Twas at least a month before Christmas… when we put up our tree.
Christmas came early to our house – super early. We’ve had our tree up for two weeks already and it’s making me so happy. It all began when I was given a surprise weekend off from MasterChef casting work. Wanting to celebrate the weekend I’d been given I asked the children what we should do. Minty suggested putting up the Christmas tree and much to her surprise I didn’t hesitate with my reply. She was incredulous that I would really do it – I fear she thinks of her mummy as a real old stuck in the mud! Now that it’s up I am tempted to keep it up all year – changing the decorations seasonally. I love the soft light it fills the room with and I love all the precious ornaments that we have gathered over the years to hang from the branches. Minty spends a lot of time redesigning the placement of the ornaments – Rémy had started out with an all inclusive theme which was very quickly paired down to a white/silver more minimalist look by our resident designer. [Did you spot me in the silver ball? Thinking this will be my new avatar]
We have several new additions to our tree – a flying glitter pig, a keep calm and carry on glass ball and a red bird in a gilded cage. But our most special new friend is a one of a kind angel with a white feather skirt and diamonds – to sit on top. She is made by my aunt Annie Scotland in England and then dressed by my brilliant cousin Eloise Scotland (or as we know and love her, Eli).
I admire Eli for a lot of things – she’s super smart and best of all she gave up her job as a high flying attorney to make things – and not just any old boring ‘crafty’ thing – gosh I hate the word ‘crafty’ – she makes exquisite works of art. All pieces are handmade by Eli so if you aren’t quick you may not be able to place an order and have it arrive to wrap and put under the tree. Eli says with her current work load on top of being a full-time mum and the need to mail it to America in good time she can probably only take on another 5 commissions – but I would wait well in to the new year for any and all of her creations.
These gifts are for the long haul and not just a token present wrapped, unwrapped and then forgotten about. They are family heirlooms to be treasured. A once in a lifetime gift – at first coveted and then, once executed, cherished.
And they aren’t just for Christmas either. Know of someone who has just had a baby? Or a wedding present or anniversary gift? How about a hand stitched family tree to mark the occasion? So far her family trees have mostly been two generations – I’m commissioning her to make me a family tree dating back the early 17oo’s and the first Araminta on my family tree.
They say an Englishman’s home is his castle which I presume translates over here – but how about a picture of your house to frame and put on the wall. Such a unique piece – either for Christmas or as a brilliant house warming present. Anyone know who lives at the home above?
I have ‘Araminta’ and ‘Remy’ in letters framed in my kitchen. I also have a tea cosy with ‘Let the Eat Cake’ written on it that makes me smile every time I see it hanging above my kitchen sink (Eli also makes a ‘Some like It Hot’ version that I love too). Any quote could be commissioned – like the one above which isn’t for sale but could be replicated – or at least reinterpreted, since each piece is one of a kind, unique and whimsical. The piece below is from some lucky person’s family sayings – to be opened Christmas morning – presumably before they cook, wash or iron…
She’s already done one of my favorite quotes of all time – don’t you love how she’s recreated the lines on the page and that distinct pink margin?
To contact Eloise Scotland and to commission ‘your perfect offering’ go to her blog.
Prices (all in pounds) are as follows:
Family Trees (two generations): start at £50, roughly 30 x 25 cms in size
And whilst we are on the subject of holiday gifts – don’t forget my book MADE IN AMERICA – it makes the perfect present for even the most difficult to please on your holiday list… plus Time Out New York selected it as one of it’s top ten best cookbooks. I will sign any copies and should you live too far away I can always mail you a signed personalized bookplate.