Monday, December 24, 2018

Small Moments Of A Wiltshire Christmas

We recently visited Avebury Manor and seen it all decked out for Christmas. I hadn't been inside the manor for years, so it was lovely to revisit.
Each room is decorated as a different period in the Manor's history. I loved the Tudor room.
Although not so keen on the boars head. It wasn't real though, just papier mache,  so that was okay. 
The kitchen was gorgeous too, filled with sugar and spice and all things nice. Gingerbread, sugared mice, golden coins and marzipan fruit. These were real.
I spied a few letters to Father Christmas too. 
It's lovely to get out and see the old houses decked up for the festive season.
Here at home the wreath is on the door and I've given Mr Fox a mistletoe crown.
Things are looking sparkly with the return of the low winter light reaching into the windows and playing rainbow chase on walls. Each year I seem to appreciate it a little bit more than I did the year before. 
And it always takes my breath away and makes me sit and just be, which is so important in this mad and crazy world. 
Of course it's handy too if there is a mince pie ;) 
When the short days light has said it's goodnight, the room twinkles yet again. 
From pine scented branches.
And glows around royal crowns.  
And then in the morning, again. 
A brand new day begins within a single raindrop sparkle.
Wishing you all the most peaceful and magical Christmas time.

Friday, December 7, 2018

By Frost and Candlelight

The dark nights are upon us. A time of lighting fires, candles and curling up with a book to escape into other worlds.  A time for woolly tights, (I have a favourite spotty pair) soft jumpers, boots, cosy scarves. Time to get my little wooden cups out for warm spiced drinks. It's also the time of planning. Christmas, new year, what seeds to plant in next years garden and to dream up new adventures. 
I thought I'd better pop in and share my winter cards before they all disappear. Available to buy now in the shop. There are still some some available.
I've edged these two below with golden glitter. Not real glitter though, only printed (I'm trying my hardest to keep away from micro plastics and even the tiny stars in my pictures get carefully put away and reused in photographs)
There are also lots of notebooks. Shown below,  is one I'm particularly fond of.  Using the painting I created after my magical Finland trip back in 2016. 
Do pop across to the shop and take a look. I have ordered more calendars as two lots have sold out now. The last bunch should be arriving later today and then that will be it.
It's been a sad time here in the Moonlight and Hares household. We recently had to say goodbye to our dear little Willow, who became poorly quite suddenly.
It won't be the same without her. She was a sweet girl and we were blessed to share 11 and a half years with her. We buried her beneath the apple trees that she used to love climbing so much.
Until our souls meet again one day, we treasure the happy memories.
As the days go ticking by too quickly, outside the holly has fruited in abundance.
It does this every year and we are so lucky. By the end of November though, all of the berries have been eaten by the birds and it's bare again.
I do pick a few sprigs beforehand though and keep them in the greenhouse in a bucket of water. Today it was time to begin bringing a little inside, along with a some other garden seasonal foliage. 
I thought the reindeer needed cheering up too, so gave him a sprig. 
And finally I can share another winter painting that's now finished. It's been on the desk for a long time as you can see from the photo, with the sun shining and roses still being picked.
It's been such a busy Autumn for orders and I honestly thought I would never get it done at one point.  But here it is...
By Frost and Candlelight 
Prints are available in the shop and I will be getting some cards in next week for the last minute shoppers among us.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ghosts of Oxford

There is something about Autumn and Oxford that seems to go hand in hand.
An energy hung in the air. Ingrained in the stone. Centuries of thought and knowledge. Ideas sparked and creations birthed. The ghosts of so many minds, gathered in one place. Seeping between the streets and buildings like blood in veins.
Maybe it was because of the time of year, just a few days until it was Halloween, when folk speak of the veil being thin?
It was a good energy. The kind that you absorb deep inside to refill your own creative well. So we soaked it in and we wandered and browsed in book shops and sipped hot chocolate.
 Our main reason for going was to catch the Tolkien exhibition 'Maker of Middle Earth' which was in its last few days at the Weston library. I had been meaning to go since the summer when it opened, but never got around to it. So it was a last chance, before it headed off to far off lands.
So over the misty mountains we went...
Through the door,  or past it at least.
And into a lovely exhibition displaying Tolkien's sketches, paintings and notes. His desk and chair, old tobacco smoking pipes and paint set were on show too. It was wonderful for a short while to be immersed in snippets and details of his world. How incredibly small his writing was, so perfect and the attention to detail was a joy to see.  Sadly photographs inside were not allowed, so instead I will share the postcard set that I bought, which shows some of the art work which was on display.
Although the exhibition has moved on now, you can browse Tolkien items to buy in the Bodleian libraries shop here including the postcard set that I bought.

Afterwards we headed to the Eagle and Child. This is the pub where Tolkien used to meet up weekly with C.S Lewis and other writers to discuss their works in progress.
We sat in the very spot, ate lunch (a veggie burger, just incase you were wondering ;) ) and enjoyed a drink or two.
It was a lovely day out and I got to tick off the Eagle and Child off of my long list of things to do and places to visit.