Christmas Crafting

Having a bit more time on my hands this year, I managed to get round to some Christmassy crafting for myself! Not nearly as much as I’d hoped still….hopefully I’ll be more organised still next year! I thought I’d share some of my projects though, now that all the gifts have been given and no surprises will be spoiled!…..

Hand stitched personalised Christmas tree ornament gift idea Hand stitched personalised Christmas tree ornament gift idea

First of all, I got my stitch on to make some little embroidered Christmas tree ornaments. It being the year Adam and I got married, I made a little tartan-backed heart which I embroidered with ‘Mr and Mrs McDowall’s First Christmas’….and finding myself rather pleased with it I made another for our friends Claire and Matthew who also got married this year (Claire is Christmas mad like me too!), as well as one for our new niece!

Hand painted salt and pepper shakers with Capybaras

We had some prints made up from the wedding, and the usual doggy calendars for our Mums featuring our own hounds as gifts too. I got a bit more hands on though making some hand painted salt and pepper pots for my Father in Law….annoyingly I forgot to photograph them, but they work on the same principal as the Capybara ones I sell on my Etsy shop, but featuring a gold finch and a green finch as they’re his favourites!

Quick and easy home baked Christmas dog treats; cheese, parsnip and swede stars Quick and easy home baked Christmas dog treats; cheese, parsnip and swede stars

The dogs are never left out in this house, and so I baked some yummy (yes, I tried them myself!) cheese, parsnip and swede star biccies for the six McDowall dogs who live in the UK (I will make it up to Bree in the US I hope one day!). They were super easy to make, so I’ll be making more again soon I’m sure.

Home made Advent calendar idea; a riddle and treasure hunt for each day

I have made some sort of alternative Advent calendar for Adam for a few years now, and this year has been his favourite by far! I wrote out a riddle for each day, giving a clue as to where he could find that day’s treat! He loved working them all out, and searching the house for chocolates and little gifts…his first day’s treat was a pair of tweezers as he’s always pinching mine!

Home made Christmas cards with pet portraits

I also tend to make our Christmas cards too, and this year I painted portraits of our beloved hounds which I turned into cards….I scanned in the paintings, then we had them printed before I attached each to a pretty pastel card with silver photo corners. I was really rather pleased with them actually….not least because I managed to get them out in time for them to be delivered at the start of December this year!

Very easy, home made Christmas crackers in candy stripe

I took to making our own crackers a few years ago, and like to put new and fun things inside each year, as well as changing the way they look. I have been crazy about candy stripes this year, so used that to wrap them (as well as our gifts), then wrote out little jokes to go inside as well as funny stick-on moustaches for everyone to wear in place of hats!

Candy stripe Christmas nail art

Festoon lights Christmas nail art Snowflake Christmas nail art Christmas pudding nail art

I’ve also had more chance to decorate my nails in a festive fashion this year too….not least because they’ve not been covered in glue all the time! I painted tiny festoon lights, little Christmas puddings, pretty snowflakes and of course some candy stripes too….now for a New Year’s Eve design!

Christmas tree at home

I didn’t get round to making a wreath this year as I often do, in part because there wasn’t really anywhere suitable to hang one. I’m rather pleased with our tree though, and the other bits and bobs we’ve decorated with….but mostly I’m looking forward to being in our ‘forever home’ next Christmas so that I can really go to town!

Ems x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something from the weekend….Christmas is over. Dexter is over. The weekend is over.

The first weekend after the holidays is always much anticipated. We were looking forward to one filled with relaxation, and that’s just what we got.

On Saturday morning we had a rather long lie in, then went into town on a few errands…. We’re planning to paint our welsh dresser soon so bought paint and sugar soap and things in readiness. As a reward for our endeavors, we popped into the Hermitage Road Coffee Shop, which we have been loving since we found out how marvelous it is. In fact, we found out on Saturday too that it was included in the Independent’s 50 Best Coffee Shops list!

After our excellent Cortados and some home made biscotti, we headed over to Adam’s Mum’s for a lunch of home made soup. We worked that off with a nice walk around a nearby park and lake, where we said hello to the noisy geese and ducks, and made friends with a lovely dog who wouldn’t go into the lake to retrieve her ball so just stood barking at it!

After that I made a quick dash into Hobby Craft to replace some supplies I’d run out of for my Valentines cards (so glad I sold so many already!), then headed home to make a yummy Spag Bol for dinner. We whiled away the rest of the evening by finishing watching the most recent season of Dexter….we had only started it earlier last week, but as usual found it too compelling to watch any slower!

One of our resident pigeons enjoyed a relaxing weekend too….sitting in the water dish of our bird feeder!

We were up at a more reasonable hour on Sunday, and took a walk round a rather quiet car boot sale. We picked up a couple of things for the house….both tea related….a lovely silver tea strainer with a stand (which I’ve been after for ages) and an amazing penguin shaped tea infuser! The latter is most remarkable as it uses its beak to dunk the infuser into your cup, whilst the integrated timer ticks away for as long as you want to steep, then lifts out the infuser when the time is up and dings away to let you know your tea is ready! I love it!!

Our pretty silver tea strainer

And our awesome penguin tea infuser!

Once home we prepared a scrummy brunch of Lumber Jack Stacks (Belgian waffles, cinnamon French toast, pancakes, crispy bacon and maple syrup!) with a large batch of coffee, as our friend Hannah was coming over. We scoffed our rather naughty brunch whilst catching up and gossipping, then once Hannah had left we set about finishing taking down the Christmas decorations. I always hate doing it, as everywhere looks so bare when they are gone, and it’s just the final signal that Christmas is well and truly over. Ho hum.

Lumber Jack Stack!

2012 is over, and the decorations came down

I made a rather good sausage casserole for supper, after which we watched a couple of episodes of Azumanga Daioh, an anime show we are watching. Then it was reading in bed before an early night, ahead of the first *full* week of work after Christmas.

Ems x

Something from the weekend….. Coffee, Crafting and Christmassyness

The Christmas prep is really hotting up now and I’ve been super busy with orders and getting ready for a stall, as well as making lots of Christmas gifts and decorations at home! So I’m afraid I’ve rather neglected my little blog….but hopefully I have some time for catching up today!…..

On Friday evening we started our Christmassy weekend by (finally!) decorating our tree. We’d bought it from the market on Tuesday but had a tricky time putting it up as it’s so tall and came fitted to a far too tiny stand! Having secured it in a large bucket full of sand though, the lights went on, followed by all my home made decorations and the beautiful Victorian china fairy that Adam’s Mum gave to me right on top. I’m rather pleased with how handsome it looks filling our front bay window, and can’t wait to add the other Christmassy bits around the rest of the house!

On Saturday we ran a few errands and did some shopping around town….it’s getting very Christmassy there too and the market square was hosting lots of stalls from local Young Enterprise companies, as well as a stunning antique mechanical pipe organ. It had me welling up, it was so beautifully Christmassy!

Having had a successful shopping trip, we decided to treat ourselves to a coffee, and finally managed to get a couple of free chairs in the Hermitage Road Coffee Shop, where we’ve been wanting to try for ages. I think I’ve already mentioned that we have really been struggling to get a really good cup of coffee out in our new town….we have rather turned into coffee snobs now that we can make it so well at home with the Aeropress! And so we were delighted to find on their menu that they will make you an Aeropress coffee there! You can also choose from a big pot of dripped coffee for two, as well as specialties such as Cortado, which is what we opted for. It arrived with the coffee and walnut cake we’d offered, as well home made biscotti on the saucer. The cake was yummy and the biscotti divine….but the real winner was the coffee which is by far the best I’ve had outside of Monmouth. I’ll write a little more about the place when I get a chance, as it’s really worth its own little review.

Once home, I started to slowly cook up a chilli for dinner, as we were having our friend Hannah over in the evening. Hannah brought the pudding….an absolutely AMAZING lemon meringue pie!….and Adam tried out a few more cocktails on us for practice (he really is getting very good!). We chatted the evening away until Hannah pointed out how late it was and reminded me that I had to get up rather early the next day!…..

We were up and out to the local Christmas Gala Day on Sunday morning, where I was having a stall selling my various hand made things….. I had made some Christmassy bunting, tree decorations, gift labels and greeting cards to sell alongside my usual stock of jewellery and drawings. It was a lovely busy day in the market square, and lots of people came to see my stall (and buy lots too!), as well as to see the entertainment on the stage. There were local choirs singing carols, puppet shows, clowning, some rather crazy performers known as Granny Turismo (two men dressed as old ladies sitting on top of giant shopping trolleys which they zoom around on!), and the local radio station playing Christmas songs. With the smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts too it was a wonderfully festive atmosphere and I enjoyed every minute, despite being sat out in the cold all day!

Once we’d packed up the stall and taken everything home, we popped around to Adam’s Mum’s for dinner…she’d made a yummy sausage supper to save me having to cook after such a tiring day and it was most appreciated! Back at home we slobbed for a little while on the sofa, before a much-needed early night!

Hope your weekend was just as Festive!

Ems x