Sunday, 28 December 2008

Merry Go Round Christmastime

Jump on and join a group of artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's question that myself and 8 other women will answer is seasonal and related to Christmas and holiday times -

How do you celebrate the Christmas holidays? What traditions do you have? favourite time of the year! I love the fact that we are all celebrating the same event, together. Family time is at the fore, and I relish it! We all take a break from the usual daily routines, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Christmas for me starts with attending our girls' school play. It's a heart warming occasion, and we journey home, taking in the light displays in gardens and homes around our town. The final weekend before Christmas arrives, and we spend it decorating the house. My mother always did this on Christmas Eve, for the Twelve Days of Christmas. I truly would love to follow that tradition, but time doesn't really allow. So, the last weekend before Christmas is our time to deck the halls, in readiness for the woodcutter's clan to descend on us for a great pre-Christmas day together. I keep the tree decorations in the same cracker box that Mum used 39 (eek!) years ago - and it gives me such joy to take it out and open it every year. Memories come flooding back...the excitement of childhood Christmases; the anticipation...tears in my eyes every year, without fail!

In the depths of that box, there are decorations I made as a child - especially a golden cardboard star that I made with the help of my aunt and uncle when I was about 5, as a gift for my parents. My aunt and uncle are now gone, but each year, I think of them as it takes its place on the tree. We make a point of saving the ornaments the children make every year, and they re-discover them and place their own decorations on the tree. My Mum always, always, always kept a place on the tree for a little robin...and guess what? I do too!

This year, our tree isn't really a tree - it's a huge branch from a massive fir tree in our garden. It suits perfectly, as it can sit flat against the wall! We've also used another branch to frame the window in our lounge, in place of a tree (top pic). It seems to work, and is a little different to usual. Money saving, too!!

Christmas is in full force come the Eve. My parents spend the day with us, and we exchange and open our family gifts. The children go to bed in happy moods, full of anticipation of what the next day may bring. Of course, they leave a treat for Father Christmas, and a snack on the windowsill for the reindeer! We tread carefully through the night, disposing and filling as quietly as we can, crossing fingers that maybe we will be lucky to make it through to dawn before the frenzy begins!

I hope our girls grow up sharing my love of this special time - and that, like me, they will carry traditions with them through their lives, keeping some and expanding on others.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmastime, and I apologise to all Merry-Go-Rounders for the rather late posting of this piece! Please click on their links in the sidebar, and read how our traditions differ around the world. Happy New Year!

Friday, 19 December 2008

A Thought or Two...

So, today saw my little girls home for the holidays. Christmas is almost here!

I had planned (but failed) to make lots of gifts for family and friends. Sorry, everyone! At the start of the summer this year, I took the plunge and decided I would try and see if I could succeed at doing something I loved - and to see if anyone liked what I did and maybe even buy something! It has been a HUGE learning curve, but I have loved every second...even these past few weeks, when I've been busier than I ever imagined I would be. This has been so much fun - so much so that sometimes I've found it difficult to switch off and walk away!

Christmas is a lovely time of the year, for us all to be together, for family moments - and so, I'm going to take a blog break for several days. As Anna said, over at Half an Acre - I want to sit with the children and make paperchains (yep, I found some gorgeous spotty ones I'm desperate to put together - with the girls' help, of course!)!! Sorry there won't be a Shopping List this week (but please do check out the other Etsy sellers, and buy handmade this Christmas!); I leave you with a photo of our sugar scenes in jam jars, that are gracing our landing windowsills.

I wish you a Very Merry Christmas - I hope you have very full stockings!!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Shopping List Saturday

Oops - a little late; sorry folks!
You can see what my theme is this weekend! I've come over all robin-y lately...we've been looking for little figures to make some sugar-snow-scenes in jam jars. Every time I see a little robin I can't resist it!

1)Robin greetings card - pack of 5/ AlexandraAshby1 - isn't he just gorgeous?!
2)Orange Dot Robin Egg Blue Porcelain Tumblers/ SimplyDaisy - just couldn't resist popping these in here...I love them!
3)Robin Stitchery Pattern/ JanetClare - if I only had the patience to embroider properly, I could have a robin on everything!
4)Winter Holly Berry Nest Large Clothespin Ornament, Needle Felted/ winsomehollow - I adore everything that Katy produces; this nest is delightful and fits the bill perfectly.
5)Silver Robin ring/ ShereDesign - something a little different, and rather fabulous, don't you think? Yes, please!
6)Single Robin - Cutout Christmas Card/ pocketstudio - perfect!I love the cleanness of this card, and the robin is cute and colourful!

Hope you've enjoyed this little selection...please click on the links in the sidebar for more picks from fellow Etsy sellers!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

A Welcome, and a 'Come Back Tomorrow' Plea

First of all - apologies everyone for the lack of my Shopping List today - please pop back tomorrow, and it will be ready and waiting! Busy, busy, busy....

I'm really pleased to tell you that we have a new player joining in with the Shopping List Saturday meme this week! Welcome to Sophie (Sophie Isobel Designs), from 'her library adventures'. Please pop over and check out her first list - and don't forget the other Etsy sellers too (you can click on their Shopping List links in the right hand sidebar). Thanks!

Happy Christmas shopping to you all!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Au Revoir......

Today, I say 'goodbye' to one of my favourite pieces, the Forest Treasures choker. I don't usually feel sorry to see items go - I'm simply thrilled that someone likes them enough to want them for themselves, or give as a gift - but I have to admit to a little pang of sadness in sending this to its new home in America. It may sound a little dramatic, but each time I pick this up, it really does make me smile! It was inspired by our wonderful surroundings - the glorious ancient Royal Forest of Dean - and how exciting it was to finally move into our cottage set right in the heart of it. But, away it must go!

I am SOOO behind with posts this month. I must say thank you to Jackie and Cathy for tagging me (weeks ago!), and apologise for thus far not passing that tag on - I do intend to....really! Bit late, really...
Also, I just want to share with you this gorgeous little birdie, that I actually bought a few weeks ago - but as it's nearly Christmas it's about time I showed you! Edward and Lilly has more of these, and in other colours in the shop - do take a look. If you buy one today I think you just might get it in time for Christmas (oops - best not take my word for it though; I think international posting is best before 5th December) because Rebecca was very quick with her posting!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

On My Desk Wednesday

Christmas is coming and the goose (well, 'I am'..) is getting fat(ter)...!!
Yep, preparations have begun in earnest for the festive season. Hurrah! Sunday afternoon, I fancied a cosy family afternoon, huddled in front of the woodburner, creating new (yet recycled) Christmas decorations...all of us. (I like the idea of making something new each year - and I do keep them until they fall apart! I still have a felt tree I made with my Aunt's help when I was about six).

Go on - guess what happened? Correct! I ended up doing it pretty much alone!! Well, not strictly speaking true, I suppose. The cutting up of the wallpaper strips was done by the woodcutter and youngest...eldest occupied herself with making invitations for the 'production' that they're both going to perform for us on Christmas Eve.
Tonight will see us head off to school for the first evening performance of the school Christmas play. Victorian in theme, it will feature many songs from Oliver. How will I be able to resist joining in?!! My parents would love to come see it, but as my father is in ill health, eldest thought the solution could be to perform the whole thing in miniature for them...on Christmas Eve, whilst they are here with us for the day. Aah.

So, what's on my desk? Well, our recycled wallpaper sample book cornets and snowflakes. I have it in my head that we must make many, many more...we shall see. I'm also guilty of preventing eldest from finishing her angel (seen in centre right pic); I need to starch and iron some fabric for the wings for her. Best be off and do my duty, then!

Check out more desk excitement over at kootoyoo's blog, here.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Shopping List Saturday

As we drive around our little town, we've been enjoying the Christmas lights in the centre, and little glimpses of people's decorations in their own homes. When I was small, my Mum always put our decorations up on Christmas Eve. Always. I would go to bed late, and the house would be in chaos, and wake up Christmas morning to a wonderland. Wow. I don't uphold this tradition....I would never get to bed! My concession? The decorations go up the week before Christmas, but I don't switch the lights on until Christmas Eve. I may give in this year and be even earlier!
However, I'm thinking about cranberries right now. Could I make some cranberry (or rosehip) wired hearts for our dining room? Hmmm. Whilst I mulled that over, I went shopping for cranberry things - here's what I found - and I want them all!

1)rose red ring/ cookoorikoo - I'm not sure why I haven't bought this already! I love it!

2)Red Currant Earrings/ clevergirl - I love the simplicity of these. Gorgeous.

3)Handbag Tote in Tapestry/ katwhitt - a little bit of Christmas for your bits and pieces - and big enough for all the other stuff we carry around, too!

4)Red Sky - Neckwarmer/Capelet/ NandaHandcrafted - isn't this fabulous? Warm, dramatic and beautiful.

5)Cranberry berry bowl/ vesselsandwares - how brilliant is this? Pick your berries, pop them in this cranberry glazed bowl, rinse your berries, drain your berries!

6)Faux Berries and Rope Wreath - 14cms (5.5") - INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING/ makalewakan - Simple and pretty. I love it!

Please don't forget to check out fellow Etsy sellers' lists - click on the Shopping List Saturday links in the sidebar for more gorgeous goodies! This week, I'm pleased to say that we have another addition to our players - welcome Jane, from Prairie Wild Rose!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, 5 December 2008

The Forest Sprite Has Been Here... you see what I mean? The whole time I was creating this pendant, thoughts of enchanted forests kept popping into my mind. I think you can tell the sort of stories that crop up in our house with my little girls' imaginations, and I'm not far behind them!!

Mossy dells, trickling streams, bobbing heads of lily-of-the-valley, sunlight streaming through the leaves of the trees, berry stores for the woodland folk....are you with me?! Anyone?!

Thursday, 4 December 2008


Oh dear. I haven't done very well with my pledge to post once a day, every day, have I?!

Sometimes, I just don't know what to write about...and I think you've all had your fill of this brooch is something new-ish I've finally found the time to photograph. It's machine embellished using wool, yarns and sari ribbons. I love the intensity of colour they provide. It was inspired by the wonderful mosaics created by Valerie - see them in her mistflowerstudio Etsy shop here.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Hand in Hand

Goodness! Will you look at that...there we are, almost hand in hand - top centre and top right, rubbing up against each other (I'm not saying anything) in this beautiful treasury, Feel the Warmth of Giving, by mistflowerstudio. Thank you, Valerie xx