Saturday 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

I was going to type more and do a review of 2016 but Hubby and I have come down with a cold (very achy and shivery) and I just don't have the energy :( 

However I do want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year 

Monday 26 December 2016

Christmas Thank You

Thank you so much to my lovely friends and family for my gorgeous gifts. I love the build up to Christmas, putting up the decorations and adding gifts to the ever growing pile under the tree and then of course giving them out on Christmas Day. Giving gifts is one of the many pleasures in life.

This year I have been very spoilt by my super Hubby, a Swarovski crystal bracelet and a Radley watch, I'm one very lucky lady.

Over the last few weeks a few parcels have been arriving and my gift pile under the tree slowly growing - I really appreciate everyone's kindness especially as it's getting quite expensive to send items in the post.

Thank you Julie, Christine, Angi, Jane, Jeanette, Barb and Gill for my lovely gifts.

and thank you Brenda for my lovely fabric, threads and notebook - all the way from Canada.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are enjoying Boxing Day (St Stephen's Day) - we'll have a quiet family day, a good time to listen to the fabulous cd from Philly. Michael bought us a new bluetooth speaker so there's not excuse now not to play my cd again and again - can you guess they are a favourite of mine !!

Enjoy the remaining days of 2016 - plenty of time to finish up all those Christmas goodies, turkey sandwich anyone ?

Friday 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas x x

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas !!

I have a few stitching things to share in my final post before Christmas, a couple of Christmas ornaments, a special gift and a little bit of cooking.

Both these ornaments made their way south to London, one to our very good wine friends and the other to my favourite tv weathernan for his girls (I thought Fa la la just perfect for them)

The special gift is for my Dad's cousin who is coming for a Christmas Afternoon Tea later today. She is always admiring my stitching so I've stitched a coaster for her for Christmas - Just Nan's Amongst the Roses.

Finally a few Christmas pudding chocolates I made for our scout leaders party, they are very sweet so you only need small ones but so delicious. They are very simple to make:

  1. crumble up Christmas Cake
  2. mix in some melted white chocolate to form a dough (you don't need much)
  3. roll into balls and chill
  4. dip into melted chocolate
  5. leave to set in the fridge
  6. roll white icing
  7. use a flower cutter for icing effect 
  8. roll out green icing
  9. use a holly leave cutter for leaves
  10. attach to balls with edible glue
  11. add silver balls 

 Merry Christmas to you all - enjoy all the festivities and time with friends and family. 

Sunday 4 December 2016

Christmas Exchange

Now Yuku has updated itself Needlecraft Haven is back up and running. I love hosting this forum, all the members are such lovely people with amazing talents. It's quite a relief that is it all ok as it's a very busy place in December.

The Christmas theme is up and I've managed to organise the new forums for all our Christmas fun. Needlecraft Haven will be 6 years old on December 31st - the plans for 2017 are already taking place, it's a joy to host, thanks to all the NH members.

Not all the happenings on Needlecraft Haven are organised by myself - our Christmas Ornament Exchange was arranged by Christine - thank you

I did have a little smile when my email arrived with my partner's details - Gill - I seem to be stitching most of my exchanges for Gill, I hope she likes my stitching haha.

This is the ornament I stitched for her - it's a design by Sue Hillis from an old copy of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament magazine.

My Exchange parcel for Gill
Gill's ornament 
My exchange parcel was from Julie - a lovely card, bar of Cadbury's winter chocolate and a double sided ornament. It's lovely Julie, thank you.

My Exchange parcel from Julie
'Love' side or my ornament 
'Friends' side of my ornament 
Needlecraft Haven is open to all crafters - just mention you read about it on my blog when you apply for membership. It's free to join Yuku and to have NH membership - click here to join in the fun !

Friday 2 December 2016

Christmas Advent

Yesterday was December the 1st so it's Advent time. Our traditional German lights were duly fetched from the attic and placed in the kitchen window - plugged in and ..... nothing !! We've had them since moving in here in 1986 so I guess it's time to replace them haha.

I only have a small bit of stitching news .... unfortunately Needlecraft Haven is not available at the moment. The forum is hosted by Yuku and they are have major maintenance so the site has been difficult to access for nearly a week. I do hope it gets sorted soon - it does sound as if the improvements will be good so fingers crossed.

That being said we've just had our Christmas Secret Exchange - I stitched and sent my ornament and received a lovely on in return. Without being able to check on the forum I am uncertain as to opening day - oops !

I think it was 1st and I did open my parcel but I am not going to share any photos until I know for sure, especially as it's a secret exchange so we don't know yet who sent to who.

Anyway here's a few photos I can share - a bit of baking

Mini Christmas Puddings (covered in chocolate)
Spotted Dick (Dad's recipe)
Left over Spotted Dick fried with oranges
and marmalade for breakfast

It's the time of year too when I put up my tree at church for our Christmas Tree Festival. This year I am using previous ornaments and doing Family Tree. I'm taking my Dad's cousin to see all the trees tomorrow and will be taking more photos but here's a little view of what's there.

My very sparkly Family Tree
Maureen always does amazing knitted ornaments
this year one of her trees is the Queen's 90th with
all the family in knitted version 
William, Kate, George and Charlotte
Her other tree is Noah's Ark
 I'll be taking my camera up too as the trees are too bright for my phone to focus, it is always such an amazing feeling to be in the church with everyone's trees brightly decorated.

My final photo is a bit of fun - I have made Hubby's advent myself this year. It is part of his Christmas pressie but over the last few weeks I've been buying bottles of craft beer. I made 24 labels and wrapped each one: he was very surprised and pleased with his beer-a-day advent!

Beer-a-day Advent for my lovely Hubby
I hope everyone's December has started well and your Christmas preparations are not too stressful. I'll be posting again soon with those exchanges pieces - thanks for calling by :)

Monday 14 November 2016

Needlecraft Haven Autumn Get Together

Last Saturday was the autumn Get Together for members of Needlecraft Haven which is a small, friendly forum I host for crafters to chat about, and share photos of, their work. It's not all cross stitch we have sections for knitting, beading, quilting, cooking and reading.

At each Get Together we have a goody bag exchange which is themed, the theme this time was 'Favourite Film'.

My favourite film is The Holiday starring Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Kate Winslett. I thoroughly enjoyed hunting for items to go in my bag - this is what I included:

  • Black Jacks - Jack Black
  • Iris bulbs - Kate Winslett's character
  • Cottage chart (online freebie) - the film is set in an English country cottage
  • Fabric and threads - including DMC 321 for Christmas
  • Hot chocolate and marshmallows - Jude Law and Cameron Diaz have a touching moment over hot chocolate with his children
  • Winter Wonderland candle - a song in the film 
  • The Holiday - dvd to watch 

My Goody Bag contents 
All wrapped up in Christmas paper with a clue on each parcel
To chose which bag everyone wins is done with a 'cake raffle'. I make cup cakes based on the theme and put a raffle ticket under each cake - the corresponding ticket goes under a bag. Which ever cake you select you have the matching bag (unless it's the one you brought in which case we do a little bit of swapping around). I was very pleased with my film themed cup cakes.

Film reel and popcorn cup cakes
Goody Bags waiting to be chosen
Once everyone has a bag we take it in turns to open the goodies, trying to guess the film. There was such a variety this time:
Greyfriar's Bobby
The Holiday
100 and 1 Dalmations
Moulin Rouge
Thoroughly Modern Millie
West Side Story

Julie picked my bag, she hasn't seen the film so I'm very pleased I put a copy in for her to watch, maybe with a hot chocolate too. 

I picked Angi's bag which was full of lovely items; buttons, ribbons, beads, chocolate, a book, notebook and pen, handkerchief, fabric and threads, lollipops, butterfly charts and paperclips. We all tried to guess but no-one did - Angi's favourite film was Thoroughly Modern Millie !! Thank you Angi for a great bag of goodies. 

Thoroughly Modern Millie
At the Get Togethers we also have a book exchange - everyone brings a book, it can be new, charity shop, a pass on, any book from anywhere. We put a little card or note inside to say why we chose to bring the book and then wrap it up in paper so no-one can see the title or knows who the book is from. Using raffle tickets (no cake this time) we each get a wrapped book, again there is often a little swapping so we don't end up with the one we brought. My book was from Lindsay which made us all laugh as I have had Lindsay's book at nearly all the past meet ups - and I have to say they have all been very good. 
Book Exchange 
My book from Lindsay
Needlecraft Haven is a Yuku based forum and does have adverts unless we pay a small fee. At each meet up we have a small raffle and the money raised goes towards keeping the adverts away. members who live too far away to come to our Get Togethers often make direct contributions too. There were some lovely items on the raffle table this time including one of Julie's handmade bunnies and Lindsay's beadwork. 
A great selection of raffle prizes
My raffle prize
To save everyone bringing a packed lunch I made up a buffet - it's nice to all stop at the same time and share a lunch, and it works out cheaper than everyone buying sandwiches.

Buffet lunch including homemade Potato Pie and Ginger Cake
The work on the showing table was amazing - Julie has been trying new crafts at her Craft Club, she's painted a beautiful waterfall scene and made some lovely fabric bowls. Lindsay's beadwork is stunning, so intricate. Maggie's scarf was gorgeous. Lynn brought along some of her large finished projects and Angi, Gill and Justine has a variety of smalls - all beautiful. I hope I've labelled the pictures correctly.

Julie's,  Justine's and Gill's 
I was very spoilt on Saturday too as I received two lovely and very thoughtful gifts. Justine gave me three lovely candles from Lou-Bee-Lous, all winter fragrances - cinnamon and apple, winter berries and winter carnival - thank you Justine. Gill's gift was tiny but meant a huge amount - she's made a very delicate angel - perfect Gill, thank you.

Beautiful candles from Justine
Perfect angel from Gill
Thank you to the Needlecraft Haven members that came on Saturday, by train, by car, from near and far. It is always a lovely day with lots of laughing and a little stitching. Our next meet up will be in the spring - I have already had an idea for the next theme hee hee.

If you'd like to join Needlecraft Haven please follow this link - you'll need a Yuku account and then apply for membership - it's all free and great fun !!

Monday 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween - all my spooky stitching is out - lovely gifts I've received in precious exchanges.

We're having a spooky dinner tonight, just the two of us. 

Starters - mini cauldrons and creepy fingers 

Main - Goooooolash

Desserts - death by chocolate cheesecake 

We've Wychwood Dunkel Fester for our chilling refreshment and jet black Liquorice Sambuca for after dinner liqueur. 

Wishing you all a fun  spooky evening - trick or treat !!