On a recent trip to Chester I visited the Grosvenor Arcade, which is a beautiful shopping centre. I suppose an original “mall”! The Christmas decorations are beautiful, extravagant and in keeping with such an iconic setting. Sadly the shops are very upmarket and my budget didn’t stretch to the Three carat diamonds!
Another shopping trip involved taking my Mum to a local garden centre. This was also decorated in a festive display of consumerism. Here I also resisted buying the Christmas baubles due to the inflated prices. Bah Humbug! Mum spotted the HUGE cotton Bobbins which were disguising the industrial pillars. Clever, as they were positioned in the craft centre. Mum thought that they would provide a good photo opportunity.
I found the above pictures on Pinterest when looking for novel ideas to wrap my Christmas Presents. It made me think what was my best ever Christmas gift?
When I was about seven years old my Dad made me a wardrobe. This piece of “furniture” was about three feet high. It was made from varnished ply wood which he had bent to make a curved top to the wardrobe. There was a single door which was opened using a wooden knob. Inside my Dad had include a shelf and mini wire coat hangers. On the hangers were……….Clothes for ALL of my dolls and Teddies!!
My Mum and Nanna had been knitting and sewing for months before that Christmas. I had a lot of dolls. Baby dolls, a teenage doll (fashionable pre Barbie!) and Teddies. All these much loved dolls had new clothes. There were knitted sweaters for Teddy, Sewed dresses for the dolls-often with matching knickers and even a crotched pram blanket on the shelf. I played and played with this gift and have never forgotten the love and work that had gone into making the perfect gift for a dolly mad seven year old little girl.
After that lovey wollow in nostalgia I must get back to wrapping those presents.
A Lushous Christmas is about to happen for some lucky folk! I bought two of Lush bath bomb wands for my Little girl neighbours. These are multiple use foamy bath wands and are to be swished in the bath water. Swish, swish make a wish! They are yummy, scrummy, foamy treats. I am sure that my mini neighbours will enjoy them.
I also had to buy a “secret Santa” gift for a girl friend. Again I turned to Lush and purchased one of their boxed gift sets. I have included a list of contents as there are loads of products inside. I hope that the recipient enjoys it as much as I have enjoyed buying it. I have to admit that I have a couple of the boxes from previous years and love them so much especially as they are now full of my precious vintage photographs. (Ps the photos smell gorgeous!)
Just as a matter of interest, I generally visit Lush, Chester. Today the shop was heaving with customers but there was a happy, jolly Christmas atmosphere. Happy Christmas!
You do meet nice people at craft fairs! At a recent Christmas Craft Fair I met a lady who has just renovated a property, converting it to a venue for craft workshops. These workshops are about to get up and running and she has asked me to run a workshop making my up cycled bunting. This is pictured above and I use worn out or damaged embroidered lace doilies, tray cloths and table cloths. So if anyone has spare vintage embroidery or lace you know where it will find a good home! The bunting I had made was not for sale but just used to dress up my candle stall but maybe next time!
The workshops are to be held in a near by village called Caerwys, check out http://www.coachhousecaerwys.co.uk This is a beautiful location and an original “coach house” fabulous.
Whilst cruising through Pinterest I spotted the recycled tote bag as pictured above. Maybe just maybe, this could be the inspiration for another workshop. Perhaps I could use recycled beads? I could incorporate quilting, embroidery, buttons. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! The list is endless!
Gorgeous Grandson starred in his school Nativity play last night. The location was the church to which the school is attached. This is a lovely, large, fairly old building with beautiful stained glass windows and lots of space. Space was needed to accommodate all the children, parents, carers and teachers. Gorgeous Grandson starred as a shepherd wearing the obligatory tea towel head dress, and for some reason, a crown. The children enjoyed performing the traditional Christmas story. The Christmas Carol, Away in a Manger, brought a tear to my eye, and the highlight was when the three “camels” galloped down the church aisle with the three “kings” on their backs!
The best and most credit worthy thing about this presentation was that there is a child in that class who is profoundly deaf. For this reason the whole Nativity was not only narrated and sung by the children but signed in deaf sign language throughout. The children accept that sign language is part of their lives and all can use it to a certain extent. The inclusivity for the deaf child is a great thing and full credit to all of the teachers at that school.
It goes without saying that the star of the show from my point of view was Gorgeous Grandson!
I am am a self confessed fan of Lush Handmade Cosmetics http://www.lush.co.uk
Following a random poll of my friends it seems it’s a “Marmite” reaction to Lush shops, you either love it or hate it! Well I love it!
This Christmas they are offering a gift wrapping service using scarfs to wrap the chosen gift. This is “Knot-Wrap By Lush” a reusable fabric package in a Japanese style. Lush suggests wearing the fabric as a scarf or a belt, or do the traditional Japanese thing and kindly hand it back to be used again. The ultimate recycling . Personally I think that the scarves are too gorgeous to give back I will treasure mine!
I called into the Chester Lush shop to take these pictures. I also love their “Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter” a real treat for softening hard bits around nails. No wonder I have fabulous nails Ha! Ha!
Enjoy your Christmas wrapping wherever you are this year!
This week it was my delight to see Paul Hollywood, (judge in the Great a British Bake Off) in his tour of Britain. He was so very good. He entertained, baked, chatted, baked and flirted whilst he baked. He made what looked and smelled like a gorgeous baked Brie wrapped in a bread coat. There was a luscious chocolate, meringue roll. He baked a bread with a Stilton and walnut combo and he demonstrated a complicated bread plait.
Paul was a baker brought up in the North of England and has enjoyed global admiration since he became a judge on the Great British Bake Off. He has an easy manner and lovely blue eyes. Amazingly this show was the polar opposite to last weeks rock concert. This week I had the best seat in the theatre bought for me as a birthday present by number two child. Thank you number two child! Thank you Paul Hollywood.
I enjoy buying these perfumed drawer sachets as a treat. Now I know that they are expensive but I store them with my crafts creations, for example my knitting bag. When a project is complete it usually smells divine. Don’t tell anyone but this is an accidental sneak preview of someone’s surprise Christmas present. I will show you the whole picture when the gift is given!
Today a parcel from ebay arrived. Six lush pieces of vintage textiles. I really do have loads of vintage embroidery and lace but I can’t bear to part with most of it! I will need to part with some as I am planning to lead a craft class of up cycled textiles early in 2015. With this in mind I have purchased more vintage table cloths and lace and doilies for not a lot of money. Maybe they are too nice to part with!
I will tell you more about the craft/up cycling classes when I know what I’m doing! I am thinking along the lines of up cycled bunting and maybe recycled cushion. The venue is nearly sorted so then it will be all go to organise the event.
Last night I went to see Robert Plant (ex Led Zeppelin front man) in Llandudno. This is the first (and possibly the last) time that I have been to a Rock concert. I actually enjoyed it! Robert Plant was fantastic. I learned quite a few lessons.
1) Do not go to a standing only rock concert again.
2) Do not go to a standing only rock concert wearing high heeled boots.
3) Do not stand behind tall people.
4) Do not stand behind tall people wearing strange hats.
5) Do not wear a heavy winter coat to a rock concert even if the temperature outside is freezing.
6) Do not go for fish and chips before a rock concert
7) I was not destined to be a Rock Chick.
The event was an education and people watching was amazing. There were men, slightly the worse for drink, continually filming the concert with their phones in the air. They were also chatting to their mates and holding a pint of beer in their other hand. The laugh was that they frequently raised their pint above their heads to film instead of their phones, with interesting results!
I had to borrow a photo of Robert Plant from his website as my attempts at photography were rubbish as you can tell from my picture!
If I’m perfectly honest I would rather stay at home with my knitting! I do however, believe that you should try to do different whenever you can. Last night was certainly different!
On our way to our Girly Weekend retreat we dropped into the Christmas Fair at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. We didn’t tour the house as we were short of time and such a magnificent residence deserves a lingering, loitering viewing. The fair was located in the stately home grounds around the property. It was VERY busy but free to enter! There were multiple wooden huts selling trinkets, crafts, food, and treats. As ever my penchant for textiles saw me gravitate to the fabric craft stalls.
I admired some gorgeous woollen cushions. There was a lovely Hydrangea Wreath. I loved the choice of Christmas crafts but bought very little. As usual I thought that “I can make that!”. Sadly what I can’t buy is time to complete all the projects that I would like to make. Oh I did buy some yummy fudge! Oh and a lacy scarf ( that did look a bit like a dish cloth.)
The next day whilst rambling around Ashbourne, we came across a tree stump to which someone had fastened lots of “lost” cuddly toys. It was both funny and sad. It certainly caused interest. Speculation as to who had owned them and who on Earth had gone to the trouble of attaching them to the tree stump? Had they been lost or had they been abandoned?
If you have ever lost a cuddly toy it could be hugging a tree stump somewhere in Ashbourne!