Saturday, 20 December 2014

December: Me & You

As November draws to a close and the anticipation for the start of December increases, I am like a little child, eager for the Christmas season to begin. On the first Monday evening in December, we put up our tree. It is one of my favourite evenings of the year.
We sing along to music that plays in the background, stepping away from decorating the tree to skip to a favourite song. My Handsome Man makes indulgent hot chocolates topped with whipped cream and flake and we sip away, admiring the lights on the tree.
Carefully we unwrap the decorations from the tissue paper and find the perfect place to hang them on the tree. I am very particular about the tree, with decorations evenly spaced and coordinated, whereas Handsome favours the more thrown together look. I am learning not to rehang the ornaments that are too close to each other and just relax a little and Handsome is patient on the occasions where my OCD tendencies really cannot cope. 
On the evening that we put up the Christmas tree, as music played in the background, My Handsome Man pulled me towards him for a quick kiss and a cuddle, we took a second to pause and just savour the moment. The two of us, decorating our Christmas tree for our second Christmas together.

Since December the first, I have had 'Cold December Night' by Michael Buble stuck in my head:

'So please just fall in love with me this Christmas,
There's nothing else that I will need this Christmas
Won't be wrapped under a tree.
I want something to last forever
So kiss me on this cold December night.'

I have found myself humming it to myself as I do chores around the house. Although it sounds like a fairytale, I believe in forever. I want ours to be one of those marriages, one where we continue to fall in love with each other, to choose to love each other, each and every day. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Bath Christmas Market

I love Christmas!
I love the anticipation, the careful thought and planning that goes in to buying or making gifts for loved ones.
We have several Christmas traditions and one of them is going to Bath Christmas Market. This year was slightly different as I went twice, my Grandparents were visiting on the first day we had planned to go so we took them along with us and the second trip I went with friends.

Day One:
We started with the traditional 'Stew in a Box'. No matter what time we plan to leave somehow we always end up arriving in Bath about lunch time.

We visit the stalls, searching for decorations and Christmas presents for loved ones.

It is normally freezing cold so we make sure to wrap up warm and wear flat shoes - heels and cobbled streets are a disaster.

Browsing around we found these gorgeous ear muffs which we tried on my nephew but like all hats, within seconds they were off his head and in his hands! You can tell by his face in the first picture that he's thinking 'will you get this thing off me!'

When all the shopping is done we stop for a hot chocolate to warm ourselves. 
This year my Mum and Granny wanted to finish some shopping so I sat with Grandpa and talked stories. We talked about the book he wrote: 'When Grandpa Was A Little Boy' which contains narratives from his childhood we now know by heart: the time Grandpa lost his bicycle, the time he was arrested at the age of 9 and the time Grandpa blew up the toilet being a few of our childhood favourites. He expressed a desire to write and I informed him we need 'Chapter Two : The Naval Years'.

As much as I love browsing the stalls, listening to carollers and feeling Christmassy, I think my favourite part is spending time with family. I love that whenever we get together, the same stories are told and we normally end up laughing, reminiscing and learning our family history.

Day Two:
This time we went on a Saturday and, oh my word, the market was busy! It was a battle to get to the front of the stalls to have a look around. We browsed a few and found some gorgeous dinosaurs which were bought and clutched with delight for the rest of the day.

To escape the crowds we stepped in to Bath Abbey for the 'Shoppers Carols'. As a Christian, I personally love the focus on the Saviour and the spirit of giving that seems to encompass the world as Christmas time draws near. Sometimes I find myself getting too wrapped up in the money and commercialisation of Christmas that I forget what is really important. Spending time in the Abbey singing carols was the perfect reminder to get me refocusing on the things that are important before continuing our shopping and grabbing a bite to eat.

Throughout the day, texts were sent to Dad and little brother who stayed home, messages filled with 'I love you's' and lots of hearts and kisses. An opportunity to practice his spelling without him fully realising. After lunch we made our way back to the car for the journey home.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Glass Button Hearts

I love decorating the Christmas tree.
Delving in to Christmas boxes, unwrapping the bubble wrap or tissue paper to reveal our family decorations. My favourite decorations are found at my parent's home within a cardboard box, foam separates each individual decoration, cushioning each one from any damage. As the years have gone by the box has weighed a little less as broken and chipped decorations have been thrown away.
I have never seen decorations like them since. If I did, I'd snap them up then and there, no matter what time of year or what state my bank account was in. My favourite decorations are snowflakes. Beautiful glass snowflakes.
As I decorated the tree, I made sure to hang each snowflake near a light. That is the beauty of them. Hung with care the glass catches the light causing it to twinkle.  To me, this is a big part of Christmas: twinkly lights on a tree.

Several months ago now, I attended the International Antiques and Collectors Fair. It is quite possibly my favourite fair to browse. I have favourite stalls within the fair. One of these just so happens to be a haberdashery of delights. Among the collection of goods were vintage clear glass buttons. They twinkled under the lights of the stall and I knew immediately that they had to go on my Christmas tree, I didn't know how but I knew they would. I purchased some glass buttons at a bargain price and went home happy. Since then I have learned how to make button hearts.

The ideas immediately connected in my head. Glass button hearts on the tree causing the lights to sparkle and twinkle as I curl up with a hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies.

To make your own button hearts, you will need buttons, craft wire (I used 'beadery craft wire' 24ga.), scissors and string/ribbon.

Each heart requires an even amount of buttons, I used a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 16. When selecting the buttons you will need buttons with the fastening through the button and not behind. I found this out the hard way, if the fastening is behind, the buttons don't hold the shape well.

Start by selecting the buttons you want to use and positioning them in a heart shape, as I was using vintage buttons and mixing and matching this helped me keep the sides even and helped me work out the order I would need to thread the buttons on the wire.

Cut the wire at least double the length of the heart. You start by finding the midway point and making a small loop and then twisting the wire. This step takes a bit of trial and error, if you twist the wire too loose it will unravel and become difficult to thread, too tight and the wire kinks.

Starting from the top centre button, thread the buttons in order on to the wire

When the last button is threaded on to the wire, wrap the wire round the loop (as pictured) to fasten the heart together. Cut off any excess.

Position the wire into a heart shape.

Attach string/ribbon and hang on the Christmas tree.

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