Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Festive seasoning

Where has the past year gone? Is it just me or do the years seem to be flying by faster as we get older? Of course time doesn't actually pass more quickly but it sure does seem like it. I frequently look back and wonder where the past twenty years has gone, I'm sure the first twenty years of life didn't seem to whizz like the last twenty years has....must be down to having children and the fact that I now have four lives to manage!

I love this time of year. The time when we start to enter the coldest and darkest months. Where as social able beings we hide away more only emerging for special occasions. In our house it seems it's a time for coming together. Those initial couple of months at the end of Summer when the beautiful weather changes and you can't go out as often, those times are tricky initially. Everyone has to adjust to sharing a smaller space and has to work to avoid treading on the toes of others. It seems now that all is in harmony once more. As I write Small Boy and the Little Lady are busy chatting away playing with play doh downstairs in the kitchen (if you thought it was only for little children, think again!) and Miss P is having a long soak in the tub. Nobody is shouting or fighting.....blissful harmony resonates throughout......sigh!!

The excitement of the festive period is beginning to build now, it's hard to avoid it as adverts pop up all over the place and shops decorate their windows, not to mention the t.v ads.
We've all loved driving through Woodstock recently and watched as the number of lights around has slowly increased over recent weeks. We're all rather annoyed though by the large trees outside the gates of Blenheim. Beautiful as they are, but whoever put the lights on has left a large unlit hole in one. Of course it doesn't matter unless you have an eye for these things and then it bugs you like crazy!
The town hosted 'A night of a thousand candles' Saturday night which I am guessing was the official turning on of the lights. A great many of the trees have white lights adorning them now, very pretty and magical. Woodstock does seem to get things just right on the festive front. Not too much tack but just the right amount to create a sense of loveliness.

We've started preparing our festive gifts for friends. A couple of years ago we tried making beeswax candles. I purchased a box of divine smelling beeswax blocks from an Ebay seller and we melted them in an old tin can in a pan of boiling water on the stove. We purchased wick too and dipped it in the melted wax in our attempt to make the intended beautiful lean candles. It didn't work!! Unfortunately, what we ended up with rather resembled clumps of knobbly ear wax hanging on strings. Hmmmm, not so nice!!!
So this year we thought we'd have a go at making beeswax tea lights. A few years back a dear friend of mine sent us some that her family had made in the US, I loved them so much that I have thought about making some ever since.
I purchased a whole load of aluminium tea light holders and mini wicks (again from Ebay) and proceeded to melt the wax as before in the tin can. We filled each little pot with a mixture of dried orange peel (which we left in the airing cupboard for a few days), some crushed cloves and a few drops of cinnamon oil. You have to work pretty fast with hot wax as it sets like you wouldn't believe. They didn't all work out as intended (some of the wicks fell into the wax) but on the whole I think I have about 50% of the total number made to give away, leaving quite a few rejects to enrich our own home. Sometimes the best plans your favour :-)

 We did have water in the pan whilst heating the wax. The downside of all this messy business is cleaning the pans and utensils once the job is done. I had to rehear all the pans this morning in an attempt to melt the wax off the sides. A definite downside!!

I do love beeswax candles, hopefully I shall have as much pleasure watching them burn as I have making them :-)

Yesterday the children had a workshop on Trench art Compton Verney, another wonderful 18th Century British stately home. There are so many great benefits to home educating your children, I got to spend the best part of the day looking at wonderfully inspiring work in this delightful art gallery. We also spent a great deal of time exploring the exhibition on Folk art current at present, right up my street that was. Compton Verney isn't a million miles from where I live and it seems, hosts a variety of events throughout the year. They're closing up soon for the Winter months (not surprising, the heating bill must be astronomical!) but it will definitely be a place on my radar of 'things to do' come the Spring.

It's still got a loooonnnnngggg way to go but :-) :-) :-)..........

Have a peaceful Wednesday :-) XXX