Have yourself a very cross-stitched Christmas

20 Dec

Oh my goodness, time is whizzing by! It’s 5 sleeps ’til Christmas 2012 and I couldn’t be more excited about this years festive activities.

The husband and I are hoping to enjoy 2 weeks of home cooked goodness, his parents first, then mine, in a Christmas period that promises to be the most relaxing ever! I love Christmas, I love playing ‘teeth’ and ‘tip it’ with family, I love stuffing my face with all manner of waistband increasing treats, I love the St. Francis Christmas Eve candlelight service, I love singing the descant parts of Christmas carols really badly with my sister and I LOVE crafting lots of Christmassy goodness!

Christmas crafting is officially the best thing. Starting months before the big event it is sure to get me in the mood for the big day!

For this post I want to share with you how I have cross-stitched my Christmas: from candle bands to chutney labels, cake bunting to cards, I’ve somehow managed to incorporate cross stitch into every corner of Christmas this year (maybe not to my husbands delight!)
Have a gander, I hope that it may inspire you to pick up your needle and thread and have a go yourself. I have taken a lot of the patterns and inspiration from CrossStitcher magazine and have given the issue number where the pattern is from for all you fellow readers but have included links to The Making Spot website where you can also buy individual patterns if this is easier for some of you.

Decorations:

Our small flat is simply brimming with cross-stitched decorations. I love them because they are handmade and can hopefully last for years and years, maybe even become traditions and things I can show my children and grand children one day. Here’s what we’ve got this year…

cross stitched christmas robin

One cheeky little fella! The perfect quick stitch on plastic canvas to make a gorgeous decoration for any plant, we’ve spruced up Herbert the pot plant with ours. Pattern from Crossstitcher issue 258 (also available here).

cross stitched christmas wreath

A front door wreath that won’t be ready until next Christmas as I still have two more designs to add but this is how it’s looking so far! Using amazing patterns from issue 258 (available here), some plastic canvas and a £5 plain wreath from Wilko’s I’ve come up with a wreath I’m proud of and can’t wait to display next year (my favourites the gingerbread man… so freaking cute!)

crossstitcher star garland

A star garland hanging in the kitchen made using the free kit with CrossStitcher issue 257. Not sure how you can get your hands on this now but this free kit was amazing and had everything you needed to make this beautiful garland.

christmas cross stitch candle bands

And some candle bands, small motifs stitched in brown thread on a cream aida band (to match the colours of our living room!) to be wrapped around pillar candles. The top reindeer pattern was taken from the little booklet free with issue 257 of CrossStitcher and the bottom NOEL pattern was my own invention. These were a delight to stitch, so quick and easy!

Food:

cross stitched christmas jumpers

I literally squealed when I saw this amazing little jumpers in CrossStitcher issue 260 …. Literally. I also put down my needle on a big project and started these straight away. I just KNEW they had to be a part of my Christmas. These are going to be hung on string with little wooden pegs and attached to bamboo skewers before placing on Nigella’s spiced cake, the perfect Christmas cake bunting, jumpers on a washing line! (This is all happening this weekend, check my instagram for finished results!).

onion chutney labels

Another food-related Christmas cross-stitch is this one I am in the process of finishing. I am using some gorgeous veg motifs from CrossStitcher issue 257 (available here) to make labels for homemade chutney. These will be little gifts to our nearest and dearest and I’m hoping to get them all bottled and labelled this weekend… yes I know, lastminute.com!

Presents:

christmas cards

These Christmas cards were a joining of minds from the husband and myself. I did the cross-stitching and he made them look super trendy! I stitched two bauble patterns from the little booklet free with issue 257 of CrossStitcher. These gorgeous white and red motifs were the first stitch of the season and I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them. (The pattern for one of them is available for free here).
The husband then scanned my two cross-stitches and used photoshop to shrink them and create a lovely patterned paper with the two designs. We then cut the paper into strips and attached a strip onto brown card to create our Christmas cards. Simple, easy and homemade with a modern twist.

cross stitched heart gift christmas

I couldn’t do Christmas without making presents for people. When money is tight cross-stitched gifts are an excellent solution. I love how personalised you can make them, choosing the right pattern for your recipient and filling each stitch with love. I made this heart-shaped design for some special people to hang in their living room (really, really hoping they don’t read this before Christmas day now!!). The pattern is from an excellent book ‘Made In France’ (available here) and I love how it’s subtly christmassy, great for the season but also can be left up all year. My father-in-law makes frames so he provided the white rustic frame to finish it off. I love giving gifts like this.

So there you have it. The Fordham Christmas in cross stitched fashion. I hope this post has given you some inspiration towards making Christmas 2013 a cross stitched one!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Emily

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p.s you may realise that this blog has become a little neglected as of late..! I have now moved mainly over to Instagram where I photo blog my crafting and baking exploits. My username is emilyfordham and I have a lovely little community of fellow crafters over there. Come join us in sharing pure crafting goodness!

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one big instagram dump…

7 Oct

(aka photobook 28/9 & 5/10 put together!)

Life in (lots of) pictures recently..

mama sends me regular gracie updates/8 free cookies- thanks O2 moments!/new clothes including winter coat/new clothes for husband too- looking fit as/lovely lady at church gave me LOADS of cross stitch thread/friend at work made amazing iced cherry ring biscuits/empty London buses/sausage and cider casserole for Great British Bake Off watching/the perks of my job/the paralympic torch came to visit/baked for the MacMillan Coffee Morning at school/work drinks at the Drunken Monkey in Shoreditch- mine was a drunken pear cocktail/YES Christmas CrossStitcher/my favourite IKEA purchase: chalkboard fridge magnets/films on the iPad in bed/winters just around the corner, wooly jumpers and scarfs ahoy/Broca loving with my bestie/lego minifigures/mickey mouse jumper/really loving Nigellissima at the moment on BBC2- this is her Italian roast chicken with risotto- Fordham Style

Instagram: emilyfordham

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some recent cross-stitching antics (part 1)

1 Oct

No matter how busy I am I always manage to fit in some cross-stitching- whether that’s on the DLR on my way to work or zoned out in front of the TV after a long day (guilty as charged). It’s something I can do almost without concentrating, sometimes I freak my friends out by cross-stitching during a conversation- I can sew and chat at the same time.

Over the Summer and into this lovely Autumn I have managed to complete a few projects which I really can’t wait to share with you:

1. Herb Pots- from CrossStitcher Magazine (issue 254)

I started this little project way back in the beginning of summer. The minute I saw the idea in CrossStitcher I thought of one of my best friends (ex-housemate and bridesmaid) who loves cooking with fresh herbs and knew I had to make these for her birthday. I followed the magazine instructions to the t (even buying the exact paint they suggested) and have to say I was so pleased with the results! If I’m completely honest I didn’t want to give them away! I reckon the stitching took about 3 weeks on and off (some evenings and afternoons) and the tin painting and everything else was spread over two afternoons. All in all a delightful little project!


2. Bathroom Whale- from CrossStitcher Magazine (issue 255)

This pattern came in a set of three (other two ‘Beside the Sea’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’) but I was immediately drawn to the cute little whale. I changed up the colours so instead of navy thread on white aida I went for a navy aida with a cream thread the same colour as our towels. I wanted something to tie everything in our bathroom together and cross-stitch seems to have a way of doing just that! Sometimes I feel sorry for husband… I think the whole flat may be covered in cross-stitch soon!!! (frame from IKEA)


3. ‘Love’ Cards- own design

I spotted some heart shaped painted wooden buttons on a little card making stall whilst on holiday in Tavistock, Devon, over the summer. I bought them without hesitation knowing I could do something cross-stitchy (I’m making that a word now!) with them. I kept it simple, using thread that matched the colour of the button and stitching onto 14 count cream aida before fraying the edges and using a clear craft glue to attach onto brown card. I made about 6 in one go… hoping they’ll last me a while… I love not having to buy cards!

4. School Diary- from CrossStitcher Magazine (issue 256)

This project came about from my incessant need to actually have a project on the go! I had come to the end of some big projects and wanted to keep my little cross-stitchy hands busy… I had also just been given a lovely red school diary for work. Put two together, mix in a very appropriate set of school related charts from an issue of CrossStitcher and my rather over the top decorated school diary was born. I kind of love it though!!

So that’s 4 of my recent cross stitching shenanigans covered…

Yes there really is a part 2 coming soon… told you I’d been busy!

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I love my husband because… (no9)

24 Sep

He lets me take silly little photos all the time even though I know he’s not the biggest fan!

I am a bit of a freak when it comes to instagram-ing my life. 644 photos so far and counting! Dave is honest with me quite a lot about it, sometimes I get my phone confiscated (hehe!), sometimes he has a little moan but what I love about him is that most of the time he lets me get on with it. He’ll even pose in photos for me if he’s in a good mood. Thank you husband for being
so understanding… long may the photographic memories be stored!

 

there really is a Fordham Park in Deptford!

p.s. if you really want to see all 644 photos my instagram account is emilyfordham – I like to keep things straightforward!

p.p.s. if you do visit expect mainly photos of baking and cross-stitching. Just preparing you.

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photo book 21/9

21 Sep

cheese, grapes, boursin… yum, yum, yum/teaching my wonderful friend how to ice cupcakes/little notes from the children in my class/coming soon…/Sophie B came to stay, I made her a chicken lasagne/we drank pink fizzy pre-graduation/mortar board/journalism girlies/gorgeous canapes at graduation/Big Red in Deptford, eating pizza on a bus never gets boring!/graze box snacks satisfy once again/a spot of last minute baking (banana cake is just so easy!)

Instagram: emilyfordham

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I did it… I graduated!

20 Sep

cheesy grins all round!

Yesterday I celebrated graduating from Goldsmiths, University of London with a First Class BA(Hons) in Media and Communication.

I never thought I’d really do it… find a subject I’d want to study, finish a whole degree, get married in the process… and I NEVER thought I’d get a first. But somehow it happened and although I’m one happy bunny that it is all over with I also look back on the last 3 years as life-changing and wonderful!

I have made some beyond incredible friends, ones I know I’ll have for life, learned a lot about myself and been blessed to work with some amazing people in the Development and Alumni team. So thank you Goldsmiths. I know we’ve had our ups and downs but we made it. And actually now I am quite sad to have to say goodbye.

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Thanks for the many moments I will treasure forever.

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chewy oat and raisin cookies

16 Sep

oat and raisin cookies

I love love love my new job! It’s mentally and physically exhausting but bringing me so much joy in the process. I’ve made so many wonderful new friends and leaving the house at 7:30am every day isn’t even an issue (I may take that back in a few weeks as it gets colder and colder and darker and darker!). I have bonded with many of the teachers and other staff in the staff room over Great British Bake Off and now everything has settled down a bit after the back-to-school rush I decided to bake something to share with everyone tomorrow to avoid the Monday morning blues.

I wanted something simple and classic so settled on oat and raisin cookies. I love them because I normally HATE raisins but for some reason these biscuits make them totally tolerable… one may say even enjoyable! Plus they travel well and keep well too (although that may not be an issue once they actually reach the staff room!)

This recipe makes around 20-30 cookies (depending on how big you want them to be!) I think I got about 25 out of my batch. It’s astonishingly simple and I would recommend it for a quick baking session or for baking with children.

You will need:

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 75g raisins
  • 150g porridge oats

How you do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.  Grease 3 baking trays. Beat butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl (by hand or electric mixer) until pale and fluffy.
  2. In another bowl beat the egg with the milk and vanilla, then beat into the butter mixture. Add the flour, raisins and oats to the bowl and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  3. Put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays spacing well apart to allow room for spreading. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned (p.s. I needed all three trays and baked each tray separately so as to get an even bake on each batch).
  4. Remove from oven and leave cookies to firm up for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 5 days.

Verdict to be reached tomorrow after given the true staff room test!

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