As the year wanes…

As the year wanes I sit by the window on a crisp December afternoon. After days of family and feasting and enjoying the company of others, I am soaking up this solitude. I can hear the dishwasher, John’s noisemaker, and the ticking of the clock. I have wrapped a blanket around my middle to keep me warm.

When I look out the window I can see white clouds against a cold blue sky, the neighbors’ backyards, and the red tipped branches of the trees, their leaves gone for almost a month now. If I look down I can see the fence that we finally got around to staining late this summer. An assortment of toys are scattered throughout the yard, leftover from an energetic summer. Our grass is slowly being taken over by the moss that climbs the hill from the common. We will have to deal with that in a few months.

Outside is bright and alive. Inside is quiet and messy, the detritus of Christmas morning still homeless and strewn throughout the house. What an awful lot of work life can be! But how rich and rewarding, especially when one has the time to appreciate what has been given.


Wreath, or, something from nothing

This past weekend I helped out at the annual Christmas Bazaar at our parish.  This year I was in charge of coordinating the white elephant (the premise of this is that people give us their junk for free and we re-sell it.  One person’s junk is, after all, another person’s treasure.)

One of the final items to come in was an old Christmas garland.  I took one look at it and thought, “Yuk, who is going to want that!”  And nobody did want it, it just sat there under the Christmas table.  Near the end of the day I saw another person checking out this garland.  There was something about the way she was looking at it that got me thinking. She didn’t end up taking it, so I went back for another look.


It was pretty bad. Just a length of burlap twine with faux berries and pine bits, pinecones, and bunches of sticks wired on at regular intervals. The sticks, in particular, were pretty gross.  The garlands still had the price tags on them, so obviously they had never been used. and for good reason.  The whole set up was just very, very awkward.


I feel compelled to point out that they looked a lot less attractive in real life.

Obviously I ended up buying the ugly garlands in question.  My Master Plan was to unwind the various components from the burlap twine and then use the leftover bits and pieces to create something nice and Christmassy. And I actually got around to doing it.  I bent a wire coat hanger into a circle, de-stringed all the pinecones, etc, and started attaching the stuff to the coat hanger.  All the slim cones went on the outside and all the mini cones went on the inside of the circle.  Once i had them arranged properly I glue-gunned the heck out of them.  Next, I attached the fake berries with wire and then filled in all the empty spaces with the faux pine bits.

I didn’t take any ‘in progress” photos, but this is what all the bits now look like, minus the gathered stick bits. Those got thrown in the trash.


Isn’t that nice?  And doesn’t Darren do a lovely job of holding the wreath?  Such a gentleman.


Seriously though, I am really pleased with how it turned out. Much better than the random burlap string garland. And I should note, I didn’t glue on the berries and pine because I thought that when the time comes to change up the wreath, I could just take off all the extras and spray paint the pinecones underneath.


Now that’s just silly.


And here it is, in action, outside in the dark. Hmmm,  really must get a shot of this during the day.


One of the more exciting parts of the project is that I still have ALL of the plump, round pinecones left to use.  I’m thinking about dipping them in white paint and making – you guessed it – a garland. Oh, the irony.