Saturday, December 23, 2017

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
 Troul the ancient Christmas carol,
See the flowing bowl before us,
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Follow me in merry measure,
While I sing of beauty's treasure,
Fast away the old year passes,
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
Laughing, quaffing all together,
Heedless of the wind and weather,
~Thomas Oliphant

It's that time to deck our halls with boughs of holly, ivy, mistletoe and this year I've added some old mans beard too because it's so pretty and is worthy of a place at Christmas time. My little dining room counts as the hall and it's again turned into a bit of a woodland winter grotto. A place to take my cup of tea in the morning when the low winter sun casts it's rainbows on the old walls and doors. My place to sit in the quiet and dream up ideas for the coming new year. 
Old tree beard suits the old mans beard I think.
We are almost ready here for the celebrations to begin. 
Gifts are wrapped.
And candles burn as the hours tick away towards the end of another year. 
I still have my Christmas cards to deliver and mince pies to bake, but that will wait until tomorrow now.  
After being in a busy supermarket earlier, it's quiet now. Outside the window, in the space of 10 minutes I have heard a tawny owl screech and a fox bark and it's reminded me of the importance of simplicity and regardless of all the madness us humans create for ourselves buying things that we don't need, the most beautiful gifts are often free.

Thank you to all that have bought from my little Etsy shop this year. You have been truly awesome and at times blown me away with the support that you have given my tiny place on the web. I am so truly grateful and honoured that people all over the world will be waking up on Christmas morning and maybe opening a small something from Moonlight And Hares. :-)

Wishing you a most peaceful Christmas and wonderful magical winter time!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Two Hours Off. Time Spent Wisely

I gave myself two hours off from packing orders. Time for a walk across the fields. Out into the magic of a frozen morning. I love that sound of frozen leaves under foot. Crispy and brittle, almost good enough to eat. Their appearance taking on the form of edible sugared, wafer thin biscuits? I stop and look down and my imagination begins to paint a picture...
The delicate woodland wafers are being gathered for a woodland feast. The rooks carry the frosted treats high up and over the upper most branches, to a woodland clearing where a fallen tree lays like a long banqueting table. They place the leaves beside heaps of acorns, hazelnuts, beech nuts, chestnuts, toadstools and lichen, for wild boars, red squirrels and the king of the forest the old stag who stands at the end of the tree and roars for the shortest night. His antlers are decorated for the season with frosted icy webs, for you see a small spider has made it's home there...
Was that the animal in me, feeling that these leaves looked good enough to eat, or maybe it was because I hadn't had any breakfast as I was too eager to get out and lose myself in this winter? 
Back home in the garden, I top up the birds food and find beauty in the frosted patterns on the doors of my studio. And here lies the beginnings of another story woven in this intricate frosted lace.
Beginnings that will have to wait until another time though, because after eating some late breakfast, my second hour off was spent making candles.

You probably like myself find that with candles there is often a lot of wax that gets wasted, especially when the candle burns just in the centre (often with thicker candles) or if the wick gives up the ghost and decides it wants to just melt into the wax and not light anymore. I don't like waste, so decided a few years back to recycle the wax into new candles. By the end of a year there is usually enough wax collected to make a good batch. These glass GU pudding jars which I also don't like to throw away, make perfect pots. 
Also any pretty little minature cups that you may have lying around.
First you need old wax. Cut into smallish pieces and try to remove any wick that is caught inside or little burnt black bits.
Have some essential oil at hand if you want to add a few drops to make your candles smell nice, and I have some eco glitter to sprinkle on for decoration.
Melt the wax in a pot or pan over a saucepan of boiling/simmering water. A small old saucepan is best to put inside a bigger one, but I couldn't find my old one in the (extremely messy) shed so used this small metal dish that worked. 
Dip the new wick into a little melted wax to attach to the bottom of the jar easily. Wicks can be bought online, I got mine from Ebay.
Once the wax has all melted carefully pour it into the jars or cups and use a fork to support and keep the wick in place until the wax sets. If you want to add essential oil/scent, then now is the time to add a few drops.
Once your candles have set, cut the wicks shorter and sprinkle some glitter. Easy peasy lots of new candles to use on these dark winter nights. Tie some ribbon around and they are even good enough as little extra gifts. :-)
My two hours off had come to an end and it was back to packing up orders and other bits and pieces. I think I used my time wisely? 
And maybe I will get around to painting that picture in my head?