Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Taken with the Retro Camera app.

Christmas Toys

One can't help but have a moment of panic pre Christmas about whether your child(ren) have enough...does the pile seem big enough?  Is there a fair amount of diversity (clothes, toys, games, crafts, electronics, etc.)?  I experience this each year.  Mitch definitely had more pressies to unwrap this holiday from previous holidays...although this year we thankfully did not have to assemble anything!  No train table or kitchen.  Those were the big gifts of years past and it makes sense to let them stand alone with a few items flanking it.

There is also the moment after the first round of gift opening that you wonder -- yikes, there is too much.  Where is this all going?

Suffice it to say that he made it out well - just enough.  We are sorting through some older outgrown items and donating to friends and Goodwill and making an Ikea trip later this week for a storage bin.  All in all, I am pleased as I am positive he is with his loot.

My Favorite Things

A repost from Piccadilly's blog from this week.

A fellow blogger recently posted about how she'd been inspired by one of my favorite movies, Love Actually, and the words "Love really is all around." She let those words be her guide as she decorated her house - specifically her Christmas tree - for the holiday. Stenciling those words on ribbon she encircled the entire tree in the ribbon and adorned it with handcrafted framed ornaments of her family.
It got me thinking. If I had the time to do something similar, what would it look like?  Most likely "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.  Then I thought - in lieu of ribbon - I'd write a holiday blog post about my favorite things, especially at this time of year.

Classic Movies
I am watching Meet Me In St. Louis as I type.  My Pop Pop introduced me to classics with the Sound of Music around the age of 5 so it's no surprise that I love that movie, and tons of others, and feel the need to watch them all one right after the other during these relaxing post holiday days.

Cocoa and Lights
A cup of cocoa and a stroll through a park, Macy's Light Show, or even South Philly looking at all the lights (and plastic praying Blessed Mother hands) goes a long way, especially with a 3 year old in tow. I love white lights most of all, especially when entire streets are lined in them.  Cue a little Celtic music and it's the most romantic setting.  My son is entranced with all lights (and scary blow up Santas, etc.) but it's's all magical to him and experiencing the holiday through his eyes is joy.

My love of vintage runs the gamut but this time of year I especially love gorgeous vintage dresses, old photographs (in general but mostly of my family), mid century ornaments, and Christmas albums on vinyl.

It was something of a lean holiday in this house but it made me grateful for my artistic side.  For years I've given paintings from various classes, b/w photographs taken and framed, and most recently, hand crocheted scarves and dishcloths.  Needless to say, a few daycare teachers received Trader Joe's coffee, cookies, mugs and a crocheted dishcloth.   I appreciate all handmade goodies, be it jewelry, little ceramic magnets and stones, ornaments, pottery, you name it.  And I love spending time hunting for that perfect handmade item for the artists and creative folk in my life.

Italian cookies
My Grandmom nails pizzelles as well as her lemon cookies.  I experiment with ricotta ones but I have yet to try the pizzelle iron.

Red, white, and tons of them.  My Pop Pop would get them for my mom every year and they would adorn the house.  Flanked with evergreen swag and red bows, it's so classic Christmas to me. And it ties into my next favorite thing.

I know it's dreary out and we almost never get a White Christmas but I love nothing more than bits of nature brought indoors this time of year -- pine cones, green, berries.  If it was up to me I'd have THE Charlie Brown tree (I'm not a fan of fat bushy trees).  Brandywine River Museum has an annual "critter sale" - critters made from all natural elements, assembled by their volunteers - and I have a dog, squirrel, and bear and they are the coolest and simplest ornaments. There's also a bit of hope that shines on December 22, the first day of winter, knowing we gain a little more light with each day until June...always worth celebrating.

These are just a few of my favorite things...and if I look around I can see a little piece of each in my holiday decor, mood, and spirit.  Piccadilly wishes you all a wonderful holiday season and Winter Solstice.  May you find the time to rest and recharge, be with your friends and family and to quote one of my favorite bands, "Be here now." Enjoy and be grateful for the gift of the present moment.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Every so often I circle back to these words, words I originally uncovered on a piece of paper (I believe at church?) back in 1999 when I was feeling confused and lost especially about relationships.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Several years ago I would see this very passage engraved on the Jeanine Payer "Palmer" bracelet.  I still covet this bracelet.