10 December 2019

Ticking along


Every Monday we go to a friends house for a gathering of home educating families.  We like to spend as many of these outside and we manage it most weeks, amazingly, despite the fact that it can rain all the days in between, Mondays are usually dry and often sunny too.  I live in one of the wettest places in my country so rain and cloud are very common round here.  This Monday was no exception it was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for the activity we had planned.  We all walked back up to the barn where we held the Advent Spiral, pictured in my last post, to dismantle it and make use of the greenery.  It was colder in the barn than outside, so once we had packed away all the bits we headed to a table outside to make wreaths and table decorations.  I am no expert but I do like to have a go at these things, it is now hanging outside my front door, I just hope it copes with the high winds we have forecast this week.  It was even warm enough to have picnic lunch outside, it was wonderful to feel the sun on our faces.

It was St Nicholas Day last week, this is celebrated in many countries particularly in Europe.  It is thought that Father Christmas and Santa Claus derive from St Nicholas and the Dutch Sinterklaas respectively.  The day is celebrated in many different ways, often involving shoes being left out overnight and a small gift placed in them for the morning.  We baked some Speculaas inspired biscuits we don't have the special cutters and stamps that are traditionally used when making these.  We used our favourite biscuit recipe and added lemon rind, mixed spice and cinnamon to the mix.  Unfortunately I am unable to share a photo as I forgot to take one before they were all eaten, they didn't last long.  Our celebration was low key with a story, biscuits and a cup of tea in front of the fire.


I prefer to make the Christmas cards I send out.  I have perfected the art of finding a simple design each year, anything too complicated gets a little tedious by the sixtieth card.  I don't want to make it into a chore, there is little point to it otherwise.  I have gone for a watercolour painting this year, drawing round a template, painting it and a dab of colours.  They are now all made and I am working my way through the list writing in them all, the international ones have already gone on their way.  I try and hand deliver as many as possible as the price of postage seems to go up so much each year, my husband travelled to my parents and his mums last week and I missed an opportunity to send several cards with him, oh well you can't get it right every time can you?

A local orchestra host a family concert in December each year, since I have known about it, we have had not been able to go partly because I forget to find out the date until too close to the time.  We finally made it this year.  One of the pieces they played had a solo violinist who was amazing, so talented, she played an encore a piece so technically difficult I don't know how she did it.  I realised that this was the first time that Alice has listened to an Orchestra playing live, she really enjoyed it and wants to go to more.  We are so lucky that even though we live in a rural area with venues that are few and far between there is a good choice of concerts throughout the year.  My husband is not a fan at all so I am so glad that I now have someone else in the family to join me.


Alice and I had a go at needle felting for the first time last week.  I had recently bought some needles and wool to do this at our Monday gatherings I mentioned before, sadly due to illness we were unable to join in.  I had read about needle felting decorations using a biscuit cutter as a frame, that sounded, to me, like a good way to start.  So we dived right in and we are now hooked, Alice made the outer ring of stars, I made the two in the middle plus a set of smaller stars which I have strung together.  They were simple and satisfying to make, I think I might just have found a new craft to enjoy.

The forecast for today was for strong winds and heavy rain, for once it was right.  Poor Cameron got absolutely soaked doing his paper round.  We had one appointment this morning which we had to go out for, the rest of the day we have spent hunkered down at home with the fire lit.  It is meant to rain all day tomorrow as well which doesn't bode well for the very flooded field across the road from our house.  I hope that you have managed to stay safe and dry in what ever weather has been thrown at you today.

20 comments:

  1. Your wreath is lovely. I still haven't manged to make ours yet, although, given the wild weather, it would have been rattling around on the door if I had. X

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    1. Thank you, it is looking a bit wind blown now but has survived yesterdays wild weather!

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  2. The wind was terrible here yesterday and just around tea time we had the most torrential rain, it was coming down horizontally because of the wind. Your wreath is lovely, I hope it didn't get blown off the door in the gales. Mick bought me a needle felt hare kit for Christmas one year and I still haven't got round to doing it. I do like those stars, you've both made a great job of them, and I like the idea of having a template to help when you first start too, that's a great idea.

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    1. The wind and rain combination were really dramatic weren't they. The wreath is a looking a little wind blown but has survived. I would love to move onto 3D shapes with needle felting but thought the 2D stars were a good place to start, we are going to make some more this week as we have decided they would make lovely gifts.

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  3. what lovely felting!! Your life is looking so festive for this time of year. I haven't received a Christmas card yet! Fewer and fewer send them out. The stars are beautiful :)

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    1. Thank you. I have had a few cards mostly from family, I do love to send and receive them.

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  4. You have certainly make good, of the not-so-icky weather days.

    Lovely projects all.

    Oh so nice, to have another member of the family, to share a joy of yours with!!!!

    Best of luck with the wind. I'm sure the day in, was cozy and warm.

    "Jingle bells, jingle bells,
    jingle all the way..."

    ♬ 🎶 ♫

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    1. Thank you. Yes I am so glad that I can now go to concerts again with someone, it has been worth the a long wait!. The wind has died down now and thankfully we all stayed safe.

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  5. Lovely crafts I think the stars in particular are just delightful xx

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  6. Oh, everything that you made looks so pretty. How wonderful for your daughter to enjoy the thrill of an orchestra. Culture is so uplifting for the spirit. I hope you are staying warm and dry by the firelight.

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    1. Thank you. We are staying warm and dry and enjoying the fire. I am really looking forward to many more orchestra concerts next year.

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  7. Sounds like a busy yet productive week. Love all your activities and the results are lovely, especially those pretty little stars. Here's to the rain and wind settling down, it's been similar here and it sure gets old, fast.xxx

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    1. It does get old fast doesn't it, it seems to a little more settled today, less rain still windy.....Thank you for your kind words.

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  8. You have been busy - love the simple little Christmas tree cards and the felted stars -I am making notes for next year! x

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  9. Oh that's lovely how your daughter enjoyed the orchestra!!! I can't imagine life without an orchestra!!! Does she learn any instruments at all? My school orchestra performed their concert after school today and they did really well. I was really pleased with them esp as most of the orchestra are new- the only continuing members were 3 cellos and 5 violins- everyone else was totally new so they have done well.
    Your Christmas card design is beautiful- I really like it- simple and pretty- I agree with you about the tediousness of a more complex design- I've made that mistake before!

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    1. Thank you. My daughter plays the piano. I loved playing in an orchestra when I was at school, I play the violin, glad to hear that you are organising one at your school, I wonder how many schools have them these days. I also play in an orchestra now, and I love it.

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  10. I love your needle-felted stars - beautiful! Lovely to see your advent spiral in your last post too - we enjoyed the Steiner advent spiral at my son's school :-) Wonderful you have found somebody in your family to enjoy orchestral playing with. My daughter plays the violin in the local youth orchestra and I try to take her to live music as much as I can (which is not much...but it's something!) Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas X

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    1. Thank you. How lovely to hear that your daughter plays in a youth orchestra, I played in them as a child and loved them, I am glad to hear that they are still around. Playing in an orchestra is a wonderful experience, I still play in one now and love it. There is nothing like listening to live music.

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