Sunday, 23 December 2012

Have a Great Christmas Everyone!

Christmas seems to come around faster each year which I'm sure is something to do with getting older!

I haven't made half the festive gifts & decorations I wanted to make this year which has been frustrating through lack of time and so ideas of that nature will have to bubble away until next year.

My thoughts are now turning to festive food and drink. I think I've done quite well this year in terms of not needing to go to a supermarket when it's been busy, the last shop I stepped foot in was last Wednesday. I only have a small fridge and small freezer so they are stuffed to the rafters and other fresh veg is living in the lounge as it's so cold in there it hardly gets above 12 degrees C so it will be fine.

I'm deciding whether Christmas lunch will be a veggie haggis & traditional trimmings, an asparagus & pea pithivier, a chestnut, mushroom, sweet potato & thyme pot pie, Thai spring rolls with a spicy coconut dip or anything else which springs to mind between now and then.
I'm sticking with a small Waitrose Christmas pudding for dessert.

I have some drinks which my sister has brought me over from Belgium, I like the fruit beers.

And this, chocolate lovers red wine which I am interested to try.

This afternoon I made some cupcakes in these cute tea cup cases I found, raspberry, cranberry and white chocolate. I have adorned them with some wonderful little Nutcracker decorations a dear friend bought me last Christmas.

I rooted through draws and pulled out a few more of my favourite festive decorations today. I have copied off Green Rabbit and done a display of some of my most treasured decorations. I love looking at other peoples decorations and here are some of mine, nothing vintage here but equally as lovely.

I think I may go to Scarborough for a stroll tomorrow if it isn't raining to blow away the cobwebs before the festive feasting begins.

On that note and with the smell of further baking wafting up from the kitchen I will sign off for a few days and wish you all a really lovely, happy & peaceful Christmas with your loved ones. x

Friday, 21 December 2012

Wet Winter Solstice!

What a wet, miserable week it has been and looking outside I think it does look like the end of the world! There's been no sun for days and so much rain with many poor souls flooded again. All I can think about on this the shortest day, roll on tomorrow and lets see a glimmer of light and a warm future.

I do hope 2013 is a drier and sunnier year for the UK and for all of us who would prefer those conditions. Have a good weekend.

My artwork is a slight adaptation of last years Solstice Greeting.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Giveaway result & Festival of Angels

Today I made it into York and called into a couple of favourite coffee shops before braving the crowds of Christmas shoppers.

It is the Festival of Angels this weekend.

You can wander around the streets in The Quarter area and see some beautiful ice carvings and there's even some snow machines pumping out of upstairs shop windows to add to that festive feel.

Here are some sculptures, not easy to get pictures as everyone is after the same shot and of course the kids love touching them to see if they are cold, wet or icy!

There are of course plenty of classical angel sculptures.

And some quirky ones like the penguin above!

Just lovely and quite magical and even more so at dusk with the lights.

Ok, onto more important things for those who have entered the blog glove giveaway. I entered your names into a bag.

Then my mystery helper drew the winner..... drum roll.

Tah da! It's Green Rabbit, well done Vivenne, it must be the luck of the Irish as V won last year. I still have your address from the bunny I bought recently so I will parcel the cat gloves off and send them in your direction next week. It will be interesting to see what your cat family make of them!

I have just finished almond pasting & icing some mini Christmas cakes I made last week for some festive hampers I'm doing. I have one for myself to try as it's a new recipe I've tried this year so really interested to see how they taste.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Spoonflower gift tag result

Thank you to everyone who voted for my robin tags, I have the result, .... no exciting news I'm afraid, I didn't break into the top 10. Still, there was some tough competition and I came 43rd out of 152 entries which was a total of 126 votes and that I'm quite pleased with.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Festive Giveaway & latest Spoonflower design

Hello there, it was a touch milder at the weekend which made life in the freezer (pet name for this cold house) a little more bearable, chilly tonight though!

As might become a tradition on my blog I am having a festive giveaway. To cut a long story short as regards the prize, following a mix up with a pair of cat gloves I ordered last Christmas which didn't arrive in time and then 2 pairs turned up in the new year, I still have a pair sat here waiting to go to a new home.

The gloves are brand new, from Accessorize in a fingerless style with a pull over mitten bit and in nice soft wool. See below.

So in order to win just leave a comment on this post and then I will draw the winner on Saturday night, 15th. The competition is open to my UK & Europe readers, I'm not sure if I have anyone further afield but it would cost too much in postage and would probably not arrive before Christmas hence the restriction.
As well as the cat gloves I will throw in a surprise element of something handmade by myself.

On another festive subject this weeks Spoonflower contest was to design a gift tag and I have entered a tag which features one of my robin textile artworks. The contest runs until Thursday this week. If you fancy a look at the lovely entries and would like to vote try this link

Here are my vintage style robin tags.

Check back for the results soon.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Some festive makes

It's that pre Christmas fortnight when you suddenly find yourself with too much to do in too little time, the weekends are fast running out for seeing people or delivering gifts and I inevitably reach the point of chaos and "is it over yet!" And that's just me, I have no kids to worry about, I only have a small circle of friends, I only have 2 people to prepare a feast for. Goodness knows what the stress is like for some people.

I haven't been as productive making new festive things this year, I think because I've been trying to keep up with the demand for textile brooches but here are a couple of things I made.

These had been intended as auction gifts for my East Riding Artists festive gathering but I had to pull out at the last minute due to travel complications which would've meant I had a long way to walk to the venue with a bad foot and carrying plates of food, not good if it had been an icy evening.

Anyway I made a festive can wrap for a pencil pot. There's a bit of doodle embroidery on here and some embellished rubber stamped bits.

The next thing is a mini pin cushion and trinket jar made from one of those mini Bon Maman jam jars. They are so cute it really leant itself for making a mini Christmas pud to go on the top for a pin cushion.

I used felt to make a red disc for the base and the pudding is just a circle stitched around and drawn up into a ball before stuffing tightly.

I decorated the pudding and then it is stitched to the red base and that is glued onto the jar lid and that's it.

Tomorrow I will post details of my festive blog giveaway.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Bob has a new friend, wooo hooo!

The arrival of a new bunny friend for Bob has caused much excitement this week for both of us.

Let me introduce you to....., Miss Ferne Bunny.

"Helloooooo Ferne!" says Bob, isn't she lovely. Take a good look at this beautifully crafted bunny.

Ferne has been made for us by Vivienne over at Green Rabbit Designs. Her stay will be brief as she will be making an onward journey in the next fortnight for a Christmas pressie for my mum. 
Bob will take good care of her during this time!

Thanks to Vivienne this has eased some of the Christmas shopping chores.
The bunnies are beautifully crocheted and the outfits are incredibly cute, she even had a little birth certificate so how cool is that.

I don't think Vivienne has any spare bunnies listed as I write this, they've been literally whizzing out of the hutch as she makes them but there are some other beautiful brooches in her Etsy shop if you fancy a look.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Lovely things from Skye & Highlands

I like to support local producers wherever possible and on my brief trip north this is what I managed to bag in 3 days.

This hand woven scarf from Skye Weavers is created on a loom powered by a bicycle pedal, how groovy is that! Not for me this one but a pressie.

A scarf for me this time, not made on Skye but somewhere in the Highlands from Jacob Sheep wool, I liked it because it is sort of a patchwork of different patterns.

Both the above scarves & this lovely wool were purchased in the super SkyeWorks Gallery

In the same building as Skyeworks is the Skye Baking Co and they had these lovely treats will which find their way into the festive hampers I do for relatives.

Handmade on Skye, these lovely soaps, scrummy!

Next, my favourite shop, which has a few of my designs in, Skye Batiks. I picked up these festive, batik shopper bags.

Moving away from Skye our next shopping destination is Inverness and that important subject, chocolate!
A Belgian chocolatier named Fabienne used to have a little shop & cafe in Strathpfeffer called MAYA, but in the last couple of years she has moved to bigger premises in Inverness. 
Here you can see the most delicious chocolates being made and have a sample or two whilst you choose from the fresh counter. They no longer have a cafe but they do sell their legendary hot chocolate drink in little bottles which you can take home to heat.

I was in chocolate heaven, their produce is fabulous. I do get to sample quite a bit of Belgian choc as my sister lives near Brussels so she treats me occasionally but the Maya chocolate is equal to any I've had in Belgium.

The little bottle has now been drunk.

 I have 4 of these left. The pretty green flowery ones are jasmine, not tried those yet. I wish I could share them with you! You'll have to believe me they are delish!!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Highlands & Skye

I had quite a hectic 4 day trip to Skye, of course the time it takes to drive up there (about 10 hrs) means it was only actually 2 full days. The drive up was an hour longer than usual due to the A66 being shut, not sure if it was with an accident or flooding but the detour added at least an hour.

By the time we got to Glencoe there was still a bit of daylight and quite a bit of snow on top of the mountains.

As the light faded it was getting chilly, the clouds were low and it was pretty bleak!

Destination on Skye was the cheap and cheerful Dunollie hotel in Broadford. This is the view from the room window across Broadford Bay, excellent sky colours over the 3 nights stay.

As some of my friends will know, Skye is a place that I've visited a lot over the last 15 years and it's one of those places that feels more like home than here ever has and in that respect I think of it as my spiritual home. 
There have been numerous trips to look at houses and this trip was another trip to look for new opportunities with the plan of changing lifestyle and relocating up there at some point. Well I'm hoping as 2013 is a lucky number year for me that it could be the year of change so fingers crossed.

Of course no trip to Skye would be complete without buying some lovely things so my next post will reveal a few.

It's December so I'm thinking about my festive blog giveaway.