Saturday, 13 December 2014

Frantic Festivities...

This year I'm trying so hard to concentrate on making Christmas a pleasurable and stress free time after last year was  NOT. I let Connie decorate the tree with decorations I wouldn't personally use. I let her forbid me from using some of my favourites. I didn't terrify her by pointing out the age and value of certain ornaments. We had carols playing and she really enjoyed it.

We built and decorated a gingerbread house together. (Not baked. Building and decorating ONLY round here.) I didn't point out when she used two or three of the same colour sweets in a row. I shut up. In fact she told me! ''Don't use all the same colour!'' She enjoyed it and is very proud of our little house.

Kit $4.49 from Home Bargains. £4.99 from Morrisons.

So I'm learning to relax about how I want things to look. It doesn't come naturally as I'm a control freak but I have to do it. I know how lucky I am to have Connie. It's far more important to have fun with her than a tree I'm proud of. (At least I've got Curtises baubles eh?)

Last Christmas I was totally stressed over a breast lump which was removed the day after Boxing Day. Thank God, it was all fine but the waiting period to find out was the worst.

This year we have no guests, no pressure and no stresses. Aaah...

Anyway, the louvre doors have gone from this...

to this...

Er, no, not finished yet. But I don't let that stop me starting other things.

I'm a hive of Christmas activity. While the rest of the country are at the post office sending their gifts, I have decided, only now, that I will make some of mine. Using nothing but scavenged items from charity shops, car boot sales and the flea market. (Oh my lucky family!) The time frame is okay as I've been hatching the plans for how to do each project for years.

So here's what I came up with last night.

FAMILY MEMBERS LOOK AWAY NOW! ( I don't think anyone in the family really reads this so it's safe to show you... shh, don't tell.)

For my lovely Uncle (retired maths teacher) a vintage ruler picture frame!

My husband seemed concerned at the pile of vintage rulers I'd collected and the fact that I was sawing them up. I'd like to tell you I won him over with the finished product but that would be a lie. He didn't get it.

I would like one of these and I am crap at maths. And measuring. Hopefully my Uncle will like it. He always has kind things to say about my carpentry.

I started out with a plain wooden frame with a wide border. I washed all the rulers so years of dirty childrens finger grease wouldn't affect their gluability. I sawed the mitred corners with my hand mitre saw. This is the first tool I ever bought.

A squeeze of the handle lets you change the angle from this...

to this...

and you can set it at any angle in between, say if you want a straight cut.

I glued the pieces with wood glue and clamped them with my fantastic Poundland clamps...

The smaller rulers in the centre were folding rulers and they slightly overlap the edges of the original frame on the inside.

I love that one has a childs name written on it.

I need to apply a little antique pine wax on the raw cuts of the corners today so they don't look so new.
I've also seen coasters made from vintage rulers which is another fun thing to do.

Plenty more ideas on Pinterest.

I also started a little sewing project. I picked up a few vintage quilts at the flea market a few weeks ago. The dealer actually gave me a few more that were really wrecked.

Very Cabbages and Roses I thought...

I managed to salvage a small amount of one quilt to try and make a Christmas stocking. I carefully soaked, washed and dried it, cut out my stocking shapes, tacked them and left them on the back of the sofa.
As you do.

Someone, who shall remain nameless, sat on the sofa, nudging the stocking backwards towards the hamster cage with his head and Gardania dragged it into her cage and ate the heel.

I was heartbroken. I was furious. I nearly cried because I didn't have enough quilt to start again.
So I've modified the shape and am hoping to clear some space on the dining table to finish it soon. 

A much daintier stocking. I hope to show you the finished article next time! Gardania is none the worse for her vintage textile snack.


  1. I love the ruler frame - that gingerbread house looks amazing too!

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

  2. That frame is incredible! I can't wait to see what else you make with rulers :) What a shame about the hamster-nibbling; I hope it hasn't given her a taste for the finer things in life. It would be exhausting to care for a pet who will only eat vintage fabrics xxx

  3. I've said it before are so handy Em...if I were a man I would marry you ,BUT letting free of tree decorating control ...nooooooooooooooo xxxx

  4. I, too, see the beauty in the VINTAGE RULER FRAME-great idea and great piece of DIY.
    It is my opinion that GARDENIA enhanced stocking is unique and I, personally, would still use it and claim that GARDENIA and I created it.......

  5. You crack me up. Really, my husband is probably wondering what in the world I'm laughing at! I can remember trying to keep my bossy self away from the Christmas tree when our girls were decorating it. Now I wonder why I wanted to control it because I don't even like tree decorating! I'm very impressed at your "letting it go" which I've mastered since our girls got married and don't want my unasked for advice anyway. Your are way ahead of the game!

    Your picture frame is very impressive and perfect for a math teacher! As for the sock, I can't get the picture out of my head of your hamster having a midnight snack of vintage quilt. hehe

    Thanks for the fun post!

  6. Ahh, well done, Emma - for the relaxing of the Christmas control freakery, for the gorgeous gingerbread house and the louvre doors, the fantastic ruler frames (what a great idea) and for not feeding Gardania to BB and FF as punishment! Craft projects, DIY and personal growth, all in one blog post - you're a star! xxx

  7. The picture frame is brilliant! I shall start collecting old rulers henceforth. I don't know how you cope with a head that must be so full of ideas.

    On the subject of cleaning old textiles, I had to mend an old christening gown a while ago and found, after much research, and trial and error, that sodium percarbonate was the thing that really shifted the final stains that nothing else would. You can get it as Ecover Laundry bleach. What did you use?

  8. I'll look out for Ecover laundry bleach next time. I use biological powder with an oxy stain remover and turn off the washing machine when it's nice and bubbly and let it sit overnight. The stains didn't all come out but I quite like that. I don't have to stain it with tea! xx

  9. Top marks EK for taking that chill pill and letting Connie take control of the gingerbread house, which is delightful btw. I LOVE the ruler frame and not surprised that your husband didn't get it, men rarely see what we see, (and vice versa I suppose) although he is a photographer so he must have an artistic bent? I wonder what Jolliffe is doing now?
    I feel your pain with the quilt stocking, but at least it was salvageable. Naughty Gardania!
    I'm making some pressies this year too, foodie ones tho. xxx

  10. That frame is gorgeous - What a great idea! Hamster are naughty aren't they - Miss Macs hamster (Sir Frederick Fluff Balls) escaped once and ate two holes in her carpet before I found him nesting in her knicker drawer two days later!

    1. Ha! Someone has a hamster with a dafter name than Gardania! xx

  11. That frame is utterly wonderful, I'd be thrilled to get that!
    Connie's done a marvellous job with the gingerbread house. xxx

  12. I laughed at the hamster seeing a stocking floating down towards her: if in doubt eat it. I wonder if it was bedding or nourishment.
    I'm just about to write Xmas cards. Even more side tracked this year than usual.

  13. Love the ruler frame. Little hammy obviously thought the stocking shape needed modifying!
    Hope you have a merry Christmas and a very happy, peaceful and stress free new year!
    M x


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