Three Days till Christmas

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And what have I learned?

#1) That making fresh holiday wreaths and custom gift orders totally helped me get thru the tough times of the pandemic.
#2) That I still feel lonely when I wrap Christmas presents.
#3) That I am a late shopper but you are able to get good deals at local shops because of that.
#4) That I don’t like to bake holiday cookies, but I sure love eating them.
#5) That I still don’t know how to make this year’s Christmas Day special for just Steve and I due to the pandemic.
#6) That I am going to feel bored on Christmas Day, I think.
#7) That no matter what, I put on Christmas pounds this month.
#8) That I bring smiles to people’s faces with special unique custom creations.
#9) That I love working with holiday greens. And I especially loved packaging holiday greens boxes.
#10) That I am very motivated when into a work related holiday project even in blustery cold outdoor temperatures.
#11) And, that I love holiday decorations in our home even if it is mainly for just the two of us (since we have had no indoor guests here all month, again due to the pandemic.)

Well, some of this list may sound depressing. I hope I don’t get the blues after Christmas day, cause as noted on #1, making wreaths and holiday creations for people, really truly absolutely got me through this month. It allowed my brain to go to a happy place, create, watch holiday movies or listen to holiday music, while I made wreaths and such. Making these holiday items for a month truly kept me sane. Thank you so much for all your orders and enthusiasm.

Cathy T holding a wreath she made (on a nice sunny day!)

In regards to #2 (wrapping presents) and #3 (holiday shopping), I did my first trek out to holiday shop just yesterday. I discovered that I am so busy before Christmas making holiday items for orders, that I usually end up going out for last minute gift shopping for family or friends of my own just before Christmas, but one thing I did this season was stuck to going to local places to shop and it was quiet in the stores, all the holiday items were marked down to 40%, and I got a nice hot cappuccino from a local bakery with cookies to go, which one cookie I snuck out of the package to eat in my truck while driving to my next destination.

But on #2 (lonely wrapping presents), this year I felt especially lonely when I got back home and immediately started wrapping presents. I didn’t even take a rest and got to it immediately. I felt lonely I guess cause I know I won’t be in the room when they open them. Isn’t part of the fun watching people’s expressions as they unwrap the gifts? And being kid-less myself, sometimes holidays feel lonely. I wrap and wrap for so many, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like anyone is wrapping for me. Parents are lucky. They always will get a gift and the joy of watching their kids open presents. For me, that is non-existent. There I said it. I don’t mean to be a sap (sorry). I guess that is probably why I just enjoy the smiles of people’s faces soooo much when they pick up a custom holiday gift I made for someone special in their lives. And it also taught me there are way bigger problems in life than my silly moments of holiday sighs. Gosh, one nurse I met, she has seen some very sad situations. Very sad indeed. And I think, we need a National Holiday for Nurses after the pandemic is over. Truly, I think that is needed.

#4) That I don’t like to bake holiday cookies, but I sure love eating them.

There is no doubt, there is nothing better than biting into a fresh, soft, yummy, fully decorated homemade or bakery made holiday cookie. And folks, my mother in law made the best, hands down. One time, when I just started dating my husband, I hap hazardly made some sugar cookies to bring to their house on Christmas Eve. It was I think the first time I attended her amazing holiday dinner on Christmas eve. She is the type of woman who picked recipes from a fancy cooking magazine, now I can’t recall it, darn it, anyhow, she made food to perfection. So when I arrived at the door and handed her a plate of odd shaped, not too good looking, sugar cookies with a happy attitude, not being any the wiser at that time, she took it and brought it to the kitchen. Later, I discovered them kind of tucked into a corner, which was no surprise when I saw the most magnificent display of the most heavenly cookies you ever seen in her living room. She had a gift, let me tell ya. At her elderly age, she doesn’t bake as much, but I sure do miss her amazing, soft, decadent cookies. Yesterday, I got some at a local bakery to try to make up for that, and I also spend time admiring the photos on Facebook of everyone who bakes amazing cookies at their homes, which you all are posting a lot right now. My mouth waters. Yummy.

#5) That I still don’t know how to make this year’s Christmas Day special for just Steve and I due to the pandemic. #6) That I am going to feel bored on Christmas Day, I think.

I know #5 and #6 sound depressing. It has always been “just the two of us,” but we also attended family gatherings here and there for Christmas too, and this year, well, that is a big no-no due to the pandemic. And it will be pouring rain all day on Christmas Day, they said on the news last night – Ugh! What will we do all day? We already watched quite a few holiday movies. And we can’t even decide right now what we should make for a meal. At first, we thought let’s order from a favorite restaurant, then we decided, well, maybe not. Well, tomorrow will be sunny and gorgeous so we are going to do some gift drop offs and try to make THAT day special. Maybe, since he will have the day off, we will figure out our meal plan for our Christmas Rainy Day, and pick up items on the road tomorrow. Because, today, I have to do some more last minute shopping still.

#7) That no matter what, I put on Christmas pounds this month.

Oh yah, the holiday pounds, let’s not even discuss that. It goes back to #4. You get the idea there. I used to say it was because I become Mrs. KB Claus, but now I guess it is Custom Cathy Claus. LOL. Those of you who know me best, know what I mean! LOL.

My Gnome Globes Made People Smile!

#8) That I can bring smiles to peoples’ faces with special unique custom creations.
#9) That I love working with holiday greens.
And absolutely loved packaging Holiday Greens Boxes for customers this year!

Oh yah, that kind of goes to point #1. I love seeing smiling faces when people pick up my holiday creations. That is really the true meaning of Christmas right? Bringing smiles to people’s face, and I learned I really love working with holiday greens, and LOVED packaging greens for my Holiday Greens Boxes this year (which was a new offering). It felt so good to do that – the fresh aromas, the mix of wonderful greens, where people could create with at their own homes, etc.. That is something which totally gets me into the spirit, at least it did all this month, and it will continue to do so as I look at the greens around my house, like the kissing ball hanging by my door, the pot of holiday greenery, the big wreath I hung outside on the fireplace wall. I just love the smell of the fresh holiday greens and I love the nature of it all. And I am happy for those who got greens, they could create at their own home as well.

Box of Greens for Customers was so fun to package up!

#10) That I am very motivated when into a project even in blustery cold outdoor temperatures.
#11) And, that I love holiday decorations in the home and outside even if it is mainly for just the two of us.

Oh yah, I remember one year working on the barrels which I fill with greens at local package store, the owner came out to say he couldn’t believe I was working in the frigid cold temperatures that day. It was super cold, but there have been days I don’t care that it is cold, well, I care, but I can endure super cold temperatures outdoors when creating with holiday greens to decorate a special place or business. I am not sure why. I would whine like a baby otherwise probably about the freezing cold temperatures, but when I am creating, I usually push through the chills and make sure I bundle up as much as possible, and I do try to go on good sunny days. We did have some mild temp’s earlier this season. However, you have to be careful because your holiday motivation can make you forget the fact you could get frost bite or catch a cold, or whatever, thus it is important to warm up between stuffing greens into holiday planters and pots outdoors at residences, or at home, etc.

And #11, decorating! Oh yah, we did decorate a bit less this year, got a small tree for inside the home, but you know what, we still LOVE decorating for the holidays. It really does bring a warm feeling to your home, gives it a bit of the Christmas or Holiday magic to your surroundings, and there is nothing better than staring at glitter and gold. I didn’t unpack as many boxes or adorn as many rooms in the home as year’s past but it was an absolute must to decorate. I’m sure everyone knows it isn’t just for their guests, it is for them, to be in the moment and spirit.

Happy Holidays Everyone. Only 3 more days to go…

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

A Little Pine around my White Bird House – Even the Little Touches Count!

Here comes the snow

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Our first big snow storm arrives tomorrow, well, technically tonight, so I guess that means we will be dealing with snowplowing our driveways, cleaning up our cars, shoveling, and wearing warmer winter clothes, but it also brings some nice things.

Nice? Yes, nice things.

Like how the snow covers up the ugliness of our brown landscapes of winter and how the snow decorates the outdoor holiday lights with snowy white accents, and even the after thing which happens the day after a snow storm, like how icicles will be dripping and glistening in the sun, or perhaps you will make a snowman or go snow-shoeing. There are some nice activities, that is, if you like snow.

However, preparing for the storm is usually some pre-work for all of us. For example, rushing off to the grocery store to get food so we can at least have some yummy meals while cooped up inside during the storm, or getting the snow plow prepared or scheduled, and moving any last minutes items from the outdoors to inside to protect from the storm, or covering up big planters in my yard I STILL haven’t gotten to. Geesh!

Cathy T’s Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Globes!

It also will give me the opportunity to continue creating with my fresh, wonderful, beautifully scented holiday greens! I am still creating small holiday planters and a few gift items, and if you are local, and have a last minute holiday gift needs, please look me up. All are custom made and arranged pick-up style. I also create various small hand-held gifts which are great quick pick-ups for gifts. All I need is one day’s notice to make it custom for you.

Planters with Mixed Greens and Decor by Cathy Testa

I will be home all day today (after grocery shopping in the morning) if you wish to pop by for any last minute gifts (all hand made by me and unique as featured in my posts, Instagram feed, and on my Container Crazy CT Facebook business page). My cell is 860-977-9473. Feel free to give me a quick text.

Holiday Globes by Cathy Testa of Container Crazy CT

I’m also marking this date, today, 12/16/2020, as the first big snow storm coming to town. Just think, only a couple days ago, we were outside without heavy winter coats or hats. Today my fingers will be freezing within minutes while I gather up supplies to make my next custom order. And I probably will have to be super cautious when walking across my large driveway to get things tomorrow. This Connecticut weather is crazy. But we will endure, like we always do.

I hope where you live, you are not dealing with this big snow storm, unless you enjoy some of those “nice” things noted above.

Thank you,

Cathy Testa
Small Business Owner
Container Crazy CT
Broad Brook/East Windsor, Connecticut
860-977-9473 cell

Adorable Moss Ball with Hand Dipped Small Candle and Accents by Cathy T.

Holiday Gift Cards Available

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Just a reminder, my Holiday Gift Cards are available again this season, which are applicable to purchase unique custom plant gifts or for seasonal items such as my Seed Starter Kits, or starter plants (tomatoes/peppers) in the spring time. Or perhaps you would love to have someone pick a special unique seasonal gift using their gift cards such as my Succulent Topped Pumpkins in the fall season, or a fresh wreath, holiday kissing ball, or hanging holiday globe in December. And a custom unique container garden or patio pot in summer. The list goes on!

However, please note, my Gift Cards are no longer applicable to in-person workshops. I am not planning to offer workshops in person going forward, but gift cards are usable towards workshop kits or packages where you may do your own workshop with my supply kits and details. How-To Videos are offered for package purchases.

If interested, please email or text me at 860-977-9473. I am located in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT.

To learn more, visit my WorkshopsCT.site and my galleries on Instagram under the handle of Container Crazy CT.

Thank you,
Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Boxing Up Happiness!

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This year I am offering Holiday Greens by the Box, which I refer to as, “Holiday Greens by Cathy T.”

The Box is actually two per order!

It has been so much fun for me packing up all the wonderful fresh greenery for my orders. I hand select them from my stock and prepare each order individually right before the customer arrives so all is super fresh.

I bought a big roll of shiny red tape to close the boxes, knowing red is appropriate for Christmas and the holidays, and tie each box off with red string too.

Cathy T Holding one of the boxes

As I close them up, I feel a sense of happiness – like I’m wrapping a Christmas present. It is a type of process that makes me feel as if I am giving someone a treat, a gift, and a package of festive time to come.

Lots of Variety!

Each box contains wonderful varieties of greens. I love having the various textures and shades of greens to make my wreaths and I think it is a special treat to have this material to make holiday decorations at home.

Customer Putting Boxes in her Car

My husband built a wonderful rustic stand of tree branches from fallen trees and it is perfect. In fact, I call it “Driveway Pick-ups” now. If someone wants completely no contact whatsoever due to COVID safety, it is easily achieved.

Driveway Pick Up Stand

However, I have been snapping photos of pick-ups at a safe distance with both our masks on!

Picking up a Large Order for her and a friend

Every time someone shows up, a conversation starts up. Just the two of us in the driveway sharing stories of how we all have new traditions this year, as a result of limited gatherings due to COVID19. I hear of what has been going on in their lives, things they may have experienced, and we all realize the new traditions we are forming this year, which could perhaps stay as a tradition – like these new Holiday Greens by Cathy T I’m offering.

There is still time to get your box (which is actually 2 per order). Imagine sitting home right now making a wreath with a friend or with a child, grandparent, and whomever you are staying safe with right now. I invite purchasers to a page with my how-to videos and wonderful tips on working with holiday greens.

If interested, please reach out and I will provide you with the list of greenery included in the boxes and the price. My cell is 860-977-9473 and I am located in Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT.

Husband and Wife Team – They decorate together!

Thank you,

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

Buffalo Plaid Ribbon is Popular in 2020

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Every year, a woman orders a Holiday Kissing Ball from me, and this year, when she texted me, she asked if I could use “Buffalo Plaid” ribbon this season?

I texted back, “Sure, but what is Buffalo Plaid?”

LOL, guess I was totally unaware of that term, even though, apparently, it has been around since the 1800’s.

No matter what the trend, a buffalo plaid shirt never goes out of style. With origins dating back to the 1800’s in Scotland, this type of plaid was originally brought to America in the form of warm blankets. Later popularized by Woolrich and traditionally red and black, buffalo plaid consists of two colored yarns woven in stripes to create large intersecting blocks.

From website: Flag&Anthem

Luckily for me, I was looking at ribbons at my supply house at that very moment of my customer’s text. And I was in luck, there was some in stock.

It is interesting how trends come about.

Maybe we are all seeking that special warm comfort feeling of Buffalo Plaid blankets (now during Covid times), and perhaps, this is why it is so popular this holiday season.

Large Holiday Kissing Ball with Buffalo Plaid Ribbon Topper

I made a pretty bow to top off her custom kissing ball, and added some curly ribbon with the same patterns here and there, and it worked really well along with red bright berries, black and red ornaments, and other embellishments.

Buffalo Plaid Ribbon

When I posted a photo of it on various social media, it received many comments and likes. It is apparent people are into this style ribbon right now.

In fact, another order came in, and they said, “I sure do like that Buffalo Plaid ribbon you used on that kissing ball!”

Hand Made Wreath by Cathy T with Buffalo Plaid

Of course, I was happy to accommodate her. Here is her wreath with the Buffalo Plaid ribbon and cones, cheerful red berries, and little red glitter balls.

Ribbon on the wreath

I rather like how the ribbon came out on this wreath too! It is so adorable and the curly ribbon tucked in perfectly below my Buffalo Plaid larger ribbon.

Wreath before decor was added

At this rate, I’ll run out of Buffalo Plaid ribbon before I run out of my fresh greens! Each of my holiday wreaths, kissing balls, and box of greens are filled with a wide mix of greenery. It smells amazing too when I am working on creating items.

Enjoy your day everyone, and Stay Safe.

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
Located in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT
Porch and Driveway Pick-ups Arranged with Zero Contact!

What do you need to make a Fantastic Holiday Wreath?

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Me, of course! LOL.

Okay, I thought about this – What tools do I find are critical to make a wonderful holiday wreath?

Here are my suggestions:

Good florist wire, a whole paddle or roll. As you work to attach the fresh holiday greens to your wreath frame, the florist roll of wire will be invaluable. Make sure it is a green colored wire to hide well beneath the greenery, and 20 gauge is the type I typically use. I also find the florist wire to be handy to have for many other creative projects. A roll of it is never wasted due to this reason.

A heavy duty wreath frame. If you are going big, you might as well invest in a strong wreath frame, and hopefully, if you pick a good one, you will reuse it the following season. Avoid cheaper frames that are easily dented or bent as you work, especially if making a larger wreath.

Gloves. Sap, sap, sticky sap from your fresh holiday greens, like the balsam fir, will start to really dry out your hands while making a wreath. A box of disposable gloves is really helpful, especially because as you continue to work, your hands may sweat or the gloves may get torn, so I like a box of gloves nearby. I will grab a fresh pair as I continue to make wreaths and kissing balls by hand for my orders.

Mask. Not a joke here, but last year, I wore a face mask because the smells of the greens were starting to make me sniff and sniffle. I wear them after a while if the strong greens smells start to get to me, plus moving and cutting greens increases the dust or pollen around me. If I wear a mask, I’m not breathing that in. I make a lot of holiday wreaths and kissing balls, so it is helpful, and this year, during COVID, we have masks handy, and my mask this year has a holiday theme too! Might as well be festive.

Hand moisturizer. While getting a box of gloves, if you can find them today (tricky to do sometimes during this COVID year), get a good type of hand moisturizer. I prefer lotion that is thick and creamy, like body butter. I slather it on at night before bed. My hands get really dry and sometimes scratched while I work with greens.

Hand-pruners, in good shape. Nothing is worse than using non-sharp, old rusty pruners to cut the various holiday greens as you work. Tidy up your pair of garden pruners before starting, or get a new pair if you wish to invest in them. Avoid using junk pruners.

Very sharp scissors. For making the perfect cut in bows and other decorations as you add the decor to your finished wreath. While you’re at it, you may want to invest in small wire cutters, so you don’t damage the scissors which you should reserve for cutting ribbons and other delicate materials.

Plastic Bins or Laundry Baskets. As you cut your pieces from branches of stems of the holiday greens, a big bin with handles, is super helpful to toss all in because you will most likely go to a warm space to make your creation. Carrying the bin to your house or into your basement is handy.

Holiday music or movies. When I make my wreaths and kissing balls, I tend to watch one of those holiday (corny) movies or one of my old favorites while I work, however, don’t pick a movie where you must look at it all the time because you will be looking down most of the time as you make your wreath. One of my favorites to rent while working are, “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” or “Reindeer Games.” If not a movie, go for holiday music, it puts you in the mood for creating your wreath.

Tarp, sheet, or blanket. Lay that down on the floor below where you are working because the needles will fall and make a mess. Wrap up the blanket after you are done to gather the debris and shake it outside to toss out the mess. It helps. A couple towels are handy to protect surfaces.

A glue gun. Another great tool for adding decor to your wreath. Get a bigger glue gun if possible. Those small ones just take too long to heat up, and work slowly plus they tend to get all clogged up after a while. If you are going to make just one wreath, one small glue gun may be fine, but a big glue gun is needed if making bigger or a lot of wreaths.

Florist picks. Little green wooden pick with wires already pre-attached to them are handy for some of the decorations you will add. They are not mandatory but helpful. I usually have a stock of those around.

GREENS!!! And of course, the number one thing you need is abundant, fresh greens from Cathy T. It is better to use fresh and a mix of varieties to achieve an elegant, full, and beautiful look. And I provide you with care tips, instructions, and more information. If you buy from me, you will also learn from me.

You know where I am if you have a need for any of the above items. Visit my site noted below or text me. Hurry, it is time soon to starting making your fantastic wreath.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.

Stay safe friends,

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473 (texts welcome!)
containercathy@gmail.com
www.WORKSHOPSCT.com (see for more Holiday Info)

Orders start Friday, November 27, 2020

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