Weather permitting, we've walked every day over the last few days. It feels like it's rained a lot and the woods are spectacularly muddy - you notice this more when you have a mostly white dog - and Ziggy even seemed to have mud on him after a beach walk yesterday. I'm not really sure how that happened.
It's been a lovely long weekend though. Old friends from Leeds, who've since moved to Australia, came to visit us and it was really was wonderful to watch the children pick up such old friendships, and for John and I to spend time with our friends too. We went for a walk, stopped off in the pub for a pint on the way back, then came home to make a huge chilli. We extended the table and all sat around eating and drinking and catching up. It was a really happy moment.
New Year's Eve was quiet. John has been unwell with laryngitis and was feeling quite out of sorts by Sunday night, so we watched tv (The Punisher on Netflix - excellent) and ate Chinese takeaway and I crocheted. It was a very sober affair. New Years Day was nice, with a slow, lazy morning at home followed by a bracing walk on the beach with all the family after lunch.
The gifts which I was supposed to crochet the children for Christmas and which never got made in time, were completed in time for New Year. I wrapped them up and presented them on New Year's Day, after breakfast. The kids were delighted and I am now convinced that New Year's gifts should become a regular thing, if only to buy a little more time at one of the busiest time of year.
I made an orangutan for Bella, who has been named Olivia. The pattern is from Edward's Menagerie and was my first time working in fur stitch, where you create lots of loops yarn in the crochet fabric as you work and then, at the end, snip them all in half to create the impression of fur. It was very tedious, the crocheting and the cutting, but I can't deny the effect is good.
Angus's duck, by comparison, was a doddle. Technically he's a mallard and the pattern is from Edward's Menagerie: Birds. Knowing how much I love these two books I was delighted to discover recently that Edward's Menagerie: Dogs will be released later in the year and...there's a pattern for a whippet! I am already very excited.
Another finished make I forgot to show you was this beautiful cowl from here, which I made for my friend Charlotte.
Everything about the weight, fit and size is perfect. It was really hard to give it away, and I have plans to make myself one in white, grey and pink.
I took the Christmas tree and decorations down today. The house feels cold and bare, becuase I haven't had time to potter around with greenery and make it all look lovely again. But I did blitz the bedrooms today, stripping beds,vacuuming and dusting, putting away presents, taking down the hundreds of Christmas cards the kids had in their rooms. That felt really good. This afternoon we went to the cinema with my parents to see Paddington 2. It was completely and utterly lovely and I came out of the cinema beaming. I'm enjoying the slower pace though, and I've ignored emails and any thoughts of work in favour of reading and jigsaws and lots of family time. I haven't given any thought to December's Cookery Calendar Challenge - we're still working through the leftovers. I will go back to reality soon though, probably starting with tomorrow's trip to IKEA.
Happy new year you lovely lot. Thanks for being here, for reading and commenting. I hope 2018 brings you much happiness.