Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas 2012

I like to look back on my Christmas photos from over the years I've been blogging, so here (a little later than normal) are the ones for 2012. It was all rather a rush in the end - we were still wrapping presents and tidying up well into the evening of the 24th, but we made it in time for the 25th and all had a lovely day. The sun even shone too - so welcome after seemingly endless days of grey.

I'll begin with Sid and Cynthia as I thought of them...

...though they've now been re-named Snaky and Violet. This photo was taken when I finished Violet at 01:30 on the morning of Christmas Eve. They were well received, it seems size matters when it comes to cuddly snakes and they were far bigger than both A and N expected which was a Good Thing.

Now to Christmas baking. I didn't go overboard in variety this year, just mince pies, gingerbread biscuits and cake. However I did make far too much mincemeat and had to make five batches of pastry for the mince pies to contain it all. The mincemeat recipe I used is here (I would use this recipe again, but would make only half the quantity), the mince pie pastry recipe is here (the best!), gingerbread biscuit recipe here (it's from Rachel Allen's "Bake", I use it every year for figures but haven't yet got round to making a gingerbread house) and the chocolate fruit cake recipe can be found here (I make this every year too - I'm not a fan of traditional Christmas cake and this (from Nigella's "Feast") is an excellent alternative)

The finished chocolate fruit cake is in the cake stand and dome (a recent bargain at £15 from Ikea) on top of the piano - I'm not fond of marzipan and icing either!

My favourite Christmas card illustration of this year.

Now a quick tour of the tidy bits of the house set for Christmas...

 Decorating the tree - they did a really good job, I didn't need to do any re-arranging after they'd finished.

Christmassy piano.

Christmas cactus flowering right on schedule (purely by chance!).

Christmas Eve.

Ready for Santa.

Christmas Day cat.

Christmas Day sky (as seen through the back door window) - look, blue bits!

Christmas Day sunshine. The dangling paper snowflakes I'd made last year made a re-appearance this year. I'd hoped to add to them, there's still time...

Christmas dinner. Just the four of us - how we like it.

This year I did remember to order new candle for the angel chimes, so there was one area where I was more prepared than last year.

New Christmas lights - a little blue white for my liking, I realise now that I prefer "warm" white.

Now to some photos of a little walk we made on Boxing Day - lots of images of fence posts, bare branches, black birds and wintry skies - such beauty in simple things at this time of year.

And today we made a little family bike ride to the loch. The sun struggled to break though the clouds and later on we had flurries of snow.

And finally, for the record, a round-up of a few photos from earlier in the month, when it was still cold and clear.

 The moon at sunrise.

 Globe thistle.

 Hypericum berries.


 Frozen sandpit accoutrements.
 Sunset sky.

 Christmas lights.

Program and notes from my last concert before Christmas and probably the point at which I most felt I had that Christmas feeling. A friend came along to listen and brought her daughter and A too. I think they enjoyed it, sort of - it's not quite Gangnam Style I suppose...

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Almost there! Quite a few jobs still to be done but most of the presents are wrapped, the cake is baked (though I've no idea where the cake decorations are), we have a mince pie mountain and I got the cards posted in time  - woohoo - but still have to deliver the ones to the neighbours, oops. And...

... I finished the snake! I had to stay up to the wee small hours last night and the night before to do so and my left hand still aches. No more crochet snakes for me for the foreseeable future, thank you!

The children are super excited, how well will they sleep tonight I wonder...

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas,

Anne x

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Ta Da...

One Christmas crochet request fulfilled...

Can you guess what it is yet? The colours were carefully selected by N as it will be one of his Christmas presents.

Green, brown and black...

...with a little bit of red and cream. And some buttons...

I expect it's obvious now. Sssssssssssss!

Now, where to position the eyes...

Eh, I don't think so...


But I like this way best.

Tada! One crocheted snake. I used this (free!) pattern for the head and body but with my own random stripes and a more gradual decrease in girth towards the tail. For the tongue I did something like ch15, 1 ss in 2nd ch from hook, 1 ss in next 5 ch, ch7, 1 ss in 2nd ch from hook, ss to end, turn and ss back up to beginning of fork, fasten off. For the cream part of the eyes I did ch4, join with ss, ch2, (UK)tr into ring x14, join with ss, fasten off.

Photo shoot time...

He's bigger than I expected - from the tip of his tongue to the tip of his tail he's 130cm long.  Now he's been hidden till he's wrapped for the big day.  I hope N likes him, he did really want one he'd seen in a shop (Ikea) but I persuaded him to let me make him one instead - I did wonder what exactly I'd committed myself to once I'd got started, but now that he's complete I'm rather pleased with him and am glad I made the effort.

If you've been paying attention you'll have noticed I made two tongues and four eyes. Why? Because once A heard N was getting a snake made she decided she'd like one too. Here are the colours she has chosen:-

Now to get hooking again, the deadline is looming!


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