I have wonderful memories of Chicago at Christmas, both from my own childhood, as well as my children’s. My favorite activity was always looking at the holiday windows of Marshall Field’s. There were other stores that had displays, but Field’s was always the best. We didn’t go down every year when I was a kid, but we did do it enough that I remember it well. With my own children I made it a yearly event. We would bundle up against the cold Chicago wind, and walk down State Street looking at the windows, hearing the Christmas Carols played overhead. Marvelous mechanical puppets moving on tracks working a little Holiday magic. Afterwards we would take the kids to the seventh floor to the Crystal Palace for ice cream. Yes, ice cream. Despite the cold and the wind, and often times snow, the day wasn’t complete without ice cream. The Crystal Palace was made to look like an old-time ice cream parlor. The hot fudge was delicious. (Recipe anyone?) Unfortunately, as it seems it is the way of the world these days, Marshall Field’s is gone. It is now Macy’s to the great horror of many of us who remember just how special a trip to Marshall Field’s was. The Crystal Palace is gone as well. I haven’t lived in Chicago for a little over ten years. I don’t know whether or not Macy’s has continued the tradition of the windows. I hope so. What led me down memory lane today? My fairies. I know you are probably sick of them about now, but what started out as a fairly simple ornament many, many years ago, has evolved into art for me. I still make the ornaments, but they are much more elaborate than in the beginning. In the last few weeks as I’ve been creating them I have been taking them a step further. I’ve been creating little vignettes. The artist fairy with her branch easel, the teacher with the real tree bark chalkboard, the sewing fairy sitting on her spool of thread with her “toothpick needle”. Today I took it even further. I had two pieces of Manzanita wood branches. It’s a beautiful shrub or small tree, the branches are really interesting, twisted, gnarly, very sculptural. I actually purchased them to use in displaying the fairies a few years ago, but I never used them. I’ve been eying them for a few weeks now. I had an idea that came to fruition today. My “Fairy Playground”, a vignette of fairies at play. The elf riding the bird, the mother and her baby in his seed pod stroller, the white fairy on her swing of flowery vines, and the blue fairy and her elfin pal picking berries. I’m not sure if the pictures will convey just how enchanting it is. When I was finished and sat back to look at my handiwork I was reminded of Marshall Field’s marvelous windows. My elves and fairies don’t move, they aren’t puppets, but there is definitely something magical about them. The backdrop is my work, a painting I created when I was nineteen. So tonight again, fairies.
It’s beginning to look a lot like…a stripper named Ginger is renting my spare room. It’s that time of year again. The time when the men in my house look like they’ve just left a gentleman’s club. (I certainly don’t get that name. Nothing gentlemanly about it!) Glitter, everywhere you look, glitter. Dan has left this house with not a trace of sparkle only to find himself glistening at a business meeting. I try hard to keep it contained but it is as if it is a force unto itself, just like the hair from my three cats that I fight on a daily basis, glitter is resistant to all cleaning methods. Anyone who steps foot into my house in the months of November and December can expect to leave just a little shinier than when they walked in. My apologies in advance. As long as I’m apologizing…Dear Father Karl, I am sorry that when you left our house in your nice black priest attire your back was white with cat hair.
In my efforts to help with the family finances I am participating in a craft show in December. I generally don’t do shows. I hate, hate, hate, sitting still for hours. I never sit still. I can’t even watch a movie without reading a magazine. I don’t do much crafting. I believe I have mentioned the “toilet paper cover” art that I have seen at some of these shows. The number of ways people can come up with to disguise a roll of toilet paper is incredible. I think my favorite have to be the crocheted ones with the doll’s head on them. I’m not a germ freak or anything, but has anyone given any consideration to how many germs clings to that yarn? Yuck. There are of course plenty of soda can airplanes, and hideous garden ornaments, but there also some really nice things as well. I try to bring a little something different to these shows. My most popular item is a fairy made from deconstructed silk flowers. I’ve been making them for probably fifteen years. They have evolved over the years and are really quite nice. Two years ago someone asked if I could make a mermaid. I said yes, although I had never tried, but it turned out to be quite successful. One night doodling on a napkin I came up with a zombie. Everyone needs a zombie on their Christmas tree. In these days of unemployment I am hoping to pay for Christmas. I also want to say this, I have been open and honest in all of my blogging. This blog is a blatant plug for my etsy shop. (I am jackiez59) I am shamelessly promoting myself. I will begin listing some of my ornaments and other items tomorrow. I also will do special orders. Hopefully by next week it will include cards and prints. If you like my stuff, and are in any way in the holiday spirit, please take a look. As always I put my heart and soul in all I do. I can guarantee quality under-priced work. (Again, it’s the Catholic guilt thing, and maybe the “not good enough” thing as well. I never charge enough)
Tonight I am sharing some fairies, a mermaid, a zombie, and my favorite, The Wizard of Oz. No two are alike, and just for old times sake…Sr. Aloysius