Tag Archives: handmade holiday 2010

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)

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.


Flakey Jingle Bells

And yet more Christmas presents are coming out of my elf workshop, or should that be elfing sweat shop?

And yes those are different reindeer and Santas and not just because they are on different backgrounds and I gave the bottom one out today and realised later that I’d forgotten to add the bells to the reindeer – Doh!

Jingle Bells

The Flakes

There were two lots of snowmen but I forget to take a picture of the first ones and they now have a new home.  I made the second ones for a back up present while I was on a roll.

I got the pattern from a shop that has now closed but the pattern designer is Sweet Dreams.

It didn’t take too long as I happened to have a box of decapitated heads in the back of the wardrobe.

Some people have snowy worlds with talking lions I have snowmen and reindeer heads – it looks like a crafting massacre!

Made – 9/29* with 10 days to go (*  Yes I realised I needed another one!)

Panic level – 3/10

There’s something fishy going on!

I remember that I MAY have decided for some reason that now is unrememberable to commit to a Handmade Holiday this year!

I have as it turns out 28 presents  presents to buy, oh wait I mean MAKE and I have 17 days in which to do it – and that’s not including 50+ cards.  But as per the well known book and Lorna’s blog I’m not panic-ing!  (I have just met Slartibartfast in said book – it’s slow going because I don’t know if I’ve said but I have 28 presents to MAAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKKKKKKKEEEEEEE!)

It’s not as bad as it looks as 11 of the presents are for pets. So anyhoo I have extracted my digit and this is what I’ve done so far…

The pattern was from the aptly named Fishbone Crochet Pattern from Stripeyblue.  They are fun and quite quick.  Obviously since people who will be getting gifts from us (that’s B, Buddy and I – Buddy probably being potentially more help than B) I can’t say who is getting what – however I wonder if the mother in law would like a crochet fish bone?

So the current Handmade Holiday stats are

Made – 5/28 with 17 days to go!

And here just because I think it’s lovely, is the view out the front of our house this morning…

Christmas Presents

I haven’t got any Christmas presents yet, I haven’t even added suggestions of presents to my list of names.  I usually buy things throughout the year and certainly have my list finished by August.  This doesn’t mean that I’m not wrapping things until just before they are given or finishing a handmade gift the week before – people don’t like it if you’re too organised!

This year I’ve been thinking ‘Should I make things, or should I buy?’  Then on Thursday I came across this…

Handmade presents or ones bought from family or local business.

I ummmed, I errred and then I signed up!

Once in the past (2007 – I keep records), I did make Christmas decorations for everyone (except my two nephews and the family dogs).  Previously it had been probably 50/50 handmade and bought.  Not that this didn’t come with its issues.

One year I cross stitched pictures for both B’s Mum/Dad and his brother/my sister in law. (You can see that the only my in there relates to a non blood relative of B’s – sigh!)  Gillian’s cross stitch was bigger than the mother in laws and I knew this would cause comment or a slight sulk, something anyway.  I needed something esle to pad out the m-i-l’s gift, so I ended up buying the mother in law a big bunch of white and pink artifical roses which were quite (very) expensive but were representive of the money.

Christmas Day when we called round at B’s brothers with the presents the m-i-l, opened hers first and said it was nice.  When Gill opened hers, the first words out of the m-i-l’s mouth were ‘That’s nice, its bigger than ours!’.  The flowers then spent the six years still wrapped up ‘bouquet style’ on the back bedroom bed with various other un-utilised gifts.

Another reason to go for a handmade Christmas is that B’s brother is also not really a fan of handmade stuff – if it doesn’t have a PROPER label and a receipt to take it back with he’s not really interested.  I did once knit him a jumper that I know he wore at least once, because we accidentally bumped into him and he had it on.  What he didn’t know was that the cotton yarn originally started off as a cream jumper I knit for myself, didn’t like, unravelled, knit back up into a guernsey style jumper for him and dyed dark blue!

B’s brother and Gill were once buying custom made curtains for what I considered an extortionate price.  I mean good on the small shop charging this, I know the work that goes in, but I find it hard to justify paying a lot for curtains when I know I can do them myself and enjoy doing it.    When I obviously couldn’t hide the stunned look on my face and upon being asked what I thought I said ‘Well I’b probably be looking at doing them for a quarter to a third of that at most.’  I was then informed that this was the difference between going out to a restaurant for a steak and cooking one up at home!

I so wish I’d been able to come back with ‘Well if you make it at home you know exactly how fresh the steak was, where it was come from and that someone hasn’t kicked it across the kitchen floor’ (and if they have at least it was your own kitchen floor and you know how clean it is).  I was vegan at the time so I wouldn’t have entertained eating a steak – so I came back with NOTHING!

Here are some of my homemade steaks, I mean curtains…

The landing, with long voile to cover the uneven plaster wall beneath and a matching roman blind.  (Yes, we do need a light shade.)

The hall/dining room

The kitchen blind which was a piece of material I had over from making Auntie Ann a duvet cover one Christmas.

The lounge, the material for which was a bargain

And where I spend my days working for a living has swags and tails.  I’m not really a that girly kinda gal so I decided to use thin velvet/velour cheap material (in case I didn’t like it) and patchwork it in big squares first and I actually really liked it.  So much so I made a matching throw for the office chair.

They may not be wagyu steak but they’re certainly not scrag end!