November 2020 recap

Hello! Happy December. I’m not even going to bother expressing any surprise about how we got here already. Honestly, I’ve given up trying to understand time. There are days that I have to work and days that I don’t have to work, and my phone knows the difference. (Note to self: remember to turn off week day alarm once work finishes for Christmas). Anyway, today I am here to talk about November.

Coronavirus cases in Switzerland were high at the beginning of the month and slightly less high by the end (still around 4,000-5,000 per day, i.e. way too high, but better than the previous 9,000-10,000 per day!) – mostly thanks to some of the French-speaking cantons introducing stricter measures, basically amounting to a mini lockdown. Although numbers overall decreased, in Basel they actually rose so towards the end of the month Basel-Stadt (the city canton) also introduced stricter measures. All shops stayed open but bars, restaurants, swimming pools and gyms were made to close. I think I only went into town twice anyway – once to the refill/zero-waste supermarket and once to the post office by the train station to send some Christmas presents (we do have a post office in our town but it closes at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and I’m never ready by then). When I did venture out of the house it was either to go to our local supermarket, take away recycling, post Christmas cards or to go for my weekly walk.

Speaking of Christmas cards… I finished making, wrote and posted Christmas cards for every Post Pals family before November was over! When I say I “made” cards that basically means sticking on either cut out shapes (baubles, Christmas trees, stars) or some stickers and adding a greeting. Very simple cards. I also continued cross stitching Christmas cards for family and friends. I actually took two days off at the beginning of the month to work on them. On the first day I made all the designs I had stitched up to that point into cards while listening to an audiobook (Rise of the Jumbies, if you’re wondering) and the next day I stitched my little fingers off. I was hoping to have them all finished by December but I haven’t quite managed it – there’s only about 2 more to do though. I also bought, wrapped and posted most of my Christmas gifts – or ordered them to be sent directly to the recipients. I still have a couple more to sort but I’m mostly finished.

I managed to do a little bit of decluttering in November, although honestly it doesn’t appear to have made any difference whatsoever. I actually made a tiny space on my bookshelves, which I expect to be quickly filled again once Christmas rolls around!

On the subject of books, it was Believathon so I mainly read children’s books. We consistently watched Richard Osman’s House of Games every week day (sometimes Jan had a meeting at 7 p.m. so I recorded it and we watched it when he was finished). I also watched Children in Need and caught an occasional episode of Father Brown. At the end of the month I ended up watching a documentary about Diego Maradona, which I honestly had no interest in but Jan put it on while I was trying to finish cross stitching a card so I didn’t have much of a choice.

I treated myself to a dress from Popsy Clothing (it’s got penguins on it! I wanted the one with multi-coloured reindeer but it had sold out) and also dyed my hair. The box said it’s “mauve”, although as always it didn’t work the way it’s meant to on my hair. Here’s a photo:

Unlike what feels like the entire rest of the world, I did not put my tree up in November – party because I didn’t even see any for sale until the 27th but mostly because Jan will never in a million years let me have one until at least 23rd December – and even that’s a compromise! Apparently “it’s a Christmas tree, not an advent tree!” If he had his way, it would go up at noon on Christmas Eve, just like when he was growing up but I’ve managed to talk him round to the 23rd. I did, however, bake Vanillekipferl (vanilla crescents – an Austrian speciality) on the first Sunday of advent and I put up a grand total of three decorations on the final day of the month.

Jan’s friend continued to come here to study occasionally – sometimes once a week, sometimes twice, some weeks not at all. (All very coronavirus safe – she arrives with a mask on, we greet each other from a distance with no physical contact and we all sit in separate rooms to work.)

That’s all I can think of.
Oh wait, I almost forgot. Jan’s choir was supposed to have a concert in November but since all events ended up being cancelled they decided to do it as a live stream. It was actually quite nice to sit and watch from my living room with a cup of tea and my cross stitch. Ha! They fell into a grey area since amateur choirs weren’t allowed to practice but professional ones were and around half of that choir are professional/were actually getting paid for doing the concert.

Right, that really is it now. I hope you’re all well and not too stressed in the run up to Christmas. Stay safe and stay cosy (unless it’s summer now where you are, in which case stay cool!)

A Photo an Hour:15 December 2018

On Saturday, I took part in the final photo an hour of the year, hosted by Jane and Louisa. I had decided it was going to be the day that I finally got the last of my Christmas cards sorted, but I also wanted to clean the flat and had a ticket for Jan’s concert in the evening. So much to pack in to one day! Here’s how I got on…

9 a.m. We had no milk so my first act was to jump in the shower before heading to the shop.

10 a.m. Showered and milk purchased, now I can have a cuppa. Yay!

11 a.m. A busy week of work with lots of overtime plus one day in the office in Germany meant my kitchen was severely neglected and I had dishes to wash…

12 noon. Finally getting round to stitching and making the final few Christmas cards.

1 p.m. Cross stitch made into a card. Hoorah!

2 p.m. Another cuppa while writing out some of the cards I’d made. The ones in the background were waiting for Jan to sign them.

3 p.m. Jan signed the cards and I started putting them in envelopes.

4 p.m. Another card made!

5 p.m. Jan left for his final rehearsal and I got the hoover out. Also, how pretty are my slippers?

6 p.m. Cleaning the bathrooms, but I need to head out soon!

7 p.m. On the way to watch Jan’s concert. Terrible photo taken through the window of a tram.

I missed 8 p.m. as the concert was in progress.

9 p.m. Concert over, still in the church waiting for Jan to grab his stuff. Martinskirche, if you’re interested.

10 p.m. We went for food. By this stage it had all been eaten and I was finishing my wine before we got the bill.

11 p.m. Home and having a hot sage and honey drink to warm up… it was freezing on Saturday!

I was tucked up in bed by quarter to 12 so no more photos needed to be taken and symmetry in my blog post is preserved πŸ˜‰

I did, in fact, manage to get almost all my cards made, written and addressed. Only my dad’s remained to be sorted. And I did quite a bit of the housework I had planned to get sorted, although putting away the washing ended up being a task for Sunday evening. (And I still haven’t cleaned the oven). All in all a productive day.

What did you get up to on Saturday? I hope you all had a lovely festive weekend.

More Christmas cards

I recently showed you some Christmas cards I had been making using patterned Duck tape. But those aren’t the only ones I’ve made. I’m waaay behind with my cross-stitched cards for family, but the pile of cards made using washi tape, stencils, stamps, buttons and a lot of stickers is growing in a very pleasing manner. Here is a selection of them for your perusal:

I haven’t magically got any better at taking photos of cards, but at least the sun decided to show its face and make my job a little easier! (“Take them in front of a window in daylight,” they said. But what is this daylight of which they speak?!)

 


My favourites are the button tree and the one with the gingerbread house (even though my attempt at writing is awful!).

What do you think? Would you like to receive any of these cards?

Duck tape Christmas cards

I discovered that Duck Tape now comes in patterned versions when someone in a Facebook group mentioned that they have a unicorn one. I immediately thought I need that for Post Pals packages! At the same time, I bought a penguin version thinking I could use that one on winter parcels. Apparently I am entirely uncreative because despite the fact that I have literally used ribbons and patterned papers in the exact same way as the Duck tape on the cards I’m about to show me, it didn’t even occur to me that I could do the same thing withΒ  my penguin tape. Luckily, others have more imagination than me… when searching for quick, easy Christmas card ideas, I came across this post. This person just uses tape and a stamped sentiment for her cards, so I like to think I have been at least a little creative and added my own twist by also including stickers and other embellishments.

If you want to make your own Duck tape cards, all you will need is some blank cards, Duck tape (or other patterned tape that sticks really well), stamps/stickers for the sentiments – or you can write them yourselves if your hand lettering is better than mine (which to be fair most people’s probably is!) and any other embellishments you want to add, like stickers, buttons or beads. Here are some of my efforts. First, the penguins:

I also added two other tapes to my collection. Here are some cards made using Christmas tree tape:

And finally, snowmen:

I am loving how fast these cards are to make! Since I’m trying to make cards for every Post Pals family as well as my own family and friends, fast is definitely an advantage! And I think they look pretty good too. I spied tapes with things like spiders and pumpkins on as well, so ideas for next Halloween are already swarming around my head… as well as birthday cards, of course!

If you have any other ideas for fast Christmas cards that still look like I’ve made some effort, please throw them my way!

~Despite the constant mentions of a brand name, this is in no way a sponsored post. I purchased the tapes with my own money and am definitely not being compensated in any way. It just so happens that my tapes actually are the Duck brand!~

 

Christmas cards for the first day of autumn

Yes, you read that correctly! I bet at least one of you is now sitting there thinking “But it’s September”… and believe me I muttered those exact words at the display of Lebkuchen and other Christmas treats that have somehow snuck their way into the supermarket in the past week. But if you saw the length of my Christmas card list you would understand why I say when it comes to crafting it’s just different, okay? Anyway, I recently received some new wooden buttons I had ordered and I was desperate to try them out!

Of course, I don’t really have to pester my poor readers with thoughts of the festive season when autumn has only just begun, but I haven’t posted for an entire week and I can’t think of anything else to day, so Christmas cards it is. If you don’t like it, you should have looked away by now πŸ˜‰ For the rest of you, here are some of the fruits of my labours.

let it snow card

 

Christmas button card

As well as being the first day of autumn, apparently in Switzerland today is the day of the apple. I know this because the local supermarket was giving away apples to celebrate. Free fruit? I’ll take it!

Happy first day of autumn, happy apple day and, most importantly, happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend.

Friday letters

There’s nothing quite like the disappointment of feeling like it’s Friday only to remember that, actually, you still have another entire day to go before the weekend. Repeat every 2-3 hours and you have my day yesterday. But now, finally, it really is Friday. Hurrah! How about some letters?

Friday letters

Dear godson. So, you’re a big 5 years old already! Glad you liked your present (I gave you a marble run because I secretly want one for myself).

Dear weather. Umm, you know it’s supposed to be late summer, right? You’ll have plenty of time for your cold and wind and rain over the next few months so could you at least try to let us down gently please?

Dear rainbow I saw last night. You were beautiful – the biggest (width-wise) and brightest I have ever seen. It’s just a shame you had already disappeared by the time I ran inside and grabbed my camera.

Dear Christmas cross stitch. (Yes, I used the C-word. In September.). I really need to get a move on if I’m going to get all my cards finished in time! It’s less than three months until my sister’s wedding, and I’m hoping to take all the family cards with me when I go to England for that…

Dear scales. Well, at least the number you’re showing my now is back to my previous highest-ever weight from before the holiday completely threw everything out the window. You seem to have stalled again now though. Let’s see some downward movement next week, okay?

That’s all folks. Much love to all who are reading. Have a great weekend.

Friday letters

I say this every week, but how is it Friday again already?! This will be my last Friday letters of 2016 since I plan to take a break from blogging for the holidays. Next Friday I’ll be on a plane at daft o’clock in the morning (remind me why we picked the 7 am flight?!) and the Friday after I’ll be in Glasgow with Jan and K. Good times! Anyway, some letters…

Mailbox

Dear Christmas cards. You will not defeat me! Ten more to assemble and post then I’m done!

Dear Lebkuchen. I knew opening you was a mistake! It appears I’ve eaten you all already. Oops!

Dear scales. I will put new batteries in you eventually… but not until well after Christmas. Right now I really don’t want to know! (See previous letter…)

Dear Lemsip. You may not taste great, but you work and that’s good enough for me!

Dear Dara Γ“ Briain. Tickets for your show in January have been purchased! You’d better bring your best jokes along πŸ˜‰

That’s all folks! Friday letters will return in 2017. (Eeep, 2017! How did that happen?!)

Christmas cards 2016

A few weeks ago I shared a bit of this year’s Christmas stitching with you. Now that I’ve made a few cards, I thought you might want to see what came of some of those designs, plus a few more that I’ve stitched since then. Obviously I couldn’t take all the photos in the same place, because that would be too professional or something?! (Insert eye rolling smiley here)

Any favourites here? Personally I like the “Santa stop here” one, because although it’s simple it’s effective. And I think the JOY one came out well too.

Apologies for the quality of the photos. One day I will figure out how to take good pictures of cross stitch!

 

Christmas stitching 2016

I should really do another travel post to try and catch up, but the thought of sorting out all those photos just makes me feel tired, so instead here is some of the Christmas stitching I’ve done so far this year. All of these will be made into cards.

Do you have any favourites among these? Personally I love the snowman most, although I do also like the bauble in the “JOY”.

Now I just have to make sure none of the people who occasionally read this blog receive the pictures featured here πŸ˜‰

‘Tis the season to cross stitch…

Okay, it seems like it’s always the season to cross stitch with me, but this time of year involves even more than usual! I’ve barely commented on any blogs lately, so I thought it was only fair to show you what I’ve been busy doing instead. Here is a small selection of the cards I’ve managed to stitch this year (a few photos are a bit blurry I’m afraid. Sorry!).

Rudolph comes bearing gifts:

I may not be able to decorate baked goods, but I can stitch them!

You can’t beat a bit of candle light at Christmas:

Anything automatically becomes festive if you stick a Santa hat on it. Or you could just go with a Santa hat by itself…

Star-shaped buttons allow great additional effects!

I’ve run out of leading sentences, so the final gallery is just a miscellany.

After all that I just hope at least some of them reach their destinations in time!