Monday, 26 October 2015

Cracker Swap 2015

It's Cracker Swap time again, I know many of you look forward to this swap as much as I do but if you are new to swapping then this is a lovely simple swap designed to get you in a christmassy mood!

So this is how it works......

Each of us will make a fabric Christmas Cracker filled with goodies

1) Take a kitchen roll tube (much roomier and nicer than a toilet roll!)

2) Fill your tube with goodies (you're be surprised how much you can fit in!) I think it would be great to include your favourite Christmas joke or recipe!

3) Wrap you filled tube in some lovely Christmassy fabric and tie the ends with ribbon

4) Send your completed fabric Christmas cracker on it's merry way to your swap partner

5) Receive a gorgeous fabric Christmas cracker stuffed with goodies and a lovely piece of fabric too!
Suggestions to fill your kitchen roll

sewing and crafting goodies in the way of buttons, ribbons and threads, needles and pins, stickers, beads, charms and lots more

Christmas chocolates, sweets etc

pampering goodies like nail varnishes, bath bombs, soaps etc

something handmade (as long as it fits in the tube! Although it could also be wrapped around the tube underneath the fabric too!)

key rings, brooches, earrings etc

A favourite Christmas joke

A favourite Christmas recipe

Here is a snippet of what I have sent and received over the past few years
What I received - Cracker Swap 2013 

and this was what was inside my cracker last year.


This swap is open to UK and overseas bloggers and non bloggers as long as you have a contact email.
Last posting date for your Christmas cracker will be 15th December (before if you are posting overseas) - if for any reason you can't make that deadline please let your partner know.
Blog about what you receive and what you have sent so we can all see your wonderful goodies.

Right, I think that's everything, if you have any problems during the swap then please let me know, but bear in mind that I am only the organiser of this swap it is up to you and your partner to swap details, likes and dislikes etc and to arrange a time to swap (by the deadline hopefully). I do understand that sometimes things happen and if for whatever reason you can't take part in the swap and need to pull out then please let me and your partner know, it's so disappointing not to receive anything!

Edited to add, please sign up by the 31st October and swap partners will be posted on 1st November.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Yoga and Rugby

This morning I went to my first yoga class, I wasn't sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it and stretched parts of me that haven't been stretched in a long time!
I think I may feel a little achy tomorrow but I'm looking forward to going again next week.
This afternoon was spent crocheting some autumn leaves whilst catching up with Doctor Foster on iplayer, I've just the last episode to watch tonight so I'm hoping to finish off a few more leaves.
Anyone else watching the Rugby World Cup, there is much excitement in our house as the two biggest boys are off to watch Wales V Australia tomorrow. Tomas and I will be watching at home to see if we can catch glimpse of them on the telly!
I have a feeling neither of them will have a voice left by the time they get home!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Joining the WI

I've been thinking about joining the WI for a while but a combination of teenage embarrassment, the hall where the WI meet is next to my teenagers secondary school and having to do Tomas' school run at 3pm has meant that I've had to put it off, until now....
with Rachel passing her driving test and Tomas finishing later now he is in prep school it means that I can now get to the monthly meeting. I was supposed to go in September but with all the back to school stuff going on I got a little muddled with my second Thursday of the month and missed the meeting!

So fast forward to today, Thankfully I remembered that it was the second Thursday of October and after a morning celebrating 21 years of marriage with a cup of tea, working on this gorgeous chocolate fabric apron,

and a last minute shower I dashed out the door and headed off to the village hall.
The car park was very busy, which I took as a good sign and quickly parked the car. As I walked towards the hall I could hear a bell ringing and thinking that maybe I was late and the meeting was getting started I hurried in to see everyone leaving by the fire exit on the other side of the room! It was the yearly fire drill and not the beginning of the meeting, one of the ladies kindly walked me back out of the hall and into the car park. I obviously looked like the new girl and a bit confused as several of the ladies welcomed me and explained what was going on.
After that little bit of excitement everyone headed back into the hall and apparently someone said a little louder that expected, "look a young one!!'
For anyone that hadn't noticed the new girl arriving the lady at the front having asked my name outside kindly introduced me to everyone using the microphone, I'd forgotten that I could still blush!
I quickly sat down at the nearest table, which was completely empty, before realising that I looked a right billy no mates, more blushing, but some lovely ladies took pity on me and I sat at their table, although I do think I pinched the chair of the lady that was collecting the subs!
The meeting quickly started and the speaker was introduced, this turned out to be an old chief superintendent from my days in the police force many moons ago. He gave a funny and entertaining talk about his past as a bobby and then it was time for tea and cake. Another table of ladies invited me to join their table and it was lovely to chat to them and find out what happens at the meetings. I think they were worried they would frighten me off but they were friendly and helpful and even offered to email me the WI Victoria sponge recipe, as Mr Mad About Bags is hoping that I will learn how to bake a cake. The time passed very quickly and it was nearly time for me to leave for the school run but the quiz had started and I felt I couldn't just get up and leave so I helped as much as I could as it was a famous policemen quiz but much of it was before my time! With the quiz over but before the answers had be given I made my apologies, more blushing, thanked them for a lovely afternoon, promised to come back next month and rushed out to the car to make a mad dash up the A12 to pick up Tomas from school.
Phew! I hope all the meetings aren't like that!
So will I be going back next month, definitely, although I may be their youngest member I'll make sure I get there early enough next time to sing Jerusalem!
Are you a WI member? I would love to hear about your WI groups and what you get up to.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

September/October Aims and Goals Update

I've come to the conclusion that I'm most productive at the beginning of each month, perhaps I see each month as a new start and I can forget about the things I haven't accomplished in the previous month and think about all the new things I'd like to achieve in the days ahead.
Last month I listed my goals and aims for the year and although it's taking me a little longer to establish a routine here is what I have achieved so far.

Home wise, I've been making a list of all the jobs that need doing around the house in an old notebook and we've been managing to cross a few off. 

Last month we finally put up the coat rack that had been sitting in the shed for the past 5-7 years. It still needs painting along with the panelling but it has made such a difference.

With five people in our home there are numerous coats and what appears to be hundreds of shoes! Since this photo we  have also bought a new shoe bench with cubby holes and a place to sit. I have officially become the shoe police as there is only room for 8 pairs of shoes, the rest have to go back in their rooms. We also repurposed a plastic outdoor storage trunk which had housed Tomas's Bob the Builder toys but it makes the perfect outdoor home for walking boots, I just need to decide where to put it now!

We bought new storage boxes for the patio, I've wanted a bench or seat on the patio for some time and needed a more practical place to put the garden toys that would be easy to get to rather that having to climb over bikes and the lawn mower in the outhouse.
We decided to go for the Keter bench, 

storage box and small shed, 

which were on offer at Homebase, I ordered them online and dispatched Paul to collect them then it was my job to put them all together. 
They were fairly easy and didn't take me long, I didn't want to just throw all the toys in so I re used the Ikea tubs we had they fitted perfectly inside both benches.

I've hidden the small shed around the back of the conservatory we don't use this patio at all but having now realised that most of my gardens tools are too tall for the shed I'm thinking I might put Tomas' bike and cars in there instead and either buy a nice wooden sentry box shed or put up brackets in the outhouse and keep the garden tools with the lawnmower. If you are thinking of buying from Keter I have to say that their customer service was brilliant the lid of the small shed was cracked when I opened the packaging at home, I phoned them up and they sent a replacement out within about 5 days! 

So far this month I have painted the back door and frame, I did say that I'm better at the start of the month didn't I, it stills needs a second coat but I just need to wait until we have a few dry days before finishing it off. 

I also bought some pots to put by the door and I just need to put something in them now.
I'm thinking it might have to be artificial as although the porch faces west and get lots of sun in the afternoon I don't think it will be enough for any plants to thrive. If any of you green fingered ladies know what I could plant then please let me know.

Tomas and I also painted the driveway gates and fence, he did a really good job especially as I'm not very good at sharing my paintbrush!

This was day one and gives you an idea of what they looked liked before and after.

Photography wise, I still haven't sat down and had a look at my course but I did venture out with my camera both in September when I spied these "fun guys"

and then most recently at the weekend when Tomas and I went conker picking.

The conkers were  ready to burst from their spiky outer cases and a few nearly landed on our heads!

Tomas found a stick and we managed to knock a few from their branches

he then decided to use the spiky cases as missiles to hit some of the conkers that were out of reach.

Taking aim!

Health and food wise, I can't say I've been good or bad I've just enjoyed eating good food and I've tried another risotto recipe which was a chicken and lemon pepper one and it was delicious. I'm making another one tomorrow I just haven't decided which one yet.

I think I may have found a yoga class to go to as one of the mums at Tomas' school is going to be running a class straight after school drop off once a week so I just need to find out all the details and I'll be ready to give it a try. I've also added a Fitbit to my christmas list in a bid to increase my daily activity and after reading how Amy from Love Made My Home has been getting on with hers.

Craft wise I've been a bit slow getting going with this one but I have managed to sort more of my stash in my new studio and tidy some more things away. I was quite ruthless with my cross stitch charts and unfinished kits, only keeping what I really like and want to finish and putting the unused ones on eBay for someone else to enjoy. Today I finally started sewing again and I spent the whole day behind my sewing machine making an apron and I think this was the kick start I needed and I'm looking forward to more sewing days ahead.

Early nights wise I've made more of an effort to go to bed between 10 and 11pm but it's been a bit hit and miss so I do need to keep trying with this.

Routine and To Do List wise, all I'll say is if this was a school report it would say "could try harder"!!!

I do think I've got out of the habit of using the computer in the evenings as it's far too easy to sit in the living room with my phone and the TV which is why I haven't been blogging very much but I was thinking perhaps I should think of my blog more like Facebook and Instagram and just post snippets of my day as and when they happen rather than planning some big post that I never get round to posting because either there is now too much to say or it happened so long ago even I've forgotten about it.

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