The kids have started Christmas/Summer holidays confoundedly early this year. At least that's what it feels like. Other years we've gone away to the beach for a week or two, and still been home in time for Christmas. This year however we're all at home with a couple of weeks to kick back and enjoy the long run up to the holiday season.
enjoy being the operative word. Jesse announced he was bored on the first morning. Love nine-year-olds.
Ellie and Mim have been madly scribbling away at cards and pictures for assorted relatives and friends. Paper, glitter pens and metallic markers are spread from one end of the house to the other.
I decided the chaos of the Christmas tree was getting me down and so took every string of tinsel, lights and decoration OFF the tree and started again from scratch. I redid the tree using only white, red and silver ornaments and woolly pom poms. I think it looks lovely. Mim on the other hand, later asked when I was going to decorate the tree because there was "nothing on it" and it looked "totally boring". Oh well, only have myself to blame that no one in the house is a minimalist..
Speaking of which, we visited a new op shop this week. I'd spotted it on our way back from seeing a dramatic production of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, recently for Mim's birthday. It proved to be a most valuable trip.
Upon entering the store, we had an ooh ahh moment at the collection of Brambly Hedge plates, about a dozen in all displayed behind the front counter. Having sold (and collected) some of the plates myself in the mid-1990s, I knew I was looking at an impressive array of rare designs. The Mid-Winter plates were produced by Royal Doulton in the 1980s and are beautiful. They'd priced the grander ones quite highly, but I got this one "The Entertainment" decorated with holly, a plum pudding and an array of friendly mice in front of a hot fire, for just $30.
"Someone must have collected these for years!" I exclaimed to the man at the counter.
"She was a lovely old lady", he agreed. "I asked her was she sure she wanted to part with so many beautiful things, but she said she did."
"Didn't she have anyone to leave them too?" I couldn't help but ask. I realise china and glass isn't wildly popular these days, but surely she had some relative who appreciated her treasures?
"No", he said, looking a little sad. "She said she had no family left."
It was a sobering thought as I stared up at the immaculate collection of beautiful objects. A timely reminder that Christmas can be a lonely time for many. And that as lovely as treasures on earth can be, we're reminded that moth and rust destroy..
Not in any way sure that my girls are going to want any of my earthly treasures when I no longer have need for them, I nevertheless continue to add (modestly I hasten to say) to their number. This 1940s pink transfer ware caught my eye. Yes it has a tiny chip out of the rim, but it was only $3 and too lovely to leave. Imagine it with hot chocolate and a marshmallow or two bobbing on top - so lovely.
You can't quite see it here, but these four wonderfully festive glasses have a gold line around the middle. The design of the heavy base and wide mouth is modern, but the heavy base shot through with bright colour seems to suggest they are older, maybe 1960s? At $2 each they were a steal. And on this silver plated tray ($5) they make any table festive. The kids have all chosen a colour, and we'll enjoy them very much (hopefully without breaking them..)
Despite reasonably warm daytime temperatures, occasional swims in the pool and regular ice cream eating (we tried the new Hobbit Crunch flavour at New Zealand Natural today, it's yum - although personally I can't go past the butterscotch walnut, but maybe that's just me) - LET IT SNOW is being hummed around our house as we continue to tweak the decorating, light the lights and wrap the gifts. And what do you know, that looks like light snow fall appearing on some of our photos, and a snowflake or two. Magic!