Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

image: notebookdoodles

Happy new year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful time, wherever you were, and whoever you were with.

I'm not one for setting resolutions, certainly not publicly, I'd hate the disappointment if I didn't do something I really wanted to do. I've such a lot going on this year anyway which will change my life in many ways. My parents have just moved north, as you know, its strange but lovely to be within such close reach of them suddenly. I'm sure it will change our relationship this year, once they have settled in and we spend more time together. In 9 and a half months I get married (eeep!) and hopefully too this year, we will move into a more permanent and rather larger home together. So you see, I think this year will change me, as much as I should want to change myself. Of course there are things that I want to try and achieve, but I don't want to set a time frame on them. what do you plan for 2010?

Monday, 28 December 2009

more wedding cake.

I Just saw this cake on one of Snippet&Ink's round up of the year, I've always been a bit of a sucker for all things repetitious and pattern related, its why I get on well with weaving I think. I still think this would suit the cake topper DIY I've mentioned before...

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas to you all!

Just a quick little note while i have the time, to wish you all a very merry christmas, wherever you are. I hope you have a relaxing fun filled joyous day with the people you love. xx

p.s.I got most of my Christmas crafting done, I'll put up pictures soon! x

Sunday, 20 December 2009

more dress.

I suppose I should show you the results of my weekend, or at least my Saturday morning. As any of you who read My Spare Thoughts will have gathered, we went dress shopping for the wedding. Seems somewhat appropriate then, that my 100th post on what was started as a wedding blog, is about my wedding dress choice. I'm a little nervous about talking about this, it's such a personal choice and I've already talked about how much I love another dress, and how I was certain that that would be the one I bought, and now my decision has changed! (I've just re-read the end of that post, rather ironic given what I'm writing now.)
Anyway...On saturday, we went back to my wonderful bridal shop friend, who had been putting me off ordering my dress for several months because she had some more dresses coming in that she knew I would love. How right she was. I had a quick look through the racks while we were talking, and was immediately struck by the dress I'm going to show you. So struck, in fact, that none of us (mum, bridesmaid, dress shop friend, or me) felt the need to even see the original dress again, or to try on any others. Its not actually even shockingly different from the previous one, but its just felt right. So without any more blathering...

image: highsocietybirdal blog

My lovely bridesmaid took a few photos of my wearing the dress, which I might post when I get them if they look ok (or 'chop my head off to retain my anonymity' - R!). Its a new design from Suzanne Neville, and it just feels perfect to me. My original reason for not wanting an a-line skirt was to do with personal space - ie having too much of it to look after. However, not only did this skirt not feel too structured in that respect, but I had privately been having an ongoing debate in my head between the relative merits of a fishtail or a-line for a few weeks so when I stepped into this dress it sort of resolved that argument for me. The ruching across the bodice is far more natural tha the more formal pleating on the other dress, which was what we would have changed on it if we had had the option, and the rosette on the hip was just perfect. I felt like me in it, which was wonderful.

I think I've also mentioned before, (possibly, I don't remember) that I wrote my dissertation on eco-textiles, and it originally made me want to have a dress made in a more 'suitable' material. This has been quite a journey for me too. At first, and for quite a while, when we went to our wedding shop, we were looking for the style of dress I wanted, and were then going to find a pattern to suit, and make a dress from scratch. As time went on I was basically wanting the first dress I showed you, and it seemed rather silly - not to mention time consuming - to just copy a very expensive designer dress, just in a different material. So my darling dress lady spoke to her contact at the designers, to see if they would consider making it in a material we had found from an organic supplier of silks. Thankfully, the answer has come back as yes, after they saw some swatches of our chosen material. (this may not be something they will always do, I left it up to wonderful dress lady, and her lovely telephone manner, don't shoot me if they don't say yes to you) So I've had my measurements taken - who knew they would need so many! - and I'm just waiting to find out a price. Wonderful dress lady (this will forever be her name) is going to make me a little bolero jacket with poufy 3/4 length sleeves in some of the same silk, just to keep my shoulders warm on what will undoubtedly be a cold October day.

Once again, I'll await your thoughts, I hope you don't find me too much of a hypocrite for changing my mind, I'm well aware that at various points I've said how set I am on a certain point, and then I may have gone and changed my mind, silly fickle little me.

Friday, 18 December 2009

...and merry Christmas.

This idea came to me a couple of days ago, and little and insignificant as it is, I've decided to roll with it. As you may have guessed by now, I love Christmas, I love everything about it. I really believe that it can be a magical time of year for any age (I'm 25, and I was still skipping around at work today to carols).

I also love all the interaction that happens here in the blogging world, its such a great community. I've already enjoyed Micaelas ornament exchange immensely, and loved all your efforts at spreading Christmas joy so, I thought I'd start a little 'tag' of my own - for whoever wants to join in, in the spirit of Christmas, about Christmas. I'm going to write about my favourite memories, feelings and traditions to do with Christmas, and then pass it on to all of you, my little band of readers, friends. Whoever wants to write their own thoughts out, go for it, just comment back here to this post so others can read yours too. What do you think? Anyway, if nothing else, you get a bit of an insight into my weird and wonderful Christmas traditions...

Christmas for me, is the ultimate sensory experience. There are so many colours and decorations to see, food, wine, pine trees to taste or smell, crackling warm fires, carols and music to listen to, and presents to rattle and unwrap. My mum makes Christmas pudding to my great Granny's recipe, and its absolutely beautiful. Every year Dad and I force mum into making far too many puddings and mince pies, we're only a small family, but somehow we eat them all! (my dad and I have BIG bellies.)My parents and I would decorate the tree together listening and singing to carols, hanging glass icicles alongside felt Santa's and trees I made as a child.

When I was little, my grandpa would always come for Christmas. on Christmas day, I would sit in the middle of the room and hand out presents to all three of them, and get one for myself. We'd open them together and then start again. My dad keeps a clipboard by him even now, on which he makes a list of who-got-what-from-who, so that we don't forget who to write thank you notes to. He also insists on a box put in the middle of the floor, for us all to throw our wrapping paper into, and then he misses every time.

This year, my parents have moved up north, which means that they now live much closer to me. It also means that they live closer to my great aunt, who is going to come to my parents for Christmas. My aunt has now all but lost her sight, but when she could see, she was a wonderful embroiderer. She not only made me my advent calendar, but also the stocking my mum still fills for me every year. This year, in a nice role reversal, I am making my aunt a stocking, along with new ones for my parents (because the old ones were too small to fit anything in!)

Also due to my parents move, this is the first year since I was born that I won't sing any carols in my village church where i grew up, and my Dad ran the village choir. This is the one thing I am really missing this year. I adore singing, even though I'm not amazingly good, there's nothing like the feeling I got of singing with the group of people who have known me all my life, and sadly I'll probably never have that again, although I would like to join another choir one day. This was a massive part of Christmas for me, walking to church with mum over frosty crunchy grass, singing our hearts out to candlelight, wishing my oldest friend a happy Christmas as the clock struck midnight during the midnight mass, and mince pies after before bed.

The other tradition I'm missing is wrapping day. That same friend and I would save our presents until we had bought them all, then get together, shut my parents out of the living room and wrap all our presents on the floor together, watching the sound of music, and singing along to every word. We now live too far apart to make this in any way practical so I think this year, I need a different friend, an different film , and the start of a new tradition for Christmas!

I also love buying presents. I've nothing against handmade presents, in fact I'm all for them, and as you may know, I'm doing a few myself, but I also love choosing that perfect gift for someone. This year, I've bought a copy of a book about one of my parents favourite wildlife artists who also knew my Grandpa well, and I wrote to him and asked if he would sign it for my parents. He was absolutely charming about the idea, calling me literally as soon as my letter hit his doormat, and now I can't wait to give the book to my parents. We've had an old map of the lakes framed for James dad, who is awful to buy for. Not only does he literally want for nothing, he almost pushes things away again! I've still got some presents to make, I want to make my aunt some padded coathangers if i can, perhaps with a scented heart to hang with them, and I've yet to finish the cupcake pincushion for the SIL's sewing kit!

Do you have any thoughts on Christmas that you'd like to share? so many of you are far better writers than me, I'd love to hear your traditions and memories. just write your own post, about whatever you like, and then either email me or comment on this post so we can all read about your Christmas too.

(eeep I'm a little bit nervous, please be nice!)

Thank you...

Just a quick post to say thank you to Louise from Postcards from behind the hedge and beyond who sent me one of these lovely cards that she made with one of the Christmas lists suggested to her while ago. A lovely surprise when I got home late last night!I was very confused for a while as it was lying front down on the doormat, and I was sure I knew your name but couldn't place it at all Louise, then when I turned it over it all made sense. Its hanging with my other Christmas cards, but is definitely getting kept when Christmas is over!

In other news, I've been avoiding posting recently partly because I'm so busy at work at the moment, but also because I can see myself careering towards my hundredth post, and I felt sort of like I should be doing something momentous with it, but I just know that that wont happen at the moment. Anyway, while I'm here, I must just share these things I've seen tonight, some of which may have unfortunately added *more* things to do to my Christmas crafting lists... uh oh....

This felt ball wreath by Pickles via For the easily distracted and Black.White.Yellow. Yum, just yum.

This wreath at Emma Lamb

People who keep wrapping presents with doilies.

That, and thanks to spare thoughts, who remembers what I'm doing tomorrow! Thank you :)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Trees up, Ornament swap!

So you've seen little snippets of the ornament I'd made for my swap partner, well last night I got home to not one, not two, but three parcels. Made my boring day much better! two were Christmas presents from family, which are now sitting under the tree, and one was from this lovely lady! I was so excited, especially when one of the THREE parcels started jingling! Yes, Krissa sent me three ornaments, and I love them all!
She gave me a reason for choosing each one:
- a pig, because she loves them;
- something to remind me what Christmas is all about;
- and something homemade and purple;
I can't decide which I like best, although I do love the owl because he looks like he wants to hug you! Here's a (bad) picture of one of them hanging on the tree, I wish I could take better pictures in my home, but we like lots of table lamps which don't make for good picture lighting.
While I'm at it, I must show you a couple of pictures of the tree up, and decorated. Its ridiculously big! We went to a tree farm this year, where they cut them down in front of you, but they told us there were very few at the height everyone wants, so they were cutting the tops off the taller trees as they needed a cull anyway to make ready for the next year. He pointed to a tree with a break in the branches at an appropriate height to make a 6foot tree, so we went for it. the Norwegian spruce was only £4 a foot, so we got this tree for £24. We thought it was a bit taller than he said it was, but it touches our ceiling! (our flat is part of an old house, we measured, the ceilings are 10 foot high!) its a bit of a monstrosity, but I love it :) (to give you an idea of scale, that mirror on the right, you can see your head in the lower half of that, and I'm nearly 6 foot tall!)

We can't fit the tree (whatever height) into the living room in this house, so to compensate I have this twisty willow with some little ornaments my Mum gave me hanging on it. I love this willow, it doesn't look half so halloween-esque as it appear here, and the twigs frame each ornament nicely.

Here's a couple of my favourites from the twisty willow - sleeping walnut couple, and skiing Santa:

thanks again Krissa, for the lovely ornaments, they made my day!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Christmas is creeping in...

This morning, I (slightly belatedly) packaged up and posted off my ornament for this exchange on Micaelas blog. I hope my secret santa ornament recipient likes it, there's a little sneak peek of my handmade ornament below. I won't lie, I'm a bit nervous at giving something I made to someone I've never met, or talked to even, but we'll see :). Micaela has sorted all of us so its secret santa-esque as well, so my ornament-present won't come from the person that this one has gone to. I'm excited waiting for a parcel to arrive in the post though!

Christmas has been creeping into the house a little bit too over the last couple of days. I'm not one for putting up my decorations gradually, I like to have a few hours on a weekend, or an evening, put some carols on and decorate the house all at once. But the advent calendar has to go up on the 30th November, obviously, so here it is. (the poinsettias might have crept into my bag at morrisons, I had them sitting in my grandpas fish kettle last year, and loved it so much I've done it again. don't they look good with the advent calendar above?)
My great aunt (now 81) made this advent calendar for me when I was three - I know because she sewed the date on the back - there are tiny hooks all over the tree, and around the edge, and I have the box of decorations below to hang up each day. I love this, and its so special to me as I can bring the same calendar out every year to count down to Christmas.