........yes it's that time again. The month of December has once again come aknocking impatiently on my bright pink, front door heralding the Christmas season; informing me 'tis time to unearth the Christmas tree and all the decorations and festoon both tree and house; as the festive season is nigh.
For more years than I can remember my family has always enjoyed a real, ridgy didge, pine, Christmas tree oozing with a delicious pine fragrance. There is nothing quite like the fragrance that emanates the home from a real tree. The getting of our Christmas tree, year after year, is one of which fables are written.
Just the very articulation of the phrase "let's go in search of our Christmas tree" is enough to send a shiver down every member of my family's spine and cause them to scurry to some dark hidey hole where they cannot be found!!
We have so many hysterical, rollicking tales of the search of the perfect tree. So many funny, funny incidences of me, my husband and daughters; and on the odd occasion, some very, very patient and long suffering friends, embarking on the perfect Christmas tree hunt. Of searching acres and acres of pine trees, marking the ones that could perhaps sit rather handsomely in our parlour, then forgetting which couple of hundred that we had chosen, and after many a long hour of searching, wielding the chainsaw, cutting down the 'chosen' tree and lugging it back to the car.
Stories of squeezing the tree through one back window of the car, through to the other window, so that the tree sticks out both sides; terrified of being pulled up by the local constabulary; who would have been perfectly justified to throw the book at us, ummmmmm..........we did violate a few traffic by-laws!! Oh.... and of course, upon arriving home, trying to squeeze the tree through the doorway that all of sudden seemed to have shrunk!! Oops........it's amazing how a tree looks lilliputian in a forest!! The size of the tree really should've been a visual cue when our tree, sticking out of both sides of the car, nearly side-swiping cars in the other lanes, with drivers honking their horns and giving us murderous looks!!!!!! I am normally a law-abiding citizen but the very thought of the perfect Christmas tree, turns me into a maniacal woman!!
So then, out would come the saw and bit by bit, branches were removed in a symmetrical fashion (it had to be the perfect Christmas tree) so that it could fit through the door. Oh and that's not all; once the tree is in situ, after an age of my husband trying to get the blasted tree upright jamming in bricks and sand and goodness knows whatever else; and hours and hours of decorating the tree, it collapses and falls to the ground, with water and sand and bricks muddying the white carpet; and children happily playing board games close to said tree, flee in all directions in fear of their lives as 'father dear' cries out 'TIMBER'!!
Oh......these are just a few chapters contained within "The Sharman's Christmas Tree Chronicles"!! I am afraid that our Christmas tree stories do not resemble those movies when the getting of the Christmas tree enhances a symbiotic, happy family outing, filling everyone with a warm and fuzzy feeling. No indeedy....ours always seemed to be somewhat more akin to a Chevy Chase movie....where if anything could go wrong, it most certainly would!!
So.........finally we decided we would buy a faux Christmas tree!!!!!! Oh no!!!!! The earth will stop spinning on it's axis!!!! Unpardonable, I know but we all just decided that enough was enough and we wanted to make our 1st December a little more pleasant!!
Well that was the plan. It's just that our faux, perfectly symmetrical Christmas tree is 9 feet tall!! I must admit it is a beauty.....BUT......it means that I clamber up a ladder and scurry down again, ad nauseum for hours, festooning said tree with lights, beaded garlands and then the decorations which take an age to decide where they would look best......oh alright.......perfect!!!
I have often thought that it would be wonderful if only my husband could build a 9 feet plus cupboard, so that his dear wife could just wheel the tree in, close the cupboard door, and each year, when the season of great joy comes aknocking again, I could just wheel it out fully decorated; ready to go!! Easy!! He, of course says, "but think of all the fun you would miss out on"!!!!!!! Mmmmmm......I don't believe him...........because, strangely enough, after he has connected the cords for the lights and asks if I am in need of his services anymore, he disappears......probably in search of a stiff drink!! Not that I blame him.......as the woman before him on the 1st December, is not the same 'sweet' woman that he married. No the woman before him kinda vaguely resembles that of a shrew-like Shakespearian character!!
But......with Bing carolling in the background and my spirit somewhat calmed with the end of my mission nearing to an end; the tree finally begins to resemble that of which the "Oh Christmas Tree" carol waxes lyrical. It's lovely branches are laden with both handmade and a few store bought decorations. The lights are twinkling and the angel has taken residence at the very top, smiling ever so ethereally down upon us mere mortals!! 'Tis a lovely tree reminding me of the hope, love, joy and the peace of the Christmas message.
With the tree standing ever so pretty in the corner of the parlour and my mission complete......I'm off to sprinkle a li'l more festive spirit to other rooms of our li'l ole abode!
Candles and candlelabras abound!
Parisian stockings which I have designed and stitched by hand, are scattered throughout our li'l ol' abode.
The entry window adorned with doily bunting and a sprinkling of spangles.
I love how the floor reflects the shadows of the doilies and decorations.
The kitchen window bedecked with snowflakes and candles in glass jars and bottles.....oh and not to forget the bucolic view of green, green paddocks and the roving kaleidoscope of black and white bovine.
A nativity scene that my husband cut out and which I painted many a Christmas ago!! It is a timely reminder that Christmas is the 'birth'day of Jesus!
Done!! Well......almost. There is the matter of a wreath to be made for our bright pink door, but that will have to wait. For now I am just going to sit, put my feet up, relax and enjoy our bedecked home for a li'l while and reflect on the spirit of Christmas.....and then I will begin to think about those mere triflings such as presents, gift wrapping, Christmas dinner etc etc!!
For ages now I have been squinting and straining my poor old eyes, those ocular instruments of mine, when I sew late into the evening. Of course, if my sewing table was positioned under the central light, this perhaps would not be a problem. But, being a gal who embraces the aesthetics of a room, my table is positioned near the window. During the day, Old Man Sun radiates his embracing rays of sunshine into my sewing room, warming both my body and my soul. Not to mention of course, when I sew, my outlook is a very pretty one of our garden, where there is always some flower nodding it's pretty head towards me.
So action needed to be taken. I had pondered this problem for a while, and whilst I had seen various lamps that would illuminate my space rather brightly, they were either a little expensive, nor pleasing to my li'l eye; and of course if I chose a light that would hang from the ceiling, it would cost a bomb to have installed by our friendly sparky.
So.........what to do, what to do??
Then I remembered that a li'l while ago I had espied a rather rusty light in my husband's man cave....the shed. He has used it occasionally when he tinkers away in a little dusty corner of his shed. Now there was nothing that set this light apart from any other light. It was bottle green in colour (not a hue that sets my heart racing with joy) and just a tad 'normal' for the likes of my sewing room. Indeed there was many a prettier light in the lighting store!!
So, with my heart in my mouth, I stepped over the threshold of the man cave, where angels sometimes fear to tread; and claimed the rusty artifact for my own. It's okay....my husband gave me his blessing, though I must admit, he wasn't at all convinced that I could revamp this rather rusty beacon of light into a funky decorative statement, befitting of my bright and pretty sewing room. 'Oh he of little faith'!! So I whipped it away and started some fixer-uppering.
Now, in my mind's eye I envisioned this rather 'plain Jane' light being transformed into an objet d'art.....a thing of great beauty, that would enhance the aesthetics of my sewing room.
So I gathered some Mod Podge, a paintbrush and an old book on roses that I intended to rip out photos and decoupage them all over the outside of the light!. Oops....there I go again, defacing a beautiful book.....it seems to have become a regular occurrence on my part. Oh well....not to worry....it's not as if it is the only book pertaining to the subject of botany and gardening, that sits in one of the many bookshelves that reside in our humble abode!!
One by one, I cut out the photos of roses, covered the back of the photos and the light with the Mod Podge and adhered them to the outside of the light, until it was covered with a smattering of pretty roses. Alas, there are no photos of this process as unfortunately I was 'knee deep' in glue!! Then I covered the lamp with layer after layer of Mod Podge. I might add that there are many more layers of Mod Podge to be applied, to help the photos meld into one overall decoupage surface! I will do this later on as I am much to impatient to illuminate my sewing space!! I then hot glued ric rac around the bottom on the inside to cover any untidy edges.
Now.........there was the problem of the ugly grey, metres long length of electrical cord. Oh dear......quite simply....U G G E R L Y!!!!! AND.....certainly would do nothing to enhance my lovely room!! Why oh why can't electrical cord be a pretty mauve, or perhaps fuchsia pink or azure blue?????
So, of course I lookity looked in my fabric armoire for a fabric with which I could cover this monstrosity of an electrical cord. Bingo!! Of course there was a brightly patterned fabric.....in fact there were several. I chose an old doona cover that I had unearthed in an op shop for the proverbial song. I cut several lengths (3 times the length of the cord) approximately 20cms wide, stitched the lengths together, folded the length in half and stitched along the length to make a long tube. Then I threaded the cord in the tube gathering it in the process. My husband drilled several holes in the ceiling, to insert toggles, holding the cord as it trailed across the ceiling and down the wall to be plugged into the electrical socket.
Aah yes.......not only does my sewing room have a gorgeous view of our garden by day; at night it also has the best seat for viewing the drama of the night sky. Here in the country, the theatre of the night sky is truly awe-inspiring. I am always in complete wonderment at the majesty of God's night sky!
Now, not only is my sewing machine illuminated with scintillant light from above, a light that indeed lightens my sewing path; I have one very funky light which, I think adds a certain whimsy and a bit of fun to my sewing room.
.....well actually.........there are 41 nights before Christmas (just to reassure y'all in case you think that you have just awoken from a 3 months' comatose slumber and missed out on all that Christmas preparation joy....you know you love it)...... before the benevolent and jolly fellow, attired in his mighty fine, red garb, squeezes his rather ample frame down my soot-covered chimney; to deliver some goodies and stuff them into my christmas stocking.
Now, I know some of you don't like to give this annual event a thought until the very last minute....until you espy good ole St Nick's shiny, black boots dangling from the chimney... (and I deeply apologise for bringing this to your attention)....but for me, this event seems to each year, come around quicker than Rudolf can find a battery for his nose. So.....because there are no little elves in this far rural outpost, maniacally stitching away for the anniversary of goodwill and good cheer, I have decided that now is the time to start thinking about my christmas stocking, in which the good ole benevolent fella might leave a little present or two!!
Yes, I am sad to say that there is just li'l ole me....(I am feeling your distress about my predicament....you can wipe away those tears now)!! No sign of elves, working their fingers to the bone, in my humble li'l ole abode. So, I suppose it is up to me to stitch my good self, a mighty fine christmas stocking, worthy of a visit of the eminent, rotund gentleman!!
Although I have stitched many a fine christmas stocking for friends and family, I have decided that this year I am going to stitch one for my good husband and also, one for li'l ole me. Me thinks that the time has come to retire the old (that was stitched many a Christmas moon ago) and replace with a stocking or two, resplendently hanging from the mantelpiece, befitting of our 'parlour' in our li'l ole abode!
So to the drawing board.
Me thinks an elegant and opulent Louis XIV parisian style boot for me, covered in a slew of lace (who would've thought), flock velvets, satins, damasks; embellished with the odd button or two, vintage buckles, brooches, ribbons and whatever other pretties needed to make an 'oh so elegant' article of high stepping footwear, befitting of the Sun God, Louis XIV!
And.......a court jester boot for my good husband. Me thinks that a parisian boot smothered in lace and ribbons is not really his style!! Can't imagine why ever not!! I mean, really, if lace worn in royal circles, was the height of fashion and considered to be quite dandy for all in the 17th century, why not now!!! Now.....Louie (please excuse the informality) sounds like my kinda of guy!!!
So it's time to dig out my patterns that I designed eons ago and pin them to the base fabric. I have used a blockout curtain lining fabric as this will give the stockings a little body.
I have gathered a basket (the biggest one I could find) of goodies..........scrumptious fabrics, swirls and swirls of ribbons, lace, doilies, braids, tassels, buckles, buttons et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
I selected an assortment of fabrics and layered them onto the base fabric in an arrangement that is pleasing to my li'l eye. Then I added lace, doilies and whatever else I felt was spiffy. The more the merrier is my philosophy. Now those of you out there in blogland who are minimalists; now is the time to cover your ears, because what I am going to say could be regarded as blasphemy!! I am afraid that I am a soul who does not adhere to the gospel of minimalism, that 'less is more'! Indeed, 'more is never enough' when creating a parisian boot with which good King Louie would be immensely impressed. Naughty of me I know, but after all, I need to use some of my vintage treasures that I have acquired over all these years.
A closer look at the laces and fabrics that I have used. The laces in the bottom right hand corner are some of a collection that my daughter bought me in a flea market in Paris. One is part of a heirloom collar that I imagine was part of a 1940's dress. My Pip knows her mother very well, very well indeed!
Now it's time to start having fun and I am afraid, make an almighty mess!! I fear that when I start to embellish, my sewing room always resembles a site where a fabric and lace bomb has been detonated!!
Each stocking must have it's own individual name....after all we can't have St Nick stuffing the wrong stocking with fabric, now can we!!
One, two.....buckle my shoe parisian boot!!
Oodles and oodles of twinkling, scintellescent stars have been stitched on with beads to the court jester boot...after all it is Christmas!!
I have lined both stockings with satin fabric.
Now I realise that my parisian boot is rather slim (afterall it is an elegant look that I want to add to my mantlescape) but if dear ole St Nick fills my stocking with fabric, maybe some lace, some stitching paraphenalia and perhaps a book (or two); this gal will be deliriously happy!! And....of course, if St Nick should place a drill, or perhaps some other kind of tool in the court jester boot, then my husband will likewise be beside himself with great joy!!
Me thinks that my li'l ole christmas stockings adds a certain 'joie de vivre', to our mantlescape when on 1st December our li'l ole 'chateau' magically begins to look a lot like Christmas!!