Monthly Archives: December 2012

Just “Us” at Christmas time

Us. Found sign.

I hope you get to spend Christmas with the people you love, the ones that make you feel loved and happy. With the people (or person) that you refer to, to others, as “us”.

Under the Christmas tree, may you find something special. However, the greatest gifts are not found there, they are found in Us.

The letter U of the Christmas Alphabet – U for Us.


Twinkling lights and maybe Tinsel on the Tree?

Tinsel is an interior designers nightmare. I don’t think I have seen a single bit of shiny tinsel in any Christmas editions of any magazines or Christmas articles/images. It is definitely NOT flavour of the month, banished to the “tacky” and “gaudy” trash-can – out of sight and certainly not seen on any well-heeled, colour co-ordinated Christmas trees.

I don’t like tinsel. Too gaudy. Too plastic. I like decorations collected over years, all mismatched and sentimental. And I like twinkly Christmas lights, but only white, not coloured.

Yet, all around my neighbourhood, what do I see? Plastic Santa’s, blow up plastic reindeer, flashy tinsel and multi-coloured lights strung up, sign’s saying “Santa, stop here”…hilarious, riotous celebrations of Christmas from people who don’t care what’s in fashion, only about what is fun…

The Christmas Alphabet – brought to you by the letter T, some unfashionable Tinsel, coloured Twinkling lights, a blow up Santa, and a final Thought…be Thankful.

Christmas alphabet - the letter T


Last glances…on the road trip.

napier roadtrip 4napier roadtrip 7
napier road trip 2

It was always going to be a long, tiring haul… 4 kids and about a thousand kilometres in two days driving. But the mission was successful and extended family bonding was cemented for another few months. Here are some images I took on the way back as we left Hawkes Bay. I had to stop and take a last few glances at the breathtaking scenery, so very different from the west coast’s vivid greens and blues. Here on the east coast, it is so much drier, hotter, and the colours all seem to be of a long dry summer that has passed, even though it is only the start of summer…all muted, hazy orange and browns with faded purples, greys, muted greens and gold. So very stunning. Grape vines and tall poplars make it seem like a postcard of a scene from the Italian countryside. I live in a very beautiful country.


Start Something

Christmas alphabet the letter S

Santa Claus, Silent night, Snow (northern hemisphere), Strawberries (southern hemisphere)…even Singing or Smiles were all worthy candidates for today’s letter of the Christmas Alphabet – the letter S.

But Christmas isn’t just a time for enjoying the moment…quite often its a chance to reflect back over the past year and to think forward to next year.

“Start something” was a note to myself. It stays in my art room, pinned up as I find that when creativity freezes, or doubts start to appear, I find it quite useful to just “start something” and soon enough ideas/inspiration seems to rather curiously start to come together. But Start Something is also about having an attitude of doing rather than not-doing (but making excuses) or of action over procrastination.

So, in the Spirit of Christmas…however small or insignificant it might seem, Start Something..you never know what will happen.


Reflecting on the Road Trip

Christmas alphabet - letter R

Reflecting on the Road trip.

This image is taken at night on a Recent Road trip. Don’t worry, I was not driving! Road trips are for many of us, a big part of Christmas reunions, family gatherings and festivities. They require a lot of planning, stress, co-ordination and a huge amount of patience, especially when with travelling with children.

I am off tomorrow on a nearly 1,000 km road trip over several days with my children, to see our Relatives before Christmas. This is why the letter R is posted slightly early, and unfortunately why the letter S of this Christmas Alphabet will be slightly late. (Unless I suddenly gain access to some really reliable Roaming technology). Failing that, I will enjoy my relatives and children and reflect on what I need to to do when I get back, for Christmas and also the ONE exhibition opening January 7th!

Remember – if you are off on a Road trip over Christmas, drive safely and take it easy out there on the Roads.

Reflecting on the Road Trip – the letter R of this Christmas Alphabet.


the Quiet of Christmas…

christmas Alphabet - letter Q

Christmas is a noisy time of year, and I love that about it. I love the hustle and bustle, the joy, the laughter, the music, the carols and the merriment.

I also love the Quiet of looking at the Christmas tree lights long after children are asleep, the Quiet of sleeping children tired out from all the excitement, the Quiet of remembering a touching moment from a Christmas past, the Quiet of thinking about loved ones who cannot, for whatever reason, be with us at Christmas time, though we might dearly wish it were so. The Quiet of the starry (or perhaps snowy?) night sky. The Quiet of a landscape where no other soul is in sight and you suddenly feel very alone but strangely at peace – just you, the sky and the endless sea.

The Quiet of Christmas. The letter Q of this Christmas Alphabet.


Pohutukawa Tree

Christmas alphabet - letter P

While other nations have their poinsettia’s, sprigs of holly with red berries, green wreaths, and evergreen fir trees capped with snow at Christmas time, we too, have our own Christmas tree. All along the coast of New Zealand (and especially on the rugged west coast) the Pohutukawa Tree (Metrosideros excelsa) turns on a brilliant flush of masses of crimson red flowers starting in December.

They are our very own, suitably kiwi Christmas tree – they are hardy, they thrive in difficult situations and only flower once, gloriously, per year, just in time to herald in the start of Christmas.

There is a story that if they flower early in December it will be a long hot summer, and if they flower later in December, it will be wetter/colder/shorter summer. Many a tree has been climbed, camped under, admired against the pale blue sky, and the bluer-than-blue sea. They are just the most amazing burst of resplendent red colour along the coastline.

P for Pohutukawa. The Perfect kiwi Christmas tree for the Christmas Alphabet.


The letter O… an Occasion to celebrate

Christmas alphabet - letter O

Christmas might be about all things shiny and new to children, and can be considered to be a very casual event in midst of the summer heat here in the southern hemisphere, but I think Christmas is an Occasion to really celebrate. And I like to celebrate an Occasion with Old things especially.

To create a sense of Occasion, I pull out my best Old but beloved white linen tablecloth, and I love to find a reason to use my very old and tarnished antique jug and bowl that is a treasured gift. I like to set the table with my vintage china plates and I don’t worry if they don’t match. I like to use Old cut glassware and crystal decanters for desserts, creams, sauces, vases, for chilled water…all Old and treasured.

Who cares if it can’t go in the dishwasher? Who cares if it doesn’t match? Mix it up. Use your Own things with love, add candles, flowers, shells, decorations, to personalise and create a special sense of occasion.

Of course it goes without saying you need the essential ingredients of people who you love and whose company you enjoy, and the addition of great food for a really special Occasion to come together… but a touch of the Old, treasured and sparkly can set a scene for an Occasion to remember, even if its a picnic at the beach on Christmas day.


It’s a Nativity scene of course!

The scene was set. A large cardboard box painted. A huge star decoration added. Some straw added for good effect. And then came the main characters…

Darth Vader had been considered a logical stand-in for a wise man, accompanied by Action Man complete with his robotic arm. We never saw a third wise man. Not enough action figures, obviously.

Baby Jesus was a tiny Lego figurine sleeping in a tiny matchbox. The shepherds were a variety of knights, soldiers and cowboys. The cattle; all kind of animals from kangaroos to pandas, with a dinosaur or two thrown in for good measure.

Luke Sky-Walker was there proudly representing Joseph. And Mary was there too, my very own old Barbie doll.

It was the thought that counted and my three sons were so proud of their efforts. Darth Vader in a Nativity scene? Well, why not I say?

Nativity scene (a story). Today’s post for the letter N of this Christmas Alphabet on the 14 December 2012.


M for a Merry Christmas

Christmas Alphabet - letter m

The best gifts are not those under the tree but the people, those who matter most in our lives. May you have lots of lovely Moments with people who you love Most this christmas.


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