Thursday, 22 December 2011

So much to say, so little time!

Well I have been happily opening my swop pressies over the last few days, and I have to admit something.........................................................I've jumped ahead and opened them all ooops!!!  But in my defense, I do have a good reason...we go on our happy holidays early in the morning so it was either open them now or wait until after Christmas and the child inside of me would just not allow that ;)
So I want to say a huge thank you to Bea for all my swop goodies and I hope you have enjoyed yours.  I will do a post to catch up on them all when I'm back.   And also another thank you to Lynda for organising the swop.
This morning my task was to make cranberry sauce for my father-in-law.  I made it last year for the first time and he raved about it and put his request in for this year, so I could not dissapoint.  I also made some for my family Christmas earlier this month and it went down very well.

excuse photo, taken in a hurry

If you are interested in making some, this is how I make mine.........

Cranberry Sauce

1-2 Oranges
300g Cranberries
100ml ish of water
100-120g sugar

Add the rind of 1 orange (doesn't have to be every little bit), the juice of 1 orange (or 2 if not very juicy) and approx 100ml of water to pan, over medium heat.  Stir in sugar (start with 100g and can add more if not sweet enough) and heat until sugar melted.  Add cranberries and turn down to low heat.  Stir regularly until all the cranberries have 'popped' and sauce has started to thicken, this will take approx 15 mins( may have to squash the last few cranberries).  Take pan off heat and leave to cool.  Place in steralised jars and enjoy :)

beautifully, rich red, yumminess

If you've never made it before I urge you to have a is really so simple to do, you don't have to be exact with measurements and it tastes sooooooooo much nicer than the jar stuff.

Anyway that's all from me until after Christmas, hope you all have a good one and I'll see you on the other side X

Monday, 19 December 2011

Day 16-19 Advent Swop...with weekend catch up

Well, all our weekend plans seemed to change, but we have had a lovely and productive one......J was off on Friday so it's been a nice extended weekend too. 
It started with a slightly different Friday than planned (from my previous post), a trip to the GP's for me for antibiotics and a trip to the garage for the car for 3 new tyres after one went pop!  

Here's what I opened on that day for my advent swop from Bea

As you can see, already eaten!  Can't remember which blog I read it on now (sorry!) but I had it in rice pudding, it was very yum indeed :)

And what I had sent to Bea
A festive mug

On Saturday I had a lazy start to the day as I was still feeling a bit under the weather.  We had planned a day at the Warrington De Vere hotel, using their spa facilities (pool, jacuzzi, gym etc), followed by afternoon was a birthday present from my sister.  However, I didn't feel up to the gym etc and as I'd already rearranged it once, I didn't want to cancel again at the risk we might lose it.  So in the afternoon, off to afternoon tea we went.  And I was glad we did, it was very nice indeed.  Finger sandwiches.....ham & tomato, egg & cress, smoked salmon & cream cheese, cucumber & cream cheese..........Followed by scones with butter, jam & cream.......Followed by a cake of our choice...maltesers cake for J and black cherry baked cheesecake for me (both shared of course!).....all washed down with a drink of our choice...J had a HUGE pot of tea and just to add to the already consumed calories I had a caramel macchiato........yummy......Well worth getting out of bed for :)
No photos as J banned discouraged me from taking my camera.. his comment was....when you look like that, no leave it at home...I don't know how to boost me confidence ;)

My advent goody for the day was..................

I've been having a massive sort out this weekend and finding homes for my crafty bits, so these now have a drawer to live in.....if any family are reading this and are ever unsure what to get me I LOVE LOVE LOVE bits for my stash, thanks Bea
And here's what I'd sent to Bea.................

Some choccy bics to go with a cuppa in the mug from yesterday

Sunday we had planned reflexology for J in the morning, followed by lunch out with friends and tea with some more......again not quite to plan.

On Sat night J had started tinkering with the radiator in the bedroom we are decorating and this required us keeping the heating off from sat night through until sunday night bbbrrrrrrrrrrrr, it was very cold indeed.  I went to reflexology in his place so he could continue tinkering...........such a sacrifice by me ;)
Upon my return there was still no heating and lots of tinkering going on so we had to cancel lunch :(.......and off to his mums I went to warm up and start my curtains. 
We then heard from our friends who we were meeting for tea and they rearranged to meet up for a drink so an emergency run to the chippy for tea....not quite as special as the two previously planned meals out!!  But we had a lovely night in the pub with them catching up....they have a wee one due any day and I got the feeling they really wanted 'one more trip' to the pub, prior to little ones the boys went all out and had two whole pints each , whilst myself (nominated driver) and mummy to be went wild and sampled a range of soft drinks.  And our final round for the four of us was 1xcoca cola, 1x mocha and 2x hot rock and roll!!!!!!

Here is what I received yesterday for my swop..............

Not seen anything like this before, I'll have to try it this week as we still haven't put any decs up

And what I sent to Bea...................

snuggly socks to keep your tootsies warm

Today's gift was.....................

Yea, more crafting bits, just my cup of tea Thanks :)

And what I sent to Bea................

snow, just in case none falls by you....gotta have a bit of the white stuff at Christmas

Today I've been off work and had a pretty lazy day, lots of sleep involved as still feeking a bit under the weather, and i've been finishing off a few crafty bits so I can get them off before the last post


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Day 15 Advent Swop

10 more sleeps my advent calender says :)  eeekkk soooooo exciting (but also sooooo much to do!)

Here is what I received in my advent swop today

3 packs of eyelets for my stash :) One pack has all different coloured round eyelets, another has gold and silver angels and the third pack has a mixture of white snowflakes, yellow butterflies, yellow stars, pink flowers and pink hearts.  Sooooo many cute little bits, i'm looking forward to crafting with these next year, thanks Bea x

Here is what I sent Bea

Candy Cane tree ornaments handmade by Cute & Cosy
I found these whilst browsing on ravelry and thought they were really unusual, pattern can be found here, (I did need to adapt it slightly to fit the size of my candy canes)

J is off tomorrow so we have a lovely day planned, including putting up our Christmas decs, lunch at a local cute cafe that serve gorgeous homemade cakes and i'm hoping to fit in a bit of sewing.  A lovely start to what will be a lovely weekend.

Two more bits of exciting news, the first is I've reached 17 followers yea :) Welcome to you all and thank you.  And the second is I've been awarded the Liebster Blog award :) really chuffed, will blog more about this tomorrow once I know what I have to do.

Just enjoying a chai tea latte before bed, so worth trying if you haven't.  It is full of different flavours, I first tried it in a lovely cafe in Evesham called 'word of mouth'.  And I bought a tin to bring home, which didn't last long.  This recent batch is from Aldi....gotta love a bargain and the taste is pretty similar to the previous batch.  Also the Aldi lot, comes in a box of individual sachets so great for out and about


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Day 14 Advent Swop

Today I received the cutest tin

And look what was inside.......
chocolate santa's

Here is what I sent to Bea

Mini mittens for her tree, handmade by Cute & Cosy

These would look cute with a white star stiched on them, shame I didn't have that thought at the time!!

Pattern can be found here
Talking of mitts, I'm off to do some knitting, got 3 pairs of childrens mitts to make and send to London so best get my skates on........may just have a hot choc first to warm the fingers up with a couple of choc santa's  :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Day 13 Advent Swop

I think it's a case of great minds today, here is what I received from Bea.......

a bit of choccy
and this is what I sent to Bea.................

a bit of choccy
I'll enjoy mine after work with a cuppa.

Talking of food and present ideas.......................

I put this together for a family birthday recently.  The glass jar has the ingredients for cupcakes (although the recipe said get a large jar and it didn't even fill half the jar, so would def go for a small jar next time!!).  Onto the jar I have attached a Gisela Graham wooden cupcake, which has a peg for holding the recipe card and a magnet, by which it attached to the jar (can then be reused as a fridge magnet/note holder).  There are also some choc chips which are added to the recipe at a later stage and some girly cupcake cases. 
Right I'm off to get ready for work :(  Then got my knitting group tonight and were having a Christmas bring in :)  ...........oops note to self............... must find something to take!!!!

Monday, 12 December 2011

This weeks makes

Well I finished off all my family gifts for their Christmas presents, but forgot to take pictures doh!!!!!  Will have to get them to send me some pics.

I also finished this hat for my cousin.

He reminds me a little of yogi bear

She wanted a bear hat with a face, for when she mucks out her horse.  It was lovely to see her reaction, hope it gets plenty of use.

This is the hamper I put together for my Grandad for Christmas, he was made up with it.   And simple to personalise.............

Mine included ginger cake and carrot cake mixes, which he can make in his bread machiene (my Grandad is 86 and makes his own bread every week, malt loaf for himself and the family weekly and still regularly rides his bike, he is a legend).  Manchester marmalade, he is proud of his roots :)  A mini Christmas pud and mini custard.  Minature Jack Daniels and Gentleman Jack.  Whisky Toddy sachets.  Oatcake crackers and a mini cheese with pudding fruits.
I covered half a shoe box in wrapping paper, placed tissue paper in the base and covered it with cellophane.  You could pretty it up with a bow.

How are you getting on with your Christmas gifts?


Day 7-12 Advent Swop

So I'm running a little behind with my swop goodies due to a funny old week.  We spent a couple of unexpected nights at my MIL last week, which was lovely because we were very well looked after (tea cooked, lunches made and a hot water bottle in bed each night :) ).  However, it threw me off a little as I was out of my usual routine and had planned so much to do.
Then this weekend we had my family Christmas back in Manchester which was lovely, but very manic so no time for blogging. 
On to the swop goodies..........

Day 7

A 'sweetie' bracelet

Day 8

knitting bits and bobs
I don't have any of these, so really pleased, these have been added to my needle stash

Day 9

Jelly Beans...all gone
Day 10

More Jelly Beans...also gone!!

Day 11

Nail Kit in a cute pink wallet

Day 12

Beaded bracelet

These are the goodies I sent to Bea........


Mini face cream and 5 cotton pads to remove make-up

Close up of face scrubbie made by Cute & Cosy
The pattern for this can be found on ravelry


Sequins for crafting


Bird bookmark/paperclip made by Cute & Cosy

pattern can be found here


Christmas cookie cutters

Thought these could be used for some festive baking or hung from the tree with some ribbon


Festive Dishcloth handmade by Cute & Cosy

pattern can be found here

I added a loop top so it can be hung to dry

Festive Tea Towel


some Christmas stamps and red ink pad, cinnamon sticks and silver bells
Well thats me all up to date, will try to keep up now x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Day 4, 5 and 6 Advent Swop

Hi all, a little behind as had a busy couple of days like us all at this time of year.  It's also difficult to get this photographed so no This Weeks Makes to show you as I've not managed to get the items photographed.  Watch out for next weeks though as it will be a bumper one because we are having my family Christmas this week and it's also my mum's birthday so I can show you all the gifts I've not been able to yet.

On to the advent swop, here's what Bea has sent me for the last few days

Day 4 Notebook
As I said on day 1, this is a time of year for lists, lists and more lists so this will come in very handy

Day 5 Buttons
I do love my buttons, these will go into my collection, although I may use some of the star shaped ones for some last minute Christmas crafting

Day 6
When I saw the shape of this wrapped up I thought Chocolates and as I was feeling peckish decided to open this one today.  On handling it (you know the one a squeeze and a shake before opening) I changed my mind and was intrigued as to what lay inside.  Off came the wrapping and yep, still no clearer.....but what a pretty tube.  Want to see what was inside?

Of course you do..................

Colouring Pencils
These will go beautifully in my new tidy craft space (just need to tidy it first!!)

Thanks Bea

Here's what I sent to Bea

Day 4 Christmas Ribbons

Day 5 Christmas Cross Stitch 

Day 6 Chocolate Mould
I've picked one of these moulds up for myself as well and will probably use it for soaps as it has 4 different shapes in it so thought they would make pretty mini soaps.

Off to knitting tonight, have a scarf to make so looking forward to that, back tomorrow for Day 7

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Day 3 Advent Swop

Day 3 is upon us and this is what I choose from my lucky dip this morning

A handy 'on the go' sewing kit, i'm trying to be organised with my craft supplies and now have a draw for my threads and needles so in there it will go, ready and waiting for a sewing emergency. Thanks Bea x

Here's what I sent to Bea for today

A Champneys bath essence and a 'poof', that's what we call them in my house, not sure what their name is!  Well weekends are made for a little pampering. 

This is what I found lurking behind my advent door this afternoon......

a cheeky Robin asking 'can you guess what I want for Christmas'.  Well no my feathered friend, but I did buy a small bird bath on my travels yesterday so hope this will suffice :)
I'm off to do some Christmas shopping this afternoon, hope you have a lovely Saturday, whatever you have planned


Friday, 2 December 2011

Day 2 Advent Swop

Well unlike yesterday, I was a little late in opening today's gift as I completely forgot when I first awoke.  My parcels aren't numbered so I can open them in any order, a bit of a stocking lucky dip if you like.  So I spied a long thin pressie wrapped in tissue paper and guessed it might be something crafty.  Much to my delight this is what I found inside...........

Some forever friends Christmas Embossed Transfers, just what I need to give me a kick start this weekend and make some Christmas cards, thanks Bea

Here's what I sent to Bea for today

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without chocolate coins :)

And thought I'd add on a photo of my 1st advent candle lit, i've stuck it in the bottom of an old candle for now.  I have been thinking I may be able to do a table display with it, using some florist foam and some pine and other Christmassy bits, what do you think?

Think I need to sweep my fire!

I've lost my making mojo the last few days and just can't motivate myself to do anything, I'm going to try and pick up the crochet hooks tonight as my to do list is growing.

On a brighter note, I now have 10 followers yea :) Thank you and welcome to you all


Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Countdown is Here - Day 1 of Advent Swop

I think it was back in September when I signed up for this Advent Swop, organised by Lynda, a big thank you, to her for organising it.


I was paired with Bea and last week we sent our parcels to each other.  This was mine all packaged up and ready to send

and I have to admit, I didn't take a picture of the box when Bea's arrived as I was too excited to get into it!
This was what I found inside

An advent stocking FULL of wrapped goodies :D with a candy cane that you move along through advent.
I have been very good as this arrived Saturday morning and I have waited 5 whole sleeps to open the first parcel....very unlike me!!!!  I even kept the candy cane that you can see poking out of the top of the stocking (i've just enjoyed that whilst writing this post)
So this morning came and my stocking was next to my bed so guess what the first thing was I did this morning.....well open a parcel of course, but you all knew that.  Want to see what was inside?
Bea has given me a challenge here trying to photogragh this.  It is an advent candle display, a candle holder with 4 candles one for each Sunday of Advent.  And I'll get to light one tonight as the first Sunday of Advent has just been, so I'll enjoy the flickering candle tonight whilst catching up on my crafting.

A closer view of the candle holder

 It was difficult to photograph as it has a spike on the end, any creative ideas of how I could display this?

The eagle eyed amogst you may have spotted this above, in the background

My Mum and Mother-In-Law still buy both J and I chocolate advent calenders, so we have 2 each every year.  We do tell them not to, I think they need Grandchildren to spoil....maybe we might help them out with that one next year ;)

This is what it said behind door 1....well if you insist......I'll need a pen and a VERY long piece of paper!

Talking of lists, this is a time of year where we all seem to have plenty, so why not use a pretty pen and notebook to make the endless lists more appealing to look at, this is what I sent to Bea for Day 1

Hope you'll join me throughout December for the rest of the swop goodies