Monday, 31 January 2011

{monday muse} happy

This week's Monday muse is this beauty:

via pinterest via inspiredshares.com

It sums up how I feel - happy and light on my feet. I hope that feeling lasts all week!

What's inspiring you today?

Sunday, 30 January 2011

A corner of love

I'm in the process of trying to make over our home. Nothing major - we've done all the painting and carpet laying - but just those little touches that make it home. I want to create little corners and snippets of inspiration and love. My current favourite corner contains my treasured sewing cabinet that belonged to Ben's grandmother.

Corner of love

As love is so important to me it has on it: a framed heart (made by me), a stone with our wedding date engraved on it, a bowl handmade by Lisa for our wedding (filled with shells from Fistral beach in Newquay), a wooden heart I brought back from honeymoon and a Rob Ryan laser cut key. Propped up in front of it out of shot (pending a certain someone hanging it) is a montage of our wedding.

Corner of love

It really is a corner of love.

Friday, 28 January 2011

This week I loved...

:: seeing my best friend try on her wedding dress
:: pilates - I went twice this week and feel really good for it
:: cooking Jamie's puttanesca from 30 minute meals. Recipe is online here. I didn't make the ganache sadly. Maybe next time
:: reading Sister 
:: appliqué
:: watching Mad Men (I'm up to season 2)
:: playing with instagram on the iphone

pretty magical rose
Did you have a great week? I hope so!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Book corner

I always have at least one book on the go so I thought that each week I'd talk a little about what I'm reading - and maybe you'd like to tell me what you're reading and enjoying too?


I'm reading Sister by Rosamund Lupton. I'm not very far through yet but I'm already engrossed - it's written in the style of a letter from the main character, Beatrice, to her sister as she tries to find out what happened to her.  It's full of tension and mystery and the style of writing literally makes you want to turn to the next page and the next... The narrative switches from the present to the past which draws you in - you know snippets of the present but not enough to know the answers to the underlying mystery. I don't know how it's going to end but I'm looking forward to turning more pages and finding out.

Have you read Sister? What did you think of it? (Don't spoil the ending or I'll cry!) What are you reading?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

{balance} my word for 2011

If you're a reader of delicious blogs such as Susannah's you'll have seen her talk about her word of the year. I hadn't really considered choosing one until one particular word kept coming to my conciousness over the last few days: balance.

via flickr

I am after balance in my body through doing exercise like pilates.
And balance in my diet by eating loads of veggies and fruit plus grains and nuts and cutting down on the meat (I used to be a vegetarian but in recent years a meal hasn't felt complete without some kind of meat on the plate). I've also cut out caffeine and I feel so much better for it.
Plus I'm striving for a balance between work and life - and I want to find more time to do the things I love like creating and writing.

Do you have a word for 2011?

Monday, 24 January 2011

{monday muse}

Have you discovered pinterest yet? I love looking through other people's pinboards and seeing what inspires them - and building up boards of my own. And so a new feature for paper and cloth is born: {monday muse}. Each Monday I will post a photo that is inspiring this week and hopefully it'll inspire you too.

By Tif, dottie angel (thank you Lynsey)
I love paper and anything with hearts wins my, well, heart. I'm a romantic and this is the perfect photo to inspire me this week. Happy Monday x

Friday, 21 January 2011

Five crafts you can make in 10 minutes or less

In the course of my 52 crafts adventure I've tried out stacks of crafts (32 to be precise) - some took me an entire week to do (and will take a lot longer to master) and others were quick "oh crap I haven't done this week's craft" crafts. So I thought I'd focus on a few of the projects you can squeeze into the gaps between work, family and the other things that you fill your hours with.

Happy Birthday Mum


1) Card making - you can easily make a card or two in ten minutes. I've tried out a few techniques like quilling which are a little more time consuming but cutting out simple shapes like parcels or flowers and adding a stamped message like on this Mother's Day card takes no time at all. Plus it's a great beginner's craft and you don't need much kit at all to get going. Although if you want to splash out, the Silhouette HD is a great tool for creating quick and effective cards.

Pink and pretty cranes


2) Origami - granted, the first time you attempt an origami crane it might take longer than ten minutes but once you get into the swing of things you'll be whipping them out in no time at all. When you have a few you could string them together and make a pretty mobile.

Leafy canvas


3) Leaf printing - been out for a dog walk and found some nice leaves? Why not use them to make pretty art or cards?

Snowflake earrings


4) Earrings - if you're new to jewellery making it might take a little while to get to grips with twisting the wire but simple drop earrings are quick and easy to make and are perfect gifts.

Candle making


5) Candles - if you've never made candles before it's worth spending a lot more than 10 minutes reading the instructions - hot wax and impatient crafting do not mix. But once you know what you're doing you can produce pretty teacup soy candles in the time it takes wax to melt.

Happy crafting x

*Disclaimer - I haven't timed any of these so if they take longer than ten minutes I apologise profusely! 

Monday, 17 January 2011

They say if you have a big task you should break it down...

I turn 32 this year. Instead of freaking out - well I might still do that - I thought I'd make the most of the next 7 months and try to complete as many items as possible from my 101 in 1001 list. I think that by breaking the big fat list down into smaller ones it will make it much easier to achieve.

So these are the items I intend to complete before I become another year older:

12. Read a book in a day
14. Take a book (maybe the one in no.12) to a coffee shop and spend the afternoon there on my own
15. Record a craft video tutorial
16. Eat 5 things I've never tried before (4/5) - I only need to eat one more new thing
17. Cook 5 things I've never cooked before (4/5) - again, I only need to cook one more
39. Go to an auction
47. Complete Edinburgh MoonWalk in less than 8 hours - it's in June (please sponsor me if you can spare a few pounds)
52. Make my own duvet cover and matching pillow cases
55. Visit an art gallery
59. Have a pedicure
60. Cook a ten-course meal - I'm thinking maybe for my birthday
66. Go to a classical music concert
69. Buy a vintage dress
71. Make sourdough bread
95. Have a spa day
100. Start an art journal
  
Hopefully it'll be a fun and action-packed few months!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Review of 2010 {part 2}

Here's part 2 of my review of 2010 - part 1 is here.

Flowers for me :)
July

It was my birthday! I celebrated by making a pretty dress, getting spoilt with lovely presents and had a little party with family and friends. And Mr. Bunny made his début. Oh and I had a think about why I make stuff.










Knitting
August

In August I attempted to learn to knit, had a look around some lovely studios and cooked up some Mexican food.









September
Cornwall greeted us in September and we had a fabulous time in the towns, on the beaches and in the restaurants. And of course I kept crafting, including a yummy cushion.


















Dubai by night
October

In October we celebrated our first wedding anniversary, wrote a guest post for whipup.net and went to lovely hot Dubai.












Kanzashi flower
November

In November the crafting fun continued, including a visit to a ceramics cafe and I made a pretty Kanzashi flower.








This week's 52 crafts project
December
And finally, December. Of course we had lots more crafting, Christmas and a trip to somewhere snowy.









It was a busy year! And I'm looking forward to what 2011 brings. 

Friday, 7 January 2011

The new 101 in 1001 list

I've been revisiting the list - what better time than at the beginning of a new year? - and I've updated it with some new and amended challenges (some of the ambitious targets have reduced such as the number of handmade presents). The new ones are coloured pink - if you have any suggestions to help me achieve them let me know in the comments. Hope you enjoy the new list and get inspired by it.

Start date: 30 August 2009
Finish date: 27 May 2012

1. Research family tree
2. After doing family history, visit some of the places my family lived
3. Make my first quilt
4. Build a website from scratch
5. Get married!
6. Have a go at geocaching
7. Write a book
8. Write menu plans- seasonal and cheap- every week for a month (0/4)
9. Grow potatoes
10. Join a screenprinting class
11. Go on safari
12. Read a book in a day
13. Do something creative every day for a week (7/7)
14. Take a book (maybe the one in no.12) to a coffee shop and spend the afternoon there on my own
15. Record a craft video tutorial
16. Eat 5 things I've never tried before (4/5)
17. Cook 5 things I've never cooked before (4/5)
18. Make a photo book with my favourite photos 
19. Get a piece of freelance writing published - and get paid for it
20. Make a scrapbook of a big event (eg wedding, holiday etc.)
21. Try waxing (at a salon, not eyebrows)
22. Write a routine for cleaning/house management
23. Go to opera for the first time
24. Go to the ballet again
25. Donate blood
26. Go to a cookery school for the day
27. Make & write thank you cards for Amanda & Kate
28. Perform 20 random acts of kindness (1/20)
29. Read 10 books that I haven't already from this list (3/10)
30. Participate in a craft fair
31. Blog daily for a week (7/7)
32. Blog daily for a month (30/30)
33. Finish my Emily Peacock cushion kit
34. Make a zine
35. Learn to make clip frame purses
36. Learn to knit
37. Learn to crochet granny squares
38. Organise and tidy craft room
39. Go to an auction
40. Find the perfect trousers
41. Get a promotion
42. Climb Snowdonia
43. Have another horse riding lesson
44. Select and take part in a “big” charity event like the Moonwalk
45. Take part in a beach cleaning event
46. Get up at 7am every day for a week (7/7)
47. Complete Edinburgh MoonWalk in less than 8 hours
48. Learn another craft I haven't already done
49. Set up a craft night/afternoon
50. Set up a water butt
51. And a compost bin
52. Make my own duvet cover and matching pillow cases
53. Visit a farmers' market or farm shop once a month-
54. Continue to run the Christmas giving tree at work every year (2/2)
55. Visit an art gallery
56. Go to pilates once a week for a month (0/4)
57. Make lunch to take to work every day for a week (0/5)
58. Visit an outdoor market in London
59. Have a pedicure
60. Cook a ten-course meal (I have no idea what would be in a ten-course meal but why not?!)
61. Go on a picnic
62. Buy an original piece of art
63. Update my blog template
64. Make a skirt
65. Make a dress
66. Go to a classical music concert
67. Do a furniture makeover (find a piece of old furniture, make it over and document it)
68. Buy a Diane von Furstenberg dress
69. Buy a vintage dress
70. Donate something to freecycle, or a charity shop, once a month, on average
71. Make sourdough bread
72. Make some reusable shopping bags to fit in my handbag
73. Visit five countries (4/5) - USA, South Africa, Mauritius and Dubai
74. Write a letter to myself to be opened on my 35th birthday 
75. Find a photo of myself that I like and frame it
76. Make a cake for Ben's 36th birthday
77. Have a session with a personal shopper
78. Learn about a historical period
79. Read 10 biographies/non-fiction books (1/10)
80. Have a boudoir photo session
81. Make something from each of my craft books- donate to charity any books I don't make anything from
82. Finish working through the book, “ The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are”
83. At least once a month, go to sleep without reading first
84. Buy new glasses
85. Go to New York again (with Ben)
86. Re-stock etsy shop
87. Write 10 letters to loved ones
88. Get my hair cut every 8 weeks
89. Meet an internet friend in real life
90. Eat a piece of fruit every day for a month (0/30)
91. Learn to make something in my new tagine pot
92. Make something and give it to a friend for no reason
93. Make 50 handmade presents (14/50)
94. Plant a tree
95. Have a spa day
96. Give snowboarding another try
97. Watch 20 of the Times top 100 films (1/20)
98. Read a newspaper every day for a week (0/7)
99. Learn how to use my mac (I really need to learn the shortcuts I'm so used to with Windows!)
100. Start an art journal
101. Sleep outside

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Review of 2010 {part 1}

I thought I'd do a review of 2010 as the year seemed to fly by. It's good to take a while to look back and see what I did...

Trees in the field behind our house
January
Snow-covered fields behind my house at the start of January after a quiet New Years Eve at home. The snow meant I did lots of baking and I got a lovely surprise, a new sewing machine.







Baby blanket
February
In February I made a snuggly baby blanket and wrote a tutorial for a cute Valentine's card.







 

Living wall in Anthropologie
March

In March I hung out in London with my best friend, wrote about choosing wedding suppliers and made quick and easy Mother's day cards.











A few of my favourite things
April

In April I had a procedure on my poorly back, experimented with pretty photographs, made a skirt and started reciting the alphabet! Oh and had a surprise trip to London to see Billy Elliot.






My back
May

In May I almost got stranded in Belfast, bought my iphone, had a think about whether labels matter and had surgery on my back. And we welcomed baby Emrys to the family.







Finished flower
June

In June I went back to work after four weeks off and enjoyed being pain-free at last. Plus I finished my new nephew's baby quilt and came up with a crazy idea.


Come back soon for the review of the second half of 2010. What did you get up to last year?

Blog of the week...

Well clearly this isn't a weekly occurrence as it's only the second blog I've chosen so far. But I just came across it whilst googling for ideas for my very-soon-to-be-updated 101 in 1001 list.


Brooke's blog is fun, colourful and full of ideas and inspiration - go take a look now! Have you come across any great new (to you) blogs lately?

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

101 in 1001 update

Oh dear, I haven't updated this since May! This doesn't bode well...

Start date: 30 August 2009
Finish date: 27 May 2012

1. Research family tree - I've done some more of my tree but not much, I need to write it all up properly so that will be the aim for the rest of the challenge
2. After doing family history, visit some of the places my family lived
3. Make my first quilt - all done. I'd like to make a single-bed size one next
4. Build a website from scratch
5. Get married!
6. Have a go at geocaching
7. Write a book
8. Write menu plans- seasonal and cheap- every week for a month (0/4)
9. Grow potatoes
10. Join a screenprinting class
11. Go on safari
12. Move house
13. Do something creative every day for a week (7/7)
14. Do something creative every day for a month (0/30)
15. Run 5K (run the whole thing)
16. Eat 5 things I've never tried before (4/5)
17. Cook 5 things I've never cooked before (4/5)- Rabbit, liver, rice pudding and Christmas pudding
18. Make a scrapbook of my 30th birthday
19. Make a scrapbook of my hen do
20. Make a scrapbook of our wedding
21. Try waxing (at a salon, not eyebrows)
22. Write a routine for cleaning/house management
23. Go to opera for the first time
24. Go to the ballet again
25. Donate blood
26. Volunteer 101 hours (6/101)
27. Make & write thank you cards for Amanda & Kate
28. Perform 101 random acts of kindness (1/101)
29. Read the ones I haven't already from this list - ( only 3 so far: Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy & To kill a mockingbird, The Great Gatsby)
30. Participate in a craft fair
31. Blog daily for a week (7/7)
32. Blog daily for a month (30/30)
33. Finish the charity shop quilt I bought
34. Make a zine
35. Learn to make clip frame purses - did as part of 52 crafts in 52 weeks
36. Learn to knit- another one I did as part of 52 crafts
37. Learn to crochet granny squares
38. Organise and tidy craft room
39. Go to an auction
40. Document my tea cup collection
41. Get a promotion
42. Climb Snowdonia
43. Have another horse riding lesson
44. Select & take part in a “big” charity event like the Moonwalk - yes, doing the Edinburgh MoonWalk in June
45. Take part in a beach cleaning event
46. Get up at 7am every day for a week (7/7)
47. Get up at 7am every day for a month (0/30)
48. Learn another craft I haven't already done - yep I think I've achieved this one!
49. Set up bi-monthly craft nights/afternoons
50. Set up a water butt
51. And a compost bin
52. Take part in illustration friday, once a week for a month (0/4)
53. Visit a farmers' market or farm shop once a month-
54. Continue to run the Christmas giving tree at work every year (2/2)
55. Treat myself to a 'treatment', either in a salon or DIY, once a month
56. Go to yoga once a week for a month (0/4)
57. Make lunch to take to work every day for a week (0/5)
58. Make lunch to take to work every day for a month (0/20)
59. Write a love letter to Ben every month (6/33) 
60. Start a new collection- perfume bottles? Vintage clothes?
61. Go on a picnic
62. Visit a local attraction once a month e.g. beach, park, museum etc. (3/33)
63. Update my blog template
64. Make a skirt
65. Make a dress - yes, the maxi dress I made for my birthday
66. Go to a classical music concert
67. Polish up my French before next holiday in France
68. Buy a Diane von Furstenberg dress
69. Buy a vintage dress
70. Donate something to freecycle, or a charity shop, once a month, on average
71. Turn down plastic bags for a month (0/30)
72. Make some reusable shopping bags to fit in my handbag
73. Visit five countries (4/5) - USA, South Africa, Mauritius and Dubai
74. Write a letter to myself to be opened on my 35th birthday
75. Find a photo of myself that I like and frame it
76. Make a cake for Ben's 36th birthday
77. Have a session with a personal shopper
78. Learn about a historical period (Tudors?)
79. Read 10 biographies (1/10) Read Julia Child's
80. Have a boudoir photo session
81. Make something from each of my craft books- donate to charity any books I don't make anything from
82. Finish working through the book, “ The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are”
83. At least once a month, go to sleep without reading first
84. Buy new glasses
85. Go to New York again (with Ben)
86. Re-stock etsy shop
87. Find a new band/singer every month and listen to their album (4/33)
88. Get my hair cut every 8 weeks
89. Go to motocross or fishing with Ben once every 2 months without complaining (on average, season permitting!) (0/17)
90. Eat a piece of fruit every day for a month (0/30)
91. Pay my naughty library fine and don't get any more fines!
92. Make something and give it to a friend for no reason
93. Make 100 handmade presents (14/100)
94. Plant a tree
95. Have a spa day, just because
96. Give snowboarding another try
97. Watch 20 of the Times top 100 films (1/20)
98. Read a newspaper every day for a week (0/7)
99. Learn how to use my mac (I really need to learn the shortcuts I'm so used to with Windows!)
100. Start an art journal
101. Sleep outside

I think it's time to update the list - there are too many that are similar, unachievable or that I'm just not interested in any more. I'll return soon with an updated plan.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy new year!

I spent Christmas and new year in the beautiful Breckenridge mountains in Colorado.



It was strange not being at home with the turkey, tree and family but it was a great place to spend 10 days. The skiing was brilliant and I think I looked rather fab in my new pink helmet and goggles!


(photo effects thanks to instagram on the iphone.)

I'll be back soon with more about my holiday and the crafting delights I found in the town. And I'll be looking at my 101 in 1001 list and updating it (I dread to think how many I haven't done).

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