Monday, 30 November 2015

Christmas In Sherbrooke Village


Yesterday afternoon, we visited Sherbrooke Village.  It was cold but the sun shone for the short time that we wandered around after we had a Victorian afternoon tea.

Santa's laundry was drying on the line outside his workshop.


It looks like he arrived by boat as this one was nearby, complete with Christmas tree.


The old houses were all decked out for Christmas.  It looks magical after dark with all the lights, but we didn't manage to visit for the lights ceremony this year.


The icy wind coming off the Ocean meant that we cut our visit short.  After tea and a brief walk around, we headed for home, but it was a pleasant afternoon out.

The end of November marks the end of the NaBloPoMo challenge.  I haven't managed to post every day this month, though I did my best.  This is the first year that I've participated in the challenge, but failed to complete it.  Sometimes, life gets in the way of blogging.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Thought For The Day - Part Four


Advent

This Advent moon shines cold and clear,
These Advent nights are long;
Our lamps have burned year after year
And still their flame is strong.

Christina Rossetti

Friday, 27 November 2015

WI Fruitcake


I love fruitcake, so when I discovered this recipe to mark the Centenary of the Women's Institute, I had to try it.  

The cake was delicious - we had cut into it even before it was completely cooled.  I took this photo whilst it was hot out of the oven - it didn't last long!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Transplanting


We have been busy trying to tidy up the garden before the onset of winter, but time is rapidly running out.  One of the jobs was to move this holly bush, which was so close to the drive that it was going to be damaged in the event of heavy snowfall and ploughing.  It is now located closer to the house and seems quite perky after the soil was prepared with the addition of lots of compost.



Bulb planting has been underway for the last few weeks.  English Bluebells were the first bulbs to go in and are planted under the maple tree in the front garden.  There are still many daffodil bulbs to get in before the ground freezes, so I'm hoping to have them in by the end of this week.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Winter Forest


Imagine my delight when on a recent trip to the supermarket, I discovered an addition to the Winter Forest dinner set which I purchased a couple of years ago for our Christmas table!  I had gone looking for some extra mugs and discovered this gravy boat - a delightful addition to my collection.  

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Homely Touches



What makes a house a home?  For me, it is the addition of personal touches of treasured possessions which hold special memories.  Homely scenes like the one that I found at Poole Pottery on a holiday with my family many years ago.



My knitted sampler of a sweet little house with smoke curling from the chimney.


And a framed postcard for Yorkshire Tea complete with scenic view of the Yorkshire Dales.  All of these hang on the walls of my kitchen and remind me of home.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Thought For The Day - Part Three

"And what is a stitch for?  To hold.
It binds past to present, old century to 
new, generation to generation."

Veronica Patterson 1993

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Stir-up Sunday

The opening words of The Book of Common Prayer for the Sunday before Advent are 'Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord'.  These words were interpreted by churchgoers as a reminder to make the Christmas pudding.




The tradition dates from Victorian times when the family gathered together and each took a turn at stirring the pudding and making a wish.


There is a sense of satisfaction in laying away tasty delicacies to be enjoyed in few weeks from now.  

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Light In The Darkness


The nights are drawing in and it is time to be warm and cosy at home.  What better time to place this pretty lamp on display and enjoy the winter scene?  

Friday, 20 November 2015

Seed Saving


This year, I thought that I would like to try saving seeds from rose hips.  I had my eye on some on a route that I often walk and checked their progress each time I passed, until eventually, they looked ripe.  


Once I got them home, I left them in the kitchen for a couple of days, wondering just how to go about extracting the seeds.  I found a helpful tutorial on YouTube and set to work extracting, cleaning and drying the seeds.

Once dry, I bagged them and have put them away until the spring.  I only collected two hips, but I have lots of seed and hope to grow some pretty roses.  Only time will tell...

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Seasons


Tuesday morning was cold with frost on the roof tops.  


The last of the autumn colour was visible in the neighbouring gardens.


A few berries still clinging to the Rowan tree.


What a difference a day makes!  Wednesday morning dawned cold and snowy.  Wet snow, which does not last for long, but acts as a reminder that winter is fast approaching.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Luscious Lemon Drizzle


One of my favourite quick and easy cake recipes which always gives great results is from Gill Holcombe's book How To Feed Your Whole Family......(the title is long).  

Honey Lemon and Yoghurt cake is fragrant and delicious.  After the cake comes out of the oven, it is drizzled in that wonderful lemon drizzle which infuses the cake with so much flavour.  


I find that it is best eaten whilst still warm out of the oven ~ delicious!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Pansy Plate


This pretty plate was an unexpected find at last spring's Mayfest.  It is labelled 'hand decorated in Prince Edward Island'.

I love pansies because they always seem such happy flowers with their smiling faces.  Although they look delicate, they are quite hardy too, flowering at times when other flowers have yet to emerge.

This photograph does not do the plate justice, as the colours are much more vibrant, but it was not possible to get a good picture indoors and now is not the time for outdoor photography.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Snowstar


When I started this sweater in September 2014, I optomistically thought that I would have it completed within two months, but more than a year later, I still have a couple of finishing jobs to do.


This is my first attempt at knitting a garment which is seamless, made on circular needles and with steeks, from which the sleeves were also knitted without seams.  

The photos show it after blocking, which really brought out the pattern detail.  My goal is to complete the hand finishing this week, so that I will finally be able to wear it.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Days

After working 35 hours in two days, it comes as no surprise that I have not been able to keep up with my NaBloPoMo challenge.  Exhaustion hit me like a wall and the last thing on my mind was blogging.

It has been an extremely challenging week for personal reasons too.  My dear Aunt passed away recently and her funeral was on Wednesday.  I was unable to get home for it at a time when I was already extremely homesick.

If I could have one wish granted it would be to return to the UK.  I don't know how that will happen, but I've got to find a way.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Vintage Scarf


Take one vintage scarf with a hole in it and repair, as invisibly as possible.


That was the challenge that I faced when I bought this pretty scarf on Etsy.  



I believe that it dates from the 1950s and after that minor repair and a good press, it looks as good as new.  I love the bright colours of the seaside design.  Just the thing to go with a vintage sweater that I have on my project list, if ever I can find time to make it.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Remembrance



The Crosses
 
I stood there before the crosses 
glowing white in row on row
Everyone a young life cut short
as the names upon them show.


The dates they died below the names
tell of wars now past and gone
Passchendaele, the Somme, and Mons
of battles fought, and lost or won.


History remembers, as it should
these men who fought and died 
Whilst for their families left behind
a dull sorrow tinged with pride.


The faces of boys held now in Sepia
who died in days long gone
yet living on in memories 
and hearts, still holding on.


Yet despite the hurt and grief here 
what with horror makes me fill
Is that when I look behind me
there are more new crosses growing still.


Bill Mitton

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Deck Renovation


The days are getting shorter and the opportunities for working outdoors are limited as we approach mid-November.  The garden work has been delayed due to cold, wet weather.

One of the projects which was started involved raising the level of the bottom deck.  For some reason, the lower level was so far down that it was impossible to actually have a conversation with anyone on the upper level without staring at their knees!

The lower level has now been raised and is secure on new piers, but the deck boards still need to be replaced.  It is looks like this job may be postponed until the spring and the boards stacked up until the warmer temperatures return.

Monday, 9 November 2015

On Our Street


The leaves have been blown down since Saturday when this picture was taken.  Winter is fast approaching now and with it, hail and snow squalls.


I'm late getting into the garden this year and have lots of bulbs still to plant if I am ever to have a good display of spring colour.  I did manage to plant snowdrops, crocus and bluebells, but I still have 120 daffodil bulbs to get into the ground before it starts to freeze.  They should have been in weeks ago, but better late than never.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Thought For The Day - Part One



Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities
because as has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.

Winston Churchill

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Autumn


This afternoon has been devoted to clearing the many leaves that fell on our garden in the windy conditions of the last few days.  This is the second clear-up this week, though it would be hard to tell looking at the condition of the garden.


I had intended planting bulbs, however, by the time I'd raked and bagged the leaves, I had run out of energy.  I'm hoping to make a start on that tomorrow.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Vintage Jacket


I started this knitting project in March and I've been very slow in completing it, mostly due to lack of time.  It is actually quite an easy pattern, even though it looks more complicated.  There is only a four row repeat to produce this lace pattern.


I put this project aside some weeks ago to make the baby matinee jacket featured in another post.  I finally got around to blocking the pieces and started stitching them together.


The side seams and sleeves are stitched now and I have the rest pinned in place, but I'm still procrastinating.  I even have the ribbon for the hood.  If I can only find a bit of free time this weekend,  maybe I will be able to finish it.

The pattern is by Susan Crawford and can be found here.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Guy Fawkes' Night


The annual celebration of Guy Fawkes' Night is one festival that I miss.  There is something magical about going out on a cold, dark evening to watch the ritual lighting of the bonfire complete with the effigy of Guy Fawkes after the dazzling firework display.

In my memory, I see the excited faces of the crowd, especially the children and remember crunching through the leaves walking to our local display.  Afterwards, we would return to the warmth and comfort of home, happy in having shared in the spectacle for another year.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

For The Love Of Liberty

 
This latest sewing project was started a couple of weeks ago, but my busy schedule has prevented progress. 
 
I love these Liberty prints.  It is many years since I had a chance to visit the store, but I was fortunate to find the designs that I wanted online.  I won't share what I'm making just yet, but I hope to find time to complete these soon and than maybe I will post about them (or maybe not, if they end up as Christmas gifts).

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The English Home


It is definitely a sign of Christmas approaching once December's magazines start to appear on the shelves.  The English Home is one that I only ever buy at this time of year, but I delight in reading about all those festive preparations and dream of the perfect family Christmas.


The approach of Christmas can be a difficult time for me, as it is when I miss my family the most and long to be with them.  Like many others who live in another country, I struggle with being such a huge distance from loved ones.

I try to make the best of Christmas and we do have some traditions from home which are comforting and reassuring rituals.  Baking the Christmas cake, Stir-Up Sunday when I make my Christmas puddings and Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College Cambridge, to name a few.

I dream of returning home and having a big family gathering at Christmas.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this dream will come true.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Baby Steps


A recent project of mine was knitting a baby matinee jacket for a blogging friend, whose baby girl was born a few weeks ago.  I found this pattern online here.


I chose a pale lemon yarn and I enjoyed the process of knitting such a small garment.  It has been quite a while since I had a reason to knit for a baby.


This sweet pattern turned out well and I particularly like the diamond lace yoke detail and crown motif.  I know that the gift is appreciated and that once outgrown, this little matinee jacket will still be treasured.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

NaBloPoMo 2015


November is here again and my thoughts have turned to NaBloPoMo.  The goal is to post every day for a month.  This is hugely challenging in a year when I've only managed to write 27 posts.  Life continues to be busy and very stressful.

I wrote last year that my motivation for undertaking NaBloPoMo was to find a purpose for my blogging and to stimulate the creative juices.  I suppose that this hasn't really changed.  What has changed is the amount of time that I have to dedicate to posting and reading blogs.  I am finding it increasingly difficult to participate in blogging because I have so little free time these days.

I hope to complete this challenge, but it is going to be a case of taking one day at a time.  There is no particular theme associated with NaBloPoMo in November, but I intend to write about the craft projects that I've been working on, as well as other subjects with which you will be familiar if you are a regular reader of this blog.  I hope that you will join me and visit to see how my online diary progresses.