"Why a Christmas tree in summer?" you may ask. (My neighbor Lee just asked me this yesterday!)
"It's NOT a Christmas tree." I replied "It's an 'All Season' tree. And it makes me happy ALL YEAR LONG."
Isn't that what life is all about? Isn't that the focus of ALL of our lives?
Living well and being happy. Seeing those we love smile. Enjoying what every beautiful day brings our way.
These are goals that most of us strive to achieve every day. While we all may have similar goals, we all seem to go about achieving them in different ways. Some people feel happiest when they receive financial success. Others are happiest when they see their own children thrive and grow to become responsible, productive adults – happy in their own rite. I have many, many creative friends that find happiness in making beautiful things and building their creative skills and following their creative dreams. Each one has their own story and personal agenda. It does me good to see each one of them accomplish their goals, one by one. It adds to my own contentment and happiness.
But happiness doesn't come in one fell swoop. To me, happiness is like an onion. There are layers and layes of things that make us feel happy and successful, and no one thing really defines our entire existence- any more than one single layer can define what makes up an onion. It is the overall sum of the layers that make up the whole. And I think that is a good thing.
I often speak of diversification. As much as we love one particular thing in our lives, I feel that it is good for us to diversify as much as possible. Not only because it allows us to experience much fuller lives, but also because if something goes awry in one area, we still have many other GOOD things to draw on and keep us happy. Diversification requires a bit of extra energy, and I find that people who are willing to put their energy into several things at once are not only some of the busiest people around, but also the happiest. It is all a matter of choices we make.
I used to scold my own children when they said they were "bored." They soon knew that using that word was not something that would be received in a positive manner by me. Part of it was because I was usually running in several directions at any given time and it amazed me that anyone could look at all the things this world has to offer and feel there was "nothing to do." The other part was because I wanted to teach them INITIATIVE to go and find something that would make them happy and fulfilled. Being complacent and waiting for life to come to you is not a trait I wanted them to have. And neither of them do, as even though they have very different personalities, both of them embrace life with enthusiasm and excitement and look for their own adventures. That makes me proud!
Back to the tree . . .
For those who haven't read the story of my little 'all season tree' (I have told it before here) I began having it when my children were young. They enjoyed having a Christmas tree so much and it seemed that even though we usually put up the tree on December 1st (my son Phil's birthday) and took it down after the new year, the time seemed very short to enjoy it. Besides, with all the rush of the holidays it was sometimes difficult to really enjoy it. One year I found a tall, skinny tree at an after Christmas sale and I bought it. We were just about ready to pack away all the holiday decorations (which was always somewhat depressing because the house looked so plain) and I decided to have the kids help make some fun "winter" ornaments for the tree so we could keep it up through the long, cold winter. When Valentine's Day approached, we changed the decorations to make a Valentine tree. Then St. Pat's day. Then Easter. (etc., etc.) Soon it became a tradition and there was really NO good time to remove it. Besides, it made me smile and brought joy whenever I looked at it. It still does, as even though the ornaments and decorations of the tree may have changed over the year, the memories of that time spent with my children live through it, and every time I see it I am reminded of those wonderful days with my children. It has become a tradition.
Since moving here to Nova Scotia ten years ago, I haven't always kept up with keeping my tree in the right season. Things get busy and designing is hectic and sometimes we leave things on well past the holiday or season they were intended for. But little by little I am doing better at catching up and although it has been a long time in coming, I finally have a wonderful summer theme to get me through the warmer months. Without further discussion, I present to you all my "Summertime Seaside Tree" theme . . .
It is filled with my new little Chalky Paint Sealife Ornaments! I thought that a cheerful "sun" would make the perfect topper as well!
I found some netting by buying a bath pouf from the dollar store the other day and unravelling it for a garland:
And I have left the lights white, so it looks pretty cool. I think though that next year I will search for blue or turquoise lights so it will look more like under the water! Now that I have more storage, I feel that I can get something like that!
So many fun and bright critters adorn it! I love how this turned out!
I can't look at the tree without smiling! It really brings a wonderful amount of joy to our place here! Today, I will be writing up the pattern packets for the sea life creatures. I will have one packet with cutting and painting instructions, and the other one with the cutting and dimensional MUD painting instructions. I have some other plans for the MUD creatures – you will just have to wait and see!
I will be offering both the patterns and the wood pieces for the sea life critters very soon. I hope to get everything up by the end of the week. I think that this project will have so many fun uses, and the painting of the pieces is easy enough to do with your children too. Maybe you will start your own tradition by having an "all season tree" in your home or camp? It is a great way to keep the kids excited and involved all year long.
I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. Here it is bright and warm and sunny again. I hope I can stay in long enough to finish writing up my packets. Yesterday I admit the good weather was quite distracting and I didn't get as much done as I wanted. But today is a new day, and I will try my best.
Have a beautiful day! I hope you find something fun and creative to enjoy!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"