Sprinting for the Christmas finish!

Somehow that fast forward button has been pressed again and the year has accelerated, propelling us all towards the great Christmas finishing line… That’s what it feels like sometimes, particularly if you have projects or presents to finish in time for the big day.

In the last few weeks I’ve been making a sparkly Christmas project – maybe as a gift – but primarily for a blog post on the Love Crochet blog. I’d been asked about this at quite short notice so making two bags and finishing the pattern took determined effort. They turned out well I think, although they are difficult to photograph and look a lot better in real life!

Sparkly evening crochet bag

Sparkly crochet evening bags

The bag is featured on the Love Crochet blog for the next month and in that time I’ll be putting together a downloadable pattern for my blog – so look out for that in mid January…

For now though, I’m now in full ‘getting ready for Christmas’ mode, which means trying to get a lot of projects finished, and jobs done ready for December 19th, when my grown up student children come home for a lovely family Christmas.

Mmmmmm – time off at Christmas?

I don’t think I’ve been able to use the word holidays to describe this time of year since my days before motherhood! When my children were small, I remember the last couple of weeks of term being full of lots of hard-work-not-always-fun activity. School plays, taking them to parties, making dressing up costumes needed at short notice, secret present buying when they were at school (internet shopping wasn’t really big then), juggling work with deadlines (we definitely need to get this finished by Christmas!), shopping, planning and everything. By the time it was actually Christmas it was a relief that we had survived in one piece.

The day itself and the school holidays were always enjoyable if hectic. Now the entire festive period is a lot calmer for all sorts of reasons. First, my children are in their early 20s, so while the cost of their individual presents has increased, the number and, often, the size of the gift has reduced. The presents can also be bought online. Even I enjoy Christmas shopping when I can sit on the sofa with my laptop sipping a glass of wine with a clutch of wish lists!

Some things haven’t changed. I still have a completely insane and stupid urge to clean the house before putting up the Christmas decorations.  Its like a ‘getting ready for Christmas’ fever descends and everything has to be perfect. Which, of course is impossible. This year my (very small) spate of reorganising did uncover something I’d thought I had lost. My original embroidery scissors, complete with the cross stitch scissor keeper that I made when I was in my early 20s. This was my first ever cross stitch project…

Finding my original embroidery scissors

I also have grand intentions of making some of the presents I give, even making my own cards. I picture myself in the evenings finishing off crochet bags, scarves, even blankets before wrapping them in beautiful packaging, topped with an impressive hand made paper creation.

A reality check

I know some people manage it and I am in awe. I admit that, for me, its a total fantasy. In reality, I get busy with work and have so many projects on the go that I sometimes sit in my kitchen with a coffee unable to decide what to tackle first. About this time in December I hit reality check day. At least half of the plans are abandoned in favour of something a bit more achievable.

The two weeks before the winter solstice are particularly dark and gloomy so I also try to get out for a quick walk if the day brightens up. It helps keep a bit of perspective and the last two afternoons have been perfect – bright and sunny and not that cold. The canal near to where I live was looking its December best today.

December walk Aire and Calder canal

The combination of the crisp blue sky, the golden light from the low late afternoon sun and the autumn colours on the trees was magical.

December walk Aire and Calder canal

December walk Aire and Calder canal

For the last part of my walk I was joined by a robin with a bright red breast. He was a bit camera shy but he is just peeping out of the twigs right in the centre of the picture below.

December walk Aire and Calder canal with the robin

I’m now well into reality mode. The grand house clean plan has been scaled down, I’ve got the Christmas decorations down from the loft and have put aside Sunday morning to skip about with baubles, online shopping is planned in and I’ve been planning the menus for the couple of weeks when everyone is home.

This year I feel particularly smug as I’ve already booked my Tesco delivery slot for two days before Christmas, so no rugby scrum visit to the supermarket to dread.

Getting some WIPs finished

When there is a lot going on its nice to have some relaxing crochet on the go. This year I had some quite stressful crochet with the glitzy bag project so I was glad to have my Attic24 CAL blankets in progress. I haven’t got on with them as fast as I’d hoped but my granny stripe is almost finished, then its border time.

5 December granny stripe

After a couple more hours work I’m aiming to have a very relaxing evening with a quick and easy meal of bacon, potato and cheese frittata (practicing a recipe!). Then I’m settling down to an audiobook and the granny stripe.

I love audiobooks and its lovely to sit and listen and hook away without needing to look up at the TV. Even though I now have dozens of channels, with all the +1, +2 and back to back repeats (George and Mildred? Seriously?) I often find TV very frustrating. Thank goodness for NowTV and Netflix…

Anyway, I’m currently well into Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley. A good old yarn while I play with yarn. What could be more perfect 🙂