Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas To All

More evenings spent getting in the Holiday mood this last weekend.
We experienced a few more light festivals.
We took in the Oregon Zoo Lights - a festival I haven't attended
for over 20 years as.
My, my, my - that little light festival has certainly grown up!
We treated ourselves to dinner out one night and dessert on another.
We listened to beautiful choirs and attended a Christmas concert.
Santa's helper (disguised as my husband) wrapped presents while I completed some last minute orders.
We sat on the couch in front of our tree and watched Christmas movies.
I think I am officially "in the mood".
I wish I could have felt that way about 2 weeks ago -
Then I wouldn't be feeling like I have to go without sleep over the next few days
while I try to finish everything up -
but I will take what I can get at this point.
I will trust that everything will work out just as it always does.
I don't know that there will be another post before the holiday . . .so just in case -
may you all be blessed with peace and happiness.
May you all feel the spirit of the season, whatever your beliefs are.
May we all remember to carry the feeling of love and generosity on into the new year.
May you be surrounded with people that you love.
Merry Christmas . . .

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Lights of the Season

Now that the Holiday shows are complete, it's time to engage in some Christmas magic of my own.
This truly is my favorite time of year.
I just can't get enough.
I'm not talking about the chaos - I could do without that for sure.
But the lights, the music, the cold walks outside, the wonderful yearly activities . . .the MAGIC!
It really does feel like magic to me.

Last night we attended the Grotto Festival of Lights.

I remember the first year I attended this festival. My oldest daughter was 4 and my son was 2.
My husband was working at a job that required crazy hours into the night.
I wanted to do fun things, but found myself sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.
Afterall - I couldn't do these events by myself. I had small children.

And then, I realized - that attitude was going to lead to a very dull existance. So I packed myself and the kids up and we headed out for some magic.

The Grottw features all kinds of lights decorating the property, choirs perform every hour, a petting area and a spirit of Christmas that can't be explained.

Our youngest daughter now gets to sing in the HS choir and they performed last night. The performances are in a large Catholic chapel with stone floors and walls, high ceilings and some of the best accoustics around.
Every year, I look for the angels that seem to be singing with the choirs.

As we strolled throughout the grounds, I was reminded again of the meaning of the season.
It felt good.
It felt magical.
It felt peaceful.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where Has Laurie Gone?

Has anyone seen Laurie? She is tall, short dark hair, dark eyes, generally a happy person. . .She seems to have gone missing.

With the craziness of the last month, some things had to be neglected and this blog was certainly one of them. We have been crazy busy in the studio, at home, and with work and family. Sleep has become a "if there is time" part of the day. More than one mini-breakdown has occured. It has not been a pretty sight.

But we have successfully completed the Holiday shows, made our way through Thanksgiving, and are well on our way to Christmas and the New Year. My number 1 man and I have spent many, many hours talking about our needs, wants and goals. We have come up with plans and new directions to pursue. I am happy with the progress that we are making.

So here is a quick run-down . . .

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.
Our day started with our family tradition of turkey bowling.
Now I know that for most people, that implies a muddy game of football. But neither my husband or myself have any patience for the game. We neither watch or play football. Instead, we went bowling . . .
We started this tradition several years ago when we found ourselves alone on Thanksgiving day. All of the extended family had gone out of town. Once the turkey was cooking, my children looking sad and destitute.
So we did what any loving parent would do. . .
We loaded them in the car and headed for the nearest bowling alley.
We were one of 2 or 3 other families rolling our balls down the lanes.
And the tradition has stuck for nearly about 10 years now. And it has grown to include at least 2 other families. We laugh at our pathetic skills (I only bowl once a year!), we do our best to distract each other, and we peruse the sale ads in order to plot out our shopping for the next day. A good time . . .
Even the youngest got in on the act . . .

Later in the day, we joined together with extended family and gathered around the table for our Thanksgiving feast.

Next on the calendar was our trip to Seattle for the Phinney Winterfest. This is one of our favorite shows.
The sale is well attended, fantastic artists attend, and we get to blend our time with a visit to Seattle, Washington. Although most of the time is spent working, we did manage to enjoy a few new restaurants.
Our favorite was a little cafe called Chocolati.
We stumbled onto this little jewel after a wonderful dinner up the street. Having seen Chooclati on our way to the restaurant, we made it a point to "save room for dessert"!

We ordered a plate of 4 truffles and delicately cut them in half. A small taste for each of us. They were chocolate covered cashews, peanut butter and chocolate, mocha and my favorite . . .a cinnamon chocolate truffle. Heaven!

To compliment our truffles, we indulged in a European style hot cocoa spiced with cayenne pepper.
Oh my!!!!
We watched the barista spoon ladels of thick dark semi-sweet chocolate into the bottom of the cup. Then he poured steamed milk in and topped it with ample whipped cream.
Truly one of the richest things I have ever tasted.
The first sip was sweet and chocolatey . . .then at the last moment a hit of heat from the cayenne lit up the back of the tongue.
A perfect combination.
But oh so rich - we ordered only one small cup to share and had a hard time finishing it.
Highly recommended

After Seattle, we headed to Salem for the Salem Holiday Market.
This was the first year we participated in this event but it definitely won't be our last.
Salem was very welcoming of our designs.

The rest of our season will be spent filling custom orders.
And enjoying the Christmas season.
We will see lights, and wrap presents and spend time with family.
Now it is on to the next project . . .