Thursday, 13 December 2018

A Dickens of a Christmas

I love all the traditions of Christmas and one of them is buying a holly wreath (or 2)
My daughter has these made for me by her greengrocer's shop and I love them. This one is on my front door.

 So many gorgeous natural embellishments
And on my studio door (sadly asleep for me to craft in until next year)

is this lovely one.
Nothing epitomises Christmas more for me than some festive greenery so my card today features some in the background and foreground.

This is my final Design Team make for 2018 for County View challenges.  It's my 2nd design team project for our December "Christmas" theme and I have kept to a very traditional depiction of Christmas.
I made my background with some distress crackle texture paste and Tim Holtz poinsettia stencil.
When it had dried and cracked
 I just added a tiny hint of vintage photo distress ink. You will see this in my final photos.
I used my wonderful Tim Holz Victorian Carollers bigz die to create my silhouettes and added some text stamping to them.
I also die cut some of Tim's holiday greenery, his paper snowflakes and stars using his swirling stars die using lots of snippets of card and put my design together.
Here is my finished card which is for sale down at Dotty's Teahouse, Carshalton, SM5 2AE

A few close ups for you to see the details.

and one last shot

 I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Fashionable stamping 2/3 winter
Shopping our stash 2/3 tis the season
Time out 3/3 joyful
Alphabet challenge 3/3 s is for season's greetings
The cutie pies 2/3 add a little sparkle
Shopping our stash 2/3 tis the season
Simon says stamp Wednesday Christmas
Christmas at sweet stampin 1/3 anything Christmas
A Vintage journey star light star bright

 You can enter our challenge as many times as you like and combine with any other challenges. There is also a £20 crafting voucher up for grabs to the lucky randomly selected winner. You could treat yourself over on the Country View Crafts in the new year to any crafting goodies that Santa forgets to leave you on Christmas Eve 🎅 All the details for the challenge can be found here.

Thanks so much for stopping by....time is flying by until the Big Day...just 12 days to go now....are you ready? 🎅

Back soon with another countdown to Christmas post.

Bye for now,

Jane x

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Billy and the trees 2018

Hello everyone, it's Billy, Jane's cat here which can only mean one thing...yes those trees are back!

I told you back in the summer in this post that that I would be back with my annual report and here I am.
So this is what happened this year.....there I was lying in my box fast asleep when I was rudely awoken by the door bell ringing.
I hopped out of my box and trotted downstairs
and caught sight of this outside, a delivery truck with captured Christmas trees in their netting.....
I noticed that this one had been carried inside the porch and rested himself up again the wall. "Hi there New Tree", I said and I heard a muffled reply from inside the netting. "Hello you must be Billy, it's good to be here". 
However there was another more shrill hello from the porch and I realised that a new Little Choc had also been brought inside. "Tee hee" she said, "Did I make you jump Billy?"
Now those of you who have read my posts over the years know that last year Old Choc went to the big woods in the sky...well actually the truth of the matter is that Jane put him out for recycling and he disappeared before the van came! So he is obviously living out his golden years in a field somewhere! (or someone else's garden)
So in came New Tree and Little Choc and Jane and her Hb set to decorating them.
First the lights and and then the decs.

 They were both so pleased to meet Jane's extensive collection of Christmas baubles, her newest Harrod's snowman jumped aboard first. 
He is so polite and tipped his hat to me.
I saw all my old favourites jumping onto New Tree. Of course Jane's favoruites  are from the 1960s, Mr and Mrs Moon. They don't look bad for 50 do they? 
Before long everything was done. New Tree told me he was delighted with his Christmas outfit. He is getting ready to look after all the presents when Santa arrives down the chimney. 
New Choc holds lots of Jane's vintage ornaments....and of course.....Chocolate. I think I saw her eyes glinting a little when she looked at her beloved Nan and Granddad's decs, they have a very special place in her very large Christmas heart. 
New Choc told she felt very proud to be wearing all that history.
I had a quick word with Candle Man last night ..he tells me that Holly Fairy was the inspiration for Jane's latest card
Hmmmm I'm not so sure...
and I beg to disagree.....I wonder who was the real inspiration 😼 
This is her latest card challenge card. 

I have the all the details to share...hang on, these claws are a bit slippery on the keys and I need glasses, now that I am 10, to read her instructions.

OK I've go them goes.... she says she used a stamp called the Cheshire Cat by Visible Image to make it and she coloured him with Zig watercolour pens. I must admit he's quite a bright tabby cat but he certainly looks pleased with himself doesn't he. She used another of the windows she made using acetate (what the hell is that.....I wonder if it's edible?) She also says she made an alcohol ink background on Yupo paper....hmmm that might be the tipple she is leaving out for Santa soon.
She also die cut lots of leaves and snowflakes, poor things fancy dying for your craft! I also spotted Santa and the reindeer there too.....not long now!

She likes to enter card challenges, this is the list (now my paws are getting quite tired)

Pixie's snippets playground #341
Fashionable stamping 1/3 winter
Stamping sensations 3/3 winter sparkle
Penny Black and More 3/3 traditional Christmas colours
Winter wonderland 3/3 anything goes
Alphabet challenge 2/3 s is for season's greetings
Creative artiste 1/3 anything goes
Craft Stamper take it make it 1/3 December
The cutie pies 1/3 add a little sparkle
Shopping our stash 1/3 tis the season
Time out 2/3 joyful

So it's a Christmas wrap from me and until Jane goes potty again and thinks it's Christmas some time next summer I will be resting my paws

and dreaming here....on my green chair.
Merry Christmas friends.

Jane will be back very soon,

Big purrs from,

Billy xxx

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Datchelor carols in the heart of London

Those of my regular blog readers will remember that some years ago I attended the 125th anniversary of my old school's old girls club in London. It was such a lavish occasion held at the Clothworker's Hall in London. If you missed that post this is the link
My wonderful old school sadly shut its doors forever in 1981 and every year since then there has been an annual carol service held at St. Olave's Church in London. This article is a lovely write up of my old school.  
Every year I have tried to make the service and every year something has come up or the weather has been awful (last year it snowed) but this year I was finally able to make it. I was originally going with my Mum and my BF Karen (both fellow Datchlelor old girls). Sadly both had to pull out but I was determined to go anyway so I set off on Sunday afternoon to make the journey to St.Olave's church.

This amazing medieval church is nestle between modern skyscrapers round the block from Tower Hill tube.
This road name had me giggling to myself.

How unassuming is the entrance to the church yard.....but how cool are those skulls! Charles Dickens described this as "The churchyard of St. Ghastly grim!"
I did study a bit of Latin but even my husband who has an excellent command of Latin struggled to translate this. Google came to the rescue and it means"For me to live is Christ, to die is gain". The date is 1658 when the church yard was rebuilt. Samuel Pepys walked though this gateway into the tiny churchyard, with his wife on his way to the Sunday service. It is an incredible hidden gem in London and the church is thought to date from 1056 however the original building was wooden. It was rebuilt in 1450 in stone and survived the great fire of London in 1666. 300 plague victims were buried here which is why the South entrance is below ground level. The church was severely damaged by bombing in the 2nd world war but enough survived to restore it to full glory in the 1950s. This is now a listed building. 
 Samuel Pepys and his wife are buried in the church. 
He even has a street named after him

This was the entrance I took to the church
a lovely Christmas tree greeted me in the porch

and then the glorious interior was revealed.

We sung some wonderful carols and yes us Datchelor girls do sing rather tunefully.
Sadly Moira got stuck in a traffic jam so wasn't able to lead the service but in true resourceful Datchelor spirit the organizers stepped in and lead a wonderful service.
The opening carol was one of my Datchelor favourites, "Hills of the North rejoice" and our voices lifted into the air of this medieval wonder of a church.
There were Christmas readings, prayers, Hosanna was sung by the Old girls' choir, a fun prize giving (I won a little prize for attending for the first time) and we finished the service with the rousing "O come all ye faithful".

It really was the most splendid way to spend the 2nd Sunday in advent afternoon. It brought back so many fond memories of my Christmas years at Mary Datchelor from 1972-1979. Memories of Dorcas Day (a charity day where we filled boxes for good causes), knitting squares for blankets, copying carols into our Christmas Carol books, decorating our form rooms (which usually involved lots of tinsel), having a "post box" in every form room to put our Christmas cards, singing such wonderful carols and the piece de resistance; Christmas dinner when the Boar's Head carol was sung during a procession through the dining room. Datchelor girls have very good singing voices!

After the service there was welcome tea and mince pies and lots of chat. I didn't see anyone there from my year but it was fun to exchange memories with several lovely old girls and old teachers I spoke to.

As I stepped out of the church to come home, the church yard looked even more beautiful to me in the crisp darkness.

As I made my way back to Tower Hill tube London was looking her usual stunning self.
 The Shard was lit up on the skyline.

Looking across to the Tower of London made me feel so proud to be a part of this wonderful city.
 There is just so much history here.

Even the tube entrance was warm and inviting on a crisp December evening.
So my card today just had to be one to remember such a joyful occasion.
The image is one of my old Nicecrane (sadly no longer trading) digis. I thought the joy die, carol sheet of O come all ye faithful and the deers (or harts as deer were known in medieval times and Hart Street is where St.Olave's is situated) were very appropriate. The red and green colour scheme reminds me of the trees inside the church.
This card is up for sale at Dotty's Teahouse, Carshalton High Street, SM5 2AE

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Card Mania 4/5 Christmas
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas anything goes
ABC Christmas 3/3 Y is for your favourite things mine just has to be the joy of Christmas.
Crafty Catz 2/3  anything goes
Moving along with the times 2/3 anything Christmas
Crimbo crackers 3/3 anything goes
Winter wonderland 3/3 anything goes
Alphabet challenge 1/3 s is for season's greetings
Time out 1/3 Joyful

I would like to thank the organizers for rekindling my Datchelor Christmas school memories again. I really hope to make the service again next year.

Thanks for stopping by today,

Billy my cat has managed to finish typing up his annual Christmas post which I know you all enjoy. He will be here tomorrow to share the mayhem of the annual arrival of the Christmas trees 😼

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x