What I Want For Christmas…

Christmas has become too commercialized.  Since when did it become bigger than birthdays?  Not everyone enjoys it either.  So much guilt is generated around this holiday.  Not everyone gets along with their family or wants to spend time with them.  I really don’t want my kids to feel obliged to visit me for Christmas.  As much as I love my kids, if they want to be somewhere else, then fine.  I would rather not guilt trip them about it and see them when they are happy to come around of their own accord.

I haven’t spent Christmas with my parents for years.  I don’t even live in the same country as they do!  Are they alone?  No!  Granted, the holiday isn’t the same without me…hehe!   Sure, I like decorating the house and giving gifts.  But when did the gift giving be the all important aspect of Christmas as it seems to be today?   What pressure there is in these austere times for parents to ‘give’ to their kids when many are struggling to pay the bills.  It would be really interesting if the kids told their parents not to worry about a present this year because they know it hasn’t been easy since mom or dad got laid off from work ( or any other scenario where a family is struggling).  I somehow don’t see that happening.

When my children asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I honestly couldn’t think of anything.  I have all the ‘stuff’ that I really need, as well as stuff that I don’t really need.  When I asked my sweetheart what he wanted, he couldn’t think of anything he wanted either.  When he asked me what I wanted, well, I couldn’t think of anything. I don’t need anymore diving equipment, or art supplies right now.  I don’t need clothes or shoes or handbags.  I don’t need furniture or accessories.  I haven’t seen anything that jumps out at me and screams, ‘buy me!’  There isn’t anything that I really want.  I would rather save the money for a great night out or a holiday.

In this run up to Christmas, I have had some free time on my hands to get ready for the big event.  Actually, it is in two parts as my daughter will be away for Christmas and so she came to visit me this past weekend.  I spent the week before running around like a mad woman getting all the shopping and decorating done before she arrived.  It was exhausting.  The upside to that is I don’t have to run around like a mad woman this week before my son comes down for Christmas Part 2.

What I enjoyed most about spending Christmas Part 1 with my daughter was the fact that she was here and I got to spend some time with her.  Sitting with my family at the dinner table is more important to me than presents.  Sharing time and making memories can’t take the place of a new sweater or any other item.

I am really looking forward to Christmas Part 2.  I haven’t seen my son since August as he has been away at University.  I could care less about a present.  All I really want is to spend time with my family and loved ones.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Holiday!

A Bargello Bargain

Today Dear Readers, we are going to talk a bit about embroidery and needlework.  You are probably wondering what the heck do I know about embroidery, and the answer would be more than you would think!  I know, how do I manage to fit it all in?!!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am a first-generation American and that my family is from Hungary.  I grew up eating Hungarian food and my first language was Hungarian.  My paternal grandmother looked after me for the first two years while my mother worked.  Both sides of the family lived near each other, at first in a Hungarian community in New Jersey.  That is how Hungarian I am.  Because I was quite close to both of my grandmothers, I learned how to do a lot of things from them.  I learned how to cook.  I learned how to sew.  I learned how to knit and crochet, and I also learned how to do some embroidery.  I also learned a few choice Hungarian swear words, but we won’t really talk about that.

My maternal grandmother was the one who taught me all the needle work.  The styles of embroidery that she taught me are Matyo Embroidery and  Kalocsa Embroidery.  It is this type of embroidery that most people associate with Hungarian embroidery, although there are many other styles.  I used to own a beautiful gypsy blouse with the neckline embroidered in this manner.  I even had Hungarian dolls in traditional costume with lovely embroidery on.  I think I still have a couple somewhere.

Hungarian Bookmarks

These are a couple of bookmarks that my grandmother brought back from Budapest when I was a little girl.  The design on the right is in the Matyo style, or is it Kalocsa?  This is fairly easy to do as most of it is in a satin stitch, though there are many complicated designs too.  If you Google this style, you will see many beautiful works.  It is very colourful.  It is probably why I really love folk art and the art found on barges and narrowboats in the UK.  You can see some examples here.  (I think I even met this guy!)  Notice some of the similarities.  I could go on and on about my grandmother and her embroidery, but I will save that for another time!

So, what does Hungarian embroidery have to do with Bargello needlework?  Some might say nothing, but it is believed that Hungarian needlepoint had an influence on the work found in the Bargello Palace in Florence.  That is my segue. Heh!  Plus it is nice to talk about something different for a change.

So, I am out looking for two bedside tables that must be no more than 14 inches wide when I spy this little seat with a Bargello cushion!

Bargello Needlework

I love the colours!  After reading up on Bargello needlework, I can really appreciate the time and effort that went into making the seat cover for the little piece I found.  I took the cover off of the seat as it is a bit musty and worn on one side, but I want to clean it, and frame it, and hang it in the dining room as the colours fit in really well.   If you were to go out and purchase a Bargello cushion, prices could go as high as £200+ depending on the design and quality.  Just Google ‘Bargello Cushions’ and look at the wonderful designs.   I am so happy I only paid £5 for the whole seat!

Random Photos of My World This Week

Last Tuesday was the start of a rather busy week.  I drove up to London on Tuesday in order to go to my daughter’s graduation from University on Wednesday, in Manchester.  We took the train up to Manchester and came back the same evening.  It only takes a couple of hours by train.  It would have taken over four hours each way if I drove.  Anyway, this was an extra special event as my daughter got a First!  She is so clever, and worked her little behind off!  And she has a job!  We are all so proud of her!  Here is where they had the graduation:

Pretty impressive building, huh!

Afterwards there was a little party with graduation cakes and champagne, Pimms, etc.

Graduation Cakes!


 On Thursday I headed North, to The Midlands.  On Friday I took a walk through another village with thatched cottages.

On Saturday there was a party/concert and some fireworks!

On Monday there was a walk along a canal.



Today I came home.  So that’s all folks!