I asked Sandy Foster if she’d like to be the first EYE guest blogger. The interview about her tiny retreat earlier this year triggered a warm response from readers who admired her creative spirit. Her website is a must visit.
Sandy starts decorating her 9×14 foot studio in the Catskills in late October and leaves everything up until February, dismantling it as weather permits. The slope to the cabin is steep and snowy so she says she has to ford the stream in her “pink wellies” to get there.
Her dream is to publish a book featuring romantic holiday decor from bloggers worldwide. Creating Vintage Charm Magazine currently features Sandy’s little sanctuary with her beautiful tree on the cover.
Here is Sandy’s message along with photos of her enchanting Christmas cottage and upcycled ornaments…
“Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth, and
Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year!”
Sounds jaded, even schmaltzy? Don’t suffocate in your armor of snide urbane ennui. Look at it this way…
The holiday season is a convergence of celebrations from ancient cultures or religions to crass mass consumerism. There’s a place for everyone, and everyone gets along.
For one month, in the darkest time of the year, driving home the usual way from work reveals home after home illuminated against the gloom. It’s not entirely true, but it feels as if every single person shining a light in the night knows we must be hopeful in the worst of times.
Other plain-yet-profound moments of the type of thing one reads in books with ‘chicken soup’ in the title happen during the holidays. For example, taking out decorations from their storage boxes is like being reunited with old friends.
Writing cards and the posting the family picture around Facebook is being reunited with old friends.
Precious things in life I cherish and protect sometimes break despite my safekeeping. With great effort, repairing, repainting, and recycling make them whole, and sometimes, better than before. Pictured here are two whole and one repaired 1980s ornaments. All are beautiful.
I don’t have to take what I’m sold ‘as is’. I can make it better suit my view. This toy henhouse vignette as it looked before, and after treatment with a little glue and glitter.
My holiday village consists mainly of reproductions of the homes I’ve owned. Pictured here are needle-felted figures of my husband Todd and I and our dogs in front of our first home and its guest house.
Patience and planning ahead are rewarded: shop at the big 75% post-holiday sales and store it for next year.
The canon of music that carries me away the way my favorite band Rush does. And it’s played everywhere. Better yet, one hears Hanukkah songs on internet radio and stores more and more. Putting ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ by the Vince Guaraldi Trio back on my iPod is one of the very best presents I get.
Kids in the store cease their whiny tantrums when their parents somberly threaten Santa won’t visit because they’re naughty. I suspect Saint Nicholas’ good deeds got the naughty/nice rider by exasperated parents centuries ago.
Thinking of the gift I’ll give to a special person only makes me realize how much I love them. I shop locally whenever possible, and that keeps the charming stores in town there.
My little Maltese dogs Zuzu and Belle are used to being dressed up, but my big adopted Doberman mix Ruffy and black Lab Mully get to wear hilarious and humiliating stuff like jingle bell scrunchies on all fours.
So, unload the unwashed socks from your heart and the rid the gunk from your soul. (Dr. Seuss’ poetry is so underrated.) Negative thoughts and actions didn’t do either the Grinch or Whoville any good, so ride into town at dawn and give, give, give back.
Remember, the holidays are horribly painful for the grieving, the lonely, the unemployed, and anyone in charge of a big parade. Be nice. And remember to keep it up the rest of the year. Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth, and Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year!
EYE: Thanks, Sandy, for your kind wishes.