Sugar Sweet Kitschy Christmas Tree Ornaments

Soooooo….I’ve made it this long, but I just can’t wait any longer to get excited about Christmas! I’m really looking forward to starting to decorate our new home for our first Christmas here next week and have all sorts of ideas in my head!

There’ll be some crafting, arranging, foraging and re-arranging I’m sure, but right now I’m thinking about new decorations to buy! There have been a few in the shops I’ve had my eye on, and of course I’ve been spotting things online too.

I have my very own kitsch Christmas tree on account of Adam preferring the more traditional stuff….we have a ‘proper’ tree too but I do adore my white mini tree complete with colourful lights! It’s covered in crazy decorations and I got all excited to find a whole stash of new decorations on the wonderful Oh Deer online store that would make perfect additions (free shipping over £40 also ups the ante!). I just love all the sugar sweet colours, glitter and shininess…you may remember I pinned a whole bunch of such treasures on Pinterest, to which I’ll be adding these.

Here’s my round up of favourites that I’d love to add to my very special tree!

 

 

What glittery plans do you have for the Festive period?!

Ems x

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Something from the weekend… Lights, rain and packing

Well it really IS getting rather Festive now!

Our weekend started with a very Christmassy Friday, as we spent the evening in the Market Square for the Hitchin Christmas lights switch-on! There were stalls from lots of locals, with vintage fashions, yummy foods and delicious drinks on offer, as well as carol singers and whatnot. I’m very impressed with the wonderfully large tree that has been put up in the square, right in the centre of town and only a few minutes walk from our home….and at 7pm we all shouted a count down as the tree lights were switched on for the first time!

The place was packed with people and it was all terribly jolly, so we continued the fun by inviting the friends we’d met up with back to our place for hot Winter Pimm’s. I love having the house full of guests….it’s so much cosier when there are more people around!

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On Saturday I was due to host another stall at the Riverside Craft and Farmers Market, but owing to the fact that it’s an outdoor market and I’m still not feeling very well (not to mention the weather forecast!) I reluctantly decided not to go. Instead we braved the wind and rain for a little bit, to head back to the market square for the Hitchin Food and Wine Festival. It was no good browsing all the stalls on our empty tummies though, so Adam took me to the wonderful Halseys tea room where we feasted on a gorgeous brunch (bubble with fried duck egg and mushroom for me, homemade baked beans on toast for Adam). I love how busy and cosy it always is in there, and their food is brilliant.

Duly fed, we met up with some friends and wandered about the food market, sampling some fabulous beers and chilli sauces, and lusting after all the hot dishes of mulled sausages and venison chilli on offer! There was a fair turn out despite the rain, but we didn’t last long and returned home to get warm and dry.

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We spent much of the afternoon setting up the Wii Adam bought in the Amazon Black Friday sale, and playing the bowling game on it. Then for dinner we headed over to Adam’s parents’ where his Mum had cooked up a roast lamb with stacks of yummy veggies. After chatting over dinner and putting the world to rights, we headed home to watch an episode of X Files before bed.

After the obligatory Sunday morning lie-in (and a rather large brunch of fried egg sandwiches!) we popped out for a bit into town, first to the car boot sale where I picked up a darling little bird painting for just 60p, and then on a few errands to get the last few things for our holiday. Once home we set about packing for our trip, whilst drinking tea and singing Christmas songs. Then before we knew it, it was dinner time and we went back over to Adam’s Mum’s for her amazing baked pasta dish (as we hardly had anything left in to eat and didn’t want to shop just before we leave!).

Back at home I had a lovely Skype chat with my dear friend Michelle in the States….it was wonderful to catch up with her and just natter away for a bit. Then it was another couple of X Files episodes before an early night ahead of our journey!

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How was your weekend?

Ems x

Cleverest worky Christmas gift! Christmas Survival Kit

I LOVE Plunge Productions. Tim has worked on some incredible projects and his creativity never ceases to amaze me.

So it was no big surprise when I unwrapped the little mystery parcel from its brown paper packaging and found that inside was the most clever and fun gift I’d received in the office…..and that it was from Plunge.

The cute pink box takes the form of a ‘Christmas Survival Kit’ and is jam packed with useful and fun stuff……

Jammed into the tiny box is…..a book of Christmas Carols, chocolate bottle liquer, a golden wrapped pressie, wrapping paper, a make-your-own snowflake, a gift bow, a paper crown, an After Eight mint chocolate, Alka Seltzer, mistletoe, holly, a candle, Rennie, tiny scissors, a mini stocking (stuffed with tinsel, a hazelnut, a pen, wrapping string and a candy cane), a chocolate coin, a little Lego Christmas tree, gift tag, bauble and Father Christmas himself!…..Thank you Plunge!