As winter is just around the corner I’ve been gradually adding a few new things to our home to make it even more cosy! I’ve been making a few cushions, have started a crochet blanket and last week our new scandi style striped rug arrived. This meant that I could finally make a start with the Roman blind project I have been planning for some time. I needed to wait until the rug arrived before I could make the final selection of the fabric and match the colours for the Roman blinds I am making for the same room. It has started to feel quite a bit colder in the evenings with a few nights recently edging closer to zero, so this gave me the push I needed to start.
Last weekend I finally made a start with the Roman blind for the back door. The fabric I’m using is a wide ticking navy fabric from John Lewis. I headed off to John Lewis on Saturday morning with my measurements and bought enough material for the two Roman blinds that I’m making, plus the lining and interlining. The sash window and door are really draughty so I need to make quite thick blinds.
I am making my own handmade Roman blinds for our home using a kit but the instructions have been a little limited! I’ve had to buy a few extra things, such as Roman Blind Tape and cord as the amount in the kit wasn’t enough. Our door has a window above it making it taller than any of the Roman blind kits I could find. The poor instructions included the kit have meant to I have spent some time reading lots of websites with how-to’s, looking in books and watching videos on YouTube to pull together an idea of how to make Roman blinds.
While I’m making the blinds I’m writing a how-to that I will share with you so that you can make blinds too. There are lots of ways to make and finish Roman blinds but I cannot find a tutorial out there that combines the finish that I want so things are taking a little longer than planned because I’m writing the steps myself and finding out what works and doesn’t work as I move through the process.
I’m hoping to finish this project for our home before the end of the year so I’ll keep you updated.
This year I have decided to start a few new December traditions. I will tell you more about these in December but I wanted to share with you my first new tradition a little early so that you may join in on the fun too!
For very many years I have wanted to make my own Christmas Cake. Mr C doesn’t like fruit cake so I have been reluctant to put the effort in. However this year I really wanted to try making one as a new tradition. I wanted something I could enjoy over a cup of tea and when my friends come to visit. I know I should have made this about a month ago, but things have been busy and suddenly the end of November has crept up on me!
After a lot of research of Christmas cake recipes I decided to use Delia Smith’s Classic Christmas Cake recipe which you can find on Delia Online. This is the same recipe as the Traditional Christmas Cake recipe in Delia’s Book of Cakes (1988). I have grown up with Delia and have always had good results with her recipes. I thought I should use this for my first Christmas cake and then maybe try a different recipe next year.
This week I started the first stage of making the Christmas cake, the overnight soaking of the ingredients in brandy. I’ve added the currants, sultanas, raisins, glacé cherries and mixed candied peel to my big Mason Pearson mixing bowl and poured over the brandy. I gave it a little stir and covered it. I’m going to give it a little stir each day to ensure the brandy is evenly absorbed. I’m planning to make the Christmas Cake this weekend so the ingredients have a few days to really absorb the alcohol.
I’m hoping that with a few weeks left before Christmas I can keep the cake moist by adding extra liquid and have a little time to plan how I’m going to ice it!
If you fancy starting a new tradition this Christmas a home made Christmas cake could be a great project to try.
Do you have anything that you really love doing? I love reading magazines. I work at a media company that creates a few of these fantastic magazines in the photo and I’m super proud of what these talented teams deliver every month. I don’t write for any of the magazines myself but admire from afar! The content is so inspirational and the photography so beautiful.
As I mentioned in this post about The Simple Things last year, one of my favourite things is receiving post. For me that normally means magazines, a few exciting parcels for our home and fabric deliveries! During this busy and hectic month of November I’ve loved coming home after a long day, sitting down with a mug of tea in my snuggler seat with a blanket and a magazine. I find that taking time out and having a chance to escape from everything going on is the perfect way to relax and keep up to date with everything going on across the various interests I have. I love reading blogs and things online but there is nothing better than holding the paper of a magazine in my hands, then making a pile of those that I’ve read.
This stack above are keeping me busy at the moment. The great thing about some of these magazines is that they come with some lovely gifts. Over the past month or so Mollie Makes and Ideal Home had calenders as their cover gifts. I currently have both calendars from these magazines for 2013 on my walls in our kitchen and my craft room and love them. I’ve had a sneaky flick through the 2014 calenders and I’m looking forward to popping them on my walls in the new year.
You may have spotted an issue 1 and 2 of Love Patchwork and Quilting on the pile, this is a brand new magazine that I’m loving. I’m going to share my thoughts on the magazine with you in the next few weeks.
A few weeks ago I decided to book myself a long weekend. I had planned to take a few days off work to dedicate to my hobbies and to start making the Roman blinds that we so desperately need in our lounge to keep us a little warmer this year. A combination of still trying to understand the instructions in the Roman blind kit I’ve bought (I’m starting to write my own!), and the fabric not being chosen in time, has meant that this part of my long weekend had to be moved to a few weeks time. I managed to get lots achieved instead!
Having two days off work before the weekend meant I could catch up on writing a few blog posts and taking photos. I spent my time enjoying cups of tea, eating toast and jam, waiting for Christmas decoration deliveries to arrive. I filled our home with music I haven’t listened to in a while and alternated between Radio 2 and 6Music. I enjoyed relaxed lunchtimes having home made soup for lunch and then pottering round nearby Clifton Village and visiting my favourite shop, Pod, minus the weekend crowds. I had the time to use our local post office, and visit our local charity shop to drop off a few bags of things following a clear out. I indulged each afternoon drinking tea from my special Emma Bridgewater mugs and eating triple chocolate cookies from my pretty plates. All of that interspersed with time to craft. It was absolute heaven!
Crochet has been something I have wanted to try again for a while. I swoon over photos of crochet projects on some of my favourite craft blogs and magazines wishing I could make them. I love the images of yarn and seemingly complicated looking, but gorgeous crochet projects. In January 2012 I wrote a post about making a start with crochet . Afterwards I felt that maybe I had had a fluky few days of doing it. Whilst looking through books trying to decide what to make, I picked up my crochet hook a week or so later and couldn’t crochet. I was getting muddled with simple patterns I read, I couldn’t get the hold and tension correct and so I decided to move onto other things. Perhaps I was lacking confidence with myself and lacked patience at the time. After that I had told myself one day I’ll try again. This month I did and I’m pleased to say I am now well on my way with the basics of crochet.
After weeks of thinking and planning I’ve finally made a start on making the patchwork cushion cover. I had lots of ideas but have decided to go for a design with rows of different sized rectangles of fabric. I wanted it to look a little like bricks but not as structured. The cushion is being made to compliment our teal coloured sofa and add some gorgeous scandi style fabric to our lounge. It has taken a while to get to this stage as I needed time to think and focus on the project but I’m so pleased I’ve made a start.
Here are a few photos of my progress so far.
I have cut all the pieces down to sizes I am happy with and have arranged the patterned fabric.
Autumn has well and truly arrived. My scarf collection is making an appearance on a daily basis, my boots are out, my winter coat on, and I get to wear my favourite hats for the next few months.
My morning walk to the train station is getting prettier by the minute, the trees are slowly changing colour and crisp golden leaves are filling the pavements. I love how the way my walk to work changes throughout the year. However on the flip side, the walk home is dark and I’m missing the daylight and the view of the sun setting on the way home. With the dark nights comes the excuse to hunker down, snuggle in blankets and not feel guilty about getting crafty.