Well, there's nothing like working in a gift shop for making the festive season seem simultaneously never-ending (Christmas merchandise arrives in later summer) and over in the blink of an eye.
But what a wonderful day we had on 25 December! Blogger appears to be eating my pictures again (boo, third day in a row)so I'll have to paint with words. Christmas Eve found our tree looking more picturesque than ever, as Laura wraps all our parcels using scraps of silk and organza and ties them with ribbons and braids. And Graham and I had wrapped all our gifts in one of those wonderful packs of tissue paper that contains several shades of every colour under the rainbow. We were all thoroughly spolit by each other and by our family and friends. I don't think I've had this much fun unwrapping pressies since I was about 6! Highlights for me were some sumptuous yarn hand-dyed by Liz, a wonderful parcel of all sorts of knitterly goodies from my secret pal (I really must persevere with getting the photos to upload) and lots of crochet-inspired items (book, hooks, calendar) from Graham and Laura. Graham also got me England in Particular, and those who know me well won't be surprised to hear that opening the book for the very first time, completely at random, there was the entry on cider!
And speaking of cider, we come to the crowning glories, the wonderful feast that Laura cooked (featuring onion and champagne soup, followed by a pie of vegetables braised in a cider and cream sauce) and the present that was so exciting that we saved it until after lunch, just so that we could keep looking at it. To explain. A very large, brown box turned up at our house on 22 December. On 23 December my sister, brother-in-law and nieces arrived and (hidden away in the spare room) proceeded to remove something from the box, fill it with lots of mystery parcels, then seal it back into the box. Thus on 25 December we opened the box, to find a bright green wicker picnic hamper filled to overflowing with brightly-coloured parcels and topped off with one of those Alan Dart knitted gnomes, clucthing a home-made cracker. My younger niece, who knows how much I love knitted toys, and how little I love knitting them myself, purchased the gnome at her school bazaar)! When we finally opened the parcels we found wines (which were not only South African and Fairtrade, but organic, too), cider (which hasn't lasted long), Green & Blacks chocolate, very special grissini, home-made chutney, locally-gathered walnuts and a Lindt chocolate reindeer (I swear that this is a Lindt chocolate bunny in drag!).
What a rambling entry this is! But I'm trying to take my mind off the fact that I have an (almost) FO felting away in the washing machine at the moment. And not just any FO, oh no. For the first time in my life I have followed a crochet pattern. And so, tumbling and turning and spinning in the hotpoint we have a "deliberate shrinkage sack" from Not Your Mama's Crochet (one of my pressies from Graham) made from Kureyon using one of the Brittany crochet hooks G gave me. I didn't quite get gauge and I managed to seam one side right sides together and the other wrong sides (that's a design feature, ahem) but so far, so good. Right time to be brave: off to the machine to see if I still have a "sack" or just a mess of felted yarn!