Archive for CHRISTMAS

Happy Christmas and New Year!


In my usual tradition, here is the round up of featured posts for 2011.  It’s been a pretty tubulent year personally for me and I haven’t blogged as much as I usually do – but my New Year resolution is to do so, so get ready for more eclectic mixes of art, design and quirkyness!  I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a bright New Year!

Christmas Greetings!

Posted in ART, DESIGN with tags , , , on December 22, 2010 by echostains

The first Christmas card was commissioned by Henry Cole in 1843, London.  The image  can be found on this video – see if you can spot it.  Early Christmas cards were rarely religious, the focus was fairies, flowers and the approach of Spring.  Cards could be sentimental featuring humour and children. I  have started the video with some religious paintings which can be seen nowadays on Christmas cards.  The cards I have chosen are an eclectic mix of sentimental, humourous, wintery ,nostalgic and Jolly – just like Christmas should be.  This is an early attempt at making  a YouTube video.  Expect more (hopefully better:-))

The music
Prokofiev’s Winter Fairy (from Cinderella), performed by Caela Harrison from here

The credits are many;

coolcatsblog operationletter bekati leepowelldesign clipartandcraft colourbakery  quickstep frostysclub  beliefnet faripop confarta
Lovely vintage cards here  here here  here and here also here and here

‘Christmas has the last word (the first is ‘happy’)’


deck the head with blackened tinsel

Still in the swing of Christmas Eve at the moment, wrapping presents and making chestnut stuffing, except I couldn’t get any chestnuts so I thought I would be a little innovative and use hazenuts and a few chopped pecans.  Other ingredients includes sausage meat, apple, garlic…..

here's some I didn't do earlier......

So, just finished wrapping presents and I must say there doesn’t look much to warrent all the money spent, but that’s Christmas for you.  Even managed to get the black Christmas tree up in time and I must say it doesn’t look too bad.  Just having a drink and putting my feet up in a moment.  Not going out.  Are you kidding? not in this weather.  Hope everything has defrosted by tomorrow.  All that is left to say is a HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE WHO READS THIS, and THANKS for reading my blog xxxxx

‘Forget hanging your stocking up – wear em on your feet!’

Posted in CHRISTMAS, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , on December 24, 2009 by echostains

stockings that are a bit tooooooo nice to use

Just had to venture out to do some more shopping.  After being more or less snowed in yesterday, there was a lot to do.  Lots of people are in hospital with broken limbs, due to the hazardous weather conditions.  It’s quite frightening really, walking on sheets of ice.

schuh shoes - the higher the better (once)

When we were young we never worried about such things.  We wore high heels come wind or rain.  Christmas or New Years eve, dressed up to the nines off we’d trot, (well, perhaps trot is the wrong word…) out on the town to have a good time.  One trick we used to do was put a pair of woollen socks over our shoes.  Don’t ask me why this worked, but it just did, it gave more of a grip.  Of course. as soon as you got to the venue, you whipped them off and put them in a plastic bag.   You either threw em away or put the soggy things back on to go home in.  Usually we threw em.  Somehow, we never fell over on the ice going home without these trusty socks  – I don’t know why though, probably more confidence induced by the alcohol!

early American native indian snowshoes

The native American Indians used to wear these snowshoes, made of wood, metal and yarn.  Mountaineers wear these sort of snowshoes (below) they can climb mountains in them, go anywhere there is snow without falling over.  But you don’t have to use them just for snow, you can use them for all sorts of recreational activities, like golf or just keeping fit.  What’s really interesting about these is that the length of the snowshoe depends on the weight of the person and what they will be carrying.  Don’t know how this works if you are carrying another person though.  Fancy a pair? HERE

serious snowshoes

Christmas is Coming, Ready or Not

Posted in CHRISTMAS, DESIGN, HOME, POETRY with tags , , on December 14, 2009 by echostains

the original Victorian Christmas

Christmas is very nearly here and I’ve still not contributed anything towards it.  I must like the last-minute panicking or something, or perhaps its just inertia.  When I think of some of the great exciting (to me) Christmas’s I’ve put on (like a pantomime), now it seems just a farce.  I can’t seem to get the enthusiasm for it any more.

making pomanders, they last ages too

In the past I would think of a theme, and plan for it.  One year it was Medieval Christmas.  We had spiced beef in wine, with cloves spiked in it.  I made pomanders out of oranges with cloves and ribbon, sprinkling them with orris root, wrapping them, then unwrapping in a few weeks when the oranges and the fruit had shrunk and re tieing the ribbons.  We’ve had Victorian Christmas with a massive real tree smothered with decorations.  I’ve made crazy patchwork stockings with ribbons and velvet to hang near the fire.  I’ve made tiny dough fruit and glazed it, wired cones and smothered a bower for the fireplace with trinkets, until it resembled Beecher’s Brook in the Grand National.

making pomanders, they last ages too

And now, well I suppose it will be the usual, a few lights on the bottom of the front windowsill, lights round the kitchen door, so we can do our ‘Tonight Mathew – I am going to be…..very drunk indeed).  We’ll have an open fire and burn all the wrappings.  Beyond that, I can’t really think…but I still believe in Father Christmas so anything can happen, so you never know!


Out on the Town with a Hundred Sewing Machines!

Posted in HOME, OUT AND ABOUT MANCHESTER with tags , , , on November 26, 2009 by echostains

party time at selfridges

I had to go to town today.  Raining of course.  There’s a few Christmas decorations up, but it doesn’t feel anything like Christmas.  Some nice window dsiplays though.  My favorite is always Selfridges , they always have something flamboyant!

sheer decadence at selfridges

Not great pics but you get the idea, lots of drama, silver women hanging from chandeliers – the usual, lol! 

all sewing machines at Allsaints

Another shop, called Allsaints had the most amazing window display I’ve seen in a long while.  Hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of sewing machines in the window.  At first I thought they must have got them from a factory, but only some had motors fitted onto them, plus they weren’t all Singer either, some were German.  I wonder where they got them all? and I wonder what they will do with them all afterwards?

Happy Habitat

This one is Habitat, I think.  I couldn’t resist it. looking all Christmasy and welcoming!

selfridges detail

Boxing Day – lucky for some: unlucky for wrens

Posted in CHRISTMAS with tags , , , , , , on December 26, 2008 by echostains
Tom Smith cracker

Tom Smith cracker


I never knew there were so many traditions associated with Boxing day.  From giving gifts to the lower classes of people to the stoning of wrens!   Apparently this to relates to the stoning of St Stephen (whose birthday it also is).  There are some interesting facts about Boxing Day on these sites: –

Tom Smith

All done and dusted! Up with the feet and out with the booze!

Posted in CHRISTMAS, HOME, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 24, 2008 by echostains
Deck the head with black and silver

Deck the head with black and silver

At last, all is done for Christmas day tomorrow!  Yippee! all presents wrapped and delivered (thanks Santa mate!) , all food prep underway: nothing to do but lie back and enjoy!  Cheers!