Again.. falling behind on blogging. I hate this! I either have time to blog.. and nothing to blog about.. or no time to blog, and LOTS of stuff to blog about!!!

I made 2 of these. Theyre my absolute favorite ones. but then, I do adore purple.

I made 2 of these. They're my absolute favorite ones. but then, I do adore purple.

As with 99% of the rest of the adult population, christmas and presents is occupying my mind at the moment. Last week was about getting the last of the cards sorted. In the end, the cards left over from the christmas fair weren’t quite enough and i had to make some more. I think these are the best ones. Each time i make a new batch, i improve.. LOL.To make things worse many of these had to go abroad, and i was up against a deadline for those! Thankfully though, i got them in the post without too many problems. Only one more postal deadline, and that’s for a present for my great aunt, the present is made and will be going in the post tomorrow, well ahead of the deadline, so that’s a good thing.

Made two of these too...

Made two of these too...

On Saturday I met up with my friend Sez and her Mum to go around the Christmas Markets in Manchester. Although I was late (more about that later) we did have a lovely afternoon, pushing through the crowds. It was good to see her, and we got to swap presents too – and she took delivery of the xmas pudding i make for her every year!

just one of these though. Shame. Wish Id made more.

just one of these though. Shame. Wish I'd made more.

As well as the present making and planning, nice stuff like seeing my friend, there’s been some unpleasant stuff as well. Friday night I was standing in the kitchen, bending over to pick something up from the floor, close to the window, when something slammed into the wall on the other side from my head. I shot upright, asked Michiel if he knew what it was, and he went racing outside, but didn’t see anyone. It later transpired that a brick had been thrown at the wall, narrowly missing the window, i think. If it had hit it would’ve been nasty. We’re having problems with the local youths, there’s a gang of them running wild on the streets. They were at it again last night, whooping and running around, jumping on cars, hammering on our door, kicking on people’s fences. Most unpleasant. About the only saving grace in all this is that it’s forced us to get to know our neighbours a little more, which is a good thing – it helps us to feel that we’re not so alone, but also helps us because we know we’re not the only ones complaining. We’ve still heard nothing about a potential move, not since that flat that was offered to us back in September, and I’ve taken the advice of my parents and written to my local councillors and MP, see if they can bring any pressure to bear. Its becoming increasingly untenable, living here, and the sooner we can start somewhere else, the better, i think.

Each year I make a formal invitation card for my grandmother, for the 27th December. It gives her something to look forward to, plus she gets two cards from me! This was an extra special one and took me a good couple of hours to make. Still. shes worth it.

Each year I make a formal invitation card for my grandmother, for the 27th December. It gives her something to look forward to, plus she gets two cards from me! This was an extra special one and took me a good couple of hours to make. Still. she's worth it.

The rest of this week I’ll be concentrating on making christmas presents. I can’t say too much right now (details are behind the cut), because my Mom reads this blog, and i can’t ruin her surprise! What i can say is that I’ve been researching my maternal grandfather’s line on ancestry: last year I researched my maternal grandmother’s ancestry as part of her christmas present, producing a booklet, a stylised family “tree”, and lots of photographs, including tracking down a distant cousin we knew nothing about. This year I’m determined to add a chapter to the booklet, with part of my maternal grandfather’s line – the Maguire line – and I’ve already had success in tracing a couple of distant cousins, and we’ve been eagerly sharing photographs and information, which is lovely. Gotta love the internet, with all its potential for putting people in contact…

And after the presents are all made, i have to wrap them, decorate them, make gift tags, do the decorations, and then the cooking and shopping… the next two weeks are going to be very very busy. I’m looking forward to 28th and a break!

Mum, sez, Michiel’s Mum! Don’t click behind the cut!!! (Mum, if you want to print, i would suggest you copy the top part into a word file and print that.)

Now down to the nitty gritty of presents.. As i said before, i’m – for the most part – giving out handmade presents. Dad is getting a movie hamper – a DVD, along with a bottle of beer, some pork scratchings, and possibly some crackers and cheese, basically everything he needs to enjoy movie night. (The DVD is Jarhead, which Mom will hate. oh dear.)

These are little notelets I made for a great aunt. They have to go in the post, so whatever i get/make for her, theres always the weight issue. However, she does love writing letters, so I thought i would make some notelets for her, all tucked into a matching box. I think the end result is really charming, and Ill be making more for my grandmother and mum.

These are little notelets I made for a great aunt. They have to go in the post, so whatever i get/make for her, there's always the weight issue. However, she does love writing letters, so I thought i would make some notelets for her, all tucked into a matching box. I think the end result is really charming, and I'll be making more for my grandmother and mum.

My Mum – well, i’m doing a combination of handmade things. 1) two tote bags like mine, one which is a normal tote bag, the other has a lidl freezer bag inside. 2) some notelets like the ones above. 3) a series of household management blank books, i showed her mine, and she was very taken with them, so i’ve got her some of her own.   4) I’m also making her a needle case for her knitting needles. She lost one of a pair while i was there, and turned the house upside down looking for them, only to find that they were in the same place she’d been looking for the last few days. So I think a knitting needle case would come in handy. 5) A calender like the one below. 6) two frames with photographs in, one of her and dad before they got married, one of her holding me as a baby, with stitchery around the photographs. I’m working on the first one of those now.

For my maternal grandmother i’m doing 1) the extra chapter for the book, as i described above. 2) Some notelets like the ones above. 3) A Calender like the one below. 4) two photos, one of her, mum and myself from when i was about 14, and another one of her holding me as a young child – around 3/4 years old. Again, they’ll be in frames, with stitchery around the photographs. 5) a tote bag. (I’m totally in love with these bags. I think everyone should have one. I’d have made one for Sez but she got there before me! grrrr!)

For my paternal grandmother: 1) a tote bag. 2) A Calendar like the one below. 3) an embroidered stitchery photograph of herself on her 70th birthday with all her children. It’s an especially poigant one as she lost her eldest daughter just under 2 years ago now.

For Michiel’s Mum and Dad – because their presents have to go into the post, again, I can’t do a lot or anything very heavy, so I got them bookmarks – the one for his dad was a simple cross-stitched bookmark, and the one for his mum was a silver hook with a cross made out of a jade green material hanging from the hook – it’d make a lovely bookmark for a bible.  Their faith is important to both of them and they’ve been through a tough year this year, so i hope their presents will mean a great deal to them.

And Michiel? well… he does read this blog. And if i say “don’t look!”, he will look. he hates surprises. Although he does respect that presents for xmas and birthdays have to be surprises. But i have learned, in almost 6 years of being with him, not to rub his nose in it too much. So although he knows where they are, he won’t look. But i’m still not going to say here what they are, just in case. LOL. At the moment he’s more worried about the present Mum is making for him. I did tell him she’s making him one, a woollen item. I think he thinks its a Ron Weasley style jumper (in hideous colours like pink and purple, and being forced to wear it on 27th December and every time he sees Mum… ooh.. the indignity.. the horror!), although i’ve assured him its not and he will like it… he looks at me every time with narrowed eyes as if to say “yeah.. okay.. don’t really trust you… “. Heh. I’m having fun with that one….

And sez? Not a lot. just the Calendar, which I do hope she likes. I won’t post copies of every page in the calendar, at least, not here. If you’d like to see which photographs i used, you can, here. The two below should be enough to give you an idea of what it looks like.

front page of the calendar i made for sez

front page of the calendar i made for sez

Septembers page in the Calendar

September's page in the Calendar

In fact, i hope everyone likes.. now i just got to get on and make some more of these things!!!

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