Thursday 27 February 2014

Finding my inner peace through a Mandala

 The last couple of days have been spent loving and nurturing a rather delicate body after half term. I have been yearning for some contact with the ground, some quiet time just to sit and listen to my breath, to gentle turn away the chattering monkeys and to find some harmony and balance again
I have given the computer a wide berth and really focused on my body and mind. I am nurturing it daily with delicious green smoothies, smoothie bowls and wonderful salads and fascinating books. I am connecting with all my chakras and are feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love for all the people in my world (that includes YOU!)

throughout this week I have had an enormous urge to crochet another Mandala and I simply reached for the same pattern that I spoke hooked here. It is a pattern from Simply Crochet (August 2013)
Then to quote what I wrote here:
'The word Mandala comes from the Sanskrit Mandala, which means 'circle', it also represents the universe. Some also believe that it is a symbol of the dreamers search for completeness in a dream. What I like about Mandala's is their visual appearance and how it has the power to absorb the mind and to stop all the chattering that is forever going on. It brings me to a state of awareness and consciousness, and I suppose there is a rather hypnotic feel to working these circles. In our busy lives it is so hard to find time to just be with the here and the now and to get rid of all the thoughts that is forever consuming our minds and actions and that is why I am such a great believer in the power of meditation as it gives us a platform to just be here and now but in a quiet place and space to address the underlying issues, happy or sad, that might never really be heard in our busy days. I have to add here that meditation doesn't just have to occur in these quiet places, but can be done anywhere and at any point in the day no matter where you are.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed when working these Mandala's was the knowledge that it represents giving everything to the universe, in order to receive teaching and or empowerment in return. Now although this goes far deeper than that in the spiritual sense of the word, I did feel quite empowered by ye old granny and most definitely found that I had regained respect for the teachings from this simple yet beautiful stitch.'

It seemed like the perfect crochet project for me this week and I have already started another. I am embracing the flow of love and compassion that I have felt throughout this week and I have loved this project

This afternoon we enjoyed the most glorious sunshine and the kids and myself stayed out in the garden till after 5, it certainly feels like there is a promise of Spring in the air.

Apologies if I haven't visited any blogs or replied to any emails, I will hopefully find the energy and urge to do it soon. I will be back soon with news on my first giveaway, very exciting. Joining in today with the lovely Chrissie and Marianne for their 'Blooming Crochet-A-Long'
Sending you all healing and happy love


Friday 21 February 2014

This week

I have been enjoying my new green smoothie-breakfast routine

I love starting my day with a boost of chlorophyll and alkaline loaded foods and my current fave is spinach, kale, celery and some variety of fruit (berries, pear or apple) and a little fresh ginger. Sadly I have been using my Kenwood blender as my Vitamix broke after just THREE uses (I know!). Fortunately a new one has arrived today and sometimes we just need to accept that not everything works perfectly first time round, fingers crossed we have better luck this time round.

The kids have been enjoying making their smoothies and all I need to do now is to figure out how to change the colour of spinach and kale (there goes the chorolphyll!) so it can be added to their smoothies, fat chance I reckon!
We have enjoyed lazy mornings in pj's, no time pressures, no routine and its been bliss. There's been an obsession of walking  around in Mum's heels and wanting to put make-up on whilst listening to ' Let it go' (can I blame Frozen here?!), I promise it has nothing to do with me in my usual attire of heals and a pinny (oh he can but dream on!).
I have been glaring at this pile of books in the kitchen that I need to sort through, but its been glaring back all week and I suspect the trend might continue a little longer. Do you have this book cluttering tendency around your kitchen? We have them scattered around all over, but somehow it all blends in, this pile however (a result of book overflow in other areas) is now blocking the door, so it really is time to sort it out. Maybe next week...
Oh yes spot that The Great British Sewing Bee book there, it's so exciting that it is back on our screens and I can't wait for it to start 'unravelling'.
There has been lots of drawing and making

reading and baking

and even a little more 'raw' experimenting

We had our first trip to the garden centre for this year and for once the owner roped the kids in to do some chores, whilst I could leisurely peruse the packets of seeds. How is it that the kids are so happy to do 'jobs' for other people yet all I need to do is mention the j-word to send them running in the opposite direction?!
I enjoyed an evening sorting through seeds and making plans. I'm a girl who likes a good plan and these sorts are the best!
We have enjoyed some glorious and sunny days, mornings mostly with rainy afternoons
but it was not all grey, this gorgeous original painting was my latest find at the charity shop, I must say I chuffed to bits!! 

and last but not least I have been enjoying these gorgeous Protea and fynbos all the way from SA courtesy of my special man!

I hope you have enjoyed your week/half term, sadly there has been no time for crafting, but that will all change next week when these little monsters return to school. There's a little DIY on the cards for the weekend, but more on that another time.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.
Warm Wishes


Sunday 16 February 2014

A little bear called Rosie

Hello my lovelies, I hope you've all enjoyed your weekend?! We actually had a night (yay!) out where we enjoyed a delicious Indian meal and a trip to cinema to watch the epically moving 12 Years a Slave, where Sean Bobbitt, the cinematographer did one amazing job. Even though his view was 'to keep it simple', it did everything and more to grip you into a state of feeling so uncomfortable at times whilst you willed the camera just to look away. For me it has to be the best cinematography I have seen in a long while and it comes as no surprise that Sean Bobbitt has been nominated for a Bafta Award. In fact it comes as no surprise that most aspects of the movie has been nominated for Baftas, and it will all be revealed tonight, how very exciting. Credit also has goes to the incredible acting by Chiwetel Ejiofor who played Solomon Northup and the other members of the cast who gave outstanding performances. It was harrowing in exactly the way I expected it to be and it pains me to think that even though slavery is illegal today, it's still going on around the world.

So moving on to something a little more cheerful, a new little friend has
joined our family this week.

After making Fantastic Mr Fox for little J's birthday last summer, little E has been waiting very patiently for me to make her a bear. It is fair to say that it has taken me quite some time to actually get around to it finishing it, but this week seemed like the perfect opportunity to do a little hand stitching to sooth my dreaded lurgy.

Rosie was made using a pattern by the very talented Sasha Pokras's. I must say unlike my first this little cheeky bear didn't quite turn out as I expected, but I am still very much in love with her.

Rosie has largely been hand stitched and I have used cotter pins to enable all of her joints to move. She is made out of lovely mohair and only measures around 11 inches tall, so she's only a wee lass.

I managed to finish it on Thursday afternoon and placed it on little E's pillow for when she returned from school. She was delighted and it took no time for her to christen her as Rosie. It is so lovely that little E absolutely loves little Rosie and that she straight away included her with the bedtime 'gang'. She is now firmly tucked up with her bestie, Treacle (the bear she's had since she was born) and Rabbity (her handmade Christmas pressie). I love how she really appreciateshand made things and the fact that she really looks after them too. It certainly makes every little stitch so much more rewarding.

Thank you for all your well wishes this week, they were all very much appreciated. I am fortunately feeling a little better than I did, which is a good thing as I have the two small monsters at home for half term, which should be fun and games.  I am joining in with the lovely Chrissie from Chrissie Crafts for her 'Stitching Sunday'.
Wishing you all a very enjoyable week.
Warm Wishes

Friday 14 February 2014

Valentine's treats - little Drawstring Bags and gorgeous Raw Chocolate Hearts

Happy Valentines sweet readers. I hope you have all enjoyed a day filled with love.
Yesterday we made some cards for Daddy

and today I made some little drawstring bags for my two little sweethearts
  filled them with some yummy treats. They were pretty easy to whip up and for the first time in my life I used bondaweb, yay! I then hand stitched (blanket stitch) the little hearts in place using embroidery thread.
for my big sweetheart and myself (nothing wrong with a little love for oneself!) I made some yummy raw chocolate valentine's hearts seeing we are both flying high on our sugar free diet. Since starting our sugar free diet in January, we are slowly becoming the worlds biggest raw chocolate fans and we can safely say that we HEART raw chocolate. I had heaps of fun playing with my latest recipe

The slice is not only pretty to look at, but also filled with a whole bunch of goodness. I made it using delicious almonds, which is great for brain functioning (and boy do I need this!) and has the added bonus of being an alkalising food. Our diets are generally far to high in acid producing foods such as animal foods like meat, eggs, poultry and dairy and optimally we should follow a ratio of 60/40 alkaline/acidic diet. Having a diet that is too acidic will affect mineral and vitamin absorption and also affect energy production at a cellular level, so having more of a plant based diet can only be a good thing!
I also added some delicious coconut oil, a 'cure-all' superfood that offers all the healthy fat we need and more and for a little bit of fun I threw in some chia seeds, which is not only a great source of protein and omega-3 fats, but also loaded with calcium, manganese and phosphors. It also adds a lovely 'crispy' texture to this chocolate heart. 
So here is what you are going to need
150g ground almonds
40g cocoa powder
15g Linwoods faxseeds, almonds, brazil nuts, wallnuts & Co Q10
70g dessicated coconut
20g chia seeds
30g dried cranberries
150g coconut oil
2-3 tbsp. of rice malt syrup
Add all the dry ingredients to your food processor or mix by hand. Melt the coconut oil and rice malt syrup by putting the oil in a bowl over hot boiling water (double boiler method). Once melted add it to the dry mixture mix it all together thoroughly, then put it in a lined flapjack tin and refrigerate. Once it has set, which shouldn't take no more than 20-30 minutes use your heart cutter to shape or just cut into squares. Keep refrigerated.
If you don't have the Linwoods mix, just increase the desiccated coconut by 5g. Also, if you don't have rice malt syrup, you can use honey or maple syrup. It will be interesting to know how you get on with this if you're up for trying, so please let me know.
Hope you all enjoy a weekend of sharing the LOVE.
I HEART you all!!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Sunny Monday to Snowy Tuesday

As most of you around the world will know the UK is getting a great deal of rain at the moment and for many people this is turning out to be quite devastating. My heart goes out to all those people so badly affected, and I hope and pray that the situation will improve very soon.

On Monday morning we had a gorgeous clearing and there was even a promise of sunshine, so I grabbed my gardening gloves and spent some quiet time in the garden. I always feel that a little time in the garden reenergises my soul and grounds my mind. It was lovely just to potter and to spend a little time pruning, weeding and just feeling excited by the promise of Spring that is slowly starting to peep through.

I felt utterly exhausted by the time I finished, but it was just so lovely to get a little bit of fresh air and enjoy the soil mud beneath my feet.
Sadly the glorious weather didn't last long and less than 24 hours later this was the view from the garden, what a contrast!
 After taking the kids to school yesterday morning I managed to do a little hand sewing whilst watching flurries of snow fall to the earth, but it wasn't long before I was firmly wrapped up in bed nursing my cold. It seems that the kids lurgy has finally decided to jump, feet and all, my way, blugh!!

It looks like it might be a slow week with as little activity possible

but there is always time to appreciate the pretty things around us and thankfully these pretty ladies dancing is cheering me up no end.

Thank you to everyone for your kind and loving comments about my first quilt, you are all amazing!!
Wishing you all a lovely Wednesday wherever you are.
Warm Wishes


Sunday 9 February 2014

My First Quilt - a 16 Block Quilt

Quilt making is something that my Ma has always done and to be honest the urge has never grabbed me, well that was until last summer when some vintage fabrics that's been lying around for quite some time started calling out for a little TLC.
Without a quilt book in sight I ventured over to Pinterest for a little inspiration. How lucky are we to be spoilt with so much inspiration with just a click of a button?! Within minutes I saw this 16 block quilt and knew instantly that I wanted to have a go making something similar.  
This tutorial came in really handy for learning how to cut the fabrics to save a little time. I didn't follow the full instructions for my quilt as I wanted something a little different, but for cutting the fabrics it came in very handy. I knew I wanted my finished squares to be in the region of 8.5 inches or thereabout so I just worked the rest out from there. Therefore allowing a quarter inch seam allowance on each side of the block for each 16 blocks.

I figured that it would be a good idea for my first quilt to be small as I didn't know how I was going to manage quilting a massive quilt for the first time, so I aimed for a finished size of around 40 x 50 inches and boy am I pleased I did!
I found the cutting quite therapeutic, especially seeing I did some of it sitting outside in the gorgeous sunshine we were blessed with last summer. This is definitely my idea of how one should go about ones quilting business. 
It was only during the month of August that I started joining the squares together to form a 16 block squares and found it a very enjoyable process. I definitely think having a 1/4 inch machine foot really helps to keep things nice and tidy and I wouldn't ever be without one again.
It felt so lovely to pick up these squares again in January after so many months and despite my nerves about doing the sashing, it actually turned out to be a pretty straight forward process in the end. On the other hand putting the quilt together was a little more tricky , but nothing that a good few safety pins couldn't sort out.
I found that keeping the iron handy really helped. It really is a great deal easier if everything is crisp and flat without any pesky creases glaring up at you
then came the quilting and if I am perfectly honest this is the bit that scared the socks off me, but it all turned out OK in the end (and it seems I still have my socks on, yay!). No it is not perfect and yes I did chose a very simple design, well to be honest I just did what I thought I could manage, so whether it is actually a design or not, who knows! I just did a simple diagonal cross through each of the squares, which seem to work well.

The binding is another aspect that kinda gave me the ibbies. I started off by just cutting the backing fabric a little bigger (around an inch), so I could just fold it over to the front, but with a slip of the scissors and a cuss of the mouth, we swiftly moved on to plan B. In my case this often involves YouTube and it seems that this and this link here saved my bacon. I really surprised myself with how much I actually enjoyed hand stitching the binding in place, who would have thought?!

Once the binding was on, it was popped in the washing machine and I must say it does come out looking a great deal better than it went in, so I will follow this advice in the future again.

I love all the colours and I especially how the grey frames the colours

So this is my Spring Quilt and for me


the colours most certainly have a feel of Spring about them and it sure makes me feel super cheery

For the back of the quilt I used an old duvet cover and I especially love how some of the colours of the retro prints are incorporated here


I also love how this yellow stripe sings!!

As a reference book The Quilters Bible has come in really handy throughout this process and I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested to start their first quilt or just wanting some information on quilting. It pretty much covers everything you need to know and more. I am sure I will refer to it time and time again as I venture a little deeper into the mysterious woods of quilting

For now it is sitting on little Es's bed, but I have just today been told to remove it as she still wants her nursery quilt there until I have finished her quilt. I was told 'but these are not the fabrics I chose and this really does not look like the quilt I ordered', so hey that's me told! Needless to say I have yet to start on her quilt, now where did I put that magic wand??

Fortunately it does seem that the quilting bug has bitten and the plan for the next is in full swing (albeit under a little bit of pressure from a four year old!). It seems like it might be a good thing after all that I am actually loving this quilting lark! Also joining in today with Chrissie for her 'Stitching Sundays'.
Wishing you all a very lovely week.
Warm Wishes