29 January 2014

One little word- intentional

So I am about a month late in posting about my one little word. I'm not letting that phase me!
I have been trying to implement this word all month but wanted to get in writing what I want it to mean to me in 2014.
I am a visual person. Having my word set out is always good!

My word for 2014 is intentional...

This year I want to be intentional about my time.
I want to set aside time and bookmark it for a specific activity. For instance rather than flit between work and Facebook I want to deliberately set aside half an hour to read a journal. Intentional small amounts of activity rather than a long period of time just staring at a screen!

I am realising this month that being intentional won't always mean being productive! But I am learning a form of compartmentalising which is making my work less haphazard.

This year I want to be Intentional about my sleep. At Midnight the light goes off.
Last year I felt like I had to use each hour for something productive whether that be blogging, washing, cleaning or working. The trouble is, lack of sleeps equals low productivity the next day. Yep, I was slow to work this out!
Sleep is good. the end.

This year I want to be Intentional about time with the boy. I want to set time with him aside, turn the screens off and just enjoy his company.

This year I want to be Intentional and deliberate about how I perceive events.
I will often go into something having already put a label on it. This activity is "good', this lecture is "stressful".  This is not really a helpful way of looking at what is going on around me. This quote really stuck with me at the beginning of this year.

I want to deliberately choose happy.

I am so excited to be living more intentionally this year. What one little word have you picked?

27 January 2014

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

Hello, hello, it's so good to see you!
I wave at you across the market square and the wind buffets you towards me and we hug tightly.

If we were meeting now I would link a thickly gloved hand through your arm and lead you off to one of my favourite coffee shops in Durham. The one that is off the beaten track, that serves lovely big pieces of cake.

We would sigh as we entered the warm building and smelt the freshly baked scones.
We would pick a quiet table in the corner, looking out over the city and I would start to unwind and take off the many layers I have on.
I feel the cold.

If you were with me now, I would order us a big pot of tea (or coffee or even hot chocolate if you prefer), lean towards you and ask you how you are? We would comment on how nice it is to see each other again and how much we look forward to this catch up every month. I would tell you how blessed and amazed I feel that so many people choose to meet with me for tea like this and how wonderful it is to hear everyones news, big and small.

Oh look the tea has arrived. Your cake looks delicious. I may have to steal a sneaky bite! As you poured the first cups, I would tell you how the first week back has been. Busy sums up how I feel. Already? you ask and I sigh "yes, so it seems". I fear that that is the Durham way of life and I am learning, every day I am learning to just take the busy as it comes. Secretly I know I thrive on it so whilst it can be a culture shock after a long holiday, I really relish the challenges that come with having a lot on!

If you were opposite me now, I would curl my hands around the hot cup, letting the warmth seep back into my fingers. You would ask me about craft and I would tell you all about my ideas and plans. That I am making a quilt for my best friend and I am so excited to get working on it over easter. Laughing I would confess that I have three quilt blocks waiting on my desk and they all need to be posted. I am really enjoying being part of this year long collective and it is definitely making me think of new ideas for each block. I would ask you if you are part of any blog swaps/pass alongs etc?

Your eyes sparkling you would ask me about scrapbooking. Project life is going well I would tell you. I am liking this no pressure approach. Posting every other week is wonderful too. A new template can definitely freshen things up and I am enjoying creating my own elements. I often sit and look through my book from 2013 and it is definitely an incentive to keep this project up!

How is your cake? The portions are large aren't they? I would ask you how your crafts are going? Have you tried anything new? I would point to my scarf and tell you with just a little bit of pride how I made it on my loom. Laughing I would sit back and tell you of the weaving disaster and how the scarf was very nearly abandoned if it wasn't for my Dad. It's a story that needs to be told on the blog and I am saving it for the right time and the right words.

A second cup of tea is definitely in order. As I poured, the conversation would move to friends. I would tell you that I am enjoying being back in the company of my housemates. I didn't realise how much I missed just sitting in the kitchen in our pyjamas, drinking tea and eating biscuits. I think you would probably breathe a sigh of relief when I told you that I am getting to bed much earlier this term and I can already feel the benefits. I think you would then roll your eyes! I know, I know, I should have worked that one out! Smiling you would ask about the boy and I would thank you for doing so. He is well, busy in his final year. I feel very lucky to have him, he is a great guy and definitely keeps me laughing.

We would look down at our plates. Crumbs now and dregs of tea. I would start to wrap the scarf around my neck, ready to brace the Durham winter. We would stand up and stopping and pausing every few feet to talk, we would make our way back to the cobbled street.
Thank you, I would say. Thank you for joining me again this month. Meeting with blog friends is just the best.

I would hug you tightly as we got back to the market square and make you promise to see me again, this time next month.

If you were having tea with me today, 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 January 2014

Let them drink tea

I have a little invitation for you.
On the 27th I will be popping the kettle on, pulling out my favourite mug and opening the biscuit tin.
I would love for you to join me for a cup of tea and a chat.

If you are new around here, welcome to my meme "Time for Tea". If you are an old friend, I can't wait to greet you again as we cradle our mugs and chat over this and that.

On the 27th I will be popping down the essays in favour of the blog post and will be sharing all about the goings on in this little world of mine. A Tea post doesn't have to be long, it can be a few sentences, a list, five words or a story.
Simply "what would you tell me if we were sitting down together having tea?"

Last year bloggers across the world joined over the virtual teapot, sharing laughter, loss, triumphs and simple everyday experiences. We always like to meet new faces and from experience this community is a very welcome one. Old friend or new you are so very welcome. 

There are three ways you can join in with time for tea...
1. Grab a cuppa, switch on the computer and sit and read my little ramblings and join in if you want in the comments
2. Do a tour around the world and visit a few of the lovely ladies who link up to the post and share their own hearts over a steaming brew on their blogs.
3. Write your own tea post. Long, short, funny, sad, we'll enjoy your company.

The linky will stay open for a week so you have plenty of time to join in. I am so looking forward to chatting away again. This month I'll be sharing about living back at uni, some crafty plans, general chit chat and my favourite topic, the weather! Hope to see you then.

Last years time for tea posts can be found here or in the sidebar.

22 January 2014

Around Here

Around here this week:
Getting used to living back in Durham again. It's cold.
Enjoying some gorgeous misty sunny mornings. A perfect winters day.

Trying to get a head start on the work for this term.
Already changing my mind about essay titles. (Yes I do study Robin Hood but it's not quite as exciting as it sounds!)
Planning some blog posts and trying to find the time to write them.
Feeling perpetually behind and continually chasing my tale.
Resolving to not let that bother me and just go with the flow.

Working on a post about my one little word for the year...
Sending some quilt blocks off this weekend.
Drinking many many cups of tea.
Getting earlier nights. (all you mums will breathe a sigh of relief!)
Enjoying a new read

Catching up on blog posts from dear friends a day at a time. I'm sorry if I haven't reached you yet!
Shattered by the first week back.

What are is going on around you at the moment?

20 January 2014

Simply a moment- January

Sunday evening:
I'm sitting at my desk, cold feet balanced on the top of the radiator.
After a term of being stingy with the heating we have decided to turn it on a bit more and I am enjoying sitting at my desk with only one jumper on.
The blue light from the computer glows on my hands as they tap away.

The creak of a door floats up the stairs and I hear the bubble of talk interrupted by laughter.
We are enjoying being back together as housemates.
I feel like an island sitting at my desk, surrounded by a sea of paper and a mound of "things'.
Vaguely organised piles are reminders of things to do, quilt blocks to post, books to sort out.

I turn back to the computer screen and try and sort through the emails and reminders.
I like this part of term, the schedules and the planning and the jotting down of notes in the diary.
It's almost like being an observer. Seeing the term as from above and watching how it will unfurl in the pages of the filofax.
Come Monday I will be in the thick of it again but for today, I am enjoying simply observing what will come.

The dusk creeps in and soon my Island is a sea of light in a gloomy room. The list next to me has grown longer as the light has got shorter. Inky patterns across the page, join the piles of "things" in reminding me what needs to be done and sorted. They speak of busy-ness and gosh, how I know that I need to be kept busy to stay happy.

I glance at the clock, it is nearly time to head out for supper at Church. I hear the soft pad of socks on the stairs. "knock knock" comes the voice and a head pops around the door grinning away. I grin back and pull on my boots ready to head out. A Durham term awaits in all it's buzz and chaos and excitement. I wouldn't change it for the world.

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. 

15 January 2014

Project life weeks 1 & 2

It's been a bit of a project life show around here recently but I am keen to get these two layouts out of the door and onto the blog before the uni term starts this week.

Gosh, I am loving having the new templates to play with. It brings such freshness to this project and I am feeling far more inspired.

I bought several new kits for 2014 too. I decided to move away from strictly project life downloads and instead buy digital paper and element packs and make my own journalling cards. After a year of this project I know how I like to work and can get more value out of making cards myself.

So weeks one and two, here goes....

Week one, had those photos from the farm as well as a few snapshots from New Years Eve.
After seeing how well big photos turned out in the printed book, I am keen to keep blowing the photos up large. That photo of the boy and me was a no-brainer- it had to be big!

Week two had slightly less photos so week two tells two stories. The left hand spread details my thoughts on my Project Life book and the right hand spread, the story of the scarf (which will make it up on the blog at some point!)

Week one typically focused on an overview of New Year. I love writing on photos and adding text and photos to one journalling card like that "this week" card.

Week two, as well as holding the two stories, also has a brief summary of the week. I am using an app on my phone to record a few words about what happens each day. It's a good way to jog my memory when I come to make the spread and when I have space I think it will be fun this year to record those seemingly hum drum details.

I love the squares. They really are the perfect size for journalling and for photos.
I am also enjoying using two different templates. These two weeks I kept the same format- one template for the left hand spread, the other for the right. I am keen to change this up although I think the templates will be dictated by what sort of photos I have.

I'm very pleased with the week cards I made for each spread. After looking back through my PL album from last year it would have been nice to see the date somewhere on each layout. They are also great space fillers when there aren't that many photos!

I want to get better with my graphics tablet this year so played around with it for the week two spread and made that title card "the story of the weaving". I think more practice is in order but gosh, there is so much possibility with this tool!

Anything else: 
Still striving for simplicity and trying to make this project simple and easy to complete. I am trying to make a point of saving any journalling card or template I make, in the hope of building up a library. That way, when time is short, I can use a ready made card, pop photos in, add text and it is still all in my style. That's the plan anyway, before I get distracted by pretty paper and fonts!

New Year, new Project Life. I'm excited to get going again.

12 January 2014

A green and pleasant (and muddy) land

At New Year I headed out to the farm to stay with the boy.
There is something about tramping through the muddy fields in a big pair of wellies that is good for the soul.

We walked right up onto the hilltops and got these stunning views across the rolling hills.

I managed to perch my camera, rather precariously, on a gatepost and in just one take captured a new favourite.

The light that day was just beautiful. The mist was settling in the valley but up at the top, the midday sun was making everything sparkle.

I don't think I'll ever got bored of walking around the farm. Even on a horrible day it is soothing to pace the hills, splash through the puddles and squelch in the mud.

The boy and I always have the best conversations on these walks. He shares stories from his childhood growing up here and I ask questions about this special place.

A green and pleasant land. That it is.

10 January 2014

The Project Life Book

A huge thank you to so many of you who read, commented and joined in with the the one photo & twenty words meme. It is always daunting officially starting a meme but it was such a joy to see the posts popping up and reading your carefully chosen words. Thank you. If you haven't joined in and want to, the link will stay open all week so there is plenty of time!

Yesterday I shared a sneak peak at the project life book and thought it would be fun to follow up today with a good look inside...

  • I ordered this book through blurb. I have used them a few times before and they are very professional and the book arrived in less than a week. 
  • It cost quite a lot to order but considering I hardly spent any money on supplies in the year it was definitely cheaper than going down the paper route. 
  • The book is 110 pages long and 12x12 in size- a bit of a whopper really! 
  • I upgraded the paper from the standard paper to the premium "lustre" paper. It has a slight sheen and is that bit thicker. After spending so much time making the spreads each week, having decent paper seemed sensible. 
  • I used the booksmart software from blurb and one of their simplest templates- a large square photo with a little bit of border. 

I chose simple grey endpapers and, on the first page, wrote a little blurb about my process with project life in 2013. 

The title page. 

My only quibble with blurb books are that they don't lie flat. I'm not too fussed about this though. I kept a border around each spread to make sure that there wasn't too much content in the "gutter" of the spine.

These pages are big! I think 12x12 is the size to go for though. The writing is all clearly readable and the pictures are a decent size. 

I was so excited when I saw the way some of the big pictures turned out.

The colours turned out fairly accurate. I think they are slightly darker than what they were on the screen but I guess that is a risk of printing anything out that you have done on a computer. 

End page. 

The back cover

I am so so pleased I decided to do this project in 2013. This book of memories is such a treasure. I am already reading through each week and being reminded of conversations, journeys and things that happened that I would surely have forgotten otherwise.

I am sold on the digital style of project life and am also glad that I chose to print my spreads into a book. I can already see this being something that will sit on the coffee table for years to come and get flicked through in idle moments. 

Project life in 2013. Done. Onwards friends! 

9 January 2014

One Photo & Twenty words

Unassumingly it arrived in the postman's hands. One box containing one book and fifty two weeks of memories. My 2013.

My challenge for you today. Find one photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story. Jot it down and link back here. 

6 January 2014

One Photo & Twenty words- how its going to work

Thank you to everyone who replied saying they enjoyed this meme. I really enjoyed it too last year!
It seems that everyone is voting in favour of a linky so that will definitely happen, however we are split into two camps about setting a date.

I'm going to try and strike a middle ground here...

For those who wanted a date:
I will post the meme with a linky on the 9th of each month

For those who wanted a bit more freedom:
I will post a reminder the Monday before (today) and you are welcome to join in with the meme from here on in until the linky closes.
If you publish before the 9th i'll make sure I add your blog to the linky list when the meme goes live on the 9th.

I hope this strikes a balance with everyone. If you are a planner, pencil in the 9th, if you want some freedom, wait for the reminder to ping in your reader and then join as and when you feel like!

So, on Thursday I am setting a challenge...

Do join in if you want or stop by and read some of the entries. If they are anything like last year there are always some fun tales being told in just a few words!

Also, by popular demand, the teapot will be making a return in 2014! I am excited that so many of us want to sit down and share our hearts over a cuppa! Again, for those of you who like having a date, the meme will still take place on the 27th. 

5 January 2014


A new adventure.
Playing around with a rigid heddle loom.

I am so excited by the potential of this new toy.
The setting up is quite lengthy but the actual weaving is relatively simple.

You tube videos were invaluable for my first time weaving. There really is a whole new world of weavers out there and a whole dictionary of weaving terms.

It's a relaxing craft this weaving process. From warping the loom to the weaving process. There is a lot of repetition involved, a lot of feeding soft wool back and forth and watching something transform in front of you.

In many ways it is like knitting but on a much larger scale and with much quicker results. I like that the results can be unexpected. That you are constantly combining colours to create something new, as the warp and the weft come together.

I am excited to try out new things with this craft. New colour combinations and new patterns. There is a lot to learn and a lot of work to do to try and correct all my wonky edges but there are oh so many possibilities.

Have you tried a new craft recently?

4 January 2014

Just a quick question...

When talking about my blog plans the other day, Jacky reminded me of that little meme I started up at the end of the last year:

One photo & Twenty words. 

I really enjoyed seeing these pop up all over blog land and am keen to carry them on this coming year. I think it's a great way to get back into blogging if you are stuck in a rut.

My question is:
1. Would you be interested in joining in with a linky?
2. Last year I just threw this meme out fairly sporadically. Would a set date each month work or is it one of those things that needs to be done on a whim? 

Opinions please!

Thank you so much for the words of support I received on my last post. I love planning what will happen in this little space and I love connecting and sharing with so many of you. 

2 January 2014

What to expect from the blog in 2014

And just like that 2013 is out the door!

I like what the new year can hold though. I like that I have an excuse to think big and plan. 
I am excited to try out and share some new crafts and develop this little slice of the web. 

I am very conscious that the end of last term was dominated by pressure. Pressure to finish PL pages, write blog posts and keep up work wise. Pressure I on the whole put on myself. I am determined to relax a bit more this term. A bit more pre scheduling over here, a bit more cutting some slack and perhaps a slower pace! 

So, in the spirit of planning and thinking and all that resolution jazz, here is where I hope the blog will be going in the coming year and what you can expect...

The Old Timers:
I like monthly memes. They provide structure in my blogging schedule and provide pin points to work around. 
This year I will be carrying on "time for tea" as I love sharing my heart with you each month. If there is still interest I will open up the linky so you can join in too. 
I am also wondering out loud whether Alexa will continue with "simply a moment" because if so I will be joining in. 
I'm sure new memes (or "new to me" memes) will pop up as the year progresses too so I am keeping the options open!

What with "time for tea" I think there has been a lot of sharing on this old blog in 2013. I really value honesty and keeping it real and I'm still keen to share my thoughts and (some) of my heart in this little space.

The going's on:
Each year the balance of the blog shifts. Whilst I shared a lot of thoughts on the blog last year there was less of the, "what is actually going on". I like the idea of sharing some around here posts again and some everyday photos. I also want to get into the habit of recapping events or even just an ordinary weekend. Some of you lovely ladies do this very well and I'm keen to learn! 

lists and goals and projects and reviews. I love a good list and Sian's posts about "five things" could be a great bouncing point this year.

I have already discussed that I am going to share my PL pages every other week. I am also excited to share new adventures into crafts (weaving anyone?) as well as a spattering of tutorials and maybe a few more videos particularly featuring photoshop.

Exciting times are ahead! Do you know where you want to head with blogging this year? Are you still interested in link up for "time for tea"?