Monday, 19 November 2012

The holidays are coming ...

Not that I usually quote adverts, but ...

Anyway, I've had rather a productive few days preparing for Christmas and thought I'd shout about it a bit.

I spent my birthday last week and some of the weekend happily sewing presents for various members of the family.  I promise to post some photos of them soon, but just in case any of them read this, I don't want to spoil the surprise.  Although I could be tempted to post some cryptic shots so as not to disappoint the rest of you - so watch this space!

So, along with some shopping DH and I did at an eisteddfod over the summer, we have 7 presents sorted and 'only' 5 family members to go (and we've a few ideas for some of those) and nearly all of DH's god-children's and our foreign friends' presents have been bought too.  So that is the bulk of the Holiday Headache cleared.

And to add to the festive excitement, a robin decided to visit my DS's kitchen last week and wasn't keen on leaving before they all left for school/work!

Don't you think that deserves a glass of mulled wine?!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Catching up

I've been feeling guilty about not blogging much recently, so I've been reviewing what I've written and thought I'd at least give you an update on my reading progress, even if I haven't managed much of my UFOs, long list of projects etc.

In fact, I used to be the slow reader of the household and was constantly amazed at the speed DH could get through books (he's been known to read a whole book on a flight, and not a long haul one at that!).  But recently, he's reading less and less and I seem to be reading more (and speeding up a bit too).

So here are the additions to my previous list:
Through a Glass Darkly - Donna Leon (set amongst Murano's glass manufacturers)
Doctored Evidence - Donna Leon
Ellis Island - Kate Kerrigan (another work library contribution)
Long Song - Andrea Levy (after enjoying Small Island, I thought I'd give another of her books a go, but found this one hard going)
Tapas - selection of Welsh short stories by various authors, a refreshing change
Getting rid of Matthew - Jane Fallon (a bit of frivolous fluff!)
Anna Karenin - Tolstoy (and the complete opposite of GRoM above!!  A long, hard read.  Can't say I warmed to Anna and Vronsky, much preferred Kitty and Levin)
The Innocent - Ian McEwan (set in Berlin during Cold War; phone tapping etc; a bit of a disappointment)
The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht (Balkan best seller; different to what I usually read; intriguing)
Endlich - Ildiko von Kürthy (another German chick lit by an author I've enjoyed in the past - didn't think she was as successful with this one)
The Miracle of Grace - Kate Kerrigan (Spotted it in the work library and as I'd enjoyed Ellis Island and remembered reading about this one, thought I'd give it a go.  Surprisingly uplifting story considering the circumstances)

Following a trip to Amsterdam, I'm now re-reading Anne Frank's diary and finding it extremely moving - more-so than the first time - especially after visiting the Secret Annexe.  As a school-girl myself, I remember being struck by her ability to forgive others.  This time I feel so concerned about her relationship with her mother and that they probably never got to resolve things and also by the claustrophobia of the situation.  They must all have been going round the bend being cooped up in such confined quarters for so long - no wonder there was constant tension between them.  This time she also strikes me as being a great character and quite mature for her age, but as she says herself, she had to face things that not many other teenagers had to face, and coped admirably with it all.  It has just struck me how appropriate it is to be reading this at this time of year.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pretty in a Pinny

Well hello - it is nice to be back with you all!  Please accept my apologies for my long absence.  It has been rather a hectic time since my last post, but we're finally getting straight again (and de-stressing in the process!).  And my, what a difference it has made already.  The ground floor is already much warmer and cosier.   The new windows are lovely and we planted ALL the bulbs (with a little lot of help from my parents).  Unfortunately, I didn't quite manage to finish the painting jobs as I'd hoped, but that will all be done next week, along with new curtain poles in three rooms (made by my lovely friend, Nia).

Right, back to the business in hand.

You may recall that back in February I mentioned some lovely craft/sewing books I'd acquired and that MIL requested that I make her an apron from one of them as her Christmas present.

Well, that time has come and I really need to get on with it before larger projects get in the way (eg living room curtains).

The book in question is the Liberty Book of Home Sewing and it is full of gorgeously, tempting projects to wear around the home and for the home.  My lovely MIL is a very keen cook, so an apron is just the thing for her, although I suspect that this one (as seen on Katherine Hannaford's Double Exposure blog - I'm dying to know if she managed to make every project in the book!) won't be her 'working' one, but more for show!

Having browsed through the book again (and drooled!) and chosen fabrics for MIL's gift (more drooling), I also got thinking about other projects in the book that would be fun to make and am now seriously considering some others as Christmas presents and possible additions to our home.  I'll keep you posted on how I get on with these soon.