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!

February 2020 recap

Hello friends. Post from me two days in a row? You lucky, lucky people! (Ha, I kid… obviously). I had to post today because it’s the first Thursday of the month and I need to link up with one of my favourite bloggers… the wonderful Kristen. She is awesome and you should really go over there and say hi.

Anyway, let’s talk about what I did last month, shall we?

whats new with you

Travel

Yes, we actually went places in February. Are you impressed? First, we went to Baden for an afternoon, which was the weekend after our anniversary so I called it our anniversary celebration (oh yeah… Jan and I have been together 16 years as of 5th February. We did not celebrate on the day though. Actually, Jan forgot that it was the 5th until I gave him a card/gift in the evening soo…). Baden is a spa town – the name means Bath – and we took towels, etc. thinking we might visit one of the thermal baths but that whole area of town was being renovated! We did get to out our feet in a hot pool near the river though. It’s a cute little town sandwiched between hills, with a great view of snow-capped mountains.

Then those of you that saw my photo an hour post will know we went to St Gallen for a weekend. We had been there before, when I was living in Austria, but I remembered absolutely nothing of what we saw that time and walking around the town nothing looked at all familiar so who knows what we even did that first time? We briefly saw the old town on the Saturday before it got dark, then on the Sunday we went for a walk up a hill (and saw more mountains in the distance) before visiting Rorschach, which is on Lake Constance. Sadly, after a beautiful day on the Saturday while we were mostly on the train, Sunday ended up being warm but clody. Oh well, you can’t have everything and it was nice to get away.

St GallenSt Gallen mountain view

Reading

I posted the first half of my reading round-up yesterday, so if you’re really interested you can have a look at that. Part 2 will be coming soon, but I can tell you know that there was quite a mixture – thrillers, non-fiction, children’s books. Wait and see πŸ˜‰

Watching

We finished watching Good Omens and it was awesome. So well done! Which honestly was to be expected after the amount of effort Neil Gaiman put into it. Now I’m sad that it’s over. We also watched Edward Scissorhands because Jan randomly found it and I ended up waiting until it finished before going shopping. I don’t know if I watched anything else… Jan is always finding random things that I mostly ignore. If it’s a film I will sometimes watch, but now I can’t remember if they were in February or it was already March!

Craft stuff

I’ve been doing quite a bit of stitching again. Two birthday cards for friends’ children and a new baby card for a baby boy who is due in April – although so far it’s just the stitching, I haven’t made it into a card yet. I also made Valentine’s cards for a few Post Pals children because I had heart shaped cutting dies I wanted to try out. I only remembered to take a photo of one though!

Other/miscellaneous

– There’s not much else to say to be honest. At the beginning of the month I went to the doctor with acid reflux/heartburn and stomach pain. I was diagnosed with gastritis, most likely caused by stress and given proton pump inhibitors to take for 2 weeks. When I told Jan he said I didn’t have much stress… I’m very glad to hear that IVF and infertility are entirely unstressful for him! Needless to say he was soon put right πŸ˜‰ I also pointed out that on top of the fact that failing to conceive is generally a source of stress (for people who aren’t him, at least!), I had two procedures involving my uterus in January, neither of which was pleasant (although I was admittedly anaesthetised for one of them). He conceded that okay, maybe trying to juggle constant doctor’s appointments around work without anyone getting suspicious, being on hormones for months at a time, etc. is possibly at least a little stressful! Phew, way too many brackets there. Anyway… I took the tablets and things seem to be better now, at least for the time being.

– Work was pretty slow for most of the month. I actually got a few large jobs in the last week of February that were just about enough to fill my time, but the other full-time English translator had very little to do. I honestly prefer being overworked to underworked… an empty plan makes me nervous! Hopefully things will pick up again.

– I’ve been pretty consistently using a eye cream that I got for Christmas and so far I haven’t noticed any difference… the lines are there, just as deep as ever. At least they’re not getting worse, I guess? If you’re reading this and you’re in your late twenties to early thirties, please start using cream under your eyes now. Trust me, you will thank me when you don’t wake up one day in your mid-30s and realise you look old!

– The decluttering continues. I put out another box of things with “free” written on it, including two candle holders that I never particularly liked. They were in there for ages after everything else had gone (although someone took the scented candles I had left inside them!) but eventually both the box and the candle holders disappeared… so now I’m not sure whether anyone actually took them to keep or just binned them, and I’ve also lost the box that I use to put things I want to give away outside. I checked afterwards and it wasn’t with all the paper that was waiting for collection (last Friday was paper day) so I don’t know where it is! Oh well, it’s not like I don’t have plenty of empty boxes.

Okay, this is beginning to get boring. You don’t want to know about my crow’s feet and attempts to rid myself of stuff! I thought I would have a lot to say this month but apparently I did less than I thought. Saw a little of Switzerland. Read a lot of books. A fairly standard month really.

What did you all get up to in February? Leave me a comment below and don’t forget to check out the link up!

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 πŸ˜‰

 

I also collected tokens from Coop to buy a Kitchen Aid blender… or technically to make Jan buy it πŸ˜‰ 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 theΒ  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?