lifestyle

Christmas Around the Corner

When I was a child, there was a house around the corner from us, that always decorated their house and yard with enough Christmas lights that they could have charged admission and given tours. One year my family was talking about how Christmas was “just around the corner” as we were passing by that house, and so we instantly dubbed it the “Christmas Around the Corner” house. Now, whenever we see a brightly decorated property we say to each other, “there’s Christmas around the corner!” 

I do love decorating for the season, (or basically every season!) so I admire and enjoy how much effort some people go to with their decorations- I certainly don’t go to those lengths myself! This year, however, is my first year working at a decorating store during the Christmas season, and so I get to go all out and “decorate for Christmas” pretty much every shift. Needless to say, it’s been a lot of fun!

I never decorate until December (on whichever weekend is the first of the month) and this year I got my decorations up on December 3rd. It just seems too early to me, to start decorating in November. To be honest, I’m always switching things around, and so I would get bored with the Christmas stuff if I had it up for two whole months. Also, considering that we always have a real tree, and this year I have real evergreen boughs, it would be pretty dried up if we put it up too soon! 

I was planning on investing in some nice faux evergreens this year, but didn’t see any that I liked, and so I actually ended up getting real boughs from my parents place. I love them so much that (until they one day move away and no longer have wooded areas for me to pillage) I will continue to do that every year! I don’t do a tree at my place, since I spend Christmas at my parent’s house, so in lieu of a tree, I did an evergreen and branch bouquet and hung some of my vintage ornaments on it. 

The main crux of my decorating involves my vintage ornament collection- this year my sister and I found six boxes of vintage ornaments at the thrift store- we couldn’t grab them fast enough! We also hung some of the vintage ornaments in the fig tree, which looks very pretty in real life, but didn’t really show up well in the pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me 🙂 I also got these new reproduction mercury glass ornaments this year at the store I work at- I absolutely LOVE mercury glass and I love how they paired with the pink vintage ornaments. This tray looks very “millennial” doesn’t it? (Millennial pink anyone?)

This wood burned garland by Kluane National Workshop is also new this year. I picked it up at a craft fair, but if you’d like to check them out, they have a shop right here.

Well, this is a fairly heavy picture post, but I guess I’m making up for all the posts I haven’t written this past month 🙂 

When do you put up your Christmas decor and what are some of your Christmas decorating traditions? 

As an extra bonus- here is the mantle I did at my parent’s place. It turned out very pretty with the fairy lights, greenery and nativity, so I couldn’t leave it out!

Valentine’s Day Cards and Cake

Valentine's Day Cards and Cake, the artyologist

I can finally share the cards I made this year, now that Valentine’s Day is over! (I didn’t want to share these pictures before, as I didn’t want people to see the cards here before they received them.)

This year I decided to really simplify my cards, as I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to making them, so I decided to do some Valentine themed drawings, and then colour them with watercolour. I used heavy cardstock, rather than watercolour paper, so the ink would come out smooth and crisp. After letting the ink dry, I went over with the watercolour, then trimmed them and that was that. I made sure to take some scans of them as I might turn them into some card designs in the future. I think that some of them would work OK for “just because” cards, not just for Valentine’s Day, what do you think?

valentines cards-and-cake, the artyologist

And of course, I had to share this delicious coconut and chocolate tart that I made in honour of the day. I decided to do some food photography, because it turned out so pretty! Of course that cocoa powder made a huge mess all over the place, but it was worth it for some photos 😉

Anyways, I have nothing else to really say, so I wish you all a great weekend! Here in Alberta it is a long weekend, so I am looking forward to that extra day off. See you all next week!

Valentine's Day Cards and Cake, all cards, the artyologist

valentines cards, the artyologist

valentines day cake, the artyologist

scattered valentines cards, the artyologist

valentines cards, the artyologist

valentine's day cards, the artyologist

valentine's day cake, the artyologist

A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to You

nativity, the artyologist

Well, here we are only a few days away from Christmas now. . . I can’t believe how quickly 2017 has gone by! I’m going to be taking a bit of break this week to spend time with friends and family, although I do have a New Year’s post planned for next Friday. Today I thought I’d just share some pictures of my Christmas decorating. This was the first year decorating in my own new home, and I had a lot of fun with it. I love collecting ornaments, especially vintage ones, so I enjoyed being able to finally display them all in my new place. (And my nativity, which I made in kindergarden, and is still going strong! 😉 haha)

Anyways, as this is my second to last post for this year, I would like to say thank-you so much to everyone who has been following along this year! All of your comments and support for my blog have been wonderful and have made this hobby entirely worth it. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 

bookshelf-decorations, the artyologist

ornaments-over-window, the artyologist

wreath, the artyologist

china-cabinet-decor, the artyologist

peacock, the artyologist

top-of-bookshelf, the artyologist

branches-and-ornaments, the artyologist

ornaments-over-window-closeup, the artyologist

presents, the-artyologist

side-table-decor, the artyologist

The Lost Art of Christmas Cards & a Free Christmas Card Printable

lost-art-of-christmas-cards-the-artyologist

Every year, at the beginning of December I start thinking about Christmas cards. Actually that’s not quite true, I start thinking about Christmas cards right after Christmas the year before, when all the Christmas stationery goes on sale! Every year, I go through the cards after the holidays, and pick out my favourite one for the next year. (That might be a bad habit to have. . . I’m a stationery hoarder. . . ) And then, fast forward to the first week (or second if I’m late) of December of the next year, I go through my address book and write greetings, and put a Christmas postage stamp on the envelopes and off they go, winging their way across the country!

In this era of texting and technology, sending Christmas greetings has become somewhat of a “lost art”, as has all mail, and it’s really too bad, because there is nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note in the mail, is there? One of my favourite parts of my day is stopping at the mailbox to see if there is anything in it. More often than not, I am like Charlie Brown, calling “hello in there” with no response, but nevertheless, I do still love it! I guess I’m a Victorian girl at heart. This might be because I read Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions at an impressionable age and ever since then, I’ve adored all of the old fashioned holiday traditions.

But, this year I started thinking, when did Christmas cards come into popularity? The Victorians “invented” Christmas as we know it today. Many of the traditions that surround Christmas came into popularity in the 1800’s, such as Christmas trees, which had before then been found mainly in Germany. And Christmas cards are another one of those traditions that became popularized in the Victorian era.

gift wrapped, the-artyologist, free christmas card download

So, after a bit of reading, I discovered that what started the tradition of Christmas cards was actually one man’s laziness, and ingenuity. Traditionally, at Christmas, people used to send Christmas and New Year’s letters. In the 1840’s with the advent of an economical postal system (the “Penny Post”) people started taking advantage of the mail system, and sending out their Christmas and New Years letters with abandon. This was great, but in Victorian England it was rude to not reply to a letter you had received. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole started receiving tons of letters- he was apparently very popular and was in the position of having too many friends. Feeling overwhelmed by the pile of letters stacking up, he devised a way to reply to the senders, with the first ever “Christmas Card”. He commissioned an artist to create a card for him, with the message “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you” written on it, and then, he simply wrote each person’s name on it and sent it out. It took a while for Christmas Cards to catch on, but once they did, they skyrocketed in popularity and today we can’t imagine Christmas without cards. Although the popularity is waning these days, I do still see plenty of stationery and cards this time of year, so many people must still enjoy this tradition. If you want to see the first card and history, you can read more here.

free christmas card download, the-artyologist

So, all that to say; I love Christmas cards, and any kinds of cards really, so I decided that it would be fun to do a free Christmas card printable! This is an illustration I did last year, which I have made into Christmas cards and present tags, since I know that many of you don’t need cards. Print these out on some nice cardstock, and voila!

Download the Christmas Cards Here

Download The Christmas Tags Here

And, while I’ve got you here, I’ve not found Christmas cards to do very well at sales in the past, but is that something you would be interested in me adding to my shop for next year? If so, let me know!

Do you enjoy sending and receiving Christmas cards?

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, tea table, the artyologist

I am beginning to think that the second weekend of June is marked for rain. For the second year in a row now, I have planned to host a Ladies Garden Tea, in our backyard, and though we have had sun in the days leading up to, and sun in the hours and days that follow, during the hours of the party itself, it has rained. We have decided that it will now be called simply, “The Ladies Tea”, and have given up on hoping that gardens will have anything to do with it at all!

I’m not too worried about it though, because this year we planned to host it indoors, and made our preparations accordingly, so there was no last minute scramble to move the party indoors when the day dawned with grey clouds. An added benefit of holding the party indoors, is that even if it doesn’t rain, you sometimes must contend with wind, sun in your eyes, sunburn, flies in the lemonade and mosquitoes that refuse to leave you alone. By setting up the party indoors, you avoid all these problems, and you can always open the windows to let the fresh air in (and the bugs out) 🙂

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, teapot, the artyologist

We changed things around this year, (because we were thinking ahead for once) and set up the sideboard and a table along the side of the living room, so the food and drinks would be close at hand. It worked so much better, rather than having the food in the kitchen like we did last year, as people didn’t have to break up the party in order to go in search of sweets. Last year we had so many leftovers of desserts that hardly even got touched, and this year we had very few leftovers. On second thought, maybe we should have the food in the kitchen again next year; I wouldn’t have minded a few leftovers. . . 😉

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, food table

Since the party was supposed to be a Garden Tea, it had to have a summery and “gardeny” feeling to it. So, the morning of the party we went in search of flowers for bouquets. Last year we had peonies, but this year the season is late and so the peonies had not started to bloom. However, we managed to catch the very last of the dark purple lilacs. Two days before the party, I thought to myself, “The lilacs are still in bloom, and should stay so until the party”, but the very next day when I looked at them again, they had started to wilt, turn brown and fall off the hedges. Only one day before the party!!! We thought that we wouldn’t be able to get any for a bouquet, but fortunately the dark purple ones still had flowers. They were falling fast though, and if you even looked at the bouquet, I think that petals were dropping off. We got two lovely bouquets though, and paired the purple flowers with Caragana branches. Caragana is a rather strange bouquet material, but I love how sculptural and fluid the bouquets turned out to be, and yellow and purple is such a lovely colour combination. For the rest of the smaller bouquets, which we placed on the tables, we gathered wildflowers and weeds, and came up with enough material to make several miniature bouquets. All in all, the room did have a rather summery and festive feeling to it, despite the rain.

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, lilac bouquet and menu

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, teacup and table

And of course, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those who attended the party! There were sixteen of us, some of whom were new acquaintances who came with friends, and we all had a lovely afternoon of tea and sweets and conversation. I can’t wait for next year!

Do you enjoy tea parties? Have you ever hosted an event? And have you ever been rained out?

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, teacups

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, tea-table-2

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, food

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, lemons

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, tablescape

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, teacups and bouquet

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, desserts

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): The Decor, teacup-collection