In the fall, I decided that this would be a good year to stay home for Christmas. I invited my daughters and their families, but it was not to be. So we hung our stockings at my daughter's apartment and nodded off at a nearby hotel.
Christmas in the city is exciting and fun. We arrived on Christmas Eve, did a little shopping foray down the street and back. My younger daughter is "with child" and had a queasy stomach and her two year-old was running out of steam so the shopping trip was short and slow. Just perfect, in fact, as the sun decided to come out and hung low in the afternoon sky for a short while before disappearing below the horizon. Such is winter at this latitude.
I did have a chance to nip into the Indigo bookstore, which was crazy busy, and pick up a copy of Susan Branch's book, The Fairy Tale Girl. (I feel like Susan and I are kindred spirits, both artists and authors.)
The city is such a busy place, especially noticeable when you come from a quiet village. (That's my daughter turning to see if I got side-tracked by a jewelry story window. I sure did!)
Little tummies need constant filling with fruit and protein, and grown-ups need stops at Starbucks for hot chocolate for energy to keep shopping. The French says "prepared with love."
Small apartments require small trees, and though we decided this year (again) not to exchange gifts with each other, none of us ever seems to comply. As someone said, "There are a lot of presents under that tree for a family that isn't giving presents." Christmas day is also my son-in-law's birthday. The most popular person was, by far, my two year-old granddaughter.
On Christmas morning we woke up to SNOW! This is the view from our hotel room window, looking at hospitals and the alley. My husband was thrilled to watch a medivac helicopter lift off the roof of the hospital in the dark.
With temperatures hovering near zero, the streets were as slick as waxed floors. Going down this little hill could have ended in a crunch but we turned and drove the other way instead. The stop sign should have been farther up the hill.
On Boxing Day we visited with our "kids" some more then drove home through intermittent snow and rain. Where I live it doesn't snow often so most drivers here on the west coast are totally flummoxed by snowy weather and roads with even an inch of snow on them.
My husband and I both grew up on the Canadian prairies where winter lasts a long time and the weather conditions have to be pretty bad before you let them stop you from doing what you want. Driving here on the coast is a bit frustrating because of the other drivers. So a one and a half hour trip home took nearly three hours.
We learned to be prepared for anything and never leave home in the winter without the proper gear in the car. Once we are snug in our little house, the fat flakes can come down as much as they want to and we can enjoy how pretty it all is.
With snow falling outside, it's the perfect time to do a little painting. My Christmas cactus suffered this year and I don't know how to revive it. I'm hoping that it gets enough light but the days are short and grey here in this season. I thought I might as well use it as a sketching subject. I've been practising with waterbrushes, which are so much fun. I have some ideas for book projects that include illustrations...but more on that later.
Before I take my tree down and tuck away all the festive decorations for another year, I thought I would give you a quick tour of my house. The whole season seemed to come and go quickly this year, since I had lots of work to do all fall. My mom has been in hospital too, in precarious health, so that has been on my mind.
The Christmas village sits atop the piano. Oh dear, I see a tree has toppled and that policeman must be looking for someone to haul it away. The music is my husband's favourite so I bought the sheet music for him to learn. After one lesson, he quit, deciding it was much easier to let me play it for him.
My sparkly blue and white theme acts as a counterpoint for my olive wood crêche, hand made by an Israeli man with whom I used to work. It is one of my most treasured Christmas decorations because it reminds me of that night so long ago when a young lady and her husband trudged through a town looking for a place for their baby to be born.
For years I said, "One day I'll have a white tree." Then, one day I saw one on sale for such an excellent price that I snapped it up and decorated it with sparkly blue and green decorations. I still have my green tree and all the old-fashioned ornaments from over the years. Perhaps next year I will put it up, too.
Blues, white, sparkles, candles, and shells sit atop my antique writing desk. The sand in the jar is from Sanibel Island, Florida, and the painting is one that I did of the South of France, very near where I lived several years ago.
I clipped this silk magnolia blossom to the top of a lamp along with a sparkly bird. When the lamp is turned on the effect is quite striking, don't you think?
Christmas cards find a place in a cut glass dish on my silver chest (which has books in it) along with my piano lamp, which had to move to make room for the village. You can see the snow outside the window and the dried blossoms of my hydrangea bush, snoozing away until spring comes again.
Now it's snowing again. The year 2016 in nearly over and it's time to look forward to another new year, full of possibilities and opportunities.
I hope your year was a good one, that your Christmas holiday time was filled with love and friendship and remembrance of the real reason for the season, Jesus Christ's birth. As we look forward to a new year, I wish and pray for you, good health, great success, and dreams that come true.
I have lots of exciting plans and changes for my business and my website this year. I think you will love what is coming up. To be sure not to miss all the news and creative ideas, join my email list today HERE. I will let you know when each new blog post is up, plus all the other fun things that will be happening here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Where I share creative ideas, uplifting thoughts, and spread sweetness to help us all make life better.