Winter Wonderland

We’re getting very close to December now and in the northern hemisphere winter is in full swing. I live in Cornwall which is as south west as you can get in England. We don’t often get snow down here but it does happen sometimes.

One thing we can guarantee in Cornwall is that we get a lot of weather! Yesterday we had high winds, hailstorms, rain and bright sunshine all in daylight hours. You have to be prepared for all kinds of weather here. One way to deal with this is to be at one with nature; snuggle up when it’s cold and never forget your umbrella when you’re wandering about in our beautiful countryside!

During the days and evenings when you really can’t face the unpredictable weather, it’s time to semi-hibernate and enjoy your indoor space. With festivities looming, this isn’t such a bad strategy. Over the past couple of years, the world has been in a state of fear and confusion, mostly brought about by politicians, billionaires and main stream media, but we won’t go there!

Instead, let’s get personal and make the most of the winter ahead. Here are some quick ideas that will help keep you sane and healthy during the coldest months of the year.

FESTIVITIES

Rather than rushing around off or online trying to buy hundreds of gifts, cards, decorations, food and drinks, put on your creative hat and think outside the box. Hide your credit card for a moment and consider personalizing your Christmas this year by making gifts, cards and decorations yourself or with the kids.

If you don’t consider yourself to be creative enough, it’s probably because you’re comparing your abilities to machine-made products. Put perfection aside and invest a little love into your creations. That love will shine through and delight your family and friends.

Do you enjoy general crafting activities even though you haven’t made a card since schooldays? Give it a go! With a personal message inside, a card can be very simple and unique. Tip: Look online at handmade cards for some inspiration.

If you haven’t time to make them, you could always buy from a small business rather than a huge corporation. Just a thought!

I love these hand-made cards at Home of the Mall.

Can you knit? Crochet? Sew? or Carve wood? Then, the sky’s the limit! Last year I crocheted 12 little robin bags, filled them with chocolate eggs and popped them in a decorated egg box. My daughter and her family were delighted with their family gift and hopefully the robins will decorate their tree for years to come. I forgot to take a photo last year but I’ll try and remember this Christmas. 🙂

Many years ago, we lived ‘off-the-land’ in rural France and money was tight most of the time. One year as my young daughter’s birthday was coming up, I had to think fast and ended up knitting a doll and clothes from some random oddments of yarn I had. The resulting ‘Ekokid’ went on to become a popular and entertaining toy.

**As a side note, since those days, I must have made 30 or 40 dolls but even more excitingly, I’ve revised and perfected the patterns and recently collected them into a popular pattern book. (Ekoknits at Etsy)- so you never know what will happen if you don your creative hat from time to time!

As well as gifts, cards and decorations, food and drink tend to have a big role in family festivities. I am always surprised to see shopping trollies/carts overflowing with ‘treats’. Although I get the attraction of delicious temptations, (believe me – I DO get it!) making a conscious effort to reduce large quantities of sugar, food additives and of course plastic packaging from your shopping list will give you a positive glow of satisfaction and ultimately a healthier family. 🙂

Of course, the Christmas period only covers a week of the winter months but, drawing on the above ideas, the longer evenings could be a creative and fun time for you and your family.

Do you tend to make new year resolutions? ouch 🙂 or perhaps you like to make goals for the coming year? If so, include some extracurricular activities and plan to create home-made items to give on birthdays or even next Christmas. A project you can turn your hand to from time to time will give you a burst of positive energy and could even save or make you some extra cash.

I started making this blanket/throw about 5 or 6 weeks ago, in the evenings and at odd moments. I haven’t finished the edging yet but it’s nearly done. And apart from feeling ridiculously pleased with myself, I managed to make it with yarn I already had and a few charity shop buys. Probably spent about a fiver overall!

**Another quick side note: A couple of years ago, I made a decorative throw using simple knitting patterns and, again very little money! And the whole pattern is now in my Etsy shop (Heirloom Throw at Etsy). A simple idea can turn into a beautiful gift or family heirloom before you know it. 🙂

Oh, and before I go, during those longer evenings, give the TV a rest and get into some traditional family games. Last week, at my daughter’s house, after enjoying a Sunday roast together, we played a very silly game of consequences and were all laughing like crazy people for a couple of hours. (Ages ranged from 10 – 65!) How to play:

Each player will need a piece of paper and a pencil. Cut A4 pages in half lengthwise and give one piece to each player.

The first step is to write a boy’s name at the top of the page, fold over the paper to hide what you’ve written. Underneath the fold, write ‘met’ then pass on to the next player.

The second step is a girl’s name, fold over the paper to hide what you’ve written and underneath the fold, write ‘he said’ then pass it on.

Next, write what you think he may have said to her, fold over the paper and underneath the fold, write ‘she said’

Write what she may have said to him, fold over the paper and underneath the fold, write ‘so they’

The write what you think happened, fold over to hide what they did and pass your paper along. Then each player unfolds their paper and reads out the story.

Remember to pass the paper on and keep what you’ve written hidden each time a new step is required. Let your imagination go crazy!

Our cave dwelling ancestors would have spent much of the wintertime inside keeping as warm as possible and using the time to make new clothes or cooking utensils. We don’t have to hunt animals and make tools from their bones (shudder) any more but we can still use our time creatively on practical or even frivolous projects!

Keep warm

Linda x

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