I made this yesterday…

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All I really wanted to do yesterday was create. I had an idea in my mind to make a small wreath covered in small glass ornaments, bright red and white berries, and a couple succulent plants. I wanted to pack the wreath in a way so it would be colorful, festive and fun.

It really is amazing how long something like this can take to make by hand. In fact, I would start working on it but then had to stop to do an errand or get the other tasks around my property done, but all I really wanted to do was create.

I played holiday music from my Pandora holiday line up of Christmas music which I play every season this time of year. It started with listening to Micheal Buble’s “White Christmas” song and continues on from there to Elvis or Etta – You name it. Every song gets me into that holiday creation vibe, along with the pitter patter of birds or trees moving in the wind outdoors. In fact, a bird landed on the greenhouse roof to visit while I was in there. These moments make me pause while creating.

Yup, I did. I put on the holiday music playing from the tiny new Bluetooth speaker. So let’s see, holiday music on for the first time on Nov. 19th. I think that is my earliest yet. It does set the mood, along with warm sunshine casting upon me in my little heaven of a greenhouse, where I often create, if it is bearable outside for winter temps. Once it gets even colder, my hands get cold in my special greenhouse, kept at a low even temperature during the winter months. Sometimes it gets too cold to create in there, unless I’m bundled up from head to toe. But it is one of my preferred places to be.

After doing errands, I finally got back to making the trio set. One thing that really annoyed me was a sticker was on the bottom of the round hanging globe and it was stubborn. I was like, oh gosh, now I have to go up to the house to remove this sticker, as I don’t have a working “sink” in the greenhouse with hot water. I was thinking, just let me create – no more interruptions, which I found removing a stubborn sticker to be – an interruption. I had to find a spray adhesive removal product and finally was able to completely remove it.

After that, and getting back to my greenhouse and continuing on my creations, my stomach started growling and right then, my husband texted me he was on his way home from work. It was almost dinner time, and yet, I still wasn’t done. The sun would be going down soon, I thought. I need to wrap this up. I left everything there to ponder more for tomorrow, which is now today!

This little mouse, I knew would be adorable in the globe. I thought of the owl found in the Rockefeller tree in NY recently, as I placed my white little mouse ever so carefully in the center, being sure the tip of his red holiday hat with a tiny white pom-pom would point up to the top. I’m not sure why, but I can not get that owl out of my head. I thought, I wish I had an owl to put in here – it would be perfect, but I only had the mouse in the house. Imagine replicating the NY tree owl with that little brown blanket tucked around him and those big bulging adorable owl eyes. OMG! That would be irresistible.

Each of the three pieces have similar color themes and the red dotted ribbon. This would tie them together. Along with the mini brown pinecones with tiny red berries. If I’m not careful, anything could be damaged or not positioned just right, this is why it takes time. I would never rush them as it takes away that Zen of creating.

One thing I have found is in order to create, you need lots of various supplies and embellishments on hand. I just can’t do something totally cookie cutter, it would be like an artist having to limit their various colors of paints, which I think may occur out there, but I don’t want to limit myself when creating.

Because these each have live succulent plants in them, they need to be displayed indoors and near some sunlight or in a brightly lit room, although the succulent plants are very tolerant and may be moved into pots after the season of holiday decor is over. The globes have succulents which are very slow growing and are sturdy, so they won’t outgrow the globes for a very long time.

So that is what I did yesterday. And now I have this feeling I want to make another set. With another color theme. We will see. I will keep you posted!

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
see also: www.WorkshopsCT.com

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Who am I?

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I shared this photo yesterday, on a whim, on my personal Facebook page and received lots of comments. Most people wrote things like, “You look so happy!” or “This is a great photo.”

I have to say, I am THE most happy at the moment right then, right before I would be completely ready for my holiday workshops to begin for my annual wreaths and kissing balls attendees.

Cathy Testa right before attendees were to arrive!

This photo, taken two years ago, was on a sparkling, yet brisk cold, December morning. I got up early before all the wonderful attendees arrive, working diligently with my helpful and happy husband to get all the beautiful fresh mixed greens on tables. All this work always took place right before the workshop was to start on the day off.

Boxwood in a Galvanized Bin

From fresh Balsam Firs, so traditional for the Christmas scents we are familiar with, to elegant florals such as Berried Eucalyptus. All would be carefully placed on rustic tables and shelves. Some bundles were placed in red plastic bins or galvanized rustic buckets in wheel barrels. Whatever we had on hand to make all the taking easy for everyone.

Fresh Juniper in a Wheel Barrel

It would be so pretty when we were done setting all the greens up. I would be freezing cold at times with the tips of my fingers being numb even while wearing gloves, and feel like my eyes were tired (why the big sunglasses over my eye glasses in that photo), yet, I always took the time for photos to capture these moments just before guests would begin to arrive. Every minute, from our first sip of coffee that day till the start time of my holiday workshop was consumed with work for both me and my husband.

Decor everywhere

There have been many years where I was completely exhausted from all the organizing type stresses. Will my greens by okay? Will there be enough greens? Will I be able to handle a group of 35-40 very excited women ready to make wreaths?! Will the weather cooperate? Will it be windy? Usually all my anticipation would start to fill my mind, of course, as I laid my head on the pillow the evenings before the big workshop days.

The days or even weeks before the event, I would start to decorate here and there, adding holiday touches in my home, on my property, and in the staging area for the greens. I always wanted to make everything perfect, or as best as possible. It needed to be a cozy, organized, and a welcoming event.

Cathy T’s Holiday Red Hat on the KB Sign

We would stage all the fresh holiday greens, many varieties, in a beautiful wood shed, which my husband built for his wood. For many years, he sacrificed the space on one side for us, for this workshop event, for the ladies. What a man, Mr. KB Claus. He never once complained about that. This year, of course, it is all filled with his stacked wood. And he just happily stacked his wood this year without ever a mention of how he gave up the space all those years prior for my workshops.

Decorations all around

It almost looked like a manger on my holiday workshop days, as one attendee stated one year. It wouldn’t be long before I learned, I need elf helpers because the large group took a lot of coordinated effort, and fortunately for me, I am blessed with three close friends who offered to help me and my hubby.

My elf helpers – They even agreed to wear the festive aprons I got them last year!

But this year is different, very different. My holiday offerings are different, our upcoming family and friend gatherings are different, and our holiday anticipation, in many ways, will be different. All due to COVID entering our worlds. Who would EVER imagine COVID would be here still in the month of November. Into, what eight months, since this all started in March? My goodness!

So this year, as I’ve noted, I am taking custom orders for wreaths and kissing balls, as well as offering fresh greens by the box. All the details are outlined on my site, http://www.WorkshopsCT.com. I have my holiday face mask ready to greet anyone coming by for orders, and my helpful and festive hubby already built a stand for safe zero contact porch-pick-ups. Well, it will be driveway pick-ups this year. The stand he built is from wood limbs of trees around our property, which make it rustic looking. I can’t wait to hang my custom wreaths and kissing balls on it for orders. I think it will look pretty. And this starts next week, immediately after Thanksgiving Day.

Steve, Mr. KB Claus, Holding a Wreath made by Cathy T last year for a customer

So who am I? Well, I guess this holiday season, I am still Mrs. KB Claus but in a different format. Not sure what my title will be but I do know, I thoroughly enjoy working with the beautiful fresh holiday greens creating and it will certainly help ease our COVID situations. Creating with greens is an amazing escape from any concerns we may have as we stay safe at home. And I’m sure my husband will tolerate all my antics along the way!

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Token Males, I used to call them as a joke, hanging out with Steve by the firepit outdoors while us festive women created our holiday items!

The Transition Zone

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The start of November, as we await Thanksgiving Day, and move quickly into the Holiday mode, is what I feel is a transition zone.

I really don’t want to bombard people with what I will be offering for the holidays until a bit later in the month, but then again, many people plan ahead to decorate and get into the holiday spirit.

We also have a few days of decent weather coming up, so this is when we will wrap up our outdoor clean up for sure. For example, my husband is planning to clean up the gutters this weekend, and I will be removing last minute summer items into my garage or basement during the rest of this week between appointments and orders.

As far as transitioning, the following are some items I’ve been doing:

Updating my Galleries on SmugMug. Been creating a Holiday Folder to show custom orders and my holiday greens coming up.

Updating my 3 sites to be more current. Yes, I have 3. It is a long story but each is dedicated to my service offerings: WorkshopsCT.com, ContainerGardensCT.com, and this blog site, ContainerCrazyCT.com.

Ordering supplies for my upcoming custom holiday wreaths, kissing balls, and loose greens orders. Taking inventory, writing instructional documents, and more.

Taking any last minute orders – still – for handmade Succulent Topped Pumpkins which make beautiful centerpieces for the Thanksgiving decor and your table!

Making hanging succulent filled glass globes to add to the autumn decor for custom orders. Making terrariums with succulents and fall decor too.

Checking my greenhouse daily to ensure all systems are working property, looking over the plants moved in and making sure none have issues. Making sure the heat is working and all that jazz.

Cleaning the house! Yes, part of my fall transition zone. I’m so busy in spring with plants of course that I never have time to do the big clean in spring. It tends to happen in the fall or early winter.

Trying to decide on the Thanksgiving dinner plans. I think it will be just me and my honey this year, and that is the week I start making wreaths and kissing balls, so just as well be home. Just too risky to do large gatherings due to the COVID rises across our country.

Sorting my holiday home decor and donating the old or unneeded to free Facebook pages in my town.

And finally, taking walks in the brisk cool air as much as possible before it gets too cold out there – but then again, that just reminds me – get those snowshoes out so when it is colder, I can transition to that!

Happy Wednesday everyone. Hope you are okay while we wait to hear the results of the election, and transition through whatever they may be!

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
Broad Brook, CT

November is Almost Here

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By now, most of you have probably stored or disassembled your container gardens and patio pots of tender outdoor plants. And, after talking about light frosts for over a month, I may officially say our hard frost will arrive tomorrow evening, Friday, 10/30/2020 on Halloween weekend! It is predicted to drop down to 23 degrees F here in my area of Connecticut.

Alocasia Ready for Storing for the Winter

Along with the seasonal changes comes planning ahead for the next holidays on the list – Thanksgiving and Christmas!

I’m still making custom Succulent Topped Pumpkin Centerpieces themed in fall (and/or Halloween decor) and all are arranged via Porch-Pick-ups in my area of Connecticut (Broad Brook/East Windsor). Thank you for your recent orders. I so enjoy making these for everyone! And there is still time to request an order: 860-977-9473 or see my site www.WorkshopsCT.com for more photos and details.

Succulent Topped Pumpkin Centerpieces by Cathy Testa of Container Crazy CT

But next will be planning ahead for the Holidays, which will be so different this year. First, we all know we are concerned about COVID. Smaller safer gatherings will be required.

But, decorating, perhaps will be even more important than ever because we will be home staying safe. Decorating for the holidays is one of my passions and I know so many of my friends, customers, and family feel the same. The holidays are not the same without our personal decorating embellishments.

But, for the first time in 10 years, I am not offering my holiday workshops. It is a change I must accept due to our COVID world, but I will not let this stop me from offering the types of quality products and beautiful holiday greens I have in the past.

I am very excited to be taking custom orders for my hand-made evergreen filled wreaths and kissing balls starting by the end of November. I’m also offering loose greens this year. All of the details may be found on my site called, www.WorkshopsCT.com. All are made by hand and with love!

Holiday Greens by Cathy T!

I saw a funny joke on Facebook recently saying, “It is snowing because of all the people putting up their Christmas decorations up in October.” It made me chuckle.

Usually, I have to start clearing out my workshop spaces now in time to prepare for December, but this has changed. In a way, I’m relieved to not have to do it – it was a major effort!

I also would start to decorate early as well in order to make my home as cheerful as possible for my workshop attendees. I’ve accepted this is the new normal for now and it doesn’t totally bum me out – I am, in fact, very excited to offer my products in a new way.

Again, the details are on www.WorkshopsCT.com. I’ve changed the title of that website page to reflect my name, as it isn’t all about my workshops anymore but more about my current offerings focused on combining nature with art.

Well, just a quick post today – brace yourself for the much needed rain we will get all day, and the snowflakes tomorrow! It has happened before in October, and it will again.

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
www.ContainerCrazyCT.com
http://www.ContainerGardensCT.com
www.WorkshopsCT.com