Thursday, May 18, 2017

In the Making

This week it's been rather wet and rainy and I have loved it. We've had such a dry spell of late that this rain is much appreciated - at least it is by me. I was in the post office posting a yarn order yesterday and someone was moaning about the weather and the rain we've had this week. I actually don't think he really was 'that' fed-up with it, it just seems to be what the Brits do. We ALWAYS talk about the weather 😂.

Anyhoo, I wanted to share some craftiness with you today. First...have I shared this with you?

Towards the end of last year, I put together this King size quilt top using a Joyeux Noel Jelly Roll. Then I folded it up and popped it into my fabric basket as I needed to get more fabric for the borders and binding. Well, I hate to say it, but I forgot all about it until this week when I was looking for some fabric. When I pulled it out I decided that it was time for me to get the borders done and have it finished before this Christmas. I bought the fabric for the borders this week and tomorrow I shall start cutting and sewing. I think I am going to take it to a long-arm quilter to be sandwiched and quilted because it really is just too big for me to do. My little sewing machine will not cope with the quilting and to be honest, I don't have the surface space to lay it flat and get all the layers together. So off it will go and then I'll bind it when it comes back.


Next, a few new dishcloths. When my M-I-L was visiting 3 years ago, she very kindly knitted me a stack of dishcloths. They have served me well and I haven't had to replace them up until now. Truth be told most of them are still in action and doing perfectly well but I have lost a few to a few kitchen mishaps and the rest are looking a bit tired, so time to freshen up the supplies.

Look what came out of the dye pots this week...

Lots of yarny goodness all listed in my Etsy shop. Some of what you see pictured has already sold out but today I had the dye pots out and dyed up some popular colourways such as 'Miss Potters Paintbox' and 'Swallows & Amazons' both on sock yarn. If you pop over to the shop you will see that they are listed there. 

A new colourway will be joining the ranks in a few days...


'Miss Tiggy-Winkle' - the moment I saw this bubbling away in the dye pot Miss Tiggy-Winkle just popped into my head, so that's what it shall be called 😊


Finally, I wanted to show you this adorable little project bag I bought from fellow blogger and Etsy shop owner, Gilly of Gilly Makes. She sews so beautifully and when I saw her adorable little bags she had made on Instagram I completely fell in love with this little one and treated myself. It's remarkably roomy and is currently holding my Russian Winter jumper - which I STILL have not finished!

I'll wrap it up now, thanks for dropping by, take care of yourselves and I shall see you back here very soon.

Blessings in Christ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sometimes...

...change is not always the best thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for change, I love new experiences, I have loved the varied and exciting places we have lived and travelled to as a result of my husband's job. I have embraced each house move, approached each new country or city we have lived in wholeheartedly. I am forever grateful that we were obedient to God's call on our lives to homeschool our daughters - that I would start all over again in a heartbeat. But sometimes, just sometimes the change that we embrace or choose turns out not to be the best thing for us.

We've all done it, made a decision that we regret and wish we could undo. It's in those situations that we can crumble and live in defeat or you can take control and change your situation. I'm a bit headstrong and simply refuse to live in defeat - I am totally a believer in that if you are not happy with something - then change it! 



Change to rectify some of our bigger 'boo-boo's' can take time to play out, so I believe that while you wait for your situation to change or improve, you need to find contentment where you are as you work towards your end goal. However, some things are easier to tackle and this is what I am doing right now.




In February I took the decision to move my blog's home to Wordpress. It's a decision I regret. I know that some people love Wordpress and swear by it - but me...no, it's not for me. I don't like the plugins, I don't like how it's set up, I just don't feel 'at home' there. I'm sure you must have noticed that my posts have been infrequent, that's partly due to the fact that I just don't like it. For all of the 'cons' that professional bloggers spurt out when the compare Wordpress to Blogger - well I just don't care, I like blogger and I'm not a professional blogger anyway, I'm just an ordinary girl saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus. I love my husband, my children, our homeschooling and keeping my home, so I think this little spot will do me nicely for a long while yet.



So, before I go on with this post I want to say three things, first is that I really appreciate all my readers - love you guys. I know you are here because in some way we connect and we are kindred spirits.



Second, if this change has annoyed you enough to unsubscribe, I totally understand. I'm sorry for any inconvenience or annoyance I have caused. I do hope that you will stay with me though because I will miss you if you go.



Thirdly, I'm going to be tweaking the look of my blog because I'm just like Mrs Tittlemouse, I do love keeping my 'home' spic and span.




Okay, moving on... This weekend we went to Reading to see my grandparents who have just moved to the UK from South Africa. It was the most wonderful, blessed weekend! We haven't seen each other since 2010 and we are very close. I feel so SO blessed to have them living nearby enough that we can visit fairly often. In fact, we have already planned that they will come and spend Christmas with us, we are all so excited!


Driving back home to Devon on Sunday we decided to ditch the motorway and take the more scenic 'A' roads. This way you really get to see the countryside and a more leisurely pace. Well...as we were tootling along what should suddenly loom up to our right but Stonehenge! Oh my! The excitement in our car...



Now, this ancient wonder is not set far back from the road, no...it's RIGHT-THERE. It just astounds me that such history and heritage is just casually along the wayside - that's life in England for you!

Anyhoo, we simply had to break our journey and go visit this site. A further bonus is that entrance was entirely free because we are National Trust members - YAY!

There is something about this place, being in the same place where others have been, lived and worked over thousands of years...it's quite something. 



It simply turned out to be the best weekend ever - and it was my birthday so BONUS! 

Anyhoo lovelies, I'm going to love and leave you for today. I hope that you will come back and visit with me here very soon.

Hugs to you all...

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Nature Plans for January


Happy New Year! I really love the feel of a new start don't you? As you can see I have done a bit of housekeeping on the blog - cleaned it up and added some of my favourite homeschooling and planning resources that I regularly use to my side bar. You will also notice that at the end of each of my posts I will have some recommended resources for you to check out. It might be homeschool related, sometimes planning related or even just what books I am enjoying at the time.

Today was our first day back at lessons. I have to confess to not having spent a minute of our holiday time in any planning activities with regards to January what-so-ever. So today I thought I would take a bit of time and jot down some nature themes and plans for January.


What does January Bring:

  • It is said that, "As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens" - January is usually the coldest month of the year.
  • Full Wolf Moon - January 12th
  • Snowdrops flower
  • Spring Bulbs push through frozen earth
  • Hungry months for birds - keep feeders well stocked
  • Frost

January's Nature Studies & Goals

  • Bird - The Blackcap (we only see this bird in winter)
  • The Snowdrop
  • Participate in The Big Garden Birdwatch - Citizen Science project
  • Winter World Observations & Journal entry
  • Utilise OHC newsletter - have you subscribed to this wonderful free resource yet? Hop on over to Barb's Handbook of Nature website and sign up!
  • Nature Journal - to make at least one entry per week. Personally I want to improve my art skills so I'm going to keep a visual journal in addition to my nature journal so as to practise improving my sketching and painting.
  • Use 'The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady' and 'Janet Marshes Nature Diary' throughout the year. Each week we shall read a little from each books relative month and compare our own observations to those made 110 and 30 odd years ago respectively.


Below is a resource that I really recommend to homeschoolers with children in their kindergarten and elementary years. These are wonderful unit studies written in an inspired Charlotte Mason style. It's not just nature study you are getting, you get art, poetry and composer study suggestions as well as lots of hands on activities to do together. I am reviewing one of these nature study units over on The Curriculum Choice on January 10th, so if you want to know more pop over then and have a look. I will of course give you a reminder on the day ;)

Anyhoo, that's about it for today. I hope that your week is off to a good start and that your own nature plans are all on track. I'll see you back here very soon.
Our Journey Westward

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Looking Ahead and Setting A Course

It's at this time of year that our thoughts naturally turn to pondering our lives.


Re-evaluating :: Assessing :: Planning. 


Now that Christmas is behind us and we only have a few days to go before the new year kicks in, I'm looking forward to taking this significant date in the calendar year and setting it, as billions of others do, as a bench mark for implementing my 'new start' (well, I've actually already started on a few of my goals). 

I thought I would share my process with you, show you how I go about assessing areas in my life and setting a course of action. 

I am a great believer in the process of evaluating and setting life goals, as the saying goes, 'Fail to plan then plan to fail.' I also believe that there is very little point in whinging and complaining about things in your life that you are unhappy with - things you can change I mean. If you don't like your job - then look for another one. If you there are relationships that suck the life out of you - address them.

 Of course we all have circumstances in our lives that are beyond our control and for those circumstances, while we may not be able to change them or where change will take a period of time to take affect, we can choose the attitude with which we face and deal with those situations - so we still have a choice.

If you are ready to get your life on track in 2017 then grab a cup of tea or coffee, a pretty journal, your favourite pen and lets get started.


Step 1: Establishing Areas For Change and Improvement



In looking forward I have looked at each area in my life and evaluated how the past year went, what worked well and what didn't, things I want to change and improve. Here are some of the areas I have brought under consideration, addressing 'easier' areas before delving into the more complex area's of ones life.

* Attitude and Mental Well Being
* Physical Well Being and Appearance
* My Environment
* Our Homeschooling
* My Business
* My Dreams and Goals
* My Blog

Action: ~Make a list of the areas in your life that you feel could do with a bit of a make-over.

Now your list might be shorter or longer than mine and probably different - we all lead different lives.


Step 2: Explore It



Action: ~Choose a category to tackle first.

I chose to address the less complicated, easier-to-action, bits first. For example, I picked 'Homeschooling' first. Our homeschool runs fairly well but is constantly being tweaked according to what is happening in our lives and what goals we need to achieve.

Action: ~Write down all your thoughts about this area of your life in your journal bearing the following in mind:

~Think and ponder on how you feel about it and why you feel that way.
~ Look over what worked over the past year and what you would do differently going forward.
~ How has this area affected other areas in your life? How has it affected the people you love and care about in your life? Has it had a positive or negative influence?
~ Has this area contributed to your (and others) general well being or made you feel sad, anxious, angry etc.

Step 3: Define It (set goals)


Now that you have fully (emotionally and practically) explored this area you are ready to set a tangible goal. For example, when I was looking at my health and well being, one of the things I really am not feeling great about is how unfit and lethargic I often feel. So my goal here is 'Get Fit & Toned.' I'm also carrying a little extra weight that has got to go as it makes me unhappy in myself and gets me down when I go clothes shopping. So this goal is added onto the Get Fit and Toned one to read ...'and loose 3 kg's'.

Action: ~Define what it is you wish to achieve - this is your goal. 

Do make it realistic, for example I really don't think that I could realistically loose 10 kg's and keep it off. I am a women in her 40's and biologically it would mean having to maintain a food and fitness regime that I don't think would make me happy. I want to feel strong and healthy and to wear my clothes well without them feeling snug. I'm quite content with being a British size 10 (US 6). It's achievable and most of all I am able to maintain it while still enjoying good healthy food and the occasional treat.


Step 4: List It



Now here's the part where you turn your thoughts and discoveries that you made in step 2 into a working plan to achieve the goals you set in step 3.


Action: ~List the steps that you need to take in order to achieve your goals.

For example, in order for me to achieve my goal of getting fit and toned. Here's my list of the steps I will take in order to achieve my goal.

1. Get on the exercise bike at least 4 times a week, slowly building up the time I spend on it as my fitness levels improve.

2. Spend 10 minutes after each exercise session doing toning exercises as per those set on my Pinterest board. Slowly increase the time spent or reps done on toning as I get stronger.

3. Be strong and firm with yourself! Don't give into laziness and shrug off your exercise session. Remember how much time and energy it took to build up your fitness levels and how quickly you can loose that fitness through laziness.

Reward: You will feel strong and healthy with more energy. You wont get out of breath while participating in outdoor activities. Your toned body will look slim and trimmed in your clothes, you will be able to confidently pull a size 10 off the shelves without getting that despondent feeling that the item looks better on the hanger than on you. Shame will no longer be a part of your shopping experience :)

Action: ~ list a reward at the bottom of your steps. This could be something that you will actually buy yourself or a natural consequence reward. 

This process is less about setting 'New Years Resolutions' and more about looking at your lifestyle and life goals and then re-calibrating in order to achieve the life you want to live. 

We all have within our own power to be all that we can be and live the best life that we can. It's knowing the destination and making choices that are in line with that goal or vision that is the difference between whether or not we achieve our goals. 


So set the course. Layout your plans. Discipline yourself into action and achieve your dreams!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hygge ~ The Art of Practicing Coziness


Hello my lovelies! Are you ready for Christmas? I've just returned from doing my final Christmas shop and - WOW! - How hectic are the shops right now? I kind of just plastered a smile on  my face and adopted that slow shuffle that really is the only way to move around the stores at this time of year. What I find interesting is how other people respond to these low-level stress shopping situations. 


Some are clearly over-whelmed and irritable and really don't cope well,  thus make their own, and others, shopping experience more traumatic. Others just stare straight ahead and accept their fate of braving festive crowds, displaying not an ounce of emotion on their faces. 


And then there are those who are super courteous, chatty and smiley. I like those kind of people, they make the crowded shopping experience a little more bearable. And because I appreciate such people I try to be one myself. I must have exchanged 'grin-and-bear-it' pleasantries with at least 4 unknown-to-me fellow shoppers. I'm convinced the best way to get through the holiday shop is to cling to the thought that there is a cup of tea to be had once you have braved the crowds and reached the sanctuary of home.


So yesterday was the Winter Solstice, the days get longer from here on out. Oh it will be a while yet until we start noticing the difference, but it's the knowledge that the light is returning that makes me happy.


To chase the dark and winter doldrums away in our home I embrace my Danish heritage and practice the art of "hygge"

Hygge is the Danish ritual of creating atmosphere, embracing all things gentle and soothing and steering clear of annoying and stressful things (like crowded shops LOL). It's about friends, family and graciousness. It's all about simple pleasures.


In practicing the art of Hygge in my home I light candles - lots of them. I ensure that we have plenty of warm, snugly blankets lying around and that I have all the makings for gorgeous cups of hot chocolate, coffee and cups of tea. I bake delicious cookies and infuse delicious smelling oils to make our home smell amazing, make homemade bread and warming soups. I look for ways to make the ordinary just that little more special.


The art of hygge, in my humble opinion, goes a long way in creating a sense of well-being for those who suffer the side effects of a lack of light (I would count myself in that group), and considering that the Danish have a word for describing the act of coziness, I gather that this a wide-spread belief, at least among dwellers in Nordic countries.

I found an absolutely FABULOUS blog which centers around the art of living hygge. It is a delight to read and well worth a visit, its called Hygge House.


So my sweet readers, as I finish off this post I just want to wish you all a very blessed Christmas. My your celebrations be filled with peace, family, love, shared moments, happy laughter and a whole lot of hygge.