Glitter

Look at the time. It will be 2am by the time I’ve finished writing this post, I have work tomorrow including meetings, I have preparation to do ahead of the meetings, I have plans for the weekend, and my house looks like this:

messy 1

messy 2

It looks like that, in every room, mind you, because I am frantically de-cluttering. I’m not going to be able to de-clutter Every Single Unwanted Thing from the house tonight or over the weekend but I can sure as hell take care of most of it. The reason I need to do this in such a big hurry is because the windows company, who said they were not coming until after 5th January, phoned me up rather spontaneously and announced their intention to come round this Monday. FFS. I’m not ready! Getting all of my windows replaced means that I have to be able to pack all my belongings in boxes and move them away from the walls, without even one room available to reserve for storage, and for that to be at all feasible, we have to reduce the amount of belongings as much as possible, so that there are fewer boxes. So that’s what I’m doing tonight. It is ridiculous. We are playing beat the clock here.

The epic decluttering and window replacement preparation is complicated by the fact that I want the place to look nice for when Leroy comes over on Saturday, and as little as possible like a horrible warehouse, because I am having a massive crush on him after only two dates. It is also complicated by the fact that here at The Life You Want we are celebrating Christmas all through December this year. It is Christmas-tastic. I am having my very first Christmas at home in London, I am incredibly excited and I am having a month-long celebration. So that’s why there is glitter! Let me show you what is happening!

Yesterday, even though I am way too busy for such nonsense, I made a stag decoration, using a kit off the front of this month’s Homemaker magazine. I’ve hardly ever bought a general crafts magazine before, as I can’t cook, I can hardly sew, I don’t make scrapbooks and I prefer knitting magazines but I bought Homemaker this month on impulse and enjoyed it. The website is really attractively designed and has downloads of a 2015 calendar, Christmas decoration templates, recipes and lots of other things. Plus, there is a cover gift on the front of this month’s issue (26).

homemaker mag

The main part of the set is a bunch of pieces of MDF which you have to (carefully!) press out of a sheet, cover in paint, fabric, paper or whatever you like, and then slot together. I used some red fabric with a tree pattern that might be by Amy Butler and some rather luxurious linen-feel gold wrapping paper that I saved from a gift that somebody gave me last year. Here are the pieces, lying on a sheet of paper, waiting for the glue to dry.

stag pieces

Then I gave it all a light coating of Spraymount glue and sprinkled it with glitter. Waited again for the glue to dry and then put the pieces together. I will not say that it all slotted together with no difficulty, but it wasn’t too awful. Here’s the finished product! It is actually sitting on my bookshelf but I photographed it against some wrapping paper so you can see it better.

stag decoration

After that I still hadn’t had enough so I knitted a Christmas bauble out of 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne and Carlos, a delightful couple who live in a converted railway station in rural Norway, where the whole region is knee-deep in snow for about six months of the year, with the result that a midwinter celebration is valuable and important. The book is gorgeous, it is full of the most charming photos of their house, its location and the decorations that they collect and knit. It’s one of my favourite knitting books of all time, so I want to show you some photos to encourage you to buy a copy. The knitting patterns are lovely and super easy to follow. Plus, their knitting is perfect. Much better than mine. This is because they take a huge amount of trouble with steam-blocking and sewing things up just so.

arne 01

arne 02

arne 03

arne 04

arne 05

Isn’t that beautiful work, I wish my knitting (and photography) were that good. 55 Christmas Balls to Knit is available on Amazon for £10.39 and it does not surprise me that readers gave it five stars.

This is the first time I’ve made something from the book, I used white four-ply wool, gold lurex yarn and 3mm bamboo double-pointed needles (going down to 2.75mm might have been closer to ideal and resulted in a slightly smaller, tighter bauble, but this is okay for a first attempt). I made the Snow Crystal bauble, which has a snowflake design on it, then I decorated it with gold glitter because now I can’t stop glittering everything, and here it is.

snow crystal

I am so pleased with it and now I want to make hundreds of them, even though there really isn’t time between now and Christmas when you include all the other things I have to do. But maybe I can find time to make just a few.

yarn for baubles

My Christmas tree is up already. Note how this was immediately followed by the bloody windows replacement company calling me and announcing their immediate intention to come round and tear up my house. Look, in the first picture you can see my knitted snowflake bauble on the right, just above the red tinsel.

tree 01

tree 03

And that’s all tonight’s news. I am fatter than Santa but Leroy says he doesn’t care.

Let’s have a tune before bed. This is Diana Decker singing I’m A Little Christmas Cracker in 1950-something, followed by an equally delightful version of same by the London Gay Men’s Chorus, 2012.

Diana Decker

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London Gay Men’s Chorus

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