Face Full of Gingerbread! (Ep 15)

I’m back with loads of awesome projects to bust your stash, make you laugh and inspire.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more fun projects and tutorials.

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Peace, love and gingerbread,

Show Notes

Stashbusting Helix Hats by Jessica Rose

Fish Lips Kiss Heel sock heel technique

KnitPicks Felici self-striping yarn

Yarns by Old Maiden Aunt

Music by Jeff Kaale http://soundcloud.com/jeff-kaale http://instagram.com/jeffkaale

Beaches, Brioche, Beer – and a giveaway! (Episode 14)

December flew by; I’ve acquired a whole box of new yarn stash, started some fabulous new projects (including my Exploration Station!) and went for a wander on a beach and to an amazing beer shop, just before jumping into Christmas celebrations.

I’m also announcing a new Craft-along for 2016 – the Battle Against Boring – which includes a fun first prize for those who share their goals for the craft-along!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more fun projects and tutorials.

Subscribe and say hi on Twitter/Rav/Instagram:

Join us in the Ravelry group

Peace, love and happy Christmas,

Full show notes coming after I’ve had a few more Christmas drinks!

Happiness at Christmas is…

Yesterday, I asked fellow Twitter users what Christmas happiness was to them. I got a fun range of answers, so I thought I’d post them uncensored and as-is…

  • sherrilynne: Happiness at Christmas is knowing there are no deadlines for two whole weeks!
  • matthewpennell: Happiness at Christmas is a non-sequitur. 😉
  • davidcushman: time with your family
  • pascalw: is … letting your brain switch off, kick back & enjoy whatever comes your way. Avoiding clichés about kids (but that’s what I mean!)
  • JamesPearce: Happiness at Christmas is… packing everything into boxes and *undecorating* the tree. Oh. Wait.
  • TrudyYS: Happiness at Christmas is not knowing when it ends…
  • MelKirk: Happiness at xmas is seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces
  • mrjaba: Happiness at Christmas is family, booze and food, oh and racing grannies.
  • jodrell: Happiness at Christmas is… 2 cats, 1 wife and dinner starting at 1 and finishing at midnight 🙂
  • lwarren17: Happi @ Xmas = knowing that leonelyn my sponsored little girl in philipines gets education thro http://www.p-c-f.org/
  • MartinSFP: happiness at Christmas is feeling like a kid again for a day or two; albeit a drunk kid…
  • pidpoid: …flaming buttcheeks
  • edent: Happiness at Christmas is pizza off paper plates (no washing up) pink champagne from the bottle (ditto). All spent with my new *WIFE*!
  • sookio: “Happiness at Christmas is…” giving my impossible-to-buy-for brother-in-law Two Ronnies cufflinks – my favourite gift this xmas
  • weaverluke: Happiness at Christmas is the spirit of family, blood or otherwise.
  • whatleydude – “happiness at christmas is ‘compulsory, signed: Whatleydude…” – LMAO
  • jopkins: …taking timeout to think about the past, present and future; realising what’s important and that you’re there with them 😉
  • daryldarko: i’m sorry – “Happiness at Christmas is understanding that it is just another day.”
  • danielhunt: Happiness at Christmas is having more alcohol than you can shake a stick at, along with a suitably festive house party
  • mattlambert: Happiness at Christmas is having a sword fight with my Mum using the innards of left over rolls of wrapping paper… 😀
  • lirontocker: “… celebrating Hanukkah” 🙂
  • purplekitten: …knowing you’ve tried not to make other people’s lives worse

And on this bombshell, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, a relaxing time with family and friends. Enjoy yourselves, take it easy for a while, and then get ready to kick ass for 2009!

Christmas Giving

The weeks preceding Christmas are bloody awful. I hate going into Cambridge and finding myself attacked by people with a dozen shopping bags in each hand, looking haggard and miles from the supposed Christmas spirit we’re meant to be in.

My favourite bit about shopping centres is usually people-watching; everyone is so self-absorbed when shopping, it’s comedy to try to understand the thought process that leads to buying those god awful mustard yellow boots or that garish tie. 😉

But this year, I’m amazed how many times I’ve heard “But what do you buy for someone who’s already pretty much got everything?” There are the obvious options; a new jumper, the latest video game, a scarf… or surfing Amazon to find some stocking fillers (at the expense of some exhausted Amazon elves)

So what about the alternatives to spending on tat that will disappear into the cupboard as soon as the holidays are over?

Give them something handmade or unique

Make it yourself if you’re crafty or skilled in something they aren’t. If you aren’t feeling up to the challenge, buy something that’s been handmade.


  • Make a batch of Christmas cookies, wrap them in parchment paper and a nice ribbon
  • Make homemade liqueurs (for next year!) and bottle them nicely with a handmade label
  • Create a photo album or a book with Lulu or your own photo editing software
  • Get handmade jewellery: Unique pieces are so much more interesting! (More on this one later, but I love Ostara for handmade stuff) You’ll also be supporting small businesses rather than line the pockets of multinationals!
  • Give the gift of time: Make vouchers good for a day out together, a Sunday lunch or a night at the movies. It’ll remind you both how important it is to spend time together over the course of the year

Give to charity instead

Some may say it’s a cliché suggestion and unoriginal of me, but it’s a perfectly valid one. I asked fellow Twitterers what charities they supported and I received some very powerful answers.

  • Niall Harbison, Irish foodie, put together a charity campaign Twitter-style by donating the proceeds of the auction of a brand new Nokia E63 to Crumlin Children’s Hospital. See Niall’s post to take part by donating €5.
  • Bango, who provide mobile analytics & billing services, put together a Christmas campaign called “All I want for Xmas!” where you contribute content (jokes, images, mobile games) and any money made from the content will be doubled and donated to Save The Children.
  • @reyes supports The Multiple Sclerosis Charity and Every Child who are committed to protecting the rights of vulnerable children and are always looking for our help
  • Teemu told the story of a friend who committed suicide last week, leading me to seek more information on SupportLine who provide emotional support for people of all ages.
  • If you can’t contribute financially, give time. Speak to your local charities to find out how you can help, as Dale (@dalelane) will be doing with Crisis Open Christmas, who open their doors to the homeless over the holiday season to ensure everyone can have a warm meal and some company.

So tell me, this year, would you rather spend less and take the time to make something personal as a gift? Or prefer to treat them to a luscious gift even though it may be breaking the bank a little bit more than you’d hoped because it’s that one time of the year?

I don’t think either answer is wrong, but in my eyes, there has to be a balance: If you’ve had a nice Christmas bonus and you’re feeling generous, then it’s fun to get friends and family a few goodies they may not otherwise treat themselves to, there’s no denying that. But meaningful handmade gifts can be more heartwarming and personal than anything bought from a store shelf.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Using arts & crafts to abide by the 3 R's

For a number of reasons, recently, I’ve made an effort to think about my consumption habits a bit more lately. Becoming my own boss has encouraged me to become a bit more frugal with my spending. By putting a recycling box in my office, I’ve realised how much paperwork I either piled up in folders unnecessarily or threw out without thinking.

Christmas Card by Paperminiskirt on EtsyThat was recycling tackled, but clearing out some cupboards and boxes made me realise just how many birthday, Christmas, house move, anniversary and other cards we accumulate.

So this is my call to friends and family to reuse, or let me reuse, old cards this Christmas. If you live nearby, I’ll happily take them off your hands. If you’re further away, drop me a line. I want to try to give magazines, cards, photos and material a new life, however it ends up being used. It also hopefully means I can avoid buying tacky cards, pre-filled with a meaningless Hallmark holiday greetings and write the cards myself. (Oh boy, I’m going to be annoyed I said this when I run out of time and ideas for the cards three days before Xmas…)

There are so many feel-good reasons to reuse stuff wherever possible. It’s less stuff to throw away, and occasionally, there’s the sentimental value of reusing something that otherwise would have had a short-lived lifespan. So that’s the “Reuse” element (sort of) ticked off.

And then there’s the “Reduce” factor. Well, I’ve curbed my buying-of-random-stuff to an extent, but developing an addiction to crafts means that while I’m buying less expensive gadgets, I’m spending on new crafts material like a Cuttlebug and a bunch of embossing goodies. (As an aside, there’s a definite trend in arts & crafts websites being utterly horrible and unusable. I would love to help them make their sites fun to use, and as good looking as the products they sell!)

So I’m not doing well at reducing the amount of stuff I own, but soon, I’ll write about someone who was more successful at not buying stuff (for a whole year!) than I was.

[Card on the right not by me, but by Paperminiskirt on Etsy.com, one of the best sites for cute handmade stuff. Like eBay for hippies and artists.]

Let it snow!

Just a short video of the snow today. Lovely big snowflakes falling softly while we’re comfortably sitting indoors.

Political correctness gone absolutely bloody bonkers!

So Christmas the holiday season is coming, and as if we needed any more political correctness madness going on, Santas have been warned not to use their age-old “ho ho ho” laugh to greet children as it may be degrading to women.

Santas in Australia’s largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas’s traditional “ho ho ho” greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.

Sydney’s Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say “ha ha ha” instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use “ho ho ho” because it could frighten children and was too close to “ho”, a US slang term for prostitute.

“Gimme a break,” said Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids.

“We are talking about little kids who do not understand that “ho, ho, ho” has any other connotation and nor should they,” she told the Telegraph.

“Leave Santa alone.”

A local spokesman for the US-based Westaff recruitment firm said it was “misleading” to say the company had banned Santa’s traditional greeting and it was being left up to the discretion of the individual Santa himself.

To echo Julie’s thoughts, gimme a fucking break! I thought the Aussies were chilled, don’t-worry-be-happy people? Are they becoming brainwashed by our Western world political correctness insanity? It’s mindblowingly ridiculous that someone even SUGGESTED that!

Thanks to Celia for finding this article from Sydney APF