30 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 27th December 2010 - The Big Sleep

The first morning with a proper lie in, although slightly later than maybe we should have allowed. The one problem with being at someones house over a long period of time is that sleeping arrangements can prove difficult.

This year we are squeezing into the small bedroom in mum's house. OH on the high bed, I am on the double air bed on the floor. We have to shift all the bags about morning and night, and keep up with the mattress pumping but it is worth it to have a lie in and not be worried about falling from a great height.

We have punctuated the holiday with 2 nights at my brothers. In the living room so you get woken up, but on a proper sofa bed. Tomorrow we'll sleep at the mother-in-laws. Proper bed and a room to ourselves. Obviously the best nights sleep will be the few days we have at home before we go back to work but it's something I'm willing to put up with to spend time with friends and family.

JYC 2010 26th December - Harry Day

I would like to use this post to introduce you all to the wonderful concept of a Harry day. The institution is named for and invented by the father of a family friend. The premise is that for the whole day if you want feeding, you feed yourself. Whatever you want, whenever you want. Ideal for Boxing day with such a variety of leftovers available. Harry Days have given rise to the stuffing and gherkin sandwich and a twist this year, smoked salmon and gherkin.

Boxing Day is a day to relax and chill. To get out presents and have a proper play. And if you are anything like me, finish the book you started on Christmas afternoon.

JYC 2010 25th December 2010 - "It's Chriiiiissssttttmmmmaaas";

"So this is Christmas. And what have you done..."

Had a lovely breakfast at my brothers
Had a cuddle with my nephew on his first Christmas and helped him open his presents
Had a lovely dinner and lots of laughs with my family and OH.

What more can anyone ask for?

JYC 2010 24th December - "Twas the night before Christmas..."

Christmas Eve always feels more magical to me than Christmas does. After all it's the last moment before the special day, what could be more exciting than that???

Christmas eve has taken many forms depending on age and circumstances. When we were younger it was a Chinese takeaway in front of whatever film was on tv that year. Later on my friends and I would squeeze ourselves into the pub and then get bored and go to someones house until the clock struck 12.

Now that the visiting years are here, it is normally the time that we see Dad, just popping round for supper, drinks and an argumentative game of Scattergories. It's a nice way to kick-start proceedings ready for the all important day. We get some presents and raid his ever expanding collection of Christmas songs and the cocktail cabinet.

1 more sleep to go....

26 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 23rd December - Early Morning Pressies

So, the great stocking debate. When we were children we had pillow cases at the bottom of our beds. Nice big pillow cases full of little presents to play with in the morning and keep us quiet until a sensible time for everyone else to wake. We were normally in the same room due to the number of relatives staying over so we could wake each other up without too much bother. It was satisfying to wake in the early hours of the morning to feel a lump at the bottom of the bed.

As we got older the pillowcases disappeared and a present on Christmas Eve was the order of the day. A couple of years ago we got some lovely stockings but to be honest I found them limiting for fitting a lot of presents in. So when we have children of our own I will have pillow cases, but I will try to personalise them to be long term keepsakes.

24 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 22nd December - TV Queen

Most of the year we can plod through the year with no tv guide, stumbling across programmes as we find them. But Christmas always necessitates a copy of the Radio Times.

It's partly for the features but mainly because Christmas seems to bring out the best in "terrestrial" tv and all channels are vying for attention so shows can often overlap. The v+/sky+ generation means that 2 things can be taped and this does cut down on some arguments, when there are very different viewing pretences this is a saviour.

What amused me more was that given the variety of channels available to pick my Christmas viewing from, none of the specialist digital channels got a look in. In fact most did not change their schedules to account for the season.

Of course the end of a year will throw up the traditional talking head countdown shows which kill off an hour or three. Perfect to start and finish a box of something sweet.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

JYC 2010 21st December - Tidy House

Dropped a clanger on this entry. I was supposed to take a lovely picture of the house as it was before we left, all nice and tidy but I forgot. So we'll see what we manage when I return.

Tidying for trips is always a bit of a chore but this time was not quite so bad, as this year we
managed to acquire a dishwasher. I could rhapsodise on for hours another the wonder of this machine. But it does make a last min tidy so much quicker when you know that you can just load and go. This meant that I was able to get other jobs done that did need doing so the house will be lovely on our return.

Love Elliefantasy xx

22 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 20th December - Let it Snow

Big surprise this week in that Saturday we had a massive and totally unexpected snow fall, then again some today. Didn't go to work as I also managed to catch OH cold so had a chance to get things done that got missed on Sunday whilst lying on the sofa in pjs feeling sorry for myself.

The snow did make everything look lovely and festive but has caused more than a few headaches to the Christmas plans. But we are on track again so long as we remember to pack the snow gear. The amusing part is that despite a very heavy snowfall across the country, we are not set to have an official "White Christmas" this year.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

JYC 2010 19th December - Letter to Santa

Dear Father Christmas

Please may I have:

A cuddle from my nephew
Beauty and the Beast
All the roads to be clear for our trip
Gherkin and stuffing sandwich with salad cream
Lovely times with friends and family
Lots of pretty scrapbook paper and crafty things
A win on the Euro Millions
Jelly Babies
A nice relaxing New year with my OH

Love Elliefantasy xxx

JYC 2010 18th December - Food Glorious Food

There is nothing so lovely as Christmas Dinner. The one point of the year when you are permitted to gorge yourself silly. 2 years ago I ate so much food at lunchtime that I had to change into PJ bottoms as they were my only comfortable trousers.

And it's not just the dinner. There is the cake and mince pies, sweets, crisps and nuts. Normally a selection box will appear to be divided up with least favourite bars still in the fridge in July

This year we have come to a good compromise. My step dad is cooking dinner and has made a Christmas pudding, all of which will be sublime. I have made the Christmas cake and some stollen. My sister in law will be providing me with a lovely breakfast of scrambled egg, smoked salmon and bucks fizz and as a tea time treat I have a jar of gherkins for my stuffing and gherkin sandwich.

I have elasticated trousers to take this year so that my OH will not be disgraced again. Oh, and some indigestion tablets. Just in case ......

Love Elliefantasy xxx

21 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 17 December - I saw this and I thought of you

Most years I have a few presents that I see that are absolutely perfect for recipients. This year has been some marmite related kitchen goods for a real fan.

I always try to give thought to gifts that I buy, regardless of the recipient and their relationship to myself. I believe that if you are putting your name to something then that thing should represent at the very least some thought and preference of the recipient. I won't ignore their wishes in the sort of gift that they want, one year I brought my Dad napkin rings, as that was what he wanted. And this year I have brought things that several people would call unexciting but that are the particular wish of members of my family.

As for my presents, well I'm not expecting much. The one gift I know will be under the tree is Beauty and the Beast on DVD. Perfect for Christmas evening viewing.

Love Elliefantasy xx

16 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 16th December - Being Thankful

Things I am grateful for:

OH for helping me to see that once again that I am doing too much in too short a space of time.

The weather for being more Christmassy than normal.

My friends for being supportive of me press ganging them into slave labour at the pub

My manic workload dropping off so that I was able to have a full day of achieving things for once.

Having the whole of Christmas off work to enjoy time with friends and family.

Love Elliefantasy xx

15 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 15th December - Visiting

I'm not going to write a big post today, after all we're keeping it short. But here is a list of people we will be seeing over the holidays. Just so you can see how manic things are.

My Brother and GF
My Mum and BF
His Daughters, their BF and my Nephew
My Nan, Grandad & Uncle, with my Mum and Bro
My Dad & GF, with my Bro & GF

My OH Dad and Partner, with OH Brother & GF
My OH Mum & BF, his sons and 1x GF with OH Bro & GF
My OH Nan & Grandad, with my OH Bro and GF

As many of my friends as possible.
As many of OH Friends as possible.

All packed into a busy and fun few days. 

10 more sleeps to go. Can't wait!

Love Elliefantasy xx

14 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 14th December - Pressies!!!!

There is nothing so perfect as to see a tree on Christmas morning, with presents spilling out from underneath. Almost better than the actual opening, if that is possible. The manner of opening depends on the company present in my family. 

When I was a child, it was imperative that they be opened as soon as possible, even breakfast was a chore that needed to be rushed. When I was in my teens, we would be just able to wait until my grandparents arrived, normally about 11ish, and could manage just a snippet of polite conversation and drink gathering before sitting down to the main event. When I was about 16, my mum had the worst cold on Christmas Day. So it was up to my brother and I (with a lot of help from Nanny and Grandad) to cook Christmas Dinner. Presents were delayed until after lunch as I wasn't going to be diving in and out of the kitchen. That year we came to the wonderous conclusion that maybe, just maybe it was better to wait. 

So for the next few years we did. When my step-sisters arrived on the scene for Christmas, we made them wait the first year, and then the second year we opened everything in the morning. Which left the day a little bit flat.  For us, it is very much a case of dish out and get unwrapping. Maybe with the years I have slowed up a little, especially as the gifts I gave became just as important as those that I received. 

With my OH family, it was different. MIL likes everyone to open a present, 1 at a time so that everyone can see. When you have 8 people and a lot of presents, this can lead to a slightly tiresome afternoon. As we have got older and the family has increased due to more step-siblings, we have got her down to opening all presents from one person, it makes it much quicker and less of a performance. 

Christmas last year was at my house, with my dad and partner. And there we indugled in a slow opening of presents, throughout the day and evening, with special presents for Christmas eve. Very grown up and enjoyable, but somehow, not quite like Christmas. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 13th December - Christmas Carols

As previously mentioned, one of my most favourite Christmas Carols is "Do you hear what I hear". This is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject..

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a Christmas song written in October 1962 with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker.[1] The pair were married at the time, and wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.[2] It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of different artists.[2]

This is the first time that I have taken the time to find out anything about it. I can see how it would relate to the missile crisis, however for me and my brother, who were born in the 80's and well past this time, the lyrics always seemed to be a little bit on the strange side. Here they are:

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
"Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite."

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
"Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the the sea,
With a voice as big as the the sea."

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
"Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold--
Let us bring him silver and gold,
Let us bring him silver and gold."

Said the king to the people everywhere,
"Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people, everywhere,
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light."

The chain of communication is just a little bit far fetched. Going back to Wiki, they have a list of everyone who has sung this carol, and it did surprise me. We used to have it on a tape, "Christmas Songs" which had a lovely picture of a candle on the front. We played the tape over and over until it was worn; every year, the same tape as soon as the decorations were brought down from the loft. I had a copy made for me by my Dad one year as I was to sing in a carol concert and it also had a copy of Johnny Mathis - A Child is Born, another Christmas Favourite. 

Some others include

Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Only You - The Flying Pickets. This was Christms No 1 the year I was born
Do they know its Christmas - Band Aid (expanding on my love for Simon Le Bon)
A Spaceman Came Travelling - Chris De Burgh
12 Days of Christmas - The Spinners
Lonely Pup in a Christmas Shop - Adam Faith
White Christmas / Peace on Earth - The King of Christmas, Mr Bing Crosby

I also am quite partial to properly sung Carols, and had a lovely experience this weekend of being at a wedding where the bride and groom had embraced the season and had carols instead of hymns. There is something very satisfying about singing carols in a church on a lovely winters day or night. I have done it on a few occasions, one of my favourites being in Bath Cathedral during my university years. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

12 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 12th December - Ghosts of Christmases Yet to Come

This year is the first Christmas for my 10 month old nephew. Which means that we will start to do the same Christmasy things that our parents did for us. With the patter of tiny feet not being in the too distant future, but still at least 2 Christmas's away, it will be interesting to see which traditions are kept and which are not. 

Surprises and the magic of Christmas are things that we will not get to expand upon for at least another 3 years, and it is fun to see the grown-ups getting more excited than my nephew, who is completely oblivious and will no doubt enjoy the wrapping paper more than the gift inside. 

I find myself now wondering about the moral issues of introducing the idea of Father Christmas, does it matter that he isn't real? This was a discussion recently had at work; I couldn't remember finding out, one colleague told her brother, another was told by his older sister at the fairly young age of 6. Now with children of his own at similar ages, he has put a very restrictive ban on his daughter so that his son does not suffer the same crushing disappointment. 

When looking further on to the future, it is the excitement and the magic for the children that I am most looking forward to. The hope that they will appreciate the season and the loveliness of the day as much as the presents that they receive. I am hoping that these are the ghosts of things that will definately be, rather than things that might be only. 

And to finish - my definative version of A Christmas Carol, has to be that performed by The Muppets. Without a doubt, a true Christmas Classic. 

Love Elliefantasy xxx

JYC 2010 11th December - "O Christmas Tree"

I do love a good Christmas Tree. According to the definition in todays post, I am a sentimental person. Certainly I do not have a super co-ordintated "out of a box" tree - I don't agree with them outsite of hotels and shopping centres. 

I always remember the magic of childhood to come downstairs one morning and the tree would be decorated and lit. Later on, it was mine and my mum's job to do the tree, whilst my dad and brother would put up all the streamers. We had certain decorations that went up every year, though we never ever had a star or a fairy to go on top. Later still it was my job to light the tree, mainly because it was my fault that we had a string of 240 multi-functional lights to wrap around. It is now my sole job to do the tree and any other decorations in our house, and it goes up on the first free weekend in December, with as many lights as possible (despite them being a royal pain to put up), some paper chains and misc baubles and decorations. I am slowly collecting my own hanging ornaments, and this is something that will probably last me a lifetime. 

For me, it has to be artificial. For all those who love the smell of fresh pine, I love the smell of dusty tree straight from the loft. That is the real smell of Christmas. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 10th December - Christmas Wrapping

Some quick notes on wrapping gifts:

  • It should always be as neat as you can make it.
  • It is acceptable to cover all ends with sellotape - this increases the anticipation of the recipient and is very funny to watch.
  • I like where possible to get paper that is fun and cute. Winnie the Pooh paper is a must where possible.
  • I am not a bit bow fan. They tend to fall off far too early.
  • Bottle bags are one of the greatest inventions ever.
Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 9th December - Traditions

There are a few traditions in our family, some of which might have passed into obscurity. One such tradition, which was discussed again at the weekend, was the traditional Christmas Eve game of Monopoly between my brother and I. This was the only time of the year that he would play the game with me, and we would sit down with a large quantity of food for rather a long game. Mum always declined to play, but would sit nearby to listen, and if possible fend off any arguments that erupted.

The game was always played in the same way, buying streets, hotels and houses as soon as possible. Mayfair and Park Lane were always the prime buying targets, but we were not so fussy so long as we had lots of sets of colours and the means to build massive housing and hotel empires. I was always partial to buying Old Kent Road and Whitechapel. They might be small fry for basic rent, but get a couple of hotels on, and they become quite vicious. 

The game would normally reach a crisis point when we were forced to make a deal to get a set and I inevitably lost on the deal, which would start the bad language. Monopoly is not a game that I should play around small children. Proceedings ended when we had both manged to get the board in such a state that only income tax squares were safe and that landing on the wrong square was lethal. The one year that my OH played with us, we wiped the floor with him. He hoarded his money, only buying certain roads and then had to play a precarious dice rolling game, which ended quickly. 

We haven't played for years, but my sister-in-law informed me that she has a nice copy of the new version, which we might dust off in a couple of weeks time! 

Love Elliefantasy xx

8 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 8th December - "Do you see what I see"

Which is a line from one of my favourite carols, however bonkers it might actually be. 
(Think about it; The wind tells the sheep, who tells a boy, who tells a king, who tells everyone??)

Here are my pictures for today. Admire/Advise as you see fit. 

 Snowman purchased from Centre Parcs 3 years ago on our honeymoon
 PartyLite vase with baubles in, tree is not focused
Christmas Tree reflected in the oven door. 

Yes they are a bit arty farty but who cares :-D

Love Elliefantasy xx

JYC 2010 7th December - Lists

I do have in front of me here, the completed list of presents I have brought. But as I know that there are snoopy relations who read my blog, I'm not going to share it!

Instead, a list of those things that need to be done before the big day, with all the done bits crossed out:

  • Ring Dad re Christmas Eve
  • Ring OH's Dad re 27th
  • Write Christmas cards already made
  • Make extra cards
  • Make Family cards
  • Buy presents
  • Get money to pay for MOT
  • Get money for next years holiday
  • Pay in tax cheque
  • Wrap presents
  • Do wedding card for Oli & Laura
  • Do Hen Day DVD for Laura
  • Get eyes checked
Some things are Christmassy, some things are not. And some things, like having to buy a new pair of glasses 3 weeks before Christmas are a royal pain up the a**e. But one thing that we all have to remember is that Life doesn't stop just because its Christmas. 

Hoping that your lists are getting smaller by the day and not bigger

Love Elliefantasy xxx

JYC 2010 6th December - A Tale of Two Christmas's

As a child I remember Christmas being very much set in stone and merging together, with only two years being completely different and therefore more memorable. We normally stayed at home and had my mum's parents around for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with my uncle to stay for the whole 3 days. There was 1 year when I was five or six, when we went to their house, and one year when I was eight, when we went to stay with Dad's parents for a week. They were very pleasant years, and there are very good memories, although some are from things that people have told me, rather than ones I remember. Like the year my grandad made me a dolls house and I had managed to rip the front door off by the end of the day. 

The strangest Christmas I remember was the first one after my parents had split up. We went to the grandparents for the day, and had a lovely time and lots of wonderful presents but I remember that it didn't quite feel right. For starters that was the first year that we had to do multiple Christmas lists and find ways amidst the normal routine to try and see Dad. Overall, my least favourite. 

The addition of a long term boyfriend also caused a change, the first 2 years we did our own thing, and from the third year onwards we have stuck together, just moving about the different houses as necessary. My brother always said that my OH had a certain look about him on Christmas Day, which was normally resigned and tired; a look that I have tried not too successfully to eradicate.

But now my Christmas's are completely different, and rather than things being over in 1 day, the holiday lasts for many days, as we try to fit in all the different parents. Being married to someone whose parents are also divorced, means that you do get 4 different days to celebrate, and normally 4 different ways to celebrate. Each different year now sticks out clearly to me. And though I do look back in fondness at the childhood rituals, I enjoy this prolonging of the season and the festive spirit just a little bit more. Though less driving would be prefered, thank you! 

Love Elliefantasy xxx

JYC 2010 4th December - Perfect Christmas

Hmmm, a tricky tricky thing to pin down really. For me, a perfect Christmas really is the happy bouncy tingly feeling that lasts through the holiday. But below is a list of things that would help contribute to the perfect Christmas:

  • Seeing all the family groups in 1 place at 1 time, even if it is for just a while.
  • Having a cuddle with my nephew on his first Christmas Day.
  • Spending a relaxed Christmas Day with my OH.
  • Having lovely presents.
  • Having a lovely Christmas dinner and getting up from the table feeling like I couldn't eat for the next week.
  • Having a stuffing and gherkin sandwich for Christmas Day tea. 
  • Spending time with all my family and friends.
  • Not feeling like I'm trying to hit a series of appointments, but instead drift from day to day enjoying the company. 
  • Having sparklers to play with on New Years Eve. 
  • Watching Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas morning. 

Looking at the list, most things are new to this years Christmas, except for the feeling of rushing from person to person. And next year, I imagine that this definition will change. But all that means is that a perfect Christmas is easily in my grasp, year after year.

Love Elliefantasy xxxx

JYC 2010 5th December - Advent

I have to admit to being one of those very lucky children whose parents brought them a Chocolate Advent calendar. There was always something wonderful about coming home from school on cold December days and having a guaranteed chocolate waiting for you. There were some years that we had Mars calendars, which had 3 fun-sized bars in at certain lucky points of the month. Weekends where always a waiting game to see how long my brother and I could last out before we ate our chocolate for the day. 

I remember there being a few years that it was decided that we were too old for advent calendars, and then I passed through to that point where it was up to boyfriends to buy them rather than my mum. I also remember having an advent calendar at junior school, and the magic of being able to light it, and the wonderful glow it gave whilst having a lesson.

Since I have been with my OH, most years his mum has brought us a calendar, or we have got them ourselves (and a couple of years we did both.) That led to a discussion over the different ways to deal with an advent calendar. I am a traditionalist; I open each door for that day, eat the chocolate and then leave the door open. My OH likes to close the door up at the end of the day so that he can open all the doors up to the current day every day. 

Last year I broached out and brought a Karen Foster countdown calendar, 25 little drawers that you can put sweets into. I went to our Cadbury outlet store and brought Roses chocolates only to find that the drawers weren't big enough. It will got used, but unfortunately was damaged by the leaky garage roof we had at our previous house. I didn't have time to make a new one this year, so I have a Malteasers calendar with a satisfyingly large box for the 24th. But I intend to make a new, personal one for next year to be re-used and become part of our Christmas tradition.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

5 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 3rd December - Christmas Greetings

I am a crafter, cards and scrapbooks and other bits in between. So I do feel that for birthdays and Christmas I should be making cards to send. In 2008, when I was just starting out, I made a few designs and loads of them. Last year, I went in for card making massively, starting loads of designs, complicated ones that needed the Robo, and covering the dining room table with all my stash. I had so many, that in January of this year, my first crafting project was to finish off as many as I could manage before my Christmas Spirit ran dry. So this year, I had a lovely stash already made, some that needed small finishing touches, but not a lot of work for me at a period when time is restricted.

Most of them are now written. I dug out a pen and sat for 2 hours, writing standard greetings and a fair few notes. We have had another big year for weddings, and the first big year for babies so there are lots of wishes for lovely first christmas's, either as a married couple or as parents. This year included a family wedding, so there are lots notes to say, "glad to see you at the wedding, it was lovely,  hope to see you soon" A few notes to distant friends to tell the news of the year, "busy year, but we've finally brought our own house" and lots and lots and lots of love, winging its way across the county. 

I do like to write the Christmas cards. It allows me small periods of time to think about the people that I am writing to, if I have had much opportunity to think of them during the year. Either wishes that I had seen them more, or remembering the wonderful times that we have spent during the year. 

Of course amidst all this whimsey, there is a very organised system. A spreadsheet with everyones address exists, as a throwback from the wedding three years ago. This year I have added a column so that I know which design everyone had so can differ for the following year. There will be a flurry of facebook and text messages enquiring about address changes, which will last me for a whole year of birthdays too. 

So that chore is mostly done for another year. An hour spent adding addresses sometime this week, a large purchase of stamps and my little beauties will be flying across to their intended, spreading our love and best wishes for another year. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

2 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 2nd December - "Winter Wonderland"

Weather for the south-west today :

Mainly dry, but cold, frosty and icy.

Picture was taken this evening. The snow fell on Tuesday in the early hours, first snow of the year, even before December had even started. Most of the ice has gone, the main roads and motorways are safe to drive but there is still a lovely wintery feel to the start of this december. 

Hats, scarves and mittens are daily accessories, and the snow boots have been pulled from under the stairs. My personal preference is for the mittens that have the fingers underneath, easy for driving but they look cute to wear. I had to change to black mittens this year as my lovely cream ones ended up with black palms from the disintergration of the rubber on the steering wheel :-( 

To end, a quote from Muppet Christmas Carol (which I am currently watching) - 
"Our pens have turned to Inkscicles." "Our assets are frozen!" Rat Clerks

Hope you are enjoying your weather, whatever it might be.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

1 Dec 2010

JYC 2010 1st December - Manifesto

So, why am I dedicating a whole month and then some to a daily journal when a) I seem to make an extra effort to make myself superhumanly busy in December and b) I only got halfway through the last daily journal that I tried. 

Because a) I believe that I can do everything and b) this is such a Christmas of firsts for me that I want tto get things down. They are a lot of little firsts, but worth documenting all the same. 

This whole daily journalling/extra and self-inflicted task issue raised itself again today when I realised with foreboding and horror that it was my responsibility to run our company Christmas Raffle. I could have gotten out of it this year, claiming that I didn't have enough time with the commitments that I already had. But I love our Christmas Raffle and so put forth the extra effort during and after work and now its all sorted and will run itself for a couple of weeks. 

And that is my manifesto for this Journal. I love Christmas and would like to put forth the extra effort to document and remember it. I have an album sort of made and a few pockets here and there to make it up. But I have today decided that most of the journalling will be done by my blog, which can be accessed anywhere, so I make sure that I catch all the memories in between the parties and the work and the family time. So enjoy what will be a month of regular posts and a look into the madcap world that is me at Christmas. 

And for those that wondered, here is a hipstamatic picture taken 5 minutes ago, with my elephant who stars on my blog and as my avatar and who is patiently waiting for me to get the decorations up so that she can get into her elf costume.

Happy December 1st, I'm off to start the advent calendar!

Love Elliefantasy (& Elephant) xxx

21 Nov 2010

A quick catch up

Hello to all. Been very busy over here, haven't been posting but have been keeping up with everyone, and plodding along with all the crafting. I'm getting ready to do Journal Your Christmas, though hoping that I do better at this than I did at Learn Something New. I have made my album in advance for this one, and have a neat table with all my bits laid out for ease and convenience. 

Trying to get things tidied up as well, some of my projects have gone on a back-burner until after the xmas hols, and some have been moved forwards, mainly my Christmas cards that need to be finished off. I started loads and loads last year and have enough left over that with a bit of tweaking here and there, I can do for this year with a quarter of the effort. So all I have to worry about is the main family cards, but they always take just a bit more effort. I will post up the general cards later this week so you can all see. 

Other time has been taken by some planning for next year (next steps for me and OH and a fabby girly holiday to Turkey), some visits and an awful lot of work. The run into December looks very very full but full of lovely stuff (a shopping trip to london, Clothes Show Live @ the NEC, a lovely winter wedding and then XMAS! Its my nephew's first Christmas, which is why I'm taking the plunge with JYC, it will be a whole year of firsts, his first, our families first with a baby to think about, first time I am staying with my brother and his girlfriend, first year I have helped to organise a works Christmas Party, as well as all the things I love about Christmas, which should make for a really good album.

I am finding that this time of year is very hard for crafting decisions, and then blogging decisions. I can't mention some things because I know that certain family members are going to read this (that means you Mum!) I don't know whether I should be doing Christmas craft things or should I be doing things for me for the new year. How many presents should I hand make/have I got time to make them all? So much to consider. 

One present, all done and sorted, which is for a more distant family member is a collection of parts of my stash. She is a beginner crafter and hasn't got the means to go and blow a load of money on paper etc, and instead uses a lot of my MIL's. So I have sorted all my stash from top to bottom and come up with a very full RUB of paper and misc embellishments which should see her through. All I need to add is a few card blanks and a bit of glue/DS tape and she's good to go!

So there we have it. A little round up of news for you all. I will be aiming to get a few things posted up as they become finished, and from 1st December I hope to be doing frequent JYC posts. See's you about soon and good luck with all your Christmas preperations, crafting or otherwise. 

Love Elliefantasy

18 Oct 2010

Which side to use?

I have managed within the last two weeks to do a fair bit of scrapbooking. The ideas are there, and they are taking shape fairly easily on the page. Sometimes they are inspired by the photo, or sometimes by the paper, but they do seem to fit together neatly, and I can find more things to either use, or adapt to bring the page to life. (Alphabets are the main culprit here. I never ever ever seem to have the right one at the right moment with the right letters.) 

I recently brought a stack of lovely girly papers (and here I must apologise because I have split the paper and have thrown away the cover sheet.) The main thing that attracted me to the stack was the first sheet which was a pattern of shoes and handbags. Perfect for a layout that I was intending to do as an offshoot of this post, done whilst doing Blogging for Scrapbookers. 

But when I eventually came to do the page, events conspired against my using that pattern as a bright and cheery background. For starters, the shoes and the paper did not really match. And I had carefully made a pattern on Paint Shop to tie in with the colour of the shoes, which was then run through the Robo to get the title and some backing shapes. So now nothing matched with the shoe paper. 

But then I turned over the sheet to have a look at the other design. All the papers have a bright cheery pattern on one side and a lovely plain wash on the other. And the lovely plain wash was just a perfect complement to the pattern of the shoes, and the slightly darker pattern that I had been able to achieve. So I did what any self respecting scrapbooker would do and just carried on regardless! The lack of use of the shoe paper did cause me a bit of a pang until I remembered that I had 4 sheets of that paper in the pack, so I cut out a small bordering section on another sheet and stuck it to the layout. And it matched perfectly. The picture at the top is the layout. This picture here, is of the patterned paper, just to prove that really I did the right thing by turning it over. 

Love Elliefantasy xx

13 Oct 2010


Hello, hello. And how are we all this fine Wednesday. Its definately turning to Autumn now, just perfect for days in scrapping and stamping. As always, this is part of the mass blog hop over at Julia's so whizz over when you are done here.

Thanks to all who commented last week. I did get to all of you, (although some might have been last night) and a few others. I always start off with such good intentions and then life just gets in the way. For those who I have already commented upon today and not left a number, I apologise, but I haven't got the hang of getting a desk ready on Tuesday, ready for the morning. Plus I'm working full time so don't get time to log on in the morning to link up. 

Right, excuses are done, and they are all I need to offer. Desk is looking quite tidy today, and there is a nice big pile of pages in the middle, which is the product of the weekend. A couple of them will get featured later this week in the normal blog posts. The blue one in the second layer is one of my mum and me on our wedding days, and is only missing a title. Suggestions are welcome. I haven't taken a pic of the wall art featured last week, its now going to get its own post. I need to get some ribbon to finish it off, but I've been forbidden to go shopping for a little while. So it must sit on the top of the Expedit until I can scrounge some, or get through the shopping ban. I also managed to get the Robo out this weekend, and made some brackety squares, though I did have to take the settings off of auto for the first time to get them cut right.

The pic of Mr Powers to the left of the left screen is my new Mojo board. The plan is for me to write up all my ideas when I am overflowing with them, to pick at when the mojo goes on holiday. Also, a couple of ppl mentioned my "drink of choice" (as Monkey would say) Yes it is coke, but there isn't ever Rum in it. I do tend to run on the stuff (coke, not Rum) What you didn't see last week was the small helping of Dairy Milk. Mainly because it had already been eaten! For those that are interested, I was watching Gavin and Stacey whilst scrapping last weekend. This week I have moved on to Ally McBeal. I have 5 series waiting, 4 still in the celephane!

Happy WOYWW to all, I need to go as I have 2 hours to get the shopping ordered or I'll lose my slot. See you at your place! 

Love Elliefantasy

6 Oct 2010


Well Hello There! This blog seems to be a bit of a WOYWW only zone at the moment but I will try to mix it up a bit, maybe with some non-crafty bits. Had a bit of a change and update, hope you all like it. For those that are interested in the the WOYWW game, then head on over here to Julia's place when you are done here. 

So, what do we have? Well I didn't get as much crafty stuff done as I thought last week, though I got a few new bits started and a few ideas in place. The pile of trays in the bottom left hand corner is for an attempt at the wonderful Wall Art, shown at Scrappy Sticky Inky Mess. The piece of paper on the keyboard is my sketch for the storage that was shown off last week, and I intend to make a page from it in due course. 

The stamps in the very bottom right corner are some Maya Road journalling stamps, and some clock stamps that I picked up at Ally Pally in April. They are sitting on top of a chipboard cover, which sits on top of all my uni photographs. There are not many as I was only there for 6 months, and I'm trying to see how easy it is to scrap about things or times that are difficult, as opposed to all the fun things that normally get scrapped. 

All the other bits are preparations for the Winter Holiday. There are some stamped Santa's in the middle with an attempt on distressing, though it was done with some cheapy ink pads that came from Hobbycraft. I like the technique, but I think I might need some of the proper bits to do it. The white envelope is actually a net that I am making, and one that finally worked. The proper net is ready as a jpg, just waiting for me to find some nice patterend A4 paper and the time and money to go to the copy shop and then get cutting.

Thanks to all who made lovely comments. I didn't get around everyone again, and think I might have to manage with the reciprical hopping just for the moment. Also thanks to those who commented on the dolls house. It is (like most things) a work in progress, a present that was brought when I first moved in with OH, and has moved 4 times with us despite his best attempts to have it sent to the dump. Aside from some help with screwing the roof on, it was built by my fair hands only. I would like it finished soon so that I can start to furnish it as a Victorian cake shop/restaurant. 

Bit of a waffley post today, I think I might need a more descriptive badge. Hoping that you all have a happy Wednesday, and I'll see where we get to this week. 

Love Elliefantasy xxx

29 Sep 2010


Hello again WOYWW'ers! Sorry for the long absence, I've just been inundated with work nonsense so haven't been able to play. But I'm off work this week, having a well deserved holiday (well I think it's well deserved!) If you want to see what this is all about, then hop over to Julia's place where it all started, and have a look at the lovely desks on show.

I know its a bit of a mess, which is explained below, but there are some cards on the front, all made up last night using a Craftwork Cards kit that I got a Stamperama in Stevenage in Feb, and haven't been able to work out until now. The picture frame by the right-hand monitor is from Ikea, just right for making myself a desk calendar for work for next year. And yes, for those that make the picture bigger, there are some screws on my desk, again to be explained below. 

So, what have I been doing to make so much mess? Well I've been spending some of my limited time making plans for some improvements to the craft room, which includes an Expedit!! Thanks should go to Ikea, who very generously decided to lower the price of the units just in time. We poodled off on Monday to pick up the shelves, a couple of cupboard inserts and some boxes to go with some that I already had, but can't remember where they came from. OH suffered himself to help me put them together and Tuesday they were put up, along with the leftover CD rack above the desk, which now holds the handmade storage boxes previously mentioned. I must apologise for the slightly wonky picture, but the unit that holds the paper and dolls house is opposite the Expedit and so I don't have a lot of room to get the unit in frame. But its here, and its mine and its so organised!  (for those interested, the silver boxes are the pre-owned ones) 

However, this is a picture of all the bits behind it which still don't have a home, and the offending unit which blocks pictures of the new toy. No matter how many times I try to organise, there are still bits and pieces that can't be classified and don't have a proper home. So they must live on the floor until I can think of a place, or use them.

Enjoy your Wednesday, I'm going to have a proper wallow around everyone's desk whilst spending a whole day of crafty goodness! Hooray for holidays!!! 

Love Elliefantasy xxx

19 Sep 2010

Normal Service will resume soon

Things for me have been exceptionally busy at the moment. Work is just about manageable but at the expense of having much of an evening, and this weekend has been completely absorbed by the wedding of two very close friends. Every time I get close to doing something crafty there seems to be a distraction. WOYWW has been missed twice and I have even had to put a mini-pause on Learn Something New as my e-mail has decided to play up as well.

But I only have 1 more week to go before OH and I get some well earned time at home. I have a few projects in mind, some new, some that need to be finished off. I am hoping that I can get to the last remaining things to be done to the craft room. Ikea have just reduced the small Expedite Units, and after a think and ponder over the merits of Ikea vs Argos furniture, I have decided to go for Ikea and Expedite. I only need a 4x2 unit (or 2 2x2) and some baskets to go with and on top, and the cost and quality just outbeats Argos every time. 

The Wall Planner frame has now been purchased, and all it needs is for the months to be printed, and the little flaggies to be made for the birthdays and anniversaries that need remembering. The self made storage is ready for the CD rack to go up. The CD rack is not yet ready as we need to drill at least 2 more holes to make sure that it doesn't fall down on top of my monitors. And I have to make a decision about the feature wall. 

So hopefully at the end of the month there should be a lot of posts about crafty stuff and crafty space. Apologies to all who might have popped in only to be bored with the same images. Normal Service will be resumed soon I promise!

10 Sep 2010

Learn Something New 2010

Sorry everyone but we're having a bit of a cheating post today. This week has been so so mental at work that I've not had time to keep up with life outside of it. I didn't even have time to WOYWW this week :(  But I did manage to catch up with LSNED last night and this evening, so here are my posts. This should roughly keep you up to date with what I've been doing and I'm hoping that I can dig myself out of this hole during the weekend to do some proper posts and some layouts. 

Love Elliefantasy

4 Sep 2010

Learn Something New 2010

Here are the posts for 2nd & 3rd of September. Sorry for quickie post today but relatives are all about to descend. Been up since 7 (why can't I do that in the week when I need to??) and all tidied by 9am. So I've had 2 and a bit hours to catch up with Shimelle whilst sneaking peeks out of my window to see if they have arrived (even though I knew it wouldn't have been them, another lesson there I think!) 
Full pic-a-nic report tomorrow, and hopefully i'll be able to get some nice photos as well.

Love Elliefantasy xxx

2 Sep 2010

Learn Something New 2010

Ok, so here is post 1 for LSN 2010. All done digitally and all my own work (though I did pinch the paperclip from a google image search) 

Still not sure on the format, especially when I've seen everyone elses lovely paper albums but I just don't have time to do a paper one, and I needed to get started with something. The bonus with digital is that if I decide I don't like it, I haven't wasted a scrap in the process. 

The story behind the lesson, or should it be a reminder, is that my mum & stepdad are coming for a visit this weekend. I had invited stepsisters, step bruv-in-law and supercute nephew, but as it was a bit last minute I didn't expect that they'd be able to come. But I got a phone call last night from mother to say that big sis is coming with nephew!! Hooray!!! I am very excited as its going to be the longest period of time that I've seen him. (Its also good practice for the OH, as I'm slowly starting to brainwash him into the merits of a little addition!) So its a good reminder for me that sometimes the things I wish for do come true. Fingers crossed for the lottery this w/e!!

Love Elliefantasy xx

1 Sep 2010


Good morning WOYWW's. How goes it today? Very glad to be able to join this week, after my aquazorbing exploits at the weekend (Layouts to follow) I've gone for a left desk shot this week to add a bit of variety (and because the only thing on the normal space was a half eaten cookie) 

So what's about. Well at the back you can see my trusty clip it up, where I store most of my embellishments, peel-offs, alphabets and a few other odds and sods. And the green  box in front where the scissors are peeking from is the work of most of Sunday afternoon and a bit of Monday. The tubes are 4 of the toilet rolls that were on the desk last week, covered with paper picked from a digi kit. 

The box to hold them in, and the 4 boxes currently sitting on the shelf above the desk (second pic) are all made from a quick sketch and a net I made from 1 sheet of 12x12 white cardstock, covered in the same paper, though it only covers the front and not the sides. I was intending to make a carrier for them myself from an innocent and unsuspecting cardboard box, but then I remembered the CD racks that the previous owners had left us (so kind) and measured them up just in case. Thanks to some flukey measuring, 2 of my boxes fit in one section of the cd rack. So I can have that put up under the shelf that carries the blank cards/craft robo/xyron, so long as its going to be secure and wont fall off and smash my monitors. 

So I have some custom made storage, and the best part is it's FREE!!!  Even OH was happy with that (though not chuffed that the shelf fixing hasn't yet stopped) There are still 2 free sections of the rack, which I am hoping will hold my jars of eyelets and brads as they are currently by the windowsill, which is not useful at all. 

Hope you enjoyed this stop on the tour of desks across the world. If you want to see more, stop off here and have a nosy with Julia and the rest. I will will will will try and get to everyone over the week and leave more comments that I have managed in the past. There are just so many lovely desks belonging to lovely ppl that its quite a thing to get about. But here's hoping for another try. 

Love Elliefantasy.

31 Aug 2010

Learn Something New 2010

Just a quick one tonight, to show off my page template for Learn Something New, Shimelle's new class that starts tomorrow. Been sweating over it all weekend, as I want it to try and reflect my schoolday self a little. Tried loads of different directions, but I think i've got it cracked now. 

No cover yet, but I have a clear idea in my mind and a month in which to do it. For those that might be slightly confused, the two doodles along the left and bottom are my favourite 2 doodles. The bottom one was a challenge that I remember, in that you have to create that shape without going over a line, or lifting your pen. There are several ways of doing it, and it can be done at any time, on the phone, in the shower etc etc etc. 

Handwriting was done using a mouse and my right hand (i'm a leftie!) so I'm quite pleased with it. Not sure what the class is going to entail so a nice big space is really useful. And that's about it.

If you want to join in, its here on Shimelle's site. I loved her Blogging for Scrapbookers, and this one looks just as good. And i'm doing it with Mum so I already have 1 buddy to swop ideas with. I'm planning to play along and do my blog posts so you might get a bit unindated, please bear with me. 

Love Elliefantasy xxx

25 Aug 2010


Hello WOYWW People. I would like to present to you a desk that has a finished item on it! And, more of a shock, its a full sized layout! 

Taking a general view, the piece of funky paper on the very left is designated as the backing for the picture of me, and his Royal Highness, Sir Winnie of Pooh. I've cut the edges from a piece of matching blue card (somewhere in the pile underneath) but haven't managed any more. Layout is in the nice clear space of desk in front of the keyboard. I finished the brackets from last week, with the help of some more glossy accents and some little iridescent flower embellishments that I found. Not good for the posture and I have glossy accented fingernails, but the overall effect c'est tres manifique! 

The green things that look like toilet rolls are in fact......toilet rolls covered in green printed paper from a digi kit, to be turned into pen pots. They were supposed to be all finished now, but my printer decided to run out of ink, so I need to get that filled up. I really need to get more stuff off my desk so that I can spread bits out that are halfway through and need to dry. They currently occupy the roof of the unfinished dolls house that sits behind me. 

So that's WOYWW. Why not head over to Julia's to see what's about on everyone elses desk. Always heaps of fun.

Lots of Love, Elliefantasy xx

19 Aug 2010

WOYWW (better late than never)

No, you don't have to tell me today is Thursday, I know. I have had a butt bustingly busy 2 weeks at work (to the point that I had to drag myself from my bed into the pouring rain on Saturday morning) and I just didn't want to play yesterday. But as a treat (sort of) this pic to the left is my desk as it sat at half past five. Quite clear now, all I have to do is dig my way through 55 e-mails! No bother!

This pic is of my workdesk, lovely and messy as normal. I have a half finished page for my nephew, the craft robo is sat in pride of place and I have the remnants of the packet of Planets that we got at the cinema on Friday. So far I have been able to keep OH from nicking my share, as he wolfed his down in one sitting. For those who saw Monday's post about the wonders of Glossy Accents, the stuff on the craft mat is the work in progress. I'm happy with the letters, and the flowers are to have little pink flowers put in the middle. Its the big brackets that are causing me inspriation issues.

And the other pictures are the finished tag book (hooray!) for those who wanted to see it finished. I haven't put any embellishments on the pages as I just didn't have anything suitable. So when I get to Tesco's tomorrow I am going to grab myself a few proper writing pens and write some little comments by the pictures to make up for it. I'm very very happy about how its turned out, and will be making another one very very soon. I just love the way that the book opens up like a cracker and then folds up so neatly. And for colours that were really only picked at random, they work together so well with the theme and the pictures.

Very excited to give it to its intended this weekend over a Jamie Oliver curry, all to preceed a work planned (well I planned it for work) day at the seaside (weather permitting). I have arranged a Photo scavenger hunt (well, I'm going to do one, that is tonights job!) for the kids and "not so little" kids so we'll see if we can get another minibook out of that. And at the start of September I shall be starting Shimelle's latest class. Maybe I'll even see you there?

Hope you had a Wonderful Wednesday. Hop and skip to Julia's to see what everyone else got up to this week.

Love Elliefantasy xx

16 Aug 2010

I love Glossy Accents!

I love the way that it just makes everything lovely and shiny, just like glossy bubble stickers! And I love that you can also use it as a glue and cover it in glitter!

Having spent a very large amount of my week at work, and postponed plans for the weekend so that we could both relax, I thought that it would be the perfect opportu
nity to do some scrapping. I finished off the Wooden Boat page (see below), had a go at a page to contain a couple of pics of my mum & I, and then stopped into Shimelle's a couple of times to see what was about. I decided have a go at a couple of her ideas, but not to worry about linking up, getting some inspiration, without the pressure of making things super pefect.

But once again when I sat down I found that I just didn't have quite the right bits to get the look I wanted to achieve, mainly with my titles. I like alphabet stickers (tho
ugh please don't get me started about rub-ons, they just don't work for me) but didn't have quite the right ones for the titles I wanted to do. But thankfully, my wonderful mother had posted up my new Craft Robo bits, so I decided to dust it off and have a go. My first attempt is still a work in progress as i'm still waiting for some inspiration, but tonights attempt is all finished and waiting to dry.

The font is
IFC INSANE RODEO from dafont, cut from bog basic white card. I went round the outline with the fine line end of my whispers pens (and yes I did stick out my tongue whilst trying to concentrate!) and then filled in the outlined bit with the Glossy Accents that I had found whilst having another bash at sorting out. And it looks really quite good, much much better than just plain white text. I was worried that I would waste quite a lot with such a heavy use, but I've barely even reached a fifth of the bottle! So be prepared for a whole lot more glossyness in the future.

And as promised, here is Wooden Boat finished. I have learnt to start embracing the "white" space.

Love Elliefantasy xxx