Saturday 31 December 2011

My Month in Numbers ~ December 2011

Out with the old….


….in with the new!


10 = the number of inches lopped from my hair.

25 = the number of years since I last had a fringe.

12.1 = the number of mega pixels my new Canon Power Shot has. A vast improvement on the 4.0 of my old one.

5 = the number of family together for Christmas dinner at home.

0 = the number of sprouts cooked by me for that dinner!

19 = The number of family gathered for a sit down bubble and squeak lunch on Boxing Day at the inlaws.

2 = The number of dogs lurking under the tables, waiting for any tasty morsel that might come their way.

All this counting was the clever idea of Julie at Notes on Paper and if you pop over there, you’ll be able to see her very own Month in Numbers.

2 = the number of hours left of 2011, so all that remains is for me to wish you a Happy, Healthy and Creative New Year. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

All is calm here. Now that the food is prepared and the presents are wrapped, I can relax. Tomorrow we will be at home and my Mum will spend the day with us.


When I was a little girl we always went to my Gran’s house for Christmas Day and spent it with my cousins.


Here they are resplendent in their seventies jumpers, brown of course. We lost my eldest cousin earlier this year, as many of you will know, and I have been thinking of her a lot this week.


And here I am with my little brother. Happy times.

Wishing you a Christmas filled with love, laughter and perhaps some quiet reflection.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Virtual Cookie Exchange

I’ve seen and heard a lot about Cookie Exchanges, since I’ve been following blogs from across the pond. I think it’s a brilliant tradition and one we would do well to adopt as our own. Beverly happens to be hosting a Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange today, so I had to join her. Well it would be rude not to!

I’m cheating just a little bit, because I shared this recipe back in May, after a few requests from friends. I’ve converted it into US measurements for this blog post, but you can find the original version here.

Peanut Butter Cookies

For a dozen large cookies you will need:

1 stick of butter

1 cup of soft brown sugar (firmly packed)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (not sifted)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup chopped bitter sweet chocolate

Mmm…well that was a lot trickier than I thought. I started by using an online conversion site, but it was very complicated and the amounts seemed a bit off. It then occurred to me that the easiest way to do it, would be to weigh the actual ingredients out into my own set of cups.

The method is in the original post linked to above.

If you need more yummy cookie recipes to add to your repertoire, then head on over to Beverly’s place, where you’ll find plenty to make your mouth water.

ETA: It would seem that even our teaspoons are not the same, from one side of the ocean to the other. I think in the US they may be bigger than here in the UK, but I’m reading conflicting advice. If anyone knows the answer to this, I’d be very grateful.

Friday 16 December 2011

Five Things I’m Loving This Friday ~ It’s a Wrap!

A few ideas for wrapping that special gift.

Brown paper with gold accents from 100 layer cake.

Gift bags made with envelopes from How about Orange.

Typography on brown paper from Bugs and Fishes.

Muslin roses on brown paper (are you sensing a theme?!) from Poppytalk.

Brown paper, doilies, gingham and twine from A Creative Mint.

I’ve made the gift bags from How about Orange, using kraft envelopes (no surprise there then) and they are really simple to do. Very handy if you need to package a gift at short notice. I hope you found something to inspire you among those ideas.

Saturday 10 December 2011

10 Things on the Tenth ~ Deck the Halls

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you will know that I usually post Five Things I’m Loving on a Friday. It should have been Christmas decorations yesterday, but there were so many lovely ideas, I couldn’t choose just five of them. Instead I saved it for today, so that I could go wild and share ten of my favourites.

Tiny fairisle stockings to knit from Little Cotton Rabbits.

Stars made out of re-cycled drinks cans from Milo Made.

A Felty Christmas Tree in rainbow colours designed by Julia Crossland.

No sew Vintage Stockings from Susie Harris.

A table top Christmas Tree made with old book pages from Recycled Lovelies.

A simple Doily Garland from Steph Loves Ben.

A jug full of twigs and pinecones from A Creative Mint.

Punched tin (Pringle tube bottoms) decorations from Fun in the Making.

3D Star Wreath made with scrapbook paper from Little Birdie Secrets.

Winter Ornaments from A Bit of Pilli Pilli.

So that’s my 10 Things. If you want to see a whole host of others, head on over to Shimelle’s place for the full list.

Next Friday’s 5 Things will be ideas for wrapping your gifts. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

It’s Behind You!

Over 35 years behind me, now that I think about it.

Christmas plays were a really big thing at my little village primary school. We went all out to put on a great show and it was such an exciting time, my absolute favourite part of the school calendar. I remember this particular year, because Mrs C’s class were putting on the main pantomime of Cinderella and I had recently moved up into Miss E’s class, so I was going to miss out. My little brother is there, in the front row, playing a white mouse. He’s the one on the left.


My class told the tale of St. George and the Dragon and I got the part of St.George. Before I could slay the dragon (I had a bit of a crush on him) I had to first fight the Turkish Knight and banish her him from the kingdom. I had the line, “Be gone thou little heathen knight.” That brought a few laughs, due to my diminutive size.


A team of mums came in to make the costumes and they did a brilliant job every year. I had chainmail painted on the sleeves of my skinny rib jumper with gold paint. I don’t think my Mum knew that would be happening and she was not best pleased when I took it back home!

Mrs H, the school secretary was our wardrobe mistress. We each had to take in a coat hanger with our name on and a bag for any accessories. The costumes were all hung on a rail in Miss E’s classroom and it was a hive of activity on performance night.

During the year there was a partition wall that divided Mr and Mrs C’s classrooms from each other. At the beginning of December that was taken down and the stage was erected at one end of the now seemingly enormous room. I couldn’t concentrate on my lessons, I was too busy running through my lines and imagining myself up on that stage.

The afternoon before the main event we always had a dress rehearsal, to which we invited the older folks of the village. In the morning Mr E, the photographer, would come into school and we’d all have our pictures taken. Something which I’m most grateful for today as I write this. I feel very lucky to have these photographs of such happy times.

I’m a little late, I know, but this memory is brought to you courtesy of Sian’s Storytelling Sunday. I’m looking forward to reading all the other stories later on this week. I’ve really enjoyed taking part, although I didn’t begin until quite late in the year. Thankyou Sian.

Monday 5 December 2011

That Was The Week That Was

Although it somehow turned into a fortnight.

It’s been a pretty tough couple of weeks around here. Aspergers is the kind of thing that bubbles just under the surface and I never quite know when it is going to erupt. I just know that it will. The triggers are many and varied. I’ve got to know what a lot of them are over the years and learnt to organise things, the best I can, to minimise the likelihood of a meltdown. They can still take me by surprise though.

It’s very hard to watch my lovely boy being taken over by a rage, so strong that he has no control. It hurts to have him scream and shout at me, even though I know he doesn’t really mean it. In that moment it feels like he does. I can’t always prevent my daughter from witnessing these outbursts. I know how distressing she finds it and I feel like I’m failing them both. It makes me feel helpless.

This is the worst time of year in many ways. Returning to school, for the Autumn term, after such a long summer break. It takes that much longer to get back into the routine. Just as we begin to settle in, it’s time for another week off and that sets us back again. Then it’s Bonfire Night, which is no fun when you can’t bear loud (and often unexpected) noises.

Next there is Christmas to look forward to and that brings challenges of its own. It creates an atmosphere, which can be unsettling, when it should be exciting. As the end of term approaches, classes become a little more relaxed and sometimes teachers provide a DVD, quiz or other ‘treat’. This can be an absolute nightmare for a child who struggles with any change in routine and needs the reassurance of the usual boundaries for behaviour.

I do everything I possibly can to keep things on an even keel at home, but the school day is totally out of my hands. Any unexpected thing could prove to be a catalyst. He almost always manages to hold things together while he is at school. It will all pour out, within moments of him walking through door. We are his ‘safe place’, where he can let go of it.

After a meltdown, he often feels physically unwell and always feels terrible for the upset he causes everyone. It’s heart breaking, it really is.

This post is not meant to be a pity party, but I felt like I couldn’t blog about anything else, until I had put this down in words. If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading. Normal service will be resumed shortly and I’ll be back to comment on all your blogs very soon.

Friday 25 November 2011

Five Things I’m Loving This Friday ~ Handmade Gifts Part 6

Anthropologie knock off Hair Clips from Emily’s Little World.

A Convertible Cowl from The Crimson Owl.

Funky Lavender Sachets from Bugs and Fishes.

Knitted Anything Animals from Petite Purls.

A Felt Laptop Cozy from Betz White.

Friday 18 November 2011

Five Things I’m Loving This Friday ~ Handmade Gifts Part 5

After a blip last week, with the auto post that didn’t, I’m back with another list. No particular theme this week, just a few things that I thought would make lovely and mostly useful gifts. They are all sewing projects this time.

A Kindle case from Chica and Jo.

A fabric portfolio and notebook holder from The Cottage Home.

Ties from the Purl Bee.

A lens cap pouch from Peta Pixel.

A folding grocery tote from Yarn Geek.

Links to all the previous lists can be found here.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #128

My desk is pretty much how I left it after finishing the painted faces on Sunday.


The space in the middle is where the laptop was until an hour or so ago. Nothing like completing your homework 10 minutes before you have to leave for school. Unfortunately leaving your memory stick, which contains that homework, plugged into the side of the laptop, is not the best idea. Guess where I’ll be going on my way to pilates in a minute!

I’ll be heading over to Julia’s place when I get back, to see what everyone else has been up to this week.

Sunday 13 November 2011

The Face Book Project {Sunday Snippets}

Mel asked, “Who wants to play?”

I answered, “Ooh, yes please Mel!” and this is what I did.


Faces ‘water coloured’ with Distress Inks. I’m loving the new Seedless Preserves.


I added some embossing ink and my favourite Queen’s Gold embossing powder.


Finally a touch of Glossy Accents on her lips and white pen to highlight her eyes.

They are all packaged up now and ready to send to Mel. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has done with them.

I think there are still a few spaces left for phase two, if anyone else fancies joining in. All the details are in the post I linked to at the start.

ETA Oops! I forgot to link to {tinniegirl}

Thursday 10 November 2011

10 Things on the Tenth ~ Story Books to Share

We were sorting out the big bookcase in the lounge at the weekend, as we usually do around this time of year. When we got to the second shelf from the bottom, there was our collection of read aloud picture books. The box was ready and waiting to pack them up and put them in the attic. We took them off the shelf, flicked them with the duster and couldn’t quite resist a little peek inside a few of them. I will just mention at this point, that my children are 12 and 14 years young old. We smiled at the pictures and rhymes we know so well and put them all back on the shelf. Maybe next year they will make it into the box.

So, in no particular order, here are 10 of our favourites.


‘The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind….’


‘Once upon a time there was an Elephant.’


‘Eddy’s off to find his teddy. Eddy’s teddy’s name is Freddy.’


‘One day, when giant Baby Bear was playing in the woods, he found a very small….’


‘The witch had a cat and a very tall hat, And long ginger hair which she wore in a plait. How the cat purred and how the witch grinned, As they sat on their broomsick and flew through the wind.’


‘Winnie the Witch lived in a black house in the forest. The house was black on the outside and black on the inside. The carpets were black. The chairs were black. The bed was black and it had black sheets and black blankets. Even the bath was black.’


“Hello, Dad,” said Bernard. “Not now, Bernard,” said his father.


‘Each Peach Pear Plum I spy Tom Thumb’


‘On a windy hill, alone, with nothing to be friends with, lived Something Else.’


‘The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house All that cold, cold, wet day.’

It would seem we have a penchant for witches and monsters, bears and small cute creatures and a love of rhyming text. The first two books, I read as a child (although mine came from the library) and the last one actually belonged to my husband, when he was a little boy.

I’m sure there are some in our list that you recognise.

Shimelle is hosting 10 Things on her blog again this month. Pop over if you’d like to see what everyone else is sharing, or to add a list of your own.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #127

It’s another damp day here and I seem to have been ousted from my desk, by my daughter. The family PC is rather elderly and no longer has the ‘oomph’ to run the manga software, she uses with her graphics tablet, so she’s nabbed my laptop.


This is something she created when she first got it for her birthday, back in the Summer. I couldn’t figure out how to access her newer works of art, but I pinned this onto one of my Pinterest boards, when I spotted it on deviantART a while ago.

And this is what I am hoping to create with, once I get my desk back.


The lovely new limited edition Winter Distress Inks. Yes, I succumbed!

To see what everyone else has on their desks this week, head on over to Julia’s place, where you’ll find a hive of activity. I only managed to get round fifty of you last week, must try harder.