Monday 19 December 2016

Christmas Past

This is a re-run from a previous year but time is getting away with me and reading this post again gives me a warm glow inside.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope it is filled with happiness for you all.

Sarah x

The dynamic of my Christmas has changed over the years.  This year different to last and last year different to the previous year ...

But there was a time where I remember the familiar fabric of this time of year, so well worn that it could have been the same comforter brought out time and time again wrapping me in a blanket of contentment and happiness.

My childhood wasn't perfect but there were times it was perfection and Christmas was always such a time.

Christmas began at the end of October when, in a steamy fug my Grandmother gathered together the ingredients for the Christmas cake, homemade mincemeat and the Christmas pudding.

Great bowlfuls of shiny dates, plump raisins and currents, oranges and lemons ready for zesting and squeezing.  Huge heavy based pans and long wooden spoons, walnuts to crack and glace cherries sticky and sweet ....

We each took a turn in stirring the pudding mix and making a wish, usually a hint whispered out loud as to what we would most like to find under the tree on Christmas morning.

Once cooked the cake was wrapped in greaseproof paper ready for feeding drip by drip from the large bottle of brandy.  The pudding swaddled in a muslin cloth and circles of waxed paper sealed the jars of mincemeat before their lids were given a jaunty bonnet of red and white checked cloth secured with an elastic band.

Everything carefully labelled with the date was then stored in the huge wardrobe built into the alcove next to the fireplace in the large bedroom at the front of the house where it sat glowing richly one the dark wooden shelves amongst the fruits of the summer which had been made into pickles and chutneys and jam.

I used to open the door occasionally just to wonder at the array of goodies lined up and breath in the scent of cinnamon and spices.  Sometimes it would seem like Christmas would never come ...

Thursday 1 December 2016

More Christmas Crafting

It's ironic that just a couple of posts ago I said that I often find taking photos for blog posts much easier than finding the words to go with them because in this case taking the photos was the REALLY hard part!

After my disastrous snowman pom pom I did tell you there would be another (hopefully more successful) Christmas crafting post and I owe this one to Anne from Domesblissity for posting this link on her FB page - it a whole lot of clever Christmas things people have made with Mason jars.

If you've read much of my blog you will know that I like to make stuff for people as well as buying them presents for Christmas and Birthdays.

I can't do it with the finesse of some people but I am a trier (as Di said on my last post :-) ) and anyway, who cares?  It's may not be perfect but it will be made with love.

Well, anything you can do with a Mason jar I can do with an empty Douwe Egberts coffee jar right?

Fortunately I love the coffee as much as I love the jars.

They are a great shape and once you have soaked the labels off (a little white spirit takes any left over sticky off) you can use them for loads of things.

They have this great plastic seal on the lids which you can carefully prise off or leave on for a snug fit (they come off and on fairly easily which was great for this project).

The first thing I did was go shopping - already a win win for me!

I bought a pack of fake snow, various gift ribbons, some double sided sticky dots and a few Christmas decorations.

I also had a hunt around at home for things that looked like they might work with what I had in mind.

Then I started to put the whole thing together.

The little snowman was stuck to the bottom of the jar with a few glue dots.

The snowballs were made from threading tiny glass and pearl beads (sorry Miss Mac, that's what happened to your bracelet!) on to cotton (you could use fishing line if being able to see the cotton bothers you) and then sticking them with more glue dots to the underside of the plastic seal I'd removed from the jar lid because it was easier to handle like that. Then just pop the seal back onto the lid.

I also stuck some of them around the inside rim of the jar so they weren't all in the middle.  You could see the dots from the outside so I covered them later with the ribbon around the top.

After sprinkling in some fake snow to cover the bottom I added a little bit of fir and a fir cone with some berrys that I'd pulled off another Christmas decoration.

Initially I'd bought little polystyrene snowballs to hang in the jar but the proportions were all wrong and it looked like the poor snowman was being bombarded with meteorites so I just put a few in the bottom.

After tying the ribbon around the jar I added a Christmas decoration to the side:

And it was done!

So I decided to make a couple more with other jars ...

Like I said, very hard to photograph because of light and shadows on the glass.  I ended up taking these outside and photographing them against the shed door but it was minus 2 this morning and the middle one steamed up a bit!

So here's a slightly better photo:

I made the bunting by cutting tiny triangles from some red ribbon and sewing them onto a length of cotton.

This one is for SD - obviously he doesn't want a snow globe so I pinched one of his die cast VW's and made him one anyway!

I'll be perfectly honest - although this wasn't exactly difficult it WAS very time consuming and there was a lot of trial and error finding out what worked and what didn't.  I finally realised (going completely against the grain) that less was more and to keep them simple.

Hopefully the recipients will like them as much as I do.