Monday, November 26, 2007

Sorry I've been missing for most of a week. William was off school, hubby was off work, son Sam came home for a holiday visit, so I took Thanksgiving week off to spend some quality time with my family and kitchen.

Everyone is back at work or school now though, and I'm gearing up for more cleaning, a bit of gift making, another round of decorating, and other winter holiday activities. Since whatever I manage to make in the studio between now and the end of the year will have to be kept a surprise, I'll have to settle for sharing other crafty or creative activities with you.

Like this shop window hubby and I saw on a walk-off-some-of-the-turkey stroll uptown. It's an antiques and collectible shop I like to visit. I'd just been past the shop earlier in that week and hadn't seen anything holiday-ish but on this day the window display was filled with trees, each of them decorated with old or retro ornaments.

I wish I could have shown you a wide view of the window, it was lovely, but there was too much reflection. I didn't intend it but I kinda like how this photo came out with my shadow and the street and mountains caught in the glass. I think I still captured what I was aiming at - the paper cut out angel. I thought those would be fun to make.

When I went on my big shopping spree last week, I went to Macy's to visit their Holiday Tree Department. It's a tradition for me. I rarely shop at Macy's. Okay, I never shop at Macy's. But I do love how they do up all those trees and I try to go at least once each holiday season and buy an ornament or two. This year I noticed that the theme leaned heavily towards the "homemade" look. Almost all the ornament were meant to look hand done. Well, they were hand done I assume. By someone in a factory somewhere.

Don't get me wrong, they were really cute. But it was hard not to see the irony - today's shopper doesn't have the time to actually create homemade ornaments. So they go to an upscale department store to buy ornaments that look homemade.

I've noticed that phenomenon a lot in the last few years. The more expensive the items in a store or catalog, the more they have a hand crafted or "grandma's handiwork" look to them. It's a nostalgia for.... what? A time when people had less money but, maybe, more time?

Do we really have so little time nowadays? I don't think it's an easy thing to generalize about, every person's situation is unique. But it's certainly something to consider in our own life - do we balance our time well? Could we slow down, buy less and do more ourselves, and still be as happy? Maybe even happier? I know I have a lot more flexibility in my schedule than a lot of people do, and yet I still seem to find myself unorganized and overscheduled more often than not. So far I haven't even managed to organize or simplify my thinking about organizing and simplifying. Another irony - trying to simplify can end up to be such a complex process.

Enough of a philosophical sidetrack. Back to the shop window...

I thought this baby shoe decoration was really cute. Can you see the wheels beneath it? (open the photo to see them) It's been turned into a baby buggy. The key is a nice touch. And it's glittered. I've seen so many cute things done with baby shoes lately. Which is nice, since babies don't wear them for long it's nice for them to find a second life that doesn't include doing a Hans Solo number on them.

This little angel head brings back memories. We had several on our tree when I was growing up. I think my mom bought one for each of us three girls. I liked them but I also thought they were a little creepy. Uhm, where's the rest of the angel? Was she decapitated?

This particular tree was decorated in a kitchen theme, including all these old cookie cutters. I still have some of these same cookie cutters from my childhood. How clever to add a pretty ribbon and hang them on the tree. Beats all the work of making gingerbread cookies, decorating them, and trying to hang them on the tree!

I particularly liked this little angel with the added bling and wing.

I took this photo through the side window, hoping to get less glare. If you open the photo you can see the detail better. I liked all the old toys under the trees inside the shop. check out the dollhouse and buggy.

That's it for now. You can check out a wicked chess game over at Beach Treasure. And come back tomorrow when I tell you a tale about the search for the perfect wrapping paper.


Lori said...

that looks like a great shop the baby shoe!!!

Sherry said...

Thanks for sharing these photographs and talking about your stroll.

I know what you mean about ornaments being made en masse to look like they've been handmade. I do think there is a harking back to times past and while many of us have always made ornaments as keepsakes, I think there is such little free time that people want to "buy" what they can't do themselves. In which case, I wish they would be unique handmade from real artisans rather than purchasing what has been mass produced. I so hear you!!