Sunday, 22 December 2013

Hats Off to Christmas!

I haven't done much blogging just lately.  No time or is it no inclination?  I've been distracted.
One year I managed to post on my blog every day of December.

So it's hats off to those who are prepared for Christmas. Yesterday my husband and I were out doing some last minute shopping.
He does strange things at Christmas, like opening his wallet and buying a hat!

We stopped off for a coffee and shared a mince pie. He had the fork, I had the spoon.
 It looked good but we had to pull it apart. 
What a disappointment. Talk about a soggy bottom. 
                                                     I complained... Bah Humbug....

On down the road and these lonely trees were just waiting for someone to give them a good home.

                                          Longing to be adorned with Christmas ornaments.

                                      Like this one, made from a drinks can, by my friend Sharon.

                        Or this one below, stitched on plastic canvas, by Laura from my craft group.

                           Maybe a paper robin, made by my son Robert who is now 36 years old.

                   Perhaps a more recent paper cut bauble, made by my 28 year old son Richard.

     Topped off with a flashing star, a kit from Maplins, made by my son Philip now 35 years old.

Oh, I did feel sorry for those lonely trees.

This is my bit of Christmas craft for this year. I made a star printing block then printed on to wallpaper with black acrylic ink.  I added lots of glitter glue and glittery nail varnish and stitched the stars on to some corded wool to make a garland.

I hung some baubles on this dried flower arrangement. Somehow my husband caught his hat on it and half the baubles fell off.  I gave up! That's the Morrocan lantern I made for C&G. I put a light inside it when Christmas comes.

Didn't I say my husband acted strangely at Christmas? He bought a Santa Suit for a bargain price.

I did some Christmas baking -  Lemon Drizzle cake, Florentines, Pecan Brownies, Tiffin,
 Battenburg Brandy Balls, Fudge, Fifteens - some were good and some didn't please me despite following all the recipes to the letter.. icing sugar and packaging to the rescue.

My son's girlfriend showed us how things should be done!
  Chocolate Yule Log. Showing my age I say, "Is it Delia's?"
"No, it's Paul Hollywood's."  
That old silver fox!
His recipes are 'Never Fail.'

Out for a bit of Christmas shopping and I thought about Nigella.  
Her recipe book now relegated to the Sale shelf in M&S. 
Who'd have thought?

I was feeling sorry for her and then these carol singers took my attention - they were good.

Then there were the dancers in the 'Strictly' final.
They were good too and I thought the best girl won.

                                                            We had a bit of a party.

                         After another week or so of all these festivities and I'll be looking like this penguin.

I'm already half way there. Help!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Two Magical Winter Evenings.

              LUMIERE, Derry / Londonderry :::::::::: CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH ON, Lisburn.

Fireworks - Lisburn
Peace Bridge, Derry/ Londonderry
St. Columb's Park - FIRE GARDEN

Fireworks - Lisburn

View from Derry's walls

Island Centre, Lisburn


Clock Tower, Ebrington Square


VOYAGE - Austins Department Store

Derry/ Londonderry

Quite a show!

For all the info on Lumiere look here.
Lisburn is being dug up.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Ellesmere Port and the canal boat crafts.

When I was over in England a few weeks ago I went to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. We're always walking along the Lagan towpath here in NI, reminiscing, but the canal boats are long gone.
It was a great day out. I thought I was just going to look at canal boats, not realising I would also see all the associated canal boat crafts.

There was so much going on.  I thought,  'I could really get in to this!'
There's a Waterways Craft Guild where you can learn all the traditional crafts and gain accreditation.
Boat building, painting and sign writing. Decorative and giftware painting. Costume, crochet, cabin lace and rag-rug making. Ropework and fender making.
It was a Sunday and, in the museum, these volunteers were demonstrating their various skills.

There was a lady working on a peg loom making blankets.

                                              You needed a steady hand for the painting.


                                                          This lady was rag - rugging.

Her design came from this picture  below  of the Atlas mountains in Morocco.
I was really interested in this as my research & design work for City & Guilds was all based on Morocco.
I think it's a photo taken from space.

                                                        Then there was the costume.

             This lady, Mary Parry, was a Master in Costume and wearing her Boatwoman's Bonnet.

I bought a bookmark kit at her stall.
The 'Spider's Web' is the traditional stitch used for the Boatman's belt shown below.

There was also lovely patchwork and these pieces in the tins were cut from old clothing.

The right side of the quilt.

                                                                   And the wrong side.

Knot tying for beginners.

                                                        And advanced knots for the canal boats.

 This is what I bought for the Christmas Tree!