Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Cherry Blossom

From orange blossom to cherry blossom. There is so much of this around right now and the pink petals are gorgeous, blowing confetti-like on the ground.

This is what I have been working on over the last week. As I walk Adrien to nursery school I pass by so many cherry blossom trees, I was inspired to capture the beauty on paper and linen.
I am not great at drawing, but I do love to sit and sketch flowers and wildlife. I then painted in watercolours. The embroidery then followed. I am not sure what to do with the embroidery though; put it in a frame maybe or turn it into a small bag.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Orange Blossoms

I have been wanting to make these Orange Blossom Cookies ever since I saw Leslie's here.

I liked them a lot. In fact I loved them, so did all the family - the entire batch was gone in a day.

I didn't think my Orange Blossom Cookies were too bitter, but they did spread quite a bit in the oven, maybe next time I will need to add a little extra flour.

Talking of orange blossom, aren't these beautiful? Looking at this picture makes me want to go paint - maybe I will.....or embroider?

My weekend was rather quiet. The weather here seems to have gone back to winter, so I didn't spend much time gardening. I have not much to report on the garden front. I see no sign of any grass shoots from the seed I planted last week. I thought it took about a week for grass seed to germinate, but I am not sure.

The clocks went forward this weekend, which I had no idea was happening. The boys and I turned up at our church Sunday morning an hour late - I had no clue up until then. It was rather embarrassing, I have never forgotten anything like that before, my excuse is that I have quite a lot on my mind at the moment - or maybe I am just getting old!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Childhood Treasures

This is a gorgeous book I picked up at the library recently and have been devouring ever since. It is basically a book full of vintage inspiration to enable you to create handmade gifts for children, and includes ten detailed projects to get you going.

I just love looking at the gorgeous pictures of vintage toys, fabrics and playthings, and there are so many ideas to get the children involved too.

There are so many wonderful books around at the moment, and I can't get enough of them. I am quite an avid reader, but I have to admit that since rediscovering my creative side, I have not been reading nearly as much as I used to. There are just not enough hours in the day, I can not do it all I guess. So because of obvious time constraints, I am relying mostly on creative books, with lots of pictures to fill my literary needs. The epic novels will have to wait for another time. I also love children's books, so any excuse to cuddle up with boys and books is a plus.

Alex being almost 7 now, I am finding myself introducing old favourites of mine as a child to him. He is starting to read independently (although he hates it), but I love to read longer stories to him, like 'Treasure Island' and 'Just So Stories' by Rudyard Kipling. Although I am somewhat of a bookworm now, I only picked up my love of reading at about 16; it all seemed rather a chore up until I read the 'Flowers In The Attic' series by Virginia Andrews, and finally 'got' what it meant to actually get taken away by a book. So although Alex doesn't show any sign of becoming a book lover at the moment, there is still plenty of time. I hope.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


This week I have been making a conscious effort to 'let-go' of some of the ever-revolving chores that seem to constantly eat up all my time at the cost of my children, and instead spend more time playing, talking and reading with them. I am really feeling (even more than ever before) how precious my time with my children are, and I don't want to miss a second of it. So it's ditch the dishes!

I especially feel this way with Adrien. Since January he now goes to nursery school every afternoon, and I feel that my time at home with him is slowly slipping away. I don't ever remember the time going so quickly with my eldest son Alex. Maybe it's because I know that Adrien is my last child and I will not get this opportunity again.

Whatever the reason, we have been going on walks in the woods, painting, gardening, baking and lots and lots of playing. To be honest it feels so good, I no longer care about the dirty dishes or the growing laundry pile, or the mess everywhere - it feels rather liberating.

I did have a strange afternoon yesterday though. After dropping Adrien off at nursery school, I was walking back home when Alex's teacher drove by me, stopped and asked if the school had called me, because apparently Alex was crying in the school saying he didn't feel well! (This was a coincidence that we passed, she wasn't actually driving around looking for me). The school seemed very reluctant to let Alex go home, even though he was in quite a state. I eventually took him home, where he was fine for the rest of the day. He told me later that he had had a bit of a squabble with another boy, and didn't want to go back to the class! I guess one afternoon off school is not going to hurt - we actually enjoyed some mama/Alex time that we don't normally get.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Fabric & Candle Goodies

I was very excited to receive some new fabrics in the mail today.

The gorgeous floral fabric on the left is from good-ness. It is fine corduroy and I plan to make my first bag with it. I still need to find a good lining fabric first before I begin. In the centre is evenweave natural linen and on the right is a vintage Laura Ashley Cowslip piece, which I am thinking of making a quilt with.

I have also been fortunate to win a sampler pack of five scented, hand-poured, 100% soy tea light candles from Homemade Candle Creations, through Monkey's Momma blog. I have never used tea light candles before, although I have always thought they sound so nice, so I cannot wait to try them out when I receive them.

Pop over to Melissa's wonderful candle store to see for yourself. Happy Wednesday to you!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

My Banana & Seed Bread

We didn't make it to the local nature reserve at the weekend like we had planned, but we did make my special Banana and Seed Bread. I like to enjoy this as a snack with a cup of tea. The children love it too - a good healthy snack. I tend to reduce the amount of sugar (I think this actually improves the taste) and I whizz the seeds up in food processor, otherwise my boys would spit the seeds out!


125g butter

125g sugar

2 eggs

250g Self-raising flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 mashed bananas

100g mixed seeds (pumpkin/sunflower/linseed)

Cream butter and sugar together. Slowly beat in egg. Sift in flour and cinnamon. Add seeds and mashed banana then transfer quite thick mixture into lined loaf tin. Bake at 190 for 50 minutes.

Allow to cool.

Eat and enjoy.....

Monday, 23 March 2009

Mother's Day

It was Mother's Day here in the UK yesterday. I got treated very well with breakfast in bed and some lovely cards & gifts, (handmade of course - ). The above picture is my card and present from my eldest son Alex. Inside the red heart is a photograph of us together when he was about 3.

All my lovely things together.

This is my card and gift from Adrien, which he made in nursery school. The gorgeous pasta necklace was inside the little red tissue wrapped bundle. It was all so sweet. I had a lovely day yesterday, didn't want it to end.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Itsy Bitsy Sewing

Here are some of the little sewing items I have been making recently. I am thinking of giving these as gifts to my sons' Teachers at Easter, as I think they do an amazing job!

Here are miniature lavender tote bags, ready to hang in a closet.

Here is a selection of hand embroidered linen purses. Up top a clutch (note: I am still deciding on the button to add), on left, a coin like purse with red polka dot lining to match the red flowers, and on right, a daisy zip purse.

I also whipped up this pink headband for myself. Last week I went for a long overdue appointment at the hair salon, and got about 6" chopped off! I am loving the shorter look, and thought I would play around with some hair accessories. I took this picture myself yesterday at the playground with Adrien.

I made the hairband from this Old Red Barn tutorial. It was very quick and easy to make, and I got many compliments at the school about it. I am thinking of making a few more in lots of bright coloured fabrics, ideal for spring and summer.
Well I have lots of housework building up. Have yourself a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

What's been on my mind?

I have been dabbling in a lot of small projects recently, which is fine, but I suddenly feel the need to get my teeth into a bigger and more challenging project. I am thinking a bag, maybe? (I haven't made one of those before) or maybe a quilt. I have this thing for yellow at the moment, it may have something to do with the fact that there is so much yellow around these parts right now.

I have also been having some wild thoughts about the garden. he he.... not that wild, mind you. I want some vibrant colour, possibly a mediteranian or South American feel.

Lots of large clay pots,

colourful tiles,

red check table cloth,

potted olive trees with creeping rosemary,

french lavender,


This is what you might call an inspiration board of the mind.

So many visions, so many notions and ideas. It's knowing what to do with it all.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Trip To The Library

A trip to the library calls for all manner of things to be bought along. Back-packs filled with toys, markers, food and paper. Is there any room left for the books?

Adrien carries his 'Archie'. A birthday present I made for him last December from the Wee Wonderfuls pattern. I really wanted to make him a cloth 'boy' doll, but was unsure whether he would go for it. Well since his birthday we got off to a very slow start. After the initial novelty of a new present wore off, Archie was thrown to the back of toy beyond. Well I gradually persisted and now they are the best of friends! He takes him to bed, on shopping trips and to Nursery School. I don't know now how we ever did without him.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Breakfast In The Garden

It was such a beautiful spring day yesterday, I decided to have breakfast in the garden! I treated myself to a freshly baked pastry and a cup of my favourite freshly brewed coffee. It was all so delicious!

On the way walking to school, the daffodils are in full bloom and the sun shining. It was a beautiful day.

Monday, 16 March 2009


I have been working out in the garden for the first time this year over the weekend. We only moved into this house late summer last year, and this is my first opportunity to start to do something with it. It is only a postage-stamp size back yard, but for us, who lived in an apartment for four years and yearned for a garden, it is everything. The previous occupant of this house was an elderly lady, so the garden was just concrete slabs for easy maintenance. I badly want to grow some vegetables and get the children involved in it all, so I was eager to make a start.

It's going to be a lot of hard work though! Have removed most of the removable concrete, so its left compacted earth that needs to be dug & turned. I have got through about half of the digging so far, which is more than I expected and I now have the back-ache to prove it!

I am not looking for a landscaped beautiful garden, just somewhere for the children to grow stuff, learn stuff, and somewhere pleasant to sit and play in the summer.

I had better get those wellies on!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Mrs Rabbit

Here is something I have been working on for some time now. The rabbit is made from Japanese cotton fabric with embroidered facial features and paws. It has been somewhat of a labour of love, and I have been tempted at many times to forget the whole thing and move onto another project, but now she is actually completed I am quite happy with her. She will be the first soft toy that I have designed and made myself, and I have learned a lot on this journey we made together.

I know the picture quality is not great, I am hoping to save up my pennies to get a new camera soon.

I am very excited to find out that I won the A Flower For You blog giveaway. This will be my very first giveaway win! Sarah makes such gorgeous handmade items. I will be sure to show them off when I receive them.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Pink Brooches

Have been making, selling and buying these cute felt brooches on behalf of my son's Nursery, to raise money for the Epping Breast Cancer Unit. I was very humbled to read the two women's stories (from the link), who happen to be teachers at the school my son attends. I had no idea these women had been through so much!
I have been hearing many sad stories lately; I have always been a person who is grateful for what she has, but I am even more so now. I do not dream of expensive items and material gains, I am happy in my humble little house and grateful for my and my children's' every living moment.
I even had a rare treat yesterday. I splurged at the hair salon! I got about 4" cut of the length of my hair and had some highlights put through. I feel like a new woman now.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A Little Package of Happiness

What better way to make me happy? When yesterday on a cold, bleak, drizzly day a little brown package slips its way quietly through my letter box.

This is the lovely linen zip purse I recently purchased from the lovely and very talented Melissa at Tiny Happy. It's made from gorgeous yellow linen and Finnish lace.

The lining is Liberty lawn fabric. How beautiful. I think I will use my new little treasure to keep some of my jewellery in.
Happiness in a little brown package.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Self portrait

Adrien's self-portrait

Alex's self-portrait

These works of art were produced at Sunday School. They were asked to draw a picture of who they love! I guess they both think pretty highly of themselves! I particularly loved the way Alex created his red stripey T-shirt by tearing strips of red tissue paper, what a lovely effect.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Blog Giveaway!!!

There is a wonderful giveaway over at A Flower For You, with the chance to win FOUR gorgeous handmade prizes. A recipe bag filled with recipe cards, an adorable patchwork pincushion, a spring time scarf AND a gorgeous little handbag! Go check it out.

Drawstring Bag

I just finished making this cute drawstring bag from a pattern in the new sewing magazine Sew Hip for my little Adrien. I used a Japanese print linen fabric and the red fabric is also linen. He now takes it to Nursery with him for a PE bag. The magazine comes with lots of great patterns and ideas. I particularly like the section 'Crafting with Children'. Although I haven't had much luck getting Adrien to do any of the activities yet, not that they are not great activities, but my little guy prefers imaginative play at the moment to creative. I guess I can but keep on trying.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Hello & welcome!

Welcome to my new online journal. Here you will find a snapshot of what is going on in my world, what inspires and excites me and any projects I am working on.

I am a mother of two boys who are currently aged 6 and 3. I like to bake, sew, knit and craft and enjoy the natural world.

For anyone who followed The Glass Jar, I decided not to continue with that, as I felt it was going in an opposite direction to me.

I welcome any comments, suggestions, tips & advice, and so look forward to hearing from you.