Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas decorations

A Merry Christmas to all my readers!

It is Boxing Day today - a day when I traditionally do nothing other than deal with the turkey carcass.
We had storms before Christmas and more are due tonight and tomorrow but today dawned bright and sunny and I managed to easily persuade my husband to accompany me for a walk.  We went up to the Caledonian Canal and had a gentle stroll along the tow-path past the Clachnaharry Locks and out to the sea lock then back along the other side to the Muirtown Basin.  At this time of year the sun is so low in the sky that there is little warmth in it and although the breeze was quite gentle, there was a wintry bight to it suggesting that the forecast snow is not far away.

Once home, I set to work carving the remaining meat off the turkey and making a rich stock from the carcass.  We should have plenty of nourishing soup to see us through the rest of winter.

Then I sat with my feet up for the afternoon and finished reading my book - The Physician by Noah Gordon.  I had read it before - a big fat paperback, but this time I was reading it on my Kindle.  There is something very comforting about re-reading a good book.  When you know what happens, you perhaps take more time to absorb the fine detail rather than rushing.  I enjoyed it every bit as much in electronic format and was interested to read that it has been made into a film.  A bit of research on the internet seems to suggest it is due for imminent release, but I am not a great cinema fan, so perhaps I will wait till it is available on DVD.

I recently got a new camera and thought I would try it out on my Christmas decorations.  This year, with Christmas Day being mid-week, putting up the decorations was quite a leisurely affair.  I started on Saturday by going out and collecting bits of greenery and branches. 
The first thing I decorated was the front door.  I made a simple wreath by twisting some lengths of rowan twigs together and securing pieces of fir, holly and ivy and then adding a few highlights such as some small apples that were still on our little apple tree.  There were too small to eat but look pretty in the wreath.

My husband set about putting up lights in the garden.  At the front of the house these are quite understated - just a strand of little blue fairy lights spread through an evergreen bush that grows below the living room window.  But at the back of the house............. it's something of a winter wonderland!  Lights have sprung up around the sheds and the garden pond and I think it might be bright enough to be seen from space!

Inside is my domain.  I started with the Christmas tree.  We don't have much space so it is just a small fir tree on top of a small chest of drawers in our hallway.  I decorated it with a combination of my Shetland Angels and Tartan and Celtic Hearts, and nestled at the base of the tree is our Christmas crib.  This is a hand-carved olivewood set that Len brought back from a visit to the Holy Land many years ago.

In the living room I took down a couple of paintings from the wall and in their place I fixed a few rowan twigs tied onto the picture hooks to hold them in place.  These twigs are decorated very simply with a couple of strings of lights - one set is made of lovely rattan globes and the other is tiny LEDs set in a string of little gold leaves.  I also twisted trailing ivy through the twigs and the only ornaments are various gold
coloured glass baubles of varying sizes that I have collected over the years.  The remaining gold baubles were tied into 5 bundles and each group hung from one arm of a little chandalier, with my big gold ball in the middle.  It's a simple thing to do, but very effective.

I made up a couple of arrangements of greenery - one for the mantlepiece and one for the top of a bookcase, which I surrounded with a collection of red glass baubles. 
The only other Christmas thing in this room is a basket in the hearth (one I made myself several months ago at a class) that I filled with various gold coloured hand painted eggs.  These are real eggshells that I have blown and then decorated over the years and range in size from quails eggs to ostritch eggs.

Our dining room is tiny - just big enough for a table with a maximum of 8 people round it.  There is a limit to what one can do in so small a room, but as this is where the feasting happens, it has to get "the treatment".  We stretched clear nylon fishing line across one wall between two door frames, held in place with small panel pins, these lines support all the many Christmas cards that our friends and relatives have kindly sent.  It makes for a very colourful display.

On top of the wall cupboards that hold our everyday crockery there is a space of just a few inches.  It does nothing more than gather dust for 50 weeks of the year, but it is just big enough to squeeze in a couple of trays with blocks of oasis.  So I have filled the space with greenery - and another set of lights!

Above the table we have a light fitting that has 6 arms.  I made another wreath for this with branches of greenery and tied this in place with ties that also held bunches of decorated eggs - this time in different shades of red.  It all looks very festive - we just have to watch our heads if we reach across the table!

After Church yesterday we had a lovely family celebration yesterday with our daughter, son-in-law and two teenage granddaughters - great company, good food, in a lovely setting and a relaxed atmosphere.    Today was a beautiful day - very relaxed, and all is set for the remaining ten days of Christmas to be equally enjoyable.  I hope all those reading this post are also enjoying a merry Christmas.

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