Category Archives: handmade holiday 2010

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!

 

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)

Christmas Cards

 Well I finally got my Christmas Cards done.  So far they seem to have gone down well with the recipients who opened them in front of me.  I tend to make simple cards because I prefer making them that way and I generally need to get them done quickly.

I used the fabric that I remembered following the dream where I had not sent cards, and finally found hiding very nearly in plain sight.  This gave me 18 different designs, and I had 6 panels which gave me the 54 cards I needed. 

 

I needed to fold the cards myself and need some easy way to quickly score 54 cards so I jerry rigged the following from a thick piece of card and some spray adhesive and it worked really well with the scoring line drawn on…

As I couldn’t find my bone folder I scored with a size 3.75mm blunt ended knitting needle – they are so versatile, the things you can’t do with one aren’t worth mentioning.

I cut around the edge of the individual squares very carefully following the outside gold line.

Then I foraged in my machine embroidery threads and found the perfect gold thread with which to zig zag stitch the fabric squares to the card. 

I cheated and printed the whole of the message, including the love Paula, Bernard & BUDDY! The paper inserts in either white or cream, to match the card, nicely cover the reserve side of the stitching and ta da…

just in time for last posting tomorrow.

Unlike sewing fabric to fabric, the card is a tad unforgiving so if you go too far (completely out of character for  me) you can’t just unpick it and do it again on the same card however I discarded two and then realised that it wasn’t a lost cause and just ran the stitching on and added some more…

And of course after I realised that – I didn’t need to do it again!

Don’t worry I’ve not put paid to popping the antlers on Bud.

 

Another bunny and a frog

The remaining body parts from here have now become another bunny and a froggie…

My second bunny has a tail…

and so doesn’t look as provocative as the first one.  However the first one now has a tail and a new home.  The bunny proved quite popular so I will be adding it to the Myeloma Buddy range in the new year as the pattern allows for it to be sold for charity.  The frog pattern is from Spud & Chloe too.

The little critters can either be filled with stuffing, a tennis ball or, as is the case with the frog, a rubber dog ball.

The knitting wasn’t exactly the plain sailing I’m accustomed to as my first body part ended up like this…

not exactly bunny shaped and just goes to show that even when you  have been knitting as long as I have you still have boo boos.

The original pattern is knit in the round but this slows me down, I think because I am a tucker! In that I like a long needle that I can tuck under my arm.  I’m not averse to four or five needles as long as they are long enough to tuck but prefer not to use them if at all possible.  So I attempted to convert the pattern to knitting backwards and forwards – how hard should that have been – not very.  However, and I’m putting it down to chatting at the hospital whilst I knit even though I started it in the car on the way there, I totally messed up the increases not once, not twice but three times and even when I’d finished it and moved onto the head I had no idea how the shape I had created was going to end up round.  And guess what it didn’t!  But I got there in the end after the obligatory ‘Oh, yeah’ moment.

Bud has shown an interest in the frog but I believe I may have mentioned previously it has 12 toes! 12!  And I think I’d need more than a staple gun to stop him pulling the legs off it.

Made – 11/29* with 10 days to go

Panic level – 3/10 (I have a sneaky feeling it may peak after the weekend if that first number isn’t a whole lot closer to the second one by then)