Posts Tagged ‘christmas’
In London this morning, on my way to the supermarket – a five-minute cycle ride – I spotted so many pretty festive wreaths.
Grr, blurry above. I just can’t tell when the stupid viewfinderless camera isn’t focusing where I want it to.
There’s a fine selection of wreaths at Not on the High Street. Too late for this Christmas, of course, but plenty of ideas there for do-it-yourself wreaths for next year, if you’re that way inclined.
And there is a link to how to make a felted ball wreath rather nicer than those being sold online, on the Pickles website, which you can read about it an old post.
This last one reminds me of one I used to have. But on my door this year is a very simple, cheap wreath from Sainsbury’s because last year, on Christmas Eve, ours was stolen. At least at Spring Cottage, that’s not so likely to happen. At least I hope not, so here it is – made from holly and berries from the garden.
Postscript: it turns out that I’m not the only one with a thing for wreaths at this time of year. There are some lovely ones over at Charlotte’s Plot as well.
This is my favourite week of the year – between Christmas and New Year, before everything cranks up to full pitch again. Nothing coming into my inbox. Time to do mending and baking. Children where they ‘should’ be – asleep in their beds. Daily life muted. I feel like I want time to stand still. I don’t really – I’d get cabin fever and be bored, restless and irritable. But for the moment, this quiet is wonderful. Savouring how great life is, how lucky I am, is wonderful. So I’m preserving it here.
It always takes me ages to decorate the tree, as it involves a trip back through Christmas memories. We have many ornaments that were my parents’, including a couple of bent and yellowing wax candles in clip-on holders that must date from the early sixties (the last time they were brave enough to have real candles on the tree). I can remember this vaguely – the tree looking enormous from my perspective as a tiny girl. A candle snuffer sellotaped to a long pole so that they could be put out added to the excitement. And the smell of warming pine needles.
I only use a few of our really ancient decorations but have to feel them and look at them all every year, so getting on with the tree takes far longer than it should.
Then there is all the tissue paper that the baubles are wrapped in. I threw some of it away this year as it really was in shreds. But for me, there is a special magic connection in knowing that some of it was first used by my mother to wrap these silvery balls, as she has been dead these 34 years.
There are new things too like this huge fox; the brainchild of my daughter when she was around ten. And so we move on into the future.
This year’s bumper crop of berries in the hedgerows meant that I picked loads of blackberries and sloes to preserve. I’ve made sloe gin and vodka, as well as blackberry jam. I was rather random about how much sugar I added, rather than dedicatedly following a recipe this year, so we will see how it all works out. Or not. Some of it is going as Christmas gifts, and people may be too polite to tell me if it’s revolting…
Bottles from Lakeland.
Cheap gin and vodka from wherever.
Strain through muslin. (Just worked out why it’s also known as cheesecloth. Duh.)
Here are some other blogposts about doing this:
- Sloe Gin Specials (valetales.wordpress.com)
- Homemade Sloe Gin (talesfromthefarm.wordpress.com)
- Sloe Gin & Sloe Vodka (jamesbonfieldrecipes.wordpress.com)
- Sloe Train (fifesmallholder.wordpress.com)
- Sloe progress (decoratorsnotebook.wordpress.com)
I’ve finally got around to ordering the curtains that I wrote about almost nine months ago. I’ve gone for this:
which will look very nice – actually a lot bluer and brighter than the picture makes it appear – with the other things in the living room. But now the fabric is out of stock. As it comes from France, where they’re on holiday for the whole of August, it will be ages until they are made and finally arrive. Typical. Now that I’ve made up my mind, I want them immediately! I’ve ordered them from Tinsmiths in Herefordshire, which is a wonderful source of beautiful household objects and natural fabrics.
While I’m on the subject of opportunities for financial leakage, I came across Cox and Cox this week, who have a nice range of gift wrapping materials, amongst other things. Thanks to a certain London department store, I have already been reminded that Christmas is just around the corner (doesn’t life feel it’s passing quickly enough, as it is? Really!), so this discovery is quite appropriate. I love having wrapping paper that stands out from the crowd and this rather Scandinavian design, which also evokes the herds of red deer close to Spring Cottage, is making my ‘order now’ finger itch.