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Posts Tagged ‘Santa’

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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Christmas at the End of the Hall

Happy Holidays, Dear Friends!P1060749

Welcome!

The tea is just about ready to be poured. I’m excited that you here.  I have something special to share with you.

P1050976Firstly, many thanks to these lovely ladies for sharing my recent post “The Festive Table” at their wonderful blog parties:

– Deborah,  Green Willow Pond (What we Accomplished Wednesday)
– Deb, Lavender cottage (Cottage Style Party)
– Sherry, The Charm of Home (Home Sweet Home)
– Liz, Rose Vignettes (Fresh Cut Friday)
These are the ones that I know of, so if I missed anyone, my apologies.  I hope you will let me know if I have…
P1060713Additionally, thank you to Jeanne for re-blogging my post “Beautiful Christmas Green” on her own blog Nola Girl at Heart, as well as author Janice Wells for her huge shout-out in a local newspaper, The Telegram, last weekend. Janice published four large full-colour pics from  “Beautiful Christmas Green”  that covered nearly an entire page of the paper!  You can read her column titled, “Channeling My Christmas Martha” here.  Only one photo is shown in the on-line version of the article, whereas the print copy features four large full-colour photos from my blog.
P1060745I am thrilled that so many of you featured these latests posts!  I am truly honoured to have you visit and that you want to share “Beautiful Ideas” 🙂 So, thanks to all of you!

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Today I’m decorating the house some more, using faux greens (don’t they look like the real thing), along with some special ornaments that hold memories for my husband and me. I like to decorate all through the house at Christmastime, introducing little unexpected treasures around each corner…

I haven’t quite decided what to do yet with one particular space in our house; and at this rate, I should finish by Boxing Day! Lol This is usually where Christmas appears first in our home, oftentimes, even as early as the first of November, but this year I just can’t seem to decide on a holiday vignette at the end of the hall…The rest of the year, it’s a pretty uninteresting place but I like to bring it to life at Christmastime. Whatever I use here will help set the tone for the rest of the rooms off the hallway…

P1060699A new friend has come to join the legion of Santa’s in our home and, so, I thought he would sit here on the gateleg table. I was thrilled to discover him at Lord and Taylor on the final morning of our visit to New York City last November.  I had almost given up the hunt and had resigned myself that I would not find a ‘special man’ that called my name to bring home with me! Lol  I seem to gather a Santa or two every time I travel. And, so, our ‘Jolly ‘Gent’ collection has continued to grow over the years.

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I judiciously packaged him in bubble wrap and safely tucked him inside my carry-on luggage where he was quite content.  I toted him all the way from NYC to Washington, D.C. and on to Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, and finally back home to Newfoundland, Canada!  This Santa got around the world in a tote bag – and is no worse for it!  He is extremely breakable but I was bound and determined that he would arrive home safely.

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P1060643His tag reads:  “Uber 100 Jahre werden von unserer Familie nach alter Tradition von handgearbeitete Sammler-artikel aus Papier-mache hergestellt.”

English translation:  “For over 100 years, our family has been creating papier-mache collectibles. Traditionally handcrafted by the “Ino Schaller” family in Bavaria.”

(I have dreamed of a trip to the European Christmas markets for a very long time, since I was a young girl; maybe one day we’ll go and I’ll bring home a Santa from there in my totebag …Sigh.)

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After a full week in New York City, we travelled to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia for the town’s Grand Illumination (you can read about it here). There are some amazing shops in the Town Square and, of course, I could not resist the temptation to pick up another Christmas tchotchke.

This figurine is by Bethany Lowe.  Just looking at it warms my heart and brings to life childhood memories of playing in the snow. Bethany was scheduled to be in the shop to sign her pieces but we missed her by a day or two, I think.

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P1050947“Reindeer Games”. is hand-painted resin and the little one’s reindeer jumpsuit is softly flocked.  The figure measures about 7/12 inches at the tallest point.  I can always spot Bethany’s designs.   They have that vintage appeal that I love.

Also on this same trip, I found an awesome Santa at Macy’s in Virginia Beach, when visiting my cousin there, but I’ll save him for another day as he is deserving of a separate post…

P1050945I’m not certain just yet how Christmas at the end of the hall will look this year.  I don’t have a plan and the look has changed a couple times already. Our cat, Monza, seems to have taken a liking to the table as his new perch lately, and Santa is quite delicate, so we’ll see…Part of the fun in designing vignettes is creating as you go along and seeing the surprise result at the end, don’t you think.  I hope you enjoy the photos!

Thank you for your visit and for leaving your sweet footprint in the snow!  We are expecting a severe winter storm here beginning tomorrow and being stuck indoors will give me more time to finish decking the hall!  Happy decorating!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

Joining with bells on:  Inspiration Monday, Metamorphosis Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, Inspire Me Tuesday, The Scoop, Friends Sharing Tea, What We Accomplished Wednesday, WoW Us Wednesday, Sandi’s Home for the HolidaysCottage Style PartyTime Travel Thursday, The Homemaking Party, Home and Garden Thursday, Christmas Countdown-Thursday Favourites, Feathered Nest FridayBe Inspired, What To Do WeekendsShow and Tell Friday, Home Sweet Home, Frugal Friday, Shabbilicious Friday, Simple and Sweet Friday Pink Saturday, Seasonal Sunday, and Open House.

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Snow White!

Dear Friends,

I was just visiting my good friend Carolyn at Aiken Home and Garden on Prince Edward Island.  She was showing some of her lovely snow pictures from past winters (they have no snow for the time being) and sharing them at How Sweet The Sound‘s Pink Saturday where the theme this weekend is ‘Snow and Snowmen’.  So, I thought I’d join the party also!  Because we, too, have no snow at the moment, although it is on the way, here are some photos from winters past.

The first few photos are of Santas created by my talented friend Jean.  They are ceramic, poured from ‘slip’ into a mold, baked in a kiln and then cleaned and handpainted. Each year a different one sits on my kitchen windowsill.  I treasure each one of her magnificent creations! If you would like to know more about how Jean gives these jolly gents life, you can read about it in a previous post, The Santa Lady of Farm Road

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The Santa below is from a collection that my husband has gifted me over the years from Roman Inc’s ‘The Giftgiver’ series . It was purchased a long time ago and I don’t think the series is made any more.

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This is our garden shed under a blanket of freshly fallen snow.  To me, the garden is just as beautiful in winter when all its ‘bones’ are laid bare – you can experience the garden on a more intimate level and study its structure.  You can see more pics, if you like, in the post, “Escape to Narnia in a Winter’s Garden”.

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I am still very excited, and can hardly believe, that the exterior of our teeny bungalow in snowy winter dress is being featured this  very Christmas season in a stunning holiday idea book from Norway. It is called “Sanselig Jul” (translation:  Christmas For All The Senses) by the lovely and creative Franciska Munck Johansen.  Franciska’s book is filled with gorgeous Nordic images and bursting with seasonal inspiration.  You can read more at “The Gift of Christmas”.

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This is the only snowman at our home for now.  He resides on my cakestand on a shelf in a corner of our kitchen and brings warm wishes for the season.  🙂  Many thanks to you all for stopping by! I will look for your footprint in the snow… In the meantime, stay cozy.

Warmly yours,

Linda

I am joining, too, Treasure Hunt Thursday!

The Gift of Christmas! Sanselig Jul…

Sanselig Jul:  A Christmas For All The Senses

by Franciska Munck-Johansen

Dearest Friends,

Something very special sits on my desk this evening. A glorious feast – for the eyes! An exquisite holiday idea book has arrived all the way from Norway.  A true ‘Work of Heart’ by talented Norwegian Franciska Munck-Johansen – author/stylist/photographer!  Bubbling with excitement, like a child on Christmas morning, I can barely contain myself as I turn each smooth, glossy perfect page.

My cup of amber tea has long gone cold.  My husband took it away to pour me another.  🙂 I barely noticed…I am happily preoccupied. Mesmerized. My eyes pour over each and every lustrous sheet of gorgeous photos.  I am wearing a big grin on my face.  Searching for something which is very thrilling to me.   Photos of  the exterior of our own home dressed for the holidays  in simple, natural cedar garlands and balsam fir wreaths.  Pages 44-45.  I can hardly believe my eyes!

Isn’t this an outstanding cover photo (below) that Franciska has chosen for her new book? (My friend Jean made the Santa – isn’t he handsome in his Nordic style ski wear?)

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Franciska’s book is written in Norwegian, but a picture does speaks a thousand words and the language of photos is certainly universal.  Beautiful and inspiring!  The photo on the left is of our garden gate (although it is not red anymore) and here is what the caption under it reads:

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
It’s almost so you can hear Christmas carols and expect to see Rudolph and
the rest of the gang behind this garden gate. Canadian Linda Ryan, author of  the blog “Beautiful Ideas”, loves Christmas and has photographed these lovely images in her garden. She uses evergreens to decorate around the garden in flower boxes, on doors, around the outside lights… The front door of her home is a wonderful portal decorated with fresh cedar and long ribbons. 
https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com
 

It does not surprise me that my dear friend Carolyn from the enchanting ‘Island of Anne’ is in the book, too. Carolyn is amassing a library of publications featuring her stunning home and gardens.  Here she writes about being featured in Franciska’s “Sanselig Jul”:  Aiken Home and Garden

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A third North American featured in the book is Sandy Foster, author of the blog ‘My Shabby Streamside Studio’.  Sandy lives in New York (my husband and I are not long home from eight glorious days in NYC, something that has been on my bucket list for a very long time – more about that soon)….You’ll love Sandy’s dreamy, marshmallowy photos.  Sandy has been a guest on the Nate Berkus Show and is included in his newest book.  You can visit Sandy at her blog here:  My Shabby Streamside Studio.  Here are some pictures of Sandy’s feature in Sanselig Jul.

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Franciska’s book is a magical Christmas treasury.    The stuff  of dreams.  I am thrilled to have it in my special collection of beautiful holiday books.  Even more so to be included in it!  Surreal.  Franciska  is a beauty  – inside and out.  Her first-class work is featured in many interiors magazines in Europe and beyond. Swoonworthy, indeed.  Her passion for all that she does shines through in her every one of  her photos.  Her warmth and charm of personality emanates from the pages of “Sanselig Jul”.  Here is beautiful photo of Franciska.

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You can purchase Francsika’s book (here) .

My first ‘meeting’ with Franciska was in summer 2011.  She shared my blog post (Waiting for Springtime) on her own blog .  It touched her heart and made me glad that she felt my story  was worth sharing, that it might inspire others to do something nice for someone in need.   We all can use a supportive ‘hug’ sometimes, can’t we…

Last year, Franciska sent me as a gift a copy of her first book, “Sanselig Sommer”, which translated into English means “Summer for All the Senses”.  It, too, is jam-packed with wonderful photos and ideas that can be easily adapted for the home, garden and inspired living. It’s such quality that I am honoured to be included in anything that Franciska does!

Can I tell you a secret? I have always dreamed of writing my own Christmas book one day.  Shhh….But I never dreamed for a single moment, that I would be included in a book by such a recognized European artist as Franciska!   How life sometimes presents the unexpected!  Blogland has been a portal to so many opportunities this past year that would not have been possible otherwise.

Each year, in the month leading up to Christmas, I gather up all my holiday books in a basket and look through one or two every day for inspiration. It’s exciting to think that Sanselig Jul, in which our own home is featured, will become part of that collection and tradition!  My deepest gratitude, Franciska, for your warm embrace.   It is an incredible honour for me…What a wonderful Gift of Christmas!  Happy Holidays to you and yours, dear friend.

Thank you everyone for visiting today.  I hope you will come back soon for some holiday photos of my first adventure in New York City…

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead,

Linda

I am delighted to be joining Show and Tell Friday, Open House, Home Sweet Home, Vintage Inspiration, Teatime Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesday, Feathered Nest Friday, Holiday Home Tour, Jennifer at Traditions and Cottage Magpie.

Fill Your Socks at “The Little Christmas Fair!”

Dear Friends,

Thank you for stopping by today! As always, the kettle’s on and I am thrilled that you are here to keep me company! As many of you know, I have been MIA for awhile. Thank you for continuing to drop by while I’ve been away. While I have missed Blogland these past six months, I have been busy, busy spearheading a FUNdRaising campaign – Pink Days In Bloom – at various garden centres here on our Island of  Newfoundland this past summer.

Pink Days In Bloom is a high-spirited FUNdraiser that demonstrates support for persons living with breast cancer, their families and friends. This year, an estimated 330 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in our tiny province with a population of just over 500,000 people.  Monies raised through Pink Days In Bloom are in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) – Atlantic Region to help fund innovative breast cancer research, programs and equipment throughout our Atlantic provinces.

In July 2011, one garden centre (Pat’s Plants and Gardens was the first) hosted Pink Days In Bloom.  And, in 2012, Pat’s Plants and Gardens hosted their 2nd Annual Pink Days In Bloom and seven garden centres signed on! ‘The dream’ is that Pink Days In Bloom will, one day soon, become an Island-wide happening, and we’re well on our way!  I am thrilled to say that CBCF-Atlantic  recently adopted Pink Days In Bloom as its signature summer FUNdRaiser, promoting it in Atlantic Canada based on the Newfoundland success as a model! The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association  (CNLA) has also committed to promote Pink Days In Bloom to its membership across the country!  And, Pink Days In Bloom has ‘blossomed’ beyond garden centres to corporate Pink Jeans Days and BBQ’s, retail events, and even a ‘Pink Softball Tournament of Hope’ hosted by friends at Shand Nurseries (on the weekend following their Pink Days In Bloom event).  The season concluded with ‘A Beautfiul Summer Evening of Pink’, a champagne dinner at a local restaurant, The Tea Garden.

In one year, well over $25,000 (probably closer to $30,000 by the end of December) has been raised under the Pink Days In Bloom banner thanks to an awesome team of sponsors and volunteers working together. I have been working full-time besides all the while, so I am sure you can understand that it hasn’t left much time for blogging.  It’s good to be back!

“The Little Christmas Fair”

Treats offered in rockin’ Rocket’s Coffee and Bakery Bar during “The Little Christmas Fair” on Sunday, November 9th

As recently as last weekend, “The Little Christmas Fair,” also in support of CBCF-Atlantic, was held at our local Rocket Bakery, a favourite haunt here for many.  The building was built in 1852 and is a beautiful venue with old wood floors and exposed brick. walls.  The smells from the croissants and other goodies baking in the ovens as we were setting up the vendor tables at 6:30 AM was tantalizing!

“The Little Christmas Fair” was a joyous success, made possible by dedicated volunteers, generous sponsors & the kind patronage of fair-goers! Many of the vendors were preparing in the weeks leading up to the fair, and patrons were invited to shop for those special gifts to get a head start on the holidays. Visitors discovered an array of wonderful treasures, many of them one-of-a-kind, to fill those Christmas socks for everyone on their ‘Good List’. Fair-goers were able to enjoy refreshments in the Rocket Bakery café & wrap themselves in the warm ambience, uplifting spirit and genuine camaraderie of “The Little Christmas Fair” and what it represents to so many…

The spirit of Christmas was palpable in the air at “The Little Christmas Fair!” There were carollers with the voices of angels from our Memorial University’s School of Music and members of local community choirs, a delightful harpist, artful face painting, a zany holiday photo booth (complete with props like reindeer antlers, huge glasses, Santa hats…), St. Nicholas Silent Auction and Cheery Chance Auction, Comfort and Joy Christmas Raffle, coffee and bakery bar, a visit from Santa himself and, of course, garden faeries! No Pink Days In Bloom event would be without ‘Hope’ and ‘Invincibelle’, the ‘official’ Pink Days In Bloom garden faeries dressed in their Christmas garb!

Much gratitude to sponsors, vendors, volunteers, fair shoppers, the media and Facebook friends and all who helped get the word out – to everyone involved in any way, big or small.

Here are some images from that wonderful event. The Pink Days In Bloom Facebook link is also below, if you’d like to have a good ol’ poke around on there and see what I’ve been up to all this time! 🙂 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pink-Days-in-Bloom/382061855145657

 I don’t know where the time went these past six months – it flew by so quickly! Isn’t it hard to imagine it will soon be time to decorate for Christmas? Indeed, I have already started! It wasn’t too hard since I have been in Christmas mode for many weeks preparing for “The Little Christmas Fair” FUNdRaiser.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmastime and am looking forward to sharing some photos of our ‘Home for the Holidays’ with you very soon. I hope you are enjoying your ‘cuppa’ while you browse through the pics. Thank you once again, for taking time out of your day to visit! I promise it won’t be six months before I write another post! You all are very kind to keep coming back! I am so glad to share your company once again. Would you like another cuppa? XO

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pink-Days-in-Bloom/382061855145657

 

A CHRISTMAS TEA, TOUR AND MORE…

No one has ever become poor by giving. – Ann Frank

CAUTION:  There’s alot of Christmas spirit in this post!  Take a few moments to yourself away from all the hustle and bustle, settle into your favourite armchair with a cuppa, put up your feet, and just breathe…

A Christmas “Togetherness Tea Party” at our home was actually a fabulous fundraiser.  Holiday teas were poured from beautiful teapots. There were sweet treats, hugs and lots of fun!  At long last, it seemed, the Christmas season had officially begun…

Welcome Kindred Christmas Spirits,

It is such a pleasure  to relate to you something wonderful that happened just over a week ago! Last Sunday afternoon (December 11th), my husband and I hosted the most beautiful Holiday Tea that we have ever held in our home.  It was an open house: a buffet tea and tour of our home decked out in all the season’s finery. The event was actually a fundraiser named: “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”

THE SEASON OF GIVING  Over 60 persons (50 adults plus children) gathered at our home over a few joyous hours for the sound of jingling bells, twinkling lights, a rejuvenating cuppa, home-baked treats and heartwarming friendship – a time to celebrate all that is good about this time of year. Together, feeling inspired by the beauty and giving spirit of the season, we raised a grand total $1,475.00! Isn’t that AMAZING in just a few hours over tea and dessert?!  A Christmas miracle, indeed!

OVER TEA AND BLOGGING  I had been planning “A Christmas Tea for Lucas” for months – since late summer when we visited Prince Edward Island solely to meet my new friend through blogging Carolyn Aiken (you can read about it here) of the popular blog Aiken Home and Gardens. Undoubtedly, many of you already know Carolyn and are long-time fans of her gentle blog about her romantic life on glorious Prince Edward Island.

Lucas with a sock monkey named “Linda” that was made specially for the Tea and sent along in the mail from Prince Edward Island to my Island of Newfoundland. I must admit that I’ve never before had a sock monkey named after me!

On the final day of our visit with Carolyn and her husband Andrew back in August, and before leaving the Island, Carolyn and I sat together at her table in her welcoming kitchen and shared a cup of friendship.  She relayed to me that she and Andrew are blessed with 7 children and 9 grandchildren. One dear grandson, 6-year old little Lucas, had been diagnosed at the young age of just 2 years with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). It  affects only boys – as many as 1 in 3,000. I never knew that. In fact, I knew very little about DMD at all before then.

Lucas and his mom, Jen (Carolyn and Andrew’s daughter), were about to embark on a journey that would cause them to travel from their home on Prince Edward Island to a Montreal hospital each week for 52 weeks for Lucas’ participation in drug trials there.  It is hoped that these drugs will slow the progression of the disease. We are all wishing the best for sweet Lucas and his family.

As Carolyn and I were chatting on for hours, the time seemed to just fly by!  We shared  our common interests, pursuits, dreams, AND worries while sipping soothing peppermint tea and eating Carolyn’s tasty home-baked scones and pie. I promised my new friend then and there that come the holidays, I would host “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”.  It would be a way to embrace dear Lucas and his family on their journey, to let them know that someone was thinking of them, sending them positive energy; and to demonstrate, in some small measure, financial support for Carolyn’s daughter and her family during a most challenging time in their young lives. Christmas, after all, IS a time for family.  And, aren’t we ALL family? Every one of us needs a shoulder sometimes and a helping hand. The kindness of others helps to make our load a little lighter at times. People, even strangers, were so kind to me when I was going through treatments for breast cancer not so long ago; I just wanted to pay that forward somehow.  And, thus the seed was planted there on verdant Prince Edward Island at Carolyn’s hospitable kitchen table…

Singing angels (from left to right Memorial University of Music students Steven Griffin, Courtney Woodford, Chris Davis and Teri Slade) lend a neighbourly caring to the afternoon’s event. These outstanding (pardon the pun) young people volunteered their precious time to raise funds for cancer research! Carolling is a rare and precious treat nowadays in this age of cds, music dvds and satellite radio! Thank you for the beautiful gift of your voices. You were truly wonderful and just made the day for all of us! I hope you will come back and share with us again next year…

FOUR MONTHS LATER, ON ANOTHER ISLAND… Christmas carollers with the voices of angels spreading the good news of the season greeted guests as they came up the walkway to our front door on that festive afternoon, immediately elevating everyone’s mood!

Can you see the crown of fresh fruit over the door?

Smiling, happy faces. Cheery greetings. Big hugs. Waves of gratitude and giving.

All were met with a fresh pineapple welcome (notice the door crown fashioned from a whole pineapple and bunches of shiny red apples), Colonial Williamsburg style.

Hand-and-tummy warming apple cider on the stove top. Frothy vanilla egg nog served in a vintage amber glass bowl and cups. Steaming flavourful teas poured from beautiful teapots. Fresh-from-the-oven desserts and special sweets of the season in abundance to tempt the taste buds.

The merry sound of jingle bells with each opening of the door. The warmth of twinkling white faerie lights all through the house. A holiday home tour. Prizes to be won and surprises, too!

Even an astonishing pop-in visit from jolly old Saint Nick himself in the finest cherry-red suit that I have ever laid eyes upon! (How on earth did you get word to Santa, good neighbour George, that we were having a special party that day?! And, how did Santa ever find time at this busiest time of year?! Muuuaahhh!). Children and adults alike were wide-eyed with wonder at the sight of the jolly gent. And, oh, the laughter!!! What holiday fun!

Handmade season wreaths plentifully fashioned from natural pine, fir, cedar and LOVE were for sale, contributed by a dear young friend with all proceeds going to the cause. Thank you, Brittany, for your generous heart! Every wreath sold and for a pretty price! People gave way more than we were suggesting – and, in one instance nearly ten time more! WOW!

THE BEST GIFT  Kindness. Caring. Generosity. Sharing. Wide-open hearts. There was a real camaraderie, a connection of some kind in the air that is hard to describe with mere words. The sheer excitement was almost palpable. It was true Christmas spirit like I’ve never experienced! And, to top it all off, snow started falling softly outside the windows, as if we were inside a ‘living’ Christmas card…What a perfectly lovely day!

This door crown (also shown in the photo above) was created in mere minutes while waiting for a wickedly yummy carrot cake to come out of the oven the night before the party (rather, in the wee hours the morning of the party). I have been using the same wooden cut-out in the shape of a semi-circle for this annual project for over 20 years! The fresh fruits are pushed downward over top of long galvanized nail spikes. Cedar branches are hot glued to fill in the gaps between the apples.  Using a large picture hanger attached to the back of the piece, hang atop your door for a Colonial Williamsburg-style welcome and your done. A resplendent door crown! 1-2-3 Easy.

It was an oh-so special Tea Party in celebration of this magical time of beauty and wonder, and giving from the heart. One and all opened their hearts and their wallets in good old-fashioned Christmas spirit and rejoiced in the gift of giving. A THOUSAND THANK YOU’s EVERYONE!  It means the world that you gave so freely and in so many ways. I was able to send the gift of a Moneygram and all your best wishes off to Lucas and his family soon after the Tea. The much-appreciated gift will be used to purchase a special new bed and mattress for Lucas.  Doesn’t it feel good knowing that you were able to help in this way?! 🙂

The sweets table…I was up until 2AM and again at 6 AM baking up a storm before the Tea so everything would be fresh.  The gorgeous window pane and chocolate dipped cookies in the centre were compliments of Sugar Mama’s Bakery!  Thank you Lainie. It was very sweet of you!

The best gift of the season for me was knowing that everyone who came enjoyed themselves to the fullest, and that we were able to join together in sharing a little goodwill at this magical time of the year in effort to help our fellow man.

On that day, our home was filled  to the rafters with the love that is the very essence of this beautiful season…It is something we will never forget.

A handsome guest remarked, “NOW it feels like Christmas…” It was the first time he had been to our home, and he had brought with him his lovely family in support of little Lucas and his dear family.  It  was such a beautiful compliment that they, and all who came to be with us that day, had taken precious time out of their own hectic Christmas preparations – the shopping, baking, decorating, stringing outdoor lights and getting the tree – to join in offering their friendship and strength of support to strangers. Lucas and his family are truly, truly appreciative and can’t thank you every one enough. YOU left a smile on their hearts, as well as ours, and we will always be grateful for  your kindness and generous, caring collective spirit…TRUE Christmas spirit!

Perhaps a NEW Christmas tradition has already begun in our home, one to anchor the coming holiday seasons. Hmm, next year, maybe I’ll host “The True Spirit of Christmas” Tea…

I ran out of greens just before fashioning this urn, so I used other elements from the garden to fatten it up: a garden cherub sits on the edge of the urn with his feet dangling over the edge, an iron obelisk and a shiny red gazing ball inside it are strategically placed in the centre, large pinecones, tall twigs, a garden sign on a stake, almost anything I could find…

LOVE IS IN THE DETAILS  Those of you who have ever hosted a large at-home party and enjoy entertaining can probably relate that in the weeks leading up to the Tea, I spent many blissful hours immersed in my favourite Christmas books and hundreds of magazine clippings from past years, still kept in a special holiday file, making endless notes that I would later tuck into my purse to have with me when running errands.

While perusing my favourite holiday recipes collected, too, over time and planning the once-a-year and first-time-ever fancy desserts I would make, I compiled ingredients lists and contemplated the special serving dishes to be brought out of the cupboards.

Pouring over seasonal decorating magazine issues both current and saved from Christmases past, while sipping spiced tea and daydreaming about how the house would look all decked out, and  the holiday trims I would attempt to make; I spent days and days (time here and there) cleaning and readying the rooms, imparting little inspirational touches of the season into each one, creating Christmas all through the house…

My husband did a wonderful job of orchestrating the adornments on our home’s exterior. The walkway, front door, garden gate and benches, planters and window boxes, statuary and obelisks, and, yes, even the shed and deck were festooned with fresh greens of all kinds in a spur-of-the-moment – yet surprisingly artful – arrangements! In contrast, he did not spend a goodly portion of his time thinking all these things through. He just went for it and all turned out beautifully!  There is something to be said for that! But then, the anticipation is part of the pure enjoyment of the entire process for me….:-)

‘The Christmas Shed’…Didn’t my hubby do a great job filling this planter box?!

Won’t you come with me and have a little look around?!  I promise you’ll find some ideas to dress up every room in your home during the holidays: draping greens over the beds, hanging stockings of every kind from everywhere imaginable (I’ve hung them from knobs on dressers, chairbacks, doorknobs, cupboards, bed posts, footboards, headboards…I looove Christmas stockings), creating lighting ambience with candles and chandeliers, pretty paper wrappings, ways with ribbons, even gift ideas and more…

I don’t think you ever stop giving. I really don’t. I think it’s an on-going process. And it’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life. – Oprah Winfrey

First, before we begin our home tour, please bear with me while I’ll announce the winners of the many lovely Christmas-themed prizes. All the gifts have been delivered, but some of you have been curious, so here goes:

AUCTION PRIZES

Six-year old Natalie Moss won “A Child’s Christmas” package including: Lucas’ Sock Monkey, Christmas storybooks “The Gift” and “House of The Wooden Santas”, along with holiday DVDs “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carey and the newer version of “Miracle on 34th Street”.  Lucky Natalie! Congratulations and enjoy!

Charlene Peckham won “A Christmas Tea”: A precious holiday basket filled with biscuit mix and strawberry-and-champagne preserves both from the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company (I brought them home with me from my vacation in PEI with exactly this in mind even then), Belgian chocolates, pretty beverage napkins, royal-themed teas, and a special Christmas tea book all beautifully presented for giftgivingt…

Harold Hayward won “Movie Night”: “The Bells of St. Mary’s” DVD, a gorgeous pair of red crackled-glass poured candles with tassels, and yummy holiday chocolates…I looove this movie!

Julie Bennet won “The Baker’s Gift”: Large bottles of cinnamon and vanilla, Paderno measuring spoons, Pier 1 measuring cups, festive recipe cards, and snowflake cookie cutter all gathered in a gorgeous red bucket planter!

Linda Harnett won: the ‘Hostess Gift”: McSteven’s delicious hot chocolate in a beautiful Santa tin, coordinating Jim Shore ‘Santa’ dinner and cocktail napkins in a sweet basket…

Terry Richardson won “Holiday Glam”: nail polishes, hand cream and hair product thanks to Signature Salon! It was so very nice of you!

 

TICKET PRIZE:

Gina Reid won the “Christmastime” package (I wish I had gotten a pic so you could see this beautiful haul):  
  • Costco 9-piece set hand decorated red glass Christmas ornaments
  • Punch Studio Victorian gift wrap (Winners/HomeSense has gorgeous papers, tags etc.)
  • Victorian gift bags
  • Red foil gift wrap
  • Victorian christmas tags
  • 2 rolls of sparkly gold ribbon
  • 1 roll of cording in red/green/gold/blue
  • Multi-colour tissue paper
  • Box of Christmas greeting cards
  • Red mercury globe/pedestal candle holder (Thank you O’Neills Gardenland)
  • Coordinating red mercury glass votive holders, candles…

DOOR PRIZES:

  • Lauren Hayward:  McStevens hot chocolate, Punch Studio dinner and beverage napkins
  • Courtney Woodford:  Red mercury glass filled candle, sweets
  • Joanne Bennett, Lauren Hayward, Courtney Woodford:  Swarovski crystal dangling hearts earrings created by Gail Perry, Beadazzler.  Thanks, Gail!

 Special Thank You’s:  

Alderberry Blum, Brittany Brinston, Gail Perry, George Dunne, Joanne Bennett, O’Neills Gardenland, Memorial University School of Music carollers Teri Slade, Courtney Woodford, Chris Davis and Steven Griffin, Pat Puddester, Ruth Wheeler’s card class, Signature Salon, Sugar Mama’s, Eric White, Connie Hayward, Marie and Brendan Hunt.  And, Thank You to Carolyn’s friend Heather who sent an original artwork of hers – Heather painted Carolyn skating with her grandchildren on the duck pond at the back of her house while Andrew builds a fire nearby.  It is so beautiful that my husband and I bought the painting. I’ll show it to you soon in another post…
 

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO JOINED US FOR  “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”!  And, THANK YOU to those who could not be here but sent along contributions.  And, too, to those who heard about our Tea for Lucas and sent along donations with friends – it was very kind of you!!! Now, on with the tour…

Although it hadn’t snowed yet, there was a real chill in the air. Our neighbour Joanne ran across the steet to her own home to grab caps and mittens for our carollers.  They later came inside and serenaded us the entire afternoon.  It was so beautiful…

Our very kind and caring friend Brittany made these gorgeous wreaths for sale with all proceeds going to Lucas and his family…I displayed them on my flower cart!

‘A Pineapple Welcome’  DID YOU KNOW? The pineapple, once the food of Kings, has, through the ages, been a symbol of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family inherent to gracious home gatherings?!  How do you like my door crown fashioned from fresh fruit?  It will last a couple of weeks.

The Christmas Shed!  My husband did a great job of outlining the shed door with a gentle cedar garland and filling a plant cage that hung on the shed door. Can you see the mirror and the statuary tucked among the lushness of the natural greens? The cage normally has an ivy twining through it during the garden season.

This garden furniture’s home is usually on the decking off the shed.  Hubby moved it up onto the deck off the kitchen.  He laid a plain wreath atop the table to encircle a set of glass cylinders that hold cedar and cranberries frozen in ice.  I can’t wait to insert a tea light in the canister in the evening hours. It will look so pretty…

Hubby  also strung white lights in the tree branches off the deck, filled the flower boxes as well as a trough near the barrel fountain on the lower deck portion.  Can you see the heart-shaped wreath hung on the deck post? It will have a wide red-satin ribbon soon. Even the rooster seems happy enough among the ‘winter decor’…

I love the ‘waffle look’ left by the snow on this iron bench on the deck. As it was starting to snow, I removed the bright red-and-black plaid Christmas blanket and ice skates saved from school days that previously rested on this seat.  I’ll save that for another day…The ‘wreath’ is actually a cedar garland yet to be unfurled!

My Aunt Eleanor and cousin Brenda arrive amidst all the excitement.

Was that Santa who just went by?!

 CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE…

 The Front Entryway…

 

A large Santa made by my friend Jean’s heart and hand greets people as they come through the front doorway.  Hubby hung up the NOEL shutter upon the wall above Santa just hours before the party started.  In the process, he broke his toe when he dropped the hammer on his foot! Yikes! On the day of the party, a fresh pineapple appeared next to Santa atop this little chest.

Don’t you just love the donkey and the detail on this gentleman?! This Santa was my reward for setting up my friend Jean’s booth at a craft fair a long time ago.  Her display was featured on the front page of the local newspaper that year.  Ahhh, sweet memories….

 

In The Kitchen…

 

This vignette sits atop the fridge in our kitchen. DID YOU KNOW?!  In France and the Netherlands, the season officially starts on December 5th with a visit from St Nicholas and Sinterklaas?  According to the legend in France, he arrives with a little donkey carrying baskets loaded with gifts.  In Holland, he arrives by boat.  St. Nicholas’ modern counterpart in France is named Pere Noel, a much slimmer version of Santa Claus, who dresses fashionably, of course, in long red robes.

The Littlest Angels.  See this post for more pics.  Just click on the photo in the sidebar.  Remember, you can click on any pic to enlarge it if you want to see more detail…

A trio of ‘Frosty Ferns’ on the the kitchen windowsill above the sink…

 
 

Thank you to Sugar Mama’s Bakery for the gift of the Wow! cookies in the foreground. When my husband stopped by the bakery to pick up my cookie order (I was running late and ordered them up in a hurry), the owner offered them with her compliments! What a SWEET surprise! Thank you Lainie for such a thoughtful gift!

Orange-chocolate swirl loaf sits atop a half wall in the kitchen. It was a huge hit! This recipe is coming, ladies!

In The Living Room…

Wide-eyed little Grace, my co-worker Krista’s beautiful daughter,  was amazed that Santa would stop by my house! And, so was I!

This year’s staff photo! Left to right: Moi with co-workers Joan and Debbie

Santa really knows how to make us all laugh! Left to right: Bonnie, Connie and Lauren

My co-worker Sherri and me

The girls from our street who’ve we’ve watched grow through the years into the most wonderful young ladies! Standing left to right: Best friends Donna and Andrea. In the foreground: Left to right: Sisters Julie and Laura and moi.  We are so proud of you all! Laura and Julie’s mom, (and my garden faerie), Joanne, was a colossal help to me the day of the Tea.  Thank YOU, Joanne!

In The TV Room/Study

In The Bath…

In The Bedroom…

Thanks for coming by to spend some time today.  I hope I didn’t wear you out with all the photos and that you enjoyed the tour!  There’s another room or two to see yet, but I thought I would save those for a little later when you’ve had time to rest.
 
In case I don’t happen to be with  you again before Christmas, I wish you and yours a Happy, Happy Holiday and a Glad New Year!
 
Kisses,
Linda
 
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & 
 HAPPY AND HEALTH NEW YEAR!

Sweet Holiday Wishes, Everyone!

I am joining A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness and Lily-Rose Cottage for Simply Sweet (January 15, 2012) and Jennifer at Traditions and Magpie Cottage (December 2012). I hope you will visit these beautiful blogs. 🙂

I am thrilled to be joining in the fun and sharing this “Christmas Past” post today (December 1, 2013) at The Tablescaper!

http://thetablescaper.blogspot.ca/

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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