Friday, 30 November 2012

My Day

DH got up while it was still dark this morning and went for a day out at Duxford to look at aeroplanes. I wasn't even slightly tempted.  This was my day.

Put on glittery festive wellies and get set to go out into the cold, cruel day 
(although the sun was shining beautifully in the 1C frost)
Cut various branches, red dogwood, yellow twisted willow, 
lots of colours and textures
Put on a suitably festive CD
"Weave" (I use the word loosely in deference to Jean, Bryan and others) 
my harvest of branches through the stair rails
Add fairy lights
Add angels, gold ribbon and lametta

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Traditions

My international group of quilting friends, the Global Piecers, are currently discussing Christmas traditions in their various families and countries.

As Advent begins, I thought I would share some of the things that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without for me.  The Advent calendar and Advent candle is one of course, counting down to Christmas Day.

I love getting all the decorations out and remembering where they came from, when DS or DD made them, or remembering DH's mum or thinking of my parents when we hang decorations that were theirs.  I love this so much that I don't understand how people can get everything new each year, maybe in a completely different colour scheme but I think that a lot of people do (judging by the trollies full of glitter and bling in the shops).  We do buy one decoration each year, always an angel and often from a different country or a new place in England that we visit.  Al brought an angel home from NZ with him last month, a beautiful glass one.
I then hang all the angels together on branches of willow and dogwood that I "weave" through the stair rail.  I add small lights and the whole thing has been christened "Lothlorien" (from LOTR) by the children.

There are food traditions too.  I suppose our longest standing tradition was started by my parents many years ago and continued by my sister and I and now by our children.  We always have a Christmas breakfast of smoked salmon with lemon, scrambled eggs and brown bread and butter, with orange juice, champagne or a mixture of the two according to preference.

One year when my sister and I were still at home my mother decided to have a buffet rather than a cooked meal on Christmas Eve and she lit the house with candles.  It was magical and really heightened the anticipation and wonder of Christmas Eve.  This hasn't become an event that happens every year but sometimes, when enough of us are together, we will have a Christmas Eve Candlelit Buffet.  This year will be one of those years and I'm excited about it already.

I love thinking of us all around the world, thank you so much Teresa for starting this thread on our Global Piecers' group site.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Christmas Wrappings

This is my charity shop haul to date of scarves for wrapping Christmas presents.
I love the Japanese custom of furoshiki, using cloths rather than paper to wrap gifts.  My only problem is getting the cloths back!  I shall need to add a "scarf not included" to the name labels.  These scarves need a wash and press and then I shall look forward to a festive pile of fabric-wrapped gifts under the tree.
These berries are looking striking on this damp, misty morning where the temperature has dragged itself up to 2C so far.  I liberated some seed of this Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' from the garden at DS's college and so it's a pretty special plant.  It's common name is Beauty Berry.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Wedding Quilt and a Charity Shop Delight

Yesterday I went to my quilt group, Country Roads Quilters.  We were in a new, larger venue and we discussed having an open day as we can now welcome some additional members.  We're going to hold the open day on 15th January 2013.
I managed to get some stitching done too and can show you the central Lovers' Knot panel for the quilt I am making for DS and DDiL2B.
The next step will be to layer this block and quilt it.  I am going to use the 'quilt as you go' way of quilting as the sections will be different from each other and require differing treatments.  This one I am going to shadow quilt, I haven't decided on pink or cream thread, what do you think?

I wanted to share my little charity shop purchase with you today, I am so pleased with it.  This lovely pressed glass covered butter dish was exactly what I was looking for.
Today is wet and dull but I don't mind as I am sitting in DD's house waiting for my scrumptious Sam to come home from school.  Saz has gone to Tunisia for a well needed bargain break in the sun (hopefully) and Al and I are on grandparent duty and loving every minute.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Autumn Sunshine

DH and I are just home from a lovely walk along the canal in Horncastle and then roast lunch in our favourite local cafe.  It's still frosty in places and still only 4C but the sunshine is glorious, I love days like this.  Now DH is lighting the fire and I'm going to do some work on the wedding quilt - the central panel, an update will follow in a few days.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Fishing Nets

Well done you clever people, my mystery purchase was a braiding needle for making fishing nets.  The lovely stallholder at the antique fair told me how she used to earn 6d pocket money by threading them up with sisal ready for her mother to make nets in Grimsby.  Everyone would mark their needles with their name or initials so that they kept their own.  The father of the stallholder (I should have asked her name) used to make the needles, and the cut out at the pointy end became clothes pegs - no waste in those days.  These days nets are made by machine but I have found a few images and websites for more information and, if you are in the area, the Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre has a display of netmaking.

I also found the words of a song about the girls who made the nets, it's called Braid Away Dolly and was written by Pete Addison.

Now it's up in the morn to the braidin' I'll go
To the cold salt and tannin down old Fish Dock Road
Where the work it is hard and the pay's not so hot
It's thirty-nine shillings, is all that you've got?

     With your needles a-clicking, a-swaying and rockin'
     Braid away Dolly, as firmly you're lockin'
     Braid away Dolly and sing us this song
     As the miles of manila are twined into one.

Now you've got to be fast and your stitches all tight
'Cause Laura she's watchin' to make sure it's right
There's Joe Littles and Shooters and Bellytops too
And Wings that are creasin' way out of view.

Now it's fill up your needles and make 'em a double
It's cod ends we're stitchin' and they're naught but trouble
Fill up your needles, it's six pence a ball
And Elsie's a-callin', she's fastest of all.

Well we've stitched you a net and we've braided it right
And it's ready for trawlin' beyond the Spurn Light
It's out on the Dogger and the cruel North Sea
A-catchin' the fish that you bring home to me. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Quiz Item

It's been a while since I've posted and today I have a little quiz for you.  I've been to a local antique and collectables fair and come home with two little purchases.  The first is self explanatory:
and a bargain at 50p.
The other is rather interesting and the stallholder was able to tell me all about it but what do you think it is?  It's about nine inches long and an inch wide if that helps:
Hoping you're having a relaxing Sunday and spared a few moments to remember the fallen this morning.