Saturday, 29 December 2012

Handmade presents

I have been beavering away making presents for my family and today I got to hand them over and watch them get opened, they were all very well appreciated.

The first thing I made was a ribbon heart hook for my sister, she loves bright colours so obviously I chose bright ribbons and got making. I also made her a hat with some wool found in my parents loft when they moved, it's really old double crepe and when Rheanne saw it she asked me to make her something...I did!

I crocheted my Mum a robin which she loves, it was a tricky little devil to make but well worth it. I also knocked up a scarf for her long walks on the beach with Monty the dog, it's made with sweet briar chunky which is my fave yarn, can't tell you why but I just loved knitting with it.

I made my Dad a hat for the same purpose as my Mum's scarf, he is the first to admit he needs a hat due to a lack of hair on his head so after one bodged attempt I found a fantastic pattern for a WW1 watch cap and knitted it, it's great.

Here are the photo's, I am writing this on my iPad so I can't put them in amongst the text which is so annoying.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Christmas Day is here and reaching its end. This year is the first I have spent away from my family so that was a bit odd but I have had a lovely day with my own little family. Sophie the cat unfortunately had a fight last night so she has spent the day moping around with a large chunk of her tail missing...boxing day trip in her box to the vets it is.

Dinner was a success...eventually. The oven randomly turned itself off half way through the Yorkshire puddings but we did recover them, I think I had pressed a button that made it turn off after so long.

I can share one of my home made gifts as it has now been opened, a scarf for Tom's Mum, it went down well.

I was a very lucky girl as Tom got me a Lumie Bodyclock, it's amazing and I cannot wait to be woken up gently by it, I really hope it helps with this depression malarkey!

I shall end this short blog by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. To those of you missing loved ones or struggling over the festive period I send you my love.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Cake

Last year I made my first ever Christmas Cake and it was delicious, it looked like this.

I was rather happy with it but decided this year to attempt to be a bit braver with my decorating.  The recipe is one by Mary Berry and it is honestly amazing, that woman is a genius!  If you fancy having a go yourself the recipe can be found HERE.  It's a boozy one and tastes like heaven but I recommend that it serves more than 12 as it is very rich.  This is how I have decorated this years cake.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Mince Pies

Today I made mice pies with Tom's Mum, I was entrusted with an old Cox family recipe for the pastry so I am not allowed to share it but oh my it's good! It is so light and fluffy I could eat the whole lot in one go. It got me very much in the festive spirit as it has vanished recently.

In other news my sweater club cardigan is coming along nicely, can't stop knitting it because its so beautiful.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Hand sewn Christmas Cards

This year I decided to stitch some cards for close family. I designed them all myself and then got sewing. I think they all look pretty good and I have to admit I have the found the process very therapeutic...apart from the final mad dash to get them finished. They have all been very well received and the smiles on people's faces have cheered me up aswell.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Handmade Christmas Tree

We put our tree up a few days ago and it looks fantastic. I realised that a lot of the decorations are handmade and thought I would share them.

There is a handmade glass Santa ornament from Rome, wooly snowmen, a Santa and felt starts I made when I had swine flu, a lovely felt reindeer sewn by my Mummy, some hand painted glass baubles, the beautiful collection of decorations from my craft swap and a T and L from a craft fare. I just love our tree, it also has a very quirky fairy on top made by my own fair hands.

I have also recently been to see my sister for our annual Christmas get together and as she is working the entirety of Christmas it felt even more important for me to see her this year. Due to the fact she lives in London we were able to visit winter wonderland, it was pretty wonderful but rather pricey. Sadly the day was marred somewhat by an aggressive chap on the tube swearing at us for trying to help his fallen mother, not good for the anxiety I was already feeling about being in such a busy place. It was a lovely visit though and great to see my little sis, also good for me and my health as the big wide world can be quite scary at the moment so it's good for me to tackle it head on!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Upcoming sweater club

I start sweater club on Sunday, I have been so indecisive about what to knit but have finally made a decision and paid for the pattern and yarn so no backing out now! I'm excited as I am taking on an Aran. It's a simple one but lovely nonetheless. I am also cracking on with some socks, I want a pair knitted before the weekend but this might be a bit too optimistic as I am in London visiting Rheanne for a few days...train knitting it will have to be! Anyway, here is the jacket I will be knitting but in a lovely grey and my crazy sock knitting.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

I knitted a sock

Today I learnt how to knit socks. I only made a little one and its a bit out of proportion but we went through the basics so I should now be able to knit big ones for big feet! How cute is this!

Friday, 7 December 2012

A trip to the seaside

My parents have recently moved from Northamptonshire to Suffolk and despite it being an extra 150 miles away from me I am rather pleased, it's a lovely place to visit!

I have been here since Monday and I head back to Nottingham tonight. It's been lovely. A visit to my parents always is but with the sea and beach thrown in its just a lot better!

I thought I would share a few of my snaps of this beautiful part of the world. Also a couple of Rheanne and I playing with a giant magnifying glass.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Biscuits and another Craft Fair

Today I went to a Craft Fair organised by a friend Jo from Uni who I haven't seen in a very long time.  I was quite excited as not only is she lovely so are her creations!  I was also excited to see another friend Becky from Uni and I was secretly hoping that she would have her baby with her and she did, he's lovely.

Beautiful cakes made by Becky, they were delicious!
A gorgeous framed peg board/notice board from Jo's stall.  Cant wait to get it above the desk I will have in the future for my crafting.
I also purchased a letter each for Tom and I to hang on the tree.

Since getting home I have finished cross stitching a fourth Christmas Card  and I have baked some biscuits for Tom because my suitcase is packed to visit my Parents for the week for some fresh sea side air and rest, if I don't get dragged into too much DIY.

It's a lovely recipe for simple but delicious biscuits so I thought I would share.

Mummy Halls Vanilla Biscuits

140g Icing Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract/essence
1 Egg yolk
250g Butter
375g Plain Flour

  1. Put icing sugar, vanilla, egg yolk and butter into a bowl and stir.  Add the flour and mix to make a firm dough.  Make this into 2 discs and wrap in cling film before placing in the fridge for 20-30 mins.
  2. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin and cut into shapes.  Place them on lined or greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 12 mins at about 180 degrees until they are lightly golden.  Place on a wire rack to cool.
  4. Decorate with icing and enjoy.  Or if you are like me skip the cooling and icing stages.
The finished items (some were still in the oven) the mixture makes a lot!

A personalised birthday card.

I love making cards for people and my newest fave is to cross stitch the person it is for. I like to make a little character with really simple blocks of colours.

This time it was for Becky, well known for her hats, amazing eye lashes and lovely blonde locks. I made a little design and stitched away. It's great and Becky loved it aswell.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Bits and Bobs

I went to complete my Christmas shopping the other day and stopped in at Debbie Bryan to collect my final speed craft creations.  I love them.

Glass hanging created with Stevie Davies
Ceramic Brooches created with Katie Almond

I am getting very much in the festive spirit and cannot wait to get decorating.  The bargains I have found have not helped subdue this either...look!!

A giant Poinsettia for £1, wowee!
A jar of beautifully scented tea lights for £2.99

This evening I went to a Jamie at Home Party which was lovely, the things for sale are brilliant but unfortunately (or fortunately for my bank balance) I only have a little kitchen.  I did however purchase these for a bargain price of £20, normally £42!!

Meat, veg, fish and bread board.

Also, all the crafting I have been doing has been putting strain on my eyes and over the years I have gone from being very long sighted to having nearly perfect vision but if this progresses I will be short sighted very soon and that wouldn't be good.  Therefore I have to wear glasses all the time now to attempt to help strengthen my eyes before my sight gets bad.  Took me ages to choose but here they are.
Finally I am creating a little card for a friend, I think it looks awesome and I will be handing it over soon so I can share it.  My Christmas bits and bobs are also coming along nicely.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Make and Craft swap goodies have arrived and WOW!!

I received a tweet yesterday to say my swap gifts would be here today, the van pulled up and I shot to the door.  In my haste to open everything I did not photograph the beautiful selection of wrapped little gifts.  It was like Christmas had come early, I was so excited.

In my box of goodies was a selection of handmade Christmas decorations.  They are all absolutely beautiful and have made me even more excited about my favourite time of year.

 I tried to pick a favourite one but I just cant, they are all beautiful in their own little way.

The gift also contained some beautiful Christmas bows (I do love bows) and some great Christmas labels.  I was also sent three very thoughtful books, one to make me smile when a smile is really needed and a crochet and sewing project book.

I just Love everything and I am indescribably grateful for such a thoughtful gift.  Thank you so much George.

Edith and Sophie even love the box everything came in.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Long Eaton Art Room

Today Tom took me to a craft fare where one of his friends was going to be.  I didn't know a lot about where we were going but loved the place when we got there.

The Long Eaton Art Room is a community arts centre staffed by volunteers to offer artistic and crafting experiences.  It works on a drop in basis where you can pop in, pay £5 and spend some time learning a new skill.  I love this idea and I am so going to go to learn how to needle felt do I can put my prize to use.  There is also a monthly subscription option for £25 and you can as often as you like.  There are studio spaces, artists works for sale, a shop for supplies, you name it!

Whilst there we saw some fantastic creations.  We particularly liked the work by Kate CloudHelen HallowsLouise MacIntosh-Watson and Emily Smalley amongst a number of others who's cards I didn't pick up.

I also got to meet one of Tom's friends Margi who makes amazing bakes!

A lovely place where I will most certainly be visiting again and again.

On another note...I just got to watch the water fairies put out a wheelie bin fire. What an exciting day!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Christmas cards and Yoga

I am busy stitching away to make Christmas cards for the family. I have finished 2 now but thought I would share one (hopefully my Nanna doesn't check my blog). All of them will be different and hopefully each as good as the first. I do love giving a handmade card!

Also I started yoga today, I loved it. I was flexible enough but nowhere near strong enough and I had a lot of shakes and wobbles. It was fab though so I will certainly be heading back again.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Home Decoration Make and Craft Swap

It's time to write about my second craft swap, the goods have been delivered so I can now reveal all.

The theme was Home Decorations and I was paired up with George who has a lovely blog which you can get to from HERE.  I carefully read the e-mail and looked through the blog to pull out inspiration because it is a hard theme when you do not know what sort of house the items are going to.  George loves books and hates waste so I decided that I would try to make everything using one book that would otherwise be destined for the bin.

The first stop was my local Oxfam Book Shop to see if they had any hardback books ready for the bin.  I was taken to the sorting room and showed a massive pile of boxes full of books.  Lots of them had absolutely nothing wrong with them and I was very tempted to take a lot out to bring home but that was not why I was there.  There was a collection of Charles Dickens hardbacks that had seen better days and I was offered them for 25p each.  I took 3 and donated £2.

The first thing I wanted to do was make the book cover into a storage pot, a practical item that could hold pens or more decorative items such as dried flowers.  The first step was to remove the pages at the front and back by the edge of the binding.  I then had to measure the height, width and length of the pages so that I could cut a piece of balsa wood the right size to fit.  Once this was done I had to glue it all in place so it looked just like a real book.  I was really pleased with the end result.


I then thought I would make some paper flowers to put in the pot to make it look more decorative for the purpose of the swap but if George wishes to use for something more practical then that was my initial intention.  I had no idea how to make paper flowers so I used the POM POM technique and stuck it onto a wooden kebab skewer.  The first attempt looked quite good for an experiment so I made two more.


After making this I decided to try something else I had seen on TV and in a book and make a paper bird.  I again had no clue if it was going to work and the whole thing was a try it and see experiment that worked surprisingly well.  I started by screwing up a lot of the pages from the book and making them into a general bird shape.  I then covered it in sellotape to hold the shape...a dispenser would have been helpful at this point.  Once this was done I had to figure out how to make the legs.  Here I saw the skewers on the table and some off cuts of balsa wood.  With a lot of glue and patience the birdie had legs and he stood up!  Then it was time for the messy bit, I had to cover the whole thing in small pieces of book page and PVA.  I was covered, my phone was covered and it was all over the cutting mat.  I am surprised that Tom and the Cats were not stuck to the walls and ceiling.  Here is the final result.

 Next I decided to make some hanging decorations for Christmas using the technique I was taught at SPEED CRAFT by PHIONA RICHARDS.  I made two and included pictorial instructions and supplies so George could make a third.  I think they look lovely and they are also made from book pages and an old Costa Coffee bag.  It's all about recycling and don't they look pretty.

I then packaged them all up together with the purchased gift which I saw online and just had to buy.  George makes amazing CAKES and I saw a mixer painted on a recipe book page, I thought it was quite appropriate despite the amount of pink.  I also stitched a little card because I always like to give a home made card.

I hope George enjoys the gifts as much as I enjoyed making them.