Saturday, December 4, 2010

4th of Advent

This is what my lovely friend sent to give me a bit of early Christmas cheer. I'm meant to make the tea, but it's making the room smell gorgeously of spice and oranges so I don't think I'll be brewing it any time soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2nd of Advent

The tree is up! We both agreed that this was the earliest we've ever put a tree up in our lives, but they aren't cheap (we tried keeping one in a pot last year but it didn't survive) so we want to get the most out of our investment. Also, we have plans for an early Christmas party on St Nicholas' day next week, so wanted to make the house festive in time for that. We definitely don't have matchy-matchy themed ornaments and decorations, having gradually bought one or two special things each year since we've been together. Some of the tree decorations are ones I handmade some years ago. Now we have children too, their decorations will no doubt be added to our traditions. It's already happened with our somewhat less than traditional tree-topper:

A 'reindeer' made by P when he was at Nursery last year. Apparently he stuck the eyes on himself!
There is also this knitted stocking given to P by his Great Grandma last year. As I write, Father Christmas is still in his chimney. How long he'll remain there is yet to be seen!

These trees are something I made years ago based on an idea whose source I forget now:

While these mini stockings I knitted from this free pattern last year.

And so our Christmas traditions are growing, organically and to my eyes rather beautifully.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1st of Advent

When you teach in Primary school, there comes a certain time in the winter term when you realise it's time to break out the glitter. Christmas crafts beckon and compete for time with Nativity play rehearsals so you take a deep breath, sweet talk the cleaner and resign yourself to a good few weeks of having everything ever so slightly sparkling, from the carpet to your face to your lunchtime sandwiches. As I'm on a break from teaching just now I don't actually have to do the glitter thing but it must be something inherent in a teacher's nature that come the end of November, it's glitter time. It began with the crafts for the winter season table and continued with the Christmas cards I've made for this year.
I considered the idea of making decorations to send people instead of Christmas cards this year. I'm torn between dislike of the waste of binned Christmas cards at the end of the season and the fact that most of our family and good friends live far enough away that sending Christmas cards is important. I'm just not sold on the idea of e-cards and thought that making something that might be kept and used another year would be nice. Well, it would be if it didn't mean making dozens of whatever we send. In the end, for reasons of economy and to satisfy my taste, I made something- and for reasons of time and to retain my sanity, it was cards not decorations. Cards whose construction mainly involved glue and...glitter. I now understand why there are lots more people who do craft for fun than make money from craft. Doing something once is fun, doing it fifty times is less fun. I had to do what I labelled my 'Christmas Card Sweatshop' sessions in batches, making 10 or so each evening until we had enough. Which meant that each day meant a fresh dusting of the sparkly stuff over everything. Oh well, it's only once a year...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Maeve's Reversible Pinafore Dress

It's been a while but I've finally managed to write a 'How To' for the reversible pinafore dress I created after being inspired by Anna Maria Horner's 'Quick Change Pants' (from Handmade Beginnings). There have been a few changes since the original version, mainly the addition of bias binding to finish the hem and neckline, which I think gives it a much neater and professional look.
So here (hopefully) is the link for the PDF. I decided to share it this way as the instructions are a bit lengthy for a blog post.
Do share with others, let me know what you think, and send me pics if you have a go!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

We may not have the bright lights of the big city round here, but we do pretty well for little town festivals and celebrations. The town we lived in until the summer has a wonderful Christmas tree festival in its Church each year, launched by a Christmas procession through the town. Since there is a Wild Animal Park just nearby, the Christmas procession includes a real donkey for Mary and real camels for the Wise men! I got a sneak preview of the Christmas Tree festival when we had to find an emergency place to feed M- it felt very seasonal to be a woman seeking a room for her and her baby on a cold winter's night! The idea is that lots of community groups decorate trees around the Church and collect money for charities. I couldn't get pictures since I was juggling a still grumpy M and an empty buggy, while C chased P, who was overcome with the urge to touch all the glittery loveliness, but take my word for it, the spectacle is magic.
M certainly made her presence felt last night- I think she objected to the cold despite her brand new 'Snow Gnome' hat, a last minute improvisation with some spare chunky wool I had lying around- pattern on Ravelry now. Funny to think that this time last year she was not much more than a little secret sparkle as we waited for a New Year scan. Now she's such an integral part of the family, and asserting her growing personality more each day.