A few years ago, my dad, grandmother and I took an incredible trip to Germany (where we visited the tiny village where my grandmother's grandmother was born in the 1860s). We saw many memorable things, one of which was a magical little shop around the corner from a cathedral in Freiburg (itself a magical little town, but watch out for those canals). If the book The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams were a brick-and-mortar store, this would be it.
In that store, we found this book, which my Dad bought for me as a remembrance of our trip. It has four beautiful pop-up scenes, two of which are Christmas related, and all of which are awe-inspiring.
That same magic is available in heaps at the website of Marilyn Scott-Waters, The Toymaker, which reminds me so much of that store in Freiburg. It's overflowing with beautiful paper toys and goodies you can print at home and make yourself -- they're amazing, and they're free, and I get very excited, like a little girl in a magical shop, when I browse through them.
I've been going to her site for years... but I only just this week printed and made any of her creations (forgive the poor quality of my photos but I have a limited amount of time to play on the computer today):
I made paper stars, which don't have her amazing illustrations on them but are still very cool:
and an elf ball, which is just waiting to go on the tree that we bought this afternoon (which is waiting until the battery for the saw charges so we can trim it and bring it inside):
Go and look at her site -- she has incredible things to offer, toys and other sweet items for the whole year long. You won't be disappointed. She also has a blog.
Before we got our tree, Al and I also went ice-skating today, which was quite exciting (I had only been once before, about 18 years ago) and, for some reason, much easier once I started to pretend I was on skis. I guess I reminded my body that it does actually know how to keep itself upright most of the time while moving at fast speeds across slippery frozen substances. It turned out to be really fun!
Then we came home, and I made a wreath from scratch:
I am tickled to death with myself. It might not be perfect, but I love it still. Then I nearly killed the cat by throwing the door open to grab the neighbor's fudge because they pulled up as I was hanging the wreath. He was right behind it, and there was a loud crash as he flew across the room. (Actually, I don't think I hit him that hard, and he seems to be all right, but he still tore across the room so fast he blurred.)
And that's the pre-Christmas news from the Whittington home. I don't think I'll be on the computer much, if at all, in the next two days, so please have a wonderful and delightful and very merry Christmas!