Monday, December 24, 2012

Getting in the Christmas mood

December has flown by in a blur of jewelry and displays, but here in the Nikiverse I was able to find time to do some traditional preparations for the holidays.
For the first time i attended the Mayor's Parade in beautiful downtown Hampden.
Well... by attend i mean that i was watching my friends' lovely antique store so that they could attend the parade. But the parade did go by the Parisian Flea so i was able to peek out whenever there weren't customers.

There were all of the necessary parade components: marching bands and drum corps from school and local clubs, dance troops dressed like santas,  drum and fife recreationists, and unbelievable pom outfits.
 I was surprised that there were actually big helium characters, like a sweet reindeer and the Raven.

It was hilarious to watch the handlers try to get them past the street banners.
As with any local parade there were businesses advertising with forced child labor: this construction business had an organ hooked up so that a little girl could play Christmas tunes.

Also there were groups of kids riding in the parade, waving and shouting and throwing candy, but somehow there is always that one kid who manages to be fast asleep in the middle of the mayhem.
There was a horde and a half of Shriners riding all types of various ridiculous vehicles, horses, a Harley club, antique cars and crazy pimped out hydraulic cars, but i was too busy selling jewelry to get pics.
I was barely able to catch a tail-end photo of the ginormous tree float that David (one of the Flea owners) had worked on with the local business owners - they were driving realllllllly fast, but David was able to jump in quick for a photo op.
For some real local flavor there were the winners of the annual toilet races (really) and the Oriole Bird, who got the biggest reaction of anything in the whole parade.

fTM Karen, Cricket and Nancy had me over for our tree trimming party. It is fun every year to see the ornaments again (except that one hideous glass Santa head that creeps me out, but Cricket loves so i have to put it somewhere that he can see it) and find new ways to place them on the tree. Cricket does tree construction and lights, Nancy is in charge of hooks while Karen and I make a bitchin' decorating team. We have the same homogeny/balance sensibility so we can work in tandem to get the job done right. There are no pics of the tree, however, cause i was kidnapped and whisked away to movie quote trivia with my old team. It was a super fun blast from the past and yes, we did win.
As i eluded to in a previous haiku i also made wreaths for the first time this year. My friend Sheri and I were meeting for lunch; she called right beforehand and asked if i knew how to wire wreaths as she was picking up a few greens.
Imagine my surprise when i found the entire backseat of her SUV filled with branches. I figured i'd spend some time helping her out since i knew the theory of wreath-wiring and she had no clue; seven hours later i was finally going home. Here is a quick and dirty tutorial for guerrilla wreath making.
Get some evergreen trimmings from local tree sellers, neighbors and your backyard. Have a friend carry them to your workroom (dining room), taking pictures of her along the way making it look like she is being attacked by foliage.
Sort out the branches by types (we have pine, spruce, cypress, holly and some wiggly stuff that i have never seen before and have no idea where Sheri found it) and lay out clippers, pliers, nippers and wire.

Decide on a shape - Sheri wanted a long swap for over her front door - and take long pieces of a sturdy wood to wire together as a backbone to your piece.
Be sure to check the size and shape for your chosen location.
Try not to laugh too hard as your friend tries to reach the base waaaaaay over her head.
Once you are happy with the base, wire together accent branches of various types, work them into the base and wire 'em in place
Now for the finishing touches: wrap the exposed wiring with ribbon, add a bow, wire in ornament clusters and hang that puppy up.

Sheri also had a square wire frame so i did a wreath for her by wiring layers and layers of branches directly to it, adding a simple bow and attaching it to an old window frame.

She insisted that i needed to make something for myself, but i was pretty tired by this point so i did a quick door swag of flat cypress, wired in some holly, added a plaid bow and a pretty gold bell.

All that was left was to clean up the glittery, foresty devastation that was Sheri's dining room table.

Real wreaths smell so good and though it felt like it took forever to make them, I will probably do it again in the future.
I wasn't able to make it to AVAM's Sock Monkey Saturday this year, so i invited my upstairs neighbors down to make some at home. Anaya went with the traditional monkey shape in purple argyle to make Bob, but added a jaunty scarf and bracelet for the holidays.

Naomi decided to do a bear instead of a monkey, using striped holiday socks to create Candycane who is totally decked out from his starry eyes to his custom fur hat and boots.

Anaya and Bob

Naomi and Candycane
Some former co-workers and I tried to volunteer with toy distribution at the Salvation Army, but had the hours wrong so we ate stir-fry and did holiday baking instead.
Viva maple cupcakes with bacon, peppermint bark and the best candied almonds ever!
The last thing i did to really get ready for the holidays was drive to Ohio in a snowstorm - best idea ever!
It took 12 hours to go 440 miles, but i made it.
Mom and i have been busily decorating our new-to-us tree (my sister got a bigger tree this year so she gave us her old one- it is beautiful), finishing wrapping presents and preparing to host Christmas dinner for 10.
Hope you are all having a wonderful time surrounded by friends, family and love.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Merry Christmas, Niki!! Hope you and your mom are having a wonderful day! Love you!!