Handmade Christmas Gifts

Now that Christmas is over and the presents have been given I can share with you the things I made as gifts this year!

Wax Melts

I made these for my Mum using left over candle wax, they are scented with cherry Bakewell scent.  I used silicone ice moulds to create them and, while it was an experiment to see if it would work, they turned out perfect so I was really pleased to be able to gift them to my Mum.

Candles

The purple one is baby powder scented and I made that for my lovely neighbour.  The red jar one is cherry Bakewell which I made for myself, the layered one in the same picture is bubblegum scented (which I also kept as it was leftover wax from another candle), the candles in the glass mugs are scented with Tranquility, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Cornish Coastline and Cherry Bakewell which I gave to my brother Ben and his wife Egle.  The three jar candles are vanilla custard and cherry bakewell scented which I made for my 3 step daughters.  The jar candle on its own is bubblegum scented which I made for my little brother Richard.

Pencil Boxes

I made these for my twin niece and nephew James and Ellie.  I had bought them time telling watches in pink for Ellie and blue for James to help them learn to tell the time but when they arrived they were just in plastic sleeves.  I wanted to be able to gift them in something that was a bit more special so I purchased a load of gems and plain wooden pencil boxes from Hobbycraft along with some Modpodge and set about creating them.  I already had the Hello Kitty and Nemo flat back bits in my stash along with glitter so it was applying the modpodge and glitter, another layer of modpodge, gems and another coat of modpodge and leaving to dry before placing their watches inside and wrapping.

Journal

I made this bullet journal/diary thing for Mum because she is never without her diary.  Even when I was small I remember her always having her diary to hand and writing all sorts of memos and things into it.  I made her this so she can log everything she needs to and carry it about day-to-day.  I included a future log, a monthly overview for each month, weekly shopping and to do lists, a recipe for each month, a section for reflections on each month and lots of other things.  I even included a different holiday for each day using images that I found online (though I can’t seem to find a link…) I think she really liked it!

What did you make as gifts for people this Christmas?

Monthly Goals

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I think it’s always a really nice idea, at the end of a month, just to sit down and think about some things that you want to achieve in the following month.  I am going to share with you, today, my little list of goals I want to achieve this month.  I have split my list into 4 sections covering my blog and social media, home, art and craft and personal.  Here are the goals I’d like to achieve this coming month.

Blog and Social Media

  • Stay on track with my blog routine.  December was a mad month for blog posts, I more than doubled the usual amount of posts because I wanted to share so much about Christmas and Christmas Ideas but now that is all over I’m going to try to get back to my usual routine of posting on a Tuesday and Friday.
  • Share more on social media.  Especially Facebook and Instagram.  Though I have got these platforms, I haven’t been using them a great deal for one reason or another so this month I am setting a goal to share at least one blog post image or the link to the blog post to these sites.
  • Change my blog domain.  Upgrade my blog extension from a wordpress.com extension to a co.uk or another extension to make it easier to share my site across social media platforms and make it easier for people to find my blog.

Home

  • Defrost freezer and deep clean fridge. I really like to do this in the New Year, not only do I get to have a nice clean fridge and freezer I can also take stock of everything that I have got in there, decide what needs using up, what I could do with getting rid of and what I need to stock up on!
  • Wash Sofa Covers.  I tend to do this job every few months and love how fresh my room smells once the covers are back in place.
  • Create a cleaning timetable.  When I lived in my other house I had a cleaning timetable in place but since moving I’ve not really had one.  A cleaning timetable helps me to remember to do things like make sure the right bins go out on the correct day.  This month I want to create a new timetable and write it into my home planner and (try to) stick to it.

Art and Craft

  • Make some more candles.  I made some candles the other  month and would like to make some more as it was really fun and a great way to relax and it means I will always have something to gift as presents.  I’d also like to research methods of making candles as there are so many different techniques!
  • Start making cards again.  I used to make lots of cards and even started to sell them for charity a long time ago.  I’d like to get back into making and giving my own cards to friends and family as it is a bit more personal and special than buying shop bought cards.
  • Start a scrapbook/journal.  This is something that, again, I used to do years ago and am thinking that I would like to start doing again.  I have a La De Dah Journal already which would be perfect as a scrap journal.  There are lots of different papers you can buy to add to the journal and so many different ways to use the pages that it would be the perfect choice for what I’d like to do.
  • Work on Lettering.  I bought a dot grid book a short while ago so I could start working on my own lettering and create my own alphabets to use in my journal.  I think that cold, dark, January would be the perfect time to start on this project.

Personal

  • Finish reading The Snowman.  I started reading this book back in September just before I got diagnosed with stress and anxiety.  Since then, because of my medication and symptoms associated with my mental health, my concentration levels have meant that reading a book or watching a tv show have been hard work.  I’d really like to finish this book by the end of January.
  • Plan another craft event.  I really enjoyed hosting my Crafternoon in aid of Mind and it got me thinking about maybe hosting a craft group every few months where I can get my friends together and we can learn new crafting skills together.  After talking to everyone that came to my event it seems that this is something that they would all be interested in.
  • Arrange another trip to London.  My brother and his family live in London and I really want to go and visit them again so this month I will try to make some plans to visit in the near future (hopefully end of Jan or Feb sometime!).
  • Go out for the day.  Since I have been unwell I have really struggled with basic things like shopping and running errands let alone visiting friends and going places.  Leaving the house in general has been a daily struggle as my anxiety seems to build so much that I can’t seem to even step outside my front door.  This month I would really like to make a change to that and am going to plan a day out somewhere, even if it’s to the local shopping centre or park.

What is on your goals list this month?

Preparing for 2019

I’m one of those people who can never seem to get excited about Christmas and tend to roll my eyes at the hoards of people that want to get into the Christmas spirit, haul out the decorations and put up the tree as soon as Halloween is over.  I even feel a bit disheartened when heading to the supermarket at the beginning of October and see the start of the Christmas stock being put out on shelves.  It all just feels like one massive hype for one day, and the preparation seems to go on longer and longer than before…its just so tiresome to me.

There are, however, 2 times in the year that I do look forward to and get a bit excited about (aside from my Birthday!) and they are when the shops start preparing for “Back to School”, around the first week in August, and October time, both for the same reason – new stationery and new diaries!  I am a sucker for all things stationery related, whether it’s a new notebook, pens, pencils or filing system and I’m an even bigger sucker for a new diary or planner.

To me, there is nothing better than the promise of starting a new year (whether it’s a school or calendar year) with a new, blank diary of sorts, that is waiting to receive your notes, ideas and plans for the year ahead.  I always get a feeling of wonder when I recieve a new diary, the year is so full of promise and things to come, a perfect way to schedule your future and make new dreams along the way.

I’ve used several kinds of diary in the past, from pre-printed tiny little things, to filofaxes of many different shapes and sizes, bullet journals and just plain note books in which to map my future in.  I’ve tried spiral bound books, lay flat designs, ring planners, the list is almost never-ending, and this year (I know… It’s still October…2019 is Monnntttthhhhsss away….) coming is no exception… I currently have 5 different diaries for different purposes that I am going to be using….

  1. Filofax Malden with Stripes Illustrated Inserts as my carry around, everything organiser.  I love my Malden and that it is so portable and contains so much in it, I am able to carry around note paper, a diary, telephone numbers and addresses, sticky notes, all sorts of things!  And the size of it means I can use it for shopping lists, making notes on the go, having it out on my desk at work, it seems to fit everywhere.
  2. A planner similar to this (the one I purchased was in the sale, the layout is the same but the illustrations are butterflies) which will be my home planner.  I bought this with my Birthday voucher from my brother and his family for my Birthday, the layout of the pages caught my attention… there is a monthly overview, places for thoughts and ideas as well as space for plans each week, not to mention that the months are divided out with their own tabs (which always makes me happy!)  It is a fairly hefty planner which I wouldn’t like to carry around with me for several reasons – it would be too heavy, I’d need a huge bag all the time and I’d probably end up spoiling it.  I decided that this would be perfect for keeping at home, the monthly overview pages will be useful to track my household bills and appointments, the thoughts and ideas pages can be used to make notes of any meals I’d like to cook, things I’d like to see and places I’d like to go to, along with the weekly sections serving as household “to do”, reminders (like which bins get emptied and when), and chores that need to be done…)
  3. This hard backed book diary , of which I owned a previous years one and loved it!  This diary has a monthly overview and a 2 weeks to view layout which will be perfect as my blog and social media planner.  It is pretty small and takes up hardly any room so it is perfect for carrying around if necessary to jot things into.  The one I had a few years ago was used for the same thing and it was perfect for this job!
  4. This soft cover diary which I totally fell in love with on a recent trip to London.  I am unsure whether to use this one as my work diary (I like to keep a log of all the different tasks I do on a day-to-day basis in work) or as my “a few lines a day” personal journal though I’m swayed more towards using it as my personal journal, there are sections for “Must Do”, “Will Do Soon” and “Next Week” which would lend itself nicely to using as a personal journal or for work purposes, though the daily section, which is a week on a page format, might be a bit too small for all the tasks I usually complete daily in work.
  5. This teeny, tiny, cute diary that I bought partly because of how cute it looked but also to get me back into drawing every day.  I have several sketchbooks that I have started and never quite managed to get into a proper routine of using daily.  When I was in college and uni I drew pretty much all day, every day and I sort of miss it.  So, in purchasing this, I’m hoping that it will force me into a routine of at least doodling something each day and working on getting back the skills that have, not so much gotten lost, but maybe gotten a little rusty over time.
  6. THE BONUS DIARY… this is the one that I have owned for several years now and never used as I’ve been too worried about spoiling it or forgetting about it or whatever…I don’t really know…I love it.  I bought it from Ohh Deer and is by illustrator Gemma Correll though I can’t find it on the site anymore (there are other, similarly laid out versions here if you fancy similar…), its undated and has a to do/done check list, a doodle section and a notes section.  Technically, it isn’t really a diary as its undated…it’s more of a project book…and more to the point, I have a really good use for it this year…I am going to use it in conjunction with my Bright Side blog and social media diary 🙂  Its main function will be to plan out blog content, using the notes section to write a synopsis of the blog post, the to do/done section to track what I need to do in order to get the post published (like research certain things, take photos, upload photos etc) and the doodle bit I can use to plan the layout of the post and decide what goes where!

I’m itching to start the New Year already and start planning my year out but I have a tradition that I like to stick to and always look forward to once all the main festivities are over, and that is on Boxing Day and New Years Eve I will make myself a cup of hot chocolate (a dash of Baileys or kahlua optional), sit down in a quiet place, in my comfiest pjs with a box of chocolates and my favorite pens and start writing out my New Years Resolutions, filling in the information sheets, start making plans for the first few weeks of January and adding in all the celebrations that I have to look forward to like Anniversaries and Birthdays.