Little Box of Crochet Advent Calendar

A really quick post this evening because I want to share the fact that I actually managed to finish all my Little Box of Crochet advent calendar before Christmas is officially over!

I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with one a day throughout advent, but I’ve got the finished articles now for Christmases to come. Some of the days decorations were quicker than others, but I was so busy in the run up to Christmas that I think I only managed to stay up to date until 4th December. I’m not the only one though – I’ve been following #lbcadvent on Instagram and other people are still posting their makes now. As they say. It’s not winning the race that matters, but taking part.

Anyway, here they are in all their glory.

I bought a special little tree just for these lovely little home makes.

29f427b3-2bc7-41be-8618-44d050b3b890d07f2b4f-7b29-4b41-9b3b-0e4edd8e863cb7137481-7d66-46d1-85a9-729c95b17e7f

I think I should apologise for my dubious attempt at the baby Jesus (the one with the bizarre yellow bits sticking out that is actually supposed to be straw in the manger). It really did look better in the book.

4E50A5A9-2E45-4EDE-BA96-C190BF67E576.jpeg

I’m not really sure where I went wrong!

Anyway, must dash – have a very important CAL (crochet-a-long) from Attic24 to get going on. I’ve been impatient to start all weekend, but needed to get these little Christmassy makes done first.

 

The cutest greenhouse in the world

Happy New Year! I wonder what 2019 will bring for us all.

Well, for me it’s going to bring homegrown fruit and veg because the greenhouse is done! 154 screws, seven hours and more than one or two rude words later my new greenhouse is erected! It’s really little, six foot by four foot, and it’s super cute. After I’ve published this post I’m going to peruse Pinterest to find ideas to make it really pretty (as well as functional).

Hubby had to work yesterday so I asked him to take the box out of the garage for me so I could start building it while he was out earning a crust. When it arrived I couldn’t believe how small the box was.

I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if there had only been half a greenhouse in there, but amazingly it was all there.

It’s actually a green greenhouse!

I got the first few bits together quite quickly and easily and it was starting to take shape quite nicely.

I had to abandon ship (or greenhouse) when the light faded because I couldn’t see what I was doing, and I was also cold right through to my bones because I’d been out there for five hours. My poor fingers were so cold that I was struggling to actually hold the screws and nuts. I’d managed to get most of the greenhouse in place though, all that was left was the opening window in the roof and the door.

We headed back out this afternoon after we’d had an epic snooze after the new year festivities last night, and it’s a good job there were two of us for the last bit because the door in particular was quite tricky to keep together until all the components were assembled, but with a little bit of teamwork (and a few more rude words) we got the job done. I nearly fell out with the door because we just could not work out how to attach it properly, but we worked it out with a bit of lateral thinking.

Here it is in all its green and cute glory!

I love it! Isn’t it cute?

Hubby has bought me some staging to go inside for Christmas, but because I was so busy at work and sorting out Christmas preparations, I didn’t actually get chance to choose it so he could order it until a couple of days before Christmas so it hasn’t arrived yet. It’s green as well! I’m really excited to put everything into use, but I need to be patient – we’ve got the cold months of January and February to get through first before I can start sowing seeds. In the meantime I can start beautifying it!

A lot of my Christmas pressies were garden and/or greenhouse related so I can put them to good use now.

I can’t wait to grow purple carrots! Do you think they’ll taste any different? I actually googled carrots last night because I had a feeling that they weren’t always orange. I was right, they used to be naturally white, yellow or purple but in the seventeenth century a strain was produced with higher beta carotene content which made them orange.

I’m excited to grow coriander too. It says on the packet that it’s a spice, but it’s a herb isn’t it? Either way, I love it. A curry isn’t the same without coriander and it’s lovely in a salad as well. I looked for coriander plants a few times over the summer and didn’t find any, so now I can grow my own.

Did you spot my environmentally friendly bamboo pots and saucers? I’m really going to try hard to cut down on the plastic that we use in our house and garden this year. It’s heartbreaking to see all the images of sea life swimming around with plastic in the ocean, crabs using yoghurt pots as shells, birds with their beaks bound to their breasts by plastic drinks rings.

Well, I’m off to surf Pinterest now for greenhouse ideas. Got to make the most of my last day of freedom before going back to work tomorrow. I’ve had such a lovely break (even if it did include solving a work crisis on Boxing Day!) and I’m sad to go back and lose all my free time again, but I’m excited to see what the working year ahead will bring, although I’m a tad nervous about what effect Brexit will have on my company. 2018 was very good for me professionally, and I’m hoping to build on that in 2019.

Christmas 2018

So, that’s that then for another year! Three hundred and sixty three days shopping days until Christmas! I hope everyone had (or is still having if you’re having extended celebrations) a fantastic festive time.

Looking through the camera roll of my phone I now realise that I was too busy having a great time to take many pictures over the last two days. For those of you reading in different countries I’ll explain the two day thing. Until I started work with my current employee and had contact with lots of colleagues all over Europe, I assumed that Boxing Day was a universal holiday, but it seems it’s not. It’s mainly observed in the UK and former members of the British Empire. It dates back as far as the sixteen hundreds (it was documented by a certain Samuel Pepys) and its origins lie in the tradition of giving tradesmen and service staff a Christmas box on the first working day after Christmas Day. Whatever its derivation, I’m very grateful for it because it gives us two days over which to see mine and hubby’s families and gives me more time to catch up on sleep at a time of year when although happy, I’m always exhausted.

We’ve fallen into a happy routine over Christmas. We spend Christmas morning and early afternoon at home, just the two of us and the cats, then we spend the evening at my sister-in-law’s house exchanging gifts, playing games, eating too much and catching up. On Boxing Day we go to my Dad’s house in Worcester for more over-eating, more exchanging of gifts and more catching up. I love it!

I talked to you last time about making a recipe card similar to Gousto for our Christmas dinner to take all the hassle out of cooking it. It worked a treat!

I followed this pretty much to the letter and (even if I say so myself) Christmas lunch turned out absolutely delish!


It wasn’t all strictly from scratch, but it was less pre-prepared than we’ve done in previous years. We always have prawn cocktail for our starter – we shredded the iceberg lettuce ourselves but the prawn cocktail was out of a tub. I do actually make a mean thousand island dressing (it’s dead easy) but really, life’s too short to faff around when Tesco will do it for you for very little expense.

The chicken number two was lovely. I cooked it in its bag and just had to cut it open twenty minutes before the end and baste it – fabulous, no mess in the oven! We had roast potatoes with thyme, mashed potato, Yorkshire pudding (controversial!) cauliflower cheese (hubby’s fave), Chantenay carrots and parsnips roasted in a honey glaze, peas, red cabbage with port and cranberries, gravy and, the pièce de résistance, pigs in blankets! Hubby had seven. SEVEN! He certainly ate well – three roasties, seven pigs in blankets, two yorkies and all the rest too! Oh well, if you can’t indulge at Christmas, when can you?

We didn’t forget our little girls – they had their own Christmas lunches on special Christmas plates.

Speaking of fur babies, we got my sister-in-law’s pooch, Charly, a little festive treat.

You can’t quite see it, but it says Santa’s Little Helper on it. She was very clever and opened it herself. She needed a little bit of help to put it on, but she seemed quite pleased with it.

On to Boxing Day, and we headed off to Worcester around eleven thirty. I don’t know how I manage to forget out the speed restrictions on the M5 every time I go on it! It’s down to 30 mph at one point which feels slower than walking! Oh well, for once the traffic was light and we didn’t need to be rushing so road rage was absent.

Driving home for Christmas, oh I can’t wait to see those faces. Those words are very apt. I love seeing everyone altogether in one place. People just find a perch on a chair or the floor and we just all chat away to whomever we happen to perch next to.

Some of our numbers were beavering away on a Christmas jigsaw for much of the day, with cries of ‘who’s pinched that bit?!’ and ‘the pieces had better all be here!’ emanating from that end of the room periodically!

People dipped in and out as they pleased throughout the day. Look at all those lovely heads bent over as they vied to be the one to put the last piece in! Surely this is what Christmas is all about? Relaxing and enjoying the company of family.

We both got some amazing gifts from our nearest and dearest which we will enjoy wearing, making, reading, watching, planting, bathing in, eating and drinking for some time to come. I’ll tell you about all our lovely new things over the next few posts rather than bombard you with them all now, but I will leave you with this picture of the amazing quilt that my Mum made for us, which Olive and Tinkerbell have already commandeered as their own!

Continue reading