Yesterday it was the first Sunday in Advent, the day when Christmas officially starts in our house and the first decorations go up. I tend to do Christmas decorations in waves, Advent, then maybe the tree, and finally everything else. I was actually a week ahead of myself this year, proudly showing a photo of our Advent ring on facebook last weekend until someone pointed out it wasn’t til this Sunday!
An Advent wreath is one of the traditions I’ve carried on from my childhood, when we were little we always had one and read a quarter of the nativity ladybird book each Sunday as we lit another candle. When my two were little we would light the candle, sing carols around the piano, three of us squeezed on the double piano stool! I had a pile of Christmas books, all sorts of stories including various Nativity books which the children could choose. It was a special time.
A few years ago I managed to buy a tall candelabra on Otley market, it’s got four arms and a central candle. It’s perfect for my Advent wreath, it’s a bit of a squeeze to get the oasis on, I had to shave a bit off the plastic holder this time! I use the central older for my Advent candle, so I can light it every night in theory…so long as I don’t forget about it on the first night and let it burn down to 6!!
I go around my garden and cut various sprigs of greenery. I’ve learnt over the years what lasts and what doesn’t. I tend to use eunonymous, eucalyptus, box, osmanthus instead of holly as the short sprigs work much better and it looks so similar to holly, fir and juniper, ivy off the back lane and a few red heads of sedum. I probably use far too much variegated leaves, but hey, it’s Christmas! I used to have a rosemary shrub in the garden too which was always nice to use as you got the aroma too.
I tend to pick four sprigs of everything, so I can have a good spread of foliage. At this stage I just use fresh foliage from the garden, but as things start to look a bit sad, they get replaced with pine cones, baubles, mandarins, all sorts of fillers, that way it still looks good by Christmas Day. A set of Christmas lights finishes it off and gives a twinkle every evening, I think it looks quite magical with the lights turned out.
…and you’re all wondering how my stall went…
It went OK in that I sold quite a lot of Christmas decorations and a few other things too. It was a good learning curve too, how much stock you need for a 6′ table (I think I got that about right) how to display your goods, I’d bought a bare twig tree at the last minute, it worked brilliantly as decorations were at eye level, the tree twinkled and looked pretty so it caught peoples attention. My higher priced things such as cushions and coat-hangers were frequently admired but didn’t sell, which I think is a lesson in choosing your craft fair, this one was part of a much bigger event, people came in coachloads (72 coaches last Saturday!!) for a wander around a Christmassy village, lots of mulled wine and carol singers. I think I would do better at a more artist/craftworker based craft fair where visitors are there because they appreciate handmade products, there is one in Skipton in the summer which I might have a look at….and you don’t need to dress up!
The good thing is I can now spend this weeks annual leave sewing what I like (plus a few extra Christmas decorations) rather than sewing to restock for next Saturday’s fair!…there’s a silver lining to every cloud…and I might just get my Etsy shop up and running over Christmas, any tips on that one gratefully received!
My OH has just gone to Australia for a week (I know, a long way to go for a week, it’s just the way it worked out!) so it’s me, the dogs and my sewing machine alone for a week 🙂