Sunday, 31 December 2017

Peace...


www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

image from The Graphics Fairy


Wishing you all a fab Christmas ~ hope you have a lovely day with family and friends 💖

Sunday, 24 December 2017

'Twas the night before Christmas...

image from The Graphics Fairy


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Clement Clarke Moore
(15th July 1779 - 10th July 1863)

Peace


www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Thursday, 21 December 2017

More inhabitants than I thought!

I'm still plugging away at the dolls' house miniatures but am starting to get some semblence of order!  I'm storing things in largish plastic crates and by the time I'd found all the Peediekins, they needed a crate of their own ~ I was hoping that there would be room for them and the miniature clothes I've purchased over the years but there were rather more Peediekins that I'd thought 😮


As you can see, Peediekins come in all shapes, sizes and colours ~ just like we full-size folk 😉 There are 35 ladies in the photo above.  I hadn't realised that I had so many womenfolk!  They are all just-as-I-bought them, so some will be having new outfits in due course.  I think virtually all of the ladies don't have removeable clothes, which I find rather annoying.  After all, who really wants to be stuck into the same outfit 24/7!


I don't have as many chaps as ladies ~ only 17 of 'em.  They, too, are mostly glued into their clothes.  Looks like I have a lot of miniature sewing ahead of me!


Naturally, there have to be children and babies too 😊  I have 23 of the little darlings and some of them also have glued-on outfits.  Please don't be alarmed by the little limbless girl in the middle of the photo ~ I'm sure I will come across her arms and legs but if I don't, then I promise to buy new ones for her!

Those of you who have a fear of little dolls should perhaps read no further.....


.....ah well, don't go blaming me for any nightmares 😉

These poor folk need an assortment of surgery!  They all need fattening-up somewhat (especially in comparison to the chap at the top of the photo!), and some are also lacking various limbs.  I came across instructions some time back for needle-felting bodies for dolls' house-size people, which is what I am planning for these folk.

I know that some miniaturists don't like "dolls" in their houses but I much prefer to have little folk and their pets (oh yes, I have quite the collection of cats, dogs, and other small creatures, too!) around.  It seems to make houses, shops, etc, much friendlier and.....well, I was going to say realistic but you might think I am a little batty LOL

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Getting there!


The downsizing/sorting/tidying-of-the-craft-shed project, you'll be amazed to learn, really is on the homeward stretch ~ I know, I can hardly believe it myself LOL  I've only got all my dolls' house stuff left to sort through now.  Mind you, that is going to be a somewhat mammoth task as I have collected rather a lot over the years!

Still, since dolls' houses are one of the hobbies I didn't want to give up, hopefully all the little bits 'n' bobs I decide to hang on to will eventually be used in one of my house or shop kits.  I'm hoping that the lovely large shed in the garden of our new home will become my craft room ~ or "studio" as a friend insists I should call it 😉  My plan is to set out my dolls' house town in there too.  Ideally, I'm hoping to make one area purely for working and the rest of the studio (LOL!) a place for sitting and day-dreaming about my little make-believe miniature town 😊

So this coming week will mostly be dedicated to sorting through all things miniature.....I wonder if I'll get time to cull my yarn stash before we move! 


Peace...



www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Peace...



www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Doggie dangers...


Peace...



www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Little words of wisdom


A sigh of relief...

Well, that's the Christmas puddings made ~ later than I usually make them, but done nevertheless.  I like to get them made late October/early November, really, but wasn't going to bother at all this year.  

This is the recipe I use every year, and have done for absolutely ages now!  I found the original recipe many years ago in an old cookery book but over the years since then I've made various alterations to make a pudding that my family all enjoy ~ well, except for my son as he doesn't like any fruit puddings!


12 oz/340g sultanas
12 oz/340g raisins
6 oz/170g glace cherries, halved or quartered
8 oz/227g finely chopped mixed candied peel
8 oz/227g plain flour
1 level teaspoon ground ginger
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
1 level teaspoon nutmeg ~ freshly grated if possible
1 lb/454g soft brown sugar
8 oz/227g breadcrumbs
10 oz/284g shredded suet ~ beef or vegetable, whichever you prefer
6 eggs
5 fl oz/142ml barley wine
5 fl/142ml oz brandy
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
1/2 pint/284ml milk (approximately)


Grease whatever size of pudding basins you would like your finished Christmas puddings to be ~ this recipe will make enough to fill four 1 pint pudding basins, each one of which will give about six servings. 

Sift the flour and spices into a very large mixing bowl ~ I usually use a preserving pan but couldn't be bothered to rummage around in the kitchen cupboard this year! Stir in the sugar, breadcrumbs, suet... 


...and then add the dried fruit and grated orange rind (I almost forgot to add the orange rind 😲 ). 


Beat the eggs and add to them the barley wine, brandy and orange juice. 


Stir this into the dry ingredients and mix well, adding enough milk to give the mixture a soft dropping consistency.


Put the mixture into your well greased pudding basins and cover each one with a doubled-up sheet of greaseproof paper, with a pleat in the centre to allow for expansion whilst the pudding is steaming. 


I used to fiddle about with string to keep the paper in place, but one year I had a brainwave and started to use elastic bands instead ~ this year it was back to the string as I couldn't find any elastic bands!  If you haven't got a pudding basin net, just use string to make a handle as it will be easier to lift the pudding from the steamer. 


Bring a pan of water to the boil and place the pudding, in a steamer, on top; turn the water down to a low simmer. The puddings will take between 5 and 7 hours to steam, depending on the size of basin you use.  I made three one pint puddings, which I steamed for 6 hours each, and one slightly pudding which took 7 hours.  I usually set my timer for one-hour-at-a-time so that I remember to watch the level of water in the pan, and keep it topped it up as necessary with boiling water from the kettle. 


This old saucepan belonged to my Grandma and I only ever use it for steaming puddings ~ each time I use it, though, I am reminded of her 😊 I've had the steamer forever; it's a wee bit battered these days as it's been dropped on my quarry tiled kitchen floor a number of times of the years!


At the end of the steaming period, take the pudding from the steamer and remove the greaseproof paper. Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave on one side to cool. When the pudding is totally cold, remove it from the basin and wrap in a fresh double sheet of greaseproof paper and then wrap tightly in cooking foil. Store the puddings in a cool place. As I said earlier I really like to make my puddings towards the end of October and it's a family tradition to have one at Easter, too. They should keep well, what with all the sugar and alcohol in them!

When you want to eat your yummy Christmas pudding, you can either gently steam it for about 1 1/2 hours or reheat in the microwave. I can't really tell you how long to cook the pudding in the microwave as it is very much a trial-and-error process! I just tend to heat it on full in approximately five minute bursts until it is good and hot all the way through.

Serve your pudding with whatever your family likes best ~ rum butter, cream, a white sauce, custard, etc. We like to have our's either with cream or a white sauce with brandy, which I make very simply like custard ~ just substitute the custard powder for cornflour and add brandy to taste! 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. You can tweak away to your heart's content on the proportions and varieties of dried fruit, so long as the total amount remains about the same. You could have a little less fruit and add nuts. You could also use rum instead of brandy ~ I use brandy as I'm not keen on rum!  Make the recipe your own by using the fruit (and nuts) that you and your family like to eat 😊

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Yesterday was spent mostly.....



...wrapping Christmas gifts ~ 25 of 'em, to be precise!

A couple of years ago, whilst I was idly surfing the net, I came across what I thought was a very sweet Christmas idea which I was sure Beverly, my (grown-up) daughter, would love.  It was a photo of lots of little gifts dangling from a clothes-hanger, one for each day of December.  I thought it would be a particularly lovely gift because as she lives up in Orkney, it is quite difficult for her to get back down south for the holidays ~ she came down one year and got stuck in Aberdeen for a couple of days on the way back because of the weather!

Anyhoo, she did indeed love "Christmas-every-day" and asked for the same again last year.....it would appear that I have now made a rod for my own back started a new Christmas gift tradition for her!  With everything that's going on here at the moment with the imminent house-moving, I wasn't going to do it this year but she sounded so disappointed that I rather belatedly relented ~ hence yesterday's marathon gift-wrapping session 😵  


This year I went for my favourite brown paper wrapping (I think it's fab, as it can be dressed up in countless ways!), along with coloured butcher's twine and the number labels left over from last year.


Ta-daa ~ here is the end result!  The parcel just peaking through at the back in red and white paper is for Christmas day.  It's quite amazing just how long it takes to wrap each of those pesky little gifts.  It's worth it, though, as I know she will so love opening one each day 😊

Today, I shall mostly be making Christmas puddings.....again an afterthought as I wasn't going to bother this year but a certain someone was disappointed about that, too!

Peace...



www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Books...


Not quite true, actually ~ I've spent years taking very large overdoses of books and am still in the process of weaning myself off them!

If only that were possible LOL  Trouble is, as you already know, our new home in Orkney is smaller than where we are at present so there is no hope of a bigger library!  Like my craft materials stash, I've let myself be seduced by craft books too.  I find crochet and dolls' house books particularly hard to resist, but other craft books have also crept into my not-so-little hoard over the years.  I have already had a ruthless clear-out of the "miscellaneous" craft books, which I suspect is why I found it easier than I thought it was going to be when I was sorting out the materials stash.  After all, no point in having the raw materials if there are no instruction books to hand to refer to 😉

Anyhoo, I confess that I was getting a tad craft-materials-sorting-out overloaded, so I decided to have a break and take a second look at my crochet books.  And yes, I do mean "a second look" because I've already tried weeding some of them out, with spectacular non-existent results LOL  Boy oh boy, did I have a way-more-than-I-could-ever-use collection of 'em!

I must be on something of a roll at the moment, though, because this time around I found it a breeze to let a good third of them go off to MusicMagpie.  I'm also going to trot over to amazon later and drastically cull the craft books on my wishlist.

Years ago I used to read lots of novels, especially detective and crime, but once the craft book "drug" hit I just stopped reading anything else.  Oh, except self-help/improvement and diet books that is!  I weaned myself off those successfully, though, thank goodness.  Adrian bought me a Kindle some time ago and I quickly discovered that it really isn't a decent substitute for an actual craft book ~ so an excuse to still buy the dratted things.  Still, I have rekindled (ha ha ha 😄 ) the joy of reading novels again and the Kindle is perfect for them ~ with the added bonus of no worries about filling up my shelves with masses of books that will only be read once!

Now that I've had a purge of the craft books I'm going to get back to the craft materials-sorting ~ including my yarn stash.  Hopefully now that I've let so many crochet books go I'll be able to downsize the yarn pile too 😊