Monday, 15 December 2014

Festive Face-Off :: Christmas Wreath ::

Make a simple wintery wreath, using wire, ribbon and crochet.

A while back, Country Baskets asked me to take part in this years bloggers festive face-off. They kindly sent me and a collection of other bloggers a box of crafty goodies, we then put our crafty skills to the test to create a festive decoration with the supplies we were provided with.

I was so thrilled with the contents of the box when it arrived, it all looked so wintery and crisp and I was immediately inspired.

After much deliberation I decided on a wreath for our front door, something reasonably simple and classic. I used the wire to form a ring, using a large mixing bowl to help me get the shape and size right, I then carefully twisted the ends around the ring and finished them off with a little tape, just to keep the ends from poking out rather than to keep it in place as twisting did that just fine.

I then grabbed the biggest crochet hook I could find and using the ribbon and double crochet I worked all the way around the ring. This bit was quite tricky to get going, but once I got the hang of it was a breeze and worked up so quickly. I particularly love how the crochet ribbon not only covers the wire but also provides perfect little pockets for inserting decorations.

Next came the difficult task of deciding what to add to my wreath. In the end I used the mistletoe, the snow like pom poms and a few of the bells from the hanging bell decoration, using the little pockets created by the crochet to put them in place.

I'm so thrilled with my end result. It's proudly hanging on my front door and I love the little tinkle of bells it creates every time I come open the door.

If you fancy having a go at making your own you can find all the supplies I used over on the Country Baskets website.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Festive Crafting :: Hama Bead Baubles ::

Adorn your tree with bright and colourful, easy to make Christmas baubles and decorations.

On Sunday afternoon, the lovely Bex popped round for some hama bead lessons from the expert on such things in our house, Milo. Well, one thing led to another and all of a sudden I found myself getting slightly over excited about the possibilities of hama bead Christmas decorations!

Inspired by these gorgeous hama bead creations, found on pinterest, of course! I set about making some baubles, Milo made a couple too. I cannot wait to get our Christmas tree at the weekend so we can put them up in pride of place!

I am, oh so tempted by these gold Hama Beads I just found on Amazon! Think of all the possibilities!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Box Pencil Case :: A Crochet Pattern ::

Make a quick and easy crochet box pencil case with this free pattern.

I have a love affair with washi tape and pencils with rubbers on the end. They are very much two of my favourite things. Unfortunately they are also two of my cat's favourite things. He loves nothing more than to bat these treasures of mine around the room, until they get trapped under the abyss of the sofas. Therefore I am forever battling the dust bunnies that reside under said sofas to retrieve them and I'll tell you something else, cat chewed washi tape loses some of it's original beauty.
So I decided what I really needed was a new pencil case, especially for these particular treasures.
Getting the sewing machine out seemed like a bit of a daunting challenge, but I have learnt how to hold a baby and crochet, so a crochet pencil case it was to be.

If you fancy making your own pencil case to prevent cat stationary attacks or maybe as a quick Christmas gift, I've shared my pattern with you below.

Enjoy x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Friday, 5 December 2014

Book Review :: The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak ::

The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak was sent to us to review the week that Milo was off school ill and it was the perfect thing to cheer him up.

On receiving the copy I excitedly declared to Milo, 'we've got a new book to read, it's called The Book with No Pictures', his immediate response was clear disappointment. 'What? Are there really no pictures, it'll be boring'.
Of course there really aren't any pictures, none at all, not even one, but that doesn't make this book any less entertaining, in fact it makes it even more so.
Milo was in complete hysterics throughout and couldn't wait for his Dad to get home to 'trick' him into reading it too.
I don't want to give too much away so as to spoil it for you, but here are some of Milo's thoughts ::

I thoroughly recommend this book it will be a great addition to christmas stockings and cause great hilarity on Christmas day getting various grown up family members to read it!

Below is a great video of B. J. Novak himself reading it ::

You can get the book here.

**we were kindly sent this books to review but all thoughts are our own.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Effie's Birth Announcements ::

When Effie was born (and indeed whilst I was pregnant) I was completely blown away by all the general loveliness that we were surrounded by. Be it gifts, invaluable necessities, home cooked meals, hand me down clothing and bedding or friends on hand to look after Milo or listen to my pregnancy/newborn mama woes, I have never felt so loved and surrounded by friends and family before.

 There was nothing I could do to repay all this kindness, but I could thank each and every person who delivered cake, sent parcels and generally showered us with love. What better way thank someone than with handwritten notes.

So I chose my favourite picture of our fresh little one and used PicMonkey to make up a little birth announcement. As I planned to use Moo to get the cards printed, I took the measurements of their greeting cards, made my announcement to that specification and put my order in.

I've been using Moo for more years than I can remember. They were the first business cards I ever ordered and I have never ordered my business cards from anywhere else in all that time. So I knew the print quality would be good and I was not disappointed. The cards are gorgeous and I really loved how the whole thing turned out.

I had plenty of time in those early weeks, where I did nothing but sit and feed the baby, I quickly discovered I could write quite well when she was feeding on my left side. So I spent that time lovingly writing all those thank you cards.

PS see that pencil case there? I'll have the crochet pattern for that on the blog in the next few days!

The next thing to tackle was all the thank you's Milo needed to do. There was no way I was going to be able to get him to draw beautiful pictures for every single person who had kindly included him in the gift giving. He just isn't really much of a drawer, sometimes he'll blow me away with gorgeous pictures, but for the most part he's simply just not interested in drawing. So instead I asked him for one especially lovely picture, really really special, that I could send to everyone. He chose to draw some flowers and did a beautiful job. I scanned the drawing into my computer and printed off as many copies as thank you's he needed to write and set about getting him to write his own personalised message on each and every picture.

Finally, yesterday, I managed to deliver the very last of the cards to their recipients, it only took me nine and a half weeks!

I'm pleased to say I still have a couple of the cards left so I'm saving one to frame for Effie's bedroom when she eventually has a room of her own.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Owl and the Pussycat and The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat :: A Book Review ::

The Owl and the Pussycat is one of my favourite childhood rhymes. I adore the sillyness of it all, but I'm not sure I'd ever read it to Milo before we were sent these new editions to review. Milo loves a rhyming story and many of Julia Donaldson's other stories regularly make their way into our bedtime reading pile.

These two books, beautifully illustrated by Charlotte Voake, contain the original story by Edward Lear in the first with a foreword by Julia Donaldson and the second is a brand new sequel to the original The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat written by Julia Donaldson herself.

Milo loved listening to both stories and really enjoyed the sillyness, especially 'the Pobble with no toes' who appears in the new story.

Julia Donaldson has done a reasonably good job of creating a sequel which feels similar to the first, though I can't lie, it somehow seems a little forced and an unnecessary addition to me, but that may simply be because I'm so familiar with Edward Lear's classic.  Milo however really enjoyed it.

You can see Milo's thoughts on both the books in the video below ::

The books are available here and here.

**we were kindly sent these books to review but all thoughts are our own.
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