31 August 2013

Paper Feather Garland

So I feel like I am sort of cheating putting this here as a DIY.
I posted this feather garland on instagram and there was a lot of good feedback so I thought I would share how I made it.

The reason I feel like I am cheating is that the feather template isn't mine. 
I used the template and tutorial for making the individual feathers from this post by Lia Griffith.

I cut mine out of plain white card and old book paper glued to card to give it a bit of extra rigidity.
I then gathered all the feathers I had created and put them together in groups of three. No rhyme or reason here. I just layered them up in ways that made me happy.

I added a dab of glue to the end of each to secure them together.
Once I had enough groups of three I tied them with a knot onto a piece of garden twine.

The feather template is beautifully designed so there is enough of a "tail" on the feathers to tie them onto the twine without glue.

I think these would look so lovely at a party strung up with fairy lights.
Whimsical and light they flutter in my room above my desk. Another garland to add to the collection.

29 August 2013

Around here- August edition

This is what life has looked like in August. Drinking many cups of tea. Going on long walks with friends, re-organising and clearing out the space I work in at home. Exploring new places and capturing their details. Going through and editing photos from our time away in France.

My around here photos are the photos that get left behind. The ones that are left on the memory card or never made it to the blog post. They are often imperfect but they capture now. This month.

What would be your picture for the month?

27 August 2013

Let's sit and have a cup of tea


It's so good to see you. It feels like only yesterday we were sitting down to share life over a pot of tea and here we are again, another month having flown by.

If you were with me now I would take you by the arm to our weathered garden table. It has been bank holiday weekend here in the UK and uncharacteristically for a national holiday the weather has been hot and sunny.

I would tell you that I am keen to enjoy this weather for as long as it lasts- which I don't think will be long- and ask if you will be warm enough if we sit out here. You would assure me that you are just fine so I would pull the tray towards me and pour the first steaming mug out of the big blue teapot.

We would sit there leaning back in our chairs, comfortable with each other as I started to tell you what had happened in the last month. I would start by saying that I am looking forward to Autumn. It has always been my favourite season, partly because my birthday is in September but also because I love the sense of anticipation of this season. Laughingly I would tell you that Autumn appeals to two sides of me, my nesting instinct and my craving of routine. I am not a huge winter fan but I see Autumn as the grace period before the horrible weather starts. The time to knit and sew and create warm and snuggly blankets ready for the snow. I also like the vibe that "back to school" brings. Autumn says organisation to me, fresh paper and new folders. After a lazy summer I need routine.
I would gaze up from my tea and ask you what your favourite season is?

Would you like a cookie? They are freshly baked and there is the choice of two. Peanut butter and chocolate or straight chocolate. Healthy you say? I don't think that exists with us. The more chocolate the better!

As you took your first cookie (yes I am anticipating more than one) I would talk to you about how my creativity seems to keep track with the seasons. That summer makes my creativity sleepy and lazy but now the cooler weather is drawing closer I feel myself drawn to more projects. I would tell you how excited I am to share some more simple DIY's I have made in the last week or so. That I am pondering carrying on the series I started this time last year called "the student makes". A series of DIY's on the cheap. I feel like my creative mojo is slowly seeping its way back it. I would ask you what you do when you feel creatively uninspired and you would probably share with me very wise tips from years of crafting and making.

How about another cup of tea? As I cradled by second mug in my hands I would tell you that August has been a busy, busy month. A month of good busy things but one of those months where I feel like I am on the go a lot. I would smile as I recounted the adventures I have had from going to France with the boy to visiting uni friends to catching up with long time school friends over a cup of tea. We would smile as we talked about friendship and I would tell you that I feel very blessed to have a life where I am surrounded by wonderful, funny and kind friends.

Speaking of friendship I would say with perhaps a hint of longing in my voice that I am eager to head back to Durham. I have another month yet but that nesting instinct is kicking in. My next project is to collect recipes from my mum and start practicing in the kitchen. I would look you in the eyes and tell you honestly that I am beyond excited to share a house with three of my closest friends but am also so intimidated by that big step into adulthood. What was your first house like? I would smile and ask you if you had any tips?

Doesn't time fly when we are together. The tea is turning cold now and there is definitely a bite in the air. I have been meaning to ask you a question. I have just had a good clear out and have a lot of scrapbook stuff, still in good condition, that I am thinking of selling on the blog very cheap. Do you think there would be much interest? I so value your opinion.

The clock would soon strike the hour and the clatter of plates in the kitchen would tell both of us that we would need to be off soon. As usual I would walk you to the gate and just before you left I would tell you, trying to conceal my pride that there is a big secret this month. I want to keep it a surprise but would wink and ask you to have look at the latest issue of jot magazine, when it is published, and see if you can see a familiar face.

On that note we would laugh and hug and say as we always do how good it is do life with one another.
I would thank you for coming and make you promise to come over again next month.

If you were meeting with me now, what would you tell me? 

If you would like to write a "tea" post please add it to the linky at the bottom so we can all sit and share with you! The linky will be open for a week so you have plenty of time! 

25 August 2013

An Invitation

Who fancies a good catch up, a piece of cake, a steaming cup of tea and a comfy chair? 
On Tuesday the 27th I want to invite you over to my little slice (pun!) of the web to share tea and a good natter. 

It's been a month since we last met and there are all sorts of things to fill you in on. 
As always I love to share life with friends but the conversation gets dull if it's just me doing the talking so feel free to join in in the comments, write your own "tea post" or simply grab your favourite brew and sit back and relax. 

A "tea post" doesn't have to be long. It can be funny, serious, trivial, down to earth or a list of grumbles. It can be bullet points, a scrapbook page, a quote that made you laugh or perhaps a current favourite song. 

Whatever it may be. What would you want to share if we were sitting down together for tea on Tuesday? 

For previous "tea posts" click the "Time for tea" tab in the sidebar. There you will find my own ramblings over the last few months and the wonderful, funny and endearing accounts from women the world over as they too shared what was on their hearts over a piece of cake. 

Can't wait to see you soon! 

23 August 2013

Holiday stories- we take selfies

Welcome back to another holiday story.
This one is a little different.

Wherever we went on holiday I was sure to have both my big SLR and my iphone with me. I liked the fact that I had the choice of what camera to take photos with.

A lot of the time when we visited a location, the boy and I would go exploring one way and his parents the other. We would then meet up for a coffee and an icecream in an hour or so. It was sweet of them to give us the time together and it gave the boy and I a lot of time to have long talks about the future, about hopes, about uni and often about what was for lunch!

The only downside to this plan was that we were left alone with two cameras and no one to take photos of us together. I don't think the boy was overly concerned about this (seeing as he is super keen about cameras anyway) but you know me. I wanted pictures of the two of us on holiday. At the very least for project life.

So, much to the boys horror, the iphone was brought out and the joys of the front facing camera were put into play.
I like the idea that you can see the photo you are taking but it is so hard when the two of you are very different heights. The boy would squat, I would stand on tiptoes and we would both get in the frame, providing my arms were feeling long enough that day to hold the camera far enough out in front.

The result is a handful of funny spontaneous pictures or "selfies" if you will.
Towards the end of the holiday the boy became used to me whipping the phone out and soon pulled silly faces.
I'm sure in a few years I will find these photos hilarious but I want to remember that right now in 2013, we all loved the front camera on the phone and the selfie was definitely fun!

Do you take "selfies"?

21 August 2013

Project Life week 33

Back to my normal routine of project life and it feels so good.

I had a lot this week what with meeting Sinead in London and then visiting uni friends over the weekend. I think on weeks like this it is easy to just focus on those two big events but I wanted to make sure I included some of those everyday instagrams. Each week has such a jumble of big events and little ones I didn't want my page to be pulled too far one way.

A lot of stories this week. I recorded a slightly more personal account of my trip to London to meet Sinead as well as my thoughts on seeing my uni friends again. I feel very blessed to have such wonderful friends. Alongside these stories I included the journalling from my "simply a moment" post. I have used blog posts several times in my PL spreads and always like how they fit in.

A lot of the usual but a few new things this week. First up I used a instagram template that has been flying around the internet recently. I liked the clean design of it, the little icon and the fact that you can customise the text underneath the photo. You can find the template from Cathy Zielske here. 

On the first page I used that instagram of the reels of cotton and added a create stamp. I liked the look of the time stamp on my holiday photos so recreated this. It was very simple to do. Just a blue circle with text in the middle and an adjusted opacity.

On the second page I had so many photos to use so took inspiration from my blog header and chucked a few of them in a semi circle with some simple words.

Anything else:
This project is still making me excited and is still challenging (in a good way) each week. I am so glad I stuck with it. I can't wait to see the progression of the pages as we move into Autumn.

19 August 2013

The internet is magical

On Wednesday I met up with a friend in London. 
She was sweet and kind. We drank tea in a cafe just outside covent garden market. 
I met her sister who was equally as lovely and the three of us just couldn't stop talking. 
I felt like I had known her for years. There really wasn't an awkward moment. 

Sinead is a long time blog friend. We struck up conversation I think about a year ago after she left me several comments on posts. 
We found that we were pretty much the same age, she was in the teaching profession, she scrapbooked and was playing around with a new SLR. 
Soon the emails were flying as we shared our daily lives, me at uni and her with her sweet little class in Ireland. 
We joked many a time about how fun it would be to have a proper cup of tea together one day. 

This summer Sinead announced that she was travelling over to London for a long weekend. 
Our chance to meet had finally come. I was so excited and nervous on that train ride into the capital. 
Everything and anything was flying through my head from "what if we really don't get on" to "what if we can't find each other, I mean London is a big place!" 
I had no need to worry at all. We chattered away like old friends with so much in common. 
All too soon I had to catch my train home and we left with promises to see each other soon and big hugs. 

I know the internet can sometimes be a scary and dangerous place but often it is magical and exciting and brings us together in ways that just wouldn't have happened twenty years ago.
I was blessed to have found so many readers and now friends through the internet. 
Here's to more blog friend meet ups and thank you Sinead for such a wonderful day. 

16 August 2013

Simply a moment

I'm sitting at my desk and the late afternoon sun is pouring through the window.
I look out and the sun beams are streaked with the oncoming black clouds. Rain is on the way.
My hands itch for the bag at my feet.

It's the same every year once I come back from holiday. I wind down, start nesting, getting ready for a new year of sorts. It used to be the new school year. I'm not used to a year starting in October.

As I sit there the bright sun reminds me of Autumn, my favourite season and again my hands are itching to get into that bag under the desk.

What's the harm I think. Follow what you love I say to myself.
So, even though it's the middle of August I reach down. My hands fiddle with the balls of wool discarded at the end of the long winter of 2012. I know what I am looking for. That cream yarn that is soft to the touch and easy to knit with.

Before I know it I have walked to the glass jar on the bookshelf and taken out the metal needles. I know what I am going to knit. Something simple and textured.

And so I begin. It feels good to slowly work my way back into this seasonal craft. Time passes quickly as the rhythmical pattern of the needles beats time to the "purl one knit one" mantra in my head.

The chatter of sound reaches me from downstairs. I look up at the clock and laugh to see half an hour has gone. I put down my needles and fold up my work. Enough for today. Take it slow I tell myself. You have all Autumn and Winter to work piece by piece, bit by bit. I have to learn this craft again, learn it's patterns and learn that it can't be finished in one sitting.

Autumn. The season of textiles. My favourite. In this moment I enjoyed it in August.

Today I am joining in with Alexa's beautiful meme, "Simply a Moment." Do stop by her blog to read both Alexa's words and other bloggers as they record their moments. 

14 August 2013

Project life- scrapbooking a holiday

I came back from holiday with far too many photos. Normally this is a cause for celebration with project life. This time it left my head in a muddle. 

I didn't want to prune out a load of photos and thereby miss some of the story but at the same time I have a finite amount of time and will power to get these project life spreads done. I knew I needed to do them fairly swiftly when we got back because I have a memory like a sieve. 

I therefore set myself a few rules. 
a. I had a weekend to do it in ( you know how much I love my deadlines!) 
b. I could work over as many double page spreads as I needed to. 
c. I didn't have to create a page in the same way I normally do. I knew the pages would be photo heavy and word heavy and that was fine. They would be different but I chose to roll with that! 

So off I set and I'm pretty happy with how my layouts turned out. I split the holiday into three double page layouts. Weeks, 31a, 31b and 32. 
I knew that I would struggle in a few months time to remember where each of the places were so I created a simple time stamp with what day of the holiday it was and the place we visited. I then added this to any photo I felt needed it. I hope this brings a little bit of consistency to the pages. 

Other than that I just went with the flow and what felt right. Chronological felt good and I chose pictures based solely on which told the story best. I used the old technique of putting more than one photo on a journalling card to try and squeeze them all in! 

I guess I used less techniques on these pages. Most of the time it was just a journalling card or writing directly on the photo. 

Although I was set to go in a chronological order I knew I wanted one page at the back with photos and a little journalling card with my thoughts. I chose my favourite photos and let them speak for themselves. 

I am coming to realise that one of the joys of project life is that big moments and little moments sit side by side. That there can be two weeks like this where there is so much to cram in and there can be weeks when not a lot has happened when the photos mostly consist of the odd project or the view from my window. I think I'm learning to roll with it. Life is in no way consistent and hey, my album won't be either! 

13 August 2013

Holiday stories-The story of the lighthouse

Each evening whilst we were on holiday we would get the map out and plan the next days adventure.
We were camping next to a lovely dutch family and they suggested that we visit the lighthouse at St Mathieu. 

The next day we piled into the car and set off to find it. 
This was what greeted us. Pretty impressive lighthouse don't you think. 
The lighthouse is built next to the ruins of the abbey. Before it was built the monks would light a fire on the headland to warn ships of the dangers of the rocks. 

Now I was pretty content just looking at this beautiful structure but then we found out that for a couple of euros we could climb up it. 
I was so excited, not least because of the photo opportunities! 
What I didn't count on was the wind and the effects that would have on my skirt I was wearing. 

All was well as we climbed the stone spiral staircase. When we came to the metal ladder leading up the lamp the problems started. 
Imagine if you will me clinging to this ladder, half way up with a skirt billowing around me, trying to hold onto that and my dignity. Thankfully it was only the boy at the bottom of the ladder or it could have been far more embarrassing. 

Things got worse as we stepped through the door to the top balcony. Crowds of people looking out at the view and me with my skirt nearly at my ears.

The result was that I admired the incredible scenery pressed up against the ledge with the boy pressed up behind me, both of us holding my skirt down.

To move we had to crab shuffle around the outside, him still holding the back of my skirt and me the front. 
Photography was a bit of an issue as holding anything with two hands would have displayed "next weeks washing" to the assembled tourists. In the end, I held the phone with one hand and he pressed the button with the other. 

I guess most people come away from visiting St Mathieu lighthouse with memories of a fantastic view and crashing waves. I came away cursing my choice of clothing and feeling incredibly thankful that the boy saw the funny side. 

11 August 2013

four ways to use instagram

More holiday photos to come but for now I'm chatting about my favourite little app. 

I love instagram and am always trying to find new ways to utilise it.
Yep, it's so great for photo sharing and I am always honoured and touched when blog friends request to follow me.
But I think it can be used for more than just the sharing aspect so here are four ways I have used instagram.

1. Creating a broader "image" for your blog. 
There are many ways to promote a blog but I have found instagram really helpful in honing my online voice and portraying what I want the blog to stand for. My blog contains links to instagram and my instagram profile has a link to my blog. In that way the two can work in tandem and instagram can become an extension of what you are trying to portray in writing.
For instance I like the idea of writing about everyday moments. When instagramming I try and photograph everyday moments. The two can work together.
Instagram can also give a bigger image of who you are as a person. It's really just another dimension to your blog. You could think of instagram as an extended "About" page.

I know some of you use instagram for purely personal reasons and are not connected to your blog. Totally cool. This is just what I find helpful to think about! 

2. Goal Setting
Put something out on instagram and you are accountable.
I tried this last summer by stating on instagram that I wanted to complete a quilt within three days. The fact that people were virtually watching my progress was a good spur to keep going.
A few big bloggers use this technique for goal setting with "mile a day" hashtags as an example.

3. Photo Journal
Whilst on holiday I banned myself from facebook and blogging but I allowed myself to post instagram each day. The reason was simple. I wanted to have a record of phone photos with my thoughts from that day. I knew my comments with the pictures would be a really accurate representation of my thoughts and description of that particular day. I didn't want to wait till I got home to try and pair photos with words or try and work out the chronological order of my photos.
Whilst on holiday instagram was used really for my own benefit to store and record the events.

4. Storytelling
Instagram photos are great prompts for blogging, scrapbooking or project life. Stuck for a blog post? Go back through your instagrams and ask yourself if there is a bigger story behind any of the photos.
Instagram can also be used the other way around. If you know there is a story that needs to be told, snap a picture that is relevant and then later pair the photo and story together.

I love hearing and seeing new ways to use instagram. How do you use this app?

9 August 2013

The holiday stories- the story of two beach's

I have a lot of holiday photos. I take pictures both on my SLR and on my phone. Whilst away I uploaded a lot of my phone photos straight to instagram. I am going to write a post about how helpful this was for me.

That said, a lot of you have already seen a lot of photos on instagram so rather than give you long posts full of my holiday pictures that you have already seen I thought I would give you long posts with the stories as well! Don't say I don't treat you right.

So the first story is a tale of two beach's.

To fill in the background I went on holiday with the boy and his family. We travelled to Brittany which is part of the west region of france.

I love the beach. I grew up near a beach, I lived on the Falkland Islands for a year and I am a Beach! When I knew we were travelling to Brittany I was excited because it meant plenty of excuse to explore the coast.

The first day we woke up to a grey sky and the sort of rain which looks like a drizzle but gets you wet in five seconds. Undeterred we headed out to a coastal town to have a pootle around. It was beautiful. Inbetween showers we walked along the pier gazing out at the harbour and found a sweet little church with an Abi sized door.

As we walked back along the walled pier I gazed out at the other side. The side opposite the harbour. And there it was. A stretch of long coastline. Totally deserted.

I was insistant that we went onto the beach and the boy rather reluctantly accompanied me. I have to admit that I was maybe a touch optimistic. We looked very English there in our rain coats and jeans determined to enjoy the coast whatever the weather. One of us chose to paddle (you can guess who) and regretted it on reaching the sea and finding it icy cold.

Nevertheless the camera had to come out and I had to document this first trip to the beach.

The second trip came later in the week and couldn't have been more different.
The weather had finally perked up and although there was a breeze in the air the sun was bright.
That morning we pulled out the map and scoured it for a good looking stretch of coastline. We picked a spot pretty much at random and jumped in the car with our swim kits.

We found this. Perfection. A long long stretch of coast, not too crowded and a clear blue sky.
My idea of heaven. I paddled in the sea without turning blue, I sunbathed and played beach tennis.
What I didn't do though was put enough suncream on.
So I burnt. On my knees. On day three of the holiday. It was a good look.

Clearly me and the beach are not destined to be best chums!

8 August 2013

Catching up

I got back from my holiday today to see this when I logged onto bloglovin.
I admit. I panicked. Three hundred unread posts!

I also have three project life spreads to complete as well as sharing some stories and photos from a glorious time in France.

So, some catching up me thinks! (although I think I am going to click the "mark all as read" button on bloglovin and start from square one again!)

Looking forward to blogging again and popping in to visit your slices of the web.