Monday, 28 November 2016

Christmas Cocktails 39/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

Christmas is without a doubt the season of indulgence, so I have started planning a few festive treats by way of some Christmas Cocktails.  The supermarkets are usually full of offers on spirits in the run up to Christmas in a bid to entice us in to do our big shop.

I am kicking off with this one that is a firm favourite with the ladies in our family and is affectionately known as a winter warmer, I think it came from a Nigella Lawson interview I heard on the radio several years ago

A75cl  bottle of Prosseco or Cava  - Chilled (I usually just get which ever is cheapest,)

125ml triple sec or any other orange flavoured liqueur (you can buy Cointreau or Grand Marnier if you like a label)

500ml Cranberry juice - Chilled

Just put them all in a jug and pour into your flute or cocktail glass. Most of the supermarkets seem to stock the little mini bottles of Prosecco so you could easily make a scaled down version.

If you have made the investment in a bottle of triple sec another way you could use it is to add a little tot in your hot chocolate it is a rather nice bedtime indulgence.

Using the triple sec as a starting point you only need cranberry juice, vodka and lime and you have got yourself a Cosmopolitan much loved by the Sex in the city girls and the reddy/pinky colour garnished with a peel of lime give it a lovely festive colour.


I am a big fan of Winter Pimms, we discovered this last year when we took a winter break in St Ives and popped into the St Ives Harbour hotel for gin o'clock.  It is quite a tricky beast to get hold of and I believe it is only available in Waitrose and it is always seems to be sold out when I make the pilgrimage to try and get some.  I was delighted when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I have kind of followed this but done my own thing, I mulled a carton of apple juice and added a capful of brandy a measure of Pimms (well the cheap equivalent!) to a mug and topped up with the mulled apple juice and added a slice of orange (it really does make a difference).  The mulled apple juice is delicious by itself and if you are not drinking alcohol it is nice to have a special drink that isn't full of gas.

Having invested in a bottle of brandy for the Winter Pimms I was then poking around to find other cocktail ideas to use it in and I followed a link to this delightful post from a life of geekery for "The brandy apple - an Autumnal cocktail".  It only has three ingredients one of which is brandy, hardly surprising cloudy apple juice is in there and it is just topped off with ginger ale, the good news is this is an Autumnal cocktail so you don't have to wait for it to get any closer to Christmas before giving it a go!  I am thinking that apple juice and ginger ale might also make a nice little mocktail

Cheers everyone a little celebration for make 39 of my 50 makes for Christmas

Do you have any favourite Christmas cocktails or drinks that remind you of Christmas?  When we were children I remember my Mum getting in some bottles of Babycham and a bottle of nut brown beer, she made shandy from the beer and we were allowed to have some (enough beer just to change the colour of the lemonade) and we thought that we were being very naughty!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Free Christmas Decorations - Hips & Haws 38/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

I have been taking my camera for a walk this Autumn, I think my original intention was to increase the amount of walking I did but once I get my camera in my hand I see photos every few steps so I am not sure that I am actually gaining any benefit other than being in the big outdoors.

Autumn hips

In early Autumn I seemed to have a bit of an obsession for photographing Hips and Haws, I was poking round on the internet looking at other peoples photos and a couple came up where they had been used to make Christmas decorations. They had been gathered and then threaded onto wire and shaped into either a wreath or heart shape.  I rather liked this as they look like chunky red beads we use in our Christmas decorations, or is it the other way round?

Ghirlanda natalizia:

Add a  ribbon or a piece of twine on the top to hang them on the tree and bingo a free Christmas decoration.  I did have a little chat with my conscience before deciding that I want to make these as I was concerned if I was taking food away from the birds as there is no way of knowing how harsh the winter may be and these could make all the difference to some little soul. My solution - hang them outside on my little olive tree on the patio, we can enjoy them through the glass of the patio doors and they are still accessible to the local wildlife.

However my cunning plan was knocked off course when I went out to collect the hips and haws and there was very scant pickings so I didn't feel comfortable taking anything from what was left.  This is an excellent blog post with some fabulous photos  (see above) and full of inspiration but may require translating.

I am going to keep this in mind for next year when hopefully there will be an abunance of hips and haws.

I am crossing this off the list as no 38 leaving just 12 makes to complete my 50 makes of Christmas.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Tissue paper pom-poms 37/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

Way back in make September I showed you this make for Paper pom poms out of paper cake cases, although they came together OK they weren't quite the WOW that I was looking.  In my Pinterest feed I kept seeing tutorials for these big tissue paper pom poms but thought they would be quite faffy to make, I was so wrong.

All you need to do is take two sheets of tissue paper in differing colours and lay them on top of each other, cut them in half vertically and in half again horizontally, so you end up with 8 sheets of paper stacked in alternating colours.

All you do now is pleat them

Tie a bit of wire around the middle to hold it all together

Cut a curve or a point on the end

Tie a string on the wire in the middle long enough for you to hang it up with

Then the fun begins, you just simply fan them out and pull back each of the layers of papers and your Pom Pom emerges

I have played around with this formula a little and made some smaller versions to put on Christmas presents  but they could also be used on your Christmas tree.

I tried it out first time with some tissue that I had saved to reuse, when I realised how easy this was to do I was ready to splash out on some tissue from Hobbycraft as a pound gets you a pack of 10 sheets, however I remembered that about five years ago I had picked some up from the Pound shop in the January sale for 50p! sometimes my magpie tendencies do pay off.

If you are making these in advance don't open them out until you are ready to hang them as they are quite delicate and are very good at collecting dust!

Make 37 done and the 40 mark is on the horizon, I am sure I can squeeze in the rest of my 50 makes for Christmas around hospital visiting and Grandma duties.

What do you think of the pom-pom ? I must confess to being bold over by them

Friday, 18 November 2016

One of the best days of my life - I am a Granny

Sunday 13th November at 16.00 our family became a little bigger when we welcomed Esme Sarah to the world.

My daughter was absolutely amazing and did the whole thing without pain relief, she said she was holding back until it got really bad! I was privileged to be there for the whole thing and even got to cut the cord. I cried like a mad thing when her head eventually came out and I am tearing up now just thinking about it.  She had a Midwife led birth and the team were brilliant.

Baby came a little over two weeks early and weighed in at just 2.41 kgs  ( 5.5lbs) so she is a tiny little scrap and they have had to stay in hospital for a few days.  She is on a 3 hour feeding regiment and the hospital staff are very strict on keeping to this as she needs to keep her strength up so she can come home.

I am still continuing with my 50 makes but in the short term they may be a bit erratic in their timing.

The view from cloud 9 is pretty good and I just can't wait for her to able to come home xx

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Pomander oranges - 50 makes of Christmas 36/50

I have been really looking forward to doing this little make ever since I drew up my long list back in the summer. The smell of these is just lovely, I wish I could send it out to you as part of this post, if you are not already in the Christmas mood then this is just the thing to help you on the way. You may think I have gone a bit early with this but my research shows that these should be done early in order for the orange to dry out.

To make this you only need two things Oranges and cloves and the only equipment you need is a skewer or other sharp implement to make a hole with.

Make holes in any pattern or design that you like and push a clove stud into each one. To help me keep my design I put tape around around the middle of the orange in both directions and filled in the gaps with the cloves, this was then removed and I may run a ribbon around.  For the spiral I just free handed it.

In an ideal situation these should be popped into the airing cupboard to dry but as we have a combi boiler I am leaving them in the hallway near the radiator so that I can enjoy the smell everytime I come home.

 I have kept my designs pretty simple but there are some fabulous intricate designs on Pinterest.

decorative orange centerpieces

I do like the idea of cutting a design into the skin but I don't have a tool to do this and you know I am all about using up what I already have in and I have had the cloves in the cupboard since last year.

I held a few cloves back to use in some of my Christmas cocktails, I will share more on these soon.

Make 36 completed and only 14 makes left in the challenge of 50 makes for Christmas.


Which smells do you associate most with Christmas?

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Pine cone fire lighter #2 35/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

One of the most popular posts that I have written in the 50 makes for Christmas has been the pine cone firelighters so I wanted to share the # 2 version

Using exactly the same method as last time I used the ends and the very small slices of  the oven dried oranges I made.  I cut them in half or quarters and just slipped them in at the side of the pine cone. I also incorporated a few bits of woodland debris that were in the bottom of the bag I had used for collecting the pine cones, it is all combustible so I thought I would put it to good use.

This suits the small to medium sizes cones as I found that one of my pine cones was too big to fit anything down the side!

These have been bagged and tagged and are ready to be given as a Christmas present.  I am hoping that I will be able to make some incorporating some of the cuttings from my Christmas tree,

Another Christmas present made leaving me just 15 more makes to complete my 50 makes for Christmas

I hope all your Christmas makes are starting to come together, I would love to hear what you are making.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Free Christmas Printables 34/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

If you read this blog I think there is a very good chance you will already be familiar with Pinterest the home of creative ideas and robber of time!  I love it and I know I would  not be writing my blog if I hadn't been inspired by the many people who generously share their creations and their adventures.

 Christmas is a time for giving and there are many kind individuals who are giving away lots of free Christmas printables, I have selected a few of my favourites that I had planned to use but just didn't find anywhere to shoe horn them into my other makes.

IDEA Free Christmas Printables - Christmas Planner Printables - From The Polka Dot Posie:

First up is a link to The polka dot posie for a Christmas planner, it out lines the different print outs that you could easily work from or you can purchase the pretty print outs from their Esty shop for £4.95. I think the free link on Pinterest may be old as it dates back to 2014.  I had a poke around and there are many more free downloads including Free Elf Stationery.

Run Run Reindeer Beach Boys Free Chalkboard Christmas Printable • Little Gold Pixel

No surprise that I have picked a chalkboard printout in my list, this one comes from Little Gold Pixel who has provide this great print out along with links to 11 others.  I am spoilt for choice as to which one to pick,

Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags | Gather & Feast:

I have more than enough gift tags made this year but I am planning on using these beauties next year. Download them for free from Gather & Feast and if simple, clean and understated is your style there is plenty here to fill your soul.


If quirky and vintage is more your style here are 50 free images to use from Mammasaurus This was my favourite and looks like it possibly dated from the 1930s

It’s been an emotional weekend as I, and many of you also witnessed all the sad events that have and are taking place not only in France but all over the world. Sometimes working from home makes me fe:

I couldn't resist this little car with a tree tied on top, generously available to download for free from Craftberry bush

And finally advent and so much more available from Tiny me, you do have to sign up to their club which is free to join.

I hope have you found something that you like or something to Pinspire you.

Its a bit cheeky to call this a make but I am including it as one of my 50 makes for Christmas

Do you have any Christmas freebies  on your blog? please leave a message below so we can come and visit

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Decoupage gift tags 33/50 - 50 makes of Christmas

The first post I made for this challenge was my dipped gift tags, well I have been busy with the gift tags again and taken some of those tags a step further by applying decoupage.

The technique is simply to separate a single layer from a paper napkin, tear out the image that you want and glue onto the desired surface.  I shared this with you here when I up-cycled some of the clay ornaments I have been making.

It works well with the dipped tags, my only concern is that it might all be a bit monochrome but I am hoping that the use of lashings red ribbons and chunky red wool to attach them to the gifts will remedy that.

I had originally planned to use the red and white stripped string I showed in the photos but I think it does need something more robust to bring in a flash of colour.

They are already to be used, I now have to start sorting out what gifts I already have in that can be wrapped and tagged. Then I need to work out who is left to either buy for or make for.

Number 33 ticked off the list, leaving only 17 makes to go to complete my challenge of 50 makes for Christmas.

Am I the only one who thinks they will wrap their presents as they buy them and then every year I end up in front of a Christmas movie or two with a huge pile of presents and an equally huge pile of wrapping paper and ribbons.  The first few are all beautifully wrapped with coordinating ribbons and tags and look like something out of a magazine but by the end you are lucky if there is even enough paper on it let alone a tag!!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Decorated Christmas Jam Jars 32/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

Three things that are going to get may attention is

1) Something for free
2) Something that can be recycled
3) Something that doesn't take too long to make

This little make ticks all three of these boxes

Free - I am using empty glass jars

Recycled - I am still using empty glass jars

Time - cut something and stick it on or tie something on

They are good for tea light holders and they look good filled with fairy lights,you can stuff them full of goodies and give the to a friend as a gift ( hoping they will share), you can even fill them up with baubles

And at the end of the festivities remove the decorations, give them a wash and either put them in your recycling or use them for something else.

Quick, simple and about as cheap as it gets.

Make 32 done and dusted, leaving 18 more makes to complete my 50 makes for Christmas challenge.

Isn't it funny how any empty jar is a jam jar even if it has previously contained anything from chutney to cheese!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Baboushka snowglobes 31/50 - 50 makes for Christmas

Last year it was tying little trees to the top of toy cars,  this year it is snow globes, it seems I always have a bit of a new obsession every Christmas!

I picked  up these little Babushka style stacking dolls in an amazing emporium we have here in Nottingham called the Hopkinson Centre, it is just opposite the Railway station so really handy if you come here by train.  It is full of treasures and memories and I could quite easily empty my purse in there several times over!

I brought these girls last year and I put them in a drawer ready to bring out after Christmas for a splash of colour and completely forgot about them.  It was only a few weeks ago that I remembered they were there and hit on the idea that they would look sweet in snow globe  jars of diminish size. Unfortunately the differences in their sizes was too great for me to find suitable jars so I went for one big one.

I secured them with glue dots and got busy with the snowflake punch, they had come from the shop in a white paper bag so in the spirit of using up what I already have in I made a start on that.  Stupidly I threw the waste away but I realised after that I could have incorporated that as decoration on gift tags or bags.

The hanging snowflakes is an idea fresh out of Pinterest and I thought it would work really well with them as the traditional liquid format would not be suitable. I just knotted and threaded the little snowflakes on to white cotton.

Its a fun way to make snow globes without the water and I think you could put anything in the jar from a Nativity scene to a dinosaur!  I have some little cars with tree tied to the top of them from my previous obsession they would look cute.

Make 31 ticked off and only 19 left to go to complete the 50 makes for Christmas.

Have you got a project that you are obsessed about this year? or have you already gone through the snow globe craze?

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

50 makes for Christmas makes 21 - 30

With my 30th make completed here is a round up of makes 21 to 30, click on the number to go through to the individual blog post.

21 Twiggy Christmas trees, a project left over from last year

22 Dried Orange slices, I just need to decide which project to use them for first

23 Brown paper packages not tied up with string but stamped up ready for Christmas

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!:

24 Fabric covered baubles - not a great success!

25 Cookie sugar hand and foot scrub - smells amazing leaves your hands feeling lovely and soft

26 Advent candle jar - simple and super easy

27 Home made Christmas cards cut - stick - write - post

28  Brown paper bags all dressed up for Christmas

 29  Possibly the best fudge in the world ever

  30 Pine Cone Garland

In case you missed the previous makes here are the first ten and here are the second ten.

I will have my head down for the next ten makes with one eye on my phone waiting to receive the call from my daughter to say that she has gone into labour. Baby is not due until the end of November so I should be good for a while longer (fingers crossed).