Tag Archives: family

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.


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!


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!


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!



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!


little life update

6 Sep

Hello lovely blog readers!! I just wanted to check in and say a little bit about what’s going on in FamilyFordham world at the moment. It’s all quite exciting and it’s what’s been keeping me very busy and very happy these last couple of weeks.

I began my new job on Monday as a teaching assistant in a lovely primary school. I do eventually want to become a class teacher but need some school experience and to settle my life down in terms of money before carrying on with further training. The first few days have been hectic and rather exhausting but brilliant at the same time! Yesterday a kid ate their wobbly tooth… That made for a very entertaining lunchtime!

Dave (aka husband!) is enjoying his new part time job as an administrator for a local church. He feels settled now and it fits in perfectly with his guitar teaching which he gets back into once the school term is in swing. It’s going to be so great to get into a life pattern, having our weekends free and making the most of our time together. Working and studying last year meant I worked 6 days a week and it never felt like I had a moment spare so this new way of living is very much welcomed!

I’ve been relishing the return of the Great British Bake Off (as you can probably see from earlier posts!) and have enjoyed pushing myself to attempt some of the technical challenges they set for contestants. I made the plaited loaf a few weeks ago and Mary Berry’s treacle tart this week! Friends and family are enjoying this new baking push!


I’ve also been enjoying some new cross stitch projects including my first commission (exciting!), a piece for our bathroom (you can see the beginnings of it in the picture above) and preparing for a crafty cross stitch Christmas.

I love having a blog on which to document my crafting and baking and life in general. Thank you to all who read and enjoy, it makes it that extra bit special!


holi holi holiday

30 Aug

Oh hi there! Sorry once again for the lack of postings over the last week. My excuse is once again camping related, I have been away with my family for the bank holiday weekend and can’t wait to tell you all about it! Also a massive HELLOand welcome to the lovely new followers, I hope you find some good stuff within this blog and feel able to comment and enjoy it.

camping montage… chilli. deflated air bed. morning snuggles with the puppy. pimped out land-rover. underage drinking. devon’s crazy roads.

Camping this bank holiday weekend with pretty much every single member of the Bridewell family was just what I needed before starting my new job full-time next Monday. One last hurrah of the summer holidays. It wasn’t without its mishaps (we seemed to be cursed around airbeds.. that’s two deflated on us within 3 weeks!) and taking 10-week old Gracie provided much laughter along with the occasional accident (thanks for peeing on Dave’s side of the bed and not mine Gracie!). We stayed at a campsite (Langston Manor) on Dartmoor in Devon where we used to go a lot when I was a child and I think there were about 17 people in our party- made for lots of excitement and funny memories.

national trust cotehele house and mill

Most of the weekend was taking up visiting national trust places. Husband and I are members (thanks to a gift membership from the in-laws) and love the fact that we can visit all these lovely historic places with amazing gardens for free. The first place we visited on a slightly soggy day was Cotehele house and mill. We enjoyed the art gallery and the beautiful garden and I enjoyed posing for photos with my gorgeous cousins!

another camping montage… my parents slept in tent on a roof. gracie being a good girl. camping fry ups are THE BEST. enjoying desserts in the campsite pub. gracie enjoying husbands pants- whatever floats your boat missy!

In between national trust visits we enjoyed the camping life. I actually really love camping food cooked on a little camping stove- I find it tastes much yummier than normal food, then again I’m normally wet, cold and very hungry by the time I eat it! The campsite has a lovely pub and games room which we enjoyed hanging out in and Gracie was making friends with everyone she met to the point that when she weed on the pub floor no one got angry at all!!

national trust buckland abbey

Our second national trust visit was to a place called Buckland Abbey. It used to be a monastery before King Henry VIII dissolved it during his reign. It was later bought by Sir Francis Drake (check out my learning skills!). I’ll remember it for the dressing up as Tudors and prancing around like loonies… it was a good morning well spent!

walking to an ancient wood with the puppy… in a bag!

After visiting Buckland Abbey the weather took a turn for the worse but that didn’t spoil our plans to visit an ancient wood on Dartmoor. Wistman’s Wood is special because it is so old yet the oak trees are not much taller than a man because the wind has prevented them from growing properly. They are covered in moss and lichen and that makes it a naturally beautiful place to visit. We had to walk about 2 miles from the car park over the moor which was going to prove difficult for little Gracie so my daddy put her in a rucksack and carried her the whole way! She was such a good girl and looked very content the whole time.

I always find camping really enjoyable (even if I end up with sleep deprivation at the end- thanks mr owl who kept me up with his twit twooing!) and with a massive group of family and friends it really makes for a great holiday! We’ve decided that August bank holiday weekend will become our annual camp out. Here’s to next year and what it will bring!


puppy update…

21 Aug

gorgeous Gracie (photo taken by my sister)

Just wanted to give a quick mention to this lovely little lady. You may have read about her here or seen all the #GracieB photos floating around on Instagram.

She came home earlier than expected so my parents have had her for about a week now. There was a bit of whimpering the first couple of nights but now she is settled and very happy in her new home. She is growing fast! I’m being kept in the loop via various photos and text messages and facebook posts but cannot wait to give her a cuddle when I next go back to the family home- that’s this Friday so not too long to wait! Expect an almost hideous amount of ridiculously cute photos then!!!


a golden year all round

11 Aug

Dearest blog followers you must excuse my lack of posting over the last week or so, I have managed to get my PhotoBook’s (a round up of my instagramming exploits) up on time but have had to abandon everything else. Illness, busyness and travelling here there and everywhere has been the cause but now I’m back safely staying in London for a few weeks and can resume my normal blogging amount.

So what have the Fordhams’ been up to? Well last weekend was a massive family occasion, my Grandparents Golden Wedding anniversary. That’s 50 years of marriage… what an inspiration! During the afternoon we spent celebrating lots of references were made towards the Olympics. Gold medals were handed out to any couple there who had made it to 50 years and metaphors we made between running a race and persevering at a marriage.

Husband and I have been married a little under a year and have a long way to go before hitting the 50 year milestone. We already know that marriage isn’t always easy. It’s about sacrifice, compromise, honesty, respect and above all selflessness. Putting someone else above yourself, considering them in every single action you make. That isn’t always easy but thankfully most of the time love makes it so. What I have discovered in the last year is that marriage is making me a better person. I’m learning to put others first, to show humility and above all put love into everything I do. That’s the thing about marriage it is a long race, less a sprint, more a hardcore iron man triathlon with many many obstacles thrown in but the crucial difference is you are not alone there’s two of you to battle through it… Together.

So how exactly did we celebrate this very worthy occasion? With lots of yummy food and lovely people of course! I was commissioned by my mummy to make 50 golden wedding related cupcakes. I went for chocolate with chocolate icing and a big golden heart on the top- kept it simple. We as a family packaged them in lovely cellophane bags with golden ribbon tied around to make them more like party favours and put one on every place setting.

We had a lovely three course meal at a pretty hotel in Salisbury. The staff went all out to make it special… I loved the decorated plates they did (you can see them in the picture above!) so sweet! The food was amazing. I had a chicken and bacon starter, followed by a proper beef roast with a lemon syllabub to finish. Delicious! We spent the afternoon eating, talking, reminiscing and topped it all off by watching the last few points that led Murray to gold in the Olympic men’s singles tennis (my Grampy is a MASSIVE tennis buff so to watch that with him was perfection!).

I love family occasions because I love my family. I am so blessed to have grown up within a 30 minute drive of pretty much every family member you can think of (aunties, cousins, great uncles… you name it!), it’s made us all incredibly close and makes me so excited for the future… I want any children I have to have them same. I am so grateful.
Happy Golden Wedding anniversary Gran and Gramps. You are beyond amazing and an inspiration to us all.

one sunny sunday…

22 Jul

As you begin to read this blog post I would encourage you to play this video in the background. Very appropriate I feel.

Yesterday, when the sun was shining (FINALLY!) and I was at home with my family for the weekend, I got to meet someone very, very special indeed.

Let me introduce you to Gracie…


I may be ever-so-slighty biased but isn’t she the most adorably cute, perfectly formed, gorgeously beautiful puppy in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD??!!!

When she grows up (which will all happen too quickly I’m sure!) she will be a golden retriever and the first dog my parents have ever had. At the moment she lives with her mummy (Molly) in a beautiful house in the Wiltshire countryside but in a month or so she moves in with my mummy, daddy and little sister and becomes a fully fledged member of the Bridewell household.

my sister and I with Gracie’s brothers

I’m sad I won’t be living with her full-time but maybe that means I get the best bits… a family dog without all the chewing and pooping and hairy furniture.

husband + puppies = CUTE!

Husband and I had such fun playing with Gracie and her three brothers yesterday afternoon. Gracie is definitely the most inquisitive and active of the lot. Good on you girlie! She give my hand a good (and very tickley) chew and made me giggle multiple times.

just look at that face!

Expect to see her gorgeous face popping up from time to time on FamilyFordham. We can’t wait to get to know her and watch her grow.

Love you Gracie B!


iced buns

3 Jul


the fordhams and the bridewells enjoying iced buns

Quite a while back I decided to embark into the land of bread-making. I only took a small step and decided to make some iced buns, they seemed the simplest and yummiest! I find I get regular cravings for iced buns, like proper have-to-have-one-straight-away cravings.

Here’s the recipe I used. It takes a bit of time (you need to let the dough rise two seperate times) so you may need to book out a Sunday afternoon and you have to eat them pretty much the day you make them but I feel it is totally worth it for the sticky goodness!

You will need:
For the dough
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 x 7g sachets instant yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 140ml water
For the icing
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 5 tsp cold water

How you do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

  2. To make the dough, place all the ingredients into a large bowl, holding back a quarter of the water. Stir the mixture with your hands, then slowly add the remaining water to form a dough and knead in the bowl for four minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, each about 70g, then roll into balls and shape into fingers about 13cm long.
  5. Place the dough fingers onto a greased baking tray, leaving space for them to double in size, then set aside in a warm place for 40 minutes. They should just touch each other when they’ve risen. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then set them aside to cool.
  6. For the icing, sift the icing sugar in a wide bowl and gradually stir in the cold water to form a thick paste.
  7. Dip the top of the cooled fingers into the icing, smoothing it with your finger, then leave to set on a wire rack.
  8. Serve and revel in the joy of sticky fingers!!!
There you have it a British bakery favourite in your own home.


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