Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Music to wrap presents by

This is my first Christmas in a long time with no choir to sing with. I'm used to a big build-up of practices and carols concerts, culminating in Midnight Mass (I always skive off on Christmas morning). One of the special things about Midnight Mass at St Mary's was the fun of blasting out carols like 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' from the choir loft, together with a trio of trumpets and the organ...

I love a lot of the special music for this time of year, so I've tried to make do with listening to recordings and singing on my own. I found an absolute treasure-trove of downloadable free scores at the Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) site - they have six pages worth of Music for the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons, including traditional carols as well as choral music from the 14th century to the present.

One new discovery is Charpentier's 'Salve puerule':

And here's an old favourite, Bach's Christmas Oratorio:

And this is a lovely concert/documentary hybrid - a special Christmas episode of the BBC series Sacred Music (featuring The Sixteen), 'A Choral Christmas':

I recognised several pieces I've sung over the years, including Victoria's amazing 'O Magnum Mysterium', and the 15thC carol 'There is no Rose of such Virtue'.

Merry Christmas, folks! Enjoy your holiday. :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

'The Twelve Months of Knitting'

Want to know what a year's worth of knitting and crochet looks like? Tash of HRYC posted a photo of her 2013 finished projects in two tidy stacks, and I was curious to see what mine would look like. Folding things tidily is not my forte, so mine's more of a pile... ;)

Finished knit/crochet projects, 2013

I had to double-check with my Ravelry projects page which things were completed this year - there were more than I thought! There are a couple of items not shown, such as the tea-cosy I sent off for the Royal Melbourne Show swap, the tree-cosy for Yarn Corner's Royal Parade project, the yellow circles for their NGV display, and the handlebar-cosies on my bike. And I included my green cardie, which was begun in 2012 but finished this year.

So what's in the pile? All together now:

On the twelfth month of knitting, my needles gave to meee:
One pair of mittens,
Two cutesy cardies,
One cashmere jersey,

Four cooo-zyyy haaats!

Four fancy shawls,
Three woven hearts,
Two woollen birds,
And a pavlova tee-ea cooosyyy!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Baubles II

We're in full-on decorating mode now, with only a few sleeps before Willie's parents arrive and Christmas is go! We have crepe-paper streamers to hang from the ceiling, and woven hearts, paper planes, and assorted origami to hang on ribbons - all in a rainbow colour-scheme. :)

My latest batch of woven hearts <3

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm making some additional red and white crocheted decorations. In the end I decided on Pretty Lacy Bunting, which is indeed pretty and lacy. I made a couple of the 'flags' after brunch today, at the cafe where Julian works:

I had a chai with soy and honey. Yum!

We also bought a small 'adenanthos' tree in a pot, an Australian native that looks a bit like a pine but is non-prickly (and safe for certain members of the household who are allergic to pine). It's now swathed in rainbow fairy lights, candy canes, and tinsel. I crocheted a star for the top of the tree out of sparkly gold curling-ribbon, which worked surprisingly well! I used an old favourite star pattern called Grandma Twinkle.

My old string of crocheted stars (from Christmas 2010) is currently adorning a print of Mt Taranaki. Willie & co come from Taranaki, near the mountain. Several of the pictures in our lounge are reminders of our various 'homes' - we also have a print of Wellington, and two New York posters. I've been meaning to acquire a picture of West End Ohope or one of my other childhood haunts to complete the set.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Yup, the Christmas variety. I made some pretty red-and-white decorations to hang on the wall - I think they're very cute and traditional-looking!

The birds are knitted, using a pattern called Bluebird of Happiness, and the hearts are crocheted Danish Hearts. The birds are seamless, and fairly fast and easy if you're comfortable with short rows. The hearts took more time, but I love them! I used to make paper ones as a kid - there's a very simple tutorial here (found via tiny happy).

I think the Christmas fumes must have gone to my head, because I've ordered two big balls of red and off-white cotton yarn to make more decorations!
I'm trying to decide between these cute crochet patterns (all free):

In garden news, our sweet-peas are flowering and smelling amazing, and my baby alpine strawberry plants are getting bigger. And our cherry tomatoes have just started producing ripe ones! I planted a mixed 6-plant punnet of cherry tomatoes, so I'm not sure what varieties we have. The ones with colour on them are all yellow so far.

The first harvest:

The dwarf sunflowers are adding colour too. Yay for yellow. :)

Spot the bee buzzing off!