Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

I think I said before that a Summery Southern Hemisphere Christmas just isn't suited to red and green.  This year I am choosing a pink and yellow theme.  I've got pink roses and white lilies, yellow gift bags, and pink and yellow crackers.  We do have our little fake tree which is green, but most of the decorations are candy colored.

About ten days ago, I finally started to make preparations for Christmas.  We have been so bogged down in house problems that I almost thought we wouldn't have Christmas this year.  Just lately though, I let that go and accepted that we are staying put in our temporary city apartment through early January.

Being in the city has its advantages when it comes to shopping, so I could get a few ideas and pick up a few things almost every time I left the building.  One thing I did miss out on though is an Advent Calendar.  I usually get a chocolate one for the girls to help count the days and get excited for Christmas.  This year, I was late buying one and by December 8th, they were sold out of every store.

Funnily enough, not having it has made it difficult to keep track of how many days we have left.  There was a guy on the corner right near here who was hawking (here they call it sprooking - I'm not sure how to spell it and I don't care because it is a horrible word and a horrible activity).  He would talk into a portable mike and speaker "come on in ladies, only 6 days left till Christmas, we have designer shirts for only $39....." on and on.  So anyway, I knew how many days were left if I went by there when he was in action.  It is hard to sense Christmas coming on without the normal clues: snow, dark afternoons, candles and fires twinkling.

It is more like a party that everyone in the city is having on the same day.  In a way, when you think of it that way, it's kind of fun.  I don't know what every one else does, if they have traditions or not, but I want to have historic consistency so we can look back over the years at the familiar threads. I know that a lot of Aussies do have BBQs and swim in their pools, and I guess they have presents.  Like most things here, on the surface, they seem like a slightly different version of what we are used to in the US.

The things that we always do are: have Bangers and Mash on Christmas Eve,  I make the girls PJs and they open them and wear them.  I make stollen bread on Christmas morning and we have it with eggs and bacon and orange juice (the sausages and the bacon are veggie for the girls and meat for the boys). We visit friends or family in the afternoon but always stay close to home and just chill most of the time with the 4 of us.

decorating the sylvanians for the nativity scene.  Are they 6 and 10 years old?

It was Hannukah first, and we used birthday candles for want of anything better.

Noah and Valerie having fun cleaning up on Christmas Eve.

My camera was stuck on a wrong setting so all the photos look like Instagram.

Christmas dinner in pink and yellow.  

We did most of that this year with a few changes.  For the first time EVER, I am not giving them pyjamas.  I didn't have a machine and really didn't have the planning or forethought to manage any handmade gifts. This is a little bit sad, but we will get through it.  The girls did not get up at 6 a.m., and we won't be going carolling in the snow.  Mostly, the difference is that even though we are together as a family, we are a different family.  We have one teenager and one adult child.  David and I are older too, and we are in different phases of our lives.  Thankfully, we are all happy and healthy.

We have our nephew Noah here from California! and we had a few friends over for lunch and games (yay Apples to Apples).  It rained all day which made it more cozy and a lovely day all together.

This year has been full of changes - some small and some big.  It sounds corny, but it has been about letting go and moving on from some things and trying to hang on to others.  Hanging on to friendships, and family connections, and traditions.

Merry Christmas!  To everyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas, have a relaxing break.  Enjoy the winter or summer.  Peace Out! XO

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Monday Meditation

this was taken out the hotel window at noon on the official 3rd day of summer
Today is the first day that I have been able to just sit and relax and not worry about getting something done.  (I can't do any house hunting because we have paid for a month at yet another temporary apartment where we will be moving next Saturday.  We decided to secure something so we won't be homeless or moving at Christmas and New Year ).  I finished my Fabric Design portfolio/application and got it in on time.  I finished my one year basic stitching course at the Embroiderers' Guild and turned in my folder and final projects on time even though I wasn't sure I would be able to with all the crazy house stuff that has been distracting me.
watercolour design for fabric

design for silkscreen t-shirt print

design for screen print fabric - sorry the photo is terrible.  the actual color is  grey-green on white

some of my embroidery work.  the other photos are on my computer at the house.

my pulled thread final project yellow and green on white linen with a teal coloured fabric under layer.

I was proud of myself for getting it done but I don't really feel a sense of accomplishment.  I don't feel happy about it.  Maybe that will come later or maybe not.  There is a little bit of relief but also a feeling of loss that the thing is over and ended in a small way.  Obviously, I will still do needlework, and my fabric printing may actually be just taking off if I get into that program, but the push to complete the tasks and all the nervousness that goes with it, is over.
I realize, looking back over my life, that there have been so many things that I have started and either never fully applied myself to, or just plain quit.  I always thought that it was the anxiety of not doing well enough, of failing, that caused me to hold back.  But I think maybe there is also a fear that success might feel empty and leave me with a "what now" dilemma.  I don't want to sound too dramatic because thinking about this is not devastating in any way.  It just makes me think that I have to work on enjoying the process, and also have a plan for whatever next step I may want to take.

Right now, my next step is to sit by myself and enjoy the quiet, foggy day.  I am going to make myself some tea, listen to the drone of the air conditioning, and stare at the barely visible boats drifting in and out of the harbour.  Then I think I will look for a pattern on Ravelry to make myself a crocheted summer cloche.  I had one when I was about 10 years old made by my amazing Aunt Earline.  It was white with strawberries on it.  It was a very tight single crochet made of cotton yarn.  I loved it and would wear it now if I still had it.  That is what I have in mind for this project.  I got some beige yarn and a little bit of teal to make a stripe or some contrast.  hopefully I will have time over December to make it, then I can still have time to wear it to the beach and whenever it is sunny.