Wednesday, 22 December 2010

And Christmas is almost here...

So much has happened lately I haven't even the time nor the energy to blog about it. But looking back at my blog posts for last year, I had some Christmassy blog entries and this year, I thought I should at least make some effort to record what's been happening.

Right, first of all, we have moved into a new place temporarily and it's been hectic moving all our things over. Despite the fact that it was just moving to the back of the house, the number of trips we had to make moving things out of a room over to the new place was endless. We also took this opportunity to get rid of some of the rubbish that's been sitting around for years. And it felt good !! Although we have everything we need in the bedroom and the living room (with all the Christmas decorations up) our kitchen actually looks empty and at the moment, there are two sets of cutlery, two mugs, a bowl and some dinner plates, haha. And of course, most importantly, we bought some pots and pans but that's about are some pictures taken of the new place after the snow.
 The area outside the patio door.
 The pavement outside the house.

So we managed to move almost everything eventually and we were beginning to organise everything into their proper place and starting to settle down a bit but we were also busy preparing for something else. Last Saturday, Steve and I had the opportunity to host a Christmas party at the shop for 17 of our close friends and it was bloody fantastic!! Of course Steve, being absolutely ecstatic with having that opportunity started planning his menu months beforehand and decided on a full-blown 5-course dinner with various canapes of dragon roll sushi, rare roast beef on mini yorkshire puddings, and etc. on arrival. Before the starter, guests were served an Amuse-bouche of sweet corn veloute accompanied by streaky bacon or vegetarian cornbreads (a bit like the corn muffins you get from Kenny Roger's Roasters but smaller). And then comes the starter, which was thin slices of home-cured salmon gravlax, served with asparagus tips and dressed with chives creme fraiche and leaf salad, or for those who do not like seafood, they were served home-made ravioli with roasted pine nuts and spinach. It was an absolute shame that because I was busy helping him serve up the courses, I didn't get the opportunity to take a single picture of the food. But I did manage to take a picture before the party started which I shall reveal later. And after the starters, the main course of fillet steak was served with roasted potatoes, provencal peas, red cabbage and caramelised onions in beef jus. As for the vegetarian, pan fried scallops were served instead of the fillet steak. For desserts, everyone was served an assiete of pudding which consisted of a slice of lemon tart, a slice of bread and butter pudding and a chocolate mousse (not sure if it was mousse because it was quite thick and creamy) with raspberry coulis. And the dinner didn't finish at that. Afterwards, guests were served coffee as well as home-made chocolates!! It was a really fantastic experience but of course what came at the end was loads of washing up and everybody helped to clear up as well so there wasn't much to do apart from the washing up. And I didn't really fancy the thought of having to go back there again the next day to continue with the washing up, so I whipped through all the washing up of pots and pans and glasses and plates and cutlery that night and we only had to go up to the shop the next day to do a bit of tidying up and putting the shop back to its original form. It was a great and fantastic experience and we were happy that everyone came and had a great time but quite a lot of preparations went into it. Ahh, here's the picture I took before the party started...
 As you can see, we were not short of things to drink.
This is a really nice picture taken by one of our friends. Unfortunately, she's missing from the picture.

So after that had taken place, we then started to worry about getting the last minute bits and pieces done in preparation of Christmas. For the first time in 5 years, Steve and I decided to do a Christmas stocking for each other and I happily volunteered to make ourselves two personalised Christmas stockings and I went and got all the materials from the fabric shop but I kept being delayed because my sewing room was not properly set up at the new place and all my fabric boxes and books and other paraphenelia were still lying around. So on Monday, the University was shut due to the snow and I immediately cracked on with the stocking and managed to produce something. I started doing Steve's stocking first and paid a lot of attention to details and did lots of satin stitch edging around the applique but when it came to mine, I had lost half the will and did a rather sloppy job of stitching the applique on but I am quite happy with the end results nevertheless.
Fely mentioned that Steve's stocking is larger than mine. Can you tell the difference?

Well, that's about it for now. I am quite ready for Christmas and getting more and more excited now. Not long to wait now.... 2 days before Christmas!! Yiippeeee !!

Have a really Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

And it's December...

A couple of posts ago, I was whining and whinging about the challenges and difficulties  that I was facing trying to complete a set of Roman blinds. I knew I could do it, but I just felt like whinging and whining about it... part and parcel of completing a project...

Anyway, the pair of Roman blinds were duly completed at 11pm the night before we had to go up to London to 'deliver the goods' and I was overcome with a sense of relief, mixed with pride and a tinge of smugness. Here are some pictures to show you their complete state,  before they were hung in their proper place.
The two greatest challenges when making them were 1. they were too big for the limited work/ sewing space that I had, seeing the fact that I only own a household sewing machine, and also the fact that my cutting/ measuring table was actually just a 110cm x 80cm dropleaf table, and 2. I didn't have a specific pattern/ instructions that I could follow. I had watched quite a few youtube videos of roman blind making and also read up on a few articles about it but I had to device my own pattern and it was a bit of a 'hit and miss' and I was so nervous the whole time about making mistakes, especially when I was cutting the pieces out because the fabric wasn't cheap.

But I did manage to complete them and thought they looked absolutely beautiful. They were not 100% perfect but I think for a first roman blind, it wasn't too bad. Of course after completing them, I then had another worry that they weren't going to fit the windows properly and as you can imagine I was worrying about it all night and all next morning until Steve's brother finally said, "Okay let's see if we can fit the blinds up then". Here's a picture to show you a comparison of the old curtain, and the new blind.
So overall, a happy me and a satisfied 'client'.

What I like about this whole sewing addiction is that you learn something new after each project and the level of satisfaction you get from completing a project no matter how big or small is so great! And I've been thinking to myself for the past few months -- sewing, where have you been all my life?!

On a separate subject, you would have probably read somewhere by now that the UK was hit by a sudden cold snap which brought along plenty of snow, even Bournemouth, a place which rarely snows, had such a thick layer of snow that we couldn't get to work for almost two days ! I took some pictures and here they are, as a nice way of ending this first post for the December month.
Time for bed now I think. It's been a longggg day.