During the month of December, it's so nice to enjoy time at home.
Taking the time to notice the play of light and shadows in the entrance of my apartment.
Noticing the colour of the wood on my chair and the butterfly cushion.
Moving in closer, to see the Chinese lanterns that I love to keep in a vase at this time of the year.
The little dove wall hanging given to me by a good friend
and the tiny doll in a rocking chair given to me some years' ago
by a charming American lady called Belle, who used to paint
dolls' faces and dress the dolls.
When I made my bed in the morning sunlight, I enjoyed bathing
in that gentle light and was reminded of the book
that I want to finish reading during the holiday period.
Since Christmas is coming, it's the perfect time to get out my blue Mason Cash
mixing bowl and make some cookie dough for gingerbread men.
I froze most of the dough to bake these cookies fresh just before Christmas
... but I had to bake a few to taste, just to make sure they were spicy enough!
The pretty tea-cloth is a gift from my son who bought it when he visited
Windsor Castle recently!
I hadn't made rum balls for a few years, so decided it was time to make them again.
They're also in the freezer!
Then I made some chocolate truffles.
Oh my! They were too good to keep out, so I ate two and froze the others!
I also made two other kinds of cookie dough that I've been making since my children were small.
Everything will be baked at the last minute so that it's extra fresh.
My little branch elves have found a special place on my small round table.
I bought them years ago in a craft market and they come out every year
to warm themselves by candlelight.
December is also the month for crocheting decorations.
This year, I found some glitter yarn in different colours and decided to make trees.
I like to try out different patterns and also use old favourites like the snowflakes
in this posting from 2012.
I love the atmosphere of lighted candles, the smell of baking,
the inevitable mess of strewn yarns and my crochet hooks -
it reminds me of when my children were little and I was always so busy
preparing decorations and gifts and making our home inviting and full of
the delicious aromas of baking!
The heartbeat of my neighbourhood
With all these inside activities, it good to remember to get out at different moments
during the day.
Sometimes, when I notice a special lighting outside, I like to take my camera
and catch a sunset.
From my local park, I can see the tip of the faraway mountains
and connect with the neighbourhood in which I am living.
When I look at my street already in darkness, I see how all the buildings have joined up
as one connected scene, how the lights have come on in certain homes
and how friendly it all feels.
Although I have no close friends in the area, in this evening lighting,
I feel a oneness with all I see
and how the rays of the setting sun bring us all together.
I return home to my small, snug apartment and feel contentment.
The lights on the small, real Christmas tree bring joy and warmth to this hanging heart.
I also think of those who once shared my life and are no longer there.
Remembering them brings them close again.
The heart is in their memory.
As we come to the end of this year, it is good to remember how we can become
more conscious and aware human beings.
Each one of us can do our part to protect our planet for future generations.
The tiny fir tree decorated for Christmas is watered regularly
and I will plant it outside so that it can grow bigger.
Forests and all trees are the lungs of the Earth
We need them to survive and they slow down global warming.
They need protecting.
Why not plant a tree in memory of a loved one today?
Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances,
may this holiday period be gentle to you.
For those who celebrate Christmas, may it be meaningful and joyful.
I am taking a blog break, probably until some time in January.
In the meantime,