Friday, December 23, 2011

crown + cookie

Please forgive the length of today's post--I intended for this to be three separate posts, but here it is two days before Christmas, and I haven't posted any of it yet. Add this to my hyper excitement for the coming week and healthy editing just can't be expected! But it's the holidays, so we indulge a little extra, right?

With a four year old and one year old, the best crafts involve keeping it simple, keeping it outdoors, and keeping it in cookies. I'm lucky to not have not gone into even one. single. store. this year.  This freed up lots of time for our chosen gift-crafts. There was the gathering phase, the making phase, and the adornment and delivery phase, and each were so fun.

 We made a lot of the stuff outside, just after gathering it, and I felt so much more connected to the process while breathing the cool winter air and standing over fallen rosemary needles with sap-sticky hands. When our cheeks got too rosy, we continued crafting indoors over warm drinks, and then finished up on our last day of making over a cookie picnic on the living room floor, Johnny Mathis and Bing keeping us company. After all was finally completed, we took the goodies to our neighbors, wearing a bit of our holiday fun on our heads. Some favorite names we delivered to: JoanSylvia, and Irene.

--The mistletoe: I'm continually inspired by Jaime Rough of the blog Found While Walking, so much so that I made a little pledge to collect natural treasures on daily walks, even in the cold. The arrangements she makes are so lovely and they inspired our "mistletoe" this year (with not a trace of actual mistletoe in it.) The giant wheat-like bush (pictured above) isn't very holiday like, but I couldn't resist including it in our version of the come-kiss-me plant, and it also made for a wonderful binding material.

-- The flower crowns:  We took the girls to a St. Lucia and Nona was most taken with the crowns. I knew I had to make some for us, and then when I saw this (thank you Nicolette and Jennifer), the inspiration totally seized me. We used Rosemary from our backyard as the base. We added Cypress (from the neighbor's yard) and Lilies and other greenery from a  bouquet.  There are many 'crown' names (I mentioned my dad's and Steve Jobs' here, along with all of the offshoots of Steven), but my favorites are TsifiraEtienne and Nezer.  The potential plants for crown and wreath making are so very vast that I'll save them all for list time!

--The many wreaths, from rosemary to silver tinsel: We went a little wreath crazy, but Nona loves to make them. I wish I remembered where I first got the tinsel or rag tutorials a long while ago, but I do not. Tinsel is a bit flashy to my eye, but Nona really loves it-- everyone needs some sparkle here and there! The materials traditionally used for wreaths are similar to those for crowns. Wreaths and crowns are basically the same thing, historically. Apollo and Daphne are some ancient figures linked to them. As they were brought into Christian tradition, they were relevant for their circle shape, as circles have no beginning or end. Yep, I could see Circle working for both symbolic reasons and that it's such a pretty sounding word; I would definitely save it for the middle spot, though.

The following name doesn't mean 'wreath', but it sounds like it--when I was a little girl, one of my mother's friends was Reatha (Ms. Reatha, that is--I'm from the southern US, after all). I love the idea of a little Reatha going by Ree (my great grandmother's name.) There's the Hawaiian Kalei (ka-lay-ee), which does mean 'wreath', and I also like Garland as a name, which has versions Garlande (French) and Garldina. While tinsel is certainly a very pretty word, I might not recommend using it for a name--it's PVC and who wants to honor that? It's made to mimic ice cycles, and there are some pretty 'ice' names: Glace (French for 'ice'),  Hielo (Spanish), Siku (Danish 'sea ice') and there's the similar-to-ice-substance Frost, which I've suggested a lot on this blog-- it's just so darn pretty, both as a substance and word, so I really love this nature name. You might also consider the color of tinsel, Silver, which is such a lovely name. It's meaning may also be found in: ArgentoSterlingLujane, and Argene (which I briefly considered for our second after repeatedly dreaming of dripping silver apples during the pregnancy.)

-- The plant mobiles: I found the inspiration here  and we went crazy on these. Like fifty of them crazy. The result would be smoother and prettier with a more petite type of yarn/string, like the one shown in the tutorial (the result is also smoother without toddler hands doing the tying and wrapping), but we used a thick jute because it's easier for Nona to work with (and the joy of those toddler hands doing the tying and wrapping is well worth the added bulk to the look of the things.)  We used branches, rosemary (again), some anonymous plant with red berries resembling Holly, and Cypress. We used lilies on a few, too.

--The cookies:  I made a lemon-rosemary batch and a chocolate chip.  I used this vegan recipe for all of the dough (I'm automatically on board when I see Maple syrup), but for the lemon cookies, I replaced the chocolate chips with the juice of one Lemon, Zest from the peel, and a dash of Honey. and Rosemary. because rosemary was in every freaking thing else we made, so why not?  The lemon cookies were a bit hard to get off the pan, and not very pretty, but man oh man they were so good!

--The bells: Okay, I use them all year long, but now is definitely a time for bells. And you all know how I feel about -bell smooshes, so I'll give some that I think are fresh in the list. There's also Suzu (japanese for bell) and Kello (Finnish) because you all also know by now that I just can't write a post without hunting down the Japanese and Finnish translations of everything.

--The month and season: the reason for all of this making? December. In October I suggested a set of names relating to the month of December in a consultation, from the month name, itself, to it's related goddess name (Decima) and it's gemstones and flowers. And the holiday season brings another name to mind, Holiday.  I'd  put something very traditional upfront.

--The random door/branch photo:  Nona snagged this clipping from me (from a J. Crew catalog), which I'd recently taken to my hair stylist. She insists that it says "I want to be alone in my room" and asked that we tape it to her door. She says the branch is the magic to key to her room for when the door is shut and can only be opened by magic. Beyond being sweet and funny to my heart, I think it's pretty on/in her door.

So from today's post: 



Reatha (Ree)

Kalei (ka-lay-ee)






Artemis (relates to deer)











Evergreen (see Midwinter's post on this one)

Midori (green)

Cloris (ditto)

Berilo (green gemstone)

Crimson (for the red berries)

Garnet (red gemstone)

Carnelian (red stone)

Ormand (red)

Rufus (red)




















Snowlily (in honor the lilies in our crowns and wreaths)

Riverlily (the red river lily blooms this time of year, do....)


Cookie (I still like this as a nickname)










Carol (for our singing)










Irene (love nickname Nitsa for this 'peace' name.)

Zuzu (We're watching It's a Wonderful Life right this very second. Oh how I adore this name! There's also George, Mary, Violet, Harry and Clarence, all fantastic names.)

And for some combos:

Carol Carnelian (Coco)

Joan Riverlily  (no one in baby's or likely parents' generations will think 'Joan Rivers.' Joan needs a uber feminine, soft, quirky smoosh of a middle name, and it needs her.)

Decima Honey

Ormand Elderberry (could potentially be too descriptive, but Ormand is pretty subtle as a color name)

Johnny Garnet 

Cypress Magdabell (Sissy)

Cedar Bing

Suzu Argene  (silver bells!  but really subtle. perfect for the season.)

Sylvia Shorepine

Juniper Lujane

Nitza Glace

Kello Frost

Apolline December (Polly

Garlande Camellia 

Lucia Irene 

Timber Apollo

Azara Daphne

Berilo Twine

Artemis Silver 

Suzannah Spruce (Zuzu)

Mary Zest

George Evergreen

Harry Hemlock 

Violet Florabel

Clarence Snowpine

There are so many more holiday names, what are your favorites?  And I'm really curious about your traditions, from the old to the new ones you are creating as you go-what are they?

Happy Hanukka!! Stellar Solstice!!! Merry Christmas!! Happy New Year!!

(images: all mine)


  1. I was looking at these pictures just in awe- I love this- then to read it all could not believe I was part of the inspiration!!! Sweet lady- you are amazing:) I love the mistletoe without the mistletoe- yours is way better!
    Happy holidays!!!

  2. thank you, Jaime...for the comment and the inspiration!!

  3. Noel Hawthorne ...

    and Lucia Frost.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I hope you've had a happy holiday! xo.

  4. thanks for the lovely comment Kristen. I love these photos!