28 November 2014

home.

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I often say that home should be a place of respite.
A place to escape the busyness of life.
A haven.

Somehow when I have a little corner, a space, tidied and a sprig of nature to add a bit of colour, I feel a bit more motivated, a bit calmer and more focused.

I really feel that carving out little pockets of time to create little spaces like this are so important: to balance the noise and sometimes chaos that family life brings. A retreat that is in amongst the ones we love.

It might be a chair, with a cuppa and a book.
It might be a space free of toys to do your work.
It might be the lighting of a candle when your kitchen is cleared for the night.

Whatever it is, acknowledge it for what it is...a little bit of restoration for the soul. A slowness that helps us stop and take stock. 

A moment; savoured, enjoyed.

26 November 2014

diy. linen napkins.

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I have really had a thing for linen this year...I scarred the French flea markets for some proper linen tea towels and was recently on the hunt for some linen napkins for Christmas. In my quest for this little extra for my table I was reminded about the real draw of being hospitable and keeping the focus on the people and not the place settings!
See the little quote I found on Pinterest at the bottom!

I remembered I had some of this light grey linen at the bottom of one of my drawers and decided to give it a go myself.
It is such a simple afternoons work and I was so pleased with my napkins at the end, so a winner all round!

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I cut the napkins to the size 17" by 21"
Begin by folding over the top and bottom edges by 3/4 inch and then a full inch and press.
Sew along this edge.

For the other 2 edges begin by folding the corners diagonally and then over once more to match up the seams and make them really neat.
Sew along each of these edges.

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Finish by knotting and cutting all your ends.
And that's it....now only 7 more to go!

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To see who I'm linking up with head here.

24 November 2014

encouraging boredom.

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We all get a bit restless at times, don't know what to be at. 

With homeworks done and no friends to call on, my wee ones can be at a loss...despite the many toys and craft at their disposal they don't know what to choose.
At this point I normally say, as I remember my mother saying.."it's ok to be bored. Away you go, you'll find something to do."

Along with the rolling of eyes and sighs of frustration, they disappear.

At this point, more often than not, Abi retreats to the sewing room. I'll find her, mid project, scissors in hand, fabric all around and completely content.
She has made backpacks for her kitty, a sleeping bag, leads and her current project...a pyjama top recycled from an old top!

At times we rush in, want to help them out...provide them with activities, but more often than not, boredom is the forerunner of creativity, of proper imaginative play and complete immersion in an activity.

So I always remind Abi of this when she comes, bored. I remind her that her most creative and gorgeous wee projects are the ones that she dreamed up and planned when she was couldn't think of what to do; when she wasn't following my instructions or using a book for ideas.
Pure, unadulterated imagination.

So I will allow them to be bored; encourage it almost, because you never, just never know what may follow.

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7 November 2014

learning. weaving.

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I ordered a loom back at the beginning of September...birthday money that I'd planned to spend on a coat but got seduced by the lure of the looms at Loom and Spindle!

I have wanted to learn to weave for ages but it always seemed to be bumped to the bottom of the list. So, the other night, I unpackaged the loom and got out the wool I had gathered. 
There's something about the newness and freshness of a new skill.
And I found it so therapeutic when I got going. 

The slowness of weaving the shed stick into the warp.
Pushing the weft down with the weaving comb.
Working out how to thread through the tassels.

It's definitely the start of a process and I'm hoping to enjoy creating some woven wall hangings.
Will post this one when I'm done!

I'd love to hear from you if you've done some weaving or learned a new skill!
Check out my Pinterest board for some weaving ideas and go see Loom and Spindle for techniques and tutorials.

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5 November 2014

la vie est belle.

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Saying as we were on a bit of a roll with embroidery hoops I thought I'd share this wee one I made for my niece.
Hand stitching is so relaxing and great as you can sit alongside the family as you stitch.
Inspired me to dig out a few more quotes!


3 November 2014

simple living. the beach.

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There's nothing simpler...a deserted beach on a blustery day, mountains rolling into the sea and a picnic.

A perfect day.

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2 November 2014

kids sewing skills: running stitch. buttons.

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We've been a bit hooptastic of recent...see these pumpkin hoops! But this is a really easy little sewing activity if you've an hour spare and it's a rainy afternoon! I had seen the idea here and thought it would be a perfect way to teach the girls how to sew on buttons and keep their running stitch straight.

You'll need:
embroidery hoops (I used 7 inch) || plain fabric || green embroidery thread || buttons || fabric pen

While my older two were doing this you can see how I kept my 4 year old busy at the end of the post!

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When we had our fabric taught in the hoop I used a fabric pen to place a dot where each running stitch row should begin and end.  This gave them a bit of an ideas although they wanted some 'stems' to be shorter than others so it simply worked as a guideline.

They knotted their thread and completed their running stitch between the 2 points. At the top they sewed on their button and knotted at the back.
They repeated this for how many flowers they wanted.

Abi wanted to make it for her cousin so she used the fabric pen to write the name and simply stitched along the letters.

When they were done I trimmed the fabric, snipped around the edge (see here) and used the glue gun to glue these to the back edge of the hoop.  You can see the workings on the back of the hoops but I quite liked this and didn't feel an urge to 'finish' it. If you would prefer a neater look then you could glue a circle of felt into the centre of the back like in Maddie's hoop below.

And that was it...so simple but a really good wee exercise in some of the basics of hand sewing.

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While we were doing this I gave Maddie a smaller hoop (5 inch) and hand stretched some hessian in it.
She chose some different colours of embroidery thread and I knotted them together, as well as knotting the thread to the needle. This kept it from slipping out and meant she was engrossed for longer, freeing me up to help out the other 2 as needed.

I just focused on getting her to move the needle 'down' and 'up' through the fabric. She kept repeating this like a little mantra.  She was so pleased with her colourful hoop.

We glued the edges down with a glue gun and fluid a piece of felt to the back to keep it neat.
It's now sitting pride of place in her bedroom.

xx

To see who I'm linking up with head here.

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