Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Well, how was it for you? I have loved Christmas this year. Truthfully I can't think of a Christmas I have not enjoyed, though some may have been more difficult than others financially, emotionally, etc. This one came after a year that has been hard, really hard, on lots of levels and yet I have found myself loving it all the more because of it. Almost to the last I felt as though some force was testing me as I finally fell to the dreaded flu which has apparently swept the country, but HA! I beat the blighter, finally recovering the day before Christmas Eve to find I had somehow completed and posted all the list of orders which had almost overwhelmed me during the last two weeks as I sat at the machine sewing away like some poor creature from the depths of a Dickens'novel, only leaving my post to tend to the equally poorly Isabella begging hugs from the sofa. Not only had I managed this quite to my surprise, but as the fog that was a soaring temperature cleared I realised I had almost finished the list of handmade presents for friends and family too including door hangers
boxes of our homemade vinegars and jellies, little muslin parcels of herbs picked and dried from our garden nestling between the bottles and keeping company with homemade liquers; two pairs of fingerless mittens embroidered with flowers,
a rag doll and cot quilt set (dolly has already been much loved and petted thank heavens),
an appliqued & embroidered draught excluder (which I cannot work out how to photograph!)
and finally, finally I completed the quilt for Isabella which I had so stupidly said I would make earlier this year when optimism was still my best friend! Am I boasting? You bet I am!!!
As ever, I have photographed these badly, but I am so very pleased with the quilt which is the first I have ever freehand quilted on my machine. I love the way it puckered so beautifully after washing to make pockets of snuggly fabric just like the ones I had seen in shops; I love the combination of colours, all pink and lilac on one side with a contrasting reverse of cherry scattered fabric against the white border; I love it all and though I did not manage one for Lucy (hadn't mentioned it luckily) I have cut out most of the squares and will make it for her birthday in March (!).
The children were all here for the big day with boyfriends and girlfriends in and out at various points. It has been relaxed, full of large meals round the table - 10 for Christmas lunch this year - enormous buffets with cakes and quiches and relishes all prepared to the wonderful sound of the Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve as the twilight fell...just perfect. The same table has seen us gathered for games after cold walks by the sea with little Isabella wrapped up in her new pink fluffy coat, icy winds whipping the waves into huge breakers crashing onto the shore as flocks of gull soared ever higher in the spray. Derelict engine houses resting their weary stones precariously close to the cliff edge, of which there are many in Cornwall, have been inspected while ponies graze the cliff paths all around.
A delicious bowlfull of mussels freshly picked by Dave and Elias was consumed with much enthusiasm accompanied by glasses of chilled white wine, fingers wet with the salt water of seafood cooked in nothing but their own juices, evoking the beach with every scrumptious mouthful. Lucy and Elias unfortunately discovered us greedily scoffing in the kitchen and joined in, the once heaped bowl of indigo blue shellfish disappearing with unseemly haste as we raced to beat each other to the sweet morsels hidden within.
The evenings have consisted of roaring fires as we snuggle up to watch Cranford on DVD, a couple of episodes an evening to enable two of the younger ones to join in before they are gently shooed to bed leaving Davey and I to watch the last flames die down by the lights of the Christmas tree with our books close at hand.
As ever, I find I am looking ahead and planning for the New Year. All those new chances, all those wonderful possibilities. Change and hope and a growing list of New Year's Revolutions (a Lauren-saying from many moons ago which has stayed with us)to pin onto my board in the sewing room. I have planted the last bulbs finally in the garden and look forward to the sight of the snowdrops so delicate and pure outside our kitchen window followed as they are by the daffodils which I love for their sunshinyness, the brilliance of the yellow making the sun appear in every room they are gathered, spilling out of vases and jugs, and particularly looking wonderful in the Cornish Blue striped jug. And then the tulips, scarlet and beautiful, but I am running away and looking too far. If only I could bottle that excitement at the thought of another fresh, clean year.
It truly has been wonderful Christmas and for that I am so very thankful.
Happy New Year everyone xx