Winter is Upon Us

I spent the solstice gathering a few cuttings from the garden and marveling at what survives both drought and early frost. Plants are resilient.

Winter Garden

I snipped three miniature roses, a handful of Salvia leucantha, and geranium foliage to make a small arrangement. There’s a sprig of something pink in there as well, but in the early hours, the name escapes me.

A Sleigh of Winter Blooms

My youngest son is home for the holidays this year, along with his sweet pup Juneau. I’m so happy to have them here for a few weeks, but Juneau’s boisterous presence puts out all three felines.

So, for now, our bedroom serves triple duty as Mike’s office and a feline hotel. Lindy is oblivious to the dog’s presence, but she has to share her favorite spot under the bed. Mouse wants to let the dog know he’s in charge, and Tessa is scared. Extra loving and treats help smooth things out, and of course, the situation is temporary.

I made several Christmas cards this year, but I’ve been slow to send them. Lifted Spirits hosted its first-ever “shop without your wallet” event for survivors of domestic violence. It was an enormous time commitment organizing clothing racks, scarves, and other goodies, but it all came together beautifully. My friend and fellow volunteer Mary organized refreshments and volunteers for the day. Our ED quietly got the word out.

Volunteers prior to event

I set up craft tables for the children in the center of the room, and a colleague donated an over-the-top Christmas tree, pictured below. Clothing and jewelry stations were arranged in a U-shape so the children could see their mother at all times and vice-versa.

Polar Bear-themed Christmas Tree

The success of this event has energized us. Our team hopes to do this again in the future. Throughout the event, we served 65 women and 35 children. Domestic violence has soared since the start of the pandemic. I needed to focus on our work instead of its reasons for my sanity.

Filling needs

December’s creative endeavors included my annual snow globe

Polymer snow from the teaching supply store
Snow globe

and a seasonal update to my miniature display. These projects are restorative and fun.

Miniature Winter Scene
Pine twig fencing and a cinnamon stick sleigh

Today I’m headed downtown for our pandemic-friendly Christmas celebration for women in need. After that, I’ll enjoy a week off with my family and the quiet unfolding of moments spent together.

Winter Wonderland

Merry Christmas!

42 thoughts on “Winter is Upon Us

  1. Your levels of creativity never cease to amaze. The decorations, snow globe and the miniature winter scene on top of the cards you make are all so delightful. You really do fill up your plate well. Glad you are taking the time off to be with the family. Poor Juneau just wants to be part of the gang. It takes cats so long to welcome an outsider. If he is patient, they will come around. IBut a week or more may not be enough time. Look how long it took Orlando to accept Siddy. 😉 I wish there was something I could do for your ladies. I’m thinking on it. We are in Mannheim for the next 5 days. So far, quite lovely. Thinking of you all and wishing you the merriest of Christmas’ Love and hugs. M

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    • Thank you as always Marlene for your kind and thoughtful words. I like that expression “filling up your plate well.” I know cats and dogs can learn to get along, but as you say, the visits are brief and don’t allow the time for true integration. I had forgotten about Orlando’s original reticence with Siddy. They became good friends after a time. The new year approaches. I hope your lungs are holding up okay. xo

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      • Lungs are doing well. Getting good exercise here so that’s helping. We are walking all through town but staying out of crowded places. I’m trusting the guidance I get. E & E wound up with the flu during Christmas and may have passed it to her elders. Glad we weren’t there. 😉 I don’t get flu but love avoiding it more. 🙂

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        • I’m glad you are walking and staying healthy. I’m really sorry to hear that E and E, plus elders got the flu. Did they test for covid to be sure they aren’t spreading it since they’re not vaccinated? How scary all around. It’s brutal either way to be so sick. I hope her parents are recovering .

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          • No to the testing. Duh! I don’t know yet if the elders got it. Took E two days to catch it from the other E. We shall see. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject. They are brutal with strictness here. Yay! Using lots of common sense in most but not all areas. Same as where we live. Lots of contrast. I think the parents are vaccinated. Too risky not to be. Stupid kids. I’ll get my booster asap.

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  2. Merry Christmas. I live your crafts. How great to get blooms from your garden. What a wonderful volunteer work you are doing. Enjoy your son and his doggo. Our son and daughter (son in law too) will be here for a few days with their pups. Our sons dog is joyful and exuberant and weighs 80lbs. She is a bit of a terrorist. Our daughters dog is bossy and he gets upset with the pups antics. But, there are no cats here for them to upset.
    Take care my friend.

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  3. Oh, my word! This post brought tears to my eyes. What a lovely and thoughtful event, making the season brighter for those mothers and families. As for your decorations… only one word will do… wowsah! Enjoy your time with your son and his boisterous dog.

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  4. So fun to see snow in your garden 😀 spilling over your seasonal scenes. It’s funny, my fairy garden enjoys a tropical vibe because it’s snowy outside while yours enjoy a winter vibe while it’s tropical outside.
    Your event sounds amazing! Bravo for helping so many. I’m glad you could continue on with things after so much uncertainty about a move. It’s wonderful to have so many willing to make Christmas special for these ladies.
    It’s actually snowing pretty hard while I visit here and it’s to continue all day. It looks like I’m living in your snowglobe like Truman 😀 Can you see me waving? Have a great visit with your fellows over the holidays, big hugs all around sweet Alys. Much Love sent your way 💗🎅

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  5. i loved everything about this post. It was all so delightfully you, with your care, generosity and delight in everything. I can understand the time your shop took to set up, and can understand the quiet satisfaction you felt at the end. Like Marlene I wonder what I can do to help. Donation? Maybe there is some way you can harness your bloggy friends. A fund raiser? Things for a raffle? Anyway, you don’t want to think about that now.
    So sit back with your loved ones, put your feet up and enjoy the antics of the four-legged members of the family! Have a joyous time, Alys, and here’s too a better 2022!

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    • Anne, you are such a treasure! You have helped women from afar, sending beautiful scarves across the miles, along with your continued good wishes and great ideas. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

      We had a joyous Christmas day, including some much-needed rain. I hope your celebrations have been equally warm and wonderful. Three cheers to a better 2022.

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  6. I love the idea of “shop without a wallet” – there are food stores like that in parts of my country – and of course since the Pandemic roared into town, many “food pantries” had to close but my local f/b had many organisations offering help. A large ethnic food store had “shop without a wallet” or if you did have some spare cash, pop it in a box system.

    The food pantries are just semi closets in carparks or similar where you can place any food stuff for anonymous folk to come by and collect what they need…some of course are abused (not the people] A couple of weeks ago I gave my helper some food to put in a pantry near her…

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    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I like the idea of free food pantries. We have several Little Free Libraries here that are also offering canned goods. I like the idea of give what you can and take what you need. People the world over will take advantage of any system, but I prefer to focus on all the folks that take what they need and leave the rest.

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    • Thank you, Lisa. I hope you’re enjoying the season with the slower pace of retirement. It allows things to slow down and find a mellower pace. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Best wishes for the coming year.

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  7. It really is amazing that your miniature garden looks life sized and with real snow in these photos! I’m so glad the event was a success even if the work that goes into it was extensive. Thank you for your work ❤ Enjoy your men this holiday and I'll "see" you on the 2nd! Love you!

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    • Laurie, thanks for reading and commenting. I’ve enjoyed seeing your comments in other places this week as well, in this wonderful blogging world. We had a lovely Christmas, here with the guys, and for an hour at my sister’s as well. We had rain (be still my heart) which made for an extra-special day. I hope your celebrations have been as wonderful as you are. xo

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  8. What a wonderful event you organised. I love that the children could see and be seen at all times. That’s safeguarding done brilliantly. And your crafts, the flower arrangement, just lovely. Thank you for an uplifting post.

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