Monday, 31 December 2012

A BIG Thank You & Happy New Year!

Just a quick pop by to thank you for stopping by my little blog in 2012.  I have enjoyed starting my little part of the blogosphere and sharing parts of our simple way of life these past few months.

I had hoped to write more blog posts about my christmas tree and homemade presents but the sick bug and family visits have gotten the better of me!  I shall endeavour to do better in 2013!!

I wish you a happy new year and may 2013 be filled with happy times, good health and friends and family around you.

Thanks again for popping by - I shall be back in a week or so with some promised furniture makeovers and other Simple Things.

Best Wishes,

J9 x

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Lushness of Nativity Plays

I cannot even begin to express how much I love a nativity.  This year both of my children are in the same performance.  As it is the last year that R will do a Christmas performance at school it has extra sentimental value too.

R is a narrator.  She auditioned for the choir too and although extremely enthusiastic is not tuneful in the traditional sense of the word.  She is a joy to watch though.

B is a mouse.  His best friend is a worm.  So gorgeous that they were both so exstatic by the roles they were awarded.  He sang a duet with a 'cow'.  So cute.

We've been practising songs over the past fortnight and the past 3 days have seen dress rehearsals and 2 performances - and they did not disappoint. 

Completely joyful children, proud of their efforts and looking for confirmation that they did well.

Lord Bless Them.

I won't be blogging as much over the next couple weeks - purely due to time pressures of the season!!  I hope you all have a very merry Christmas & happy new year.  I'll drop by when I get a mo but enjoy the joy of the season and have a glass of mulled wine for me!!

J9 x

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My Festive Mantel.... and Sofa!

The autumnal colours have been removed from my mantelpiece and a thoroughly festive theme now takes centre stage.  Apologies for the poor light in this photo - the grey skies in Somerset at the moment make indoors so gloomy - but you get the idea!  My favourite bit is the pompom garland (which I actually bought for a trim for a furniture makeover I've got planned!!)


I've enjoyed starting to play with some elements in our lounge before all the decorations go up this weekend.  I'm having a leisurely few days ahead of the school holidays slowly getting our home organised and Christmassy!  It's had a thorough dusting and some clutter has been removed...  I've washed and re-hung the curtains and cleared the decks before all the decs come out!

So my mantle is looking festive and I decided to 'Christmas up' my sofa - I do love a few comfy cushions on my couch!!  I was going to sew some cushion covers with some red fleece but when I went to purchase the pads the cost of 2 pads was the same as 2 pre-made red cushions with pads - so I opted for the pre-made red versions to save me some time!

Although not as soft and textural as fleece, I don't really mind as my plan was to always embellish them. I've raided my button stash for cute, shiny, mother of pearl buttons - goodness it's crazy how much joy I get from rooting through my stash of buttons.

After an evening of sewing, we now have a heart and a star (which is somewhat crooked but hey)...

They feel festive without being crazy!!

My sofa normally looks like this - I'm not a fan of the chocolate leather but it was my husband's choice and is very practical. However, I always cover it for extra comfort and warmth!!

After my tweaking today, it has been made all festive! I got the cream throw from the charity shop and the fleece blanket was from Dunelm (where I also got the cushions!).

The cushions were a simple make but giving lots of pleasure. Ideal for snuggling and watching Christmas films this weekend once we've put up the tree!!  I hope you are enjoying setting the scene in your home.

J9 x
Today I'm linking up with these fabulous parties!

Monday, 3 December 2012

To Live & Learn

One of most interesting features of human beings I've been musing over this week is our ability to learn and grow.  The biggest of all these is the astonishing progression of language in children.  I know the logic and reason behind speech development - but the reality is simply amazing.  For babies-  the transition from making noises to that of voicing words and then to join those words into real communication holds true wonder for me.  God is amazing in his creations.

My children are in Year 1 & 2 at primary school and are learning the art of writing and expressing themselves on paper. 

I love it.  Little B is experimenting with poetry.

R is a more reluctant writer - even though she is very advanced in her reading she doesn't currently have the excitement in writing that B has.  It's funny, with their characters (and the contentious boy / girl thing) I thought it would be the other way around.  But no, they are who they are.  I endeavour to make games and constantly encourage writing of any kind on the weekend...  She instigated writing a short letter to 'Granny' this week (my heart melts).

I looked at my past couple of blog posts and I think I'm gonna try things a little differently.  My aim is to do shorter blog posts a little more frequently.  I think my last couple posts have been rather long and a shorter format may work better for readers and for me trying to fit blogging into my life.  As I say, we are all constantly living and learning.  I'll give it a try....

J9 x

Friday, 30 November 2012

All the C's!

Todays post is one which includes all the C's...

Charity Shopping ;0)
I was thrilled to go on a thrifty mooch with a good friend yesterday.  Charity shopping with company is my idea of fun.  What's even better is that we have such differing tastes that neither of us want the same things!  It's quite funny, each of us hold up things to the other and then curl our noses and both burst out laughing!  We both came away with a few things - so very different from the other's collection of treasures.... So my hoard this time:

Some star baskets... these were a bargain £1.50.  I want to spray these white and put them on my Christmas mantelpiece standing up like this.  I love sets of 3 stars of reducing sizes and this will be an affordable way to get that look!
A gorgeous vintage floral tray and glass bottomed trinkets with floral embroidered lids - I love them and they are soooo my kinda thing.  I was very happy to find them and although £15 I've decided to label them my Christmas present to myself!!

This little fellow was a mere £1.  I love him and he'll make his way into my Christmas decorating.

Around 6 months ago I bought another single book end with a girly type bambi deer on it.  Now my cute stag has a partner!

Chutney - my last batch for this year!  Hooray!  This one is mainly tomato and courgette based (thanks to Grandpa for supplying the HuGE courgette / marrow!)  It's called Mediterranean Chutney and is not one I've made before.  I had the ingredients though (mainly from relative's gardens) and so had to give it a whirl!!

The very colourful raw ingredients (I'm glad I've finished cutting onions in large numbers for another year!)
It's always amazing how much the ingredients reduce down...

All ready for labelling & getting creative with the decorative lids!!

Crumble - apple crumble in fact!  I used the very last of the apples from my mum's trees for a crumble for our pudding this evening.  There'll definately be two happy boys in this house tonight!  I'll warm it in the oven at tea time and it'll brown a bit more then but already it looks yummy!

I'm so pleased with my progress on the crochet learning front.  A friend lent me this book.

It was fabulous in getting me over the confusion I was experiencing in following different patterns. I really needed straight forward instructions to boost my confidence!  So I've managed to crochet these:

and these from the wonderful Lucy of Attic24.

The pale green, cream and blue are the colours of my lounge so I was thinking they could stay up all year round!!  The bright colours I love the most though.  They are wonderful jewel like tones and look nicer in reality than I have been able to photograph I'm afraid. 

I'm not going to do 2 sided baubles as per this pattern though.  To keep them a little more frugal I'm crocheting one side according to the pattern and then use felt and embroidery to finish off the back and hide some of the workings.  I think that'll work and I'll show you them when they're properly finished!  I'll then get twice the number of baubles out of the yarn.  I'm loving these though so can see me whipping a few up for presents.

But my favourite C?  Christmas!!  Getting a bit excited now.  Well, a bit is a little of an understatement actually.  I can't wait to start decorating but we have some lovely guests staying this weekend.  Normally, the decorations go up on the first weekend in December in our house.  I've set aside all next weekend though to do it.  It's a full family affair and decorating the tree especially is one of my favourite things of Christmas time.  My gorgeous children get so giddy over my collection of decorations as they pull them from the boxes (in another lifetime pre children I collected interesting baubles as a passion) and also as they remember their own homemade versions. 

I LoVE it.  I'm really proud of them and their enjoyment in doing things rather than having things.  I have to admit I have to let go of my need for the perfect tree and instead let them share the joy of hanging the decorations themselves where they choose.  I'm getting better at that.  Instead I revel in their excitement and exclamations.  That's the magic of Christmas time for me. 

I have a couple of crafty Christmassy things underway but will show you them when they're finished!  Welcome to my new followers and to all the visitors to my little blog.  I hope you have a lovely time starting to decorate your homes and that you are beginning to enjoy the essence of the season.

J9 x

The wonderful Annette from My Rose Valley is having a fabulous giveaway - pop on over and take a look at her colourful and creative blog!

Today I'm linking up with these fabulous parties!

Friday, 23 November 2012

And some Creativity of the 'Grown Up' Sort

This is what I've been up to over the past couple of weeks on the homemade front:

More Chutney - Fiery Bengal - yummy.

Raw ingredients...
And the cooking chutney...

And it made a good few jars for the Homemade Hampers I'm putting together for Christmas presents:

Crochet Progress - I'm loving making granny squares and have been so inspired across blogland.  But I have to say - I didn't realise how much it would 'eat' up the yarn.  Not an inexpensive homespun make...  I was aiming for a gorgeous big blanket like this .  But I think I can't justify the yarn, so I'll alter my plan and enjoy fashioning these into cushion covers.


Some Furniture Upcycling  to come - I find this a really enjoyable bit of homemaking!!  I love breathing new life into tired and jaded bits of history.... plus more of those legs I so love!

I don't think I'll get to these this side of Christmas - well maybe that tray - I have visions of breakfast in bed with this beauty!  Some naughty purchases from the charity shop that I had to smuggle into the house! ;0)

So although I've been on morphine and steroids (due to a rheumatoid flare) and feeling much under the weather, on reflection I have achieved some home loving over the past week.  That makes me happy.  I've taken things slowly while the children have been at school - but they've still gotten done. 

That's another bit about blogging that I've found very powerful - you consider much more closely tasks of the everyday and recognise those little achievements - even if they are quite mundane and routine they become something to celebrate!!

J9 x

Today I'm linking up with these fabulous parties!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Creativity of the Kiddie Kind

This was a weekend where we hunkered down in our home.  The winds blew madly up on our hill and the rain fell (hard) and there was little inclination to go out and get the usual 'breath of fresh air'!!

With weekends at home comes the littlies yearning for a creative outlet.  I love that they love to create.  It doesn't really matter what we do.  We're just sat around the table, chattering and creating. 

Mess gets made.

Piles of art finished, drying pieces of art are left overnight before being completed the next day. 

We made Hamma bead Christmas decorations -

And R and I made teacup candles for the first time (what a revelation as to how easy they are - these need topping up and trimming but you get the idea!!)

Lots of colouring

R did a little bit of independent sewing - her idea to develop

And some ink marbling

What could be better?

Well maybe add in some of this....

And this.....

It's amazing what you can pack into a weekend at home.  It was all at a leisurely pace too and the TV only went on on Sunday, which the kids finished with a family film like this....  oh they love a den.


J9 x
Today I'm linking up with these fab parties for the first time!!
Raising Homemakers
Sunny Simple Sunday

I'm also entering the Fabulous Joole's Generous Giveaway - please do take a moment to check out her wonderful blog Sew Sweet Violet!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Halloween & Bonfire Night Catch Up

No matter how I try, I still fall behind with blogging about the Simple Things we do as a family.  The idea of creating this blog was to partly fulfil a creative need in me and also to provide a journal of our family life.  But often that life just gets in the way!! ;o)

I'm not going to fill this post with lots of gushing descriptions of how spent a wonderful time intricately carving our pumpkins, or enjoyed the wonder of Guy Fawkes night and the splendid firework display we attended. 

Nope. I'll let the photos do the talking.

My blue eyed boys...  and Billy's Happy Pumpkin ('cos scarey isn't nice mummy').

The concentration....

My owl and floral effort...


 R's scarey face...


The ooooohs and aaaaahhs...

Burning of the Guy...

Happy November people! (And for those that celebrate it - Happy Thanksgiving).  I do wish us Brits celebrated Thanksgiving...  It's such a good and positive sentiment.

Finally I'd like to thank all the lovely people that have visited and left comments on my blog recently.  I have to say I've been blogging for 6 months now, and whilst I don't measure it's success on numbers - it is nice to have some interaction with like minded people!!  Thank you and welcome!!

J9 x

This week I'm linking up with these lovely blog parties!!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

An Obsession with Squirrels?

It is strange to say.... that yes, at present I am a bit obsessed.  I think I've been influenced by the autumn displays so many have in their posts across blogland.  As such, I've been further inspired to create little pockets of autumn in my own home. 

Photos inside my home do not take well.  I do try, but I don't have the right lighting to fully project these images on screen and they seem a little dull - but I shall endeavour to give you a flavour.

I found this lovely nut cracker at the Charity Shop recently.  I'm not sure anyone in our family are nut lovers but I couldn't leave him on the shelf.

In the same visit I brought this beauty home.  I LoVE him. 

He is of course a Sylvac ornament of our native Red Squirrel that only lives in parts of the UK now.  The Grey Squirrel was introduced to this country historically from North America and almost forced our native squirrel to extinction.  Although isolated to different parts of the UK - mainly the islands of Anglesey and Brownsea this type of squirrel has been successfully reintroduced and is thriving.  If you wish, you can find out more about the Red Squirrel here.

Many people will disagree with me on a conservation basis but I do enjoy seeing the mischievous Grey Squirrel in our woodlands. 

Of course I'd love to see red squirrels too but that is beyond my control.  Today, to get a burst of fresh air and interact a bit with nature we took ourselves down to a park close to the sea front, which is a typically Victorian recreational space; with paths, lawns, fountain and woodland.  You can imagine times before us when the rich people living in the gorgeous mansion houses surrounding the park, took in the sea air for medicinal purposes!!

There were amazing colours

And fabulous shapes formed from the trunks of this large tree:

We went to interact with the squirrels and for the children to beat their personal records for scooting the route around the park!! 

After energy was expended it was fascinating to watch the squirrels increase in trust as we sat patiently and offered them monkey nuts. 

The children were surrounded with 5-7 squirrels by the end of an hour.  This was the first time we'd done this since the children were toddlers and I was astonished by how enthralled they became. 

We merrily spent the morning watching the different squirrels and their reactions to us.  I was perched on a bench whilst the others were in the midst of the action on the floor!  One squirrel became incredibly trusting of little B...

Another would take the nuts off and bury them for a later snack!  The excitement in the children's faces was a joy to see.

I have to say I did leave this rather large squirrel on the shelf at the Charity Shop yesterday!! 

Hopefully that means I've got my fix of the squirrel type this year - I think he'd eaten a few too many nuts!

J9 x

I'm linking up with these fabulous parties
  A Favourite Thing
Pink Saturday
Weekly Top Shot