Friday, 28 January 2011


No I am not going to Mexico, but I took my children to a Mexican themed art afternoon, where we learnt some new crafts, and also traditions.

We made Ojos de dios, God's Eye. There are some tutorials about here and elsewhere. All you need is some wooden sticks (lolly sticks/ sugar stirrers) and some yarn.

We also made some easy to make maracas using paper plates, dried beans and selotape/ staples.

And these lovely flags that could be very intricate and lift up any room. All we did was fold some tissue and crepe paper in half, then half again. Fold down the narrowest end over (about 2cm) and then we started to cut shapes out. Unfold and you have your decorated flag. Then put some yarn/ sting fold over the flap and stick down.

This was fun.

I hope all of this has given you some inspiration of some not too messy art projects.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

don't look now

I have discovered, via my lovely local quilt shop Quilty Pleasures, a beautiful quilting pattern company called Don't Look Now.

They are based in Australia, but their patterns are being sold around the world, or direct from them. All info can be found on their website.

I personally love the ABC quilt, all the flowers/ trees and birds quilts. Basically the entire collection!

There are also some freebie tutorials on the Don't Look Now website as well.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

time for tea

There has been enough of a gap, of the over indulgence of Xmas/ New Year, to start to reconsider making and eating cakes and the like.

To make sure that my cakes look as good as they should I bought this tiered cake stand from here for them. It was reasonably priced and quite sweet. Also I can flat pack it when not in use.

I also use my sweet little heart milk jug by Beverly Hewitt that I bought last year, that makes everything look prettier on the table.

And what should go on this stand? Well the BBC has a new baking series on Monday nights, at 8:30pm called Baking made Easy with a new (to the the TV screen) chef called Lorraine Pascale. She has a very friendly easy going manner, that drew me into the programme. All the recipes from the series are here (thank you BBC).

And of course, my new book by Eric Lanlard, Home Bake. Although I have not forgotten about Rachel Allen's Bake, Jane Ashers Baking book or the wonderful Rustic Fruit Desserts book.

To get me into the swing of things, I made some scones at the weekend. Just a simple recipe, served with raspberry jam and a cup of tea. Sometimes in life the simplest things are the best.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

corners of my home

We have been looking for new bedding for well over a year now. I have the (good) problem of having a husband who is interested in design and by that has a say in what we buy. Although by and large we sing from the same hymn sheet so we have never had an argument over our choices. It can be tricky choosing some things such as bedding. I wanted something bright and cheery but it had to appeal to both of us. He doesn't want anything overly feminine or flowery and I don't want anything that is too sharp, graphically speaking.

But sometimes the wait just gets a bit too long. You know what I mean? And our old duvet cover had seen better days, so I binned it. Then we took over the guest bed linen. So I had to replace that!
photo from KAS website

I had a look in the Xmas sales and saw this set by an Australian brand called KAS and their range called Cruz. What I liked about it was all the colours, the design, slightly tribal, and the fact it would match the curtains (a plain silk effect plum/ aubergine colour). I showed the husband, and he said "buy it" so the deal was done!

Of course I could have gone cushion mad, as per their very pretty set up, but budget and so on has stopped me doing that!

This is our more simple set up.

I need to buy some coordinating fitted sheets and pillow cases, and then we are good to go! Apart from new light shade, a rug, side lights, painting the room, art on walls etc. It really is never ending.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


I just wanted to share with you a new (free) service from the lovely Colette Patterns:

a weekly email with a sewing snippet.
Sign up here, for some quick and useful information.

Monday, 10 January 2011

castle peeps reveal yourselves!

There are many times (a week) that I plan out a post in my head as I go about my business. This is usually in the chaotic time of getting home from work, picking children up from nursery and school and making dinner and doing some home chores (not exactly a calm environment).

They can range from many different subjects, whatever has caught my attention in the day. It’s probably a good thing that my head is not connected to my blog, otherwise my blog would be very random in deed, and I would probably come across as a mad person, with half baked ideas.

I guess what I am saying is that I want to be able to put together more satisfying posts that say a bit more about me and my life, but it’s very hard to find that silence and solitude in a house with 2 youngish boys and 2 buy working adults. When the silence does come (usually by 8:30pm) I just want to spend some time with my husband.

Last night we had our sofa date night. We watched “A Single Man” the film by Tom Ford. My husband was wearing his Tom Ford glasses, so was perhaps privy to an even deeper understanding of the film. The film was excellent, it showed a depth of human emotion that was so bitter sweet and wonderful.

I also managed to finish my youngest son’s Castle Peeps quilt. The fabric and quilt are designed by Lizzy House.

This has gone on a bit too long. I was aiming to have it done for his birthday, but as the fabric did not arrive until that very day that was impossible.

I’m not as bad as some bloggers (I will not name names in quilting procrastination). I do love it.

Was it a bit unimaginative of me to copy the pattern exactly? Yes, but in my defence, I had so little time to fit it in, I did not have that creative stewing time that is needed for creative quilting. I put it on him last night as he slept. He was very happy with it this morning when I showed it to him.

It has yet to be washed and "shrunk!" I'll do that this week sometime.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Big Decs

Although we have just taken down all Xmas decorations tonight, I wanted to share this sweet reindeer that I bought in the lovely Inhouse Space in Brighton the other day. The shop is in the North Laine area, on Gloucester Road.

I saw him before Xmas, when I was buying a present in the shop, and then couldn't get him out of my mind! I went in the other day and even though not in the sale I decided to have him anyway! When I got to the till, the owner said, without any prompting from me, I'll reduce that, and knocked about a third off. That was very nice of her.

It is made by a company called Big Decs Unique whose website says they are eco friendly, handmade, and fair trade.

Then I went into Berts (who I have mentioned before!) and saw these two ornaments, also by Big Decs. They were reduced so I had to have them! The red is looking brighter on the computer than it does in real life. They have a nice tactile quality. I think the heart and star are made from shredded coconut palm.

All of the decorations are quite large, around 30cm/ 12". I am very pleased with them, as it's nice to have a few things that stand out, and capture your attention. The fact that they all match is good, as it'll help create cohesion within the flat!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Season's Greetings

I made the "kill you in a hearbeat" malteaser bites from Eric Lanlard's newish book "Home Bake" as part of the baked goods for our New Year's guests. They are easy enough to make with children but good enough for grown ups too!

The book was a present and has many lovely cakes to make in it. Just look at the front cover! That says summer birthday cake all over it!

I'm sure there will be plenty of baking in 2011. Which brings me to say;

Happy New Year, I hope you all saw the new year in with family & friends. My eldest was awake until 11:30 he just couldn't quite hold on!