Last night I hosted my annual holiday party, a friendly laid-back gathering to celebrate the shortest day of the year. We had the traditional German treats of glühwein (mulled red wine), Apfelstrudel, Stollen, and pizza and salad (!). We also enjoyed a mini bonfire in my trusty Weber grill, recovered from the roadside by a friend some years back. (You can't have actual bonfires in the city of Ann Arbor as they violate codes, but containable fires are allowed, hence the grill whose lid can be replaced at any given minute.) Many people brought fire wood and I had been saving bits and pieces of wood and greenery as well, including a rosemary plant that gave up the ghost and the leftover greenery from the evergreen centerpiece class (but not including, as it turned out, a broken wooden planter my mom had saved for me specifically to put on the fire, which I completely forgot about. Doh!).
It was a nice time although the Garden Faerie was too busy being a mingling hostess to take photos. I did however go outside this morning to capture this snowwoman (let's just say there were additional pine cones that melted off overnight in the warming temperatures):
that two enterprising young fellows (the 4- and 7-year-old children of one of the guests) created last night.
I wasn't able to make it to the tree-cutting place this year (my friend Wendy hooked me up with this do that a couple near Pinckney hosts each year on their private property. They let you cut free trees of any size and provide greens and wreath making machines as well. There's also a pot luck. In spring, there's another potluck and people plant baby trees. It's a great place!), and the trees sold on lots are mostly too big for my house, so I decided to decorate my Norfolk Island Pine as my tree this year:
She's about four feet tall in her pot now and doing really well after she sustained some fairly severe damage in a freak hail storm in June, 2006:
And, no, I don't personify all of my plants, but I feel like I know Piney personally. :)
I also bought a "mini me" pre-decorated one-foot tall Norfolk pine for my bedroom:
I got the idea of a bedroom tree from Wendy, whose birthday was yesterday as well. I have the tiny 10-light strand set on a timer so my bedroom is softly illuminated both as I wake up and fall asleep. It's very comforting and seasonal!
And finally, I'll share some photos of my favorite retro holiday knick knacks:
I just love the styrofoam snowman and smile every time I pass it.
This was hands-down the best garage sale buy all season.
Happy holidays, everyone!