Monday, December 29, 2008

The Days after Christmas

Some resting ...
some reading ...
some playing with presents ...
some watching old TV shows on DVD ...
some organising ...
some scrapbooking ...
some munching ...
some hot weather ...
some storms and cold weather ...
some games ...
some trying balls and kites on the oval ...
some whining ...
some laughing ...
some more munching ...
some cricket-watching ...
some shopping ...
some more munching ...
some quiet after a busy year.

These are the days after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve at last!

Well the 24th December has arrived at last, and it is a dismal dark day. It feels like it should be raining, but it's not. Very unlike the Christmases remembered in childhood where we sweltered in high temperatures and swam when we could! But it's a good baking day.

Today we made Christmas Cookies.

We use the same recipe my Mum used for years.

Before baking we sprinkle with coloured sugar

The bone-shaped cookie cutter even got used for cuddly toy's Christmas presents (I'm sure they get more attention that the real people round here!)

The finished cookies:

I also made Lemon Cranberry Cookies for the first time, which I will give away to relatives tomorrow. Our neighbours will receive a mixed bag of cookies very soon.

Then Laura and I rolled fondant icing for the Christmas Cake we baked yesterday, and cut out little stars and trees for the top.

And then, the sad, sad story of someone who has waaaaaaaaaay to much time to kill on Christmas Eve, and even when she has a spare moment has to get out her craft tools and make something! Tonight we will have our little family Christmas dinner, just the four of us. I remembered that in the back of the pantry were some Easter Eggs! Yes - I bought them on special after Easter, thinking I would give them as rewards to the girls occasionally. Well, I guess the girls haven't been good since then, because they were nearly all still there.

So I made them into little mice, sleeping together in a little bed

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

and they will sit on our dinner table.

The photo is not great, it's very difficult with the dark day and the gold foil.

The ears are chocolate coins with pink circles stuck on.
My favourite part is the tails sticking out under the blanket!

Soon we will set the table and before I know it it will be time to roast the turkey.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sleeping in Heavenly Peace

Yesterday I frantically shopped and tidied and wrapped and washed. When I went to bed the house was still in a mess, I wasn't feeling great and there was still plenty to do.

This morning I got up and felt a little better, tidied and cleaned solidly for an hour, hung out the washing again and brought it in before it rained, before a friend came for morning tea. What bliss to sit down in a living room which was tidy and clean (although our desks were not great, the rest was fine) and eat delicious goodies prepared earlier.

This afternoon I have baked a Christmas cake (which, as usual, took a disturbingly short time to bake, although my oven was almost as low as it could go!), done a tiny little bit of sewing which needed to be done on a present, wrapped the very last of the presents, helped the girls sew by hand and machine gifts for cuddly friends .... and ... finally ... sat down on the sofa with a scented candle burning in my pretty Christmas Tree holder with Dicken's A Christmas Carol to read. The girls went off quietly to do something in their rooms. This was the pre-Christmas moment I had dreamt of as I worked the last weeks to prepare for Christmas - everything done, time to relax and enjoy.

Five minutes later I was asleep. When I woke forty-five minutes later, the cake was done (thankfully not overdone), the girls quietly doing some secret on the computer, and I read a few more pages of Dickens. Now some afternoon tea while the girls watch some Christmas specials on TV.

I hope you are having a restful (and not frantic) few days before Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Through the rain

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me -
a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8

I went for a walk the other evening while it was sprinkling, and saw this beautiful sight from our front gate. Laura was with me while I took the photo, and she asked whether angels would look this bright?

"Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Matthew 13:42

Gingerbread House

This afternoon we made our gingerbread house.

We used a kit from Aldi, and added some extra lollies.

Lots of fun. We love the little characters in the kit!

And yes, that's yours truly.
(in case you were wondering)

If you have kept reading after that then you can see here our girls with some of their cousins playing behind the lounge during our family Christmas party last night. We had far too much food, a little concert, some carol-singing, and a few presents with those who can't be with us on Christmas Day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last day of school

The weather here has been hot then cold then hot then cold then hot then cold all December. Yesterday was hot, now it is turning cold. I function much better when it is cooler, so I'm happy. Today was the last day of school, and last night I think I was stressed, lying anxiously in bed wondering how best to use my last big block of free time for 6 weeks or so. The result was that I didn't sleep till almost 3am. Not the best night before such a day.

But, somehow, the day has been productive.
*Tidied and de-cluttered for the first hour, a few things disposed of.
*Sewed some pyjama pants at last after a few months of thinking about it.
*2 scrapbook pages of Christmas 2007
* This afternoon made chocolate spiders and chocolate puddings with the girls for some festivities tomorrow
* Just now Laura and I have made some more of these:

Dinner tonight will be an easy pasta (from the supermarket) with garlic bread and salad. Our kind neighbour dropped in some lovely cookies and rumballs so after dinner Steve and I will enjoy those with a DVD for our usual Friday Date Night, I also have some fruit cheese which would be nice with port ... so many choices!

So ... it's been a good day after all! But I don't think it's going to snow :-( considering it is summer here and doesn't even snow in winter LOL

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vintage Christmas

Today I want to share some things I have inherited from my relatives:

These glass baubles belonged to my Gran. We helped pack up her house before she moved into a hostel, and I was given a few Christmas items that I loved. I'm pretty sure this lovely dish was hers too. On Christmas Day at dinnertime we would have little dishes like this dotted all over the table, filled with scorched almonds, turkish delight, cashews and other goodies. (This is a tradition which we still keep - yum!)

This crystal basket is something I never thought I would use again. It has been sitting at the back of my sideboard untouched for years. My great uncle gave it to me sometime after my great aunt died (now that I think about it maybe he bought it new? I'm not even sure!) Anyway ... the other day it struck me that it is the perfect container for candy canes, so out it came. I'm glad to use it. My great-aunt and -uncle always had ... ummm ... different tastes to mine, but I loved seeing them and going to their home each year a week or two before Christmas was another of our family traditions. We would play in the backyard (I remember the scratchy grass) and collect cicada shells, of which there always seemed to be a collection, then we would stand out the front of their house on the brick wall and yell "Merry Christmas!" to anyone unfortunate enough to drive or walk by.

Gran, and my great-aunt and uncle have all passed away now, but it's nice to have these little reminders of them around the house at Christmastime.

Check out more vintage items here.

Girls will be girls

Yesterday we had great excitement at our house. Laura won a colouring contest at our local supermarket, with some great prizes. Most exciting was an iDog, and a $20 voucher.
Unfortunately Emily also entered the same competition, in the same age group (she is 2 years older), but there could be only one winner. I was so proud of Laura and the way she shared her prize so graciously with Emily. After a few tears Emily joined in the fun and together we went to the supermarket to collect the prizes and spend the voucher.

And what else would I expect my girls to find than some soft puppies? So we ended up with 3 new dogs - one noisy and two cuddly. We feel like Christmas has already come! There were some other prizes too, which Laura was not interested in, and she herself chose to give them away, which also pleased me. The iDog is fun and I love the pink swirls, but it is definitely something we wouldn't have bought the girls (they don't even have ipods, but can use Daddy's, or other music players) so that's a bit of fun for them.

In the last year and a bit each of the girls has won 2 colouring contests! They do like their colouring. Well done, girls! I'm proud of them.

Each year I give family members (parents, aunts & uncles) a homemade ornament for their tree. This is what I will give them this year - I hope they like it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Open House

Today I'm joining in Kimba's Holiday Open House! (see sidebar)
Let's start on the front verandah.

Welcome to our home!

As you walk down the hall you will see paperchains hanging, and these doves I cut a few years ago. I love the simple Scandinavian red/white style at Christmas (among other looks that I love LOL)

In the bookshelf are some little Christmassy scenes, which unfortunately don't photograph so well, being sort of in the dark! But I see them as I walk by, or while I'm sitting in the study teaching piano, and they make me happy!

The hall leads past some bedrooms and a study, and then to our one main open plan living area, including the kitchen. I'll show you round in a clockwise sort of direction!

This is one side of our living/dining room/kitchen.

This little Ikea tree is new this year, and holds some of my red and white ornaments, mostly homemade, but a few bought.

Emily made the little Hama gingerbread house.

The little elf is new, and a favourite.

I stitched this heart a few weeks ago.

This is a little gold tinsel tree I picked up today at Woolworths ($3.99!) to hold my thrifted vintagey ornaments. (photo not great, sorry) and another tree waits to be decorated behind it.

This is what we see when we sit at the dining table. A beautiful stained glass ornament we keep there year-round, and some snowflakes and an acrylic bird there for Christmas. I like a little blue/white and silver somewhere at Christmas, but mostly I stick with red, white and green with gold.

Just by that window is a lovely old cupboard I inherited. At Christmas time it is home to some lovely standing ornaments.

Our Christmas tree is in front of the living room window. Since it is a hot summer day here the lighting is not great, sorry.

This star ornament was given to me this Christmas by a piano student

This is near the back door, another wall in our living room.

Even the laundry doors receive a thrifted-vintage treatment!

This little jar was an idea I copied from another blog, and it sits in the bathroom.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stationery Box

These have to be one of the coolest things I have ever made with paper, stamps and card. Inspired by Marelle, and using this tutorial, my scrapbooking friends and I got together one night and each made one of these for our children's teachers. Then I made a second one for a second teacher.

Tags and Mini cards:


The scrapbook paper from KaiserScrapbook was a joy to work with, lots of different patterns and colours I love to work with.
And the other box:

Same idea, different colours. Paper by K&Company.

I loved the brown/red circle paper but I was way out of my comfort zone with these colours, and a bit short on matching stamp pads, but eventually it all came together.

All other supplies by Stampin' Up.
Now I will wrap them, and tomorrow the girls will take them to school for their teachers.

Christmas Coins, Calendars and Calling Birds

Another felt ornament, begun at craft group and finished yesterday

Mini calendars to slip into Christmas cards

and Chocolate Coin ornaments, both made with my scrapbooking friends.

And three felt birds boxed, wrapped and ready to give, also made at craft one Thursday, and discovered again yesterday, under one of many piles around my craft desk ... sigh. But better found now than after Christmas!