Brrrrr, it's a raw cold, rainy day here in SE Wisconsin, but inside it's toasty warm near the fire and candles are aglow. At this time of year, we certainly need a festival of lights and celebration and, indeed, the herstory of this celebration goes back thousands of years before the birth of Christ. Originally December 21st was called, in Roman times, "The Feast of the Sun." And then when Christianity took over the place of many gods with one god, it became "The Feast of the Son."
Having this time to which to look forward -- decorating the tree, putting out candles and special decorations that only come out during this time of year, fond remembrances of days gone by, all the good foods and special rich treats, sitting before the fire snuggled up in an afghan dreaming in the candle and firelight, and anticipating and praying that the next year will be better than the last -- this is what gets me through this cold, grey dreadful time of year.
2012 was a Year from Hell. I am looking forward, however, to 2013 and a new beginning. Mr. Don will no longer be at my side, and his loss I will never be able to mitigate. But I smile with memories as often as I cry, and someday I will smile more and cry less, and maybe not at all, when I think about us.
I think I reported recently that at a neighbor's party I bought a "Scentsy" plug-in thingy that melts specially formulated scented wax squares at around body temperature, so even if you have an accident you cannot burn yourself with hot wax (good to know). I've been using the piney-scent but just a little while ago I put in the top melting dish an "Apple Press" and it smells delicious! Yum! It scents the entire house too, a plus I didn't count on. It's grey-dark outside right now, at 4:14 p.m. Pardon me a moment while I go throw out a final handful of hazelnuts for my squirrels...
Okay - about this door decoration thing!
As you know, this year I used the wreath that used to grace the front door on the wall above the mantle/mantel, and I'm loving it hanging up there with it's little battery-operated lights (until I came across this wreath on clearance at Boston Store for only $9.99, I never knew such things existed -- talk about moi being out of touch, Holy Hathor!)
So, I wanted something to hang on my front door. But, being a cheapskate, I did not want to spend another $9.99 (or whatever) to buy a second battery-lighted wreath. I have to tell you, though, I've seen so many wonderful and drop-dead gorgeous wreaths that you all have made -- well, I was just panting with desire, darlings. But, alas, I don't have the skills, or the patience to learn the skills, necessary to make such wondrous creations!
This is what I did instead:
I think it's tres bon! I'm not a crafty person, but riding back and forth to work on the bus (45-50 minutes 2x a day, 5 days a week) gives me time to think and to socialize with those Crazy Cougar Ladies (and honorary member, Thelma, who is only 32 years old, so she cannot possibly be a cougar for at least another 20 years). I came up with an idea that I thought I'd be able to do with little fuss and less bother!
And so, during a recent stop at the Pick 'n Save after I got off the bus a few nights ago on my way home, I purchased:
One Christmas-themed serving plate ($2.99) -- 12 3/4" diameter
Two mini-stockings out of plush material (on sale each for $0.79)
One box of 12 special-stripe candy canes ($1.79)
I had at home:
Narrow red and gold French ribbon saved from a gift box of candy a few years ago
Masking tape (half inch wide, generic)
Two Christmas ornament hooks (small size)
And voila! But I decided not to add the candy canes, which I had intended to super-glue around the perimeter of the plate. I liked it well enough the way it was, so the individually shrink-wrapped in plastic candy canes will be toted to the office tomorrow and left on the kitchen table for all to enjoy. It would have no doubt cost me less to buy the platter and mini-stockings at the Dollar Store, but honestly, I just didn't feel like hiking another mile there and back just to purchase the components (if they had them!)
All I did was use the length of narrow french ribbon I already had, trimmed the ends at an angle, and taped it to the back of the metal serving plate. I staggered the lengths so one end hung down longer than the other. I didn't measure it before hand, but I'd say it was perhaps 36 inches long, maybe a few inches less. Then, as you can see, on the right side I hung a green mini stocking by poking a small green ornament hanger through the mesh of the ribbon on one side, squeezed it shut so it wouldn't come undone, and twisted the "hook" part of the hanger around to catch on to the inner hook/hanger part of the stocking, then also squeezed that shut so the stocking wouldn't come undone. I did the same with the red stocking on the shorter length of ribbon on the left.
That's all there it to it. The entire project took me perhaps 10 minutes, including hanging time (the plate is hung from an over-the-door-wreath-hanger purchased at Walgreens for $1.99 a year or two ago). It took longest to tape down the ribbon on the back of the plate -- I wanted to make sure there was enough masking tape across the ribbon so that it would be sturdy to hold the plate and stockings. The plate is very light-weight, by the way. It's pressed or rolled metal but I don't know what kind of metal -- painted aluminum maybe?
Being that I made it, it's not perfectly hung or centered or whatever -- I don't have the patience for that -- but it works for me :) Just hanging the plate itself would have worked for me, because I find it very cute, but I thought, since it was easy enough and only cost me another $1.58 plus sales tax for the two mini-stockings, to "fancy it up" a little bit.
The true test was that the ladies of the investment club, who came over today for our meeting and gift exchange, all thought it was very cute! An inexpensive way to add a spot of color to my front door.
But you know, now that I'm thinking about it, I might have been able to just decopage some Christmas-themed cut-outs from the newspaper, printed from online and/or cut out from magazines and glued on to the cardboard from a frozen supermarket pizza.... Hmmmm.....
December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan