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Early morning fog in Sheepwalk.

Early morning fog in Sheepwalk.

Hi there!  I’ve been enjoying a much needed break with my family. Our schedules are pretty hectic during the year, so it has been so nice to just sit back and relax together.  We’ve watched more family movies this past week than in the entire past year!  I think we all needed that time together, and it has been really nice.

I have to confess that I struggled with really getting into the Christmas spirit this year.  The Connecticut Killings tore at my heart.  As a mom, as an auntie with nephews & a niece in Connecticut, and as an American, it just completely knocked me down.  I continue to pray for all of the relatives and friends of the victims.  They are in my thoughts as I continue on with my day to day activities.  The tragedy has also made me (more) thankful for my family and our precious time together.

O.K., that is a tough topic to write about.  I just thought I’d share where my heart has been this holiday season.  I took to some of my creative therapy during this time.  It really did help me.  A friend of ours made me a cast iron wreath frame last year. Not only did he make the frame for me, but he has given me huge bags of holly to use in my wreath.  Thanks Fred!

Using my cast iron wreath frame.

Using my cast iron wreath frame.

It takes a bit of work to give the wreath some life. You can just see the frame on the bottom left side of this picture.  This year I also acquired (love that word instead of “took”!) some lovely evergreens from Margaret & James’ garden.  James had just trimmed the hedges on their property when I went to get some of their twisted willow for my flower arrangement.  I’m sure they think I’m crazy, as I was so excited to get their fabulous evergreens which they weren’t going to use!

Adding some life to the wreath.

Adding some life to the wreath.

A little bit of bling.

A little bit of bling.

I’m still a novice with my arranging. I just love trying, and hopefully improving in time.  I’ve learned that holly can be painful to work with!  My hands were filled with holes from the very sharp points of the holly!  So this year, after getting James’ evergreens, I decided to use mainly the greens and just add a bit of holly as contrast. My son thought that one red bow wasn’t enough, so we threw on a few more little ones.  I like having the kids’ input, and I try to incorporate it if I can.

Really, you should always take photos *before* a huge windstorm blows through!

Really, you should always take photos *before* a huge windstorm blows through!

Yes, some of the evergreens decided to go in a different direction after the storm.  My husband wasn’t keen on my idea of getting the ladder out again to fix a few greens, so it’ll have to do. 🙂

Christmas wreath 2012.

Christmas wreath 2012.

Because I hope that I am making progress, I’ll show you last year’s wreath (which looks a lot skinnier!).

Christmas wreath 2011.

Christmas wreath 2011.

Christmas wreath 2011-2And I thought it was beautiful last year!  Oh yes, it is much more filled out this year!  I love the holly and the berries, but I think I need to get a good pair of gloves to work with the holly next year.

I seem to have missed the “weekly view of the garden”  boat.  I think a monthly view is more my speed.  I haven’t completely neglected my garden, well, not if you count taking pictures!  Here’s a look:

The garden on a foggy morning in December.

The garden on a foggy morning in December.

I’ve been placing cardboard and newspapers down every chance I get! It is almost at the final shape. Almost!

The other side of the garden on a foggy morning in December.

The other side of the garden on a foggy morning in December.

A foggy start to the day in December.

A foggy start to the day in December.

So as the start of 2013 approaches, I share with you my new goal of being nice to myself.  I’m usually quite critical of myself, and I think I’d be better off not being that way.  So I’m going to try “lighten up”!  Life is precious.

Thanks so much for being a part of my gardening journey!  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have so far.  Here’s to a Happy, healthy, and lots of veggies & flowers in the garden New Year!
Dana

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