christmas decorating begins & other things

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Holiday

The past couple of years, I have reserved Christmas decorating for myself and my family.  I shared what I did on my blog, but I wasn’t doing things just to blog about them.

I needed it after years of Christmas going until February (due to photo shoots), circling back again in April (for freelance projects), and making an early appearance in September (for retail.)  By the time December rolled around, I was, quite unfortunately, weary of Christmas.  I have always loved the Christmas season and decorating for it, but having it so intertwined with work sucked some of the joy out of it.  (Sort of like the years I spent working at Disney.  It’s a magical place, but it becomes slightly less so when you see the underbelly of it all.)

The past couple of years have really helped bring back the joy.  Kriste & I “played hooky” from work one day last December to make gingerbread houses and ornaments.  I only set up one big tree and didn’t feel like every room needed to be decked out.  I took my time decorating, creating a festive ambiance, while keeping things simple.  Last year, I even took a full week of vacation time, which I hadn’t done completely (without at least scheduling posts ahead of time) since I first started my blog.

Our family tradition has always been to decorate right after Thanksgiving, so that’s what we’re doing again this year.  During our trip to Raleigh to enjoy turkey and football with Jeff’s family, I picked up a few Christmas decorations to add to what I already had.

I bought these sweet metal house ornaments from Michael’s…

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…the “jingle stars” from Harris Teeter ( of all random places)…

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…and the wooden snowflakes from HomeGoods.  I bought all of the ones I could find at the HomeGoods closest to me to hang on my chandelier, but I found a few more in Raleigh to add to the collection and I’ll use them as ornaments on the tree.

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Speaking of HomeGoods, I’m looking for another set of these French steak knives (photographed below.)  They come in sets of six at HomeGoods, but I’ve only been able to find one set. If you come across a cream set and would be willing to snag it for me, I would buy it and pay shipping, etc.  (They can be found online, but they are a lot more expensive.)  Someone found them for me, so thanks to everyone who looked!!  You are all awesome.

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Anyway, back to Christmas!  I wanted to force some paper whites this year, so I bought some bulbs and they are under way!

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They look a little like alien tentacles at this point, but I’m holding out hope that they’ll be beautiful by Christmas.

I nestled them in some small rocks topped with a little moss and added some water.  Hopefully I did it right!

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…and, I got my first order from Society6 – a couple of pillows and some cards.

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This is the “Hope Your Christmas Rocks” pillow

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Lats week, I added a snowman I painted for my mom.  I gave her the original for her birthday, because she was the one who requested a snowman.  I added it to the Society6 shop, though, and she ordered the design in an iPhone case.

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I really worked on using warm and cool colors to show light in this one and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Well, I always waffle between being proud of something and wanting to throw it in the trash!  I try to focus on the former instead of the latter, so I don’t quit the endeavor altogether.

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It does help me to remember that art is a discipline, not just a creative outlet.  Practice is crucial for improvement.  So, after unpacking and getting out a few Christmas decorations, I stole away some time to practice.

I was inspired by a Bible verse I heard referenced a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve started carrying around a small notebook and lately, it’s not unusual for me to pull it out and feverishly scribble an idea or doodle.  I told Jeff I have to do it or else I am so focused on not forgetting the idea that I can’t focus on anything else!  I write it down and then I can relax. So, the verse I jotted down was Psalm 33:7 – He gathers the waters of the sea into jars…”  What beautiful imagery and I immediately wanted to paint it.

This is my first practice painting…

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I’m going to look at more jars and more whales and take another stab at it, but I wanted to share my progress.

So, this week should be fun.  Painting, decorating, making gingerbread houses, moving into my art cabinet, AND I have a meeting about the Lucketts Spring Market!  Yes, already.  The planning and push to our biggest event of the year isn’t in the too distant future.

But first, Christmas…

christmas decorating begins & other things

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