27 February 2014

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

Hello, how good to see you again. It's bright and sunny and a bit blustery but doesn't it feel like Spring is on its way!

If I was meeting you now, I would lead you arm in arm again to another of our favourite coffee shops. I love the number of independent little places we have here and it is such a joy to show you them all. You are in for a real treat with this one.

I would march with you, heads down against the breeze up the steep cobbled street to the little cafe on the right. We would push open the red door and you would "ahhh" as you entered the sweet little place. I would smile with delight at your reaction. This place is full of artwork and it is a real feast for the eyes.

If you were with me now I would tell you I am ordering something special. A unique thing from this coffee shop. You would probably look at me puzzled but I would tell you to just wait and see. In the meantime I would ask you how you are, how has your week been? Mine has been surprisingly peaceful. I had a very busy, full on week a fortnight ago and because of that the subsequent weeks have been feeling very relaxed in comparison.  I would smile as I told you that the sun is a definite factor in my cheery and happy mood these last two weeks.

You would look up as the shop owner came over holding a big wooden board. He is a lovely man and would probably joke with you as he put the plate in front of us. It's called "pan ooh chocolate". A saucepan full of rich hot chocolate, a chocolate flake and a belgian waffle. Scrummy. As we started to dip the waffle into the pan I would tell you how I am looking forward to these last few weeks of term, that I can't quite believe that there are only three and a half weeks left! I would tell you that the promise of spring is making me so joyful, that and an imminent visit from the boy. Smiling I would ask what has made you happy this week. Often I find it can be the simple little things.

The hot chocolate would be getting dangerously low in the pan! I would look up laughing. We are enjoying this far too much! As usual the conversation would turn to crafts. I would tell you with excitement in my voice that there is a new wool shop in Durham. This could be very dangerous. It sells such lovely wool, really good quality stuff. Whispering I would tell you that I treated myself to some pale grey soft aran wool. I am hoping to knit this up into a pretty and light scarf to tide me through the blustery days. Do you knit? What projects are you working on at the moment?

We would lean back in our chairs, taking a break from all of that chocolate goodness. Speaking of art I would show you a new card I found. It is the work of Rob Ryan. He makes these beautiful and evocative paper cuttings. This was a cheap card but I couldn't bring myself to send it. It's so beautiful. I hope to make some form of a collection of these and maybe frame them one day. I like how whimsical they are. Do you have a favourite artist you look out for?

Ah look, there is a piece of waffle left, go on, you have it! Our conversation would move gently on to home life. I would ask you how you enjoyed half term? I always find it is a funny week. University doesn't have it (our terms are so short anyway) but lots of families come up and visit. It is nice in a way to be able to phone home easily in the day but I think I miss them more when I know they are all in the lounge watching the rugby. How are your housemates? You might ask and I would tell you that they are very well. On Saturday we went for a lovely walk. I will tell you more about it another time but I would mention, my eyes sparkling, that it is something I am looking forward to doing more as the days grow longer. We found a new walk along the river this weekend and the views were something else.

Here we go again, where has the time gone? The plate is empty, the hot chocolate has long disappeared! You look at your watch and I look at mine. We need to head off we know, but it was so good to sit in your company again and just chat. Thank you for taking the time to see me today.

We leave the warm comfort of the little coffee shop, back onto that cobbled road. I am heading right and you are heading left. We hug, my hand raised in goodbye. "Ill see you soon" I call "in just a month" you reply.

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! 

26 February 2014

The kettle is calling

Another month has just flown by and here we are again and I am reaching for the pretty mugs and the cake tin!

This a little invitation to join me for tea on Thursday the 27th. I promise you a good selection of tea, the possibility of a brownie or two and plenty of chatter.

This meme is for old friends and new, those whose blogs I visit regularly and those of you who just read. Whether this is the tenth time we have caught up or whether it is the first you are all so so welcome.

If you are new around here, 'time for tea' is a simple little meme. Simply "what would you tell me if we were sitting down together having tea?"

It doesn't have to be long, it can be short it can be funny, it can be deep, it can be sad, it can be trivial. We want to share life with you and you can do that in whatever way feels comfortable for you.

If you have been watching from afar, I encourage you to sit down this month and share some thoughts. If you are stuck on what to say here are a few prompts:
Tell me one thing that has made you laugh this week.
Tell me about the photo you are most proud of taking this month.
What are you currently creating?
Tell me about your plans for your day.

It can be as simple as that. If you want to join in with 'time for tea' there are three ways
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. 

If you are looking for something to pass the time or a bit of inspiration for your own tea post, my ramblings each month can be found under the "time for tea" sidebar on the right!

22 February 2014

Project Life week 7 or what I do when i get behind

It's week seven folks and for the observant of you, yes I did miss weeks 5 and 6.
I've talked a few times on here about how I am ok to let it go when I miss weeks but thought it might be fun to share a few practical steps on what I do when I get behind with this project.

To start with though, I strongly believe this project should be done because it is FUN. If falling behind becomes a stress I know I need to rework my attitude towards it. 

1. This is a personal preference but I prefer to leave gaps rather than play catch up. For instance I hadn't done week 5 and 6 but rather than try and get them finished I instead went straight into week seven. I had the photos, I had clear memories of the week and I wanted to feel up to date. It's Psychological but it works for me. I know I can come back and fill in the gaps.

2. Grab a paper and pen and write any memories that are from the week you haven't completed or made. It can be a list of events, a funny conversation, whatever. Just write it down. It is far far easier to sit down and make those missing pages if you have journalling prompts to go from.

I sometimes do this when I know the week has been busy and know that it will be a while before I can make that weeks spread. Weeks at uni run into each other so writing down the detail of each one really helps make this project super simple.

3. Do the same for your photos. Go through your phone library, your iPhoto library. Look at the dates and jot down the photos that go with each week.
For instance when I come to make weeks 5 and 6, I have a little note on my phone that says what happened in that week and which photos I will include. Half the work is done already!
Both of these things you can do anywhere, on the bus, on the train, waiting at the school pick up. Five minutes, jot it down.

4. This is a long term goal rather than a quick solution. Look through some of your favourite bloggers and their PL spreads. If you have done this project before look through your own pages. Work out which designs you like, which photo placements work for you.
Jot these down and then you have a little inspiration journal ready and waiting. Again, it makes the decision making part easier.

If you have a bit more time consider making some templates. I do mine in photoshop. I open a journalling card, add a box where the photo will go and a box where the journalling will sit. All I have to do when making the page is pop each element in.

5. Drop the guilt. There is no right or wrong with this project. In years to come you will not flick through your album and be sad that you missed week five. The project is bigger than that.
Catch up when you feel you want to. Find an afternoon, grab a cup of tea, put on a good audiobook and off you go.

What do you do when you feel you are getting behind with craft projects or even life in general!?

19 February 2014

Simply a moment- February

It's a Friday and my train has finally arrived at a grey platform in the fine February drizzle.
The boy and I are walking back towards his house and i'm weary from a long week at uni but oh so happy to be side by side with him again. 

He pushes open the front door and I can hear chatter and laughter from his housemates in the lounge. 
They grin up at me as I give them a wave. 
He carries my soggy bags into his room. 
There waiting on the bed is a box of chocolates and a box of nice tea.

I'm surprised, not because he isn't romantic but because for me this is just a normal Friday. 
We aren't big on valentines day. For me, the treat was going to see him. 
He's grinning down at my surprise. 
I'm quizzical. 

He looks at me. "I read it in the paper" he said. 
"apparently when women say they don't want anything for valentines they actually secretly do, so I thought I would get you something". 
I laugh. I laugh at his kindness and his sense of humour and the fact that maybe that article was a tiny bit true.

A simple moment but just perfect.

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. 

17 February 2014

For the love of creating- the weaving story

I love creating. I love the process of making something with my hands, of working at it and refining it and unpicking it and putting it back together.
I think my Dad understands that in me. That sometimes there doesn't have to be a use or a point but that just making is important.
I am thankful that he understands that.

I mentioned a while back that I got a loom for Christmas.
After a few goes at making some scarfs from some scrap wool I looked up a pattern and ordered some wool for the purpose of making a particular design.
Up to that point weaving had gone well, fiddly but no major catastrophes.

As soon as I started work on this project everything went wrong. I started by warping with the wrong colour, then I miscounted and then just as I was getting into my stride, I realised that the whole tension was off.

It was my Dad's day off work and carrying my loom into his study I looked at him and asked for help.
Thankfully he has more patience than me. Together we spent the afternoon trying to work out what had gone wrong.
We looked online, we fiddled with the yarn, we undid and unpicked. I had two weeks experience with weaving and we were fairly baffled.
At one point, in the jumble of untying many knots of wool he turned to me and said "I've always hated little bits of string!"

By the end of the day we had worked out what had gone wrong but were no closer repairing the damage or getting the project back to a workable state. I knew my Dad was still thinking of it though, trying to find a solution for this project so I could keep working on it.

After a think in the bath he came downstairs that evening with a note of triumph in his voice. He pulled out some string and the clamps and together we rigged up a new system with correct tension.

I am thankful that my Dad has more perseverance than I do, that he had the patience to sit and think logically about a project rather than just give up on it. He understood that it wasn't essential for me to finish this project but that it would be oh so good for my heart to sit and create it.

I said on instagram that night that one of the joys of handmade is that there are always imperfections and there are always stories. I am glad my Dad was part of the story on this one.

What have you created recently that has a bit of a story?

10 February 2014

One Photo & twenty words

We climbed the hill to watch the sunrise with a flask of tea and jam sandwiches for breakfast. The best.
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. 

I am a day late with posting this meme and I failed to put out a reminder. I can only apologise. There is a lot going on at uni at the moment including a big week for the christian union I am a part of. I will be back posting on Monday, I can't wait to catch up with you all then! 

4 February 2014

Project life weeks 3 & 4

Weeks there and four of project life...

A real mix up over these last two weeks. Week three has the photos the boy and I took on our day trip to a local national trust property. It was a beautiful sunny day and I brought the SLR rather than the iPhone which is always a nice change.

Week four are the back to uni photos which include far more instagrams. We did head out on a quick walk over the weekend though so I included a few of my favourites from that. I loved that big photo of my housemate. It was a toss up about whether I kept it in colour or go black and white. More often than not in Project life the black and white photos stand out more against the colour of the all the journalling and paper.

Week three is quite journalling heavy. I wanted to include my feelings about heading back to uni after Christmas and also document my one little word. Looking back on my album from last year, I am grateful I took the time to record how I felt as well as the events that went on.

Week four has some journalling to go with the screen shot of the boy and I face timing. It is things like this that I want to remember. I hope one day we will laugh at this and find it very "old fashioned" that we video called each other most evenings!

I tried using just one template for both of the pages this week. I love the squares in week three. They are perfect for journalling and for instagrams.
Over the holidays I sat down and worked out some of my favourite ways to display photos and text. I then made up a series of templates to make the process simpler and easier. So far it is working a treat!

I was surprised how much I enjoyed working with the template for week four. I was worried I wouldn't have enough portrait photos to fill it up it's a really versatile template.
Still using tried and tested techniques. Writing directly on photos and adding journalling cards.

Anything else: 
I am so glad I just bought a digital scrapbooking kit this year rather than a specific project life one. I can use the elements just how I want them and there is so much possibility for editing and changing them up in photoshop.

This project is great. I'm so glad I have documented January this year. Onto february folks!

2 February 2014

In the recipe book

There are a lot of things I think of when I think of home. 
but one of them is the sight of my mum in the kitchen baking. She is a fantastic baker and the cake tin is always full. 

I remember as a little girl looking through her recipe book, scribbles on lined paper, pencil revisions and loose newspaper clippings. There are photocopied recipes from magazines and ideas scribbled on scrap paper, passed on by friends. 

In the summer when I was heading off to uni I realised that I needed to write down some of those favourite recipes. Recipes that Mum knows by heart. Recipes that have lost their original name and are just called "sylvia's" because of the lady who first made them. 

So I sat there with a little notebook and a black pen and copied my favourite ones out. 
As the term has gone on the notebook has become splattered and a little bit dog eared. 
Just like my mums recipe book, bits of paper stick out all over the place. 
Recipes I have scribbled down from the internet and revised. Recipes I have pencilled across old bits of diary whilst on the phone to home. 
Recipes titled "chicken and rice" which are actually a lot more than just chicken and rice. 

I'm so excited to see this little book filling up. In one book, memories of home and my mum and housemates and university piled together through a shared love of food. 

Where do you store your recipes?