Has Commercial Christmas Started at Your Place Too?

My birthday, as I keep telling you, falls at the beginning of September.  A few days later I went into the city – somewhere I avoid normally – and was truly totally amazed to see every store had put out the first of their Christmas decorations and assorted stuff.  September!!  I thought it all arriving en-masse near the end of October was bad enough – soon we’ll be shopping for festivals and holidays all year round.  Are you like me and think this is ever so slightly crazy?

I did wonder if it is just here, where we do not really celebrate Halloween or have Thanksgiving as national pastimes like, for instance, our American friends.  Our national holidays are fairly low key and not hugely commercial affairs, so have the corporations decided that, lacking these other two major fiscal opportunities, to make the time of ‘Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men’ a spectacular four month long spending spree?  Or am I being just a tad cynical in my old age?  Maybe you like it!  So come on down and share with us – when do you think Christmas should appear in the shops?

So having done my anti-establishment rant about the commercialisation of holidays, I will now jump on the band wagon.  That’s the irony of life isn’t it!  For there is, purely coincidentally, good news for any of you who were pondering on items in my ‘Contented Crafter’s Gift Shop‘ and maybe put off by the exorbitant additional cost of shipping.  For just a short time – unknown exactly how long as yet – postage on any item, to any place, anywhere, is free! And, as just complained about by my good self, in time for the major gift giving season too.  Whoot-whoot!!  Ah well, if you can’t beat ’em you may as well join ’em as someone famous once surely said!

There are also, of course, pages from the art journal to be shared.  I’m beginning to work up so many ideas for proper paintings I don’t know where to start:

There’s this one based on an event from many years ago when my life was in crisis

earth-goddess

There’s this one, just playing around with texture and colour

oct-flowers

Or this one, where my latest addiction to gold paint and decorative tapes is indulged

oct-purplegold

And here, where I am just starting to play around with ideas for a proper painting

oct-laurie1

It’s an eclectic mix isn’t it!  Any thoughts?  I’d like to find time to make some more bracelets, my wrists feel they are in need of some decorative touches………

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

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75 thoughts on “Has Commercial Christmas Started at Your Place Too?

  1. Look at you painting up a storm! Go team Pauline 😀 I’ve actually bought a canvas with the idea of painting something for my reading room. I’ve been tossing around ideas but need an un-interrupted few days to commit to starting. Time will tell. You’re such a talent in so many ways and everything totally reflects your spirit and way of life. I’m looking to find my own voice while learning the techniques required to express it. It’s probably a case of practice practice practice. But I need more time time time, LOL
    Gads! September really is too early for Christmas in my way of thinking. But you do make a point of not having any other retail holiday celebrations to market. Since I’m in the retail world, I can offer you my uneducated point of view. Businesses really struggle 80% of the time. If you’re not selling a necessity like grocery, money spent in your shop is discretionary. To my experience lately, there’s not a ton of discretionary spending to be had (Canadas in a bit of an economic slump, especially in Alberta where the oil industry has laid off thousands). So retailers have to take every opportunity to hopefully get shoppers to spend money, meaning, being first to offer something has big benefits. If we’re the last shop to offer something, everyone has already spent their loot elsewhere. So, long story short, that’s why we see Christmas so early. Everyone tries to be first, or that’s what I think xo later tater xo K

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    • I’m appreciative of your retail experience and view point my little Canadian Artista!
      I was just seeing tat and overload of junk and not at all appreciating the need to get it out there in the front of the race. The world’s in a bit of a mess isn’t it – my city too is in decline with new shut downs every day and growing unemployment. Times are changing!

      I’m sure you will make a delightful job on your canvas – and if you are unhappy with anything you just keep on layering until you get something you like….. just remember to dry well between layers 🙂 (voice of experience here) And yes, it’s the every day work at it to find your own voice. Retirement is great!! 🙂

      I’ve just almost completed a page which I took from okay to ugly to okay to ugly to almost there in a four day unending stint!! I’m amazed I can just keep on working and reworking and the whole thing doesn’t crumble into dust!

      Lovely that you dropped by, I enjoyed our chat! xo

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  2. I spent odles of time drooling over your store! I was surprised when I went back and realized I had not commented on this post because I read it thoroughly. So many beautiful creations. I too have been extremely busy we have preparing Christmas gifts. Trying to finish as many projects as I can as we are taking a few weeks vacation over Thanksgiving and I will lose that time. I have some unique shops in mind that we plan to stop at coming and going to round out many of our Christmas gifts. Such unique items, talented craftspeople and homemade gifts are my very favorite things to give as well as received. Your showcase of a variety of items is incredibly special. I have to say your post cards are fabulous!

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    • Thank you again Jan! Thanks also for your kind words about my store – it does need updating, but that has to wait for now. I agree it is so nice to give and receive hand crafted gifts! Good luck with your working time, I think we get into November and the weeks just get eaten up don’t they – especially if you are making gifts!

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  3. Hi Pauline,
    I apologise it’s taken me so long to visit your post. I’ve had a busy week. I agree with you that September seems awfully early for Christmas. I think part of the reason takes account of people posting gifts overseas. Mail can be very slow, and sometimes (more in the past) items had to be posted early October to get there for Christmas. That was with economy air postage, which I think has been done away with now. It should be getting quicker to transport things around the world.
    I’m pleased I popped in and checked out your store. I’ve ordered a few gifts and taken care of a few tricky ones to buy for at Christmas. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂
    Thank your for sharing your artworks – gorgeous as usual. I really the love the women in history one. Good on you! I’d like to see a series of those. 🙂

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  4. I start thinking about what I can make for Christmas gifts around now, and once again try to find an Advent calendar, and yes, I do see the Christmas decorations, etc. in the stores.

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    • My gift making starts quite early in the year normally Cynthia, I’m so slow…….. but this year I’m having a break. You are the first person to mention Advent. We still acknowledge it, but no longer do anything special. When my children were young it was a big deal and, coincidentally, that was also when the shops started to put out their wares and displays. I hope you find your Advent calendar.

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  5. We’ve just spent September in England and there were signs of Christmas in many shops. I couldn’t believe it. And then, when we arrived home on 1 October, the supermarket already had Christmas food for sale. It’s crazy.

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  6. You guessed correctly, over here in U.S. we have Halloween decorations, costumes and candy. Soon after November 1st, Christmas is in “full swing,” on television, radio and in all the stores.
    Pauline, I really liked the beauty in your self portrait and the memory of a thought time in your life. (Sorry you had to go through a crisis. xo)
    I liked the message in your going away (last) painting, although someday the history will reflect so many different kinds of women, I prefer rebels! 🙂

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    • I admire women who dare to stand out, stand up and be counted and who are anything but ‘normal’ Robin. They always are the ones who really make a difference. My friend Laurie, that’s her on her bike, is just such a one – she is a truly remarkable person.

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  7. I wonder if I’m a bit hypocritical starting crafting for Christmas in January yet complaining about shops starting it in September? Although now we’re down in Devon it doesn’t start as early as when we were up country 🙂

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    • 🙂 I wasn’t clear enough in my post – I’ve made everyone who shops during the year and makes during the year feel bad!! [Which is me too!] That’s not what I’m on about – it’s the general over supply of tat and canned music and pressure to buy, buy, buy starting in September and October that I dislike. I worked with disadvantaged people prior to retiring and so I think about the folk on tight budgets and those who are alone and those who think buying stuff will make them feel better. These are the people at risk and who are most targeted. It’s getting earlier and earlier every year and it is aimed purely at increasing shop sales, it has nothing to do with the meaning of the season.

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      • I agree with you. It is way over commercialised. Sadly so much of our world revolves around big businesses making big profits from people who could spend their money in much better ways, or, as you say, can ill afford to spend that money in the first place. Unfortunately so many people seem to see shopping as a hobby or as you say something that will make it happier when it won’t. I would have agreed it’s getting earlier and earlier – it did seem so a few years ago, but now it doesn’t seem to be. Although, as I said before, this may be because we’ve moved. I’ll compare when I go up country next if it is the move or if we in the UK have pulled back a bit. I doubt it’s the latter, but I can live in hope. 🙂

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  8. Well America and Christmas commerce!! I stay away from shops from half way November onwards to protect myself and my honest Christmas feelings! Your art is beautiful as always…and I that LB on her bike? xo Johanna

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  9. We don’t make much of a fuss about anything other than Christmas in the UK either, but Christmassy things are starting to creep in the shops now. I tend to make all year long as handmade gifts take a lot of planning and time to execute, as you, yourself, know only too well.

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    • Hello Sheila – I have just discovered that you have fallen off my feed, so I’m glad you popped by! I wasn’t clear enough in my post – It’s not the year round crafting and even gift buying – to stretch the budget and all that – that I’m on about. It’s the commercialisation, the shops putting out all this pressure to consume, it’s the jingle bells and general overabundance of stuff – most of which looks cheap and tawdry – that bothers me. Christmas tat and canned music is bearable in December – or even November is we must, but just not in September and October…… I’ll pop over for a catch-up later.

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      • Oh no, you were clear enough and I agree totally. I was just saying that I have to think about Christmas very early on if I’m making gifts, which I do because I loathe the commercialism, too.

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  10. No signs here yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of days. I’m not much of a mall shopper anymore so I see the decorations in the grocery store and my occasional forays into WalMart. Somehow the gawdiness doesn’t seem to bother me in these locations so much as malls where the din of never ending carols and the vast acreage of fake garland and imposed jolliness is overwhelming like I’ve just eaten a whole fruitcake and need to find a bathroom fast.

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  11. I love all the art pieces, it would be impossible to choose, although the motorcycle with the behavior message is truly a good one. I’m all for eclectic, ha ha…just look at the mess of things on my blog. I’m going to agree with you about Christmas and the over- commercialization thereof. I was walking into a discount store the other day coming in from an almost 90 degree day and the trees were all decorated and holiday music was blasting. I can only imagine how burned out I will be after 2 months of Xmas themes!

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    • Welcome to the Anti-Commercialisation of Christmas Club Lana! We still have some places that insist on decorating windows with snow scenes despite the fact that this country is – and always was- in the midst of summer at Christmas time 🙂 Go figure!! I’m glad to hear you like all the journal pages – thank you 🙂

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  12. I’ve moaned about exactly the same, Pauline. Christmas just gets earlier and earlier and the meaning gets more and more diluted. When I worked in PR for a large retail chain, we were promoting Christmas gifts and decs in July to the media. Now I can’t bear to think about Christmas until after November 5th – we celebrate bonfire night then. But our shops have been getting ready since mid September. I absolutely refuse to buy a mince pie before the second week in December . There are cakes here, crackers, the lot. And they get cheaper looking and more tawdry each year. Shall I stop now?
    I love your biker chick and the attendant phrase. So true 😉

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    • I’ve been heartened to find I’m not alone in decrying the commercialisation of the holiday Jenny. There’s either some highly sensitive and sensible folk out there or we are all turning into a bunch of Scrooges!! Glad you like the biker – it’s a great phrase isn’t it!

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  13. Oh Lord. When Christmas things start appearing in stores I vanish. Usually the stuff appears just after Halloween. I don’t go near a store again until February. But other than food shopping, all my other shopping is done online. It’s the only place I can find what I want when I need it. Love your art!

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  14. So many reasons I have to loathe the Christmas season. I remember starting way ahead to make gifts, until I learned I was among people who believed you make a handmade gift because you are too cheap to buy a proper one. The ‘tat”, as you call it, in the stores nauseates me. I have ugly memories of too much booze bringing out hyperemotional ugly grudges. Then, too, I Iong ago left off belief in the Church that has propagated The Christmas Story. TV programming is glutted with sappy, sentimental stories—all really watered-down Dickensonian tales of some scrooge-like person (me?) who is converted to the love of Christmas at the happy ending. And worst of all—like rubbing salt in a wound— is the SOCIAL PRESSURE TO ENJOY whether you actually do, or not. Are we having fun yet?
    Now that all of the dear ones who made past christmases lovely are no longer with me, there is no reason to keep Christmas at all. My cat and I will gently abstain from the whole fandango. (She never knows what day it is, anyway! 🙂 )

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    • I have those same ugly memories from my childhood Cynthia – but I made sure my kids had golden times for their birthdays and Christmas and they both still love to celebrate these now. I should hate to have folk around me who thought handmade gifts were rubbish – that kind of materialism is anathema to me. It must have been very hard for you to handle that! No wonder you choose not to go there anymore. As you know I am not a religious person, but I do have deeply held spiritual views on life and always loved the message of ‘Peace on Earth’. As this appears to have been hijacked by corpocracy I feel myself separating more and more from the norm. I too have spent some Christmases alone, I grew very fond of that opportunity to simply enjoy my solitude and contemplate the world from afar. Not everyone finds pleasure in that solitude however and for the lonely the constant bombardment is hard to bear. I have known some very sad cases and I always think of those folk when I see the rah, rah, rah. Wouldn’t it be fab if the world thought less of buying stuff and more of warming lonely souls………..

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  15. I go to a grocery that carries EVERYTHING! A superstore so to speak as we live a ways from most shopping. Halloween is at the front right now, Thanksgiving a little back from that and Christmas behind it. If you need it today, they will have it available. It really doesn’t bother me since I can ignore it quite easily. I don’t shop the stores for gifts. Get most out of my sewing and crafts, the book stores, or online. My list is not long and there is little any of us really need that a gift giver can afford to purchase. My children have Amazon lists that I choose something from, then make them something. Everyone else gets handmade items. It’s the thought that counts, right?? I also shop the craft shows and bought a handmade scarf for my daughter. It’s harder to find things for men there.
    You are way too generous to cover postage! I mean that in the kindest way.
    You have some beautiful work here again today. And of course the biker chick is obvious.:) I love the colors you use. Don’t we all wish we could gaze into a crystal ball and come up with the answers. Love the gold tape and the colors with it. Try not to let the retailers take the fun of the holidays out of you. They have figured out we don’t come in at the last minute and want to catch us when we are in the mood. 🙂

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    • I shall indeed enjoy the season in my own way Marlene – and I shall not venture out much again between now and January when I’m sure Easter Eggs will make an appearance……. We are having a quiet Christmastide this year – without grandchildren it has lost a lot of its splendour. I loved it when I had young children and in my teaching days. Now it is something we indulge ourselves in on a semi annual basis. I make all or most of my gifts and often work away on them for months before. Not this year though 🙂

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      • It isn’t the same without little ones. I miss the idea of grandchildren and tend to indulge others children since I have none either. I’m with you in avoiding shopping till well into January. Easy since I need nothing. 🙂 I agree, Christmas loses it’s luster without children. My daughter and I tease that we shall go to the Bahamas for the season. 🙂 If only.

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  16. Pauline, I am afraid to venture out. It must be the same here. I didn’t notice any Christmas stuff when I was shopping a week ago, but a lot can happen in a week. I dread Christmas; am almost phobic about it. I prefer generosity, gift giving, and kindness to be part of our daily lives and not just a Christmas thing or something foisted upon us by a commercial imperative. Your offer of free shipping is a great kindness. 🙂

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  17. Hi, Pauline. Is that Laurie in the last picture? (Just read Lisa’s comment and your reply – so you don’t need to answer this). Do you know, I wonder whether Christmas has a place in the shops at all. I had an uncle who bought next year’s presents in the January sales 🙂

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  18. It was so good chatting today, Pauline. I’m delighted to see your recent work here. I loved the sneak peak of our favorite biker and oh what a fabulous and fitting quote. Perfection! You’ve capture the wonderful essence.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Christmas in the shops anymore. In some ways I’m almost immune. I actually prefer shopping for gifts year round, buying when I see something that a friend will like, instead of waiting and shopping at a specific time. But I think more of what you are referring to is the “stuff” of Christmas: cards, lights, ornaments, etc. Retail establishments don’t turn a profit in this country until the infamous “black Friday”, so my guess is that these stores are all in competition for each others business, hoping an early start will draw in buyers. In recent years, it seems to have the opposite effect, most notably with the extended hours or open hours when folks think families should be with families, not behind the cash till.

    I will sometimes feel an overwhelming depression when I’m in a store with “canned” Christmas ballads playing on the loudspeaker. I want to get in and get out. I love being able to shop online, at friend’s craft boutiques and international gift fairs. Conversely, I despise long lines, grouchy shoppers and the forced happiness. I feel put upon.

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    • Oh Alys yes, thank you you have just said it all perfectly clearly – it is not the quiet browsing for gifts that suit that we do at odd times during the year, or the making of items long in advance of a special date, it’s the specific Christmas things, always accompanied by canned music and forced cheer! Four months of it this year – Christmas no longer becomes a special event, it is a long and difficult marathon aimed at consuming and spending and the gathering of ‘stuff’. Sigh!

      I go out to shop so rarely now, preferring to make it myself or buy on-line, that I guess I was just really shocked at what I saw.

      The biker chick is popular! 🙂 I loved our catch-up today and am already looking forward to our next chat 🙂 Danella is busy organising places to visit for the big tour……..

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      • Yes! A “long and difficult marathon”. It sucks the life out of it. Our local Target does it well. We are a diverse community, with folks celebrating (or not celebrating) a number of things. All the holiday decor and displays, at least for now, are in the back corner of the store. If you want it, you can go find it, but it doesn’t assault you when you walk in the store. Halloween is big business here so for now they are pushing pounds and pounds of candy. I’m abstaining, and it feels great.

        Best of look do Danella.

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        • Go you! Let’s all chant together while dancing around ‘No more candy, no more candy……’ [NB please note ‘dancing around’ is not something easily done when candy has been indulged in] Danella has actually come up with some good ideas already – I might have to go check ’em all out 🙂

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  19. For quite a long time the shops were always full of Halloween stuff in September , it’s become quite a big thing over here pushed by all the shops. Once that’s out of the way the Christmas stock used to appear. This year though they both appeared at the same time early in September.
    I confess that in the past I’ve shopped early when I’ve seen an appropriate gift but the main shopping wouldn’t start until late this month so that the cost could be spread out, I have a long list.
    It seems the seasons have changed a lot since we were young Pauline and Christmas started in December.
    xxx Gargantuan Hugs xxx

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    • Sounds like it is a global conspiracy to part people and their money doesn’t it David – yes indeed, the world is a different place. We have the same commercial push for Halloween here, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on that much. I was in a shop today though that had Halloween in one aisle and Christmas in the next.

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  20. Ah Christmas! In my part of the world, yes, it starts first day of September. I’ve grown up to that practice and I/we all love it. The only thing we don’t is the tiring, endless traffic it causes. Many shops go on sale every weekend and as Christmas comes near, more stores go on sale and traffic is so much terrible. Personally I start shopping mid this month but by batches. I start with my list of nephews and nieces first then friends for the next month and lastly first week of December for adult family members. Its a great decision you made to join in the early Christmas selling/shopping and have more time to relax before the big day.

    Your paintings are all beautiful! I especially love the flowers and the biker chick. Your color combinations are super!

    More paintings, Pauline! Your works inspire!

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    • Aha! It has come from your part of the world I see 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how our growing up experiences make us view things. When I was young, and when my children were young too, Christmas shopping began with Advent. Four weeks before Christmas the stores decorated their windows and floors and put out all the decorations and special things for Christmas buying. Of course we purchased and or made things during the year and tucked them away secretly, but the actual Christmas themed goods were just for the month.

      Thanks for your comments on the paintings, much appreciated!

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      • You’re welcome, Pauline! Shopping experience had never been the same when the ‘ber’ season starts. Madness from Friday till Sunday is an understatement. Top that with mall wide sale in many of the key cities. Still people go and brave the traffic and people madness inside the malls. The line in the fitting room alone is ridiculous! haha! That’s why during these months my husband and I add people watching in our mall coffee breaks. Its like watching ants swarming something yummy. 🙂

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  21. I’ve noticed it here too Pauline, went looking for the cleaning cloths I buy in my favourite “$2.00 shop” and they’d gone……..been moved elsewhere and replaced by Christmas decorations ! I think it’s a wee bit soon, but since I don’t buy any of it, I just shake my head and move on. And there’ll still be people racing in to get some ghastly piece of plastic tat on Christmas Eve I’m sure.

    Your paintings are bright and cheery and I love that you happily crossed to the ‘dark side’ to offer some gift giving ideas, people are still going to want to buy gifts for loved ones, a much better experience to browse your store in their jammies rather than a busy, noisy shop with Chirpy, annoying Christmas songs on a never-ending loop.

    I remember you had a very nice painting of a house a while back….not sure if it was just in your gallery or your shop……. but browsed and couldn’t find it. I did like it very much! Do you know the one I mean, I’ve not see you do any houses since?

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    • Hi Netty! I was in a $2 shop today looking for tiny spray bottles to fill with special paint mixes and kept stumbling over the piles of Christmas tat filling the aisles….. Grrrr! You are so right it is mostly tat! I was just saying to Lisa that I too make and purchase little things throughout the year, the issue is really just the junk that is paraded out earlier every year that is meant to make Christmas special……… More ‘Grrrr!’ Still, not everyone minds and we are all different and I fear I am getting old and crotchety!! Next thing I’ll be going around saying ‘Bah, humbug!!’

      If you look in the August archive and scroll through the various posts you will find three paintings featuring my most recent wonky houses. ‘It’s August, Really?’ has two and ‘Bottoms Up’ has one. If it’s any of those let me know.

      I like the idea of folk shopping my store in their jammies 🙂 Just the way to do it!!

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  22. Ah Pauline, I would be very happy not to hear about Christmas until mid November. That said, I have been known to buy gifts for that holiday inJuly if they look right. Still… I love the happy flowers and the bike rider looks like LB! I do like all the colors you use. Which means that I always like all the paintings…

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