Winter has finally arrived here in Nova Scotia. For the past two months, I think everyone around us here has held their breath and waited for the inevitable freezing temperatures, wind and snow. But up until yesterday, their dread has been pretty much unfounded.
Oh, we have had some snow and ice, but nothing to really complain about. A few inches here and there. A few storms that brushed by us and missed us by a whisker. Nothing that really lasted for more than a couple of days. Whatever accumulation we had would soon disappear and pale in comparison to the mountains of snow that was piled on us last year. As the calendar marched on and with January safely behind us, even I began to think that winter would bypass Nova Scotia altogether this year, as spring is quickly approaching. We would soon be heading to the shore to escape the warmer and more humid air inland. It would be here before we knew it.
But after all, this IS Canada. Did we really think that we would go through an entire year without the one or two healthy snowstorms? I think not. Not this year, anyway.
Our day started off nice enough. It was grey, but there was more grayish green grass than snow on the ground. Actually, there was only a very small amount left from last weeks' squall that hit. New England got hit hard, but for some reason, the storm, like several others that preceded it, only gently brushed by, leaving a slippery mess and then melting off the next few days. But as Keith and I did our daily errands (store, gym, post office) each time we emerged from someplace it was getting worse. At first just a few flakes. Then more. By the time we were at our final destination for the day, it was coming down hard and blowing nearly sideways. Places were already closing, as they rightfully should. There was no use keeping people working when things were getting so treacherous outside. Few were out anyway and I was very happy to be home, as by the time we arrived there, the snow was quickly accumulating and the storm was in full force.
We were prepared though and I wasn't worried. We had extra water, candles and blankets. If our power went out, we would be fine. Just another winter day in Canada. It brought back a feeling of 'normalcy' that had been missing the past month. It almost felt good.
I had a bowl of the good soup that I made the day before and hunkered down for the rest of the day. I have been working in so many directions this past month or so and I was anxious to finish the next stage of the project that I have been working on and will take me the entire year to complete – the 12 Days of Christmas ornaments sets that I was making that were designed by Lynne Andrews. It was great to close another chapter on it.
For those of you who may have not read before, I decided to make six sets of these lovely ornaments – five sets would be given as gifts and one set would be for myself. Since they are quite detailed and painted on both sides, I decided to give only the "Day 1" ornament at Christmas time and then I would paint one "Day" each month (times six) and mail them off to those receiving them as they were finished. This would result (in theory) of me sending the last ornament(s) in December of this year – just in time for Christmas 2016. It will be the gift that keeps on giving and will keep Christmas in their hearts for the entire year. Besides – making 72 ornaments was pretty much impossible for me to do. This allows me to make something really nice for my family members that would be a keepsake that they can have forever.
I painted most of the remaining part of the day yesterday, and I did, indeed finish up Day 2. I had shown them the other day as they were 'in progress' and I was working on the lettering. While Lynne's instructions call for using a marker for the lettering, I decided to challenge myself and use a brush to paint the wording on each ornament. I knew it would take much longer, but I do like the look of the painting lettering better and I thought it would be a nice 'skill builder' for me as well. (Yes – I am crazy!) I don't regret my choice, as I AM getting better and faster at the lettering. Just think how fast I will be by the time I am done with them all!
Here is the brush I use for the lettering:
It is my absolute favorite and has about 10 hairs on it. I have had this particular brush for probably over 10 years. I have a spare if I need one, but I don't see this one wearing much and hops it lasts another ten. It goes to show how having quality supplies and caring for them properly can make them last.
I am very proud of the finished ornaments:
They are as elegant and beautiful as Day 1:
It will be fun and rewarding to see the set grow each month, and it will also be a joy to be able to send them to both my children, Keith's mom and my "Canadian parents" and my dear friend of many, many years (I call him my 'adopted son') Leldon and his family. All of them are so special to me and it is pure joy to create these beautiful pieces for them.
Our Facebook group is growing and thriving as well. For those who aren't aware, I created a support group for people who not only want to make these lovely ornaments, but also those who just want to watch us and cheer us on. It has been a wonderful experience and I have made many new friends and already learned so much from my fellow artists. It is fascinating to see the different variations and methods that others use to create their ornaments. I invite any of you to come and join us. It is called the "12 Days of Christmas Ornaments by Lynne Andrews - We are making them!" and it is full of fun, creativity and lots of positive energy. I think you will like it and some of you may want to even jump in and paint with us. Some were initially worried about 'keeping up' with everyone else, but there is no need for that. Since I am plodding along at only one "Day" per month, I will probably be the caboose of that group – finishing last. But there is no time frame to finish and no pressure on anyone. We are all there just to have fun and be creative and support each other. It is like a wonderful cyber-class that has its door open all the time and is completely free. It has turned into a wonderful opportunity for everyone.
I hope to see you there. I hope you enjoy seeing updates as well. I really think it is turning out to be one of the best ideas I have come up with to date, and I am so proud of everyone there.
So that will do it for today. I have some scrolling to do and I also have my new projects to play around with. It is all going to be fun.
In the end, we wound up with about a foot of snow. It is calm outside and actually very pretty. It feels like winter once again and I am sitting here cuddled in a blanket with the cats draped around me. All is well.
I hope you have a wonderful day today.
Happy Tuesday to you! Keep safe, warm, happy AND creative!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"