Whilst looking everywhere for an old tin full of the Lego I had as a child (DN has got into Lego in a big way lately and we wanted to find it for him), I stumbled across a box full of old photos.
A chubby-chops aged one.
Me on the right with my sister and Dad in the Victoria Gardens in Bath. We always had a couple of days out in Bath each year and always visited the Victoria Gardens to see the floral clock and characters made out of flowers. One year they did The Wombles, bigger than life size and all from flowers.
I vividly remember these dresses which Mum made us, they had a very brightly coloured floral pattern, lace around the neckline and, best of all, bell sleeves. I thought I was the bees knees in this dress.
Me aged about 11 in another Mum-made dress and my 'should have gone to Specsavers' glasses. I hated wearing glasses with a vengeance and wouldn't have been seen dead in them if my teacher hadn't insisted I wore them at all times. These days, thankfully, I only have to wear glasses for watching TV or driving.
Me aged about 20. Technology had moved on a bit by then and we had colour film in our camera. I can't believe that I ever looked that young, was that thin, and that I knitted the cardigan I'm wearing. I know I'd never have the patience to knit a garment for myself these days.
Oh, and the tin of Lego is still missing.
As always Christmas day came and went so quickly. All those weeks of planning and preparation leading up to the big day, and then - phhht - it's all over again for another year.
A good time was had by all and DN has proved to be the fastest unwrapper of presents in the world. If paper ripping was ever made an Olympic sport he'd definitely win gold. This was his piece de resistance present-wise.
An incredibly fast go-kart. For a four-year-old DN has an amazing ability to use a steering wheel and is quite the little speed freak. Maybe he'll be the next Lewis Hamilton!
I had some gorgeous presents too. Among other things there were -
A lovely Sylvac bowl from DN (chosen with a bit of help from his Mummy).
A set of four vintage Alfred Meakin dessert dishes and a serving bowl from my sister.
From my Mum, a lovely china Scottie dog brooch.
And this wonderful Scottie dog clock.
Everyone had at least one handmade present from me, and my brother-in-law had requested some knitted organic cotton face flannels at the 11th hour so his present was totally handmade. I also gave Mum one of Hilda May's beautiful padded camera cases.
It's just the right size and thickly padded so the camera can't be damaged.
Hope you all had a good time over Christmas too.
Just a quick post to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and to pass on this YouTube clip my brother in law sent to me.
Hope you find it as amusing as Mum and I did.
Claire at Pinky and Boo had some of her delightful embroidered Christmas stockings for sale last week and I just couldn't resist this gorgeous cat one.
I was very tempted to keep it for myself but I knew Mum would really like it so I gave it to her as an early Christmas present. Mum can only have unbreakable Christmas decorations these days as the high-white half'-wit, aka Lily, isn't be able to leave anything alone.
Here is the miscreant in question in all her furry gorgeousness, and looking rather petulant. I think there is a definite resemblance to the cute embroidered cat on the stocking, although if Lily was that close to a Christmas tree she would be swiping the ornaments off, not carefully putting them on.
Claire knew my plans for the Christmas stocking and so very kindly sent me a pincushion as well.
Thank you so much for that Claire - the pincushion is gorgeous (as is the Christmas stocking), and will get a lot of use in the New Year.
I've been doing just a little bit of thrifting lately. Now I'm reduced to charity shops alone (no car boots for at least another three months - and I've got terrible withdrawal symptoms already!), my choice of thrifted items has plummeted, but I did manage to find one or two useful things these last few days.
I know this book is waaaaaay too late for this year but it'll come in useful for next. It's a large-format hardback book and has lots of different projects to make for Christmas. What I particularly like is that it gives lots of templates for useful Christmas shapes like robins, stars, hearts and Christmas stockings. It was only 50p and for that money it would have seemed a shame not to bring it home.
These fabric dye sticks were also 50p and from the same charity shop as the book. They've obviously been used once or twice but there stills seems to be a lot of life left in them. I've never tried this sort of medium for fabric dye, but the instructions seem pretty straight-forward so I reckon it'll be worth a dabble.
And today in Billericay I got this bundle of pastel-coloured linen table napkins, also for 50p. I intend to cut them up and use them as embroidery fabric for some of my cards - it'll make a change from using the usual cream-coloured linen.
I had a bit of time to spare whilst I was in Billericay and used it by having a look around a lovely shop they've got there called The Emporium. It's an off-shoot of Billericay Cook Shop and stocks all sorts of lovely china, table linen, place settings etc. What I hadn't realised until today is that they've got a large section at the back of the shop which is full of all sorts of unusual laundry items, cleaning products, and washing-up accoutrements. I thought in the New Year I might go in and see if they would be interested in stocking some of my hand-knitted cotton dishcloths.
They had all sorts of washing-up brushes, sponges, bowls etc etc, but no cotton dishcloths so, fingers crossed, these might be just the thing they'd like to add to their range. Anyway, I'll see what they say in the New Year, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
P and I braved the arctic temperatures in the loft and dug out the Christmas decorations, so yesterday afternoon I spent a very pleasant hour or so decorating the tree.
This is the 12th Christmas that we've used this little artificial tree. It's the one I bought one warm and sunny May afternoon at a scout jumble sale in Nottingham for £1. I got some very odd looks carrying it back along a very busy main road, but every Christmas it comes out and, with a few tweaks of the branches, looks as good as new. Every single bauble on the tree is vintage, glass, and bought for pennies at a car boot, jumble sale or charity shop. The tinsel is also probably vintage by now as goodness knows how many years I've had it. It does tend to shed a bit and I know I'll still be picking odd bits of tinsel out of the carpet in midsummer!! Instead of the traditional English fairy on the top of the tree we have a glass 'sptiz' which is more a German tradition (P is a German-speaking Swiss), although it was bought in this country. This year, for probably the first time ever, I've managed to get it to stand upright, it usually leans at a some odd drunken angle. The lovely little fairy lights were bought new last year from Woolworths - they were some incredibly silly price like £2.99 for 200 lights.
I also got extra carried away this year and took down the usual ornaments from the mantlepiece so that I could have plenty of room for my Christmas bits and bobs.
The wooden Santa and two wooden trees were from a charity shop in Bristol years ago, and the nice little wooden reindeer was found in Oxfam in Billericay just after Christmas last year, so it's a first-time outing for him. In the background is one of my little Matryoshka dolls.
On the other side are two felted reindeer from Cath Kidston, I bought those in London last year as they were probably the cheapest items in the shop, the reindeer tea-light holder which I got in a charity shop last month, and another of my dolls.
I never put up the Christmas decorations when I don't think of the Christmas many many years ago when I was a child and we had a sweet little silver tinsel tree which stood in a red wooden bucket that you had to fill with sand to make it stable. This tree was always well decorated with glass baubles (I don't think there were any other kinds in the 1960s) and stood with pride right on top of the telly. We had an enormous tabby cat called Paddy who just would not leave the baubles alone. One Christmas Eve there was a tremendous crash from the living room and we all rushed in to find Paddy had swiped the tree extra hard, knocking it over, and spilling sand right down the back of the telly. I thought my Dad was going to have a fit - he spent hours blowing sand out of the back of the TV and swearing loudly at the cat. Ah, happy Christmas memories.
I had the loveliest of surprises this morning when the doorbell rang and the postman handed me a large box. I had no idea what it was until I looked at the return address and realised it had been sent by the lovely Gill over at Lucy Locket. I knew I'd won some red and white stripey string the other week when Gill was offering some in a giveaway but had been expecting that to arrive in an envelope. I'm afraid I was waaaaaaaay too impatient to fetch my camera before I started opening the box but just have a look at the wonderful goodies I received.
The sweetest little cat and dog Christmas tree ornaments. Their timing was impeccable as I'm intending to put up the Christmas decorations this weekend (providing I can persuade P to get up into the loft and fetch the boxes down!)
A large drum of Cinnamon Sticks - ideal for festive cooking, and also used a great deal by Nigella so I can see these soon getting used.
A lovely generous amount of the aforementioned red and white string - just the ticket for tying festive parcels.
But best of all was a selection of gorgeous cards / gift tags which the very talented Gill makes herself.
Featuring vintage images, ric-rac and buttons - all my favourite things.
I particularly love these two - they are so feminine and pretty.
Gill, these cards are superb - you really should start selling them - and THANK YOU SO MUCH for all these lovely things, you've made my day.
It was certainly serious brass monkey weather in Essex this morning. There was a thick thick frost overnight and it took until mid-day for it to properly clear - and that was only in the bits that caught the sun, anything north-facing is still icy.
I was surprised by the strength that there is in the sun even now when we're nearly at the winter solstice (hurrah, roll on the sun heading back our way), and it was quite warm walking to the High Street - providing I was on the sunny side of the street.
These lovely slouchy socks knitted by my Mum are just the ticket for keeping my tootsies toasty and warm on cold mornings.
They're so much looser and more comfortable than wearing 'regular' socks about the house, and I love the cheerful colours of the self-striping sock yarn.
PS. I don't usually wear my trousers at half-mast, I had to hoik them up to show the socks off to their best advantage. And, may I say, it's really not that easy to take a photo of your socks when you're wearing them!!
This is next-door's cat Jester catching a few rays in a sunny corner of our garden this morning. This was as close as I dared get as Jester is not the friendliest of cats and can be easily scared. However, as I mentioned the other day, he is a demon mouser and has 32 'kills' to his name already, and those are only the ones that we know about.
Having discovered that some little rodent git had chewed through the packaging on an unused silk pashmina which P brought me back from Hong Kong last year, and has caused all sorts of damage, I'm really hoping Jester can up his kills considerably in the near future. This is the second mouse evidence we've discovered in the last few days - the first was mouse dirts under the cushion of the settee. I'm hoping that all damage was done by Mistress Mouse before she was caught and packed off to live near the turkey farm in a local village. We know there is another mouse that comes in to the house on occasions and he can be heard gnawing away on the bottom of the kitchen shelves from time to time. We've called him 'Maurice Le Souris' and, despite three or four evictions with a pointy stick, the little blighter keeps coming back in. We identified a couple of weak points near air bricks where we thought he might be sneaking in and have blocked those off but he's still getting in as we've both heard him gnawing away with gusto this past weekend, the sneaky little swine. So come on Jester stop lying about in the sun, the neighbourhood needs you to get mousing ASAP.