. Christmas is not just something that happens during the month of December, but all year round!  Amazingly, the ceramic artist who lives here (or ‘Santa Jean’ as she is affectionately known), with her husband, David, and their two teenagers, is busily bringing to life the gift-giver known all over the world by many different names – Pere Noel (France), Babbo Natale (Italy), Baboushka (Russia), Belsnickel (Germany) and, of course, Santa Claus (America), to name just a few… Jean recreates hundreds of images of the legendary folk hero spanning nearly every corner of the globe.
 

A love of creating and realizing a finished product spurs her on to keep producing the kindly old gentlemen.  Crafting a treasure which will, for many, become tomorrow’s family heirloom and “the pure pleasure of knowing that your work will live on”, is, for Jean, a source of great satisfaction.

What began as a hobby, and as an escape from the daily challenges of raising two teenagers along with several Sheltie dogs and a myriad of cats, has turned into a thriving home-based business. When her family experienced difficult economic times some years back, Jean was encouraged by friends to do what she does best – use her artistic talents and find a niche in the local Christmas market for quality, handcrafted Christmas figurines.  Among her host of creations are heralding angels, nativity scenes and cherubic tree ornaments.  Her Santas, particularly, were an immediate hit with the locals.

At Jean’s craft stall, market browsers are treated to a feast for the eyes – legions of Christmas men from Victorian to religious to folksy; among them, England’s wassail-toting Father Christmas, the Netherland’s Saint Nicholas garbed in bishop robes and miter, Holland’s Sinterklass dressed in fur from head to toe, twig Santas that resemble pieces of carved driftwood, and our own roly-poly Santa Claus first brought to life by Thomas Nast in 1863 based on Clement C. Moore’s “T’was the Night Before Christmas”.

“I love to meet people at the fairs and talk with them a bit about the craft.  We exchange ideas on how to incorporate the lively old men into their traditional Christmas decorating.”

“Herfollowers’,” as a close friend describes them, “stalk her at the local craft fairs, hoping to be among the first to view her newest works and add them to their collections.”

And, it seems, Santa collectors just can’t get enough of Jean’s Santas.  In fact, many who originally buy them as ‘one-of-a-kind’ gifts for special people on their Christmas list find themselves not wanting to part with the charming red-coated gents. Once you’ve seen them, you’ll clearly understand why there is an almost instant attachment to these rosy-faced fellows.

The work of creating each gift-giver is an intricate labour of love, evidenced in the final product – rich in antiquing, embellished with all the ornaments of the season: fruits and berries, vintage toys, adoring woodland creatures, evergreens and candles – each face capturing the essence of the Yuletide.

As with most ceramics, pieces are produced from a mold into which liquid clay, or slip, is poured.  It is then left to set until the shell is formed.  The excess slip is poured off and the mold is again left to harden for an additional 24 hours until it starts to break open.  The cast figure is removed and set aside to dry.  Afterwards, it is sanded and washed before it’s baked in a high temperature kiln for a minimum of six to seven hours, or more, depending on the size of the piece; they may range anywhere from three inches in height to 36 inches.   Each form then has to dry for 24 hours more before it can be painted.  Six rounds of painting start with two thorough base coats of white paint, a third layer of thick brown antiquing is applied ever-so-carefully over the entire figure – only to be removed again with a soft cloth on larger areas and a Q-tip on smaller surfaces and crevices.  The painting of flesh tones is the stage at which the figure begins to take on a personality all its own.  Jean uses a palette of vibrant colours – earthy reds and browns, festive greens and purples and metallic golds – to further express each figure’s character.  Finally, a coat of sealer is applied to give the figure its completed look.

Christmas shoppers just can’t believe the jolly old elves are ceramic.  “They look just like wood!” Jean often hears. They are, indeed, ceramic but with “A World of Difference” – true to her motto which appears on the tiny tags that identify each Santa by his proper name and country of origin.

Since each piece is lovingly painted by hand, no two figures are alike.  Seasoned Santa collectors know to study each legendary gent’s face and select the one that most appeals to their hearts.  Some smile with a mischievous twinkle.  Others have a pensive look as if contemplating the importance of the task ahead – a difficult choice at best!

Jean manages to sell every Christmas figure she creates.  If you look around her own home on Christmas Day, surprisingly, you may not see a single Santa or angel peeping from around a shelf, sitting atop a mantle or amassed on a tabletop. Chances are they’re occupying someone else’s home spreading Christmas cheer!  “After all,” Jean says, “that’s what makes it so worthwhile – putting your heart into creating something that will be loved just as much by its new owner!”

Christmas, like every other season, is spent by Jean in her workshop which she has set up in the garage attached to her home. A wooden sign that says, “I Believe” hangs on the wall.  In colder months, she moves her painting table to the downstairs family room where she works on several pieces at a time.  As the Christmas season approaches, Jean’s husband often helps with pouring the clay and sometimes even the painting and accessorizing, all under Jean’s watchful eye.  Jean is so dedicated to her craft, she often works late at night and into the wee hours of the morning to meet the demand and get her Santas ready for Christmas in the nick of time!

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked
like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes – how they twinkle!  His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, 
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly!
 
 
CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE, Twas the Night Before Christmas
 

 Ask your children two questions this Christmas. First: “What do you want to give to others for Christmas?” Second: “What do you want for Christmas?” The first fosters generosity of heart and an outward focus. The second can breed selfishness if not tempered by the first. – Author Unknown

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Turn each page of Santa Scrapbook below to enjoy more pics of Jean’s Santa creations – there are eight pages in all.  You can enlarge the photos simply by clicking on the magnifying glass on each photo, and clicking it again to return the photo to its original size.  Turn up the volume and enjoy the music…
Thanks for visiting with me today.  Happy Thanksgiving weekend to everyone in Canada!  See you soon…
Warmly yours,
Linda
I am joining in for the first time a blogging party over at Shabby Art Boutique – Simply Christmas Inspiration! FUN. FUN. FUN.
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