Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A week to go

A little nook of mice

Although I haven't been posting that regularly, I have been busy and nearly done with the decorating. Today I finished the angel tree. It is my only traditional tree - gold, bronze and cream stars, angels and ribbon. I couldn't believe it, I tested the 500 fairy lights, put them on first then did the decorating and now half of them are not working. It's not worth changing them now and luckily the ones that are lit are fairly well spread. A beautiful tree. I will put up some photos tomorrow hopefully.

Yesterday I had a message that a busload of ladies are coming over on one of my open nights. That is very exciting. They mentioned seeing the article in Next magazine a few years ago on my Christmas decorating. The article in the local newspaper last week was great too. Even the shop assistants have been asking me about the Gingerbread Christmas Open Home. Someone questioned if I was "The Christmas Tree Lady". It made me think of 'bag lady' but I guess I could be called worse!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And a Christmas village...

I don't know where my interest in china stemmed from but it was from an early age as I can remember what my grandmother's teaset looked like from staying with her in the 70's. One of my best memories as a child was waking up on Christmas morning to a miniature china teaset of my own. It had a bunny flying with balloons and it was very precious to me. Unfortunately the china met a sad demise with a nor'wester and a concrete porch, but I managed to salvage a small jug which I keep with my Easter collectables.

Whenever I've travelled I manage to stash some china purchases into my cabin luggage and then try to pass off as within required onboard weight to the cabin crew. I came back from Japan with 31 plates once - no breakages either! 

My gorgeous Christmas china is Mason's 'Christmas Village' from Stoke-On-Trent. It is not available in New Zealand anymore so I have very slowly collected pieces over the years. I was rapt to find it in a factory shop in the UK five years ago and bought a 10 place setting of the dinnerware (and had it shipped safely back home). 

It is perfect on my hutch dresser and I've set up my table with the rest of it for the open home. The dates are set for the first three Fridays of December 7-10pm so please come around if you are local.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Christmas houses

Plans are underway now for opening up our Christmas house to the public. I am fundraising for Christchurch City Chorus to travel to Houston next year for the International Sweet Adelines Convention. I've been a member since the start of the year and I'm so looking forward to being part of this event with my fellow sweet ads friends. It is a big commitment for me to be part of the chorus as I travel a four hour return trip every Wednesday night to rehearsal, plus regular weekend coaching. Sometimes I wonder where I will muster the energy from, but once I'm there and singing I just love it. Singing is a joy, and when you are singing with 150 others in four part harmony, and doing choreo at the same time, it really is an amazing experience.

I'm posting a picture on the theme of today's post. These four houses were from a class I did at the SENZ craft expo earlier in the year in Christchurch. Very fiddly to do, but worth the effort. They fit in well on my Christmas hutch dresser in the front entrance. No one seems to have noticed that I never took down my christmas china off the dresser this year. One less area to redo now which is a bonus! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Busy little elves

Children love this tree. It's the Santa's Workshop tree and has very cool elves all over it, supposedly making the toys in the tree. Last year I found a great buy at the $2 shop, with little Pinnochio puppets complete with moveable limbs. I've been really slow at adding the old fashioned type toys on the tree as they seem to be few and far between to find.

At the bottom there is a clothes line with Santa's clothes hung up ready for him on Christmas Eve. I've made long johns, trousers with braces, hat, gloves, socks, jacket, scarf...even a miniature fairisle jersey. They hang by tiny wooden clothes pegs.

The trees look so much better in real life so if you are local make sure you come to my open Christmas house next month!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

On a roll

Things are moving along here with two more trees done and one nearly there. Today's post is the reveal of the woodland tree. Louisa (12) is so excited about this. She says it is her idea of the perfect Christmas tree. It's not particularly conventional but I've noticed that it is a definite trend in the shops for the natural look. We found the owl at Ballantynes yesterday and all the kids wish it was theirs.

Being such a tall tree it is difficult to photograph the full effect so here are some closeups:

The cones have been sprayed with christmas snow from a can I must of bought at least a decade ago!

 I will post the next tree very soon so keep posted....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A bargain and a squirrel

The new tree is fabulous. I picked it up last night and couldn't believe my luck of such a bargain. It is very tall (ceiling height) and bushy and narrow - perfect for a small space. To be honest, when I got it home, I wasn't sure where I would actually put it. Hmmm. I realised it probably wasn't the most essential purchase of the week. My love of furniture is steadily winning out with the floor space year by year. Determination paid off with the help of my teenage son moving the sofas around with me directing (I've got a torn shoulder tendon). I've put it in the main living area beside my American Oak hutch dresser.

I had an unplanned but very enjoyable morning in Christchurch today. I bought three new rhododendrons to fill a few spaces in my garden. They are gorgeous yellows and apricots : Golden Torch, Naselle and Nancy Evans. I will have to tie the teenager down to do some digging in return for using my Trade Me account and buying a $300 phone while I was away...
The highlight was a fun shop at The Christmas Hut. Ahh, I LOVE this shop! Check out their website. 
I have to go with a mental list otherwise I get sidetracked by all the beautiful new decorations. I got some stunning picks for the Santa's Workshop tree. They have a great range of the Jim Shore collections - I found a perfect snowman for my snowman tree. That's always a challenge as I limit the decorations to blue and white and many have red on them.
And my last find there was a furry squirrel to go in the new tree - perfect for a woodland theme. It is so cute. Can't wait to get the tree decorated tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The farmyard tree

Tim (8) was up his usual early self yesterday morning and agitating that I had started the farmyard tree without him. There was a selfish reason for this - I am really fussy about putting the lights in evenly in my christmas trees and I also wanted to make some country styled bows this year. I am happy with the way these look. I ripped some gingham cotton into strips and then used gold paper twine to tie bows. They are finished with a wire berry.

So at 8am he was defending his territory from his 5 and 10 year old brothers and putting up the animals. Nobody was feeling particularly Christmasy at that time of the day/week/month but unfortunately Tim has a lot of my organising trait in him and once he had his mind set that was his project, there was no stopping him! I don't have many decorations on this tree but they are all beautiful. Not the most common type of decorations to find so I keep an eye out when I travel. There are miniature cones and wired apples too. My inspired idea for what I could add to it is miniature ears of corn made from popping corn. That will possibly be my next project. 

I think the tree is about two feet high and I've put it up on the alcove in front of my kitchen sink. Two down....six to go!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Peace in the house

It's finally the quiet time in the evening when everyone has gone to bed (except for my 14 year old son revisiting the baking I've just done) and I get to sit down. Louisa (12) is off on a school camp to Dunedin this week. We have been busy labeling her clothes and making a batch of chocolate chippie biscuits. I decided to quadruple the recipe so there was plenty for the boys during the week. Great idea but I forgot to take the time involved in baking eight trays of biscuits into consideration! Two hours...phew!

My excitement for the weekend is the purchase of a new (to me) Christmas tree on Trade Me. What would I do without that website? So much fun, so many bargains to buy! I think I am up to five big trees now, and as many smaller ones. This one is really unique - 2.2m high and thin but bushy. And THE bargain of the year - $31! No one out there in cyberspace eyeing that little bargain at 2pm on a Saturday. Go me and my skills. The unfortunate side of it all was that it was two hours away and needed to be removed by the next morning. Thankfully I have some very tolerating family members who know all about me and my trades. Can't wait to see it when I go up for sweet ads chorus on Wednesday.

So I have chosen the theme already and it will be a woodland tree. I bought some little birdhouses a few years ago which have never seen the light as they didn't fit any of my themes. Jack (5) and I went and bought a few birds and nests in anticipation for it. He tells me he knows where there is a real one in a tree, with a bird AND eggs which he could get for me. I told him we better just look out for empty ones. I also collected some miniature pine cones a few weeks ago which I will probably decorate like snow frosted cones. Now my only issue is where to put the tree...I'm running out of space!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Here we go....

Well, this is the start of a road to supposed self discovery through blogging. If you find yourself reading this, it could be an interesting journey following the day to day goings on of my life. Some would say too many fingers in too many pies - I would take that quite literally with five children who seem to constantly need feeding and my pantry that is restocked on a daily basis!

So, as of at this moment I have the babies in bed and I am contemplating finishing one of three things: the christmas cards I was working on today at Artfull Crafts scrapping day; the christmas angel doll that I've been making to match my living room or decorate a tree....I know, you would think it is way too early to be thinking any sort of Christmas project but I plan to open my home for the public next month so time is of the essence. I think the tree will win out. I've done my favourite one already this week - the theme of the blog - my gingerbread tree.

Next on the agenda is the farmyard tree. It's a miniature tree and I got most the decorations at Harrods a few years ago. Love them! Tim (8) is dead keen to do it with me so will put a photo up when we are done.