Tuesday, 30 December 2008

My best bestest play

After days of indulging ourselves we've finally managed to do something again. Girl monkey said to me that she had the best Christmas ever and I think she is right. For once she had all the food she liked, stockings in bed, presents under the tree and lots of friends to play with. We stayed home this year. Usually it is a huge palaver to please both sets of grandparents and the monkeys miss out an awful lot because of all the traveling we have to do. I hope to repeat the good times we had this Christmas next year. 

Anyway today we went to see the best play I have seen for young children, based on the fabulous characters of Charlie and Lola. Mr Betsy suggested we go and I had no idea what to expect but it was totally and utterly brilliant. The stage and the props were a delight, there were surprises for the children and the cast were great. Andrew Cullimore is Manchester's answer to Zac Efron and we can only hope to see more of him!

Please if anyone has the opportunity to go and see this show this week you will not be disappointed. 

I haven't done any crafting in the last 10 days or so and can't wait to start again. However I promised the children to just do things with them this holiday. In order to get in the mood again for the new year I bought Craft 01, 02 and 03 today and Betz White's Warm Fuzzies. She makes the most adorable things. 

I cannot believe that tomorrow is New Year's Eve. I can so vividly remember last year's and the year before that one. I considered having a quiet one with the monkeys but we are now really looking forward to a party with friends. Bring on 2009! New Year, New Me!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. May your holidays be filled with joy and laughter. XX

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Ding Dong Merrily on High

For those of you who have been following me recently (blog-wise or in real life), you will have noticed that I am in Christmas jolly overdrive. I just feel that I have been given a new leash of life and am making the most of it. 
Christmas for me is one of the best times of year, it brings out the best in people and with such a wonderful community spirit in Manchester I can only be very, very happy indeed. 
Today was all about being in the spirit of Christmas and I enjoyed a lovely lunch with friends and all of our children, dancing madly to Christmas songs old and new, putting on our Santa hats and all that.
Tonight I gate-crashed a carol singing party along the road of one of my friends. Well I wasn't exactly gate-crashing, in fact I was invited but I was the only one not to live on their road. We enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies and went knocking on all the doors, singing our carols and holding beautiful lanterns. The children just loved it and so did I. Years ago I wouldn't think I could ever sing (badly) at someone's door at Christmas but this was the second time this month we went out to do this and it was just so joyful. Isn't that what life is all about, bringing joy to other people and thoroughly enjoying it yourself? 

Monday, 22 December 2008

Happy Holidays!

I must have said this a hundred times but I just love the holidays with the monkeys. We've always got lots of things to do and it is nice to get a lie in sometimes as well. I think I had the first lie in of the year, Mr Betsy's never one to get up in the morning to feed the children. They stayed up a little later than usual last night, so bless, I had an extra hour this morning. 

The first day of the holiday we made traditional Dutch poffertjes, little pancakes with butter and icing sugar. We made a whole mountain and in some of them we'd hidden a chocolate button or a kruidnootje, a little ginger biscuit. Girl monkey had seen this on a Dutch cookery program and wanted to try it out, it was delicious. 

They made Christmas cards for friends &

the gingerbread house their daddy bought them. I am not sure if he'll get to see any of it as they started eating it pretty soon after it was done.

The house is looking so lovely for the holiday season that I wanted to get some new bed linen as well. It might be a lonely Christmas, it is not going to be a cold one! I got some East of India ribbon recently (code 3157 for those who'd like to get this) and got enough to decorate two pillow cases and a duvet cover with it. 

I should have ironed the sheets but hey life's too short as it is. 

Just finished my necklace orders and as it is still early I might watch a nice Christmas movie. The next few nights will be late ones because we'll have Christmas celebrations, yippee!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Last week of term!

We were all very tired in Busy Betsy's home. The last week of term is always a little trying. What with all the plays, concerts and parties. This week two of my friends turned 40 (there were 3 this month, help!) and we had a fabulous evening organised by the wonderful Innerglo ladies. But most of my time was taken up with this : 

Sewing curtains! I know, it is not a very attractive picture but it somehow sums up the challenge. It felt like I was decorating a castle, these curtains were so heavy and voluminous. Thank goodness my friend told me they are hanging fantastic!

What else did I do this week? Knit one of my birthday friends a scarf. I made it from grey blue and burgundy wool, various colours and patterned strips of cotton fabric and blue satin that gave a very nice fringe like texture. It looks quite short here but in fact it was quite a long scarf.

Then of course I had the toddlers round for arts and crafts class. I did show them some Hans Arp mobiles but as it is the season to be jolly we made Christmas tree mobiles rather than find a deeper meaning of a blob. 

And then I was lucky at one of the school fairs where I had a stall. They were selling raffle tickets with the main prize Take That tickets. Now I have always been a fan of this band but recently I have developed deeper feelings for these guys and their music (one of them still single and living around the corner!). Call it mid-life crisis, but whatever keeps the girl happy, right? Anyway didn't win the tickets but got this gorgeous set from Moth, a lovely boutique in West Didsbury, Manchester. Green is one of my favourite colours so this will go so nicely with my outfits. 

Friday, 12 December 2008

The Festive Season has started!

It's been a mad mad week but oh I am enjoying this so much! And with this I mean the December festivities. It is the best time of year for family fun, friends get together, school plays, fairs etc and we had all that this last week. And I am thoroughly enjoying myself writing this all down, listening to Take That (booked my tickets last week, yippee), drinking a lovely cup of tea, gazing at my Christmas tree and warming myself by the fire. It can't get any better (take note Mr Betsy!). 

So what exactly happened this last week that I couldn't get to my computer? Well for starters I had the lovely little ones from the arts and crafts club round to learn about Matisse. We did 'drawing with scissors'. We looked at some of the Fauve paintings but then focussed on his later life and we tried to interpret this into our own works. The children made fabulous 'Under Sea' versions, gardens, pink snowmen. It was fabulous. 

Then as I was making dinner, guess what happened? We heard a knock on the door and when we opened there was a huge bag of presents from St Nicholas. We believe possibly left by one of his helpers. The monkeys were thrilled to bits. And so were Mr Betsy and I, there were some yummy treats for us too. 

The rest of the week seems a little blur. Every day we had either a school play, school concert or a school fair. One of the things girl monkey did this week was to play a tornado in the Wizard of Oz, I was a little puzzled by what this might entail but she showed us some great choreography. 

Today I was finally able to sit down for a little while and enjoy the tree. Every year I say we will get it closer to Christmas but as soon as St Nicholas has been the monkeys get so excited over Christmas that I can't resist. It was a very special treat to do the decorating after school yesterday. In between all the commitments this week I have been very busy to get the house very homely. Even though this is a temporary home for us I need it to feel like home, especially at this time of the year. Mr Betsy got us some new book cases last week and since I rearranged all the furniture and put up a lot of the Christmas decorations it feels like we are in a new and very cosy home. 

Today was the one but last school fair. I added some more colours to the bead ball necklaces. As you might know purple was never my favourite colour but since it is growing on me I have even added this shade to my range!

Being in a homely spirit, I got myself some lovely lavender water and ironed these gingerbread gift bags that I sewed this morning with it. All nicely smelling for the fair. The last one tomorrow and then I can relax for a few weeks (well whatever that means in my book!).

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Recycled bottle-tops Christmas wreath tutorial

This is quite scary to put a tutorial on my blog but having had so many great comments I couldn't resist sharing this information. Like many of you I have been collecting bottle tops for a while as I was told they weren't recyclable. Some of the toddlers in my art class use them occasionally in their collages but there are still plenty in my tubs. So I came up with the idea of using them in a wreath (don't ask me where I got the idea from, one of those that comes into my head late at night). 

So first I got my tub of bottle tops and found a sheet of cardboard that I cut from one of my boxes (about 50 x 50 cm). 

I then got a large fruit plate and a small one to draw precise circles (if I could ever draw a perfect circle without my plates I would be so happy).

Then I made myself a nice cup of tea (optional) and started gluing the tops on with PVA (my all time favourite glue).

I covered the whole surface...

and then spray painted them with white craft paint. At the same time I spray painted some twigs that I cut off in the summer and bound in a wreath. The bottle top one I tried to sprinkle with red glitter but a gust of wind did the work for me, hence some areas are rather heavily sprinkled and others not but it kind of adds to the effect.

Once finished the monkeys played around with it but now .....

.... it is hanging nicely on my wall. 

For the twig wreath I cut some small circles from red felt and again using PVA glued them on some of the twigs. I really liked this effect. I cannot ever throw anything out and when I made these wreaths in the summer to hang around the garden I didn't think I was going to use them inside but I am glad I did. I love circular shapes and am very fond of Christmas wreaths but I could not bring myself to buy one in the shops. These did not cost me anything at all and will hopefully be used again and again.