I do not like these adverts and messages I keep seeing everywhere saying things like "Only 41 days until Christmas!!!" or "6 Saturdays until Christmas!" Shops which tell me to "beat the rush" or "avoid the panic". No, I do not like them at all. I know quite well that Christmas is coming, like it did last year, and like it will next year, and don't need the launch of a red cup campaign or the reveal of a new Christmas tv advert to tell me this. I want to feel festive, not panicked. It's enough to make me start having anxiety dreams about wrapping paper. What I want to do is this: I will make all my gifts in good time and then, perhaps a week or two before Christmas, when things are made and wrapped and done, I will go into Leeds while the kids are at school. I'll buy a red cup of gingerbread latte (I'm not totally immune to the power of marketing) and wander really slowly around the shops, admiring the lights and enjoying the festive atmosphere. I'll maybe leave myself one little gift to buy, something pleasing, like a fancy soap from a pretty shop in the Victoria Quarter that smells nice when you go in, and I'll savour that purchase and swing my paper bag around, and sip my drink, and feel smug. I wont give my sister a too-short scarf like I did last year.
So I am cracking on now, in between everything else that goes on in life here, to avoid a last minute panic. I bought this huge box of jelly beans online and, with those little plastic reindeer, have a crafty idea for emergency gifts for small people that will be useful if there are any of those "Oh, I didn't realise we were exchanging gifts..." moments in Bella's circle of friends. I've made some homemade sugar scrub. It came out really well and I'll write a post about it soon. I had a small moment of pure joy when I got out my Liberty print washi tape and used it to make some labels. What else. I fed the Christmas cakes this morning, drizzling brandy over each one. I made four in total, back in October - one medium sized one for us and three small ones for gifts (for the men who wouldn't appreciate a wash cloth). I costed each one at around £5 each. Most of that is the brandy.
I made a t-shirt for my god-daughter's first birthday. Well, I stitiched on a cloud, I didn't actually make the whole t-shirt. With hindsight I wish I'd left off the rays of sun, but I still love that pink cloud on the striped background. I love making t-shirts and things for small people, I really do. My crocheted granny square blanket continues to grow slowly and quietly in the background. I've made 61 squares now, just over one quarter of the total I need. No rush. And my knitting. My blooming knitting. I am in a real sulk with it. I have fallen out of love with the pattern and yarn and want it done, over. I feel like I fell under a Yarndale spell and bought yarn that, as far as I can tell, is like fluffy parcel string and the thinnest double-knit I have ever seen. I am just really hoping that when I finish it some kind of magic happens and I love it again.
I've been tinkering a bit with this space too, aiming for a cleaner look and something that is easy for readers to find their way around. I'm working on some pages. My friend Jen came over for coffee and cake on Monday morning and helped me with some practical, technical things, but we did a lot of chatting too. I find it invaluable to have a friend who also blogs to talk things over with. Things like sponsored posts, adverts, that sort of thing. Which way to go. Why some things work but others don't. How to make a little money (which, I wont lie, would be very welcome) from this space without it turning into one of those blogs where you feel you are being sold something in every post. So that this blog is still me, still mine.