Gramma Builds a Puppet Theater

It came to me like a dream…a waking dream. For weeks I had, during daytime hours, pondered what to do for my grandson for Christmas morning 2019. For some reason, I thought that this decision would lay down the tracks for every other decision I would make on his behalf for his entire lifetime. (Crazy, I know.) I don’t take my place as Gramma lightly, exemplified in my willingness to put myself out there as a bumble bee.  Isn’t my grandson handsome?

My mother had such a talent for sewing that for every Christmas and birthday, there were sure to be homemade gifts arrive in the mail or delivered, personally. They were tagged and finished beautifully, “To my Grand Daughter, with Love!” I follow in impressive footsteps. 

So, it was on a morning in October, that a waking dream came to me. I sleep in the deepest darkest lowest level of the house and it’s pretty cold at times. I was curled in snug under the covers, when ‘it’ came to me in half-sleep. “I could build my grandson a puppet theater!” I imagined him as he is now, watching his Mommy and Daddy being funny and laughing behind the stage…and then, with little friends, growing up…and then making hilarious fun as an upper elementary student…and then, possibly, with his life marked by all sorts of little stories that Mommy made up…and stories that he performed for evening entertainment, he might even take the puppet theater with him, after a long and probably painful storage dilemma between his Mom and Dad and him. Yes, I conjured all of this up in the rumblings of a dark morning in October.

When I woke and got up that morning, shuffling to the kitchen to make my first cup of coffee, I said aloud, “Gramma is going to make a puppet theater!”

It began with a plan.  I scoured Amazon, Ebay, Kijiji and puppet companies the world over.  Finally, I came up with a plan that I wanted to work with, a little homemade theater that I spotted on Kijiji.  If I had an interest in driving to the city of Lacombe to pick this one up for 100.00, it would have been easily revised.

But, nah…I would create something amazing, at least I would be the one with the vision!  In terms of tools, I just don’t have what it takes.  I needed to track down Santa’s helper, and quick!

After my communications with a high school shop teacher came up empty, I went to my go-to guy, Len, a neighbour who helps me with all sorts of odd jobs when I don’t have the tools necessary.  He works independently and I like to support him in his various efforts.

I took in account Steven’s height and the fact that I wanted at least one little friend to be able to participate with him during his childhood productions and so I drew up this plan.  Now, this wee sheet that was sketched out in my day timer was not so simple as it might appear!  Lots of thought went into this, so please, readers, don’t think that this came fleetingly!

Within a week or so…Len came up with some ideas of his own.  I talked to him about a concept of design that would align itself with Steven’s birthing songs and art…something to do with ‘Under the Sea’ or ‘An Octopus’s Garden’.  Insert music here.

I was pretty darned happy when Len and James brought the puppet theater off the truck and into the studio, even though the weight of this beast certainly didn’t mean that I would be moving it around a lot.  It would have to find itself a space and it was at this stage that I first became concerned that it might never really find its way into a forever-home.

Safe in my studio, I was able to begin measuring and planning for curtains, backdrops and decoration.  I began by applying two coats of primer.

In the evenings, I was bopping in and out of shops, planning and scheming a system that would work for the draperies.  I wanted them to mimic the velvet curtains I imagined in the grand theaters.  In the end, the installation of curtains ended up being so darned challenging.  This lady became one of my friends on this mission…taking several different exchanges as I would return rods…experiment…ask for help.

In the end I settled on these velour panels…and now, to seek out someone who might hem them up for me.

I won’t go into details (is this a detail?)…but, at one point, these small bits of hardware were purchased as a bit of an experiment.  I feature them here simply because the man who helped me in this department of the big box store, Home Depot, was such an angel and was seriously the greatest guy to talk to.  He was so excited about my ‘Gramma Builds a Puppet Theater’ project, that my problem-solving ended up being a huge conversation.  I just really treasure people like him and only regret that I didn’t ask his name.

I solicited a lovely high school student, Emmanuella, to sew the draperies, under the supervision of her Fashions teacher, Fierina.  Emmanuella has excelled in this area and advanced beyond all of the projects assigned.  It was a great idea for the both of us and I really enjoyed getting to know such a conscientious and beautiful person.

Rooting through my basement storage cupboard, I located some old tins of house paint and selected a colour that would help me achieve my underwater theme.

While pursuing the painting and project, I began to search out puppets.  Late into my evenings, I would explore on-line sites and finally decided to write a story about an Eagle Walk.  Ikea is the only store to have an eagle puppet, and ironically enough, I never did get myself to the store to purchase the puppet.  One day, perhaps. The eagle, therefore, was represented by a sound effect…very very cool!

Basically, I ended up purchasing puppets that I fell in love with, after exploring so many toy shops in town.  For the sake of this post, I have spared you archives for several locations.  It was actually Scholastic, on Macleod, where I tracked down chicken and monkey in a barrel, both two of my favourites.

I found a perfect stuffie border collie at the Goodwill store and at home, washed and dried it, gutted it, inserted a glove and created our Maxman character.  Thanks, James, for exploring so many stores with me, looking for the perfect puppet collection.

I began to decorate the puppet theater, first locating a dry erase board for puppet show announcements, at the Dollarama…hmmm…or did it end up being Staples? While at the dollar store, I picked up some rolls of ribbon, thinking I could create a celebratory effect by placing some of that here and there.  I am really NO DECORATOR!  Let’s face it, the greatest problem of them all was the curtain.  It was getting close to the wire, by this point, and while really wanting to pain scene backdrops for the theater, I let go of that project, thinking that this would be an idea for later gifts.

I painted a few bits onto the outside panels and opted to leave the front of the theater plane.  Embellishments definitely made a difference!

I think it was only a short time before the actual performance when I solicited the help of friends, Angela and Nigel, to create puppet figures for Doug, Erin, Gramma and Steven.  They came to our Christmas feast, with felt puppet figures in tow…and while Christmas went remarkably long due to an unforeseen crash by young Steven and a trip to the hospital so that his forehead might be taped back together…THE SHOW DID GO ON!  But…I get ‘A HEAD’ of myself here.

The puppet theater, at completion…

It was at the pre-function on Christmas day that the screenplay came to be created in a very collaborative way and with many laughs…all directed by our writer/editor in residence, my sister-friend, Karen.  The traditional big feast happened and then, interspersed with the drive to hospital and back, the $10 gift steal that happened incorrectly this year (and did I listen to the five people who tried to tell me?….next time, don’t be so polite), under my direction, the puppet show was set, complete with eagle sound effects provided by Tyler (mind you…the timing might have been a little off) and narration delivered, confidently, by Shawn (you are such a good sport!).

A small capture of that…

Sending love to all who helped this dream happen…

Somewhere out there, there is a video from this debut, but I don’t know where it is or if I have permission to share.  I just am grateful for Christmas magic.

A Fruitcake Tradition

Why fruitcake?  A lot of people don’t even like the stuff…

To be honest, last evening, after cutting cherries (green and red) in half, following a really different and physical day, I was suffering a bit of a martyr complex that can sometimes hit women if they do too much in preparation for the Advent season and Christmas.  I say ‘women’ simply because my observations tell me that women value the traditions  and rituals of the kitchen and appear to do a lot of preparation for holiday seasons.  (I also know a gentleman who prepares hundreds of perogies, in the tradition of his mother, prior to Christmas…so, I’m not meaning to make this a story about who-does-what.)

In my family of origin, my mother did a lot of work in the kitchen and sat many hours, sewing our clothing at her sewing machine.  My father participated…for example, he told me that he remembered cutting the cherries in half. (news to me…and as a result, this is the first year that I cut them in half)   The reason for starting this blog post.

I set my alarm for 6:30 this morning.  I decided before I went to bed that I would get up early, mix up the batter and fruit and put it all together to rest in order to bake it this evening.  (I’ve got lots I want to do today).  Well, it turns out that I woke at 4:00 in the morning.  Wide awake.  I made a decision to rise and SHINE…shine, being the operative word.

I put the coffee on and let Max out in the back yard to pee.

I looked up Gordon Lightfoot on Spotify, after listening to one short album of The Tallest Man On Earth.  For some reason, I woke with the lyrics of Wherefore and Why on my mind.  I made a choice to enter into the fruitcake prep with happiness and with a sense of nostalgia.

Some things came to mind as I worked and I wanted to write them down before I get on with the day.

First of all, the smells of Christmas are really important.  Allspice. Molasses. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Mixed Peel…evergreen…mincemeat.

I remembered my family while making fruitcake.  My grandparents.  My parents.  My brothers and sister.  And through the last many years…my children.

When I opened the small carton of molasses, I remembered my Gramma Moors.  A dessert treat would be to soak up molasses with a piece of white bread.  I remember her doing this while sitting at her small kitchen table.  The table was covered with a piece of floral vinyl.  I remember her soft yellow bath robe.  I remember that her feet didn’t really touch the floor when she sat at that table.  I miss my Gramma.

My kitchen is small, by today’s standards.  I realize this.  But, I have no desire for a larger kitchen.  My dishwasher hasn’t worked for almost two years.  I wash my dishes by hand. But, as I worked in my kitchen this morning, I remembered the kitchens where my mother toiled to make turkey dinners and dozens of butter tarts and fruitcakes and, for the most part, they were small kitchens.  I liked the intimacy, this morning, of my kitchen.  I enjoyed the idea that this kitchen is in a home that I have made, along with my children, all on our own.

I haven’t got a hankering to purchase or use mandolines or food processors of any kind.  I use a knife, a glass lemon squeezer, a grater…those sorts of tools.  In our family fruitcake recipe, for a single batch, we require one lemon and one orange; zest and juice.  As I squeezed these this morning, I remembered my mother’s knuckles…her hands…doing their work at the kitchen counter.  The image was as clear as day.  She pressed so hard that I remember her knuckles being red.  Every last drop of juice was won by her efforts.

Having no bowl large enough in my kitchen, I used my roasting pan and combined ingredients there.  Mom and Dad used their turkey roaster, also.  I remembered the large batch of batter resting in the family roaster.

I had a beautiful start to my day, preparing our family fruitcake recipe.  Thanks to Dad for sending me grocery money, I will be baking these up tonight, wrapping them up with the help of my girls tomorrow evening and posting them to my family, for the holiday.  Even if my brothers and sister just open the wrap and take in the smell of brandy and fruitcake, it will be enough…to remember our shared Christmases, our history and our Mom.

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When I woke this mornin’, something inside of me told me this would be my day
I heard the morning train, I felt the wind change, too many times I’m on my way
Come on sunshine, what can you show me
Where can you take me to make me understand
The wind can shake me, brothers forsake me
The rain can touch me, but can I touch the rain

And then I saw the sunrise above the cotton sky like a candycane delight
I saw the milkman, I saw the business man, I saw the only road in sight
Then I got to thinkin’ what makes you want to go, to know the wherefore and the why

So many times now, oh lord I can’t remember if it’s september or july

Then all at once it came to me, I saw the wherefore, and you can see it if you try
It’s in the sun above, it’s in the one you love, you’ll never know the reason why

Come on sunshine, what can you show me
Where can you take me to make me understand
The wind can shake me, brothers forsake me
The rain can touch me, but can I touch the rain
So much to lose, so much to gain

When the Tree is Lit Up…

Kath's Canon, December 15, 2015 Christmas Tree Bush Eli's Painti 002

…I can’t help but think about my family.

The other day, while driving, I thought to myself, “When I get home, I have to give Mom a call and see how she’s doing.”

Mom was always so busy for months before Christmas.  She consistently made a huge commitment to creating beautiful items for the annual Mistletoe Market.  As well, she baked, cleaned, sewed, decorated and prepared for the feast of Christmas to the point, sometimes, of exhaustion.

So, out there on the roads, I was thinking…

…but it was a brief moment later and I remembered that Mom isn’t with us anymore.  Of course, the tears fell.  But, I have to say, in every other sense but the physical sense,  Mom is THAT present to me right now.  She is in the dazzle of light.  She is grasping my hand while sitting next to me on a wooden church pew, listening to Dad sing O’ Holy Night.

Mom is right here, with me.

Christmas St. Sylvestre

1973 Christmas

Peanut Christmas

Poinsettia With Grade Threes

If you had previously studied the structure of the poppy during November and did some careful observations of the petals, stems and leaves of that flower, then, drawing and painting Poinsettias is a natural follow-up.

When I visited Tammy’s grade three class, I decided to have the students do a drawing from their memory/experience, so I could determine where I wanted to direct the lesson.  We only contain so much information in our visual memories and so whether you are a child or an artist, sometimes the details of the visual stories are vague.  So, I asked the children to draw a Poinsettia.

“What is a Poinsettia?”

“A Poinsettia is a Christmas flower…bright red…we can buy them in pots at Home Depot or at the grocery store to decorate our homes and the church.”

“Oh, YEAH!”

They set to work and created very symbolic pieces that indeed, represented the flower we would be analyzing.

Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 003 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 004 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 007

Next, I pulled out a Poinsettia plant that I had borrowed from the office and did a demonstration of the structure of the center and the petal/leaf arrangement on the Poinsetta plant.  I talked about the unique nature of a plant…similar to each human person being unique from one another.

Poinsettia-inPot (1)

There is no set rule as to how many petals radiate out from the center in a first row.  Similarly, it doesn’t matter how many show in the row directly behind this first row.  In grade three terms, I tried to identify the differences between informal and formal (symmetry) balance.

“In your sketchbooks, no crossing out…begin again rather than using an eraser…draw dark on top of light to make changes.  Practice several times.”

If you feel uncomfortable about doing a drawing as an exemplar on the board, I’ve selected this Youtube video as a pretty good example of what I am going for in terms of representation and structure.

The second drawings looked something like this and were completed by the same students as above.  (I just randomly pulled a couple of visual journals out of their desks at the end of the activity.

Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 008 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 005 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 002

Moving into Composition, I handed out 18 x 24 construction paper in a complementary colour.  I chose purple for our journey of Advent.  As I always do, I also handed out a piece of white chalk to each student for the sake of working out their composition.

“To make your art work dynamic and exciting, boys and girls, place your center OFF CENTER.  You may also wish to have a vertical format or horizontal format.  The choice is up to you.  Look!  When you draw with chalk, you can fade out lines that you don’t like.  It doesn’t matter.  You will be painting over the lines that you want to keep.”

I then proceeded to demonstrate how to use the paint center and how to share the paint with a partner.  I showed them how to use a place mat and slide it along the edges and how to care for their brushes by stroking the paint, rather than scrubbing the paint.  Some where along the line, I had the painters stop (brushes in your buckets) in order to show them that the flat brushes could make wide marks and thin marks.  For some reason, they broke out into wild applause when I turned my brush sideways and painted a long thin line.  That actually surprised me.

For the sake of expediency, I had the children limit themselves to one outline colour from the warm palette for their Poinsettia petals and one from the green palette for their leaves.  If the students are accustomed to using a paint center, they can travel back and forth, trading colours frequently.  Here are the works, outlined and ready for fill ins.

Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 016 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 015 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 014 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 013 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 012 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 011 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 010 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 009

The children’s individual styles surface quickly and I like that!  A lot.

They had a wee break for a music class and returned a half hour later, ready for the quick and immediate activity of filling in the rest of their background spaces.  I really enjoyed working with these guys and I appreciated the fantastic support of young student teacher, Shelby.  Thanks so much for your help!

And, thank you, Tammy, for your class!

Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 023 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 022 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 021 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 020 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 019 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 018

This morning, I lit a candle.

The day has been filled with Christmas light.

DSC_1791I got up early this morning…Max and I did a before-the-sun-came-up walk.  On the circle, Christmas lights on houses and in trees still dazzled the snow-sprinkled morning.  A cold bite to the air, I pulled my hood up and we made our way into day, leaving our footprints behind, the first in fresh snow.

The magic continued.  As is usual, it was possible to hear one good classical tune on CKUA on my drive to the church, where upon my entrance, I was greeted by the familiar voices and smiles of old friends.  After a short morning prayer, I decided to light a candle.  It is the feast day of the Holy Family and I couldn’t stop thinking about my family…Dad, Mom…my brothers and sister and my children.  Mom would have me light that candle and say a prayer and acknowledge, with gratitude, the blessings of this season and my life, and so I did.

Social media enjoys its fair share of cynicism about God, Jesus and ‘religion’.  While somewhat accepting of ‘spirituality’ and spewing a constant blast of Rumi quotes, many people generally dismiss the power of belief and embrace the power of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘now’, ‘manifestation’, ‘selfie’, and ‘self-gratification’ instead.  I’m not here to knock all of that and all of them, but I’m here to proclaim just how powerful faith is for me.  I felt as though when I lit that candle, a tidal wave of love spilled over me.  I experienced ‘God-be-with-you’ in the truest sense.  I am grateful for the grace and power of the divine within me.

I’m a big one for family history, studying my maternal and paternal lineages intensely for the past five years. The Liturgy of the Word was filled with family history today…stories of hope and amazement.

The Mass was filled with blessings of every kind. Deacon Greg shared a heartfelt homily that touched me deeply.  Sometimes personal narratives just have a way of reaching into the soul and healing something.  Greg’s stories of faith, family, struggle and joy were so meaningful and so relevant.  I cherish my family deeply and I’m so grateful for their love and support always.  Each member of my family, whether they be in Lethbridge, Raymond, Magrath, Ottawa, Halifax, Comox or Calgary, is light to me.

During Offertory, we sang the Little Drummer Boy.  Today’s version, with some percussion, sent chills up my spine because I felt as though Mom was sitting right beside me.  This carol was always her favourite and my spirit lit up at the first tap of the drum.

Three baptisms…Isaac, Ethan and Noelle.  What’s not to absolutely love about baptisms?  The children from the congregation gathered, wearing their new Christmas outfits, excited to celebrate in the welcoming of three new infants into our community.  Ethan and Noelle appeared to be twins, looking so fragile and sleeping so soundly.  Father Cristino gently blessed their small round heads with water and there was barely a peep from either of the wee angels.  Isaac was fully immersed and his back stiffened at contact with the water, when all at the same time, he let out a cry.  Wrapped up in a cozy blanket, Daddy held him close and he was quickly consoled.  The congregation was invited to applaud our welcome and our excitement for this beautiful event.  That small candle continued to light up my heart.

The Consecration at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist left me gobsmacked.  My readers might have to look up the term in their urban dictionaries.  I just could not find a term that would suit this moment better.  Gobsmacked, it is!

This day has been a very special day for me because of its beginning.  The snow continues to flutter gently to the ground.  My daughter came by and shared a meal of beef barley soup.  We snuggled.  Max played whizzo outside and flew through the snow…again.  The light has long since left the sky.  The Christmas tree lights are once again plugged in.  While the sky is very dark, it feels as though I am lit up.  I am grateful.  I am happy.

 

Mom and Dad…Still Giving

I received a parcel four years ago from Mom and Dad.  It may have been the last year that Mom participated in shopping for Christmas for me before the Alzheimer’s disease stole so much from her.  I put it on a shelf…in a box…thinking that I wouldn’t ever replace a perfectly good and functioning coffee machine.  I owned my white ‘number’ since my #2 was born in 1986.  The past three weeks, I’ve been sticking doubled paper towel underneath my coffee maker so that the water that was leaking would stop spilling over my counter.

Today held the morning of magic; I went down to my basement storage area and brought out my NEW coffee maker.  In the storage room, I was squealing.   And then I went upstairs, read all of the safety concerns, set the bright blue digital numbers to the proper time and then made my first cups of coffee.  What a blessing!  The ‘whitish’ coffee maker is done…it served its years well and I pride myself that I didn’t toss it before its time had passed.

Rarely will I share BEFORE and AFTER shots…but here, it just seems a part of the celebration!

Thanks to the generous hearts of Mom and Dad!

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

 

When people go,
when people leave,
make some people cry,
make some people drink.

When people go,
when people leave,
it’s the saddest thing.

When people go,
is it like they’re asleep?
lost to the world,
in the longest dream.

Like when boats at sea,
never come back,
is it like that?

I think it’s going to be,
another long night,
i think it’s going to be,
another long ride.

When people go,
when people leave,
make some people cry,
make some people drink.

When people go,
when people leave,
it’s the saddest thing.

Dizzy in the head,
broke in the heart,
there’s no business,
it’s all art.

Until it’s far behind,
and it all comes back,
when people go it’s so sad, so sad, so sad,
so sad, so sad, so sad.

And goodnight,
and go home,
and there is nothing more to see,
just a song,
in a box,
some need to cry,
and please,
find a friend,
have a drink,
and go home,
taking two,
empty hearts,
go to bed and,
go to bed and.

Well goodnight,
go home,
there is nothing more to see,
my friend,
have a drink,
go to bed,
and tell them,
that you need them,
hold them hold them tight,

Goodnight,
go home,
there is nothing more to see.

Goodnight,
go home,
there is nothing more to see.

Goodnight,
go home,
there is nothing more to see.

I think it’s going to be a long long night.

Goodnight,
go home,
there is nothing more.

Goodnight,
go home,
there is nothing more to see.

Go home.

Driving North to Airdrie

The sky was blue and the roads, clear.

I have taken a lovely and reflective time away from blogging…enjoying the warmth of the indoors contrasted with the bitter chill of winter outdoors.  I’ve eaten a lot of really good food, as you all have (I pray you all have) and shared some drinks with friends and family.  Nothing could be better than Christmas afternoon and evening with all three of my children and their partners. LOVE!

I’ve plugged in the outdoor lights and nativity each evening around four and unplugged them around eleven, before I have gone to my room to read.  I finished up Guy Vanderhaeghe’s short story collection, Man Descending and have been pouring through Wally Lamb’s The Hour I First Believed.  It’s been a long time since I’ve read Wally Lamb and am connected again with his awesome syntax.  He is a fine writer.  As far as the content, of course the topic resonates with me after all of the recent news of Newtown.

Sooo…good food, good music, good drink and good reads.

One of my really beautiful times came on Boxing Day, with my almost-traditional drive north for clam chowder at Glo’s.  Being in her home is like being in a fantasy world…everything is ordered and remarkably beautiful.  She has such an aesthetic, it makes a person feel peaceful, just stepping into her home.  Sipping on cranberry and orange on ice and sharing in finger foods, I like catching up about our children…sharing in our year’s experiences and reforging our long-time friendship.  Thank you, Glo!

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Christmas Magic

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The Magi by William Butler Yeats 1916

Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye,
In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky
With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied,
The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.

Al Gerritsen Nativity

In the autumn, I wrote a wee bit about having opportunity to visit Al Gerritsen’s workshop.  At that time, I purchased my indoor nativity figures, sculpture that I will display and  treasure every year during Advent.  Last week I set them out on the family room book shelf, placed carefully on two meters of violet satin.

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During the same week, a couple of ‘angels’ offered an outdoor nativity scene, fashioned by the same artist…for anyone willing to transport it on their own.  I received the information on this through two of my dearest angels, Pat and Mary.  Generously, my son agreed to come with me across the city, to pick it up.  With Fred’s advise and piece of rope, we soon had the wooden figures stabilized in the bulging van.  It had felt to be an epic journey, both ways, because it  took place during rush hour traffic and on an unfamiliar route.  Thanks to the patience of my son, we unloaded the creche figures next to the studio some time near seven thirty.

Today, my neighbour, Len, came over and we set the nativity up in close proximity to the tree and the bird feeder.  It was a very enjoyable time, sorting out the pieces and making certain that the elements were secure.  When I came home from the off leash park, I found that Len had repaired the electrical cord and updated the lights that are mounted above Mary, Joseph and the little child, Jesus.  I’m looking forward to seeing the piece tonight, when all is dark.

I am in gratitude of Al Gerritsen for these pieces that already have a history, having been painted in 1994, and for the people who helped me to access them.  It gives me pleasure to display such a powerful nativity here on our neighbourhood circle.

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2012 Fruit Cakes

My mother and father, for years, would prepare fruit cake and send it off in parcels to each of us.  While I was always grateful for the gifts and candy packed up in the Christmas parcel, it was especially the fruitcake that ‘smacked’ of family and made me feel close to home.  So…my daughter and I have taken up the tradition, using Mom’s recipe as best we can. We cranked up the Rita MacNeil music and sharing company for three days, made the magic of Christmas happen once again.  Here are only a few archives of this year’s preparations because I forgot to bring the camera along for the mixing in of the mega-ingredients!

Cheese Cloth for Brandy Wrap

Minis for Gift-Giving

BRANDY!

Cakes

Wrapped and Ready for the Post