Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A look back at 2013

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the build up to Christmas! There have been many Carol Services and other church activities, let alone shopping for food and making gifts, and we seem to go from one appointment on the calendar to another. So I thought I'd spend a little time reflecting on the past year and reminding myself of the things that have happened in our lives.

January got off to a pretty cold start and winter stayed with us for several months.

I did have a break from the snow and cold when I visited Chay and Sharon, Tarryn and Angus in Bahrain in February. It was so good to see where they live and get an idea of what their lives are like there.

In May, Ian and I went to South Africa for a few weeks and had a wonderful time in the Natal Midlands, where we spent two weeks at Whispering Waters. Friends and family were able to come and visit us for a day or two and we had a great time catching up in the beautiful countryside.

We were able to see Sean and Allison's new home in Durban and catch up with many of the family members when Ian baptised our great nephew, Kaelan Faul.

In July Sharon and the children came to the UK for the summer holidays to get away from the intense heat in Bahrain and it was wonderful to have them here as they used our home as a base from which to go off and visit friends and then come back again.

A special treat was to have Chay stay with us for two weeks. No surprise as to what he and Ian did!

In October, Ian and I managed to go to the Lake District for a week. It was a much needed time of rest and relaxation! We swam every morning in the heated pool at the resort where we stayed and just soaked in the beauty and tranquillity of the scenery.

The year has not been all holidays and fun, though! I have done my share at work, doing two shifts a week plus several extra shifts as well and my nearly-67 year old body is telling me that this kind of work is very strenuous, both physically and mentally! My sewing has kept me busy and I have made many bags of all shapes and sizes as well as other items, such as metres of bunting! Sewing certainly gives me a lot of pleasure and fills many hours. Other people seem to appreciate it as well as I seem to have a reasonable flow of orders.

Ian has had a busy year in the church; there are not enough full-time clergy to take care of the parishes so he often has more than one service a Sunday as well as baptisms, weddings and funerals. Fortunately, he still manages to play golf regularly and enjoys the company of his golfing partners.

As we come to the end of 2013 and look ahead to next year, we do so in faith. Ian will be 74 in a couple of weeks and is now on a yearly contract with the Diocese, so we might have to rethink our lives in the middle of 2014. Who knows where we will be next Christmas? I will continue in my care work, which I do to support Ian in his ministry as he gets the house in return for the work he does but no stipend. I am going to South Africa at the end of January for three weeks as it is my sister's 70th birthday and I decided a long time ago that I would spend that time with her. Thank goodness for the money I have invested in South Africa as it pays for my air ticket!

I have some plans for my sewing: I have some fabric suitable for spring/summer bags as well as a piece I intend using to make a few bags to celebrate the start of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. I also have quite a lot of African-themed fabric and I intend buying some more in February so I will have a range of bags which I shall call, 'A Taste of Africa'. I am still trying to pluck up the courage to start an online shop; maybe this will happen in 2014!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Busy November

November was a very busy month! I did several extra shifts at work as one of my colleagues was off sick and I seemed to spend all the time I could sewing. I made items for two craft fairs as well as filling a couple of orders. From tomorrow I will be working hard on orders I have for Christmas.

Considering all the time and effort I put into the craft fairs, after today's I wonder if it is worth it! I sold two items and managed to cover the cost of my table! Oh well, I know what some people will be getting for Christmas presents! I'm also organising a Pop-In Christmas Shop here in our village so will have a table there. I do prefer sewing to order, I think. I had an order for two patchwork tote bags and the person for whom I made them was pleased with what I had done. Here they are:

The blue one is made from shwe-shwe fabric, manufactured in South Africa and popular with African women because it is so hard-wearing.

The manager of the Keyingham Community Café here in our village, asked me to make her some Christmas bunting with stockings on it. They were pleased with it and I think it looks quite cute.

Now I have a stock of tote bags, pencil cases, make-up bags etc. Maybe it's time to start my online shop... At least I know that the sewing I'll be doing in the next couple of weeks is all going to be done to order!