Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A Handmade Christening Gift

Life has certainly been hectic these last few weeks and I've been unable to grab even a tiny amount of time in cyber space.  It would be super nice to have a bit of time this weekend to catch up on some lovely blog reading and feel inspired and connected again!

Recently, my gorgeous new niece was Christened and so we made the 2 hour journey to stay with family in Bucks before the ceremony on the Sunday.  Here is the beautiful blue eyed girl with her doting Aunty J9!  She reminds me so much of my Little Lady as a baby.  Truly blessed.
I contemplated what would be a suitable gift for the occasion for some time.  Financially, every spare penny was going to our extension work plus rather than just buy something I wanted something more personal to give to mark the day.  Of course this prompted some crafty time!  I had already crocheted a blanket which was given to her when she was born - so that box had already been ticked!

After some thought, I decided I wanted to create something that incorporated her name - given that this is a key element of being christened - you are 'given' your name as part of the ceremony.

I considered cross stitch but the family d├ęcor is more modern in style so I decided to craft a scrabble tab picture.  I used an IKEA box frame and chose some scrapbooking papers as a backdrop.

I was really pleased with the outcome.  They have said that they liked it and I hope that it will be a treasured memory of this special day.

I'd been asked to bake cakes for the occasion too so on the last day that I had my oven (before it was removed during the building work!) I baked and decorated a wonderful fruit cake with a 'new to me' recipe from this book.  My most favourite fruit cake mix so far - I thoroughly recommend it as it is not at all heavy!  As the lovely 'Mummy of the Baby' requested, I also made a Delia Smith coffee cake but sadly I didn't get any photos - that one got devoured really quickly!!

It has been a manic time in this house over the latter part of this year and I have not paced myself well on the pain management front.  I have a few ideas in mind to craft for my new kitchen space which I aim to work on during the new year once Christmas is over.  Generally though I'm planning a slower pace of activities over the coming month - I no longer thrive on rushing around being so busy and list driven that you can't stop to smell the roses as I did in my twenties!  Project managing this build has certainly tested me and I'm looking forward to a return to 'balance'.

That is my promise to myself.  I need to slow down to my usual happy mode and take time to enjoy the passing moments.  I hope you manage a bit of the same - especially over the Christmas period!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your week - whatever you're up to! 
J9 x

Monday, 9 December 2013

Simple Pleasures & Snapshots

Hello there!!  It is just too long since I last posted!  Even so, it's a bit of a short, sharp catch up post!!  So many moments to capture over the past few weeks. 

A Sneak Peak at the Makeover of My Dresser
Weeks of building work, followed by weeks of painting, a little wall papering and some sanding and our build is CoMpLete!  We are gradually growing in to our new downstairs space.  The kitchen is literally amazing.  Of course I'm not talking magazine shoot, Hollywood house amazing - I'm talking achievable, clean, affordable - AMAZING. 

My Dresser is the first part of my reveal - I love it - and it is currently adorned by some sparkly, Christmas star lights, which are giving me lots of joy.  The wall paper behind (Laura Ashley) was purchased some six years ago - when I saw it in a reduced bin for £1.50 per roll.  I had no need for it then but bought two rolls - my late Father was a firm believer in "Something having a use once in every seven years".  Hmmmm.... wall paper you were worth keeping hold of.  It is only on this back wall of the kitchen and breaks up the milk white nicely!

Enjoying Festive Displays on my that Dresser!
I spent a rather joyous day to unpack my treasured china from it's boxed surrounds.  Many items have been kept wrapped for months - for the day when that dresser would be transformed.  I got the contents just as I wanted in in late November - and promptly replaced many items with Christmas decorations (forgetting to take a picture of the display as I was constantly waiting for the light to be in my favour - something that is very tricky in wintery England!!)

However, I've equally enjoyed adding a little festivity to the new area.  It has already changed the way we spend time together as a family for the better but I'll save that for another post.

Special Interactions with Granny
 Last week, we had our first overnight visitor to our home in nearly 7 months!  How fitting that it would be my mum to come and peruse the new additions to our home.  She was able to stay for a week as the extension now homes a downstairs toilet and shower room which has previously negated any longer stay than a couple of nights.

Anyhow, mum and I did have some festive plans (a trip to Bath Christmas Market no less - again another post).  But that didn't stop my littlies having lots of fun.  Board games, sugar icing cake decorating, making mince pies for the school Bake Off... all were undertaken with Granny at the helm.

Ahhh.  Simply divine.  That week alone made the last few months of upheaval completely worthwhile.

Christmas Hama Bead Creations
Little Lady and I spent some quality time this weekend creating while the boys were at Football.  The Football thing is fairly recent and very momentous as Little Man has joined a team and is enjoying matches and practising!  All very cute but it does mean that us girls get to spend some time crafting each weekend.

First was some felt craft and second we sat making Hama bead creations which I'd seen on Pinterest.  We modified some but were completely inspired and influenced by Purple Cards although the original page seems to have disappeared so in an effort to link back you can find it through my Crafts To Do with Kids board.

The intent Concentration...
...and sheer delight that the erection of an artificial Christmas Tree can create!  In my pre children life I was somewhat obsessed with Christmas Tree Decorations.  I have some from New Zealand, some from France and Germany as well as many from all over the UK.  I treasure them and it is true that the majority have a story linked to them.  I LoVE that the children adore the process of decorating the tree. 

This year it was Little Lady's turn to put the fairy on top! (See that changing smile? So many teeth have been lost and found by the Tooth Fairy over the past couple months).

So in short - building work is over!!  Painting has stopped until January (life is too short to aim for perfection) and Christmas is definitely on its way.  My posts will be a little like buses over the coming days... you wait ages for one and then a couple come at once!!  I have so much to share with you, so many half drafted posts but still so much to do!

How do you all manage to post and organise yourselves sooo much better than I?!  I congratulate you on your organisation anyway and can only aspire to do better ;o)

Happy December Folks!
J9 x