While our Christmas break was quiet and slow, it was also full. We have spent Christmas with family some years, but it’s not out of the ordinary for it to just be the four of us, so this year didn’t feel sad or lonely. We did miss the school Christmas concert and church staff Christmas party, but it was still a sweet season. We ordered our yearly Christmas Eve breakfast out and ate it at home. We had our candlelight Christmas Eve service on the sofa in our jammies. We watched movies at home instead of going to the theatre. We met with our family over Zoom to open presents and play games. But we still had a wonderful time of celebration, reflection, and rest.
(Yes, the top string of lights burnt out just before Christmas! Ugh!)
And Christmas morning was still a flurry of activity and excitement as the boys opened their presents.
Despite shipping delays and a few last-minute purchases, everything arrived on time!
We watched A Christmas Story with the boys for the first time, too, and they loved it. We all laughed so hard at “Not a Finger!!” Quoting that has become a regular thing around our house along with references to leg lamps.
We ate a lot of yummy food, too. I went all out and made cinnamon rolls and apple pie and our usual Christmas brunch (which turned into “linner” or “dunch” because I was running behind.)
I used the cinnamon bun recipe from Super Simple (with just regular cream cheese frosting instead of the chai frosting) and they were the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever had.
I made my own No-Fail Apple Pie recipe because it’s Jeff and Marshall’s favorite.
As far as gifts, I mostly ended up getting spending money and I ordered some art supplies and antique things I’ve been wanting. One of my favorite things that Jeff bought me (and I realize this is lame) is Smartwool socks! He bought me a few pairs and they are so comfy and warm. My office can be one of the colder rooms in the house, so it’s nice to have some warm socks on while I’m working.
Jeff also took me to Barnes & Noble to browse and pick out some books, which I did happily!
I also bought some art supplies…
…and fun antique boxes to put them in…
…and some handmade ceramic palettes…
These are from Sylvan Clay Works and are just so pretty and heavy-duty.
But, my favorite gifts are the ones a couple of my friends sent me. When I opened them, Jeff said, “They’ve got you pegged!”
One of my sweet friends from PA sent me a beautiful mother of pearl dip pen…
It is so dainty and beautiful…
She also sent me a lavender sachet made out of an antique napkin embroidered with my initials.
And a little clasp purse made out of an antique grain sack.
And Maria of Dreamy Whites sent me a box filled with goodies wrapped in white paper and embellished with dried olive branches. One of those was a vintage French watercolor box! I just about cried when I opened it.
It has the coolest graphic on the top of the lid…
And it even has little ceramic palettes…
I wanted to actually use the box, so I popped out the old watercolors and put them in a jar, and filled the wooden “pans” with professional tube watercolors.
There’s just enough room for a pencil, a travel brush, and a kneaded eraser.
Maria also sent me a French ironstone berry bowl…
And an ironstone cheese strainer…
Jeff was laughing as I opened it. “I never would’ve thought to buy you whatever that thing is.” He could see my delight as I told him it was a French ironstone cheese strainer/mold.
I did end up buying a few utilitarian things like jeans and a pair of duck boots, too.
As far as what I did with my “free time” when we weren’t playing games, watching movies, or working on puzzles, I learned to knit…
I have really enjoyed it so far and I look forward to learning more and making something useful! I did make a potholder, but now I want to work on a scarf before graduating to more interesting things like hats, mittens, and socks. I will write a blog post soon about the resources I’ve been using to learn as well as how kitting compares to crochet.
I also did a lot of creative play in my sketchbooks. I’ll share a whole post on the sketchbooks I’ve been working on. I’ve really enjoyed playing around in different mediums. The sketches below are watercolor with just a little bit of white gouache mixed in to give the watercolor more body and to lighten the colors. This is my favorite way that I’ve used watercolors and it all came out of playing around without an agenda in my sketchbooks.
I took some art classes, too, including one with a homework assignment to paint a black & white still life. I have to admit that I wasn’t excited about it, but I love how it turned out and I learned so much. I’ve always been intimidated by reflective objects, but the silver baby cup was so fun to paint.
And I painted a few more still life paintings and a couple more to add to the “nice view” series.
One of my goals this year is to spend more time at the easel and have more consistent art sales. It can be hard for me to fit in at times because I’m working on this blog, the podcast, freelance writing or design work for clients, stuff for the book, etc. There’s just a lot going on and painting isn’t always my top priority, but the thing I’ve been asked about most recently is my art. Specifically, when I’m going to teach more classes and when I’m going to sell more originals. I’ve always viewed questions as a compass when it comes to creative work. If a lot of people ask about it, that’s a pretty strong point in a good direction.
Anyway, I’ll share more about things that are in the hopper for this year in another post! I just wanted to let those who have asked know that I am working on more originals and more classes!
Our whole family was a little sad as Monday was approaching. It was time to go back to school and work. (Well, Jeff is still taking this week off, but the rest of us were back into our normal routines.) I was feeling ready to start sharing here again. Because I was quiet for a while, I feel like I have a backlog of things to share! I’m sure we’ll get to it all eventually, though.
How was your Christmas?