Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A Vintage Christmas in Pictures

Thank you all kindly for your well wishes for our spotty girls.  They both seem to be coming on nicely now, but still look rather dotty.  No.2 found it rather easy and didn't find the spots to be itchy which was quite fascinating as the doctors have always gone on about how bad it would be for her with eczema.  Not so at all for her.  No.3 has found it all rather tiring and seems to be constantly bawling about something.  I wouldn't recommend you play a board game with her if she is the one to lose at the moment.  My goodness she is quite the colourful one at present!

Anyway, moving right along.  Here are a few snaps, OK perhaps rather a lot of snaps, of our Christmas table vintage style.  All props were found within the family which is all the nicer.  We seemed to have quite a few lovely pieces to play with.   Is this plate not the prettiest you've every seen?  It belongs to my Gran, what a lucky lady.

I made my grandparents Christmas lights into personal ornaments by tying a piece of red string to each one and tying it with a white bow around each serviette. 

This mug was mine when I was a little girly.  A cute Little Bo Peep looking for her sheep.  Why don't they make mugs so pretty these days?

White hydrangeas from my garden.  They were pink and purple ones too but I forgot to photograph them - dilly me!

Have you taken note of all my doilies?  Don't they look super?  The table cloth is extremely old too.  My mother doesn't think it will survive another Christmas party.  It's a great shame as it's so beautiful.

I found a great many old fashioned lollies at the local dairy of all places.  They were a real tasty treat after the first course.  The train looked fab on the table.  It's also very old and my little girls usually play with it on Gran's floor.

I love this stripy string.  It came off something that comes in bags, sugar maybe?   I always keep the strings from my flour bags too and the potatoes.  String is so handy and it's always in either red or white which I love.

My cousin made the fab pav.  It's cooked in a ring shape and looks just like a wreath when decorated.  Clever aye?

And the biggest trifle in the world was made by my big brother.  He researched the recipe and bought all the ingredients and bowl especially.  I think we'll now be having many trifles in the years to come!

The cake was a bit of a treat for me.  I made it using gluten free flour and guess what??  It's tastes great, really great!!  How exciting.  Actually I must have a piece in a minute.  The decorations were a bit of a quick throw together sorry.  I did buy the icing tree and Santa ones especially.  Don't look too closely as the icing was full of air bubbles!  I think it was a combination of high humidity, rolled out too thin and lack of caring.  Is that really bad of me? 

So that was Christmas for another year.  It was lovely but we are so over it.  Now we are very much enjoying our new toys and playing board games.  Jigsaws are popular as well with the third one about to be completed by hubby.  He's the expert at them.  Speaking of the man, it's his birthday tomorrow.  How inconvenient is that??  Honestly it couldn't be much worse really.  Still I am prepared for it so all is well. 

Righty ho.  Off for a hot chocolate and slice of that cake before bed.  Oh guess what time I woke up this morning? 


I know I couldn't believe it either.  Fabulous it was too.  It's because we are in our new bedroom now and it's nice and quiet down there.  Now I have a whole years worth of sleep in catch ups to do.  I will enjoy!  Must take some photos of our bedroom too.

Friday, 24 December 2010

From Our House to Yours...

we'd like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!!

It's Christmas Eve here in New Zealand tonight and I'm waiting for Santa to arrive.  The girls were very impressed to know that our country gets Santa's deliveries first. 

This Christmas is one that we won't forget, ever.  This Christmas two of our girls have the chicken pox.  Yesterday No.3 came down with them after high fevers, and today No.2 has them.  Poor little girls!  They are coping quite well really.  No.3 has them fairly bad but is sleeping well at night so it's more than managable.  Lots of pamol, anti itch medicine, cuddles and stories seem to be working a treat. 

Here are the girls tonight in their new Mummy made nighties (so they look respectible in their Christmas photos tomorrow!)  No. 4 is rather swimming in hers but at least she won't outgrow it in a hurry!

From the Red Gingham family, we would like to wish you a very wonderful Christmas Day, whenever yours arrives.  I hope you made it to where ever you were going safely.  Jolly snow aye?  Who'd have it at Christmas anyway??  Lots of love and happiness to you all and thanks for a wonderful year at Blogland.  Thank you all very much for your welcome visits to my place and your warming comments.  Have a great Christmas.  Love Sarah xxx

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

More Than Just One Day

This morning I've made eight jars of strawberry jam.  Strawberries are on super special this week so I bought ten punnets of them yesterday for $10.  I'll go back and buy another ten today.  Well after the jolly shower installer man has finished putting in our new ensuite shower!!  So exciting.  That's after he actually arrives I should say.  It's now 10.17am, and after having a super duper early shower, so as not to get caught out, we are still awaiting his arrival...

In the meantime I'll show you what has been filling some of my time of late.  First up we have the teachers presents.  Nothing stitched I'm afraid, due to lack of ideas and organisation.

But we do have pretty jars.  Some are filled with strawberry jam and others with a mix of giant and small jaffas.  I've just realised that most of you won't have had the pleasure of sucking on a jaffa before.  I tell you they are a right treat.  After you suck the red colour off them you get to a hard white candy layer.  Break through this layer and it's chocolate all the way!  So good, especially when pinched from the pantry in secret.  Unfortunately the big ones aren't so easy to hide in one's mouth :) 

I bought a packet of white clay at the hardware store and the big girls and I had fun cutting out decorations with the cookie cutters.  The clay starts out light blue which is a little worrying, but eventually it does fade to white.  I'd quite like to get my hands on some fine silver glitter to coat each piece in to add a bit of zing to the Christmas table.

We attached a decoration to each of their teachers present bags.  They looked quite stylish I thought.

The smart looking bags were only $1 each, super specials they were from Spotlight. 

We spent one morning making Christmas cards.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself!  The girls all had fun too I think!

I haven't sent them out yet!  The letter is printed and the photos are done.  Have you sent your cards already?  Last year ours went out in January.  I guess they were Happy New Year cards really, with an old letter in them.  Oh well, my intentions are there. 

I really struggle with posting stuff.  The whole addressing thing and waiting in the queue is just too much at this time of year.  I've still been so busy every day, but it's not awful, just busy.  Which reminds me, I still haven't told you of my discovery I promised last session.  So here goes: Christmas isn't just about one day.  Yep that's it!!  For me, and lots of others, it's about the whole of December.  It's the buying of gifts, the list writing, the menu planning, the decorating, the traditions, baking with the children, having people over... 

I always felt a little let down at the end of the 25th until I realised that it's more than one day.  It's about all the fun leading up to that special day.  So stop for a minute... and enjoy this moment because it's part of the big picture.  Gosh is that deep or what??!!  Honestly I must go and have a big cuppa tea after that one!  Have a great day today, enjoy!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

A Little Vintage Christmas Time

I'm thinking it might be a lovely idea to show the girls what a vintage Christmas was like.  Not that I've actually experienced one myself of course!!!  So really I should say, to show all of us youngish people what it was like.  Perhaps some candle light, proper cloth napkins, table cloths, napkin rings, old toys, old fashioned sweets...  and on and on it goes.  I've prepped Great Gran to raid her drawers and cupboards this week for all things old and great.

Now I have been super annoyed with myself this past week.  Yes I truly have.  I was very cross that I had given away some very old lights that once adorned my grandparents Christmas tree.  Why is it that as soon as you've given away something that you realise how useful and wonderful it would have been?  I have learned that you really have to look outside the box and think of other ideas for using a product. 

Anyway the Gods must have been looking down on me today, because when hubby was tidying the garage he asked me what on earth was I going to do with all this electrical stuff?  I threw myself at him and then went off with a huge grin.  How absolutely fabulous!  Now do you want a look inside the boxes?  The boxes themselves are rather wonderful in their own right. 

These lights are so incredibly beautiful.  I'm thinking of making them into hanging decorations.  Or maybe napkin ornaments?  My Grandad was a great organised hoarder.  He had a drawer or a place for everything and never threw anything out.  Fabulous!

These ones are not quite as good, but I do still love those pinecone ones.  Look at the metallic blue one.

Maybe these pretty red lights would be nice as a garland?  Loving the reel too.

The perfect flowers are already in my garden.  Absolutely loving these purple and pink hydrangeas.  The fresh new green buds are a lovely addition to the bunch too.  You just can't beat hydrangeas for an old fashioned look.

These white ones are actually quite small and pompom like.  Perhaps an individual bunch at each place setting?  It's their first year of flowering and I'm very impressed with them. 

And to finish off, here's a rubbish photo of our Christmas tree.  Well it's so jolly hot and muggy here that the sun does get in the way.  Although I must admit it's done nothing but rain the last few days. 

I must come back soon and share a new revelation very soon.  I must also tell you that No.2 and 3 received certificates for fab work at their end of year prize givings.  Go them!!  And that No.3 is skipping a year at school because she's so super clever.   Clearly she's my child!  Ha ha, no really, hubby has the brains in the family.  So glad it's rubbing off on our girls.  Oh it's all so exciting!  Anyway the family need food once again so I must go and slice the bread.

Have a wonderful week, the last week before Christmas!!!  Heck!  Off to see all the pretty lights tonight.  It's not dark until nearly 9pm so it'll be a late one.

Oh and our new bedroom is practically finished!!!  Double yee ha!  Right I'm really off now.  See you!

Monday, 13 December 2010

I Want to Post...

I really do!!  But it's not all about feet creaming around here!

 Or snacks (provided by my lovely girls).

I'm afraid I'm rather run off my feet right now.  And I must dash off for a quick round of Junior Scrabble NOW!!!  But I will hopefully be back sooner rather than later to talk with you all.

Until then - Love to you all!!!! xxx

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Cookie Swap Tradition

Our Cookie Swap Christmas Evening has become a tradition among my friends.  Dear Glenda has the task of putting it on, which is quite unfair, but she does have the most beautiful English looking house among us. She decorates her house for Christmas and has a pot of mulled wine on the stove.  It's the event of the year and not one to be missed for any reason. 

I think the most fun for me was making these little packages up.  I do like a bit of embellishing!  The girls enjoyed helping me too.

The day before most of us can be found in our kitchen preparing for the big swap.  Our houses are filled with the glorious smells of baking dough.  There are more often than not little helpers either making cookie cutter biscuits or licking the bowls.  It's a really exciting time for the whole family as they all know when they wake up there will be a visual feast for them.

Here are my chocolate macaroons just out of the oven.  Perhaps a little tanned but very chewy and rather delicious.  No.1 was home from school with a cold, so she was a big help to me.  The whole idea of getting my hands in and mixing was a huge turnoff!  Luckily she thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Here are some photos of the table when everyone had displayed their cookies.  All so nicely wrapped with ribbons and looking very festive.

It's the most exciting feeling when you go around the table selecting little packets put together with so much care and thought. 

Take a look at these very impressive tags that dear Glenda made for us.  They are wrapping papers cut to size and mounted on board.  Decoupage apparently.  Very nice and special.  A little momento of our lovely evening together.

 Oh lookie, there are my biscuits!!

And here is my filled basket that I took home at the end of the evening.  Can you imagine how much fun our girls had selecting their favourite cookie in the morning? 

And just look, two of them chose the same one!  Yes Liz, (devoted reader of my blog) they are yours!!!!  You are now a famous cookie maker!

And when the girls got home from school they were raving about them.  They have a big piece of peppermint chocolate bar in the middle of them - YUM!! 

If you haven't been to a cookie swap before, I'd say organise one, they are so much fun and completely worth all the baking the day before.  I've taken cookies to my mother, served them to more family members this morning and the girls are provided with a lovely selection for a whole week. 

Thanks so very much for all your hard work Glenda.  You did a brilliant job as usual and we all had a fabulous time.  My pretty tag is hanging on our Christmas tree.  I'm looking forward to next year's swap already.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Stitches from Finland

Before I begin I would like to thank all of you who left me sweet birthday wishes.  I think I've got to the bottom of the email reply list!  You really are a sweet bunch aren't you?  You made my birthday week extra special!

Now a few of you were interested to know about the Scandinavian Stitches book I received for my birthday.  I have to say, it's my favourite book to date.  There are just so many projects that I can see myself making.  I've made two of them already and I have plans to make some angels soon.

Now I see in the front of the book that I'm not allowed to put pictures of this book on the internet, which is a bit of a bummer, but not to worry because you can pop onto this Flickr site and see what sort of creations are in the book.  Here is Kajsa's own blog as well if you fancy some extra inspiration.  Isn't it neat how we can buy a craft book now and then go onto their blog to ask further questions or see what sort of person they are?

Well I just couldn't resist making one of these cute little houses.  I've now made six of them they are so much fun.  I love being able to use some of my new fabrics too, but not too much!

The instructions are super easy to follow and the projects are great for beginners as well.  I love the simple nature of Kajsa's designs.

The book contains instructions for quilts, cushions and soft toys mainly,  but there are a few others bits and pieces too.

I made this cushion yesterday.  I loved how it was made with old tea towels.  I've used two here, one for the tea pot and the red gingham one as well.  So pretty and different.  The top of the cushion is actually some quilted fabric from when I was learning how to free motion quilt roses!  Waste not, want not, I say!!  Daughter No.1 exclaimed how lovely it was when she arrived home from school.  "Where did you get it from?" she asked!!  I'll take that as a compliment.

The floral tea towel was a swap gift from an ex blogger which makes it even more special.  Thanks Stephanie, if you still check out my blog.

 I like the hand quilted steam from the dainty tea cup.

And for the back of the cushion I combined the two tea towel fabrics and played around with them a bit.  Keeping with the theme, it fastens together with a vintage button from my Gran's collection. 

If you are looking for a great craft book for a gift or for yourself, then look no further, this one is brilliant.  You'll be seeing more of the projects on my blog soon I imagine. 

Now I completely forgot to show you this vintage fabric I bought from the quilting show!  Please forgive me as I did promise.  I still don't know what to make with it.  I've had the suggestion to make an apron but I already have two lovely ones.  I'm thinking about a cover for the bread maker but then I'll have to keep taking it off each night - might be a nuisance.  Any other ideas ladies?  I do have a blender but I keep it in the cupboard. 

Alrighty, I'm suddenly really hungry so it must be lunch time.  I'll be back soon with photos from my lovely cookie swap evening last night. See you later!  Oh and you ladies experiencing snow, be very careful outside, but keep showing us piccies, they are so beautiful!

Edited to add:  OMG Kajsa herself has been here and left me a lovely comment!!!  Oh my gosh I'm so excited it's silly!  It's just like I was saying, you can get so close to the authors these days.  And to think I've warmed her heart!  Oh gosh, I'd better go and have a calming cup of tea after that.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fancy a Cuppa?

What a wonderful weekend we've just had.  Saturday was the annual village Santa Parade which was full of all the usual delights.  Bands playing, kids dancing, floats and of course it ended with Santa himself.  The girls thought it was really fantastic, I just don't see what they see, clearly.  Perhaps it's age!  Anyway speaking of age, I've just turned 29... well you can add ten years to that if you really have to, but my mind is still at 29 thank you! 

Fancy a cuppa from my fancy new teapot ladies?  Isn't she a beauty?  Oh yes that's a new CK cup too.  I've can even offer you a slice of birthday cake, it's calorie free of course for you ladies who were about to say no!   Seriously, what birthday cake isn't?!!  And because I'm so nice I'm going to let you eat my last mint chocolate - they are the best in the box.

After you've eaten we'll have a gander through my new craft books.  Gosh they are wonderful, full of lovely ideas.  I wonder what you'll want to make?

My thank you letters are going to look grand if I can part with these little CK treasures.  All the way from the UK just for me!  I adore the little envelopes and stickers.

And how about we plan a new quilt with all my new fatties?  I would think it would be very pretty in the lovely Sugar Flower range.  I must cut some squares out first so I don't get too excited and use it all up.  The others were especially chosen by my little girls.  Didn't they do well?

Gosh I do enjoy my birthdays.  Hubby excels himself every year.  I get so many thoughtful gifts, way more than I'd ever choose for myself.  I felt so spoilt all day Sunday, even though my birthday wasn't really until Monday, but who wants a regular work/school day on their birthday?  Hardly any time for pampering with the family out most of the day.  My parents put on a very lovely dinner for me with all the local family present.  Very nice with my favourite meal served - roast lamb!  Thank you dearest mother for my lovely pink peonys too - they are opening out beautifully.

I've managed to get all the girls to write their Santa letters already.  I find it a good thing to get out of the way early and it's great that Santa knows what they want in plenty of time so he can put the appropriate gifts aside.  We don't want the girls missing out now do we?  The littlest one wrote hers with my help yesterday.  She not into writing but it turned out alright in the end.  It was a little hairy for a while!  And the eraser she's asking for is the pricey sum of $2.50.  What else does a fourth girl need? 

Well I must be off now.  Got to do the kindy thing soon and then do a bit of shopping for my cookie exchange on Thursday.  Exciting times are ahead!  I'll be back soon with some new makes.