Monday, 24 December 2007

Advent - Day 24

Just slipping in under the wire before Christmas proper (it's 23.45 now!) we have this wonderfully kitsch Saturday Evening Post cover from 1933, which features an amorous swain going in for a Christmas Eve kiss - frankly I'm impressed he managed to get around all the fair maiden's headwear!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Advent - Day 23

Trying to get this advent door up quickly before I miss the 23rd entirely! As you can see, Santa is skating towards us all with his gifts - hopefully he'll make it in time for tomorrow night.

The image is from some wonderful retro 50s fabric - has a vast selection of cushions in 50s prints, of which this is one - I am sorely tempted to get the Christmas ones and hide them away till next year.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Advent - Day 22

I love Christmas wreaths. Unfortunately I haven't seen a single one in our area - I suspect they would get vandalised and/or nicked. Oh well. There is however top wreath action in Kensington and Holland Park - my mother, also a wreath fan, has been scoping out the choice specimens for a Boxing Day walk. The more ostentatious the better - can't wait!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Advent - Day 21

This lovely Christmas card is just one of an amazing collection of mid-century Disney Christmas cards digitised by the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. A really fascinating website - take a look!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Advent - Day 20

Behind today's advent door is a whole museum! The Geffrye Museum is one of my favourite in London - it is dedicated to the history of British domestic interior design and each period is reflected through a staged room. At Christmas, every room set is dressed in seasonal decorations appropriate to the period:

Miles and I last went in Christmas '05 and it was lovely. If you visit their website they have a virtual advent calendar which showcases seasonal items from their collection. I heartily recommend a real visit to the museum too, and the exhibitions are wonderful at any time of the year!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Advent - Day 19

This lovely illustration, containing more of the popular rabbits/Christmas theme, is from Bunny Rabbit's Diary, by Mary Frances Blaisdell, illustrated by George F. Kerr, available via Project Gutenberg.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Ho Ho Ho!

Ho Ho Ho everybody! We're Cara and Miles' Christmas cards. We started off as an army of origami Santas, forged in the primeval fire (well, folded in front of the primeval repro Victorian fireplace anyway).

We then marched onto the cards to be joined by some jolly stamps from Blade Rubber, outside and in.

We have now trooped into our envelopes to spread the Christmas message of minimalist Santastic joy (and yes, Santastic is a word).

Advent - Day 18

"Dey eyy-teen" in the Chat Lunatique house* and Miles is home from work sick, poor thing. In a not very lady-of-the-lamp moment I went out in the morning to Foyles where we had our knitting group secret Santa. I got some wonderful little owls made by Caroline for my Christmas tree. Hopefully I'll be able to take some pictures in the light soon - which I can then add to the serious backlog of pictures I have to post!

*To quote the dulcet Newcastle tones of the 'Big Brother' voice-over

Monday, 17 December 2007

Advent - Day 17

Given that Miles was the original recipient of the advent calendar I couldn't possibly do 25 jolly pictures without including rabbits. This Christmas rabbit is actually from a needlepoint canvas designed by Peter Ashe. I think the rabbit is lovely but I'm not sure I'd have the patience to embroider him. However, needles and thread will feature in my day today as I am doing Christmas present crafting. Maybe there'll be pictures once I am reunited with my camera!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Advent - Day 16

Ok, so we're counting down for Christmas now and it's time to focus on finishing up the present making and/or shopping. I'm planning a whole day of sewing tomorrow and hopefully some serious knitting time on Tuesday and Wednesday. My knitting has hit a rather major obstacle in that the gloves I was making for Miles are being scrapped due to horrible pattern problems (ie the pattern is horrible!). I was going to take some pictures for a fuller explaination but I have succeeded in leaving my camera at a friend's house again (yes, I am an idiot). Anyway, hopefully it will be back in my possession tomorrow evening so I can post some of my own pictures rather than generic ones off the internet!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Advent - Day 15

After the funky, folded Santas, we have Christmas good wishes from his funkiness himself, Laydeez and Gentlemen, the hardest workin' man in showbizness, Mr James Brown! Today is also Miles' nephew's birthday (known fondly by us as 'Bramble') and he is a three year old boy who loves Barry White, Barry Gibb and Barry Manilow (the 'Barry triumvirate') plus Hawaiian shirts (or 'party shirts' as he calls them) and jumping on the bed. So, all in all, I feel dedicating James Brown's Funky Christmas to him is rather fitting! Happy Birthday, Bramble!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Advent - Day 14

Rather late in the day and a little on the small side we have a cute dog with some holly. The picture comes from an album cover - the record is 70s, I think, and is called 'Christmas at the Patti'. I know nothing about it but I do like that little dog! Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Advent - Day 13

Picture by Eric Newcomer.
I love Christmas trees. Our one in rather less grand than this picture, but one thing about Christmas trees that I like is their organic quality. I don't mean in terms of growing in the ground: my family tree has been plastic every year of my life - the same ancient tree from BhS goes up and down every year - and ours is plastic this year since it seems such a shame to get a real tree which we don't then have the garden space to plant it out come January. I was thinking more in terms of the decorations - by adding a few new ones each year the tree gets a little more special every time it goes up. Needless to say, since this is the first year of our tree the decorations are a little sparse but there are still a few with a personal edge like the two we bought in Stockholm last year, just after we got engaged.
One thing which I know our tree won't do and which is frankly a crying shame, is grow like the one in the Nutcracker:

[The HK Ballet production]

I have many happy childhood memories of watching both the Royal Ballet and ENB productions. Maybe when I finally live in a palace I'll be able to stage the growing tree bit just for me!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Advent - Day 12 (when Santa gets folded & funky!)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Miles and I have been on an origami kick recently, well when I saw the array of folded Santa Clauses on this site I just had to include one in the advent calendar. The problem is there are so many funky Santas to choose from! This is another favourite:

Santa clearly has some groovy moves in his sack along with all those presents! Get on down.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Advent - Day 11

Now we're getting on to the good food stuff - mince pies! I am a relatively recent convert to these having spent many years worrying (as all good vegetarians should) about something containing 'mince meat'. Then, of course, even once I knew that it was just a strange way of describing dried fruit, there was the problem of beef suet. Well, all these clouds have been blown away and, thanks to the glory of vegetable suet, I can munch my way through mince pies with the best of them. Miles is the chief mince pie maker in his family and I helped him make them last year. This year we have gone a step further and made our own pear and ginger mince meat (so I can definitely confirm, no animals were harmed in the making of our pies).

However, the mince meat is still in its jars so no pictures from our kitchen yet, although hopefully there will be later. The picture at the top is from the BBC Good Food website and shows Apricot and Hazelnut Mince Pies. The recipe looks interesting and doesn't require the mince meat to be stored to let the flavours develop, making for a much quicker process. Maybe one for next year if the pear and ginger doesn't work out!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Advent - Day 10

A snowflake (as if you couldn't work it out for yourself!). Because it's pretty and is the closest we in London will get to a white Christmas.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Advent - Day 9

[Picture by Cathie (couldn't find surname) at]
I like this snowman and his knitwear.
We're off to a christening this morning for the little girl who I made a jumper for in the summer. Now, we weren't invited to her big brother's christening so I reckon it's the hand knit that swung it this time! Yay!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Advent - Day 8

"Merry Old Santa Claus," by Thomas Nast from Harper's Weekly, January 1, 1881

A very jolly Santa Claus indeed - I particularly like the jaunty holly in his hat. I'm sure Coca Cola would never let him smoke now! Have a lovely Saturday everyone.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Advent - Day 7

Christmas pudding - one of Miles' favourites but not mine. I'm hoping his Mum will make one when we visit after Christmas so I don't feel too mean for leaving it out of our Christmas sweets!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Advent - Day 6

A companion piece to the cat-Santa hat humiliation of the 4th.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Advent - 5th December

Mistletoe - because we all deserve a kiss, especially on a wet Wednesday in December!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Advent in Blogland

Thinking about how much work I did (and how much fun I had) putting Miles' advent calendar together, I thought it might be a nice idea to use the pictures to do a virtual advent calendar here on the blog. I should explain straight off that none of these pictures were taken by me - they are all things I turned up using Google Image search. Obviously I've got a few days backed up, so here, for one day only, laydeez and gentlemen, are three, yes three, advent doors for your delight and delectation! Drum roll, please...

December 2nd:

December 3rd:

I want it!! This does, however, remind me of a notable childhood fancy dress party: my Dad made me an excellent firework costume out of a cardboard box - I was small enough that my whole body fitted inside - unfortunately, I experienced a problem know to many of our insect relatives... if I was pushed onto my back I couldn't get up. The other children found great enjoyment in tipping me over onto my friend Alice's bed. Meaneys.
And for today, December 4th:

Ho Ho Ho. Cats and Christmas - what's not to love?!

Monday, 3 December 2007

'Bottom Flap' Hot Water Bottle Cover

This is the first piece of my Christmas knitting. It's made from the handspun, hand dyed yarn from the Handweaver's Studio, given to me by Noel (pictured here). It's based on the BAWK Hot Water Bottle Cozy pattern which I've made twice before. The problem I found with the pattern, though, is that, although the bottle does pull out through the ribbed neck, in doing so it stretches the fabric totally out of shape. I decided to add a 'bottom flap' to get round this problem.

I knitted a flap with ribbing and three button holes at the base back and forth on two needles and then cast on the back of the cover and joined to knit in the round.

I put some ribbing on the back section but apart from that I pretty much followed the original pattern from there up.

I think this has worked out pretty well - on with the rest of the Christmas knitting pile now!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Pinch Punch... (& only 24 days to Christmas!)

Miles and I have made a start on a bit of Christmas crafting. I made an advent calendar yesterday from the template provided by Sarah of The Small Object. I love her downloads - they are always so fun and stylish. I made the calendar for Miles really - mostly because I knew he'd enjoy it but partly to say sorry for breaking the attic hatch that he so lovingly made a few months ago. Ooops. For all the images I chose things that I thought would either make him laugh or smile. For 1st December, we have a blues musician doing Christmas songs (Miles' love of blues means that miserable Christmas songs with quotes from Jingle Bells in a minor key are a seasonal staple which make their annual appearance on the 1st!).

I had a go at some origami stars for the tree which were reasonably successful but refuse to sit flat. I guess if they're hanging that shouldn't be too much of a problem!

We've also be experimenting with Christmas card designs, but more of that later...