Sunday, 29 December 2013

St Wolfgang - An Austrian Holiday

A few weeks ago it was suggested by my in-laws that we could set off in search of snow.  Hubby and I grew up in parts of the UK where winter snow can be plentiful and somewhat dangerous.  However, Sophie can bearly remember the two occasions when Cornwall had snow falls as she was so small.
So on 28th we flew to Austria.  It has been quite a mild winter here so there is no snow by the hotel but hopefully we will be luckier when we head up the mountains tomorrow for some sledging.
Today we decided to have a walk round the town.
We are staying in the Hotel Furian and the food, bed and hospitality has been great.
The town itself is very picturesque and a style that Sophie has not seen before.  I was 16 the first time I visited Austria, in fact it was the first time I went abroad with my school.  I went again by getting a Saturday job and saving up.  I love travelling and will happily go anywhere.
Sophie loves the painted buildings in particular.  She has never seen this before and had many questions to ask.
Very attractive.
A life size Nutcracker.
Possibly the tallest sign post I have ever seen!
Some snow could be seen on the mountains.  Hopefully it will snow more tonight.
There are also several lovely lakes with very clear reflections.
Sophie loves taking photos and we have brought a book along with us to record our week.  I do not think that I blogged about my final book from  last year, best do that when I get home.  Bad blogger.
We could see some snow on the mountains.
The views really are lovely.
We popped in to a Cafe and I had a gorgeous hot chocolate with loads of cream, tut tut but I walked it off later when we had a walk around the town so that we could see all of the lights.
Very quiet but it is Sunday evening at about 9pm.
Swans by the lake, there were also two real swans there as well plus a very friendly cat!!
Quite spectacular, the photo perhaps does not do it justice.
Anyway after about an hour we were getting cold but had worked off dinner and that huge hot chocolate and decided we should head back to the Hotel which is where I am typing this now.
Tomorrow we are catching the Ski bus in search of snow and hopefully some sledging.  I shall take some pictures to post tomorrow.
Hope you are all safe and well.
Plus a welcome to my new follower Shez who left a lovely comment on my table decorations blog .  Pop over and take a look at her blog too.

We sometimes take odd pictures when we are away and I thought this napkin deserved a mention.....
Looked a bit like a star and they did make the table look lovely.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Handmade Christmas Table Place Settings

Thought I would have a go at making some place settings this year for the table and seeing as there was only going to be three of us this year they did not take too long.
I found this box template on the Internet and then adapted the size to take some pre-wrapped chocolates.
Using scrapbook paper I drew round the template which I printed out on plain paper and then cut them out.
Add a chocolate or two then fold round three of the flaps and tuck in the fourth.
I made tags for the place names and attached using present ribbon.
The tag and the top of the boxes were sealed with a piece of clear tape and the ribbon was then
curled using scissors and Ta Da, handmade place settings.
This box could be adapted to any occasion really and was fun to make.

This post will be added to the Christmas Ideas tag at the top of this blog for future use.

Take care.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas to Everyone..........

.........wherever you may be.
To all of my 241 followers, those of you who comment on my posts and those of you who visit and read about what I have been up to.
Also thoughts of those who are no longer with us at this time of year.
I really do appreciate the time that you take to visit and the words of encouragement that you leave behind.  The number of hits I have encourages me to keep blogging and to share ideas.  I look forward to what 2014 may bring.
We have had a relatively lazy on Christmas Eve wrapping presents, a bit of cooking and watching some christmassy films such as The Polar Express.
Anyway, enjoy the day, have fun and take care.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Happy Birthday to.........ME!!

We were due to go to Lanhydrock for a bit of lunch today but the weather has really taken a turn for the worse so we have decided to switch the fire on and do our own thing in the warn and the dry.  Sophie has been painting her nails and doing her hair!.  Hubby has been doing some cooking and I have been trying to find somewhere to put my birthday cards!!
I shall be getting my much neglected sketchbook out once I have written this post and spend some time on that.

Having a birthday close to Christmas or even on Christmas Day can be a bit of a challenge.  As I have grown up I have experienced the one present that does for both occasions, the presents that have been wrapped in Christmas paper, the Christmas cards that have doubled up as birthday cards and so on.
(It bothers you less as you hit middle age and can in fact make you laugh.)

Trying to find a spot on which to put up your cards requires some rearrangement of festive mail and as for organising any gathering that has to be booked at least a year in advance.  Hence having gone away for at least two birthdays and Christmas in recent years.

However this year I have made a  bit of a break through!
Hubby rang round a few friends on the quiet to see if they would be free this evening and they are.  He did not tell me for a few days so it was a bit of a surprise but he had to tell me when he started putting too much food in the trolley the other day!
So the wheels were set in motion.
I started to think about a cake and catching up on my blog visiting I saw a lovely Christmas Cake idea on the Pink Whisk blog page and the 12 Days of Christmas and instantly loved it.
This is the version featured on her web page.  The dark icing is purple which is hard to find but once I saw some pale blue that was it.
I invested in a set of snowflake plunge cutters and bought some SOFT silver balls, I worry about teeth with the other harder version and I will confess to buying a shop bought iced cake due to time and Sophie was my little helper!
My cake is a bit smaller than the one featured on the Pink Whisk.  I used a saucer to cut the pale blue icing and used a little water to stick it to the top.
I rolled out the white icing and needed a few practise goes with the cutters as they are a different style to the ones I usually use because the plunger pushes the icing out nice and flat but you still need to carefully peel it off the bottom of the cutter.  We decided to add a silver ball to the centre of each snowflake and using the end of a clean chop stick, I marked out the position of the swirls and pushed in the silver balls.  This was the hardest bit really.
Around the edge I bought some pale blue chiffon ribbon with twinkly bits but these would not show up in the photographs, and then by chance I found some blue and white rice paper snowflakes to sprinkle on the cake board.
This is intended to be a Christmas Cake decoration but I really liked it and well.....if you can't bet them then join them.  I thought it was a bit different  for a birthday cake and will not be expected by everyone coming by this evening.
Yesterday I made some cupcakes which I shall be decorating with butter icing and some of the rice paper snow flakes plus some mince meat parcels using filo pastry.  Loves those, Yum Yum!

So I am  nowoff for a nice cup of Christmas Tea and to spread out my sketchbook to see what I can create before I need to pack it all away until after Christmas.
Take care all.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

A twist on the Christmas Jumper!

After work last Thursday we had a little Christmas Party with quizzes and making silly things.  One of the things we were asked to try and do was maybe wear a Christmas jumper!  Now I have spent years doing various fashion courses so even though this is a bit of fun it does go against the grain (or my grain anyway).
So I had a really long think about how I could take part but not waste money on something that I really do not like.
We went to Sainsbury's and has a look at the Christmas items  whilst doing the weekly shop and in amongst the sale items (yes, prices were reduced even before the big day) and I found the above jumper.  Now the keen eyed amongst you will notice that there is something a little different about this item.
It is in fact a tree decoration.
I then added a brooch back to one side and Hey Presto! a jumper brooch which turned out to be quite a conversation starter and some smiles too.  Well they never said that I had to be wearing the jumper.
It was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours with colleagues.
4 Sleeps to go!
Take care all.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Handmade Christmas cards

Every year I say that I will start my Christmas cards in August so that I can hand make them all and every year time slips past me.  Well this year I still missed my summer deadline but I have been able to make a few this year.
I did manage to find these pre-cut felt bauble shapes ages ago and had every intention of using them in a scrapbook that I made during our Christmas Cruise last year but never did.  They did not look right in the scrapbook.  So I found them last week and using some peel offs, ribbon and gold 3D paint I set about making a small but special set of Christmas cards.
The white felt showed up really well on the red card and the red felt below looked better on a white background showing through the cut shapes in the felt design.
Unlike the first card I added some sequins to this card using the gold 3D paint to hold them on.  This works really well especially if you let the paint ooze through the central hole and over the top a little as it seems to clamp it down and is much less likely to ping off than using PVA or pritt stick.  I use the same approach when adding sequins to clothes using 3D fabric paint and it will even withstand the washing machine.
A loop of ribbon (which would have looked better if I could have found my gold roll) is at the top and some very sticky stickers to add some glitz. Due to posting I do make sure that my cards are not too bulky so that extra charges are slapped on to it as that can ruin the fun of making the card for someone.  
 This one is much flatter and understated but covered in gold paper and sparkle.
All of the cards have Merry Christmas in either gold or silver lettering around the edge and I bought them ages ago in Hobby Craft in Bristol.  The card stock is lovely and thick so puts up with glue and embellishments being added on the front without the card flopping over.
So a small collection but I do have another 3 laid out ready to put together.  Now I was thinking seeing as I have all of the stuff out on the table that it might be a good idea not to put it all away just yet, but keep making cards then I might fulfil my early Christmas card making promise!
The red one has been sent off in the post and the white one is going to a colleague at work and the gold one has yet to be given but I do have a list.
What have you made for Christmas this year?
Nearly there!!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Knitted Cup Cozy - OPAM

At work some of us are taking part in a Secret Santa and I wanted to try and make part of my gift.  At Sainsbury's I found a ceramic Travel Cup with a nice Nordic style design all over it.  I was wondering if it might be a bit hot to handle when tea etc is first added and I have always wanted a reason to make a mug or cup cozy.
I spent ages looking on the Internet and tried a couple of patterns which stated they were simple but the instructions were far from just that!
In the end I decided to give it a go on my own.  So I used some cream double knitting wool that I have left over from making a knitted cloche hat.  See tutorial in tabs at the top of this blog.
I made it to fit the cup that I had bought.  
I then used single crochet to add some detail on the top edge.  Then I thought the evening is young... why not  add a bit of decoration on the front, so I visited the excellent Attic 24 and used her little flower and leaf crochet tutorial.  Now here is a news flash............ fanfare please..............I crocheted my very first LEAF. 
Yes you read that right!  I actually managed to follow the instructions (as confusing as I find them) and my leaf did look like it should.  Well, more or less with a little bit of pulling and shaping with my fingers.
I then carefully attached them to the centre front of the cozy and Ta Da!  My little bit of handmade on a Travel Cup that I hope my colleague will be able to use at work.
Seeing as I was on a bit of a mini roll I found the kit that was attached to the front of issue 20 of Mollie Makes and started to have a go at the two crochet flower coasters.
Lets just say that it is a WIP............... not lying flat at all and the gaps seem huge between each section so I may need to restart it but I shall get there.
Hope you have had a good weekend and all the best for next week!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Making a start on Christmas

Well the day started at about 6am with the sound of my poor daughter being ill in the bathroom!  Due to hubby working away this meant an unexpected day off work!
What shall I do?  I thought...well I decided to make a start on Christmas.
Firstly I wrote out cards for each of my tutor group and popped a chocolate coin inside each one.
Sophie wanted to help despite being as white as a sheet, she added a bit of Christmas tape on the back of each envelope to keep it shut.
Blogger does not like this picture...never mind.  The coins meant stacking the cards would not work so I decided to follow Sophie's idea of adding some ribbon to keep them together.
The Create ribbon was free on the front of an issue of Mollie Makes plus some more festive ribbon.
Sophie chose some spotty ribbon in Christmas colours rather than an elastic band!  Very stylish.
Sophie's teacher is going to get a copy of this card which Sophie designed and my in-laws had printed in a batch of 12.  This was painted in 2012 .  I am about the only member of the family not to have taken a piece of work and printed it as a card so perhaps that should be a task for next year.  Maybe one of my A level pices perhaps, there is one that might be suitable.
Very satisfying to see them wrapped and stacked on a shelf on my white dresser.
We found some of last years cards so using an old pair of pining shears we made them in to gift tags.  Some of you of a certain age may remember seeing this on Blue Peter many years ago.  Do they still do this idea?  Probably not.
Oh! what is wrong with Blogger this morning, anyway we made quite a few and these will be used on presents this year.  I like these not only are they recycling old cards but they are actually big enough to write on!  Unlike the shop bought ones.
All of the above by 10.30am, crikey I need a lie down but a cup of tea will have to do.
So I have made a start.  Next, more cards for the rest of the family and friends, then present wrapping which I may leave until the weekend as I have a fabric tree decoration half made which needs my attention.
Have you been able to make a start on Christmas yet?
Take care
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