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!)

Friday letters

Hello lovelies. I haven’t done one of these in a while… I’ve just checked: the last one was June 2018. I don’t have anything else to post about right now – or at least nothing I feel like making the effort for – so we’ll go with this.

Friday letters

Dear Christmas. I see you lurking just over the horizon. Calm down and bide your time… I have way too much to do before you get here!

Dear people who constantly posting X sleeps until Christmas. You are not helping with the above situation!

Dear universe. On behalf of my family, I would like to say please just stop! The last couple of months have been relentless.

Dear flight companies. Are you actually serious about your prices to fly from the European continent to England this year? I paid triple what I normally do for flights to England… and that includes the time I went over for my grandpa’s funeral and literally booked the flight the night before. In fact, I’ve just checked and I could get a return flight from London to New York on the same dates for less. Care to explain?

Dear work. I still love you but I have to confess I would much rather be off right now. As I already told Christmas, there’s just so much to do!

Dear weekend. You’re so close I feel like I can almost reach out and touch you. I just wish we could hang out more often and for longer!

Dear bookshelves.  Please don’t be sad that I’ve put myself on a book buying ban for the rest of the year. After the extortionate flight prices I really can’t justify buying anything other than necessities and Christmas presents now. And the unread books seem to be on a mission to take over anyway, so I shall be attempted to make a dent in those before adding any new ones. Okay?

Dear everyone. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, however you plan to spend it. I will be reading, cleaning and trying to get as many Christmas cards as possible made.

Friday letters

Hello everyone! I hope you are all well? I am tiiiired, which is partly my own fault for reading something on my phone in bed last night after turning the light out, but really I didn’t end up going to sleep that late. I think I’m just taking my time to recover from the wedding followed by a 24 hour odyssey to get back from England. I’m not as young as I used to be! Still having a slight cold probably isn’t helping either. It’s mostly gone now but my nose is still a bit blocked with what seems to be some kind of glue?!

Anyway, let’s have some letters shall we?

Friday letters

Dear sister. You made an absolutely stunning bride! If the rest of your marriage is half as amazing as the wedding I know you are going to have the most wonderful life.

Dear brother-in-law. Welcome to the family!

Dear extended family. It’s good to know you are as crazy as ever! I enjoyed being on the dance floor with you at the wedding.

Dear snow. I hear you were in Basel when I wasn’t. Please come back… I would much prefer you to all this rain!

Dear Swiss post. According to your website, I would have had to send Christmas cards to Europe yesterday for them to arrive in time. I’m hoping you’re just being very generous because the last of mine won’t be going out until this weekend!

Okay, that’s it from me. Time to do some work. Next week I’ve taken Friday off and then we’re closed for Christmas. YAY!

Friday letters

I took part in Friday letters last Saturday and I’ve been meaning to write up my blog post on it all week, but I’ve just been far too busy. So for now you’ll have to make do with Friday letters. Maybe I’ll get round to photo and hour over the weekend… although we have a visitor coming next weekend and I’m in Germany from Thursday afternoon to Friday evening, so this weekend will be my only opportunity to get the flat into a shape that I’m not ashamed of letting people see. Hmm. Anyway, here are some letters for you.

Friday letters

Dear customers. While I am glad not to be sitting around doing nothing, I would appreciate it if you could distribute your languages a little more evenly so everything doesn’t end up on my desk…

Dear books. Despite last week’s message to myself, you appear to have multiplied again. I wonder how that happened…?

Dear flat. How do you actually even get into such a state anyway? I mean, I get that I’m lazy but the speed at which you get messed up seems excessive!

Dear Christmas markets. Soo, you’re here again. Yay! Unfortunately I don’t going to get a chance to visit any of you this weekend with all the cleaning I have to do… Oh well, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow anyway.

Dear weekend. Even though I am probably going to be spend half of you cleaning, I am so glad you’re here! Now if only you were longer than a measly two days…

Right, that’s all from me. I’m waiting for a phone call then I have to go to the post box, buy some bread and start making tea. All in an evening’s work…

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Friday letters

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are all well? It has got cold here recently, which gives me the perfect excuse to drink lots of hot chocolate. Except maybe not because my sister’s wedding is three weeks tomorrow and I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into? Dilemmas! Also, I have agreed to work for part of the weekend because apparently I am insane?! (It’s the only way we could actually accept this particular job and we really need to not be turning down jobs right now!). Anyway, let’s get on with some letters shall we?

Friday letters

Dear Christmas. You are creeping up too fast and I can’t think of gifts for half the people I have to buy for. Aargh!

Dear boyfriend. Thank you for not complaining about me being even worse than usual at keeping up with housework because I’m too busy making Christmas cards!

Dear birds. I’m pleased to see you seem to be enjoying your new food. We’ll keep putting it out as long as you keep coming to visit!

birds
Three little dickie birds sitting on a wall…

Dear self. You really need to stop buying new books before you’ve read the ones that are already sitting on the bookcase. For the sake of your bank balance if nothing else!

Dear magpies. Could you please stop flying around singly? I’m ready for some joy please!

Dear sun. It was nice to see you when I went out to buy lunch. Think you can come back tomorrow when it’s the weeeeekend?

Okay, that’s it. Lunch break over – gotta get back to work. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

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?

Friday letters

Ah Friday… you wonderful harbinger of the weekend! I’ve been having trouble falling asleep all week, so you’re even more welcome than you would have been anyway. To celebrate, let’s have some letters.

Friday letters

Dear Yankee Candle. That is not what a crackling wood fire smells like! Have you actually been near a fire lately?

Dear weather. I take it you are trying to convince me that it really is November and not May at the absolute latest, as my brain is still convinced it must be? I can think of no other explanation for this constant rain 😉

Dear baked potatoes. I will never cease to be amazed (and grateful) that something so simple is so good.

Dear blue tits. Hello! How nice to see you gracing the balcony again. I’m not sure where you disappear to over the summer, but I’m glad you’re back! (But please stop trying to eat my parsley!)

Dear Christmas. You are sneaking up way too fast and I really need to decide on gifts for my family before it’s too late…

That’s all for today. Happy Friday everyone… and happy weekend!

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 with  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!~

 

Recent doings #12

Can you believe it’s December today? December!! How did that happen?! It’s also a Thursday, which means it’s time for another round of “What’s New With You?” with Kristen and Gretch.

So what did I get up to in November?

Reading. Well, obviously I already told you about everything I read for the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge, but I feel that I should mention here that Darkly Dreaming Dexter was my 75th book of the year, meaning I achieved my Goodreads goal for 2016 on 20th November! I also read The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson since it’s on the BBC Big Read list.

Looking at. Art… So. Much. Art. Our friend came for a weekend because he wanted to see an exhibition at the Fondation Bayerle and then the next day we went to Basel’s art museum. All very cultural, but so much walking! (The art museum is huge!).

Hosting. The aforementioned friend, of course, then this past weekend my mum, brother and two friends of my mum. It was fun showing more people around Basel.

Visiting. The autumn fair at the beginning of the month and then the Christmas market with my mum, etc.

Drinking. Glühwein… or mulled wine for the English speakers among you. ‘Tis the season, after all!

Cross stitching. Do I even need to say it? Christmas card pictures, obviously. Plus a teapot card.

Making. Christmas cards! Although I’m still stitching, I’ve also  started to put some of the actual cards together now. Here… have a picture of the first card I completed, weeks before the rest, because it had to go all the way to New Zealand together with a gift for my cousin who is 4 on 12th December:

robin-card

Buying: Mooore Christmas presents. I think I’m done now though. Also a few books (but much fewer than usual).

Planning. New Year! We are in England for Christmas, so we decided to pick a New Year’s destination in the UK and settled on Glasgow. Our fabulous friend K (who has been mentioned on the blog before) will be joining us so we’ve been planning accommodation and where to spend Hogmanay. K was brought up in Glasgow so she’ll be taking us to all the best places to eat!

Arranging. My trip home for Christmas. I guess this is kind of also planning, but whatever… I booked a flight and made tentative arrangements to meet up with a friend.

Seeing. The musical West Side Story. The tickets were my birthday present, but the show wasn’t until November! It wasn’t as good as some musicals I’ve been to (the acting wasn’t brilliant) but it was still enjoyable.

I can’t think of anything else that I did in November, so I’ll leave this here. Linking up Kristen and Gretch, as always.

What have you been doing recently?

Friday letters

Good morning! How is everyone today? I hope you have some nice plans for the weekend (even if it just having a lazy couple of days and relaxing – those kind of weekend plans are also nice). As for me, I’m finishing work early today to travel up to Jan’s dad’s place. This week his mum turned 60 and she’s having a bit of a celebration tomorrow. Since neither of us took holiday, it will be a whirlwind trip… 5 and a bit hours there tonight, Saturday with his family then another 5 and a bit hour train journey on Sunday! At least it will give me plenty of time to read 🙂

Now for some letters:

Mail box

Dear work. Could you please stop switching between really busy and almost nothing to doand find a happy medium?

Dear birds. I’m glad you found your food, but I wish you wouldn’t get spooked and fly away the second I enter my living room. It’s hard to remember to creep around my own flat just in case any of you are out there enjoying a snack!

Dear BBC Big Read voters. I feel like some of you misunderstood the question you were being asked. You were supposed to vote for your favourite books, not the longest ones you’ve ever read! Far too many of the books on the list have over 1,000 pages.

Dear Basel Christmas market. This time next week you will be on your second day! The festive season is coming around far too quickly.

Dear cross stitching. You are coming along fairly well. Not too many more little stitches to go! Next comes the hard part… making you all into pretty Christmas cards. Can I manage you all before it’s too late?

That’s all for today. Happy weekend everyone.