October 2020 recap

Hello friends! Kristen isn’t hosting her link up this month because she has too much going on, but I wanted to write a recap anyway because I like having them to look back on.

So, October…

Switzerland decided to allow large events with up to 1000 people – including allowing crowds at football matches – from 1st October even though coronavirus cases had been steadily creeping up throughout September. So we started October with an average of around 300 new cases per day and ended it with around 7000 cases per day… a fact which surprised absolutely nobody except, apparently, the Swiss Government. It took until 28th October for them to finally hold a press conference and introduce stricter measures (although individual cantons had introduced their own stricter measures before that). Those “stricter measures” ended up being masks to be worn in all public buildings (shops, museums, etc.), night clubs to close, bars and restaurants only allowed 4 people per table and have to close at 11 p.m., a maximum of 10 people allowed to get together, events back down to a maximum of 50 people, stricter rules for contact sport and choirs, and universities had to switch to virtual classes. That’s it. While the rest of Europe went into some kind of lockdown or “lockdown light”, Switzerland’s shops remain open, many employers still insist on everyone coming into the office (even if they could theoretically work from home) and plenty of people are continuing to go to bars and restaurants as normal. Yay Switzerland!

Four days before the new measures were announced, one of Jan’s choirs had a concert. In the days leading up to it a few cantons introduced measures banning choirs from singing, but Basel wasn’t one of them. So the concert went ahead – with a live stream as an option for those who didn’t want to risk actually going to the event. Obviously I had to physically be there and show my support though. I had a ticket for row 9, which was the first row – all the seats from rows 1-8 had been removed, so there was a huge distance between the audience and the choir. Before entering the building everyone was asked to keep their distance from other people and wear a mask, and the entire audience had to wear masks throughout the performance as well – although I was disappointed that they hadn’t separated the seats so different groups were still sitting right next to each other. Luckily there was an empty seat on one side of me, so I made sure to face in that direction throughout the entire concert (I faced the front/towards the choir, of course, but at the same time looked towards my right if you get what I mean?). A friend of ours had a ticket but chose to stay home and watch the live stream.

Apart from the supermarket, the fertility clinic and my weekly walks, the day of the concert was the only time I properly left the house and went among people in October. Knowing the new measures were coming in 4 days, I went into town on the day of the concert to try and pick up a few Christmas presents while it was still possible. I also stocked up on craft supplies for all the Christmas cards I have to make.

Speaking of crafting, I finished making all my Halloween cards to send to post Pals families and got them posted out, then I started on Christmas crafts. Post Pals is having an auction soon to raise money so I made some things for that (cards and felt Christmas tree ornaments), made a start on my own Christmas cards and also stitched a birthday card for my little cousin in New Zealand.

A friend of Jan’s who he knows from choirs has been staying with her boyfriend throughout the pandemic and she was struggling because she couldn’t concentrate on her studies. He lives in a shared flat and someone was always around making noise, etc., so Jan offered for her to come to our place to work (don’t worry – he did ask me first whether it would be okay!). Since we moved our dining table into the spare room back in March to make an office for Jan, we had to fetch the other table in from the balcony – it’s technically also a dining table, but since we don’t have balcony furniture it usually lives out there. It looks exactly the way you would expect from something that’s been out in the weather, so I decided to buy a tablecloth for it. When I asked Jan what he thought his response was “It’s a tablecloth” but whatever, I like it! (And it was reduced to about a third of the usual price, so bonus.) It’s kind of big but I’m hoping to one day get a nicer and possibly slightly larger table that it will fit better.

So now that table/room is in use a few days a week. It’s all very coronavirus restriction-compliant – she has a mask on when she comes in and we stand apart from each other (no hugging!), she gets the dining room area all to herself (Jan and I each have separate “offices” to work in), she brings her own water bottle and if she has a cup of tea or coffee she places the cup in the dishwasher herself. And of course we have plenty of soap and disinfectant for hand cleaning. It’s probably safer than some actual workplaces!

At the end of the month I went on my usual autumn walk along a nearby stream, as I have every year since we moved here. Despite the lovely sunshine I saw precisely one person, sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette. The photos for that will be up soon once I get around to sorting and resizing them.

Apart from that I read – although not as much as usual – and we watched Richard Osman’s House of Games regularly. I also persuaded Jan to watch Heathers with me on Halloween. He didn’t seem impressed, but oh well. I still like it. It’s better than some of the crap he’s made me watch (*cough* Indiana Jones *cough*).

And that’s all I want to tell you today. The days are getting shorter and shorter and cases of coronavirus are higher than ever (over 10,000 on two days last week!) so I will most likely be leaving the house even less in November, but we’ll see what I manage to report next month. Until then stay safe and keep smiling!

A Photo An Hour: 21 March 2020

Hello friends! Saturday was the day of the Photo an Hour linkup and, thanks to social distancing, for once I wasn’t the only one spending the entire day inside πŸ˜‰

Here’s what I got up to:

10 a.m. Kettle is boiling for the first cuppa of the day.

11 a.m. Tooooast! (Just noticed the state of my toaster. Yikes!)

12 noon. Finally starting this book that everyone has been raving about.

1 p.m. About time I got in the shower.

2 p.m. More tea! Jan is up now so I’m making two.

3 p.m. Can’t concentrate on my book while Jan has crap TV on so I’ve escaped to my craft room (otherwise known as the office). Making Easter cards for Post Pals.

4 p.m. Putting on some laundry.

5 p.m. Getting some reading in while Jan’s in the shower.

6 p.m. Cooking. Soup seemed like a good idea.

7 p.m. Drinking beer, watching the news.

8 p.m. Getting some exercise with a virtual reality game. (Please ignore the mess!)

9 p.m. Back in my PJs.

10 p.m. Watching some YouTube.

11 p.m. Time for bed.

How did you spend your weekend at home? (I hope you were at home – unless you work for a health service, supermarket or similar, in which case THANK YOU!).

Photo an Hour is hosted by Louisa and Jane. The next link-up is on 18th April. Will we be allowed out by then? Only time will tell.

Make cards not waste!

It seems like an odd time to be writing a “normal” post, but on the other hand I feel like a bit of normalcy and lightheartedness is something we all need right now. And with everyone stuck in doors it seems like the perfect time for a post about crafts. No need to leave the house to make cards!

When Jan’s choir has concerts, he often brings home advertising postcards that he’s supposed to leave in various places. Last year, after the concert, he had a big stack that he planned to throw away. I noticed that the image was an indistinguishable pink circle, so I asked if I could have them for crafting rather than wasting so much paper. Later in the year, he had another concert and I claimed the leftover postcards from that as well.

Here are the adverts in question (I removed the names of the choirs because some privacy has to be allowed!):

choir adverts

And some of the cards I made from them:

 

Of course, not everyone has a regular supply of advertising material with pretty backgrounds coming in, but there are plenty of other things you can recycle for cards. Take a look at these two Easter cards:

The blue egg with the flowers was made using the backing cardboard from a packet of stickers and the pretty patterned orange one is from a teabag box. (Random aside: Pukka teas have the prettiest boxes!).

So while we’re all stuck indoors, go forth, see what pretty packaging you can find in your house and make some cards! You can even post them if you’re out anyway, fetching groceries or medicine – I’m sure your family and friends will be very glad to receive some happy mail while we all try to stay safe, at home, away from our loved ones.

Happy crafting!

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!~

 

Recent doings #23

It’s November (What? How? Why?) and it’s Thursday, which means it must be time for What’s new with you? If you’ve been wondering what on Earth I was doing on October instead of keeping my blog updated then you’ve come to the right place πŸ˜‰ Here are all the things I’ve been doing for the past month.

whats-new

Reading. I completed the bonus round of Erin’s reading challenge. Woo! To find out the specific books I read, you’ll have to come back when it’s time for Show Us Your Books… but I will tell you that I started Magician by Raymond E Feist about a week ago and so ar it’s really good. I had been putting it off because it’s so long!

Watching. Hocus Pocus! It was on TV on Sunday and I couldn’t resist. It’s been too long since I’ve seen it. I also saw some episodes of Extreme Cake Makers. Some very impressive cakes going on there!

Eating. Pumpkins and chickpeas. Standard autumn fare really. But last week we ate something more unusual. I will tell you what in a few days… don’t want to ruin the surprise πŸ˜‰

Drinking. I relapsed and went back to drinking too much caffeinated tea. Hmm. Also smoothies – sadly ready-made. I want to make my own but I need a blender first.

Buying. Too many patterned tapes. They are taking over! I need a better way to store them. Also my godson’s Christmas present, which I am very excited about.

Making. Halloween cards for Post Pals children. So, so many Halloween cards! Here are a few:

Cross stitching. Designs for Christmas cards. After spending so long making Halloween cards, I am now way behind with Christmas!

Seeing/hearing. Jan perform with two different choirs. At the second one, they were performing with a trio consisting of a harpist, flautist and… violaist? Is that a word? My spell checker doesn’t recognise it. A man on a viola anyway. I absolutely loved them!

Winning. The pub quiz. Yay! It was the first time we’d been in ages as well.

Visiting. The pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg – it’s becoming a bit of tradition. Again, I preferred the theme two years ago, but we had a nice day with our friends and I got to eat pumpkin Maultaschen, which is always a good thing.

Ludwigsburg Kurbisfest

Booking. Flights to England for my sister’s wedding. Not long to go now! I also got my dress altered in October (it was way too long). Thought I’d throw that in here since I couldn’t think of a category for it πŸ˜‰

Coveting. This jumper: https://www.aboutyou.ch/p/naketano/knit-maja-pusteblume-iii-3651582 It is way out of my price range though. I am not paying 57 CHF (=49 euros/42 pounds) for a jumper! Maybe I’ll send the link to Jan… he did ask what I want for Christmas πŸ˜‰

I can’t think of anything else. The rest of the time I was just working, cleaning and doing laundry. You know… life stuff. Not too exciting. How about you – been doing anything interesting recently?

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch, of course.

 

 

Making cards with stickers (and stencils)

Recently Kezzie wrote about some easy cards she had made using stickers.
It just so happens that there are a lot of Post Pals birthdays in October – too many for me to cross stitch a card for all of them – so I, too, have been making cards using stickers… and stencils. Here are the few that I actually remembered to take a photo of. Apologies for the blurriness of some photos – I think my camera is officially dying.

unicorn card

 

football card

 

Happy birthday

 

lion-fox card

If you’re wondering where the stencils come in the “Happy Birthday” on the unicorn card (including the frame around it) was a stencil (that card is also the only one that doesn’t include any stickers) and on Harrison’s card both the banner and the speech bubbles were drawn using a stencil and then cut out.

My favourite of these is Samuel’s – I especially love the 3D letter stickers. The one I’m least sure about is the football one.

Do you make cards using stickers? Any tips for me? And what do you think of these ones?

If you would like to send a birthday card to a sick child, go here and scroll through the list to see which pals have birthdays coming up. And to make life just a little easier for you, here are two links: Rida and Harrison both have birthdays on 8th October – plenty of time for you to choose and send a card!

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.

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!