Monday, 31 January 2011

::: The Famous Flower :::

This 'Little Flower' as it has become is now a pretty 'Big Flower' and is growing by the minute.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

::: Cupcakes :::

On the spur of the moment I decided to make some cupcakes from what we had left in the cupboards.

They were so simple and easy, only taking half an hour.

85g Self-raising Flour
85g Caster Sugar
25g Softened Butter
1 Large Egg
¼ Teaspoon of Nutmeg and Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of runny honey
1 Handful of Sultanas

Mix together, divide into cake cases and voila - Yummy cupcakes!

(This recipe will make 6 large cupcakes or 12 small cupcakes)

Saturday, 29 January 2011

::: Family Movie Night - Salt :::

We watched Salt the other night and it was absolutely fantastic.

Angelina Jolie isn't my favourite actress and I don't understand why so many men find her attractive but in this film (and Mr and Mrs Smith) she is excellent.

The storyline flows and pulls you in.

A definite must see.

Friday, 28 January 2011

::: Farrago 2 :::

As promised, here are a few more things from my father's little shop in Montrose.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

::: Layla and Henrick's Babies :::

The three baby bunnies are getting very big and adventurous. Their eyes opened on day 12 and they have been exploring non-stop ever since.

The little bundles of fluff are so funny to watch as they learn to hop instead of crawling along on their bellies!

Layla is being a great mother to them and they are growing so fast.

Check out some cute pictures that are bound to make you weak at the knees.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

::: Bunny Babygrows :::

Due to some friends mentioning that they could not find unisex baby clothing with rabbits on I decided to make some myself.

Using freezer paper for the stencils and child friendly non-toxic fabric paint, I ironed the stencil onto the babygrows (having washed them first), painted in my desired colour then left to dry for half an hour. 

Once the paint was dry I peeled off the stencil, careful not to get paint elsewhere on the babygrow.

I'm excited to try this method with other animal stencils too.

 If you would like to purchase one of these or suggest your own design then please feel free to comment, leaving your email address.
*This entry was also posted on the British Bunnies website and has since been Tweeted by the House Rabbit Society!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

::: Handwritten Letters :::

Remember the days when you used to receive letters from your friends through the mail? Usually only hearing friend's news once or twice a year (usually in a holiday or birthday card)? Or did you have a penpal?

Due to the high number of people using the Internet and email for communication nobody writes letters anymore or if they do it's not very often.

I was always taught to write Thank You Cards to the people who had given me gifts and to this day I still do.

I love receiving cards and letters in return. I keep them all in a box and regularly skim through them.

Why not start teaching your children to write Thank You Cards and keep this age old hobby alive? If they are too young to write why not give them the materials to draw a picture or painting of the gift they have received?

Family members especially love it and it helps your child with their writing and reading skills.

Monday, 24 January 2011

::: Patchwork Quilts :::

I started thrifting little bits of material many moons ago and decided it was time to do something with them.

Remember all that wonderful Beatrix Potter fabric I received from an online friend? Well, I've mixed it all up with bits from my own stash and I'm using some pieces here and there to make two quilts, one blue and one green.

I've never done anything this big before and my sewing machine has been playing up but I'll keep you updated and feel free to give me any advice you think may help.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

::: Fireworks, Finally! :::

As promised here are a few firework pictures from Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th 2010.

A great evening was had by all.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

::: And then there were two! :::

Two boxes!

They come from Oban Distillery but have been used for storage elsewhere in the town and I have kindly been allowed to rehome them.

They were originally used to store bottles of whisky.

Friday, 21 January 2011

::: Natural Living - All Year :::

Another way to live simply and naturally is to clean up and clear out.

Is it really necessary for your child to have all those computer games or DVDs? Why not rent some or borrow from friends?

If you don't want to go the whole hog of living simply (by this I mean no TV, no plastic toys, homeschooling and growing your own food) you can do little bits here and there to help.

Why not start doing craft projects with your kids instead of sitting them in front of the TV when they get home from school? It doesn't cost as much as you may think. Keep toilet roll tubes, egg cartons and cereal boxes to cut up and create from later. You can even get paints and glue cheap or try making your own. Remember to lay out newspaper or a tablecloth if you are doing messy things indoors. Play-dough, plasticine and clay is also good fun to play with.

If your child has hundreds of toys why not go through them and explain to them about the children who are not so lucky. Have a discussion about homelessness or charity and see if your child would like to donate some of their unwanted possessions. This makes the child aware of the world around them and proud for helping out.

If you don't have the space (or energy) to grow your own food why not start small by growing a pot of herbs in the kitchen or a windowbox? Every little helps.

Give handmade gifts as presents or even donations to charities – you can even pay for poorer communities to receive chickens, goats or donkeys.

Living simply and naturally helps to save money. Do you really need a plasma TV or a cruise around the world courtesy of your credit card? If you do then why not save up and work hard to earn it. You'll feel a lot better if you do and it'll show your children that working for something really pays off.

Living simply doesn't mean you have to raise your own pigs (although you can if you're feeling up to it), or sell your car. To live simply and naturally means helping the world just that little bit more and being more appreciative of the people and surroundings which enlighten you.

It won't hurt to walk to the shops (if you live near enough) or let your child splash through a puddle. It's all about learning and giving back.

Make 2011 your year of living simply. Give it a go!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

::: Natural Living - New Year

As January begins every mama is thinking about the chaos of the holidays and the mess that is left behind. And I bet they are all trying to do everything at once and panicking. Am I right?

Firstly, you need to find out where you and your family's priorities lie. Does it really matter that you haven't hoovered today, or done the washing up since last night?

I'm not talking about abandoning your whole housework routine. You just need to realise some things need to be done and other things can wait until later.

Has your child ever come and asked you for help while you are doing your chores and you've told them 'later'? Did you go back and help them later? Some people do but others don't and children will often stop asking for help, whether it's homework they are stuck with or need help to build a fort. It's all important to the child and disregarding your child's priorities means they feel unimportant.

We all want to live simply right? If you're Super Woman and grow all of your own food, cook every single meal with love, spend endless hours canning organic foods for your pantry and can even get the ironing done then that is fantastic, but do you take enough time to look at the world around you (and the special people in it)?

Making your home more organised and simpler means life will run that little bit more smoothly.

These is no point making New Year Resolutions that are out of your limits. Why not think about what you really want to achieve deep down and take some baby steps. Is it more time with your family? Learning a new skill? Uncluttering the house? Or maybe writing that book you've been talking about for ages?

If so, there is no need to bring the board games out straight after dinner and demand quality time with your family or signing up to ten classes of dancing when you only really want a sample or even sitting at your desk for five hours with writers block.

Quality time with your family - Why not make a list of local places or parks, such as gardens or zoos, that you all enjoy visiting or would like to visit and try and do at least one a month? Set a day so everyone knows which day is 'Family Day' and stick to it.

Learning a new skill – Find out as much as you can about it whether it's dancing, knitting or riding a bike. Maybe someone you know already does this skill. Ask around and if you do sign up for a class, don't sign uP for them all until you've had a taster session as you may find out it's not for you.

Uncluttering the house – Take it one day and one room at a time. Don't go around every room thinking that you'll never manage it all. Carry a box with you and pick up things you or your child no longer needs. Start small. It could be outgrown clothes, unused kitchen gadgets or old toys. Don't throw things away, donate to charity or sell at car boot sales. After month or so your house will be tidier and you'll feel happier that your belongings have gone to someone who needs them.

Writing a book – Carry a notepad around in your pocket (or even type things into your mobile phone) when an idea or sentence pops into your head. Take a note of things you see for inspiration and if you can take photos of things so you don't forget them.

Whatever you decide to do just remember to take it slow and spend time with those you love.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

::: Natural Living - Christmas :::

I thought I'd share a little knowledge with you about organising your home and living simply and naturally. I think I will spread this out over two or three posts as it's a lot to take in.

It's all about quality not quantity. (This applies to every aspect in your life whether it's the clothes you buy or the food you eat.)

Overwhelmed by children's toys/wrapping paper/decorations/washing up?

Next year why not get your children some sturdy handmade wooden open-ended toys* instead of electronic gadgets with lights and sounds that will no doubt only do one or two tricks then lay forgotten by January 1st? They cost a little bit more but will last a lot longer and your children will remember them rather than a plastic toy that broke the same day.

Wrap gifts in reusable bags or even clothing and tie with ribbon therefore leaving no paper trails and this also helps save trees and money. If you don't fancy that why not wrap gifts in newspaper?

Sit with your children for an hour or so during the holidays and make paper snowflakes for the window, popcorn garlands or pinecones to hang on the tree. Homemade decorations make Christmas that little bit more special and keeping them all in clearly marked boxes will let you know where everything belongs and help you find them easier next year. Children will feel happier when they see you hanging their creations around your home too.

If someone offers to help with the cooking or clearing up it doesn't mean they think you can't cope – let them help you, leaving you more time to spend with those you love.

Spending time with these people is so much more important than spending all of your time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning or topping up drinks etc. You may only see some of these people once or twice a year so make it count.

Make Christmas magical and special by having a real tree. You can get a potted tree fairly cheap and you can use it year after year. If you're feeling really up for it you could plant some seeds and grow your own.

Get children to draw or paint cards to give to family and friends instead of buying some last minute at the supermarket every year. If your children are very small they could draw one picture and you can scan it into the computer and print out as many as you need.

Decorations and gift giving will make your Christmas special but it's the thought that counts and if a child gives you a handmade gift or decoration or even a homemade cupcake, tell them what it means to you, afterall they probably spent many hours thinking and creating it for you whereas you went to a shop and bought their gift within five minutes.

Most importantly, keep Christmas what it is. A celebration. A celebration of life, of light, of giving, of food and of each other.

*Open-ended toys – Toys which can serve more than one purpose.
Animals can be used in farms, zoos, woodlands, pets and transportation methods for dolls or soldiers.
Houses can be used as homes, hospitals, vets, barns, tree houses, shops etc.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

::: British Bunnies :::

I have recently been invited to make some contributions to the British Bunnies website and blog.

I feel quite privileged at being asked to do this as I have often visited the British Bunnies site in the past.

As you may have noticed there is a new logo in the right hand side tool bar. Please feel free to click on it. This will take you to the British Bunnies homepage where you will find me from time to time along with Lorna, the founder and creator of British Bunnies.

If, like me, you are a rabbit person, please keep visiting me here and also at British Bunnies for some updates on Layla and her babies, don't forget Henrick and also some other bunny related posts.

I hope to see you all there!

Monday, 17 January 2011

::: Thrifted Box :::

Due to not having fully unpacked our belongings into this country cottage of ours means I have not had a proper crafting space around me.

My craft table is still in storage as we had so many things to transport from one side of the country to the other that it didn't fit in the van along with the things we needed immediately, such as a bed and a kettle. Insert much protesting from me.

In storage we have garden benches, log baskets (we have no open fire here, yet!), lamps, paintings, a bookcase and a wooden dresser. And my craft table.

So for now I have been doing much of my playing, sorry, crafting, on the floors of this new home.

My sewing machine has not been worked, my knitting needles are still unused and my books have been in a pile on the floor until...

Yes! I picked up an old wooden crate for free to display my craft books, and of course my Country Homes and Interiors magazines.

*Update on Layla's babies - Now 7 days old and getting some velvety fur! (Picture taken at 4 days old)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

::: Homemade Gift Tags :::

Got loads of Christmas/Holiday cards lying around?

Why not make them into gift tags for next year?

I know what you're all thinking – how can I be getting organsied for next Christmas already when most of you still have last years tree up?

There is nothing wrong with planning ahead. Plus it'll save you money and probably time too.

It's also a great project to set your little ones.

Get your pile of cards, a hole punch and some fancy-edge scissors.

Cut out any pictures on the front of the cards that you find fun and interesting.

Punch a hole in one corner of your tag and voila!

 Some gift tags!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

::: Soulemama Books :::

The Creative Family is Amanda Soule's first book and it's all about how to get more creative with what is around you. Yes it's aimed at people with children but it is also good and inspirational for the soul crafter and even a beginner like me.

The day it arrived I read up to page 90 in one go. It's so interesting and, I don't know what other people thought of it but, I assumed it would be like her blog and bits taken from her blog but, aside from some pictures, it's completely new.

I finished it within two days of receiving it. I guess time is a novelty to many when housework is finished and children are tucked up in bed. I'm lucky enough to get two whole days off work per week and I do most housework in the evenings which gives me entire morning and afternoons to myself.

It is written so well and easy to follow. It makes t want to read and carry on reading.

I finished reading Handmade Home this morning. It is a lot more 'hands-on' and full of tutorials and things to do. It's jam packed full of new ideas and exciting to read. I've bookmarked a few little things to make so let's see how they turn out shall we?

Her next book is out in August 2011.

What do you all think of her?

Friday, 14 January 2011

::: Heelan Coo :::

Remember that little sheep picture I made many moons ago?

Well here was my attempt at a Highland Cow or Heelan Coo as the Scots say.

Steve thinks it looks like a sheep dressed up as a cow and wants to me make an entire range of sheep dressed up as other animals, what do you think?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

::: More Flowers :::

As I've posted about the orchid again I felt it was necessary for you all to see how my little flower is getting on.

And as you can see it's doing exceptionally well and has a few little flowers!

And I've planted some parsley for the rabbits to munch on.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

::: The Orchid :::

Our orchid is doing very well indeed.

Two lovely flowers now florish.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

::: New Year :::

We had a couple of people to stay with us over the New Year period. It was the first time either of us had prepared and catered for this time of the year. We usually go to parents houses and visit friends therefore not having to lift a finger.

But this year was different. We had a lovely meal and played Scrabble, watched the fireworks on the TV and also some far away in the distance over the loch while drinking a glass of bubbly. Perfect.

The Father Christmas and his reindeer in the sleigh was a gift from a neighbour many years ago. The decorated log and candle was a gift from a new neighbour just days ago.

2011 has officially begun!

Monday, 10 January 2011

::: Our Room :::

Many of you have been wondering what our new home is like and, while the colour scheme isn't ours, we love it just the same. There are still rooms with things to sort out, boxes to empty and items to clean.

But here is our bedroom. Our gorgeous four poster bed was a gift from my parents on our wedding day. The blue and white quilt was also a gift they had brought us when they traveled to Canada. And, of course, my little blue stocking is hanging next my bed along with the little blue bunny. My jewelery tree was an ebay find. It's a lovely warm space (if you can see past the pink!) and so cosy in the evenings, perfect for snuggling down with a good book.

***Some exciting news today – Layla gave birth to three chunky and healthy babies!