I've been very busy Making Things, which has been both productive and enjoyable. I have made (in no particular order):
1) About a gallon of Christmas spiced cranberry and port preserve, containing cranberries, oranges, apples, sugar and port. And spices. Nom nom nom.
2) A beautiful rose out of wired parcel ribbon, which I just made up as I went along, and was very pleased with. In a gesture of largesse, I gave it to one of Mr WithaY's mates who had popped in quickly for something one evening. He took it graciously, if bemusedly, and said he'll put it in his Landrover. So that was nice.
3) A huge and delicious fruit salad, containing cherries, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, mandarins, peaches, lychees and figs. It was splendid, though I say so myself.
The fruit salad was to take to my lovely Mum's house, as we had the tradtional pre-Christmas family gathering last weekend.
London Niece's birthday is around this time of year, so we all met up to celebrate that, and to exchange Christmas presents and cards, and to see each other before the holidays really got under way. It was lovely, if noisy, everyone was looking well** and looking forward to Christmas. We ate and drank and pulled crackers and popped party poppers, and had birthday cake.
The cake was interesting.
As we didn't have the required number of small candles (16), there was a blinding display of ingenuity, and this was the result:
Thirteen, plus two, plus one. A maths lesson AND a cake.
Previous birthday cake entertainment involving candles can be found here.
4) The manga-stylee frock, which was London Niece's birthday present. Readers, though I say so myself, it turned out rather well.
I had suggested that the best way to create it was if a top of the correct size was bought, sent to me, and I would make the skirt to match. Which is what I did. In the picture I was sent, the character has more decoration on the front of the top, but I left that off, as the top already had sequins all over the front, and adding anything else might have looked a bit weird.
Anyhoo, London Niece was very pleased.
The amount of swearing involved in making those ruffles though....gah. It would have made a sailor blush.
Other news: My car is broken again. It's the same problem it had a few weeks ago - when you put your foot down there's a dramatic loss of acceleration, and the Engine Warning light comes on.
I took it to a local garage who ran a diagnostic check (£58 thank you very much) and returned it to me with the diagnosis "There's something wrong with the turbo. Or maybe the electrics. You should take it back to the Toyota garage"
I took it back to the Toyota garage last Friday morning. I rang the Toyota garage yesterday (Monday) morning to ask if they had any idea when I could have my car back.
They said they'd have a chat with the chaps in the workshop and ring me later. At ten to five that night they rang.
They hadn't found the problem, but it's something to do with the turbo. Probably. Did I want to come and collect my car?
I declined, on the grounds that if it was still broken there wasn't much point me driving all the way back here, then taking it all the way back there again in a day or two.
In other, more cheerful, news, we have put our Christmas tree up and it looks lovely. This is the top half.
Our decorations include the Christmas Lobster. He has a teeny sprig of holly in one claw.
There's also the Christmas Hunter, complete with hound and dead deer.
And the Christmas Lobster Pots.
And the more traditional glass reindeer.
*Shit Storm From Hades, now thankfully very much behind us.
**Except poor Youngest Sis - hope your back is feeling better!