A little catch up

Hello! Happy new year to you. I hope you had a nice Christmas? My favourite part is the build up. I love decorating the house, watching festive movies, listening to Christmas music. My favourite Christmas song has to be Last Christmas by Wham. I ordered myself a copy on vinyl the other day. It was very emotional listening to it this morning. George Michael played a huge part in my musical upbringing. I still can’t believe he’s gone. So very sad.


I hardly had chance to blog much before the big day, I was so busy. Would you like to see what I was up to?

Well, I actually managed to do all the baking I had planned. First came fudge. Chocolate and cranberry fudge to be precise. The cranberries were soaked in orange liqueur overnight so they had a little bit of a kick to them.


I gave these to some of my neighbours and friends, I hope they went down well.

Next there was good old fashioned peppermint creams. There’s a very unhealthy theme going on here…


And lastly, mince pies.


Although these look ok in the photo, I made the mistake of leaving them in the baking tin too long (multitasking) so they got stuck and just crumbled to pieces when I tried to remove them. Oh well, I shall remember for next time.

There was a fair bit of Christmas crafting happening in December too. My friend arranged a Christmas crafts day at her house for a few of us in aid of MIND (mental health charity). She provided all the materials (of which there was enough for the whole of my village to have joined in!) and we all brought some food for a little buffet lunch and made a donation to the charity. It was lovely. We made some string balls first which was rather messy. It involved balloons, glue, yarn/twine and glitter, great fun! Then there was jars with paper cuts of snowy scenes inside with fake snow and fairy lights, then the outside coated with glue, soda crystals and glitter. They were so pretty. And lastly was our snowman hot chocolate jars. Three jars stacked upon each other filled with hot chocolate powder, marshmallows and chocolate treats and candy canes. Then the jars were decorated with buttons and ribbon for a scarf. We slightly overestimated how much we could get done in a day, especially with a toddler around, so we ended up coming back another day to finish off. Sadly I didn’t get around to taking any photos of our makes.

I made a few gifts for people this year. You’ve already seen my nan’s one here, I’m pleased to say she liked it very much. I also had a play with oven baked clay. It was just some little decorations for my friends to hang on their tree with their children’s names on.


These didn’t turn out how I’d hoped, there’s definitely more practice needed here! The thought was there though.

I crocheted my mum and mum-in-law an infinity scarf and wrist warmers set each. I was quite pleased with how these turned out. Here’s my mums one.


The yarn I used was Stylecraft cabaret in rainforest, I absolutely love the colours. It has a slight glittery fleck to it which is really pretty. Here’s the other set…


I made this with a gorgeous chunky acrylic/wool blend called Shetland Mist. I got it when I went to Yarndale  in September. It was the first time I’d used a real chunky yarn and I loved it. It worked up really fast and is super soft.

With both of these I’d completely underestimated how much yarn I’d need so ended up buying more. I actually have a whole ball of the Shetland mist left over so I might make something for myself. Maybe a beanie?

I haven’t picked up a crochet hook for a few weeks now as I just haven’t had the opportunity. I’m actually a bit concerned that I’ll have forgotten how to do it if I don’t get back to it soon! I also have a new craft obsession. After playing with my friends big shot to make the paper cuts, I mentioned how much I enjoyed it to my hubby. On Christmas Day, I unwrapped my very own one! It’s very addictive I have to say, but also very expensive to buy all the dies. I got myself some gorgeous Christmassy ones in the sales but will gradually build up my collection, as and when I see a bargain.

I spent yesterday de-Christmasing the house. It’s a big job and I’ve still got cleaning to do but it feels so much better already. I do love a post-christmas de-clutter. Everywhere feels bigger and more organised. Just need a nice bunch of flowers now and then ‘normal’ can resume in our household. I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine, I have big plans for this year. Slimming world being one of them. I think I’m going to be brave and share my journey with you. It might give me that extra kick up the bum I need to keep going.

Right, although it’s been lovely being back in blogland for a bit, I must go and clean, tidy, mother, potty train and all that other stuff I do on a daily basis. Thanks for reading xx

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Christmas in a jar

I’ve been planning this little theme all year and it’s finally time to bring the ideas flying round in my head to life. I’ve been collecting the glass vases and cloches from places like T K Maxx and Home Sense whenever I’ve seen them. Some were in the sales but each one cost around £4.00 which I didn’t think was too bad. I can also use them for other things throughout the year.


For the glass cloches I obviously needed a base so after some searching around I discovered that my cake stands were perfect for the job. I’d got some small strands of battery operated fairy lights, fake snow, bottle brush trees and then lots of adorable little Christmassy pieces to create little scenes inside each one.


For this one I raided Jude’s car stash and used some bakers twine to tie a little Christmas tree on top of the truck.

It’s surprising how fast it is to fill them up, I thought I’d run out of stuff but I actually didn’t get to use everything.


These are some of my favourites, the woodland creatures. Although it’s very hard to pick a favourite, I love them all.


A sprinkling of cinnamon scented pine cones and the fairy lights really make these, although each one takes 3 AA batteries!! 


And here they are all together. I think they look really magical. These are keepers me thinks!

A little catch-up

I’m so sorry that I’ve not posted much lately. I can’t put my finger on quite why, perhaps it’s because this is just a busy time of year. Or maybe it’s cos I can’t show what I’ve been busy doing as it’d let the cat out of the bag. It could be the whole lack of being able to share tons of photos with you, a problem that I still haven’t gotten round to doing anything about. Or perhaps I just don’t have much to say at the moment? I think it’s all of the above. Anyway, I’m here now. 


I’m actually not in my usual panic for this time of year. I’ve done most of the Christmas gift buying, online shopping is ace, beats trekking round in the cold, fighting  through the crowds. The decorations are half up, by the end of the weekend it’ll all be done I hope. I’m taking my time, no stress here.


Here’s a little peek at this years ‘thing’. I got a good way through this last night with Mr. Buble singing softly in my ear, but I ran out of snow. The lovely Hubby is bringing me more tonight so I can finish them.

I’m even up to date with my magazine reading, I’m normally reading Decembers in January getting all that Christmas inspiration! This year I might even get to try out some of the crafts and tempting recipes. I’m planning on doing lots of baking this year, last years jar of mincemeat is still in date and I’ve purchased a new bottle of peppermint essence and bulk bought icing sugar so I’ll keep you posted on that! The diet starts in January, and it actually will. I’m going to sign up to Slimming World and start running again. A whole new world will be opening up to me as my little baby starts pre-school! I can’t quite believe we’re here already. It’ll be very strange but I also cannot wait to have a few hours a day to myself. I’ll be able to get so much done.

I’m going to leave you with one little hint of what’s been on my hook recently. You’ll have to wait for the finished result. Bye for now…

Wonderful winters weekend

I’ve had a lovely weekend, full of fabulous festive things. Friday night was the Fabulous Frost Fair.


It was the VIP charity evening and was very glam. We were welcomed in to a goody bag and a glass of bubbles with Christmas music filling the air. After a few speeches we were free to start browsing all the wonderful stalls full of gorgeous handmade crafts and they were all local too which was brilliant. It was great to be child free so I could take my time and really look at stuff. I was very good though, I didn’t buy anything. I could’ve spent a fortune on myself but with Christmas coming I need to concentrate on gifts for others. I’ve mainly got just men to buy for now and most of the products were aimed at ladies. I felt so inspired looking at everything though, I kept thinking to myself, I could make one of those or Ooh, I’d love to try my hand at that. One day I actually might find the time to give a few new crafts a go, wouldn’t that be good?

On the Saturday evening was our village Christmas light switch on. The rain stayed away and we joined the hundreds of other villagers meandering about with a mulled wine and mince pie. I met up with a couple of my friends and we had a good catch up and a wander into one of the little boutiques that was open for the festivities. Everywhere looked so pretty all lit up, The Salvation Army band played Christmas carols, local choirs sang, it was just a lovely festive evening.


On the Sunday, we took a family trip to Thomas Land to celebrate Jude’s birthday. It was such an amazing day, I can’t praise it highly enough. Jude absolutely loved every minute as expected, even the teenagers enjoyed themselves. We’re not really a theme park family so this was perfect for us, nice gentle rides! I’d highly recommend a visit here for any Thomas fan, especially around Christmas time as they’d really gone to town with the decorations, fake snow and Christmas music playing. They had a show in the daytime and then a Christmas wishes parade at the end of the day followed by fireworks. We felt so festive. We paid a little visit to Father Christmas in the Castle of Dreams, went Ice skating and watched The Polar Express in 4D which was fab. They also have a small zoo there which was home to two adorable reindeer. They were getting plenty of rest in preparation for their forthcoming long night.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend full of fun, friends, fizz, festive cheer and most of all family. (Sadly, my big son couldn’t be there as he’s growing up and had to work, but he was there in spirit!)

Where I’m up to

Hello! I’ve been rubbish lately at blogging. I used to manage a couple a week but more recently it’s been one every couple of weeks. I can only think it’s because there’s been so much going on family wise. There’s been a lot of birthdays to celebrate, including my little boy turning a big 3! How is my baby 3 already?


I feel bad as for his 1st birthday I made him a cake (a two-tiered one no less), though never again. For his 2nd I made him a big card that got shown on cBeebies (Woo!) but for his 3rd I’ve done nothing. No party, nothing. We are going to Thomas Land this weekend so he’ll absolutely love that. I just feel I haven’t ‘created’ anything special for him this year. It’s not like he’s noticed though, just me being me.

I’ve been hooking away behind the scenes making a couple of Christmas presents. I’ll share those with you at a later date when it’s safe to do so. I’ve also started another blanket, it’s going to be one to sell. Do you remember the skittles rainbow blanket  I made in the summer? Well I sold it!! My first ever crochet sale, I was over the moon. I sold it through my Facebook page, if you fancy popping over to see me there you can click here. And I’m also on Instagram, I’m not sure how to link to that so search for vickimccav. I don’t do Twitter, I’m afraid I’ve never got it and never will!

I’ve been getting that festive feeling already, I’m like a big kid when it comes to Christmas! I’ve got a couple of new things planned for this year but otherwise it’ll be pretty much the same as last year. I opened up my December issue of Country Living magazine this morning. I’m completely in love with the cover!


Wow, I just want to wrap up warm and go sit there in the snow with good food, wine and friends. It’s so magical!

We’ve had a bit of white stuff here this morning, shame it was just hail, but still looks pretty.


I’m still mulling the whole blog/media storage thing over. I had my eyes closed tight and just peeked a teeny little bit when I was uploading these photos, half expecting them not to go on!

Right I’m off to go and do some jobs and get ready for The Fabulous Frost Fair this evening, I’m very excited and will be child free too so I can get fully festive with freedom! ❄️🎄⛄️

Resolutions and routine 

  
Hello everyone, how was your Christmas? I hope it was good. We had a nice time here, surrounded by far too much chocolate and wrapping paper. I was spoiled by my hubby, he’s very good at buying presents for me, he knows me so well. The Christmas movie watching effort was awful though, I must do better next year.

We’re at that kind of nothingy in between stage now and I’m itching to take the decorations down and get the house straight again. I’m so ready to bring order to our day to day lives. I’m making mental lists of all sorts of things. Weekly meal planning, exercise routines, household cleaning rotas, future crafting plans. I’m always at my most organised and positive at this time, full of hope and great intentions. 2016 is going to be a good year. It will be well planned, organised and lots will be achieved. While writing some of my lists out on paper, I discovered last years list of New Years resolutions. I can tell you that only three things got ticked off. 

  1. Start a blog 
  2. Teach myself to crochet 
  3. Have monthly date nights with the hubby

Those are actually three very important ones and I’m so so glad I achieved them. The ones that didn’t make it will definitely be focused on in this new year ahead. Things like exercise and giving myself some attention. That always gets put on the back burner but it needs to take priority now before I start to not recognise myself anymore. I read this article a little while ago and it really rung true. It got me thinking about myself. Probably about 95% of what I DO is for everyone else. My life is crammed full of DOING for others, cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, looking after, arranging appointments, ferrying around, tidying up after. The list is endless. Even most of the things I crochet have been for other people. If I don’t start scheduling some time in for me, it feels like Vicki won’t exist anymore. Every inch of me needs some attention starting from my hair right down to my toes. I MUST start looking after myself because I feel like a mess most of the time. To be able to keep looking after my family and to be in a good position to do so, I need to look after myself first. Does that make sense? Without sounding selfish? Vicki needs to be a person in her own right, not just the one who DOES. I’d also love to be able to contribute financially. I’ve always been quite an independent person so to be able to do that, even if just a little bit would be great. Ideally I’d like to be able to make lots of lovely things myself and sell them but having had previous experience of that, I know it’s not all that easy. Maybe I’ll give it some thought. Perhaps a little part time job somewhere? It’d get me out of the house, child-free, and I’d get paid. That actually sounds quite appealing! Watch this space.

I think I lasted about 2 days after I finished the last blanket before I felt the urge to pick up some crochet again. I wasn’t ready to start anything new just yet so I just carried on with the unidentified blanket (see my blog post titled the unidentified blanket) that I’m making for our daughter. I will have to decide quite what I’m doing with this one fairly soon! I’ve got lots of new crafty projects in mind. Too many actually, they’re swimming around my head and I need to reel them in and work out which I’m going to do first. I’ll try not to buy any more wool for a while, there’s plenty in my stash to use up first. Perfect for some of the smaller projects I have in mind.

So, looking ahead, here are my resolutions for the year 2016. If I put them here, it means I have to try extra hard to keep at them 😉

  1. Set up a weekly/monthly meal plan and do online shopping.
  2. Write out and stick to a regular household cleaning schedule.
  3. Attend one exercise class a week and do one run a week.
  4. Have a pamper night once a week to keep myself buffed, scrubbed and manicured.
  5. One night a week to be a family night where we all sit around the table, eat, chat and play board games.
  6. Have a more structured day planned with baby J, more activities & less TV.

I think that’s about it. I’ll look back at this in a months time and see how I’m doing! Do any of you have any resolutions for 2016 or any suggestions as to how to stick to them?

Happy new year to you all, see you on the other side for lots of crafty goings on!

Vicki xxx

Colourful Christmas blanket…Ta Dah!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I bring you this post with a completed blanket, just in the nick of time. I actually finished it around 1am this morning and then spent the rest of the night attempting to sleep in a toddler bed, with a toddler poking my eyes out and with an already sore neck. It’s safe to say, this morning I’m a wee bit grumpy.

So, when I last left you, I still had a little way to go with my squares. Just as I was about to finish the last one, disaster struck. I realised right near the centre I’d not done enough stitches and it’d thrown the whole thing out. Arghh!! I was devastated. So, I had to unpick it down to this and redo it. Not what I needed when the pressure was already on.

  
Even my hubby knew how I must have been feeling and gave me a reassuring rub on the arm. 

Once all 9 squares were finished and ends sewn in, I did my first bit of blocking. I’m not sure if I did it right, but they did look a bit better afterwards.

   

My nice little pile of squares, ready to join..

   

Once joined, this was the result.

   
 
It actually looked larger than I expected, bonus! I decided that to get this blanket bigger and better and fast, I needed to get back to the very reliable, good old granny stitch. 

  
I went round once in each colour. I was going to do the same again but time was pressing so I began the final descent. Two rows of double crochet then a nice bumpy border.

  
I really enjoyed doing this border, apart from the fact it meant I was close to finishing, it had a nice flow to it. Perfect for doing while watching Christmas movies.

So here it is, my Christmas pressie to my lovely nan-in-law…

   
    
    
    
 
I’m really quite happy with this. I’ve enjoyed making it even though there were some tricky bits too. I’ve especially loved working with the stylecraft yarn, I’m definitely a convert.

Well, I’m going to sign off now. All my presents are wrapped, food shopping done. Time to maybe make some gingerbread men and peppermint creams. And if I’m lucky, a glass of mulled wine in front of a black and white Christmas movie.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone xxx

    

Welcome to Narnia

  

I’ve been meaning to bring you this post for ages but I’ve been so so busy, so apologies.

I decided this year that I’d go to town on decorating the hallway for Christmas, an area that usually gets forgotten about. I don’t know what sparked the idea but I thought a Narnia winter wonderland theme would look nice and festive.  I got the DVD out to refresh myself, then I set to work, my mind racing with ideas. The first thing I thought of is a lamppost. Obviously we couldn’t fit in a full size one but we found the next best thing. After some searching on eBay, we got this…

   
 

My hubby wired it up so it was working and I Christmased it up with some spray snow. This is in our porch, and just opposite is this..

  
I wanted it to sort of look like it was snowing. I got some net lights, then took a little trip to my local fabric shop and got a bargain roll of delicate, white, sheer fabric. I have loads left so will have to think of some future projects to use it for. I also got a couple of metres of a beautiful fabric with a lovely glittery shimmer to it. I draped these over the lights which I think looks quite effective.

Did you spot the tree branches by the lamppost?  My dear hubby, knowing my mini obsession to transform our hallway, brought me home a load of very tall branches from a silver birch tree. I gave them the same snowy treatment as the lamppost.

  
There’s some on the stairs and by the front door. They have little fairy lights on them and cinnamon infused cones sitting on the base and wired onto the branches. Behind this one sits our reindeer made completely from rolled up pieces of newspaper. I’d love to say I made it but no, it was from TK Maxx.

   
 
On the ceiling I hung lots and lots of snowflakes and icicles.

  
I wanted to add a little greenery so I took this sledge

  
This from the garden 

  
And made this

  
It’s my first ever attempt at floral arranging, I wonder what my mum would think. She’s a top NAFAS demonstrator who just came third in designer of the year. She’s a very talented lady indeed.

Here’s a few more pictures from around Narnia..

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 
I think I went as far as I could go while still keeping it a practical, usable space. It does feel very wintry, especially at night with just the fairy lights on.

We had our Christmas party this weekend, it went really well. In preparation for it, my beloved dresser became a drinks cabinet.

  
I think it’ll stay this way now till after Christmas.

Now I need to sign off and get more wrapping and crochet done. The blanket’s coming along nicely, I’ll update you on it in a couple of days.

Vicki xxx

Hooking like a mad woman 

I’m really feeling the pressure now. I don’t work well under pressure and tend to flap a bit. I thought when I started this latest project that I had all the time in the world, and I actually did give myself quite a bit of time in which to complete this. I just haven’t found enough time on a regular basis to keep on top of it, and my pattern choice hasn’t helped things progress well either. It’s not actually a hard blanket to do,  well except the bit that I’m working on now. It’s just very time consuming. Not my best choice in the world, but it will be lovely WHEN it’s finished. 

I’m currently just over two thirds of the way through finishing the final colour of the 9 squares.

  
There’s four rows in the blue to do on each square and to be quite honest, it’s a bitch! I have to concentrate so hard as there’s lots of counting stitches and changing stitches. The amount of times I had to undo bits because I’d got distracted. I will not be sad to see the back of this part of the blanket, I can tell you. I hate to talk in a negative way about crochet as I love it, I just don’t love doing it to a deadline when I’ve already got so many other things to do too. I will learn a lesson from this I’m sure!

So once I’ve done the two last squares, I need to sew in all the ends, urgh. Then block them, another first for me. I do think they need it though. Then join the squares together. THEN….. I need to decide what stitches to do around the whole of the blanket in all of the colours to make it quite a bit larger. I’m kinda making it up as I go along now as the pattern was just for the blocks. If any of you hooky friends out there in blogland have any suggestions, they would be most welcome! I’ll do a post once I’ve got to this stage, hopefully in a few days.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop and read my ramblings, it really does mean a lot to me.

Vicki xxx

Ps: WordPress have just announced that this is my 100th blog post, wow! I’m rather impressed with myself!

This week I have been mostly…

  
Having Donkey rides! This was at the weekend at a national trust house we visited. He loved it and cried when it was time to get off. The donkeys were called Gavin and Stacey!

   
   
Making pomanders with my step daughter. I love the smell of oranges and cloves. That and cinnamon is just the essence of Christmas.

I’ve also been dressing the real tree in the dining room, I have to admit I think this is my favourite one.

   
    
    
   
Here’s a picture with one of our pooches, Amber.

  
She’s very cute isn’t she? The next morning I came downstairs to find she’d chewed a few ornaments from the tree. The cute ones are often the worst.

I’ve been wearing my Christmas jumper at every opportunity, I LOVE it! I’m getting all the wear I can out of it as after Christmas it’s not really appropriate.

  
I’ve been trying to do a bit more crochet, it’s coming on… Slowly. And I’ve squeezed in a couple of Christmas movies. The Christmas shopping is finally finished so I need to start wrapping soon, that’s going to be a mission and a half.