I’d like to say that we make our own Christmas cards every year.
I’d like to say that….but who are we kidding?
Most years Jamie grabs a few boxes of something clever from the Target around December 22nd and we spend a frantic night addressing envelopes and signing our names.
Other years, were give it a little more effort and use our decoupageor dog-photographingskills to their maximum potential. Ok, so twice.
This year we were on the ball.
I’ve been meaning to document some of my crap…er… stuff….er….precious collections, inspired by the uber-talented Jesse Lauzon, and his photographs of his possessions graciously shared on hisInstagram feed.
Check these out:
Beautiful, aren’t they? (And seriously, this dude makes me look like a minimalist)
The compositions, the extensive collections, and his amazing photographs.
Why not give it a try?
I built a scrap-wood frame in the garage (because natural light is best) and piled a hundred vintage glass ornaments on top of our work table….like so;
We took turns leaning over the pile taking pictures like this one…
Not too difficult,
Love the results so much that I uploaded a pic to the Vistaprint website, and 5 days later, we had these in our hot little hands…..
Customized Christmas cards!
Pretty cool right? And extremely simple.
I what know you’re thinking, “Sure, it’s easy for you. You’re a big-time blogger and published author.” Thank you. That’s so kind of you to say.
But really…..it is EASY.
Give it a try, make your own Holiday greeting cards. Or anytime cards actually.
The older I get…..the fewer material things I really want for Christmas.
This year, instead of buying each other things we don’t really need, Jamie and I decided to take a short trip.
So we boarded Harley, asked our friend John to pick up our mail, and cashed in miles on 2 tickets to Bright and Shiny New York City.
Of course we’ve both been before…..just not together.
We found a hip, little (I mean seriously little; 80% of our room was bed) hotel in midtown about 4 blocks from the Empire State Building.
The rooftop bar offered up this view of that beautiful building.
Breathtaking. Am I right? That view sold us on the hotel….the Archer, BTW. (we had a similar view from our room as well)
Christmas in New York, how magical. Allow us to share a little of it with y’all.
I wouldn’t be a very good Catholic if I didn’t stop by St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Our Hotel was right next to Bryant Park/NY Public Library, and since the Holiday Market at Bryant Park was recommended by just about everyone….we waddled over there to shop, watch the blury ice skaters…..
and drink hot cider…
We started our Sunday early, before the gangs woke up, and took the subway down to Battery Park.
Hazy day, but you can still see Lady Liberty in the distance. (She’s that little grey pointy-thing between us)
There’s a new-fangled type of carousel in Battery Park now.
The Seaglass. Instead of horses there are fish. Abstract fish. And the whole building is shaped like a nautilus.
Only 5 bucks? How could I not ride?
Jamie sat this one out. Which worked out pretty well because he could video me twirling by.
You have to pay attention, I go by fast, but I’m the big creepy guy in the green sunfish.
We walked. We walked A LOT. 7 miles on Saturday night alone, and then another 13 miles from Battery Park to Macy’s on 34th. We just got caught in the energy of the city and kept going. Good thing we brought sensible shoes. (Not the cute shoes we usually travel with).
Speaking of Macy’s. A million years ago I cut my teeth with that company learning to do department store visuals.
The tacky 1960’s Christmas trees were the best part. They looked like vintage beaded parade floats.
Lord & Taylor did a fanciful candy shop theme….Here’s 10 seconds of ginger bread men…..
We came to window shop. Since store windows are in my blood……and bi-monthly paycheck……I’m not easy to impress. Bergdorf Goodman did just that. Every window inch was covered in Swarovski crystals……
……except for Poseidon – or Neptune, depending on whether you’re Greek or Roman – he was covered in pearls. I hope the pictures show just how stunning these beauties were.
Saks Fifth Avenue, another company on my resume, put on quite a show as well. Everything in the Windows was a frosty,layered banquet in the Winter Palace. There were touches of Lady Gaga, the Ice Queen from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and a little Circ de Soile sprinkled on top.
But the real show wasn’t inside the windows. Every 10 minutes the entire building lit with a Winter Palace light show.
Because we couldn’t see everything we needed to see from the street level, we took the elevator to the Top of the Rock.
The 70th floor of Rockefeller Center. The observation deck is open until 11pm most nights, we went about 9pm, and well worth the effort. Not too cold. Not too many people. It was just right.
The view was Spec-Tac-U-Lar. One a clear day, you can see for 50 miles in all directions……but we only seemed to take pictures of the Empire State Building.
We left unseasonably-warm Dallas for even MORE unseasonably-warm New York. Monday was a record/breaking 67 degrees. Good thing we brought extra sweaters. (Yeah Right. Should have brought shorts.)
We started Monday with the latest New York tradition (at least, for everyone we know that visits there)….coffee at Ralph’s Coffee at the Polo store on 5th Ave.
Then a brisk walk to Central Park.
The Bethesda Fountain in Central Park is one of my favorite spots in the world. The story from the Bible is that the Angel Bethesda blessed the waters to give them healing powers.
Ironically, the water was drained.
Guess we’ll have to remain all “unhealed” until the next trip.
Not a whole lot of shopping on this trip. It was about the experience, remember? But I did commemorate my blurry photo of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree……
…… with a pretty similar looking Ornament.
Much better than any physical gift, our whole Christmas in New York City experience was just priceless.
(Well I guess we could add up all the receipts……..ugh)
On the evening of December 5th, the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, young men in Eastern European countries dress up as Krampus and wander the streets scaring children with clanging chains and rusty bells.
He’s had a big surge in popularity the past few years…….but not really sure why exactly.
Krampus is a large hairy, goat-horned creature from Germanic folklore said to punish bad children during the Christmas season. He is usually cloven-hooved with a long pointed tongue that hangs out of his mouth. Yeah, he looks a lot like Satan. In stark contrast to the benevolent Saint Nicholas who leaves good children presents, Krampus beats naughty kids with birch branches or even a whip. He is sometimes depicted with a basket or sack on his back so he can carry children off for eating, drowning, or just to take to Hell.
I’m not really that old. But do I remember our local five and dime store.
Shopping for Christmas presents was my second favorite part of the holidays. (After decorating the Christmas tree, of course)
At some point every mid-December, my Mother would drop me off at M.E Moses with 10$ in my pocket and an hour to shop all by myself.
My little brothers were always the easiest to shop for. Josh liked cars and trucks. Ben was still a baby; he liked anything he could put in his mouth.
A waxed box of chocolate covered cherries for my Dad. Not because they were his favorite……..but maybe because they seemed so exotic to me. Like something adult business men gave to each other as gifts.
For my Mother, I would find the prettiest, most glamorous things I could find………in the 2-3 dollars range. I remember one year selecting a pressed-glass punch bowl set with a dozen minuscule cups, and little plastic S-hooks to hold them on the edge of the bowl. I’m pretty sure that it was 5 dollars. She gushed about how much she liked it when she opened it, but I don’t remember her ever using it.
Usually though, something shiny would catch my eye. Something that fancy ladies wore. It seemed like my mother always rushing out the door in heels and pearls leaving a cloud of Yves Saint Lauren fragrance behind in her wake.
Sometimes I would find her a Christmas pin. You know the ones, shaped like a Christmas tree, or a snowflake, or even a wreath.
A few years ago, my Mother gave me back one of those 5 and dime broaches that I had given her. She knew that because I’m such a hoarder sentimantalist, that I would truly appreciate it.
I re-discovered it the other day in my dresser drawer – where it’s been living – and pinned it on a tweed sportcoat. I know, I know…….that’s something that fancy boys would do; like Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde.
It wasn’t nearly as jewel-encrusted as I remember it being when I was a kid…..just one lonely “ruby?”.
I wasn’t thrilled with any of the templates they offered, so I started with a blank slate and an Indian headdress graphic that I aged and faded, then added my verbage over that; in green of course, as a nod to the cucumber. These were so easy to do that now I’m looking into a few other projects on the Vistaprint site. Stay tuned…and try to act surprised.
50 cents each, for extra-large (3 inch X 4 inch), I ordered 8 just in case there were any mistakes applying them to the bottles.
Vistaprint shipped them almost the next day.
Couldn’t be happier with the finished labels,
The green lettering picks up the slight green tint of the vodka.
Because we thought that some of our friends would be a little puzzled about what the Heck to do with cucumber vodka…….we included a recipe card for our dear friend Robin’s Cucumber Cooler.
Here it is:
1 part cucumber infused vodka
2 parts Pimm’s No1
2 parts lemonade
Add to a shaker with crushed ice, a wedge of English cucumber, an orange slice (with the peel), and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Shake once, don’t strain, pour into a double old-fashioned glass….and Enjoy
Delicious, give it a try sometime.
AND……. try infusing your own vodka.
Cucumber, lemon, vanilla bean, ginger, cranberry, serano….give any of these a shot.