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Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!!!

 I would like to send my very best wishes to all my fellow bloggers and to all those just visiting.
 I hope 2011 will bring you all you wish for (or at least some of it), many exiting experiences and new journeys, but most of all, I wish you health and love, the biggest treasures of all.

Thank you for all your visits and lovely comments in 2010! I hope to see you all soon in 2011!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

after Christmas

So Christmas is over. Yesterday the temperature outside went up a few degrees and last night it started to rain and has not stopped since. This morning we woke up to a totally different scene. All the snow has gone and we are back to a typical English winter, damp and murky. The thermal underwear has been put away, at least for now. I would like to think that we have seen the last of the bitter cold weather, but it is too early in the winter to hope for that.
I was planning to take a break from my stitching this week, but as any stitcher knows, that is difficult to do.
I should be working on some figures for the tax man, but it can wait a few more days....
Instead I have picked up a project I started at a work shop last summer, the Freeform Designer Bag, before it becomes a serious UFO.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

celebrating Christmas

Our grandchildren are very fortunate, they get two visits from the Father Christmas on the same night.
All our immediate family comes to our house for Christmas Eve and while we are having our meal, "Father Christmas" sneaks in through the back door and leaves lots of presents under the tree.
There was even snow on the floor from his boots! Just as well granddad put some newspaper on the floor!
And  would you believe it, the same night the Father Christmas finds his way to my grandchildren's house and they wake up on Christmas morning to yet more presents!

                                   getting ready for Christmas Eve

Christmas Day - we enjoyed the day and Christmas dinner at our daughter's house.

On the way there I took this picture of our valley.
Somewhere in the middle is our house.

We arrived to find two very exited children and just as exited dog, who could smell her present under the tree.

today was time was a quiet walk to recover from the festivities

Saturday, 25 December 2010

"Scandinavian Christmas Hearts" tablecloth

I finished my tablecloth just in time for Christmas, I am so pleased with it!
                                              I even had the time to hand quilt it.

The other side of tablecloth, which I have made less "Christmas" like, so it can be used all the time, not just at Christmas.

Fabric: mostly Moda, also Fabric Freedom and some from my stash
Threads: embroidery Aurifil 2260, quilting King Tut 972

Friday, 24 December 2010

I wish you all a very happy Christmas!

I hope you will have the Christmas you have wished for. I am sorry if I have not visited for a while, things get little bit hectic before Christmas, but I would love to "pop" in during the quiet time after.
Have a lovely time!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

all baking done

This is the last batch of Christmas biscuits. Today is the house cleaning day and time to dress the tree and put up decorations.
The old snow is still with us, there has not been any more fresh snow since Monday, so we could get to the shops yesterday to do some  food shopping. Temperature outside is hovering around 0 and it is likely to drop again in the next few days. We will have "white Christmas".

Monday, 20 December 2010

orchids and biscuits

The first one from our collection of cymbidium orchids has come out into a full bloom, just in time for Christmas! We have four of these beauties and they spend their summers in the corner of the garden, mostly forgotten, just occasionally watered and fed. We bring them in just before there is any danger of a frost and every time they reward our neglect with beautiful blooms.

Another very cold weekend, with snow not going anywhere. This would normally be the busiest shopping weekend before Christmas. We can only see on the news the half empty shops and even the large stores complaining of the big losses in revenue. London's Heathrow airport and others were closed, even now flights are limited. The rail not much better, even Eurostar cancelling, with northern France being in the same situation as us. I really feel for all those people trying to get home for Christmas, but instead having to spend yet another night on the airport floor.
We had a lot more snow today. We tried to make "a run for it", but in the end we turned back. We might had been able to get to the nearest town, but possibly not back again, it is not worth risking.
I was going to make more Christmas biscuits, but I haven't got any more plain flour, so it will have to wait.

So, by a "public" demand, I will give you recipe for the two kinds on my blog so far.

Bear's paws:

140g plain four
70g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
70g ground nuts (of your choice, I use walnuts)

Rub the butter into the flour until crumbled, ad all the other ingredients (or just give it it a blast in the food processor). Break of small pieces and press into small tins (like madelaine tins or similar). Madelaine tins give it the traditional look of "bear's paws". Bake in a medium oven for a few minutes. Sorry, can't give exact time or temperature, this comes from a very old cookery book, I think they expected you to know!

Vanilla and almond crescents

150g plain flour
20g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter
50g ground almonds
finely grated lemon rind
1 egg yolk
vanilla sugar for coating

Mix all dry ingredients, mix vanilla with egg yolk and use this to bind the pastry together. You can either roll out the pastry and cut out crescent shapes with a cutter, or, as I do, make a sausage shape from pastry, cut of small pieces and form them into a crescent shapes. Again, bake for a few minutes in the medium oven until they are starting to change colour. Then coat them in vanilla sugar.

Ad then, the most important: hide them until Christmas!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

baking for christmas

After a week without any snow, it is back again. This morning we woke up to a very different scene from that of yesterday.

I will not be going very far today. We live on the top of a hill and the road through our village very rarely sees a gritting lorry.

The best thing to do is to enjoy the scene

and build a snowman

I took a picture of my neighbour's logs, there might be an idea for an embroidery sometime in the future.

By the afternoon the temperature is dropping and the best place is back inside. Time for some Christmas baking. When I was small, my mother used to bake several kinds of Christmas biscuits every year.
I don't make as many as she used to, but I still like to make a few, it reminds me of all those Christmas times a long time ago.

Vanilla and almond crescents and "bear's paws", made from walnuts..

Our house suddenly smells like Christmas.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

christmas tree festival

This is St Andrew's Church, standing on the hill above the village of Stoke Trister, where they hold an annual Christmas Tree Festival. It is a lovely small church with a beautiful old organ.

Some of the Christmas trees were dressed by groups, some by individuals, but they were all very different.

Do you remember when I was making my fabric birds? Well, this is our Textile group's tree, "Birds",

and some of the other's:

I liked this "Cross Stitch Christmas",

a tree by the "Brainwave" charity group

"To Music" with ornaments made from fabric with music theme

"Earts & Crafts"

But the most impressive and hard hitting was this one, "Them and Us", a tree made out of wood. One side represented all the wealth and opulence of one part of the world,

the others side the desperation and struggle for a survival by the rest of the world.

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