Excerpt: Dan followed the man into the kitchen, nearly failing to resist the temptation to make a snarky remark about how he should be the host here. Once they were both closeted into the tiny, half-arsed attempt at a room that barely passed as a place for meal-making the man introduced himself as Phil.
“Phil Lester, actually,” he added, “and I’m a huge fan of people who hospitably provide tasty holiday drinks to harangued Christmas maintenance men.”
I’ve completed a fine binding of a 1928 book called, “The Hodag.” A hodag is a mythological creature from Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The book was printed in two colors with a lovely illustrated edge.
I wanted the hodag on my cover to look a bit more menacing, so I began by making parts of the creature in watercolor.
Then I pieced them together till I got a hodag I was happy with!
I learned long ago from the Alien movie that it’s much scarier if you don’t see the entire monster in one go. I turned it around and put the back end on the cover. Since these were lumbering myths from the virgin pine forests of the north, I impressed pine boughs into the navy leather.
Lastly, I used the marvelous 1893 hoax photo by Eugene Shepard from the Wisconsin State Historical Society as the endpapers.
Winters are hard for Katniss, they always have been. Before the war, winter was about staying warm when there was no coal for a fire and not starving to death when there was precious little to hunt or gather in the woods.
And after the war, well, winter is when she lost Prim; invariably the season’s first flurries remind her of that day in the city circle. There was snow that day too, huge lazy flakes that had just begun to collect on the walkways, perpetuating the false peace of that false place.
Winter is, for Katniss, inextricably bound with fear and grief and loss.
Peeta knows these things, knows too that the short days, the lack of sunshine and the idleness of the season contributes to her low moods. But he doesn’t have to like it.
So he takes her for walks in the woods, hand in hand, bundled against the cold. He shows her the simple beauty of pine boughs bent with snow, wintry finery sparkling in the thin solstice light.
He teaches her to fold and cut sheets of bakery parchment, creating works of art with just a few snips of her scissors, and he threads the paper snowflakes on bits of twine, stringing them in the windows of their home.
He bakes cheese buns and brews hot chocolate. He touches her more, grounding her in the now, keeping her thoughts in the present. And it helps.
In the time before the war they spent too long hiding their feelings and thoughts, so he never asks her to pretend to be happy. He never expects her to be anything but what she is.
On her worst days, on the days when the blackness creeps in, when the nightmares abound, on those days he lets his employees open the bakery for him. On those days he stays home, builds the fire up high and they simply sit wrapped in each other, watching the flames and weathering the sadness together.
european houses // ceramic christmas ornaments by poast
pure white, unglazed porcelain ornaments look lovely against a crisp pine bough — choose from beautifully-carved homes found in paris, or amsterdam, or many other lovely locales, and fall in love with european magic all over again.