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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Dear friends, I wish you all a very Happy New Year !!!

I wish you lots of inspirations for new stitching ideas, but most of all, I wish you health and happiness.

I would like to thank you all for following, supporting and commenting on my blog during this past year and I hope you will come with me on my future journeys. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Jolly Red

For a long time I wished for one of  Jolly Red larger needlepoint tapestry kits. The price tag has always stopped me from getting one for myself, so I asked Father Christmas this year. And he obliged!
I received one of their latest designs, the Arts & Crafts Tiles.
Jolly Red is a local company, based here in Somerset.
Kelly Fletcher (mrs jollyred, as she calls herself) used to have a shop on a small trading estate in Hambridge. It was there where I met Kelly for the first time, on one of the courses she used to run from time to time. It was a wonderful day spent learning
"how to", I still have very fond memories of it, and of the lovely lunch next door, in the restaurant of the smokery at Brown & Forrest, which was included in the price of the one day course.
Kelly since closed the shop and moved down the road, where she now concentrates on designing her lovely kits, and promoting her business. Although a small company on the surface, I have seen Jolly Red kits in many shops, including large stores and there is the on-line shop of course. The kits vary in sizes, so there is something for everyone. Do check out the Christmas Stocking selection, a project for next year perhaps?
The kits are well made, clearly printed on a good canvas and include enough Anchor tapestry wool. They also run a making up service, should you need it.

As you can see, despite a busy week socially, I have started stitching already. I find this an ideal winter project, in the front of the fire. I even manage to watch the TV at the same time!

I did listen, Kelly, I am staring from the middle :)

Kelly also has a blog Jollyredstitches.

Friday, 30 December 2011

blog book - year one

We had a very enjoyable Christmas, but it seemed to have just flown by and tomorrow it will the last day of 2011.
Time passes so quickly. I realised that we bloggers, in our own way, are recording the passing time.
When I started my blog, it was my intention to use it as a form of diary, and I suppose it is. But I must admit that I very rarely look back thorough my blog, and so forget what I did write in the past.

When I saw on Annemarie's blog that she had her blog printed, I thought what a wonderful idea!
I give myself a Christmas present! And surprise the family!
I followed the link on her blog to Blog2Print site and ordered my "blog book". I ordered it a little too late for it to arrive in time for Christmas, in fact I was given 9th January as the date of delivery.
But my book arrived yesterday, and here it is:

I am very pleased with it. It is a record of the first year of my blog. I am now approaching the end of my second year, who would had thought it?
I enjoy browsing through my book and re-visit some of my "journeys", and so does my family.  

Friday, 23 December 2011



Thursday, 22 December 2011

Just a quick break from all things Christmas. My order arrived from Tracey at Quilt me Happy,
pretty selection, mostly Oasis by Moda. I have been promising myself a large quilt for my bed for some time now, and this just could be the push I need. The colours will go well in our bedroom.
A new project for 2012.

That's it, back to Christmas
and more baking.

After a spell of cold weather it is warmer again and we are not expecting any snow for Christmas here in South West of England.

However much I would love a white Christmas, snow usually means not being able to get out of the village and seeing the family. So I am quite happy with this weather, for now....

Sunday, 18 December 2011

pre-Christmas mutterings

I did not intend to start my post in this way, but events, as they say, overtook me.

 Vaclav Havel, a former president of the Czech Republic and a great statesman, died today.


I have some wonderful childhood memories of Christmas, spend usually in my grandmother's house, on the edge of a village, deep in the Czech countryside. These paintings by Josef Lada remind me so much of that place (less the ruins in the background). Yes, there was always snow. I remember the time my parents and I were picked up late in the day from the train station in the next village and driven in a horse drawn sleigh, through a spooky forest, the only light being a reflection from the white snow, and arriving to the warmth of my grandmother's country kitchen, smelling of baking and freshly cut Christmas tree. Memories......

I have always been fortunate to be able to spend Christmas with my family, be it with my Czech family as a child, and later with my own family in England. I have always tried to pass on that little bit of Christmas magic to my own children, and in the last few years to my beautiful grandchildren (although I could never quite manage the horse drawn sleigh here in England).
When my children were away studying, we told them not leave anyone on their own at Christmas time. So there was the time we received a call from our son, a day before Christmas: "mum, there is this girl from Australia, she has nowhere to go for Christmas". So arrived Katherine, with a bottle of Bundaberg and spent the holiday with us.
We have not always been able to be all together. There was that tearful "I miss you" phone call on a frosty Christmas Day from our offspring travelling in Australia. But we just put it down to those "few" beers on the beach :)

But Christmas can also be a difficult time for some people, those without a close family or friends, or those touched by a recent personal tragedy or loss, and feel that Christmas will never be the same again. Hope is a great thing and they say that time is a great healer...
In the words from Slade's Christmas song:

Look to the future now
It's only just begun.

I wish you all a very peaceful and safe run up to Christmas!

I would like also to take this opportunity to thank you all for your friendship and support.

Oh, and talking about friendship.
I have just finished reading a beautiful book "Astrid and Veronika" by Linda Olsson.
It is about two women from different backgrounds, one young and the other old, who form an unlikely friendship and learn each other stories.

Thank you Gudrun for recommending this book on your blog.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Scandinavian Christmas

At last I have finished my Christmas wall hanging, just in time for Christmas.

This lovely design is by Lynette Anderson.

All embroidery, applique and quilting is hand stitched.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

not yet Christmas?

It is hard to believe that Christmas is only 3 weeks away, with our weather still being more autumn than winter. I took these pictures on our walk only last week and it would a shame not to share them.

So, just a little break from all things Christmas.....




Isn't nature wonderful!

But back to all things Christmas,

the first of my Christmas baking today.

As in the previous year, the children in my granddaughter's school designed their own Christmas cards and the school arranged to have them printed.

This is a card designed by my granddaughter, age 6.

Have a good week!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mistletoe Fayre

One of the advantages of living out in the country (and there are many disadvantages) is that this time of year we can choose how much or little we can join the pre-Christmas "shopping madness". When you live in a city or a large town, it is difficult to avoid the Christmas hype, which very often starts as early as the end of September.
Here in the country it is different, Christmas arrives more slowly. It is only now that many villages have their Christmas fairs, with local produce and crafts (some better quality then others).

It would be hard to beat the setting for a Christmas fair to the one of Barrington Court Mistletoe Fayre, which we visited yesterday. Most of the National Trust house have closed for the winter, but Barrington Court opened its doors this weekend, the first weekend of Advent.

Enter through the shop please.

Many of the stallholders were wearing period costumes in tune with the atmosphere of this beautiful Tudor house.

Even some Tudor ladies came to do their shopping here and very kindly allowed me to take a photograph. The one on the left made these wonderful dresses.

The stalls were very varied. You could buy anything from jewellery, to hand made soaps,
lovely local food, from sausages and pork pies, a fresh duck or a goose, beautiful Christmas cakes and puddings, drinks made from the local apples and fruits.

We could even enjoy some entertainment.

This area is close to the Devon and its sheep and there were lots of wool products, but the find of the day for me was

Sharon and her wonderful Five Moons wools, hand dyed in Devon.
This was a real "sweet shop" for me

and of course I could not resist.
This is a beautifully soft 2ply, a mixture of extra fine merino wool and silk, with a touch of silver sparkle, an addition to my knitting stash.

Outside in the apple orchard the trees are full of mistletoe ready for Christmas.

But away from the Christmas market it is a little difficult to think about Christmas just yet, as the nature still insists on hanging on to some wonderful autumn colours.

Have a very good week!

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