Saturday 31 December 2011

We bid you farewell 2011

It has been one of those years.  I can honestly say it has been the hardest year of our lives.  Life has been turned upside down.  Challenges thrown at us left, right and centre.  But the thing that has got us through it all has been family (and friends).  If there is anything to be taken from this year it is how important it is to have friends and family.

As a family we have been wanting to see the back of 2011 for quite a while, and it hasn't been able to come quick enough for our liking.  But we are on the cusp of change now, we have clean, fresh year ahead of us, where I feel friends and family will be just as important, but hopefully there will be far more joy, fun, love, laughter.

I know of some families where it looks like 2012 is going to be a tough year, and I hope and pray that they too have the support of friends and family for when times are tough.

I wish you all many blessings for this coming year


Thursday 29 December 2011


 We got into the Christmas spirit with a trip on the steam train at Kidderminster to go see Santa.  We were greeted by the most vivid rainbow, which this picture really does not do justice to.
 A trip in the buffet car through a rainy countryside was very atmospheric.
 Our destination, Arley.  Steam trains coming and going. 
 Sophie dancing to the music provided by the brass band whilst we munched on roast chestnuts whilst queuing  to see the man himself.
 I was very impressed with Santa's reply to Sophie's request for a skateboard, a simple "I will see what I can do!"  Although she was initially rather disappointed with the teddy she was given, as she expected a skateboard there and then!
 Other preparations included the blanket.  Finished, but not edged, in case Stan wanted it any larger.  It was very touching giving it to him on Christmas Day, and my fears of it upsetting him were unfounded. I think it is fair to say he likes it.
 A typical scene.  This was eating more roast chestnuts, whilst supping mulled wine.
 Alec made sure Santa knew where we had put the gifts for him.
 The Christmas meal went smoothly, and was quite a feast.
 There was of course lego as well.  Ethan built this all by himself.
Just snippets, there was so much crammed into quite a few days, with visits from my aunt, uncle and Grandpa, Stuart's brother and his family, Stan stayed with us for 5 days before going to stay with his daughter in Wales, and my brother came to visit.

There were classical concerts listened to and watched, Grandma bags given out in memory of Jean, plenty of toys played with, too much food eaten, and many more things.  We were all facing a different Christmas, but it has been lovely, surrounded by so much family.  Truly special.

Saturday 17 December 2011

An apple for the teacher

This morning I learned a lesson.  I spent 10 minutes watching Sophie eating an apple.  She was solely focussed on the apple, turning it over in her hands finding the best spot to take the next bite.  She would peel the skin off with her teeth, slurp the juices, suck at the apple, experiment with different techniques of chewing the apple in her mouth.  It is fair to say she thoroughly enjoyed the apple. 

It got me thinking, how often do I actually sit down and focus on what I am eating.  Usually I pick up some food and eat it whilst busy doing something else.  I remember those times as a child, eating my food so slowly, finding the best place to take a bite from that apple.  Food was truly a pleasure.  Even if I did get told off for "playing" with my food. 

Whilst I have been reading and trying to be mindful of the things I do, it looks like I have the best teacher right here in our midsts. 

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Rudolph is ready to fly

Here he is all finished.  Trying to get him in natural light is pretty hard at this time of year.  Trying to get hold of him full stop is pretty hard too, as a certain little girl seems to think he is rather cute, and doesn't want him to go to someone else!!

It is a great feeling at this time of year, having had so many projects on the go, to be slowly ticking them off, and I must admit that I rather like Rudolph, even if he looks nothing like the original pattern!
As for reading, I've been working my way through "The Heart of the Buddha's teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh.  So much makes sense to me, I just wish I could remember all the words that are used to describe a concept, it makes my brain hurt at times!!

Linking up with Ginny for her weekly yarn along.

Monday 12 December 2011

Seven Days

 Well, it started with a "bang" quite literally!  We have a horrible feeling this will be the end of this 20 year old Mazda MkI.
 Ethan was in a school play, where he was a redundant teacher (a modern day slant on the Christmas Carol, and perhaps a tad topical!)
 We did some baking.
 Had a mini celebration of Bodhi Day.
 Made decorations with our first attempt at drying orange slices.
 More pictures of the Guild meeting.
And this last picture isn't from this week, but links to Gimli's very brief adventure in a tumble drier!  Thank goodness Sophie had seen him climb in there, she really did save his life.

Joining in with Jacqui at the Barefoot Crofter, for a glimpse at our seven days.  Which, if I am honest, have been a bit too eventful for my liking this week!

Saturday 10 December 2011

The Guild competition

 The day of the bag competition.  Three tables jam packed with handmade bags.  I dread to think how many hours of work was represented there!  There were woven bags, felted, and knitted, of all shapes and sizes.  One thing is for certain, there is alot of talent represented within the guild.  We all were able to vote for our favourite bag, not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  But the overall winner was this beautiful felted, appliqued and machine stitched bag by Ruth.
 We then turned our hands to some needle felting.  It is something I have wanted to do for ages, and have even asked for some needles for Christmas, so to get to have a play before hand was a real treat.  I made too little plaques, one abstract...
 ...and one more seasonal.
Needless to say I am "hooked"!! 

A lovely evening, which ended all too soon (a sign of a good time!)  Came away with the programme for next year, which looks to introduce me to even more elements of fibrecraft I have yet to discover!

Friday 9 December 2011

The hazards of being a crafting cat owner

 I seem to have a little helper at the moment, although there have been many moments that have not been caught on camera too!  My latest lot of bunting had some feline help.
 And he also decided to rearrange my fleece!  It makes a very good bed apparently!
 The crocheted blanket is for his use alone.
 And he even started when he was really young, helping me ply some wool!  Wish I had my camera when he was trying to investigate the flyer on the wheel!  Or the time he strewed wool from my stash in the lounge, all the way upstairs into the study!
He's a multi-talented cat!

Wednesday 7 December 2011

The journey

 Back in about March time, it was a bag of golden "fluff".  Not sure what kind of sheep this wool had come from, or what it had been dyed with but a bought some from a friend who had got some from a guild she attended.  Despite it being carded, it was still fairly bobbly, and quite a coarse feel to it.  But as a beginner it was great to practice on.  So it slowly moved on to this...
 ...and then got plyed...
 ...and the the Guild I attend announced a competition to make a bag, to be made for May 2012.  The golden spun wool sprang to mind, as it was really too rough for anything to be in touch with your skin.  And I fancied having a go at cable.  Found a pattern for an easy cable bag
 As I started knitting, ideas developed as to how to adapt the pattern, so I decided to add a wide shoulder strap, with cable down the middle and moss stitch at the side.  I also decided I wanted a flap to make the bag hold together a bit better.  I had wondered about felting it to make it more sturdy, but decided that was a risk I was not willing to take, so decided to line it instead, and this is what I have come up with.

The competition has been moved forward to this Friday, so finished just in time.  I know there is no chance of winning, as I am only in my first year of spinning, but hey, I am so proud of my first proper make with my homespun wool. 

I am joining in with both Ginny and Spinspiration this week, and figure this covers both.  But as for reading, there have been way too many deadlines to meet to be able to settle to anything!!

More bunting

 Just added these to the shop, on the off chance that someone would like some festive bunting.
No blessings this time, just plain old bunting!

Monday 5 December 2011

Preparations Davies style

 The advent reindeer has taken it's place in the dining room again, with each sack full of ideas for the day, ranging from making things such as paper snowflakes, or beeswax garlands, to more simpler things for those busy days such as hot chocolate with marshmallows.

We have put the Christmas tree up, with Alec playing jingle bells on the guitar, and Luke playing drums on anything he can hit!
 We had Gene Aubrey (I think) singing many winter-y/ Christmas songs to us whilst we decorated the house, and that prompted our dancer (aka Ethan to strut his stuff!)
 We had a Christmas angel!
 And Gimli was eyeing up the tree with great interest.
 Sophie insisted that we were not having a fairy at the top of the tree, but a dinosaur!  So Luke very kindly drew a dinosaur to adorn the tree.  You never know, it might have been a part of the Christmas story that was overlooked!!
 I love the way our Christmas tree has a history to it, with many homemade decorations on it.  Alec made this lego Father Christmas and sleigh the other day...
 ...a ping pong ball covered with papier mache and painted, ready for our first Christmas tree in our first house together 16 years ago...
 ...A pine cone the children decorated a few years ago, and a reindeer made by Ethan at Beavers last year...
 ...a terracotta Christmas tree made by Luke a few years ago...
 ...the Christmas fairy that Ethan made, which has been relegated to further down the tree (I love the vines that he has going up over her dress).
 Sophie also has her own Christmas tree in her room, complete with dinosaur atop!
We are trying to make this Christmas special, and different.  It will  different in many ways, and hard too, but for the sake of the children we are trying our very best.