Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cravings

Andy Williams was right.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year.  There are so many little things that combine to make that true - and for each one of us the list is different.  Here is my list of Christmas Cravings - the little sights, sounds, smells, tastes and happenings that warm my heart and say "Christmas" like nothing else:

The tiny ring-ring of the Salvation Army bells
(please give)

 Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks

Vince Guaraldi on the piano on a late December afternoon, playing something Charlie Brown-ish

The convoy of SUV's and minivans rolling out of the mountains with fresh Christmas trees strapped on top.  One afternoon I counted 36 coming toward me in a 15-mile stretch.

 Any Christmas song sung by Dean Martin

My friend Mickie's Peanut Brittle - the best in the world

A simple evergreen wreath with a red bow on a handsome front door.

Fresh orange peel

Spices - in hot wassail, scented candles, warm breads and cookies

Woodsmoke drifting from a chimney

The clip-clop of horses hooves.  Our little town offers starlight carriage rides through the village during the month of December.

And speaking of stars twinkling in an inky blue night sky...

Moravian Cookies and Sugar Cake, baked just up the road in Winston-Salem

A live Nativity

A choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus

Sleigh bells

My annual movie favorites:

Christmas Vacation
"The little lights aren't twinkling, Clark"
Home Alone, Lost in New York
"Kevin's not here...Kevin's not here...Kevin's not here..."
White Christmas
Rosemary Clooney in that black dress...

 My favorites might not be the same as yours, but whatever it is that makes Christmas magical and special for you, I wish you the biggest dose possible this year.  If you are struggling with less than perfect circumstances, or know someone who is, may you take comfort and courage in the sights and sounds of the season - and above all - in the very Reason that we celebrate to begin with.

Though this isn't a Christmas song, it came to my mind as I was composing this post.  It holds just as true at Christmas - maybe even more so at this time of year.  I had plenty of youtube versions to choose from, but this one brought me to my feet with tears in my eyes.

Have a Very Merry and Very Blessed Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Sunshine

Sometimes the very simple, brief moments in life are worth savoring.  Yesterday afternoon I happened to walk through the living room just as the afternoon sun was slanting through the window and hitting the ornaments on my tree at a really pretty angle.  In the few minutes it took to get the camera and take the photo, the picture was already changing.  

With camera still in hand, I turned to see Joe and our grandson, Miller, sitting on the sofa - laughing and playing.  Yeah - it's a thinly disguised way to work a picture of my grandson into the mix.  But really - isn't he adorable?  And how lucky was I to catch this brief moment as well?
In the blink of an eye, this little guy will be walking, talking, starting to school.  I have always loved the quote "Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."  

Most of the time, those moments are tiny and quiet.  If we're busy - rushing through the day amid noise and distraction - they come and go and we never even know there was a gift we just missed.

December is halfway over.  Celebrate, yes - but make the time to savor and enjoy it as well.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Making Spirits Bright

The studio is Christmas Central these days - in more ways than one.  By an odd quirk of scheduling fate, I'm actually working on a new Christmas collection!  Most of the time, Christmas artwork is on the board in the dog days of summer.  (Try creating jingle-bell-magic when all you really want to do is go pick a fresh tomato off the vine for a BLT.)

But as I write this, Nat King Cole is serenading me.  "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...".  Sing it, brother.  I'm sipping a Peppermint Cappuccino, there is a fire crackling in the fireplace, and all sorts of new visions of sugarplums are dancing in my head.

I love this job. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Big News

Beth Yarbrough Designs

With a profoundly grateful heart, I am overjoyed to announce the creation of Beth Yarbrough Designs.  The new entity will serve as the home of my artwork with the added component of in-house licensing and marketing services, all under one roof.

Concurrent with our debut, we are launching our new website and Gallery for the convenience of our industry clients at www.byarbrough.com.  Updated weekly with fresh offerings from the studio, our new Gallery will provide our manufacturing and retailing partners with up to the minute news on the latest collections.  The Gallery will also serve as a constant resource for viewing a selection of the portfolio of images we have available for licensing.

This has been a labor of love many months in the planning, and a tremendous amount of very rewarding hard work.  On any given day you likely would have found us with paint flying through the air while we held the phone on our shoulder and typed with our toes, trying to put the perfect finishing touches on the artwork, the website, the gallery, the new blog, and the pb&j sandwich we were having for lunch.  Well, maybe I exaggerate.  But you get my drift.

Many many thanks to my wonderful web designer, Holly Knott.  Please visit her at www.hollyknott.com and tell her I sent you!  She's the greatest.  As for me, I'm still going to be right here, doing what I love and counting myself the luckiest girl in the world.

Beth Yarbrough Designs
the home of happy art