Tuesday, 27 November 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

I was coming in this morning to work and I noticed that all the shops on the way have been decorated nicely for the season. I couldn't help getting excited and some where from the corner of my mind a soft melody lurked ....It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas E'wery where..... I was sitting on the tram and just couldn't stop myself humming very quietly until I got in. I will be off soon and will be laying in watching lovely Christmas movies. Oh and of course the best thing to do will be baking endless trays of cookies and sewing lovely pressies for friends and family.Just cannot wait only 11 days to go....... hmmmmmm.Until then here is a small bit of lovely red decorations from nastrierocchetticountry.blogspot.it:

новогодние тильды

новогодние идеи

своими руками

новогодние игрушки своими руками

красная птичка

снеговик своими руками

новогодняя композиция

новогодние идеи своими руками

своими руками

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Clay Christmas Decorations

I love white especially at winter. Reminds me of the endless fields of white snow where we used to play in the winter time when we small. I love to use this color to decorate at Christmas too especially mixed with red. Blunt and simple.
I have seen a lot of variety of the clay decorations for Christmas. I have tried making them of clay I bought at hobby shop but it was not the best I have to say. I have found a lovely recipe for the clay which I tried and worked perfectly for me.
It is fairly simple and does not require a lot of preparing.

 {Inspiration from Google pictures}

Clay Christmas Decorations

1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup water

Making Clay
In a medium sized pan combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and water. Put it on the hob and stir the mixture over medium-low heat. After a couple of minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken when it has a smooth texture remove from heat. Spoon the dough into a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth until it's cool. When it's cool, knead it on a smooth surface, adding a little more cornstarch if it feels sticky.

Rolling, cutting, and baking

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out clay to 1/4 inch thick on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Transfer shapes to baking sheet. Poke a hole in the center top of each decoration. Place them in the oven at 175 degrees for about an hour, turning them over halfway through cooking.

Decorate them and thread a piece of ribbon, twine or yarn through the holes.You can also use rubber stamps to add a bit of color. Best used on trees but I love to put it inside cards that I send out or hand over to friends.it is also perfect on presents, like boxes or vine.This year I will be using it as an advent calendar stocking stuffer.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Advent Cross Stitch Projects

I was going through some of my old magazines and found these beautiful projects.I usually not that drawn to cross stitching as it takes quite a lot of time for the  images to form but these are really neat and so easy to make. You will fly through and not realize that you are stitching.
 I have photographed two projects from the magazine for you one is a fabric framed NOEL bunting which is made by using heavy paper and fabric. The other one is actually not one but two small  Christmas themed illustrations to use with cards or ornaments. All color codes are supplied below. Happy stitching!

 Noel Bunting

A hint: Do the letters first with generous spacing and make the frame accordingly to fit the size.

 Ornaments and Cards

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Ballerina Stockings from Tildas Vintereventyr

 Oh I think I forgot to mention that I have received the book some weeks back I was writing about before. There are just unbelievably lovely projects in it as always. I saw some samples on the web and thought I have my favorite project already but as I was going through the book I came across these lovely ballerinas. I knew exactly that this is what will be my favorite in this season.  It reminds me of the Nutcracker /ballet/  which I love and can never get tired of watching it at Christmas time. I got it on a tape with an illustrated story book for my 6th birthday and couldn't get bored of it since. As usual I was doing some digging and came across an unusual story regarding the origins of the Nutcracker.

The Legend

What today appears as a fairy tale of a young girl's magical dream began as a morbid story filled with dark undertones. E.T.A Hoffman, the author of "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," never intended the story to be for children, as his words portrayed a bleak view of humanity and relationships.
Published in 1816, Hoffman's tale would undergo revision by Alexander Dumas, eliminating much of the bitterness to adapt the tale as a children's story. The new version was read with interest by Marius Petipa, the senior ballet master of the Russian Imperial Ballet, who asked Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to compose a score for a full-length "Nutcracker" production.
The story would later be simplified, but with the music left intact, and was created as a holiday tale that has lasted for generations.
Hoffman's plot centers around a young German girl named Marie who lived in a loveless house. The only warmth in Marie's life is a strange love she holds for her Nutcracker doll, a gift from her Godfather Drosselmeyer at the family Christmas party.
At night after the party is over, hundreds of mice appear from cracks in the room, led by the vicious Mouse King with seven heads. He blackmails Marie into giving him all of her marzipan dolls by threatening to dismember her prized Nutcracker doll.
The Nutcracker eventually comes to life and attempts to fight off the Mouse King, but is easily beaten. Marie retaliates by throwing her slipper at the Mouse King and fainting immediately after. There was no outcome to the battle in this portion of Hoffman's tale.
The next time the reader sees Marie, she is lying in a pool of blood surrounded by her family and a doctor. She apparently has cut her arm on the glass of a toy cabinet that fell on her and she has nearly bled to death.
Instead of comfort, her family scolds her and sentences her to her room until she will admit that she is a naughty child. While Marie is recovering, Drosselmeyer comes to visit and ends up telling her another story about the Mouse King and the Nutcracker. Here Hoffman tells a story within a story:
The feud of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King is legendary according to Drosselmeyer. In the beginning, a beautiful princess Pirlipat is cursed to become forever ugly by the Mouse King's mother who is avenging the death of several of her sons at the hands of the princess' father.
The only way to stop the curse is for a brave and handsome man to find the hardest nut in the world, crack it with his teeth, and deliver the kernel to the princess to eat. To sweeten the hunt, the king has promised his daughter's hand in marriage and a grand money award to anyone who can break the curse.
At the final moment when the curse is to take effect, Drosselmeyer's nephew appears with the prized nut and offers her the kernel. The moment she swallows the nut, she turns into a breathtakingly beautiful woman.
At the same time, young Drosselmeyer becomes repulsively ugly with elongated features like those of a wooden nutcracker (hence the name). No one ever bothered to tell him that he would inherit the curse in place of the princess.
Instead of a fairy tale ending, the princess is repelled by Drosselmeyer's ugliness and has her father banish him permanently from the kingdom or face execution. In the commotion, Drosselmeyer accidentally steps on the Mouse King's mother and kills her, prompting eternal vengeance on the Nutcracker.
At this point, Hoffman returns to the main story, where another battle begins. This time, the Mouse King is killed by the Nutcracker and he sweeps Marie off into another kingdom where he is a prince. At the end of their journey through this wondrous place, which also turns out to be the end of the evening, Marie is brought back to her bedroom.
The story closes on a bright note as Marie meets and marries Drosselmeyer's nephew, but the abrupt ending and change of good fortune appear to be added on to disguise all of the bitterness in previous portions of Hoffman's story.

Interesting and very different to what we see in the ballet adaption. Mostly unbelievable that  such a sad story can turn into an all time Christmas favorite. I think the music and the dancing itself adds a lot to it. Sets the whole in a romantic and dreamy frame.
 {Ballerina stockings from  Tildas Vintereventyr}

 {Ballerina stockings from  Tildas Vintereventyr}

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Connemara: Lough Corrib, Leenane and Killary fjord

As I promised here is and other post about our tour in west of Ireland. Lough Corrib is the second largest lough in the island of Ireland and lies mostly in County Galway .The first canal Friar's Cut on the island was cut in the 12th century it allowed boats to pass from Lough Corrib to the sea at Galway. Outside the scenery and wildlife it is a place where William Wilde, father of Oscar Wilde built a summerhouse Moytura House.
Killary Harbour is a fjord located in the heart of Connemara which forms a natural border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is one of three glacial fjords that exist in Ireland. On its northern shore lies the mountain of Mweelrea. To the south rise the Maumturk Mountains and the Twelve Bens. The Twelve Bens or Twelve Pins is a mountain range. Dedicated hill climbers can hike all twelve in a single day. The twelve Bens are a group of small mountains that are the dominant feature of the Connemara countryside.
There are two settlements nearby on the southern side the hamlet of Rossroe while Leenaun lies inland to the east. Close to Rosroe there is an old building which now houses a hostel. Nearby lies the so-called Green Road, a rough road running along the side of the fjord back east towards Leenane at the head of the fjord.The landscape is really deserted as this is the area which was mostly hit by the famine. Some of the famine evicted ruins of cottages are there to set a reminder of the hard times of the potato famine.
The Great Famine in Ireland began as a natural catastrophe , but its effects were worsened by the actions and inactions of the Whig government, and lasted from 1846 to 1852.Altogether, about a million people in Ireland are reliably estimated to have died of starvation and some two million left the country in about 10 years. It killed nearly one-eighth of the entire population, was one of the most destructive of famines in modern times.
Now people live mostly off truism in this area. There are salmon farms based by the fjord and mussel rafts are a common sight too.They also harvest turf which is a kind of composted grass that can be used for hearing.
If you will be able to stop and make a short stroll on the fields be careful. it is like waling on giant wet cotton buds. Extremely slippery and wet wet wet.
This is also a place home to several fairy trees. According to a very old Irish folk superstition a fairy tree is traditionally a tree that stands alone in the middle of a cleared area, or a natural clearing. It is believed to be a pathway to the Underworld of the fairies. Those who cause harm to a fairly tree are said to be cursed, and have terrible bad luck for 7 generations. If you even touch a fairy tree you run the risk of calling attention to yourself, and that is not always a good idea when dealing with fairies. The worse you can do is to cut down a fairy tree as said it was done by the ancestors of the Kennedys. Although it is said to be only a superstition there have been documented cases of strange and somewhat frightening things happening to those who violated a Fairy Tree.