October 2019 recap

Hello friends. October is over and we are already just short of a week into November, leaving us with less than two months left of the year… and of the decade. Eeek! Is anyone else so not ready? I feel like I need to do something amazing before the end of the year to make up for wasting the entire rest of the 2010s, but obviously that’s not going to happen. Anyway, that’s not what today’s post is about. Today I’m here to link up with Kristen for What’s New With You. (Go check out her blog – she’s awesome!).

whats new with you

Remembering

That’s a weird heading for this section but it’s the best I can think of so we’ll go with it. If you saw my September recap, you will know that 3rd October was exactly one year since we lost our boys. I was off work that day because my employer is actually in Germany and it’s their national holiday. Most of the day was spent with my great aunt and great uncle, who were visiting their son just across the border in Germany. After showing them all around Basel (we walked a lot) and dropping them off back at the train station, I stopped by the cemetery on the way home. Then on the Saturday Jan and I went up there together. It was the first time Jan had been since their the boys’ had been added to the site… I wanted to say “plaque” but it’s not a plaque, it’s like a concrete strip with the names carved into it and a little star. I would show you but we don’t want their names to be broadcast publicly (Jan doesn’t even want them on Facebook, where only my friends list would be able to see them). After the cemetery we walked into town and went for a hot chocolate, which seemed appropriate considering that’s exactly what we did the day we buried their ashes (which was actually a year ago today). I would have liked to be pregnant again before the anniversary, but alas that was not to be. Maybe we’ll get there before next October. That would be nice. I’m not getting any younger here!

Travel/days out

Jan was busy on almost every weekend in October, but he had a free Saturday in the middle of the month so we decided to go out for the afternoon. After a quick search of the Internet, I came up with the Verenaschlucht (Verena Gorge) in canton Solothurn. Jan got a car and we drove there and parked near the start. We walked through the gorge to the Verena Hermitage and then followed the megalith path to get back to the car. It wasn’t a long walk – maybe an hour in total – but given we hadn’t left the house until 2 p.m. it couldn’t really have been much longer.

 

Reading

October wasn’t my best reading month. I took part in Spookathon but only ended up reading 3 and a half out of my five choices. The three I did read can be matched to all the prompts though so I technically completed it, and I finished reading book 4 the following week when I had to go into the office. But for most of the month I was reading It by Stephen King (which I’m nowhere near finished) or not reading at all because I was distracted by crafting.

Watching

Our Buffy the Vampire Slayer rewatch continues. We watch an episode most nights after Jan finishes work. I can actually cross stitch while watching, which is useful because I now need to get serious about my Christmas card making.

Craft stuff

I finished making Halloween cards for Post Pals – 14 were completed in September so in October I made 26. I then got started on Christmas – I’ve done the stitching for six so far and I’ve also sorted a few handmade, non-cross-stitched cards that will be sent out to Post Pals families come December. The cross stitched ones are mainly for my family and friends. Post Pals are also holding a craft auction in December to raise money to send the families of sick children (and some who have sadly lost their children) on a glamping adventure at Chessington – you can read all about it here. So I’ve been making Christmas ornaments for that and they will also be getting some cross-stitched cards – I’ve stitched two birthday themed designs for them already. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Quite possibly! At least having some time off work gave me the chance to get a few things done. Here’s an autumn card I stitched at the beginning of October that I really like.

autumn card

Concerts

Jan had performances with two of his choirs in October, and I obviously attended both. The first one was okay but not really my type of thing. The second one was at the Tinguely Museum – coolest venue ever – and I really enjoyed it. They were performing in front of one of the exhibits – here’s a photo I took before the concert started.

Tinguely

After both concerts I got to go out to eat with the members of the choir, which is always nice.

Purchases

I realised I didn’t have any waterproof shoes (other than winter boots and hiking shoes), so, with autumn being the season for rain, rain, and more rain I obviously had to buy some. Luckily I managed to think of it before the current downpour days and I am very pleased with them. Please excuse the teddy bear socks on the photos below 😉

 

I also collected tokens from Coop to buy a Kitchen Aid blender… or technically to make Jan buy it 😉 We got it for pretty much half price, which I think is a good deal. It’s not like I spent more than usual to get the tokens – it was all weekly food shopping that would have been done anyway. We have used it several times to make smoothies so I feel like it’s already justified itself.

Finally, I bought this liquid lipstick thingy (it’s in a lip gloss style tube but looks more like lipstick once it’s on). It’s very autumn and I absolutely love it! It’s actually a bit more coppery than it looks on the photo below but hopefully you get the idea.

me

Miscellaneous/general life stuff

Work was pretty busy again in October, for me at least. Both my colleagues had time off at the beginning of the month – part of which overlapped so I was the only English translator for about a week. I had the final week of the month off – or technically final 4 days since the Friday was 1st November – and I feel like it was well earned. The week before that I literally had 20 translations that had to be completed. Not an exaggeration. Four of them I had actually translated previously so I only had to check my proofreader’s revisions and get the final files ready, but that left 16 that I both translated and entered corrections for in that week. Needless to say, I was relieved when I finally set my out of office message and logged off on the Friday!

I had plans to do many things during my time off, but that entire week was a washout. I don’t mind rain, but this was the pouring down without a break and if you venture out for even a few minutes you will be soaked kind. On the 30th, I went for a walk along the stream so I could take my annual autumn photos. I was out for around 25 minutes or half an hour and had to change my clothes when I got home! The next day was at least slightly more friendly… as in there was enough of a break between rain showers for me to take a bag of books to one of the free bookcases in town without them all turning to pulp before I got them there, so I at least managed part of my decluttering goal. There are still some books in the giant carrier bag because there were way too many for my to carry in one go!

I also had a doctor’s appointment during that week to discuss where we go now that our fourth embryo transfer has failed. It was decided that I will have another hysteroscopy. That will be in December and I am not looking forward to it even a little bit (last time was not fun!). But if there’s any chance it will help then I have to do it. That means we won’t be able to try again until January, so with that my chances of being a mother before my next birthday are out the window.

Oh, the autumn fair also started in Basel last week. I didn’t get a chance to go properly (pouring down, remember?) but while I was out getting rid of books I managed to grab a few photos.

 

That’s all I’ve got for you. I took two weeks off work, but since the second of those weeks (i.e. now) is in November you’ll have to wait for my next monthly recap to read about them. In the meantime, go check out the link up and welcome Kristen back to more regular blogging. She has been very much missed in the blogosphere!

Autumn/winter goals

Basel-autumn
Basel in autumn

I don’t usually do seasonal goals and I wasn’t planning to now either, but this year has gone so fast that I feel like I need to have some specific things to tick off for the rest of it to avoid feeling like I’ve done absolutely nothing for the entire year. Also, these are technically “rest of 2019” goals since winter won’t end until the end of March and I don’t feel like planning my life out that far in advance. But autumn/winter goals sounded better. I’m rambling… I’ll just get on with it shall I?

  • Finish making Halloween cards for Post Pals – I have 10 so far, I need 40.
  • Make autumn cards for Post Pals families that prefer not to receive Halloween cards. I need 3 this year.
  • Get at least three quarters of my family/friends Christmas cards made before December (instead of staying up late rushing to finish them in the last few weeks before Christmas!)
  • Send Christmas cards to all Post Pals families.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-watch! (We’ve already started.)
  • Read It by Stephen King
  • Spookathon in October and Believathon in November.
  • Make crumble again (I made one last weekend and it was delicious. And it’s so easy – I don’t know why I don’t make it more often)
  • Bake muffins
  • Bake some kind of Christmas biscuit
  • Sort out the spare room (which currently looks more like a storage room!)
  • Sort out the shelving things in the dining area. Basically we currently have the shelf things below. We want to take the left-hand part to the cellar and keep just the right-hand part for now (which will be moved more into the corner). That means I need to get everything off the  part on the left. Eventually the plan is to replace the whole thing with a nicer cabinet/unit but that won’t be happening this year.
    dining room shelves
  • Get the huge bag of books that are waiting to go to free public bookshelves empty.
  • Sort out craft stuff and clear the desk that is currently covered in half my supplies.
  • Show my cousin and her boyfriend round Basel (they are visiting in November).
  • Day trip with my cousin and her boyfriend – decide where to go.
  • Take a day trip by myself while I’m off work in October/November.
  • Go to at least one Christmas market.
  • Take my annual autumn photos by the stream on 31st October.
  • Go to the pub quiz at least once more this year.
  • Respond to all pen pal letters I’ve received up to today. (I’m making no guarantees about ones that arrive throughout the next few months though…)

autumn6

 

That’s all I can think of for now. And this actually already seems like a lot, so let’s hope I manage to achieve them all! What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Roar, roar, dinosaur!

Hello friends! I keep meaning to post more frequently but I’ve been absolutely snowed under at work recently. It’s as if all our customers somehow sensed that my colleague is on holiday and chose that very moment to decide they need all the translations into English. And of course 90% of it falls to me. We do have access to freelance translators, but if it’s in any way urgent or my colleagues just don’t feel like asking around I get to do it. Lucky me! Anyway, I wanted to at least pop in and say hi, so I thought I would show you a card I cross stitched a couple of weeks ago for one of the Post Pals children.

dinosaur card

Happy weekend everyone. If it’s as hot where you are as it is here I hope you find a way to keep cool!

A die-cut card-making session

I recently received more cutting dies that I had ordered and, still being excited by a new hobby, I decided I wanted to test some of them out. That led to a bit of a card-making session, some of which have already been sent off as birthday cards for Post Pals children. Others haven’t found a use yet. Here they are:

The princess castle isn’t stuck on straight. Grr! Unfortunately the glue had set before I realised. Also, I coloured in the flags but I’m not sure whether it would have been better to just leave them as they were. Oh well. That one has already gone off to a girl who, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is turning 7.

I absolutely love the balloon jar and am already imagining other things I could put inside a jar. I’m not sure about the positioning of the writing though. I still have that card currently, but I’m sure I’ll find a use for it soon.

You might recognise the Happy Birthday shape and the felt butterflies from this card. The frame die cut is new. I quite like how this turned out. It’s simple, but I think it’s pretty. I still have that one at present but I think I know who’s going to get it.

Finally, for the football card, I die cut the shape twice, once in white and once in black, then used the black “negative” pieces to fill in the white outline, resulting in an inverted football. I’m not sure why I did it that way round first? I still have the black outline and white pieces so I can make a normal football. A lot of the Post Pals boys like football so I have a feeling this die will be getting quite a bit of use! The little footballs are stickers and the sentiment came free with a magazine. That card is already on its way to a Post Pal’s sibling.

I cut out a few other shapes, including a giraffe and some unicorns, but I haven’t done anything with them yet. Perhaps you’ll see them on a future card.

I think I’m going to need some more practice before I learn the most effective way to use die cuts on my cards! Not that these ones are bad necessarily, but I feel like I could make much better use of the shapes. Any die-cutting experts want to weight in with advice? I’m all ears (well, eyes… you know what I mean).

What do you think of these cards? Not bad for a die-cutting beginner, right?

Die-cut butterflies card

This probably won’t be exciting to anyone but me, but I shall tell you about it anyway.

I got a die cutter for Christmas – specifically the Big Shot foldaway – and after having a bit of a play with the shapes that came with it, I have been very much looking forward to making some actual cards with it. My opportunity came this week. I am determined to keep being involved with Post Pals* this year, and one girl who likes butterflies has a birthday coming up.

butterfly card

I cut out the red butterflies using a die that a penpal sent me. The yellow butterflies are felt ones I bought ages ago, the flowers are stickers, and the “Happy Birthday” was cut using a die I purchased.

I can’t wait until I’ve built up my die collection some more and can (hopefully) make better, more complicated cards.

* In case you’ve missed all my previous references to it, here is my explanation of what Post Pals is all about and here is a link to their website where you can read all about them in their own words and maybe even pick a pal to write to. Apparently January and February are the slowest months for mail, so if you do want to brighten a sick child’s day now would be the perfect time!

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 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!~