Monday, 30 December 2013

Relaxed enough to knit

I've been trying my very hardest to stay calm and not overdo things this Christmas.  If something doesn't get done or bought, then so what? I didn't get every christmas decoration I possess out this year either.  So what have I learnt from this?

1) Christmas doesn't need to  be a headless chicken act, BUT
2) I will get all my decorations out next year (I didn't get the sherry feeling**)
3) I will prep my vegetables the night before.
4) I will put aside boxing day for doing nothing.

** That sherry feeling.  I only drink sherry at Christmas and it goes straight to my knee joints and ear drums.  I feel wobbly on the feet and everything goes quietly hazy.  The Christmas lights are fuzzier and my face assumes a gormless grin.  I missed that because I didn't have any sherry and, even if I did, there weren't enough decorations to twinkle.
Inflation has hit the Christmas Stocking Market.  When I bought the little chocolate coin bags for my 28 and 26 year old babies they had 'notes' in.   Commonly referred to as square dosh in our family.

The little silkie hens are coming on a treat. The picture below was taken on Christmas day 
 And this one was taken at lunch time today.
They are so beautiful - their little legs are impossibly thin and their little necks are just like miniature pipecleaners but they are growing before our very eyes. I'm not sure how big they will be but I think about the half the size of my laying hens.  The black one was smaller when they arrived but has grown much faster than the little lavender grey one.

So now the house is quiet (apart from Karin and I putting the world to rights and the clack of our knitting needles).  Can you guess what this is going to be?

Yes you're right - it's a bunny.  I'm getting ahead for Easter. (Just kidding I was supposed to have this ready for Christmas).

Ben came to stay on Saturday.  He sleeps with me. Sometimes he lets me have a little corner of the bed.  He is so cuddly in his little sleep-suit that I have to squeeze him all the time.
So now I preparing for next year's classes.  
I will be making the pattern for 'Picture the Year' available to download on the blog with a new 'month' each week so stand by for the first one on 9th January 2014. A paper copy will be available at High Street Quilting each week as well. Each pattern will have the design to trace and the verse to embroider as well as the dimensions of the pieces.  I'll be posting fabric requirements this coming Sunday.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

It's the cheepest Christmas yet

Would you look at this?  My Christmas present from Will arrived a few days early yesterday in all its fluffy glory.
Sorry the picture is a bit blurred - they wouldn't keep still! They are little Silkie Chicks - two weeks old and absolutely gorgeous. They are in a hamster tank at the moment with a special heater and I can hear their heartwarming little 'cheep cheep' as I write.  When they grow up they will be even fluffier. They won't be going out to join the other hens until they are a few weeks older though.  Lucky them - it's horrible outside and although the sun comes out every now and then, the rain and wind are winning at the moment. 

Work was manic up to the end on Friday but I have a week and a bit of peace before I start up again, not the two week break I intended (she says between gritted teeth) as I have to return to work early, but I am going to make the most of my time at home.

Last Saturday I started a little wooden tree at our regular session on 'the hill'.
I covered the wood with some paper I had and then I photocopied a page from a lovely magazine (Father Christmas is getting a subscription for me).
It's called Simply Vintage and it now comes in English but I decided to get the French version still as I like to keep in practice in case my numbers come up and I can afford that little stone cottage in France.  Anyhoo...
The papers are painted over with dark green (Plantation Pine) and then rubbed back.  A few buttons and some 'shabbying'.  I love this - thanks Sandra for another great design.

The vitamin packed smoothies are working their magic and I feel as fit as a fiddle now.

The predominant flavour in this Vitamin C delight was the strawberry, despite the other robust ingredients.

The green version always make me feel good - this little lot was less than 250 calories and packed with good things.

Juicy tomatoes, tangy cheese -  all toasted on a pitta bread. If you haven't tried Food Doctor pitta bread and like seeded things do have a go, they are very tasty.

I painted a last minute gift for a lovely friend at work:

Good old Ikea mirrors and one of my favourite floral patterns - another thank you to Sandra for great ideas.

Most of the shopping is done and my friend and I are off the the hairdresser tomorrow.  The presents are to wrap (Christmas Eve Tradition where possible).  I'm off the put some toad in the hole in the oven for tea and tonight I will be finishing a Cotton Rabbit for someone special.  I might even have a little tot of red wine.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Many a stocking was stitched

There was a Mavis and Gladys Workshop at High Street Quilting on Saturday 7th December.  The night before I got some paints out (bearing in mind I haven't been painting on 'the hill' since 23rd November and am suffering serious withdrawal symptoms).  I had some white bags for the patterns so I thought it would be nice to decorate them for the ladies.
I painted on a coat of gesso to seal the surface then washed a thin coat of Winter Blue over that. The snowgirl was painted with Light Buttermilk and decorated with yew boughs. A few snowflakes were added with my lovely dotty tool and a little bit of pen-stitching and a cinnamon heart finished the little scene.
I laid out all the parts of the pattern - there is nothing worse than forgetting some element.  Sadly I very often do because I am a bit of a last minute person. (New Year Resolution I think).
I decided not to bake for the class because some generous person or persons unknown had given me a nasty cold. Cupcakes from the kitchen of viral plague did not seem appealing.  So I schlepped down to Aldi for some award winning Mince Pies and a choccy Santa for each bag. Oops did an extra one find its way into my shopping basket?  It's ok I destroyed the evidence later that night.

After a lot of fabric choosing and little bit of machine maintenance:
 everyone settled down to sew.
A bit of machining, a bit of tracing, 
 Quite a lot of hand sewing,

 Nearly there...
I have to say it was one of the most industrious group of people I had worked with. I hope everyone got far enough with the stockings to finish them - some were very close, but it had been an intensive session and I think there were some sore fingers at the end!  How different they all looked too. The variety of fabric choices and interpretations always amazes me.

Sunday saw John fixing my tiles in the bathroom which needed some attention. I fell asleep on the sofa and when I woke up Steph had washed the dishes. Just love 'em for looking after their mammy. Ben was his usual charming self despite being a bit under the weather. Although I did find a lemon and a stock cube underneath the sofa after they had left.  He is into cupboards, literally, at the moment.

I've had two colds this winter.  Normally I get one every 5-10 years - very thankfully I've never had to suffer during every winter season.  I have decided I'm not eating enough veggies at the moment and have paid the price.  Easily rectified though.  Get home early enough to prepare a decent evening meal, don't stress over work so much and (my favourite bit) eat/drink your greens!
I think I would get bored before I ate all these but a quick zap in the liquidiser produces my green goddess drink. 
Please ignore the state of my glasses - I reckon it's a small price to pay to have the dishes machine washed!  Actually this was a bit bitter with the savoy cabbage so I added some apple juice and it was lovely.  The small glass will be my afternoon pick me up.

So - halo polished I am ready to meet the day.  I need to keep energy levels up because it's only 16 days to Christmas - argghhhhh.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

25 Action Packed Days to go - someone help!!

I don't put my Christmas decorations up until much closer to the time.  I used to do it on Christmas Eve, but pressure from my little ones meant that I relented and put the decorations up on the first day of the school holidays. A few years ago I made the Christmas Countdown in the picture below but sometimes I don't get it out in time!  I decided that this would be my first decoration this year but will only put the others up as usual.  I never turn the lights on until Christmas Eve though!
I had to use the flash and it looks quite stark in the photograph but it is actually much softer by the light of my little lamp.  I just can't believe there is so little time left though.

It's been such a busy week so I haven't taken many photos. I did take some of the progress of my Snow Family Christmas Stocking pattern ready for Saturday's class.
 First the outlines
Then the painting
Some snowflakes and a bit of pen stitching and finally
A few words round the edge.  A coat of sealer and the pattern is ready for use.
This is the fourth stocking in the series, the patterns are printed and we are ready to go.I'm having to post this from my phone as I  am having trouble with the broadband. Ben crashed into it this afternoon while vacuuming. I wish I could post his laughter as he ran up and down the room. I bought the toy from our school fair for £2. Good bargain eh?

A serious moment as he got ready to go home for tea. Makes your heart sing doesn't it? Have a great week