Monday, 31 October 2016

Pine cone Garland - 50 makes of Christmas 30/50

Busy, busy, busy I seem to have hit one of those patches where you just don't seem to be able to find time to draw breath so I am slipping in a nice quick simple Christmas make that could quite easily be used in Autumn too.

Using some of the pine cones I bleached here and a few that have been collected in the past couple of months I am making a simple garland.  All that is required is pine cones that are dried out and fully opened along with some twine, I have chosen a pale blue one that came in a set  I brought last year from Wilko

I have gone for the very easy method of just tying the twine round the cone between the layers of spikes either at the top or the bottom to give a bit of variation. I went for big gaps as I wasn't sure if I wanted to fill the gaps with more cones or something else, I tried a couple of ribbon pieces that I had hanging around, I liked the look and added some more. I will leave it up for now and add some small decorations when I trim up for Christmas.

The other methods that I have seen are screwing a small eyelet into the bottom and then threading the twine or ribbon through this or using florists wire wrapped between the layers and then wiring it onto the twine.

The dried pine cones are a good carrier for scented oils so you could put a few drops onto some of the cones if you want to add a Christmassy smell to your home without the usual pot pouri.

Nice, simple, not too time consuming and full of texture.

Make 30 done and dusted so just another 20 to reach my target of 50 makes for Christmas!

How are your Christmas plans coming along? have you started making things yet or are you still at the making lists stage?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

.... the Goodwood Revival

I have mentioned the Goodwood Revival a few times in passing and thought it was about time I filled you in a bit more on what it is.   The Goodwood Revival is an amazing event that takes place every September at the Goodwood race circuit in Sussex. It is primarily a motorsport event for historical class cars and motorbikes but they must be dated from between 1945 to 1964 as these were the glory years for this circuit.  Not your cup of tea? even if we throw in F1 and BTCC race drivers, not to mention a few celeb drivers?  Rowan (Mr Bean) Atkinson, James (chef) Martin, Ewan McGregor have all taken part in the past.  Add to that period aircraft flying overhead between the races.
Eyes to to the skies

What sets this event apart is that pretty much everyone who attends dresses up in clothes from the 40's through to the 60's, I would stress that this is not a fancy dress event, there is an air of authenticity about everyone's outfit, the aim is to dress as you would if you had been around at the time.

Add to that a retro fair ground complete with Helter Skelter , wall of death and galloping horses, period music being sung on a small stage, accapella groups wandering round giving impromptu performances.

There is even a reproduction retro high street complete with a Tesco where you can go in and buy a sandwich for your lunch and a retro chocolate bar, they re-wrap them in old style wrappers.  Of course all the "delivery" vehicles that are parked up at the local garage are of the period and red telephone boxes are the norm along with police emergency boxes to call a constable should something be amiss.

It runs over three days and you can get a ticket for the whole weekend or just one day.  There is special parking for pre 1964 cars so the car park becomes a classic car display, I did fear that we would never actually get into the event as there were so many cars to admire along the way.

I feel that I have only scratched the surface of everything that happens over the weekend but hopefully it will have given you a flavour of what goes on.   What do you think? would it be your  idea of heaven or hell?

Friday, 28 October 2016

Fudge 29/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

I love this recipe and the reaction that you get when you share the finished product.  It is shockingly bad for you being chocolate, butter and condensed milk!

I made this batch for the baby shower that my daughter's friends threw for her, I have made it for work colleagues and it is always a hit.

Here is a link to the Daily Mail that gives the recipe

I made double the quantity as I had a large can of condensed milk in my cupboard, they must have been on offer in the supermarket at some point. I did a taste test and realised that some of my chunks were a bit too big so I went back and cut some in half, in meant that there were more chunks in the bag so it looked fuller which is always nice,

The recipe comes from this book by Kitty Hope. I love her quirky take on things as well as her vintage style. If you spot a copy of this book in a charity shop garb it with both hands and rush to the till you won't be disappointed or you can always add it to your Christmas wish list.

That take me up to 29 makes eek! almost up to 30 but I still have another 21 makes to go to complete my 50 makes for Christmas challenge

Glad to say there is no sign of my Granddaughter yet which is just as well as she won't be fully cooked until the end of November!  That does mean I am now constantly on stand by just in case the phone should go!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Brown paper gift bags - 50 makes for Christmas 28/50

I feel I must make a confession before we get any further I brought these brown paper bags after I had started this challenge and so this doesn't fall into my criteria of using up things I already had in.  They were of course something I consider to be a bargain and I brought them from Amazon with a voucher I earned on Swagbucks so no hard cash was parted with!

The trusty blackboard paint has been out again for a few of them leaving them open for either a festive message or a little Christmassy design

Complimented by a home-crafted gift tag

One of the many clay decorations

Finally jazzed up with Washi tape

These were great fun to do as I could just do a couple as and when I got a spare 10 minutes.

If you fancy having a go at making your own gift bags here is a tutorial from Tasha at designertrapped, this might come in useful for anything bigger than these lunchbox sized bags.

Make 28 completed and a mere 22 to go in my 50 makes for Christmas challenge.

Do you have any 10 minute makes that you squeeze in to your busy week?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Homemade Christmas Cards 27/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

Another make that wasn't on the original list and I am not sure how it it was missed off as I usually make a few Christmas cards most years.

Another bit of using up things I already have in, I brought this wrapping paper about 3 years ago, I tucked it out of the way and forgot about it.  It came to light a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for some birthday wrapping paper and I thought BINGO!

The design lends itself  very well for a bit of cut and paste and tones nicely with the cream base cards that I have a stack of, they were brought from Hobbycraft a number of years ago, they always seem to have a wide range of card paraphernalia.

There is more than half a sheet of the paper left so I think my family can expect something similar to drop through their letterboxes for the next couple of years!

Make 27 only 3 away from hitting 30, I am starting to think I can make it all the way to the end of the 50 makes for Christmas challenge.

Are you happy to receive home made cards or do you prefer shop brought?

Friday, 21 October 2016

Advent candle jam jar - 50 makes for Christmas - 26/50

I know this may be a little early for some but I have seen the chocolate Advent Calender's in the shops so I thought I would go for it.  I really enjoyed the Advent extravaganza that I made last year but this year I am at the opposite end of the spectrum keeping it incredibly simple. I felt that the 50 makes for Christmas challenge was enough to keep me out of mischief.

Using excel I have created a grids of numbers from 1 to 24, I played around with font sizes and style to ensure that when I printed it out it would fit onto the jar I had selected (it used to contain salsa!).  I have stuck it on and I will be marking of the days each night when I light the candle.

I was inspired by these


You can use wax candles, battery operated or pop some fairy lights in the jar. I am treating myself to a nicely scented candle, we generally use the battery operated ones but I wanted this to feel special.  No chocolates with this but there are so many treats around at Christmas I don't think i will be going without.

Make 26 ticked off the list so just another 24 to go meaning I have made more I have left to make in my 50 makes for Christmas challenge

Monday, 17 October 2016

Cookie Sugar Hand And Foot Scrub 25/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

When I drew up my list of things to do for my 50 makes for Christmas challenge I thought there would be a few changes made along the way and this is one of them.

I found this great blog post from Gina at So...Let's Hang Out with a recipe for a really easy make Christmas gift.

It fits in really well with my plan of using up things I already have in as I didn't have to buy any additional ingredients and I got to use one of my beloved Bonne Maman jars

It looked a little bit wet when I mixed everything together but I went with it and it felt fine when  I tested it.  You can always tweak it you are not happy with the end result.

It looks better now it is packed into the jar.  I wrote the ingredients and instructions on the back of the tag, in case the recipient wanted to make some more.

To use the finished product just take a small amount in your hand and rub on to your hands or feet.  Rinse and the sugar will have exfoliated and the oil will have moisturised.

Woo Hoo make 25 I am half way through the challenge just another 25 to go to complete my 50 makes for Christmas.

How are your Christmas plans coming along?

Friday, 14 October 2016

Fabric bauble covered Baubles - 50 makes for Christmas 24/50

 I am sharing this with you but those of a nervous disposition may want to look away now as all did not go to plan.

My original thought was to wrap a bauble in fabric and tie it at the top  some thing like this

easy Christmas ornament. I made this 2 Xmas ago and hung it as a mistletoe. Very cute and I actually used one of my kids' soft bouncing balls semi chewed by the dog, so I recycled as well!:

Then I had a brainwave, when I made my cushion covers from tea towels there were some trimmings left over and I thought I could use them up in some way.  When I saw this I thought hello that would work

Scandinavian Christmas decorating ideas. Baubles twine natural rustic:

So then I did a bit of Pinterest research and all the tutorials I found used polystyrene balls as the centre and I was trying to use things up not buy more stuff so I hit on the idea of making some papier mache  spheres to cover

Lets be kind and say they weren't exactly as I had imagined they would be, they dried very hard and quite square, but I was not deterred I came up with another cunning plan.  I would wrap them with some hollow-fibre and that would disguise the fact that they are not very round and then I can just sew the strips of fabric over the top.  It didn't get any better, I have chalked this one up to experience and I may look out for some polystyrene balls in the sales and pick this up next year.

A make that failed this time, however, I still have another 26 to go in my 50 makes for Christmas challenge.

Have you had any success with this type of project?  Do you have any advice to share from your experience?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Stamping wrapping paper - 50 makes for Christmas 23/50

Time to be a big kid and have fun converting plain brown wrapping paper into hand crafted wrapping paper.

In keeping with a few of my other makes the blackboard paint is out again, I have randomly painted on swoops of paint. My plan is to use this for small gifts and just hope that the painted part will sit nicely so that I can write a little message or draw a little picture.  If not I will use it up on another project.

My second batch is a little more conventional, using a woolly hat and a sweater stamp I brought from Hobbycraft clearance last year. The first line of hats I stamped were a little too close together but once I started spacing in the sweaters it took on a rhythm of its own that I like.

There is a great deal of trial and error involved in this project as I had a very few vague ideas on what I thought I wanted to do but also I wanted to have a bit of a play and see what developed. This is a combination of  an idea and a bit of playing, I did a second piece without the smaller Merry Christmas that was a little more orderly.

There is of course a danger that you can get carried away when the idea of buying the plain brown paper was to revel in its utility and appreciate the beauty in the everyday. My roll of paper is now somewhat diminished but there is still plenty left to do some brown paper packages tied up with string

I am also decorating some brown paper lunch bags into gift bags and I will share that shortly.  The rest of my wrapping paper is what was left over from last year or the year before, I always buy it when it is reduced in the sales, I do like a bargain!

Make 23 means we are heading to the half way point so just 27 makes left in my 50 makes for Christmas.

Are you a sale bargain hunter or do you grab what takes your fancy on your Christmas shopping trips?

Monday, 10 October 2016

Feeling Autumnal

I took my little camera for a walk the other day to try and capture some of the changing season, it seems that Mother Nature did not want to let go of Summer until October arrived and it is as if a switch has been flicked somewhere.
Capturing a drop of rain
Thistle flower
Loving the spikes
Great place for a den
Canal side reflections
Trees still showing green

Sometimes its nice just to stop and look what is around us, these pictures were taken next to Sainsbury's at Castle Marina, I used to work a 5 minute walk away from here but never once thought to come here on my lunch break and enjoy the view. Is there a hidden gem near your workplace?