Tag Archives: craft fairs

Thoughtful stirring

Where are the days going? They are slipping through my fingers like quicksilver. Everyday I think of something I want to blog about it yet before I realise I’m laying my head down on the pillow thinking of the stuff I need to get up early and do before the next day begins in earnest.

Aside from the slightly raised adrenaline I love it. My last craft fair before christmas is done and all my orders are collected or safely posted off. I have earnt enough to fill a hole in my bank account and pay for a beautiful christmas tree and a duck to roast for Xmas day.

 Small things but deeply satisfying.

Now I need to get down to making our festive presents and all the usual christmas flim flam.

Recently I’ve been turning that quote – I think it’s  Einstein – about doing the same things and expecting different results – over in my head. Relating to christmas obviously.

I do love christmas, as a child we ticked between christmas proper and a more wicca solstice. There is always room in my heart for family being together, feasting and shiny things. Ritual warms my heart but over the years I have learnt it’s important to follow the ones that mean something to you. Empty rote with nothing behind it is soul sapping and draining.

I’m lucky in that my mum and dad never put pressure on us over where Christmas is spent. I can’t bear that over one fleeting day. We have lots planned for this year – some here and there, a special early Christmas dinner, a festive Eve gathering, happy firework and champagne filled New Year’s Eve date.

My Dad’s 60th falls on the 22nd, we’re having a tea party and Zeph and I are slowly filling the freezer with bits and pieces. I have a master plan pinned on the wall of foods to be baked, cooked, frozen and bought. Occasionally I feel a wave of stress begin in the pit of my stomach. This year I’m trying to choose to squooshe it. .. because that choice is mine to make.  Honestly it’s going quite well.

My years resolution of embracing the now has made a definite difference to my psyche. When you’re busy noticing the moment you see that you’re moving through a bountiful ocean of them and Christmas is just another one that will be followed by another. This does seem obvious but there’s something all engulfing about all that busy preparation for a day of static perfection that usually fails to live up to the weighty expectations.  

Stirring the pudding today with Ida I mentally fingered thoughts about christmas. The midwinter aspect of a festival full of light, brightness and love to push back the dark, celebrating the birth of a baby,  green man or christ child. Rejoicing in new starts and beginnings.

Odd then that lots of the woes I hear are about the stuff nor conforming to old patterns. People tug of warring about where it’ll be family wise, the country eating the same menu, nativities breaking from tradition, new fangled carols. Things changing.

Mind you here’s one of my namesake dichotomy’s because you could put some of the blame on our overwhelming consumerist world. The mighty power of advertising selling us all the stuff we need to be happy. Fancy puddings, bigger turkeys, pinescented mince pies, lavish gifts, perfume, the perfect party dress, bucks fizz, smoked salmon, themed decorations….

Ooops – my heart just leapt in joy, rack after rack of magazines filled with aspirational shots of unachievable glamour and gorgeousness? Although not naturally a squeeee -er and more of an inappropriate curser my heart gives and internal Attic24 style squeeeee of happiness. Let me at them! I loves a bit of fairy lights me…

I suppose the trick is to enjoy them, take what you like and understand that you can still be happy without a prescribed tick list style experience.

And notice the moment.

So with that in mind right this minute I see;

A pile of stuff to wrap – I love wrapping. We have brown paper and string and a bag of ludicrous tags cut last year from old cards. We also have a very exciting new sellotape dispenser, a gift from my mum, exasperated by our old homemade version. Ida is flexing her fingers in anticipation.

The house smells steamy and fruity. The pudding is steaming away ratting the saucer in the stovetop pot. It has to steam for four hours and should have been done weeks ago. It’ll still taste great though. I’ve made it on xmas eve before now. Written out in hand the instruction are terse consisting of a list of ingredients, the words mix thoughtfully and steam for four hours. It’s Great Grandmother Driffields recipe, although I’m not precisely sure whose great grandmother she actually is – I have a warm sense of continuity that reassures.

The house is glimmery with a few extra strings of white lights. They hold back the grey day outside. The tree is being delivered on friday. Steve’s off on saturday and we’re planning to decorate it all together and make this years wreath. I chose not to do advent calendars this year and mark our own countdown studded with small preparations rather than Ben10 chocolates or my tearful time pressed hours trying to find 48 things small enough to fit in the drawers that aren’t chocolate.

Oh and to end I just glanced at my very cheap (allegedly the terrorist’s choice) digital watch to see it pleasingly lined up in 11:11:11. Undoubtedly an auspicious sign.

Do you like my snow?

Anyone who reads this even semi regularly may have noticed my recent itchy finger on the colour background. It’s because I love my snow SO much I want it to show to full advantage (which it does on a navy blue back but then you wouldn’t be about to read the ramblings…oh noes!)

I actually am thinking of last years whites outs rather fondly…nostalgia and all that. There’s something satisfying about weather that conforms to our storybook imaginings. Also I’d always rather be too cold than hot, I think this comes from being ‘nicely covered’ as Della with the fine figure at swimming says.

Zeph and I romped home triumphant from a very happy craft fair yesterday. I managed to resist spending my profit (except for some irresistible button earrings ) and to keep a lid on Z’s joyous spending (there was a pocket-money toy stall) Some really kind friends and family showed up in support and that was maybe the best thing although the relief of hard cash is also warming my mercenary heart.

Actually one of the best things was Zeph, in the apron my resourceful cousin dug out for him, trying out a few trader gestures. He had a really engaging way of pressing the cards with my contact details into people’s hands. I still marvel at the fact he seems to have better social skills than me, how has this happened? Whatever the process I’m deeply grateful. One of us has to be able to ask the price of things.

Recording Beautiful Things memories. Best Practise.

Although the last couple of gloomy days mean really dark or bizarrely flashlit photographs I’m quite enjoying the foggy grey days. Ida and I spend our afternoons very happily either side of the table.

I have my sewing machine or a glue gun and she has play dough or a paintbox. Occasionally we go around to the other’s side to look in admiration or help sort out a thorny problem like biscuits stuck to the table or how all the paintblocks have turned brown. It’s actually very good for my self-esteem – oh noes – problems solved in the blink of an eye.

It amazes me how long she can concentrate on something that interests her. I think she has better focus than me. We both get lots of happy satisfaction from this time. The cushion mountain is also growing..


 I’ve actually had this post sitting here for a couple of days nagging at my mental to-do list but wordpress doesn’t like my photos… well it doesn’t like my ancient browser. My PC is so old sometimes I feel like I should be pressing a treadle pedal to keep it going but we’re determined to squeeze every last drop of life out of it so on we trudge…

Today I’m determined to achieve a little so unrotated photo it is!

 The cushion pile has doubled  since then and I now have several markets lined up. I alternate between gloomful surety I won’t sell a thing and will have wasted the meagre amount of cash I have invested and deep sweat inducing fear that I have not made enough stuff which jerks me out of bed in the morning for an hour at the sewing machine before everyone else gets up.

Zeph and Ida are deeply interested in everything I produce. Zeph admires the cushions and offers up interesting plans for future makes. He seemed incredulous at first when people wanted to buy the wings but now seems pleased and proud of them. A lovely woman came to pick some up she’d ordered through my fb page yesterday and he jigged about afterwards saying incredulously – “a stranger!”  I could easily be slightly offended by this but I feel exactly the same so join in the jigging and finger the notes she paid as though they might turn back into oak leaves and flutter away.

Despite feeling under pressure the sense of achievement and boosted self-esteem is well worth it. With happy eyes BT’s are everywhere.

The kids seem quite harmonious – there’s a sense of all pulling together and Zeph has a real Ida taming knack. I love this photo from this years Children in Need day

Yes, yes – also unrotated…  I am adding ‘update browser’ to the to-do list. We had pea and ham soup for tea last night and there’s enough left for Ida and I to have for lunch. A small pleasures but a very greedy/happy one. My mum bought Ida a new dress last week. It’s a  scandi looking knitted tunic dress and brings both of us much pleasure. It suits my little blonde imp very well and every time my eye falls across it I feel happy and warmed by the love behind the gift as well as how beautiful she looks.

I’m also enjoying marvelling at her new scissor skills. She can spend a joyful hour snipping shapes out of paper. Not so thrilled about the multitude of tiny paper pieces that join the threads on my floor to be tracked all over the house but on balance it’s a price well worth paying!

My mum also arrived with a stack of plastic boxes to help impose order on the fabric mountain in the middle of our living area. Some people thought they could be put to better use…

but now they’re full of sorted assorted material, wools, wadding and ribbon. Stacked up they are a hugely Beautiful Thing.

Today the gorgeous low sun slants in through the steamed up windows and makes the room glimmer. I can bear struggling up out of my bed in the dark mornings when the walk to school is full of these bouncing electric sunrays. They make me thrum with happiness and skip with Ida through the puddles past our beloved bird’s-nest.

rotate damn you, rotate!

 She has dug out a leopard glove puppet from the toy box and as I sit here typing half an eye on the tottering stack of wings that need sewing I can hear her chuntering about chatting to him on her hand which I find very BT. I try to fix it in my mind for forever and have a sudden mental picture of all these fluttery fleeting fragments stretched out  like pinned butterflies on my mental corridor.

I’m going to choose to change that to a huge Victorian style conservatory, like the ones in Kew, filled with dancing live butterflies. As you walk through the clouds they kiss your upturned face with their impossibly delicately feathered wings and you get a tinglely jolt of the memory they hold.

No pins. Much nicer.