Saturday, December 28, 2013

Alpine Fresh Christmas

Yippy - that nasty cloud/haze thing has gone and been replaced by a winter wonderland.
We try to avoid going into Chamonix during the holidays, there's nowhere to park and tourists don't seem to have mastered the art of driving on snow or that of having any patience in queues!  But that's just fine, we've got all we need right here at home:
Big Air
fields of clean fresh snow
Tino received the biggest coloring set from Santa...

...while Rémi got a tool box and his first knife (whatever was the big man in red thinking!).  With Ringo set on breaking everything wooden around the place Rémi's tools will definitely not be short of work!!

recharging the batteries!
They also received, from their aunt and uncle, a chicken.  I think she likes it here, she stared laying on Boxing Day.
Goldie Hen
Yesterday we celebrated Richards 38th Birthday with a delicious brioche made by Rémi, and today would have been my mothers 69th.

Enjoying the last few days of 2013, and planning our new years eve 'mega' party - just us 4 and the pup - I'm not one for crowds!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yarn Along & other crafts

With my christmas knitting all finished I'm now relaxing into some new projects:

socks for Tino
I'm using a basic sock pattern but have decided to use rib all down the length of the leg and front of the foot to make them more elastic.  Using the magic loop technique which seems to be a bit faster that dpn's but I can't say as I prefer one method over the other.
Inspired by Lori's & Jarka's Favorite Things Scarf I havecast on one for myself.  I'm in no hurry to finish it, just working on it when ever the mood or the motif takes me.

These papillote chocolates are my favorite thing right now!
But knitting is taking a back seat at the moment around here as christmas crafting is in full swing, no sooner than we have made a gift the puppy has eaten it, but we shall not be deterred - we just keep calm and carry on crafting!

gingerbread men
my new christmas cake stand
salt dough candle holders for teaches gifts
Paper plate angels

I've received the lastest Taproot and am pacing myself to not finish it too quickly!  It's so full of great looking crafts.  And Tino has his Toboggon magazine that big bro is kindly helping him read, it too is packed with fun festive ideas.

Linking up with Ginny and wishing you all a very Joyeux Noël.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Beauty & The Beast

It's not unusual to see Deer in the garden, enjoying our compost, but to see ten altogether - well that's quite a treat.  Not the best of pictures I'm sorry but as I moved closer to them they moved away.  Something must have spooked them for all the herd to come running out of the woods like that, so it's understandable that they didn't appreciate my camera and I trying to get a little closer.
So 'Beauty' is self explanatory but 'The Beast'?
See the yellow haze just behind them? POLLUTION!!
It's been un-seasonally cold here for weeks which means people are heating their homes more than usual (open wood fires seem to be the main culprit), add to this the traffic and - 'cough, wheeze, cough...' is what you get. It stinks - literally!
Instead of dispersing into the atmosphere the 'crap' is getting stuck down into a disgusting cloud by the cold pressure above it.  And with the valley being so narrow it has no place to go, so it just hangs around!
Alerts have been issued advising people to limit vigorous activity to higher altitudes - say 2000m!  Thing is schools are at village level and kids, well, they're vigorous activity personified!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yarn Along

Why are christmas trees no good at knitting?
Because they are always dropping their needles!!

Found the pattern for these cute little trees via Joy's blog a few weeks ago, and have been knitting them up whenever I have a few spare moments.

What little Christmas gift knitting I decided to do this year is finished:
Mugs & cozy's filled with tea's and coffees (thank you Mereknits for this idea)  I had planned on filling them with peppermint bark but I'm sure my in-law's waist lines will thank me for the liquid option.

his & her's for b & s.i.l
Reading How To Train Your Border Collie on my kindle.  Ringo seems to picking up most commands fairly quickly but is having difficulty with the 'no nipping'!!  Apparently this needs to be 'nipped' (pardon the pun) in bud during puppy's first four months!
Discovered that reading and knitting at the same time is possible with a Kindle - no need to hold it and turning the pages is so simple!

Hope all your Christmas knitting is going according to plan!!
Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Slow Living Essentials - November

Not sure if Christine is doing her Slow Living Essentials this month, but here is mine all the same:
9 years!
Started the Whole30 - 30 days without grains, dairy, pulses, sugar or alcohol - Or as much seafood, fish, meat, eggs, fruit, veggies and nuts as you want.   Did I cheat at all?  Yes!  One morning I found that I had no bananas, avocado, eggs or ham in the house so I had some oats and almond milk.  Rémi celebrated his 9th birthday so I had a little slice of cake and a glass of Petit Arvine.

Quite frankly it's a fantastic way of eating, but that is not to say I don't think it has it's drawbacks.  For me the main issue was buying enough vegetables (I only shop once a week) and then 'preping' them.  I cook almost everything my family eats from scratch so to add on too this, extra servings of vegetables meant quite a bit more work.  Simply skipping grain part of the meal left me feeling that something was missing.  
It's difficult here to get avocados, of the last 10 I bought 5 were rotten, 4 went from rock hard to rotten over night and only the one in the photo actually made it into my digestive system, and they are very expensive to boot!  A big hearty salad is definitely a great way to start a meal but as I try and eat 'seasonal' I had issues buying things that are for me 'summer food'.  But did I look and feel healthier for it? Yes I did.  I lost some weight that I had gained since stopping running and the dark circles that I always have under my eyes (not from lack of sleep) are visibly reduced.  Well were visibly reduced until he came along...

... I'd forgotten what it's like getting up every two hours at night when you have an new baby in the house!!
On the 20th we welcomed the lovely Ringo into our family.

Made my christmas cake, now have to make one for neighbor before putting them to rest for a few weeks.  I usually 'water' them once with a little brandy then decorate them just before the big day.
Prepared the Advent bags for the kids.  Same bags, same kind of chocolate and same jokes will be greeted with the same enthusiasm as years gone by!

Patched up a second hand pair of jeans that a friend gave me and covered an unsightly ink stain on a fairly new dress, also with a patch.  It looks a bit 'cinderellaish' but it beats the ugly blue blob the ink left.

A friend of Richard's gave us two sofas, in excellent condition.  They open out into double beds so we're all equipped for guests should anyone be crazy enough to brave the freezing cold, noisy kids and hyper puppy!

Just needs some granny square pillows to jazz it up a little.

Well not much really considering the ground has been frozen solid for weeks.

Finally finished my lace fern scarf - 140cm with 2.75mm needles is quite a feat of endurance.
Also made Rémi's birthday cake in the image of his pet fish Bill and Hugo

Here they are in the flesh.  Not sure whether they approve or not of their likeness due to the subtlety of fish expressions.

The public library has an english section!! Eight shelves to be exact.  For years they had in total about eight books.  It is situated right next to the ice-rink, so when Rémi has practice I can pop over for an hour or so.

It's been a good-will month here both giving and receiving.  My s.i.l dropped off three huge cartons of clothes for Rémi in almost perfect condition, much more than he needs, so I let him choose a few things that he wanted and took the rest to the catholic mission drop off point.  Was saddened to see a notice outside waring people that security cameras were in operation to catch people pilfering the boxes.

The highlight of the month, for Tino, was a private guided visit of the chamonix fire station.  Last week two fire men came to the door, as they do each year, selling calendars for charity.  With wide-eyed excitement Tino got out all his fire man paraphernalia and ended up being invited to visit them at work the following wednesday...

So we say goodbye to November, good bye to the sun for the next six weeks and settle down next to a roaring warm fire to dream of the white christmas that awaits us.