Hi Friends!

Happy Tuesday and Happy New Year!

Firstly, if you are interested in my annual wrap up post (like the monthly wrap up posts I do but for the whole year) you can find it here. It lists things like the most popular posts, the number of challenges entered, how many journal pages I made etc. It is basically a post of lists but I find it handy to see everything in one place.
My Christmas Cactus has been in flower since just before Christmas day but I forgot to take a photo of it till the weekend.

New Year Traditions . . .
I noticed many people wishing Happy New Year to everyone online before the New Year last week and they might have been wondering why I didn’t return the wish.  Here’s a fun fact about New Year here, no one does the Happy New Year wish before the actual bells at midnight, unless you say “Happy New Year… when it comes” because it’s supposed to be unlucky.  Yes I know, superstition and all that, but better to be safe than sorry. It’s an old superstition but it runs deep.  It goes hand in hand with the other old saying about New Year – whatever you are doing when the clock strikes midnight is what you will be doing all year.  That is also translated into the cleanliness of your house – if your house is clean it will be clean all year and if it’s not, then it won’t.  I cleaned my house, washed clothes, dishes, myself, my hair, changed and made the bed, and did some general tidying.  I also finished moving the furniture around in the craft room because I didn’t want it to be left undone – that room is bad enough as it is!  Also you will find in Scotland that many people will take the Christmas decorations down before Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) instead of leaving them up for the full Twelve Days of Christmas.

I think mainly this is because to them Christmas is over and it’s time to celebrate New Year, but also because of the whole cleaning the house thing I mentioned above and perhaps also because they don’t know about the 12 Days of Christmas tradition.  We in Scotland also get an additional public holiday on the 2nd January (today) that no one else in the UK gets.  Will I mention the first footing tradition?  The first foot is the first person to enter a home after the bells on New Year’s eve and they bring good luck for the coming year with them… unless you are a redhead (like me) as that is considered bad luck to be first through the door.  That can be tricky in a country like here where there are a lot of redheads, so it can be done so long as you carry a lump of coal with you!  I haven’t left the house since before New Year, so if I leave now and then come back, I would be first-footing myself lol and with the hair and all, that would be bad luck if I wasn’t carrying some coal with me.  Coal is not so accessible these days BTW.  Alternately I stay trapped in my house and wait for visitors to arrive, or I ignore the prospect of bad luck, or perhaps I just let Miss P be my token black haired first-foot.  She’s been in and out many times since New Year’s. Actually my neighbour usually does it as she is well familiar with the tradition and she has black hair so that’s super lucky!

By the way, the photo above is a Christmas present – it’s an advent calendar from Dutch skincare brand Rituals.  Each little house and tree holds a gift and there are lights under the village so it lights up.  Needless to say, I am keeping the box for future Christmas decor.

Today’s Art . . .

Today’s art is the page I shared yesterday for More Than Words. I am using my Word of the Year, and if you want to read more about how that came about, visit this post from Monday.

Currently Reading . . .

I ended up with a total of 140 books for 2023.  I tried to pick a top 10 but I could only narrow it down to a top 15 which also included a few series.  You can see a list of the full 140 books and the top 15 in this post. I also keep track of how many books by new (to me) authors and that ended up being 30 new authors for 2023.

My current obsession is this urban fantasy series I recently discovered.  I love a bit of urban fantasy but it needs to be good, it needs to have a bit of humour, it needs to make sense and needs to not be overly romantic.  This series is perfect.  I’m currently reading book 8 of 13 but there is also a spin-off series featuring a hilarious Australian wizard that I will most probably read next so I get to be in this world for a bit longer after I finished this series.

book cover of Dark Horse

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

TOTAL for 2024
1 book so far

January Books so far – 1

1. E.A. Copen – Dark Revel – Lazarus Codex #8   :star: :star: :star:  :star:  :starhalf:

(re-reads if any are in bold)

Currently Crocheting . . .
I am still (slowly) crocheting my way through this 1000m ball of yarn.  I’m in no rush as it’s a summer weight yarn and I just wanted something to do while I sit in front of the stove watching Netflix in the long, dark, winter evenings.  However, I noticed yesterday that there are only two colours left so it won’t be long now till I’m finished.

T Stands For . . .

I bought a new whistling kettle for my stove.  I wasn’t going to because I’ve just been using a pot to bottle water for tea when the stove is on but then just after Christmas I managed to pick this one up for a good price.  It’s very shiny – you can just make out the reflection of me taking the photo.  Interestingly they called this a “camp kettle” presumably normal people use electric kettles inside their houses.  This is the kind of kettle I used to have in Australia, you could pick them up for A$5 but this one cost me £14, not too bad considering amazon wants £40 for one!  The whistle part is hinged so I don’t have to have it whistling because that can get annoying!  If the stove is on, then I can make cups of tea using no additional energy ie I don’t need to switch the kettle on and use electricity – or maybe that should be electriciTEA lol

I set this photo up showing a few Christmas sweet treats but I didn’t eat it all!  The Christmas cake and Tablet are the ones I made.  The mince pie and shortbread were bought and as were the chocolate truffles which were a gift.  The only vegan things in the photo are the cake (Royal Icing usually has egg whites in it but I made it with aquafaba), the mince pie and the chocolate truffles.  The shortbread and Tablet contain dairy. I’m so used to making the tablet that I don’t need to taste it to know that it’s ready.  Oh and here’s a fun fact about Christmas cake – it’s a rich fruit cake with marzipan and Royal icing so generally sweet – but my BIL introduced us all to a Yorkshire influence – eating it with a slice of cheese!  I was a teenager when this started and I thought it was delicious.  My mum was horrified that anyone would want to ruin her cake by adding cheese to it lol.  If you want to try this, it is traditionally eaten with a slice of Wensleydale cheese but other hard cheeses would be OK too.


And finally, some lucky black New Year kitties.  I mentioned at the beginning that I was rearranging the craft room, well I had some helpers.  Mr G on the left and Miss Lily on the right.  Two out of three cats approved!  Miss P was out roaming her garden territory at the time, she’s not info arts and crafts.

Let me know what you think in the comments.   As always, thanks for reading and Happy New Year!


as above


T Stands For

15 Awesome Comments (btw comment moderation is on)
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Bleubeard and Elizabeth
January 3, 2024 9:52 am

Your Christmas cactus is beautiful. I had one years ago, but it died after a few years.

Your New Year traditions were interesting. Quite different from ours in the states.

That advent calendar is gorgeous. I can see you setting it up and using it year after year. I like that it lights up, too.

As I mentioned earlier, I like your WOTY. And I hope you share your crocheted work with us when it’s finished.

Mr. G and Miss Lily are beautiful and their fur is so shiny and soft. You must use very expensive cat food.

In my previous home, I had a stove similar to yours. I had a pan of water on the stove all the time because the house was so dry in the winter. It also saved on my heat bills because I had a 2 story house and the heat really didn’t travel well upstairs. I think your new teapot is beautiful and an excellent idea for keeping the water hot for your tea.

Not sure what a tablet is, but your various goodies have made me hungry. As always, I love your Cat Mum mug. Thanks for sharing these wonderful items and art with us for T this Tuesday, dear Elle.

January 3, 2024 2:41 am

Hpw fun that both are posts had to do with First Footing. I like the idea of Miss P being your furst footer. Lucky indeed. ??? Happy Hogmanay and a Happy, Healthy, and Creative year.

January 3, 2024 2:21 am

Gosh! I’m getting muddled at where to comment on so many blogs today! I just popped in to say Happy T day! and wishing you and your family a very Happy 2024

Ps, I hope what ever I was doing at 12 midnight doesn’t continue through the year! I’m so glad I emptied that very way passed its sell by date Bucks Fizz, down the drain! love that Cat card and will go see the post about it….if I can find it!

Erika N
January 2, 2024 11:23 pm

I think that is interesting that if we were in Scotland we shouldn’t say Happy New Year until it arrives. Different customs are always so interesting. I admit I am a cleaning freak for the start of the new year; always have been even though I never heard until this year how if you clean for the new year your house will stay clean. And that is a fun little village. I can see some good art projects from it. I like your new tea kettle too. It’s so shiny. And nice mug too. I guess I can now say Happy 2024 to you. I hope you and the kitties have a great new year with lots of fun T days. hugs-Erika

Carola Bartz
January 2, 2024 9:01 pm

Hi Elle, I enjoyed reading about your New Year traditions. In Germany we say Happy New Year before and after New Year, but if you say Happy Birthday before the actual birthday (like it is done in the US), that means bad luck. I used to be a read head before I became silver, so now I should be good to enter, shouldn’t I? I love your kitties as always, they are so darn cute. 140 books is a lot, wow. I managed 62, which is less than the years before. If I had a stove like that, I would have the kettle going all day as well. Happy T day!

January 2, 2024 8:39 pm

Your Christmas cactus is beautiful. Mine flowered as well but is not looking so good now. (Wht have I done to it?)
Interesting to read about the different traditions and superstitions. I haven’t any I can think of.My visitors came from the Netherlands but originally they are from the Phillipines. They told me we had to eat noodles on New Year’s Eve because it brings longevity.
What a gorgeous Rituals advent calendar! I am Dutch and I didn’t know Rituals was a Dutch company!
Boy, you have read a lot of books! I thought I read a lot, but you def beat me. In reckon I have read about 70.
Lovely kettle! I also have a stove like that. Mine is antique though and is called a ‘parlour stove’. It lives in the guest room. As I have had guests, the stove has been burning non-stop. I have no central heating in the house and it has been cold.
Happy T-Day and Happy New Year,

Divers and Sundry
January 2, 2024 5:28 pm

Your Christmas cactus looks lovely. We say “Happy New Year’s Eve” until midnight, but I don’t think it’s because of luck… We leave decorations up through the 12 Days of Christmas, but we don’t clean for New Year’s 😉 I have an electric kettle now but may switch to a whistling one when that one doesn’t work any more. My countertops are so full lol Happy T Tuesday

January 2, 2024 4:29 pm

I had never heard that before about wishing in the new year early.
Enjoyed reading your post-love that you have a woodstove I miss not having one.
Happy T Kathy

January 2, 2024 4:11 pm

Loveliness all around Elle! I love a Christmas cactus! Since moving to our new home a few years ago i’ve been working on my collection of Amaryllis… I don’t have the best light in the house for the flowering plants i love.. and i have yet to get an Amaryllis to rebloom.. but fingers crossed.. Happy New Year! and Happy T day! Hugs! deb

Jo - Let's Art Journal
January 2, 2024 4:09 pm

Such a great post and it sounds like your busy with all that cleaning. I love seeing your kitties and your page design is stunning, the papers and colours look amazing together with the kitty. It must have been fun to create and I always enjoy creating collage backgrounds too ?. Happy T Tuesday and wishing you all the best for 2024! Hugs, Jo x

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