Friday, 19 December 2014

Love!

Love for our family. Our son,his wife and our gorgeous Grandson came home for Christmas from Dubai today. Made even more special because William was three today! A double celebration for us.

I bought a train Christmas decoration when he was born and every year he hangs it on our tree. The perfect finishing touch.

Love,love,love.

And he loved his birthday and without any prompting at all he said

"This is the best Birthday ever"

Pure Love.

Special,special love for our daughter and her partner who are in Fort Lauderdale working.

This will be our 5th Christmas without her but their first together.

So that makes it so special.

Young Love!

 

And love for our eldest daughter,her partner and dear Buster that are not so far flung and we are lucky enough to love often.

 

And lastly but not least love for my Blog that has come to mean so much to me.

Love to the people who take the time to read my words. Love for the people who take the time to leave kind and supportive comments.

Love to the people who write the blogs I so enjoy. I am so looking forward to a brand new year. New thoughts,new ideas,new trends and inspiration .

I love being a part of life here in Blogland.

 

So. I am going to take my leave now. I want to dance to attention. I want to join in with imaginative play,I want to sing in a band , I want to read endless stories. I want to be the train driver or a builders mate. I am sure you get the message!

I have 7 sweet,short days to be in love,be loved and be a part of love.

I will sit on the side of a little boys bed each night and watch his steady breathing,eyelid fluttering and fill my heart with such love it makes my heart sing.

So Happy Christmas everyone and I wish you love,peace and happiness for you and your loved ones.

 

 

 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Promotion to head of Artistic Operations.

Now, I know I am lucky. Andy, upon retirement did not follow his Dads example. Dad retired and Mum kept on just as before.... He never thought he should help clean,wash,cook,shop or anything else like that. I am sure it was a generational thing. He proudly boasted he had never,ever changed a nappy. He had many other talents and everyone loved him but domesticated ... NO!

So last week amongst the Christmas list writing,present wrapping,cooking etc Andy looked up and said

" If there is anything you want me to do just ask!"

So this morning I did.

We overlook the churchyard from the back of our house and of course a lot of our family are buried there.

 

 

 

Some,sadly, before their time. I hate putting flowers on the graves at this time of year. They get frosted or rain soaked and brown .And I am not that keen on wreaths.

So, for the last few years I have been gathering greenery and making fresh bouquets.

I asked Andy if he would make them this year and my goodness me he worked so hard outside in the garden. Picking,trimming,arranging and tying. They were absolutely perfect and whilst it was dry we took them over to the graveyard and just sent our love to our wonderful family members who are no longer able to share our Christmas hours with us.

 
There was even enough left over to pop in a jug for the windowsill.

Well. I am definitely promoting Andy to head of Artistic Operations. It was so lovely to see him creating something for us to give with love. We even remembered to tuck in sprigs of Rosemary for Remembrance.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on Gifts from the Chalky kitchen.

Love Linda

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Gifts from my kitchen!

There always seem to be the tiniest magical lull when all the forward planning is done and the fresh goods need to awaited. I have used my notes facility on my phone for the first time this year. And it's helped so much. Whole forests must have been saved by not using endless pieces of paper to make list after list.

 

Anyway during this magical lulI I like to make presents in the kitchen. And this morning it's been Christmas pot Pourri. Add all the wrapped ingredients to a pan of gently simmering water and the whole house smells lovely. Evocative orange slices,cinnamon,cloves,star anise and cranberries. And it can just be topped up time and time again. I love it and so do the people I give it to every year. It's become such a tradition that I do not even have to write the instructions anymore.

 

The second gift is a Kilner Jar of home made Granola. It is delicious sprinkled on cereal or fruit topped with yogurt. This Ginham ribbon tops these home made gifts off perfectly.

This recipe is a real favourite.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1590/goodforyou-granola

 

Lull there might be but ...not too long a pause.

This Delia deliciousness has to be popped in the freezer.

 

And pate to be made!

Oh! Not forgetting the Mince Pies.

I know you will be doing very similar!

But keepin me calm as ever in the evenings is my hook and yarn.

2 presents for cold January days!

Granny hot water Bottle Covers.

 

And my favourite colour palette to remind me if warm seas and blue skies.
I am finding the " join as you go method a pain.

I hope you get some lulls,some pauses and some moments doing the things which make you happy.

Love Linda

 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Friendship!

Friendship!

Of course life is hectic right now. The battle stations with strange shaped parcels and finding the end of the Sellotape is well underway!

But,this week two lovely friends were thinking of me and took the time to send me snippets that they thought I would love.

And I do... So much.

The first was this beautiful story on You Tube.

 

 

 

And the second was a poem that a friend wrote a long time ago about friendship.

It really does say it all for me.

Special,special friends are like Gold dust precious and special.

And luckily longer lasting than a snowflake if you nurture them and they nurture you. The essence of true friendships.

Snowflakes

Lines of retrospect and hope

Friendship often comes like winter’s first snowflake.

We wait so long for it to fall, but

Ere it touches outstretched, eager hands,

It melts and goes.

You awake to icy, fresh November morn,

To fleecy snow arriving overnight.

By evening fall, its gone – lost.

Friendship often seems to come and then depart

Like these first precious snowflakes.

You yearn and hope for the snow to stay,

But all in vain because you know it won’t.

Until – one day there comes at last

One special snowflake that wants to stay.

And will not melt:

And that is the snowflake

That really is – a true friend.

So, my lovely blogger friends I want to share them with you and hope that you are enjoying this Advent. I hope the pace is not too hectic. I hope you are well and happy and I hope that you are doing things which enrich your lives. And,of course I hope that everything is jumping off lists and into their rightful positions. Whether that be in the store cupboard, in the freezer, under the tree or wherever .

Lots of love Linda

PS ,.... Anyone who knows how terribly untechie I am will laugh when they see the post below. It is the result of me trying to upload a video from You Tube for the first time!!!!! So, if you want to listen to Once Upon A Northern Light another dozen times just scroll down. I have no idea how to delete it! And now the tree is calling to be decorated!!!!!!!

 

 

Friendship.

So, my lovely blogger friends I want to share them with you and hope that you are enjoying this Advent. I hope the pace is not too hectic. I hope you are well and happy and I hope that you are doing things which enrich your lives. And,of course I hope that everything is jumping off lists and into their rightful positions. Whether that be in the store cupboard, in the freezer, under the tree or wherever .

Lots of love Linda

 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Generosity,kindness and joy!

Among the pile of Junk Mail and the early Christmas cards came an envelope from France today .

 

 

I opened it and got the best surprise ever. Tucked inside was 50 Euros. I am still so surprised when I write 50!,, Not a 5,10 or 20 Euro Note. But 50 Euros!

 

And the most generous,wonderful lady who sent it asked me to put it towards the fund to help the women in Almeria who are exploited and live in terrible conditions.

 

Now, I have never actually met this wonderful lady but we consider ourselves cyber sisters. She belongs to the charity knitting thread I love to be a part of.

We have " known" each other for about five years and one day I would like to meet her and give her the biggest hug.

I feel quite overwhelmed by such a generous gesture. Amongst this somewhat materialistic time of the year this lovely lady dipped so generously into her purse and thought of others.

It made my day and filled me with Joy and Hope!

I am going to keep that feeling close to me every day throughout this Christmas Season.

I hope something filled you with joy today !

Love Liinda

 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Images that haunt you.

Over 50 years ago I was staying with my cousin on her family farm in Mid Devon. I loved to go there. Freedom,horse riding, saffron cake and spending time with the animals. I just loved it.

But one day I wandered into the barn to see my uncle bent over a bucket. A weather beaten,tall,somewhat austere man. He was drowning kittens in a bucket. I think he was sorry I had witnessed it, but he just said " we can't be over run with cats!"

I went back home to my Dad who was a vet and told him what I had seen and how sad it made me. Now, he was a farmers son and he had seen just the same himself.... And he simply gave me a cuddle and said. " Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind." I did understand those words but that image of those drowning kittens has never left me.

Last Sunday we went out into the foothills of the mountains opposite our house here in Spain. It was a new walk for us,way off the beaten track. As we walked we talked and looked at everything surrounding us. Mountains, valleys, tracks and woodlands. But, as we walked we were suddenly met by the sound of ferocious, noisy barking. And there beside the path were rows of concrete sheds with runs attached. And in every run was a dog. It did not take us a minute to realise we had stumbled upon a pack of hunting dogs. Of course you can not fail to be aware that wild boar hunting goes on in our area. But this was our first encounter at first hand. The dogs sounded crazy and that upset me. But, worse, behind a car nearby was a dog lying on the ground. It looked ill, thin and wasted. I have been told that Spaniards do not believe animals have souls. What a generalisation. But, I think the person who owns this dog does not gave a heart or soul. Or perhaps it's just a stray living nearby hoping to have scraps thrown to it when the hunting dogs are fed.

 

http://www.andalucia.com/pets/treatment.htm

 

I realise that in a foreign land, walking on private ground, and not knowing if the dog was vicious or rabid there is little you can do. Andy was certainly not going to let me stop. So, we walked home. We both felt miserable and that image of the dog has haunted me all week.

 

I think that poor animal would rather be put to sleep than look like that but of course vet bills are so expensive. People are struggling so much with poverty. The charities that help with animals do a sterling job but are totally overwhelmed. To take food or water would not help because soon we travel home for a month and such kindness is misplaced. So, my dads words come back... I wish someone would be "cruel for a moment, to be kind to that dog."

 

We visited Assissi when we were in Italy .

 

It was beautiful and the work of St Francis, the patron saint of animals amazing. On our return to Turre I realised the local church in the village is dedicated to Assissi.

 


 

And right by the fountain in our village there is a little Charity Shop. The Assissi Charity of Turre.

 

 

I went in this morning to be greeted by a lady who was very keen to tell me all about the work she does to help people and their animals. She has a folder with pictures of all the dogs she is helping. The Spanish are actually coming to her. They may be out if work, they may be ill or very poor but they do care about their animals and she is providing food to help from the money she is making in the shop.

So, it's a strange old world. I felt lost to know how to help. But, after having a lifetime surrounded by animals and a Dad who devoted his life helping them, I am going to take some things I have made to the shop and hope at least some of the dogs will be helped. And even better their owners may be educated about illness, castration and spaying

So, here we have it. Embroidered felt Christmas decorations.

 

 

.

 
Mulberry paper gift tags.

 

Baby bibs made from microfibre cloths.

 

A crochet hat that has been tucked away waiting for a good home

 
And some Shabby Chic bunting.

Of course I will add some books and bits and pieces to the bag and hope it raises some much needed Euros.

Of course it will not totally remove that haunting image but at least it's something.

 

 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Bottoms!

Sewing is a great love of mine. But, no matter how hard I try gremlins often come into my sewing space uninvited.

My eldest daughter loves cuddly pyjama bottoms. Cuddly,warm,soothing and soft. Her favourite pair came to pieces when she was staying with us a little while back.

 

 

So, I thought how hard can making a pair of pyjamas be? Surely not hard. So, I set to work carefully unpicking the well loved pair to use as a pattern.

 

 

 

I ironed them flat and carefully pinned them on some new material and thought I was on a definite roll!

Ok, I worked with the door closed. The Gremlins were not invited in!

I even tacked them carefully together and thought I just had to get the sewing machine out to finish them off!

But, as it folded them up I thought they looked a bit small. But how could they be?

Well my daughter and I are more or less the same size.

Umm . Well the gremlins must have moved the pieces because no matter how I tried to pretend they were fine. They are not!!! Too small,too skimpy too underwhelming. What a shame . I am going to finish them and pop them into the Charity shop here. I hope a size eight pyjama lover walks by .

 

 

Bottoms! Bottoms!! Bottoms!!!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Tips! They work for me! Could you join in?

Tip number 1

I was thinking the other day as I was making my home made yogurt how much I love cooking at home. A friend was in the kitchen chatting and she watched with interest as I carefully warmed the milk and then put it to one side to reach blood heat to start the culture. I initially use one shop bought pot and mix it with a litre of milk and that makes just over a litre of home made yummy yogurt. Perfect for adding to my fruit and cereals at breakfast time and also in sauces or dips.

 

She laughed and said " But you are using UHT milk. There is no need to boil that at all." Well what a brilliant tip. All that time saved. We only use UHT milk in Spain but I am going to buy it specially for yogurt making in the UK.

 

Tip number 2.

Anyone who follows life here at Chalky's must be aware of my love of yarn. I like to keep it organised and ready to use. And here in Spain Andy converted the garage into a Craft Room for me. Amazing I know and it has proved to be the perfect cosy place when the football is on!!

My days with the " littlies" is so obvious here with everything in boxes. But I love this basket I bought in a market in France and I keep my favourite colour palette in here.

P

I had a bar of soap which smelled delicous and I dropped it in the basket. It is so lovely to have a waft of sweet smelling soap when I pull out a ball of wool.

 

 

Tip number 3.

Spend some time/ hours and hours getting to know Pinterest. I bet you do already. But I wanted to make some home made Christmas cards for friends and neighbours here. And I loved this simple idea.

Just perfect as they will think of me and my love of crafting when they open the envelope.

Button love. What could be better!

 

 

 

Tip number 4.

Have Crafty friends. I have met the most creative,lovely friend here. Look at these cuties she is making.


She will fill some with cacti. Some with herbs and some with sweets. I just love them.

 

 

 

 

And Tip number 5 .

Keep your eyes and mind open to opportunities. Of course Christmas is getting closer but I try not to rush or panic.

I keep my eyes open and try to spot things that really match the person rather than buying a random present or worse still something I like rather than thinking what they would like. A huge difference there!


Well of course one of the people I love buying for is young William. He had his first riding lesson the other day on a horse called Prince. Actually I think he looks like a little Prince too.

 

 

 

And this morning at our local market I was delighted when I saw these. Perfect for a budding cowboy. They will be tucked away ready for his stocking on Christmas morning. Could be " Yee Haa " all day !

 

 

I would love it if anyone wanted to join in with this ideas of 5 useful tips. Please blog about yours and link back here to mine. We could spread some great ideas around Blogland.

I am so glad I dipped my toes back into Blogkand. I was thinking maybe I was going to dry them off and pop my blog away. But,it's only when I resume posting that I realise how much I would miss it and you all if I were to stop.

So Thank You for making me feel like that. Communicating is so important in this world of ours and friends are even more so!