29 November 2013

Holiday Music Samplers - Noise Trade

Not sure what sort of tunes you want to listen to this year? With the explosion of new holiday music it's nice to know you can get your hands on some samples for free (or what you can afford as tip). Go here for more...

27 November 2013

Words of the Angels - Trio Medieval

The women who make up this Trio Mediaeval are amazing! I have a soft spot for medieval music and this time of year often sees me shuffling through my music collection to find tracks from the Mediaevel Babes and Hildegard von Bingen. I hadn't heard of this trio before but wow!

The visuals for this track tho are a little on the weird side so don't watch.

Close your eyes and listen.

Bougainvillea Twig Wreath and Tree

Backyard Bougainvillea Wreath
Yep, more bougainvillea 'crafts.' I've never done this kind of thing before but have long been interested in basket weaving. Really wanted to learn how to work with willow but not having any at hand I figured I'd use what I did have. It was definitely a learning experience. The lesson learned? Bougainvillea is a mother$%#@*! to work with!!

The wreath is made from some of the longest offshoots I pruned. I collected them and one by one wound them round together into a wreath shape -- while they were still supple. Then after a few days of drying out I added a bit of festive garland. The Christmas tree in the centre is made from more bougainvillea. I took some of the straighter lengths and dethorned them, then cut them into twigs of various lengths. I then glued them onto a centre twig. And after a couple of days drying time I painted it. Put the two together and hung them out in the backyard. Very festive!

I also did another one of the little trees with a few more paint touches (metallic) and some little coloured bells, for hanging inside.

Little twig tree #2

24 November 2013

Never gift tease a younger sibling

So, it's a month before the big day and I've got some advice for those big brothers and sisters out there who might be planning something wicked for their younger siblings. Don't do it. I'm telling you now you WILL regret it. I will use this cautionary tale as an example of what I mean.

You see, when I was about seven years old my brother, who was 16, pointed out a present under the tree that was meant for me. From him. It was large (very exciting) but was very light in weight. I couldn't wait to open it! But I was a good girl and waited till Christmas Day...when I was told that it had to be the last gift I opened. I was so excited! What could it be?

I tore through my other few gifts till I could get to THE one. I couldn't keep still with the thrill of it all! I began to unwrap it. Under the Christmas wrap was more paper, but it wasn't Christmas wrap...just plain white tissue paper. Under that layer I found a slightly smaller package. Ooooh, a mystery! And so I began to unwrap that one.

Well, probably about 10 minutes, and several smaller packages, later I was down to the last small box. I tore it open almost missing what was inside. It was one single lite brite peg (don't remember the colour). Now, I'd been wanting a Lite Brite and so I was very excited if somewhat confused. Where was the rest of it? In another box? Down in the kitchen, perhaps? Or up in my room?

Nope. My brother explained to me that he hadn't saved quite enough money to buy me the whole thing so I would have to wait till next year.

The disappointment was keen, I gotta say. Now, I know I did eventually get a Lite Brite because I remember playing with it. I even remember it underneath our Christmas tree one year (I had used one of the blank black sheets to write "Merry Xmas") but when I got it or how or even who gave it to me I don't recall. I only remember that moment when I fought hard to hold back the tears because I was CRUSHED! (And, to a lesser extent, I didn't want my brother to feel bad.)

So, if you, or anyone you know, is thinking about playing a little mind game like this on a younger sibling, I'm here to say -- DON'T!
Silent Night...

Because if you do, well, not only will you get to the top of Santa's Naughty List, you'll ALSO make him angry.

And you don't want to see Santa get angry.

You wouldn't like him...when he's angry.

23 November 2013

Zentangle Christmas Tree

Zentangle Christmas Tree, 2012
A zentangle tree I did from last year's festive crafting extravaganza!

Ok, maybe extravaganza is a little exaggerated but it does seem I did do a lot more crafting last year.

More examples of said activity using toilet paper rolls and, of course, bougainvillea twigs, to come.

21 November 2013

Lighting the Serpent - Solstice fun

Serpent Mound
About a month till Winter Solstice, sigh. Like many of you, I also like to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Back home I usually invite people over for dinner on the 21st to celebrate Solstice rather than on Christmas Eve or Day. So, I won't deny that there's a little bit of the pagan in me and that this is the time of year I feel it most.

Of course, my current location means we don't really get the long winter nights (or the winter weather) that I'd be 'enjoying' back in Newfoundland. Here, at this time of year, the sun rises around 6 am and sets around 5 pm. So we do get a few additional night time hours, compared to summer, but I highly doubt there will be any Solstice celebrations.

If YOU live somewhere where there are some then YOU could go to one for me! And light a candle or dance a jig or whatever your inner pagan desires.

My choice, if wishes were fishes, would be Lighting the Serpent - A Winter Solstice Celebration.

Here's a bit of Nordic Stomp for your musical enjoyment while you ponder the possibilities of attending a Solstice event...

20 November 2013

Christmas Stencils and Glass Wax

Wow! I wish I had some of that glass wax! From the very early years of my life I think I can recall the same sort of thing done with spray snow on our living room windows. Later were the years I remember carving Christmas words like "HO HO" and "XMAS" into the frost covering the inside of our front bedroom window.

Or maybe it was "Help."

19 November 2013

The weather outside is frightful....?

So many you out there reading this blog (according to the stats anyway) are living in places where the weather is turning colder and snow flakes have started drifting past your windows...or soon will be. And that's often part of what makes this time of year feel festive, right? "The ♪ weather outside ♫ is frightful but ♫ inside it's so delightful..."

Now, here in Doha the weather turns as well. But here it goes from the incredibly, hot, sometimes humid, heat that requires huddling inside air-conditioned interiors to much more reasonable temperatures that make you want to actually go outside. And sometimes there may be some rain. I remember several years ago the day, I believe it was in November, when it rained off and on ALL day. It was quite exciting! Well, two days ago we had a similar kind of day. Overcast all day with occasional heavy downpours, which, by the way, can make driving on dust-turned-to-silt roads quite tricky. Also causes a lot of short circuits...like the one to the pump that supplies our place with water.

What I didn't realize until today was how extreme the weather got. This is footage of a waterspout just off Qatar's shores near Ras Laffin. Look!!

There was other extreme weather in Saudi where heavy rains caused flooding and a tower was hit by lightning...read more here.

So, even in this region, at this time of year, the weather can indeed be frightful!

And today's forecast is calling for more rain...BBC Weather.

18 November 2013

Ahmad Tea - Holiday Inspiration

Searching for tea the other day this box caught my eye. It seems somewhat Christmas-ee with the green and red and gold (scanner didn't really pick up on the gold of "English Breakfast" but you get the idea).

I'll take my inspiration where I can find it.  And I take my tea with milk...cardamon, if you have it :)

English Breakfast Ahmad Tea featuring Hyde Park, London c. 1850

17 November 2013

Holiday Bazaar at CNA-Q - November 23

Hey, if you are in Doha and want to check out some great gift and decorating ideas then come to the Holiday Bazaar at CNA-Q! Last year I got some beautiful ceramic bowls from Turkey.

16 November 2013

Christmas came to Carrefour!

I was out grocery shopping yesterday and look...Christmas came to Carrefour! Yay!!

Christmas ailse at Carrefour - Doha, 2013

15 November 2013

Elves are real...in Iceland

Heard this story about elves recently on Q Radio. Apparently, work had to stop on a construction project because someone forgot to consult the local elves. Hmmm.

I think most Icelanders today believe in elves the way most Newfoundlanders believe in fairies. Sure, there may be a small number who still actually do believe but I'm guessing the majority say they believe because hey, it's cute, quaint, and good for tourism.

13 November 2013

Airport - Not your usual holiday flick

I know, I know. You're thinking..."Airport?! Seriously? A Christmas movie?" Yep. It's the snow. Yes, the story is set during the Christmas season (all those travellers) and includes plenty of drama, romance with a sprinkling of comedy but what really makes this a Christmas movie for me is that snow storm! Makes me feel chilly even here in the desert.

And keep in mind that this Airport movie (based on the novel by Arthur Hailey) is the original from 1970. Not any of those hack repeat follow-ups or comedy spoofs. This one is the real deal. And it's got everything! Extreme weather, drama, romance, comedy AND a cast of thousands (you'll be amazed at who you might recognize). My favourite male character is cigar chompin' Patroni as played by the hunky George Kennedy. Yeah, I know some of you out there might be more into Burt Lancaster or Dean Martin but it's George that does it for me, sigh.

Of course, there's also the beautiful Jacqueline Bisset (Stewardess Gwen) and Jean Seberg as the very capable Tanya Livingston but who REALLY makes this movie for me is the amazing Helen Hayes. I. love. her. I want to be clever Ada Quonset when I get old (AND a Snoop Sister). The only slightly sour note in this otherwise great 2 hour get-away is Maureen Stapleton. As the wife of our would be bomber I think that, later in the film, she takes the dramatic acting just a tad too far. But then again, this has been described as a melodrama.

Oh yeah, the other star of this movie is the music. The main theme always sends a shiver of excitement through me. It was the composer's (Alfred Newman) last score.

DeerStein poster by Albert&Marie

I like this! It's green, it has trees, a deer, that little bear, and the geometric 60s like feel...what's NOT to like? I wish there was a real one. I mean a real 3 dimensional ceramic white and green beer stein. But lacking that how 'bout the poster!

11 November 2013

Jingle Bell Rocks - A Documentary

This looks really interesting!

Jingle Bell Rocks Trailer HD from EyeSteelFilm on Vimeo.

Vintage Holiday Wrap and Tree Raising at Rockefeller


Oh, I love how people collect things and then put it all online for someone like me to stumble across! Sooo many ideas so few brain cells left to hold them all. This is my latest discovery thanks to xtinalamb and her flicker collection of vintage wrapping paper.

AND watch this year's Christmas tree go up in front of Rockefeller Center!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

09 November 2013

Bougainvillea Twig Tree - Ouch!

Bougainvillea Twig Tree 
I mentioned yesterday that I constructed a twig tree of bougainvillea branches last year? While pruning our incredible never-stops-growing bougainvillea last fall I had put aside a ton of branches (still have lots!) to make this thing with. I even spray painted it white!

As I also said yesterday, I'm not really sure I'm up to recreating this thorny monster again. Although some of it, in a much shorter form, still exists as a cat climbing deterrent in our back yard.

So, if you have any ideas about what I could do instead, let me know.

08 November 2013

Punjabi Jingle...

Yeah, AGAIN, I'm not in Newfoundland. But I'm not in Pakistan either. Or India. However, I am in the Middle East -- back in the Gulf region. This is the closest I could come up with trying to combine the festive holiday with some local flavour.

We're coming up on another Christmas spent here instead of travelling back home. That means I might actually get around to a few posts this time. Last year I was too busy making a twig tree out of bougainvillea branches. That was prickly! But it did work well and tied in with my twig tree tradition. Not sure what I'm going to do this year as I don't think I have it in me to deal with more thorn laden bougainvilla. There's an IKEA here now so maybe I'll get some ideas there. ALMOST bought a 2nd hand fake pine but someone got to it before me :(

But maybe that's a good thing.