Handmade Christmas Wreath

I have been crafting some of my own decorations this year and decided that I would like to make a wreath to put on the front door.

I made it from items in the garden and a few ribbons that I already had.

I used these pieces of wood as my base. I then tried to make a circular shape by using small branches and twigs from shrubs that had been cut, I tied these on with some garden twine.

I have a holly tree in the garden so I took some cuttings of that and then took some cuttings from a fir shrub in the front garden. 

I weaved these plant cuttings into the branches and used more twine to secure them in place. I then embellished it with a large bow in festive colours and a couple of smaller bows.

 I then attached a long piece of twine to the top of the wreath and positioned it on the front door. The twine looped over the door and I sellotaped it to the back of the door to fix it in place. It is a little lopsided on this photo! I know it isn’t perfect but it was my first attempt at wreath making. It cost nothing to make and I enjoyed putting it together.

Completed Handmade Advent Calendar

Today I have completed my advent calendar! This week I have been stitching the numbers onto all of the pockets and then gluing them to the backing fabric.

I wrote the number in pencil on the fabric to use as a stencil this meant that I could keep my stitches neat and in line.

Here is the finished product

It isn’t perfect but I am quite pleased with the result.

I have bought some Christmas chocolates and sweets and have filled the pockets. I am hoping to find other small gifts for the calendar next year and will be on the lookout for items throughout the year!

My favourite pocket is number 15 – the robin. Which do you like best?!

I am looking forward to using this advent calendar for many years and getting lots of enjoyment from it.

Weekly Meal Plan

My husband and I are very careful with our money, we take note of everything that we spend and set budgets.

Our weekly food budget is particularly successful and we are always come in under budget when we go shopping! To make this successful I need to plan every meal and making sure that we get all the right ingredients. By doing this it means that we never have to go midweek shopping for extra items or fall back on a take-aways because of lack of food.

We go around the supermarket with a calculator and add up everything that we put in the trolley so we know how much it will cost when we checkout and can make sure we do not go over budget.

We normally go food shopping on a Monday evening.

This week’s meals starting from Monday night.

  • Monday – Lasagne (frozen ones that I had made a couple of weeks ago)
  • Tuesday – Greek Risotto
  • Wednesday – Cottage Pie
  • Thursday – Orchard Pork Casserole
  • Friday – Mexican Rice
  • Saturday – Boston Beans and Bacon
  • Sunday – Jacket Potato with Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese Bake

We never need to buy all the ingredients for our meals as we have staples already in the cupboard and have some vegetables in the freezer. We also buy food for lunches and other items – cleaning products, toiletries and other household good that we may need. Sometimes we buy chocolate or other treats!

I bake cakes in the week for lunches, this saves us from buying cakes in the supermarket. The gingercake I made yesterday is delicious – I will definitely be making that again! 

 I am quite proud of our weekly food budget and we eat well and do not go without. We don’t have meat everyday but enjoy vegetable dishes and find them just as satisfying.

Our budget for two of us is £40 a week but often we only spend £30. Basically the key is to know exactly what we need when we go shopping. We buy a range of products and do not always choose the value products, so long as we stay under budget and eat well we are happy!

A Busy Monday

Today has been filled with a variety of activities and jobs that needed doing. I am trying to get organised a little more and writing to do lists to keep me in check!

Home Decorating

I began this morning by painting the ceiling in our bedroom – I was hoping that we would be able to move into our bedroom before Christmas but there is still a lot to do so I am not sure this is possible. We are.currently in one of the spare rooms because the main bedroom needed a lot of work doing to it. I am looking forward to the completion of the room so that it will be a more relaxing environment for sleeping. I have already painted the walls in Apple White and we are going to wallpaper one wall as a feature.

Craft Activity

After painting I began making more Christmas cards – I have made 22 at the moment… I shall write a list later to see how many more I need.

Household Jobs

I have also done a few general household jobs including hoovering and tidying away to keep the house in order. Unfortunately today has not been a washing day due to the persistent rain so I am a little behind with my laundry !

In the Kitchen

I have put a new chalk board up on the kitchen wall that fits in very well with the decor. Also, I have made a spicy gingercake for this week’s lunchtime treat!

Meal Planning

I really enjoy cooking and like to try out new meals. I have several recipe books that I enjoy looking through on a regular basis. It is so easy to cook the same dinners every week so I want to make an effort to try out some new dishes!  I acquired some recipe folders from my Husband’s Grandma – they are packed full of recipes. This week I am going to be cooking some meals from them. I have just written my shopping list and planned out our meals for the week. This helps with budgeting so we know exactly what we need to buy.

Advent Calendar – Part 3

Over the last few days I have been stitching the cross stitch pictures onto little pockets for the advent calendar. I have now completed that and I am planning the layout and beginning to stitch numbers onto the pockets. 

I have chosen to use different coloured embroidery threads to match the festive pictures and give each pocket a unique look. Because I have made this project up myself, I am unsure as to whether the pockets are too small to actually fit anything other than chocolates in them! Whilst chocolates aren’t a problem I would like to be able to put little gifts inside some of the pockets as well.

This is how the pockets look at the moment laid out on the backing fabric which is a lovely shiny green colour. 

I am wondering whether it will be best to glue the folded over edges of the pockets onto the backing fabric rather than sewing them on. Hopefully I will be able to share the completed product soon!

Advent Calendar Progress

I have finally finished cross stitching all of the pictures for the pockets on my advent calendar. Each cross stitch picture took over an hour to stitch, I am pleased I have got those all finished with plenty of time to spare to get it all put together.

My next task is to create all the small pockets and stitch on my festive pictures. I also need to decide what order to place my pictures and then stitch each number on the pocket. 

I am going to make the pockets out of some leftover plain fabric that I have and hopefully attach them successfully to the backing fabric.

Christmas Cards and Gift Tags

Now is the time of year for me to start preparing for the upcoming festivities of next month.

Christmas cards are such a lovely way to share Christmas messages with loved ones. There are quite a few people that I would like to send cards to and this can end up being quite costly – especially the postage! 

I like to make my own cards using up craft items that I already have. I bought a pack of plain cards several years ago and over the years I have accumulated ribbons, fabrics and sequins. So far I have made up 6 Christmas cards by using what I already had.


 

Most people throw away their Christmas cards, so I don’t like to spend too much money on things that will be thrown away but I do want to create a special Christmas card to decorate the home.

However, my Grandma didn’t throw away her Christmas cards, she kept them and used them to make gift tags. One of my fondest memories is going to my Grandma and Grandad’s house to help make the tags. I would be given some special crinkle cut scissors and I would cut out the pictures on the cards to make lovely festive tags. Since then I have done that for my own gifts as it creates unique tags for everybody and I love choosing the perfect tag for each recipient. The only thing I don’t have is the crinkle edged scissors!

I have made own Christmas cards for the last 2 years now, each year being something different. Last year was a decoupage Christmas paper effect and the year before that I drew some festive pictures using bright felt pens. This year I have gone for a Christmas tree effect using different ribbons…I shall go back to my craft boxes to get more inspiration for the rest of my Christmas cards!

Advent Calendar Project

We currently don’t have any Christmas decorations of our own so I am looking forward to building them up over the years.

I enjoy craft projects so I am looking for inspiration to make different items to decorate our home for Christmas.

My inspiration to make an advent calendar has come from my Mum. From as long as I can remember, my Sister and I shared an advent calendar that my Mum had made – It was a large piece of green felt with 24 little pockets stitched onto it. Each pocket had a lovely Christmas cross stitch to decorate it. Every year my Sister and I chose which of us would have the odd numbers and which would have the even. The pockets had been filled with a variety of treats – each day being something different. This included lip gloss, bobbles, chocolates, nail varnishes and much more!

This year I have decided to make my own advent calendar for my Husband and myself. I found a cross stitching book in the library full of Christmas cross stitch patterns. I have been sewing every day in the hope that I can have it finished for the 1st December!

I have used fabric that I had already for the backing and will also use some left over fabrics to make the pockets. I shall post at the end of the month with my finished project….

Of course with my Christmas decorating I want to get across the true meaning of Christmas. I love all the festive decor, atmosphere and traditions but want to make sure that the birth of Jesus maintains the true focus of the season.

Pumpkins….

This year I grew my own pumpkins. I was quite pleased with the result except for the mildew that attacked all the leaves! The fruits were perfectly fine and I cut them away from the plants and left them outside to ripen.

On Saturday, the largest pumpkin looked ready to be eaten. It weighed 4.8kg, I was quite impressed with this and knew that I would be able to cook a few things from it.

 There must be so much waste this time of year – most of the pumpkins bought have faces carved in them and are then thrown in the bin when Halloween is over! Another thing I noticed is that the supermarkets are full of pumpkins and then when the 1st of November comes round they have all disappeared! I don’t believe that all of them have sold but I do hope that they aren’t thrown away. 

They are easy fruits to make soups out of, I used just over half of my 4.8kg pumpkin to make soup and got 6 large servings from it. 

Pumpkins are so versatile, they are more than just a fruit to carve a face in. I have been looking through my recipe books to find a variety of foods to make with pumpkin.

Last year when I had my homemade preserve business I made a few different pumpkin products – pumpkin marmalade, pumpkin chutney and spiced pumpkin butter.

Today I have made my first ever pumpkin pie! I am not sure what to expect as I have never eaten one before. I don’t even know whether it is supposed to be eaten hot or cold!

Another thing I have planned for my large pumpkin is to make a pumpkin and walnut bread, so will hopefully get that made this week.

I also have a few more pumpkins outside ripening so I am looking forward to cooking with those soon!

Pumpkins to me are very autumnus, especially the bright orange colour. I enjoy cooking and getting so much out of one fruit!