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Handmade

Handmade Advent Calendar

Handmade Advent Calendar

Just because us adults are now grown up, why should we miss out on all the fun? Us adults enjoy the count down to the big day too. And age is just a number, right? I am sure I am not alone in saying we are all big kid’s at heart.

Making the countdown fun and personal…

Christmas can be expensive enough so why not help keep the cost down where we can. Advent calendars are a brilliant way to help us count down to the big day, and the lead up to the big day is half the fun right? there is no reason we can’t go and purchase another advent calendar from the shops, but this year I thought why have the same store-bought ones each year?

This year I got my craft on…

This year I have decided to make us a family advent calendar and make it personal to my family. A calendar we can re-use for many years to come. One that will help us make the Christmas season even more special. Advent calendars are becoming even more themed like, with so many choices ranging from, alcohol, beauty, toys, chocolate and so on. Another reason to make a family one, why be stuck with just the one theme?  

Adding a little fun into the advent calendar…

The advent calendar I have made will involve us all as a family taking part, by adding a little thought and love into it. You can buy a pre-made empty advent calendar in a choice of many different designs for those not feeling very creative, but I thought I would have a go at making my own. So here goes……

Secret Santa advent…

There are six of us living in our house, our advent calendar will have 25 pockets to it. 24 pockets shared between the 6 of us will mean we will all get 4 pockets each. Pocket 25 will be shared between all of us. In pocket 25 we will all add a family game or something we could all do together over the festive period, so the fun lives on beyond the big countdown. We will all write down that activity on paper and add it to pocket 25.

The aim of the calendar…

We all wrote our own names and one of our chosen advent numbers/pockets on a piece of paper four times (one for each of our pockets) and put our four pieces of paper into a dish. We then all took four different pieces of paper containing a persons name and number/pocket which we wasn’t allowed to inform others of who we had. If we pulled our own name out we had to put it back to change it for someone else’s name. We then had until the end of November to purchase an advent gift for that persons number/pocket on the advent calendar. As we work our way through December we can all excitedly see what our secret Santa has placed in our advent pockets on those days. I thought this would be a much more fun way to enjoy the big countdown to the big day.

What I used:

  • A mixture of different Christmas fabric. To use for the pockets and bunting.
  • Calico cotton fabric to use as the backing.
  • Fusible Iron On Interfacing fabric. To use in the middle.
  • Light Hessian fabric. To use as the front.
  • Mixture of Christmas themed ribbons. For decoration and the bunting.
  • Mixture of mixed designs 3D flat back Cabochons. For decoration.
  • Self adhesive felt. Used for the numbers.
  • Lace fabric. To use for decoration.
  • Fabric glue.
  • Flower head pins. Used to support the fabric when cutting and sewing.
  • Fabric Scissors.
  • Tape measure.
  • Pen.
  • Cotton.
  • Sewing machine.
  • Glitter stars for decoration.

How I made the advent calendar:

  • The first thing I did was decide on the location I would like to hang the calendar.
  • I then went on to measure the space I had and then worked out my measurements.
  • Pockets were then made in a mixture of sizes. I done this by using a variety of different Christmas fabrics. Cutting them all to a variety of different sizes, making sure not to make them to big and to stay within my measurements. The pockets were then pinned and sewn. Leaving the top section open, giving us somewhere to place our advent gifts.
  • The 25 pockets were then decorated, using ribbon, lace, cabochons and off cuts of fabrics. All being glued with the fabric glue.
  • All 3 of the calendar fabrics were then measured and marked for cutting. The front piece of fabric will be 1″ bigger than the middle piece of fabric. The middle piece of fabric will then be 1″ to what is going to be the backing fabric. This then allows for the edging fold/overlapping.
  • Then came the nerve wracking bit…It was then time to cut the fabrics to size. This part always makes me nervous.
  • The fabrics were then ironed.
  • The fabrics were folded by laying what is to be the front fabric down first, then what is the middle piece on top of the front piece. The fabric that will be the back was then laid on top.
  • All 3 fabrics were then pinned and sewn together.
  • The calendar was then decorated with lace, the pockets and ribbon.

Bunting to finish…

The bunting was then made and added to the calendar. I made this by re-measuring the width of the calendar and then cutting some fabric to size and the triangle shape I wanted. I then cut some ribbon to size, allowing extra to tuck round the back to finish. I used fabric glue to glue it all in place. Glitter stars were then added with glue to the calendar to finish. Followed by the pockets being filled with secret Santa gifts. We were then ready for the countdown to begin!

Slideshow

This was my first ever handmade project of this size. I have always wanted to make things myself but have never really had the time to do so. Now I am no longer working due to ill health I am now able to put the time and effort into different projects. Since finishing this advent calendar I have made both of our dogs a Christmas stocking each and I am currently working on an interior project with Ian. All of which I will be sharing with you later this week.

Are you doing anything different this year for Christmas?

Christmas

Magical Moments

Magical moments

Magical Moments

I was challenged by Vicky from Being Tilly’s Mummy to write about a random act of kindness for the Wayfair #blogitforward campaign. This is a campaign for bloggers, every blog post written about goodwill gestures in December they will donate £50 to Habitat for Humanity. We think this campaign is brilliant, the donated money will go towards helping people out of poverty in the UK so this was a challenge we are more than happy to accept. My act of kindness is about making a Christmas wish come true for an elderly lady that I know (good job I went armed with tissues).

It is that time of year again where the Christmas parties are busy taking place and the hustle and bustles in the shops are driving us mad. It’s also a time of year where lots of magical moments and memories take place.

For some of us we are all busy planning and organising our family meet-ups and meals, sadly for some this is just a wish, sadly not everyone has family close by, there is no family to spend Christmas with, this could be for many reasons. For this dear elderly lady that I know this is because her family emigrated to Australia, she has her son still but sadly he doesn’t live local and only see’s him on a weekend when he is not busy working.

I pop by throughout the week to take her shopping and to see she has everything, I also help out where I can with housework. One thing she does enjoy and that is when we go out for coffee and cake at a cafe, we really put the world to rights and have a laugh, but this isn’t the same for her as having family to do this with. She is a lovely lady who loves and misses her family dearly, she hasn’t seen them now for a long time, she chats with them on the phone once a month which she absolutely loves, looks forward to and speaks about for a long time after which I love listening to.

I have just been to visit her and whilst there I dug out her decorations and Christmas tree, I turned on Christmas music we had a good dance and sing-a-long whilst making her home look Christmassy. She loved decorating the tree and I loved seeing her smile. I then made her a nice cup of tea and got her a mince-pie, we spoke about our Christmas wishes, she wished she could see her family, this is when I handed her my iPad and said you’d better not keep them waiting – I’d arranged with her daughter a time we could video chat so she could see them all for Christmas. it filled my heart with joy seeing her face as she was chatting a way to her daughter and grandchildren, good job I went armed with tissues.

Today was a day I made a lovely lady very happy with memories she will treasure deeply, she got to see her daughter and grandchildren’s faces whilst sat by her tree we’d put up earlier that day.

This just proved that the saying is so true – it’s not whats under the Christmas tree that counts, it’s who is around it that does.

Merry Christmas everybody

May all your wishes come true in 2016

  X

Christmas

Missing Someone This Christmas

missing someone this christmas

Missing Someone This Christmas

Today we have a guest post from the lovely Vicky from Being Tilly’s Mummy.

I have come to learn over the past few months that it is possible to die from a broken heart because as Christmas gets ever closer I feel like I am dying inside a little bit more.

It’s a British thing having a stiff upper lip and we are all taught to be strong, we are all told that we can’t admit we have failed but sometimes we just have to sit back and admit that actually stuff that great British reserve! I am hurting like hell and I am not scared to admit it.
I feel like the flower on beauty and the beast, where it loses a petal everyday. And every time my little girl cries for her sister, I seem to lose another petal. This year I lost my daughter but she hasn’t died – She is just lost meaning we are all lost too. A man came into our life and ripped it apart. He took my daughter and did a load of despicable things causing a chain reaction and affecting a load more people than just himself and his victims.
My daughter was groomed and brainwashed by a paedophile, he caused their newborn baby to be put in care and that means there is another victim in this situation. An innocent child, who would never of stood a chance if she hadn’t been removed.
My little girl who is only 5 years old, cries for her sister on a daily basis. She doesn’t know what’s happened, I mean how can you bring something into a child’s life that will take away some of her innocence. This week she was devastated as she wasn’t sure what was going to happen at the Xmas dinner table, there would be nobody to sit on the end of the table and that was always where her sister sits. She shouldn’t have to get upset over what an evil man did to my family.
A lot of people have said how it has made me stronger and in some respects it has, but this Christmas is the first Christmas that my family hasn’t been complete and I really don’t think I can even fake it being a good time. Every morning I wake up knowing it’s another day closer to Christmas and spending the day knowing some people are missing.
Do we deserve to be happy at Christmas or in fact ever again? After all we let my daughter go off and start an ‘adventure’ on her own. Shouldn’t a mother protect her children? What kind of mother am I to have not noticed the signs? Isn’t it my fault that this has all happened? I should have gone with my gut instinct and demanded she not move away with this monster. I should have demanded I visit when she told me not to, and I should have been more aware of what she was getting up to on social media.
At the moment nothing anyone can say will take away the guilt, the failure and the grief I feel. My daughter may not of died this year, but when a person dies – you move on and you learn to deal with grief. You have support groups. My daughter is still alive and living under an evil mans spell, we are living in limbo and it’s awful for my whole little family. I don’t think I will ever find the strength to let anyone else close to my family. Nobody will ever infiltrate it and harm another member of my family. From now on I am going to be the Mother from hell, the mother who is over protective. It all seems a bit like Bolting  the stable door after the horse has bolted but I will protect my other children. And until my daughter comes home, there will be a part of me that carries on dying everyday.
General post

My Gift This Christmas

My Gift This Christmas

My Gift This Christmas

In our house at Christmas it’s not the kid’s getting over excited about Christmas it’s myself. Don’t get me wrong the boy’s do get excited but nowhere near as much as I do, I admit I am a big kid at Christmas.

I just can’t help but get excited about Christmas, it is just a time of year I LOVE – Not for the gifts but for the feel of Christmas, the quality time spent together, family making time for each other, the fun and laughter just warms my heart.

Christmas morning I am so excited to get the day started  I just can’t sleep, I am always awake from 4.30am onwards, crazy I know but this has just continued from when the boys was younger. Now the boys are teens we can safely say that early mornings on non – School days are not popular in our house with them and they sadly don’t join me on my early Christmas morning rise.

I am now up and downstairs on my own at silly – o clock on Christmas morning, excited and can’t wait for everyone else to wake up. While I’m waiting I prep the dinner, lay the table for breakfast, I then sit and wait listening to Christmas music, I excitedly wait until about 8am and then I start singing, dancing and shouting “it’s Christmas” hey let’s face it it’s Christmas and I have the presents so they won’t get the hump with me…..crafty a.

This year will be Christmas with a difference for my family. I am a support worker that works out in our local community with the elderly and their families, I provide help/support and company to those who need/want it. It is a job I have had for years now and I really enjoy and love what I do. So my kids and Ian get the Christmas Day lie-in that they will most likely very much enjoy I have volunteered my services to work on Christmas morning. I will be off out spreading/sharing my Christmas cheer and visiting the elderly who are at the disadvantage of NOT having family close by to share Christmas with.

I will be out singing, dancing and making sure I put a smile on faces this Christmas morning. This Christmas I am giving the gift of my time to the elderly in my local area. I have been a support worker for many years now and have witnessed first hand what a difference just popping in to see them, having a cup of tea and chat with them and just generally asking how their day has been can make. No one should be alone at Christmas.

Drink, drink recipe, festive drink, Lifestyle

Homemade Eggnog

How To Make Eggnog

Christmas is nearly here so this means one thing, it means extra sweet’s and treats are allowed….doesn’t it?

One thing we have always wanted to try is eggnog. When watching christmas movies some of them talk about having an eggnog, this year I thought I would have a go at making some. Eggnog in the christmas movies is said to be a sign that christmas is here, I am a sucker for a good christmas movie and getting in the christmas spirit are you?

So the christmas music was put on, we dug out the ingredients needed to make some eggnog, the christmas cheer soon arrived…..Yes this involved a sing-a-long and even a little dance in the kitchen…I was soon told to stop.

Ingredients needed:

700ml whole milk

240ml double cream

3 cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla pod, split and seeds removed

1 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg (more for garnish)

5 eggs separated

1 cup of sugar

Splash of rum

How we made our eggnog:

How we made our eggnog was we added the cream, milk, cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod to a saucepan, we then brought it to the boil, Once boiled we allowed it to cool.

Whilst we waited for it to cool off Ian separated the eggs, putting the egg whites to one side to use later. He then mixed the yolks with the sugar.

Once it had cooled off we mixed together with the yolks, added rum to taste and then refrigerated overnight.

We saved the egg whites and used just before serving, we beat the egg whites until a soft peak formed. Once the eggnog had been refrigerated overnight and the egg whites had been mixed and was ready we folded the egg whites into the eggnog and mixed well.

The best bit was then ready……we could then serve and garnish with some nutmeg.

Here you have it, homemade eggnog.

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Oh my, this was heavenly! I am so pleased that when I now watch a christmas movie and they are talking about eggnog I can now understand how it is made and why they love to drink eggnog at christmas time. I did think that this would taste just like sweet milk but it was heavenly…perhaps it was the rum that saved that from happening, who knows but hey it is the christmas season after all.

Have you ever tried eggnog, if so what was your thoughts?

chocolates, food, gifts, homemade, Homemade Gift's

Festive Homemade Truffles

IMG_0074

Homemade Treats

We have been busy in the kitchen again, we have made homemade truffles this time. We love homebaking and fancied making something different other than a cake so we thought why not try to make some truffles.

We love truffles and thought why not try to make some ourself, we have family visiting christmas evening and would love to put out some fancy nibbles other than the normal old stuff we have out on offer. The kids really enjoyed helping to get stuck in and yes there was the usual arguments over who is going to lick the spoon and clear the bowl….Ian won that one! (big kid).

Ingredients used:

250ml double cream

50g butter

300g dark chocolate

Brandy enough to taste

1tbs Peppermint essence

Hundreds and thousands

Desiccated coconut

Butterscotch pieces

Chopped mixed nuts

Neon sugar sprinkles

Icing sugar

How we made the truffles:

IMG_0078We started off by putting the cream and butter in a saucepan, heated until the butter had melted and the cream started to gently boil.

We broke the chocolate into small pieces and melted in a dish over boiling water until fully melted.

We then poured the cream and melted butter into a mixing bowl, added the melted chocolate and then mixed the mixtures together.

Brandy Was Then Added

We then added brandy to taste. (we made two lots of these truffle mixes, an adult’s mix and a kid’s mix) for the kid’s mix we added peppermint essence to give it a minty flavour.

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Whilst I was mixing the cream and chocolate together Lee lined a large size oven dish that was deep enough to hold all the mixture in with greaseproof paper.

We then poured the mixture into this dish, allowed the mixture to cool and then placed in the fridge for roughly just over an hour.

While we was waiting for the chocolate to set we prepared the sprinkles and nuts by pouring them into Separate bowls.

The Fun Then Bagan

When the chocolate was ready we got a tea-spoon and spooned out some chocolate, rolled it into a ball and then rolled the ball in a chosen covering, either nuts, sprinkles etc until fully covered, continuing the process until all have been made, placing the truffles when covered on greaseproof paper on a plate. We placed the truffles when made in the freezer ready for christmas. We separately boxed up the adult’s truffles from the kid’s.

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Doing this was a very messy process, we was hand washing in between making each ball, we all got stuck in at making the truffles so they did not take to long to make. The kids thoroughly enjoyed making these, they loved getting all chocolateley and choosing what to cover the truffle in.

Very Messy But Fun

After all our hard work we have some lovely festive truffles all ready for christmas evening when family come to visit.

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What are your favourite food’s to have over christmas?