Thursday, 24 December 2009

The stockings were hung...

The stockings were hung, the welcoming snack and drink were put out for Santa and Rudolph ( chocolate brownie and whisky this year - a bit untraditional!), Baby Jesus had arrived in the Nativity scene and the children were in bed. It was nearly midnight, all was quiet and full of anticipation...
A very Happy and Peaceful Christmas to everyone!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Snow day

Heavy (for us) snowfall overnight. I.'s school still closed so an early start to the Christmas holidays for him. The girls were really hoping their school would be closed too, but it stayed open although they finished at lunchtime. I. and I had a snowball fight, he played with his Lego in the snow and then I took him out in the sledge and he met up with 2 other boys from his class in the playground. Lovely for him that we really had time to enjoy the snow today.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Frosty Morning

No snow here yet ( the children live in hope), but we had the first hard frost this morning, and we may possibly get a little snow on Thursday.
Indoors, the woodstove is lit, the christmas lights are on and I'm planning a day of card-writng, present-wrapping and knitting (yes, that reindeer) with I.'s school Nativity play this evening. It's really beginning to feel festive...

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A walk in the wood

We are so lucky that we have in our village, only a 5 minute walk from the house, a 90-acre ancient wood, which is carpeted with bluebells and wild garlic in Spring, full of fungi in Autumn, and home to Red and Fallow deer.
Every weekend, I like to get I. outside for a walk, accompanied by whatever other family members are around. Today it was just me and him, and we walked down to and around the wood. Although there wasn't much wildlife to see today, I. entertained both of us by pretending we were on a train and keeping up a running commentary along the lines of "On your left you can see... In this oldest part of the forest..." all the way along the whole walk. I was enchanted.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Sew pleased!

Hooray - bunting is finished! I used the seam binding which I could only get in 5m lengths and I had made so many flags there were enough to make 3 lengths of bunting. I am so pleased with this project - although it is pretty simple, it is the first sewn project I have made for years and the first thing I have made on my new(ish) machine. I've lots of plans for future projects...
Away from the sewing machine, it is a gorgeous day here - this morning R. and I both walked I. to school across the fields - the sun was just coming up and the trees were ghostly shapes in the mist - magical. I'm pressing on with knitting my reindeer - maybe I'll have him finished to show here in the next day or two. Happy Friday.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Catching up

Counting down to Christmas now and there's still lots to do, but I am trying to fit in something creative each day. Today I finished making my cards, I had intended to make 65 but when I counted them up today there were 61 - I think this will be enough!

I've now made all the bunting triangles - they are not perfect - there are some not-very-pointy-points there, but once it is finished I think it will look good. Today I bought some red seam binding and ribbon (not sure which will work best) to attach them to, and I hope to finish this tomorrow.

Although I didn't mange to post about it, I did make something new for supper on Tuesday - this is Aubergine and Red Onion Bake, from "365" by Gary Rhodes. A very quick and simple recipe, and it tasted really good - in fact I had the leftovers for lunch both yesterday and today ( I doubled the quantity). I realise it is another gratin-type dish - I need to find something completely different for next week!

On Tuesday, I also went to an Ornament Exchange party at my friend D.'s house back in S.W.
This was the first one I had been to and wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a lot of fun and some lovely food, as well as seeing people I hadn't seen for ages - one or two people I hadn't seen since we moved up here nearly 6 years ago. It was really good to catch up with them.
This is the ornament I took to the swap:

And here is the one I ended up with - it is actually a little photo frame, so I am debating what photo to put in it:

It was a really good evening, but the party went on till after 11.30pm , and I didn't get home till 1am, so have been feeling a little jaded. In contrast it has been lovely being home these past two evenings, just reading and relaxing...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Practising completion

I am great at starting projects - I see a pattern, have an idea, and I'm off...
Finishing is quite a different matter. Before I have finished some of these projects which I began in such a blaze of enthusiasm, I have either lost interest, started something else, or put it aside through lack of time and never taken it up again.
I've been thinking a lot about this recently, particularly now at this time of year when blogs and magazines overflow with wonderful ideas which inspire me to want to start something else new.
Sure, I can allow myself a lovely new project (favourite candidate is Mousy Brown's wreath), but I also need to devote time each day to a completion practice.
So yesterday and today, my completion work is the bunting for E.'s room which we started way back in the summer. She doesn't know I have taken this up again, so hopefully I will be able to surprise her with it as part of her Christmas presents. It feels good to get out the sewing machine again and work towards finishing something - this will be a good discipline for me.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Quiet Sunday

(Spindle berries collected by R.,E. and I. on their walk yesterday)

A quiet day at home today... woke late, organised breakfast for everyone, including E.'s friend who had slept over. Made another batch of Christmas cards, then made a pan of lentil soup for lunch. A brisk walk by myself to get some fresh air and then helped L. get ready for the party she is hosting for her friends tonight. R. and I. are out, so all is quiet in the house - there are any number of crafty things I could be getting on with, but somehow all I want to do is nap...

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Apron Love

I wear one of my aprons every day - when I cook and when I clear and wash up and when I serve up meals. Basically all the time I'm working in the kitchen. Often, I end up answering the door in my apron - to the postman/woman, friends, or the parents of my children's friends. No-one ever says anything, but since I have never seen any of my friends wearing aprons, I wonder if I am alone round here in doing so?
I love aprons. When I was a young child, in the Sixties, my favourite one of my mum's aprons was bright pink flowered in silky fabric with a ruffle round it. I used to always choose to wear this one when I helped Mum with the cooking.
My preference, though is definitely for bib aprons, and all mine seem to have blue in them. But I'm very open to other colours! In fact, I feel that an apron sewing session may be in the offing. ( Just as soon as I finish everything else I've started.)
So, are you an apron-wearer? If so, and if you, like me, love your apron(s), you can indulge yourself in more apron-love here:
Apronology - a wonderful publication from Stampington
The Apron Book - includes a pattern for a basic bib apron
Tie One On - wonderful blog about all things apron-y

Friday, 4 December 2009

Cheering my heart...

...on these damp, rather dismal mornings when I go outside to let out and feed the hens, is the beautiful blossom on my little cherry tree, bravely flowering away:

...and when I come back inside the first thing I do is make myself a mug of my favourite Cappucino, for further spirit-lifting purposes:

Have a great Friday morning, whatever the weather is like where you are.
Collecting E. from her two weeks away tonight ( yes, she was home for the weekend, but the house and the family just don't feel right without her here each day) - can't wait to have her home again!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Time for a deep breath

Feeling frazzled today. I ventured into the city to take back some items of clothing for E. and I. which were too big, and to try to finish all my Christmas shopping before it got too busy. I ended up feeling demoralised by the relentless commercialism and exhausted by trekking back and forth, especially when I had got all the way back to the car park only to realise I had forgotten to take back one item to a shop back across town, when I had actually already been in that shop earlier. On the way home I also had to food-shop, and then remembered the hens were in immediate need of more woodshavings for their nest box - so another detour was required.

So I have ended up feeling quite out of sorts, with nothing done in the house today, or any crafting. A deep breath is needed, to remind myself what this season is really about, and to centre myself back into my life here. Tomorrow will be a day at home, and hopefully tonight I can get on with my knitting...

( I treated myself to this lovely Cyclamen when I visited The Kitchen Garden recently.)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

WIP Wednesday

Hmmn... what is this fluffy, grey object, I hear you wonder. Well, it is all I have managed so far of my reindeer. I'm finding the Rowan Alpaca Cotton yarn difficult to knit with as it is so fuzzy, and counting the rows on the knitting is practically impossible (as I found when I realised I'd misread the decreasing instructions and had to take out a good few rows). I obvioiusly need to press on with this to have him ready to grace our home over Christmas so he is the #1 knitting priority at the moment. In fact, if I can get today's tutoring session prepared quickly, I may just manage a bit more of him before collecting I. from school.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Advent's here!

I know that advent really started last Sunday, and perhaps next year I will make an advent wreath and start our celebrations on the Sunday, but this year today was the day. Nestled inside the drawers of our advent house are colour-coded ( gold for I., green for L. and pink for E.) tissue -wrapped little gifts ranging from tiny reels of ribbon to tiny diaries and individual chocolates, together with a couple of "tokens" for seasonal treats. We're all looking forward to enjoying this lovely time of anticipation and tonight lit our advent candle for the first time.

Also at supper-time, it was Try Something New Tuesday, and this is what we had:

Mushroom Ragout with Rice Pilaf
This seemed to go down very well with L. and her friend who was here for supper and also with R. - all of them had second helpings.
The recipes are both from "From Anna's Kitchen" by Anna Thomas. The pilaf in particular was very easy - the ragout was a little more involved, but I will certainly make them both again.