For the first time ever (I swear), last night I sat down and watched the much-beloved-by-many movie ELF. It was humorous and heartwarming and all the things the critics wrote when it came out years ago (if you think I am behind the pop-culture times, you are 110% correct. My favorite musicians arrived on the scene twenty plus years before I was born and if it happened after the fall of the Iron Curtain, well, frankly, it’s never touched my ears.).
Regardless, the movie put me in the ultimate holiday spirit. The house has been decorated since my last posting and the lights go on and off like clockwork masterminded by rigid toy soldiers but the holiday season, thus far, was teetering on the bland until ELF sparked my creativity, drove me into to depths of my backyard searching for sticks. Yes, sticks. And bark. During a commercial break I hatched an idea to adorn the many candles I had collected with bits of natural goodness. I bundled a grouping of oak tree sticks around a pillar candle and pasted peeled bark onto another. Other outdoor findings I painted red and green and clustered about votive and tea light candle holders. I even made an adorable photo frame out of branches, so perfect for photos that tell the story of four best friends frolicking around an autumnal New Hampshire earlier this year.
For me, the gift of making is just as powerful as the gift of giving (or receiving). While I do love to shop (you’ll find evidence of this in previous posts!) and I love to see glittering presents under the tree with my name (how many secret santa exchanges am I signed up for this year?!), what I love most is to hatch a brilliant (or so I think) idea and run with it without rules or limitations. Admittedly, most of what I create ends up not too far from where it began: in my possession, not for lack of interest, but because I have the most awful time parting with the dear things I make. It’s true, I fall in love with my work. Always and forever. It’s a curse and a blessing – it makes me harder on myself than perhaps I would be if I was indifferent towards my creations and it makes me a terrible businessperson (albeit, not a terrible saleswoman – I can sell you anything, this a professor once told me, but parting with my work, my baby, is hard to do!).
Alas, I’ve learned that the best feelings come from when I make something glorious that I can share with others. The new candles (see imade) fresh from my studio are the perfect example of something I would love to give for others to give or keep for themselves. One, because the idea is so simple – reinvigorate the senses with warmth and a sweet smelling scent while reintroducing the indoors (so sealed from the outdoor world this time of year) to nature – and two, because the act of making the candles was so enjoyable!
Many a good man has said, “if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life”. This is certainly true with my musings and my pursuits in architecture and design in general. I even extract some type of joy from bathroom details, after all, we spend so much time there, why not concentrate on the placement of the outlets and the faucet and the tiles with a bit of luster and love? It’s all in the details for me – and like and unlike Sarah Palin, who has said “I’d rather be out here than in some stuffy office” in her new TLC show… well yes, I enjoy the woods and camping and boating and hiking but I also love the sleek lines of an excellent office chair, a desktop, and the thrill putting all of the “to-do” papers into the “done” pile.
That’s just my way, and these days my favorite thing to do is play santa. Take a moment to shop my etsy.com store. Perhaps we can both find a way to be someone’s santa this year!