I am a very lucky girl, because last Saturday I received my Christmas present a full five weeks early. I had persuaded a rather reluctant Chris to buy me some very expensive storage shelves for my craft room. This was partly because my room was getting very untidy and overcrowded, but my main reason was that I have a stash of lovely papers specifically for my scrapbooks. I have been collecting these for several years and I am really grateful for that, because they are difficult to buy out here, and although I can buy them online, they are heavy so the postage is excessive, and because of their size, they tend not to travel well. I like to make big scrapbooks so the papers measure 12" x 12", so I can't print my own either. I have a thing about papers, so much so that sometimes I don't even want to use them; I just like looking at them and touching them. (From reading a variety of craft forums and blogs, I find that there is a whole band of crafters who feel the same!). I do use them however, and up until now they have been stored on edge, in a big box under my desk, and it grieves me to find some have got dog-eared, or even cat chewed! and I really wanted somewhere better to keep them. So when I saw this purpose built storage, I knew it was just what I wanted. When it arrived last weekend, it was in three huge cartons that couldn't realistically be stored anywhere until Christmas, and Chris wanted to open them to see that everything was there, so the only sensible thing to do was to open them up and assemble it. So here it is, installed in my room, with my book shelf on top of it, and the plastic boxes that used to be on top of that, now neatly tucked into the corner on the floor, where they are much more stable and useful. The storage unit was self-assembly, and for once we got what we paid for, a very robust set of shelves that won't warp under the weight of paper. It all fitted together perfectly, and there were more than enough screws and other fixings, and it came complete with a lidded box to fit each shelf. On one side the shelves take A4 size boxes, some deep and some more shallow, and on the other it takes nine boxes all designed to take 12x12 papers. So I then spent a lovely afternoon sorting all my papers into colours and designs, and within a day, all the new boxes were full! So I may not now have a present to open on Christmas morning, but I am more than happy with my new tidy room, and safe collection of papers.
As you can see my room comes complete with two furry friends! They are nearly always in there with me. Baggins does venture outside as long as the dogs aren't just outside the door, but he soon comes back in and if I am in my room, he is there too, usually sitting as close to me as he can get. He is nearly sitting on the computer now, and when I am at my desk, he climbs on there and plonks himself down on my papers and ink pads. It's a wonder I ever get anything done. I draw the line at sharing my table with him when I am doing my lace. Tangled bobbins are no joke, but he is very disgruntled when I turf him off and make him sit somewhere else.
We spent one morning this week doing some gardening. We did a very radical pruning of the jasmine that grows on the front wall. The wind caught it and blew it down, and we could see that the trellis behind it was rotting and breaking up, so we have cut it almost to the ground, just keeping a couple of new shoots. Now Chris is going to paint the wall behind it and put a new trellis up, and I'm sure it will be back as strong as ever by the spring. My flower is still out, despite the cold winds and rain we have had. The other flower buds I mentioned in an earlier post, have finally opened. They have a head of these lovely, long, orange bells, and as there are four heads on it this time, we will have flowers for quite a few weeks. I have a friend at church called Jasmine, and it is she who gave me both these plants. This week I went to a coffee morning at her house. She holds several throughout the year to raise funds for the church. I made some calendars to sell using photos I have taken locally. I didn't sell many but every little helps and I shall try to sell a few more at church this week. As we arrived at Jasmine's house I was struck by this lovely chumba (prickly pear) that was growing by her swimming pool. The fruit are usually a greenish yellow, sometimes with a little pink, but I have never seen one with these lovely deep red fruits before, and there were so many of them too. Personally I wouldn't want a chumba that close to my house, nor in a position where I could accidently rub up against it, but it was beautiful.
This week I started my big mince pie bake. This is something else that I do to raise some funds for our church, and last year I sold around 25 dozen. I am hoping to get up to about 30 dozen this year. I have orders for 12 dozen already before I have asked anyone if they want them, so I have bought up enough ingredients to make about 35 dozen to be on the safe side, because none of it will go to waste even if I don't need it for this time. I did get seven dozen made yesterday, and the pastry for the next seven, because it needs to rest in the fridge overnight before it is used. I am taking some of the first lot with me this Sunday because I usually make cake when it is my turn to do the teas and coffees after the service,and I've also made some order forms, so people can taste before they order, and then they will know what they are like. Hopefully they will like them and I will get some orders, but I also get quite a few from my Wednesday craft group, so I am sure I will have more than enough to make it worth while.