The holiday season is here and it was decorating day at my daughter’s on December first.
It’s a tradition in our family to decorate while my 7-year-old twin granddaughters are at school or otherwise entertained. Now that they are getting older the tree is left unfinished for them to participate in, and as they get still older, they will have outgrown the tradition. But the joy and excitement that they exude when they come home and find a winter wonderland waiting for them is so uplifting. So I thought I’d start with a couple decorating shares and then continue with some nostalgic poetry and excerpts from my books. At the end, I will present another tease from my current work in progress, Fascinations. Like my granddaughters’ exuberant response to the transformation of their home, I await my winter issue of Enchanted Living, the Winter Witch Issue. There is magic in the makes for everyone. I hope I can sprinkle some fae and witchy dust on all of you with my newsletter.
So here are a few bewitching decorative winter enchantments:
Here is Bradley under the tree. The moment we were done, he made himself at home and seemed to enjoy having his holiday portrait taken.
Here is a special after school treat for the occasion. We make these cupcakes each year as well as a gingerbread house.
Speaking of holiday treats, I will start with an excerpt from my children’s fantasy adventure Return of the Vinetropes, THE VINETROPE ADVENTURES. A gingerbread house plays a big role in chapter 12.
This is last year’s gingerbread house. We haven’t made this year’s yet.
Let me give you a quick background before you read this holiday scene from The Vinetrope Adventures. Sara is the human protagonist. She is 12-years-old, lost her mom two years earlier and is still struggling with grief. She discovers Lucinda Vinetrope in her backyard, a sentient fairy-like 100% plant life sentient being who is only 16 inches tall. Lucinda has sprouted from a miss-placed pod and finds herself in a strange world with none of her kind. She too is lonely and dealing with her own grief. She also has the ability to spout poetry spontaneously. It seems to be the way her people record history … an oral tradition of storing memory. So when she experiences something new, she most always creates a poem on the spot. Lucinda and Sara make an instant bond and help with each other’s healing process. In this scene, Lucinda has a beautiful pod growing in her leaf-like hair. She is soon to be a mother. Lucinda also has the gift of giving language to animals, and the squirrel brothers, Ekle and Apkin, are important and humorous characters in the tale. Jam (Jamuna) is Sara’s best friend and Lynn is Sara’s brother Steven’s girlfriend. Owletta is not in this excerpt, but she is also an important character, a wondrous and elegant owl. She has been on an important journey of discovery and returns later in this chapter in the middle of a snowstorm with great news.
From Chapter 12
OWLETTA’S RETURN AND A BABY IS BORN
The next morning it was decided they would get a Christmas tree, and later, Lynn would join them and they would make a gingerbread house …
The “architects” gathered in the kitchen to make the gingerbread house. Three hours later, they had the fresh pieces ready to assemble. Sara had used her mom’s pattern to cut them out. They then made a gigantic bowl of egg white frosting to glue everything together … Lynn said she would start by putting the chimney together. Jam was getting candy, boxed cookies and ice-cream cones out of the pantry for decorating the assembled house …
Sara noted that the gingerbread felt softer than she remembered when she used to put the houses together with her mom.
“Don’t worry,” said Jam, “I’ve made a ton of frosting. It should hold everything together.”
Then Lucinda chimed in, “I am so excited to be doing this,” as she pranced around the bowls of decorating materials, the baby pods on her head making her head tilt toward her right shoulder.
“This is a very clever idea,” Lucinda continued. “I can just imagine how it will look when it is done. I’ve seen pictures of gingerbread houses online. It is such a lovely idea. The decorating is going to be the most fun. Why, I’m thinking of a poem about it right now:
We are making a house of
Cookies and cream,
We want it to look like a
Lodge for a queen.
We will use ice-cream cones
To make shrubs in a scene
And frost them points up
With sugars bright green.
We will whip up the cold
With frosting so light
It will be the North Pole
With drifts high and white.
Then on go the cookies
The candies and chips –
Keep the squirrels away
So they won’t dip and nip.
Or they’ll eat the whole project
And shock poor St. Nick!”
Everyone laughed, even Ekle and Apkin, the squirrel brothers.
“It’s a good idea to keep an eye on us,” agreed Apkin. “We just might dip and nip.”
Ekle nodded. “But it would be even prettier if you used nuts and seeds for the decorating,” he said, “instead of these sharp candies.” He pointed to the peppermint pillows and several looked sticky.
This is Lucinda Vinetrope, lights blinking in her leafy hair with the pods. By Julie Bell www.juliebellartist.com
You can find The Vinetrope Adventures at https://www.amazon.com/Return-Vinetropes-Vinetrope-Adventures-
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. The book is beautifully illustrated by the renowned artist Julie Bell, with ten full-color plates and many drawings.
Holiday time is nostalgic, and next is a favorite poem in my poetry collection Falling Through Time.
When we think of winter tales, “The Snow Queen” often comes to mind. This poem encapsulates a winter’s night and Her Majesty’s landscape – pure winter witchery.
SNOW QUEEN MAGIC
crushed opals milky white,
banks of sparkling softness,
tints of blue a
silent, frozen light.
building lacy bridges to
Creaks and sudden
snapping cracks from
shaky marbled twigs,
a frosted chill,
whirling, sweeping wind.
cold and filmy wet,
empty distant heights,
adding to the smooth
deep hills that sleep with
that catch again before
the Snow Queen
a beauty trap –
her liquid will to
share with us this
It’s time to share a teaser from my work in progress, Fascinations. This will be a collection of forty new poems, each one illustrated by me in full-page very detailed pen-and-inks with touches of charcoal. It is a labor of love. It will be a tabletop-sized book and as much an art book as a book of poetry. I like to say it is to poetry what the graphic novel has been to literature. But I know it will be quite unique and beautiful.
This poem, “Winter Departure,” makes a good send-off for the New Year.
A poem for the New Year
I pass through these gnarled
branches and feel a tug.
It is the distant mountains –
To my left, below, stands an old,
There is a familiar tilt to the house,
the way the snow clings to the roof,
old shutters loose and chipped.
But all the gravity of its great bulk,
it”s weighted longing,
will not bring me in.
There comes a time
against all inclination
when the unknown
is more beautiful.
Looking up into the
fast falling snow,
I feel a start of fear.
How can snow be so unfamiliar?
But I persist.
Catapulted into the moment
I have everything I need.
I am so excited about this new project. I am just about at the halfway point and it will take another year to complete. The Introduction will be filled with many other beautiful art images as I explain my history of growing up with artists and writers and how my family mentored me, as well as images of other artists who have inspired me.
Here are all three books looking beautiful in the snow…well, fake snow.
Me in the wintery woods out my back gate.
I wish everyone a beautiful holiday season, a witchy winter and a very Happy New Year!
Link for Falling Through Time
Or you can go to my Utube channel:
Seeds of the Pomegranate
Sherry Ross is an editor for the link below: The Art Renewal Center, a non-profit art educational site.