It's hard to believe that Christmas only happened a little over a week ago as it already seems so far behind us, but I suppose it was last year now wasn't it?! We had a truly lovely Christmas Day with a super early pre-six-o'clock start thanks to Little B who woke up absolutely radiating with excited energy. The early morning unfolded leisurely and with much happiness, gosh it's always such a relief when the present unwrapping has finished up and there is gratitude all round. The Teen and Little Lady had both chosen their (rather grown up) gifts this year but I did still do my best to give them some small surprises as well. I mean, I don't think you can ever be too old to hang a stocking up on the fireplace, can you?
We had some beautiful weather on Christmas morning, so after a late breakfast we decided to head out for a short walk through the woods.
It felt so good to be out breathing in lungfuls of fresh air.....
.....whilst making frequent stops to inhale chocolate. It had to be done - the satsumas just weren't doing it for me this year I'm afraid.
I really love the above photo so much, it's been such a long time since we had the pleasure of The Teen coming with us on a walk. Just lovely it was.
As in previous years it was just the five of us at home for Christmas, so dinner was the usual casual affair. I forgot to buy party poppers and festive napkins, but I did remember the crackers so that's something. It surprised me that The Teen had the most to say about the type of crackers I should buy ("Mum, can we have proper crackers this year with decent stuff inside instead of those stupid wind up toys that you race with?"). So I went for "Childish Traditional" which included classic cracker gifts like a fortune telling fish, a spinning top, a plastic hair comb and a fake mustache. It was all good, traditional nostalgic fun.
In recent years we've settled on the tradition of having a chocolate yule log to follow the overflowing plates of roast dinner on Christmas Day. I'm delighted by this as there is minimal effort required on my part - all I have to do is remember to purchase the aforementioned log, top it with plastic wildlife and a little snowy tree and voila! Thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Little B asked me to show you this photograph as it was his main focus for much of Christmas day. He asks for Lego every year but this is the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" set he's received. Oh my word, I've totally fallen in love with baby Lego Groot, unbelievably cute in every way. Currently he is lost in the Galaxy of the Untidy House, but I'm hopeful he will find his way back to us soon.
We've had an extensive amount of cosy hours spent at home this holiday, day after day of candlelit idling, and a serious amount of sofa loafing. It's been relaxing, warm, cosy and therapeutic. We've had germs to contend with as all three Little People have been hit with a really horrid cold that is doing the rounds, so it's been a blessing that our holiday has had very little in the way of plans or expectations. They've needed the down time that's for sure.
The end of December brought us a very mixed bag of weather, and although we've been content to stay indoors for the most part, it's always good to head out and breathe in the cold winter air from time to time.
We went on a short, freezing cold walk at Bolton Abbey one afternoon last week, arriving back at the little cafe rather cold and in need of refreshment. Cappuccinos and hot chocolates all round, with a side of toasted tea cake and all warmth was restored. When we came out of the cafe it was just after 4pm, with the moon already rising above the bare tree tops. It was very atmospheric and utterly wintry I thought.
During the past few weeks we've enjoyed a lot of fireside relaxation, and I've so appreciated it. Often times we don't really need the physical warmth of an open fire, but the lure of the visual and emotional comfort is hard to resist. My mantle is lit with a mixture of candles and lights, oh I do so love my Christmas light-ups things! I bought these two years ago (bell jar scenes and snowflake arches) and they look so pretty all lit up at night. It's not like me to go with all-white Christmas decorations, but I made an exception for these as they really are lovely.
I think Tilly has had mixed feelings about having the whole family around for days on end. Sometimes she gives off this distinct back-off vibe (see above) which very clearly says "for goodness sake, can't you see I need my space?" And then other times she is near desperate for attention and closeness. But it's always on her terms and we've learnt to read her pretty well in the eighteen months that she's been living with us. She's not an easy kitty to interact with, but we do so love her.
Friday of last week brought us a snow day, and it was beautiful while it lasted. The flakes fell for half a day, giving us an inch or so of snow on the ground - it wasn't really enough to play in, but the Little People still took to the street and flung themselves around in it, throwing snowballs and larking about with neighbourhood friends.
As it was a Friday morning, I was off to my weekly get together with my yarny friends down at Coopers cafe. I so look forward to this every week and it would take more than a bit of white stuff to keep me away. On my way there, I couldn't resist taking a quick detour up to the top of the park to take in the wintry scene, oh I do love to see a bit of snowy woodland, it's all kind of magical and Narnia-ish don't you think?!
Heading down the hill and into the warmth of the cafe was just the loveliest thing, and spending a few hours hooking and chatting with friends while the snow continued to fall outside was the absolute definition of cosy. It's almost four years now since the start of my studio adventure at Coopers, and our twice-weekly "Creative Coopers" social groups continue to thrive. It's one of the best things to feel that sense of belonging and friendship that comes when like-minded creative people get together to share and inspire. I value it very, very much and it makes me so happy to have that regular social connection in my life.
When I arrived at Coopers on Friday, I realised that with all the snowy excitement I'd totally forgotten to bring any crochet with me! No worries there though, as my studio shelves are bulging with yarn and creative possibilities and all I had to do was pick out some colours and get started on something new. For a little while now I've had in my mind to make myself a new Weekend Bag as I've been using my Heatwave Weekend bag constantly for the past year or so and it was starting to look a little worn.
I chose 12 colours of Stylecraft Special chunky and decided to change it up slightly by making one-row stripes instead of the original two-row stripes. It all happened very fast - I think it took me about 3 minutes to choose the colours (I literally just pulled my favourites down off the shelf one by one until the whole lot looked happy together), then found my Weekend Bag pattern on my phone so that I could get started straight away. I have to say it was really great to be able to follow my own tutorial haha!!!
Anyhow, I finished the bag the following day (yes, that fast) and I'll be able to show you next week once I've take some photos.
On a creative roll, I cast on a new pair of socks on New Years Eve and have spent some very enjoyable time during the past few days sat at the table knitting by candlelight. These socks are for Little B who has been pleading for them for many months now. He chose the yarn himself, adamant that he wanted rainbow stripes for his size 1.5 feet, so who am I to argue? This delicious looking sock yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply, part of their very popular cocktail range. The colourway is called Rum Paradise and is absolutely gorgeous :)
I've put the socks to one side for now though as I immerse myself in all things Woodland. As many of you will know, my Woodland Blanket Crochet-A-Long begins on Friday, so I'm very busy working on the tutorial and getting everything ready for this wonderful journey to begin.........eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek, I'm so excited!!!!!!!
For those of you who might have missed all the Woodland excitement, you can read all about my forthcoming blanket plans in this post. There is still time to gather in your yarn and join me if you wish - Woodland Wandering is sooooo good for the soul at this time of year, these colours really do lift the spirits when all is dreary and grey outside.
Before I hop off and get back to my pattern writing, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Next week I'll be putting together my "Year End Review" posts to share with you which is something I always look forward to.
But in the meantime, I'll be back here in the Attic on Friday to give you everything you need to get started with the Woodland Blanket................can't wait!!!!!!