Shining Bright on the Solstice

Happy solstice! It always seems strange to me that we begin winter on the shortest day of the year, as it's also the turning point to longer days and more light. For that reason I tend to embrace lighter, softer tones in my festive vignettes as I feel we need the L I G H T!

So imagine my delight when walking home from a festive eve with a sparkly Christmas card in hand, I saw a shooting star flash overhead. It was bold and bright, calling out to me with all the hopes, wishes and promises of a new year. I've had such a remarkable year with so much abundance while fulfilling a lifelong dream of completing my first book. It launches in the spring and I cannot wait to share it with you...though wait through winter I must! 

When I entered my home I placed my card into a holiday vignette, noticing for the first time the star atop the dazzling tree. I chose a little lamb figurine to place beside it as I thought of all the things I wish for. Love. Warmth. Nurturance. A connection to nature and all living creatures. New beginnings.

At that same moment, I turned to a Christmas movie on TV with a woman looking out a window longingly as a a shooting star appeared! 

This will be my first Christmas solo in many years, so the light of the shining star, the hope in my wishes, and the sweet innocence of that little lamb help guide me on with comfort and hope of all that awaits in the new year.

At this time I find pleasure in the simple, mindful pastimes of home. Tinkering with vignettes is one of them... and baking. Thus I was so pleased that the lovely Jan of Poppytalk Handmade asked me to share some of my ideas and inspirations in her Holiday Vignettes series.

I hope you enjoy the post below from Poppytalk. Check out her charming site for many more holiday inspirations.



This fall we interviewed Heather Ross about her new book out this spring, The Natural Eclectic, and so we felt it was only fitting to ask her to share a few holiday-styled photos and ask her about them.  Here's what she had to say:

Tell us about your pictures?

I like to approach the festive season in simple whimsical ways. As one who always looks to nature for inspiration, I like to incorporate natural elements into charming understated displays for the holiday season. I prefer a softer cooler wintery palette I describe as "an ethereal Noel'. One thing I love to collect and incorporate into my vignettes is vintage mercury glass ornaments, they bring the most charming festive touch of shine and sparkle to any arrangement. Motifs such as pinecones and birds are perfectly suited for branches and trees.

I find monochromatic palettes to be so peaceful and soothing and one year I even did a soft lavender toned tableau.

Last year I found vintage satin floss baubles in a soft pure white. while hanging them on fine white branches suddenly I had an idea to try dip dyeing them. Having worked as a textile designer years ago, I just mixed up some water based dyes and dipped the bottoms in, allowing the color to gently flow and spread up the fibres. The result was like a dreamy ombre effect. It was so easy to do and one could just use watered down paints or even food coloring with similar results.

While unwinding dried vines off of my winter garden I realized it created a wonderful fine wreath.I simply tied some vintage satin ribbon around the top and hand sewed a feather weight vintage bauble to dangle from the center. The whole wreath is so light I just use a push pin to hang it on my french doors, allowing the extra swath of ribbon to drape over it so the pin is hidden.

 What is one of your favourite holiday traditions?

Making sugar cookies. When my sister and I were young we loved to make sugar cookies and decorate them with gobs of royal icing and jujubes. Each year I still continue to make these sugar cookies from scratch (though perhaps decorated a little more elegantly! ) I find baking to be a very creative and satisfying task in the hectic holiday season, and it makes me feel so nostalgic. They are a simple delightful treat to share with those you love.

You can create a stained glass effect with cookies by simply making a small cut out in a cookie and filling it with crushed hard candies. When place on a lined cookie sheet and baked, the crushed candles melt into a glassy window, and remain like glass once cooled. They are as sweet to behold as to taste.



Do you have any go-to items that you might like to give this holiday?
 —If I was choosing from my shop I might present a hand knit alpaca throw ( or turkish towel), a funky locally made soy candle, and natural gemstone bracelets we are carrying that I had strung up by a local jeweller in all my favorite tones.

 All photos by Heather Ross.



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