Christmas ruminations

Tomorrow is December 1rst.  I don’t really like to do much about Christmas before December arrives.  Sure, I send out and request Christmas wish lists for folks that require mail service to give and receive gifts.  I start amassing stocking stuffers during my weekly grocery shop.  But I refuse to put up decorations.  (I do let hubby put outdoor lights up because it is easier in snowless November than in the waist deep snow of December).  If the radio starts with the Christmas tunes I turn the station.  One of my favorite stations has been playing only Christmas tunes since November 1 (grumble grumble!)

But tomorrow I will start thinking in earnest.  I have to pick a day to put up the tree.

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This photo is several years old but I still have that shirt. I wear it every time I put up a tree…including at work. I secretly love the Grinch.

It is best to do that before the decorating insanity starts at work.  In my old job, I had to help stand 7 trees-one was close to 20 feet tall.  I had decorate 3-4.  By the time I got to mine I had no desire left!  (Damn lights).  untitled

This year, in my new job, it seems I only have to stand 3 and decorate 1.  And none of them are over 6 feet.  Sweet.

I also have to get my butt in gear for the shopping.  We have no children in our clan now so some of the fun has gone out of it.  And we have all reached the state of life where we just run out and buy the little things we need and want so there is nothing to put on our lists except big-ticket items that no one person would reasonably buy for another.  So we are moving towards the gift card option.  This gives the person the option to hoard cards from one store to “save up” for something they want/need or hold onto several different store cards until they think of something they want or need.  Shopping will be a snap…just stand in front of a wall of cards and start selecting.  img_6568The Santa in me wants to have at least one or two well thought out gifts that the person may like but not think of buying themselves.  But lots of times it is simply walking by something in a store or craft sale and having an item cause me to stop and think of someone.  I can tell you this because my brother and sister-in-law don’t read my blog…They have two wiener dogs,  Jenny and Leonard.  Jenny is brown and Leonard is black.  I was walking in the store and I saw these.img_20161130_081036236.jpg

And they dance!

Completely useless but funny!

An added joy this year is my older boy will be home for Christmas.  He missed the last three.  The first year he was in Australia.  I found a tree ornament that year of a kangaroo.  I cried when I hung it on the tree.  The next two years he was in Germany and I cried when I hung the stupid kangaroo on the tree.  I also cried (messy, need to leave the room cried) every time I heard “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “Blue Christmas”. Really inconvenient in stores and a bit scary in the car.  No crying this year!

Wishing you all Merry Christmas prep!

Don’t Feed the bears

I’ve been 2 months in my new job now.  If ever there was a sign from God that I had made a good move this is it.  Shortly after my arrival, I learned that my new work space was celebrating 100 years as a hospital (the land had held a hunting lodge, hotel and mansion in various stages of its history).  It became a hospital during the first world war and is now a hybrid facility with a personal care home, rehab hospital, day hospital and some medical things like labs and x-ray facilities.   In celebration, the Costume Museum of Canada was invited to put on its Heritage Fashion Review, which has models wearing near perfect replicas of items in the collection.  (It was like God was saying “You fit here.  You belong here.”)

In spite of volunteering with the Museum for years, I haven’t actually seen the show yet.  Lucky me!  As part of my job, I had to take down, and sit with, some of the residents that are living in the personal care home section so that they could see the show.  Basically, I got paid to see a show I’ve wanted to see for years!

In honor of the show, staff were encouraged to dress up in their favorite decade from the last 100 years.  For me that would have to be the years closest to the Victorian era, obviously. But, I don’t have anything from 1916…closest I have is my 1901 widows weeds.  But, being a middle aged woman in war time, it wouldn’t be outside the realms of possibility that during a time of mourning, I pulled out my widows weeds and in the interest of frugality and war time shortages I wore it in spite of it being 15 years out of date.

The other reason it is perfect is because of the sign over the gift shop where I work.img_20160930_153303099_hdr

The gift shop is called the Dancing Bear gift shop.  I can’t find proof for this but I believe the photograph is connected to the location of my work space.  Perhaps when it was a hotel?  In addition to the gift shop there is a bar called Chad’s Bar.  It is an actual pub for the patients and residents in the building.  (The name Chad is also connected to the history of the land, I believe)  And next to the entrance to the bar is a stuffed bear.

This was my photo op!img_20160930_153444423

All in all, a good day!

 

Ah, life

I wish I could say my life is solely what I write here but, alas, it is not.  In between my volunteer work at the museum, family parties, sewing, knitting,collecting cabinet cards and romping around in pretty dresses, there is the rest of my life and it can get in the way of “blog life”.  I wonder how many bloggers wish that blog life was the only life they have?  Most of us put a pleasant shine on it.  The only negative is a little self depreciation, “oh, look how I screwed that sleeve up….”

But in reality there is drama that I don’t bore you with.  There are stresses that need dealing with, changes that I’m opting to make and changes that are foisted upon me, and there is work.  So sometimes there is no time or inner oomph to crank out another post (that 14 people will read).

I try to have a post go up Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with pictures to break up the print and help you figure out if you actually want to read the print.  If I miss a day, it is likely due to real life.   Forgive me?

Wanted dead or alive

A few weeks ago, we had a Western themed party at the nursing home.  We enjoy photo ops so I came up with this one.photo

To create this poster board master piece, I free-handed the hat, head, hair and shoulders in pencil.  It is plainly obvious that I free-handed the lettering as well.  Then I painted it all in.

The parts I am most proud of is the torn edges and the bullet holes.  To make the torn edges, I simply tore the edges, being careful that there were more layers peeled off than actual chunks taken out.  Then I did the painting.  The yellow was first.  I added water to yellow paint and created a wash.  I covered that whole poster board in it.  Once dry, I took undiluted yellow paint and roughly went over the torn part to give it “depth”.

The bullet holes are more serendipity than skill.  I happened to drip black paint while doing the lettering.  When I tried to wipe it up, it smeared.  Then I tried to touch that up with more yellow paint.  And it looked terrible.  Then inspiration struck!  If I put more black paint in the center and then brush it while it was still wet, I’d create sunburst effect that looked like bullet holes (those holes are near the R in REWARD).  I liked it and so I created the others for balance.

My Dad was an artist.  I can toss around those artsy-fartsy words (wash, depth, balance) with some proficiency. Thanks Dad!

Stevie behave, part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, Stevie the parrot bit me.  That evening, I was volunteering at the Costume Museum of Canada and was struck by a theme that was likely enhanced by my snit with the buzzard.

1950's hat from the Costume Museum of Canada

1950’s hat from the Costume Museum of Canada

I added the face for perspective.

Left side of hat.

Left side of hat.

Back of the hat.

Back of the hat.

Right side of the hat.

Right side of the hat.

Top of the hat.

Top of the hat.

This next one is the same color as devil bird.

Inside of a 1950's hat.

Inside of a 1950’s hat.

Left side.

Left side.

Right side.

Right side.

Top.

Top.

This next one is ugly in my opinion.  Probably looks better on the birds.

Front of a 1930's hat.

Front of a 1930’s hat.

Left side

Left side

Back

Back

Right side.

Right side.

 

Top.

Top.

I like this next one better.

Front of a 1915 hat.

Front of a 1915 hat.

Back view.

Back view.

Top view.

Top view.

Hope you enjoyed.