Christmas started to happen this week, as far as I’m concerned. I went to a carol concert on Tuesday night (more on that another day) and last night hit the town for a festive meal out with friends. The same group of us went out for a meal this time last year, when England was covered in snow. That time, we left the restaurant at around 11pm to find that everything was white, and thick, fluffy snowflakes were continuing to fall. People were having snowball fights in the street. It was a difficult journey home – thankfully this year it was dry and bright.
In the interests of not always ordering from the same small range of drinks every time I go out, last night I asked the waitress for drink suggestions, and she came up with a good one: Disaronno and cranberry juice. It tastes like a cherry bakewell – but with alcohol.
I haven’t been spending all my time drinking: there has been good progress with the Christmas preparations too. The lights are up. Some of the cards are written. Things have been posted to far-flung places. All of the parcels have been wrapped (well, with the exception of a couple more that I bought this week. I find the problem with getting things ready early for Christmas is that I often end up spending more overall, because I continue to see things I think people will like, and so I keep buying).
I have even done some sewing: I made a Christmas stocking as a gift for a friend. I used some grey velvet fabric from Ikea, with red ribbon at the top. It is not very photogenic, for some reason, but in person it looks very nice and I am pleased with it (you can see it here). I’m going to fill it with hot chocolate mix, Flakes, and marshmallows. I based the shape of the stocking on this excellent free pattern from Denyse Schmidt, but rather than a quilted stocking, I just made a plain one, with a cotton lining. (As ever when I try to make things with a lining, I sat for a very long time working out which way round everything needed to be sewn, so that when turned right side out there would be no visible stitching and everything would be facing the right way. It was a huge relief to get this right first time round on this project – I have had to unpick things and redo them in the past.)
I have a couple of other projects planned: some lavender pillows, and another free paper chain pattern for you. Like the Halloween paper chains I made, it will be a free PDF that you can print out, cut up, and turn into paper chains for your house/office. I have been consulting with my creative director (hello Mother!) on what patterns and colours to use, and will be getting to work on that over the weekend.