Thursday, 2 January 2014

old but new - stamps on my christmas cards

I've bought - and collected/saved lots of unused stamps, mainly Christmas, so as to give Christmas and birthday cards a bit of a different look.
Most of my Christmas stamps this year were from 1980 [there were many more sent but they had similar combinations]

vintage stamps posting christmas cards

previously - not such an ambitious project in 2010

old stamps used this year

I also make decorations and cards from old British stamps  - visit my Etsy shop [though it does need stocking up on stampy things]

P.S also lots of the envelopes were recycled from a 1999 report on creativity in schools

Monday, 23 December 2013

Things I don't get about other people's Christmasses #4 cherries in the pudding

Maybe I'm a purist or something but the idea of cherries - or exotic fruits in Christmas pudding is not a nice thought. Plain dried fruit with some candied peel yes, prunes and figs even - but cherries - why? They are sweet with very little flavour - they work well in fruit cake, but this is a more ancient form of cake. Go back centuries and you will find spicy bread pudding is viewed as cake, it's the earliest form of cake. Bread crumbs and suet make the base of this pudding. The steaming for days makes it rich and dark, it doesn't need cherries. A curious concept of luxury creeps in in the supermarket advertising for Christmas pudding: keep it simple, that's how it's meant to be. It's probably the oldest style of food we celebrate Christmas with. Cherries are the wrong sort of fruit.

25_12_07 064 pudding

Friday, 20 December 2013

Things I don't get about other people's Christmasses #3 stockings that are not stretchy stockings/socks

stocking #1


Stockings are generally made of stretchy material [way back in Elizabethan times they had lovely knitted ones] so why make ones that are in a sort of sock/stocking shape from non stretchy stuff that is more like an odd shaped bag? Stockings stretch and create mysterious lumps an bumps. They work well across the end of a bed - waking to feel the weight over your feet...and things don't fall out. There's a hint of sheens, shines, textures through the stocking. OK I'd better explain my stockings - original 1950s patterned ribbed stockings - wish you could buy them like that now. Long mountaineering socks can work, indeed on lean years any old sock will do. Heavy weight Falke cotton tights chopped up do quite well. You can put your hand deep down inside.

Some gold chocolate coins, a tangerine, some nuts are all to be found inside. Usually a notebook and pencil/pen - for writing down who gave you what later in the days. Things to keep children amused as parents get things sorted in the kitchen... especially as we have our presents after lunch but that's perhaps another blog entry. When we were young there was one big present. When I was five my brother and I had to go downstairs for our big present. Mine was wooden dolls house, all furnished [as the years went by I realised that my Ma had made the whole thing, we had a tiny house, lord knows where it was hidden]. There it stood amongst the magical decorations that had also appeared overnight....we would put up things we'd made and the help decorate the tree, but the whole woodland came in after we'd gone to bed. Such a transformation - traditions from both sides of my family. Then there was Susie the black doll I requested, then an alarm clock - amazing rectangle, flat, chrome design with a glow in the dark face - that I could see in the darkness of my early waking; and a watch when I was 8. On my seventh Christmas I remember the wonderful long bright coloured synthetic fibre hair ribbons in my stocking [went well with my brand new red leather look pinafore...] and the wonderful snow....

Last year [with one of the original stockings from my childhood]

if you still believe in father christmas [december diary day 25]

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Things I don't get about other people's Christmasses #2 Turkey

Turkey has never been traditional in my family - and that's looking back to my grandparents as well. Chicken was not cheap when I was younger - nor when my parents were young. They both had access to chicken meat but not roastable chicken. SO roast chicken was a treat not a regular. My father's parents were more likely to have pheasant - poached [method of acquisition not cooking - and if it's poached it's never hung, don't want to be caught out]; I believe there might even have been venison on occasion...

My parents if they can afford it sometimes have goose or occasionally duck. I have made a vegetarian pie that I found in the Woman's Journal, unspeakable years ago*. My participation in meat eating has varied over the years. Sometimes the Christmas chicken was home grown.

I'm not sure when it was that I realised there was a turkey thing going on, school I supposed, at some point. I'm sure boar's head or goose is far more traditional. Did Dickens start up the turkey fashion?
I have once had turkey for Christmas dinner, I was away from home and it was known that I'd never had turkey for Christmas so an organic, free range bird was procured.

It'll be goose and pie this year.
Here's a Christmas plate I prepared earlier, with handmade recycled paper crackers

25_12_07 060 main course


*wheat free vegetarian pie: chestnut, apricots & chickpea stuffing balls in white wine sauce with fennel bulb, broccoli, broad beans.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Things I don't get about other people's Christmasses #1 Advent calendars with chocolates/gifts

So Advent calendars: I had first better declare that I collect them. Someone once gave me a chocolate advent calendar, I wasn't too pleased. Advent is a time of waiting and expectation the idea of getting little things along the way seems to run against that. There are the other sort that you can put little gifts in - perhaps if the little gifts were decorations that might make a nice collection - or perhaps they build up a collage. I do like my advent calendars to make sense, not random doors that destroy the main image - I'm a bit fussy aren't I?

The other objection to chocolate advent calendars is aesthetic - and ethical - you get a plastic space where the chocolate was, and there is no point in saving them. They're just a box.

This one is a scene and has windows and doors that open up. I have two of them one my Nan gave me when I was maybe 11 or 12 years old and one [without extra fold out sides] that I bought later as the original had lost all doors and was taped together! You are looking at the new one - it has a text on each window.



advent calender playing music

playing music

I still have an envelope that a calendar from my Gran was sent in pre 1971.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Recycling - gift boxes

Take a tetra pack [which our local authority won't take in recycling bag even though the recycling plant my end of the county does take them], chop off the top, pull open the bottom flaps so you can wash and dry properly. Stick back the bottom flaps - unless you want a flat gift bag. Pull in the tops and try to make nice shape on sides, doesn't always work - one of these [provamel] better than the other. Make some holes, tie up the top once item inside.

I bought the orange recycled string from the lovely Recycled Paper Supplies people - friendly and wonder range, including gummed paper

Of course foreign ones seem more interesting than the ones from home

gift bag or box

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Colony 13

A patchwork picture essay of Colony 13 in Aberteifi | Cardigan open August 2013. Not inclusive and slightly random, I was running scared of all the halogen lights at low level - I have photo-sensitivity

The complete set of images

colony 13 Anne-Mei Mellis best viewed as camera flashescolony 13colony 13 Kathryn Campbell Dodd
colony 13 Roger Loughercolony 13nobody plays records anymorecolony 13colony 13colony 13 gwrandocolony 13

more, many more, images of Nobody Plays Records Anymore HERE

colony 13 we communitycolony