Tuesday, 29 March 2011

...a Spring Swap (Part 1)

I received the most wonderful surprise this morning.  There was a knock on the door and there was a rather sweaty man with a huge box for me.  It was my Spring Swap from the lovely Cartier on SCC.  It's come all the way from Germany so goodness knows how much postage must have cost.

The box was huge and heavy, no wonder the man was a bit sweaty.

I had to fight the urge to tear the box open.  I wanted to take lots of pics to show everyone so instead hunted down my camera.

Inside was lots of lovely pink tissue paper.  Just the tissue paper alone made me smile.

What was inside?  So many lovely, gorgeous, beautiful things.

A beautifully wrapped Easter/ Spring basket brimming with goodies.

There was a set of bright spotty tea towels.  Way too lovely to dry dishes with.  I'll have to think of something suitable to make with them.

Some Easter and Spring themed paper napkins which will definitely not be used to wipe mucky mouths and fingers.  A decoupage project is in the offing.

A sunny yellow "Welcome" heart that is already in it's new home, hanging in my porch.

Wooden Easter decorations.  Cartier explained in a lovely letter that in Germany they decorate their homes with an Easter tree for Easter.  Some branches in a vase festooned with all things Easter.  I will definitely be doing this with the Wee Man over the school holidays.  In fact I'm not really sure I can wait that long.

A bottle of yummy cherry blossom hand wash and beautiful card.

I also got a beautiful handmade bag, lavender sachet and lacey drawstring bag.  The bag is perfect and will be used daily as my every day bag.  I will no doubt be the envy of every Mum at the school gate.  The lavender sachet smells divine.  I love the smell of lavender.  I'm not sure what to do with it as it is too gorgeous to hide away in my knicker drawer.  I want to carry it around with me, hanging 3 inches from the end of my nose.  Though maybe that would be a bit unwise.

I also got a whole pile of magazines.  I love reading magazines and I am so looking forward to curling up on the sofa tonight with a cup of coffee and the Martha Stewart mag.  I often browse the Martha Stewart website for tutorials and inspiration.  I am really rather excited at the prospect of reading the mags.  Like Cartier, I always seem to find myself in front of a magazine rack when I go on holiday abroad.  It's always interesting to see what the magazine culture is like in other countries.

And of course, Cartier didn't forget the Wee Man and he got a great Easter sticker book with 400 stickers!  He will be very pleased.

I can't thank Cartier enough for all the lovely gifts.  They really have brought a huge smile to my face.  Thank you so much Cartier.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

...a really dodgy oilcloth notebook

I'm all for trying new things.  My moto is try, try, try again and I have instilled this sense of perseverance into the Wee Man.  You'll often hear him chant "Try, try, try again" as he attempts a new skill.

Anyway, I am trying very hard to listen to my own advice right now as I have a strong desire to throw my beloved sewing machine out the french doors.  This afternoon, with the Wee and Big Man out of my hair I decided to try my hand at sewing oilcloth.  I found some gorgeous bits (too large to call scraps) of oilcloth in my local scrap store and thought as a first project an oilcloth covered notebook would be a good idea.

I followed this tutorial and to be honest it ain't that instructive as the sizes given were very much dependent on the size of the notebook.  Anyway, I measured, I cut, I hummed and I hawed and finally got the pieces I needed.  I also added a "template" to sew around.

I used some paper clips to "pin" the pieces together, realising with dread that the pieces didn't all quite fit together.

With my heart in my throat I started sewing.  Yikes!  Thankfully I've just had my sewing machine serviced so the foot was a bit slick and glided somewhat easily over the oilcloth.

I was rather lazy and did not change the thread over and instead used the bright red, unforgiving thread that was already in the the machine.  I was so excited once I'd finished I forgot to take a pic and instead of picking up my camera, I picked up my scissors and snipped the edges to about 2mm from where I had sewn.

Hm!  What I will say is the cover fits the notebook.  That's a plus and it is also fit for purpose.  Unfortunately it ain't all that neat.  Observe...

Really dodgy looking!  Looks as if I was somewhat tipsy whilst I made it.  Oh well, think I'll make myself a coffee and work up the motivation to try again.

"I must try, try, try again!"

Saturday, 26 March 2011

...a Cath Kidston purchase

Yesterday we were in London and I got to have a very teeny ickle browse of the Cath Kidston shop in Covent Garden.  In the four minutes I was there (literally four, I'd timed it!), I saw some gorgeous CK wrapping paper and my first thoughts were, decoupage.

Unfortunately the thought of carrying a 70cm cardboard tube of wrapping paper around London with me dissuaded me from buying it.  I spent the day and night kicking myself, so this morning I hot footed it to my local John Lewis to see if they stocked it.  They did!  Yay!  I got me a roll of Cath Kidston wrapping paper for a whopping £5.  Slightly more than I would spend on a roll of wrapping paper, but hey, it's Cath.  Luckily the Big Man hasn't spotted it yet(!)

What do you think?  Pretty isn't it?  First thing on my list to decoupage is a wooden tray I picked up for 50p from a car boot sale.  Just need to get the other unfinished craft projects finished first(!)

...the perfect day out for the Wee Man

Yesterday the Wee Man's nursery had an Inset Day so I decided we should have a special fun day.  After much debate and perusing of the web, the Big Man suggested the London Transport Museum.  The Wee Man loves trains, buses, trams, basically anything with wheels.  So the Transport Museum sounded like a great day out for him.

It's also in Covent Garden not too far from the Cath Kidston shop so I was rather excited myself.  Well the Wee Man was very kind and allowed me all of four minutes to drool at all the lovelies at Cath Kidston, before his demands for the Transport Museum got too much(!)  Well who am I to deny a desperate four year old.

The Transport Museum lived up to all of his and my expectations.  It really is such a great place for kids to play and explore.  You can get on practically all the exhibits and there are loads of exhibits (toys) for the kids to play with.

The Wee Man's favourite was the underground train you can "drive".  A large screen in front shows the train drivers view of the underground track, all dimly lit tunnels and packed platforms.  Very cool.

We had a great day out and we will definitely be going back again.  I would thoroughly recommend it.

Friday, 25 March 2011

...pretty blossom pictures

It's like wine gums, you have one and you just can't stop.

On my way to collect the Wee Man from nursery yesterday I just had to take some more pictures of the gorgeous blossom that is festooning the trees in our little town.

I do love blossom, so delicate and perfect.

I had the urge to pick some.  So I did (naughty girl).  I'd bought a little flower press from a car boot sale ages ago for a measly 20p and I have been dying to use it.  So when we got home the Wee Man and I forgot about lunch and pressed us some flowers.

We did try pressing some last year in a book with some kitchen paper.  Hm!  Lesson learned - don't use kitchen paper.  They are still pretty though.  They may find themselves on some Mother's Day cards soon.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

...a Spring in her step.

Oh isn't the sun glorious?!  My favourite seasons of the year are Spring and Autumn.  In the last week the sun has come out, the blossom has arrived and the birds are waking me in the morning.

With the sun my shoulders have got lighter and there is a definite spring to my step.  The tree outside my house has started to blossom beautiful, delicate pink flowers.

Every year a bird nests in the tree and every year it seems to be a different bird so I wonder which lucky bird will make our beautiful tree their home this year.

With Spring comes the promise of fresh home grown vegetables.  For the past few years we've turned out front garden into a veg patch.  The front of our house gets full sun all day long so it's perfect for growing veg.  We have been very, very lucky and have had mountains of veg every year.  It's not been uncommon for our neighbours to find veg on their doorstep from the Veg Fairy.  At one point, one neighbour begged us to stop giving him veg.  Oh well, he does live alone and there really is only so much veg one person can eat.

So last week the Wee Man and I sowed some seeds and they are already looking rather promising.


Little Gem Lettuce

Pumpkin for Hallowe'en! 

The most important one is off course the pumpkin for Hallowe'en.  So far only one out of the four of the pumpkin seeds has sprouted.  Fingers crossed we get more.

We have more seeds to sow in April and by Summer time my freezer and my neighbours will be groaning.

One big job the Wee Man and I have to do before we plant outdoors is.....

 ...fix Sam Scarecrow.  Looks like a little birdie has decided Sam's brains makes good nesting material.

...Welsh cakes (wheat free, dairy free, egg free)

I'm all for trying new recipes with an allergy free twist to them as you know.  Every time I watch a cookery show or read a recipe I always think "How can I make this for the Wee Man?".  Well last night I was watching the Hairy Bikers show and they were making Welsh cakes.  I thought they looked delicious and I could definitely make a Wee Man version.

So this afternoon the Wee Man and I decided to try our hand at making Welsh cakes.  I found a recipe on the BBC recipe website and adapted it to suit the Wee Man.

What you'll need

  • 225g/8oz Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour, sieved
    110g/4oz Pure Sunflower Spread
  • Orgran No Egg
  • handful of raisins
  • Oatly oat milk, if needed
  • 85g/3oz caster sugar
  • extra Pure, for the pan 

    Rub the flour and Pure together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

    Add two tablespoons of water to one teaspoon of No Egg and whisk with a fork until the mixture is frothy.

    Add the No Egg mixture, the sugar and the raisins to the flour and Pure mixture and mix together until a dough is formed.  If the dough is not forming, use some oat milk to moisten the mixture. 

    Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 5mm/ 1/4inch thickness.  

    Using a cookie cutter cut out some rounds.  That's the Wee Man's favourite job. 

    Rub a heavy iron griddle or heavy bottomed frying pan with some Pure and put on a low/ medium heat.  When the griddle is hot put the cakes on and let each side cook for two to three minutes, turning only once.  

    Each side should be golden brown.

    Remove from pan and dust with some caster sugar.

    Warm Welsh cakes with a cup of warm oat milk brought a huge grin to the Wee Man's face.  Another recipe that will go into my recipe book.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

...a paper wig

What a gloriously sunny day today.  Have you got the sun where you are?

It's been a busy time since my last post.  We've had Red Nose Day and the Wee Man's school had a funny hair day.  Loads of kids with really silly hair.  Claire's Accessories' sales must have gone through the roof.

For the Wee Man I had to have a big think about his hair.  With his allergies I've never used shampoo on his hair as it's very drying on the skin.  Surprisingly his hair is lovely and soft.

Anyway, I decided to make him a wig and found a great tutorial on Martha Stewart's website for a paper wig.  It took ages to do and I got lots of paper cuts.  But it was all worth it.  

Here's the wig.  What do you think?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

...a picture frame with kids

It's been a while since I last posted.  My Mum has been visiting so obviously all my attention was diverted elsewhere.  I have been crafting a bit here and there though.

My big exciting news is that I have been invited to the Wee Man's nursery class to hold regular weekly crafting session with the kids.  Yay!  The Nursery Head, Mrs. S. and I decided that it would be best to have more "lazy" crafting sessions.  The times that I've been in have been very goal orientated.  More quantity than quality.  It was quite the norm for me to have ten children at a time crowded round the crafting table demanding my attention.  So we decided that instead of just making something, I would also be giving the kids some one on one time.  So crafting and chit chat in small groups.  I am very flattered that Mrs. S. would consider me worthy of spending quality time with her charges and I really hope I do live up to her expectations.

So what am I going to be making with the kids?  After much debate, we have settled on picture frames.  The Wee Man and I quickly mocked one up for Mrs. S. and she loved it.

I used a photo frame I have as a template and drew around it onto a sheet of corrugated card. Then used a stanley knife to cut it out and then used some scrap fabric and watered down PVA to glue it all on.  Simple and messy for kids to do, so hopefully a lot of fun.

After the kids are finished decorating their frames I'll attach the backing piece and strut (is that what they are called).  All cut from cardboard and stuck on with my hot glue gun.  I love my hot glue gun.  I'm not sure how I coped without it before.

I'm going to give the kids a choice of what to stick onto their frames.  Fabric scraps, ribbons, wallpaper, torn pictures from Kids magazines, buttons and whatever else I can find from the Scrap Store.

I'm really looking forward to the sessions and I hope the kids enjoy them as much as I know I will.  Oh and the pic in the frame is the Wee Man when he was a couple of months old.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

...a shabby dresser (Part 1)

Woo Hoo!  That's me jumping for joy.  Lookey what I got from Freegle.


I've been looking for a dresser for ages.  Ebay, car boot sales, Freegle, Freecycle and even real shops (which tells you how desperate I've been).  And finally, finally this week a lovely lady offered a pine dresser on Freegle. I jumped at the chance and sent her a very polite if somewhat desperate email, detailing my plans to shabby it up for my china collection.  And I got it!  Woo Hoo!

The Big Man was despatched to collect the dresser and on Tuesday evening I became the proud owner of a pine dresser.  It's currently sitting in two halves in the living room and in the hall.

After many evenings of debate with the Big Man, I've decided to paint the dresser with Annie Sloan's Chalk paint in Old White.  Once painted I think I'll decoupage some wall paper on to it somewhere, to give it some more life.

I finally started painting it yesterday morning, but didn't get very far.  Shabby dresser transformation to follow...
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