Friday, 31 October 2014

Autumn Tree

     My girls and I like to pick up leaves, seeds and bird feathers
 whenever we're outdoors and so we've 'created' a tree 
to display all these little treasures we've gathered from 
our autumn walks. We're calling this our Autumn Tree. 
We've had a lot of fun decorating it (it was Markie's
brilliant idea to use those mini wooden pegs) and we keep 
adding more things to it everyday, some with glitter,
some without. Yesterday Markie came back from Nanny
and GrandDad's with 'special' leaves. I was told they
were oak tree leaves. We've put them up there together
with some horse chestnuts (minus seeds) that we collected 
while walking around the botanical gardens 
last Wednesday.

We really like our tree and I'm now thinking we should
have one every year. From collecting our decorations
to hanging them up it's all been good fun. It's our
autumnal project, something to keep us crafty and busy
at half term. It's also our little way to celebrate the lovely
things about this season. It's simple and easy and
doesn't cost a thing. And after all, trees aren't just for
Christmas, so yes, we'll now do this every year.

Hooray for autumn!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Lovely Happy Things

We're on the fifth day of the school holidays and so far, so good.
I'm very much liking our slower, more relaxed days at home.
We're not doing much, just the usual pottering about and
spending time together and it's great.  On Saturday we took
the girls to Derbyshire on a whim. We just felt like being
outdoors and we had the whole morning to do as we like so
 off we went. Along the way we saw this beautiful rainbow.
It's such a happy and wonderful sight, just brilliant!

We stopped in Castleton and made our way up to the
 Peak Caverns. We decided on the way that we'd quite
like to go on one of their tours but there wasn't any that
morning so we just had a look round the cave entrance
 instead. It was still fun and interesting especially for
the girls. Markie, in particular, was very impressed.
I heard her say quite a few times  "It's just like in Nina!"*

We then went for a walk around the village and
had cake and hot chocolate at a local cafe. My favourite
little emporium full of weird and wonderful things was
open and we all went in for a nosey. You can never tell
what gems you'll find in there and this time we left with
 a set of coasters and a couple of wooden figurines.

It was a really great morning and the rest of our weekend
 turned out lovely too. Here's some more of our happy things:

knitting while watching Strictly Come Dancing with the girls
on Sunday afternoon,

a lovely, unexpected present from my parents-in-law,

pretty fresh flowers on the mantel

and on my bedside table,

cooking and eating tasty, warming meals like butternut
squash risotto--seasonal, autumnal and delicious too.

Markie is staying over at my parents-in-law this evening
and my husband's working a late shift. As soon as Lulu's
in bed later I'll sit down with a nice cup of tea and catch up
with you all. I want to say a big thanks to all of you who
continue to visit here. Your visits and comments are very
much appreciated. Thank you! I hope you're all having
a good week. See you soon!

*Nina and the Neurons in Cebeebies

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Looking at the bright side

This has been a bit of a rubbish week for us. The girls are tired
and we've had to deal with a lot of crying and grumpiness all week.
On Tuesday while on my way to Markie's school a van swiped the
side of our car, scratching and denting parts of it and giving me
a big fright. Lulu and I were okey but it was quite a shock. I've been
fretting over what happened and I've had to keep reminding myself
that it's not worth dwelling on it. After all we're all right, our little
 old car is getting fixed, the other driver is willing to pay for the costs,
and I've been fine driving again since the accident. I'm trying to focus
on the good things, to look at the bright side as that famous song
advices us to do in all situations, because I tend to worry and I'm
quite prone to keep asking 'why me?' even when I know very well
that it's useless to keep going on about that. And yes, I've had lots of
good things this past week and it's good for me to remember them.
Good things such as..

..tea and cross stitch while Lulu was having her afternoon nap,

bacon in brioche buns for lunch last weekend,

a new house plant,

shopping in town with Markie,

and more autumn colours on our mantel.

And we've had a better day today. Things are getting sorted and I'm
starting to feel better and less stressed about everything so it's
good. The week is starting to feel less rubbish and from tomorrow
it's half term holiday here. Hooray! We're very much looking forward
 to this. We'll take things easy, have lazy days at home and just rest.
Actually the school break couldn't have come at a better time so
thank goodness for that. And hooray for looking at the bright
side of life. I'll try to keep doing that.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Heart and Flower Scarf

I want to make my girls new scarves for this autumn and
winter and so I've been busy with my knitting needles whenever
I've had some free time this past week. I was spurred on by the cold
weather that came so suddenly last week--I want to finish both
scarves before it gets even colder! So far I've made one and
 it's for Lulu, and we're calling it the Heart and Flower Scarf.

I knitted it in simple stocking stitch using Drops Merino Extra Fine
(DK) in Turquoise. I really love this yarn. I bought two balls in this
colour and in Soft Pink from a wool shop in Whitby. Their prices
were reduced to £2.10 per ball and I just couldn't resist. It's so soft
 and lovely and has extra elasticity which makes it so easy and
 wonderful to work with. 

I initially planned to add the heart and flower motifs* with
duplicate stitches or Swiss darning. The idea came from an old
1970's craft magazine that I picked up from a charity shop. 
I thought it's a great way to add colourful designs to a knitted
garment and I wanted to try it. However it turned out to be much
 trickier than I had expected. After several frustrating tries I gave
up and decided to use cross stitch instead. It was a lot easier
and I got the same result I wanted: a bit of colour and fun to the
solid blue background so I'm still happy with it despite my
failed attempt at Swiss darning.

Here's Lulu wearing her new scarf. She insisted we go out for
a walk yesterday just so she can wear it. I'm so happy that
she likes it and I'm doubly pleased that I can make her something
nice and cozy to wear. I'm hoping to make a matching hat but first
I have to get started with Markie's scarf. It will be pink with
 butterflies and little flowers as requested--a little more detailed
than her sister's so I better get started soon!

I hope you've all had a good week. Thanks as always for stopping by.
Wishing you a lovely, sunshiny weekend!
See you soon!

*both heart and flower designs are from Sweet Stitches from the Heart 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Rain and Sunshine

These were our days this week. When it was grey, dull and rainy
we stayed stayed at home, kept warm and cosy, and did our usual
pottering about. We cleaned, sorted and rearranged closets, rooms
and the dining table. We also baked, crafted, played and ate big, hearty,
warming meals in the evenings.

When it was bright and sunny we went to the playground,
picking up flowers and fallen leaves along the way. We've made
a little autumn posy with them and they're now proudly displayed
 on our mantel. We also had fun at the city farm and yesterday
 we had a slow, happy meander down a section of Abbeydale Road,
admiring lovely things on shop windows and finishing at
a beautiful tea room with beautiful and delicious things.

It's been a cold and busy autumn week with lots of rain
but we've had sunshine too which was wonderful. We've had
good fun both indoors and out and we've tried something brave and
new: swimming (for me and Lulu) and driving to new places (me).
 Markie used the word 'delicate' to describe a figurine. It's not
brave but it's new and we're just as proud.

We hope next week will be a good one too and we'll all
stay healthy. Hope you do too. See you soon!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Cushion Making (again)

Every now again I like to change our cushions around and make
some new ones. They're a really easy way to cheer up our living room
and they are quick projects too. I made these two in spring, quite
awhile ago, and I fancied a bit of a change. So a few weekends back
when I had some free time I decided to get my sewing machine out
and make a couple of new cushions for our sofa.

I used Bunting in Gold by Cloud 9 Fabrics for this cushion.
I love the simple pattern and the colours and as it's flannel it's
super soft and so lovely to touch. I didn't know it was flannel
when I bought it from this shop but I'm glad it is because it's
 such a great material for cushion making. It's making snuggling 
in the sofa even nicer now that the days and nights are colder.

This one is a tea towel that I bought in the summer sale from
 this online shop. It's too lovely to use for wiping dishes but perfect
for making a cushion cover, although I had to use calico for the
back as there wasn't enough material for both sides.

These are just simple, envelope style cushion covers, 
no buttons or zips but I splashed out a bit on the duck feather
cushion pads. Oh my, they are so wonderfully squishy and comfy--
we love our new cushions A LOT!

So another happy cushion making hour for me with very
happy results. Fingers crossed I'll have many more!

I hope you're all keeping warm and dry this week.
Thanks for stopping by! See you soon!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Lovely Happy Things

Tea, knitting and The Great British Bake Off on the telly.

Simple pleasures I enjoyed after a long, busy and tiring day. 


Souvenirs from our weekend on the Yorkshire Coast:

 'Life by the Sea' print by Jessica Hogarth,

a wooden Whitby postcard,

a shell shaped soap with a sweet scent and this cute little cactus.

They're all lovely things and they'll always remind us of our happy days
 by the sea.


Markie likes to sing when she's doing her homework.
I didn't know this until this week and it was a wonderful surprise.

I'm now looking forward to helping her with her homework and
hear her singing again.


Purchases Lulu and I made on our way to her playgroup. 

It was my first time to drive there on my own and I parked a
 little distance away because it was just easier. It meant we had to do 
some walking but it was fine because there were charity and vintage
 shops along the way and we had some good finds. I'll definitely
park there again the next time it's playgroup day.


We love it when my husband has days off during the week.

We're usually busy doing various jobs at home, cooking, baking, etc.
 But we also take time to enjoy coffee and pastry in a cafe, take Lulu for 
walks and build her a den in the living room, to talk and just be 
together. I always enjoy these days and we're so lucky to have them.


Friday evening at home: delicious homecooked meal, smiles and
laughter around the dinner table and this view from our front window--
a really happy way to end our week and start the weekend.

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend too. See you soon!