Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas & the mother in law

We had a wonderful Christmas – I just love it!

We went to my Auntie Ann’s on Christmas Day or as asked by the m-i-l ‘Are you going to that woman’s?’.  And I more or less completely managed this year to avoid letting the mother in law wind me up.  Unlike one year in particular when I ended up slicing salad stuff like it had committed a heinous crime – the m-i-l went on and on about when was she getting her tea resulting in me stropping off into the kitchen missing the last 20 minutes of a film – it’s not as if we could have heard it anyway if I’d stayed.  I wouldn’t mind but she’d only had her lunch 3 or 4 hours before and complained constantly about it being too much.

Oh, and there was the year she was watching her cholesterol and so I double checked if she would eat cheesecake if I made it with low fat cheese – she then wouldn’t eat it as it had raspberries swirled through it and she didn’t like that that resulted in pink swirls – it should have been white with the fruit on top only!

And then there was the year I fractured my elbow (only hairline) and she wanted to know why I wasn’t able to do any baking and in the same breath was excusing my sister in law from doing anything as she had a cold! (Wow, she actually made an allowance for one of us at some point.)

And there was the year that the in-laws turned up on Boxing Day with a turkey for me to cook as they had defrosted it but for some reason couldn’t cook it themselves.  I’d never cooked a turkey before and my father in law had seen on the TV that the best way to cook it was wrap the turkey itself in foil and turn it over part way through cooking – which was entertaining to do.  It wasn’t for us by the way, they took it all home with them.

Anyhoo, moving back to this year and my new tactic.  I am generally quite laid back but the m-i-l manages to get me from zero to KABOOM in about 0.25 milliseconds.  But not this year (well okay, there was one slight start of a flare up but I managed to kick that into touch).

Christmas Day we called at my sister in law’s with Buddy.  Gill’s two Boston Terriers weren’t Buddy friendly and were dispatched to the kitchen while Bud discovered their squeaky toys in the lounge and set out dismantling one.  I know very inconsiderate of me but by the time I reached out for it, it was already squeakless.

This is Benson aka Benny…

This is Dorothy aka Dottie (back in August, she’s a bit bigger now)…

I managed to avoid having to kiss the m-i-l as I had Bud on the lead and she’s frightened of dogs.  My sis in law’s mum complimented me on my hair and how it suited me short.  The m-i-l agreed then asked Gill’s mum if it was a wig.

Then she insisted that my eldest nephew moved from the arm of the settee to the spot just vacated by the youngest nephew near to her.  When he proved to be less than enthusiastic and only moved on about the fifth suggestion she put her hand up to her mouth and WHISPERED to Gill’s mum ‘I don’t think he thinks much about me.’  Obviously I heard this WHISPER across the room so goodness knows what eldest nephew thought – probably whatever the most modern equivalent of ‘Beam me up Scotty’ is.  I meanwhile found it good to know that it’s not only Bernard she says this about/to!

She then pointed out that Bud was eating the squeaky toy.  ‘No, Mary’ I said very insistently ‘he isn’t, he’s spitting it out!’ as evidenced by the 102 pieces strewn over the rug.  As it turned out, and as much as this pains me, she wasn’t wrong on that count.  Not right you understand, just not wrong.  I found this out on Monday morning around 06:00 when I awoke to find a small furry face peering at me over the edge of the bed.  ‘That’s unusual’ I thought ‘Bud doesn’t normally get off the bed until I get up’.  So I scooched over and Bud reclaimed some of the duvet.

I meanwhile tootled off downstairs to get a head start on the painkillers so I my wrist didn’t kick off when I got up.  Fortunately I put my socks on as it was still very cold and by the time I got to the kitchen I thought mmmm, well okay not at first, it was 06:00ish after all (that’s 6 in the AM!), so I finally thought ‘mmmmm, why’s my sock a bit moist?’.  I turned round and there on the dining room laminate was a little pile of Buddy sick, and a little further away another little pile.  Both piles as it turned out containing little bits of squeaky snowman!  There was also a puddle of wee under the dining table but I didn’t notice that at the time. B noticed it when he got up later but only after Bud was giving it a passing sniff!

Okay, back to Boxing Day… well, maybe that’s enough for one post – Christmas Part II Boxing Day to follow…

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Christmas from a Shop

I would like to bring to your attention a recommendation that Lorna made about a TV programme.

“I was watching a programme on ITV this afternoon called “May the best Christmas house win.” I’m sure it was you pretending to be a Mancunian, she certainly had your craftiness and giggle. It was you wasn’t it? If you didn’t catch it maybe it’s on Sky+ or some other on demand channel.”

Lorna was even kind enough to forward me a link to said programme.  It involved four women going to each others houses to critique the others’ Christmas decorations/style, obviously these were very different styles.

  • One had leopard print baubles and feathery masks on the tree
  • One had enough illuminations to rival Blackpool and not enough room left inside to swing a very small cat, probably also dressed as santa
  • One had a very designer edge, black tree, sparkly, glitter style
  • And the fourth one had handmade crafty decs – which leaned heavily on owls but had knit bunting, I-cord and mushrooms

And the winner was… Leopard Baubles – with Crafty Christmas an abysmal fourth.  (I actually liked the one with the BLACK Christmas tree!)

Really, really abysmal – someone voted Crafty a TWO!  Now I’m not too sure what the lovely Lorna meant by the similarities (and I would point out that this is just the right time to be mean to Lorna because she is currently strung tighter than a pole dancer’s thong and all because Mike is on holiday at the moment) but Crafty Christmas had no bought decs.  Well, I would like to point out that I actually do.

I have some baubles, well they are bought but not on the tree, I attached them to ribbon and hung them from the wall lights…

Well, I have some stockings that were bought as panels and then sewn together and embellished…

Mmmm, I have some bought bowls, that I added little shiny stars and floating candles and then ‘Just Add Water’.

Well I do have a wreath with plastic bags that I knocked up on Boxing Day – oh, but they weren’t bought bags they were still free.  I had planned on making one for a while so had been saving bags and fortunately with making a ton of Myeloma Buddies I’d got a LOT of stuffing from a shop that had kindly changed their bags from cream to white and burgundy so I had enough of one type for the whole wreath.  Although I had to work hard to get them from the bottom of my sack of bags – so hard that I had to keep nipping upstarts to find another one – this had nothing to do with the mother in law being in the living room!  At one point my Auntie Ann nodded off – I am giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming she didn’t feign sleep to avoid hearing about my father in law’s fatal heart attack yet again!

I just cut the bags into strips with pinking shears and tied two strips at a time onto an embroidery hoop.

And I couldn’t resist being a copycat and making some of the crocheted snow flakes like Fiona – oh hang on, they’re definitely not bought!

Oh, oh, I do, I do have some shop bought unadulterated ornaments… TA DA…

Bud gave them a good hard look when they appeared on the cabinet but so far hasn’t made an attempt to liberate them.  It’s just as well they no longer sing and dance, or rather wiggle, that might be too much as evidenced by Bud making off with Auntie Ann’s singing puppy on Christmas Day.

Now I’m sure you all want to know how Christmas with the mother in law went, well tomorrow, once I’ve recovered enough to commit it to hard copy I’ll be sure and let you know about our Christmas, which includes such exciting things as what to say to enamour your eldest grandson to you, what you should eat before arriving for a Boxing Day lunch, what to do if someone tries to poison you with purple lettuce and how to ingratiate yourself with your daughter in law by switching from calling her Auntie ‘that woman’ to calling her small furry family member ‘that dog’, oh, and asking if she’s wearing a wig!

 

Buddy Antlers

I think we all knew that getting Buddy into the antlers I’d bought wasn’t going to be a piece of Christmas Cake however if I’d have thought on I should have popped them on him when he’d disappeared into the bedroom the other night and made himself comfy…

however I didn’t – so armed with the antlers, the camera and a large handful of dog biscuits we made the attempt last night.  Needless to say our photos won’t be as elegantly posed as the ones of Toni, but here they are…

 

And the final straw, I mean, shot…

‘Just give me the biscuit and take off the antlers and everybody can

Have a Whoofly Christmas

and that includes all of you!’

Final Countdown

Wow – I’m done and ended up just two pressies short of a Christmas – I did start them last night but it was after 23:00 – and I didn’t think I had the relevant concentration to do them justice.  I had a few things to finish today but knew they wouldn’t take that long…

Some more paper baubles (I should probably have taken a pic of the card before I cut it up – that might have been an idea – it was very nice)

A buddy from my ready made ones

A crochet cube lined and stuffed

A fleece (yes all I had to do was hem it)

For the mother in law, who tends to never use/wear presents I thought food!  So I made double my Christmas baking…

Chocolate fruit Christmas cake made into individual cakes after seeking advice from Lorna.

Coconut bread – B’s favourite

And some Apricot Crumbles which I’d never made before and mine are blackcurrant.

The best bit – all are edible – which is always a plus with my baking – it’s either really good or really, really, really bad.

And my next to last present – a Christmas table runner…

So other than one more present, which shouldn’t take long, I only have a date with our little furry family member and a set of reindeer antlers – don’t worry I’m not going to use the staple gun.  I couldn’t find the staple extractor and since Buddy sleeps on the bed I didn’t fancy waking up with an antler up my nose! 

Made – 25/29 with 5 hours 15 mins to go – so that means two get bought (e vouchers) and the other missed the Christmas post date so with the snow as well there was no urgency there)

Panic level – 0/10

Just Ghastly

Yesterday afternoon I felt just ghastly (said the only way it can be correctly said – in a really, really far back English accent).  I awoke feeling a tad headachy but thought maybe I’d just slept funny (resulting in a stiff neck) and it would wear off but no by 11ish it was settling in for a performance.  However I thought maybe I can cut it short so I took some extra painkillers and at lunch time felt okay enough to take Bud card posting to various neighbours.

I’m not taking Buddy too far at the moment since we had a few slides and slips whilst out walking on Sunday.  B was with us and Saturday it hadn’t been too bad – I just insist on going out in the snow – as it was so fresh but as it’s been compacted it gets slippier and so there was a few ouuuuuhs, a bit of swearing and at least two hugs – one extremely one sided since my sheepskin mittens were caked in snow so B agreed on a hug as long as I didn’t hug back!  There was one ‘jar’ as well on the neighbours’ drive which has all of a 2” kerb which was disguised in the snow.  I think I was read that on expeditions most accidents happen on the way back and close to base as people can get careless!  So needless to say I spent some of Monday half expecting to collapse in a heap everytime I stood up.  Yes I know it was just muscular aches and pains but who out there with bone damage hasn’t thought something similar?

It’s just a matter of time before we’re out again – we just have to wait until B forgets he advised me against it – it’s not so much the risk of fracture I’m concerned about but the endless ‘Well if you’d listened to me…’ that would ensue.

So back to yesterday. By 15:00 I was feeling ghastly (you’ve got to say it out loud as well – you can’t just think it – it’s not the same), sickly, migrainey, wanting to nod off.  I had picked up a survey report to type, it’s quiet at the moment, it always is leading up to Christmas so I couldn’t pass it up and I slogged my way through it eyes closing, head in hands, head over the toilet bowl when I through  my salmon sandwich was about to do an encore.  I took some more painkillers and an anti-sickness tablet and at 17:00 I finished the report I took my screen break.  I lay down on the settee and nodded off for ten minutes and awoke feeling a bit better.  When I finished at work at 18:00 I was feeling much better and after a bath, more or less back to usual and had some tea.

I’ve had migraines since my teens but what I’ve found since my SCT holiday is that when I get them they don’t last for three days like they did and I don’t get as many but I do feel decided queasy.  I don’t think my stomach has ever quite recovered from the trip and when watching something gory on the TV it’s the first to lodge an objection to the point where I gag!  Isn’t that nice for you to know.

Anyhoo, here’s what I was able to finish last night…

Placemats (in case you were wondering – sorry if the odd angle gives you vertigo – I had to stand on a step to get them all in the pic and its a bit warped)

Felt and cotton decorations

And I do like to keep a tidy sewing space…

well normally, I do.  If I was an elf I’d be getting the elbow!

You know the old saying ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ and I don’t think I need to say which ‘tree’ in particular.   At 17:34 B’s brother turned up with the Christmas presents – we call at theirs briefly on Christmas Day but that’s by the by – now B is an extrovert, he will talk to anyone and everyone, once on a bus in Edinburgh he had a whole conversation with an old bloke who then turned round and said ‘I cannae understand a wurd yur sayin lad’.  So the doorbell went and I thought ohhhh, maybe it’s my hair clippers, because I desperately need a haircut.  I ordered them last week before I ordered B’s Christmas present, a garden vac, which arrived on Monday but so far no sign of the clippers and I’m starting to look like Ken Dodd.  I didn’t think it was that obvious but B said this morning that if they don’t arrive he’ll see what he can do with it!  Oh yeah, back to the door bell, I was still working, so B answered it.  I didn’t hear enough of the voice at the door to recognise it as B’s brother and then B was shutting the door – I’ve had longer conversations with men delivering garden vacs!

Oh and a word to the wise – apparently it’s not big or clever and certainly not funny, following a conversation with one’s husband regarding provisions for his mother, to write on the shopping list…

A loaf for Mary (sounds like a fair swap to me)

Made – 18/29 with 1 days to go

Panic level up and down like a yo yo – 5 – 6 – 2* – 8 – 8.5 – 5/10 (*stuff it lets buy ’em)


Buttons & Buddies

Okay to bring us up to date with everything that is finished, there is now a button heart…

Which caused me some confusion as to how to transfer the heart shape to the linen because I wasn’t convinced my disappearing fabric pen would live up to its name.  Then I thought, doh, just sew the outline…

And of course, my Christmas present giving list couldn’t be complete without some Buddies…

One in Sirdar Snowflake, so it’s fluffier than the average Buddy but the rows were a pain to count

and a Rudolph and Snowman.  I did this snowman in Sirdar Snuggly DK for a change – its a lovely soft baby yarn but a little bit too soft for a buddy.  It had a tendenancy to stretch if overstuffed – a bit like me after Christmas lunch – especially since my Auntie Ann takes it as a personal challenge to see how much she can get on a dinner plate!

Made – 16/29 with 2 days to go (I know that can’t be right because I don’t seem to have that many started although some are for couples but still!)

Panic level – 5ish/10 (Fiona – I think it may be so low because we have a Lavendar Farm up the road, I don’t know what they sell as I’ve never been but have meant to – so what better time than when panic buying for Christmas – and Marks & Spencer open 24 hours – I just need to check if Marks and Spencer were related and if so – hey a family business)

 

Paper Christmas Baubles

For the past, quite a few, years we have had popcorn strings on the Chrismtas tree.  And even those these generally take two nights to make, which has nothing to do with the amount of popcorn that I eat instead of thread, I like the look on the tree.  In fact when the bathroom was refitted (now finished and lovely – pics to follow at some point) the plumber said ‘I bet this gets a lot of use’ as he moved the popcorn maker to get to the stop tap.  ‘Yes it does’ I replied ‘regularly once a year.’

This year however I had to give a thought to our new furry addition and I didn’t think that stringing the tree with something edible would be a super wonderful idea.

So I needed something to take the place of the popcorn.  Since we, well I say ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, decorate the tree with shells and wooden sea creatures – just one more reason why I refrain from using the n word ((((normal)))).

So I decided to make paper baubles – for want of a better word similar to the heart ornaments I made earlier in the year and decided to share the easiness of them with you…

Ingredients

Paper or thin card (I tried thicker card but it tends to crease rather than bend)

Stapler

Sticky tape (or masking tape! – I can’t leave the stuff alone)

Scissors or guillotine

Thread, ribbon or fishing line

Method

Take the paper or card and cut it into 1″ wide strips.  I printed Merry Christmas onto my paper, in varying sizes via a table in Word so I could also print the cutting lines.

 

Cut the strips to length

2 x 4″

2 x 4 1/2″

2 x 5″

Attach a loop of fishing line to one of the 4″ pieces with masking tape (ohhh)

Stack the strips together with the longest at the bottom (and with the pattern facing out if you are using patterned paper)

Place one lot of strips on top of the other with the shorter lengths in the middle

and staple at the loop end.

Line up the unfastened ends of the strips and stple them and you should end up with something like this…

Here’s some examples of varying sizes…

Obviously you can add as many strips as you want.

And since I can’t find the big seashell for the top of the tree (I know how do you loose a seashell – maybe Buddy ate it) I made a large heart to replace it…

And here’s our tree with them on…

And here’s another Christmas present off my list – I made these with two strips of paper to make them that bit more robust and used eyelets instead of staples at the ends.

Considering the eyelets required the use of a hammer and my wrist is still sore I thought it wasn’t going to work out too well however using a hammer is fine but slicing toast is a major no-no – apparently it’s the bending and twisting whilst under pressure it objects to!

Made – 12/29 with 3 days to go (3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It’s okay I have a bunch half done and four I’ve not yet posted about so it’s okay, it is okay, IT IS!

Panic level – 4/10 (Although to keep it low I did something that I am about to confess and that you may need to look away now if you are a sewer, sewerist, er… if you sew – I used my dressmaking scissors to cut paper – this is something I have threatened to divorce B over in the past but I couldn’t find my craft scissors and then when I did they had sticky on them, possbily from cutting too much masking tape, and I couldn’t be bother to go get the nail varnish remover to get it of – I am so ashamed)