Last evening Mayor Catherine Pugh welcomed the Sweet Silver Bells at City Hall to be part of Baltimore's tree lighting celebration. But as you can see in the news broadcast below, the evening was about much more than lighting a Christmas tree.
As I was journaling this morning it occurred to me that if you don't have an attic, or even if you do, creative storage for seasonal decorations is an alternative to adding more boxes to an attic, basement or garage that are over flowing with clutter. hese are a few examples of how some of my decorations are stored. They are attractive all year long and easily accessible when I need them.
When I was in eighth grade my friend Jan and I started two holiday traditions. One was to make a Croquembouche, a French cream puff tree. We made our first in her mom's kitchen for a party for our French class and the tradition continued. Another was to make jeweled Christmas balls. Sadly, Jan died years ago, but I think of her every Christmas. Over the years we made hundred of the balls. Many were given away as gifts.
For most of the year, these ornaments are stored in a china cabinet, but during the holiday season they are placed on the tree and the bowl is perfect for my grandmother's snow ball cookies - a future post.
Bowls, Dishes, Tureens
Other decorations are stored in hat boxes prominently displayed all year They are a lovely way to store seasonal treasures while brightening an otherwise unnoticed corner.
Bulletin Board Storage
If you have followed my blog, you know I am obsessed with bulletin boards..I have six - two over sized and three small cork, and one French.. Some of my favorite ornaments are displayed and enjoyed year round.
When we think of pine, our first thoughts are probably as a Christmas tree, or using the evergreens for wreaths and swags. Pine wreaths were originally hung on doors for protection more than decoration, replacing the dead black chicken which was once hung on entrances to discourage witches from entering. They were honor bound to count every feather before they could go inside. Thankfully, pine needles replaced the feathers, undoubtedly more fragrant than rotting poultry! Witches have very active minds and often get distracted and lose count, so instead of starting over, they will probably go next door. (You may want to advise your neighbors to get a pine wreath.)
Pine cones can be used to make roses, wreaths, garlands, and in table arrangements. The internet is overflowing with ideas for using pine cones as crafts.
They can be covered with peanut butter, rolled in bird seed and hung out as bird feeders.
Use tongs to dip thoroughly dried pine cones in melted paraffin or beeswax, let wax drip off and dry on wax paper or foil.
Turpentine, another gift from pine, is a distilled oil made from pine resin. Some of my most cherished moments in the art room have been surrounded by the fragrances of turpentine and linseed oil.
Amber -Pine's Gift of Golden Sunshine Energy
Pine gives us another gift! Amber! It is said to have the energy of liquid sunshine, to make the wearer more beautiful, to attract wealth and success, and dissolve opposition.
Amber has been identified in over 300 shades. Most of us are familiar with the golden yellow and orange ambers, but it can also be an orange-red, brown, green, black or even violet, though very rare.
Amber is made from the fossilized resin of the pine tree, and to be classified as true amber it must be over 100,000 years old! That is miraculous, don't you think? Copal, or Columbian Amber, less than 1,000 years old, has not yet fossilized but is also beautiful and truly remarkable. There is something sacred about pieces that have been part of the earth for so long!
Amber is revered in the Far Eastern Asian cultures. Asian Indians regard amber as the 'soul of the tiger', endowing the wearer with courage. Egyptians placed a piece of amber in the casket of a loved one to ensure the body would forever remain whole. Early physicians prescribed amber for headaches, heart problems, arthritis and a variety of other ailments. In ancient times, amber was carried by travelers for protection.
Wishing you all a holiday season of fragrant, protective pine and the warmth and sunshine of amber!
The Holiday Season doesn't officially begin without a day in Hamden! Bryan's Finds and Designs has always been my favorite and this year I found a few more I don't ever want to miss again!
We were greeted by a the giant flamingo at the Cafe Hon where we split a Ruben followed by homemade cherry-blueberry pie for dessert.
One of my favorite Baltimore memories - the Ding Dongs at the lighting of the Washington Monument . This year we will be singing at an official tree lighting event at City Hall with the mayor! We have been requested to sing under the name Sweet Silver Bells instead of Ding Dongs - guess that name was just too tacky! Ha! Regardless, the harmonies will be fabulous and the costumes will range from elegant to outrageous! You just never know what to expect from a Ding Dong!
It's been s busy week with luncheons, performances and holiday festivities! Our Renaissance Chorus.
We've been learning harmonies for our holiday presentations since our fall session began and I can't remember feeling more in the holiday mood, Last year I didn't participate in any caroling. My brother and I used to sing carol and too many reminded me of him so I didn't join in. But time helps heal wounds and this year the songs felt joyful.
We sang a medley of Christmas carols, My Favorite Things,Antiphanol Deck the Halls, a Hanukah song, A Winter Wonderland, Slow Dancing in the Snow - very reminiscent of a 50's rock 'n roll song and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. All had challenging harmonies, led by our extraordinary choir director, Nancy Heinold.
After two months of choral practice and hours at the sewing machine, let the festivities begin! Our four part harmonies are awesome and the mayor of Baltimore has invited us to sing at one of the city's events - pictures to follow.
Last year my heart wasn't in participating since the songs reminded of singing with my brother who had passed in early November. Time helped heal the wounds. This year my Christmas spirit has returned and I'm feeling blessed to be in two choral groups.
Yesterday i made my Mrs. Santa Claus hat. The faux fur pompom and trim were much too stark white to go with my ivory cape so I removed and tea stained them and cut a new hat out of the red velvet I used to make my skirt and top. I decorated with fabric roses, stars, feathers and a Christmas ball. The hat is light weight and has a hidden velcro closing in the back to ensure a good fit.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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