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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
O tannenbaum...
2019 edition

One of the reasons I detest the heavy duty pre-xmas marketing that now starts before even Halloween(!) is that by the 26th (or even sooner, grr) everyone's sick of the holiday decor. Since I am one of those ridiculous people with multiple tubs of xmas winter solstice decorations, which take a tediously long time to get out, put up (& then put away), I would like to have at least the 12 days of xmas: start on the 25th, and go through Epiphany. It's not that I'm Christian, so much that a dear friend has a birthday on this date: her friendship is one of my precious holiday gifts, so to speak, one that never grows old, only ever more golden as the years pass...

2019 tree, with every single ornament, plus a chromatic arrangement of gifts. lumix LX-100, cropped. Why yes, the tree is leaning: I tried to compensate by tilting the camera, so now the windows are crooked too, win-win!

I took these images for that friend, as well as f2tY, who, owing to a surgery that was much cheaper to get in Japan than here, were both of them stuck in hospital —not quite on the day itself, though certainly for too many days leading up. Both are orderly, tidy folks who appreciate things like chromatically & carefully arranged gifts.[1]

An alternate view. Still lopsided:) And out of focus, le sigh. (IOW, don't bother clicking, it's not gonna get much better.) Lumix LX-100, cropped.

—I thought about trying to clone out the clutter in the background—it's the door to the basement, and if I'd been paying attention I could've moved it when I took this photograph, but I have new art to get done, so after fiddling with that (& a very brief attempt to make our tree look as if it weren't learning over, which it most definitely is) I decided to leave reality, in all its imperfections. As the years pass by, the creative aspects of the holiday—making stollen, wrapping gifts, decorating the tree—become the important thing to me.

f2tE spent at least 2 days, working nearly flat out, to prepare for this holiday, cooking food. That was her joy. Mine is to carefully arrange the tree—angel at the top, with lots of ribbons and the strings of small white bead garlanding; then the pearl; then the iridescent; then the snowflake garlanding, and finally the silver bead. Lights follow a similar pattern, with the white silk poinsettias at the top, and the rose and snowball diffusers scattered evenly, with the new silver sparkle bubble lights front and center, with pride of place not only because I think they're uber cool, but because f2tY made a special effort to replace the old ones that had failed.

I started this process, but f2tE and Frances, my ‘glass daughter’, did the bulk of the work, hanging nearly all the ornaments. Fran in particular was determined to get every single icicle on the tree, even (especially) the weird one with santa's head. f2tE lovingly hung the silver thread apples, which I purchased the first year because they were cheap and I was just putting the collection together: but because they date from her very earliest years, (and also, I suspect, because I was perfectly happy to let the kids hang these completely unbreakable ornaments) they're special to her in a way they can only be to me by association.

I hung the seashell that I foolishly attempted to blow in boro that Freddie Birkhill helped me make (even though he only uses boro for tools, never for pieces) in that ornament class I took so many years ago...

There are satin ball and bead ornaments made by sticking pins in, Hmong thread wound ornaments, vintage ornaments both from my parents’ tree when they moved and de-junked, and similar ones I've collected at garage sales and thrift shops over the years; and many many gifts, purchased, hand-made of everything from birch bark to porcelain. I treasure them all, and was especially delighted, this year, to receive a beautiful bead and wire wrapped one from a fellow guild member.

But that's a story for another time.


giftwrap in the sunflower series, using Raoul Dufy paper 30jul2020


glorious gold and burgundy giftwrap from 2019 27jan2021


2019 brown and burgundy gift 14mar2022


2019 cobalt blue snowflake giftwrap with silver & blue 09jan2020


midnight blue and white gift 08jan2020


pretty patterned paper with red, gold & blue 07jan2020


2019 xmas tree, with all the ornaments 06jan2020


Raoul Dufy giftwrap featuring a red rose & white snowflake 02jan2020


red and white striped gift 31dec2019


sky blue trimmed with metallic silver giftwarp 01jan2020


brown wallpaper with hydrangea giftwrap 30dec2019


[1]This is my perhaps too-subtle way of saying: no, I'm not precisely trying to present a perfect life, a la fb/instagram/whatevs. I do genuinely enjoy setting everything up just so, and then sharing the pic, (not least because my memory is such sieve, and this site has become sort of an album/journal for me) but the point is getting everything just so, not persuading other folks that I live a totally art-perfect life, cuz I surely don't—I enjoy doing this once a year, but don't have the time or energy for this rigamarole more often than that. I guess as ever the goal is moderation.


[giftwrap] [xmas] [2019]