Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Once Upon The Nick Of Time.

Once upon a time there were three dollies. It took their maker a long time to get them finished, and it was a tight squeeze to make it into the stockings of three little boys and girls, but at last they were complete and the lady who made them could finally relax and bid them a fond fairwell.

There names were:

Little Red Riding Hood

Little-Red-Riding-Hood


and Hansel and Gretel

Hansel-and-Gretel


They also had a cute little friend called Daisy who was none the worse for not having a fairy tale theme (we hope!).

Daisy


Phew!

So, clearly I'm finished. Although I have to confess to not actually finishing ALL the things on my To Do List after decreeing that somethings really could wait until after Christmas. Everything that was needed for a Christmas gift is complete though, and just in the nick of time (I finished the faces on these last night, I'm pretty sure the recipients aren't likely to be lurking on here so I thought I would share). There are a couple of other handmade things but there's a chance the recipients of those could be watching so you'll have to wait until after the big day for those pics.

It's been a slow old day around here. Kendo has been deposited at the pub for his annual Christmas Eve meet up with his buddies and Grace, Egg and me are pretty much just mooching around the house (and dosing Egg with calpol because he's a bit under the weather. Hope he's better for tomorrow!). Grace is mithering to log onto the NORAD tracks Santa site to check on where the Big Guy is up to so we'll be doing that shortly. I just wanted to share my crafty goodies with you and take the time to wish all my bloggy readers

A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Lets hope 2009 isn't as gloomy as politicians are predicting! I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and that Santa brings you lots of loveliness.

TTFN

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

So Close You Can Almost Taste It.


No...not to the Big Day, although that is pretty close, what with only being two sleeps away and all.


I'm so close to finishing my Christmas crafty presents its untrue. So close and yet not close enough in my mind. I did try to get them finished last night, but as it was almost midnight and I'm in work all day today common sense prevailed and they went back into the bag incomplete. Just 3 embroidered faces and one tiny part of felt shoes to make. Tonight they will be DONE and I can start worrying about the last bits of present wrapping I need to do before tomorrow night *sigh*


As for the December journal. Well, I managed to make it up to December 5th. Not a cracking effort, and with all the best will in the world I'm not going to get any more done before now and Christmas Day, but you know what? It's okay. It's Christmas, time for forgiveness and peace to all (wo)men. So I forgive me for being crap at daily scrapping and will instead concentrate on enjoying the season.


I wish we had snow though. Snow like this. How cool is that? Okay, probably not cool when you need to shovel your car out to go anywhere, but it's pretty exciting when admired from afar ;)


Back tomorrow with photos of finished things. I promise!


TTFN

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Don’t Panic Mr Wonka!

I think its safe to say Mr Willy Wonka’s job is safe with me around!!

I was struggling to think of something to give to Gracie’s teachers for Christmas (4 of them, as one has been off sick so there’s been a substitute, but now the sick one is back and the sub is still there, plus the nursery nurse and a permanent TA).

I decided (in my infinite wisdom), that I would make some chocolate truffle and put them in some nice origami gift boxes. Sounds simple. In reality – the truffles were an unmitigated disaster! I don’t know if the chocolate I used to was too high in cocoa solids (it was like 85% or something) but they were really, really bitter. Not just chocolate bitter but with a horrid after taste. Scratch effort number one.

Now. This was last night. Today is the last day of school. Cue panic about what to give them. So I decided (in my infinite wisdom*), to whip up some fudge. Can’t go wrong with a nice bit of fudge. It was all going swimmingly, I stirred like a maniac for 20 minutes. It look lovely and smelled divine. Then I followed the final step in the instructions (leave to cool for 5 minutes and then beat with a spoon). That was the big mistake. What had been glorious smooth fudge morphed into brown clumpy breadcrumbs! What happened??? Eek! I tried reheating it a little to resurrect it, but it was too far gone at this point and quite frankly had started to resemble the plastic dog poop you get in joke shops. It was not pretty. Scratch effort number 2 *sigh*

Clearly my strength does not lie in the world of confectionary.

Cue even more panic. It’s about 9.30pm by this point and the teachers still have no presents!

I did the only thing any sensible crafty type person could. I took the safer option (safer than doing battle with boiling sugar anyway). I cracked out the sewing machine and made these:

Mini Box pouches
[please excuse all my crafty crap in the background. This has been living on the dining table for weeks while I work on my Christmas projects].

Which were then stuffed with the Christmas Quality Street and popped in to these:

Origami Gift Boxes

The mini pouches tutorial came from here, via here. The origami box tutorial is from here.

I hope they like them. They’d better, or I’ll be sending the heavies round!

The good news is I managed to tick 4 things off my To Do List last night (because the boxes and teacher’s presents were on the list and I did two doll bits). So only another 16 to go! Hurrah.

Also. I think I’ve been totally busted by the sneaky Mrs Monkee Maker! Oops. I confess okay. I did say I was only going to make these once I’d finished all my Christmas presents, but I have actually started them (in fact, I’ve finished one and started the other). In my defense, knitting is the one crafty thing I can do whilst I’m sat on the sofa while the kids are playing/watching the TV. Everything else either involves the sewing machine (which Ewan is way too interested in) or being in my craft room (which is at the back of the house and too far away to watch the kids from). So, that’s why the wrist warmers are on the needles. See, perfectly reasonable explanation for my startitis.

Hopefully tonight will be a little less panic-striken and a little more relaxing-Christmas-crafty!

TTFN

*I'm beginning to suspect my infinite wisdom isn't as infinite as it would first seem.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Only 20 Things.



There are only 20 things on my “To Make Before Christmas” list.

Just 20.

That’s not many really. Is it?

Considering there are 6 evenings and four days I’m not in work left to get things done. Not many at all. I have confidence. I have faith. I have a slightly sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’ll all be good I’m sure.

Remind me to start my Christmas present making in June next year, won’t you?

TTFN

Monday, 15 December 2008

‘Twas The Week Before Christmas.


Oh how I hate this week before Christmas! Not that I’m not all Bah Humbuggy or anything. I am actually feeling pretty festive (more so than usual in fact) but I think this last week before just drags on forever.

Let’s look at the facts. There are still 9 days left to go. You still have to come to work (which lets face it just sucks, even if you happen to like your job like I do); you’re skint because payday hasn’t rolled round yet; there are still handmade Christmas gifts to make, and cards to write and a last couple of presents to buy (which you can’t do because you’re skint). There’s Christmas food shopping do to *shudder*, and Christmas party fancy dress costumes to organise. The kids have no concept of how long 9 days is in reality so keep asking “Is Father Christmas coming tonight?” which, after the 1000th time is wearing a bit thin. Every where you go its packed with people, it’s impossible to find a parking space anywhere within a mile of anything resembling a shopping establishment. See. Crubbish week.

There’s been much Christmas gift making action around Chez Cookie this last week (although clearly not enough or I’d be finished by now!). I’ll be posting some pics of some of those later in the week (when they’ll hopefully be finished).

Miss Grace had a very busy week at school last week. Wednesday and Thursday were the performances of their Nativity play “The Hoity-Toity Angel” which was totally fantastic. Both Nanny’s went to the Wednesday afternoon performance while Kendo and I got our turn on Thursday evening (being in school at night time is cool, apparently). I took some photos and a couple of short videos, unfortunately I can’t share them because one of the stipulations about people being able to take them was that they didn’t put them on the internet. I think I might have one or two which only have Grace on so I might post those later when I get home.

Grace also received the school award certificate from the Headmaster on Friday for being “A Megastar with her sounds” (at least that’s what it says on the certificate). She was able to identify all the phonics sounds they’ve been working on, including the blends and was the only one in her class who could. Go Grace! Even the Headmaster testing her with some sneaky tricky blends couldn’t catch her out! I’m so proud of her!

As for the other on going project. The December Daily recording has been sadly lacking I’m afraid. I know. Not in the least bit surprising. Why, oh why do I always think that I will find time to keep up with daily scrapbooking? I really never learn. I guess I’m just an eternal scrapping optimist! I can but hope that I’ll manage to catch up. Not that anything particularly scrap worth has happened in our December anyway.

In other exciting crafty project news, I discovered this this morning. A wrist warmer pattern on straight needles! Hurrah! I’ve been looking for one of those for a while so I am adding this to my project list (should be ready some time around August at this rate). I’m a little scared by the cable, it has to be said. I’ve never done that before. It kind of reminds me of being round at my Grandmonster’s house when she used to whip up cable aran cardigans in a matter of minutes (well, not minutes, but I swear you could see smoke coming off the needles ;)). I have no idea if I'll manage to make them, but thinking about them is making me smile. So that's will do for now.

TTFN

Monday, 8 December 2008

Progress.

There's been some crafty progress around here this last week (only right and fitting in light of the new space to craft in really).

I've so far managed two incarnations of my album for the December Daily Project. I completed the outside of the first one in a smallish size (around 7x7) in the nick of time (for that read I was still making it on the night of Sunday 30th November!) but I really didn't like how it turned out and couldn't get motivated to start filling it. In the end I gave up on it and started over with a new size (this one is around 6x9) and a new, more contemporary colour scheme and I'm lovin' it! (Although that hasn't stopped me already being behind even though it's only the 8th December *eyeroll*).

I managed to remember to snap pics of my first couple of entries yesterday while there was still something resembling sunlight around the place.

Here's the front cover:
December Daily Album Front Cover


and 1st December:

December Daily Album - 1st Dec


December Daily Album - 1st Dec (2)


and 2nd December:

December Daily Album - 2nd Dec


(Don't let the fact that you can see a 3 on this confuse you! Damn those acrylic pages!)

and 3rd:

December Daily Album - 3rd Dec


December Daily Album - 3rd Dec (2)


This is based on Ali Edward's December Daily project and calls for a kind of mixed media approach to putting your album together. Which is great fun. Instead of just standard size pages to work with all the way through I've got 6x9 cardstock pages, smaller patterned paper pages, scalloped acrylic pages, envelopes, blank greeting cards, library pockets, bits of transparency. It's really exciting to try and work your page around these different elements and to get your head round how it all fits together. Should you be even remotely interested, you can see all the blanks ready to be filled if you click on one of the photos above and go to my flickr page.

The album's not bound as yet. It will eventually be bound with probably 3 or 4 book rings, but I happen to know that Santa's bringing me a Croc-o-dile this year (on account of the fact that I went to buy it) so I'm leaving the binding until after Christmas day when I can happily hole punch away with my new toy :)

See. Progress!

Not only scrapping progress either. I've managed to finish the 4 knitted projects that I had to make for Christmas presents (which I can't show you just yet, because nosey people enquiring minds might be peeking. I also made a good start on the 4 Wee Wonderfuls dolls that I'm making for presents. So far I've cut, sewn and stuffed all the body part (it was like the lair of some toy town serial killer in our house on Saturday night!), one of them has it's limbs attached, the other three are armless and legless temporarily but I'll be rectifying that this week. Then I have to do battle with hair and outfits, but there's hope for finishing them yet.

TTFN

ETA: I forgot to mention. The festive cookie refit was inspired by this. Thanks Kirsty! I usually do full blog headers when I redesign them but I loved this "floating" header look (and will definitely be trying it again in the future).

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Perils of Being a Biker's Wife.

Kendo is a biker. No ifs or buts about it.

I knew this from the moment we started going out (14 years ago – eek!) when we used to walk from my parents house round to his flat to pick up his motorbike (then a Kawasaki GPZ500 with a knackered monoshock) and then go out for rides to Southport and other such delightful Northern places (if my mother asks, we went bowling, okay?).

He’s always owned a motorbike in some incarnation or other in all the time we’ve been together. Well, expect for the Biker Mid-life crisis he had after Egg was born when he traded his beloved Suzuki Bandit 1200 in for a car. That was recently rectified you might recall after the untimely death of my car a few months back.

Being a biker isn’t just something he does. Its part of who he is. It’s in his soul and although I can’t always see the fascination (like when its cold and he thinks it’s a good idea for me to go out with him) I can appreciate the joy of it. Wind in the hair (well, visor anyway) blowing out all the cobwebs that stressful lives build up in our addled brains.

Then there are mornings like this morning. Mornings when I really wish he didn’t have that biker bit in his soul at all. When I’m woken at just before 7am by the sound of his voice from the living room when I know he left for work at 6.30am. When I can hear the rain outside, and hear his half of a telephone conservation to work and I know that his bike ride to work hasn’t been as uneventful as we like them to be, and I’m wondering what damage has been done to him, and to his bike. I know it’s obviously not that bad, or he’d be upstairs telling me he was a mess, or worse someone else would be knocking on the front door to tell me he was more than a mess.

Just ice, plus frozen hailstone, plus a layer of rainwater making for a very slippery road surface and a nice horizontal skid along the top of our street. He’s fine, except for some bruising to his right knee, and a few battle scars on his bike. Me? I try not to think about the what-ifs. You could drive yourself crazy doing that.

Today I’m reminded of a cyber friend of mine whose biker hubby was recently involved in a serious bike accident (I know she reads here sometimes. Hi Wendy! Hope you and John and the mini-woopsters are all okay) and I’m left with the thought “There but for the Grace of God go I”.

Today I’m thankful that my lovely husband is at home safe and well. He might sometimes be a pain in the arse, but he’s my pain the in arse and I’d like to keep him a great while longer.


TTFN