December days

Hello!  How are you doing?

I think I’m going to stop announcing any intentions because as soon as I do (and in this case, it was “I’m going to chat to you more often”), everything seems to conspire against me and I have been busier this week with house things and my other job things than I have for the last month! 🙂

Anyway, here I am at last, and I hope this finds you very well and gearing up towards our very odd Christmas in a few weeks.  We actually had frost last week which started to make everywhere feel quite Christmassy.

The morning sun is shining through the brick arches of a railway bridge. The path and grass to the side of it is covered with frost

The sun is shining on the brick arches, lighting up the brickwork. The sky is blue, with a few wispy clouds

Sunshine through frosted thistle stalks

Frost on green bramble leaves. The veins are outline and the leaves look very pretty

The low morning sunshine and a blue sky with clouds

The dog and I were at the Nine Arches as that’s a good walk for us to do in the morning.  It’s a there-and-back walk rather than a circular walk (although I’ve discovered a new-to-us circular route around there now which I’m very pleased about as I prefer those) which is just about the right distance and length of time for us to be out.

I mentioned the other week that the reason the dog isn’t often on the photos is because he’s busy disappearing into the bushes, and look where he’s off to … he usually takes one look at me with camera in hand and takes it as an opportunity to go minesweeping for things that he shouldn’t be eating – you’ll be amazed at what people throw into the bushes!

The frosty canal side. The water is very still, the path is empty and the dog is heading off into the bushes on the right

Whilst I’m talking about feeling Christmassy, I want to thank you for all your comments on my monthly musing – I think sometimes we think that we are alone in not being able to see our relatives – certainly when you see the news you think that you’re an exception rather than the rule – but I don’t think we are, are we?  I hope we can all take some comfort in knowing that what we’re giving up this year will hopefully mean that next year is so much better for everybody.

And while I’m catching up on my thank yous from previous posts …

  • Thank you to everyone who used my Circle Planner link, I hope you love your planners as much as I do!
  • Thank you for the advice on the avian flu. We’ve been being very careful to keep the door to the duck enclosure closed so that they don’t make a break for it into the garden (we don’t want them cavorting with any of those garden birds!) and big daughter is keeping a close eye on them for any signs that they might be feeling unwell.
  • and finally, thank you for the suggestion of remembering things when you go through doorways – I’ll give it a go!  I have found that drinking plenty in the day is helping with the forgetfulness (I’m sure I read somewhere that it’s not improved by dehydration) and I’m also becoming a demon write-everthing-down-er – although the downside of that is that I am realising how many things I think I’ve got to be doing that I might just have forgotten before! 🙂

I finished the pink commission socks that I’ve been knitting and they’ve been delivered to their new owners.  I was really pleased with them – the yarn is so good for cables and I’m looking forward to telling you more about the socks and the story behind the design in a few weeks’ time when the pattern is officially launched.

The hyacinths that I bought in the pot from the farm shop the other week have bloomed.  Don’t they shoot up tall once the flowers start to show?  And so quickly too – big daughter was fascinated by how they seemed to grow almost in front of her eyes!

A wooden mantelpiece. Two Advent calendars sit left and right with pale pink hyacinths in a pot in the centre

They’re a lovely pale pink colour (the same colour as the yarn!) and the familiar scent is quite delicate, not at all over-powering as some have been some years.  I don’t know if I’m disappointed or not that I have to go and admire the flowers to get the full scent rather than being knocked off my feet when I walk into the room!

It’s Advent calendar time.  Small daughter loves Reese’s peanut butter chocolate so we spoilt her this year when we spotted this calendar full of chocolate treats.  Big daughter can’t eat “normal” chocolate any more as she’s lactose intolerant but fortunately, it’s much easier these days to find alternatives so that she doesn’t have to feel left out.  Nope, she absolutely isn’t too old for an Advent calendar at all (and I know that because I’ve got one too, just out of shot!).

I’m not going to ramble on for too long today, you’ll be pleased to know!  This is my last photo – it’s one that I posted on Instagram this week, and I’ve copied the text underneath for you to see too as it’s something that I always feel quite strongly about at this time of year.

A flatlay of socks on blockers, knitted in Candy Cane red, green and ecru stripes. To the left are a Christmas decorations - tiny red baubles, a red glass heart and some foil ribbon and bow decorations. The words "A home made gift comes from the heart" is at the top

“I’m not sure I’m good enough to make gifts for other people.”

It always makes me sad to read something like this, and at this time of year, I see it a lot.  Of course, we all want to gift something that’s going to impress and make us proud to hand over, but sometimes I worry that we let our own sense of perfection get in the way.

When my girls were small, one of their favourite storybook characters was Angelina Ballerina and in one story, she didn’t want to give a home made gift to her ballet teacher because she thought it wasn’t good enough.  “A home made gift comes straight from the heart,” declared the ballet teacher, delighted, and I have always remembered that.

So what if there’s a stitch out somewhere, or you’re a round or two longer in one sock than the other, or even if the colours aren’t matched perfectly – often nobody notices this other than us.  The recipient just sees a gift made just for them, made with love and one that will remind them of how much they are cherished throughout the year.

I also see people getting very stressed about not finishing projects in time, and this can take so much out of the fun of holiday preparations.  I discovered that my family (who are by no means unusual so your family may be the same) really didn’t mind having a half-finished project to unwrap as they could see what was coming for them, and I created an IOU letter to make them smile too.

Whenever we choose to make someone a gift, we’ve done so because we know that person is worthy of our time and skills, and that for them, home made means they are right at the top of our favourite people lists.  Don’t let being perfect get in the way of being good, because gifting from the heart is the very best kind of gift to give.

A fun IOU letter to download

Click the photo to download your own copy!

I hope that if you’re gift knitting at the moment, it’s all going well but don’t be afraid to give an IOU if you need to – your own well-being is important too!

Have a lovely evening, I’m off to start making some dinner now but I’ll catch up with you again soon! xx

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6 Responses

  1. kathleenalice says:

    A lovely post and I just love your new sock pattern. What type of yarn are you using please? I find it so hard to get a decent solid colour yarn.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you! It's Northern Alchemy New Mylne 4ply from Wiseheart & Wild, a no-nylon yarn spun from local sheep fleece. The pattern is going to be available in January but I think the yarn might be out now. You could also try West Yorkshire Spinners and Opal for solid colour yarns, they both have a good range of colours 🙂 xx

    • kathleenalice says:

      Thank you Christine, I have taken a peep although I vowed to buy no more sock yarn until I use up what I have ( but who can resist those colours ? ��)
      Looking forward to your new pattern very much.
      I have taken a few weeks off sock knitting in order to finish off longstanding projects, I cast a pair on last week and it did feel good!

  2. Bunnygirl says:

    How I love your IOU gift tag! I have been stressed to no end trying to get gifts finished, especially since everyone lives far enough away and postal services will be required.

    I love all your patterns and appreciate all the photos of your walks. My walks consist of palm trees, pelicans and warm weather, even during the holiday season (although, truth be told, we've hit a cold snap and the temperatures dove into the 30s farenheit – 3s celsius for you). You can never have enough warm socks when it's cold!

  3. Kath Stephenson says:

    Thank you so much Christine. I will take a peep at it. I am looking forward to your new pattern. I have recently taken a break from sock knitting in order to finish several other projects. I cast a pair on the other day and it felt so good ��

  4. Barbara says:

    Thanks to meeting you at the Black Sheep wool barn just before lockdown, and you recommending using a little circular needle for my tentative sock making, I can now declare proudly that I have made 6 (and a half!) pairs of socks, 3 of which are gifts for friends and relatives…so THANK YOU for keeping me sane and giving me a new obsession! 2021 holds no terrors for me…

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