December activities.

The weather has now turned, today has been frosty and bright, a welcome change from the damp and dreary days of last week. I have been busy in much the same way as most people, trying to organize shopping and present wrapping, card writing, housekeeping, working and party going.

I bought some mistletoe at the supermarket and decided to do some studies of it before it dried up too much. I had forgotten how nice it is to draw a subject just for pleasure.

My poor garden has been sadly neglected but I did manage to trim the overgrown Virginia creeper and made a simple wreath out of the twisted stems. I saw a television show about bird feeding, which was rather alarming, until now I have been hanging up fat balls for the sparrows but it seems that they can injure their feet on the nylon mesh! I have now purchased a fat ball holder and the birds seem to like it.

Tony and I have now consumed three Christmas dinners, not all at the same time I hasten to add! The most recent one at Keele Hall, a rather grand old house which now belongs to the university in Staffordshire. There was a huge log fire, carol singers, a library decorated in Victorian splendor, all of which proved to be a good excuse to change out of my usual dog walking attire!


  1. Mistletoe is wonderful. I almost went to the Mistletoe Festival in Tenbury upon Wells. Maybe next year :)

  2. Three dinners! I bet each of them had something special served. I love your dress! The work on top is beautiful and the color is perfect for you.

  3. Keele Hall sounds lovely - I haven't had any Chritmas meals yet but did have my third mince pie the other day whilst out and about. I've yet to make my own. I didn't know about the net around the fat balls - I put some out this morning as well as a fat filled coconut half - they seem to prefer that so I may take the balls out of the netting and break them up on the bird table. Love your mistletoe illustration:)

  4. I agree with Cathy, the bodice on your dress is fabulous!

  5. We so rarely see mistletoe here in NY.
    I think it is a very English pagan sort of thing.
    What a stunning photo at the top.
    Christmas Greetings.
    I do admire your work so.

  6. Your new postcard or just, -one drawing is very beautiful!!! What cind of paint you use for this arts? ;)
    In winters's season I try to give food for beards too!!!

  7. oh you are having a grand time. Thank you for your comment on my painting - I really must do more. In fact you've inspired me to do some mistletoe next! And as for what you said about squeaky guinea pigs I have spent most of the day thinking the cat has been stuck in the cellar or the garage or wanting to come in but it's just the piggies squeaking!!

  8. I hope you get more time for just drawing and painting for fun! That is the most gorgeous dress and I love the scroll-y bits on the bodice! 3 Christmas dinners? Next must come 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  9. Your Mistletoe drawing is lovely, I saw some today for sale but have never seen it growing wild.
    It is so cold today,very frosty with snow on the hills.

  10. I love mistletoe and am so envious whenever I get to the Somerset border and visit Glastonbury as it is everywhere!
    You seem to be having a very Merry time with your 3 Christmas dinners already! :)


  11. Love that mistletoe drawing Valerie - also it is nice to see what you look like!

  12. The drawing of the mistletoe is just beautiful! Now I'm wondering where I can find fresh mistletoe in Edmonton!

  13. Isn't it fun to dress up a bit and celebrate ... bringing our light to the season when the sun takes a break.

    Yes, it can be tricky to do all the festive bits of gifting and card sending and decorating and baking ... yet, how wonderful to have a time of the year in which we have a focus of good thoughts, and good deeds!

    I agree with all the earlier comments about how beautiful your mistletoe drawing is. Grace was in your hand and eye! xo

  14. Wonderful Christmassy post!! The birds are crowding our feeders, too... it is freezing, and rainy, and windy...and did I mention freezing??! Perfect weather for the Dickensian Christmas that I love!

    Beautiful outfit you're wearing!!

  15. It sounds like some splendid dinners and festive times! How fun to buy fresh mistletoe and with your talent... let it inspire you and have fun it! Blessings to you and yours. May the Love and Joy of the season fill your hearts now and always. Love and Light, Nina P

  16. hmmmm looks like i'm the only boy in your comments list so i'll take a little bit of a risk here and add . . . great bodice acornmoon!!! steven

  17. Beautiful mistletoe!

    Glad to hear your Christmas organisation is in hand. Unlike some... :-)

  18. Valerie, Lovely to see you who shares such a breath taking landscape...

    and your lines and painting... gorgeous!!
    The best to you!

  19. Valerie, I think your painting of mistletoe is just beautiful! And so is your dress. The swirls on the bodice are lovely! Very elegant!

    I tuck faux mistletoe onto the branches of our Christmas tree every year.

    An interesting thing about it...I have heard that it grows wild in Arizona, USA and that it is a "parasite" on the trees it climbs. But...it causes the trees to develop huge "knots" or "burls" that are treasured by wood crafters!

    A Merry Christmas to you!

  20. Just Lovely....I have been trying to keep up with the winter bird feeding here too. I enjoy them so much in my garden..and I can't believe you said Virgina Creeper. My husband has been working the whole month of December putting a little shed roof over our doors out to the garden..with a trellis so I can grow a Virgina Creeper on the house. I love them...I heard they are easy to grow....

    Busy getting ready for Christmas here too...

    Have enjoyed getting to know you this year...even if it was already December..looking forward to more next year..

    Wishing you a peaceful and nature filled Christmas...

    Sending Christmas Love,

  21. Your mistletoe painting is absolutely beautiful. I peep peeing back to look at it.

    You have done well for Christmas dinners already!

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas


  22. Painting for pleasure is one for the best Christmas gifts an artist can receive...
    Wishing you the best of the season & a wonderful 2010!

  23. Lovely dress Valerie. Lucky you having three Christmas dinners. I haven't had any yet but I am looking forward to one. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  24. Thank you to all my visitors for your very gracious comments. I do feel very greedy now, admitting to three Christmas dinners but I decided to accept all invitations this year. From now on I will be cooking everyone else's Christmas dinners, three days running!

    To answer the question about paint, I use water colours, I am very fond of Dr Ph Martin's. They are lovely and bright.

  25. Love your mistletoe study Val and your Christmas outfit. Seasons greetings and best wishes. Lesley

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  27. Merry Christmas Valerie! Your mistletoe is lovely!