Friday 5 December 2014

Advent count-down ...

I've been really busy this week ... knitting balls for my Christmas tree, shopping for pressies and waiting for the delivery man to arrive with on-line purchases.

The Christmas tree is up and looking very twinkly. We all love hanging out in our cosy little den, where it holds pride of place, as we snuggle up to the fire. The weather has finally woken up the fact that it's winter, which has helped get us all into the festive spirit. Emi's got another week of school, but he's already de-mob happy as they've done all the end-of-term assessments this week and he feels as though he's just cruising for the holidays.

He's going to be nine on 11th December, and this Saturday he's having his birthday party with one of his best friends, who also has a December birthday. We've got twenty of their chums pitching up for a Scalextric Grand Prix party. Everyone is very excited, especially Mr B, who is really enjoying this second opportunity to play with boy's toys. 

Lego-made model of the Queen Mary

They (Emi and Mr B) went to the Brick 2014 exhibition last weekend and came home so enthused about all the projects that they were going to make. Indeed Mr B spent much of his Sunday afternoon googling the best type of glue - yes, glue! - to stick their masterpieces together with, so that they would never have to be dismantled. Eeek! This is beginning to sound a little bit scary. I'd hoped we would all grow out of the Lego phase so that I could smarten the place up a bit: big boxes of Lego and half-built projects littered about don't always hit the high design notes that I might otherwise aspire to. 

Lego-made model of the space shuttle

One of the things that they talked about for ages and ages was the Cube Stormer 3, a made-entirely-out-of-Lego computer that can solve a Rubiks cube in under three and a half seconds. It all sounded a bit unlikely to me, but they had made a video of the machine in action, which they showed me to prove that it really could do what they claimed. I've actually found a better video on YouTube: Cube Stormer 3 Video, which includes an interview with the engineer who designed it and a demonstration of what it can do. It's kind of incredible that someone should spend their free time building something as complicated and eccentric as this.  Whilst my heart goes out to his wife, who appears to have lost the use of her dining room for quite some time, there's a little part of me that thinks it's really cool for someone to be so passionate about such an odd thing. It kind of epitomises the best of British eccentricity. And I can say that because I'm Irish, not British, and therefore not patting myself on the back when I make the statement ... . 

Cube Stormer 3

St. Pancras Station - in Lego

Lego City - in Lego

Whilst my boys have been busy following their Lego dreams, I've been busy doing my own thing. I've made a load of Christmas mincemeat, which will be useful for knocking out some mince pies when friends pop in over the holidays. With a bit of ready-rolled puff pastry in the fridge I'm all set for those impromptu visitors who drop in over the holidays. I can knock out sausage rolls and mince pies in a flash.

And how do you like my trio of retro-chic knitted Christmas tree balls?

The first one is a Christmas Cockerel. You can find instructions on how to make him here: Rudolf, the Christmas .... cockerel (!) He was originally supposed to have been a reindeer, but somehow the nose looked much more like a beak, so I did a bit of jiggery-pokery (technical term in knitting) and turned him into a Christmas cockerel. At a stretch we could even pretend he was the main course for the Big Day ... .

Number two was a little homage to the Union Jack. OK, maybe some imagination is called for ..., but if you'd like to make it the pattern is here: Union Jack Christmas Ball.

And, finally, number three is my Christmas Diamonds pattern.

Emi is getting so enthusiastic about all this drawing on squared paper and knitting up the picture business that he's designed a Christmas Ball of his own. It features a Churchill tank with a great big gun mounted on a turret. As a festive motif if may be limited appeal save in the case of an esoteric audience of eight, soon-to-be-nine year-old boys who play World of Tanks on line.

Anyway, wishing you all a great weekend,

Bonny x

As shared on Friday Finds


  1. I am smiling from ear to ear as I read your post. Your Lego pictures bring sweet memories of my oldest son. His is 27 and STILL builds Legos. I love seeing that the boy remains in the man; his face lights up when he talks of his latest Lego creation. And your knitted ornaments are beautiful. What a special talent you have! I may try knitting again this winter. I've not been able to get the hang of it so far! Such a joy to read about your life . . .

    1. Thank you, Donna. Mmmh ... I can see that I might be in this for the long haul! Still it must be lovely to have a passion for something that endures ... and there are an awful lot of grown-ups out there with Lego habits. My husband's photos seem to show more of his generation than Emi's looking at the exhibits. Thank you for your kind words. Knitting's not that complicated. Where I grew up they taught us all to knit at about the same time they taught us how to write, so it's sort of second nature. All the best and good luck with your future stitch-work. All the best, Bonny

  2. The Lego pics are amazing. I can't imagine building one of those, but when I got to the Christmas bells, wow.

    1. Thank you, Susan. I can't imagine building one of those Lego buildings either, but I've got an uncomfortable feeling that I may be living with them for some time to come. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  3. Legos have changed so much since I was a kid. I wonder how long it will take your crew to make their 'masterpiece'. I have several 'masterpieces' of my daughter's in the basement, although the all are smaller than a breadbox. :) Your ornaments look wonderful. I have yet to get started on my Christmas decorations. Have a great weekend!

    1. Lego has gone above and beyond what it was in our day. They really know how to market and sell stuff. How lucky to have manageable scale masterpieces that are allowed to live in the basement. I've got a feeling that my "boys" have their hearts' set on scale and pride of place in the front room. All the best for getting your own decorations up and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  4. Funny to see the Lego Models .... We living near the LEGO Town G├╝nzburg!
    Cheers by Heidrun

    1. What a great place to live! I hope you can get special deals on your Lego. All the best and thanks for stopping by,

  5. Oh, so many memories! I've been with hubby and a few friends to Brick City last year, and we saw the marvelous St. Pancras Station in Lego. :) We have just been to Brick Wonders, but everything was (once again) behind glass, so no neat photos from us. I wonder why your exposition isn't behind glass? Maybe Scottish kids (and adults!) are not as well behaved! ;D We didn't see the Lego-made model of the Queen Mary, it looks fantastic! :)
    Thanks for sharing your photos, Bonny. Happy second Sunday of Advent.

    1. How strange to put this stuff behind glass. Even at the "Art of the Brick", where they presented Lego as fine art, they didn't use any glass. It would detract from the experience if it were all shielded in that way, and would certainly ruin the photo opportunities. At Art of the Brick we were positively encouraged to take photos. The light wasn't great, but the organisers seemed alert to the power of social media to advertise their event. All the best and thanks for stopping by, Bonny

  6. So will there be pictures soon of knitted Christmas balls with tanks? So fitting....
    Those Lego buildings and projects are quite impressive. I really like St. Pancras Station - this is the station we went into London and out of it every day for almost a week this June when we were in Europe. And of course we took off for Paris from there on the Eurostar which I never did while I was still living in Europe (go figure). But I really like the Queen Mary - she represents its hugeness quite well!