Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Musing

I just finished eating the last of the turkey in my fridge. I'm already going through turkey sandwich withdrawal—that perfect combination of cranberry sauce and mayonnaise oozing out the sides ... God. Thankfully, I wrote down my menu so I can enjoy the same mouth-watering leftovers next year.

Even though I kept things very low-key, I think my Thanksgiving anxiety always lies in the fact that 365 days have passed since I last manhandled a turkey. It's like Groundhog Day every year, and while it was helpful to have all of the recipes written down, what I really needed was some experienced advice from me to me. Something like, "Don't worry. Just think of it as a large chicken." Or, "You made the pies the night before which was pure genius. Instead of waking up at the crack of dawn, you sipped your cappuccino while watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Well played."

Since I kept my Thanksgiving menu simple, I had more time to play with setting the table. 'Tis the season to be crafty! I decided to do a big flower arrangement, inspired by an old, rustic bread bowl my grandmother gave me. When I arrange flowers I love to gather different sizes and textures, all within the same color scheme. I bought the hydrangea and the eucalyptus berries at WholeFoods while I was on my Thanksgiving grocery run. Eucalyptus berries are one of my favorite go-to flowers because they look great with everything and they're very low-maintence. A few days later I saw the small cabbage flowers at the farmers' market and thought they'd work well. I bought a floral oasis and a cheap plastic container at a store in the flower district (28th + 6th Ave) so I could just rest the base inside the bowl.

The arrangement looked really beautiful on the table.

The hydrangea dried perfectly in the oasis and so I saved them for my Christmas decorations. When Billy and I bought our Christmas tree, I scooped up a huge pile of tree trimmings that were just laying on the ground; they smell amazing and look great strewn around the house. I used some of the branches, along with the dried hydrangea, to make a holiday wreath for my front door. I bought a wire wreath frame today from the flower district (now you know where to find me when I'm not teaching yoga) and some winter berries, which I thought would made the Victorian-looking dried flowers more modern and fresh.

Ideally it's best to work on a table, but I actually sat in Malasana and experienced some killer hip opening whilst I crafted. Using garden shears, cut off 12" pieces of tree branches and wrap 3 to 4 together into a bunch. Lay each bunch across the wire frame and wrap with floral wire. Repeat all the way around the frame until you've created the fullness you desire. I think a simple, green wreath is really beautiful. Last year I used eucalyptus berries with the Fraser Fir branches and I loved the different textures, all in green.

A homemade wreath lends something unpredictable to holiday decorations. It's also a feat worth celebrating, and the finished product hangs like a trophy on your front door. "I made that," you'll say! They also make thoughtful, inexpensive gifts that mean so much because the recipient will think of you every time they walk into their home.

Have fun with your holiday decorations. Making them yourself will definitely put you in the spirit of the season. Creating beautiful things with your hands is just another form of artistic concentration and self-expression. It'll be your very own crafty, holiday meditation.

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