‘T’was the Night before Christmas

and all through the house

Not a creature was …

well, actually, several creatures are currently stirring.  No mice though. I think the cats have eaten them all.

Anyway, here we are, and Christmas Day is only three hours away for those of us on the east coast of Australia [ except of course those folks in Queensland where summer daylight saving time dooesn’t exist ]

If you have survived the rigours of the Annual Catsmum Christmas House Tour of 2013, I salute your intestinal fortitude. Here … have a shortbread. Hot chocolate anyone? or would you prefer to join us in a Baileys-with-real-coffee-ice-cubes  ?

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Here we are at the opposite end of the house from whence we started, lo, these many weeks ago [ yes I managed to work in a ‘whence’, and even a ‘lo’. Last year I resisted the urge and some were sorely disappointed. Or so I choose to believe ]

This is normally the rumpus room but, just for these six weeks, it is renamed ‘ the explosion at the North Pole’ or as someone-who-shall-remain-Tara said recently “This IS Christmas”christmas 014

There have had to be a few concessions made for little people.

The more breakable and/or heaviest and/or topple-over-able santas have been moved onto shelves

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or behind the fire guard. Not to mention the playpen style fence loaned by an acquaintance here in Castlemaine.

Still there are about 150 Father Christmasses in this one room, with the emphasis on the rustic and where possible, the handmade. One of the smallest is a reclining china figurine that I’ve had since my first birthday 012 (2)

and the largest at a metre tall is one I made from an American pattern around 12 years ago. You can sort of see him lurking next to the tree in one of the photos.

The tree is decorated with an eclectic assortment ranging from vintage mercury glass, through pieces from when the kids were small, scandinavian straw hearts and angels, a liberal scattering of candy canes, cornflour [ cornstarch ] stars,cinnamon ‘cookies’ a la Martha Stewart, and hearts of all sizes and materials.

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There are patchwork cushions [ with totally gratuitous dawg ]

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more of my crochet snowflakes,

christmas 006 but it’s really all about the santas.christmas 008

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The family arrived just before dinner and we all opened one present each.

Miss Abby is in bed now but first she helped me read Clement Moore’s 1823 classic, ‘A Visit From Saint Nicholas’, better known to most of us as ‘The Night Before Christmas’,

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just as I read it to her mummy and uncles for so many years.

And isn’t that what Christmas traditions are all about?

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Not who has the biggest light display, or the most decorations [ although that’s good too of course ]

So that’s pretty much it. See you after the big man in the red suit has finished his rounds.

From my family to yours, may your Christmas be filled with peace and love.

No Business like Snow Business

and here we are on the slopes approaching the North Pole

my kitchen. The closest I am ever likely to get to a northern hemisphere white Christmas

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blue and white Danish and German plates

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crochet snowflakes, many from years past, plus the 30 or so made this year, less the 20 given away

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Christmas 007snowmen

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more snowmen and some Christmooses

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the ‘kitchen tree’:Christmas 013

tiny wooden ornaments, vintage miniature kitchenalia and, of course, candy canes: both the edible variety and some of a more permanent nature made of twisted glass

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my first ever Christmas card, currently celebrating its 60th birthday:

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‘T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house …

You never know what you might find tucked into odd corners

behind the tree

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on the dresserChristmas 029

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on top of the microwave

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next to the kettle

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I know I’ve left a lot of stuff out, so you might need to go back and look at some of previous year’s posts.

By the way … just in case it has somehow escaped your attention:

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and don’t forget to visit tomorrow for the final post in this year’s Christmas House Tour

Ho Ho Ho

Picking up where we left off yesterday:014 while you have a sip of your eggnog, we’ll take a quick nip down the hallway past a few of my stitcheries and smaller Christmas quilts

starting with a cross cultural assemblage: an american style Wild Goose Chase hanging from an antique loom heddle from Thailand


and then moving on down the hallway: past a ‘clothes line’style arrangement of miniature quilts and naive embroideries.

001I don’t know about you,

but I far prefer the old European style Saint Nicholas


005to the modern, largely American, Santa .

As for the angelic hosts, I don’t mind whether they’re childlike and naive003

or high Victorian004

and here I have a confession to make. I all but finished the embroidery on that blue one NINE years ago, and , with about an inch to do, packed it away for the move up here. And lost it.

She came to light a few months ago, and about ten minutes of stitching saw that part finished. In fact the hardest part was locating the right colour thread! A quick border, backing and binding, et voila: another finished object.

A couple of teeny miniature ‘quilts’ [ those trees are less than 2 inches square ]

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and a peek round the corner into the visiting grandkids’ room, with a tied Log Cabin quilt made in 1990,


and a tree that they’re not likely to pull over


and finally back out into the hall


Now rest up.

Fortify yourself with mince pie and shortbread, for tomorrow we move into the approaches to the North Pole the kitchen, and that’s where you’ll need all the stamina you can muster.

3 sleeps

Christmas House Tour 2013 continues

and we’re in the other end of the same room as last time.

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and even though most of the Christmas touches are the same as last year, it’s not the same couches, so the arrangement looks a little different in places.

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The Arctic Saint Nicholas wallhanging sits a little high on the wall now, because these couches are a lot lower. Maybe by next year, I’ll have a different quilt to hang in that space. I already know from a few years ago, that the triptych works perfectly well on the wall behind the Jim Shore nativity,


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so it wouldn’t be going out of rotation.

Especially as I only just  – well, recently only just – made these cushions to go with Arctic Saint Nick:

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using small motifs that were originally printed along the bottom of the main panel fabric. I did simple quilt-as-you-go Log Cabins using some of the same fabrics as those wonky ‘Stack and Slash’ star blocks that are framing Saint Nick and a bound edge like you’d do on a quilt. Simples.

I never used to go blue at Christmas, which is a bit funny because my last house was entirely blue. Maybe I felt that it just wouldn’t look sufficiently Christmassy, but when I got the blue ‘patchwork’ nativity,

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it was so different from anything else that I had at that stage, and it was obvious that a few touches of blue were needed … and … they’ve just kept on creeping in.

A bit of blue in the Santa Claws table runner:

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a couple of my Danish Christmas plates , with white-painted reindeer,

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and a new find: an advent calendar mini chest of drawers. I didn’t really do anything with that this year, but next year it’ll be fun filling all those tiny drawers.

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Shabby painted vintage chairs as side tables, piled with some of my collection of Christmas books

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and I figured I’d better unfold the quilt on the back of the couch so you could see it properly

[ a Stack-and-Whack from I think the late ’90s ]

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Crochet snowflakes – stiffened in PVA glue – hang from the light fitting like a crystalline chandelier

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and finally a view down the length of the room so that you can get a sense of how it relates to yesterday’s post.

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Yes, I know there’s stuff under the table. Someone left it here after my birthday last weekend. if I hide it, I’ll forget where it is.

Oh yeah, there’s another, very early [ 1985 ] Christmas Star quilt on the back of that other couch.

4 sleeps

Christmas House Tour 2013 Day 2

… or day 3 if you count the day that I posted the pictures from the outside of the house.


today we’re sliding through the big room, which – as I say pretty much every year – the architect mistakenly thought was the lounge/living room and the dining room. Silly him. I use the dominant end as my sewing room and the other as an ancillary living room. You’ll see that bit tomorrow.

For the moment we’re in what is normally my ‘studio’ space.

Because of the small peeps in my life, the main Christmas tree, which is sitting where my permanently-up ironing board normally resides ,

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is currently corralled inside a fence made of two elderly wooden playpens on loan from friends.

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Hiding behind this tree and virtually unseen – as well as being slightly out of focus – is a bookcase with quilts and some vintage Christmas postcards

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More postcards and also part of my collection of nativity sets including the English paper one in the middle from my parent’s first year as a married couple, 1950.

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and this year’s acquisition-that-I-couldn’t-resist: an aussie nativity with the cutest round wee koalas.

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and to round off today’s visit Chez-Catsmum, this year’s finished queen-size Christmas quilt, which is currently covering my design wall

[ that’s the gridded white batting that you can see peaking out at the sides –

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and random animals, on my sewing table, provided purely for scale

Come back tomorrow if you’d like to see the rest of this room.

There may well be shortbread!!

7 sleeps

I know I’m late but …

seriously, the only thing I was able to focus on the last couple of weeks was getting the manse decorated for the festive season while simultaneously organising a weekend’s worth of festivities for the turning of the big 6-0.

Herewith, today, and two weeks later than usual, the start of the Christmas Tour proper.

and so [ because I wouldn’t want to throw you in at the deep end ] we begin, as we often do, in my bedroom:

it’s not hard to Christmassify [ yes, that is so a word ] my room. It’s green and cream and pink with Edwardian furniture, so I’m most of the way there as soon as I pack away a few things.

Change the bedding for a burgundy and green scrap English strippy style quilt containing several decades’ worth of small pieces of Christmas print,  and finished in 2012: [ added decorative tissue -on-floor contributed by Bear ]


hang some ‘icicles from the light

arrange a few folksy Saint Nicks.


and angels


on the tea trolley that holds the television


add a wee tree decorated with knitting and sewing stuff, buttons, my great grandfather’s fob watch and a few other meaningful bits and bobs,


plus a scrap of hundred year old crazy quilting in lieu of a tree skirt, the whole lot sitting on a shabby vintage chair

023 and you’re nearly there.

Add a vignette on top of great granny’s cedar chest of drawers/ tallboy/ armoire


finish with vintage crochet gloves, ‘crystal’ bead swag,and a mercury glass Father Christmas

8 sleeps