Countdown to Christmas!

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Good morning everyone,

Yesterday, on the news, they said today is one of the busiest days for many small businesses offering holiday items, but we are expecting lots of rain and heavy winds today here in Connecticut, which may result in power outages. That’s okay, I can still make my custom wreaths in the dark with the woodstove going and candle light if need be.

Also, for some very odd reason, every year around now, my technology starts to give me trouble – why?! I Wonder?!! One year, my iPhone died completely at this busy holiday time, and I actually had to rush out to buy a new one – a present I wasn’t expecting; I remember feeling completely frustrated I had to do that.

This year, my iphone is not dinging when texts arrive (I seem to fix it once, and it is happening again), and my business Facebook page under Container Crazy CT seems to be doing weird things – Ugh, please holiday bad gremlin go away. Just like in the holiday movies, there is always that one bad spirit trying to steal the happiness of others – maybe that is my tech gremlin! I can’t let him do that though!!!

So, I am just reminding everyone the best way to reach me is a direct text or email works too! I’m busy making wreaths and offering my Holiday Box of Greens. Now is truly the best time to get this as the next week is busier than this week for me. As a one-woman owned business, with one very cute Elf Helper, a heads-up is very much appreciated!

Thank you,
Cathy Testa of Container Crazy CT
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Four Weeks Till Christmas

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The festive holidays are starting off nicely this year. Thanksgiving Day was a beautiful day here in Connecticut, followed by Friday, which was a little misty and rainy at first but not terrible in regards to weather, then a beautiful sunny day on Saturday (a popular day to get your Christmas trees and start outdoor decorating, as well as hitting up Shop Small Saturdays for local businesses for gifts), and it looks like we will squeeze out at least another half day of no rain before rain again later in the day on Sunday, today.

This kind of nice cooler, non-rainy weather is helpful to me, because I will make at least 100 trips back and forth to my garage for my greens to make wreaths and prep items for holiday pots and planters during the next two weeks. I have to bundle going back and forth and if it is not raining, it sure helps. Even better is when there isn’t any ice on the driveway where I could potentially slip and fall. However, I don’t mind misty rain so much nor would I mind a “nice pretty snowfall” because it adds to the upcoming Christmas spirit we start to experience this time of year after Thanksgiving weekend.

This year is different, because things are just costing more. When you see an item priced a little higher, please just remember, it is not because anyone is taking advantage – at least not by small local businesses, it is because they are being charged higher too, and that is just the way it is this year. We all have to pick and choose what is important and valuable to us. In fact, we went to get our Christmas tree on Friday, and it was $75. All the trees in the lot were $75 regardless of size, where as a year ago, the place had no trees due to shipping issues, and the year before, I think it was $55. But you know what? We got a gorgeous tree at $75. It is so full and beautiful. Last night, I sat in-front of it with my husband and we admired the tree. It smells great in the house, the needles are firm, and it is full. I’m thinking I will sit in front of it every night instead of the television the next four weeks!

Anyhow, today is probably the day I will make my first custom wreath. And yesterday, was the day I boxed up my first greens box order. I am so very thankful for those who have placed orders thus far. Making each items brings me joy and a little worry too, cause I always worry – I know, not productive! BUT, it can be productive when you are planning and doing your best to have all the holiday “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed. But overall, once I get into the zen of making a wreath, it is all good!

We are now at week 4 – meaning four weeks before Christmas. Our weekend agendas will hopefully start to be filled with gatherings and/or festive activities, or perhaps it will be mellow. Not everyone has those big family gatherings, some are small and intimate. Maybe you feel lonely this year, due to a loss, or perhaps just because things are not panning out a certain way. Whatever the case, surround yourself with what makes YOU happy. Whether it be a wreath or a chocolate bar (hopefully hand made with really good chocolate), or in the case of a wreath, handmade with really good fresh greens! And pick those things which make others happy to – for those who are important to you.

One thing that makes me happy to offer is my Holiday “Box of Greens,” which is actually two boxes with 8 varieties of fresh holiday greenery per order. To learn more of the total list of varieties and contents, cost, etc., feel free to contact me soon! And get decorating alone or with friends. I’m located in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT and will be here every day this week and most of next. You may also visit me on, http://www.WorkshopsCT.com for additional details, photos, etc.

Thank you and enjoy the rest of your weekend! Hopefully today will be a day of rest for YOU!

Cathy Testa
Container Crazy CT
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

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

Custom Orders for Wreaths and KBs

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Hello all!

Just a friendly reminder,

I am continuing to hand make custom wreaths, kissing balls, swags,
and offer boxes of greens till Christmas!

winter fest_0001

My wreaths are very full and fluffy –
and I use between 12-15 different variety of fresh, aromatic greens.

They are adorned with a bow of your color choice (red, gold, candy cane, etc.)
and some faux berries with small glass ornaments,
or may be left natural if you desire one with no decor.

Kissing Balls and Swags are made with various greens as well.

We have about a week and a half left before the big Christmas day, so don’t delay.
*** Pick up in Broad Brook, CT by Appointment. ***

IMG_0389

On Saturday, December 15th, I will be one of the many vendors
at the Stafford Winter Fest.

The market is held indoors in the town hall on Main Street.

If you have not been to downtown Stafford Springs, CT in a long time, now is the time.

The Main Street runs direct to the Town Hall – the building facing the rotary, and there are shops along the way on Main Street. Many are new and happening!

There is a wonderful coffee pastry shop, pottery store, a cidery, vintage type store, a restaurant or two, and there will be a food truck in the parking lot
as well near the town hall.

Grab your umbrella and come visit.
The town hall is a lovely old building with stairs to the 2nd floor to the market place.
It is not too many stairs either – I tested it out! My hips are not as friendly now, LOL.

I am going to be there with hand-held styled holiday gifts adorned with succulents and greens, and greenery fresh items – all will be perfect for those last minute gifts or decorations.

Market place runs from 3 pm to 7 pm, and during the day, as noted on the flyer above, and there are other fun events happening same day in town.

See you soon,

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

KB Wreath Promo xmas