That's twenty ten by the way not two thousand and ten. You have to say it the first way, it's the law! But here we are again, the dawn of not only a new year but also a new decade. I'm very happy to say that this Christmas was by far better than last, but more about that later.

This year has been very strange for me and a lot of it has come with a pretty steep learning curve.

I started 2009 freshly unemployed with a four year old who, lets be completely honest here, I didn't know an awful lot about. I know that sounds rather odd, because I'm her mum and all but still up until January 2009 she spent ten hours a day, five days a week in childcare and she spent time at my mum's house most Saturdays and Sundays. Apart from when she was sick, a little tiny baby before I went back to work or over holidays we'd never spent more than a few awake hours together. We had our good days and we had our bad days. Though I'm happy to say, mostly good.

In March I finally decided that I'd give my own business a whirl and opened a shop on Folksy. I'm really rather pleased with how my first year has gone and I'm looking forward to next year.

My little girl started school this year too.

My little experiment (that you may or may not remember) failed miserably after some horrible weather. Well it was horrible for Northern Ireland anyway!

And then before we could say Bob's your uncle, along came Christmas and here we are at the New Year again.

As years go I'm very happy and overall I'll be popping 2009 into the good year pile.

All I wish for you this year is that you find and are able to hold onto whatever it is that makes you smile.

Happy New Year everybody.

Oh Christmas Tree

When my brother and I were little my mum had one simple rule about her Christmas tree, "If my kids made it, it goes on the tree!".

Simple as that. Now with two kids in a very large primary school which managed to get through a mountain of toilet paper every year that made for a lot of TP decorations on the tree, but she didn't care because we made them.

I have exactly the same rule, though because Chloe's only four years old we're still building a up to a decent amount of her little handmade decorations. Until the day when she can single handedly fill our huge tree to the point it's at risk of falling over I'll fill in the gaps with things that make her smile.

And yes that box of Christmas decorations does include a green paper fairy, hand print angels, golden paper stars and a slightly mad eclectic mix of giant glass m&ms, fruit fairies, Mickey Mouse stringing his own set of lights a big blue penguin with a light pushed inside, a set of really, really gaudy glass ornaments featuring a lion and a monkey nut of all things, cushions (it's a big tree) and even a rubber ducky.

I have coloured lights because Chloe likes them and Christmas belongs to her inside these fours walls, so she gets her way.

And as if that isn't enough, there's even some tinsel chucked in for good measure.

There is no question that a child lives in this house:)

Merry Christmas everybody and a very Happy and hopefully relaxing New Year!

So there you have it...

Christmas Day has been and gone though the festive period will hopefully continue for a few more days to come.

The few remaining Christmassy wares have been delisted and packed away. A good old tidy of the shelves in a manner of speaking:)

I've been pleasantly surprised and more than a little chuffed at how well this year has gone for See the Woods Designs. I've been told over and over again that all new businesses make a loss in their first year. I'm very pleased to say that mine didn't, not even close:)

Even discounting my sales in December I think this has been a pretty good year for a fledgling business. I now have all of my different little processes in order so it's no longer a case of pure panic and "where in all of feck did I put the sticky tape last time I used it" when a sale comes in, which is nice!

This year has really brought it home for me that in order for this business of mine to continue to do well and to grow from what it currently is, I really do need to put the work in. I need to make sure that I never miss a beat or an opportunity.

The sales in December came so thick and fast that I sometimes felt that I wasn't having the chance to do anything else. My shop lay forgotten for weeks in the run up to Christmas because of my need to fill orders locally and now it is looking a little depleted. Of course it would be all too easy to look upon December's sales and think "oh yay, happy days everyone has found me on Folksy. I've put in the work promoting and now I can sit back and relax" but of course that's not going to be the case. Sales in December are all too easy to come buy, especially when half the UK was snowed in but still in need of Christmas gifts.

I'm sure that the next month will be an altogether slower and much much more relaxed period and I'm hoping to spend the time listing a few things and working on some new ranges which you will see popping up in my shop over the next few weeks.

I hope that everyone's expectations for this year have been met or exceeded and I hope for an even bigger and better 2010 for each and every one of us.

What happened to providing a good service?

I'm very aware that my posts in the run up to Christmas have been, shall we say, less than festive. For that I apologise.

But I'm more than a little befuddled as to why I'm currently sitting here having to fix Chloe's "professionally" taken school photograph. I'm glad I asked for the jpeg on disk rather than having the photo printed, but I'm wondering just what exactly I paid £25 for the privilege of.

Correct me if I'm wrong but this...

dark and dreary little offering probably isn't the best job a "professional" photographer could have done.

Robert bought my mum a digital photo frame for my mum and has filled it with photos of Chloe. She's always complaining that she doesn't have enough and I really wanted to be able to add her school photo into the mix before wrapping it up.

The addition of a bit of light and a warming filter helped a lot I think...

And I have a bit of a thing for cropped photos like this one recently....

And taken just a little bit further ...

I love that the difference in colour between her two eyes is a lot more obvious in the last one. It's her thing, she loves that one is brown and one is blue.

Ten minutes, total!! So why couldn't the photographer have done that?

My Poor Mum

She's having a really rough time of it lately and nothing we do seems to lift her mood.

It started with a handbag that my brother was buying for his girlfriend. When it was delivered to my mum's office she couldn't help herself and had to have a look at it. Of course she didn't realise that she had a dot of ink on her thumb which very quickly transferred itself onto the stupid bag which very quickly sucked it up like a sponge. Quick side note, Radley handbags made from incredibly soft leather probably aren't the wisest choice for a bag, not if you plan on using it anyway. That little flumox cost her £75!

Then she received a letter from the very lovely people at Disability Living Allowance who are clearly trying to get some money together for the Christmas party this year. Basically my grandfather died two and a half years ago in the early hours of the morning on 22 May. From what we can gather from the letter because he had the absolute cheek to die before midnight on the 22nd, DLA would like their money back for the period 9th May to 22nd May because he wasn't alive for all of it!!! Well needless to say that didn't put her in good mood either.

Neither did the fact that because she was absolutely seething in work over it a woman managed to confuddle her and walk off £157 better off by managing to get away without paying for her electric bill and a postal order. Alright, that one was my mum's fault because she wasn't concentrating but keep in mind that this woman comes into my mum's post office at least twice a week and chats away asking after Chloe and my mum's family and when you consider that her actual change should have been nothing but a handful of coins instead of the handful of notes she ran off, it really makes you wonder what is it about this time of year that brings out the worst in some people!! That's another £157 that will have to come out of her pocket if she doesn't set eyes on the woman again this side of Christmas.

My mum has always had a hard time at Christmas. She gets so wrapped up in the money side of things, somehow convincing herself that the more money she spends the better Christmas will be when in actual fact it always turns out to be the complete opposite, at least for her.

When it comes right down to it, although shops and supermarkets and toy manufacturers would love you to think otherwise, Christmas and money don't really have anything to do with each other.

I'm trying to get across to my mum that Christmas dinner won't be any more special if she buys the huge turkey and cured ham instead of the roasting chicken and a couple of gammon slices at an eighth the price or that Chloe's going to any more over the moon with the £200 go kart instead of the £40 one. Alright, the child said she wanted a Ben 10 go kart because she saw it on tv but I can tell you know she won't give a toss if she gets the plain black one with the 79p sheet of Ben 10 stickers slapped on it and better than that, her day will be the bestest in the whole wide world ever if we let her put the stickers on herself.

Christmas shouldn't be about money, but my mum has a hard time getting past that because when my brother and I were kids we didn't have any money and my mum usually borrowed to make sure there was something under the tree. Ever since then she's never really been able to overcome what can only be described as her hatred of all things Christmas. She's already trying to put a brave face on at a time of the year she can't stand and the slightest little thing gone wrong can send her into the depths of despair.

It's a real shame that something like money has ruined almost the last 30 Christmases for my mum. If I could just get her round to realising what Christmas is really all about.

Now I know that everyone has different opinions on what Christmas is really about, but for me Christmas is that its that special time of year when everyone (including your boss) agrees that you should have a few days off work and be at home. With family. With friends. With loved ones.

Whether you spend it at home curled up under a blanket by the fire, getting fat and merry, or driving clear across the country to be with ones you love. What it all boils down to is having a few days to just be together and no amount of pears covered in gold leaf and used as place settings on your table is enhance Christmas any more than it already is, just by having the people you care most about near to you.
So, is everybody ready for Christmas? Pressies wrapped, stockings stuffed?

That bit I've managed, though food is another matter altogether. I tried exactly the same method of organising the food for Christmas last year and it didn't work then either. Pity I didn't remember that it didn't work last year until I realised that it wasn't going to work this year either. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I did the same thing the year before that too.

Will I elaborate a bit, oh alright then. Its simple enough, at the beginning of December I set a day aside, head out to the shops and spend the day buying a colossal amount of food. I mean a monstrously huge amount of food. The reasoning behind this is that it should mean that come the end of December I still have loads of food in the house and only have to pop out before Christmas to pick up fresh bits and pieces locally like milk, fruit and veg.

Of course that isn't what actually ends up happening because what looks like a colossal amount at food at the beginning of December always seems to end up being the perfect amount of food for a month so I have to go again. On the 23rd of December!

So we're just going to have to bite the bullet and try and get through it in one piece. The plan is that we'll head into Bangor and I'll do the dreaded Asda thing by my lonesome while Robert and Chloe get to do the fun stuff like go to Spice and taste all the lovely cheeses, they're under very strict instructions that they must get brie for mummy and none of that pasteurised muck either, I'd enough of that when I was pregnant thank you very much. Then of course, they'll probably tottle over to Heatherlea under the pretence of picking up some bread but they'll actually sit themselves down with something gooey and delicious and a mug of hot chocolate and watch the madness outside. All the while I'll do battle with Asda.

You see I really don't like shopping for food this close to Christmas, I can manage if I have to get a few bits locally but I hate Asda and Tesco because you just can't get the idea across to some people that they're not stocking up for World War III, the shops will open again in a mere three days and it probably isn't necessary for them to wrestle in the aisles over a loaf of bread. I'll just have to put my head down and get it over with.

With a bit of luck I'll manage to get back out again in time to join the family for some of that yummy hot chocolate.

In other news, it has finally snowed here in Ards

Which has made me feel really Christmassy but it also means that tomorrow I will have to walk Chloe down to school in the snow which means that I will slip and land on my arse, likely in the playground beside the P7s who will laugh and laugh and then Chloe will spend the day telling everyone that didn't see it happen while I spend the morning in work sitting on a radiator trying to dry my bum.

Merry Christmas everyone.

The road to hell is not paved with legos

It's paved with beads!!

Thousands upon thousands of brightly coloured pieces of shrapnel cleverly disguised under the rather innocuous name, beads! They get everywhere and my fancy, newfangled, bag lessvacuum cleaner sounds like a machine gun. No matter how many times I empty that thing, there always seems to be a sneaky handful that manage to hang around.

This is pretty much been my life for the last few weeks, ever since I made my mum a bracelet as a gift, using up my rather modest stash of recycled beads and she mistook my generosity to mean "here's a bracelet, sell as many of them as you can".

And she did, bless her, the woman missed her calling! I've been completely blown away by how many orders I've had to fill for bracelets. I'm finally coming around to them as well and I'm enjoying making them rather than trying to fight it. I'm telling it's no easy task making jewellery with a little voice in your head telling you "you're not a jeweller, where's your knitting needles".

Purple, oh don't even talk to me about purple. I'm telling you, if you make any kind of jewellery at the minute and it ain't purple, then it's the wrong colour because after 18 purple bracelets and 4 rings I can finally say that there is not one single purple bead left in this house. Well, there might be in the vacuum cleaner or buried deep with the carpet fibres ready to jump out and attack me at any minute.

And I'm still not done. I still have to turn over orders for 14 more before Christmas and 6 more rings making a grand total of......wait for it.....

58 bracelets and 17 rings!!

I'm gobsmacked and I'm a knitter, precious little throws us let me tell you.

But we still managed to fit in a little bit of baking this week to make us feel a little more festive and yesterday Chloe and I made a batch of Meringue Christmas Trees. That's a pile of them all wrapped and ready to go to her friend's at my mum's house. If you fancy the recipe, for all that it is (easiest make ever) then you can find it here.

Now, I'm off to stop being such an ungrateful brat and finish these bracelets:)

Out with the old

Bob gave his notice at work this morning.

He was offered a new position with a different company and in a slightly different field last week and we've just been waiting for all the loose ends to be tied up and contracts signed before he handed in his notice.

Astonishingly, they were actually surprised ever though you'll remember that he threw the head up a few weeks ago and told them he was planning on leaving. Though employers often do suffer a selective memory so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that they are surprised.

This new position will be enough of a change that he won't automatically be labelled the "fixer" as he so often has been in the past. The new place have told him that they already have a bunch of completely new sites for him to get stuck into in the New Year which means that for the first time, in a long time he'll actually have the chance to see a job completed from start to finish rather than just spending his days fixing everyone else's dumb mistakes. He can't wait. Neither can I!!

This is the point were I'll be completely honest and you can call me a selfish cow if you like, but these past few months have been exhausting.

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and I'd do anything for him (scratch that, almost anything - you can never put a thing like that down in writing) but there really are only so many of another person's bad days that I can deal with. Now I know you're not supposed to say that, but sometimes I've had a bad day myself and I'm tired and can't be bothered but because I know he'll have had a bad day, I have to brush my day under the carpet, swallow it or just not think about it because we can't both have had bad days. One has to be there for the other and all that.

Hopefully though, a fair amount of that will be put behind us now. I've sat him down and given him a good talking to and reminded him that this job may not be the answer to all his prayers, that mythical company that only exists in rumours, whispered in office corridors and cubicles. "They only work a half day on Friday you know!" "I heard they give their staff huge Christmas bonuses", "I know a woman, and her friend's sister works there and apparently they're brilliant to work for if you have kids, so understanding!"

That company isn't real and he's been told that, but I have to admit that this weekend has seen him in the best mood he's been in, in a very long time.

Long may it continue!!

So this is what my blog looks like!!

We're hopefully now in the gentle slide down to Christmas and almost two weeks of blissful relaxation and cake eating.

We're all still here, including Chloe

Note to self, Leanne your phone is so old you might as well still be calling an operator and asking to be patched through. Stop using it to take photos!!!

I wrapped a few of Chloe's presents this morning and popped them under the tree. Obviously that's just asking for a whole world of pain but it had to be done eventually. A presentless tree is a sad looking sight indeed.

Chloe decided a few months ago that she doesn't like Play Doh any more. She packed it all into it's carry case, handed it to me and told me to give it away. Being the clever mummy that I am, I put it out in the garage instead. Usually when she decides that she doesn't like something, she's asking for it again in a week or so. I put the stuff out there almost three months ago now.

Anyway, I dug it out again last night and made a bunch of these little fellas. Hopefully the Play Doh will see a bit more action for a while.

They remind of me that Stretch Armstrong thingy from years ago. You can stretch them and squeeze them and pull them out of shape and they spring right back again, a bit like little stress balls only for a stress free four year old.

I've seen a ton of tutorials for these all over the place, but basically you just use Play Doh to stuff balloons and then draw little faces on them and top them with a pom pom for hair. You could use googly eyes too, if you happen to have them lying around.

Here they are all packed up inside the bag I got her from Nicsknots.

We have some good news too, but that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

The Big Switch On

On Friday night we made the trip, all two hundred yards or so, into town to watch the Christmas lights being turned on.

We knew the Mayor was going to switch the lights on at 7.30pm so when Robert arrived home at five we let him get showered and changed first and then went out for chips first before making our way down to the square.

It's always quite low key but it's nice, nobody's drunk and staggering about and there usually aren't any idiots about trying to spoil the fun so it's perfect to take a four year old to. We started off at the bakery for mulled wine (for mummy) and hot chocolate and fresh Christmas tree shaped shortbread that was still slightly warm from the oven. Then we had to make a quick dash into a local shop to get Chloe a Santa hat because everyone had them.

Pete Snodden was there and started off the night with a few songs and Robert and I sat ourselves down in the square with our shortbread and watched Chloe dance her heart out to "I wish it could be Christmas every day", there isn't a shy bone in that child's body.

Then of course there's the usual chance to win tickets to whatever is coming up, so this year it was tickets to go to Clubland and to see the Prodigy. Loads of people clamoured to get onto the stage for their chance to win the tickets and, dear love them, it was only once two girls were picked to go up for the Clubland tickets that they found out they were going to have a dance off to see who would win. I'd have been mortified but they both really went for it, although clearly one had been practicing in her bedroom at night and was the clear winner.

The theatres around Ards really did their bit this year too and Chloe had a chance to see her first fire eater and stood amazed right in front of him as he juggled fire too. There were stilt walking elves and HUGE dancing polar bears too.

There were also two fairground rides for the kids, one a little merry go round that is at the market every Saturday which Chloe loves and another one that would put you in mind of a mini waltzer for the slightly older kids. Chloe was desperate to get on it, but I was convinced she was too little and I knew Robert and I were too big for it, but the guy operating said she was fine and big enough. For once I bit my tongue and let her go....

£9.00 she cost me! She was on that ride 6 times, so clearly not a yellow bone in her body either!

Finally came the time to turn on the lights. Everyone, by this stage frozen solid, gathered around the tree in the centre of the square as the countdown began, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... and every light in the square came on, apart from the tree.

Have you ever heard a couple of hundred people laughing?

After a few minutes of fumbling with wires and plugs and what not the lights flickered and came on. The cheer was deafening and even Chloe saw the funny side.

It actually made the night even better that the lights didn't work on cue, probably to do with something being broken and getting to fix it.

It was officially the Christmas season in Newtownards and some stayed to shop. We went home, had more hot chocolate and went to bed.

Ding Ding - Round One

I've now had my first proper run in with Chloe's teacher.

Before the Halloween school break I went to the parent teacher meeting with a load of other mums and dads and amongst other things we were told that our kids would do PE on Wednesdays. Always Wednesdays! We were told that it would always be on a Wednesday so that we could plan ahead and know to dress our kids in something that they wouldn't have any trouble changing out of and into their PE kits. Fair enough.

We arrived at the school this morning and as we passed by the classroom door and into the cloakroom Chloe pointed out that all the PE bags were on their desks. Alright, I mean its not the end of the world. Yes, Chloe was wearing tights and her pinafore and her polo shirt with the buttons done up and her sweatshirt on over the top so not exactly the easiest outfit in the world to change out of but she can manage it, it just takes her a few more minutes.

We hung up her coat and put her bag away and as we were walking into the classroom one of the other kids arrived behind us with his dad. We walked into the classroom to see the four kids who had already arrived at school in the process of getting changed and, honestly I didn't imagine it, you've never seen four more uncomfortable looking kids in all your life.

The next thing I knew the teacher was clapping her hands and cheerfully telling all the kids, including Chloe, to go to their desks and start getting changed for PE.

My little girl wandered over to her desk and for a second looked at me before glancing at the dad now coming in the door behind me closely followed by someone from daycare dropping four kids off at school.

It takes a lot to phase Chloe and even without her being a bit upset by the whole scenario, it pissed me off greatly.

I clapped my hands loudly too. I'm nothing if not a fast learner and this is clearly the way to get attention in a classroom and told Chloe to go to her desk and wait until the bell rang, all the other boys and girls had arrived and her teacher had had a chance to close the door and draw the blinds before she was to get changed. Chloe looked grateful and the dad behind me and the girl from daycare immediately echoed my instructions to their own kids.

Once I was satisfied that Chloe was happy that she could wait until the parents of the other 20 or so kids still to arrive and anywhere in the region of 60 or so kids and their parents passing by the windows had all been and gone and she could dressed, I stood to leave and you could have knocked me over with a feather, I caught a glare from her teacher.

I've never been a shrinking violet so I glared back with a look that I think adequately conveyed the phrase "Try me sweetheart!" and then just to make sure I got my message across I walked over to her and very quietly told her that I was surprised that we hadn't been told yesterday that the day for PE had changed and that if we had been told we could have put our kids in their usual PE day clothes which they could change out of much more easily thereby negating the need for their teacher to try and get 15 minutes ahead of herself by publicly humiliating our children. I finished by saying that I'd be mortified and I'm sure she would too at the thought of having to strip to her pants in a wide open room with complete strangers wandering in and out and that while the children might only be four years old, they deserved the same respect and privacy that we would demand for ourselves.

She apologised and explained that it had slipped her mind that repairs were being carried out in the PE hall on Wednesday and her day had been moved forward. She realised that the children would take longer to change but hadn't foreseen any cause for concern at the children starting to change as they arrived.

Now I ask you. Are my standards really that high? Am I honestly asking too much when I ask that my daughter at least be allowed to change out of the gaze of a couple of dozen complete strangers? Surely not.

I think if our standards on the level of respect our children deserve while getting changed has differed to much on this matter I doubt this will be my last run in with her teacher.

The Penny

There is a penny on the ground. Just a single penny.

The penny goes unnoticed, its surface battered by years of wind and rain. It lies there, now tarnished and rough around the edges.

No one bends to pick up the penny. No one even sees the penny. It lies lonely and forgotten.

But the penny has two sides and while one side has taken everything the world has thrown at it and had its shine removed forever for its efforts, it has survived and in doing so it has saved the other side.

The side that whilst a little damp from the ground beneath still remains shiny and new. This side has been protected all these years and it lies there, sheltered, ready and waiting.

I've been thinking a lot about that side of the penny these last few days. The almost forgotten side of the penny.

All I have to do is stop in the street, bend and turn that little penny over. I can start fresh and new. I don't have to look upon the damage that difficult years have caused the penny because she has a new and shiny side, a fresh side.

I can remember the hard times whenever I wish. A coin has two sides after all and with the good there will be bad, with the right there will be wrong and with the dark there will be light.

I'm going to concentrate on the new side of the penny. The side that I've protected all these years.

I really hope everyone else that feels they're going through a rough patch and a low patch at the moment knows that they too will have better days. They too have a shiny side of their very own penny.

Well.....(deep breath and begin)

I'm back to work now, kind of. I worked two days, then Chloe got sick and I was off for three, then I managed a whole week, then Chloe got sick and I was off another day, but I'm back in work again and it has been a whole three days and counting.

I'm enjoying it, it's nice to be back working with real live adults again on a regular basis although the rest of life in general has taken somewhat of a battering though I'm slowly clawing back some semblance of a routine. Very slowly, mind you.

Going back to work hasn't had any effect on Chloe which I'm glad for. As far as she's concerned I still take her to school every morning and collect her again at the end of the day and I'm never late so she's happy. Though she's wanted to make doughnuts all week and dear love her I just haven't been able to fit it in, definitely at the weekend, I've promised her.

The last few days have been a little rough here though. We've had a handful of things which needed to be replaced and repaired, first the washing machine sprang a leak which wasn't that bad, then a radiator needed replaced and that really had to be done as it's getting colder by the day (why do these things never break in Summer), the garage roof was leaking pretty badly and we've managed to cobble together a pretty decent patch job but we absolutely have to replace that roof this Summer, there's no putting it off again this year, plus a handful of other smaller things which while they aren't much on their own they all added up to put a fairly substantial dent in any money we had set aside for things like that. I mean you expect repairs, just not all at once!

I've been soaked to the skin twice today and I'm started to feeling a bit frayed around the edges.

My mum had to go to London on Tuesday with my aunt for some legal bits and bobs and even though I spent the weekend printing off little maps for her to prove that Oxford Street is a mere five minute dander from Harley Street and they could spend a bit of time window shopping and ogling the pretty but very expensive things, the two of them still spent all 10 hours bar 90 minutes in the middle in Liverpool Street Station. Honestly, only my mum could do that.

And then, wait for it this is the cherry on top, the husband's boss has been pestering him to go on yet another training course at a week's notice which will have him away over night, for yet another system that he doesn't even use on yet another site that he's never even been to. We're talking about a company that does pigeon hole staff so if he hasn't seen the system to date, chances are he never will!

Obviously he didn't want to go, for various reasons. His passport's out of date and while you can travel on a driver's license on some flights you can't on others and the lack of a passport makes travelling a pain in the backside and a much longer experience seeing as you can't check in online without one. Also, he's been feeling really rough himself the last couple of weeks and he and Chloe seem to be just passing coughs and boogeritis back and forth between them and if our luck lately is anything to go by, he would say he could go and then get taken down by something really bad and have to cancel. Let me tell you, those courses don't come cheap. Plus, I've mentioned the cash flow took a hard hit and the way the trips usually work is that you cover yourself while away and then claim it back on your return and we just can't afford that this month.

Anyway, they pushed it and pushed it and pushed it some more and then called him to the office to chat to the boss about why he didn't want to go and after a particularly sticking day he lost the rag and said he was looking for another job and didn't want them to waste their money on him when plenty of the guys would be grateful for the chance to go on the course.

Nope, not a good move.

Even though he's the guy that spends the vast majority of his time fixing everyone's stupid mistakes (reason 1 why some of the other guys could do with training!) we're also talking about a company that have been perfectly happy to cut their noses off to spite their face in the past so he's basically waiting now for them to tell him he's sacked.

Merry Christmas eh?

I've mentioned it to a couple of people and now have about half a dozen solicitor's ready to sink their teeth in if anything does happen. In all fairness, the last year or so has been very quiet for them! But still even the thought of it is, quite honestly, scaring the crap out of me.

I could do without this. I could really do without this. I could completely and utterly do without this.

The rarely shakeable Leanne, is quaking in her boots.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

40 days left. I can't believe it and I'm starting to get that real child like excited feeling.

I really enjoyed reading all of your lovely comments on the giveaway post and I have to agree with each and every one of them. There are just so many things I love about Christmas, mostly that I get to spend a handful of completely uninterrupted days with family. No work, no phone calls, no emergency emails. It's pure bliss.

If I had to say one thing I didn't like about Christmas it would be the shops. They seem to start into Christmas just a wee bit earlier each year and the adverts on television really seem to be aimed at every one's panicky side, don't they. I love Christmas but for me, Christmas shopping is something I do when I'm wrapped up warm in all my layers and scarves with a cold nose and the steam rising off my breath. For years past when I would be working in the run up to Christmas, its also something that I now think I should be doing in the dark in Belfast, able to see all the Christmas lights fully lit.

Anyway, you're not interested in all this. I'm supposed to be drawing the winner of the giveaway.

I always use Random.org (I like a bit of randomness too) and from 33 comments, Random picked........ number 27.

Congratulations to Oddsox, the winner of my Christmas Giveaway*. As soon as I get Oddsox full postal address I'll begin stalking her parceling up her winnings and get them sent off as soon as possible.

*The title "Christmas Giveaway" does not mean that there will not be a further giveaway before Christmas, though I may have to call it "Christmas Giveaway, The Prequel", prequels are all in at the minute, aren't they?

Do not pass go.

Oh this house looks like a bomb's gone off.

After a week of Robert being at home (the ultimate mess maker) followed by a week at home with Chloe while she was sick (mess maker's apprentice) my house is a complete and utter wreck.

Never mind the fact that after mentioning here that while I didn't actually need the money that going back to work would provide, it would be nice to have a bit extra to stash away for Christmas and emergencies, like if the washing machine died. Yep, you guessed it, the washing machine died. Well not died exactly, but a huge hole in the rubber door seal and water all over the kitchen floor does put a stop to laundry day. After replacing the door seal yesterday, I'm now ploughing through a full week and a bit's worth of laundry. Just a little tip as well, if a washing machine repair guy tells you that replacing the rubber door seal on a washing machine is a complete and utter nightmare and something that you want to pay a professional £100 to do, he's lying. It is a two person job, but only because it's a lot easier if one person holds the circular springy thing in place at the bottom of the seal while the other person stretches it up and over the top. Totally doable on your own, but easier with two and £15 later my washing machine is on its sixth load and I'm a happy bunny.

Also, by Friday Chloe was great and definitely on the mend after what I still think was a tummy bug but what her doctor said had symptoms like swine flu. All day Friday she was great and stuffing her face after not eating for a few days, she slept like a dream on Friday night and was great all day Saturday. She went to my mum's house on Saturday afternoon and again, yep you guessed it, she's sick again. My mum just called to say she was vomiting again last night (something she hasn't done since Wednesday morning) and she was up all night coughing and crying so I'm probably looking at a few more days off work at the minute, but I'll see how she goes later this afternoon. Of course, this only enforces my belief that the world is filled with disease ridden carrier monkeys and my daughter is only safe from these nasties when she's at home with me (my issues and yes I'm working on them).

Robert's sick too and currently looks like death and at the minute he really doesn't think he'll be fit for work tomorrow, considering that tomorrow he's supposed to spend the majority of the day about 30 feet in the air perched on top of a scissor lift and he's dizzy standing on terra firma at the minute it's looking more and more unlikely that he'll be able to manage it.

The cat has taught herself how to hunt and I opened the back door this morning to be greeted by her first headless little present. I'm not entirely sure if it's her first confirmed kill or not, but I'm not going out there to look for any more. Oh the joys!

So in short what I'm saying is that I'm going to put the kettle on and have a coffee. If I tidy away all the toys and crayons and books, they'll only be dragged back out again, if I fluff cushions they'll quickly be flatten.

Sometimes, mummy needs a day off too.....

Labra Kadabra - The World Famous Magician

Earlier this week the very lovely Hotdog and Me posted a thread on Folksy. Simple enough, she would send a sock dog kit to the first ten people to comment on the thread and all of our crazy makings would be listed in the Crafteroo Shop on Folksy in support of Children in Need. She sent out 12!

Anyway, I was all over it like flies on ... ahem!

I had a couple of ideas floating around my head and decided that I'd make my mind up when the kit arrived.

The very next day, my postie knocked the door and there was my parcel....

Yes, I know the drill. Receive a parcel, take a photo, post the photo.

Impatience thy name is Leanne.

After a couple of days of fitting in little bits of stitching here and there during sickipoo nap times, Labra Kadabra is finally finished.

I should probably mention that he's a world famous magician because he isn't very good at magic.

Check out that poor bunny!

He was listed in the Crafteroo Shop on Folksy a short time ago, but you can't have him.

He's sold already and will be heading off to his new home first thing tomorrow.

However remember now, 12 kits were sent out and Labra is only the warped result of one of the kits, so keep an eye out in the shop. They'll be popping up quite regularly, although if Labra was anything to go by, you'll need to be quick. Really, really quick.


Chloe is very ill at the minute with who knows what and has been since about noon yesterday. I'm not saying the S word because everyone with a case of the sniffles has it, but she is really very ill and only managed to hold down water for a first at lunch time today.

Anyway, this is me saying I won't be around for few days or so, far more important things and all that...

I hope everyone else is having a better time of it at the minute and if I don't see you, have a lovely weekend.

My Last Weekend

I go back to work on Monday. This Monday. As in not tomorrow but the next day. Two more sleeps.

Whose bright idea was this anyway!

I only realised this morning that all of my work clothes, suits, shirts and stuff are in vac bags in the loft. They were dry cleaned before I packed them away and they're airing upstairs now (thanks to Robert).

I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I'll not be able to cope with the amount of things I've been doing once I'm back at work. The zine will probably be shelved for a while at least until I sort myself in to some semblance of a routine and work out exactly how much time I have to spare. I'll be finishing an issue this weekend for Christmas. In truth I should have had it finished a week ago but I've been inundated with unexpected orders in the last two weeks. A few smaller versions of my daisies have been sold through a local shop. The first one sold very quickly and then the shop owner received a call from a customer who ordered the next two sets which the shop owner had asked me to make so they won't make it onto the shelves either!

At the last count my mum has now sold 22 sets of my prim style Christmas trees. The woman just keeps taking more and more orders without any regard for when I'm going to make them:)

I can't complain though. Typically I'm now so busy I could actually do with not having to go back to work, but it will still be nice to have some extra cash to throw aside for those just in case moments. You know the ones, washing machine giving up the ghost or my good self managing to knacker yet another iron or kettle!

Chloe's been asking more and more about when I'm going back to work. Specifically she asks if she'll know when I go back to work. I think she's a bit worried that there'll be changes but I'm trying to put her mind at rest that everything for her will remain the same.

I've explained to her that she will be staying in school for lunch from Monday on and that she would be doing that anyway even if I weren't going back to work. She's fine with the lunch thing and I think after a few days of still being dropped off and collected from school by me she'll realise that it will all be fine.

If anything she'll actually arrive home to a clean and tidy home instead of the bomb site I only realise I've created each day at noon leaving myself absolutely no time to pack everything away before collecting her.

I've a freezer full of meals and other bits and pieces like cookies. I'll still try and cook fresh everyday but at least I know they're there in case time gets away from me. I feel a bit better knowing that I have a fall back.

Robert's going to have to figure out something else to do during the day because he won't have me at home to ping IPs for him. Poor soul, he'll just have to think of something else.

Now if you'll excuse me there are a half finished pair of gloves calling out to me and I need to get back to them before second glove syndrome kicks in.

The Ulster Museum

We decided that Tuesday had just the right amount of rain and wind for us to make the dash from the car to the Museum without getting soaked to the skin (FYI I didn't take the following photos, but I can't seem to find who did to give credit).

This is the Ulster Museum that I remember, the one I went to visit as a kid to see the dinosaur exhibition and the Spanish Armada exhibition when they travelled through Belfast. The is the Ulster Museum that was worth a visit for the building alone...

This is the new "improved" Ulster Museum, the only version of the Museum that Chloe will remember....

Not what you'd call sympathetically restored, I think you'll agree.

The new museum has lost something for me. Actually it's lost quite a lot for me. The museum is now based around a central atrium with rooms and displays leading off the atrium. I'm sure to a lot of people it's very pretty (on the inside) but the museum has lost all of its flow. A lot of effort must have went into the arrangement and layout of the original museum and displays because you were naturally guided around the museum and past each and every exhibit without even realising (and not a multicoloured line on the floor to be seen).

That flow and natural progression through the museum has all gone now. I found that we were constantly doubling back on ourselves, going in circles and just generally missing loads of the exhibits. We referred to the map (yes a map) over and over again but just found it rather frustrating. I'll maybe go back again myself to try and find a path of my own through each of the rooms and then take Chloe back at a later date.

The exhibits that Chloe was most interested in like the triceratops were for some reason I've yet to figure out, in the middle of a stairwell at the side of the main atrium which made it virtually impossible to stand still for more than a second or two to look at them without being bumped and jostled by other people trying to get to other parts of the museum. All paths lead to that damn atrium making it a very unpleasant place to spend any time.

Its supposed to be light and airy and the illusion of light and air is there in abundance but there's actually seems to be less space to move through the exhibits, the walkways are narrower and cramped and this isn't helped by the fact that nobody seems to know which direction to go in, it was so much nicer in the old building when everyone was travelling in one direction. Still the displays are nice and the coffee shop smelt lovely. It will maybe be a lot better once its been open a while and everyone remembers that they never bothered with the old museum so why bother with the new!

It's comforting to know that once the frustration becomes too much to deal with a short hop, skip and a jump away.....

Is a truly beautiful building. So help me, if anyone ever decides this needs a revamp, I'll hunt them down.

Again, you'll notice sunshine. It did not look like this on Tuesday, but the Palm House is still very impressive and on a sunny day the Rose Gardens are a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

I'm really starting to think that there is one architect in charge of redeveloping Belfast and his tool kit is comprised of a ruler and pencil. If Belfast is on your list of places to see, I'd be inclined to bump it up somewhere nearer the top of the list because if this guy is let loose on much more of it, you may just as well go to Legoland for the day!

I'll admit that I'm probably a bit biased because of my hatred of new buildings (but I hate them because of the complete lack of imagination, a four year old can draw a mish mash of squares and before anyone points out the Waterfront, a four year old can draw round a plate as well). I like my buildings with a bit of character, with nubbledy sticky out bits. Buildings that at least have something to say for themselves. Buildings that don't have severe design flaws such as a full width stairway leading to a doorway little more than a foot in width or stairways which lead nowhere at all, other than straight to a brick wall.

I will say though, that somewhere in the museum (you'll have to excuse me because I haven't the faintest idea where I was at the time) I did catch a glimpse of one of the old set of tall glass paned double doors with the old black and white tiles on the other side and my heart melted for a second.

I'll stop myself now before I question the reasons why the Ulster Museum felt that a guy in overalls with a paint roller and tray deserved the dedication of entire rooms to his "work".


I'm a great believer that a good night's sleep can cure all ails. Alright maybe not everything, but if I'm feeling down, a bit under the weather or when I've just had a particularly punishing day that leaves me heading to bed with a thumping headache, a sound sleep will leave me feeling ready to deal with anything.

But what about when I can't sleep and sight's like are all too familiar...

A couple of weeks ago now (I think, it feels like a couple of weeks) I woke in the wee small hours convinced someone was trying to get into my house.

I heard a noise, a cracking and popping noise that I'd heard before years earlier at one of those "Why you need a security alarm" talks given by a salesman in the company I worked for at the time. I was only 16 and an office junior at the time, but had been asked to go along, take all the names and hand out tags and info packs. During the talk the salesman brought out two pvc double glazed windows and proceeded to carry out the demonstration that most pvc salesmen at the time were doing. He took a hammer and tried with all his might to break the window all to no avail, it cracked and cracked but remained in the frame and was bloody noisy into the bargain.

Then he turned to the second window and using a butter knife proceeded to pry the seals away from the edges of the frame*. Some of the clips holding the glass panel in place broke and made a cracking noise while others merely slipped from their slot with a soft pop. It was very quiet and a bit disturbing.

Not as disturbing as lying in bed 12 years later at something like 3am listening to the very same noises!

So now I'm wide awake, bolt upright in bed wearing my pink jammies. The only thing I can honestly say I heard was my own heartbeat as my blood pressure raced for the 100, but at the time I heard footsteps, outside on the gravel path at the front of my house and inside creaking on floorboards.

I got out of bed and lifted one of my new rocks from under the bed, a perfectly serviceable weapon in a pinch because it weighs half a ton and has a metal plate or six surrounding the sole. I carefully opened the bedroom door and looked down the stairs only to be faced with the familiar glow of a lamp shining from under the living door. I moved quickly and quietly down the stairs and along the hall before resting my hand on the, really rather rattly handle because Chloe swings on it, and I flung the door open wide.

Nothing, not a soul to be seen. I pulled the curtains back and checked the windows, locked and intact. I checked all the doors and every single room in the house thoroughly, nothing just quietly snoozing babes and husbands. I stood by the front door for what felt like an age with only the sounds of my only heart and ragged breath in my ears before setting the alarm and going back upstairs to lie staring at the ceiling until morning cursing Robert for having left a lamp on.

I haven't slept since. This is one noisy git of a house at 2am. It creaks and groans and pops and makes some of the weirdest sounds I've ever heard as it cools down for the night and warms up again after sunrise.

It's made me realise that something has changed. I've said again and again countless times that my house is like Fort Knox and yet in going on for seven years in this house I can count on one hand how many times I've set the alarm at night and I almost never set it during the day if I'll only be gone for 30 minutes (which I know from the experience of friends is just enough time to remove all valuables from a home, in fact it can be done in 12).

I always felt completely safe in this house, this street, even the entire neighbourhood but what bothered me most about that night is that at the time I didn't (even for the briefest moment) have a second thought about the fact that someone could be in my house. It seemed like it was just such a normal event. I was in a panic, don't get me wrong but the main thing running through my brain was "Someone's in my house! Fecker! Better go deal with it!". There was no quiet, barely heard voice saying "but that's absurd, that kind of thing doesn't happen around here". It just felt like it was a very plausible thing to happen.

I'll admit that the completely unshakable Leanne, is quite a bit shaken by this revelation enough to keep me up at night anyway.

It doesn't help matters that my husband clearly doesn't know how my mind works at all. The next morning, when I told him about the night before (slept right through it, couldn't wake him by setting a bomb off beside him), he could have made everything all better if he'd called me a daft bint or said I'd been watching too much Crimestoppers or something, but instead he said I was daft for having gone downstairs by myself, I should have woken him, he would have gone down with me (equality people, this is why your great granny burnt her bra!) . This leaves me with one conclusion. He thinks its perfectly plausible that someone could break into our home too.

So now I have the husband working at the alarm to make that silent timer a lot less silent. I want that alarm to scream its head off the very second someone comes in. I want it to wake people up and piss people off and for whoever it is downstairs to run out of here at break neck speed.

So now I set my alarm every night and I've even reverted to leaving bait like I used to when I rented in Belfast (that would a twenty, a phone and the car keys left sitting right at the front door with a "please take me and clear off" sign taped to them), then I walk upstairs, climb into bed, rub my eyes and settle in for a night of staring at the ceiling and wondering "What was that" as the house cools down...

*In the last five or six years the seals on pvc windows have been changed so that the seals are inside the house (common sense you would think) but prior to that quite a lot of windows had the seals on the outside.

Shop Handmade UK's Ginormous (a word!) Giveaway

The very lovely Belinda at Shop Handmade UK has organised this monster sized giveaway.

You could be in with a chance of winning one of two prize packs worth over £200 each contributed to by thirty two lovely and talented designers!

You what, repeat the last part! The 32 designers part? Oh right, the bit before that, sorry....

One of two prize packs worth over £200 each.

Better that time? Brilliant!

You can check out the competition page to see details of all the designers involved and individual photos of each item included in the packs. There's a bit of everything, jewellery, knitwear, stationary, toys, home wares, clothing, cards and furoshiki wrapping.

Just think, one win, your name pulled out of the proverbial hat and you're sorted for Christmas. Not only that, but you're sorted for a handmade Christmas.

Of course, you could always just keep everything for yourself!! Do you think you could rawk a pretty pink pinafore dress from Les Petits Anglais? You'd try? Fair enough, to each their own and all that. I'd suggest giving that one away to a little girl, just my opinion of course, you can keep all the rest to yourself.

Of course you're just dying to know what my part is in all of this aren't you?

I contributed my large Red Pendant Necklace. A one of a kind no less!
So how do you enter?

Simple, just sign up to receive the Shop Handmade UK Newsletter at the bottom of the competition page. That's it. Plus by signing up for the newsletter you'll get updates about great designer's sales, discounts and giveaways.

You do have to be over 18 to enter and be resident in the UK.

Just out of pure curiosity

For those of you with kids and more specifically for those with kids who are around 4 or 5 years old, how many hours, roughly, do they sleep at night.

I ask because Chloe's school is having a Halloween party on Thursday night. It starts with a fancy dress parade for the P1 - P3 kids at 7.00pm, followed by some games and things at about 7.45pm and then a fireworks display at 8.30pm. Chloe has been off sick the last few days but went back to school this morning and when I dropped her off, her teacher mentioned that she had set aside some tickets for the party but that she wouldn't be able to hold them for long as the school may run out and need to sell them to other people. She wanted to know if I wanted the tickets and if Chloe would be there.

I said no and explained that as its a school night the party is too late in the evening for Chloe. I don't mind her staying up later than usual to go to the party but she said herself that she doesn't want to go and Chloe pretty much maintains her own routine now. At about 7.00pm every night Chloe walks upstairs and if one of us isn't upstairs with her within a minute or two, she'll yell downstairs that its bath time and for us to hurry up, after her bath she gets her jammies on, comes downstairs again for some toast and a bit of TV and then she goes to bed (completely unprompted) at 8.00pm. Always.

Only very occasionally will she change her bed time routine and I don't argue with her because a child's body clock is one of the most reliable, its adults that fight the inner voice screaming "nighty night"! I figure she must need the sleep, she usually wakes about 7-7.30am so she's getting a full 11 hours sleep minimum and she sometimes has a nap when she comes from from school.

The thing is though, I sometimes (more so during the Summer) would hear kids, some as young as Chloe, still outside playing after 8.00pm and even after 9pm and the Halloween Party hosted by the school is arranged by the PTA who obviously have kids, the name kind of says it all really.

Though when I said that it was far too late for her and she'd be in bed fast asleep by the time they lit the first fuse, her teacher simply replied "Oh" and looked a bit surprised.

Bearing in mind she's also still getting over a chest infection and will need all the sleep she can get to shake it off, but even perfectly healthy, Chloe loves her bed and she never, ever yawns during the day, just before she goes to sleep yes, but not during the day.

So I ask you, is my little girl a hibernator? How long do your kids sleep?

I mentioned a giveaway, didn't I?

Its almost that time of year again, there just isn't any avoiding it.

I've spent the last couple of weeks rearranging furniture and generally clearing all the junk out of my that accumulates during the year to make space in my living room for my Christmas tree. I don't live in a huge house and permanently vacant corner for a tree so it has to be created every year.

Its a good weekend's worth of work just to put up and decorate our tree and that's before I even think about doing anything with the rest of the house so I like to get the organising and rearranging out of the way nice and early so that I can enjoy decorating my tree because, you know trying to shift a bookcase and throwing your back out when your plan was to have a wee glass of wine and hang a few stockings can really put a crimp on a girl's Christmas spirit. Yes that actually happened to my mum and whereas my solution to the problem was to start earlier hers was to buy a 1 foot fibre optic tree that sits nicely on top of the bookcase.

So I'm feeling all Christmassy and I want to share my Christmas spirit (not the mulled wine variety) and what better way than with a giveaway.

And its a pretty good one!

Everything is handmade by yours truly. If you win you'll receive a set of two of my prim style Christmas trees, a set of three gingerbread men tree decorations, a set of three mini I-cord wreath tree decorations (complete with hand knit berries) and a hanging star gift bag, big enough to hold a piece of jewellery or a handful of chocolate coins (I'd recommend filling with chocolate coins). As if that wasn't enough, there will also be something edible included in the giveaway, maybe not a reindeer that poops jelly beans as cool as that is, but something yummy just the same.

The giveaway will be open until midnight on Saturday 14 November, I'll then draw a name on Sunday and pop in the post on Monday so you have it in plenty of time to decorate your home and tree.

Easy peasy, and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. Tell me something you like, love or loath (we'll work on your issues at a later date) about Christmas!

You can get extra entries into the giveaway by doing any or all of the following;
  1. Subscribe to this blog here;

  2. Become a fan on Facebook;

  3. Tweet about the giveaway and include @SeetheWoods in your tweet;

  4. Blog about the giveaway and link back to this post (not the main blog url)
That's a total of five chances to win this giveaway, just remember though that you need to leave a separate comment for each entry, the more times you enter the more chances you have of winning.

And because we don't have the sole rights to Christmas in the UK (actually I think Disney might own those) this giveaway is open worldwide. You've no excuses now, get entering!

Please remain calm!!

I'm still here and still very much alive and well, I've just been up to my eyes and haven't really noticed the days flying past.

I'm planning on having a little giveaway later in the week, though hopefully I'll be back before then with some great photos I managed to snap of Chloe if my card reader will just stop giving me attitude.

Hang in there, regularly scheduled programming will resume after a short ad break....

Chloe's Keepers

I somehow only realised this week that Chloe's school has a scheme of sorts in place.

The idea is that a child in P3 is paired with a child in P1. Chloe's teacher told me this morning that their idea behind it is that the kids in P3, being about 6 or 7 years old are at the perfect age to be given a P1 (4 or 5) to watch over. The P3 kids are old enough to have a bit more sense than the P1s but still young enough to feel proud of this new responsibility. The older kids don't have to actually be responsible for the little ones as such, but just say Hi if they see them or take a couple of minutes to just have a chat with them about general things, what did you have for dinner last night, I had to do my homework, that kind of thing. It means that while Chloe is in P1 & P2 she will be paired with the same older girl for the two years and then in P3 she herself is paired with a younger child, then in P6 & P7 they're left to concentrate on their 11+ (the scheme must have been in place a while!).

And what's Chloe's opinion on the whole deal? She absolutely loves it!

I've met the little girl paired off with Chloe 4 times now this week. On Tuesday when she saw Chloe and I walking across the playground to school she made a point of separating from what she was doing with her friends and taking Chloe by the hand and off the two of them skipped chatting away merrily. The little girl really does seem lovely and I think will be a great influence on Chloe.

Chloe's quite mature for her age conversationally in that she has no trouble keeping up with and engaging in a full conversation with everyone from kids her own age and older and with adults too. The point is that kids a bit older than her don't see her as being childish in any way so they don't tire of her quickly.

Chloe now seems to have four little friends. The little girl she was originally paired with and three of her friends seem to have attached themselves to Chloe. I'm sure the girl's three friends have kids of their own that they've been paired with, but I'm not going to complain. She stood at the school gates with them while they talked about all the usual girl things, they said they loved her hair and she said she sometimes wished it was straight like theirs and they said no that her hair was really beautiful and she wouldn't want it straight and they talked about homework and how Chloe was lucky that she would get to do all the fun homework soon and she'd have to find colours and shapes and go outside to get things for school and make things with her mum.

It was like standing back and watching a group of women having a chat over coffee, a couple of times I had to stop myself from laughing.

I think this is a brilliant scheme, Chloe can't wait now until after Halloween because the girls told her that they all have lunch together on Wednesdays and Fridays and then she'll have homework to do as well so she'll have more to talk about.

I wonder do any other schools have schemes like this, is it s standard thing. I hope it is!

I made a To Do List

What on earth was I thinking?

I needed to get all of my thoughts together on the things that I need to accomplish before the end of the year, a lot of them need to be done much sooner than that.

Its a frightening prospect all written down like that!

  1. The Tax Return - I've made a start and because its my first and I was only self employed for less than 3 months of the year it will be my easiest one (next year's will be a different story altogether). It needs to be submitted by the middle of November but because I start work on the 2nd I want it out of the way before then, I'm hoping to sit down and get it knocked out on Monday & Tuesday of next week.

  2. The Workstation Makeover - Robert went to ikea today and bought me a new desk (a change from his original plan to build one for me). It was only £17 and will be perfect for what I need PC wise. I need to spend this weekend sorting the PC out.

  3. The Great Stash Sort - I have a new unit (which I think was originally a wardrobe. I've cleaned it, sanded it, painted it, made new doors, and now just need to put all of my (1/4ish) stash into it. By hook or by crook that will happen tomorrow. Its taller but narrower than my current set up and I've painted it white so it shouldn't look too dominant in the room and will free up some floor space.

  4. I want to put together a submission for the UK Handmade Christmas Magazine and that's another thing I'll have to knock out in the next few days, over the weekend maybe.

  5. Submissions which have already been accepted for the Shop Handmade UK launch of their Sample Boxes. I'll put the finishing touches to those tonight.

  6. More Christmas Stock - I can't even think about that at the minute, I'll come back to it.

  7. GO Handmade - My own little UK magazine, now open to submissions from sellers on Misi and Coriandr as well as Folksy. I've made a great start on the next issue and it needs to be ready in ten days. I can do it, but of course, just as I did last time I've forgotten to set aside a new recipe which means that at some stage I need to go to the kitchen, bang my forehead against the Welsh Dresser and hope something falls out!

  8. The GO Handmade Christmas Gift Guide - Wee buns son, bring it on! This should roll out no later than two weeks after the Winter edition of GO Handmade.

  9. I'm volunteering for Chloe's first school trip on Tuesday next week to the fruit shop (yes the same fruit shop she goes to every week with me, shhh) so I have to keep that in mind although it will take an hour at the most giving me two hours to work before collecting her.

  10. I now have, wait for it...... 18 custom orders to finish before Christmas. I had a fair few more. but they're done and dusted and the rest are on their way so this should be ok.

  11. I need to knock up a costume for the PTA Halloween party and fireworks display for Chloe on 22 October (I believe, need to check the form on that date again).

  12. Gifts - I'll need two teacher's gifts and a bunch of little gifts for any of Chloe's new friends in class before Christmas. Plus we'll need to sit down at some stage closer to the end of term and make cards for school.

  13. I still need to take up a pair of jeans for my mum, dammit how did I manage to forget those trousers again!

  14. Christmas Stock - ................ nope still not ready!

  15. I should have written a piece for Mamapedia by now, they think I rock, I have the badge to prove it and so far I've given them jack in return. I should really bump this one up the list somewhat.

  16. I want to knit another two cardigans so see Chloe over the Winter. I already have one knitted and it just needs to be made up. Its in a bag for crying out loud, I've no excuse for that one at all. At this stage in the year I'll just knit the next two in the round and steek them, there's nothing else for it. I can knock the two of them out in a week, although whether I do or not will just be down to pure laziness on my part.

  17. I need to knit a coat or something for the cat to stop her from licking herself bald and freezing to death seeing as she still insists on being outside at night.

  18. I have to stop there, I've more but the longer I spend typing this never ending list the less time I have to actually do these things.
If I've promised something and I've left it off the list, please let me know. Its likely that I haven't forgot though.