Thursday, 16 January 2014

A certain amount of busy-ness...

...has actually been going on around here!

Hence the protracted silence on the blog front, of course.

But now, with Mr U-t-B away for quite a few days, he has said that he likes to see what I've been doing on my blog, so could I please?

So here we go again, with a bit of a catch-up.  

First, I was whisked away for a few days in the mountains. Lucky me!  

My camera has taken to imprinting an upside down smiley face on my pictures!

We met up with Mr U-t-B's niece and three of her friends, as well as his sister and brother-in-law and had a great time.  (Miss U-t-B was, somewhat reluctantly, on a Spanish Exchange, so couldn't join us, sadly.)  The weather was mostly sunny and there hadn't been enough snow for us to range very far, but it was perfect for the five days we had.  It started snowing the day before we left which resulted in a somewhat hairy journey away from the mountains - I'll save you the details of the near miss!

Me on the left looking like I've had my legs chopped off at the knees...

Once back home it was a mad dash to be ready for the festivities.  We were having a big family meal on Christmas Eve, as is our tradition.  Miss U-t-B and I had fun with our annual Gingerbread House making and she came up with a brilliant idea - about which I am sworn to secrecy!  If it ever comes to fruition it will be plastered all over here, don't worry!

We experienced all kinds of construction problems with this and quite lost our patience with it, so in the end only one photo was taken!  There was meant to be a balcony and all sorts, but our biscuit was too soft, our icing too runny and everything kept falling over!  Never mind - it tasted delicious once we got round to eating it!

Our Christmas meal wasn't quite as we had hoped it would be as poor little Dylan (Mr U-t-B's grandson) was really unwell, so there were three empty places at the table.  The food was good (if I do say so myself!) - the surprise star being the 'Salmon en Croute with Ginger and Currants' I had made as an alternative to the beef.  So good was it, that I have made it again since Christmas - an unexpectedly good combination of ingredients.  
(I will share the recipe next time I make it.)

On Christmas day itself, we spent the day with my parents and their guests, enjoying a delicious meal and the company.  Boxing Day was meant to consist of a dash up the M1 to Sheffield to spend the day with much of Mr U-t-B's side of the family, but about three-quarters of an hour into the journey our car started playing up, so instead of joining the M40 I did a huge U-turn and limped home with the car threatening to give up the ghost all the way.  

As we were unexpectedly home, we were invited to a friend's house for a drink in the evening.  We climbed into our other car and drove off - only to have that making the most horrendous noise.  We stopped and looked under the car to discover that the exhaust had broken into two parts - what luck!

So not quite the Christmas we had in mind.  But in view of what so many others went through this year, nothing to be too upset about, once little Dylan was on the road to recovery.

Post-Christmas saw us in the mood for emptying out cupboards, de-cluttering and re-organising.  Very therapeutic and a perfect springboard into a new year!  These sort-outs seem to leave me in the right frame of mind to embark on things I have been procrastinating about which have absolutely NOTHING to do with how well-organised my larder or present-wrapping cupboard is... Strange how it does that!

So what have I been putting off that I am finally getting on with?

I have recruited some guinea-pigs and am going to start teaching some sewing!!!  No, not ACTUAL guinea-pigs!(They're renowned for their inability to thread a needle, and don't get me started on how dangerous they are with scissors in their paws!) 
Real people, even some who aren't already my friends and colleagues.  I say guinea-pigs because to start with I am doing a couple of freebies to see if I can actually teach sewing.   

Here's what I'm planning to do.

Learn to doodle-embroider...

...and make a hoop picture or a needlecase.

Or    Get to know your sewing machine whilst making a cushion maybe a bit like this...

This cushion is an enlarged version of one found in the lovely book 'Everything Patchwork' by Corinne Crasbercu which you can buy here

Or    Make a sewing suitcase whilst learning a range of sewing techniques...

So my days have been filled with making the things I intend to teach the making of, looking for the pitfalls and working out exactly what is required.  It's been fun, and I hope that that is just the beginning of it all!  I will let you know how it progresses!