Saturday, 31 December 2011

...and a Happy Hopey Hooky New Year!


Is it a terrible sign of aging that you feel slight fear at the thought of another year, or simply cowardice? I am endeavouring to remember Hope today! May 2012 bring you lots of blanket moments to cower/comfort/rest/rejoice under as the coming life-filled months may require!

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Merry Christmas to all...

I'm having a quick and gorgeous run round all your fabulous and festive blogs. But might I also recommend Mise's post to anyone who hasn't read it yet! I've had another amazing year of you! Thank you. May your Christmas weekend be full of fun and smiles and food and flurries of nothing but joy. And for a very exciting excursion, if you find yourself at a loose end of ribbon or foil, join the Willows on the trip of lifetime- or at least of a Christmas! Merry Christmas to you all- and to you all a good night!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Crave indulgence

Sorry folks, not that sort of indulgence! I need yours for a day- I am taking a break from Christmas! Childlike will be here tomorrow (it's still Tuesday here) but just for today I need to know that normal life will resume after Sunday! SO!

Crochet. I'm on to what I am affectionately deeming Stage Two of The Ripple. Stage One was the sample, in Rico Baby Gruen- the main colour, I think.

Satge Two, tonight's project, was to chain the 199 needed after measuring Sunday night's sample. I was appalled at the thought of accurately keeping track of this, so marked every set of ten loops! Bemused arm belongs to long-suffering Jo who has ball of said Rico Baby stuffed down the front of his shirt to keep it out of the shot!

And finally, I have made a start on my Beatrix Potter reading- well, I read the first one. All I can say is that if a single parent of four children, living in a sparsely furnished cellar, can take herself off to the bakery for buns while her reprobate son runs up another bill of anti-social behaviour in a neighbour's garden, and still be sane enough to cook any sort of supper and provide medical ministrations- she's a better woman than me! (Me at BP's Lake District house in July 2008!)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Love


Not in that poor lowly stable
With the oxen standing by
We shall see Him
But in Heaven
Set at God's right hand on high

..Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart..

It's been a busy and lovely Christmas filled day today, with a busy and Christmas filled week ahead! Pausing and pondering!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Thrifty Thursday's two-in-one Childlike Christmas!

Thrifty bakes more at Christmas than usual. Only the love of the notion of the Friday Cake Bake spurs her more! She can never quite believe how much more for your money you must get from packets of everything falling about snowily in the baking cupboard. Or indeed quite how many people you can feed at Open House time!

Hopefully baking is a farily established part of my children's Christmas. Admittedly Joshua did have That Year with This Icing...

But generally all is much better managed come Christmas Eve, when special preparations must be made!

Spot the well-loved Farmer Duck, now out to pasture.

Our traditional GH gingerbread made, and spoons dutifully licked.

And even sometimes rolled out again when invited to a New Year's Eve party! (See how long it is since I've successfully managed to get to one of those!)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Third Sunday in Advent: Joy

I am pooped. I am a candle burnt down to its very wick!

Far too much joy about the Land today- much mulling, eating, laughing and apparently lots of sharing too!

I'm sure there were many moments, probably in the dark and cold of the night, when it didn't feel very joyful on that first journey down to Bethlehem. Tired and weary not conducive to joy. I remember being too preoccupied to be conscious of joy on my labour dash to have Jo, and I wasn't on the back of a donkey. Thankfully, this hope, this peace, this joy, this love doesn't depend on how I feel. Tired and happy, tired and weary, tired but looking forward to the coming time. Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus; ex Maria, virgine, gaudete!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday Cake Bake

It's a bit of a very amateur festive baking bash here today. But it's all for Sunday, so here, sit down in the blue chair and talk to me. Have some tea and a supermarket doughnut. How was your week?!


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Thrifty Thursday's Top Tips for Christmas


Well, Thrifty's Christmas shopping is done and wrapped and is sitting under her tree. It all came in well under her usual spend and this year for once doesn't sprawl out from under the branches and threaten to be trampled to fragments before distribution to relevant recipients.

The reason for this pleasing phenomenon is quite simply that she didn't buy very many presents! She knows this sounds Scrooge-like! But when she took from last year's list the presents that are really quite rubbish, because they fall within a budget that doesn't buy very much for the teenagers/distant relatives/people she doesn't see but has always bought for, suddenly the whole business was transformed. The cumulative amount for her was vastly more significant then the token sum on an individual level.

This was openly discussed with the folk/parents of folk concerned, all of whom were (mostly) in very enthusiastic support. And in some cases Thrifty has been making presents with materials from the box under the bed. And that has certainly been giving her much fun over the last two weeks.

It all stems from here, and culminates in her annual Mince Pies and Mulled Stuff bash on Sunday afternoon, when time and presence (and yummy things) will be offered to friends instead. So, that's Thrifty's confession, in lieu of an actual Top Tip!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Pom Pom's Childlike Christmas

Forgive me; I still haven't visited all the Pausing Posters and will be later still with all you beautifully childlike guardians of magic. But...

I want to talk about presents. Louisa's Jo knew that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without any presents. Strawberry Jo didn't at all enjoy Arthur Christmas because, "Mummy, everybody knows that isn't how Santa works". I'm afraid that for all my thinking and framing and positioning, presents are a huge factor in a truly child-like Christmas.

So with last week's tree and next week's baking, "I bring you gold!" (Mattman's first Nativity line as a king aged 3...)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Second Sunday in Advent: Peace

I went on thinking about kneeling places after last week. This time last year all was perfect peace on a weekend away from it all, literally kneeling at beautiful Nativity scenes. We love santons at Christmas and before the creches there I was struck at how I could as a little teacher kneel with the millers and the shepherds and the mothers and the angels, all bringing themselves and their lives and their roles to the child.

Every year when I set up our creche I arrange the santons to be seen by on-lookers. And every year the suns come along and turn them inward. It's one of our unspoken traditions now, and it makes me glad! However, this year what struck me was that when you might be on your knees anyway, struggling with whatever demon/worry/setback you have, then where better to be on your knees than with other kneeling folk? And there you might find some peace?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Grand Tour Itinerary: finally...


I have eventually bestirred myself from the strawberry sloth and sludge to look at the generously long list of Willowistes. It is a little incredible to note that in all their adventures hitherto, they have only been to the first four stops on their journey! It looks very much as though their tour of the States will mirror everyone's journey to Bethlehem- and to think that originally I imagined them back home with Pom by Thanksgiving!

Profound and very genuine apologies if I have you in the wrong order, or worse still, have left you off the list- please let me know!

I considered finding a soundtrack of "In the Deep Mid-winter" as an accompaniment to the Itinerary, but they seem to be having too muchly a jolly time wherever they go! It is funny though to think that by the time they get to Australia and New Zealand, we may well be coming out of winter, while the Willows will perhaps be flying towards another Autumn!

I only have links in the sidebar to blogs already visited- and the links go to just one of the posts from that place. There will be other posts before or after, so do browse around!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Thrifty Thursday's Top Tips for Christmas

Angela will be very proud of Thrifty this week. She has two Top Tips and both are very thrifty indeed!

On the first of December have a Prince Charming or equivalent who will take you on a surprise excursion to your local converted-Mill-now-Council-HQ. Stand in the cold, dark air to sing carols, admire Peter Corry, see That Man arrive in a vintage car with a sack of red hats for all, wander past all the sparkling trees through the (artificial) snow and wrap your hands round a cup of mulled wine. (Last bit not so thrifty, admittedly, but the rest was free!) Very magical!

Now this. This is superb! It comes from ...the sight of morning... The original idea is to give it as an Advent calendar, but Thrifty is going to adapt it as presents for Sunday School teachers, and theme it for the Twelve Days of Christmas. The little tags will be print-outs of the twelve gifts in the song, and she is going to pin on hot chocolate and cappuccino sachets as well as speciality tea-bags. She does need to purchase the sachets and mini-pegs, but remains muchly, muchly excited about the gorgeous simplicity and loveliness of an achievable project! If she has enough "ingredients" left over, Thrifty may even hang one up for herself, and sequester a few stolen moments every day to sit quietly and sip contentedly!