Monday, 31 December 2012

Here are a few pics of my handmade Christmas decorations created this year (although I didn't make the wreath).  I would have posted these earlier as I took them weeks ago but alas the flu has gripped our household with 2 firm hands and choked all the mucus out of it's residents.  There have been hospital visits, countless bottles of medicine and tablets have been taken and we're still a little rough.  So here's my attempt to remind me of what enthusiasm for Christmas felt like as I have slept through most of the actual celebrations.
Fortunately, my parents have visited and been fairy godmothers- cleaning, cooking and general nursing.  Here's hoping 2013 will be less sick filled!
I saw this in a book or magazine last year and thought 'I could do that!'  It's just some little jars/ candle holders with red tissue paper on the outside, the edge of a doily tied with a piece of string or ribbon.
  When lit up, they look so pretty and are a lovely welcome in our porch to visitors.

I also placed little painted tins in between with scented candles in to fill the porch with a festive citrussy cinnamon and clove aroma
This was a total long shot but back in September we went to our local wooded area (Delamere Forest) and I collected pine cones and thick twigs with this in mind.  I waited until December before going and getting the Holly though as I didn't want it to dry up and shrivel too early on.
I used string and wasn't shy as I knew it would be covered by the Christmassy foliage I would collect.
I didn't use gloves but if I do this again- I will.  Between the Christmas tree and this, my arms were very scratched!
More string and a few tucks fixed the Holly to the cross frame.
I then found a little robin holding mistletoe and thought it would be perfect for the middle of the hanging and perfect for hanging above the front door.  Plenty of kisses should have been exchanged only we became sick and so it was just sneezes being exchanged :(

I collected and wrapped oxo and cereal bar boxes in red and gold paper so that the tree didn't look too ceremonial!  The girls decorated it and so it was bottom heavy on the decorations.  Without electricity, I used the red beads to dress the tree which caught the candle light and made it a little sparkly 

A little touch in the kitchen.  I cut out these stockings from left over tartan and sewed them to string.  When I received lots of positive comments, I made lots more for the craft stalls.  These with my festive dresser helped to continue the decorations throughout the downstairs.
So you have a few pics of our Christmas before they all are taken down :( So depressing when everything is stripped and it's back to normal.  Although, we have plans to decorate before our new arrival in April/May so perhaps it won't look drab for long :D

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Reindeer in the Park

Sincere apologies for not writing sooner.  I was very busy last week and then on Sunday wrote this post but forgot to publish it! Doh- so here it is, late :s

This has to be a short post as I am soooo tired after a full day in the park.  Setting up and taking down gazebo and stall (with lots of help from friend Sid and Father in law) adds to time and exhaustion.  I thought I'd upload the pics though while it is fresh in my mind.  It seemed to go fairly well despite not selling lots.  People stopped and commented on items positively but said they didn't have cash with them for anything other than paying for rides and food.  To say it was busy is an understatement!  The organisers thought there was over 5000 present which is a LOT for our small town but disappointing for me not to have sold more but it was more of a children's day than a craft fair.  I met more lovely people and hope to do some more events with them next year.  Enough writing for now though, sooo sleepy.
Mummy's little helper.  My Father in Law was chief babysitter allowing me to serve customers and chat!
My Stall

It all looked a bit busy so I re-juggled things as the day went on.

 A very cute hanging that I didn't sell and i don't mind at all!
These garlands were done the night before and I really love them; there were a few left and will now adorn my mirror above the fireplace I think!
Sleepy reindeers at the end of the event.  They were lovely and well natured although smaller than I'd have imagined.  It really would take a good number of them to drag a fat man and toys around the world!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Winter wanderings

I walk through a park every day when I take my eldest daughter to pre-school and when the weather is clear, I like to take my camera and get some shots.  Today was a beautifully clear, crisp and bright day and so I grabbed it as I left.  Last month I had also taken some pics which I never got round to uploading so I have included them too as a demonstration of what a difference a month makes.  I feel very privileged to live so close to a great park and like to make the most of it- in all seasons!
Picture taken last month

Same two trees from a slightly different angle taken today.

November pic

November pic

November pic


 I saw this robin and wanted to get a picture but he kept flitting around and so this was the only shot I got which turned out great :D

 The squirrels are quite tame and often come very close although they scarper when the camera comes out!
 Same squirrel again but standing.  I kept hearing rustling and knew it must have been a larger animal but couldn't catch a glimpse of it.
Turns out it was a kitten and was hunting the squirrels- I didn't see him at the time but saw him when I looked at the pictures when I got home.  Can you see him in the background?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Candyfloss and Cocoa

At the beginning of November, I visited the Warrington vintage craft market and discovered some great local businesses making and selling handmade goods.  I hope to create links and features to some of these to support what they are doing. But I also met some creative people who simply make as a hobby and then sell on without the aim of making lots of profit.  One such lady knitted very sweet clothes- bonnets, booties etc. which I will have cause to visit soon enough (although this next baby will be a Spring/ summer baby and not in need of too much in this way).  She did however make these adorable creatures.  I bought the hedgehog in November and then wished I had bought more.  I then revisited last week and bought the mouse to keep the little fella company and hope to buy the whole of her family as they are so cute and I have plans for them to have a photo-journal of places they visit in the coming months.  Let me introduce you to the said lovelies.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas shopping and Bad weather

I have varied my Christmas shopping this year with buying a combination of handmade gifts from fairs, supporting local small businesses with purchasing lovely Christmas decorations and I've bought toys/ china from larger shops.  I will also be making quite a few presents- or at least the bag/ stocking they will be given in.  The lion share of shopping is now complete but I still have a few items left to get.  But I still haven't been to the Manchester European Markets so there's no panic!
With the very poor weather, it's hard to feel positive about shopping though and for the first time in a few years, I haven't put my tree up on the 1st :(  I've continued the de-cluttering and tidying as I really want to love the decorations and not feel like they're adding to mess!
I've taken some pics of my recent purchases; these are the decorations I bought from the Warrington Christmas Craft Fair from Saturday 1st December.  I wanted to buy more presents but I really didn't see gifts to tempt me although the inside Vintage market was beautiful again.  I was surprised and impressed at the price of items at this market- they were very reasonable-cheap even.  Enough writing, here are the pics!
 I hope to place this green star on my dresser in the kitchen as it has quite a lot of green in it-worktops etc.  These were bought from a local business who had a stall outside but also have a shop within the 'Hatter's complex'.  The shop is called Little Basket Shop and their website is

 This Christmas tree is made of paper so I like it even more.  Unfortunately, this lady only does 2 fairs in the whole year so I will have to wait a while before having the opportunity to buy from her again.  She also made and sold gorgeous wooden plaques in the shapes of ice skates- a Victorian shaped tocking/boot but with the blade on the bottom in pale blue.  They were lovely but since I had both my daughters, I couldn't risk bringing my camera and would have had difficulty in getting the pics.  The bag above was what this was placed in and was very cute.  I shall definitely be recycling this!

I chatted to this crafter in November and really liked her products back then which are all made by her.  She makes similar items to me-the wooden plaques etc but hers are better!  I wanted to support her and these little decorations provided me with the perfect opportunity to.  She has a facebook site which is which shows more of her creations.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

December is nigh

This was supposed to be a short post as I have a lovely bath waiting for me and one child threatening to come down and ruin it, However I find I don't know how to stop once I've started.  I am writing now though as I didn't want to leave it another day before writing an update.

Since December is nigh, my mind has been focused on the pending festivities.  Part of the preparation required for Christmas to run smoothly this year has been to de-clutter!  After leaving my job of 7 years (teaching), I had accumulated a LOT of stuff (teaching files etc) which came home with me but didn't exactly find a home.  We also had a friend move in and all the things from our 'spare room' moved out- again, to no specific home.  These items have floated chaotically around the house- not in a Mary Poppins/ Sword in the Stone/ Fantasia positive kind of way, but in a magical toddler kind of way e.g. I just found a sleeve of a dress up outfit in the fridge.  
The positive side to this is that all my sewing things are now together, in one section of the same room.  There is still a mess on the other side of the room, but I see progress.  The re-jiggling of things has also meant that our garage is filling up and my Hubby has been inspired to do some runs to the tip! :D  We're very fortunate to live close to a very good household tip and really don't utilise it as often as we could.  Our local council will also be collecting our unwanted furniture and broken old dishwasher meaning the house is nearly ready to welcome all the presents that Christmas brings and then requires sorting and home finding!
The presents, of course, come towards the end of December, but the beginning marks the infiltration of Christmas decorations.  I try to get a few new items each year to add to the tradition and memories but am not strict about doing things the same way each year.  However, I was looking over my pics from last year, and really do like what we did to the staircase.  I've uploaded some pictures below.  I may replace the cones with fabric ones but this will be the general idea.  I have a few other things I am working on which I shall reveal when finished- including the new dining/sewing room layout.
P.s. At the fair, I sold all 4 cushion covers in the tutorial section :D and I have another fair on the 16th December in our local park- where there will be real, YES REAL, reindeers! Agghhhh excitement but also lots more work to do.

The little hearts I made myself and were slightly wonky but I liked them anyway.  The cones I also made using some gorgeous paper from one of those scrapbooking paper pads and the baubles opened so I filled them with chocolate Santas and coins.  It was lovely to give visitors a parting sweet of choice; candy cane or chocolate.

These are also creations I am proud of but they took a VERY long time.  I have made more this year but changed the colour schemes.  I didn't take as long with them and I think the finish suffers.  Looking at there inspires me to do them properly again, but not until next year!

Some more little handmade tree decorations.  These were a combination of green felt and scraps of Christmas craft cotton.  They coordinated with the wall hanging and cushion covers.  I have also made stockings, bunting and gift bags in these fabrics this year for the fairs I've been selling at, but I will be keep these for my own tree.

My wall hanging which was in my porch last year where there was a Scandinavian red and white theme but with touches of green (and a tiny bit of Gold)- altogether very traditional in comparison to the living room tree decorated with the children in mind!