Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Old man winter has finally made his way to my neck of the woods (or so I thought! A look at the window and I see rain now, not snow!)  I don't particularly care to be cold, but to look out the window and see the snow always brings a smile to my face.  Seeing the sun sparkle on the snow and snow-covered branches is quite picturesque.

These scenes always reminds me of Currier & Ives winter prints.  I have a collection of Currier & Ives Christmas villages that bring their lovely prints to life.  Though - I failed to display them this year!

American Winter Scene

For those of you unfamiliar with the works of Currier & Ives, they were the Thomas Kinkade of the 19th century.  The partnership was founded by Nathaniel Currier and James Ives in 1857.  The company specialized in lithographs and employed artists, lithographers and colorists.  Currier & Ives described their business as "publishers of cheap and popular prints".  By 1907. the firm created over 7500 titles and over one million prints in a wide range of categories, including sentimental images, sports, humor, religion, city and rural scenes.

A Ride to School
A Ride to School

American Homestead Winter
Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Re-Purposed Christmas Decor

My goal for the craft show this year was to re-purpose as much as possible.  This seemed quite impossible at first because I had no inspiration whatsoever!   I headed down to the basement to dig through my craft bins to see what could inspire me and possibly be turned into a masterpiece. First round I came back up with some old Christmas wreaths and a set of decorative boxes a gift came in a few years back.

Apparently that was all I needed to get the creative juices flowing!  I cut apart the wreaths and made each decorative box into an arrangement.  Second trip to the basement and I found some Christmas flowers and small decor I had purchased at a garage sale earlier this year.  Voila!  I had 3 cute arrangements ready to go without having to buy any new materials.  Perfect!

Since the muse was now at work, I headed back to the basement to see what other treasures I could find.  On a shelf was an angel candle holder that has been collecting dust over the years.  I tried to sell the candle holder in several garage sales with no luck.  Maybe it will serve a better purpose as a beautiful winter centerpiece!  The old Christmas wreaths were cut up some more and added to the candle holder, along with some pinecones and red hydrangea.  So far, this is my favorite piece I made and is sitting on my living room end table. 

Overall I created 12 repurposed arrangements from random material found in my basement.  I sold about half of them at the craft show, kept 2 for myself, donated one to a church and will give some as gifts!  Not a bad start to frugal crafting.

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December - month of the Poinsettia

Here we are in December already!  Christmas lights, family traditions and the exchange of gifts abound.  Poinsettia's are one of the most common plants used during this season.  These beautiful plants have been associated with the Christmas holiday for centuries.

During the 16th century in Mexico, a legand began of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for Jesus' birthday celebration.  An angel inspired the young girl to make a bouquet of weeds found on the side of the road and place them in front of the church altar.  Beautiful dark red blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became poinsettias - causing the congregation to believe they witnessed a Christmas miracle.  Today in Mexico the poinsettia is known as "Noche Buena", meaning Christmas Eve.  The star-shaped pattern of the leaves is symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem and the crimson color represents the blood sacrifice through Jesus' crucifixion.

This cheerful plant is available in a variety of colors, with red being the most popular.  Blooms can also be found in cream, lemon, peach, pink and white.  Being native to Mexico and Central America, this plant is really a tree.  Over the years it was cultivated into smaller plants for more commerical and home purposes. 

The ancient Aztecs also prized this wonderful plant and considered it to be a symbol of purity.  They utilized the sap to control fevers and the leaves were used to make a red dye.  The Aztec king, Montezuma, had hundreds of poinsettias brought to the highlands since they did not grow there naturally. 

May the Peace of Christmas
Fill your heart from day to day
May the Love of Christmas
Show in all you do and say
May the Hope of Christmas
Now and always light your way