Tuesday, 27 December 2011

WOYWW 134 & Brighton Belles

 It's the last WOYWW of the year and I'm happy to be here in Brighton spending a few days visiting the Southern branch of my family. Here's my alternative work desk and the only crafting I have brought with me is on there......my knitting..... yet another scarf, shawlette style. Also on the desk is a good bottle of Port which DD1 is very generously sharing after the lovely meal she cooked. 
Don't you just love the retro kitchen unit and the old refectory table... just like my Mum used to have in the 1950s when I was a child and I'm sure it will bring back memories to many of you. 
 I really had fun watching the Brighton Belles open the Christmas gifts we brought Father Christmas sent for them.
 Look how fast the little hands below manage to tear those wrappings!
We all went down to the seafront today for a healthy walk along the beach then a rather unhealthy but delish lunch of fish and chips! Amazingly we bumped into my next door neighbour from 250 miles away who was also visiting her family down here! 
Tear along to the desk of the Queen of WOYWW aka Julia of stamping ground as it's the last chance this year to spy on the craft desks of the world. Service as usual all next year too!

Don't miss a chance of winning my blog candy... still a few days to enter so check out my sidebar for full details or last week's 20th Dec. post.
Have a Wonderful New Year

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ein frohes Weinhnachtfest

Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und alles Gute zum neuen Jahr
I didn't think I'd be posting again so soon but today I received some beautiful pictures of my little 2 year old grandee in Germany, which I want to share. I think it looks just like a Christmas card and it really is so special to see her joy this year in all the magic of the season as last year was spent in hospital. 
I thank my blessings and spare thoughts and prayers for some special people I know who are in hospital and struggling through difficult times. 
May all be well.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Greetings, Tree & Cake

Wishing everyone who pops by a very
 Merry Christmas
and a Wonderful Healthy, Happy New Year
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and I am feeling more festive than I have in years, the tree is trimmed and I even baked a special cake.
So many memories in these vintage decorations from my childhood and that of my, now adult, daughters. The tree is looking a bit worse for wear so I bought a snip of a bargain, a 6 foot one from B&Q ready for next year. At £5, how could I leave it in the store!! Outside they were selling big real trees reduced from £35 to £4!!!!  DH drew the line at the idea of me taking down the old artificial tree to replace it with a real one but he did buy me one of the fake ones knowing it would be an investment and saving. 
Thanks so much to Crafty Womble who so kindly shared her special spicy cake recipe and here it is in all it's delicious glory. I took the liberty of icing it with icing made with the juice of fresh orange and lemon juice and it is just delicious. As there are only the two of us here for Christmas I have shared some of it with friends. This is one that I will definitely make again as I adore spices such as Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger etc. 
Like most of us I doubt if I will blog at all over the holiday so if I don't.... see you all next year!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

WOYWW 133, Blog Candy & Happy Christmas!

It's nearly Christmas and I thought I had better show some signs of festivity in the house and for WOYWW 133. 
The friend of all the tidy (and messy) elves, who is called Julia and dwells at the Stamping Ground deep in the Dark Arty Wood, coerces us to own up to some of our crafting idiosyncrasies each week. 
If you too would like to join the fun of this giant world snoop, then pop over to Julia's to spy on over 100 more.

A few days ago my clicker reached an amazing 66,666 hits over the 2 years I have been blogging. During that time I have come in contact with so many lovely people, shared some wonderful inspiration, and made some very special friends. Some blogging buddies I have met and some I know for sure that one day we will meet. My thanks to you all.
I decided that when it reached this strikingly memorable number I would give a gift to the next follower... .which has now gone out to the lovely Sylvia, however, I am also going to give away some......
Ho, Ho, Ho! Blog Candy 
You'll see a mystery parcel hiding the loot, below on my desk, along with my greeting to you all for Christmas.
To enter for my Blog Candy I'd prefer you to be a follower as I would like to give a thank you treat to someone who calls in now and then. 
Please don't join just to get the candy as it would be unfair for all those lovely people who really are interested in my posts.
It would be kind if you'd add the candy pic to your side bar too.

Also, please leave a comment telling me something special you always do at Christmas, maybe your own special family tradition, or maybe what you like best about Christmas, your favourite carol or song, or something funny that has happened to you one Christmas. 
There'll be a lucky dip prize and another for the best comment about a Christmas tale.
It will be drawn on 6th January 2012

I love to get out the box of decorations to see all the old ones we have put on the tree for so many years. No designer tree with co-ordinated colour scheme for me! So many memories in my box, from the ones my daughters loved and the ones my late mother gave us and the ancient dilapidated old ones from my own childhood, still there. 
There is one really special one that my younger daughter sent to us, around 18 years ago, when she was away studying in Moscow, her first Christmas away from home, and my elder daughter had flown out to join her over the holiday. My husband had stated that we wouldn't need to put up a tree that year as the girls were away but I argued that we should and that day a lovely, blue, hand painted Russian lady arrived with a note from DD2 instructing me to hang this lovely lady on our tree. Well we did, and now every year it's the first decoration we hang up. I don't even store her in the box, she stays on display in the dining room to be admired all year round and you can see why!
At last, I've started to add a little festive cheer to our home, first with a makeover for this pebble gas fire. It was never used as, it's so expensive to run, it gives very little heat and, our central heating is so efficient we don't need it anyway, so we removed the gas fire and now just use it for burning candles in the well. Now I've added some giant baubles, leaves, cones, berries etc., and it looks so pretty for Christmas. 

This week I will do my best to visit as many of you as possible but if I don't manage to get to you then I wish you every good wish for a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy, peaceful 2012.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Scarves, Gifts & Piggies!

With all the time indoors due to the bad weather in Devon and also with the long journey home there was still something good came of it all. I knitted and sewed and crocheted and didn't waste a minute of what would have been such wasted time. I completely made this knitted scarf from some beautiful, silk and wool, Noro yarn.
I had already finished off this one, which was crocheted, and wanted to see if it would work if I knitted another as it is always easier to knit without looking so I can easily do it whilst a car passenger or watching TV.
Pattern available!
These scarves (or shawlettes as they are called in printed patterns) are just triangles but I have added tassels and beads which work wonderfully well to weight the ends making the scarf stay in place and really easy to wear in a variety of styles. I worked  a plain pattern out for myself and they are very easy to make. I have already passed details on to a few people so if anyone else is interested please let me know and I'll give you the simple instructions.

Thanks to Bridget
I did a Christmas Decoration swap with Bridget of  Stamping up a Storm and I was so thrilled to receive mine today. Not only did I get this fabulous decoration below, in time for Christmas, but Bridget also very kindly sent all the lovely handmade goodies above. There is a music themed mini book, a candy treat, a card and two lovely very novel bookmarks, which I might just have to have a go at making! Thanks so much Bridget for being so generous and so clever too!
On our way to Devon we stopped for a break at South Molton only to discover  the local faming community in the midst of their Christmas Show. Lots to see, and all so interesting to me, a city girl, to land in the heart of the livestock and all the country goings on....
I fell in love with this new litter of piglets... they had a beautiful velvet sheen.
Really lovely, friendly, ladies demonstrated their weaving skills whilst behind them the dealings of the cattle progressed.
Wonderful hand carved crooks and walking sticks...
Rare breeds
I loved these special long haired (bunny rabbit!) sheep
The Bric a Brac was fascinating to mooch through....
We were so thankful to find the show in the Pannier Market as it was raining like stair rods outside! It was a sign of days to come for sure!!
Blog Candy to come soon!
My hit counter passed a crucial point at which I had promised myself to give away some blog candy. My plan was to have an open offer but to also give a gift to the person who added their name to my followers after the counter reached 66,666 and so Sylvia will receive a little gift. 
We've already made contact but thanks for becoming a follower Sylvia!
I'm in the process of organising my open offer of Blog Candy so 

Friday, 16 December 2011

Escape from Devon & Special Anniversary.

We drove home yesterday, Thursday, (should have been there until Sunday) from our holiday in Devon, to escape the bad weather and it's so lucky we did with the snow and ice today blanketing most  areas of the country. Got home last night and this is part of our garden mid-day today.... So lovely to be home and not going out and getting wet or sitting in the country club wishing we could get out. It really was a mistake to go so far at this time of year and so we decided to cut our losses and head home. I'm sooooo glad we did!

An unusual anniversary!
Today I had a lovely Skype with this little lady, (who is wearing the cardigan I recently made for her). Her hair is growing back again so beautifully and she has grown and developed so well during this difficult year. 
Many of you already know about my little grandee in Germany but I don't post regular updates about her, however, today it is exactly one year since she first went into hospital and began her difficult journey, at first through septicaemia then leukaemia. It has been such a hard time for her, her parents, and for the rest of our family, but we are all so very happy and grateful to see her now at this stage doing so well. There are around 20 months of management still to get through but she has come through the intensive phase bravely to magically become this happy, chatty, beautiful 2 year old, full of personality and a special little character who brings so much joy. We all love her so much.
We hope they enjoy a wonderful Christmas to compensate for the one they completely missed last year.
Mystery Gift???
This lovely calendar was waiting for me when I arrived home ... a gem from  amongst all the bills etc., but I don't have a clue who kindly sent it to me!! Nothing on the envelope, nothing on the calendar to tell me who is the very kind person I should thank.... any owner??? Very handily, it has a fridge magnet on the back.
Our last day in Devon we visited Bideford and stumbled across the Pannier Market and it's Butcher's Row which has been converted to quirky arty shops, some with the artists making their wares on site. It was a good place to mooch around and was handy for us to keep dry out of the rain. 
There's DH below... just incase you thought it was Father Christmas in disguise before his big job!!!

 Spot the seamstress below in her gallery on high!!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

WOYWW in Devon & Christmas Stockings

Hello again to a nearly, but not quite, festive WOYWW
I'm posting early with a partly prepped post as I only have limited internet access at the moment and have to hurry in the 20 minutes time allowed here.
My desk this week is the dining table of the appartment where we are staying in Devon as, anticipating bad weather, I brought penty of crafting with me to keep me occupied. The days are short and it is difficult to travel far in such extreme weather.
 First evening I made two stocking for the Teeny Brighton Belles and posted them yesterday and this one below I made last week for my tiny German Gem.
Hopefully, tomorrow we will get to the nearby, lovely little town, of Holsworthy to visit their Christmas Farmers Market and Craft Market.

Here are the spotty ones for the Brighton Belles which I made here in Devon and I bet I'm the only person staying here who brought a sewing machine!
I brought plenty of yarn with me to knit.
and I finished off this scarf
So all in all despite the most awful weather of rain, gales and a good bit of non-stick snow we are enjoying the lovely country club where we are staying and the fabulous Devon food.
However, every shop sells Cornish pasties and they are delicious! These below are gigantic.
 It has been a long journey to get here and not be able to do too much due to the weather but it's a chance to chill out before Christmas.
The nearby river is in full spate and has swollen so much that it flooded over into the adjoining fields.
Here's the thatched reception building of the country club where we are staying.
The view from our window and the stream runs along the other side of the fence.
some of the neighbours wandering around the grounds!!
Each week we open our desks for public view after the idea by Julia of stamping ground took off into a major opportunity for the world to have a massive snoop around the crafting spaces of over 100 crafting spaces. Pop over and join the fun!
Don't know if I'll get to visit anyone this week as the internet connection is off and on and I have to pay for limited time so have fun and I'll have a catch up when I get home in a couple of days.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Gifts Galore!

I have been so lucky through blogland to make such lovely blogging buddies and also occasionally to enjoy their generosity.
Earlier this year I joined in a pif, Pass It Forward, idea where each person involved committed to make a small gift, within the year, for 5 others when they signed up to receive a gift. 
Ever increasing circles of friendship and kindness and such a lovely way to start the New Year.
 I linked up with Tuire in Finland who despite having a really difficult year has still managed to meet her commitment, which I had completely forgotten about, and this lovely journal is my pif gift and such a surprise as a result. 
Thank you so much Tuire. 
The front cover
 Some of the inserts, between the blank pages included for my use, and handy envelope pockets too.

I love the Finnish postage stamps and dictionary pages 

I wonder who this handsome fellow could be?

Recently I sent a couple of "very quickly crocheted" hats, as a surprise, to Lee in Devon to keep her ears warm whilst walking her dogs on the beach. I told her not to send me anything but thanks in return and this pile of lovely treats came with my postie today... Thanks so much Lee and I hope your forthcoming operation goes easy for you and you'll still be on turkey basting duty by Christmas!!!.
Besides all this I won some fabulous fabric bunting from Lunch Lady Jan's blog. Aren't I the lucky one? This is so beautifully made and the best thing is that it will be used all year round as there aren't any Christmas images on it!! Thank you sooooo much Jan!!
.... there are certainly some beautiful people out there in blogland who I am so grateful to know. Thank you one and all!

For a nice bit of musical fun popover to http://sam21ski.blogspot.com who has such a fun spoof video on her post all about Steampunk. Thanks Sam for a good laugh.
What trend can we come up with next?????

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

WOYWW 131/ Reindeer & Sleigh

First I must post my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Sarah Lawrence who regularly contributed to WOYWW and who has very sadly died, suddenly and unexpectedly. I only met Sarah at some of the shows and through our comments on WOYWW and have only good things to remember her by, but I also know that people who are her friends have the highest regard for her and her creative abilities. 

Where lots of the world's crafters give open access to snoop on their creative spaces and all that's going on. The Control Desk to the whole works is engineered by Julia at the Stamping Ground. Pop over if you're nosey, join in if you dare!
I am pleased to tell you that at last the gnomes have emigrated to Brighton and some to Germany, apart from the odd one or two who are on sleigh steering duty. 
I'm in the middle of creating a scene with the reindeers but it looks a bit like a crash at the moment. I've added gifts and still need to add reins. 
I'm adding to the scene with snowflakes cut with one of my "just arrived" new Memory Box dies.  As you'll  probably spot, I tried a reindeer in brown suede type card but I really prefer them all white.

Here's the last of my Free Templates.....
 but remember to place the top edge of the sleigh template on a fold as I forgot to mark it on the drawing. 
A good tip ... It is easier to punch out the hearts on the sides instead of cutting out the fiddly shapes! It doesn't have to be hearts ... could be something more filigree if you've a punch or die to suit! My heart punch is small so you will see that I punched it out 4 times instead of 3.
Cut out two shapes for each reindeer (use double card) then stick them together just along the spine and the head but do not glue the legs or the antlers. The legs will then pull astride to enable them to stand and the antlers will open up to create one set each side. 
Don't forget to make one with a red nose for Rudolph!!!
I made tiny gifts and a sack to go on the sleigh but I have realised that maybe they should have tiny gifts inside so the grandees aren't disappointed. Back to the drawing board but I'll have a job finding gifts so small... maybe chocolates?!?