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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Thinking of Christmas' past!

You know how it is you start thinking of friends and family that have left us.  I am a war baby (the second world war - just in case you had any doubt!) so things were in short supply, my Mum used to iron the christmas wrapping paper for use next year and roll up the string to re-use.  Our christmas dinner was a chicken, which was a real treat, we used to have a large tin of fancy biscuits, but we were never allowed to go onto the bottom layer until the top layer was finished, even if the biscuits left weren't very appealing.  Can you remember early in the morning feeling with your foot at the bottom of the bed to see if Father Christmas had left you something, and yes I did have an orange in the toe of my stocking, fruit was in very short supply, Mum told me that the first time I saw a banana I tried to eat the skin as well.  How Mum used to give us such great time I don't know, she must have saved and collected things for ages quite a challenge.  Surprising what you can do when you have to. Very different to now, we are so lucky and we mustn't forget it. 

Had a great day with the scouts in the village the other day, we planted over 100 trees (saplings) we are looking to the future.  My youngest granddaughter is in the front of this photo, she absolutely loves scouting and the things they get up to.


Here they all are after planting a Royal Oak!!  Just think they will be able to tell their grandchildren that they planted these trees!
Thought you may like to see a couple of pieces I did a couple of years ago, I love beading especially at christmas, it just gives that little bit extra.  How are you all getting on, finished your cards and present shopping?  I've decided to have a go at making Gingerbread Men this year, bought my cutter just have to find a recipe.
I still have to get out my decorations, 2 of my granddaughters have volunteered.  (I haven't told them yet), but I'm sure they will jump at the chance.
It is getting colder here, been having frosty mornings but the weatherman tells us there is more rain to come, can you believe it.
Thankyou for visiting me, and a warm welcome to new visitors I hope you have enjoyed coming.  Take care everyone and don't get too panicky abouit christmas I am sure everything will work out just fine.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Just remembered

I haven't hung up my Advent Calendar yet, this is what comes of all the grandchildren growing up.  But I bet when they call the first thing they will ask is, Nan where is the Advent calendar.  It is one I made a few years ago, it has different designs to hang on each red button, (supposed to look like berries).

Juat back from a week in Cardiff, lovely shops so I managed to get some Christmas shopping done.  The streets are all decorated with light and Christmas trees, they even have an ice rink outside the civic buildings, they also have an outdoor market selling all kinds of christmassy things, including delicious food.  The city has lots of arcades, some of them are very old and have little specialist shops, I found a great button shop in Castle Arcade, so if you are ever in Cardiff you must pay a visit.  You can just see it on the right hand side of my DH, who is so patient when I discover a shop like this, he wanders around whilst I am looking.
This is one of the outer walls of Cardiff Castle.
This is another of the really old arcardes.  They have also built some modern ones, the latest St Davids has a selection of the more exclusive shops, nice to look at!


I've been busy since I've come home, just sunk in how near Christmas is, I've made a couple of dozen mincepies and a stollen.  I freeze the mincepies raw and cook them fresh when needed.  I burnt the top of the stollen a little, so when I take it out of the freezer, I'll cheat and take off the burnt bit and cover with icing and flaked almonds.  It's not good getting older if you don't get wiser.

Here is the first tray of mincepies ready for the freezer.

Sorry this photo is so blurry, it's the stollen going for it's 2nd proving, I've put sultanas and dried apricots and cranberries in it, (could they be thought of as jewels) plus of course the marzipan.

Before I went away I had a great evening at our club's Christmas party, this is June and Liz choosing the loveliest decorated present.  The winner had 2 gingerbread men as part of the decoration (they didn't last long).

This is Vi who has just won a prize, we tease each other non stop, but laughter helps the world go round.
I think I have caught up with all my news, going shopping again tomorrow, must remember sellotape and more Christmas cards.  In my next life I am coming back as a man at Christmas.  Thankyou for visiting me, not much sewing this time even though I am sewing every evening and loving it.  Looking forward to meeting with you all again soon in Blog land

Saturday, 17 November 2012

I don't know if I am on my head or my heels!

You would think that when you retire there would be plenty of time for everything.  WRONG.....  my DH and I are going away to Cardiff for a week for a christening and staying with friends.  Looking forward to the christening such a happy occasion.  Smashing shops in Cardiff so maybe some shopping as well.  So because we shall be away I am trying to get everything up to date, gardening, housework and even trying to get some bits in for Christmas.  I have finished my Christmas exchange I just have to pack it up and post it off. 

My DH has raked up loads of leaves for leaf mould, he can do it again and again as they are still falling.  Our decking has had to be renewed as it was rotting away, a friend of ours put his foot right through.  It has only been there since 2000, we called it our Millenium project, we were expecting it to last longer than this.  You can see a very good friend of ours is helping, they were getting on well until the rain started!  I have an Oak tree in the garden which I grew from an acorn and that is about 20 feet high, we also have an Ash tree, and as we have in the UK now a disease that kills Ash trees I am worried that my tree won't survive.  I think the authorities were very lax in their reaction to this disease, trees are so important and they should be treasured.

Moaning over.  I can now show a photo of the exchange I received from Marjorie, I was so thrilled with it.  I can't show a photo of the Christmas exchange yet.

Confession Time - I have been into Marks and Spencers and bought my Christmas cake, I know I am a lazy so and so for not making one, but I shall do everything else.  The cake has been iced so I don't even have to do that.

June's club had their Christmas meal out last Tuesday, we had a lovely meal, I couldn't eat all mine so I had a doggy bag.  The only trouble is I don't have a dog so guess who ate it up.  I did take some photos but as the lighting was so poor in the restaurant they are not very good.  I will try to do better at our party next week. We have great fun at the meetings lots of laughter and banter, whilst we are producing some lovely stitch work.
  I bought some wool to crochet a blanket, but I couldn't remember how to do it, so I go onto Youtube to follow a video.  There I am crochet hook poised, wool held in my left hand, computer on and running, but I just couldn't keep up with the instructions, I nearly threw my hook and wool out of the window swiftly followed by the PC.  June has kindly offered to show me (after Christmas) what to do.
Whilst I am in Cardiff I shall be taking photos to show you what I have been up to. 
Thankyou for visiting me, please come again or else I would be talking to myself, keep warm and dry and good luck with all your Christmas preparations.
As they say in all the best places - That's all folks.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

It's true a womans work is never done!

I thought when I retired I would have so much free time, that I could at times sit and do nothing!!  Little did I know that my days and evenings would be so full that I never get chance to do nothing.  I bet you all find life exactly the same, especially now with Christmas coming along.  I have started my Christmas preparations, so I thought I would share some photos of what I have been up too.

The pickled onions are done, now I must own up here these were done by my DH, but as he is the one who eats the most of these, it's only fair - don't you think.
Here are all the ingredients for the Spiced Apricot and Orange Chutney, which I have now made, the kitchen smelt delicious with the spices and the ginger - so I can put a tick against that on the list.  This is great with the cold meats that we enjoy on Boxing Day.
This is the mix for my Christmas Puddings, I leave this to stand overnight to let the flavours develop.  It's full of goodies like the dried fruit and mixed peel, apple, lemon and orange zest , spices, eggs and dark brown sugar I use stout to mix it all together.  I'll steam the puds tomorrow.  I also plan to make my mincemeat tomorrow, so I have started.
I plan to go out Christmas shopping next week, I am determined not to leave everything to the last minute, wish me luck.
I have finished my Christmas exchange, just got to put it together, no photos yet of that, nor of any of my other stitching, sorry but like I said busy busy.
Received the magazine that I won on Vickie's blog, lovely ideas and more things that I would like to sew.  Thanks again Vickie.  Blog world really is a great place to be, I am so glad that June introduced me to it, I have met so many people and I value their friendship.  If you are reading this and wondering if you should join blog land - go for it, it's great.
We have had a lot on the TV and in the newspapers about the US presidential election.  The actual election is a very different system to ours in the UK so I have had to really concentrate so that I can understand how it works. It's all over now, done and dusted.
Back to the important things in life, stitching of course and at the moment Christmas baking, I would love to hear your tales about your Christmas preparations.  Until the next time, do take care of yourselves.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

I've started my Christmas preparations.

I had a good weekend I finished that quilt, made some new curtains for my kitchen and actually started on my Christmas sewing.  At the moment this looks a load of nonsense, I just hope when it's finished it will be worth all the work.

I had to iron the material on to bondaweb and then cut out, and then iron onto a 12" square piece of green felt, but as you can see some of the pieces are coming unstuck.  I'll iron again, and then I have to do fancy stitching to really secure the material. I wish I had cut the pieces larger, but I was following the instructions.  As I go along I'll show you how I am getting on.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, I think I will need a lotta luck!  But nothing ventured nothing gained.
I have also started my Christmas exchange stitching, can't show you yet what it is, but I am enjoying doing that.
I dug out this photo from a couple of years back of some Christmas baking that DGD No 3 did, the Chocolate cake was delicious a really rich mix, it was made in a ring cake tin and then decorated with edible glitter. The table runner is one I made, it has a red and gold design on the other side.  I prefer the holly leaves design.  My DH is out in the kitchen at the moment peeling onions ready for the pickled onions, haven't heard any tears yet.  I'm going to get down my Delia Smith Christmas cookery book, and check what ingredients I have to buy to make the Christmas puddings.
I have been watching the TV news with horror, seeing all the destruction caused by Sandy on the other side of the ocean, I hope all those of you who may have been in the pathway are safe and sound.  It must have been frightening for you,  it just shows there is not a long you can do about Mother Nature except get out of the way and take shelter.
We had rain here last night (Halloween) but the children and their Mums still came calling.  I was all prepared with sweets.  My DGD No 1 was doing my hair at the time (she is a hairdresser) so I had pieces of foil etc in my hair which was sticking up all over the place, so when I answered the door with a roar I think I frightened them more than they did me, and NO there are no photos of me!!
I hope you have enjoyed visiting me and my blog, I love keeping up to date with other bloggers and seeing what you are up to.  So come again you will be most welcome.

Friday, 26 October 2012

I'm sat here thinking what shall I do next.

I know what I should do, but I am being tempted to start on my Christmas sewing.  No!!  I must be strong and finish off this quilt, it's not a full size quilt just big enough to lie along the bottom of the bed, I only have to finish sewing the 'binding' and then I can start my Christmas sewing with a clear conscience.

I should finish it tonight, and then I have the whole weekend to sort out Christmas patterns, I have to decide which one to sew for Lainey's next exchange, and get all the 'ingredients' organised.  I love that bit as you have go through your stash of stuff and very often you find something you had forgotten about.  My DH tells me if I never went to another craft show or shop I would have enough stock to last me for ever.  What does he know.
Some of you have been asking what I bake for Christmas, here goes - I start with Christmas puddings (as they have to mature), maybe a Christmas cake, pickled onions, mincemeat for my mincepies, I usually make the pies and freeze them raw, so they can be eaten fresh from the oven.  Stollen which I freeze, shortbread biscuits and Orange and Apricot Chutney.  The grandchildren used to help make and decorate a chocolate cake and a gingerbread house, but now they are all older they may not be interested - lol!  All I have to do is get motivated.
I still have some daffodil and tulip bulbs to plant, but as it's turned a lot colder this weekend they will have to wait a few days longer.  The garden is looking a little sad at the moment everything closing down for the winter.  Fortunately my DH did take some of the more tender plants into the greenhouse or our tiny conservatory so hopefully they will be snug. I am seriously thinking about turning on the central heating to keep us snug.
I hope you are all keeping warm or cool, depending where you live in the world.  It's has been smashing being with you again, I hope you have enjoyed your visit, just drop me a line I love to read your comments.  Bye for now!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Autumn is definitely on its way!

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well, have you got your winter woollies out yet.  I have!!  The leaves on the trees are starting to change, and it's certainly colder.  I have resisted turning on the central heating so far, but I don't know how much longer I can hold out, I'm resorting to a blanket over my knees when I am cold.  (You can call me 'old granny')

I promised you some photos of the goodies I bought when I went up to Exeter for a craft show at the end of September, we all had a lovely jubbly time (as usual) spent some money I mustn't add it up or it might give me a shock.  So here goes -

I bought this material and ribbon to make a 'pin board' , you know the type where the ribbon will be criss crossed across and you just tuck in any cards or reminders that you want.
There was a lot of material on sale, a lot more sewing supplies this time, more than paper crafting supplies.  Is this a sign of the times, and that because of the financial situation people are making things rather than buying ready made.  I couldn't resist the linen fat quarters. My DH reckons I could set up shop myself!

A good selection of ribbons, plus some silver and gold material, not sure what I can use that for, but I'm sure I will find a use.  I do remember a couple of years ago whilst making a christmas wall hanging I used a similar gold material.

Some more ribbons, linen and 'fiddly bits'.
Here are the patterns I bought,  I shall be starting the bag after I have finished my christmas sewing, June bought a similar pattern but with completely different stitching, mine is more like red work which I love.

I'm not sure if this will be done for this christmas, maybe next year.

I definitely want to make two of these christmas trees one for my DD and one for my DS.  Watch this space. I did buy some other bits and pieces but these were the main ones.
My DH and I have just come back from having lunch at the vineyard here in the village, which was a nice little treat, and of course being in a village you meet up with so many people that you know, which is great.  We met a neighbour there who had given us a David Austin rose for our golden anniversary, she had given us his catalogue and asked us to choose one, so we had a very important discussion about our choice.  Wasn't that a lovely present.
Have any of you started your christmas baking yet?  I keep thinking about it but that is as far as it goes.  I keep looking for bottles of energy in the shops, but they seem to have run out of it.
Thankyou so much for visiting my blog, whether you are a new visitor or a more established visitor (please note I did not say old)  you are most welcome, and I hope you come again.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Guess what - it's raining again!!

I just can't believe it , but it has been raining for days and there is more promised.  Where is it all coming from.  I've just had a look at the photos of our holidays in Malta to remind what sunshine is, would you share a few more peeks at them with me.


These flowers will cheer us all up!

Can you see the pussy cat?  As were walking around these gardens I kept seeing little piles of dried cat food, they obviously want to look after the cats that live there, one way of keeping the mouse population under control.

A pomegranate tree, makes me think of Christmas, we always used to have them then as a treat.

This was taken in a fishing village called Marsaxxlok, had a fantastic market there.
Hope you enjoyed these flowers.

This DH with my DD at our surprise (shock) party for our Golden Wedding Anniversary, there were so many friends and family there, I don't know how they kept it a secret.  Even June and my other friends who had been at a craft show all day with me kept mum.  It was a lovely evening.
Here we are with a large photo of the actual wedding day, so much has happened during these 50 years, I can't believe where the time has gone.

 Now  how's about this for a cake, we have gardening for my DH on one side and stitching on the other.  Some bright spark asked if that was bridge over troubled waters!! 
I hope you have enjoyed meeting up again, next time I have photos of my buys at the craft show,  we had a fab time lots of goodies.
I am busy at the moment finishing off my latest exchange (hallowe'en), so I must be quick.
Take care until we meet again.  If I could I would cut a slice of cake for each of you.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

So much has happened in the last few weeks

I just cannot believe how much has been crammed into these weeks, my DH and I have been on holiday in lovely Malta for two weeks, followed by a surprise party for our Golden Wedding Anniversary, but I should start at the very beginning!!

First of all this lovely package of goodies I received from Edit, for the Tea Party Exchange, I still have to try the recipe she sent me.  It looks delicious.

Our club had a great afternoon at the show, we raised more money for the Dementia Society, and June showed a beautiful selection of mostly her stitch craft, there were lots of compliments, and we had 2 or 3 ladies interested in joining the club.
I rushed home from the show as the family were having a farewell meal (at the village pub) for our DGD No 2 before she went off to Uni.  Here we have DH giving her a cuddle - aaah!
Then home to finish packing, our plane left Bristol airport in the early hours of the morning, my DS and his partner were driving us up, we had to leave home at 2am to get to the airport on time.  No sleep that night, we were on automatic pilot, exhausting but worth it.
Our first day there we spent quietly, just opposite the hotel is a 'natural' park full of olive trees and flowers.  I took the following two photos for my american friends they have named part of it Kennedy Grove, the words are as always appropriate.
The next day we visited Medina, a beautiful city, it's called the silent city.  The streets are so narrow, it has a great restaurant, delicious cakes!  Great views from its outer walls, as it is so high up on the island.

Lots of these horse drawn carriages, I watched a rather well built lady trying to get in one, in the end her husband and the driver had to lift and then push her in!  The poor horse just turned his head and watched, guess what he was thinking!

 Can't remember where we were this day, but it was hot and the sea really is this blue.

This is part of San Anton gardens (the Presidents palace) the trees and flowers were breathtaking, there were so many I didn't recognise.  The picture below is of the herb garden, when we first walked in there the perfume from the Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme was so strong, took your breath away.  Whilst we were here resting in the shade a gardener came and sat with us, he offered to make us a cup of tea in his hut, the people in Malta are as friendly as they say in the travel books.  Everywhere we went they chatted to you and made us feel so welcome, and it is an advantage speaking english.

Now the most important piece of business on the agenda, I found a great shop in Valletta.  I looked and looked, eventually found a shop but it was siesta time, no problem I will come back another day.  Fine if you can remember where it was, lots of little streets in Valletta (great city full of interesting things) found it on our last day.  It looks nothing on the outside, but when you go in it is like the Tardis, it was full of lace, ribbons and braids all widths and designs, everything you could possibly desire to finish off a piece of stitching.  The owners were so knowledgeable about their stock.  If ever you are in Valletta visit this shop, you won't regret it.  My only regret I didn't stay longer and buy more.
We had a fantastic holiday, I can recommend Malta for a holiday.  But I have bored you enough with holiday snaps.  I will tell you about our Golden Wedding anniversary and the day out with June and friends to the craft show in my next blog.  Thankyou for coming by I have enjoyed chatting to you, so please visit again.  Take care.