Tag Archives: gifts

No Room At The Inn?

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I recently visited Chester Cathedral with the intention of seeing a knitting exhibition. There was a display of knitted Bible stories, Hand crafted and lovely.

There was a “side” show of knitting hats and scarves for the homeless. Very admirable and kind idea.

The cathedral is a beautiful, large church, warm and cosy. What I couldn’t understand was why ?

Why Heat the lovely space to such an extent when all the visitors are warmly wrapped up in scarves and good coats?

Why have such a large attractive space open to the public when some of the public are homeless ( for whatever reason) and sleeping rough in doorways?

Why close the doors at night to keep the Church warm when some are shivering with no bed to sleep in?

I know that the homeless is a complex issue. Many people do help and do their best. Maybe I’m doing Churches in the UK a disservice . Maybe they do open their doors at night. Just maybe a little more could be done?

I must give full credit to the Chester shareshop and all their hard work for the homeless people of Chester and elsewhere. When I shop in Chester I always buy myself a coffee. It costs me only a little to buy another coffee for someone out there.

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Trying to recycle

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I’ve made an attempt to save the World this Christmas but suspect it’s not a single handed job!

I bought and wrapped my gifts in recycled brown paper. Then realised that the roll I had bought was wrapped in plastic!! Come on WH SMITH!

I used fabric scraps to tie the gifts up but then realised that I still needed sticky tape (because I’m a rubbish wrapper!)

Some recycled gift wrapping ( the paper is recycled not the gifts)

Scrappy Tin ( that has been recycled)

I only bought Charity Christmas cards from the actual charities but spent a fortune on postage stamps! I had thought of not sending cards this year but I actually enjoy receiving them. Any novel ideas about recycling them next year?

Well I have tried so I will try even harder next year . I’ll drink plenty of wine then I can recycle the bottles!

Christmas Cruise!

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IMG_1434Hubs and I are prone to making spontaneous decisions, or should I say jumping in with both feet! It certainly keeps life interesting. Our latest instant idea was to book a cruise. It goes on Sunday to the Caribbean. Whoo Hoo! We don’t get back until 6am Christmas Day!  Guess who’s not cooking Christmas dinner? Hooray.

I have had seven days to:

1 Write, post and deliver Christmas cards.

2 Buy gifts for the family

3 complete hand crafted gifts

4 Pack

5 Buy any clothes needed ( always a good excuse!)

6 re pack to check what I have packed.

7 Book car parking

8 Apply for Visa

9 Buy all Christmas food and freeze so that we can actually eat. ( maybe after two weeks cruise food that won’t be an issue!)

10 collect currency

11 Have hair done. Nails. Check packing……..

12 Happy days!

Most importantly what craft project shall I take with me?

Craft Christmas Tree

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IMG_1435Our village church asked each group within the community to decorate a tree for Christmas. As the local craft group we decided to participate, with Trevor ( a weaver and wood crafter) making a trendy wooden tree.(OK we did put his arm up his back) We knitted hats, gloves and scarves which Marg used to decorate the tree ( with tinsel and ribbon ). Our glorious tree stands with pride on the church window sill. We have a grand plan to donate our knitted gifts to Share in Chester and Mold after Twelfth Night. Share is a charity which cares for the homeless everywhere and these woolly knitters will surely go to a good cause.

 

Christmas comes Early

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IMG_1419It’s been a tradition for many years that I go away with a group of girl friends and enjoy an early Christmas. This year we chose a log cabin in the Forest of Dean. A beautiful location, reasonable weather and brilliant company.

Our pop up Christmas tree was safely transported and Father Christmas payed a “surprise” visit.

IMG_1424There was a resident Robin but I didn’t get a picture so I took one of the resident “duck”.

Button Up

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People  really are nice! As part of my “Craft Cruising” prep I need lots of white/pearl buttons to use as embellishment on a couple of the projects. I sent out a generic email to some of my friends asking if they had any suitable buttons that they didn’t want. What a great response! White buttons have arrived nearly every day. They were posted through my letter box! They were handed to me in the pub! A friend posted some attached to a card! Some were handed over when I went out for dinner! One kind friend handed over her button box for me to check out!

It really does restore my faith in kindness and simple generosity. Friends have raided their button boxes galore.Where craft work is concerned there is always a sharing, not only of ideas but supplies and stash. It’s a wonderful world! Thank you dear friends for sharing, helping and friendship.

img_0878By the way, the cruise programme is now complete and sent off to the cruise company. The sample projects are nearly all done and we just have to go to a sale on Thursday and purchase lots of Liberty fabrics. Great fun! The actual cruise that I will be teaching on is in January when I am off to Norway! Yippee! Actually I have quite a few more trips to fit in before then!  Watch this space and I will tell you all about it.

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Giving and Gifts

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I find it hard to believe that there are 73 children living in Chester and North Wales who will not be receiving Christmas presents this year. This is due to extenuating circumstances which has rendered them homeless or in shared housing. These are local children living in our communities.

Well now they will receive their gifts. This is due to a local new charity called Share, a local company called Dandys Topsoil and Turf and the generosity of local people.

Yesterday I took a car boot full of gifts and felt like Mother Christmas in a way I’ve not experienced before. I was only the courier ( OK I did give some gifts) but many were donated by Daughter’s colleagues at Lush Chester.

Just a small effort to make Christmas a little special for some children less fortunate than us.

A Very Special Christmas

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Each year I go away, twice a year, for a long weekend with four girl friends. We have been doing this for nearly twenty years so have the formula right. This November we decided to have our very own, very early Christmas. We arrived at a beautiful cottage in Gloucestershire yesterday (Friday) which we proclaimed as Christmas Eve. We had a Christmas Eve buffet with generous glasses of Prosecco.

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Today, Saturday, we had Christmas Day. Father Christmas had left stockings filled with gifts. We had a log fire and lunch in a garden centre in Hay on Wye. ( which amazingly was open on our Christmas Day). The wearing of Christmas sweater was compulsory, which did cause some funny looks in the garden centre.

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The Turkey is in the oven and we will open our other presents around the table tonight whilst wearing Father Christmas hats.

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Accompanied by more Prosecco we watched the truly Vintage film White Chritmas staring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye filmed in 1954.

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A lovely Christmas Day. Roll on New Years Eve tomorrow (Sunday).

Children’s Vintage Crafts and Gifts

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image image image image imageThese embroidery samples were each made by my children when they were in Junior school. They were usually made as Mothers Day gifts. The two boys produced excellent results which is amazing as neither would dream of picking up a needle and thread these days. Well maybe the Company Sergent Major would! They have used Aida cloth.

Aida cloth is manufactured with various size spaces or holes between the warp and weft to accommodate different thicknesses of yarn. These are described by the count. For example, a 10-count aida cloth would have 10 squares per linear inch. Typical sizes are 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 22 count, ranked from the coarsest to the finest count. Traditional colours are white, ecru, or shades of tan and brown, although brighter colors are also available. Aida cloth is sold in precut sheets or in bolts of 40″ – 60″ width.

Aida cloth has a tendency to fray and often needs hemming before use. It should never be laundered prior to craft work and tends to contract when the finished item is washed in soap and water. Hand washing improves the appearance of finished cross-stitching because Aida cloth naturally contracts in specific areas where it is embroidered.

I suspect that the teacher would have helped quite a lot,as they were each made when they were aged about eight or nine.The patterns are all quite precise and carefully balanced. I adore these “Folk Art” samplers and will keep them with my other treasures. My three children all have children now so I am watching with interest to see if the Grandchildren bring home similar gifts.

My Best Ever Christmas Present

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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.