MUSICA 🎵 You know how when you are going about your daily life, perhaps living in a rabbit hole, but perfectly fine with it ~ and you think that although you are extremely happy doing your little thing, probably if you told someone about it you would be forced to watch their eyes slowly roll back in their heads as they prepared to die from boredom? Well, that’s why I haven’t written. You deserve better. But then I miss you, so here I am, ready to bore you to pieces ANYWAY. Because I’m sure what most of you would like to hear about is Christmas, food and decorating, snow and all the wonderful things of the season. And don’t get me wrong, in regards to these things, my heart is in the right place ~ and although snow is still a distant memory, our tree is pure heaven . . .
. . . I just love it. As I run back and forth through the house, from the tea kettle to my studio, I pass right by it. There it is, almost perfect this year, smelling piney, twinkling and bringing cheer to the person rushing past it to get back to what makes her so very boring and so very happy. BTW, note little red button on the floor under the tree? One of the best inventions of the 20th century. You plug your Christmas lights into it, plug it into the wall, and step on the button to turn the tree on and off. Perfect when you come home from a party late at night and want nothing to do with crawling around on the floor to unplug the lights. Step and boom, and off to bed. So satisfying. We’ve had ours for years ~ love it every year . . . I found one HERE in case you want one too.
And here’s that party we came home late from. See? I’m not THAT boring. I even made a Gingerbread Tree Cake yesterday to take to this party last night. I took this photo of our hostess Jaime and her beautiful table . . . it was a wonderful dinner with all our best friends and the most amazing food: Jaime made Julia Child’s Coquilles St. Jacques from The Art of French Cooking, with stuffed tomatoes, a perfect little salad and a side of some sort of grain I think might have been quinoa (I didn’t have my glasses on!). Elegant, light and delicious. We had the gingerbread cake with wine soaked pears and whipped cream for dessert. While we ate, we went around the table of old friends bathed in candlelight and each person told a favorite Christmas or Hanukkah memory, and all we did is toast each other and laugh.
Speaking of memories: Yesterday I got a Christmas box from my youngest sister Shelly. I opened it this morning and inside was a doll I made for her in 1973 when she was around 11. What a surprise! She was letting it come for a visit with me! I’d forgotten I even made it. Shelly called it her “Kelly Doll” and I laughed to read what she wrote in the letter that came with it, “Sorry Kelly is so dirty but she hasn’t had a bath in 43 years.”
I had to turn her over and examine her, loving her striped socks and rick-rack apron . . . and then I remembered…
That I’d embroidered on her back, and there it was … a little worse for wear, but still readable. I was happy to give this to her in the first place, but even happier that I did it now! I made a doll that is now 43 years old. How can that BE?
Kelly came from a really easy-to-make Raggedy Ann McCalls pattern. All Raggedy Ann dolls have a heart on their chests because of the candy heart the author gave her in his original stories.So I embroidered a heart on Shelly’s doll.
Shelly’s doll started me on a doll-making jag, you could seemingly do anything with this pattern, just change the clothes, the face, the hair color and you could even match the child you were giving it to . . . my ex mother-in-law brought me a tiny dress from Thailand that I couldn’t get even get a toe into, it was so small. But the fabric was beautiful and I wanted to use it for something so I took it apart and made my Asian Annie, complete with nail polish and black satin pants, and yes, a heart on her chest too. I still have her. I also made another doll wearing a 1950s outfit, with a poodle skirt and blonde hair, but she went off to the child of one of my friends and ended up being loved to shreds.
This was also in the box Shelly sent . . . a quilt I made for my mom the same year I made Shell’s doll.
There was no rhyme nor reason to the design for this quilt . . . I was self taught, which meant I didn’t know what I was doing and just hooked the pieces together using lots of different embroidery stitches.
Shelly sent me the quilt because a couple of weeks ago my mom did some downsizing and moved into a place where she would have more care. We wanted the move to be easy for her, and what could have been a sad event turned out to be a true blessing because she was getting a little bit cut off from people where she used to live. Now all she has to do is walk out her door, and voila, there are lectures, and exercise classes, and delicious meals, and a great big Christmas tree, and carolers singing songs she knows all the words to and she is much happier, and so are we, her children. She has gone to exercise class every day since she moved in! SO happy! But this quilt, that has been on the back of her sofa for the last 42 years, has returned to me, for better or for worse. I am pleased to have it, but will miss seeing it in her old house.
So this morning has been a lovely little walk down memory lane. Just what I love at Christmas time.
Despite this, visions of sugar plums are really not what dances through my head, and although I DO have my kerchief and Joe DOES have his cap, we have NOT settled down to a long winter’s nap! No,I LEAP from my bed, my feet all a’clatter, before any creatures begin stirring and say, “What’s a’matter?” I speak not a word but RUN to my paintbrush and pen and then fall down, down, down into the rabbit hole again (mixing my metaphors and fairy tales the entire way) where I live, deeply connected and madly in love, to be honest, with the making, writing, and painting of my new book. It wins for my most favorite project ever (but I probably say that with all of them). Some days I jump up and say YESsss! Out loud, because I remembered to include the right quote, or wisp of girlfriend conversation that I know you probably had with your own girlfriends, happy because the watercolor of the girl being blown down the road by the wind actually looks like a girl being blown down the road by the wind! I can’t wait to show you. And because I am so into it is why my life looks boring and repetitive like Groundhog Day to the outside observer because this is all I really do and is why I haven’t written to say hi. I don’t think you will be mad at me anymore when you see this book, I really don’t. I still take time outs to read Christmas cards, bake a cake, to open a box and fall all over an old doll or quilt, but then, I’m done. Back to studio. On the phone, talking to mom, talking to dad, while painting. Drinking tea and stopping sometimes to play with Jack or hug Girl or go for a walk with Joe.
Here we are. Gumby people out on the road in long afternoon shadows. We still haven’t had any snow. I prayed for a long fall and those prayers were answered but nothing really matters because my heart is in the book, even when out here, in my favorite place on earth. I hope to have it to the printer by the end of January. And then Because next year? We sail to England! And in case you haven’t heard, I will be blogging the trip, so we’re bringing you all with us! But before we sail away, we’ll be visiting 20 American cities, doing 20 book signings. Click on EVENTS at the top of this page ~ next week, Kellee will start putting up a few of our confirmed dates so far. I’ll just say now: Yes Cedar Rapids, Iowa,✔️ and Yes, Cincinnati Ohio ✔️, and Yes, St. Charles, MO.✔️ We are coming! Next May! Hope to see some of you there! Don’t worry, that’s not the whole tour. Our 30th Anniversary 2016 Book Tour has just begun!
I’m still watching progress of The Fairy Tale Girl, in the only way I can, by the ratings on Amazon, and I’m thrilled to tell you that we have a 5.0 rating with 113 reviews so far for Fairy Tale Girl!!! Can you believe it? ♥ And A Fine Romance? It’s got 473 reviews and a rating of 4.9, which I could not ask for more! These little books survive almost completely because of your word of mouth ~ makes me so happy.♥ Thank you! You are the best!
Here we are, a winter with no snow (so far), and in a few days it will be time for the shortest day of the year, and then, the days begin to grow longer and Downton will start and life will be complete. Can. Not. Wait.
So back I go to paint some more, this was a time out for my little message of love to you all. 😘 I hope you are having a boring holiday season too. Makes life so nice. No hectiosity to deal with, right? All is calm, all is bright. Oops, I almost forgot, you probably would like a picture of the children right?
Always on guard. Never know when or where the attack might come from. Siempre Listo. Motto #1
It gets very tiring standing guard all the time. Trust but verify is their #2 motto.
Time out to apply for the job of cat model.
Am I cute enough? Is my tummy soft enough looking? Do I light your fire? Oh yeah, I know I do.😻