Sunday, December 26, 2010

lifting the light

this has been such a fine week of gathering with friends, eating delicious food, giving, receiving and cozying down with my sweet family.

it began with a lively solstice full moon eclipse, peaked with a venetian pot luck, culminated in a celebration around the yule tree, and now -- the day after christmas -- dan, tashi, tristan and i enjoy cinnamon rolls, sweet bread, savory left overs mixed with orzo and cheese, games, play and much needed long naps.

in my heart, all of the celebrations of the season revolve around solstice. the light swells from our homes, trees, candles and hearths. the light of the manger is the light in us all, the good light we wish to swaddle in, grow and share.

here are some scenes from our solstice week. . .

first, the actual solstice, a story telling day when our children receive new books, one of many days that we scatter food around the yard for animals, a day to play in snow if we are so lucky, a day of eating, baking, crafts and intention.

next, in our friends' beautifully decorated home, a venetian pot luck, starring recipes from tessa kiros: shrimp asparagus risotto, delicately fried italian meatballs and a ricotta tart with chocolate pastry crust. improvised piano entertainment unfolded.

we had a gift exchange brunch with good friends on christmas eve morning, followed by inevitable last minute errands, cookie baking, a cypriot dinner feast, story book reading and a late-late night up with dan, wrapping, assembling, drinking raspberry lambic and eating fudge.

one of my few handmade gifts of the season was this apron for liz.

and then the big morning arrived, so many fine items under the tree to behold. while i'm conflicted about the materialism of christmas, i feel like our efforts to share delight were just right. some much need items were distributed: bike helmets, clothing for growing children, winter wear, wool lined slippers, pajamas, books and smart playthings. mixed in with the necessities were some treasures: sparkling earrings, scooters, a chunky necklace, gift cards, an electric razor, belgian chocolates. . .

aside from a couple of special photo books i put together and gifted, i made an apron for my dear tashi, and a robot-of-sorts for darling tristan, who likes to sing robot parade.

i love tashi's little apron, the colors, the owls & the ric rac.

tristan's robot didn't quite turn out as i'd wished. what appears to be a mouth was originally meant to be a control panel. i decided to add a button nose to fill the gap. in the future i would prefer the features to not appear as one big face. making it was fun. i have a feeling tashi's line of fuzzawumbles might become more varied as she and i design new characters.

now we have a week to luxuriate in as we approach the new year and our daughter's 13th birthday. there is some work to be done, but mostly i want to take advantage of the opportunity to relax. the snow comes and goes and the light -- despite the cold heart of winter -- increases with each day. may hope continue to ring even as the holiday bells are packed away.

Friday, December 17, 2010

merry scenes

we are so thrilled that it snowed. there is nothing like a sparkling layer of magical snow to boost one's holiday spirits. tashi's break from school started two days early due to closures. the solstice house cleaning has commenced, with some baking and the tiniest bit of making thrown in. it is not much of a handmade holiday this year, but we do still have a week until christmas don't we?!

tristan is obviously much more involved in everything this year. he can flop in the snow. open the doors of the advent calendar. pull ornaments from the tree and run with them. he can ask to hold each and every (lit) candle. it has been so much fun seeing his wonder unfold.

if you are wondering where our lovely tashi is in most of these photos, she's either out socializing with her friends, head down with mounds of homework, or holed up in her room listening to the beatles. or perhaps she is hiding behind the scenes after dressing her brother up in her sweaters. our almost 13 year old has a blossoming world of her own, but she is still so very loving.

what is on the agenda for today? lots of cooking. . . one cannot live on fudge alone!

may you find the magic in the smallest of things this solstice season.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

ever green

we chopped down our yule tree on sunday. we found a perfect tree to fill our living room with its character. there was a lovely dusting of snow. tristan doesn't seem to remember the huge storms of last year, and was really fascinated by the icy white powder. tashi showed him how to make a snow ball, and i coached him on how to throw it at dad. fun was had by all. and now, indeed, we have a thristy, happy, green tree in our living room.

holiday craft sales

i decided to brave the cold and sit out a few of the downtown holiday markets this season, selling blankets & bibs. i will be in attendance for a second time this saturday. i also have a selection of blanket/bib sets at the bridge, a progressive arts gallery in charlottesville where there is a great gifts sale through january. tashi's fuzzawumble's are also making an appearance, both downtown and at the bridge.

here are a couple of new sets:

and a rainbow of fuzzawumbles:

tashi and i had a nice day at the first holiday market. we sold a few things, saw a few friends and enjoyed the brisk air once the sun came out!

i wonder if i will be permitted to light a barrel fire this saturday?!

we also enjoyed the opening night of the great gifts sale at the bridge.

so many fun things in one cozy space

the groovy elfin wild haired doll is by natalie artz of my magical moonbeam.

can you spot the fuzzawumble?

tristan was really into these robots. i informed santa.

we had a nice evening admiring unique stuff.

i think once the holidays have passed i will finally post the remaining blankets and bibs to etsy and hope that they will find their way into the homes of babes. i would like to go into creative mode for a while and try sewing up some new things. i'm feeling the need to branch out a bit. i also really want to make some items for my own family, and our home. so much energy has gone into the blankets and bibs; it has been a great learning experience so far.

i recently needed to come up with a present for a gift exchange at my workplace. i decided to seize the opportunity to sew my first ever apron (i refuse to count the one i seriously botched in high school), with the intention of placing it in the gift exchange. and so that i did, based on amy karol's instructions in bend the rules sewing. i think it turned out pretty cute.

thus gifted!

we play a mean white elephant exchange at my work place, where the gifts can be stolen from each other. the apron was stolen away twice before it found its rightful owner.

and myself, what did i get at the gift exchange? i had to steal a little purple piggy bank for a very sweet boy who had his eyes on it.