Saturday, December 19, 2009

Seasons Greetings

I'm popping in briefly to apologize for the lack of posts for such a very long time. A lot has happened in the last six months and I'm only just starting to get back on top of things.

I'm head down, and finishing a book so this won't be a long blog. I just thought I'd share some of my "between scenes" activities — the fiddly fun stuff I do with my fingers while my brain is dreaming up the next scene in the book. And at this time of the year it's decorations and ornaments.

I love Christmas. I normally have a real Christmas tree — mostly a seedling or a branch from the pine trees that my dad planted many years ago. I don't care about falling needles,
I love the smell of fresh-cut pine sap and to me, Christmas isn't the same without it. But those trees are a 90 minute drive away and I'm slaving over a hot book and can't afford the time. I know I could buy one, but this year in particular I'm feeling a bit sentimental and if I can't have Dad's pine trees, I don't want any, and I'm working all through Christmas anyway, so I'm going minimalist.

On a recent dog-walk beside the creek, I picked up some lovely fallen eucalyptus twigs and sprayed them with chrome paint, which comes out shinier than silver spray paint. And on them I've hung home made paper ornaments.

Now I'm no origami guru -- I've never even made one paper crane, let alone a thousand. But trust me, these are easy. And made with beautiful paper and a couple of beads they look stunning, even if I do say so myself.

The beautiful colored bells are made with 5 inch square Japanese orgami paper and are amazingly easy except for the last tricky bit, which takes a little fiddling until you get it — it's easy after the first time. You can see someone making it here on youtube, but she rushes the fiddly end part, so go to Ann Martin's wonderful blog which shows the fiddly part best. I added a few beads and an occasional tassel to mine. I've also made some tiny bells, too, as you can see from the pic on the left.
Some people hang them the other way up, which gives you a variety of shapes.

Then there are these beautiful pinecone mobiles, which are so easy -- just cut and thread along with some beads, then hang and watch them catch each little breeze. I made this with good quality textured wrapping paper, but the first one I made with photocopy paper and it's lovely, too.

I loved this little wreath. I like tiny things, so this is half the size of the pattern here. I used white note paper and the lining of a very
pretty envelope for an alternate pattern.

If you're snowed in and have kids to entertain, I blogged about crafts last year on Word Wenches (and will do again this year) so click here if you want more fun and easy things to make.

All the best for the holiday season — stay safe and happy, and may the new year bring peace and safety for all.


  1. Anne, I love your handmade decorations! And thank you for providing the link for the adorable little wreath. I've printed it out and plan on making some to tuck inside my Christmas cards.

    I haven't had a traditional Christmas tree in years. Instead, I decorate a large potted ficus tree in my living room and that is my Christmas tree.

  2. Thank you Anne, I'm thrilled you tried your hand at the bell ornament... yours are lovely! I must make some pinecones and wreaths... thanks for the inspiration. And what a great idea to use the eucalyptus branch as your tree this year.

  3. Anne, you gave me the link for the little mini Christmas trees and it kept my daughter amused for a good afternoon. I made the first one with her then cut out cardboard templates for the paper sizes and she just kept going and going and going........
    Next year I am going to start early and have them for the tree.
    Carol Marinelli x

  4. Sherrie, I'm glad you like the little star. It's very pretty and easy - I've made a few with recycled business envelopes, using the patterned inside for every second piece.

    Ann, thank you for dropping in. I get so much inspiration from your own lovely blog.

    Carol, I'm so glad your daughter enjoyed making the little origami trees. They're so cute, and, as I said, easy and fun to make. For those who are interested, the instructions for the trees Carol's daughter made are here:

  5. Gorgeous, Anne!

    Have any of your books been released as eBooks? I did look on your publishers site but couldn't find any.

    I treated myself to a new eBook for Christmas and I'm trying to be green. And avoid more piles of books to fall over :(

  6. Hi Liz, yes, all my Berkley books are available as e-books. I looked on amazon and they're there in Kindle and I looked up a couple of other e-book sites and found them in whatever format they need as well. Here's one I found.
    Not sure what format you need, or which sites are best, price wise.. It's a whole new world for me -- at the moment the only novels I read on a screen (apart from my own) are an occasional friend's manuscript, and I read them on my eeepc. To be honest, I'm really only interested in the idea of ebooks for research books.
    Though I do like the sound of a house with no towering piles of books

  7. Oh, wow, thanks for that, Anne. I have a Sony, so I'm off to splurge!

    And despite my move into eBooks, the dh is busy putting up more shelves. I think the little blighters breed in the night!

  8. woo-hoo! The Stolen Princess is now uploaded and ready to read. Instant gratification!

  9. Anne, thank you for adding a link to my blog. I enjoyed "the Tudors" very much. I read several books last summer on the Tudor period. In particular I liked Mary S. Lovell's book on Bess of Hardwick. Possibly Teddy will go true Tudor. But I can't really see him as a Regency man - or girl. Lene

  10. Lene, it's my pleasure to link to your papermatrix site -- it's a generous and fun site and the Teddy paper doll costumes are truly beautiful. I'm enjoying the Danish paper hearts, too.
    Yours is one of the inspirational sites that help refill my well. I just look at it and smile.