Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Van Gogh

I barely make it through an entire day without crossing paths with someone who asked me if I am ready for Christmas. It is a little early to be “ready”, I think. If they don’t ask me if I am ready, they ask me if I can believe that it is less than a month away.

Just the tree & lights – no ornaments.

With that in mind, I am not going to ask you if you are ready or if you can believe it is less than a month away. Instead I am going to share a little before, during and after of decorating our Christmas tree. No open bins and boxes in these photos. I see enough of them before so I can happily crop them out.

All the glass ball ornaments added – backwards from my usual plan.

What I enjoy about decorating the tree is probably what many of you enjoy – pulling out ornaments that bring back memories of family and friends and good times. So many of those I am close to, and even a few acquaintances, have generously helped me decorate through the years by giving us ornaments. We can’t help but smile when we think of them. While our tree isn’t a masterpiece, hence the No Van Gogh title to this post, it suits us fine. Some of our most peaceful times are spent by the light of the Christmas tree in the evenings.

nvg_3 Here it is with some more decorations – a mishmash of ornaments through the years.

The star that tops our tree is from my childhood. It was always ‘the’ star that went on top of the tree. I have tried other tree toppers over the years, but this remains my favorite. In these photos you can’t really see many of the individual ornaments so I might post close ups of a few of them eventually.

Finished at last – with special memories of family & friends.

These two photos show the before and after side by side.

nvg_1     nvg_5

As always, to the best blog readers around, thanks so much for reading!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beginning in the Middle

At the beginning of the memory card in my camera I have some photos of our Christmas tree while I was in the process of decorating it. In the middle are photos we took during the Thanksgiving holiday. At the end of it there are some photos of the decorations and lights we have outside.

Now logically one would think the thing to do would be to start at the beginning, but logic has never been one of my strong suits. So I’m going to straight to the middle and show you some photos with tiny little stories attached. What can I say? In the South we love to tell stories.

Let’s begin in the middle.

This is a photo of the front of Biltmore House taken from the front lawn. This was Thanksgiving Day and there were lots of people who, like us, thought it was a nice day to stroll the grounds. See that guy right slap in the middle of the photo with his back towards the camera? That’s my husband. He’s taking a photo of a couple as a favor – just one of many little gestures of goodwill he’ll engage in when the opportunity arises.


But you know what? What goes around comes around and sometime later we crossed paths with a gentleman who offered to take our photo. It was entirely his idea but he seemed to know just the right place for a good shot. So this is the two of us in front of Biltmore. I thought we might add the caption “Our Summer Home” but then I don’t think many of our friends would believe it. Oh, and you can see the special Christmas tree in the background there that I mentioned in my last post. It was huge!


Not only did the gentleman take our photo, he told us where to go on the property for some really nice perspectives of Biltmore. Our philosophy when given unsolicited generously offered advice is to check it out. So that’s what we did to get the following photo of the back of Biltmore. Can you imagine what this would look like in the spring when the trees are green and full of leaves? Or the fall when the colors are brilliant? I do believe we might have to see if we can arrange that.


Now Sebastian had been very patient throughout our visit. He had been stuffed in a camera bag, a purse and a coat pocket. Never one word of complaint. (He made me say that.) In order to make some effort to compensate him, I decided we could probably add to his collection of tree photos. He’s very good at sitting in trees. Maybe even an expert.


Then once he had taken a few deep breaths of that fresh mountain air, he wouldn’t go back in a pocket for anything. Here’s his “I was there” photo. It was a beautiful day to be out – not too hot, not too cold – pretty amazing weather for the mountains at the end of November.


And finally, at Sebastian’s insistence we have a mini photo essay. First there is Sebastian sitting in a decorative stone detail on a railing. This photo captures his personality so well – pensive, sweet and brown.


Then we have a shot taken just a little further back. He wanted you to see more of the design at this particular spot.


Then we have a picture taken even further back – diminutive little guy, isn’t he?


I’m signing off with this photo taken on the way to the gardens. I love the perspective, the shadows and the bench just off to the left there. Maybe if (Sebastian says “when”) we return in the spring we shall sit on that bench in the shade of the vines in full bloom.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Part of Our Thanksgiving Holidays

included a visit to America’s largest privately owned home in Asheville, NC. It has a 250 room chateau on 8000 acres.

This isn’t it. This is The Gatehouse.


This is the house at night – The Biltmore House. Built in the late 1800’s, it is an amazing place. We’ve never seen it decorated for Christmas so it was a special treat. Photos were not allowed inside so you’ll have to trust me that it is quite a unique experience.


There’s a sweet story about the Christmas tree that graces the front lawn this year. In 1972 Joseph Gray bought his wife this tree for Christmas. It grew at the end of their driveway in Tennessee for forty years. She passed away in 2010 and the tree was getting old. The Biltmore house found out about his situation and this special tree. They bought it, trucked it all the way to Asheville and decorated it with 45,000 lights. The story is one-of-a-kind and so is the tree. Read more here.


And just so you know, Sebastian went along with us too.


He didn’t think a great big lion wearing a great big red Christmas bow could be too dangerous. He was right.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

What is Sebastian Giving Thanks For?

Today is Thanksgiving here in the USA. I am thankful that this year Sebastian is not rescuing a pirate turkey in my kitchen like he did last year. Whew!

But I am wondering what Sebastian is thankful for.


I am also wondering what Katie is thankful for this year.


Do you think they are giving thanks for peanuts and cupcakes and doughnuts?


Let’s see if we can get some insight, shall we?


There you have it. The most interesting thing to me is that Sebastian and Katie and I are thankful for the exact same things!

Happy Thanksgiving To All of You!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Moon Shine

I try to keep things simple but sometimes I just can’t resist another project. I couldn’t show you this one before the show so I’m glad I can show you now.

I suppose this post could be called How to Make a Moon – that is, if you ever find yourself in need of a custom made moon.

I began by drawing the shape of a crescent moon onto some thin cardboard – also known as chipboard. There was a middle pattern piece in there too but I failed to take a photo of it.


Then I put all the pieces together kind of like a three-dimensional puzzle – a very easy one with only three pieces!


Next I painted a base coat to seal


and prepare the surface for paint and texture.


Here’s the texture bit. You can use a whole host of things to add texture. I thought this would make some good moon craters.


I painted – and painted – and painted. In between coats I worked on a little angel bear. She’s very small at only 4 inches tall.


With the addition of a little bit of weight in the moon to keep it steady, the little teddy angel happily perches on the moon. I wanted to keep to the Christmas Carols theme of the show so I called this one “Angels We Have Heard on High”.


She’s still available but I haven’t yet put her on my website. I’ve so much to catch up on! Anyway, I’m sure if she should find a home, her new person will choose a fitting name for her.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

North & South

I wouldn’t have minded if these two teds kept Sebastian and me company through the holidays but apparently they have other plans.

Frosty the Snowbear is going north for Thanksgiving and Christmas. His new home is going to be lovely I’m sure.

n&s_1     n&s_2

This little fellow is going in the opposite direction - south. He asked if he could fly south for the winter with the birds but I told him I didn’t know of any so he would have to go the traditional way.



I am going to miss them both but I know they’ll make some great new friends in their new homes.

Take care my friends!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Finding Treasures Today

Today is Friday, November 16, 2012. Just the fact that it is Friday is a treasure, is it not? But there are other treasures to be found as well. Where?! When?!

At 4pm EST (New York City time), Teddies Worldwide Christmas Treasures Online Bear & Gift Show will open. There will be much to see and peruse. I suggest you grab a nice cup of coffee – or if coffee isn’t your thing, then tea. Or if tea isn’t your thing . . . well, I am certain you can figure something out. Then head on over to the show by clicking on this banner:


or you can click on this link:

There, I am almost certain, you will see some treasure. It will almost be like Santa is giving us a chance to get in on the Christmas festivities a little early.


If you visit the show, I hope you have a wonderful time and perhaps, like Sebastian, you might find yourself a new little friend who will arrive just in time to celebrate!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Sebastian Passed the Time at the Show

For a little while Sebastian was quite content to pretend like he was a Christmas tree by draping the light strand around his neck. He thought it was neat to be lit up and I allowed him his fun because the bulbs were not the kind that burn hot.


Then after he tired of that he decided he would see what was happening on the ‘other side’ of the table. He was both excited and perplexed when he met a giant bear about a million times bigger than he is. She was quite sweet and gentle so he agreed that this was a great photo opportunity.


And yes, he did actually say, “My, what big eyelashes you have.” Reminded me of Little Red Riding Hood but that was no wolf in bear’s clothing I assure you. I think it’s kind of cute the way he’s got his paw up to his mouth as if he saying “Sh-h-h-h.”


His next adventure was fortuitous. Of course that depends on how you look at it. He said he was going off to find himself a friend and when he found one he would be back.

He was enamored of this table with all kinds of bears from everywhere. And while he loved them all, he really was looking for someone about his size with whom he could share snacks and play games.


He zeroed in on these guys.


He seemed to be enamored of these two friends but they were quite different – in style, species and color even though the same artist created them. You know how that goes, don’t you? I certainly do.


Sebastian walked back and forth, back and forth. He didn’t want to hurt any feelings but choosing a new friend is serious business and only the chooser can decide. Once or twice he wondered aloud if he wouldn’t twice as happy with two friends or even three times as happy with three, but I told him we only had so much room in the car.


Once he decided, he introduced me to Katie. I think her name is really Kutie but if he wants to call her Katie, who am I to say? He kept telling her, we have loads of peanuts in the cupboard at home.


Currently, they are exploring all the cabinets and I’m fairly certain that there will be a few cookie crumbs on the counter when they are done.


They seem to be quite happy at home in the studio.


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