We had a lovely relaxing day on the 25th...beautiful weather, delicious food and friends to share it with...a combination hard to beat!
Sarah and Karina ignore my strictures about present exchanges between us and once again arrived bearing lovely bags bursting with gifts...I recieved, amongst other delights, a wonderful Michael Leunig collection album that I have beside my chair and read from each time I sit down. Tim spent a very happy afternoon next day stacking woodworking bits and bobs into his lovely new storage container...
Well, that was our day, really enjoyable. I hope yours was just as happy...
I always kid myself that making Christmas cards is over long before it really is...but here it is Friday 23rd December 2016...too late for any more through the post...all good I thought...however, best laid plans et al...I suddenly realised that I needed a little gift and a card for my nephew who we will be seing on Christmas eve at his drinkies party, also present will be my two nieces and thier families, drat! There is three more to make, plus another for my brother who will be joining us for lunch on Sunday...so four all up.
Got in this morning between a few household chores, making apple sauce and a peanut soba noodle dish for lunch while the boys went to their allotment. Got the cards and envelopes made, tidied everything away when the boys arrived back for lunch and Tim just mentioned that a friend from his previous workplace was calling in after lunch. I thought I had better rustle up another card for them...I hadn't thought to make them one as Tim rarely sees his friend now they are both retired...he used to call in every thursday for a coffee on his work rounds, but that doesn't happen now.
For that one I simply added a gold star and a tiny "noel" to one of the tea-bag cards...it looks quite "wide brown landish", so quite appropriate for the heat we have been having lately...
This one I made using the Concord and 9th. O Christmas Tree Stamp Set...nice sentiments in their sets...this is almost a one layer card...it would have been except I mis-stamped and needed to add another layer over the mess! I like this simple design and made several similar cards that were actually really one layer, which I generally find difficult to achieve...but of course I forgot to photograph them!
Better trot, I have a couple of chores still waiting for me...chicken liver pate and fruit mince pies to make... I just hope thats all the cards done...once again!
Well, only a few days to go now...I have had the lads cracking on this morning, whipper snipping, cleaning off the patio, mowing, weeding the laundry gravel patch...a general tidy up outside...in case we have a hot day on Sunday and need to be outside...also to appease the ghosts OCP (as mentioned in previous posts).
We will be seven for lunch, but I am determined that we will be non-traditional, I am very determined on that. We will BBQ some beef, have hot Pink Eyes from the garden, salads and thats about it. My brother is bringing one of his famous trifles, hopefully bursting with fresh raspberries from his garden, and Sarah and Karina are bringing salads. Sarah mentioned she still had a Christmas pud in her freezer from last year so I am sure she will add that to the menu...I will make sure there is plenty of cream and I may just stretch to making some brandy sauce, just in case. Chris has pointed out that we have a jar of deliciously lemony fruit mince in our refrigerator from last year as well, so there may also be a plate of mince tarts on the day.
My nephew has phoned to ask us all to his place for Christmas eve drinks, so we will catch up with that section of family, which will be lovely. He is a fabulous cook and host and I am looking forward to seeing his recently renovated back yard.
I finished off my third assignment for the unit I was completing at UTas...I struggled a bit and thought I was going to be sweating it out at the deadline, but like most things, once you put your mind to completing the job, it gets done. We have to wait until late February before our marks will be available, but that is not a problem for me...it is done to the best of my ability and it is an ungraded pass unit and I already have 50% from the first two assessments...all good.
Also I have sent off a few more Christmas cards...I got a bit sneaky though as I wanted to use cards I already had in my boxes. I went through them and pulled out several with red or green card bases, added some glittery sequins or red sprinkles, whatever went well, added a sentiment and they were good to go...I think they were nicer almost than the ones I made specially.
I have also completed two journals...both for design teams (I am now officially on two of them!) and although they won't be released until January, which is when I commence my term of office, I have included a tiny sneaky peak of them here...watch for more on this exciting topic come January...
It was lovely to see my niece Rebecca on Sunday...she has travelled down from her home in Queensland to visit her father on Bruny Island over Christmas, and to catch up with her sister and brother and their families in Burnie for a couple of days before travelling home. My brother David, his wife Alice called by for a cup of tea after picking her up at the airport...so I caught up with them also...I am having a very social time! (This is the bit of Christmas that I love!).
Better go, my job for the day is the kitchen...I still have the refrigerator and the large oven to clean, but I do need to pace myself, so these bits may take a day or two to finish off....
I hope your run-up to Christmas is as relaxed and pleasant as mine...(but then, I'm not doing any shopping!),
December 14th. was a big day here for us...Sarah graduated from the University of Tasmania in a ceremony at Federation Hall on the waterfront in Hobart. She and her fellow graduants walked to the hall through the city, while we settled ourselves into the concert hall to await proceedings. All the shining happy faces of those graduating were a very pleasant sight and took me back to the big day back in 1992 when I graduated from the same university, and actually, when I think about it, both she and I were about the same age (mature), when we went through this exciting event in our lives.
I was the very first person in my family to achieve a tertiary qualification, so I felt quite justly proud of myself and was very sorry that my dad was not still with us to share the day...he would have been proud, as he set a lot of store by education...
Sarah looked very happy and proud of herself during the ceremony.
It got me thinking how much things have changed...I had weekly contact with various of my fellow students over the two year period of study, both in Hobart and Launceston as the School of Nursing was based in Launceston in those early days of tertiary qualifications for nurses, (I was hospital-based, as I started my training way back in 1969), but I was excited and keen to add the theoretical knowledge to my practical hands-on experience that I had gained. Sarah, having studied her course entirely on-line, only had her online contact to communicate with her peers...a very different (but highly convenient) study platform. When I think back on all the travelling I had to do, expenses involved in meals and accommodation away from home to attend lectures, baby sitters when Tim was not able to be home when I had work or a lecture, well, I just give thanks for the internet! It may be a tad glitchy and slow at times, but hey! The advantages is just so many ways outstrip the disadvantages every time.
Here are a couple of photos I have been "given permission" to use...(I am just the same with photos of me!)
It was a day to remember...
And how would a bah humbug such as myself know this?
Well, I know because I received this photograph from the lovely Melinda just last evening...just one look at those three shining faces would tell you something exciting is in the wind...even without the tell tale decorated tree behind them...It did bring back memories...
I remember the exciting build up to Christmas when one was a small onself...it started early back then, helping mum mix, wrap and boil the several Christmas puddings our family expected, weeks before the big day, this event started off the big build up to the day itself. There was making shortbread with butter from a farm dairy, (tastes sooo much better!), storing it away in its tins out of sight and reach so it could have a chance to mature to buttery perfection just when needed. We were under pain of death regarding illicit sampling of the goods...at least we firmly believed we were, although my brothers, being older and more street wise than me, were often quite brave about these injunctions...the mystery of hidden parcels on top of wardrobes and at the back of shelves...the anxiety of working out just how much money one had saved in the piggy bank, what one could purchase for each necessary parcel...how best to divide the meagre amount to ensure each family member recieved just exactly was the perfect item to astound and delight when gathered around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning...(it never worked out however hard one saved)...
Then there came the Christmases after leaving home, working, marrying, having a family of ones own...juggling the now divided loyalties of where to be and when...traveling late at night to be with family at the crucial moments, going to midnight eucharist, singing carols, so many lovely shared memories, family occasions, meals...
But now, I am over it...I have done enough Christmasses to last me out...really I have.
But it is still lovely to sit back now and watch the enjoyment of others and hope against hope that the Christmas fairy will be in to clean the house sufficiently to appease the Ghosts of Christmas's Past, (mother, grandmothers and great aunts, they do so hover about at this time of year with whispy residues of past practices that seemed so set in stone when I was young). However, dear daughter resolutely refuses to allow me to reject everything outright...she drags me protesting faintly along the tinsel path each year...actually I think she has an ally in Christopher (who lives with us)...he has threatened to get the Christmas box down from it's high shelf in the shed and decorate the house before eveyone arrives on Christmas day...hopefully he won't remember...
I do still enjoy seeing the photographs and hearing the stories, and catching up with those we don't see so frequently thoughout the year anymore.
In adition, I really do wish I was close enough to the three little hopefuls in the photo above to pop in for an hour on Christmas morning and see their bright faces...but an hour would do me nicely...oh to be wealthy and own a Lear jet...I have indeed become a bah humbug!
That's it from me for now...
I have been watching on You Tube as Therese Calvird from Lostinpaper posts videos in her (now) annual tips for making Christmas cards...Therese always has some good twist on a process or suggestions to make about ringing the changes when card making...she is also the queen of shaker cards...I notice because they are my bête noire...
I don't need many special Christmas cards for my own use, but each year since we have lived in this small country town, I have made cards to give to the local Community Care group for the staff to distribute to socially isolated folk at this time of year. While I do not mean to imply for a moment that making cards for anonymous recipients should be regarded in any way as an exercise in economy, speed, or other limitations, the reality is that these folk are completely unknown to me..therefore the cards I make for passing on to the community care group are as gender, belief and age non-specific as I can make them. This implies blandness and uniformity...avoiding this by making groups of different cards helps to ensure there is something for eeryone. I then simply have to rely on the care staff simply to allocate the cards according to their knowledge of the tastes of recipient.
In order to make as many as I can in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I tend to make them in batches, and that is where I get lots of inspiration from Therese.
Last evening it was the "cutsie" theme...I made six cards using an older Penny Black stamp set (most of my stamp sets are in this category now, as I cannot simply impulse buy any longer;). I used a Kaisercraft 6.5" paper pack, Christmas Wishes, (lovely soft teal greens, pinks and gold), using those papers exclusively. Also, for the first time ever, using the little sentiment tags in the back section on all but two of the cards.
This consistency did speed up the process for me as it stopped most of my endless dithering over the card stock bins, choosing colours, patterns, textures etc.
This is the odd one out in the set, being 11.5 cm square...All the rest are 11cm x 14cm. I carelessly marked three of the panels with ink after completing the colouring and rather than waste this one I simply die cut the panel to a small square, a larger square for the matting layer and make the card base to fit...
Well, thats about it...I must away...journals to make, photo essays to develop...but maybe lunch first?
(Chris has been in the kitchen making toasted cheese sandwiches and the aromas are making my stomach rumble...)
Hello, I'm Di...I live in beautiful Tasmania, I enjoy making cards and journals for special folk.