Archive for the Christmas Category

The Seasonal One

Posted in Christmas, everyday life with tags on December 23, 2016 by suetortoise

Yes, I think it’s time for my usual Christmastime post, wishing you all the compliments of the season and good wishes for the New Year. Last year, I was still grieving too much to want to decorate the Tortoise Loft, but this year the tree has been up for a few days, and here it is being suitably festive:

A Merry Christmas - or other winter festival of your choice - and a Very Happy New Year!

And for anyone who feels the need for a little more reading material, particularly a short piece for reading aloud, I offer The Antisanta which I wrote in 2010.

Thank you for your kind comments over the year. Blogs die too easily from lack of comments and feedback, so make sure you drop your favourite sites a line occasionally and keep them healthy.

Have fun, and I’ll see you all early in the New Year.

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Wishes

Posted in Christmas, Digital Art and Fractals, Family and Friends on December 23, 2015 by suetortoise

christmas2015tree

Time to send my readers and friends, new and old, my good wishes for the coming year. But wishes, thoughts, prayers, dreams are only the start, however heartfelt. Let’s make sure that we act on our annual wishes, and work towards bringing more peace and happiness into the world in 2016.

Not Bad News

Posted in Christmas, everyday life, Family and Friends with tags , , , , , on January 8, 2015 by suetortoise

Dad in hospital, eating a banana
Dad and I had an ‘interesting’ Christmas and New Year. He was very happy and alert for the first few days of my visit. He got to the village church on Christmas morning, which he had been looking forward to, and enjoyed his Christmas lunch of chicken curry (his request) and opening the presents. All was well.

By New Year’s Eve he was not quite as good, and over the next couple of days his condition worsened. By the Saturday morning, it was clear he needed urgent attention. The local First Responders turned up, provided oxygen and other treatment and he was soon off to hospital in an ambulance.

To my relief, he went to the RSH in Shrewsbury, which is much easier for visiting than Hereford. He was in a poor way when he got there, but here he is less than a week later, out of  bed and eating a banana. (My sister took the picture. She bought him those elegant pyjamas for Christmas, too.) Next week, Dad should be well enough to go to Ludlow Community Hospital until he is well enough to return home, where my sister will be waiting to look after him.

The hospital doctor said she’s never known anyone of his age recover from full-blown pneumonia quite so quickly.

“Well, I’ve had plenty of practice.” said the Amazing Eric.

It’s that time of year again!

Posted in Christmas, everyday life with tags on December 21, 2013 by suetortoise

snowytoptree mini

Yes, it is time to wish all the readers of Tortoise Loft – The Blog the compliments of the season. Thank you for your comments and your interest throughout the year. You makes this blog worthwhile.

Please do let me know if there are any particular topics you would like me to write about in the New Year. I enjoy getting suggestions for subjects and questions to answer.

Meanwhile, may you have a delightful Christmastime and may all sorts of unexpected good things happen for you in 2014.

Sue

Wishing You a Very Happy Christmastime

Posted in Christmas, Embroidery with tags , , , , , , , on December 16, 2012 by suetortoise

three trees close-up

I must be honest, and say that I’m not feeling particularly ‘Christmassy’ this year. The family’s first Christmas without Mum is bound to be a bit difficult. So things will be kept low-key. 

I thought you might like a glimpse of one of the cards I made this year. Very simple and easy to make. If you want to use the design, you should be able to use the picture above as a pattern.

The fabric is 36 count natural linen (Zweigart Edinburgh). Any relatively fine evenweave can be used instead – you’ll only need a small quantity, so it’s great for using up scraps and offcuts. In this case, a small strip of fabric left over from another project. On this fabric, the stitched area is 6.8cm high by 2.3cm wide. Allow another centimetre all round, before trimming. On coarser fabric, the finished size will be larger.

The green/blue threads are two strands of different colours of varigated silk thread from Oliver Twists. (You could use two strands of stranded cotton floss, or anything else that is about the right weight for the fabric.) If your fabric is not as fine, you may need to use more strands of thread. The tree-top stars are worked with two threads of blending filament – I used one strand of gold and one strand of red/green iridescent filament. Any fine, shiny thread would do instead. (I can tell you that blending filament is a real pain to stitch with – it is most disobedient stuff!) You could also tiny star-shaped sequins, beads or little adhesive stars to trim your tree.

For the blanket-stitch edging, I used sewing silk in a slightly lighter shade than the ground fabric. Again, the colour and thread can easily be changed. You might prefer to use a bright Christmas red.

Work the main part of the trees first, then the stars and finally the border. You can see the three stages in this photo:

3 trees wip

The trees start at the top with a straight vertical stitch over four threads. After that, there are four fly stitches. The loop of the first one is two threads down from the top and two threads out on each side, and the tying down stitch covers four vertical threads. The loops of the other three are each one thread further out and three threads down from the previous stitch. All the tying-down stitches are over four threads. You might want to experiment with different numbers of branches, and different spacings to make trees of different sizes and shapes. There are eight threads left between the base of one tree and the first stitch of the tree below.

When the trees are finished, add the stars – just three straight sitches of the blending filament, one vertical over five threads, crossed with two diagonal stitches over four.

The border is just buttonhole stitch worked over three threads, with three threads between each stitch. (At the corner, you work three stitches into the same inner hole.) I left three threads between the trees and the border at the top and bottom, and it is seven threads beyond the broadest fly-stitches.

And that’s it. I cut the fabric six threads beyond the border all round, and then frayed off three threads. The piece is simply glued to the front of the card. (I used PVA glue, applied sparingly.) I mounted it onto a brown-paper coloured card, for a very natural, simple look.

And here’s the finished card:

3 trees 2012 card

A row, or a whole forest, of these little trees would make a nice decoration for table linen. How about white trees on dark green or holly red fabric? Have fun.

My very best wishes to you all for the holiday season. In the new year, I will have some more embroidery projects to share with you, along with other things. Starting with the story of Great Grandfather Thomas the Station Master and his dog.

Happy Christmas from the Tortoise Loft

Posted in Christmas, Family and Friends, Storytelling, Uncategorized, Writing on December 19, 2010 by suetortoise

Enough pictures of snow, I can see all the snow I want outside the window. Here’s a story instead of a card. One for reading aloud. And my good wishes for a very happy Christmas season to all who hear it:

This story was beautifully read by Allan Price on the programme Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk (BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester and BBC Radio Stoke), on Boxing Day evening, 2010.  

The Antisanta

THE ANTISANTA

Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus… Call him what you will, he is older than those names; older than the religion of the Christ Child; older, even, than the pagan faiths that gave us the high feast of Yule. The protector of children in mid-winter, that cruellest and most dangerous time of year: the time of the gnawing hunger and killing cold, the time of darkness and of famished wild beasts, grown desperate by that same hunger and cold. Continue reading