Queen of Star Shine and Glimmer

Only a few hours left until the new year here on the west coast so here are one last post and project for 2012. A touch of whimsy to welcome 2013.
In the past my son and I have made paper or pipe cleaner crowns to celebrate New Year's eve. I was thinking of what I wanted to make this year when I became inspired to make a fancy frosted crown. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it and got started as soon as I got up this morning. I was so excited I even skipped my usual morning hot chocolate.
For the base I made a circle from a wire hanger then covered it with a strip of black poster board folded in half then stapled it to hold the wire in place.
Then I cut out various shapes from glitter card stock and glued them onto the base. The diameter of my mini crown is about 5 inches.
Each section is backed by another piece of glitter card stock to make it sturdier and also makes it look nice on the inside.
To give my crown a vintage frosted look I thinned white glue with water, brushed it onto the glitter paper and covered it with crystal glitter in two sizes. The large one gave it texture and muted the silver while the smaller one gave it extra fairy sparkle.
I also frosted a few glittery green stars.
 Next I sorted through my jars of baubles and trim.
Tried bits of this and that. Glued and unglued stuff.
Had a waffle for breakfast.
Until finally...
A frosted winter crown for the Queen of Star Shine and Glimmer.
In honor of my first word for 2013. Glimmer.
Glimmer, to me means a subtle glow, unsteady perhaps and sometimes faint but luminous and stunning in its own way. It is a sliver of hope in the darkness. Elusive and mesmerizing but never garish or overt.
When I was making my mini falling star bottles this Fall one of the words I cut out from the dictionary to make a label was glim-mer. Doesn't it sound magical? Like a light mist of stardust falling from a velvety night sky.
I like this word because I have never been the kind of person that constantly burns bright. My passion for anything waxes and wanes dramatically. In my relationships, my art, my whole life in fact, it's always a balancing of light and dark. When I try to stand out and shine darkness never seems to be too far behind. It is simply a part of who I am and the way things tend to turn out for me. I've learned that the brightest light can also burn.
So rather than say this is going to be my year to shine I'm going to embrace what I know about myself and find beauty in moments when I can simply BE. To be comfortable in the shadow of clouds as well as playing among the stars. To be content to whisper my own unsteady light. To glimmer.
 Which brings me to my second word. Gratitude
Gratitude for blessings, lessons and opportunities. Gratitude for what's good as well as what's not so good because they all make me who I am. Gratitude with a touch of Glimmer. I'll see where they take me in 2013.
(Oh and I'll try to post a picture with my crown on too.)
I wish you love, blessings and inpiration.
Happy Beautiful New Year!

After the rush

It's that post holiday hush. A sudden shift in energy after December's excitement and activity. For me it's instant.

The day after Christmas I feel a palpable sigh in the air. I am a creature that treasures peace and solitude so I welcome this return to tranquility.
No after Christmas clearance sales. No returning and exchanging presents until after New Year. Just quiet days relishing a house filled with midwinter magic.
The last full moon of the year rises tonight. A midwinter Cold Moon that beckons our bodies to slow down and prepare for the chillier temperatures that lie ahead. Time to snuggle under even more blankets and add an extra dollop of whipped cream to a hot mug of cocoa.
For a collection of mouth watering hot cocoa recipes visit HERE
The urge to put away the clutter and simplify strikes me right around now. I see delicate creamy hues like this and I daydream about the possibilities of changing things up in the new year.
My creative space can use a serious decluttering. Part of the reason I've put my art on hold is I simply can't get past the clutter to feel inspired. It's really time for me to sort out the mess from the carnival and Halloween.
As much as I would love to indulge my inner Martha Stewart I know I'm really more Molly Weasely at heart. Being surrounded by happy clutter is where I always end up no matter how many times I visit IKEA. If someone would only invent self organizing organizers!
How about something like this?
A very clever person from Deviantart came up with this revamped version of The Burrow. I imagine it's what Molly would do after a lovely chat with Martha or maybe watching a few programs on HGTV.
This is the original set from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I loved it so much that the year the movie came out my kitchen and dinning room had a very Burrow inspired look, complete with painted bricks on the wall and mismatched chairs.
I'm once again excited about the beginning of a brand new year. Another chance to start fresh, plant new possibilities and re-imagine ourselves as hopefully wiser, more content versions of who we are.
I have been thinking about my word for 2013. For this year it was FORWARD and in many ways that's the kind of year it's been. Looking back I can say that I didn't do too badly after the mess that was 2011 so I definitely kept myself moving forward in 2012.
A certain word has been popping in my head lately and the more I thought about it the more it seemed like the perfect word. I think I'll share it with you on my next post. Hint: it's a word I've been using a lot already.
Do you have a word for 2013?
Did you choose a word this year and how did you use that word?
Do you make New Year resolutions?
Do you keep them?
Our New Year celebration is pretty low key. Just our little family at home enjoying comforting food and even more comforting sweets. I have a few rituals I like to do each year and my son and I have silly traditions like making wacky pipe cleaner crowns to wear on New Years Eve.
I've been listening to this every day nearly all month long. I have had it since it was realeased in 1998 and it's still one of my favorites, especially on a quiet midwinter night. It's truly magical.
Enjoy tonight's full moon then snuggle up under warm blankets and imagine yourself surrounded with love and good things.
Thank you for sharing this past year with me.
 Image source: Country Living, Pottery Barn, Home Depot, Deviantart, Flickr and a really pretty bridal page I can't remember

Christmas Wishes

"We all shine on,
like the Moon
and the Stars
and the Sun"
-John Lennon
Wishing you a
moon glowy
star glimmery
gingerbread merry
hot cocoa happy
A touch of winter cheer from my little home to yours.


The Longest Night

Hello everyone out there in winterwonderland (or summer depending on which side of the equator you call home). It's most definitely winter here. A California winter, which means nights in the low 30's, the 40's during the day and the thick pea soup fog that rises from the river.

I've been living in these boots all month long and I admit it's one of the things I love about winter. Boots!

We rarely see snow here at the capitol but less than two hours away is Tahoe and the Sierras and there is lots of snow up there by now. I'm finishing up my shopping this week. Just a few last minute stocking stuffers to buy and make.
Do you have all your gift making and shopping done?
Some of you will be celebrating Yule on the 21st, the longest night of the year and the start of daylight getting longer. I have been celebrating the winter solstice in my own quiet way for over 20 years. My son started joining me when he was around 3 or 4. I love that we get to share this tradition first before celebrating Christmas with the rest of our family.
The winter solstice also marks a time of new beginnings. Time to get rid of old stuff we no longer need in our lives, physically, spiritualy and emotionaly. I certainly have things I need to purge in all those areas so here's to new beginnings for all of us.
Image source: Tumblr
When my son was a toddler one of our favorite shows on PBS was The Big Comfy Couch. Do you remember Loonette the Clown and all her whimsical adventures? My very favorite episode is the one called Comfy and Joy. Loonette tries to stay up all night with Granny Garbanzo in her gypsy wagon to celebrate the longest night of the year.
It was a great way to teach him about Yule and other winter traditions celebrated around the world. Ever since then he has tried to stay up all night with me during the solstice. We light candles and make pancakes when the sun finally rises then try to get a few hours of sleep.
Some years he makes it all the way to sunrise and others he is out by midnight but I love that he still remembers watching that episode together and how magical it is to see the sun return. Hopefully he'll be up for staying up all night with me again this year.
Winter Gingerbread Pancakes from Yummly.com
I wish you a year of enchantment, peace, comfort and joy.
Happy Winter and a Blessed Yule 


Fa la la la la

Do you have your holly jolly elf hat on?
I hope you're blissfully decking the halls today.
gift creating
and falalalala-ing

Lights on my tree

Much to my surprise I actually put up our tree this weekend! It has lights and a handful of ornaments and the rest of them will sit in boxes near the fireplace and converse with each other until I get around to finding the box of hooks which never seems to be in the same place I thought I put them last year.

I remember when I would finish the entire tree in one day. Lights, ornaments, ribbons and everything else, all done and ready to be admired before bedtime. But the last few years I started to take my time, putting a few up one day and a few more another. Last year nothing went on the tree until practically the day before Christmas. I usually have it done by Yule but my heart wasn't in it so this year I'm trying to make up.
I was so proud of myself for actually getting started that I took a nice long break and indulged in my new copy of Where Women Create. Then I watched a little bit of figure skating because it's not the holidays without it, worked on my holiday gift list and listened to Luna who informed me that she's not fond of the new kitty bed I got for her so back it goes.
I somehow got distracted by this video by Stars for their new song Backlines. I love how it has the feel of assemblage art or a vintage vignette or shadow box and of course I love the stars.
It also makes me think of The Borrowers just a little.
How do you do your decorating? Do you get it all done in one day? Take a few days or stretch it out over several weeks?
My son seems very happy that I didn't wait until the last minute to get started this year. He has always been my helper elf and it means the world to me when I can make him smile.

Shiny and Bright

I need a little bit of inspiration to get started on my holiday decorating this weekend. Country Living always has beautiful ideas. Here's a few that might inspire you too.
This reminds me of my mom's collection of vintage ornaments. I love seeing them on her tree every year. I started collecting German glass ornaments the year I got married so my collection is growing too but no where near the size of my mom's.
Have a lovely weekend.

Autumn into Winter

I still have pumpkins by my front door and an autumn garland hanging in my window. Almost all the leaves have fallen from our trees but mine is the only house on our street that's still missing Christmas lights and bouncy snowmen dancing on the lawn.
Hello winter. Many years ago I loved winter just as much as autumn. I loved the deep evergreens, dark crimson and winter white hues kissed with glittery silver and gold. I loved this season so much that my wedding was in December, in a small candlelit church lined with trees draped with tiny white fairy lights.
Image source here.
The Winter Moon
Its the sweet sultry taste of winter on my lips,
the shadow of the pale moonlight on my eyes,
and behind the thin drapes of midnight clouds,
amidst the stars shining bright and clear,
smiles the radiance of the winter moon.
If I had seen heaven,
I would admit I had seen it,
hiding shyly behind the curtains of the night,
the winter moon at zenith, smiles down at me.
Its this breeze blowing gently,
mixing the scent of the winter with the moon,
and I stay awake,
my heart filled to the brim with love,
appreciating the splendour of the winter moon!
Winter makes me want to curl up and shut the rest of the world out. Where I try to squeeze every bit of magic out of autumn I find I often walk through winter in a fuzzy haze. Although winter holds it's own kind of magic there is an underlying unease about it that I find bittersweet.
Image source here.
My natural instinct is to hibernate and turn inward. My senses get overloaded and it seems to get worse each year....with each birthday :)
So before I can no longer avoid the holiday frenzy and madness I'm going to enjoy the very last traces of Autumn 2012. I'm leaving the leaves on my lawn, I don't care how many times my neighbor comes out with his leaf blower and blows them back over to me.
I've had my nose in a book the last couple of weeks. I just reread Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches and I'm about to start book two of her trilogy, Shadow of Night. I read that a movie might possibly be in the works and I'm hoping they do it right. Now all I need is that cozy witch's cottage, a mug of hot cocoa with tons of whipped cream of course and just a dusting of snow on my pumpkins under a bewitching winter moon.
Cottage from movie The Holiday
I hope you're having a lovely week whether you've already embraced winter's bliss or still hanging on to autumn just a little bit longer.
Happy December