Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter Hols Fun

It is the Easter holidays here and the children and I have been enjoying some creative fun.  I so look forward to having them all home with me.  Don't get me wrong, I am not super Mum ...... you can find me having melt downs when they all just seem take turns to annoy each other but it is still lovely having a break from the school runs and enjoying their company.
 I find keeping them busy seems to help so most mornings we chill out and then I make sure we have something to do in the afternoons.

Last week was spent meeting family and friends, going to national trust properties and going to Cambridge to watch the punting.

I also managed to squeeze a bit of creative time in ....... I really do need to be creative otherwise I feel like something is missing, I don't feel right ...... hhmmm maybe I am addicted to creativity?

We created our Easter/Spring tree and decorated it with some gorgeous ceramic creations that were made by Angels Unaware , I adore these ceramic eggs and bunting!  We also added our own decorations to the tree too like this needle felted egg, some crochet heart bunting and some felt rabbits.  The children's Fimo rabbits were also popped under the tree.

To keep the children busy one afternoon we decided to create some chocolate eggs of our own.

Hobbycraft kindly sent us some silicon egg moulds and candy melts.  These egg moulds are fab as you can pop them in the microwave, cooker and fridge and it still comes out looking like new .... not like the time I tried to melt some crayons in a silicon mould which was obviously not meant for the oven, queue evacuating children from a toxic filled house, a 'nailed it' project indeed  :-/  Sorry, I digress ........ :-)

We went for the method of melting the chocolate in cups and filling the mould, partly due to the above incident and also as it takes longer and fills more time ..... less time for the children to get bored if they are busy creating.  Sshhhhh don't tell them of my cunning plans, it is our secret.
Apart from the children we also had some other little helpers ........ love the way they all get lined up round the house in random places.  These are rubbers/erasers , how cute are they!

Let the filling commence !  They happily filled the eggs for some time, and we added some stars and edible glitter to some of the eggs to make them a little sparkly :-)

All filled and ready for the fridge.  We couldn't wait to see how they turned out.

We rather love the way the came out .  I think possibly the star ones could have done with a tap before we put them in the fridge to get rid of the air bubbles but apart from that they came out really well.  The chocy doesn't taste bad either, more like American Hershey style chocy than Cadbury. 

Can't wait to do some more creating with the children, I hope you are all having a lovely Easter break.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Fundraising total

Well the charity fundraising event on my facebook page is now over and I am glad to say it was a fantastic success .... phew!

In the end there were over 40 items donated by some fantastic, kind hearted artists.  We raised a massive £1086.59 for the Alzheimers Society.

I really do think it is wonderful how we can come together as a group, creating things we love to raise money for fantastic causes ...... lets hope next years event does as well as this years :-)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Fundraising event for Alzheimers Society

Every year on my facebook page I look to organise a big charity event to raise money for a charity that has struck a cord with me.  This year I decided that it was about time I organised some fundraising for the Alzheimers Society.

This is the lovely man who inspired me to do this charity auction.  Raymond was my hubbie's Grandad, such a lovely chap who was so gentle in nature and just look at those cool sideburns, everyone loved him to bits.

On the run up to our wedding we noticed he wasn't well. He went for a suit fitting and when he went to get changed back into his normal clothes he couldn't find his trousers anywhere ....... everyone finally realised he had put his suit trousers over his normal trousers  It seemed funny at the time but we didn't realise that it was a sign that he had the very early stages of Alzheimers.  He was ill for 12+ years, he went from being this gorgeous chap that we all knew and loved to a shell of his former self. Hubby's Nan looked after him at home until the day he left us.

With grandad in mind I set about arranging a fundraising auction and asking if anyone wanted to join the fun. This is always the nerve racking part of arranging something like this ...... will people feel as passionate as I do about this charity, will people have the time, money, inclination to take part or will I have to just go it alone and hope for the best??? 

So the dates were set and as time went by lots of gorgeous, wonderful hearted artists contacted me wanting to help me with this mission.

A few weeks on and roughly 40 artists came forward, full of enthusiasm and love for the event.  Honestly it made my heart skip a beat knowing that there was such support for the event and so many lovely people out there.

Of course I had to create something special for the event too so 'Hope' the tea-party loving bunny was created complete with a lace trim dress, wool scarf and bag.  She now has a carrot to take with her on her journey too and possibly will have her own tea cup and saucer if I can find some to send with her.

Please do pop along and say hello, even if you can't buy anything sharing the event will help us raise lots of money for the fab cause.

Click this link to see everything in the auction and all the info:  Art From the Heart Auction

I want to say thanks to all those fab artists joining in with the event and also to everyone sharing the event on their pages, twitter or via their blogs.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart - you are all fantastic! xxx

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Why did no one warn me Motherhood was so painful ?????

When you are about to have a baby you hear all the horror stories of birth, sleepless nights, colic etc etc ....... your little bundle of joy arrives and you wish for them to work out feeding, you wish for them to sleep through, you wish for them to take their first steps.

Fast forward to child number 3 and I found myself wishing she wouldn't stop feeding from me, wishing I could see her at 2am in the morning, wishing she would stay by my side for eternity and not walk away.  Time seems to be slipping away .......

Last September seemed to take my feelings to a higher level.  My little one was just finding her feet in Primary School, my eldest was already at Secondary School and my gorgeous middle child was taking the big step into the Secondary School system.  She was nervous, upset and angy that I was making her go there.  She doesn't want to grow up, and to be honest I don't want her to either.

I filled our Summer with visits to lovely outside spaces to try and calm her.

Many happy hours spent in National Trust gardens and local forests.

Exploring, learning, enjoying the calming nature of these large open spaces.

We tried to teach my little one to cycle without stabilisers ... another stepping stone in growing up.   Eldest Sweetpea who is growing up far too quickly for my liking took over with his DIY skills taking the stabiliser wheels off.

Middle Sweetpea supported her little Sister to try this new challenge.

She wasn't successful this time but her time will come, is it wrong that I was secretly pleased ??? Another step held back, just for a little while.

Little Sweetpea lost two of her front teeth, one came out with the help of her older Brother (his diy skills again !) when he accidently knocked an already wobbly tooth out.  The toothfairy made it all seem better with the delivery of some special fairy dust to help ease the shock.  Another step in growing up had been taken.

We went on family outings in Katie Camper ....... adored by all, even with her backfiring ways, she certainly takes our mind off how fast time running is away.

And then the day came, the scary first day at big big big School ........ I held her hand tightly on the walk to school, she was nervous, scared, sad.  The bus arrived and I watched as the clock hands slowly slowly moved round towards home time.  Her first time on a big bus on her own without me, he first time facing a school she had never been to without me by her side.    Little Sweetpea and I rushed to the bus stop to collect her and were so happy to see her smiling face when she came off the bus.  She had done it, all on her own, without her family by her side.  

Another step towards her growing up ............ I am not sure I like it :-(  I must confess to finding the pain of them growing up hard to deal with sometimes , can someone please help me halt time?

By the way , you can now follow my via Bloglovin :

Monday, 17 February 2014

Fun with flood icing ....

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The girls love baking so we recently decided to try our hand at flood icing some biscuits, you can create some really lovely effects using this technique.

So how did you do it ????  All you need are some cookies, icing, food colouring, an icing bag and a cocktail stick.  We made cute heart shaped ones ..... pick a recipe you like and remember to pop the dough in the fridge for about 20 mins before rolling it out and cutting it so that it keeps the shape when you bake them.  Let them cool completely before decorating them.

Now mix up some icing in the colour that you want to outline your cookie.  Make sure you create a thick icing, just liquid enough to go through your piping bag.

Pipe a line around your whole cookie, this will hold the other icing inside so make sure there are no gaps :-)  Let it dry for at least 30 mins.

Now mix up some icing which isn't too thick in consistency, you need to be able to pour it off the spoon.  Spoon some onto your cookie, less is more at this stage so start off with a small spoon full and then add more if needed ..... if you add too much at this stage it will overflow over the top of your outline icing.

 Now use a cocktail stick to work your icing into the corners ....... it is a bit like painting with icing.

Now at this stage you can either let it dry completely and then add your decorations or you can go ahead and add spots, swirls, lines and it will give an nice watercolour effect ...... just have fun, they will taste nice no matter what the creative outcome :-D

Whilst creating these we also made some jam filled cookies ..... yum !

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Take an old container ........

Little Sweetpea loves nothing more than sitting at her little writing desk doodling and created lists so I thought it was about time she had her very own little pen pot.

After finishing the latest tin of scummy hot chocolate I decided to turn it into a pen pot for her.  It is such a simple project which I know will make her very happy when she returns from school later today :-)

I thought I would write a little tutorial so that if someone else wanted to make one they could, so here goes.

First wash the tin out so it doesn't cover the pencils in chocolate (although that would make them smell very lovely indeed).

Then measure around the tin and measure the length of the tin to determine the paper sizes needed.  Cut your pretty paper to the right width and length and stick around the tin.  I used double sided sticky tape (Blue Peter Stylee) do to that.  Then maybe add a border in the middle ....... get creative .....

Now take some pretty scissors and cut some ribbon or cute pom pom trim to give the tin some bling !

Loving the pom pom trim ....... reminds me of my Nan's vintage lamp shades :-)

Then add any other items you want, let your imagination run wild!  Now pop it on the table for your little one to find and watch the big smile on their face (this is the most important part of the project ..... those smiles are so precious :-) ) ..... or keep the tin for yourself :-)  You could even decopatch the tin, newspaper print would look pretty cool.

Happy creating.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Foraging for Rosehips .... Rosehip Syrup Recipe

Last year the children and I decided to try and make some Rosehip Syrup to see what it tasted like.  I had heard how good it was for vitamin C and thought it would be good to try during the winter months.   The best time to harvest rosehips is just after the first frost ...... there are still lots of rosehips out there to forage now though.

We popped down to the local nature reserve where there were lots of rosehips and had great fun collecting them.  It was lovely to get out in the winter sunshine and re-charge our batteries whilst also chatting to people who stopped to chat to us about what we were doing.  One gentleman in particular told us how he used to collect rosehips when he was a child and get paid per lb for them.  They were then sent off to London to be processed.  My Nan also told me that just after the war she collected them with her friends at school as a school activity and that they were made into syrup to feed to newborn babies to boost their vitamin C intake.

After collecting a bag full of rosehips we took them home, washed them and removed the stalks. Here is the recipe we followed from the fantastic book River Cottage Handbook No2 .

Take 500g of Rosehips and add them to mince them in a food processor.

Bring 800ml of water to the boil in a pan and add the Rosehip paste to the water.  Cover the pan and bring it back to the boil.  Take off the heat and leave to stand for 15 mins.  Now pour this through a jelly bag (or a piece of muslin) and hang above the bowl for an hour or more.  Pop this to one side.

Bring to the boil another 800ml of water.  Add the pulp from the jelly bag to this water and repeat the above boiling process.  This time pour through the jelly bag and leave overnight to strain.  The next morning combine both liquids, you don't need the pulp anymore so pop this in your garden or compost bin.  You should have about 1 ltr of juice , pour this in a pan and then add 650g of sugar and bring to the boil.  Stir until sugar in completely dissolved.  Boil for 2 -3 mins then pour into small, sterilised bottles, secure with a screw top.  Use within 4 months.  I say pour into small bottles as this does go off very quickly after it is opened.

We were not really sure of the taste, it is nice but very sickly and does taste a bit like rhubarb.  The children weren't too keen on it, it was however great fun to make.