Sunday, 21 December 2014

Advent Four

Today we light the fourth advent candle.  I had a post written for today about how it is the fourth Sunday of Advent and also the Midwinter Solstice.  I wrote about how it reminded me that as the days lengthen again and bring more light into our days that at this time I celebrate the birth of Christ who bought light into my life.


As you can see though I am not sharing that post - although my feelings and sentiments about it still stand.  Instead I wanted to talk about something else that has been on my mind and it seemed right to share it here with you.

Much like the rest of the world, I plod on daily through life and deal with the ups and downs that we all have, good times and bad, in sickness and in health - sounds like marriage vows doesn't it!  We all do this every day, month and year of our lives however long or short they may be. 

My life isn't all sunshine and roses, but no more or less so than anyone else's.  I am very lucky though, and I am well aware of it.  I have a wonderful husband, a family who love me and enough food and drink, a warm and safe home, friends and many other good things.

However, I am aware that this little blog may sometimes give disparate impressions of my life.  Sometimes I mention difficult times that really bring me down, and other times it appears as if life is gaily skimming along and as though I don't have a single care in the world other than to do happy jolly things as though I was some sort of latter day Pollyanna.  Of course it isn't really this extreme in either direction.  I try really hard to focus on the good things, especially here, and it is something that I really (have to) work at.  Sometimes the grimmer side of life comes through though, but I am not really at liberty to share that with you, because as I have said before it isn't all my story to share.  My focus on the good isn't to say that my life is perfect or wonderful or better than anyone else.  It is that I need to think about the good bits to get through the rougher times.

Anyway, what is the real point of this ramble I hear you thinking.  It is that I want you all to know that just because I am trying to focus on the happier side, it doesn't mean that I am not aware that Christmas can be a really crummy time for many people.  Bereavement, marital problems, ill health, loneliness, stress and a hundred other things can mean that Christmas can be a really difficult time for many people.


Please know that I am well aware of this and I am thinking of everyone who is having a difficult time and sending love and best wishes that your Christmas will be as good as it possibly can be, whatever your situation. I hope too that your Christmasses yet to come will be better than others have ever been.  That is my Christmas wish for you all.

So, this isn't a pity party, nor is it Pollyanna, it is just letting you know that I know it is rough out there and that I am thinking of you and I really do send you my love and best wishes.

Amy

Saturday, 20 December 2014

And finally...

Finally, here is the last of my finished items posts!  Again - yet again! - I had no homes in mind for these when I made them, but I think they look pretty cute on the handles around and about the house.





Also, when I was thinking of how to link my Christmas Tree Bunting Garland thingy together I thought about holly leaves.  I found this great pattern and set about making some.  They were too large for my garland, but after making three and then adding some small circles for berries they made a great brooch.  I have been wearing it around and about and it has made me feel very festive.


Another finish is these Christmas trees.  The fabric printed into tree shapes came with a magazine - sorry, can't find it or remember which one! - and were meant to be double sided with the same print.  However, I wanted a small forest to go under my dome, so I backed them with some green stripy fabric that coordinated with the Christmassy prints and then I had six instead of three trees!  There were a couple of spools included in the kit, but I needed more and I used some vintage cotton reels too.  I think they make a nice grouping!





I think that is everything that I have made and/or finished now for this year, but there is always the possibility...

Next week I will concentrate my posts on the decorations and tree and my cake decorating - that could be an adventure! 

In the meantime I think that I have done pretty well on completing things in line with hubby's decree.  Just don't tell him about the other 1000 things I have waiting to be done, shhhh!!!

Amy

Friday, 19 December 2014

Five on Friday

Today is the third week that I am joining with fellow bloggers to share Five on Friday posts.  A different group of bloggers will be sharing posts each week and you can see at the bottom of this post who else is joining in this week.  Please do go and visit their first Five on Friday posts and leave them a comment.  There is a list of who else has been joining in over the previous weeks on the About Five on Friday page, you can find the link to at the top of my sidebar.

I am really excited about this venture, although I never expected that so many bloggers would want to join in.  So if you would like to join in, please drop me an e-mail and I will get back to you.

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According to the "rules" of Five on Friday - such as the are!! - I am supposed to share five things with you.  However, as I made the rules, and as rules are made to be broken, and as it is nearly Christmas, today, I have more of a random miscellany to share with you.  I am working more on the theme of taking five minutes than sharing five things...


The upstairs of the grand staircase at Basildon Park with the lovely swags and bows decorating it.


Noticing this beautiful star shaped light.  I must have walked past this hundreds of times now, but I never took time to really look at it before.  It really is a star at this time of year though.


Some more swags at the top of the "family stairs" at Basildon.  I love the railings on these stairs.


I have been playing with my camera again and in particular using the manual settings for focus and so on.  It is amazing what great effects you can get and this really is just the sort of thing that I wanted to be able to achieve.  I love how these look.  Rest assured though, I will share some in focus pictures next week!



Of course there have been other decorating things going on and I have been playing a bit with the special effects that you can do with photo editing.  Above is a selection of sparkly baubles that are in the kitchen.  The picture was a bit dark, so I lightened it and then added the effect of darkening around the edges.

Below is my new mistletoe decoration.  It is hanging from the light in the hallway so that hubby and I can kiss under it when he gets home from work (sorry, I know, I know, I know!!!!) and again I played with the effect, adding a white fade to the edges of this one.



Some more Basildon things, a decorated Christmas cracker and a view looking down on the top of the massive tree in the staircase hall, an unusual view of a tree.


Finally, the Knitivaty.  This was created some years ago, I believe by a volunteer and has been on display each year in various locations around the house.  This year I see that someone has added some jewels to the Kings.  I am glad that we also have a religious element to the displays in the house.


I hope you enjoyed taking five minutes to look at some pretty pictures!

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I am joining in Five on Friday, taking five minutes from our day to enjoy five things.  Please go and visit the other people who are also blogging about Five on Friday this week.