Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Green Christmas: Trip to the Zoo


We had a splendid Christmas and we are still enjoying it!

We have this family tradition of visiting the zoo around Christmas time.   While this year’s Christmas was green, the air was crisp (hovering between 0-4 degrees Celsius). The animals were so alert.  It was kind of magical. 

Lily named this lion “Aslan” when she was about 3 1/2  years old. She has been read various abridged versions of Narnia and knows the story quite well.   Although we have visited this fella at least 4 times a year for the past 3 years, we never connected – until today.






In the summer months we rarely see this cheetah, so even this tiny peak was a treat.



I hope you are enjoying the holidays!


Friday, December 23, 2011

{Joy, hope, peace} ye olde Christmas photo shoot

Wishing you a happy holiday season with lots of cheer and good memories.


I have entitled the photo below “Joy”: Two sisters that love each other to pieces and don’t know what to do when the other is not around.


Littlest one wasn’t interested in any solo, she’s a chorus gal. This is Miss Lily’s “Clara – the Nutcracker pose” – just waiting for Drosselmeier to pop in with that special wooden nutcracker.


Merry Christmas my blogging friends,


P.S. the first photocard was by Kim Nelson who I found on Etsy. I have used her services for the last couple of years and I have been more than pleased. Thank you Kim.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Greenery


I planted an amaryllis on November 11th and it now just about to put on a show.  I have been reading an interesting book called Swedish Christmas Traditions. A third of the book is devoted to “Christmas Flowers.”   The arrangements are unexpected  like this one – mini tulips and kumquats.


I was motivated this year to incorporate more real greenery in my Christmas decorating. Unfortunately, my paper whites did poorly – only two blooms from six bulbs. I did make an attempt at a little yule log centerpiece.  The tree lot is a great place to find free stumps from  Christmas trees (yeah, free crafting supplies).  I just drilled a whole in each stump using a bit large enough to fit my candles. I just added some cedar branches and the beeswax dipped pine cones we made last year. Everything fits on an old silver tray. 



Along the same lines as tree stumps, is this neat idea, I have seen it a few places.  Saw off a disk from the bottom of your tree trunk and make a year ornament.  This is image is from Family Fun.  I saved the disc from our tree and plan to try this.

tree-circles-christmas-craft-photo-260-FF1200ORNAMA03 This week, I also had the chance to see the Allan Gardens Christmas Flower show. There are 2500 to 3000 poinsettias on display, as well as other winter blooms.







Today, was our office potluck. My colleague, who I call the Baking Barrister,  made the most amazing yule log / buche noel.  The recipe is based on this one by Martha.  She even made a little marzipan squirrel.

IMG_1670The mushrooms are meringue and very realistic. It was a very special desert and a labour of love.


I hope you are having a great week.  I thought I would sign off with this thrifty gem [TI Speak and Spell c. 1978].


 Friend {to Lily}: why does your Leapfrog Tablet look different?

Lily: mine is from the olden days.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Dancing Mother Ginger

This past weekend was Lily’s ballet recital.  It is based on the Nutcracker, although some musical theatre numbers were interspersed. Lily and I had the chance to dance together in the Mother Ginger scene.".

This is my costume without the hooping. There were five girls (aged  5 or 6) who were the polichinelles under my skirt.  Unfortunately, I do not have a photo I can post with the hooping in place.  I also carried an oversized cardboard mirror and a huge powder puff.


The costume was designed and sewn by talented  Daniela, inspired by Art Stone’s version.  Art Stone has some of the best Nutcracker costumes.   If you enjoy theatrical costumes, it is a wonderful source of inspiration.


My makeup was so over the top, so I made this photo sepia.


Not every production of the Nutcracker includes Mother Ginger.  When a production does include it, the role is sometimes played by a local celebrity, sometimes even a man such a linebacker (not sure why I was chosen?, hmmm).  Both my daughters know the story of the Nutcracker and the music by memory.  Mother Ginger is Lily’s favourite scene (followed by the Waltz of the Fairies and the Chinese Tea Dancers).  If a version doesn’t include Mother Ginger, Lily usually disapproves. 

The girls were excellent and I was so proud of them.  Mother Ginger gave each of them a wooden Nutcracker ornament after the show.  I found the wooden cutouts on Etsy.


I also made Lily a Nutcracker place setting for breakfast.  I recently had some sheet music laminated, so it makes a nice place mat.  I covered a Christmas cracker in sheet music as well.  {The sheet music is actually Bach, sorry Tchaikovsky}. The plates and napkins were on sale at a ridiculous discount.


It was a wonderful performance that my daughter and I are not going to forget.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Advent – Peace (& Angels)

We have been involved in and/or enjoyed three Christmas shows since Thursday evening.
Lily had her choir concert on Thursday evening and her Nutcracker ballet on Saturday evening (I will post about the Nutcracker separately). 
Today, we went to see The Christmas Story. It is a Nativity Pageant that takes place at Holy Trinity Church, the second oldest church in Toronto which is {perhaps ironically} situated outside Toronto’s downtown shopping centre.   The Christmas Story is the oldest continuous running Nativity pageant in the city (it is in its 74th year).
We participated in the Christmas Story in 2008 and since then we have been attending each year.  The production is amazing. The account is narrated and the actors – all volunteers - are silent, but magnificent.
There is a professional choir which sings from the back of the church. 
The lighting is professional and effective. Here is the star from the East.
Lily had her photo taken with the Angel Gabriel after the show.
It was the perfect evening. We came home to veggi-chili (thank you slow cooker) and then watched the Bells of St. Mary (with Jimmy Stewart and one of my favourite actresses, Ingrid Bergman).
Before I sign off, I thought I would share a very interesting thrifty find.  Our local St. Vincent de Paul had a number of these angels from Zurich’s Felix Daetwyler pastry shop.
IMG_1500   IMG_1501
One of the red angels came home with us.
We had just a wee time to craft this weekend. 
While her little sis was napping, Lily made her sibling gift – peppermint playdough.  We have a tennis court around the corner from us, so I  always stop by to collect the empty tennis ball containers. They are perfect for homemade playdough.  After making the dough, she decorated the container with ribbon and gift wrap.
IMG_1597 IMG_1600
I also tried out  Kim K's walnut bassinet ornaments.  So sweet!
IMG_1623 IMG_1624
i am really looking forward to Christmas!