Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent Preparations

November has been mild. My daisies and calendula and little roses are still blooming! The first snow fell this past weekend and my flowers are stoically still standing tall but wrapped in a thick white blanket.

Family life & my new working schedule has kept me away from keeping in touch with flickr friends & my creative impulses. The children seemed to have taken on many new activities this fall which means even more time spent chauffeuring them to places. I feel fortunate when I have a moment to myself, even if it is to just gaze out the window and to spy a little bird close to our house. Recently this woodpecker was knocking and tapping around in our wood pile. Can you see him?

No matter how tight time is, there MUST always be some left for creating and this Advent and Christmas I am squeezing out as much as I can. I completed our Advent's Wreath last week and yesterday we lit the first candle. I decided not to use the traditional evergreen branches but to go for a different look this year. I started with some favorite fabrics and some frosty red candles and created a patchwork wreath.

Of course my faithful little robin is there too, and I did not glue him down so he can move around and accompany us through all the seasons, as he has for the last few years.

Another change this year is that the Advent Calendar is a family effort. I stamped out 24 tags and after dinner one evening, everyone drew numbers until all were taken.

Each family member has approx. 5 days she or he has to prepare a small gift for the family such as 5 little chocolates, nuts, a poem etc. These are to be wrapped and tied with the number and then placed in the “Advent Calendar Basket”. The reactions at the table were mixed and I have 3 requests for the 24 little felt stockings we've been using for the past 10 years so I guess we may just have 2 calendars this season! However, the basket calendar is filling up quite quickly. There has been a lot of elf-like activity and closed doors and secrecy going on recently! I think it is a great idea because a) everyone is involved b)it is at least as much fun to wrap presents as to open them and c) I get some surprises, too :)!

I did help my youngest son make his gifts and he prepared the most adorable little clothespin angels. I promise I will show them to you when the family opens it.

The walnuts from our tree were so plentiful this year and I sewed a gingham and linen bag for them. Matching placemats for the table are being assembled in my studio right now. I just wonder...should I leave them plain or embroider white stars on them? I am very drawn to simple understatement right now.

Endlessly inspired by our feathered friends, we made paper birds in a crafts class for children I held recently. These are stunning & simple and so easy for even small children to make.

You can find the template and instructions here:

I think we will make some more in the next couple of weeks. Maybe you will too!

A joyful start of Advent to you all!



Friday, November 5, 2010

ah sunflower

Ah Sunflower

Ah Sun-flower weary of time.
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go!

William Blake


I wrote a paper on William Blake in 12th grade British Literature class....but I don't remember exactly what the theme was. I do remember my teacher disliked Blake – too esoteric. I liked him – Blake and my teacher, too, actually.

But what I really love is this field of sunflowers my son and I came upon on our walk recently. I went there again Monday and they were still blooming!. Some of these photos are mine, some are from the perspective of a person approx. 1 meter 20 cm tall. Can you tell which? :)

Sunflower sunshine to you!