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Beauty as Solstice and Christmas Approach

I think that not having a frenetic Thanksgiving has brought out my creative side. The weather has been gentle and lovely with a couple of cold nights which encourages color on the Woods dwarf nandina in the front yard. I stumbled on a wreath making video which inspired me to give it a try. Two important takeaways from the Royal Florist video: 1) continuously wrap florist wire tightly around the greens and the wreath form 2) place the larger greens facing outward so you don't close the wreath hole. My wreath isn't perfect, but this technique helped me take a small wreath up to a medium sized wreath by focusing outward. I used nandina branches, bay leave sprigs and a recently fallen pine bough for the greenery, all from the yard. The bow is one that I've used the last few years on store bought Christmas fir wreaths. The berry branches are decorations from years gone by. I even had some thin wire on hand that I used to secure the greens. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it.

Most years we decorate for the holidays a little later. Neighbors' decorations motivated me to start the wreath and window candles. This year, I finally ordered matching remote controlled window candles.

They are LED with a great flickering candle mode, but I don't like the cold white light they emit. Thanks to a clever person's advice on an Amazon review they now have a soft yellow/orange glow. He used Crayola orange markers to change the color of the light. Serendipity! My sister called from Harris Teeter to let me know that they had mini-poinsettias. I asked her to pick up a box of Crayola markers for me. Even better they had a washable version. So we proceeded to add streaks of yellow and orange to the candle "flames". It worked great, but it's not recommended for your dining room table. The streaking looks amateurish, but they are perfect for a window candle.

Ian has painted the upstairs bathroom in Sherwin Williams Dove White. (I was ready to lose the blue after twelve years.) We ordered a new bathroom mirror from Ballard Designs on a Black Friday deal. When it arrived, we felt that the color darkened the bathroom too much. I had hoped for a spa green, but it was olive green. With nothing to lose since it is non-returnable, we gave it an old world effect with light sporadic strokes of Sherwin Williams 'Dewy'. We followed the direction of the wood grain when applying the paint and scrubbed any areas that were too opaque with a kitchen sponge. I think it worked out just fine. The closeup photo does a better job of showing the effect. The camera exaggerates the lighter color. It is softer to the eye in real life.

In late autumn the giant pin oak tree across the street looses its leaves and the living room is flooded with sunlight. As a result, I happened to catch the most beautiful rainbow effect on the Sabino glass butterfly. I'm trying to tune into the silver lining of a quieter holiday season this year.

The light was gorgeous on Nov. 28th. Even the rising moon had a yellow glow.

Danger in the garden. I can't tell if this is a Red-tailed or Cooper's hawk. We feed the birds and squirrels so inevitably predators occasionally visit. He flew away when he tired of being an object of my attention.

Back to the gentler side of life, a re-blooming iris. It's nice to be reminded of Spring even if the flower is out of context with the current season. This was a curb alert plant. I think it has the hallmarks of iris 'Immortality'.

I'm hoping that I'll find a place to plant the giant eremurus, Shellford PInk tubers that I ordered on a whim. I've always admired them in photos. I'm in need of some creative inspiration for their placement. :)

I wish everyone a healthy, but merry Season!


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