Let me see….where to start? Sunday was crazy. I had almost everything organized for TID (Tree Installation Day) but I still had a long list of tiny peripheral bits to finish. Things like tags for the big stack of stackable boxes that were going to display the gift tags, sewing a crystal on the bookmark, gluing down Santa's letter from the Rotary folks into an old Christmas book-hence the bookmark.
Do I have enough tools? Tape? Ribbon? How many pairs of scissors, wire pliers are in that box? Did I remember to stick in the kitchen sink? That's what it felt like by the time I got the back of our old Durango loaded up with 3 big boxes of tissue wrapped ornaments, a bucket with painted sticks for the wine lights, wrapping paper, tools, telephone, stepladder and my tool bin. I forgot my camera!
Luckily I had my phone camera so I was able to get at least one photo of the tree in process. I did remember my camera yesterday for the final finishing touches which included jamming a ton of wine baskets and wonderful gifts under the tree. Tor arrived 5 hours late on the train with weather delays and breakdowns, a 2 hour trip ate the entire afternoon. He jumped in to the car and we drove through the snow to finish the installation. Getting home at 6:30 was entertaining, we had four wheel drive and had to deal with hundreds of people who didn't, they were slip sliding all over the place and getting thoroughly stuck.
Boy, whoever gets that tree is going to have a great year. The gifts donated by the Rotary people, who really did an outstanding job rounding everything up, include 12 bottles of wine, 3 gift baskets of sexy snacks–including glassware for the wine. A trip to Maui, a trip to Victoria B.C., a helicopter ride, a Karastan Baktari rug, a framed art photo and a ton more. My friends came through too. Shout out to Tone who donated a cool thousand in permanent cosmetics, which are wonderful by the way. (I have to thank her for my eyebrows daily-formerly motheaten, now very nice.) Carolyn at Oly Framemakers gave me an adorable framed print of Santa Claws, sled pulled by cats. Nice.
I whipped up three wine lights for some local color.
I will post instructions for these fun easy wine lights soon. Great for outdoors if you do them with the bottle opening pointed down.
Faye B. met me at the Red Lion Hotel and helped me haul all my supplies and junk down to the ballroom. The room was filled with trees! All the way around the room in every stage of construction. A few were finished and a few were not even started but most of the design teams were hard at work like merry little lady elves. By then it was starting to snow so the mood was especially festive every time we looked out the windows at the white world outside.
It took eight full hours to decorate the tree. Every ornament has to be wired on so it won't come off when the tree is bagged like a giant corpse (eww) and dragged off to the new owner. Luckily, designers are there for the event called "fluff and buff". We get to go to where the tree will finally be installed and unpack everything that was around the tree and deliver it, putting the finishing touches on our trees for their new owners. I am really glad about that because I want to hand carry Carmen Miranda's hat to make sure it arrives intact.
I was so tired by the end of the day, my fingers were sore from wire and I was covered in glitter from one end to the other. My legs and back ached from going up and down the ladder but I was so proud of my tree. Its not like any other tree there. They are all beautiful and all very different from each other.
Mine turned out exactly as I envisioned which is something rare in an artist's life, and that made everything even better. The ladies who head up the whole shebang were next to me putting up a tree covered in elves. Moosh loved them and the elves! I have pictures….
Moosh and his new friend
It was so much fun to see all those ornaments again. They've been packed away as I do them and to see them all together was wonderful. The pictures don't do the tree justice. I will try again tonight at the "Sneak Peek" to get a better shot. It looks very Victorian and white and gold, its just plain pretty.
With this installation, I have proved what I set out to prove, that you don't have to go out and buy cheap Chinese junk and help pollute the world. We're already in trouble and we don't even know it yet. Our children will reap what we have sowed in the way of instant and expensive beauty. Yes, this took much longer but the pleasure in creating with my own hands was amazing. ANYONE can do this! You just need patterns and directions and a heart open enough to realize we can still change our world. Okay, Rabbit, off the soapbox now.
Best part? They have already asked me if I would do it again next year. The answer? A resounding YES. I have never worked so hard and felt so fulfilled at anything I don't think. Maybe it was just being allowed to have the vision and control and then share something gorgeous with the world?
Now, next year do I want to do cats or masks or …….?