Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Night

North Pole Annex part 2:

Well, we’ve made it … finally … to the other end of the house from whence we began three weeks ago [ and this year I managed to resist throwing a ‘Lo!’ into that sentence to go with the whence. I do hope you appreciate my linguistic restraint ]

Christmas is officially less than two hours away, so I made it by the skin of my teeth.

Here we are in the rumpus room with:

a quilt or two

130+ Santas

two more Christmas trees [ and please note the knitted bells. I saw someone wearing these as a brooch last Saturday night, and with a couple of slight modifications, have been in bell making mode all week. – I’ll probably make more for next year ]

There may be the odd Teddy Christmas in here too

Maybe  some seasonal cushions

and anyone suggesting that I bought the green couch [sofa] and the burgundy and green rug with an ulterior motive in mind wouldn’t be considered totally unreasonable.

Mooses? Meeces?

Kookaburras, koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas … and a wee little blue wren who was just a bit too realistic and got ‘killed’ by Sophie cat. He doesn’t have wings anymore, poor little man, but at least the cats are leaving him alone now

Okay, so that’s not everything that I could show you in that room but I figure there have to be limits. I don’t want to be responsible for you all wandering round tomorrow with glazed expressions and your brains melting out of your ears.

I hope that you’ve all enjoyed your visit. If you missed any of it, the rest of the links are in the previous post here.

Have a joyous and safe Christmas, and come back to visit soon.

1 hour and 30 minutes [ if you haven’t finished the shopping, you may now proceed to panic ]


North Pole Annex part 1

Either you’ve been following along with the Christmas Tour for the last three weeks [ in which case I salute your intestinal fortitude ] or you haven’t [ in which case go ... now andhave a look ]

Either way I did promise that we’d be moving into Santa Central today.


Along with Chris, Nadie and David, I spent the better part  of today – 5 hours at least – in a car [ over 2 hours to get down to Melbourne, detour to pick up elderly Mother-in-law, another half an hour to get back on track and out to the far Eastern side to see the Grandkidlets and then reverse ] and I’m b****y tired.

Happy … but … definitely tired, so you are getting the largely wordless version tonight. Tomorrow we hit Saint Nick Central with a vengeance.


1 day 1 hour 58 minutes

I know you’re out there

I can hear you hyperventilating.

Don’t worry the insanity House Tour is almost over, and I’ve actually had to skip a few rooms. Just ran out of time, I guess.

After today we will finally reach the room that has, on occasion, been likened to  an ‘explosion at the North Pole’, although I prefer to think of it as an Annex to Santa’s Workshop, albeit one where the elves have obviously gone on strike [ and I will admit to pinching that line from my Darling Daughter ]

However, for today, we are still lurking in my kitchen:

Scandinavian Christmas plates, mini Christmas Tree quilts [ coffee coasters made by my Tassie friend Beryl ] and assorted finely painted folk art-y pieces mostly by Maz aka Crazy Haberdasher

More Danish plates, and a 9 foot swag  decorated with cat ornaments  and a few dozen of my crochet snowflakes [ and hearts and the odd star ]

Each year I make several dozen of my favourites and give most of them away to visitors and friends. That  one on the right end, closest to the camera, is one I designed last year – and one day I may actually write down the pattern … if only so that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel next time I want to make it 🙂

Same swag, other end:

I have a  distressed looking ladder hanging over the kitchen bench with colanders. etc hanging from butcher hooks. At this time of the year, it is also covered in fake garlands of greenery and what I can only suppose are meant to represent cranberries [ MY cranberries come smooshed in a jar, so what do I know ? ] … and more of the snowflakes.

and Nadie’s knitted Christmas tree [ made from her own handspun too I’ll have you know ]

On the window-sill over the sink are various pairs of snowmen, a couple of painted wooden trees [ Maz’ work ] wooden primitive candles [ Maz again ] and another whole flurry of flakes. I can’t ever seem to get the lighting right for photos, but trust me, it’s all there.

The sliding door is not in use at the moment, and the wooden venetian blind is a great way of displaying cards

and the bunting that Tara made/gave me just cos it had my name on it.

and finally – for today at least – two very bright, very shiny, very very plastic trees that were given out at some point in the early 1950s to staff at the plastics company where my father worked. They’re actually a far more bilious green than any camera seems capable of capturing. Use your imagination, okay ?

2 days 5 hours 51 minutes

Kringle Kitchen

If you’re prepared to keep your eyes open and in potential Christmas mode pretty much all year round, it’s more than possible to Christmassify [ ‘t’is so a word ] your kitchen on an extremely modest budget.

The Teddy Christmas cookie jar – currently holding English Breakfast tea bags – was spotted new-in-box at an Op Shop [ Thrift Store ] mid year many years ago and purchased for the princely sum of $4. The sugar bowl and milk jug – Op Shopped up here a couple of years ago – were a dollar, and to snag the matching oval platter [not shown ] I had to part with a whole two bucks.

Teddy was relegated to teabag duty because I found this fellow full of cookies at Target [ Tarzhay ]. I actually bought him with someone else in mind but then found an even more perfect pressie for that person, so Santa was mine.

Of course I DID see him out on special $4 cheaper a few weeks later but that’s the risk you take I guess. Still he was a very reasonable cost even at full price.

He was all sealed up when I got him and I expected that his hat would lift off. Rather disconcertingly, this is not the case:

More Op Shop finds house more teas and coffees

which are served in some of my collection of seasonal mugs … bought on special, gifted, garage saled and -of course – Op Shopped.

If you ever wondered who bought those unwanted Kris Kringle gifts that you sent to the Oppie, now you know.

This year most of them are packed away up in the shed because of having to fit in the younger generation’s stuff, but we did agree to leave out enough to get us through December.

A big roll of Christmas ribbon and you can tie bows on anything that will sit still long enough.

A small tree decorated with tiny German and Scandinavian figures, candy canes, my collection of cookie cutters

and miniature kitchenalia

This small wall quilt has been around for quite a while. The angel block was a free block-of-the-month that I designed sometime in the mid 1990s, for a quilt shop I used to teach at, and then about a decade later, the whole quilt was featured in Australian Patchwork & Quilting Magazine.

and that’s about your lot for today

3 days 12 hours and 15 minutes

Vintage Yuletide Treasures

I think it would be fair to describe the type of Christmas that I grew up with as fairly meagre.

My parents tried, but money was tight, presents were few, and I have indelible memories of faded tissue paper bells, paper chains, pages cut from the Reader’s Digest and framed, and the rattiest, saddest tinsel in the history of the world.

You’d think I wouldn’t want to be reminded of those days, but truthfully, some of my favourite decos date from the time of my earliest Christmas memories, and I guess the truth of the matter is that, had my folks been even moderately affluent, these things would’ve been tossed decades ago and I wouldn’t still have them to enjoy and share.

This tri-fold Christmas card printed with Clement C. Moore’s classic “A Visit From Santa” [ otherwise known as “The Night Before Christmas ” ] was sent to me the month I was born, and Mum taped it up in my bedroom every year that I can remember.

When I got married I took it with me, read it aloud to the kids every Christmas Eve when they were little, and when it finally started falling apart from all those decades of sticky tape, I had it laminated. Over the years that last statement has given more than one avid collector of ephemera the screaming meemies, but it was a choice: fold it carefully away from the light of day or keep on displaying and loving and enjoying it.

Last year when I mentioned to my 90 year old Godmother  [ she who had signed it on behalf of her then 18 month-old son ] that I still had it, she was utterly gobsmacked.She shouldn’t have been really. My mother kept anything with a sentimental attachment, and I am very much her daughter.

Witness this next treasure:

You may have already spotted it on the shelf of Nativity sets in an earlier post but it deserves closer attention.

Again we’re looking at those wonderful soft 50s graphics.

It says so right there on the back – 1950 – in my mother’s distinctive hand.

So, I know that this was bought their first Christmas as a married couple. It cost a  1/3 [12c] at a time when my librarian father earned around 7 pounds [ $14 ] a week

I would be willing to bet that if you’d told the English company that produced it, that one would still survive … in use … in Australia … more than 60 years later, they wouldn’t have believed you. The same could probably be said of whoever designed my Night-Before-Christmas card too.

and Mum’s habit of dating things again:

My oldest Father Christmas. Unmarked. Possibly Japanese. Probably bought at Coles.

He was just always around at Christmas, and as long as I can remember having Santa, I’ve also had these three

As Senior Citizens, they now spend most of the year cocooned in cotton quilt batting, but for 6 weeks or so a year, they hang out in the kitchen keeping company with all those snowmen from yesterday’s installment.

Who has similar treasures to share?

5 days 4 hours 27 minutes

Snow business

For many years I tended to steer away from any Christmas patterns or merchandise that featured snowflakes or snowmen … after all December here in the antipodes is the height of Summer.

Not a snowflake in sight.

No Frosty the snowman

No sleighs and sleds.

Shorts, sunscreen and mosquito repellant is more our style.

But then,a few years ago, I decided that the only way I was ever likely to experience a white Christmas would be if I made it myself. So, herewith, I give you the first installment of Christmas in my kitchen.

The snowmen:

This isn’t all of them but enough for you to get the idea [ and of course the added bonus that no one is in any danger of frostbite ]

and by the way

6 days 5 hours

and the 2011 christmas House Tour ambles on

It has become something of a tradition that David’s social group have their Christmas party here Chez Catsmum.

the barbie gets fired up

the Christmas CDs get an airing

everyone gets the ‘in-real-life’ version of the Christmas House Tour

and then, when everyone is replete with the most excellent feast

Father Christmas and his helpers pop by with the presents

and the next hour or so just whizzes by

Once it finally gets dark around 9pm, fond farewells are said, everyone piles back into the cars and buses, and heads off in convoy to see the local Christmas lights, while Nadie and I head back inside to discover that the elves have been hard at work and all the dishes are already done.

Gotta love those elves!

and as I don’t have to do those dishes, that leaves me with just enough energy to take the camera on a quick run through the hallway:

Starting with a Wild Goose Christmas quilt hanging on an antique Thai loom heddle [ or so I was told today by the owner of the new Thai Restaurant in Castlemaine ]

a string of mini quilts and stitcheries [ red work ] – the one nearest the camera was made by Jackie of Jackie’s Jam Session as a Christmas blog decorating prize, and the rest are mine.

If this Saint Nick seems a little more ‘aged’ than the others …

it’s because I left the ‘in-progress’ work in too accessible a spot, and a certain Staffy pup named Rocky decided to see how it tasted. The holes in the batting could be fixed but the cream fabric bore the marks of the trauma it had suffered, ergo, a heavy hand with the tea bag was employed to hide the evidence. Tea dye and a fast run through the tumble dryer to crinkle the batting = instant antique!

Maybe one day I’ll get around to stitching the intended fourth Saint Nick in the set … or not.

I made this teeny one in an afternoon many years ago – each of the little houses and trees are all of an inch and a half square.

A machine quilted Log Cabin Tree wallhanging – from the early 90s.

and as we’ve now reached the other end of the hallway, that’s your lot for today.

So rest up tonight.

Tomorrow things really start getting serious as we begin to tackle the snow country.