Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas sign www.shinypigeon,wordpress.com

Hope you are all having a super fab Christmas Day with your loved ones. See you back here on Friday for resumed normal programming! :D

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5 tips to stay calm on Christmas Day

Wall-E in snow macroI know that sometimes during the festive season you are going to feel a little snowed under with the pressure of Christmas.

As someone who has been currently signed off work for two and a half weeks with stress, I have been thinking about all the ways I have to change to make my life easier. And it starts with attitude.

1: Remember your life is not a movie

Christmas will NOT go perfectly….unless you have been hosting Christmas for nigh on 50 years and you have a routine that beggars belief, because Christmas is NOT going to be like the movies. As the child of divorced parents, who has married another child of divorced parents, we are used to not having any sort of routine for Christmas as we would often be at different house in different parts of the country. Now we are married, and with nervy pooch in tow who really travels badly, I have put my foot down about going anywhere, and for the second year running we have people coming to us for Christmas dinner. Due to me being off work and being all stressfilled, Mama Pigeon asked if they should refrain from coming for lunch…I told them not to be stupid….even if I am cooking for 10. If I am still in my jammies when I carve the turkey and pudding consists of a tin of Roses, Christmas isn’t about the perfect dinner, the perfect setting, the perfect ANYTHING…it’s about having your family (whatever faction) around you and having a good time.

2: Make a cooking chart

Now this may sound ridiculous, but I thank my brother-in-law for his military style precision on this one. Using a spreadsheet (or a good old fashioned bit of pen and paper) working backwards from when you want to sit down and eat, work out when everything needs prepping and popping in the oven. I use a coloured bar scheme…here is a picture of mine for this year to explain what I mean!

Christmas dinner cooking schedule plan

3: Be Prepared

If you can, get stuff ready BEFORE Christmas Day…or even before Christmas Eve.

Potatoes can be peeled and cut the night before and left overnight in the fridge in a bowl, covered with water. Just discard that water and pop them in new water to parboil later.

Parsnips can be cut and frozen WEEKS before, getting them out the night before to defrost, then to parboil and roast. As can carrots.

Sprouts – you do realise the little crosses just have to go in the big ones right? It is just to make sure they cook the same speed as the little ones. Don’t give yourself a mammoth job for no reason.

I have even heard of people pre-making their gravy and just adding the meat juices at the last minute….something I may try this year…

Baking should be done WAY before Christmas Day. Cakes freeze really well if you have been super organised.

Pile up your serving ware. If you are using special crockery etc, have it ready and to hand. I will be elastic banding cutlery together to hand out to another brother to help set the table.

Make sure your dishwasher is EMPTY at the start of the morning (so perhaps unload it the night before if you can – especially if you have little ones and lots of presents to open first thing) and ready to be reloaded and put on. Also designate an area for dirty dishes, maybe with a sign if you have lots of guests. In the same breath, empty that nearly full kitchen bin…. you do not want to be doing it during the day.

And if all else fails…..have a bag of sausage rolls in the freezer ready to whack in the oven.

4: Delegate

This is where my list-making does me proud. The eternal question “can I do anything?” – YES THEY CAN. Look at your list and give those helpful souls a job that A; you don’t want to do and B; you can trust them to do. Mine will be setting up the dining area. I am lucky I don’t care how it looks as long as there are enough seats for everyone. My youngest brother, who is 12 adores cooking so he is going to be my talking alarm clock to make sure everything is going to schedule.

5: Have a glass of something

Now normally I don’t advocate alcohol as a coping method, but cooking this big meal shouldn’t feel like a chore…it’s an event! Slap some Buble on, pour a tipple and dance as you cook! It’s all about attitude. It doesn’t matter if you burn the parsnips (cough cough Papa Pigeon…EVERY TIME!) or if you eat half hour later than planned…..as long as you are together.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

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REVISIT: How To: Make a Comic Covered Notebook

Got no idea what to buy that boy for Christmas? Need a last minute present for your brother/uncle/workmate?

Here is an easy tutorial to create a one of a kind notebook that I first posted late last year.

I made this for a friend of mine, who is obsessed with comics, and who is leaving work to start training as a teacher. I thought this would be great for him to scribble down all his planning notes in.

What you will need…

 
A4 Ringbound Hardback Notebook
A comic of your choice (I had a vintage 50′s one laying about from a  car boot sale)
PVA Glue
Scissors
Duct Tape
 

Now before you all get your knickers in a twist, I didn’t chop up a 1950′s comic. I popped into work and took a few photocopies, and then gifted the comic along the notebook.

Cut around the edges of each frame. I tried to mix up sections of the comic too, so I had lots of different sections on the front and back covers.

Lay them out on your notebook in an attractive fashion, leaving a straight edge where the rings meet the cover and then begin pasting them down with PVA Glue. Ensure some of the edges of the comic reach further than the notebook cover so you can fold it them over and finish it nicely.

Do a layer of PVA glue on top of your pictures to ensure they are all secure and nicely finished. Leave all your loose frame edges sticking over the edges of the notebook.

Allow to dry overnight, folding your loose comic frame edges in and under whilst the glue dries.

Once all the PVA is dry, duct tape the frame edges down on the inside of the cover.

And Voila! A Comic Covered notebook.

You could use children’s comics or vintage book illustrations too. The Dandy anyone?

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I’d love to stay and chat…but I moustache!

I want one of those moustache straw reviewThe lovely folks at I Want One Of Those popped some of these fab moustache straws in the post as an early christmas present for me. How ruddy nice eh?

Moustache straw review I want one of thoseI am a little gutted we had to open them and play with them as they would be a great treat to slip in someone’s stocking or as a Secret Santa this Christmas. I was particuarly thinking of my teenage brother at this point…aren’t they the HARDEST people to buy for?!

1421045_10153518063810524_Moustache straw review I want one of those640470173_o 1412788_10153518062815524_2142757218_oIs it JUST me that wants to see these used round the Christmas dinner table? The moustaches are made of a lovely solid plastic that can be washed (if you drop it in your wine/gin/cola) and reused, so perfect to be brought out at any dinner that requires facial hair…..ALL dinners surely? I particularly liked the descriptions of each tache on the packaging….is it just me that likes to rock a handlebar?

1415277_10153518063675524_1188765959_oI cannot wait to see my younger brothers sipping their fizz through one of these bad boys over some turkey!

Please excuse the drinking wine through a straw….it had been a tough old day at work….

You can get your own Moustache Straws here!

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*Although I was a sent a lovely gift to review, my views are honest and my own*

 

Featured: The Fairy Tale Fair

I am over at The Fairy Tale Fair’s blog today talking all about my little business in preparation for the fair on the 16th of November down in Brighton.

fairy tale fair rabbitI am really excited to be taking part this year as it is really hard to get a space with all the other great talent that is there.

The fair is in Patcham Methodist Church and will be open from 10am till 4pm….and entry is FREEEE!

Come on down and grab some Christmas bits from me and my fellow stall holders…they look absolutely fabulous by the way…..I am going to have to sit on my hands so I don’t spend ALL my christmas budget on myself!

If you can’t make it down, please do have a looksie at all my fellow stall holders online shops as they have some fantastic stuff.

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Christmas is coming…..

In the words of Ned Stark, winter is coming… And along with the rain, wind and grotty cloud, comes my favourite time of year. Christmas.
I am pretty sure I have always enjoyed the season, but since living with P I have embraced it whole-heartedly and started to resemble something of a grungey, thrifty Mrs Claus. In fact, from September, I spend most of my time prepping for that magical two weeks off, when I get to relax, eat and melt into festivity.
So it comes as no surprise that I started making my Christmas stock for the shop straight after our homeymoon.
I thought would share what I have been toiling on!

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Crochet Christmas Puddings (2)

I am so excited to get this stuff on my stall at all my fairs this season and see people enjoying them in real life. I have had requests for the Puds since April…some people are super ready for Christmas!

I am hoping to use some of the Puds as nameplace holders this year at our christmas table, by pinning the names on!

If you like anything, please pop over to the shop and have a closer looksie!

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Merry Festivemas

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Merry Christmas!

I hope you are having a wonderful yule time and that you are surrounded by family and friends and cake and love.

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5 must watch films at Christmas

I love me a good film at Christmas. Wrapped in a blanket, with a cup of tea and some lebkuchen, I cannot think of a better evening in. When the weather is truly dragging you down…..you go to work in the dark, come home in the dark and you feel like you are constantly cold and wet… you need a pick me up in a DVD case.

Already watched Home Alone a billion times? Tired of watching Miracle on 34th Street every Christmas? Does The Snowman leave you feeling rubbish about the sleet outside?

Here are my top 5, and the reasons I must watch them each and every year in the holiday season to inject some cheer.

5 posts Spots

5: The Muppets Christmas Carol

I can remember as a child watching The Muppet Show with my dad, my love of Beaker and the Swedish Chef, and his love of the drummer, Animal. The Muppets have always got a place in my heart, and I’m sorry, catchy songs and Dickens with a Muppet twist? A MUST.Blue Line

4: The Wizard of Oz

A firm favourite that just screams Christmas to me. I think it used to be on the telly every year, and I can remember sneaking off to watch it in my mother’s bedroom to get an hour or so peace away from my brother. The songs, Judy Garland, the Technicolor and the message that you have exactly what you need inside yourself…you just have to discover it…..perfection.

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3: The Santa Clause

Honestly one of my favourite Christmassy films ever. I went on about this film in my latest vlog. Come on… Tim Allen in a fat suit? You will never be able to see ANYONE else play Santa in a film again…

I also love the sequels….they kept all the same actors…a VERY good move for this franchise.

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2: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Dick Van Dyke, a woman called Scrumptious and a flying car. Surely that is all you need to know? I love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is a feast of fun for children who will marvel at the workshop, Chitty himself, toot sweets and adults pretending to be life-size toys. I cannot wait to share this film with my own children when the time comes because the magic of it has not been matched since.

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1: Meet Me In St Louis

I watch this every year without fail…..Come hell or high water, Judy will sing my grandmother’s favourite christmas tune. This for me is normally a solo pleasure.  P isn’t a fan of musicals and so this is something I watch purely for me. I love  sharing my love of musicals with my wonderful grandmother, and this for me is a way of keeping us close together, despite the fact we live so far apart and my time with her is often shorter than I would like.

I love the charm and tradition in this film and the true feel of family and togetherness that it promotes. If you haven’t seen it, it is at least worth a watch once in your life.

5 posts Spots

Nothing new…nothing post 2000 actually…but all worth a watch as these dark nights rob us of any time in the outside world!

What is your favourite film at Christmas?

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Deck the Halls

Finally! We have had our decorations up for weeks…but now I can finally show them to you without feeling completely crazy.

We had to buy a big tree, as our little 4fter looked a little lost in our big house living room.

I was also very excited about having a mantel to dress!

I used baubles, broken down faux foliage candle surrounds from a musty box at Mama Pigeons, bits of old gift bags, real fir cones found in the countryside, heaps of beads and some reindeer (flat and glittery!).

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To celebrate the new tree and the new house, we decided to buy some special baubles as well as some more regular ones. I love having ‘special’ baubles and bits for the tree….you get to relive the memories every year when you dress the tree. Some of our bits are my parents tree decs that I can remember loving as a child. I adore the mix of old and new, bought and handmade.

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What is the favourite thing on your tree? Do you top with an angel or a star?

We are star people….

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Last Shop Orders!

Today is the day folks!

My order book is seriously full…so I am doing a final call for christmas orders so I can ensure I can get the goodies out to you before the last post.

If you want to order anything…and I mean ANYTHING from the shop…to ensure I have time to create it and send it to you before Christmas…. LAST ORDERS MUST BE WITH ME BY 6PM TOMORROW.

18:00 on 4th of December

Click image to buy!

I know this seems crazily early, but I do make most things to order and I need the time to actually make stuff before I send it!

To push you in the right direction… here is a discount code!

HOLIDAYSARECOMING will get the first 5 people who order over £15, 15% off their order.

Click image to buy – Chicks £2, Robins £4

Remember, spend £8 for free postage in the UK, and £10 if you are outside the UK!

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