crEAting, drEAming, fEAsting

sEAsons…and since we’ve no place to go

Finally I get to sit down and write.

The whole of December has been far too hectic this year, I am not sure why as I did not plan it to be quite so mad.

We closed the front door last night after saying goodbye to our final pre-Christmas visitors who had joined us for a festive drink and a few nibbles and it felt really good to wake up this morning and not be preparing for something or going anywhere – not even work as I have finished now until the New Year. Yeah.

I pottered around this morning doing the last of the washing and ironing, putting the tags and finishing touches on to the wrapped presents, even taking a few photos for my blog.

Gift wrap

After an early lunch we walked down to the village, dropping off a present or two for friends on the way, and collecting a sprig of eucalyptus and Hypericum berries from the local florist for my front door decoration.

The Flower Box

I decided against making a conventional wreath this year and have done something completely different to hang by the door, but you will have to wait until tomorrow for a photo.

It has been a lovely relaxing day and I have been able to sit back and savour Christmas.

Christmas china

mantelpiece

Nativity

Christmas tree

Christmas tree

The Christmas tree is adorned with mostly vintage baubles going back to the fifties, maybe even earlier, I love the fact that they have been part of our family and displayed on many trees down the generations.  Of course our usual tiny twinkly fairy lights failed this year when we got them on the tree so we had to scramble around and make do with some older ones that used to go outside.

I even attempted making my own Christmas card – I only had a couple of hours to come up with a design and make them so it had to be very simple – it turned out to be a bit of a disaster as you can see but I have included a photo of it here because I like to keep a true record – even of my failures!  My friends who have received them won’t mind – I know I always love to receive home-made cards.

Christmas card 2017

Christmas card 2017

 

Anyway to fill you in on the rest of my Christmas so far… last weekend was spent with much joviality at our family gathering on Sunday at the Black Swan in Fearby by courtesy of the owner – my daughter’s boss.

We had our best Santa hats and jumpers on, plenty of fun and games and our musical interlude…

and quite a few selfies.

Christmas Selfie

I have mentioned before that OH and I have been busy producing a Family Album photo book for my mum and it arrived just in time from the printers to give it to her on Sunday whilst all the family were in one place.  There are over 400 photos in the book covering almost 9 decades from when my mum and dad were children, through to their wedding and our appearance.  There were plenty of family holiday snaps, family weddings and christenings, first cars, Christmas get-togethers and of course many memories of our dear dad, in fact everyone who is connected to our family is in it.

This is the moment we surprised her in a true ‘This is your Life’ style…

Photo Book

Mum was so pleased she shed a tear or two and then at the end of the evening stood up and made a lovely little speech to thank us all and tell us how much these family gatherings mean to her.  In jest someone handed her the selfie frame and here she is holding it while she delivered her thank you speech.  I think this could start a new trend for the Queen’s speech.

Speech

At this same event we were also celebrating my younger daughter and niece’s birthdays and I made them a chocolate cake to share.

I bought some of those candles that spell ‘Happy Birthday’ in silver and gold to go on top but instead of putting them on the cake I wrapped each letter in random order between the layers of the pass the parcel together with a ‘Trivia’ type question and a Celebration sweet.

Chocolate Cake

When the music stopped and a layer unwrapped to reveal another candle letter they had to stick into the cake.  When the pass the parcel finished all the letters were in the cake and ready to be lit…however not necessarily in the right order!!  But it was good fun.

Chocolate Cake

Happy Birthday

After all the hard work I have put in to making Christmas so far I decided I needed a bit of a treat – Neal’s Yard have opened a new shop in Meadowhall – absolute joy for me as I love their Frankincense Intense concentrated serum.  So appropriate for the season – I can certainly feel the love and the assistant dropped a couple of free sachets into the carrier bag – I will skip the price on this one – you can guess it is not cheap.

Neal's yard

The golden pear was something I spotted whilst rushing through Next with my mum on her shopping bonanza – £2 for a bit of Christmas sparkle.

I was also lucky enough to find a copy of L’art de la Simplicite – How to live more with less – a book I read a while ago from the library and decided that it is one to keep should I find it – not only did I find it but it was free at Waterstones with my reward stamps.

So I am truly a happy bunny.

I will be posting one more time before the big day but I would like to say a big happy Christmas to all my readers and to all the other bloggers and friends whose blogs have kept me entertained all year.  I apologise for my lack of comments in the last couple of weeks – I have been reading along with everyone’s Christmas preparations but it has been so difficult to comment on everyone I read.

Thank you also to Simone at Linden Grove for the lovely card I received this morning – what a wonderful surprise – I promise I will be writing to you soon – just be thankful I didn’t send you one of my dreadful home-made cards!!

crafts, crEAting

Christmas Robin…comes bob bob bobbing…

I made it at last.  Everytime I have had the intention of sitting down to write I had an interruption from one person or another and I include myself here.

What have I been doing you might well ask.  I have been quite a busy little bee – or multi tasking as some would say.  After making those birthday cards a couple of weeks ago I made up my mind to do more crafting and on Saturday morning I settled down in my craft room and began to think about creating some Christmas cards for my daughters shop (as I had promised).

It is a long time since I attempted any lino prints and I felt eager to have another go as I like the quality of the prints and the fact that once you have carved the original design you can print an unlimited amount of cards.  It is also appealing because unlike rubber stamps the design belongs to you and it is exclusive.

I had no particular idea in mind for the card design other than it should be slightly vintage in feel and perhaps a Christmas Robin would be appropriate for a shop called Birdhouse Interiors.  So I flicked through my sketch book and settled on a drawing I had done some time ago of a Robin.  Not the best drawing in the world but the shape isn’t too bad and it seemed quite promising.

Robin Sketch

I converted this into a more simplistic black and white shape transferred it onto the lino then set about carving out a picture remembering that the bits I remove would come out as white.

Robin Lino Cut

I did a few test sheets before printing on the actual cards.

Robin Tests

Then the production line began…first with the black ink…

Robin in production

then I applied the red ink for the breast and berries by hand.  Finally the Christmas greeting was done with a rubber stamp.

And voila here is my line of Christmas Robins.

Robin Xmas Card

I can’t say it turned out just as I had in mind I think that will take much more practise but at least I have made a start and my daughter is delighted.

All packaged up and ready to go.  I can’t believe that only this morning these cards were just an idea in my mind and didn’t exist.

Now I just need some inspiration for my next one.

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Christmas Card 2011
Christmas Card 2011
crafts, crEAting, sEAsons

Follow me in merry measure…

Fa la la la la la la la la…

While I tell of Yule Tide treasure…

Christmas Flowers

Little posies of fresh flowers and foliage in empty decorated jam jars are presents to my friends this year

Homemade Chocolates

together with a few homemade chocolates

Gingerbread Houses

and some decorated Gingerbread

Gingerbread Houses 2

all packaged in cellophane

Handmade Chocolates

to give them a bit of Christmas sparkle

Christmas Presents

So my making and baking has come to an end now.

Christmas Cards

The Christmas cards are displayed

Christmas Mantle

The Mantlepiece decorated

Christmas Tree Baubles

and the tree is laden with vintage baubles passed on to me from my mum and grandma reminders of wonderful Christmases past at home in the fifties and sixties.  Underneath are the presents all wrapped and waiting…

…and finally there is just time to wish all my readers and new friends I have made this year

a very

Happy Christmas

Fa la la la la la la la la…

getting things done, managEAble, sEAsons

Deck the halls with boughs of Holly…

Holly

…Fa la la Fa la la Fa la la…

Tonight I have been sitting beside the fire writing Christmas Cards  – all the ones that have to be posted.  Tomorrow I will do our short Christmas news letter for certain friends who like an update and then I will post them on Friday.   I have already received my first Christmas card from a very organised friend (who is retired I should add!)  As I am a working girl I think I deserve a little more time to do mine.

I have been Holly spotting as I drive to and from work in my car and the only place I have seen any Holly, complete with plump red berries,  is very high up on a tree where it would be too difficult to reach. At this time of year I ride around with my secateurs in the glove box just in case.

Brrr…it was so cold this morning that I could not open my car doors and in the end I had to resort to getting my hairdryer and the extension cable to warm up the car a little. It did the trick nicely even if I did look a little strange giving my car a blow dry!

Tomorrow is Bernard’s funeral at 2pm so I have booked a half day off in the afternoon.  I was glad I didn’t have to rush to pick him up today – I would have been concerned if he had ventured out onto the treacherously icy pavements.

I can tell it is getting close to Christmas because certain household items are beginning to break down.  First it was the Burglar alarm that began to make strange noises and we have had to abandon it for now, then the oven has started to trip the main switch when we cook anything over 170C and now the shower screen door is beginning to squeak and groan and we cannot replace the little plastic ball bearing runners as the manufacturer is no longer in business.  Most of these items are quite old now but I do not want to have to replace them before Christmas.  I am hoping that as they say things happen in threes that this will be my quota done.

Oh and I have had my hair cut ready for Christmas so another job off the list – as it is almost winter and particularly cold tonight I decided to only have a good inch taken off otherwise I might feel a little chilly.

Now where did I put tomorrows ‘what to do’ list?  Only 19 days to go…