Our very traditional Christmas

We have had a very nice, and very traditional Christmas this year – this is the first one in 5 years where we have not been away on holiday (first Prague then 4 years in Spain) and Ellie really wanted a traditional family time now she is away at University. 

So we had a very lovely time – helped by the very seasonal weather – the first white Christmas I can remember for at least 35 years. 

There was snowman building on Christmas Eve – 

Jake and his friend Sammy built this

And lots of baking as we decided to make our own Yule Log this year – 

Yule log
Nigella's Yule Log recipe - very, very sweet frosting but it all got eaten!

The gingerbread house kit I bought had suffered a bit of structural damage but Ellie got very creative with the pieces – 

Gingerbread 1
Ellie's very good at using the writing icing for artworks
Gingerbread 2
And bits of it still look like a house!

I bought myself  Nigella’s Christmas cookery book as a treat – for the last few years when we have been away I have done a pretend Xmas dinner before we go but it has not been much more than a glorified roast but this year I did lots of domestic goddess stuff and thoroughly enjoyed it – even started off Christmas Day with watching Nigella on TV and doing a bit of stitching before sorting out the turkey as I was up ridiculously early (of course the teenagers didn’t surface for presents till after 9!) 

So we had a very nice lunch with some special additions of parsnip and sweet potato bake (not Nigella, think that was Good Food mag), and brussels with pancetta and then the buffets included Nigella’s Chilli jelly (bit liquid rather than solid but very tasty) and some other recipes from my new tapas cook book. 

Xmas lunch 2
Xmas lunch

We had lots of lovely pressies and I was very pleased that Jake and Ellie liked their hand knits – they had both asked for money and a few stocking pressies this year and as I have been trying to make a hand crafted gift for most people this year I made them both wrist warmers and Ellie got a matching hat as well. 

Jake gloves
Jacob likes his wrist warmers!
Ellie gloves
Ellie with her hand knit set


The patterns for these items are all freebies from Ravelry

After Xmas lunch we went sledging which the kids very much enjoyed – 

Sledging 1
Ellie - with hat!
sledging 2
A great action shot!

As well as the knitting I have been busy finishing the Xmas stitching. The Noel ornament from Helga Mandl  that I have mentioned before was my ornie of choice for the girls who are my very good friends here in Hudds so this was the collection I finished just before Xmas – 

Xmas dec 2
I love this ornie - have now stitched it 9 times!

I am actually taking the pattern away with me to stitch one of my very own for the tree for next year. 

I have also just finished these which are for my relatives in Spain – this is from the Gift of Stitch Mag – this year’s Xmas ornie edition. 

Xmas dec 3
A very pretty little snowflake design

All of these are once again stitched over my favourite 28 count sparkly evenweave (need my glasses to stitch this these days!) with Silk Mill threads. 

We are off to Spain in the early hours of tomorrow morning (snow permitting!) so am looking forward to some warm weather (it is 21 degrees there rather than -3 in Yorkshire), some cycling, some lovely tapas and the Three Kings festival on Jan 5th. Am taking lots of stitching and my latest knitting project as well. 

Hope that you all have a very happy New Year and let’s hope that 2010 will be filled with plenty of time for textiles! 

Thank you for visiting. 

Happy Christmas everyone!

As this will probably be my last post before the festive season really gets underway I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a lovely 2010. 

We have just returned from Worcester where we were visiting my sister. We visited the German Market in Birmingham while we were there to have lunch of sausages, pretzel and chocolate dipped fruit and marshmallow skewers. 

Xmas market 1
The beer and gluhwein stall


Xmas market 2
Some very nice Xmas decs on this stall - bought a lovely bag of pot pourri and a scented star


Xmas market 3
Ellie and Jake at the market sweet stall


Ellen is most excited to have returned to snow. They have not had any in Worcester and she was worried that the snow we had last week would have gone by the time she got here but no we got back and the world was even more white than when we left. 

Lots of snow again to complement my carefully placed snowflake decorations!


So much snow that we have had to do our Xmas food shopping at the local store rather than go into town as at the moment taxis are not coming up our road. I did go into town for a few special things today (have treated myself to the Nigella Christmas cookbook so needed some more exotic ingredients!) so we are now fully stocked. 

We plan to spend some time baking together tomorrow – making and decorating the yule log, making cranberry and white chocolate cookies, putting together the gingerbread house and decorating the Christmas cake. Ellie and I are going to Christingle service at one of our local churches.

 I have masses of stitching and knitting to show you after Xmas that cannot be revealed now but I can show you the ornie that I sent to Marlene in the US as part of the ASOE exchange. This is a design called Noel by Helga Mandl – if you look carefully at the tree the word Noel is spelt out (on each half of the tree -you will have to look at the pic sideways for it to make sense). 

Xmas stitched ornie
The Noel ornament from Helga Mandl


We had our Embroiderers’  Guild Xmas meal last week and I was very pleased to see that Barbara, my very talented friend, had made some little trees for table decorations following my instructions on the blog. Here are some pics  of the trees and their maker. 

Xmas tree dec
Barbara's patchwork tree


Barbara at the Guild meal with the tree decoration


I do hope that you have a very lovely time with good food, good company and lots of time for relaxing and stitching. Jake and I are off to Spain for New Year for some sun and warm fingers! 

Happy Xmas and happy stitching! Thanks for visiting.

Xmas decs go live!

We have had a very lovely and very busy weekend starting with the annual Festival of Light in the town centre on Friday night. This event is always a street theatre of some kind with a grand fireworks finale.  

This year it was a group from France called Trance Express who led a parade round town with a float containing a rock band and two huge drums played by men on swinging trapeze. They were followed by a band of drummers and flares. When they got to the square where the final performance was held there was a very large crane and the singing group appeared suspended from it and performed a couple of numbers while swinging above the crowd.  

Then there was an excellent fireworks display – I do love big fireworks!  

Festival 1
A lot of bright lights from the flares!
Festival 2
The suspended performers in front of the railway station
Festival 3
Fireworks - very near to the performers!
Festival 4
Lots of big bangs and pretty lights!

We then went for a lovely meal on Sat to our friends Taru and Bob’s where Jake and I had excellent food, excellent company and excellent wine (in my case not Jake’s!)  

Sunday I spent most of the day decorating the house for Xmas – a little bit earlier than usual but I do love Xmas decs and the poor things have been in a cold garage for long enough – they need to be out to be admired. I have posted pics of the main decs before and not much has changed in the layout but I do have a few special new bought things to show you.  

Every year I like to buy something special and a couple of years ago at Disneyland in Florida I bought this very cute Minnie and Mickey for the tree.  

Xmas decs 1
Minnie and Mickey from the good old USA

 We are big Disney fans and love visiting Disneyland and you may remember that we went this year in March for Ellie’s 18th where I chose this lovely sparkly decoration … 


Xmas decs 2
Golden Minne and Mickey from France

Ellie wanted to buy a decoration and she chose this very cute Tinkerbell inside a bell that rings.  

Xmas decs 3
Tinkerbell for my Disney Princess Ellie

 Last year I also bought these lovely little ornies – they are supposed to hang from a tree but I think they look better on the hearth.  

Xmas decs 4
A trio of Santas

 All my hand-made decs are all over the house now and I think I may have to make some more for next year as there are just never enough baubles in some places! I will leave you with a nice pic of the tree all lit up.  

Xmas tree
Thanks to Jake for helping with all the decs - he always reckons I have too many but I do not do minimalism at Xmas!

Hope you have fun preparing for Xmas – now back to the stitching! Thank you for visiting.

More pics from Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show – Quilting

I still have  a lot more to post about the show from last week so thought I would share some more with you now. The theme for this post is quilting and some of these pics come from my good friend Anita who kindly downloaded all her pics onto my PC when we met up this last weekend. She has a much better camera than me with all sorts of settings – I have a very simple point and click one not being technologically minded and being very prone to drowning cameras! 

These quilts were all winners in  various categories – I forgot to note down what the competition was but there was some wonderful work in both traditional and contemporary styles. 

Quilt 1
This was my favourite piece the overall effect was amazing
Quilt 2
Detail of the above quilt
Quilt 3
A more traditional quilt with applique and patched sections
Quilt 4
Detail of the applique section
Quilt 5
Amazing quilting on one of the wholecloth background areas
Quilt 6
One of the art quilts - a portrait
Quilt 7
Detail of the quilting around the face

The level of workmanship in these quilts is amazing and I am sorry that I don’t have details of who made them to give these very talented people credit. If you recognise your work please leave me a comment so that I can credit you. I have only just started doing the most simple patchwork and quilting (you have seen my tree!) and am in awe of the level of skill and dedication in these pieces. 

I also bought a lovely book at the show which I read within a week and have now passed on to Anita. It was called ‘The Quilt that Walked to Golden’  and had been on my Xmas wish list but I bought it as a treat for me. It was a wonderful book with the stories of women who made quilts in Colorado from the time of the pioneers up to the present-day with extracts from their life histories and diaries and lots of pictures of both historic and new quilts. I loved this book (Little House on the Prairie gone live!) and now want to follow it up and read some of the biographies of the women listed in the book and the other books about this topic . 

I have also added another one to the  ‘places I want to visit’  on my ever-increasing list with Colorado and in particular the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum  which is in Golden, Colorado. I have wanted to visit the Rockies for a long time ever since discovering Mary Kathryn’s brilliant blog – every week she posts her Rocky Mountain Wednesdays photos of where she lives – I love Yorkshire and think it is very beautiful but she has some amazing scenery (and lots of quilt shops!)

I have also been very busy working on my Xmas stitching, knitting and quilting – why is that however early you start you have never finished all those projects you wanted to do for people? Oh well at least I have lots of ideas for birthday gifts for next year!

Thanks for visiting – happy stitching!