Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy new year & giveaway reminder

I just wanted to take the chance to wish you all a very happy new year, may all your wishes come true in 2013!

We are now  back from visiting the in-laws and spending a lovely Christmas and birthday with the family. Brought back lots of cards and lovely gifts that we now need to find where to keep them , new year clearing will start soon and I am hoping to give back to charity some of the things we don't use anymore to make space for the lovely new ones!

Lots of new fabric, a few quilt tops that my husband's nanny had never finished and they will now be for charity, and very thoughtful gifts that will make me smile every time I use/see them. Thank you all!

I also got so many lovely birthday wishes on the blog that I will be thanking and responding one by one shortly. I always answer my comments but this time with Christmas and the trip I got a tiny bit delayed.

And if you do not know what I am going on about... Well you just missed my post. If you want a chance to win a lovely surprise gift follow this link and leave me a sweet comment!

Happy new year to you all and look forward to sharing a new creative year full of lovely projects with you all.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

It's my birthday giveaway!

Yes, I was born on boxing day... so I basically have a much longer Christmas as I get presents two days in a row! But I thought this year I would share the joy of getting presents after Christmas with all my lovely readers.

I also wanted to give back some of the love and kindness I have been getting from all of you in all your lovely comments, and as an appreciation gift for following me around... the blog has now more than 200 followers, plus our Facebook, email and Pinterest readers.

So what will you get? ... well it is a surprise, as in all birthday gifts... but I can promise there will be something hand made... using a lovely fabric line... that you will be using quite often in the house...

Oh I can't help myself, here's another sneak peak...

And another one...

So if you would like to win my birthday present, all you have to do is:

  • Be a follower (here in the blog, or any other form of getting the blog updates such as Facebook, email, etc) just let me know you do; and
  • Leave me a comment on this post... you can tell me happy birthday or share your favourite birthday treat... or any odd comment you like!

Just one entry per person. Giveaway will be open until 1 January (yes I also like belated birthday wishes) and I will announce the winner shortly after that. I will ship internationally so you are all welcome to join in.

This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be announced shortly.

Well I am off to have some cake and open some presents myself!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas cookies

This is most definitely not a 5 minute craft, and though it took me longer than I expected it was not that bad either. But again trying new things this time I have been baking cookies!

I had all the trouble you can think of... nozzle too big, nozzle too small, then decided to use plastic bag, plastic bag broke (a few times) and so on. But at the end it was a good experience, the cookies look good... they taste even better! (I tried a few in the process). And now I know what I need to buy for next time I want to embark in the cookie baking and decorating adventure.

I also used this tutorial for my decorating, it is from the Sweetopia blog. It was easy to follow and I thought it made my ornament cookies look more like real ornaments.

I made a little hole on each cookie before baking with the idea that I could hang them on the tree and the kids will then be able to look in the tree for their treats. The kids being my niece and nephews and my husband and I, of course! So I added some green and white twine to keep with the colour scheme.

And voilà ready to amaze your guests by having edible ornaments in your tree. And I know this is short time before Christmas, but I guess you can also use them for next year... or any other occasion (and hang them somewhere else).

You can find the recipe for this cookies in the tutorial section of the blog.

And with that I leave you to enjoy and celebrate Christmas, wishing you a lovely time full of joy and laughter.

Christmas cookies tutorial


125g of unsalted butter at room temperature
125g of sugar
a little bit of vanilla essence or  powdered (a teaspoon should be enough)
1 egg
235g of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt
500g icing sugar
food colouring (red & green)

How to make them

In the electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Then add the vanilla and egg and continue beating until it is all integrated. In another bowl mix the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture slowly until you create a dough. You will see that it is not a well formed dough, and that is why it will need to chill 1 hour in the fridge. 

After the resting and cooling time, it should have become quite a nice dough! Before you start working with the dough turn the oven on to 180C. I suggest splitting the dough in two and work them separate... but if you have a big rolling pin you can do it in one go. stretch the dough to 3 mm approx and cut the desired shapes. Place the cookies in a tray and keep stretching and cutting the remaining dough until you used it all!

Bake for 10 minutes until slightly golden in the sides and leave to cool (for a few hours or overnight). 

Prepare the icing. I go the very simple old way... water and icing sugar. Take 3/4 of the sugar and add the water very slowly... like a drop at a time almost... until you have a mixture that it is firm. With the remaining sugar make two other mixtures and colour.

I used this tutorial from Sweetopia for my decorating and loved it. But you could try many more designs. Once you finished, leave the cookies to dry for at least 3 hours and keep them in an airtight container until before the kids arrive and then... go hang them on the tree!

Friday, 21 December 2012

A bench for the porch

Some of you may remember that I bought this bench from IKEA a couple of weeks ago? 
Well with some TLC, white paint and sturdy cotton fabric... it is now our porch bench.

I am so happy we have been using it for a week now. A week in which it has snowed at least three times, and my floors manage to keep clean for long! We come in and very nicely take off our shoes and leave them to dry in the rug. The rug got horribly dirty in one week, but nothing that a visit to the laundry room won't fix.

I used white primer as the first coat of paint, as the cheap IKEA bench was no good for sanding, nor was I in the mood for it! And then a few coats of white acrylic paint and a good coat of varnish.

For the cushion I just re-purposed the filling of two old cushions I had lying around. It has a zip all across the back so it is easy to wash as well. I just made sure I bought a sturdy cotton as it gets a fair bit of use every day!

It even matches the advent calendar that is hanging in the back of the door! Looking at these pictures I realise how much we need a picture for that back wall... well I guess something else to add to my to-do list!

What projects are you working on for the house, I would love to hear about any DIY you are embarking on!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Lots of finishes and a few WIPs!

We have had a productive week over here with Christmas decorations all up and the tree looking lovely. Advent calendar, Christmas cards holder, Christmas wreath and some other little things here and there!

Even though the chocolates are almost gone, it still looks amazing (My hips not so much lol).

Remember this post? Well I also managed finish the charity blanket and it is on its way to Manos en Accion, thanks to an Argentinian friend that managed to fit it on her suitcase! Thank you Fernanda! She has also made enough squares for me to make one big or even two small blankets. The finished blanket was made 100% with donated yarn by another very generous friend who has now moved to Madrid!

It turned out to be very colourful and fun. I didn't plan the design.. I basically just pulled squares out of the bag and sewed them in the order they came out! (well just avoiding repeating the same colour next to one another only!) And I love how it looks over our vintage Chesterfield chair!

And I also have a few secret finishes... some are gifts and some are featured posts... so can't really show, but as I have zero patience... here's a sneak peak!

You can probably guess the fabric line... and if you are good with memory I showed when the fabrics arrived... now I am only missing to put the tutorial together and take a few more pictures (hoping for a sunny day soon)...

And some lucky kids are getting personalised home-made gifts this Christmas... a special order from Father Christmas arrived a little while ago... and they are now ready for him to pick them up, take them to England and put them under their tree! I am hoping they will give me a few seconds to snap some pictures as they open their presents and play around with them!

And last but not least a Happy Birthday to my brother Juan who has been such a great inspiration for me this year. He introduced me to Manos en Accion and has showed me that there are no limits or distance that can stop you from being there for someone who is in need! And so all the way from Luxembourg I now actively support Manos en Accion in Argentina...

This is us with two pillows I made for his new flat!

Linking up to WIP wednesdays at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

So what have you been up to? As you can see I have been adding new projects to my list but not many finishes from the old WIPs... How is your WIP going? Think you can manage to get a fresh new year start?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Perfect timing for this book review

First of all I just wanted to take a short moment to express how sad I feel after the events of the past week. There are so many terrible things that happen, some in a huge scale, some we don't even hear about... and they are all so sad. Specially when innocent people suffer. You are all in our prayers.

And with that in mind I thought I would share this book with all of you. A little while ago I saw this post at Craft Sew Create (here) and I immediately wanted to take part and win the book. Well I didn't win it, but the author was so kind to send me the book anyway!

I generally like going to the bible or prayer book and opening it at random and read what's there for me. I thought this book would be perfect with lots of extracts from different parts of the bible. It was so nice getting it on the post, with a fantastic letter and dedication on the first page. I will love it and treasure forever!

The book has extracts, arranged in a very nicely manner, of beautiful parts of the bible. And it just lets the reader experience the texts but in a much practical way than carrying the bible around. For those not used to grabbing a bible and reading from it, or if you just want to carry your favourite texts around (mostly all my favourites are in the book indeed), this is the perfect book.

I hope that prayer, love, good friends and the warmth of many people around the world will give the families affected by last week's tragedy and all of those suffering, some comfort and shed some light in their lives.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or asked in any way to make this review, I just wanted to share my thoughts of this book that was given to me as a gift by the author.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas card hanger... Another 5 minute craft

So a few days ago our first Christmas card arrived... and that is a whole other story to tell as it was from a jewellery store (so what does that say about me?), anyway, back to the point. I needed to very nicely display them somewhere... and so in literally 5 minutes I had them up and going.

I used some pre-cut felt shapes that I had bought last year. Remember I used one of the angels in my advent calendar? So with that in mind I had bought some wooden pegs and matching Christmas ribbon. If you had a few more minutes to get this craft going, you could actually design some shapes and cut them in felt (white, green and red would be my choice). Well I could not wait, so used the shapes I had!

The tutorial could not be any simpler...

  1. Glue the felt shapes to the wooden pegs;
  2. With some sticky tape, glue the ribbon to a wardrobe (or any) door. Just glue them on the top ridge so you can't see it.
  3. Make sure you glue one of the shapes upside down on the peg to use as weight at the bottom of the ribbon.
  4. Go check the post box and hang your cards!

And voilà  you are ready to go! Enjoying the Christmas 5 minute craft series? I would love to hear what items you made quickly that look great!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A 5 minute Christmas wreath

We live in an apartment block, but I could not care that only my neighbours will get to see it, I really really really wanted to have a wreath this year. So after doing a little research (Pinterest morning session as usual) I decided I love traditional.

And voilà, Christmas wreath up... 

The instructions to make this wreath is very simple, but I guess that a before and after picture will do the trick. I used a fake (Christmas tree style) wreath, a packet of cinnamon sticks, a packet of dried orange slices, a packet of little pine cones (with the wire already attached) and a little bundle of little red balls (they look like the flower on the mistle toe). Yes all pre-packed and ready to go.

You will also need something to tie up the cinnamon sticks in little bundles and some glitter and glue. So first and only crafty step is to glue some gold glitter to the pine cones and tie the cinnamon sticks in bundles (I made bundles of three).

Then making it look completely random but following some sort of symmetry (you get what I mean) just fasten the items to the wreath. I used some metallic ornament holders I bought at the craft store, but fishing line or paper clips would work just fine if you need help making sure the things don't fall out.

And voilà a completed wreath in less than 5 minutes... if it is taking you more you are clearly over thinking it! just hurry up, random is better!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Giveaway day winner announced

It has been a fantastic week, getting to discover new blogs and "meeting" some very very nice people on the way. I had a fantastic response to The Romantic purse that I offered as the giveaway prize. I wish I had one for each of you!

I am so thankful to all of you that stopped by the blog and decided you wanted to keep in touch by following it, or the Facebook page, Pinterest or Twitter. I love to hear from you and your comments really touched me, and some made me laugh! Also I like answering to all your comments, sometimes I get inspired and write a long response, sometimes just to say thank you for taking the time to write... so if you didn't get a response it is most likely that I did not have a way to contact you, sorry!

And now on to what you all have been waiting.... Mr. Random helped me picked a winner this morning:

So our winner is comment 23 from A Joyful Chaos who said "I'm a new follower. What a delightfully lovely purse! I would be thrilled to give it a new home!". And you will! 

I have your email address so a message is on your way!

Have a lovely week everyone, I am off to put up the Christmas tree!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Is your advent calendar up yet?

When my husband pointed out a few weeks ago that we should go buy our advent calendars I was appalled. How come I have been giving him supermarket bought advent calendars for the past three years! This year it was time to do something different! And I did it on time for a Saturday 1 December start (only got blogging about it today).

So after many different ideas I came across a fabric that I liked and voilà new advent calendar.

And if you are interested in knowing about how I made it, I am feeling like a tutorial today... so here it goes. What do you need?

For this calendar I am using 5 stripes of fabric of 15 x 3.5 inches both for the front of the pockets and back (use some fabric you do not care about as you won't see it). And the same size stripes of batting. Also a fat quarter for the back and one in contrasting colour for the binding (you could also used some pre-made bias tape).

1. Layer, as if making a quilt sandwich, a strip of backing fabric, right side down, binding and top fabric right side up. Pin to keep in place. 2. Quilt each sandwich in your desired quilt pattern. I used  straight lines using my all purpose foot (there was no need for a walking foot for this short strip of fabric). 3. Quilt all your strips in the same way.

Once the quilting is done, put the ready made bias tape or strip of contrasting fabric (there is really no need for it to be cut on the bias) right sides together with one of the sides of the quilted strips. Sew in with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Then fold the fabric over, and sew a straight seam to secure the wrong side as well as decorate the front.
Next measure 15 inches in the fat quarter of backing fabric and cut off the remaining fabric.
Use this extra fabric to create a long tube of fabric that you will use for the three holding loops.

So now that you have all the parts ready, you only really need to choose and sew the pockets in your desired location onto the backing fabric. Once that is done, you then need to mark pockets sewing lines. I used a water soluble marker, like this.

Sew the pockets following the marked lines (note my wonky line... well just make sure you sew on the right one!). Then you only need to bind it around (same as you would do with a quilt) and attach the three loops of fabric in the top for hanging.

I also used a little stick I picked from the park, painted in white, for holding it. And of course glue the numbers (I used ready made felt numbers in red and white) to each of the pockets, we decided that for extra fun we wanted them in random order... And look how cute it is all full up!

Hope you enjoy this magical month of December... with all the Christmas celebrations, markets and partying! I look forward to putting the tree up next week!


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