A new start

So I haven’t posted anything for over 2 years!!! A lot has happened in that time, some good and some not so good but the allotment is still there (albeit rather neglected). I don’t do very much in the way of crafts or card making these days and we have gained a dog!

I’m not sure if the nature of this blog will shift slightly; I’m using it really to try and record what I’m doing and maybe encourage me to achieve things at home and on the allotment to have something to write about here.

Christmas has come and gone and the prospect of the new year feels like as good a time as any to re start efforts on my blog, allotment and home life. I must step up my ‘housewife game’ as I’m now home more. And I’d love to get back to the allotment – nothing gives me the same satisfaction as coming home with baskets full of homegrown produce and it’s wonderful watching things change and grow. Let’s get back to it!

An Eco-Friendly Christmas?

A little while ago I saw this article via Twitter about a ‘Merry Eco Christmas’ and it prompted me to think about my choices around this time of year. I’ve commented on a few of the points made below:

The first item on the least deals with food waste, something that I don’t think is any worse in our house at Christmas than any other time of year. That’s not to say that we don’t waste food, unfortunately we do, but mainly vegetables that can go into one of our compost bins. At Christmas, with it just being Ashley and myself (and occasionally a friend) eating Christmas dinner, I don’t bother with the traditional Turkey. Even a small one would be far too big for us and I’m quite happy with a good quality chicken on the table. Even so, there’s usually leftovers but a curry, risotto or stir fry usually takes care of that! This year we have our home grown parsnips to roast, but I don’t think our Brussels sprouts have grown enough to produce by Christmas – but you never know! I will try to make the effort to buy some local fresh veg – there are plenty of farm shops around here to choose from. To be honest, I can’t see any mince pies, puddings or cake being wasted around here! Ashley and I have made our own Christmas cake and I have promised myself I will make my own mince pies rather than buying them this year!

Christmas presentA few years ago, I decided to try to use mostly brown paper rather than pretty Christmas themed wrapping paper. I did add little bits of wrapping paper to brighten things up, but mostly it was brown paper. I thought that I was being more ‘eco-friendly’ and maybe I was, but realistically it’s down to the recipients of those presents to bother to recycle it. Our paper recycling bag sits in the corner of the living room each Christmas day to encourage us to put used wrapping paper straight into it.


The point about turning the thermostat down a degree is irrelevant to us! We don’t have our heating on at all as a rule! The wood burner in the living room does a grand job of heating most of the house (it’s only little), and we only put our central heating on if it’s unbearably cold – which is rare in Cornwall, and not generally until late Jan or Feb.


I must admit, I’ve never chosen Christmas cards based on whether they come from recycled sources or not! I usually buy a few at least, even if I’m making the bulk of them, so this year I will try to pay more attention to whether or not the card used is recycled. I always recycle cards that we receive though our normal council recycling.


On a final note, we don’t host a Christmas party or have friends/relatives to stay so no extra waste on disposable party plates etc!

All in all, I don’t think that we do too badly on the points mentioned in the article I read…..


There’s a lot more that I feel we could do; changes to how much we spend on presents and the types of things we buy, how much extra food we buy at Christmas (even though not much goes to waste!) and I’m sure many other things. I’m just not too sure on how prepared I am to make that leap into a much less commercial Christmas! But I must try…

Planning ahead

September is when I generally start thinking about admit that I’m thinking about Christmas! Sorry, I said the C – word. Some people can wait until December 1st to even consider it, but for me (and I’m sure many other crafty types), late September is the ideal time to start working on those handmade gifts and planning others. 

I usually try to make a bag of homemade food items for friends and family to add to their (often) shop bought gift. This year I hope to make many more presents than usual, alongside the usual food ‘hamper’ – wish me luck! 

  I’ve started with a couple of jams and jellies that have Christmas spice flavours, such as an apple jelly with cinnamon and cloves and a plum and mulled wine jam. The former has worked well and looks great in the little jars, but the jam hasn’t set properly and I think I may have burned it a little. ? I’ll have to try again I think. I’d like to find another recipe for something similar with Christmas flavours to make a trio of little jars to give. I’ve also started a gin flavoured with blackberries and apple. That was very simple to put together in a jar and needs to be left for about 4 weeks to infuse the flavours before bottling.

I’ve recently taught myself the basics of knitting and have a tutorial for a basic fingerless glove that I have tried so that’s probably going to be a gift for a sister in law or two (or three)! I learnt to crochet a couple of years ago, although never really made it past making blankets or other very simple projects. There are some great ideas out there on the Internet for crocheted gifts so I’ll probably look at those again. 

 I think I’ll be getting my little sewing machine out before Christmas too!

Cards are something else on the handmade Christmas to-do list. I started making my own greetings cards a few years ago and for a couple of years made all birthday, anniversary, Christmas and other celebration cards. For the last year or so, I’ve found it far too time consuming to make all of my own Christmas cards and have just made a few for immediate family members. These days I seem to really struggle for inspiration and motivation to make cards and have used a lot of shop bought birthday cards this year. But I will make the effort this year to make as many Christmas cards as I can; a few more elaborate cards for immediate family and I think I’ll try to come up with a fairly simple design that’s easy for me to replicate over and over for more distant family and friends.

I think my biggest challenge this year is going to be actually finishing all the projects that I start. I have a terrible habit of getting distracted by a new project halfway through the last, and ending up with five half finished things!  

Do you have any ideas for handmade gifts? What would you like to receive as a handmade present?