Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Closing of Another Chapter

So here we are again, dear readers, a final post of 2013 before the clock strikes 12, and all that this year has brought us is consigned to the past. 

We’re celebrating at home this year.  The girls are tucked up in their beds while my Mr and I are curled up on the sofa, polishing off some of the seemingly never ending Christmas leftovers!  I wonder what many of you are doing this evening.

In the most part, 2013 has been a pretty good year for us Yeo’s.  Sure, we’ve had some moments which have been sent to try us, but, for the most part, this year has provided us with some truly wonderful memory making experiences, and for that, I feel very blessed. 

When flicking through the endless files of photographs to accompany this post, an overwhelming number of them were of my two beautiful girls. 

Well, what can I say?  Words cannot convey how proud I am of them and all that they do.  I am truly lucky that I get to teach my little ladies at home, because if affords me that special time with them when they are so young.  They teach me so much, each and every day, and fill our home with such infectious, joyous giggles.  My two little lovelies, now aged 6 & 7, have given us so much joy and fun – a year full of laughter!

As well as having my two gorgeous girlies, I should also give mention to my Mr. We’ve been on some great adventures this year.  Camping during a howling gale, and chasing trains in the rain.  Coastal walks on long summer evenings, and woodland wanders, where the spring flowers bloom.  We’ve travelled many a mile, making the most of the limited free time we get to spend together.  From the pebbles on the East coast to the golden sands in the South West, from watching the sunrise over a quiet field in Suffolk, to watching it set again on a cold winter’s day in Norfolk, I am forever thankful that he is here to walk the path beside me. 

From a crafting point of view, it’s been another bumper jumper year.  Although not on the same scale as 2012, this year saw an impressive 17 jumpers depart for pastures new.  I have some amazing new pure wools to crack on with this year – I can’t wait!

 And many a felt posy has been sent on its way, following the successful launch of my Etsy shop this year.  I have loved each and every moment of my felt flower making, especially the poppies, and I am so pleased that my little posies crossed the miles and are now being in enjoyed as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, France, Sweden and America!

 The 1940’s events scene has been truly fantabulous this year, probably the best ever!  We nailed it on a baking hot June day at GCR, and nearly got blown off the field at Ramsey in August.  We were midge fodder at Festival of the Forties in July, and slept among the mole hills at Rufford Abbey in September.  The year ended on a high with our all time favourite event at the North Norfolk Railway.  I cannot wait for the 2014 season to begin again!  So many things I want to knit and I will make myself a dress this year.

I love looking back at all that we have achieved.  A photograph carries with it so many memories.  Sometimes it’s so easy to forget that there is an existence outside of the normal humdrum of everyday life, and just taking time to look back and take stock of everything that has happened in the previous 365 days, I find, is very therapeutic.  It has certainly given me the drive to do everything I can to make 2014 even better!

All that is left to do now is to offer my sincere thanks to each and every one of you that takes the time to read my blog.  I wish you all a happy, healthy 2014.  May in be everything that you wish it to be, and more. 

Be blessed xx

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas Catch Up

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Didn’t it go by in a flash this year?

We’ve had a fairly full on week since Mr Y finished work on the 20th, and today is the first day of the holidays that we have just been able to relax as a family, and I haven’t changed out of my PJ’s for the entire day-bliss!  So, accompanied by a box of Ferrero Rocher ,while Mr Y watches Cannon Ball run, I thought I’d take some time to have a little catch-up, and make a record of our family Christmas.

So what did we do?  Well, there was, of course, a rather delightful tree, decorated almost entirely by the girls.  Precious decorations were carefully unwrapped by little hands while some festive favourites crossed the airwaves.  Old decorations met new, and the tradition of the girls choosing a new decoration each year means we now have Hubert the husky and Pip the polar bear hanging from the sweet smelling pine. 

Despite a rather rotten bought of flu, Mr Y rallied enough to be able to join us on a trip to the pantomime, to see Peter Pan.  My youngest still has that precious innocence and so believes that what she can see on stage is all real, and so was thoroughly enchanted by the whole thing.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas I have been frantically crafting and baking.  You see, this year I decided to make each of my nearest and dearest a handmade gift.  My mum ended up with a tea cosy with felt flowers on, my dad had the scarf that I’ve shown you before and my girls, along with some knitted dolls clothes, ended up with a beret.  As I predicted, time slipped away from me, which meant I was knitting late into Christmas Eve, with the final stitch on C’s beret getting finished at 11.30pm.  Thankfully, she was very pleased with it and it did a great job of keeping her bonce warm on a very nippy boxing day coastal walk!
Part of my knit for victory effort!

My brother and dearest friends were the recipients of homemade hampers which contained, among other things, Christmas cake, raspberry jam, boozy brandy mince pies and peanut butter cup truffles.  Thankfully, there were a fair few truffle misshapes, so I got to taste them :o)

Christmas day itself was spent with family and 7 of us sat down for a full on roast dinner, cooked lovingly by yours truly.  Dinner was topped off with a brandy filled Christmas pud, a Marguerite Patten recipe, no less, and everyone was contentedly fat and full, but not so full that they couldn’t polish off a significant number of Cadbury’s Roses – well, it is Christmas!

Mr Y and my family know me so well and picked some seriously scrumptious vintage gifts for me.  I love them all, but as with everything, there were a few standout favourites.

As I collapsed in a heap come Christmas night, I knew, with certainty, that the previous weeks and months spent baking, buying, wrapping, crafting and staying up late had all been worth it, and a whole heap of memory filled festive fun had been had!

Although the big day is over, December still has a few treats in store.  Yesterday my beautiful sister in law gave birth to her first baby, a boy, so I’m now an aunty, and can’t wait to meet the new arrival. 

It’s also my birthday on Monday, [33 this year], so there are more celebrations to come!


Thursday, 19 December 2013

1940's Christmas at Felbrigg Hall

Last weekend, we took a jolly jaunt to another National Trust property, for yet another Christmas celebration.  I love this time of year!
The property we visited was Felbrigg Hall, a stunning 17th Century country house set in rural North Norfolk.  It was a first time visit for us, and we were not disappointed. 
Upon arrival, we were all issued with identity cards before making our way to the front of the house, where members of the Home Guard, part of the Civil Defenders re-enactment group,were on parade.
We stood and watched for a while as they did their drill and marched on the gravelled drive, and when we could stand the bitterly cold north wind no longer, made our way to the front of the house and sought shelter in the warmth of the main hall. 
The hall was set out beautifully, with a large Christmas tree, decorated with homemade decorations, with a chance to stop awhile and play pin the moustache on Hitler or watch a couple dancing to songs of the era.
The table in the dining hall was laid beautifully, awaiting the arrival of important guests, perhaps, and there was a quaint little display of toys of the era, and stockings were hung by the fire, already filled by the man in red.
Away from the main body of the house, and into what was the servants quarters I believe, there was yet another beautifully decorated tree, alongside a table, all laid up for the evacuees Christmas party.  There were some cleverly made felt Christmas tree decorations which I plan to replicate next year!
My favourite part of the house was the Make Do and Mend display.  There were some beautiful pieces of period clothing on display, including a wonderful CC41 shirt which had been carefully embroidered so it could be used as a woman’s blouse.  Someone was making felt corsages which, to the eagle eyed among you, may look more than a little familiar ;o)  Someone had been working on an intricate Fair Isle woolly, while another lady was making a Father Christmas suit made of crepe paper.
The staff and volunteers at Felbrigg, along with the members of the Civil Defenders re-enactment group, the group my parents are part of, really went above and beyond to create a truly memorable experience.  The devil, as they say, is in the detail, and everyone at Felbrigg Hall had certainly put in the time, and effort, to make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  We’re already hoping that the hall will be open again for Christmas next year!
What a fine bunch!



Since the weekend, things have been madly busy here.  Mr Y turned a year older on Monday, but a visit from OFSTED meant, with the exception of a totally divine chocolate fudge cake, no celebrations - thank goodness the school term ends tomorrow. 
Following the birthday theme, my youngest little Miss M turned 6 on the 17th.  Both Sunday and Monday evening were spent moulding icing into minions! 

The cake was finished at 11.30pm, the night before her birthday.  The absolute delight and joy on her face when she saw her cake made my Incredible Hulk green stained hands worth it.
Mr Y and I were meant to be on a date night this evening, a rare visit to the local cinema to see the colourised version of It's A Wonderful Life, but he has succumbed to man flu and so plans have changed a little and I am, instead, snuggled up on the couch with a DVD and my knitting instead - oh, and some popcorn! 
Not long 'till the big day now, you know.  I think we are just about there.  A few finishing touches to a couple of homemade gifts and some baking to do, but then we're just about done, thank goodness!  I hope your plans are all coming together nicely xx

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A 1930's Christmas

Sunday was a good day.  No, it was more than a good day, it was a great day.  It was spent in the company of my nearest and dearest, spent at one of my favourite places and spent doing what I love best; being with my family.

So, where was this great day had?  Well, we frequented the National Trust property closest to us, Sutton Hoo, where they had turned back the clock 80 years to celebrate a 1930’s Christmas.

Although Sutton Hoo is an anglo-saxon burial site, it also boasts an impressive Edwardian dwelling, Tranmer House, and it was here that the festive fun happened. 

There was so much to see, and the organisers and volunteers had done a marvellous job decorating the interior.  There was a huge Christmas tree, adorned with the most fabulous vintage decorations and surrounded by beautifully wrapped boxes, covered with bows.  Paper decorations hung from the ceilings, and a variety of greenery, gathered from the grounds, was placed around the fire.

The table was laid for tea with a beautifully iced cake just waiting to be cut, and crepe paper crackers in every place setting.  A work bag with knitting left on the chaise lounge, and numerous vintage toys and games, all of which the children were permitted to touch, were set out beautifully.

That’s one of the many plus points about Sutton Hoo.  Unlike so many of the Trust’s properties, you can actually touch and, more surprisingly, sit on the various chairs and sofas, which makes it one of our favourite properties to visit. 

While the girls played with the toys and coloured in Christmas cards, my Mr and me listened to the choir, from a local school, sing traditional carols, while the house staff offered round mince pies and a little tipple!

Memories were definitely made that day, and we are now feeling decidedly festive, if somewhat full of coughs and sneezes! 

I could have happily taken this dolly home.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Knit For Victory Update

So, folks, it’s official.  December is here and the advent countdown has begun! 

The girls are thoroughly engrossed in their work on Victorian Christmases, so I’m snatching a few minutes “me time” to sit down, un-harassed, and write a post!

We are slowly getting into the festive mood here.  Yesterday we bought our tree, although it will be a couple of weeks, if I get my way, before it goes up, and there are cinnamon orange slices drying in the oven ready to be made into some kind of decoration.  With such a beautiful aroma engulfing the house, it’s near impossible not to feel just a little bit festive :o)

The countdown to the big day brings with it a growing sense of pressure and worry that the planned homemade Christmas gifts may not be ready in time.  I fear I may have added a few too many knitted items onto said gift list; at the rate I’m going, I’ll be knitting right up until the last minute on Christmas Eve! 
So, how far have I got with my Knit For Victory projects?  Well, one of them, the easiest and simplest of all the patterns, the mammoth scarf I have been knitting for my dad, is complete!  All 150g of the wool, save for the tiniest of scraps, was used, and the finished article ended up at a snugglesome 50”; exactly the length called for in the pattern!  I feel sure that he will love it, because it will complete his vintage winter look perfectly!

Sticking with my dad, I’ve also made some headway with his birthday sweater.  I’ve finally decided on a pattern, a late 1930’s/early 1940’s Bairns-Wear one, which needs no adjustment at all as it’s already in his size – always a plus point! 

For wool, I raided the stash and was lucky enough to find some vintage pure wool skeins in just the right ply.  One of them, the brown, is an original Patons Beehive skein with the shop tag still attached.  The others all come from vintage jumpers that have been unwound, very much in keeping with the Make Do and Mend attitude, and placed into skeins, ready to be reworked into something new.  Sadly, there wasn’t enough of any neutral shade for a base, so new wool had to be sought.  Ordinarily, I would never advise mixing brands of wool because ply’s and quality vary greatly.  However, after much searching and comparison, I opted for Adriafil Azzurra, an Italian yarn, which is 70% wool, 30% acrylic. 
It’s a beautiful quality yarn which matches the other shades, in thickness, perfectly.  I can’t wait to make a start on it, but as it isn’t needed until nearly the end of February, I’m going to be sensible and get cracking on the more pressing projects.

C’s Snow White outfit is a total pain to work on!  Despite accurate measuring, the first attempt just didn’t work out big enough so had to be ripped back and started again, this time on a bigger needle size.  Even when worked in the larger size, it’s still a little clipped, so I’m going to go up yet another needle size when I tackle the hood and cape this evening.  It needs pressing, again, the ends sewn in, a ribbon belt and fasteners sewn to the back, but that will take but minutes.

Excitingly, M’s has just been cast on!  I really struggled to find a pattern for a baby boy doll, let alone one in the right size, but just as I thought I’d have to give it up as a bad job, my wonderful mum stepped in and saved the day!  Rifling through her own pattern collection (I blame her for my knitting obsession), she found the most perfect Bestway pattern that I know M will adore.  I’m not going to be able to do all the sundry items, so will instead be focussing on the helmet, coat and leggings, all to be worked  be worked in Stylecraft 4 ply Aster.

The wool delivery for the girls’ berets arrived last week and the colours are just so perfect for each of them.  M is having the apple green and Boysenberry, C, the Ruby and Navy, which is frustratingly on back order for a little while!
The pattern I’ve chosen for them is one for an adult, so it will need a bit of adjusting, but it’s a nice, and more importantly, simple pattern, which can be cracked out in 2 evenings. 

The tea cosy remains untouched, wool unchosen, and potentially will be scrapped from the list altogether :o)
If any of you are joining it too, I’d love to know how you are getting along with your projects.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Festive London!

So, it’s Sunday evening again!  I hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.  I’m sure time at the weekend’s passes more quickly than during the week.  Tomorrow and Tuesday are bound to crawl by, but these last two days have sped past so quickly. 

We’ve had a busy couple of days, a busy couple of weeks really, and with Christmas approaching, things are only set to get even busier :o)

Yesterday we spent the day in the fair city of London!  We booked the trip weeks ago, taking advantage of some cheap rail tickets, and the girls have been counting down the days on the calendar ever since. 

We are lucky that we live just a 70 minute rail journey from London, so by 8.30, we were already in the capital, all geared up and ready to go.  We like to get in early, so as to avoid some of the business on the Underground.  I don’t like travelling on the underground, but my girls are a breath of fresh air and happily chatter and sing, which relieves the tension, a bit. 

Our first stop was Westminster, where, upon surfacing from the tube, you are greeted with this rather spectacular view.

We grabbed a spot of breakfast and sat in Parliament Square, just watching the world go by.  I like to people watch.

On Whitehall, just a stones throw away from Big Ben, is the Cenotaph.  Although some two weeks have passed since Remembrance Sunday, the poppy wreaths are still in place.

We took a brisk walk through St James’s Park to see the pelicans before making a pit stop for a hot chocolate with marshmallows; a most welcome warming treat.  There was the obligatory kick through the crunchy autumn leaves, as we walked up The Mall, towards Green Park. 

Green Park is just beautiful.  There are still plenty of leaves still hanging on the branches, and, bathed in golden autumnal sunshine, the view was simply glorious.

In a corner of Green Park is the Bomber Command Memorial.  We visited in the summer and were totally entranced by the tranquillity of the place against the noisy backdrop of the A4, and had wanted to take my mum to see it too.  She was overwhelmed by the statues and the level of detail in each and every figure. 

From there, we headed to the shops and left the tranquillity of the park behind us as we joined the hoards of crowds!  I’m not one for hustle and bustle, I far prefer a country lane or open green space, but the girls wanted to see the lights and there was Christmas shopping to be done!

Fortnum and Mason had the most incredible window displays, including a 1930’s/1940’s kitchen scene, and another of a sitting room. 

Their inside displays were pretty spectacular too. 

As day turned to night, we headed to Regent Street to see the Christmas lights, a beautiful end to a thoroughly wonderful day. 

It was definitely a day where memories were made, not only for the girls, but for all of us.  All too soon, it was time to head home, back on the Tube, dragging behind us two tired little travellers with weary feet.  Their final glimpse of this fair city, back where we started at Westminster Tube Station.

Today has gone at a much more sedate pace, thank goodness, because my poor feet are somewhat sore after the miles they stomped out yesterday. 

After making the loathsome weekly trip to the supermarket, I’ve been a busy bee and have made some Christmas cakes!  I put my last cake in the oven an hour ago, and the house smells decidedly festive!  Not long now, you know!  I now have 5 cakes, yes 5, to diligently feed with brandy and subsequently decorate. 

While they were baking, I put my time to good use and picked up a crochet hook!  Now, as you will have gathered from my previous posts, I knit, but don’t crochet.  After seeing some truly scrumptious granny squares on Instagram, I have wanted to have a go myself.  So, with the help of a YouTube tutorial, I’ve made a start!  Eventually, these pretty pink and cream squares will be made into a cot blanket for C’s baby’s cot.

Things have been moving along slowing on the “Knit For Victory” front, but I’ll save that for another post! xx