Christmas in the Haarkon House
Slowly but surely suggestions of Christmas have crept their way into our home over the past couple of weeks and I think it's fair to say that we're now fully festive - or at least as much as we will be in our own understated, unconventional (houseplant-filled) way.
We started with a simple loop of ivy that I cut from our communal garden wall. To be honest I thought that would be it...
...but then I went to help out at Swallows and Damsons' Wreath School, couldn't resist getting my hands dirty and came home with this beast. I filled in any gaps I'd missed in the dim light of the evening with seed pods, heather and added a couple of straw flowers. I also managed to make a nest for the wren that I bought Magnus for his birthday that was hand carved and painted by Nick Hunter (he normally lives on Magnus's desk).
Of course we have plants in our house all year round so naturally (and unashamedly lazily) we introduced some fairy lights to make them instantly festive. We spend so much time living with greenery that the notion of bringing in another to join the clan seemed a bit overwhelming - especially a cut tree that we'd have to discard in a few weeks time.
My aunt and uncle have always had a branch cut from their garden to take the place of a traditional tree; each year making new decorations from whatever came their way. Pine cones on delicate thread, miniature bouquets of collected seed pods and shining gold chocolate coins. I remember one year they had doves cut from white paper and the simplicity of it all stuck with me.
This year, we've followed suit:
We found the 'tree' in a pile of garden waste in our communal garden and deliberated over it's wonky shape and windswept appearance and decided that it was indeed the tree for us. We set it into a plastic pot with chippings (that we normally use to aid drainage for our plant family) and gave it a more presentable home in a brass planter.
I popped the words 'flying bird' into Pinterest and used the results as a cutting guide for a couple of different shapes. If you wanted you could very easily print a few off and use them as templates if you aren't so confident with your cutting lines. Ours are made with two layers of the same shape with a piece of knotted silver thread trapped in between them. EASY.
With candles behind them they dip and dive and in the daytime (if the sun ever makes an appearance) they cast incredible shadows on the wall - instantly doubling their flock.
The good thing about our Christmas tree is that it cost us absolutely nothing, there's no horrible pang of guilt when we get bored of looking at it as we know we've already given it a longer life than the world had planned for it and we know that no one has one quite like ours. Priceless, and not a touch of red to be found.