Posted in Arty sparks, Home sparks

An EverydaySparks Christmas – the nativity

I am having a feeling of deja vu, so apologies if you have been with my blog from the start and are hearing about my Christmas things for the second time. But that’s not going to stop me from sharing my nativity scene with you today – it’s another part of my collection that is guaranteed to make me laugh every year, as I release the players from their 11 month bubble wrap storage.

I can’t remember where I got this set, but these guys have been part of my family for many years now. They are so clumsily painted and bizarrely formed that I can only hope that I bought them from a charity shop. Whatevs, they fit my purchase requirements: a non-traditional nativity scene.

The gender of most of the gang is ambiguous, baby Jesus appears to be wearing lipstick, and I just don’t know about that shifty looking angel. The sheep look like clowns, there are two cows (not pictured, because they pretty much look like larger versions of the sheep + horns) and one of the politically incorrect wise men lost his head in a tragic accident last year (he made a run for it and fell off the display table). But my Dad fixed him right up with super glue and he’s back in action for the 2013 season.

See what I mean about the ambiguous gender? (Joseph, I'm pointing at you.)
See what I mean about the ambiguous gender? (Joseph, I’m pointing at you.)
Look at that fine detail - there's even a tear!
Look at that fine detail – there’s even a tear!
An angel, in disguise?
Even with your wings and basketball hoop, I’m still not sure about you, Angel…
Oh, the clown sheep. And the shepherd man could be a member of ABBA. Just realised I've arranged them to look as though shepherd boy is whispering plans of a mutiny...
Oh, the clown sheep. And the shepherd man could be a member of ABBA. Just realised I’ve arranged them to look as though shepherd boy is whispering plans of a mutiny…
I'm saying nuthin' about these guys...
I’m saying nuthin’ about these guys…
Posted in Home sparks

An EverydaySparks Christmas – the tree

Let me start with a bit of a heads-up: I looooove the festive season. From Thanksgiving through to Christmas and then the wind-down after that, when it feels as though everyone slows down a bit to enjoy the summer (here in Australia, that is). Oh, the thrill of getting a parking spot when the shopping centre is packed; the smell of the fruit cakes baking in the oven (my mum’s); the playing of the Christmas tunes (at this time, I even accept Mariah Carey); the wrapping of the gifts; the popping of the champagne corks; the squeals of delight from the little people; and, of course, the decorating of the tree.

I love decorating my tree. It’s a fakey-fake tree, but its creators have tried hard to make its ‘trunk’ and ‘branches’ look as realistic as possible. Which is pretty funny, because there are large brackets along the trunk where you need to insert the branches – that kind of gives the game away. Although they have painted the brackets brown, like the trunk, so I do appreciate their efforts to keep it real. I have a fair few decorations that I have collected over the years on my travels, so I’m pretty much in a dream world as I crank up the carols and take the memories out of their boxes.

Most of the decorations make me smile, some make me a bit teary, others blind me with their bling (ok, so I have some small disco ball decorations on the tree, just because). But there are two decorations that make me laugh out loud every year (or LOLEY, the cool kids might say) and as I put my tree up yesterday, I thought I would share them with you here.

The Christmas sushi was a gift from my sister-in-law Jo a few years back – a sign that she knows me well (I really dislike sushi, but I love crazy glittery decorations, the more ridiculous the better). And the Christmas pickle is from New York – I couldn’t resist its bright green colouring, with a mysterious golden sheen. It just looks so bizarre. Apparently it’s based on a German tradition to put a real pickle on the tree. I’m not sure about that tradition and so, especially in the summer heat, I’ll stick with this more magical version.

Here they are…

This pic doesn't adequately capture the true sparkle of the sushi ingredients, but you get the idea. LOLEY.
This pic doesn’t adequately capture the true sparkle of the sushi ingredients, but you get the idea. LOLEY.
The pickle (and a bit of a disco ball on the side there). Every tree should have one!
The pickle (and a bit of a disco ball on the side there). Every tree should have one!
Posted in Home sparks

Escaping the silly season

Sometimes, it’s nice to get away from it all. Especially as we come into the silly season, when we can be hit with invitations and wish lists and Mariah Carey and sunburn (or frostbite, depending on your hemisphere) and mixed nuts and cards and shopping and people. All of the people. It can be tough to find a place just for yourself  – where you can chillax and regroup, before rejoining the madness. Well, have I got a treat for you, my friends!

I present the clever gals from Striped Coast in Lithuania – their range is designed to ‘keep your home and soul warm’. And, although I’m actually more interested in keeping my home cool at this time of year, I do like the idea behind their work. But not as much as I like the work itself. Which is this: TABLECLOTH HOUSES. Uh huh. Such a clever idea – chuck an oversized tablecloth over your table and create a peaceful oasis underneath. And they make such pretty houses too.

Little Rain tablecloth house [image from Striped Coast]
Little Rain house
[image from Striped Coast]
Cou Cou house [image from Striped Coast]
Cou Cou house
[image from Striped Coast]
Flowered Summer house [image from Striped Coast]
Flowered Summer house
[image from Striped Coast]
See what I mean? No alarm code to remember, no garbage bin to put out, no windows to clean – this could be the perfect house to escape from the business of busy-ness. The only real downside I can see is if people start using the roof your tablecloth house for their dinner – then you might need to watch for stray kicks, pieces of broccoli or stinky feet intruding on your oasis…

If you’d like to check out more tablecloth house goodness (or some cute homewares) from Striped Coast, they are here.

Posted in Home sparks

A festive farewell

I love Christmas. I love everything about it – the lead-up (yep, even the crazy shopping times), the traditions, the family time, the thoughtful gifts and the eating and the drinking. But I don’t like the post-Christmas slump that inevitably follows – washing up, putting away decorations, taking down the tree, trying to fit the lights back into their box without strangling myself, watching what I’m eating and drinking. All that stuff.

If it were socially acceptable to keep my tree up as a standard home decoration all year round, I would do it. I have a bizarro collection of ornaments that I have picked up on my travels (whether those travels be to Prague or Florence or just a dodgy shop in North Sydney) – it’s a tree with personality, I tell you. From the disco balls to the glittering butterflies to the razzle dazzle stars, and everything in between. Some Waterford crystal, some precious metals, some felt and some Chinese plastic. Come to think of it, the tree is probably a pretty good reflection of me in many ways. A mish-mash of different styles and moods and ideas and a lot of quirky stuff that is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it makes me smile every time I unpack the Christmas collection.

So, this post is a festive farewell to some of my faves – ’til next year, my Christmas crackers.

 

Decoratin' my door no more.
Decoratin’ my door no more.
Fly away, spongey faced fairy (who appears to need a comfort break).
Fly away, marzipan faced fairy (who appears to need a comfort break).
No more lies, man.
No more lies, man.
Auf Wiedersehen, golden sheen pickle.
Auf Wiedersehen, golden sheen pickle.
Quackers.
Quackers.
Hit the slopes, crazy monkey  trapped in an Australian summer Christmas.
Hit the slopes, crazy monkey trapped in an Australian summertime Christmas.
Sayonara, Christmas glitter sushi from my sister Jo. Every tree should have one.
Sayonara, Christmas glitter sushi from my sister Jo. Every tree should have one.
Posted in Travel sparks

Good night, New York

So we all know that it’s the city that never sleeps. And while it is not sleeping, it is also the city that is beautifully lit – especially at this time of year. Here are some pics from New York City in the night time, when the winter chill has me zipping my jacket up past my chin and hurriedly snapping photos so I can put my warm gloves back on. (That may explain why some of these are a little blurry!)

Good night, Time Warner Center. I couldn’t really catch your beautiful colour-changing lights here, but you know you’re gorgeous. And you’re one of my favourite places to soak up the hustle & bustle of NYC.
Good night, random festively dressed hotel on Central Park. You look very pretty. And kind of like you’re wearing a fairy light witch’s hat…
Good night, Public Library. You are such a beautiful building and you look very cool with your fancy coloured lights.
Good night, Harry Winston. Your festive lights look as lovely as the jewellery that you sell. Like very classy diamond accessories for your building, as it were.
Good night, Buckyball. You’re a fabulous colour-changing installation at Madison Square Park and you’ve even brought your own ‘zero gravity’ curved benches, so that viewers can lie back and marvel at your cleverness. And you make the wait for burgers at the Shake Shack much more fun.