Tuesday 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas.

white cyclamen

red garland

Christmas twig with red, white and silver decorations.

The house is decorated, red, white, silver, the now traditional Christmas twig (there's a story about the twig, maybe I'll share if I feeling brave enough), the butter house is soaking ready to be filled, the cake is marzipanned, the children are resigned to the fact that I am soon to drag them out on a Christmas Eve walk, - I'll take hot chocolate and delicious things to eat, but part of the tradition is to make a fuss, they can't admit to actually liking it!  Then it will be time to relax, to enjoy, to be thankful, to feast, and to make merry. 

Wishing you all a Very Happy Christmas. 

Sunday 22 December 2013

running trees

Take one charm pack of Christmassy fabric, 

one white sheet that has seen better days,

a pinterest board full of quilty inspiration, and a whole lot of improvised piecing,

and you get your first ever table runner.

and then you wonder if so much white was a good idea, and hope it will wash well............

Sunday 8 December 2013

random Sunday night musings

I've been a google mail user for over 6 years, ever since I created this blog. (guess that means I missed it's 6th birthday - oops).

I've JUST discovered the Tasks option. 

little lists right there in amongst your email account. why oh why didn't I know about this before. oh how I love to write lists, and then promptly lose them...............

I decided to have a blog layout change around.

and make a new header.
which is the wrong size. but will do for now.......

I thought it would take me about 20 minutes, as I really need an early night.  It was Miss K's birthday party last night. I am quite tired.

so far it has taken over 2 hours.
blog design when you are tired is not a good plan.

I'd already changed it to a left sided menu. I don't think I like it but I don't know if it's just because it's not what I'm used to. I'm left handed, I should like left sided things...... do I just prefer it the right as that's what everyone else does?

I seem to have lost my profile bit. I wrote a new one. it doesn't sound right.

Miss K has a French exam on Tuesday, which is her birthday. She is not impressed about it. She has eaten lots of cake.

so far in the last week I have made two birthday cakes, both for children who haven't had their birthdays yet, but who due to various reasons celebrated early. Neither cake has been gluten free, so I haven't had any. On Tuesday there will be another cake, which I Shall be eating some of.
Oh and there will be pancakes for breakfast.
Apparently if you have a French exam you deserve to have pancakes for breakfast.

Miss K may not be a natural linguist, but I think she might make a good diplomat......

Monday morning. I've changed it back to a right sided template. I decided it looked too messy on the left, I wanted white space before the posts. I like Sue's theory too. 

Thursday 5 December 2013

wild and windy

oh boy it's wild and windy out there today. Miss K left one of her books at home as she left for school this morning, and then came running back for it, she looked crazy wild and windswept and had only been outside 30 seconds......

J is flying to New Orleans tomorrow, if it had been today I doubt he would have needed a plane, he could have just opened an umbrella and off you would fly.

His most important task of the day, is not making sure he packs his passport, or getting some $ or preparing for the meeting.
 No -  he has to take my camera back to the shop.... 
sad face.
I love it, it is small, and shiny and goes everywhere with me, but recently I have missed oh so many photo's, it just won't hold any battery charge. I charge it, take a photo, leave it in my bag, and the next day, flat as a pancake.....  I don't know what the outcome of the return will be. 

So I can't yet show you the Christmas table runner I'm working on, with lovely wonky trees and soon some lovely wonky stars. 

but I found these apple photos. look this one has a star in. will that do for now?

Wednesday 27 November 2013

post card swap

I recently took part in "the great big stitched post card swap" organized by Do What You Love.
I took tiny scraps of liberty fabric, cut out little hears, and stitched them into a bouquet, tied with a ribbon, which ended with the word CELEBRATE, the theme of the swap.
I had a lot of fun creating my first ever stitched postcard, and received a beautiful card in return.

Sunday 24 November 2013

seeing stars

A little while ago I liberated a bag of liberty scraps from their owner.

The plan is to add them in with some of my own scraps to have enough for a scrap quilt.
The bigger pieces became neat squares.  The smaller pieces were cut into random sized triangles.
Lots of little scraps turning into little stars. 
You have no idea how happy these are making me. 

Saturday 16 November 2013

jam jars

a few weeks ago Annie at Knitsofacto wrote a wonderful post about jam jars.
As I looked around the house I saw I use them all the time.
Some of them have fabric scraps in.

There are jars filled with buttons.
and jars filled with beads.
And a cupboard full of jars filled with almonds, dried cranberries, coconut flakes, flaxseeds, and lentils.
There are jars of coloured pencils on my daughter's window sill, and jars of knitting needles on mine.
Sometimes there are jars of flowers, or sprigs of mint I am trying to root.
There are no jars full of weird salads/cookie mixtures/desserts as can be found endlessly on pinterest.

And due to the overuse of jars for an endless variety of there are not enough jars for the latest batch of blackberry and apple jam.
jam in a mug anyone?
do you think this could catch on?

Sunday 10 November 2013

we will remember

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Friday 8 November 2013

random photos

Good grief. Not blogging for a while is like not exercising for a while. The longer you leave it, the harder it is to get started again. You make reasons for not doing it: no time, it's raining, I can't find the camera lead, where are my trainers? and so on.
Enough is enough however, I haven't gone for a walk because I have not enough time and it's raining, and the camera needs charging AGAIN (next task is to email and complain about it....) so instead I've rummaged in my draft posts for random unloved photographs, to present you with a random selection of chaotic thoughts,  and to remind myself how to write.
First I present to you our new sign for the hallway.
As far I as I can tell we haven't fooled anyone yet.
Several people have laughed out loud.
That was not the response I was hoping for.

A dragonfly.
Other people manage to have nature tables where they present lovingly the findings of their outings in the countryside.
We have dead bugs.
Which horrify visiting children, and their mothers..........

A new tea set.
Well it's not new it's old. ish.

Baking. With hidden courgette.
"these scones don't taste like normal mummy"
there is no fooling a hungry boy.
he still ate three however,  thus I learnt to always time new and suspicious baking for when they just get home from school, and they are so tired and hungry they'll eat anything.
even courgettes!

Sunday 20 October 2013

repair work

I've been doing lots of repair projects recently, everywhere I look things seem to be falling apart.......
The binding on the quilt on our bed had completely disintegrated, and was beyond repair, so now there is all new binding, navy polka dots, they make me smile every time I see them.
As you can see from these two the photos there is some dreadful fading going on as well, and the faded fabric is clearly weaker and had developed lots of tiny tears.

After what seemed like hours of darning, my stitching were not that tiny.............. or unnoticeable......
but hopefully they will hold it together for another 17 years......
At least one member of the family has approved the repairs!

Saturday 19 October 2013

amie skincare

A few months ago Britmums were looking for reviewers for a skincare range by Amie, designed for sensitive skin. As I've previously mentioned about sunscreen, skincare and I don't always agree so I'm always looking for something that will agree with me. Added to that I also live with one of the worst skincare types in the world - teenage girl........... Oh the money we spend on products and lotions and potions in order to counteract the evils of teenage breakouts. Most of which (especially those which contain lots of tea tree oil - great for spots if it doesn't burn your face off first) end up being far too harsh for gentle young skin........... 

this is what the Amie website has to say about the products we were sent;

Morning Clear is an exceptional soap-free cleansing wash that removes all dirt, oil and make-up from your face without stripping or drying the skin. So, instead of your skin feeling tight or dry after washing, Morning clear's pH-balanced, 15% moisturising formula leaves your skin feeling beautifully soft, deeply cleansed and refreshed.
Harmonising natural actives
– active ingredients may blossom and elderflower purify and decongest the skin, keeping oiliness in check and helping prevent spot formation. Natural sugar moisturisers ensure skin is not stripped or dried out. Cocoa seed butter nourishes and sweet almond oil softens. Orange blossom and raspberry tone pores and refresh skin. Skin is left feeling clear and radiant.
Morning Dew,  Matte-Finish Moisturiser. For the softest, dewiest shine free skin. 90.8% natural ingredients.
Morning Dew is a really light daily moisturiser that's totally mineral oil-free and parabens free. Quickly and easily absorbed into the skin, it gives skin all the hydration it needs while controlling shine and leaving a smooth, matte finish that's a perfect base for make-up or facing the day or night "au naturel".
Harmonising natural actives – organic rosehip and bilberry nourish, natural plant sugars hydrate and Vitamin E acts as an anti-oxidant protecting against sun damage and pollution. Lemon Fruit Extract acts as an effective antiseptic whilst Orange Blossom is an excellent skin clarifying agent, helping to remove excess sebum and keep oily skin clear.

So what did we think? Well we have one very happy teenager. OK yes, there have still been spots, but nothing too bad. She loves the moisturizer too, it soaks in quick and smells nice apparently.
I like the facial wash a lot, it leaves a clean fresh feeling, not harsh, or drying, and on the rare occasions I do wear makeup it cleans it off well. The moisturizer smells fresh and clean, is easily absorbed and my skin feels soft.  Would I buy it again, for Miss K definitely, for myself, yes quite probably, although I may try their other moisturizer which has an SPF15. 

Do you have a favourite skincare product, or a tip for teenage skin. Please tell.

disclosure. We were sent a set each of these products to test. Both of these products retail at £4.95 and are available at John Lewis, Waitrose and online.

Saturday 5 October 2013

autumal baking

There are several large orange monsters in the garden.

I looked in all my cook books and found a lot of recipes for soup. I really like soup, but I was thinking more on the lines of cake. I'd borrowed the book Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache (in which vegetables are hidden in cakes) from a friend recently, and giggled at all the descriptions. But I'd given it back and didn't feel like I could ask for it again so soon, so off to the library I went and came back with a copy and then ordered several more from the online borrowing network. I love it, they text you to tell a book is ready to collect. What could be better than that. So much better than PPI texts........

The next day in a charity shop I found this.  I couldn't resist when I found the chapters were called things like Wintery suppers.

And Wintery Puddings.

I can cope with the arrival of autumn if I can plan in some comfort eating, although apparently it's not necessary. Bah Humbug.

I'm supposed to be filling out a complicated form today, but I'm procrastinating.
I've tidied the study.
Well actually I've tidied the notice board..............
You have to start somewhere...........

Thursday 3 October 2013

playing with your food

Playing with your food is usually considered bad manners......
but when you've picked blackberries, stewed them gently with a little sugar, pushed them through a sieve to remove the seeds and created the most wonderful dark purple coulis then playing with your food is the only available option.

first drip tiny droplets onto a mound of thick greek yoghurt,

and drag a tooth pick through the dots to create hearts.

Now take a teaspoon and swirl it around in a ripple of delight.

Continue stirring until you can't resist any longer, and then gobble it up.

Friday 27 September 2013

Friday random

How did it get to be Friday again already? I feel like I may have fallen into a time vortex.

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post.

You have discovered my secret - it is all a great big excuse for wearing fancy dress, and eating cake.
Especially the eating cake. I love food far too much to reduce my intake of it......

Exercise is the only way I can allow myself plentiful cake.
But I must clear up some confusion. There is Very Little Running.
And a lot of very fast walking.
And a lot of cake.

I made 12 jars of bramble jam this week. It was lined up on the table.
Youngest child making himself a sandwich complained that he couldn't find any jam......
I clearly have invented invisible jam. Do you think it will catch on?
Yarnbombing at Saltburn by Sea.

Friday 20 September 2013

not your average Sunday stroll

First join a "cattle pen" filled with 56,000 people.

Next take traditional blog style photo of footwear, to show off timing chip.

Now spend the 40 minutes it will take you to reach the start line faffing with your costume, warm clothing, layers of fleeces and waterproofs that are doing nothing to reassure you that you will be warm enough in the first storm of the autumn.

Reach the iconic Tyne Bridge LONG after the red arrows have done their flypast.....

Groan at the half way sign, surely we are further than that.....

Speed up as you see the sea, oh and because the road is impossibly steep at this point.

Walk round wearing the spoils of war.
Eat cake.
This weekend I plan to be extremely lazy.