A lovely Christmas present

My mum has just retired, so naturally she is busier than ever.  One of her many current projects involves honing her skills as a potter, and thus I am the grateful recipient of an increasing (but not yet large) number of pieces of pottery.

She gave me this bowl for Christmas, together with a dish and a little pot which are also very lovely.

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Golden garlands

In my last post I mentioned some paper garlands I’d sewn for christmas decorations- here they are.

I used up the last of a little pot of Windsor & Newton gold ink which I’ve had for about 10 years by using a big brush to paint rough stripes across some watercolour paper.  I then exercised my scissor-muscles cutting out rough circles from the paper, and fed those through the sewing machine with cream thread.

I think I should probably take them down now, or they won’t look christmassy when I put them up in 10 months time!

Christmas baking

Lizzie and I did a LOT of baking during the christmas period; sadly I neglected to photograph nearly all of it.  I did manage to take an iPhone photo of our christmas cake though, even though I decorated it after christmas so it ended up being a ‘new years cake’.  The recipe was Nigella’s time-honoured christmas cake, which is in a couple of her books, including ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’.

We took a chunk home to Bristol with us, which is sadly just a distant memory.  I might need to make some everyday fruitcake to console myself with (and to feed the cyclist…)

A walk with a beautiful view

The walk we went on after I took my photos in Philly’s garden was so lovely- spectacular views almost the whole way.  We parked at the North York Moors visitor centre at Sutton Bank, and walked along the edge of the escarpment with moors on one side of us and a sharp drop down on the other side to green fields and hills.  I tried to take a few photos to capture the view, but they don’t convey the sense of space and distance.  It was magnificent.

Last days of 2011

I am going to rewind a bit to our post-Christmas visit to North Yorkshire.  We had a brilliant time as always getting outdoors with my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and coming home to cosy fires and gorgeous food.  One morning as everyone was assembling for a walk (more on that later) I nipped out into my aunt Philly’s garden to take some photos of the frosty, misty morning.  The sun was just rising, although at this time of year that means it was about 9am.  

The pattern of frost on the undersides of the leaves was captivating.

Hot chocolate de-luxe

The last few weeks of December essentially involved me crafting away frantically at one secret project after another, having over-optimistically planned to make or embellish presents for many members of my family.  They all turned out well in the end, but I was so exhausted by all the effort that I forgot to photograph most of them, and also forgot to blog or photograph much of anything at all.

I did, however, have to capture possibly the most complicated hot chocolate I have ever consumed, which is saying something.  This was a deluxe hot chocolate, with all the trimmings, which were comprised of the following:

marshmallows (goes without saying)
whipped cream
chocolate-sugar dust
brownie chunks, AND…
a chocolate flake!

This amazing confection was produced by the hot drinks stand at the Tunbridge Wells ice rink, and more than made up for the fact that the rink was fully booked so we weren’t able to skate.  So, wet bums and sliced-off fingers 0, tasty hot chocolate 1.  Excellent result.

They had also decorated the stand with pretty twinkle lights, for extra festive cheer.

Just what was needed after a fortnight of concentrated needle-work!

It’s time for Christmas!

Hooray!  I love this season- the lights on the tree, the food, spending time with my family, listening to (and hopefully singing) Christmas carols.  In previous years I have been part of some choral group or other singing carols at concerts, but not this year, so instead I will gleefully sing along at my sister Lizzie’s concert.  Possibly without regard to whether audience participation is, in fact, encouraged.  I’m sure I won’t be the only one (my mother will be doing the same thing right next to me….)

This is the obligatory out-of-focus-christmas-lights shot, taken of our very miniature tree.  It has to be out of focus because that is how it looks best, and this is something I have known since even before I had a camera- when I was little, and we sat and enjoyed the tree with all the other lights in the house turned off, I used to make my eyes go blurry on purpose so it looked even prettier.

I have been crafting up a storm in preparation for the great gift-exchange, but all the projects are secret so I can’t put photos of them up (yet)!  Even some things which aren’t strictly presents but are related to things which ARE presents will have to wait, otherwise they might give the game away.  Still, at least they’re getting done, which is more than could be said for many other crafty projects this year.  What can I say, I work best to a deadline.  The crafts are now somewhat under control, so next up is food- cake, mince pies, cookies……  watch this space!