This past week has been full of apathy, panic and productivity. At any given time I admit I feel as though there is too much, or not enough, ahead of me to do before Christmas. This year I have decided to make the bulk of my Christmas gifts. Okay, so I make this decision every year, but this year I've finally done it! Except for my husband, I have made gifts for... everyone, now that I think of it. My husband understands my mad dash to handmake everything, so I promised him that his handmade gift would come after Christmas.
This year I managed to get myself motivated and I got some holiday decorations up before the actual holiday itself. I tacked up my traditional white pine garland and decided that, while I usually garnish it with red bows, this year I wanted something eco-friendly and dual purpose. My answer? Winterberry!
Winterberry is a (cultivar of a) native plant in Michigan, also called Michigan berry. It is a true holly and is deciduous, losing it's leathery leaves each fall. What remains are these fantastic red berries that the birds just adore. I found a woman at the farmer's market who specifically grows winterberry for Christmas arrangements and it's the only thing she sells. She told us all about the plant, and about the cultivars she uses in her planting.
Unfortunately the sun fled as I took this photo, but I cut the winterberry into small sprigs and wove it into the pine roping. It's difficult to see here, but the red really pops out at you. This is suspended from our welded wire fence out front (which I have still not stretched to be taut- I plan to do this in late spring after the posts have settled.)
My last bit of outdoor decoration was to hang a wreath on the barn door. Our house faces away from the driveway, and is set a good 1/4 mile back from the rode, so I wanted to add a bit of festivity to anything I could and the barn seemed like a great place! The winterberry pops better in this photo.
So the house is decorated, the kettle is laced with spices and oranges to boil on the woodstove, the tree is lit and I am inside by the fire considering the last few remaining gifts to make. I can feel the house trembling gently as Jeremy tries his hand at splitting a two foot thick log for the first time, and every once in a while I can hear the "Tok" of a log splitting easily (though more often, I am hearing the "tink" of the wedge being driven into a difficult log. Bummer). I can't wait until after the holiday to post all of my latest projects and production photos. I love to share my handmades here, but since a number of my family members read this blog I feel a bit spied on this time of year... heh.
One thing I can admit to: I used ric-rac on one of my family-members' gifts- bright red ric-rac! Harrison quickly discovered the ric-rac while my back was turned and decided that, though I needed it, it was no longer mine (it seems like cats often do this). I had to distract him in order to retrieve it, and he tried to snag it at least two other times while I was sewing. What a booger!
So while yesterday consisted of sewing, and double boiling, today will consist of hammering, nailing, sawing and trying desperately to learn a new tool on Christmas eve in order to complete my final gifts for family.
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone, and I hope you all were better at finishing gifts than I was!