Happy Spooktober 2020

Welcome to Spooktober, everyone! And a big hello to those who followed me recently.

Spooky House Updates


We’re creeping (hopefully) closer to our house move, and I’m *really* hoping we’ll be in the place before the New Year. I’ve been dreaming of having Christmas in our brand new house with my immediate nearest and dearest, and I’ll be really sad if we don’t get to have that this time. House buying is an insanely slow process and nobody seems to know why it takes such a mind-numbingly long time.

We did have some issues with the conveyancers, who decided to put up a brick wall and refuse to respond or engage with us – and when they did, they got our details wrong and, in one case, even confused us with somebody else. We were not impressed. We’ve given them enough bad press in a few choicely-worded reviews, so I don’t mind telling you it was the Manchester branch of Slater and Gordon. Read their reviews yourself and you’ll find that this treatment is standard for them, unfortunately. Even their reception staff sounded like they’d had enough on the phone. Anyway, if you’re looking for a conveyancer, avoid them – even though they were on the HSBC recommended list!

Anyway, work is going well, although we said goodbye to one of my colleagues and my desk buddy – it’s always sad to see someone go. We’re part-time in the office and mostly working at home right now, in-line with the new government restrictions.

Spooky Health Updates

I’m braving it to St Bart’s hospital on Friday for bloods and a covid-swab, after which I will have to isolate all weekend in preparation for a procedure on Monday at Royal London Hospital. I’m having interventional radiology (or an Angiogram) to once again attempt to fix a problem with my dead kidney. It’s all a bit experimental and I’m not even certain it’s going to work; I’ve had this procedure done before, and unfortunately it failed because the mesh ball drifted down an odd vein I happen to have. Anyway, wish me lots of spooky luck – all being well, it could lead to much healthier blood pressure for me, and fewer pills to take every day. It’s also important for my future when I consider things like pregnancy, because high blood pressure puts the pregnancy at a ‘high risk’ level. My partner and I are planning a baby in the next couple of years, so I want to be as healthy as I can.

Spooky Inktober & Redubble


What do you think of my delightful little creep, Spooky Cat? He’s my first effort for Inktober! I haven’t been doing one drawing a day, which I believe is the rule, because of time constraints and whatnot – however, I drew him when I got home from work last night, and I love him. I’m certainly getting much more confident with my Wacom tablet, and once I’ve bought everything for my house, I shall be treating myself to a lovely Ipad Pro 2020 with the Apple Pencil. Oooh yes. I’ve earned it. If you love my little Spookster and want to support me you can take a look at the design on multiple items on Redbubble! He’s available on everything from T-shirts to notebooks to stickers and magnets, so go take a look.

Until next time Spooksters, enjoy the beautiful autumn season. I just cannot believe we’re in October already.

Best wishes,
Ashleigh

DIY Autumn Candle Holder

You need this.

Because obviously you need this. Don’t argue.

I made this using a tutorial I followed in a beautiful book called Dried Flower Arranging. I bought this at WH Smiths for £9.99 on a 2-for-1. You can find it on Amazon by clicking the link – enjoy it! (This is not a sponsored post – this is my actual life here, folks)

I thought the book looked gorgeously autumnal and pagan, so obviously I was all over that. It includes techniques for styling all kinds of arrangements whilst being simple and straightforward, as well as Christmassy biz, so it’s my kind of book.

Supplies I used:

Materials:
– Flower pots, charity shop, £1.50 each
– Oasis, The Range, £1.25 each
– Fallen leaves/thistles/conkers, free! (Collect a massive pile of these)
– Ribbon, about £1
– Pot pourri, about £2.99
– Candles, about £1.99 each
– Misc scissors, cutters, bendy wire

This isn’t a how-to exactly; I’m just showing off what I made. I’ll give you the gist of it though:

(Bonus points for the Golden Girls boxset in the background)

Stack the bottom of your plant-pot with paper or hay (hay looks amazing), then stuff in your block of oasis. I used a standard block of oasis for artificial flowers, cut it in half, and then shaved off the corners until it fit. You want this oasis to stick out the top of the pot so that all your decorations stick out and look full and luxurious. Slope the corners to give it some dimension. Use the paper/hay/tissue to pack it in tight around the sides.

Next you need to wire your candle, or glue it in place with superglue. I wired mine to keep it sturdy. This involved taping around the base of the candle with sellotape, and then attaching hooks of wire (just a short length of wire bent-double) all around the base with more tape. Squash these gently down onto the oasis to hook it in nicely, and then cover the wire loops with a decorative ribbon (or whatever you like really; it’s your life mate).

This is how mine turned out. Cute, eh?

You now have a base pot, oasis, and candle – now go crazy with your decorations!

I used thin wire to bunch leaves together, and a small scalpel to drill holes into conkers and thread a piece of wire in. I hated it at the time, but in hindsight, I’m dead proud of it.

This is harder than it looks and can get tedious at times (especially if you’re a faddist like myself and get bored after approximately 30 seconds), but persevere – you’ll end up with something totally unique and, best of all, it’s got your little stamp on it.

My boyfriend described this craft as, “Something you’d find in the Next home department with a ridiculously high price tag”. I think he’s saying it looks like overpriced tat – and I like that. I’ll take that.

I hope you enjoyed that little glimpse into my world.