Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My Month in Numbers ~ January 2012

Like a lot of you, I set myself a few goals for the coming year. Some of them I declared and others I kept to myself. How have I got on during this first month of the year? Better than I thought, but not quite as well as I would have liked!

4 is the number of challenges I have managed from the list I made public. I told a story about a Christmas past for Sian, shared my desk each week over at Julia’s, blogged a list of 10 for Shimelle and I’m counting up my month with Julie today.

1 is the number I failed to complete, although I do have 2 sewing projects on the go and I did bake a delicious lemon drizzle cake. Does that count Annie?


2 is the number of new recipes I’ve tried. The lemon cake above and a new way with chicken. I was hoping for 4, something new each week, will try harder next month.

2 is also the number of books I’ve read this month. That was my aim, although I would love to read more, I’m being realistic here.


4 is the number of ‘labs’ I completed from this book. I’m aiming for 1 a week, as there are 52 of them.

31 is the number of daily photos I snapped. I know a lot of fellow bloggers are following the 365+1 challenge and I have used a few of the prompts, on days when I didn’t have anything else in mind. This was ‘cosy’.


Not a bad start to the year. I can’t quite believe this month is over already and it will be the first What’s on your Workdesk Wednesday of February tomorrow. Don’t forget Storytelling Sunday this week too. Maybe I’ll be reading a tale of yours then.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Five Things I’m Loving This Friday ~ More Hearts!

Along with rainbows, stars and butterflies, I have a bit of a thing for hearts. It was difficult to pick just five last week, so here I am with the ones I left out.

A felt covered heart wreath from the idea room.

Teeny tiny crochet hearts from Attic 24.

A handwritten applique heart from Alisa Burke.

Mini heart brooches from the Purl bee.

Quick and easy paperclip hearts from How About Orange.

Next month I’ll be focussing on patchwork and quilting for my Friday favourites. Something different on that theme for each of the four weeks. I hope you’ll join me.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #138

Hello from a damp and dreary Dorset. Not much light for taking photos this morning and this is the result. Those lovely bright needlecords in the kits look rather dull. I love the way the kits are folded and tied up with ribbon, like a parcel.


I took a close up, but it’s not much better. I love that it has ‘very well made in England’ printed on the fabric. The Royal Mail sticker on the bag shows that I received these kits on 30/3/11 and they have been sat in the bottom of my wardrobe much of the time since then. It really is time I got them made. No excuses!


The skirt is very similar in style to a much loved and well worn one of my own. Once I’ve cut the fabric pieces out, I’m going to use them to make up a paper pattern. Then I can repeat the design in some other fabric I have in my stash. That’s the plan anyway. I seem to have lost confidence in my dress making ability, which is crazy when I managed to make my own wedding dress and outfits for four bridesmaids.

If you want to have a nosey around (in excess of) a hundred other desks then Julia will set you on the right path. But if you are just feeling short changed by the empty muffin wrapper, then you can see what it looked like before I ate it and get the recipe for some of your own here.

PS The skirt kit now comes in Leaf Green, just saying Sian.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Five Things I’m Loving This Friday ~ Hearts

With Valentines Day less than a month away there was only one theme it could be today.

An altered heart shaped box from Alisa Burke. There is room inside for your bits and bobs and the top is a pincushion. Love that doodly stitching.

A felt garland from Betz White.


An appliqued t-shirt from iCandy handmade. This looks like a really simple technique, yet it’s such an effective result. I’ll be trying this out for sure.


Heart shaped crayons from the long thread.

An appliqued cushion from Simple analogy.

Flying through today while I wait for my cookies to come out of the oven. I’ve got an old school friend calling in for lunch, on his way from Devon to London. Can’t wait.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #137

It’s a bit of a contrast to last week’s ‘pristine’ desk, as one commenter referred to it.


For one thing there is definitely not one ray of sunshine, just damp grey mizzle and my work space has filled up considerably since then. I’ve been assembling bits and pieces to try out the first ‘lab’ in my new book. I don’t have any heavy watercolour paper and wanted to make do with what I do have. I’m recycling the cardboard packaging the book came in instead. I think it will work just fine.

Visiting Alexa’s blog this morning reminded me of learning The King’s Breakfast by AA Milne when I was at primary school. The dark blue book on the left is a copy of When We Were Very Young, which has the poem in. I still remember it almost word for word, especially the part of the dairymaid, which I played. Happy days.

In the middle is my daughter’s latest drawing. She often settles herself at my desk, when I’m busy elsewhere (even though she has a perfectly good one of her own) and I don’t mind sharing. On the right, the remains of my ‘little something’ for elevenses.

If you’re not yet familiar with this sharing of desks, from all around the world, on a Wednesday, then get yourself over to Julia’s place to see what it’s all about.

PS The bag is not abandoned, but a work in progress for now.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pinspiration ~ Chicken and Lemons

I have found Pinterest to be a brilliant tool for storing ideas from around the net, that I want to come back to at a later date. However it is only recently that I have started using as a resource in itself. I wanted to try my hand at a Lemon Drizzle Cake. Simply Googling brings up a seemingly endless list of recipes, but which to choose? By searching on Pinterest, the list is much shorter and you know that somebody else has thought that particular recipe worth noting.

I chose this one from Mostly Yummy Mummy and yummy it surely was. It’s a good thing I took this photo as soon as it had cooled, because there’s not much left now.


On Wednesday I was looking for inspiration to use up a couple of chicken breasts I had languishing in the fridge. I happened to visit Kirsti’s blog and she mentioned a recipe she’d found on Pinterest. Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken sounded pretty good to me. As luck would have it I also had a couple of rashers of back bacon, so I gave it go. I changed the recipe a bit and used smoked paprika instead of the garlic powder and chilli powder and probably a lot less sugar.


As you can see I didn’t really have enough bacon. The children liked the look of it, so I cooked it again last night for all of us and used streaky bacon this time. They were much better wrapped than these, but I had no chance of a photo opportunity, before they were wolfed down. I served with creamy mash and sweetcorn. A definite success.

This post was brought to you as part of Beverly’s Pinterest Inspired Tuesdays.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Collage Lab

In a bid to experiment more with mixed media this year, I bought a copy of Collage Lab by Bee Shay. At first glance, it looks like exactly what I need to encourage me.


The book is split into 12 units, beginning with Building the Foundation, moving through Texture, Gesso, Colour, Surface Design, Line and  Form, Papers, Paper Play, Mediums, Imagery and ending with Visual Dictionary and Unification and Composition.

Each unit comprises 4 or 5 different ‘labs’ which are structured in the same way.

  • Materials
  • Instructions
  • Play and Experiment
  • Food for Thought

Seeing, doing, learning is the key to keeping the knowledge and information that has been acquired along the way through experience and will build a useful and very personal reference guide for years to come.’

You are encouraged to keep a journal of the labs, as you work through them, which I plan to do. I can note down the specific supplies I use, what did/didn’t work and it will be handy to be able to refer back to it in future.

I have also discovered (this afternoon) that there is a companion blog. I haven’t looked past the front page, as I thought I might be some time! The photo above is from that page and relates to Lab 6 Organics. I’m looking forward to exploring it, once the children are in bed.

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed the two slips of paper on the book cover. They are the winners of the Lovefilm Gift Vouchers, ably drawn by my lovely assistant. Congratulations to Alexa and Michelle. Drop me an email with your address and I’ll get them in the post.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with the contents of my desk for your perusal.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Five Things I’m Loving This Friday ~ Goals

I’ve noticed lots of blog posts this month about goals for the year, so I thought I’d add some of my own today. These are all challenges and memes that I aim to join in with every month throughout 2012.

Storytelling Sunday at From High in the Sky. Sian has changed it up slightly this year to include anyone who prefers to tell their story in pictures rather than words.

My Month in Numbers at Notes on Paper. Julie wrote a great post with all her best advice on compiling your own Month in Numbers.

A Monthly Make 2012 at The Felt Fairy. As the title suggests, Annie is encouraging us all to make something each month and upload to the Flickr group.

10 Things at Pretty paper, true stories. On the tenth of the month, Shimelle asks us to blog about anything at all, as long as it includes 10 things.

(will try to get a better image tomorrow, losing the will tonight!)

What’s on Your Workdesk? Wednesday at Stamping Ground. Julia hosts a blog link up every week, where you can share the contents of your desk. Great for nosey folk like me and you never know what inspiration you may find.

What are you aiming to join in with this year?

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday ~ 136

So the desk top and its legs have been reunited at last and I now have somewhere to work again. The sun is streaming in through the windows this afternoon and it feels like a good place to be.


The shoulder bag kit from Sew! by Cath Kidston is going to be my first project. It’s been a while since I last used my sewing machine and I need to familiarise myself with it again. I’ve read through the directions and can’t quite get my head around the ‘t-junction’ corners. Next stop Youtube!

To see what everyone else is up to this week, head on over to Julia’s place. I’m hoping I’ll have a finished bag to show you next week. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

10 Things on the Tenth ~ Films

Shimelle is hosting 10 Things on the Tenth again this year and you can find the list of links on her blog.

I love going to the cinema and used to go often. Now that I have children, trips to the cinema tend to be family affairs to see the latest Harry Potter film or Pixar creation. About a year ago I joined Lovefilm and it’s been fun catching up on all the films I missed, as well as revisiting some we saw on the big screen.

Here, in no particular order, are a few favourites from last year.

  1. Made in Dagenham
  2. Alice in Wonderland
  3. Shutter Island
  4. Tangled
  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  6. The King’s Speech
  7. True Grit
  8. Toy Story 3
  9. The Social Network
  10. Inception

Which films/movies were your favourites? I’m sure there are plenty more titles I could add to my ‘to watch’ list.

If you’d like to try Lovefilm for yourself, then I have a giftcard for a free 2 month membership. Just leave me a comment and I’ll draw a winner on Sunday.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A Vintage Year

I noticed this doing the rounds on Facebook walls and wondered which song was number one in the week that I was born. A quick Google gave me the answer.

I was then curious to know the songs that had been topping the charts during the weeks that my children were born. They obviously didn’t make much of an impression on me at the time. I wondered how happy they would be, in 30 years time, to discover their number one songs are by The Backstreet Boys and Puff Daddy. Will anyone still know who they are by then?

Do you know what your song is? I think I lucked out with mine.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Five Things I’m Loving This Friday ~ Thankyou

I know it’s Saturday, but our internet connection did not want to play nicely yesterday. So here I am, a day late, with a little selection of printable thankyou notes and cards.

Postcards from Giver’s log just waiting to be coloured in. There’s another design linked to in the post and I love the idea of a Thankyou binder to store supplies and make writing thankyou notes fun for children.

An elegant design from Creature Comforts which also comes without the greeting and would make a pretty birthday card.

A whole selection from Do it Yourself Invitations which come with printable envelopes

A stylish design from Squirrel in the Attic featured on How About Orange. This is a brilliant website, with lots of freebies and great ideas. Well worth a visit, if you don’t already know it.

These sweet designs from junelily print out four to the sheet, handy if you need lots.

That’s it for this week folks. Hope you find something useful in there, or a new website to visit, if you’ve been good and written all your thankyou notes already. We still have a few left to send here.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #135

The short answer to that is…..nothing! It’s very difficult to put anything on your desk when it’s had its legs removed and is propped up against the wall in the upstairs passage way. About a week before Christmas, I lost my little creative corner to make way for the tree. Only a couple more days until Twelfth Night, when I can reclaim it. In the meantime, I’m thinking about the projects waiting to be made.

A Clothkits skirt with a beautiful Rob Ryan design.

A little maze book to put my version of this face into, along with all the other fabulous faces I received in Mel’s swap.


The bag that came with this book and still remains in pieces nearly a year later.

Those are just a few of the things on my ‘to do’ list and I’m looking forward to putting the legs back on my desk so that I can get started. This year I’ve pledged to A Make A Month which is being hosted by Annie over at The Felt Fairy. I’m actually hoping to make many more than that, but it’s not a bad place to start.

I’ve been making my way (slowly) through the list of bloggers taking part and popped in to say hello to some already. I’m happy to see a few familiar faces among them. If you’re joining in with this, please make yourself known. It’ll be great to get to know you and see your makes throughout the year.

If it’s actual desks you’re after, then you might want to pop over to Julia’s blog where you’ll find an abundance of them.

I’ll be back on Friday with Five Things I’m Loving. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Storytelling Sunday 2 ~ A Very Different Christmas

Before I started writing my Month in Numbers post yesterday, I had no idea what I was going to tell you about today, for Sian’s Storytelling Sunday. I wanted to tell a New Year tale, but I always find it easier if I have a picture as a starting point and I couldn’t think of any in my albums. I mentioned that it was 25 years since I last had any sort of fringe and I wondered if I had any photos of that.

I found this one.


It shows me, aged 17, on Christmas Day 1985. I was in India with a group of school friends and we had just opened our presents. My gifts included a beach mat, a tin mug (which I still have), joss sticks and a bar of sandalwood soap. My Secret Santa was very imaginative and did amazingly well with the small amount of rupees.


We had left a Poste Restante address, in Kerala, with our families and friends, as we would be there for a week between Christmas and New Year. I was lucky enough to receive several pieces of mail, including the Christmas card I’m holding. As you may have noticed the sender has attached a balloon, to help us celebrate. The silver disc is an Extra Strong Mint, something he was well known for having about his person at all times. There was also a lovely long letter inside, added to by almost all of our Sixth Form friends. I still have that too. I can’t tell you how special it felt to have those words on a Christmas Day so far from home.

We saw in the New Year at a hotel across the road, which was much posher than the accommodation we were staying in. I remember drinking some locally brewed spirit and dancing to Talking Heads Road to Nowhere. Whenever I hear that song now, it takes me right back to that night.

We travelled further north by train and visited lots more amazing places, before we returned home. I love that there were repairs being carried out, while we were in Agra, because it makes my shot of the Taj Mahal a little bit different from the standard touristy images.


Here’s a closer look at that scaffolding.


There seemed to be quite a few repairs in progress while we there.


It’s funny the things that have come back to me looking at that first shot. I had completely forgotten about those gifts and without the photo would not have remembered them.

So when Uncle Dave says, "You've got to persuade them! It's so important!” You really should listen to him, because he’s absolutely right. Get your stories down on paper, or on your blog, before they are lost forever.