Jan 9, 2009

Loaded Summer Trees.

And so we rolled into Christmas. I was late putting up the tree. The weather had been hot and the x-mas feeling just hadn't hit home. This year the whole Northern Hemisphere theme of snowmen and fake ice just didn't make sense. So I bought a big bunch of silk flowers from the cheapo dollar store in reds, pinks, purples, white and orange , 40cm of sparkly green organza  from Spotlight , and a new set of the cheapest non-flashing lights from the Warehouse . I then spend an entire evening and part of a morning ripping all plastic bits of the flowers  and pushing the fabric petals around the lights. I used an antique bone stiletto to widen the holes. Then I ripped the sparkly organza into long strips , causing my living room to be sparkly with glitter for days. And for some reason also the toilet floor... Also purchased this year was some new silver tinsel and 4 delicate silver glass baubles , and a 5- pointed silver star for the top of the tree , to signify the pagan symbols of the 4 elements and the spirit pointing upwards. Added some white vintage lace ribbon recently purchased for a dollar.  Hey and now that box of homemade lavender hearts from vintage linens and buttons; perfect! 
I asked my teenage daughters and their cousin who was staying with us for Christmas to use all these items to decorate the tree 4 days before  the big day. They did a wonderful job!! A few angels were added, since they are not a winter theme , but an every day reminder.
It is a perfect summer flower tree , and now I'm having trouble taking it down.. At night all the flowers glow in soft fairytale colours. And the lavender smells great , a good substitute for pine, plus it relaxes the senses.
Other ways to keep busy just before x-mas ( yeah right...!?) is to plant an apricot tree , the sort that ripens just around that time. A friend down the road owns an orchard ladder , very handy!  
This year I actually managed to bottle apricots without them turning to pulp straight away, also some pulp and the leftover juices went into sauce  , all flavoured with cinnamon , allspice and star anise seed. Apricot crumble will be beautiful in the winter!  Here are some of the jars I made , including apricot jam with orange juice and grated ginger. This year I put the cooked apricots through the little moulineux hand sieve to remove any of the hard fibres from the place where the pips sit against the flesh.  So it should be a smooth jam this time , and a jam made on purpose  , not because everything turned to pulp with the wrong sugar content.  A bit of a Domestic Goddess Moment for me at the end of the year...!
I love the crocheted afghan blanket I picked up at the Sallies for a mere $4 . I can't crocheted that for such a small amount of money. 
Christmas Day itself went very well , my father and his partner , brother, sister-in-law and nephew came for a lovely easy bbq with  yummy meats ,salads and fresh fruits and pavlova and trifle for dessert. We all sat outside by the swing seat and relaxed with wine and nibbles . After dinner we went inside  and chose our presents from the oxfam website. This is something we decided on doing this year , instead of drawing names out of a hat as we usually do. Combined we came up with $190 and that bought mosquito nets , a toilet , agricultural tools , seeds , schoolbooks , a baby emergency kit and last but not least ,a goat ! We all agreed that we should make this our new family tradition. We chose Oxfam , because they sponsor projects closer to home; in the pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea. So our Christmas was not as stressed with trying to shop like crazy, trying to think of things to buy , and hopefully someone else has now less stress in their day to day living with our few donations.

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