Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Keeping up

I am still up to date with my pages. I don't blog about them every day but I am managing to get them done. I seem to be enjoying the process more this year, although the lack of a printer is a bit frustrating. I have come around to the thought that I will simply write a piece for every prompt and then when I can afford the ink for the printer I will print the chosen photographs small enough to slip into the pockets I have thoughtfully provided on most of the pages.
I have taken some pictures of the existing pages but I left the camera in the other room and when I leave this room I am going to bed so I will upload some pictures tomorrow, perhaps.

I also did two 12 x 12 pages today for the 2010 album. My eldest grandson has just completed his GOLD Duke of Edinburgh's Award. He will be going to Buckingham Palace in the spring to receive it. I am just so proud I could burst!
The programme of events for the presentation evening that took place here in Newport had a picture of him and two friends taken while they were on an expedition - canoeing down the river Wye - as the front cover. I used this and the page with his name on it as the main ingredients for a page for the album.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Two Christmas stories

I thought about what I wanted to write, then I wrote it, then I decided that it is just too personal to share with anyone outside my immediate family as it stirred up feelings I had thought long gone. I am not even sure if I will put the stories into my journal or whether they will go into the folder to be read after I am gone - yes I do have one.

I think this picture of Blue Cat (the name is a long story) with his "bah humbug" face on is just so good and sums up how I feel today so I won't write anymore

Monday, 6 December 2010

Counting Down to Christmas

I didn't think I counted down to Christmas, I thought I was relaxed and didn't really bother, until I thought about it. I was quite busy trying to finish a couple of hats and wrist warmers that my daughter has sold for me. She wore hers to work and some of the girls loved them so I have been extra busy knitting and crocheting. You get a lot of time to think when knitting although I do watch TV too.

Anyway, I thought about counting down and realised that I do. Of course I do, I have to because I need to know where I am on my list of things to be completed by certain dates. What a daft thing to think that I didn't do it. I made a wall hanging for Little Miss so that she could change the numbers every day and know how many "sleeps until Santa". My children always had an advent calendar each - the source of much shouting and hitting from their father because he thought they should only have one between the three of them and would always find some reason to deny them the chocolate each day.
Perhaps that's why I avoid thinking about counting down, hmmm.
Mr M counts down secretly but he always knows exactly how many days until santa brings gifts for the children. He would make sure that each of my children had at least one advent calendar so he more than made up for the bad years.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Perfection? ok I'll try

My perfect Christmas happens every year even when it is not happy. It has been perfect for the last 30 years because I have Mr M with me. My children have grown up in that time - they were teenagers when Mr M came into our life - and they have their own families. I love having them around but don't ever make them feel that they have to come to us for Christmas. They have in-laws who like them to go there for Christmas and as long as my kids are happy then I am content. I don't need them close to know they love me.

The most perfect Christmas was in 1992. We were having a lot of work done on the house - roof, wiring, water pipes, drains, windows. All good stuff and as we were continuing to live in the house while the work went on it got a bit stressful for Mr M as he hates me even moving the furniture.

Every day the builders would tell me which rooms they would be doing the next day and we would then move all the boxes and furniture into a room that was done. After the windows were replaced we had no curtain poles so no curtains. We live in a terraced house with a small garden at the front that separates us from the pavement. people walk past our house all day and most of the night too as it is the drunkards path home from the clubs in the city centre. Getting into bed each night was quite a feat, I can tell you.

The work began at the end of September and by December 20th we had a new roof, all the plastering had been done after the new wiring was put in. The windows were all new and double glazed and the brand new copper water pipes were in and the floorboards relaid. The last few jobs were completed and at 9am on Christmas Eve the painter arrived and painted the front door. "Keep this slightly open," he said with a grin "to give the paint a chance to dry so it won't stick to the frame and pull off the door."

It was pretty darned cold with the front door open all day on christmas Eve. There was a bitter wind and even with three blankets hung across the gap it was still cold. We held out until three pm and then Mr M said "I don't care if all the bl**dy paint falls off, we are closing the door!" So we did. We had a sofa to sit on a coffee table the TV and the stove in the kitchen to cook dinner. The boys were in Germany in the army so they were with their own families. My daughter was in Manchester with her new boyfriend so it was just Mr M and me. we cooked the dinner together, and then sat on the sofa with our plates on our knees to eat then we sat back and watched TV for a while then we played cribbage and all the time we talked. We are always talking, we have never yet run out of things to say to each other. sometimes we sit in silence, reading or listening to music or watching TV but mostly we talk.

That's why it was so perfect. I knew my family was all safe because they all rang me during the day to say that Santa had been and he gave them good presents. So I suppose each year I hope that I will be able to repeat that perfection even though we no longer have wet plaster on the walls and there are curtains at the windows.

Maybe this year eh?

Christmas Cards made or bought?

I never thought that making Christmas Cards was my 'thing'. Card making was hard, it never came out the way I saw it in my mind so I just didn't do it - until 2009 when my cousin Michelle began to come to my house to scrapbook with me. She came every tuesday stayed for two hours and we would laugh and talk and put the world to rights but all the time we were either doing a scrapbook page from a pagemap or deciding which family pictures we wanted to share for our albums. She said she made cards and sold them for charity. She brought a pile of used cards and we cut the fronts off them and I helped her make new cards. I did pyramage when there were several of the same card. I did decoupage too. Both things I had never done before because they were not my 'thing'.

I thought I would have a go at making some just to send to the family - just to see if I could. I made 40 cards for family and suddenly realised that less is definitely more and in future my cards would be simple. I try to use whatever I have in the bits box which makes me feel good as I am saving a tree or two but the very best thing is that this year Little Miss is growing up and is now old enough to really help. Her cutting out skills are excellent. I stamped s whole load of baubles onto plain white paper and used some puffer paints that I found in Costco to decorate them. When they were dry I used the heat gun to puff the paint and then let Little Miss cut around them, making sure to keep the little ring at the top. She cut out 48 of them!
This project took us several evenings after school and made the time she had to wait for Mummy to come home from work just fly by. In total we made 100 card for me, 20 each for her mummy and two uncles and we also made 100 for TENOVUS, a local cancer charity.
Part of a goody bag I got from Create and Craft TV at NEC (even though I didn't actually go) were 24 decoupage sheets of Christmas toppers so we used those too.
So this year all my cards were hand made and it really felt good to put them into the envelopes and post them. I will make more for next year.
What happens if I don't make enough? well I will buy some from TENOVUS that's what, I won't be beating myself up over not doing a few cards because I will still have my apprentice and we will be doing even better stuff after school in our own special craft club.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Will the school close early?

I have taken Little Miss to school but it is snowing again and we don't know if it will stay open all day. This doesn't bode well for a trip to North Wales but we have two weeks for it to improve. On the other hand I am about to cancel a meeting booked for tomorrow night. I really don't want to go out in the dark and cold if I don't have to and the family history society is not high on the priority list for life support. Most of the members are my age or even older so I don't need them to fall and hurt themselves while trying to attend a meeting that really isn't necessary.
I put the wreath onto the front door last night and then stood out in the freezing wind to take a picture. Mr M set up the newest Christmas gadget, a Santa that climbs up and down his ladder with a string of very large lights - well they are if you judge their size by how tall the Santa is. It has the sleigh at the bottom of the ladder, I didn't get it into this picture, and it plays Christmas tunes. For the reader old enough to remember them it sounds like the tunes were played on a Bon Tempi keyboard and it has a wonderfully nostalgic sound, awful but fascinating. The little motors that move Santa whine slightly so we have fa la la la la la la la, whine, clunk. The clunk being Santa's boot on the ladder.
We sat, entranced, the TV forgotten as he climbed up and down the ladder. This morning Little Miss arrived all wrapped up for school and as she stood at the window to wave bye bye to mummy I flicked the switch. "Ooh, grandma, it's snow...... ooooooh, what's that? it's Santa, why is he climbing the ladder? whose lights are they? Has Grandpa seen that? He'll like that won't he Grandma? he loves things like that. Ooooh he's going back up! Did Mummy see it?"
And that's what Christmas is all about, wonder and magic and memories. My father, G*d rest his soul, told me something when my daughter was born 45 years ago. He said this;
"You have to make memories, they don't just happen. You have to keep on remembering them so that they are never forgotten."
The climbing Santa will be here for a while and Little Miss will look back to when she was five and it was snowing at the beginning of December and she'll remember the excitement she felt and want to recapture that moment - perhaps she will copy her Grandma and Journal her Christmas too.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

JYC Manifesto

We've started!

I think this is the most excited I have ever been about this class, perhaps because this year it feels right, I don't know. I don't really care why either, I am just glad to be excited.

I have put the wreath onto the front door, hung the "Sleeps until Santa" hanging where Little Miss can reach to change the numbers and put the Creole Christmas Cake into the oven. I have never done this recipe so I have no idea how it will work out.
Oh, oh I have also posted the Christmas cards - all hand made of course - all those that go by Royal mail anyway. The ones that go via Scout Post will be popped into the posting box in the newsagents on Saturday.
What else? oh yes, the door plate with the wrong name that we bought in August was sent back to the Beatrix Potter Shop on Monday and today the replacement arrived, now how's that for excellent service? I am thrilled. Tomorrow I will begin the wrapping of presents as we are supposed to be going to North Wales on 18th December to the Christening so we are taking all the presents from everyone.