Warm wishes for the festive season

merry-christmas

Wishing all of my readers a wonderful festive season.

Aimée, my seven-month-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, will be joining in the Christmas fun this year!

Advertisements

A Very Literary Christmas – Part III

Happy

Public domain image by Pavan Trikutam

This is the final post in my “Very Literary Christmas” series, for this year at least. We began in Jane Austen’s England, exploring how Christmas was celebrated, and then we took a trip to the wild landscapes of Russia – a land of tundra, wolves, mountains and forests.

Last, but not least, we’ll drop by the March sisters in 19th century America. Little Women has to be one of the quintessential Christmas books. It opens with that well-known line, “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug“, and Christmas scenes play a large part in the novel.

Continue reading

A Very Literary Christmas – Part II

Winter Night

Public domain photo by Christine Maklouf

Winter is the perfect time for curling up with a tome of Russian literature. Well, it would be if this weather wasn’t so unseasonably warm for the time of year — barely a hint of frost, let alone snow. I don’t think we’ll be having a white Christmas!

One of my favourite pieces of Russian literature is Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. You may know it better as the famous 1965 movie, but the book far surpasses the movie. Set against the backdrop of early twentieth century Russia, Doctor Zhivago tells the story of a young doctor and poet, Yuri Zhivago, and his struggles with life, his love for two women, and politics and ideology during unstable times.

Continue reading

A Very Literary Christmas – Part I

This week marked the 240th anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth. She was born on December 16 1775, on a snowy day in the southern English county of Hampshire.

Her birthday isn’t the only Austen-related anniversary this month — JA’s novel Emma was published in December 200 years ago. As Christmas is fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to explore how Jane Austen would have celebrated the festive season.

Jane Austen lived during the Georgian era of British history, which I wrote about here during my Between the Pages series. A Georgian Christmas would have some recognizable similarities with popular Christmas traditions today, but equally there were aspects that are different to modern eyes.

Continue reading

Festive Traditions

XRF_12days

The Twelve Days of Christmas. By Xavier Romero-Frias (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons)] via Wikimedia Commons

When I was growing up, family traditions made Christmas special, and we still continue many of these traditions.

On Christmas Day, we always unwrap our gifts in the afternoon, after lunch. When I was a child, on Christmas morning I was occupied with gifts from the stockings that had been hung up the night before. These gifts were delivered by Mother Christmas, not Santa Claus. And our Christmas lunch was — and still is — vegetarian. No turkey in sight!

Continue reading

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Ring out wild bells to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Even though it’s the New Year, the twelve days of Christmas don’t finish until Twelfth Night on January 6, so I thought I’d share some Christmassy photos.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It’s the time of year for winter walks, when the morning dawns clear, bright and frosty:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

A treat after a bracing walk: lebkuchen and a cappuccino, made using the milk frother that was a Christmas gift from my mother. If you’re a coffee drinker, I recommend that you treat yourself to a milk frother. It adds a special touch to a cup of coffee and I love being able to make cappuccinos at home now!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Happy 2015 everyone!

“Brown paper packages…” — Sound of Music-inspired gift wrapping

Instead of just buying a couple of rolls of gift-wrap this year, I decided to be a little more creative and turned to The Sound of Music for inspiration.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!

I love songs from old musicals! When I was about 8 or 9, I had a singing teacher used to play the music on the piano and we sang most of The Sound of Music repertoire: My Favorite Things, The Lonely Goatherd, Do-Re-Mi

Brown paper packages tied up with ribbon (or string!) look pretty and vintage. It is also more economical than buying expensive gift-wrap and gift bags: I bought a large roll of brown parcel paper from Amazon. Any craft store should carry it, but it’s probably cheaper to get it online.

SDC13701

What you need:
Brown paper
Ribbon — I chose fabric ribbon with a Merry Christmas snowflake motif
Sticky tape
Optional:
Christmas themed rubber stamps — I used a gift stamp that labels gifts ‘To…. From….’ and a Christmas star
Gold and silver pigment ink pads

I wrapped up my gifts in brown paper, stamped them with a gift label and a star, and tied them up with ribbon. It’s a fun Christmas craft that is simple, but will makes gifts look wonderfully festive!

SDC13710

What creative things are you doing for Christmas this year? Do share!

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Day. Or, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Christmas snow globe

Public domain image sourced from Christmas Decorations by Jiří Hodaň

I know that my blog posts have been few and far between during the past couple months but I am planning many more for 2012!