Happy Belated Christmas and Happy New Year to you all my friends. Has it really come and gone already? I seem to have been working my butt off for weeks and I don't think I sat down for more than 30 minutes on Christmas Eve and I was still wrapping presents at lunchtime on Christmas Day... deary me. I'm sorry I didn't blog about the joys of running around like a maniac with a crazed look in my eyes; but perhaps it was better that way! We had 8 of us in this tiny house then a couple of days without visitors then my father come, who is still with us. I have now managed to draw breath and finally sit down and attempt this -
a knitted Fox Terrier from the wonderful book Best in Show by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne (knit your own dog) I got the book for my birthday and have saved it for Christmas. I haven't knitted for years so it's been a lovely change.
And snow? Well the whole country had been brought to complete standstill but down here in Devon in our seaside town we only got a lightish dusting. Grr.
Just 20 minutes or so up the road it was thick but not near me. Oh no. I'm beginning to think I'm a repellent for snow I really am. And we didn't even get a single day off school! It has been lovely and cold though.
My next post will show you what my darling husband bought me for Christmas and some exciting news...well exciting to me perhaps not so exciting to anyone else so don't lose any sleep over it just in case you are bitterly disappointed and hate me!
Here we are now in the no-man land that is the time between Christmas and New Year where, in our house, the days merge into each other and you find yourself still in your pyjamas at 3pm and doing such things as having a clapping competition with your brother!
I didn't take many photos on Christmas Day or on Christmas Eve when the house was looking clean and tidy ready for the family to arrive and all my new sewing projects were put to use; so I took some today when some of the family had gone home or gone into town to find a Keira Knightley calendar..mmm I wonder who that could have been...
Anyway, now I can show you what I have been making for the last few weeks as everyone has been given their gifts. It is Tif's lovely Crochet Popcorn Garland. I had grand plans to make it for everyone this year but despite making at least 100 metres of it I didn't think that there was enough for seven 6ft Christmas trees (I roughly estitmated that that would be the tallest tree most of them would have.) so my plans were changed and only 2 friends got a Garland. I used the yarn that belonged to one of my friend's mother who is no longer with us so I was very excited to give it to her because of the sentiment attached to it.
On Christmas Eve I finally put on my new CK bedlinen I bought in York.
It's called Bouquet and I really love it as it goes well with our yellow Sanderson wallpaper as there is some yellow in it. (It looks a bit crumpled now as it has been used for a night or five.) I'm still not sure that I like the bed painted blue but I'll give it a go for a while.
And here, on the floor, are the new books I got for Christmas. There is something so satisfying about a pile of new books by your bed just waiting there to be dipped into.
And let me show you my earring tree given to me for my birthday. I love it so much but I'm hesitant to hang many earrings on it as I don't want to detract from the lovely pattern and birds.
Righty-o let's move onto the kitchen and I will show you how I have disguised the black draining board that is so warped it looks like Mt Kilimanjaro with the help from some Sarah Smith cloths. Thank God for Sarah Smith I say.
Last week I bought a pack of her red with white spots large as a T towel cloths. What a difference it made when we covered the mouldy, sloping draining board. The cloths are super absorbent and which meant we didn't have to use half a roll of kitchen towel to dry the draining board down. We had hoped to have changed the damaged board before Christmas. It looks so bad I'm ashamed when people come over so why I hadn't thought about covering it with absorbent cloths goodness only knows.
from some linen union called Paris Rose from good ol' Cath again. So that is it folks - all my recent sewing projects. Phew, now you must excuse me as I need a cup of tea and I have already made a start on next Christmas's presents. xx
I hope you all had a good, joyful and peaceful Christmas.
2.55 pm Christmas Eve. Just saying goodbye to some dear friends when there is a knock at the door. On opening the door I see a young man in a florescent jacket. I look at him waiting for him to say what he wants. Our friends behind me also look at him. A number of seconds pass that feel like minutes so I say something like," Yes, what do you want.how can I help you?"
5 pairs of eyes look at him. I begin to feel slightly uncomfortable on his behalf.
After what seems an age he then says to me,"Er,is your mother in?"
We all erupt with loud screams and laughter and I almost clutch him to my ample bosom.
Anthony then pushes through the throng and deals with the poor bewildered man while we still laugh and tell him how much he has made my day/Christmas/year.
3.04 pm Christmas Eve. Standing in the kitchen preparations almost done, family on their way, listening to the first bars of Once In Royal David's City from Carols at Kings. Thanking God that I can enjoy my favourite moment of the year once again.
Hearing the laughter and watching everyone interact.
Loving Tom's generosity by discovering that Tom had secretly bought the family a Wii with his earnings from his part time job.
Seeing dolphins from Berry Head on our Boxing Day walk.
No migraines despite laughing and working hard.
Loving my new CK bedlinen and tidy bedroom! But more about that tomorrow.
What were your favourite bits?
::Happiness:: Grocery shopping done with Anth at 7am this morning, which was actually rather stress free and enjoyable. Sewing done. Dull,icy cold weather. Roaring fire. Anth's last day at work. Christmas music playing. All my children in the house. Thought of family arriving tomorrow.
::Relief:: Unbeknown to me as I wrote my blog post yesterday morning, Anth fell off his bike in front of a car on his way to work. Life could have changed for us all in just a few seconds and today could have been a very different day.
Has it been and gone already?
This year our Christmas has been rather different to our usual one. Due to unforeseen circumstances many things didn't get crossed off my ever growing list and.. well, the list had to go and I just had to deal with it. It made me think of how important I felt my 'role' of being 'the creator of Christmas magic' was. But in reality my family would rather see me with a smile on my face rather than me disappearing through the door trying to cross off another job on my list. And as I stood in the kitchen on Christmas Eve at 3pm (officially my favourite time of the year) still cleaning and rushing about - Carols at Kings College started and I just stopped what I was doing took a deep breath and gave thanks that I could meet that most loved moment with no real sadness in my life.
And so our Christmas started, lacking in many of the details I had decided must be done, but certainly not lacking in warm, family cheer. This year we had some of our New Zealand family with us (our oh-so-grown-up niece and nephew and their partners) which was simply wonderful. They took it all in their stride the fact that I served up what I thought was Bucks Fizz on Christmas morning only to discover it was non-alcoholic and a year past it's use by date. And then 'forgot' to make the trifle because I spent far too long playing with my new toy!
Oh, I'm such a lucky girl to have an iphone. Bless that husband of mine who agreed to me changing my mobile for this wonderful invention, even when we should be watching the pennies... I can't rate it highly enough and I can't keep my hands off it! So many things have been 'forgotten' because of what the family call my 'iphone moments'.
But, it hasn't been all iphone love. No. I started a new Christmas craft project especially to do in front of the fire (and if I'm honest, the Christmas TV!) this holiday. I saw in the December edition of Good Homes magazine a wonderful home of a lady called Nicki Trench. She had some round crochet cushions on her bed and knitted sofa which immediately caught my eye. Hooray for magazines - more inspiration!
So the last few days, in between visitors and that no-man's land between Christmas and New Year; I've been settled in front of the fire
crochet on lap and of course my iphone's not too far away. I've done one circle already and am on the next but I'll soon need to try and find a pattern for a lacy edging. Only problem being our tree is blocking the bookcase! There's always something but thank goodness for that trusty iphone with it's internet
access, I'll just have to do a quick search. That is after the New Year's Eve trifle has been made!
I hope you had a Merry Christmas. We did; only slightly marred by Matthew and Lucy feeling poorly. It was a warm family time punctuated by much laughter and those special moments. I don't know if it's my age but I have been so aware recently of the fleetingness of life that when I experienced what I call 'my perfect moments', I fully embraced them - letting the present moment enfold me and soaking up the joy knowing that I will unpack the memory when I need it in future.
My first moment was my usual one...at 3pm on Christmas Eve in my kitchen awaiting the family's arrival and listening to the heavenly voice of the chorister singing those first few bars of Once In Royal David's City on Radio 4. It's when my Christmas really begins and with damp eyes I send up a little prayer of thanks.
I think my favourite happened 2 hours later whilst standing in church between my husband and my mother singing carols. A few years ago there was a time when I thought that I would never do that again as my mother was seriously ill and it was made all the more poignant as a dear friend has recently lost her mother.
But the unusual happened too - during the marathon of dish washing I saw a tiny dog trot down our path. We caught it and little Pepe then spent the afternoon sitting on Poppa's knee whilst we tried to contact it's owners. After 3 hours he was claimed but it was slightly surreal at the time and I was beginning to wonder if we were suddenly going to have a dog for Christmas.
Have you also noticed that my indoor photographs are not blurry? That's because Anth bought me a tripod, yay! I also got some lovely books, GHD hair straighteners (for all the Goble girls and wow they are good) GreenGate tins and the absolutely gorgeous Miss Matty who I will introduce to you tomorrow (or the next day!)
Hope your day was just as you wished it...without runaway, tiny dogs!
2 more posts - who was I kidding! And now Christmas Eve is upon us. The photo is the back cover of this book
which is just full of what it says on the cover, vintage holiday graphics. Only one complaint, and that is the picture on the back cover says Xmas - a word never used in the Goble household as we never take Christ out of Christmas!
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy and Joyful Christmas. Thank you for all the good wishes. I will raise a toast to all absent friends tomorrow and think of you all. And finally I would like to share my favourite Christmas blessing with you,
May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Joseph & Mary,
and the peace of the Christ child
be yours this Christmas.
Today has been the first day I've had at home in nearly a week. And during the last few days all I've been yearning to do is hang these crochet shapes from our chandelier in our bedroom! Funny that, how something so simple brings such anticipation.
It's also the simple things that catch my eye and make me think ah, there's a good photo. Like my bag of fabric violets I bought yesterday. Violets in a holly patterned paper bag. The unexpected.
Life has somewhat slowed down this afternoon - a short lull before the family arrive. And some things have had to go by the wayside, but I'm breathing a little easier. My apologies in not answering your recent comments; you really are so generous in your encouragement and I'm forever calling Anth or the children over to read them. I should even get another post in or two before the big day. Until then...
I'm not sure if you remember this post from last year; but another highlight of my year - probably #436 - is buying the Christmas double issue of the Radio Times. I just love it and eagerly await it's arrival wondering about the seasonal cover and what telly visual delights the festive season will bring. I go as far as writing the day of it's arrival in the shops on our calender causing comments like, "Jane, what does 'RT out' mean on the calender?"
So imagine my disappointment when after reading that it was due out last Saturday I dashed to our corner shop in the most torrential rain (bringing not one but 2 plastic bags to keep it dry) only to discover, yet again, that it hadn't arrived. URRR! This happens every year..every year.. and I get a little desperate as I politely show the shop assistant the advertised date in the current issue.
"Doesn't really matter what it says...we don't have it!" they say with a sniff.
Well, 3 days later it has finally fallen into my hands. Well actually my friend Catherine bought it for me at lunchtime today, (thanks again Catherine!)
And seeing the picture of Father Christmas reminded me of one of my sweeter moments yesterday... as the class were lining up to go and play outside, one little boy started rolling around on the floor and before I could tell him to stand up a little voice from the back of the line said,
"Quick, come and line up, Farmer Christmas is watching you know!"
He is indeed!
Thank you for all your wonderful comments about my flower sponges. I bought them from a shop in Totnes but they have a sticker on which says Foamulations Belmar, NJ 07719 USA. Hope that helps and I wish I could buy you all some. Goodness knows you all deserve it. Perhaps Farmer Christmas could help!
I've been waiting and waiting and I knew it would be today. Well, I hoped it would, as the publishers said it would be today (should I actually confess to ringing the magazine a month ago?) And it was today..the first of the Christmas magazines.
I made my nest. Infact it was a good day for magazines as we had some mail. We have had a postal strike and I hadn't expected anything but there on the door mat lay my first copy of Romantic Homes (I have subscribed) and my Easy Living. The blanket was one of 2 that I found in a charity shop on Saturday and cost only £3.50.
I never know how I should feel when I pick up handmade blankets and embroideries for only a few pounds or sometimes just a few pence. It doesn't feel right to have them change hands for so little when the time, effort and materials would have 'cost' much more. It makes me sad to see handmade things given so little value. But then I love a bargain and don't have too much spare cash so appreciate the low cost. My guilt is somewhat appeased by the fact that each item has a loving place in our home where it begins a new life. It makes me smile to think most of the paraphernalia in our home has been owned before. We have small histories of many different people. I like that and often wonder about them.
And I also like Christmas magazines...let the magazine season commence!
Merry and bright....me..now..no blooming way! I have just settled down to blog about my new Christmas book when I have just been told some awful news. I should really wait to calm down before I write this post but I want my blog to reflect the 'real' me and the 'real' me is so upset at this precise moment. You see I have just found out that my beloved Anna Raeburn has left the London radio station that I only recently found her on. Ahhhh! Anyone who knows me will know how at every available moment (car, sewing, walking, crocheting, dozing, cooking, ironing, gardening) I listen to Anna on her 2 hour afternoon show. How do I listen to a London show all the way down in Devon; the magic of Podcasting! I used to listen to Anna (who advises people on their problems) many years ago and suddenly she went off radar for years only to be rediscovered by me last November - she was back. Oh the joy!
If anyone asked me what was one of my highlights of 2006, finding Anna again was at the top of the list. I found that I could download her shows onto my ipod (and there are about 400 old shows) for a small fee and that was that. I am slowly working my way through them all. Perfect. I love radio shows that have the public ringing in to contribute because I love people and am always so curious (some could say nosy!!) about how people tick. Anna fulfilled this and so much more. She is such a wonderful woman, soft but takes no nonsense, and so wise. My ipod is so full, I can only download a few at a time. But that was the pleasure, knowing there were so many pleasurable hours of listening to catch up on. And now she has left..no one can tell me why. I am worried that they may remove the archives that I so love.
So there you have it, my first week at school which has been very tiring and trying with 29 new 4 year olds, quite a few headaches and now no Anna. What a bummer! I'm sorry, I so wanted to be merry and bright..
My new book is from the US Country Living magazine but is able to be bought at the UK Amazon ISBN -13:978-1-58816-636-4. It is giving me many excitable moments while I'm scanning the magazine racks for anything remotely Christmassy. Hopefully not long to wait..
There is definitely one thing I am adding to my Christmas list this year - a bigger ipod! I will now have to download all the Anna podcasts, just in case. Umm...really like that cool little red ipod nano... we'll see! And if by a miracle Anna may come across this little blog, thank you, I hope you are OK and I'm missing you already..
Hummmph. It's over and I'm feeling blue. Everyone is feeling sleepy and slow and I feel strange. I have just waved my father off on the train and in one way I'm glad to get the house back to normal (well, normal might be pushing it!) but I feel empty now that Christmas is gone. This is a normal (there's that word again) feeling for me in January and I now come to expect this and try to give myself something to look forward to, but it still takes me a few weeks to come around.
I have plenty of reading matter to inspire me! My present from Anth this year were some books. I have been buying them over the last 3 months and squirreling them away.
The photo is blurry and that is one New Years Resolution I am going to keep, to learn a bit more about my camera and editing. I was given The Seasonal Home by Kristin Perers. I think this is my favourite book of the lot. I bought an old copy and the photos are lovely. Next is The Handcrafted Wedding by Sarah Lugg. No, I'm not getting re-married - I saw an article in an old copy of Country Living (Aug 03) and I fell in love with Sarah's work. Exquisite details. This book is again an old one but it is fairly easy to get yourself a copy if you want one. Next is Shabby Chic's Sumptuous Settings by Rachel Ashwell, I don't think it is as nice as her other books, picture wise, but I haven't spent much time reading it yet. Next up, is Country Livings Floral Interiors by Judy Spours. Again another old book. Lovely. Last up is Cheap Chic by Emily Chambers. My 3rd favourite of the lot, I seem to be heading this way in how I want to decorate our home.
I think one of my favourite gifts was this box file from GreenGate given to me by my mother.
It is just right for keeping my smaller pictures in ready to stick them in my current inspiration book.
Thank you for all your good wishes over the Christmas holiday. I've been doing my blog for nearly a year now (end of this month) and it has been such a pleasure to 'meet' new friends. I love the fact that you take time to comment and show an interest in my mundane life - I never really thought that would touch me as it has and I hold my blog community close to my heart. Thank you. Thank you for reading and for joining me in my journey through 2006 - hey do you fancy sticking around for 2007?
As I have mentioned before, I absolutely love Christmas Eve and for me there is nothing more perfect than family gathering together around the fire and the wonderful anticipation of what is to come. Our Christmas Eve started slightly differently with a trip to the emergency vet as poor little Alfie had been scratching his tummy a lot and now he was unable to sit still for very long. The vet found out that he had something to do with his skin (a big long word!) and gave him an injection to help until he could be treated in 2 weeks. Poor little chap. Anyway, we were ready for the family to arrive and when the Carols from Kings College, Cambridge started at 3pm I knew that Christmas had finally started. I even shed a small tear or two with the loveliness of it all as it is a moment that I wait for all year, but that is only between us!
These are the children's stockings, well they're actually pillowcases. My friend has one of those very, very expensive sewing machines that embroiders and she did the names for me and the flowery bits. The children leave these by the fireplace ready for Father Christmas to come and fill them.
The next morning, nobody is allowed into the sittingroom until everybody is up and can share the wondrous moment.
Even Posy and Alfie were given a toy. We had a lovely day and everyone did their own bit to contribute to the day in some way. I particularly loved Alice's place name 'cards' for the lunch table.
The day went by in a blur and at one point in the evening after the marathon of present opening I sat back and actually wondered if all the planning, organisation and stress it produces was ever worth it as it was over in a few hours. I then remembered that Tom had given me a card to open that had been under the tree and in the quiet of the room I opened it...
...it was a lovely card with a gorgeous robin on it and inside he had put a £5 note and written.."Dear Mum, I thought you would like this card! Just to say I couldn't find you a present so I got you this instead. I love you very much and appreciate you organising Christmas, Love Tom P.S Sorry about my bad handwriting I have cold hands."
In an instant I knew that it had been worth every last stressful moment and that I would do it all over again next year....only this time I'm starting in August!
It's nearly upon us now and the house is looking more calm and festive. We are expecting Mum, Robin and Matthew tomorrow and just in case they wonder if they have come to the right house I have tied my bay wreath (well, it's hardly a wreath but a bunch of bay leaves from our ginormous bay tree) with Cath Kidston ribbon!
I have even found time to go on a 'charity run' (no..not actual running! Me, run! More a case of doing every charity shop in the town!) and I found this wonderful crochet blanket for Tom's room. Though he is not too happy about it, it hasn't been removed yet so here's hoping he secretly loves it.
It is just so vintage as I explained to him but he says it is just sooo sad... Even our bed has had a festive makeover.
Tomorrow, is my most favourite day of the year. Isn't the anticipation so much better than the actual event. Well, that's what I find. There is something so magical about Christmas Eve. I hope you enjoy yours.
The scene is almost set (can I ever be 'ready'?) Apologies for the blurry photo. My camera and I are falling out of love as it keeps misbehaving (or more like I don't know how to use it properly!) anyhow you can get the fuzzy picture!
The tree was put up, (finally..) yesterday afternoon. The children made it to Lapland but I must be the worst mother in the world or perhaps the only mother in the world that sends her children off to Lapland without a coat! I hardly slept with worry on Friday night but all was well and they had a magical time. I will ask them to blog about it themselves.
I love bringing out all my favourite decorations each year. About 3 years ago I fell in love with vintage baubles, and started collecting them.
I scour everywhere for them and now our tree has nothing but vintage. Well almost, I do have these..
These were from Aztec.
In the dining room at the front of the house I have hung white stars (some crochet ones) with white lace, ribbon or ric rac.
I just really, really wish that I lived in a snowy climate. I read people's blogs who are almost waist high in snow (well sometimes!) and I ache with longing as that is how I feel Christmas should be. So spare a thought for me when some of you are looking out over your winter wonderland...and if you listen hard enough you will hear me singing (pleading) from mild, wet Devon..'Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
A view of our sittingroom, 5 minutes ago. No tree, half decorated mantlepiece, no cards done, nothing posted...I could go on and on! I would like to tell you that this is the only room with work in progress but no, you can hardly walk down our hall or even enter the un-wreathed front door!
But watch this space, the children are off to Lapland today (Alice is better but has no voice) so I may get a chance to put the tree up before our visit to Cambourne (near Lands End) tomorrow!
It's all go in the Goble house..or not!
Here is our family Christmas card to all my blog friends wherever you may be. I wish I were able to send you all one personally but this will have to do! For 15 years, Anth & I have always photocopied a picture that one of the children have drawn, and this year it was Alice's turn. (It cut off the bottom of the card but I told her that no-one would notice!)
Here are some more..
..these are some of the earlier ones (circa 1990's) though there are a few missing. The very first one Tom did was a circle with legs, eyes and mouth who was meant to be baby Jesus! I've searched high and low but can't find it.
The pink 'Mary' card was last year's, drawn by Lucy, inspired by a vintage tag she found. We sent it with ribbon to hang and I think it is my favourite (sshh, you didn't read that!)
I am always surprised when we hear that people keep them year after year and one or two people have been inspired to start their own card making tradition. I like that!
So, please accept our Christmas greetings from our home to yours.x
The season of Advent is finally upon us and I am glad, though I have waves of rising panic washing over me already as I had hoped that I would have learned from previous years and not have left things to the last 2 weeks. I always start to hyperventilate and my voice raises an octave or two as I desperately try and remember all the 'How To Keep The Stress Out Of Christmas' articles that I have read in my numerous magazines in the unlikely case that I might hit on some magic formula that will transform me into the all singing and dancing Mummy I would like to be and not the one that I seem to become. Do I really want my children's Christmas memories to be of a mother running around in a vile mood because I decided to make everything myself? Umm... Though I keep saying, 'I'll be OK when I have just finished such & such' but I don't seem able to finish such & such!
The photo is of the children's advent calender - well we use it as a Advent calender. I saw one like it a few years ago in a magazine (where else!) and copied it. I have yet to fill it with sweets (see how unorganised I am).
Granny always sends us Advent calenders - not the vile chocolate cartoon type but the lovely old fashioned type. We also have the Snowman. We also have a Advent candle but that usually gets forgotten to be blown out and we suddenly realise we are at the 19th of December so it just sits for days waiting for the 19th and then I forget to light it!
How do you start your countdown?