Sunday, December 23, 2012

Friendship in a tin - the return!

Last year we kicked off a new tradition - Friendship in a Tin!  We filled a tin with homemade christmas goodies and gave it to our friends, who this year, as the 'tradition' demands, filled it up with their homemade delights and gave it back!!!
Thank you Sarah and family!
Yesterday evening I finished icing the christmas cakes. One for my friend Jane,

and one for us.

For Jane's cake I used a Delia Smith recipe, which has been in print and unchanged for over 28 years and "she makes no apologies for it".
But for ours, a ligher newer Delia Smith recipe, as Richard doesn't go a bundle on traditional christmas cake.
Today we lit the 4th advent candle, and tonight and tomorrow will be filled with finishing off christmas gift making - chocolate covered coconut balls, before spending Christmas eve, just the five of us.
Everyone has requested something special to eat:- Rémi - extra spicy guacamole, Tino - green olives and hummus, Richard - sushi, me - prawns and smoked salmon and Oban the doggie - Lamb dog biscuits (and anything else she can seek off the table when nobodies looking!!)

Christmas cards - another tradition still going strong!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yarn Along - Silk stockings MiLady!

Nearly there, just enough time to finish these Taproot mittens for my father in law and all my christmas knitting will be done, just as well really as I have a million other things that need doing.
I've mentioned my f.i.l here before!  Papy Bob, as the kids call him, is quite a character!  And if he's told me once, he's told me a million times, that when he was younger his mother would  knit him mittens that she lined with silk stockings!!  So this year, I took, what I believe was a hint, and am making him a pair.

The lady in the haberdashery (closest thing we have to a yarn store for about 60 km) was doubled up laughing when I told her my silk stocking story and told me I'd be much better of using polar fleece.  Almost at the end of mitten one and I'm having my doubts about the fleece!  I think it may end up making them too tight, so I may just stick to Mémé Hélèlen's 'pantyhose' method after all.
Also just finished  a super quick lace cowl for my m.i.l, just need to block it and it'll be ready to wrap.
Throughly enjoying Lady Almina - And The Real Downton Abby, which chronicles the life of luxury that the Earl and Lady of Carnarvon enjoyed at Highclerc Castle - the setting for the fictional TV series Downton Abby- before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
At the start of the war many wealthy families, not only turned their homes and estates into hospitals for wounded soldiers, but they financed all the running costs.  Highclerc Castle was no exception, and Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, proved to be an exceptional nurse and philanthropist.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been making over at Ginny's Yarn Along today.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas crafting

Christmas crafting is in full swing here. With growing numbers of teachers, aunties, nieces boyfriends, hockey coaches etc in our lives, 'handmade' is not only the most fun way to make gifts but also the most frugal!
The 'honey lady' at the saturday market sold me some huge sheets of bees wax so we've been 'rolling our own' and cookie cutting candles, which smell fantastic, even before they are lit.

Last year I kept all the christmas cards we received, which was a lot.  This isn't a tradition that seems to be very popular in France, but 'back home' in the UK, it seems to be as popular as ever.  So this year I have been cutting them into rounds, punching holes around the edge and simply crocheting with fantasy yarn, through the holes.  These then double as gift tags, and as I have left a long loop on them, can also be used as christmas tree decorations. 

As usual the boys have made their Papy Tatoo (my father) their very own special card, this year it was a joint effort involving pop-up snow men.

Yesterday evening I planned on making play dough and felt trees, but the boys were having so much fun with the pink glittery cinnamon smelling dough that we didn't have time for anything else.  It was meant to be a deep christmassy red but despite using up a full tube of food colour it stayed pink.
CHC - Chamonix Hockey Club
I'm having a bit of trouble with 'red' at the moment.  I went to the 'bonbon' shop in town on wednesday in search of  red and white peppermint sweets to make peppermint bark but came away with this mix of colour, which the salesperson informed me, included peppermint.  Smells very strongly of clove to me.  Never mind I'm sure they will do just fine.
So this weekend, somewhere in between ice-hockey practice and ice hockey matches, I'm going to be taking inspiration from passengers on a little spaceship, and cutting and snipping and glueing to my hearts content,
and making a few more mince pies as these ones got eaten up very quickly indeed!

Oh, and knitting off course!!
Cowl for m.i.l christmas present.
Almost forgot - linking up with Linda for Creative Friday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yarn Along - A Giraffe of Many Colours

Still haven't managed to cast-on my next Shalom, it's starting to be a race against time to get my christmas knitting finished as some of it needs to be sent overseas.  I will start my seasonal knitting earlier next year, I will!!
I knit up this little fella from a mamma4earth pattern aka Linda - Natural Suburbia.  What is great about Linda's patterns is that they are knitted almost in one piece, which means less sewing at the end, I'm trying so hard to like sewing but ...
Now all that's left to do are his spots, tail, mane and those two cute little horn things that giraffes have on their heads.  Can't quite decide what colour?  should I use all three, for the spots that is?  It's for a little girl.

Staying with christmas knitting for a moment, I can now share with you what I made for my Secret Santa partner as I know that she has received it.
To see what I got go here.

And I finished my hat just in time for the snow, which hasn't stopped falling for the past two days, much to kids and dogs delight.

Still reading 'The Year of Living Biblically'.  I'm nearing the end and will soon be digging into my bag of book club books where I know The Hunger Games is waiting, despite what many of you commented last week, I'm still not tempted!!
tuesday morning school run!
Linking up for Yarn Along with Ginny today.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Secret Santa

This year I signed up for Marigolds Loft Secret Santa Handmade, and was given Regula as my Secret Santa.
Yesterday, on arriving home from an unsuccessful shopping trip to buy a new sofa, look what was waiting for me...

Ohh so much colour, I love colour! Rainbow is my favorite shade.
As I was home alone this morning, I had to use the auto portrait option on my camera, not the best photo I know, but I just wanted to include of picture of me wearing my beautiful new hat!

Just a few days earlier I also received this...
A beautiful necklace with a beautiful story behind it -
I recently shared with Linda from Prairie Flower Farm, the story of a tea-pot necklace that I had bought for my mother many years ago. I have no idea what became of that necklace, and don't even remember seeing it when I went through her jewelry after she died. Until reading Linda's post about a watering can necklace that her daughter had just bought for her, I must admit I hadn't really given the 'tea-pot' much thought.
So, what did Linda do?  she went out and bought me one and sent it all the way from Kansas, with a note thanking Me for being me!!!  She said that it was for me to remember my precious mother, and that it does, but also I will always think of Linda when I wear it, who I will probably never meet in the flesh, but who is never-the-less a dear friend across the miles.  
Thank YOU Linda for being YOU!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yarn Along - A new hat

Do you ever pull out last winters hat, try it on, and think to yourself  "This looks terrible on me, did I really walk around last winter in this?"  I did, just a few days ago, and although it wasn't on my 'to-do' list, I set about making myself a new one.  I made myself an new one last year, that I really rather liked at the time, but now...
...well I'm sure this one is going to suit me much better!!   for the next few months anyway...

I wasn't too sure about the 'old rose' pink at the beginning, it looked a bit lost there in the blue, but once I got to the stripes it started looking a lot better.

I came back from our local Book Club the other night with a big bag of books.  It's not one of those book clubs where everyone reads the same book and then discusses it, it's more of an english language book exchange, it keeps all us anglophones here in Chamonix supplied with books for free, and is one great night out!
I reluctantly took the three Hunger Games books, I don't like the sound of them at all but as almost all of the other book club ladies have read them I sort of felt a bit obliged to do the same.   I also took home The Year of Living Biblically (A.J.Jacobs).  The author set out to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year!  So he started by reading it cover to cover in 5 weeks, noting all the 'rules' (there are way more than just the 10 commandments).  Not shaving or wearing mixed fibers are two very easy rules to obey, however there are others which would no longer be acceptable and would put anyone who followed them, quite simply, in prison!  While Jacobs claims that most Christians believe that the crucifixion of Jesus rendered void many of the old testament rules, his still choses to follow those that are legally allowed as he wants to immerse himself to the maximum possible in living biblically.   I'm only up to month two and it seems to be quite a problematic undertaking , but very funny indeed.
Linking-up with Ginny for Yarn Along today.  For the past 3 weeks the only posts that I have done are Yarn Along, prompting Richard to remark- "woman, all you ever do is knit!"  - "no dear, I read as well!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yarn Along - Cosy

Linking-up with Ginny for Yarn Along in the morning, and looking forward, in between swimming and ice-hockey practice, to seeing what everyone has been knitting and reading this week.
I discovered both my books, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name (Heather Lende) and The Winter Sea (Susanna Kearsley) via Yarn Along and was far from disappointed by either.  I don't have time to read durning the day but oh how The Winter Sea tempted me!! I found myself sneaking over to the stairs rationing my time to  "one page OK no more"  but as you all know, one page is never enough..
Fortunately Richard was home this week laying the new wood floor upstairs so I manage to curb my reading impulses, for what kind of wife would I be, if while he was measuring, cutting and sawing with patience and precision , I was immersed the passions and betrayals of planning the Jacobite invasion of Scotland?

Yesterday I received the latest copy of the Mother Bear newsletter, and realized that I had, of late, been neglecting my contributions to the project.  Thus I got myself back on track!  This months newsletter included and article about Mary and her two daughters (she had 11 children in all) who knit together for the project.  I would really like to knit bears with others but have had little success in getting women to join me, I mean in the physically-in-the-same-room-sort-of-a-way.  I recently had a nice chat at a party (yes I talk about knitting at parties!) with a friends husband, about knitting next to the fire of an evening, and he said he thought it sounded like a fine way to spend la soirée.  So maybe I've been barking up the wrong tree(s), and should be asking the men folk I know if they would be interested in making a few bears!
Anyways, I'm still more than happy to be 'knitting' along with all you lovely people in blog land, even if we are not in the same room or for the most part not even in the same country.

Also finished the boys bottle cosies.  These knitted up quite quickly, very easily and seem to be a great success with the little chaps!

They are knitted in almost one piece, the one side longer than the other, that is folded up to close the cosy.  The neck is knit afterwards, on a circular needle and left open for filling the bottle.  These would make great christmas presents, but I don't like the idea of knitting the same thing three times in a row, so I've put them on my to-do list for next year.  The pattern came from the December edition of  Simply Knitting.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yarn Along - Wales

We've just returned from a lovely trip 'home' to Wales and naturally where I go my knitting goes! (well except on the plane as security didn't like the look of my 'knitpro' circular needles)
I didn't get as much knitting done as I had planned but I did manage to finish my Taproot mitts,

make quite a bit of progress on my Secret Santa, and spend "HOW MUCH!" (Richard and my father) money in a wool shop!  I treated myself to some delicious Noro yarn to make another Shalom, but this time one that actually fits.  I am at present exercising great self-restraint by not casting-on until all other projects are finished, let me tell you, it's not easy!

I also picked up some colourful yarn for hot water bottle cosies for the boys.

And of all people, my father spotted a fantastic used needlecraft book at an indoor market, so I quickly snapped it up for a small donation to the charity that was running the book stall.
The rest of our time was spend visiting local attractions, my favorite was Castell Henllys village where the boys learnt, amongst other things, to grind wheat and make bread, the stone age way!

I especially enjoyed spending time with family and my best friend (of 30 years!-makes us sound so old) and her brood...
me & Amy
...and having lunch in the Tafan Sinc
I don't think this pub has changed one bit from the days of my grandfathers youth! (well apart from the orange plastic juice bottle)
sawdust on the floor to soak up spit and spills. Lovely!
We also visited the Tregwynt Woolen mill where I had every intention of buying welsh wool to make my shalom, but at £16 per 50g I decided otherwise.  The mill had a small shop next door selling woolen bags, blankets etc but for the most part it's woolen items are all exported to the US.

Linking up with Ginny for this weeks Yarn Along.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Multiple choice question?

Me: So Rémi, what shall we do this afternoon?
a - your homework
b - clean the bathroom
c - go hiking
Rémi: you serious?

Just look at what we'd of missed if he'd gone for a or b...

Charousse, 1200m

the sun left just after we arrived
Though this might be a nice opportunity to get some nice portraits of the boys...

"if you could just stop eating and both look a me please"
"that's better but can we lose the florescent orange jkt"
I guess not! go and play...

oh there they are, the orange jkt is quite usefully after all
I'm so glad to have a child who knows what is really important! and his little brother who'll go along with anything big bro decides.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yarn Along - warm hands, warm heart.

I had a neighbour when I was growing up who always had cold hands, she'd cup them around my face and say "cold hands warm heart!", and she did/does have a warm heart, and probably still has cold hands.
Personally I like warm hands - a warm head, warm feet etc etc, and I like to think I have a warm heart but I guess I have to let others be the judge of that.
So as my boys and I walk run to school every morning, come rain or shine, snow or ice, I decided that some new mitts were the order of the day.
Tino chose sharks
arrh   arrh!
Rémi, continuing his obsession with Pirates, wanted scull and cross bones ones!  I'm using a basic mitten pattern and have done a spot of 'knitting cosmetic surgery' to the grid I had previously used for these wrist warmers, so as to reduce the number of stitches to fit across Rémi's hand.

I'm also having to make the mitts a little longer than the pattern, I hadn't noticed before that Rémi has such long slim hands!  Next up is me.  I'm going to try the mitten pattern in Taproot issue n°3 Retreat, in what I would describe as a 'burn amber' colour, even if the ticket wants to call it 'Sanguine'!
Just yesterday I was give three books - An Infamous Army (Margaret Drable), Father Brown Stories (G.K.Chesterton) and last but not least Dylan Thomas The Poems.  I'm sort of a fan of his, I've read many of his works, understood very few off them but I like the words he uses, and the way he uses them!  I've also read a few biography's, my, what a notorious womanizer and drunk he was!
I'm going to be linking up with Ginny tomorrow for Yarn Along but will have to wait until the end of the day to see all your projects.  Wednesday is such a busy day for us, but last week it was a very special Wednesday - my little Tino turned 4...

party fun with friends and cousins
as requested - a train cake with trailer filled with smarties!
...and today, is a very special Tuesday, as we celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary!