November in our parts was particularly grey and wet - 27 days included rain; most days saw little or no sunshine. How different December is: clear days when the sun slants low across the garden to brighten home and heart.
I went out with my camera this week after school to capture a bit of the light. How surprised I was to see this Mountain Bluet (centaurea montana) with a new bloom. I gave the plant a little cheer and praised it for being so stalwart.
Most of the hydrangea blossoms have faded to papery brown, but a little pale blue remains here and there.
From our breakfast table we look out over the patio to the garden. I plunked some fir trimmings and a few holly stems into a pot, and placed it on the table for a bit of Christmas cheer.
A few people have expressed interest in my grown-up girl's Advent calendar, so here's some information.
For our first child's second Christmas (she was less than 2 months old for her first Christmas), I stitched up an Advent calendar. We were living in a small town on the edge of the Amazon jungle and I was thinking about how to establish traditions with our little family. It was a simple affair, red cotton with a green print tree appliqued onto it, 24 little red pockets and felt ornaments. I think we used masking tape on the back of the ornaments for the first few years, until we returned to Canada for a visit and I bought some Velcro dots.
Tim's mother made another Advent calendar, with larger pockets and a sturdy cardboard nativity scene with windows and Bible verses. These calendars played a big part in December. The children (3) took turns opening the window and reading the verse, applying the ornament to the tree, and looking in the pocket for a treat or a note telling of a special activity. This tradition continued until the last child left home.
There is grief when a treasured tradition is outgrown. Tim and I decided that we needed to create new traditions for "just the two of us". My grown-up girl Advent calendar is something I came up with after seeing an idea for a white calendar in Marie Claire Idees magazine.
It was simple to make - an old picture frame painted white, a cut-to-measure piece of thin plywood covered with suede-like cloth, dates made from stenciled label tags, and upholstery tacks for hanging. The fun part was finding treasures to hang on the calendar. Most of them are visible in the photo, but here's a short summary:
For each Sunday of Advent I created cardstock tags with paper, glitter, and a printed Love, Joy, Hope, Peace.
Old chandelier crystals
Tiny vintage glass ornaments and some new
Cream-coloured shapes created from a felted sweater and bits of lace and buttons
A tiny beaded angel
A muslin primitive angel
A vintage clip-on earring
I have some other bits and pieces of jewelry that I'm thinking of replacing some of these ornaments with.
Christmas decor is being brought out a little at a time here. How lovely this season is.
Tell me, have you discarded some traditions and embraced others?