Thursday, 22 December 2011

Yesterday's Solstice celebrations.

Yesterday we celebrated the Winter Solstice.

Dave and I rose early and drove up onto the moors to greet the sunrise.

Unfortunately it was quite overcast, though the view of the low lying mist in the valleys was quite beautiful.

No sun to be seen however.

Solstice 2011

 A very different picture to last year's snowy but clear Solstice Sunrise.

Solstice Sunrise 2010

We took a nice scenic route home driving through Teesdale and over Harthope Head (One of the two equally highest public roads in England) back into Weardale.

The rest of the day was spent preparing for our annual Solstice family meal.

The menu was -

Nibbles to begin-
Rye sourdough, chiabatta and prawns served with dips.
(Garlic - recipe from "The Takeaway Secret", olive oil and balsamic vinegar, mojo sauce ) along with olives, artichokes and spicy tomato and lentil soup shots with parsnip crisps.

Main course-
Organic roast chicken, organic roast silverside and belly pork with blackpudding.
Stuffing balls (Pork, sage & onion and pork, rosemary and cranberry)
Pigs in blankets
New potatoes
Roast potatoes
Roast parsnip
Yorkshire puddings

 A choice of cinnamon panacotta served with mulled fruits or Nigella's sticky toffee pudding served with either cream or ice cream.
The mojo sauce was very garlicky and was a big hit with everyone, I used smoked paprika which also gave a bit of a kick to it. I can definitely recommend it.

I have spent today recovering from all that cooking in preparation for cooking Christmas lunch, though thankfully that will only be for four of us rather than the ten I cooked for last night!

Love Linda xxx 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A new necklace make and swap updates.

I've just finished making a necklace as a gift for my middle daughter Rachael.

She has a thing for pirates but I didn't want to make this necklace overly piratey as I already used a pirate theme on this necklace that I made for her a while ago. I decided to just add a couple of sea themed charms to a bead cluster, just need to find a box for it now.

Talking of boxing up necklaces I found a box for the gothic lace collar I showed you on my last post, only problem is that it was turquoise and not at all gothy enough for Ellie. I decided to cover the top of the box with some of the lace halloween tablecloth I used as a veil on my halloween costume

I really like how it turned out.

Very goth don't you think?

I also need to update you on another Christmas swap that I took part in - The "Handmade Christmas Decoration Swap" hosted by Hookin' with LaaLaa.

I was paired with Sue from @ home and received a gorgeous package of Christmas loveliness.

I love everything, thank you Sue.

I can now show you the handmade part of what I sent to Sue.

Hand sewn felt tree ornaments each embellished with a single button. I also scented the stuffing with a gingerbread fragrance oil.

And last, but not least an update on my advent swap from LissyLou ..

I am so loving opening a new parcel each day. 

I can also now show you the other little project I made from the Cute and Easy Crochet Book that I blogged about here. It was for my advent swap, but I know that LissyLou has now opened this so I can show it to you.

 Love Linda xxx

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Jewellery Making

My eldest daughter Eleanore asked me to do a little repair on the necklace that I made for her last Christmas.

Eleanore is a confirmed lover of all things gothic and a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe so I based the necklace on The Raven.

As I had my jewellery making kit out I decided to get on with a couple of the projects I've been wanting to make for this Christmas. (They are for my daughters, but I'm quite safe showing them on here as they never read my blog.)

Earlier this year, I received a bracelet kit in one of the swaps I took part in. I felt it would be perfect for my youngest daughter Natasha.

I changed the pearl bead that came with the kit for the heart shaped bead as the hole in the one that came with the kit was too large for the head pin. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

I also made this...

for Eleanore.

I used a black lace "collar" that I sourced off ebay and attached black chain to either end and a fastener. I sewed on a shiny gunmetal/black mounted cabouchon and then added a little black bow. I do hope she likes it. 

I'm off now to look for some inspiration for a piece to make for middle daughter, Rachael, but before I go I'll leave you with an update on my advent swap goodies.

Linda xxx

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Simple Christmas Wreath (and Swap Updates)

Usually at this time of year I splash out between £15 & £20 on a fresh wreath for my door. In these times of austerity this seemed to me a little extravagant so I decided that something simpler and cheaper was in order. I purchased a white rustic heart from Wilkinson's for £3 and bought a lovely green and cream felt star decoration for £1. 50 from Brockbushes Farm Shop near Hexham. 

I found some organza ribbons in just the right shades of green to match the heart along with a cute green button and the result ...
I'm really pleased with how it turned out - not bad for less than a fiver!

I promised to keep you updated with the contents of my lovely advent swap, but first let me show you the beautiful goodies which arrived yesterday from Wendy for the Christmas Charity Shop Swap.

Such a lovely array of gorgeousness - (I wish you could smell that beautiful sachet at the front  - lavender, my favourite) Many thanks to Wendy. 

And finally - Days three to five of my advent swap.

Tissue case made from fabulous "recipe" printed fabric, cake toppers and cute little wooden ornaments for the tree.

Take care everyone, Love Linda 

Friday, 2 December 2011

Advent Swap

'Tis the season to be jolly ...

...and I've got plenty to be jolly about at the moment.

Christmas working in a primary school is a whole lot different to working in a secondary school.

 Working with the younger children and sharing their excitement is catching. I do so love their quirky little misunderstandings, such as the pupil today who wanted to know how to spell "Mary" so she could write "Mary Christmas" on the top of the card she was making. Another pupil told how the wise men gave Jesus a gift of "Frankenstein"

My middle daughter - mam to my lovely granddaughter has also told me that they will once again be staying with us on Christmas eve, so I will get to see our little Flic opening her pressies on Christmas morning.
In a way this brings me round to the title of this post my advent swap with LissyLou. On Saturday I received a huge box full of little advent parcels. As well as parcels for little ol' me, the wonderful LissyLou has also included a Christmas day parcel for Flic, and best of all, I will be able to watch her open it!

I've popped all my daily pressies in a basket and the two pressies for the 25th will go under the tree when it goes up tomorrow. 

I must say that the excitement of having a new advent parcel to open each day is making it a little easier to rouse myself on these dark dreary mornings - I can't wait to get downstairs and open my next one.

Day one...

... this gorgeous "postcard" ornament - isn't that a lovely sentiment?

And what a beautiful picture on the other side.

Day two...

...this oh so cute calendar which will take pride of place in my kitchen come the new year.

Tomorrow Flic is coming to stay for the night and will be helping me to put up the tree, so yet another thing to look forward to.

I'll keep you all updated on the advent gifts, not everyday, but probably in small batches.

love Linda xxx
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