Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Last Post of 2018

Well, its that gap in the year between Christmas and New Year and it seemed a good moment to squeeze in one last blog post.

My sister, BIL and kids are safely back south after a terrific Christmas - since the last update we all managed Christmas itself including a lovely dog walk at Almondvale, a whole family Nerf battle and a visit out to butterfly world. We have certainly kept ourselves busy!

The Nerf battle is probably a highlight of the week; basically my eldest sister owns her own business and there's unused office space adjacent to her which we commandeered for the games. We started using Missys agility set as an obstacle course to warm everyone into it (and to ensure I got some good action shots of everybody) before chaos reigned and the battle started. I wandered about in a pocket of blissful calm behind the toddler, taking photos and ensuring no one shot at him, feeling very much a war journalist chauffeuring precious cargo through the war zone...
One of my big sewing projects ties into the family Nerf battle and that was a set of tacti-cool Nerf vests for my sisters whole family, including a teeny tiny one for the 18 month old! I've lined the kids ones with jersey to keep them warmer (a huge mistake in terms of sewing, such an awkward fabric to work with) and they worked out great in the end. 

The vests were a real item of envy, I've already had my older sister telling me that she and her eldest boy want one, and with talk of an Easter rematch, I think I may be skipping on buying eggs this year...

That's the only real sewing update, I've spent today working through the 'adjustment pile' - basically the stack of stuff that I've been given to hem, or I've picked up knowing the size is wrong but its an easy fix or sewing failures that I need to revisit when I'm less cross with them!

Well, I shall head off now and decorate my Hogmany cakes - we are going to see the bells in with friends and play some board games whilst eating too much cake and sweets. The perfect way to bring in a new year!

So, I raise a cup my cup tea to you and Missy and I wish you all a  Happy New Year.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Almond Valley

Its the most wonderful time of the year...

My house is officially full with my sister, BIL and niece (5) and nephew (1) and we are counting down the days to Christmas. Its the first year since I was about 19 that I have had the time in between Christmas and New Year off and I'm pleased to have family round to help fill in the days!

So today we did the Almond Valley Museum, Farm and Discovery Centre - more of a small city farm meets outdoor play areas. Its great, you can show the kids some sheep then move onto the trampolines then go and see the goats before playing in the sandpit. Despite a particularity chilly start, the day warmed up and, after a visit to Santa, everyone was warmed up and enjoying the day.
Apart from the cafe, everywhere in te heritage centre is dog friendly, so whilst Missy and I missed out on the Santa visit, she was able to keep up with her cousins looking at all the animals and running about all the different activity areas. I've done Almond Valley quite a few times now, and the favourites amongst my God-kids are the sand pit and the trampolines, so it great to discover that the sledge slide and the many play parks were the top priority of my niece and nephew. 

My sister was most pleased with the special Santa entry price, as well as getting to pet all the bunnies and my BIL seemed to just enjoy the easy going nature of the place - it was that perfect level of busy where there are enough kids about that the place doesn't feel like a ghost town and yet quiet enough that they aren't fighting over getting on things...

We've also managed to fit in some festive baking and, whilst I very much took charge, I am pleased with the joint effort of the cake I made with my niece:

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I have the joy of seeing what new traditions my sisters family have taken on - there is a much talked about 'Yule Cat' who is set to be a big part of tomorrow night and I've made some stockings to hang up for my niece and nephew. I hope they are pleased with the outcome!


As a final note, Missy finally got to meet her doppelganger in Cerberus form:

Until after Christmas!

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Summerhall Gallery

Its that time of year where no matter how hard you try, things dont quite work out to plan. Yesterday was the third attempt at getting out to the Summerhall Gallery to see their joint exhibitions: Invisible Spaces and Visible Girls: revisited. This gallery has been on my radar for a while now owing to the fact its dog friendly and I was simply waiting for an exhibition to catch my eye before heading over. With hubby working retail, our previous two attempts were cancelled as he was called in at short notice and I had warned him that Missy and I would be going ourselves if he was drafted in again.

Thankfully it didn't come to that! With our last "date" day in sight until after Christmas, we quickly filled it with glorious plans - a long walk in the morning, lunch out at the gallery and then the Christmas markets in the evening after a walk through the meadows. Firstly, owing to late finishes at work, the early start never happened. Then the yellow snow warning kicked in and, despite multiple layers, we were all frozen to the bone simply walking to the gallery and had to stop in at a shop and buy a jumper for the hubby. We could see that people were being made to queue to simply get into the markets and made a note that perhaps that wasn't going to happen. 

We did get to the gallery and the exhibitions really surprised me - I had expected to enjoy the Invisible Spaces one more, but the Visible Girls by Anita Corben was absolutely brilliant. Both the hubby and I lost ourselves to the wonderful portraits and were delighted to see that these punks and mods from the 80s had been, where possible, traced again and their portraits redone. I loved seeing past and present side by side, especially getting to see where such fiery and determined young women ended up. If it tours out your way, I highly recommend, its not a big exhibition, but you will find yourself reminiscing on times when everything was just a little bit rougher about the edges.
There was a workshop about archiving going on, and about how we should tackle that in a modern age. Getting to look though old negatives and slides was quite fun, but I didn't really feel like the statement being made was really that much of an argument. We discussed with the curator about whether smart phones have made us worse photographers despite better pictures, and what would happen with archiving a digital generation and then found ourselves drawn back to those portraits from the 80s and forlornly missing the days when you had your spool and the suspense of whether the photos would turn out or not.

Missy looking at the old negatives
We enjoyed some tea and cake in the gallery cafe and then shivered our way across the meadows. Even in her little fleece lined coat Missy looked miserable at being outside and we decided to call it quits whilst we were ahead of the game. Walking to the bus, we could see that the queue into the markets had only gotten worse and that the market itself was crammed with people. Getting home, cuddling up on the sofa with tea and hot chocolate seemed a much better idea, so thats exactly what we did.

I've been doing odds and ends of sewing today, cant really post too much about it (spoilers!) so I'll share some more of the Christmas crafts I've been doing, namely a new and updated wreath as the old one was getting far too shabby:

I've also started my Christmas baking (thank goodness for chest freezers) so there are cupcakes for my niece to help decorate when she visits, and some festive tiffin made. Next its White Christmas (an Aussie delicacy) and some short bread, and perhaps I may find the time to bake some real bread too. We'll just have to wait and see! 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Getting Festive!

It has been a very busy week! I've had the in laws visiting (and going and coming back again as they have used us as a stopover on their York trip) which means that there just isn't enough time to get on with things.

The in laws finished their visit by taking us out to the Chinese lanterns at Edinburgh Zoo. We did this last year which had a traditional Chinese theme, and this year they changed things up a bit by making it a myths and legends theme, including some British legends to go alongside the Chinese ones. Seeing life size unicorns and a duelling Nessie and dragon was a brilliant way to start the weekend, despite the lashing rain and high winds (a given when booking anything in advance!) Below are a few of my favourite photos:

After waving the in laws off, Saturday was a quiet day in with a poorly Missy (someone was greedy and ate too fast and threw up before spending the rest of the day feeling sorry for herself). With a wee ear infection, we decided to keep a cautious eye on her and were pleased when she was back to herself this morning.

After writing all my Christmas cards and boxing up the gifts that need posted, I'm really beginning to feel festive. Today was another (yes, another!) visit to Santa Paws but this time raising funds for the Dogs Trust. It was very different to the Christmas Market the EDCH put on as it was more a photo shoot with a stall selling Dogs Trust bits and bobs and a table with some refreshments, but was still enjoyable as we were surrounded by dogs. Missy as always put in 110% to show up the other dogs and her reindeer antlers were much complimented upon!

On a final note, I did get some crafts done this week, namely a new towel/dressing gown for Missy. As big whovians, I couldn't resist an upcycle of a much loved and overworn dressing gown! It was a well timed project as her poorly episode yesterday was spent snuggled up under it and having cuddles. 

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sneaking in Christmas

Well, after last week bemoaning those who are eager to get their decorations up and start the yuletide celebrations, the stealth Christmas has begun. I've previously mentioned that Missy doesn't like Christmas. Or rather, it's fine everywhere else except in her own home. 
Over the years we've down graded the tree, scrapped the lights and the bulk of the tinsel and, last year, finally found a balance that involved both keeping things low key and stealth. By stealth, I mean slowly bringing in the decorations, and keeping everything discrete and not impacting or moving anything of Missys.
It worked last year and so far so good. 
Missy is in luck this year in that, with my sister coming up to visit with the wee ones, we are scaling it back more. Basically, if I'm worried it'll get broken then it's simply not going out - so it's all Christmas soft toys and up put of harms way!

She barely knows its there!
It's been one of those busy weekends where there isn't much to say. The in laws are going to York for the weekend, so used us to break the trip up - taxi-ing people about and cooking for an extra two is surprisingly time consuming!  It's been a good weekend though.

I did manage to get the time to finish my latest sewing project: an Edwardian style boating blazer, reminiscent of Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday -

Its my first real shot at tailoring, and I'm pleased that on the hubby it's a perfect fit (it simply swamps my poor dress form!) I'll get more detailed shots up on my instagram @missdaisysewing later in the week.

And now with us officially in advent, one of my earlier projects: Christmas advent calendars; one for Maisie and one for Wee Ben since we can't leave the fur babies out of all the fun!

Just a short post this week!