Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all. I promise 2014 will see a return to regular blog posts, but I just wanted to say a big thank you for coming to view my blog.
Here's a few things I have been making this Christmas. I was going to share some of the presents I have made, but did want to spoil the surprise, in case they saw my blog. 

I love these crafts, as they are super simple and very cheap! 

DIY: Gingerbread house gift tags

Gingerbread house gift tags

These tags were made from brown luggage tags from WH Smith and a white pen. I saw these on pinterest from the site Casi en serio, where they made gingerbread house tree decorations. I loved doing lots of  different doodles, so everyone's tag was unique. Who doesn't love brown paper packages tied up with string?

Gingerbread house gift tags

DIY: Gingerbread man garland

Gingerbread man garland

Gingerbread man garland

These were made using some red felt, some gingerbread man shaped felt (available on numerous ebay stores), thread and some garden twine. These are super simple, as you just need to blanket stitch around the edge. I love their little cheeky faces. Last year I made felt gingerbread men and women complete with skirts and dickie bows. 

DIY: Felt heart filled with winter spices

Felt heart filled with winter spices

First I dried some orange slices in the oven. These are great for decoration. I basically cut them quite thin and put them in the oven on a low heat until the segments had gone like stained glass. I then chopped one of these up. I broke up some cinnamon sticks and some cloves. I drew a heart and cut out of felt. I then drew a simple snowflake design. I back stitched the snowflake design then blanket stitched around one side. I then wrapped up my winter spices in a piece of material (I used one of my son's old babygrows) I then stuff it inside. I attached a ribbon to hang the heart and then blanket stitched the other side. I love smelling the little heart, and have put it in the drawer where I keep all my pyjamas, so I feel all cosy and wintery whilst sipping my hot chocolate on an evening. 

Felt heart filled with winter spices

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and a happy New year. 

I had to share our gingerbread house, as my husband was so impressed that we made this from scratch, complete with boiled sweet stained glass windows! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Daisies Blue Etsy shop

I love hearing about what my friends have been up to and recently on a trip to Hebden Bridge with our friends Neil and Gemma, I was excited to hear about her new Etsy shop.  As you know this is on my to do list for this year, so I was in awe listening to her plans. The shop is in its infancy, but she was telling me some of the items she is in the process of making and I cannot wait to see them. This lovely lady is a whizz on the sewing machine, and has such beautiful vision.

Her vintage crocheted doily bunting is just stunning (I wish I had some when I got married!).  I’m sure that I will be making some purchases for our new home in the future. Please check her out at Daisies Blue Shop and Blog, and be sure to keep your eye out for new additions coming soon. Gemma also owns the inspirational and popular Creative Sketchbook blog.

I cannot wait until I have my craft room set up in our new home and I can invite her round for crafternoons with plenty of tea and cake!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Autumn Wreath

I was quite taken with the beautiful autumnal colours on a recent walk, and before I knew it I had filled the pram's shopping basket with leaves, twigs and conkers. As all of my craft things are packed away, I decided that I would embrace my inner womble. When I returned home my husband seemed a little bemused by my squirreling little scavenger hunt. I sat and had a little ponder, as to what to make with my finds. I decided to create an Autumn wreath.

Things you will need.

Firstly I wrapped the long sticks, I had collected, around and around in a haphazard manner and poked the end bits in among the other twigs. This took a bit of fiddling about until I was happy with the arrangement.

Things I have learned from this - perhaps use some string to hold this together as every time I moved one of the sticks another fell out. Try not to use sticks with thorns. (Ouch!) Also, if the sticks are not bending easily and snapping then wet these and they should be easier to shape.

Next I surveyed the array of leaves I had collected. I decided that I would form some of the leaves into flowers. Strangely enough the leaves I collected from the ground were a bit dirty, so first I dipped them into water and got rid of the dirt. This also helped make them more pliable when shaping the flowers.

Once I had washed a leaf, I bent it in half and wrapped it round to form the middle of the flower. I then took a needle and thread and put a few stitches in. I then took another leaf and kept adding more and more petals to the flower until it was the size I desired.

I made different sized flowers to be interspersed between the twigs of the wreath. I then positioned the flowers and attached them to the sticks with the thread and left the wreath to dry. The leaves weren't quite as bright orange, but I still love the colour and texture now they are dry. 

I love making objects from things that are literally lying around. What's your favourite autumn crafts?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Toffee Apple Crumble

'Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness,' It's the time of the year for one of my favourite Keats' poems.   Autumn is such a beautiful season, and I have been enjoying some autumnal walks with my son. We have collected lots of conkers ready for a family tournament on our half term holiday to Scotland, and autumn leaves and twigs. This week I have been loving wrapping up warm, and having snuggles in blankets.

My father-in-law gave us a veritable hoard of apples that he had been growing, so I have been busy making plenty of apple puree, as we are currently weaning our son onto solid food. With the kitchen full of delicious fruity scents, I thought it only fair that I made something for the rest of us. One of my husband's favourite puddings is an apple crumble (in fact he tells me he is a connoisseur), so I felt obliged to make one. I thought I would try something a bit different, and attempt to create a toffee apple crumble. I must admit I am not a fan of fruit in puddings, but the scent of spice and toffee in the air was magical.


Fruit filling
8 eating apples cored, peeled and chopped. (I used eating apples, but add more sugar if you use cooking)
3 tbsp Golden syrup
100g Caster sugar
1 and a half tbsp Mixed Spice
6 tbsp Water

Crumble topping
150g Butter
150g Flour
150g Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
2. Add the sugar and water to a pan stir until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Add Golden syrup and bring to boil.
4. Add apple and mixed spice. Cook until fruit beginning to soften (Adjust water if going dry, but these apples had plenty of juice)
5. Put into ovenproof dish.
6. For crumble topping, rub butter, flour and sugar together then spoon onto top of fruit. (You can add oats for extra crunch)
7. Put in oven for 20 minutes. (I then put the grill on briefly- just to make the topping extra crunchy - be careful not to burn.)

Hope you have had a lovely weekend filled with autumnal treats. I'm just off for a long soak in the tub and a hot chocolate! I love getting warmed up after a bracing walk. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Family traditions...

As you know we are in the stressful process of moving home. I am longing to do crafts and baking, but unfortunately everything is packed in boxes, and moved into storage. As the lease is up on our rented property, but our house is not yet sorted, we have moved in with my parents for what we hope is only a few weeks. I have lots of plans for the decor of our new abode, but more importantly I am making plans for our new family life.

I want to live a simple life. I spent the majority of my twenties spending money on dresses, makeup, DVDs, etc. In my thirties, I have every intention of owning a 'capsule wardrobe', being as organised as IKEA intended, eating healthily, and being as prudent and thrifty as my father. More than all of this, what I want, for my new family home, is some wonderful memories and traditions.

With this in mind, I am now going to dedicate a section of my blog to family. I want to have everything from games that I can play with my son at every age to ideas for traditions to uphold every Christmas and birthday. What better way to save money and enjoy the simple things in life! I'm sure I will find a lot of wonderful ideas from the world of Pinterest, but if you would like to share some of your favourite traditions or games then please email I will credit you with your suggestions and provide a link through to your blog.

Lastly a huge well done to my husband who completed Chester Marathon at the weekend! We are so immensely proud of him!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Cosy autumn finds...

I start this post with an apology for the sparse blogging of late, I have excuses at the ready though! Firstly, I was enjoying the weather and basking in the beauty of my little baby boy. Secondly, I have not been in great health. Thirdly, we have been busy with the stressful pursuit of purchasing a house. I hope you have all enjoyed your summer and are now getting ready for the more inclement weather.

The weather appears to be turning, and as I am eagerly awaiting moving, I am currently dreaming of cosy autumnal nights sat in front of the fireplace in my new home. I cannot wait to start baking stodgy puddings, and making hearty soups. With Halloween and Bonfire Night just around the corner, then the build up to Christmas, I could not be more excited! I love this time of year!

1 Hand knit mug warmer from Etsy.
2 Cookie jar from Marks and Spencers.
3. Furry boot slippers from Accessorize
4. Booties from Next.
5. Cable knit jumper from Joules.
6. Pyjamas from Next.
7. Earmuffs from Accessorize.

1. Gloves from Accessorize. 
2. Flower earrings from Accessorize.
3. Leaf necklace from Accessorize.
4. Shoes from Monsoon.
5. Bag from Accessorize.
6. Shoes from Accessorize.
7. Dress from Monsoon

Since I have done these style boards, I had a quick trip into my local Primark and bought some bargain versions of two of the items.  I bought a cable knit jumper pretty much identical to number 5 and some studded nude ballet flats identical to number 6. The jumper was £12 (unlike the Joules version at £69.95) and the ballet flats were £6. (unlike the Accessorize at £25) I was a happy shopper! 

Hopefully in the coming weeks we will move into our new home and I am looking forward to sharing with you the transformation into a cosy little nest! I won't leave my next visit with you so long next time! 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Local artist love...

I had to share with you the exciting talent of local artist Terry Brookes. As a huge fan of The Beatles, I fell in love with his piece 'When The Beatles came to Barnsley' His take on pop art with a local twist has become an instant hit. The playful nature of his work and bright colours, bring a beaming smile to my face every time. 

Terry explains his motivations to paint...

'I have always painted, self taught, and driven on by my dad who was, amongst other things, a semi-professional wrestler, painter, and signwriter.  Some of the stuff I'm doing now, I was doing when I was in my teens - pop art, music, comics related stuff; Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein, Peanuts, DC Comics, Tin Tin, ...

To say that I am a music fan is an understatement.  I have always loved and collected music; vinyl especially – The Beatles, Motown, Stax, Bowie, punk, Weller, Morrissey & The Smiths, etc, etc,

About 3 or 4 years ago I started painting prolifically mainly for my own interest – just for fun.  I decided to setup my own website that I could easily maintain and load up images of my artwork – nothing fancy, just for my own fun.

I decided to paint some quirky scenes of Barnsley and the area, starting off with a painting of the now defunct Casa Disco record shop.  The first one I did was Casa Disco 1977, with a punk (Sid Vicious?) looking in the window at the records that were issued that year; Bowie's Heroes, Blondie, The Police, Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop.  I am going to follow this series with, amongst others; Heavy Metal, Mods, Soul, etc – there's plenty of scope.'

It was his 'When The Beatles came to Barnsley' that first captured my imagination and here's a little bit more about the painting, by the man himself.

'I was looking through some old photos one day when one caught my eye of Barnsley's Market Hill, which, at one time, had a zebra crossing at the bottom of the hill, and the wonderful Town Hall building at the top.  This reminded me of the cover of the Beatles Abbey Road album – and hey presto the painting "when the Beatles came to Barnsley" was born.'  

Terry's work has already hung in a few local cafe's and restaurants. I am thrilled to announce he will be exhibiting his work in Experience Barnsley in January 2014, and hope you will all join me down there to support him. He is currently busy working on paintings for his new exhibition and promises for some quirky surprises, including a chance to "get inside a BROOKES painting".

For more of his artwork and further information, please visit his website here