Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas Weekend

What a lovely weekend we have both had! Lots of good food, drink, time off from work and great company from our friends. We really have had a wonderful Christmas!

I'm back to work this evening and am looking forward to playing the show. I feel like my body needs to get moving! I can't over indulge forever :-)
I've been spoiled far too much, I have really over done the chocolates that my Mum sent over for me!

Instead of going back to our families, Dennis and I spent Christmas together in Hamburg. We decided to stay here as I had work on the 26th. We didn't want to spend all of our free time at the airport or on a train so took it nice and easy this year.
It would have been lovely to go back to my family, and have one of my families traditional Christmas'. Or to go visit with Dennis' family in Holland, maybe we can do that next year?!

December 23rd
We spent the day getting the apartment prepared for Christmas Dinner the following day. Making the apartment nice and tidy, stocking up on food and making final Christmassy touches.
Once all of the chores were done we headed into the city for gluhwein with our friends. This was the first time this year that I really had a good look around at the Christmas markets. It was nice to know that I had finished work for a few days and could really enjoy and take in all of the festivities.

Everywhere looked so beautiful and festive. The markets look so traditional and you can not help be caught up with the spirit of Christmas once you catch a glimpse of Christmassy hamburg!


The markets here in Hamburg have many different types of stalls. They sell many gifts from puppets and wooden toys, to homemade jewellery and Christmas decorations.


Gorgeous handmade Nutcrackers.

 

Hundreds of handmade Christmas ornaments.

I love to look around at all of gorgeous gifts but I have to confess that my favourite thing about going to the market is getting to sample many different types of delicious food.
The food is all very rustic and ranges from barbequed meats and sausages to melted cheese scraped piping hot onto crusty bread. Mmmm! So yummy! If you close your eyes whilst standing in the city you can smell that it is Christmas:


Sweet Ginger Bread.


Yummy grilled sausages and fresh crusty bread.

Of course there is also the gluhwein! You can not go to the markets with out having a steaming hot mug of this Christmas treat. I love it! Not only does it tastes yummy, it warms my hands in the cold winter evenings. It also makes me a tad tipsy!


Steaming hot gluhwein, Delicious!

A couple of mugs of gluhwein along with the company of Dennis and our good friends made for a fun and festive evening. The perfect start to our Christmas weekend.

Christmas Eve.
I got a little carried away with the gluhwein last night and the evening ended with a stint in a karaoke bar! Once I start with karaoke You can not get me off of that stage! I was a bit of a microphone hog and by the end of the night was a complete 'Hot Mess!'

I woke up a little worse for wear but managed to shake it off after a nice big coffee, which was good as we had lots to get on with!
Our friends were coming over in the afternoon for Christmas dinner and Dennis and I had the apartment to prepare and lots of food to be cooked. Working like a dynamic duo Dennis and I got the place looking spic and span and food prepared all before our friends arrived.


Our Christmas table.

We had a perfect feast. I made the food that was traditional to my Christmas with my family back in England. A nice roast dinner, lots of vegetables, meat and potatoes.
We started the meal off with roasted mushrooms cooked with onion marmalade and grilled goats cheese. I was really proud of this as it was 'truly scrumptious'.


We followed the mushrooms with a main course of roasted chicken, sausages wrapped in bacon, lots of vegetables, roast potatoes and lashings of gravy.


For desert we had a favourite of mine, Mon Chou Cake. Dennis always makes the Mon Chou cake, it is so delicious with its biscuit base, cream centre and topping of nice sweet cherries. We also had a tasty "cookie cake" that our friend Terry had made for us. DELICIOUS!


We washed the meal down with Champagne and Cosmopolitans. Terry was our cocktail maker for the evening. The cosmos definitely added a little flare to our dinner!


After dinner we all sat around and opened gifts that we had all bought for each other.
Dennis and I had a gorgeous milk jug, a very cool class pen from the Christmas market and a lovely handmade candle bought for us.


We gave homemade gifts to each of our friends. I made a big white blanket for our good friends Terry and Stefan. I forgot to take a completed picture of it, so here is one half way through making.


Dennis made a delightful crocheted pig for our friend Joe. Joe had been asking for a crocheted pig for many months and was very happy with his gift! We also forgot to take a finished picture of the cute little pig, This is picture is from the pattern and can be found at deliciouscrochet.com.


We all really had a lovely evening! A perfect Christmas Eve sat by the tree talking, laughing, eating good food and enjoying delicious drinks! An evening of indulgence!

Christmas Day.
We slept like babies after our big feast and woke up the next morning to open the gifts that Dennis and I had bought for each other.
Dennis Really spoiled me this year and bought me a gift voucher for the craft store. A new computer game, which I really wanted! A jumper with a very cute message on the front. Adele's concert DVD, And a gorgeous assortment of yummy coloured yarn!!!



No doubt I will be sharing with you very soon my ideas on what I am going to make with this gorgeous array of coloured  yarn! Can't wait to start something!

I bought Dennis a couple of books. One of them being Cute and Easy Crochet by Nicki Trent. We haven't had a moment to  give any of the patterns a try. But from flicking through the pages and looking at the gorgeous pictures, I am sure we will have alot of fun making some of the lovely projects.

I also bought Dennis some skeins of 'Andes' by Debbie Bliss. Its lovely and soft. I am looking forward to seeing what stunning creation Dennis comes up with.


Dennis' final present was a  big surprise and I was so excited to give it to him. I love to see his face when he opens presents, his reaction is priceless. 
I bought him a new camera. He really wanted this camera but was not expecting to get it for Christmas. So it was nice to treat him and give him a Christmas Day surprise.

Dennis has a  real passion for taking photographs and Im sure you will be seeing some of his work throughout the blog very soon.


Christmas day was very lazy for us. We didn't cook a big meal as we had eaten a feast the night before. Instead we ate some of the left overs from the Christmas Eve meal along with mince pies and other Christmas treats. 
It was a lovely relaxing day of playing with our new presents. Me on my computer game and Dennis fiddling with his new gadget.

I hope that you all have had a lovely Christmas and continue to enjoy the festivities into the New Year?! 
I can't believe this year is coming to an end, Its flown by! There's still time to enjoy the Christmas tree for a few more days! I'll be sad when we have take it down! 


If we do not get chance to speak before the New Year. Dennis and I wish each and every one of you a happy and Healthy New Year!!! Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

Dennis xxx

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas to everyone!

A very Merry Christmas to all of our readers!

Lots of Love
Dennis xxx

Friday, 16 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

I'm officially in the Christmas mood!!! The tree is up and the apartment is gradually becoming more and more festive!
We went and bought our tree on Tuesday and came home to find that it was a tad too big!! Nothing that a light pruning couldn't sort out! After a little snipping and sawing it fits nicely in the corner of the living room.

I love to decorate the Christmas tree, and its been one of my favourite things for as long as I can remember. I used to love it as a child when Mum would ask Dad to go up into the attic to get the box of Christmas decorations. I always knew that when I saw Dad fetch the ladder from the garage the festivities were about to begin.
Mum was always in charge of the Christmas decorations but she would always need help from her little elves (my brother and I). Once the tree would be finished I used to love to lie underneath it and look up through the branches at all of the magical fairy lights.

Dennis and I put the tree up together. Once it was finished I had to have my little moment of laying under the tree and was once again mesmerized by the lights.

We decorated our tree with bright white lights and deep red ball balls. Then added a little bit of crocheted Christmas flair!


Sparkly wooden stars.


Gold glittery pine cones.


A little white crochet star sits perfectly on top.


We also had a little ornament bought for the two of us by some good friends, who will be spending Christmas day with us. Its the most gorgeous shiny rocking horse, that sparkles in the light.


I went out and bought some Christmas crackers for Christmas day.  These are really common back home in England, but not so common here in Hamburg. I managed to find them in an English store in the city, a little over priced but they are very pretty. Here they are next some gorgeous holly Dennis made this week. (The holly pattern is by Lucy at Attic24, isn't it cute!)


Our snow man gift bag from last Christmas hangs on the door smiling across the room.


Dennis' crocheted trees are out once again. He made these last year. I love them so much, they look great clustered together on our table.





The Christmas cards have started to arrive from my family in England and Dennis' in Holland


Crocheted stars and Christmas trees are hanging from the drawers.


Dennis had also been busy making lots of stunning snowflakes to hang around the apartment.









As you can see things are fully underway here in our apartment. The next week is sure to be busy as we sort gifts out for each of our families, prepare for Christmas dinner and fit in the occasional Gluhwein :-) We both hope that all of your preparations are going smoothly!


and Dennis xxx

Friday, 9 December 2011

Good Old Fashioned Bunting Tutorial


Welcome to our 'Good Old Fashioned' Bunting tutorial!
We came up with this pattern together as we like nothing more then to have a nice bit of bunting jazzing up our apartment ;-)
We hope you find our tutorial easy to follow, but if you do have any questions, feel free to contact us in the comment box below.

Materials:

Yarn: We've used 5 colors of Rico Baby Cotton Soft DK (obviously you can use any yarn you want, bulky for big bunting, and dk for smaller)

Hook: We've used a 4mm hook. We advise you to use a smaller hook to make your bunting hold it's shape a little better.

Darning Needle: For all of those pesky ends.

Starch and blocking pins (optional)

Round 1

Chain 13, dc in 4th chain from hook. (We've popped a needle through the 4th chain to show you where to make your first dc)


dc in the next 8 ch. You should end up with one ch left.


In the last ch, make (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc)
In the picture below we have just completed 3dc and ch 2. We still have 3 dc to go in the same stitch.


You will notice that your work has started to turn the corner. This is good as we are going to be working down the other side of the chains.


dc in each of the remaining 9 bottom loops. The picture below shows you where to put your hook.


At the end of the first round, your work should look something like this.



Round 2

ch 3 (counts as 1 dc) Turn your work.



dc in the next 9 stitches.


3 dc in the next stitch


dc in the next two stitches.


If it's all gone according to plan, we should have reached the ch 2 loop from the previous round.
In the ch 2 loop, make (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc)


dc in the next 2 stitches.
3 dc in the next stitch.
dc in the remaining 10 stitches.

That wasn't so bad now, was it? Hopefully it looks like this.



Round 3

ch 3 (counts as 1 dc) Turn.
dc in the next 10 stitches.
3 dc in the next stitch. (This should be the middle stitch of the 3 dc of the previous round.)


dc in the next 5 stitches.
In the ch 2 space from the previous round, make (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc).
dc in the next 5 stitches.
3 dc in the next stitch.
dc in the remaining 11 stitches.

Round three complete!! How's it looking?


Round 4

There are not so many pictures in this round as it works basically the same as round 3.

ch 3 (counts as 1 dc) Turn.
dc in the next 11 stitches.
3 dc in the next stitch.
dc in the next 8 stitches.
In the ch 2 space from the previous round, make (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc).
dc in the next 8 stitches.
3 dc in the next stitch.
dc in the remaining 12 stitches.
Faten off. (Don't fasten off if you want to keep the edging the same colour.)



Round 5

For this round we chose to change colour, as we think it makes the edging pop! However, feel free to keep going in the same colour.

Join a new colour of yarn. We did this by making a simple knot.



To start working with the new color, pull your yarn through the last stitch of the previous round.
ch 1 (does not count as a sc)


sc in the same stitch. (We chose to work our sc's on top of the loose ends so we don't have to sew them in later)


sc in the next 12 stitches
(After these 12 stitches you can cut off the loose ends. They should be nice and secure by now)


3 sc in the next stitch.
sc in the next 11 stitches.
In the chain 2 space make (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc).


sc in the next 11 stitches.
3 sc in the next stitch.
sc in remaining 13 stitches.


Fasten off. Even though we'll be working with the same color in the next round, the edging pattern calls for working in the same direction as the previous round. No turning of the work this time. 

Round 6

We are using the same colour yarn as in the previous round.
Begin by pulling your yarn through the very first ch we made in the previous round. (You can see it clearly in the picture. Where we have put our needle is where you will join the yarn).


In this round we are always working out of the back loops of the stitches from the previous round.
(You can see the back loops in the picture below, as indicated by our needle).


Slip stitch in the next 2 stitches (remember working out of back loops only).


*In the next stitch make (1 sc, ch 2, 1 sc).  sl st in the next 3 stitches* repeat between ** 5 times


You should have 3 stitches remaining before the ch 2 space of the previous round.
In the next stitch (sc, ch 2, sc). sl st in the next 2 stitches.


In the ch2 space of previous round (which may be a little tricky to spot). Make 1 sc, ch3.


Now we are going to make a sl st at the base of the chain 3 we just made. It might be a bit tricky to find, but take a look at our picture. The needle indicates where to put your hook. You've just made a picot, how fancy!
Make 1 sc in the same ch 2 space (in this space you should have made: 1 sc, 1 picot, 1 sc).


sl st in next 2 stitches.
*In the next stitch make (1 sc, ch 2, 1 sc).  sl st in the next 3 stitches* repeat between ** 5 more times.

In next stitch (1 sc, ch 2, 1 sc)
sl st in remaining 2 stitches.
Fasten off.
Tie the two loose ends together.



Sew in all loose ends.


Finishing off and Joining

Once we had made our desired amount of bunting we decided to block the pieces and spray them with a light water and starch solution. This will help them to hold their shape a little better.


This is really up to the individual. I guess you just have to get a feel for how floppy your bunting pieces are and also the look you are going for. I personally love the look of the bunting when it is not 100% flat, it almost adds a little personality to it.

There are many ways you could join these little beauties. Feel free to experiment and get creative with them.
We chose to join ours like this:

Ch 30

Sl st into first ch to form a loop. (We made the loop for convenience when hanging).


Ch 10
Now we are going to dc into the bunting. Hold the ch tight and yarn over hook (like in the picture).


Place your hook under the dc of round 4, like in the picture.


Now make your dc. Make 2 more dc in the same space.


Now make 3 dc going under the dc from round 2, like in the picture.


3 dc in the very middle of your bunting. We chose the middle ch.

Mirror what you have done on the other side. You will end up with five 3dc clusters along the top of your bunting.


Ch 10 (can be less or more depending on how far away you want your buntings to be spaced from each other)
Repeat the five dc clusters in each of your remaining buntings.
Once you have attached your last piece, Ch 40 and sl st in the 30th chain from hook to form a loop.
Sew in any loose ends.


You have just made yourself your very own 'Good Old Fashioned' Bunting! Now go hang it up and admire! (Maybe with a 'good old fashioned' cup o' tea and some cookies).

Go ahead and experiment with different colors, make yourself a Christmas version, an "It's a Boy" version, or whatever tickles your fancy! Have fun!


and Dennis xxx