Sunday, 17 January 2010

One Year On....

Hurray, today is my first blogging anniversary! I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep it up, but it has been a great year, connecting with lots of amazing and lovely people. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your comments. To celebrate, I have some exciting news to share! And for those of you are creative and need space for what you do, you will know how momentous this is....I have a new studio! It is still very much a WIP - even now I can hear my beloved busy drilling holes for my stuff. Over the Christmas holidays we had a rethink about the use of the rooms of our house - we only moved here about 18 months ago, and so we are still finding ourselves in our home. This is truly the best room in house, full of light and a wonderful view of the mountains. It is right next to the kitchen, so close to the heart of things.

We were using it as a playroom for the boys, but we realised that they weren't really using it, because of course, they wanted to be where we are. And the trail of toys from playroom, through the kitchen, living room, up the stairs, across the hall and into their room, was just beginning to get on their mother's nerves. Just a little. You understand. And my old space (which doubled as the guest room) wasn't really great to welcome them into - especially not for their crafty activities, because of the existing white carpet . You understand that too. And now everyone is happy. Most of the toys are in their room, which they seem to prefer. I have a fab, light-filled room that is not just for me, but has plenty of space for all their paint, pens and crafting materials. And the best bit? I have already discovered that they do indeed want to be with me, but they also are picking up the pens and paper, even a little sewing, and producing artwork at a rate never seen before! They have their table and chairs, I have mine. We seem to have made another hub to the house, which we can all relax in and be creative. It is such a treat.

Oh, and by the way, visitors are welcome really. This was just to warn passerbys of wet paint last weekend....

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 16 January 2010


The gorgeous snow that we have had is swiftly becoming mucky and drippy, and truth to tell, a little worrisome, as water  has started pouring down some of the inside walls of our house. Not good at all. But we are trying to keep our perspective right, especially in the light of the deeply saddening news from Haiti. I spent a summer there, about 16 years ago, volunteering in a hospital in the north of the country, and it felt like such a fragile place to begin with. So, I'm not going to complain, when we have builders and insurance on hand to sort out things for us. In fact I can only urge you to join many fellow crafters to give, pray and check out Craft Hope and find a way to help.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


For some folk, Christmas is all done and dusted, the tree slung out the door and all the festivity finished by Hogmanay. At our house we stretch it just a little bit longer. Today is Epiphany, the date that traditionally marks the arrival of the wise men to visit the infant Jesus, and the revelation of the divine kingship of Christ. Epiphany not something I grew up being aware of, but my dear French husband has brought his traditions into our family and now I love it.

So, on or around this date, he makes a special cake, the 'Galette des Rois', a splendid concoction of puff pastry, ground almounds, sugar and butter - typical of the French to endue spirituality with a amazing creation of patisserie.  In it, a china figure is hidden, to represent the Christ-child. Then some crowns are made and a few neighbours invited. The youngest is asked to sit under the table and call out names as the cake is being served (to ensure impartiality). Then the person who finds the china figure becomes the wise man - or woman - who has found Jesus. They are given a crown and asked to choose a companion, who is also given a crown.

There isn't really anything terribly spiritual about it all, but is a simple gathering of friends, devoid of commercialisation, that we really enjoy. It seems to be a right way to round off the Christmas season, without too much fuss or bother, and with a continuing nudge to remember Christ come among us.

And it has to be said, we find ourselves in need of meetings with our neighbours, as the Highlands experience the coldest, snowiest winter for...who knows? But it is very chilly, and the snow just keeps on coming and coming. Today was supposed to be the start back to work...but instead, my beloved busied himself with digging us out (again!) and improvising some shoes for a donated pair of cross-country skis. Tomorrow perhaps. But the sun shone, the frost sparkled and it was glorious. A true Epiphany.

And I know, I am supposed to take the decorations and the tree down. But who makes these traditions? We still need it to brighten us up on the house-bound days. The needles are holding, the candles still burning and we welcome all the light and beauty that is ours.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, 1 January 2010

Bon Année! Happy New Year!

Happily for me, the French don't send Christmas cards, but instead send greetings for a 'Bon Année', so this naturally falls into my husband's department, at some vague point in the New Year. Here is his drawing (right click on it to see it larger) for this year's card - very apt, as we have spent the Hogmanay celebrations totally and contentedly snowed in. In fact, it snowed non-stop for all of New Year's Eve, and we have over half a metre of white lovelieness everywhere. Heaven sent? Well, it depends on your persepctive, but we love it. We have plenty of firewood, food, bread just baked, a few odds and ends of festive bottles to finish, and nowhere pressing to go. Might as well cosy up and enjoy it. Knitting a little, watching a bit, munching now and's a good start to the year!

Happy New Year to you!

Posted by Picasa