Bookmarks and forts

Still down in Alex, and in between babysitting the nephews I’ve been getting creative with all of mum’s wonderful scrapbooking supplies, making bookmarks:

(The green one with a ribbon is one mum made when the temptation to join me in her crafting room got too great :-))

She’s got so many cool stamps and punches that I keep getting inspired with more ideas, so I’m sure I’ll add a few more bookmarks to the collection before I go home. The plan is to take them to DC in April, for distribution as the organising team see fit (at an hour or so’s work per bookmark, I’m not even going to attempt to make enough for everyone to get one!!!)

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my nephews (not so much with my niece, who screams loudly every time she sees me (I’d take it personally if it wasn’t for the fact she reacts the same way to everyone – she’s at that stage of extreme attachment to her parents, and nobody else is an acceptable substitute)), looking after them while SIL helps my brother out in the shop. We’ve been having lots of fun having water-fights, building an elaborate lego city (complete with a military base – they are definitely my brother’s sons!), and having adventures in The Pines (a small pine plantation/shelter belt on the edge of the town, which is just big enough and overgrown enough to be a kids’ paradise). We built a “really huge” (i.e. just big enough for all three of us to squeeze inside) fort out of fallen pine branches, around which my nephews constructed an elaborate game involving robots with super-powers – I had no idea what was going on, but they had lots of fun 🙂

New Year’s Eve tonight, but I doubt we’ll be doing anything special. When my grandparents were alive New Year’s was a big family event, but now I normally don’t even bother to stay up until midnight. I definitely don’t feel like going down into town to join in the drunken revelry – not my scene at all. I feel a good book beckoning… 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone

Down in Alexandra for a few days visiting family, but that didn’t stop me creating my now-traditional Bookcrossing Christmas tree last night. It’s just in a slightly different location than usual 🙂

Mum (TopKat) came and helped me hang the books, and was terrified we were going to get in trouble for it, especially when a woman came out of a nearby building and asked what we were doing. Mum was ready to run for it, but it turned out the woman was just curious, and when I explained bookcrossing to her, she thought it was a wonderful idea (she didn’t take any of the books though).

Just to bore you, the full list of books we hung (I couldn’t find enough Christmas-themed books, so I cheated and included a few summer-themed ones as well):

Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy
Christmas Cooking
Stories for Summer
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Highland Christmas by MC Beaton
Midsummer Meeting by Elvi Rhodes
Beyond Summer by Karen Young
The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
The Fifth Day of Christmas by Betty Neels
The Christmas Craft Book by Thomas Berger
Summertime by Maureen McCoy
This Year It Will Be Different by Maeve Binchy
Tomorrow When It’s Summer by Helen Brown
Little Benjamin and the First Christmas by Betty Forrell
My Book About Christmas by Joan Gale Thomas
The North Pole Express by Ryan Willms
The Christmas Story by Jane Werner
Cheltenham’s Party by Jan Wahl
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan

We went back down this morning and all of the books were gone, so hopefully whoever got them enjoyed their Christmas surprise 🙂

Anyway, better get back to the rellies (I’m at mum and stepfather’s place, and stepbrother and stepsister are here, plus stepfather’s mother and aunt, so it’s a bit of a big family Christmas).

Hope you’re all having (or about to have, depending on which side of the planet you’re on) a good Christmas!

I think it’s summer

Today’s been the first properly hot day we’ve had this summer (according to the metservice, the high was 33 degrees, and it’s still about 32 now, at 6.30 pm). Poor George has spent the day collapsing in one patch of shade after another, trying to find one that’s actually cool. Not a good day to have thick black fur! I, of course, spent the day much more sensibly… oh yeah, no I didn’t, I spent it doing a major pre-Christmas cleaning of the house – a totally dumb thing to do in this temperature, but today was pretty much the only chance I’d get to do it.

It doesn’t feel much like Christmas yet. There’s been the usual round of Christmas lunches and things at work, but in a half-hearted sort of way. I think everyone just wants to get this year over with – it’s been a pretty horrible one all round at the university, what with all the redundancies, then the earthquake, and then Pike River… Next year has GOT to be a better one!

Oh well, only two more proper days of work, at least. Technically I’m working on Wednesday, but I’ve got to go to mediation at the Employment Authority with one of the union members, which will probably take all day. Then from Thursday I’m on leave! Yayyy!!!! I’m so looking forward to this break!

Christmas is coming…

Suddenly it’s December, and all those little craft projects I’ve had in the back of my mind for ages have taken on a greater urgency.

You may remember that way way back in February I was cross-stitching a picture of a sewing machine and mentioned I had a plan in mind for when it was finished? Well, the plan which had occurred to me was to give it to Jenny, as inspiration for her sewing (as you may also remember, I’d been giving her sewing lessons at the time). I finished it not long after that, but then I thought I couldn’t really just give it to her unframed, but I couldn’t afford to frame it myself (framing cross-stitch is incredibly expensive if you want it done properly, because it needs to have multiple mounts so that the glass doesn’t touch the stitching – something that size would cost nearly $100 to be framed), so I struck on the bright idea of turning it into a cushion (which wouldn’t cost me anything, because I could do it out of my scrap fabric collection).

And then life got kind of busy, what with work, and union stuff, and then there was the earthquake, and before I knew it the year was almost over, and the cross-stitch was still sitting there waiting to have something done with it. So I decided this weekend would be a crafty weekend, and I finally got onto sewing it into a cushion:

It’s still got to have the stuffing put in, but my bag of stuffing is up in the attic, which I didn’t feel like climbing up into last night. Might get it down today while it’s light.

The other project I’ve been working on is little gifts for various people at work. This is one of those annoying situations where I’ve got myself trapped into a tradition. Way back when I first started working there, I used to give a little Christmas present to my immediate boss and to one other person who I had to work closely with. So that they wouldn’t feel obliged to reciprocate it would always be something I’d made myself – a jar of chutney, a bag of fudge, a little embroidered object. As our department merged with other departments and my immediate team expanded, the number of people who I made little gifts for gradually expanded to 3, 4, 5… I counted up this year, and there’s now 16 people I really should give a gift to! Not all of them I necessarily want to give a gift to, but they’re of the category where if I give something to X, Y, and Z, then it’ll look really bad if I don’t give it to W and V as well. I could just not give anything to anyone, but some of them I do genuinely like and want to show my appreciation to. So, having got myself into a corner here I’m now in mass production mode.

Luckily I hit on an idea this year that is relatively quick and easy, but looks like I’ve made a lot more effort than I actually have. I found some felt and sequins in the depths of my stash, and have been making little Christmas decorations. I can get through 2 or 3 in an evening, so I should be able to get plenty done before the last week of work.