I’m starting work on two projects today. This is the fabric for one of them. It’s a Japanese fabric made by Kokka and it is so buttery soft. I always hate making the first cut in a piece of fabric that I have fallen in love with. So, I’m just gonna have to be brave and do it. Once that initial cut is over, I’m always alright. It really is just the sweetest fabric!
I love this little cartoon. It just makes me smile. I can’t believe this weekend signals the last weekend in January. How can this be? How can January have gone by in a puff of smoke, like a magician’s trick?
This weekend brings with it a chance to hopefully catch our breaths from a hectic week and get a few things done around the house. Mainly taking down our Christmas decorations. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone that they’re still up. I just love seeing those twinkling lights, bathing the room in a cozy glow when it’s cold outside and still gets dark early. But, it’s time. We’re ready for everything to look refreshed.
And last, but not least, this weekend also brings with it the Chinese New Year celebrations and I’m very excited! So homemade pork dumplings and Chinese one-pot steamed chicken, vegetables and jasmine rice are on the menu.
Here’s to the weekend, long may it last!
Yesterday was a very long day and the only answer to it was: CAKE! I made this pumpkin pecan spice cake for dessert from a Williams-Sonoma mix. I frosted the top with tangerine infused cream cheese and a sprinkle of tangerine zest and chopped pecans for decoration. A slice of that and a cup of tea and all was right with the world again!
The frost laid so thickly on the ground in places this morning, it looked like snow. It was still dark when I set out and the fog had the world shrouded in secret. I felt almost as if I had crossed over into another world, a fairyland. The pond has been frozen solid for over three days and on my walk yesterday, I watched a man venture out on it, laughing as he stood there while his wife took his picture.
The woods were quiet today. I only passed one other person. The fog began to lift in places and the sky gradually turned a pearlescent pinky peach. I watched a muntjac slowly come out from under the branches and make his way across the path in front of me. Only to be swallowed up again by the brush on the other side.
I saw a fox this morning. He was trotting along the footpath and we stopped to watch each other for a few moments before he ran down a side path and carried on deeper into the woods. I spied a great tawny owl sailing through the trees and majestically land on a barren branch, his body blending in perfectly with the bark.
It was a magical walk indeed and a wonderful way to start the week.
I’m in the process of cleaning up my computer files and I’ve gone through thousands upon thousands of photos. I found these from a long ago visit to a English manor house and their gardens. It was early Summer and the blossoms were in full bloom. The scent was intoxicating as you made your way down the gravel paths. The bees were buzzing too and fro. The back of their legs were covered in golden hued humps of powdery pollen from their endeavours. The birds were flittering and the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds. It was a magical day.
We were lucky enough on a cold afternoon to find a cozy spot by the window at The American Pie Co. In a warmly lit space, by the glow of candlelight, we feasted in delight. We were slowly defrosted by mugs of hot chocolate and coffee. Mr. Michie got a slice of the deep dish cinnamon bread pie, glazed in a shimmering sweet drizzle and I got the pink peppermint pie. It was decadent and chocolatey and refreshing all in one bite.
At this time of year, it is normally dark when we leave our house in the morning. It was dark this morning as Mr. Michie locked the door, we silently crossed the street to the glow of the streetlamp. As we walked along the High Street, I glanced across the road and suddenly grabbed Mr. Michie’s arm, bringing us to a halt.
There in all his glory was the most gorgeous, breathtaking, majestic fox, walking down the sidewalk. There were just a few cars driving down the road. He waited for a clear opening before he crossed over to our side and stood for a moment on the bridge. He turned and looked at us. Mr. Michie said, “Hello!”. He sat for just a split second and watched us, calmly; he wasn’t afraid. He slowly turned and padded over the bridge and around the bend.
He passed one of the train drivers coming up the hill and by the time we had made our way over the bridge, he had crossed the street and was heading for the staircase that would take him along the footpaths and back to the banks along the tracks.
It was a moving experience. Neither of us spoke, we just watched in reverence. I have a thing for foxes, I always have. To be so close to him was incredible. On one level I was in complete awe and on another, it saddened me to think that our worlds are so interlinked because we have encroached upon his.
I had a few chances to take a picture of him, but I couldn’t do it. It didn’t seem right. This was a moment to be savoured, to slowly devour, not to worry about snapping away or lining up the perfect shot. I looked for him all through my walk this morning as I made my way along the footpaths next to the tracks. I hope he made it home safely. Seeing him this morning, was like being given a gift. A tremendous gift.
I have always loved flowers and I adore the flower shops in Denmark. Simple, yet elegantly arranged, candles lit in the windows and on stands outside. The flowers aren’t just contained within the stores, they spill out over the thresholds and into the street.
Without fail, I spot something unusual, like wreaths that have bulbs, ready to burst open, wired directly to the the frame. Or, hydrangea petals glued around a star shaped stake; placed in a pot amongst moss, bulbs and miniature candles. It’s invariably an array of colour and smells. A feast for the senses and a true delight!
This is not the first time we have visited Tivoli at Christmas. It is always on our list of “To-Do’s”, when we go to Denmark.
Already a magical wonderland to begin with, Tivoli transforms into an enchanting fairytale world during Christmas. The smell of hot apple cider and Æbleskiver, permeate the air. Stalls selling hot dogs and Christmas roast pork sandwiches are dotted along the paths as well as cabins selling Christmas goodies.
This year we visited the Honningkageslottet (Honey Cake Castle). Here you could not only “watch” the elves make the honey cakes, which is made using the honey harvested from Tivoli’s bees, but you could also buy a honey cake to decorate yourself. We bought one to eat and one to decorate. The smell of honey, spices and chocolate infusing the air was intoxicating.
Whatever season we visit this fairytale land in, I am always amazed at the gardens and hanging baskets. I know they work tirelessly to keep it looking so magical. The planning that goes into the design layout is months and months of work. It is a feast for the eyes.
Tivoli will pick over a thousand trees for Christmas. All of them will be adorned with lights in the forest, before they are cut down; so they are ready to be placed amongst the gardens upon their arrival. The smell of all that fresh greenery walking around that Christmas tree farm, well it would just be Heaven!