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Christmas 2016 recap


For the second year in a row, I actually took a break over the Christmas holidays.  I did some inbox maintenance and spent a little time on business stuff here and there, but I didn’t write any blog posts and I didn’t work at the studio.  I was even pretty quiet on social media.

I spent a lot of time, like entire days, in my jammies.  I played video games and board games with Jeff and the boys.  I watched TV at night without a computer in my lap.  I was a general unproductive loaf, which is not usually my style, but it was welcome and needed.

Unfortunately, I seem to be coming down with a cold or something, so I’m not feeling ready to hit my stride at full speed just yet, but it’s time to start at least heading in that direction.

Before I get into my plans, changes, ideas, and upcoming events for 2017, I thought I would share about my Christmas.  Since my boys are 8 & 9, prime ages for a fun Christmas morning, the gifts are a lot more about them, but I did still get some fun things.

I bought an electric guitar this year and have been learning more about the kind of sound I want, pedals, etc, so I asked for a nice reverb pedal.  My brother and SIL bought me “The Holy Grail“.  Pedal names and electric guitar terms in general crack me up.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to Holy Grail for Christmas?


Since my brother has a recording studio and has played in a bunch of bands, he also gave me a pedal lesson and I am excited about the sounds I’m able to get now.  I’m really an acoustic guitar player who decided to pick up electric and I’m passable on a basic level, but I’d like to get better.  Having nice equipment is a good motivator.


I also got a few gift cards to some of my favorite stores, the Anne of Green Gables series on DVD, a new FitBit (mine was falling apart), a new Redskins sweatshirt, and a few other things.

As a little post-Christmas bonus, my mom took me and my SIL out on a girl’s day shopping trip.  We did it last year and it was so much fun that we decided to make it a tradition.

I got a proper winter coat with faux fur fringe around the hood that makes me smile, a few tops, some very comfortable walking/running shoes, some staple long-sleeve tees, and these boots from Bass that I found first thing and were my favorite find of the day…


I’m learning that, with a dog, I need clothes to go outside in all sorts of weather!  These boots are so comfy, they are waterproof, and they are cute.  Win, win, win.  And one more win for the houndstooth laces.

One of my favorite Christmas presents, though, was one we got for our family, Rock Band.  I underestimated how much fun it would be.  It is funny hearing our boys singing Bon Jovi and the like, though.


I overheard them debating the lyrics of “You Give Love a Bad Name.”  Calvin informed Marshall that it’s, “‘Shot through the heart and you’re too late’, because when someone gets shot in the heart, they die.”  Good point.  I tried to explain the metaphorical heart break, but they are certain that mom has no idea what she’s talking about.

Anyway, just watch for our band, The Parsonic4, to hit the big time.

I also got some sweet surprises from a few of my readers.  I love these clip-on candle holders that Lisa sent me…


I found just the place for them.


Another reader sent me a beautiful antique tea towel and yet another sent a bread board with a hand-painting of a gingerbread house I made last year.

As for gifts I gave…  lots of Legos and other things boys like.  I bought my SIL watercolors, brushes, and paper, since she expressed an interest in them and I told my brother I would be all over that gift!  We painted together Christmas afternoon, which was relaxing and so fun to share tips I’ve learned over the past few months.


And, speaking of watercolors, I painted two watercolors to frame and give as gifts.  One was of “Disco” and “Harley”, my in-laws orange tabby cats who passed away a couple of years ago.  I saw a snapshot of them snuggling as kittens when I was at their house for Thanksgiving and decided to paint it for them.


I also painted a brook trout for Jeff, who is a fly fisherman, to hang in his office.


I had both of them custom-matted and put in a stock frame, so they looked very custom, but weren’t as expensive as a full custom framing job.

So, all in all, it was a great Christmas.  And, now it’s time to start looking ahead to 2017.  I am basically booked up through June, so I feel a little overwhelmed with it already, but there are lots of exciting things that will be rolling out this year and I’m looking forward to the renewed focus January brings.

How was your Christmas?

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  1. Heather Anne says:

    Oh my – it sounds like you all had a lovely time – and I do so enjoy the idea of just taking a real break at Christmastime. We are a small family, far from other family members and we had planned to ‘host’ this year … but than we were forced to cancel because of a nasty tummy bug that visited instead. My hubby was the only one to avoid it, though our 16 year old son was blessed with ‘the Reader’s Digest’ version – much less violent and lengthy. We are a little jealous, but mostly thankful for him! In the midst of it all, our hot water heater chose to give up the ghost – which meant that we spent Christmas Eve at the laundromat sanitizing everything we could! It was the first year in 25 that I have not made a proper Christmas dinner or my Swedish Tea Ring for Christmas morning, and our children did not awaken to their stockings, but we were all quite busy giving thanks to the Lord for our blessings and boiling water to wash the dishes together – and best of all, we were well enough to be in church Sunday morning to celebrate our Saviour’s birth! We have declared our home ‘tummy bug free’ and we finally have a working hot water system, so my parents will be joining us this week for a belated time of togetherness.

  2. B. Folk says:

    Oh, Heather Anne, it is no fun to be sick any time, but especially for Christmas! What else could you do, except be thankful that it wasn’t much worse (turning into hospitalization, for instance). Good attitude! I’m glad you’re all better.
    Marian, your Christmas sounds lovely. That long break was so unlike you (like I really know you, lol), that I was starting to wonder if someone in your family was sick. Hope you feel better soon!
    Those boots look like Sorels, but you got them at Bass? They look like suede, is there a water- repellent on them? Now, those are some real winter boots! Cute! I may need to break out my real winter boots, too; we have had one real (for here) snowfall, a “spitting” over New Year’s, and more forecast for next weekend- in the rainy Pacific NW.

  3. Thought of you with both the new Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma Catalogs…looks like blue and white is all the rage!

  4. The trout is AMAZING!

  5. Teresa says:

    Its always fun seeing and hearing about everyone’s Christmas and the gifts they received. Marian, I must say you have gotten quite good at your watercolors.

    A friend of my sons who is in a band gave him an electric guitar back in the summer for some welding fabrication work he did for him. My son bought a amp and we had fun playing around with it at Christmas. I did actually learn a few chords. Hope you will do a little video for us when you master the electric guitar.

    P.S. I feel for Heather Anne and her family. This happened to our family two years ago when my little great nephew had a bug on Christmas and gave it to the whole family. It wasn’t pretty!!

  6. Chris Moore says:

    A friend’s niece who was 5 used to sing to Hotel California “You can check out any book you like, but you can never read!” She is now in her 30’s and we still love that memory!

  7. Isabella says:

    Scratch that word “overwhelmed” in 2017!

  8. I got the Anne of Green Gables series on DVD for Christmas too! ❤️ It made me so happy, they’re my absolute favorite and my VHS version has been obsolete for about 10 years. Ha. Here’s to reliving the Anne-days! Happy New Year Marian!

  9. Jeanne bell says:

    I love your watercolor paintings. I do acrylic but would love to start watercolor as you have, Any sites or books that have been helpful to you?
    Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us and I pray for a happy and blessed 2017 for you.

  10. Mechelle says:

    Love the trees, are you going to be putting that one on Society 6?

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