Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Saturday, 10 December 2016

When is a Snowman, Not a Snowman?

When it’s a snowbear of course!

That’s not Goldilocks; it’s my late sister-in-law Gill, who died four years ago today. She was very creative as well as fun-loving. This was in the garden of their house in Gloucestershire some time in the 1990s. I believe it was taken in February, but the picture reminds me of many happy Christmases spent there with George and Gill and our extended families. We would usually all visit on Boxing Day and there would always be fun and games, including a treasure hunt.

A snowman is also not a snowman when he is a papier mache figure in a Mardi Gras carnival float in Cyprus  in 2001, or standing guard at Santa’s Place here in Lanzarote in 2012.


........when it’s a knitted tree decoration made by my mother or a soft toy snowbaby made by me (about thirty years ago).

A snowman is not a snowman when it’s the icing on the cake, (Christmas 1988 when my children were into Raymond Briggs’ eponymous book and animation, as well as singing the theme tune).....

.......or just a giant snowball without a head, or a carrot nose. No that is definitely not a snowman, although it showed great potential as far as my three year old daughter was concerned.

It’s not even a snowman when it’s cuddly and cute like my latest creation (read the story here in ’Snowman Surprise’), because real snowmen are not cuddly!!

Now that’s a snowman!! My nephew and his children just a few years ago, happily posing with their spikey-haired creation. Just over a year ago he was attacked by a mystery illness and had to undergo a liver transplant, which saved his life. He has made a remarkable recovery and will be free to make many more snowman with his family this year, thanks to the wonderful NHS Organ Donation scheme and the selflessness of one woman and her family. Our family will be forever grateful.

Now, if that has lifted your spirits, why not go and join other contributors to Sepia Saturday, where our prompt image was a snowman - or was it?

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Counting the Days to Christmas

Our prompt for this week’s Sepia Saturday is an Advent Calendar; ‘Im Lande des Christkinds’ 1903, by Richard Ernst Kepler. In those days the calendars, would simply have little doors which were opened on each day leading up to Christmas to reveal a colourful picture, or verse. This example appears to be the just the pictures, the section with the doors having long since departed; or possibly these were the unopened doors. The calendar has suffered some visible damage; also the only door, or picture with a date, is the first one, with an angel opening the calendar. This supports the idea that what we are seeing is the pictures which would have been revealed on successive days.There is so much to study, with all the charming details being very much of the German Christmas tradition. I decided to choose just a few of the pictures to seek out similar happy scenes from Christmas past in my own albums.

The first photograph is from Christmas 1982, in our RAF married quarters in Rheindahlen, Germany. The children are making the most of their painting sets. Thank goodness for the Laura Ashley oil-cloth table cover. 

From the same year, comes the picture of them excitedly opening and examining the contents of their Christmas Stockings, whilst their larger gifts are yet to be unwrapped. The little angels in the calendar are rummaging in a whole toy chest of traditional toys, including drums, balls and dolls.

The tiny angel is delighted with her doll, whilst my daughter too enjoys her Cinderella upside-down doll, made by her mummy.

Next in the calendar come four tiny angels flying around. We bought our first ‘angel chimes’ which rotated in the heat of the candles, striking a bell as they did so. They would get faster and faster and the tinkling sound more incessant. We all loved it but were glad when it stopped!

That year I had attended ceramics club, where I made and painted these two angels for my children. Yes we still have them, and they are very carefully unwrapped from their tissue and displayed each year.

My son was entranced - for a while at least.

Moving forward to 1991 and my other ‘little angel’ has reached the teenage years and enjoys cooking for Christmas, just like the one in the 1903 Advent Calendar.

Now Sepians. start counting down to Christmas, and don’t forget to to see what other contributors have made of the prompt.