Merry Christmas!

My male friends can go back to alphabetizing their Beatles collection. My middle-aged women pals will recognize this as a bottle angel—what we were making while they were building forts and playing that ugly Danelectro guitar in the family room.

She was made in 1968 or thereabouts, which is why she is wearing a chic turquoise burlap gown with cotton batting for trim. She’s bedraggled and filthy and her dress is unraveling, but she has been on our Christmas tree ever since my mom decided I was finally old enough to take care of her (I was 35 or thereabouts). This year my mom gave me her own tree angel, a delicate porcelain doll with batiste skirts that glow in the tree lights. My own bedraggled angel moves over to join the psychedelic reindeer and the blonde German Santa in the niche.

My friend Kristin Zimmermann paints portraits of sentimental things that must move along—her Kitchen-Aid mixer, her Christmas ornaments, and her Singer Featherweight sewing machine, among other things. They are delightful paintings. I’m trying to paint a small still life every day before moving on to more important things—6X8, not to take more than an hour. I think I’m going to borrow her idea for a while.