First Sunday in Advent ~ Christmas countdown

30th November ~ 1st Advent Sunday 

It's here!  The countdown to my favourite time of year begins today!  Are you excited too or are you dreading it?  Are you a big child or a Bah Humbug?  Do you see all the wonderful things to create or are you filled with dread with endless lists?  Whichever camp you are in, Christmas usually produces some sort of emotion in all of us.  Have you figured out which camp I am in?

Come on inside and join us for a drink, red wine ok for you? 
A warm glass of Rioja is what we are having a tipple of...

White lights from tonight to welcome our friends

Come on in it's chilly outside
In Norway the dark evenings from today will be lit up and despite the dropping temperature and the lack of day light hours, Norway is bathed in beautiful lights from all the houses, in the streets, the towns and villages.  Everyone but every one has twinkling lights.  It is cheery and welcoming and helps to shorten those very long winter months.  Christmas really does arrive at the right time of year.

The Norwegians will also (typically) have a star in their windows representing the north star that guided the Kings and wise men to Bethlehem. The ones in our windows my not lead to that holy of places now, but it really does welcome one home.

The North star represented in our front window,
a cheery sight on a dark night

Not sure why it has turned out red as
both the light inside and the star are white!

Today, Sunday 30th November 2014 is the first Sunday in Advent.  In the Christian world it is the count down to the coming of the Christ and leading towards celebration.  My post this time last year explains the colour choice of candles,( last years' post ) although this year I have reverted back to four purple candles, only because I couldn't find a short stubby pink candle the same size!

Each year I have a different Advent candle display

This year I have mirror plates to reflect the light

Tomorrow when the children awake the kitchen will have been Christmas blinged as is Norwegian tradition and the Advent calendars will be up...wonder who is more excited, the children or I?

♥ Happy Advent everyone, keep popping back,
I will be posting every day! ♥

Simple and a non fussy display

Attic 24 Cosy CAL Part 4 Scandinavian style

30th November

I am sooooo excited the blanket is
growing but even more so Advent begins.  I am such a lover of Christmas. I make no apologies for it. I am excited. But onto this post and the growing blanket. It looks and feels like a blanket and my spare room is crying out for it to be finished. My MIL arrives on Wednesday and I had hoped to have had this completed but that is not now looking likely. Never mind I will have it folded on a chair in the room looking lovely instead. Are you still in love with your blanket? How are you getting on?

This week I have yet again been in awe of mother nature, we have had a mixed bag of frost and blue skies, each bringing with it a new view, thought I would share it with you before I reveal the next set of 15 colours for the blanket...

Look at the cloud formation in London this week

The same London cloud formation as the sun was setting

Early morning frost along our road
at the beginning of the last week in November

Just breath taking, a frosty morning

Of course now that we have had two fairly deep frosts in our neck of the woods the colour has disappeared in our garden, but we have just a tad of orange left...

BUT, you are wanting this weeks colours, so here they are: 

Colour order on photo is from right to left!

Cream rows 91 & 92
Stone rows 93 & 94
Silver rows 95 & 96
Cream rows 97 & 98
Parchment rows 99 & 100
White rows 101 & 102
Cream rows 103 & 104
Stone rows 105 & 106
Parchment rows 107 & 108
White rows 109 & 110
Silver rows 111 & 112
Stone rows 113 & 114
Parchment rows 115 & 116
Cream rows 117 & 118
Silver rows 119 & 120

Those of you who have been following the blankets progress know that it is for the spare room and I was after a Scandinavian feel to it, I think it still does that, but I really think it comes into it's own when out with nature, what do you think?  It matches well with the outside...

The blanket is now so cosy on my lap when crocheting and I must confess too large to cart around with me whilst out and about, but I still manage to drag it from room to room.  Where do you craft and crochet?

In bed, although I cannot do this if the other
 half is around
as he has decreed it as very 'unsexy'!!!!

Yes, that is a real cat
and no that is not a real deer?!!?

Whilst cooking dinner

Whilst the children complete their homework

  Check back later today for my first of Advent post

Last year I posted every day in December and this year will be the same.  It all began here last year... 

Advent begins 2013

First Sunday in Advent 2013

This year's advent post can be found here

Nature and crochet courses

24th November

The sky as I came out of the supermarket yesterday
Sometime just sometimes nature makes me stop in my tracks and yesterday was one of those days.  I know that the natural phenomenon of the world can produce disasters and frightening conditions but  on the other hand mother nature and the world around us is awe inspiring.  Yesterdays sunset in Oxfordshire was truly spectacular.  Are you near, did you see it?  Luckily, I had my camera and so could take a few shots but as with anything amateurish, it does not do the sunset justice, but I had to share, it made me so happy yesterday.

As I came out of the supermarket yesterday, the whole sky has the most amazing glow to it.  I was stopped in my tracks and immediately just looked all around and soaked it in.  I had actually just stopped in the entrance of the supermarket and so caused a bit of a commotion and had to move almost in a drunken state of awe.  People around me must have thought I was nuts.  Quickly I scrambled to the car to retrieve my camera worried that the sky would change before I had a chance to pull off the camera cap, but the sky stayed this amazing orange pinky purple for about half an hour.  I do abhor it when people forget to soak up the moment and rush to video or take photographs.  How many parents fail to watch their child in a performance 'live' because they are busy filming?  but after having soaked up the sky yesterday, I too wanted to 'capture' it!

Such strong contrasts

This is my road, how beautiful a journey home yesterday

The reflection in the puddle was amazing

...and finally onto some personal news.  I am moving my crochet life onto the next level and will be running a six week course on a Thursday evening starting in January.  We will be making blankets.  Already 4 of the 6 places are taken, but if you live in the Oxfordshire area, near Wallingford and would like to join in, just give me a shout at eclectichomeandlife[at}gmail[dot]com  Wish me luck in this new phase!

Letter and crochet bag with Norwegian biscuit inside,
food and crochet go hand in hand, don't you think?

  Happy Monday everyone

Attic 24 Cosy CAL Part 3 Scandinavian style

23rd November

It's beginning to look a lot like a blanket

This blanket is almost making itself. In three weeks of hooking it up with I feel very little effort I am now half way to completion. Any one making this great blanket? Do you feel the same?

Those of you who maybe interested the previous posts relating to what colours I use, where they can be purchased from and colour order to date can be found on the following links: 
and here

This weeks 15 colour order is as follows:  
This week I  began and ended with white rows

White rows 61 & 62
Cream rows 63 & 64
Silver rows 65 & 66
White rows 67 & 68
Cream rows 69 & 70
Stone rows 71 & 72
White rows 73 & 74
Silver rows 75  & 76
White rows 77 & 78
Parchment rows 79 & 80
Cream rows 81 & 82
Stone rows 83 & 84
Parchment rows 85 & 86
Silver rows 87 & 88
White rows 89 & 90

I think the blanket is coming alive and growing well.
A few pics of it in situ around the house ...

A sea of neutral

Wherever I laid the blanket the cat found it!

I love the contrast of the calming blanket
colours with the hot pink bench
I am also beavering away with Christmas decorations and gifts to make and thought you maybe interested in making incredibly quick felted slippers, just in case follow this link and enjoy! felted-slippers
Enjoy your week and I will post
the next colours next Sunday, the last Sunday of November!

Felted slippers

21st November
My mother has always knitted and crocheted for as long as I can remember as did her mother and her
Felted slippers are toasty warm
mother before that.  I crochet, a lot and I knit, a little.  It is one of the things that next year I would like to correct and even out the balance a bit.  Saying that, one thing I have knitted recently are slippers.  The pattern I use is an old one my mother swears by and goodness knows how many hundreds of these she has made over the years.  When I told mamma that I wanted to write a blog about these slippers, she set to for me and began knitting in earnest, these are her slippers and her pattern.

You will need:

100% wool, you will need just over 100g
recommended knitting needles size 5.5

These slippers can be made in a variety of sizes

age 2-4 (age 6-8)  age 10-12 (female) male      [So there are 5 sizes in this pattern] 

These slippers have to come with a warning I  am afraid! 
They are warm, toasty warm.  There will be no cold toes in your house with these felted slippers!

Cast on 48 (52) 56 (64) 68 stitches

Knit in garter stitch till the work measures 12 (12) 13 (13) 14 cm    

Cast off 8 stitches on each side of the children sizes
and cast off 10 stitches on each side of  the adult sizes
so you will have 30 (34) 38 (44) 48 stitches left
Carry on with garter stitch until the work measures 18 (21) 24 (28) 31 cm

On the next row you will need to knit 2 together till the end of the row
Then knit two rows without decreasing
Now knit another row knit 2 together until the end of the row
Again knit two rows without decreasing
Knit a further row of knit 2 together till the end of the row
Finally knit two rows without decreasing
Cut off the yarn leaving a very long tails, so you have enough to sew the slipper together
It should look like this...

Fold the slipper in half, using the long piece of yarn, sew the slipper together... it should look like this. 
The top section is kept open, enabling ease of getting slipper on and off

Now your slipper is ready for washing and felting.  I tend to wash them with my usual washing detergent, in Norway mamma uses something called gronnsape,
a product often used for washing wooden floors!
Place in the machine and wash on a high temperature, about 60 degrees.
When washed and wet, leave to dry naturally, but they may need a little shaping and pulling here and there, quite a good idea to put them on to help the shaping!

This is what the knitting should look like before final decreasing rows

Slipper sewn together and ready for felting

Lots of slippers, great as gifts, or to have ready in the house for guests

Almost a little elf's workshop going on here!

These belong to Mr H and number one son

I have a few pairs, but these girlie ones are my current favourite,
of course in December my ultimate favourite pair will be worn,
RED of course!

This pose took some photographing, I can tell you!

I dare you to make a pair, you will be hooked and everyone once they have tried a pair on will want some.  Get the wool in and start knitting!!! Let me know how you get on!  As an aside, mamma once made these as table presents for everyone on Christmas day, it went down really well.  just an idea ;)

♥ CAL blanket update will be posted on Sunday ♥
Thank you mamma for making these slippers so I could write this particular post, love you to the moon and back