And in a Jingle, it’s all Done!

It has been ages since I blogged anything – 3 months, WordPress reliably informs me! It’s not because I didn’t want to but circumstances pushed it to the bottom of the pile. You see, our previously wonderful sleeper of a child stopped sleeping. Combine disrupted sleep with work and said child getting ill and suddenly you find that it’s an effort to get anything much done other than the necessities. And then I joined a choir and tried to swim once a week. Some crafting got done but blogging about it was of the lowest priority.

Anyway, with ET no longer ill and once again sleeping through the night, the New Year seemed as good a time as any to get going again. I’ve got some unfinished projects to complete, a number of projects to blog about, a choir performance to prepare for (I’ve missed a few too many rehearsals for my liking) and I might even try the swimming again.

With it having just been Christmas, I thought I’d share some Christmas crafting with you all. I could drip them out one by one but I expect nobody will be interested in Christmas crafts in three weeks time, so I’ll get them all done now! I’ll present them in order of relevance!

First off, the Advent calendar! I’ve wanted to make one for a while and with ET now old enough to understand the concept of opening a door each day (although he’d prefer to open three!) this year seemed like a good time. That was until I left it until the last minute. I decided to try my hand at decoupage. I bought a wooden Advent calendar base from Hobbycraft and some decoupage papers and glue and got started. I enjoyed that this was not a precise art and enjoyed tearing up paper into the right size to fit. Some parts of it turned out well (the large box for example) but overall I wasn’t all that happy with it. The doors stuck terribly, which wasn’t great for a toddler, through a combination of the base not being that well made and the decoupage adding thickness. The shape made it quite tricky to get into the corners and I’m not sure of my choice of papers in the end. However, I gave it a try and it served a purpose for this year but I may try something else next year – and try to finish it on time rather than 6 days into Advent like this year. At least ET had not clue when Advent should begin so I could get away with it!

Next up were the Christmas cards. I’ve made as many Christmas cards as I can most years for a long while now. This year I wanted to get ET to help. So back in November I sat him down with some green paper and finger paint and sort of let him get on with it. Well, we did supervise him of course – what I mean is that I wasn’t prescriptive about what the painting should look like! I cut Christmas tree shapes out of these paintings and made the cards you see below. Simple but effective. And my Little Man gets his first artistic mention.

Preparations of Christmas gifts started a few months back in our house, when we decided to produce homemade gifts for all the adults using produce from our newly acquired garden and from the hedgerows around where we live. I’ll confess that Mr Stepherella was largely responsible for the food production (he’s better at it than me) and I took the lead on the decorative aspects! Anyway, we jointly made spiced redcurrant jelly, bramble jam, sloe gin, port and blackberry truffles, gingerbread, lavender bags and dried rosemary and bay leaves. Some of the gifts got presented in the manner shown below and we were pretty happy with the outcome!

And there you have it! It all worked out quite well in the end although it all took a bit of work. But we enjoyed giving gifts that we’d “chosen” ourselves and that we’d put a bit of work into producing. I expect there are some other lovely homemade gifts out on the blogosphere – I just haven’t had time to check. Along with writing my blog, reading others has also taken rather a back seat!

Anyway, all that remains today is to wish you a Happy New Year! Any New Year’s resolutions? None here – except to try and get back to normal!!

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Against the Odds

Yesterday, everything just seemed to conspire against me. I had a rare day off – by myself. ET at nursery for the whole day, I had a good 9 hours by myself…nine hours to fill with crafting fun. Or so I thought.

I am incapable of sitting down to do sewing whilst I know there are household chores to be done. So before, I could get started I tidied up and cleaned. I felt much better for having done it but that was one hour of my precious nine. This was followed by a series of phone calls to the garage, the solicitor, the GP…all pretty routine stuff that just had to be done. Well, phoning the solicitor isn’t all that normal but we’re mid house purchase and things needed following up. I spoke to my parents for a while, finally ate some breakfast and eventually sat down with the sewing machine at midday.

I had hoped today’s blog post would be all about yesterday’s project, but it’s a gift for a friend and I don’t want her seeing it on here before I give it to her…so you’ll have to wait a little bit longer for that. But I will tell you that I was making a clutch bag using a kit I had bought. I had cut the pieces out last week so all I had to do was construct the bag. That was all. But early on in proceedings I realised that I didn’t have enough fabric to make the bag as designed…either I wasn’t provided with enough or I had been inefficient in my pattern cutting. I think the former because I’m a stickler for not wasting fabric and have a tendency to hoard the tiniest fabric scraps. But I can’t be sure. Anyway, suffice to say I spent an hour just trying to work out how I could get around it. By this point, I had 3 and a half hours left of my day of independence!

I got stuck in. I didn’t complete the project before having to collect ET from nursery – I got a bit confused in places and found some of the ways of doing things in the pattern didn’t suit me so I spent time coming up with my own ideas. And to be honest, I’m a bit out of practice! I managed to complete the hand sewing in front of the TV last night – I don’t really like hand sewing that much and I discovered yesterday that this is nothing to do with the process of hand sewing (I rather like the pace) but I just hate the finish; I’m just not very neat and it annoys me. But I guess practice makes perfect. You’ll see what I mean when I write the blog post – today (perhaps when ETis napping this afternoon!!) I shall try and photograph the bag as “honestly” as I can!

It just felt like everything was conspiring against me yesterday, trying to stop me from getting anything done! But in spite of it all I managed to achieve something. Does anyone else ever have that kind of day?