Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in review


I quite enjoy looking at the stats WordPress shows me. Mostly just because I’m a bit nosy really. I like to see how many people visit, what they’re reading, where they’ve been directed from. And today there’s an annual report showing all the stats for 2012 – hurrah!

I recently passed the 10,000 visitor mark, which made me happy 🙂 To some of you that won’t sound like a lot, but I think it’s not bad going for my first year. I haven’t particularly advertised, so I guess most readers are either a) people who know me or b) people who’ve stumbled across my blog and stuck around to read a bit more. Whichever category you fit into, thanks for reading!

And thanks for the lovely comments too – I’ve loved hearing your thoughts and ideas and you’ve been really encouraging too. Thank you 🙂

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Swap – the gifts


Two weeks ago (although it feels a lot longer) I showed you some wrapped up presents that were about to be posted for the Christmas Swap.


I had an email from Julie a few days ago to say that she had picked up two parcels from her neighbours – the one I’d sent her, and the one she’d sent me! Hers must have got lost in the post and was sent back to her. It’s back in the post and will hopefully arrive some time this week – I’ll let you know!

But now that Julie’s opened the gifts it’s safe to show you what I sent. There were a few rules I had to follow:

  • You should send your swap partner a minimum of three items, a maximum of five. 
  • There is a maximum spend of £12 or the equivalent in your local currency.
  • At least one item – though more if you can – should be second hand, and  sourced from a charity shop, car boot sale, jumble, estate sale, eBay or similar.
  • At least one item should be handmade. If you are not crafty yourself, it’s fine to provide a handmade item that someone else has toiled over instead.
  • And this time, one item MUST relate to a Christmas carol or song. How you interpret this is up to you! 

So, bearing those rules in mind, here are the gifts I gathered and the labels on each parcel:


Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

DSCN4223 DSCN4216

I didn’t actually make the bells (I’ll bet you’re surprised about that!) but I decorated them with ribbons and added the rustic looking string.


In the lane snow is glistening




 The pattern for these beautiful snowflakes was written by Jane (aka Rainbow Junkie). I loved how they turned out. I added a chain across the top to make them into a garland. Pretty!



A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight

A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight


This was a rather tenuous link, but I liked the candle and wanted to include it. And I do think that candles are very pretty to look at (and this one smelled delicious too!) – does that seem like a good enough reason to include it?!

Walking in a winter wonderland

Walking in a winter wonderland

 This was the gift that included an element of second-handedness. I found the frame in a charity shop and started by pulling it all apart.


I took out the original picture and cleaned up the glass.  Then I added some background paper and a paper snowflake I’d made out of the page of a book. (I actually got a bit carried away with these snowflakes and ended up with about 20 – they’re so easy to make and look great all covered in writing!)


It was only as I uploaded the  photos that I realised there is a reflection of me taking the picture in the glass – oops!

I had a lot of fun making these gifts and Julie said she likes them too – success!

Small gifts


A little while ago I found a stack of calico squares with different Christmassy words stitched onto them. I think I made them a couple of years ago and obviously got distracted before I finished making whatever it was I was planning at the time!


So I found some Christmassy looking fabric and stitched them together.


They are stuffed with lavender – not particularly Christmassy, but they smell lovely!


They are now ready to be wrapped up as gifts for a couple of people at school (I don’t think they read my blog, so I don’t think I’m giving the secret away!)


Wrist warmers



I have a super cosy jumper which I love to wear in the evenings. It’s so warm and snuggly, but the sleeves are a little short. As I was crocheting the other evening my hands and wrists started to get really cold. So I decided to whip up a pair of wrist warmers to wear while I crochet. I got the idea from Lucy (see hers here) but my wool was slightly chunkier, so I used a 5mm hook and think I cast on 23 to begin each one.


The multicoloured wool wasn’t quite enough, so I added some lovely fluffy white cuffs. I’m really pleased with how they turned out and don’t have cold wrists any more – hurrah!


Busy making


Once again it’s been a while since I was here. But this time I actually have a good reason – I’ve been busy making things! It’s taken me so long to get a good balance between school time and me time, and I think I’ve finally managed it.

Of course, it’s now nearly the holidays and there is a lot less planning to do at the moment (our Nativity has taken up a lot of time along with all sorts of other lovely Christmassy things) but I’ve actually had time to be crafty again. And it’s wonderful! I don’t think I’d even realised how much I’d missed it.

However, nearly all the things I’ve been making are presents, so I can’t show you much at all! But I’m taking pictures as I go along, so hopefully will have a lot to show you in the New Year.

Just today I finished making, wrapping and packing gifts for the Christmas Swap.


I’ve really enjoyed finding and making gifts for someone I don’t know – in some respects it’s been a lot easier than finding gifts for family members. I think there isn’t the same pressure of finding something they’ll like – I have no idea what Julie will like or hate so it’s a complete gamble! I’ve been looking at her blog and it seems that she loves Christmas, as there are all sorts of lovely Christmassy pictures there.


I really like all the things I made/found, so I hope Julie does too!


Apologies for the picture quality – I guess a lot of you are finding winter light levels a little tricky to work with too, but it’s still a bit frustrating at times!



So those are the gifts that will be making their way to Julie next week. How are your Christmas preparations going?