Adventures, English Afternoon Tea, enjoying the moment., flowers, food, glitter, good food, gratitude jar, hand sewing, happiness, hat, health, healthy eating, heart and home, home craft, home sewing, interior, making the most of life., organic, painting, photography, positive thinking, project, projects, quilting, self acceptance, self love, sewing, simple pleasures, simplicity, Staffie, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, stitching, summer, Sunday Sevens, tea, tea and cake, tea cup, time, vintage finds, yellow

Sunday Sevens – post op and enchanted convalescence

Post op

I went in to have foot reconstruction surgery two weeks ago; I suffered osteonecrosis when I was a teenager and had radical surgery, over twenty years of dancing and walking around left my foot in a very sorry state – and I am so grateful to the surgeon and hospital staff for their wonderful care. It is marvellous to live in a country where you get the health care you need without having to worry about the costs involved. So I find myself having to sit down and recover – which is harder than I imagined!

yellow gerberas in blue vase

E picked me up from hospital with the most beautiful bouquet of sunny yellow blooms, Gerberas and Yellow Roses to brighten the bedroom and here they are two weeks later still looking bright and beautiful. I love the contrast of the blue vase – and our home has the most delightful French doors that give such a great soft light for photography.

My lovely place

Recovery is so delightful – I finally had time to do a little painting – and what a beautiful spot to paint! I managed two canvasses: one was a still life of tulips I had photographed, once again the combination of cobalt and yellow the other was a fun butterfly using various shades of glitter. I managed to get most of the glitter on the canvass but was a little bit sparkly for a few days!

Sweet peas and summer hat

These delightful sweet peas were a get well soon gift and I am so humbled to receive so much kindness from friends and neighbours. Get well soon cards have overflowed from the mantle shelf to the dresser and visitors have been very frequent and welcome. It has surprised me just how hard it is to be on the receiving end of so much kindness, but it has certainly aided my recovery and made me feel appreciated.

food journal

This lovely bowl of fruit was a welcome thoughtful gift – the apricots were delicious. I am struggling with my diet at the moment – since discovering lactose is triggering my migraines I have been migraine free for a while. However, I forgot to mention it to a dear friend who invited us round for tea and cake – only to discover she had made a full afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones cream and jam! I was too embarrassed to ‘make a fuss’ I thought it would be ok, but the following day I suffered one of the worst bouts of migraine and sickness I had in years. So much so that it has made me frightened to eat a lot of things.  I now keep a food journal which has helped me track some of the foods – but I am still having digestive problems. I know that I was given strong antibiotics during my surgery so have been using probiotics.

chocolate parcel

Of course I could not live without chocolate – and the current trend for Veganism has made this a little easier as well as the food labelling laws. So my weeks of indulgence included a package from Montezuma’s – organic, dairy free chocolate. This is sublime and I find I don’t need to eat that much to satisfy the craving now and then. I’ve since discovered that there is a vegan chocolate factory not far from where I live! So it is on my ‘to visit list’ once I am mobile again.

Little embroidery

I am enjoying enchanting afternoons spent listening to radio plays while stitching – my winter embroidery is coming along – I have also found time to do some much needed hand sewing repairs to my clothes. It is such a calm, meditative practise that is fast becoming my preferred method. The sewing machine is not as accurate nor is it quite so relaxing.

IMG_3075

Mr Barnykins has been really enjoying his time with a wonderful local dog walker – I think she gets far more fuss when she arrives than I do, but then I am here all the time at the moment. I think he is trying to pretend it was someone else who is responsible for the inside snowstorm!

Happy Sunday.

 

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china, heart and home, home made, project, recycling, tea cup, tutorial, vintage

Recycled wax tea cup candles

Tea cup recycling candle

My fellow blogger Cheryl is taking up the challenge to have a make do and mend year, (you can take a peek at her lovely blog) One of the things she loves are scented candles – reading her blog reminded me about my candle recycling.

Its easy to do and makes good use of the candle wax we usually throw away saving you pounds and the planet!

 

Some of the scented candles are strong enough second or third time around!

tea cup candle recycling

You simply collect wax as you go – I usually pour out the hot wax into a bowl after I have blown out the candle. Not only does this seem to help with lighting the candle the next time I use it but I keep collecting until I have enough wax.

I use my slow cooker to melt the wax its easier than a double boiler.

Place about 1 inch of hot water into the ceramic bowl and then put the bowl of wax to melt on a medium to low heat. (Don’t put the wax directly into the slow cooker especially if you are using scented candles)

tea cup candle recycling -005

 

 

You can purchase pre waxed wicks – 50 of these cost only £2.79 from an ebay seller called Szafir who will send you them postage free.

They come boxed up nicely and they work very well.

 

 

 

I use two bamboo sticks to hold the wax tapers in place, just hook over the edge and place in the middle of your tea cup.

tea cup candle recycling -003

Chop sticks work just as well – and if you wish you can secure both ends with hair bands it traps the wick tightly so that it won’t move when you fill the cup.

When the wax is liquid you can colour it with wax crayons if you like, or leave it white.

Use bamboo sticks or chop sticks to trap the wick in the centre – you can bend them over slightly

A small hair band or elastic bands can be wrapped around each end if you want to trap the wicks and hold them in place.

Fill the cups using a ladle and leave to cool

 

Tea cup recycling candle

You will find that the wax tends to creep up the wick slightly.

Once the wax has set, trim the wick to to the length you want.

 

The wonderful thing about recycling candles is that you can use any container as long as it is heat proof.

 

 

Tea cups are ideal because they are made to handle high temperatures.

tea cup candle recycling -010This tea cup had a crack in it, it would be a pity to throw it away. As it was such thin china it gives a beautiful glow as the wick burns down.

If you have a big cup – you can always use more than one wick.

I usually keep these on my bathroom shelf, they look so pretty during the day and give a beautiful glow at night.

 

I use lavender and camomile essential oils which are so relaxing combined with a luxurious bubble bath.

ttfn x

Recycled tea cup candles

 

 

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gift, heart and home, project, scrap project, sewing

A little bit of spring in the kitchen!

The weather here is stormy, rain taps on the windows while the wind seems to blast round the building, causing alarming creaks and groans; there have been a couple of days this week when the sun has shone and the absence of the wind and rain gives a stillness to the day. 
February seems a bleak month, clumps of snowdrops are a welcome sight on our early morning walks; it thrills me to see the sun rising, the pink fingers streaking across the sky as it lightens from indigo to cobalt and the days are getting longer. 
Going through my stash of fabric scraps the other day I came across this beautiful Clarke and Clarke print, – the vibrant spring colours are just what I needed to remind me that spring is just round the corner. 
It is a simple project to do, use an existing tea towel for the right dimentions and then simply overlock and then bind the edges. I used some ribbon along the bottom third, and stitched a little bow with  a button centre. They are quick and very satisfying to do and since the fabric is a heavy cotton, they are great for drying up. They make a great housewarming present for a friend and are made in no time at all. 

cushions, deer, interior, project, tweed, winter

Tweedle dee

Tweed made a huge impact on Autumn interiors, (it is a recurring theme) our leather sofa needed something warm, nothing is nicer than tweed and wool. 
I decided to make a set of cushions working loosely with deer, so created this little friendly chap. The blue is an dissolvable pen which disappears once the embroidery was done, in a little water. 
Hand embroidery is a pleasurable delight, while slower than a sewing machine, I love the connection with creating each stitch – there are times when hand made is nicer to do than machine stitching,  I love the irregularity outlining the deer in blanket stitch and using stem stitch to follow the curves of the antlers. 

Then it is a case of trimming the tweed to a square and edge strips to frame it. 

 I love the way the deer’s body is a diagonal while the strips are fairly straight, it creates a lovely contrast.

The back was made easily; lay a zip under the folded bottom edge, stitch in place. Fold the top piece with a deep fold, (enough to cover the zip). It is simply a case of following the bottom stitched edge for about 2 inches, then going vertically up until you reach the other zip edge. Stitch along until you are 2 inches away from the side, stitch vertically down over the zip again and then stitch along to the edge. It creates a lovely concealed zip effect on the back keeping the cushion nice and soft with no hard zipper.

I always push stuffing into the corners of the cushion, it creates a nice neat edge then add the cushion. 

I made another three cushions with the tweed, creating a trio. The left hand deer is a machine embroidery pattern, the patchwork squares were angled again to give a more interesting effect.  The blanket is a beautiful blue welsh wool we bought at the Country Living Christmas Fair. 
Now the sofa is a cosy warm place to watch the crackle of the log fire hearing the wind and rain pelting against the window, a perfect winter’s evening. 

Adventures, Charlotte Lyons, cotton, fabric, Kokka, linenen, project, projects, Robert Kaufman, sewing, Trefle, union jack, vintage

Saturday Shopping

It was my birthday on Friday and lovely A gave me a voucher to spend at the Eternal maker, so I spent Saturday afternoon browsing round the delights of the shop, I adore the table laden with china cups filled with  a wide variety of buttons, or the cosy corner of ribbons of every tone and shade which makes me feel like a hunter gatherer if only for fabric, ribbon and felt.  Saturday was such a dull overcast day, typical of January that it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, T came along too and we followed the visit with tea and cake in a nearby cafe to thaw our fingers and toes. (If you intend a visit it is well worth investing in several layers, the shop is not very warm and I had to give up once the cold had seeped into my bones!) 
The biggest difficulty I have is can be a struggle to find fabric and notions that match my ideas, I have lost count of the number of times I have desperately searched the shelves of fabric stores only to have to give up my project simply because the fabric to bring it to life is elusive. Ideas often perplex shop keepers, I have often heard them exclaim “no-one has ever asked me that in all my years owning this shop” or “why on earth would you want to do that?” so EM is a welcome relief, the staff are so helpful and when I told them what I had in mind, their expert knowledge of the wide range of fabric for sale, some of which journeys from as far away as Japan; soon had me smiling with pleasure. Not only that, but suggestions and exchange of ideas flowed easily, I always feel I leave the shop with a friend behind me. 

I gathered these lovely cotton ribbons together, I was particularly delighted with the red and blue ribbon at the bottom because it was exactly what my project needed. 

This fabric is called the vintage workshop, I love the combination of pattern pieces alongside vintage sewing instructions. It is an Amy Barakman design from Red Rooster fabrics. 

I simply could not resist this Trefle crazy sewing pattern by kokka, my inner compulsiveness struggles with the upside-down design, but I love the retro colouring and style. It reminds me of the french schoolbook I had back in the seventies!  I love this pattern because it offers so many colour combinations to pick out from the lovely bright reds to the pale blues and lime green. 
These lovely notions are so beautiful that I will struggle to cut this design up! I love the little buttons and the keys, it is simply delightful. It is a Charlotte lyons design from Blend, called walnut farm. 
So that is most of my supplies in order, now with a little sketching and research, I am almost ready to begin, but I can’t tell you what it is just yet, you shall have to wait and see. 

clarke and clarke, cushion, doily, heart and home, project, projects, recycling, revamp., rocking chair, vintage

Cosy corner

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin!

This is a lovely corner of my little home. The rocking chair has been with me through many houses, when it was purchased it was a lovely light beech colour but my beloved at the time decided to use a dark stain on it. (you can scroll down to see it before it was revamped) It looked terrible and remained unloved until last year. I was moving into my own little home and deciding what needed to go or stay. I painted it pure white, and the thing I love about doing that is that the form of the piece is revealed. However, I just could not resist adding the blue polka dots to the paintwork, so easy to do! The cushions are made from gorgeous Clarke and Clarke and I love the fabric so much I bought quite a bit of it in its various guises.

If you want a co-ordinated look but not too co-ordinated, it is a good idea to buy the various different patterns of a make, not only with the tones and hues work, but they will go together well, after all that is what designers are paid for, their eye for colour and knowing instinctively what goes together.

The round cushion is one of my favourite creations manly because I love all the pretty doilies that you see in charity shops and car boot sales. Little pieces of art work, lovingly created for the bargain price of 50p.
This one is particularly lovely, it is blue, which makes it unusual, but it is also so perfectly formed with perfect tension. As a hooker myself, (the term I like to use for crocheters!) I can appreciate the sheer skill it has taken to make this delightful thing.

The difficulty is that we no longer use them in the same way, so while I could not pass up the chance to purchase these delights, I found they were stacking up in my studio with no real purpose. The rose material was a remnant, no bigger than a 1/4 metre, but I loved its vintage feel and so the rounded cushion was born. The white background was an old linen napkin. Another beautiful fabric I simply cannot resist, the quality surpasses anything you can buy now, and who uses napkins every day let alone linen ones. So I gathered these beauties together and came up with the cushion. You really don’t see many rounded cushions, so I was rather pleased with the way it came out.

The project itself was published in the May 2012 Edition of sewing world with the rocking chair published a month earlier in April. I think it is such a lovely seat to sit in and I have convinced myself that sitting and rocking while sewing burns enough calories to eat the odd biscuit or two and not feel guilty.

Here is the rocking chair before it was given a new lease of life.