Saturday, December 11, 2010

11th of Advent

Although I only began making it a few days ago, M's Christmas bear is completed, thanks to a few evenings in front of the TV. It's a nice, easy pattern from Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby, all in garter stitch and without too much fiddly shaping or construction. The eyes and nose are darned on in wool rather than using sewn on pieces of felt as suggested, since I thought it would be a little bit safer if she chews on them (she is a very chewy baby!) The yarn is Baby Cashmerino as suggested in the pattern, but instead of the putty colour I used for P's bear I chose a deep golden yellow that reminded me of those old Steiff bears you see in antique shows worth a small fortune. Can't see M's bear ever being worth much in sterling, but hopefully it will be precious to her!

Friday, December 10, 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 9, 2010

9th of Advent

I'm quite happy to report that this year I'm not responsible for the full on Christmas feast. Much as I enjoyed preparing it last year, it will be nice to be off duty a bit this year. However, I have volunteered to provide the mince pies, so yesterday, armed with a copy of Good Housekeeping which has a truly sinful recipe including double cream in the pastry as well as orange zest and spice and cider and all those wonderful things that make the kitchen smell of Christmas, P and I took to the kitchen.
Now, I have a bit of a thing about knives and sharp things. My misadventures last advent haven't really helped with this. But my thinking is that if I teach the children how to use knives safely then they are less likely to get hold of them and fool about. So yesterday I took a deep breath and let P use a very sharp kitchen knife to chop up apples for the mincemeat. Obviously no photos as I was busy keeping his free hand and both my hands out of the way of the blade. He was actually very sensible and we both have all our digits present and correct still.

After that it was a bit of fun with the electric orange squeezer (yes, it could have been done by hand, but why not have the fun?), not to mention another lesson in being careful with a zester.

Then a first time stirring something hot on the hob.

Careful spooning of flour into the mixer for pastry...

...and more fun with pressing buttons that make things go whizz!

And lo! Batch #1 of the Christmas mince pies are nestled in the freezer ready for the big day.
Meanwhile, with the temperature a balmy 5 degrees above freezing, the snow is rapidly disappearing just in time for P's Daddy to have daylight time to spend playing out with him. Never mind- if that was November/early December then we may yet have snow fun to come this winter!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

8th of Advent

How many hundreds of babies over the years must have received a homemade soft toy for their first Christmas present? P has grown to love the bear I made for him before he was born, to the extent that 'Edmund' has had to have rather a lot of running repairs and doesn't look nearly as neat as he does here anymore, darned as he is in yarn that only sort-of matches his original colour. When I've finished this golden yellow version for M, I'm going to save the extra yarn for repairs, in the hope that she loves her one in the same way (although perhaps without the ear-chewing). Maybe if one day she's a mother she'll understand the love that is knitted into every row, sewn into every stitch of a toy made by a parent for their little one. Even if she never understands, it's there all the same.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

7th of Advent

Well, our part of the world caught up with the rest of the country in getting the Christmas card style weather last night. Actually, pretty though it is (positively Narnian with our 'unique' garden ornaments, the lamp posts!) it's not such great fun with a toddler and a baby. She is too little to enjoy being outside in the cold, even wrapped up, which means that he can't really get to experience playing the in white stuff until the weekend when his Daddy is home during daylight hours. Let's hope it lasts that long, even if it means being stuck indoors- it's not as if I don't have things to be getting on with...eep! Only a couple more weeks to get a lot of knitting, making and baking done!

Monday, December 6, 2010

6th of Advent

Wow! That was a crazy day getting ready, but it was worth it in the end. No photos of the party I'm afraid, as it was all go and no time to pick up the camera. But above you can see the St Nicholas figure I made, along with the three girls from the story. I used these to do a little puppet show about the St Nicholas day story. We also played a couple of party games with the littles- including pass the parcel where the wrapping was socks (keeping up the stocking theme!) We feasted on pizza and mince pies, so all in all it was a curious mish-mash of traditions and inventions that just worked, somehow. We sent our three little girl guests home in handknitted Santa hats and clutching the gingerbread initials we iced yesterday...and with promises that next year we'll do it all again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

5th of Advent

Tomorrow we're having a St Nicholas day party tomorrow evening and these biscuits will form part of the celebrations. It really will be lovely and I'll write more about why tomorrow. At the moment, after a slightly challenging weekend away thanks to freezing weather and non-sleeping children, with shopping and preparation to do in the morning I'm having to remind myself that it really is a good idea for establishing our own tradition. Deep breaths and keep knitting...