Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A festive round-up

Hi hi! Happy new year!

I feel great today.  Really happy, relaxed and calm.  I do not have a hangover, for I was in bed reading at 8:30pm last night (yeah, dudes, rock n roll).  As a result, I was up bright and early this morning, pottering and faffing in my craft room.  I am now writing this whilst drinking chocolate Baileys and watching The Sound of Music.  I could not be any happier!

Matching my yarn to my dress, natch.
I was incredibly busy in the run up to Christmas and, as we were hosting Christmas lunch (for 8 adults) for the first time ever, I was getting stressed.  I usually love December.  It feels like such a slow month and I adore the building anticipation as you get closer to Christmas Day.  This year, December flew by.   Time seemed to ramp up a gear from our weekend at Cowslip and I didn't leave the fast lane.  Until Monday evening: 30th December.  I wrapped up in a red tartan wool throw then we lit the fire and watched the Downton Abbey Christmas special.  It was lovely.  I was in that snuggly state of being half asleep but awake enough to register what was happening with the Crawleys.   It was the first time that Andrew and I had properly snuggled up in front of the telly on our own over since way before Christmas; we needed the time to recharge.

I made quite a few gifts for friends and family this year, including lots of lavender hearts, tissue cases and peppermint bark.  The tissue case tutorial was found on the two brown birds blog and is, frankly, genius.

I also made a festive lap blanket for my mother in law. (snorting at the expression 'festive lap blanket' - sounds so pompous.)

I used a layer cake from Moda (a Winters Lane) and cut the pieces into 5" squares - still lots left.

Packaged up with a lavender heart, ready to wrap.
Because I was nervous about making the quilt, I left it right until the last minute and produced it almost entirely fuelled by adrenalin.  I chose a piece of red gingham for the backing fabric and, after an impromptu binding lesson in the patchwork shop by the friendly owner there, I was on my own!  I was dreading the binding but it was actually my favourite part in the end.  I was sad when it was finished and am already planning another!  I *may* need to change our dining room table so that I have something big enough on which to lay out some much larger quilts! ;)

I think Ma F liked it; she sent me this photo from her house on Boxing Day.  Phew!
What made the whole process more nerve-wracking is that my MIL is an expert machinist - she has been making shoes in Northamptonshire her whole working life; even teaching at the local college.  She can spot a wonky seam from fifty paces.  With that said, she does at least appreciate the work and effort that goes into making something and I think she liked the finished quilt.  At least, I hope she did.


Yesterday, New Year's Eve, was my birthday.  I love birthdays.  (Especially mine - ha!)

Andrew surprised me with a candle-lit birthday cake and champagne before breakfast, then we headed into London to see a West End show, as is our tradition.  This time we went to see The Lion King.  Both Andrew and I had seen it before (with our exes, not together) but we wanted one that Izzie (my 4 year old niece) could come along to, and this seemed to be the only suitable one - Matilda and Charlie were too old for her, according to the parental guidance.  My sis and her husband brought her to join Drew, mum, dad and me.  I loved it.  Loved every minute.  I adore my family and love spending time with them; time together feels even more precious as you get older and I definitely do not take it for granted.  We always have a great time going out with my mum and dad but it was nice that my sis and her  family joined us this year.

We ate steaks and mussels at Cafe Rouge, spending a good two hours chatting, laughing and being kissed by Izzie.  We sneaked in a bit of shopping beforehand at Liberty too (of course).  We were all back at our respective homes by 7:30pm and I can't tell you how much I prefer a NYE involving a bit of shopping, lunch and a matinee performance rather than dolling myself up to go out drinking in the evening.  I've never liked going out in the evenings on NYE; I think because mum and dad used to go out every NYE and leave me to be babysat by my nan.  Nan and I used to eat crisps and sweets (a real treat!) and pull the two armchairs right up to the TV to watch Morecambe & Wise together.  I still like to cosy up at home on New Year's Eve now, 27 years later.

I was given some lovely presents for my birthday including some gorgeous additions to my wardrobe from Cabbages & Roses from Andrew and some beautiful perfume with matching body lotion:

Smells beautiful and has the added benefit of calming and restoring the mind.
I was given my favourite chocolates, too.  Love Rose & Violet creams and the best I have tasted are from Charbonnel & Walker.

The Greengate quilt in the background was a birthday gift from my Grandma.  
Mum and dad gave me a beautiful sparkly Swarovski cuff bracelet, a Swarovski pen and a Lynette Anderson cushion kit - The Orange Tree.  I will crack on with that soon.

The threads above were not for my birthday - mum gave them to me for Christmas, but I'm so delighted by them that I wanted to show you!  I know my blog friends will appreciate them :)

So, a lengthy post and a bit of a Christmas/birthday round-up.  Hope I didn't bore.  Andrew's just fetching me a coffee and a mince pie so I'm going to sit and watch the rest of the Sound of Music and enjoy the last dregs of the first day of the year.

Wishing you all a very, very, happy new year.  Looking forward to spending it with you in cyberspace.




  1. Happy New Year Nicki, and a belated Happy, happy Birthday! The Lion King is fab, what a lovely way to spend your birthday and NYE ... Hope you have a wonderful year, love from your bloggy friend

    Claire xx

  2. Happy New Year Nicki. I share your sentiments about New Year's Eve and have just written a post about preferring to be at home snuggled up with a chinese take out and a movie with my sweetheart! Your lap quilt is beautiful and I love the colours. I also love your Greengate quilt from your Grandma. I love Greengate products, but I can only get them on Ebay as they are not available here in Canada. Enjoy the sound of Music. It's nice to see you back in blogland - I always enjoy your posts. Julie xx

  3. Happy New Year and belated birthday!! Just discovered your blog from following on IG and love the lap quilt and other homemade festive goodies you made!

  4. Happy belated birthday and Happy New Year - sounds like you had the perfect day.


  5. Oh Nicki, hats off to you, blog is just like having a big hug of loveliness! Your birthday sounded amazing and what a delight to enjoy with your family...that is what life is all about! We had friends over in the afternoon and let the girls trash Gabriella's room, drink smoothies and dress up, whilst we had the odd glass of pink fizz, a yummy meal that hubby took complete care off, and then all in bed by 10pm....bliss! So clearly all in very good company, also meant that we could go to friends annual curry and fizz New Years Day party, which is a lovely antidote to the rich food of Christmas! Wishing you a very happy 2014! Karen xx

  6. Slightly belated Happy Birthday! And hooray for a first day of the New Year not spent bleary-eyed!!

  7. Happy belated birthday, Nicki! It sounds like you had the most wonderful day ever! I hope 2014 brings you all you've dreamt of and lots of beautiful fabric!

  8. What a lovely Christmas/NYE and birthday you have had Nicki, loving all your gifts and the quilt is gorgeous.....see you on IG xx Sandi

  9. Happy Birthday, and Happy New Year!!! I love your "festive lap quilt" ;) and your birthday cake is amazing - are they hundreds and thousands? Sounds like you all had a lovely time x

  10. Happy New Year and Happy Birthday too, December birthdays are extra special I think as they are at a special time of year. Your lap quilt is just beautiful your recipient must have been delighted with it! xx

  11. Do you have a link to where you can buy that Moda fabric from? It's beautiful - I have just got into quilting. Thank you.

  12. Happy birthday and many thanks for sharing your treasures! I think we could be best friends if we weren't on different continents!! Love your stuff and many pleasant wishes for you!