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!

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!)

My week in pictures 

My first harvest of delicious sweet peas. They smell divine. I’m looking forward to having a constant supply of these beauties for a good while.

A tired toddler after lots of jumping in muddy puddles.

A spot of baking….. Oreo cake. Find the recipe here.

I got my colouring books out for the first time in yonks, anything’s better than watching the boxing.

Trying to vacuum with this lazy pooch. She was budging for nothing or no-one.

Birthday celebrations for our littlest of the bigger kids. Lovely teppanyaki restaurant near China town in Liverpool.

The youngest is becoming a teenager way before his time. He’s pinched my spot in the dining room with my cushions and my phone. So many videos of Thomas the tank engine on YouTube to watch!

I’ve re-covered the chair in the bathroom. No more wet towels on here kids, please??

Now this coaster was made about a month ago. I fully intended to make a whole set of them in different colours. They were to be gifted to a very lovely lady. Unfortunately, I ran out of time so instead she received just the one coaster, along with a couple of eggs from our girls wearing my Egg Cosies and one of my Lavender bags too. I hope she likes them 😊

The weather has been awful here. Rain, rain go away….


There’s been more pretty bunting being made. Not for me this time, for an order. Yes you heard that right, a paying customer 😊 !!


Some more baking, it’s hungry work sewing you know. Although these are quite healthy cookies, full of oats, seeds and fruit. The idea is that when I’m peckish I can grab one of these instead of chocolate.


And finally this…


I couldn’t resist lighting a fire last night while sewing. It was so cold, it felt like winter. Where’s our summer gone?

Vicki xx

Baby it’s cold outside

Hello! How are you all? Well I don’t know about you but the weather here today has just been dull, wet and freezing cold.

  
Actually it’s pretty much been this way for some time and I hate it. The only thing I like about it is feeling all snug and warm indoors.

These beauties are making me smile though everytime I walk past and get a whiff. I do love hyacinths, they make me believe spring is just around the corner.

  
I’ve been having urges to cook lately too, from scratch. I got a Mary Berry cookbook in the January sales and keep browsing through. The recipes aren’t too fancy, just good, wholesome family meals. I made this tandoori chicken the other night, it was lovely. I even made a little chutney to go with it which I’m definitely doing again. I was rather pleased with myself and the hubby said he enjoyed it too.

  
As for crafty goings on, my friend Jan the sewing machine has been let out of the basement for a bit of air.

  
I had a few repairs to do….

  
One of the cushions I made last year had come apart. I must have sewn it a wee bit close to the edge. It was a 60 second job. Sewing is all about quick results, not like crochet. But I still have my reservations, I think I’m very much daunted by it. My mum’s an expert on the sewing machine, but I’ve never had any confidence with it. I hope to change that this year. I’m leaving the machine out as I have a couple of other jobs that need doing. Watch this space! 

I had a bit of a sort out of my cottons and it turns out I have a little collection of high quality reels. Get me!

  
All hand me downs from my mum! Well, all except the blue on the left. I bought that myself for a particular project..

  
Only trouble is its quite a few shades out.. Think I might be better off using the cream or pink for this one.

  
I’ve also discovered a new place to take the little man on a Monday. A very unique place near us called Port Sunlight (google it, it has tons of history) has a museum and art gallery called Lady Levers. They have a free session for under 5’s every week with loads of toys and crafts, it’s great. I think this will become a regular Monday morning thing. 

  
This afternoon, I decided to light a fire as I was so cold, even with the heating on. It makes things so cosy. And, my baking urges crept in. With the lack of much butter, I found a quick and easy recipe using sunflower oil instead and made some muffins. I have to say they are rather good!

  
Nice and light and fluffy, and a perfect accompaniment to a mug of hot tea.

  
Well that’s about it for now peeps, I have been quite busy crocheting, here’s a little teaser of just one thing I’m working on…

  

but will save that for another day. 

Keep warm, V xxx

Thirty sweet minutes

It’s been such a grey, yucky day here today.  Cold too. There’s not been much happening, my hubby is at work, my eldest son is too. I did have my very first online grocery shop delivered which I was very excited about, probably a little too excited. But it does mean I’m getting to grips with my New Years resolutions. Good start Vicki.

While there was no rain, I decided Baby J and I should get out of the house, just for a short walk. We had some thank you cards to send so we donned our welly boots and coats and ventured outside. Walking without the mobile prison (buggy) takes a long time but it was just nice to be getting some fresh air. We went into the post office to buy some stamps and Baby J attempted to rearrange their beautiful card display. Then a short wander down the road to the post box. This was his first time posting letters and he had a huge grin on his face. On the walk back home he decided he wouldn’t avoid the puddles like he did on the way there. He had the best time splashing in them! What is it with kids and puddles? Like magnets.

  
Back indoors in the warm and it seems the chickens want to come inside too!

  
Excuse my muddy floor won’t you? It’s awful at this time of year with us and the dogs in and out of the garden all the time. Right, time for a mug of hot chocolate and cuddles with my boy.

  
I know it wasn’t exactly exciting, but it was a lovely way to spend a really sweet thirty minutes. 

Happy weekend everyone, hope you find yourself some sweet time too. Xx

Feathered friends

It’s been ages since I blogged about the chickens so I thought I’d give them a little mention now. With all this miserable weather we’ve been having lately, it’s got so soggy in their little corner of the garden. It’s like a bog, it can’t be very nice for them. I’ve been letting them have the run of the whole garden during the day which in turn means they’ve absolutely trashed it! I went out to the kitchen just now and looked out to the garden…

   
   
They’re having a great time!

I do have some sad news too, we lost our lovely Buffy, one of our lavender silkies on Christmas Eve. We don’t know why, she hadn’t appeared poorly or anything. She was a few years old so maybe it was just her time. Still very sad though.

R.I.P. Buffy xxx

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

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.