Sunday, 27 December 2009

Taking Flight

Over the last couple of days I have been reading this book about discovering your creative self. My dearest friend Mel calls me her butterfly friend because I do so many different things, so I thought I would do the first creative project in the book and do a semi self portrait, the butterflies represent some of the different activities I do. My life coach Amy has worked very hard with me to help me accept myself just the way I am instead of feeling that I should be committed to one activity. I had a lot of fun doing this, as it was completely from imagination which frees up the obsession with getting it exactly right.

I have signed up to a exploring your creativity workshop in the New Year, so that is my plan over the next year.

By the way the colours in this painting are so much duller than the actual one, it seems a photograph can't do paintings justice!

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Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy Christmas

Here is the lovely Oscar sleeping off his Christmas Turkey!

This has been the most relaxed Christmas for years! We decided to have a family Christmas and have a break from socialising! I let out the chooks around 7am, so I thought it was a great time to wake everyone up! I don't know what time they went to bed, I left L wrapping pressies just after midnight and W was out partying as usual! However, they managed to rouse themselves to open stockings.

We had turkey for the first time ever, in my twenty years since I left home I have never eaten turkey! It was lovely!

W and L headed off after lunch and we enjoyed a very peaceful afternoon cuddling up together.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas Cushion

I just love the retro colours in these fabrics!

Last October we stayed in a Warners Hotel, (the same one featured in to the Manor Born no less!) Well my favourite shop is very close by called Becca's Emporium and I found to my delight she was having a workshop on the Sunday.

So I went to the workshop which included a rummage in the shop to find fabric inspiration. This little combination really caught my eye and I created the templates myself! (not really all that difficult just a few triangles!) The background was some lovely stretchy velour fabric which really gave a lovely wintry feel. The only difficulty was the workshop was held in a very cold room with just a bar heater which needed to be unplugged if we wanted tea! So after cutting out the trees I decided to head home to complete the job!

The velvet material was just the right shade (I bought about 3 meters at a WI auction for a couple of pounds a few months before!) I stitched the stars above and finished the insert. I must say the colour combination is wonderful a nice change from the traditional reds. It was a wonderful project and I found Becca very inspirational, how anyone gets the time to sew with two little boys is amazing to me!

The weather today was amazing, we could not leave the house as there was a thick sheet of ice everywhere! The chooks just slid down their little slope, as if they were on a child's slide it was so funny! They are getting wiser and now spend wet days in their little dirt pen which has a nice roof! I have to admit I did work from home today as the forest roads were simply treacherous! I made up for the disappointment of not getting to work by creating a painting in the shed most of the afternoon with the heating up full blast! I just love winter!
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Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas Reading

A good Christmas read seems to put me in the festive mood so I thought I would give you a few recommendations:

Maeve is the Queen of warm Irish feel good novels, this collection of stories based around Christmas will gladden the heart. The good thing about story collections is you can fit the odd story in between all the hundreds of tasks to do this time of year. I particularly enjoyed the one where the little girl was given a digital camera, should be a warning to everyone!

If you are up to your neck in Christmas preparations, your list of jobs to do is getting longer and longer and everyone is putting pressure on you then this book will appeal to you. The protagonist and his wife decide to completely skip the Christmas Celebrations and go off on a cruise instead - a wonderful idea! However, plans don't always work out the way we expect them to. Lovely read.

A gem of a writer, I love the way she adds just a little hint of magic to the ordinary! This is about a guy who would like to be in two places at once what a great gift! This is a quirky novel, but a great read all the same. A little bit like Christmas Carol in that our protagonist has a change of heart.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Play dough!

I made this large lump for my three year old nephew. It brought back some lovely memories making this with my two, how the time flies! One minute you are making pounds of play dough the next they are boxing up their things and moving to their own flat! (yes, W is leaving home and moving into his little flat tomorrow!) I will miss him, but he isn't all that far away.

Well, this is part of my nephew's present, he has a little baking kit, a gorgeous apron I bought at the University craft fair together with these colourful lumps! I was quite surprised how expensive play dough is compared to how cheaply you can make it!

I expect you all know how to make it yourself, but in case you don't here is the recipe for you.

1 measuring jug full of flour, (strong bread flour is best if you have it, or plain is fine)
1 measuring jug full of water (add drops of food colouring to the water)
1/2 measuring jug of salt
1table spoon of oil

Place in a saucepan and mix ingredients together to form a goo, don't worry too much about lumps.
cook the mixture slowly under a gentle heat
Keep the mixture moving, stirring all the time, this will get harder as the mixture thickens.
Remove from the heat when it starts to thicken, even though there will still be some gloopy mixture left.
Knead on a board, the mixture will eventually even out and become a nice dough. If it is still too gloopy return to the heat. (you could do this in the microwave but I am a little old fashioned! My adivice is put it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, then stir.)

Store in a plastic tub to keep it from drying out, it will last for a month or two and the salt will discourage eating!
The good news is that if you do get it on the carpet, just allow it to dry out and you will be able to hoover up the crumbs.

Can't wait to have grandchildren, I miss playing with this stuff!
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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Argentine Tango

Mel calls me a butterfly, in that I flit from one thing to another, this blog is testament to the many things I do but not a comprehensive list by any means. I have been dancing for over 18 years, regularly every week! It is simply one of the best ways to keep fit.

I started Argentine Tango over a year ago, Clive and I did an all day workshop and it is one of the most challenging dances to learn. After years of jive dancing, swing, Lindy hop, blues and salsa - tango is a completely different dance. It is a soulful dance, you are led by his energy alone responding to yours, the dancers have to connect on a deeper level than any other dance I know. I was only just really getting a feel for it before I hurt my leg, and there are people I know who have been dancing for years and still find it difficult.

Over the year I have watched lots of Tango lessons on you tube and seen some teachers and dancers at the Milonga's but Vincent and Flavia's Tango left me utterly speechless. It is the most wonderful dance I have ever seen, phenomenal and the epitome of why I go week after week, as it nearly breaks my heart every time I struggle. I would like to think that if I stick at it enough one day I will be good at it, but I don't think I will ever come close to this perfection. What I really mean is this is so difficult but they make it look easy!

So here it is for you to enjoy.

Monday, 14 December 2009

How Twilight should have ended,

I was reading fabulous since 1961's blog and saw this there, hope you don't mind but I loved it so much wanted to share it too.

hope this works!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Vintage Apron

I just love the wonderful aprons I see in the advertising of the fifties, so when I saw this gorgeous vintage inspired strawberry fabric, it was just crying out to be made into a gorgeous vintage apron.

I used my gathering foot but unfortunately after attaching the bottom the pocket was not centred! I am not sure about the pocket, so I might remove it. But the apron is wonderful to wear, it is so feminine. Just in time for me to do some Christmas presents!
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