Sunday Sevens #64 1.1.17

Happy New Year! Is it really only a week ago that we were celebrating Christmas? It feels like much longer!

Christmas Day Lunch


Mr Postcard reprised his role as Christmas Day chef and was so proud of his turkey, I was called into the kitchen to take a photo for Sunday Sevens! It was delicious.

We had a lovely day at home, joined by my parents. We were all very lucky and got lots of lovely things. Among my favourites were a new lens for my camera from Mr Postcard – watch out for loads more Postcard from Gibraltar sunsets… and some lovely fluffy yarn and an Amigurumi book from my little brother.

This year’s Christmas makes


I can share a few of my festive makes,  now they have been gifted. I was asked by a friend to make a mermaid blanket for her daughter. I made a couple of ring cushions ahead of two weddings next year and the wreath was a request for my Mum.

Polar bear swim


Boxing Day for us was dominated by turkey leftovers and the Catalan Bay Polar Bear Swim. If you haven’t already, you can read all about it in my post here. I’m so glad I did it – I was wavering until about two hours before hand and I just thought what the heck, life’s short and one day I may look back and regret not doing it.

Crochet, rosé & Dirty Dancing 


So in the space of a few days, we lost two people who played a big part in my formative years (and those of countless others) albeit via the silver screen and the radio airwaves. I think an awful lot of people from my generation really felt the loss of George Michael and Carrie Fisher this week. Sometimes only crochet, wine and Dirty Dancing on the telly will do… Thank you Channel 5 – I really needed that.

Legotastic 


Despite all the new toys which appeared in this house over Christmas, the trusty box of Lego featured heavily over the last week. We have had vehicle races and competitions and all sorts of creative fun. The lounge floor was awash with those sharp little bricks but it was a small price to pay for fraternal harmony (for a few hours) and a break from TV and gadget screens.

Beach walk


We revisited Catalan Bay on Thursday afternoon to stretch our legs. It was somewhat quieter than it had been on Monday… and I resisted the temptation to jump into the crashing waves and stayed on the sand. 😉

Shopping in Spain


On Friday we took a drive up the Costa del Sol coast for a brief shopping trip and lunch. We were away from the Rock for less than 6 hours but we enjoyed our mini-mini break!

New Year’s Eve Med Stepping


Yesterday, I ventured up the Med Steps for the first time in weeks. What a change those weeks have meant for the vegetation and wildlife up there. There were loads of delicate white narcissi lining the paths and on the roof of this old army look out post. There was also a lot of these wild clematis type of plants…


It was so pretty up there. The beautiful flowers took my mind off the fact I was out of breath!

One last sunset of 2016

I know I have gone way over the normal seven photos for a Sunday Sevens post, but there has been such a lot going on this week. As Gibraltar was gearing up for a big night of celebrations (see photo below) we headed home for a quiet celebration. Here’s a couple of shots of the last sunset of 2016 as seen in Gibraltar – can you see a sliver of moon among the clouds?


This photo shows the lights in Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar from here we live. It’s slightly blurry (apologies for that) but it gives you a sense of just how close we are.

I do hope that you have a wonderful new year and that 2017 is a happy and healthy one for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all the lovely comments I’ve received over the past year, it’s so nice to know that there are actually people out there (apart from my Mum and Dad) who want to read what I have to write. Thank you!

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog.

Sunday Sevens #61 11.12.16

Morning all, I cannot believe we are on 11th December already! Can someone please have a word and get time to slow down a bit – there’s too much still to do…

It’s Sunday Sevens time again, here’s a little look back at my week:

Stormy skies

If you caught my last blog post on Wednesday about the weather we’ve been having lately (Nice weather for ducks…) you will know it’s been a bit stormy and wet of late in Gibraltar. I’m relieved to report that we are currently enjoying a dry spell, although it is very grey here most of the time at the minute. This was the scene on Monday between showers. I’m so glad I’ve been able to temporarily retire my wellies for a bit.

Christmas gift crochet

I can’t show you any more of this because it’s a gift, but I’m thrilled to say that I managed to finish a mermaid tail blanket for a friend in just over a week. She came with me to choose and buy the wool and we managed to have a lunch out too into the bargain – we had a great giggle. She asked me to make it for her daughter and I actually met my self imposed deadline… as for everything else I need to make for Christmas, well that’s not faring so well!

Zip’s in… thank goodness!

It’s in… It’s taken the best part of two dressmaking lessons to get this blighter of an invisible zip into this top. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like zips. Perhaps I need to insert a few more before they come easy to me.

Christmas Parties get underway 

Christmas party season has arrived. I had my first party this week – a great night out with friends. I have learned something from the whole experience – dancing after eating a big bowl of Christmas Pudding and brandy sauce isn’t a good idea. I couldn’t sleep for ages when I got home!

Present making flurry


Holy moly, the time’s rushing away with me and I can’t seem to make any headway with all of my Christmas makes. This is a work-in-progress. I can’t divulge any more as, well err, it’s a gift. I just hope I can make the last posting date in time…

Happy bunnies

On Thursday this week, there was no school in Gibraltar as it was a religious holiday (Immaculate Conception) and then on Friday two of the Little Postcards enjoyed an in-service day. I put Littlest to work helping me build an indoor run for our newest addition Snowflake. I now know the reason why I bought that fire guard when it was on special offer at Morrisons three years ago…. Snowflake loved her new freedom.

How pretty is this?

I was thrilled to be given a beautiful Christmas card this week made by a very talented friend who can ‘do’ felting. This gorgeous card featuring snowdrops was made by her. She told me the whole process of how it was created and it sounds like an awful lot of hard work – but well worth it. Lots of layering of wool and soap and water and throwing! Then stitching on top of the whole piece of felt. I certainly appreciate all the hard work which went into making this gorgeous card and feel honoured to be one of the select few who received one. Thank you V x

 

Just one more thing… I don’t normally mention much about my kids for fear of exposing them to the big wide world before they’re ready but this little gem is just too good not to share.

On collecting Littlest from school the other day, I asked how his day was.”Good – we went to the desert” was his reply. “Which desert?” I asked. “The Sahara, we went on the school plane and we found dinosaur fossils and one came alive! It tried to eat me so I had to kill it.”

Who knew when I sent him off to school that morning that such excitement lay ahead? Hats off to the Gibraltar Education Department for not only having a school plane at their disposal but also safely getting Littlest and his classmates home from such an adventure in one piece and on time. Perhaps a warning note may be advisable next time? 😂

Thank you so much for stopping by, and for all the lovely comments I receive through the blog, on Instagram, on Facebook or wherever, it’s lovely to hear from you.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog. If you would like to join in, pop over to see how to do it.

Convent Christmas Fair 2016

It may have been a pretty damp and grey day yesterday, but that didn’t put the crowds off coming along to the annual Convent Christmas Fair this year. For those not familiar with Gibraltar or the Convent, it’s the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar (the Queen’s representative here), so naturally there are a few royal pictures about the place…

A quick stop at security, and we were in.

The Convent Christmas Fair Committee put an awful lot of work into putting the fair on each year. It costs £2 to get in and you are accosted pretty quickly to buy raffle tickets and tombola tickets for some wonderful prizes. All of the money which is raised at the event goes to support local charities.

Up the grand stairs and into the fair….

The first table I came to was Kate Davies’ beautiful stall showcasing some of her lovely fused glass work. I have been a fan of Kate’s work for a few years now and I have several of her pieces hanging around the house from windows. I’m looking forward to going up to Kate’s shed to see her at work soon, I’d love to know how she does it!

Next I headed into the very grand dining room which had been given over to a vast array of stalls featuring all sorts of different crafts and goodies.

Craft fair regular, Debbie Yeo was there with some of her beautiful things. Debbie can turn her hand to so many different crafts. She had paper crafts, hand sewn gifts and beautifully painted items for sale.

This painted glassware and candles on Debbie’s stall are just exquisite.

My next port of call was the ‘Beyoutifully Homemade’ stall made by Sally. The talented stitcher makes cushions (some featuring Star Wars characters & Pokemon balls), bags, lap quilts, memory items using your own children’s baby outfits and recycled denim projects. She had so many lovely things she had on offer.

Not only did I make a purchase, I also got some inspiration for something else to add to my  never ending ‘To make’ list! My next stop was the ballroom…

In this venue there were some very tasty treats on offer along with many stalls representing local charities. My attention was caught by small local business Just Because Macarons…. you can see why!

There were loads of very appealing flavours on offer… ooh which to choose?

Then it was time to choose the name of the knitted reindeer on the Cancer Relief stall (many apologies to Grainne [Santa’s little helper] I only took one photo and she looks a bit browned off in it! I promise she was smiling a split second before this was taken!!).

All of the things on this Christmas fundraising stall were made by patients who use the centre, their families and the centre’s many wonderful supporters. They have a craft club once a fortnight and the items made during the sessions were used to fill the stall. Among the lovely items on sale were doggie treats, human treats (including the most wonderful rocky road bites – I accidentally ate a few before the family came home – whoops) and handcrafted decorations and toys.

Alas, it was time to head home in time to pick the Little Postcards up from school. It was a brilliant fair again as always. I went early-ish so didn’t see it at it’s most busy. From previous experience I know it gets really packed when the schools finish for the day and the queue to visit Santa in his grotto can get quite long. I took Littlest Postcard last year and he was a little bit unsure, so I didn’t repeat the trip this year.

So what did I buy? Well sadly, quite a lot of it will be going into Christmas presents to people who may read this, so I can’t share too much…. But these mmm… I can’t wait to try one of these. I doubt very much they will stay in their packets much longer. Just need an excuse for giving the boys a treat…. Mint Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Minion flavour macarons. (What do Minions taste like I wonder?)

And this lovely crayon roll made by Beyoutifully Homemade will be going in the post to a special little man we know.

So that’s it for another year. I hope you enjoyed this trip to the Convent Christmas Fair, I’m very pleased to say I have officially begun my Christmas shopping – well I had got a few bits and pieces already but it’s the big push now from here on in.

Jingle bells…jingle bells… I wonder whether the guard made it in to see Santa? 😉

If you would like to see last year’s post about the Convent Christmas Fair 2015, you can find it here.

Meeting a kitchen table entrepreneur : How a Facebook post led to a new business opportunity

Having my own little business is something I have long fancied doing. At this point in my life, unless I were to be blessed with an extremely flexible employer, I would struggle to hold down a job while juggling three children and maintaining at least a small degree of sanity. When I first qualified in my profession, I began working as a freelancer, so I have experience of ‘working for myself’ although inevitably it was as tying, if not more so, than a permanent full-time position as I was scared of turning down work in case they didn’t call me again the next time they needed someone.

A good friend of mine, Rachael, recently become one of the kitchen table entrepreneurs we have been hearing a lot about in recent years. A Mum who set herself up in business from home, and so far, has got off to a flying start. I had a chat with her about how it all came about and what exactly it is she does:

First of all, what’s your background before starting DigiDoodleDesigns?

I was in IT and Maketing. I’ve 2 degrees in European Business, one from Manchester and the other I did in Bochum, Germany. Before moving to Gibraltar in 2004 I worked for a large oil company in the IT department as a Situation Manger, which I loved. Now, in Gibraltar I work a few hours a week for a company on Main Street, which leaves me ample time to follow my own interests, taking me initially down the photography path, but more recently down the Word Art path.

Why did you decide to go into business for yourself?

DigiDoodleDesigns was established after designing a selection of prints for myself, putting them on Facebook and friends and family asking if I could do them one too. It’s as simple as that! It also fits in with family, school and like most mums with everything else that needs to be sorted on a daily basis.

green butterfly 1

How long has DigiDoodleDesigns been running now?

I’ve always played with design applications, but I’ve been producing Word Art prints since the Spring of 2015.

What sort of things do you make?

I produce prints which include words – many words. On average, there’s 100 words per print which when they are all joined together, they can take the shape of houses, hearts, the Rock of Gibraltar etc. I have made hens for Brides-to-be, a sun, rainbows, Christmas trees, baubles, presents, a cup of tea. I’ve even made prints using company logos. The list is endless!

I also take quotations, poems, wedding vows or personal prose and turn them into works of art specific to each individual client’s requests. My favourite at the moment are the birth prints! They look beautiful framed in the nursery with either just the baby’s name, or their birthday, weight, hospital etc. They are so cute.

What are your most popular lines?

I must say hearts and houses are the most popular lines, I’ve produced a large number for both corporate and private clients. A great number are A3 framed prints, which Face Frames in Town Range make for me, but I also have an increasing number of clients requesting canvasses, especially for Christmas.

Have you launched any new lines for Christmas?

I have expanded into mugs, keyrings, mobile phone covers and bags for Christmas, but I will try and accommodate whatever a client prefers.

christmas tree tinsel

Have you still got room in your Christmas order book?

I do have a few slots available for Christmas, but I will also try and fit a client in even if it means me working until 2 in the morning, which I’ve done on a few occasions quite happily.

What are your plans for the business as you look ahead to the New Year?

Oh I have many plans for 2016! I am looking to sell my products on the internet for one. I have a good number of customers in the UK and Canada so I am trying to optimise printing and logistics to enable me to offer a uniform high end product where ever the client is in the world.

I am always creating new designs, many of which are waiting to be launched. Spring 2016 is Communion time and I will be making a range of Communion favours and invitations to bring them up to date and colour coordinated with invitations and table decorations etc. This along with the Word Art crosses can make a truly personalised day for any beautiful girl or smart young man.

So Rachael, how can someone contact you if they are interested in using your service?

To contact me, please ring me on +35058009402, email me on DigiDoodleDesigns@gmail.com or contact me through Facebook at DigiDoodleDesigns.

Thank you Rachael for taking the time to tell us all about your cottage industry, we wish you every success for the future!

Convent Christmas Fair 2015

  
Today marks the pinnacle of the crafting year in Gibraltar, the Convent Christmas Fair. The fair is such a great event on the Gibraltar social calendar. The venue is magnificent for a start, the Convent is the home of the Governor of Gibraltar, the Queen’s representative here in Gib. It’s a beautiful place to visit, see this post for more about the Convent and it’s stunning garden. However, this beautiful building is just a backdrop to the wonderful things which are offered for sale there at the fair.

  

Stall holders are made up of local charities, artists and crafters, you can easily make a considerable dent in your Christmas present list in a visit here. From handmade and charity cards to hand painted baubles, fused glass, toiletries, crochet, découpage, needlework and jewelry, there are goods to suit all tastes and budgets.

  

I have held a stall at the fair in the past a couple of times and they were both great days. The camaraderie between the stall holders is great and it’s such an honour to be able to spend so many happy hours in such beautiful surroundings (can you tell I like it there?). It’s also a great place to see friends; Gibraltar is so small that you are bound to bump into loads of people you know!

   

My pal Louise hand-sews these cute sock monkeys. Aren’t they adorable? She also sells her makes in the Gibraltar cruise terminal and the Arts & Craft store in town. 

  

One stall I made a bee-line for was Kate Davies’ beautiful fused glass creations. They are a real favourite of mine – I have bought some of her things before at previous fairs.

   

One or two of her lovely things may have made their way into my shopping bag – I’ve not decided yet whether I’m prepared to part with them as presents for other people yet!
 

For more info on Kate’s work you can contact her by email on: kdavies62@gmail.com you can also find her on Instagram.

Another favourite regular stall of mine is shared by two talented ladies; Debbie & Sylvie. Debbie’s crocheted and sewn items have made ended up under the Christmas trees belonging to members of my family on previous Christmas mornings and her hand-painted glass, candles and baubles are a big hit, as are Sylvie’s beautiful cards. 

 

Debbie’s lovely crafty makes are also available for sale at the Gibraltar Arts & Crafts shop in Casemates Square. You can see some of Sylvie’s beautiful cards on her blog GIBMISS.

  

As I mentioned before, many local and international charities are represented at the fair as well. The ladies of the Cancer Relief Centre in Gibraltar had a great stall filled with crafts and edible gifts made by their volunteers.

   

Another local charity, Childline, had sweeties as prizes in their tombola. A lucky ticket made my boys very happy when I went to collect them from school!

  

And if you were in need of refreshment after a busy time shopping upstairs, where better to enjoy a cuppa and a slice of cake than the Convent’s lovely courtyard with its orange laden trees. As I took this photo, I could hear Santa’s bell ringing out from his nearby grotto as he raised money for local charities too. 

As you can see, it was reasonably quiet when I was there, after the initial opening rush and before school pick up time. Later on the volunteers were serving wine and mince pies accompanied by carols sung by a local school choir. I think you’ll agree this Christmas fair is a really great one, just what you need to get you in the spirit!  

A walk around the historical corridors of the Convent reinforces not only how many talented people live within this community of 30,000 but also gives you such a warm glow to realise it really is a community in the true sense of the word. So many people have worked so hard to make today a success, and the hard work showed – well done everyone!
 
Oh and there was something else happening in Gibraltar today – a General Election. The Christmas fair’s far more interesting though, don’t you think? 😉