Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Where Women Create

I have always been interested and inspired by the spaces we make around ourselves in order to create to our full potential.  I like to peek over garden walls to see what flowers, fruit and vegetables people grow, how they lay it all out, have they got neatly mown lawns or small, rough areas?  Is it for wildlife or growing families?  Have they got a plant that I would love to grow in my garden?  I would be the same on the insides of people's houses, if I could get a good look without being arrested..

So a few years ago I discovered and bought this book.  It is full of pictures and mini interviews with the women who have made incredible spaces in which to do their creative work.  Some I love and some I do not, but each one is as individual as the woman who made it and she made it for herself, and that is all that matters.

Looking at my own creative space, I realised it is far from worthy of being photographed for a beautiful book, and I share it with the rest of the family and their clutter, but the light in there is perfect and it has lovely views of the sea!  I wonder if you would like to have a look?  Don't get too excited, it is only a table and a cupboard at one end of a room!

It does look a bit messy; sorry about that.  I have my fabrics and papers in the cupboard, all to hand when I need them...

A flowery mug full of buttons...

My pincushion and a glass dish with tape measures and other bits and bobs I may need at some point...

The sweetie jar my nan gave me many years ago; sweets all gone, it is now a home to ribbons, (which look as good as sweets any day!).

Knitting needles and scissors held in a Golden Syrup tin and a handful of coloured pencils in an old mug, waiting for the moment they will be needed.

There is also quite a bit of other stuff, that doesn't belong to me.  Stuff that I usually have to climb over or grab from Puppy's mouth as he gleefully chews away, or rescue from the vacuum cleaner as it clatters into the pipes.  Yep, you guessed, it's LEGO!  Nooooo!

One day I will miss it, I'm sure.  Not just yet though.

I hope you enjoy your creative spaces, however large or small and where ever they may be.  Let me know what you love about yours.

Have a lovely day and thank you for reading. xxx

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Winter Again

After a week full of glorious sunshine, days of washing blowing on the line and smelling of the garden and fresh air when it is brought in later on, the weekend arrives and with it snow.  It has been fluttering to the ground all morning, but as yet it hasn't settled.  My head is too full of Spring and the Summer days to come to bother with thinking of building snowmen and wrapping up in several layers of jumpers.  So instead, I choose to think of ribbons.

I admit that may be a little unusual, and I think I spend more time than I should thinking of ribbons, but they make me happy, so why not?

I mean, just look!  The possibilities are endless as to what a person can do with a bit of ribbon.  And they come in all shapes, sizes, colours - well maybe not shapes as ribbons are essentially ribbon shaped, but you know what I'm getting at.  They are gorgeous and inexpensive and can make me smile at the very thought.  Maybe I am too easily pleased...?

Well if I am, I will live with that, whilst I am dreaming of ribbons.

I have been employed in a more useful area lately; I made some chunky breakfast bars and added some chopped milk and plain chocolate to the top.  I hardly have to tell you that they went down a treat and there are hardly any left.

Cakes that you can reasonably eat for breakfast; what could be better?

My friend is getting married in August and bless her, she has asked me to make some chocolate hearts as favours.  I gave her some to try and she was thrilled.  I am going to try dusting the tops with lilac lustre to add a bit of prettiness and to match her colour scheme of white and lilac.  I like that colour combo, I may have to make a candle with that in mind.

There was a bit of chocolate left in the bowl.  Amazing how that always seems to happen...

I bought a copy of Homemaker magazine this morning and gratifyingly, it is full to the brim with Spring projects and beautiful pictures in perfect pastel colours.  One of the features is taken from Granny Chic; the book that most of the crafting population had for Christmas.  It is the crocheted tea cosy.  My tea cosy is lovely and I am very proud that I made it from a scarf that I knit and then accidentally shrivelled up in the washing machine, but that was a few years ago and I think it is time I made a new one in fresh colours.

Staying true to my New Year's resolution of not buying new crafting materials, I dug around in my knitting bag and unearthed a few pastel colours that would do well as a new tea cosy.  This could be my Spring tea cosy.  I have one I made that looks like a strawberry that I use in Summer.

And the very first tea cosy I ever made, that is just bright and cheerful.  I must have been young and foolish when I made this as I naturally go towards pastel colours nowadays!

This one is now hugging my tea pot, even though there is nothing in it to keep warm.  It looks jolly in my kitchen though.  So I'm off to make a Spring version and dream of daffodils, blue skies and fluffy clouds and lambs skipping in the fields.

Have a lovely day and be excellent to each other. xxx

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Time Has Come

A whole week has gone by since I wrote my Celebrate!Giveaway! post and so the time has come to tell you who has won...

Pomona at Little Cottage Comforts left me a lovely comment, saying how the Mother and Baby candle would bring back memories of her now grown-up babies, and so for that, she is the winner of said Mother and Baby candle!  Well done Pomona and thank you so much for reading my blog and entering my giveaway.  Your new candle will burn for more than 50 hours, so plenty of nostalgia time!

I will be in touch soon for your address and I really hope you enjoy your candle.

I will be hosting another giveaway soon, so keep reading to find out when!

Have a lovely day all and thank you for reading. xxx

Monday, 18 February 2013

A Really Gorgeous Day.

When I awoke yesterday morning at 7.20, there was a curious glow coming through the drawn curtains.  I leaped out of bed with a grin on my face and drew back the curtains...Yes!  The sun was out again!  Oh happy day!  The whole cottage was flooded with gentle sunlight, lifting colours and spirits alike.  I crept outside in my pyjamas to watch the sun rise over the mountains.  The perfect start to the day.

It is such a joy to be able to take photographs in sunlight after all these months of darkness.  Things seem to take on a new life and really sing out while still maintaining their softness.  I am not someone who goes a bundle on strong colours, I am pastel and I love it!

After spending a while gazing at beautiful things, we all wandered into the garden, to hang washing on the line, play with the dogs or just take in the views.  It was still pretty cold but the sun was out!  I know I keep saying it, but it seems such a long time since we felt this excited and we want to enjoy every moment as rain and damp will come again soon enough.  Spring is coming!  Yippee!

Yesterday was a special day for another reason too. H1 turned 14.  Blimey, that went fast.  Not long ago he was a gorgeous bundle of baby, wrapped in a beautiful shawl that my nan knit for him.  Now, he is taller than I am, he has a sense of humour that takes us off guard and reduces us to giggling heaps in a second, he is gaining in quiet confidence and becoming aware that he is really good at certain things, and he loves his puppy.  He is amazing and I am very proud of him.

When I asked him, a week ago, what he would like for his birthday dinner, he said 'Junk food!'.  Oh, ok then, easy done.  We purchased enough frozen items of rubbish to feed several large teenagers for a week and I also set about making him a cake.  It went wrong from the start.  I think I kept being distracted by the views from my kitchen window, but my pastry collapsed and I had to scrape chunks of it off the inside of the tin where it was too thick and also the inside of the oven.  The icing was too runny and the pale blue colour went a bit sickly looking.  I tried to hide it with cherries, sugar snowflakes and coconut, but it still looked a bit sad.

I was a bit upset and showed it to H1, apologising for mucking up his birthday cake.  He looked and said it was the most awesome cake ever and it looked dead cool, then he hugged me and said thank you.  Aw bless!  That's alright then!  It did taste rather good, though I say so myself.  After all our junk food, Pea and I couldn't manage cake as well, but the boys did, of course.  I had mine later with a cup of tea, in the garden.  The first of many cups of tea in the garden , I hope.

And now the children are back in school after a week of half-term.  We're on countdown til the Easter holls!

I hope the sun shines on you and fills your day with happiness.  Thank you for dropping by. xxx

Friday, 15 February 2013

You Know It's Spring When...

A friend pops round to give you some eggs...

Ribbons are blowing in the breeze on your washing line...

You find a crock of gold on a sun lit bank...(Saffron; it's really expensive)

The boys spend ages mud-slinging in the field - without being told!

Beautiful day, how we have loved you!

We are all nicely warm and cosy now, but are getting ready for asteroid viewing at 7.30 this evening.  It is travelling 35,000km above the earth, and providing the skies are clear, we should be able to catch a glimpse of it during the seven minutes it will take to pass over our planet.  Coats, gloves and hot coffee will be keeping me warm while we stand in a muddy field, craning our necks heaven-wards!

The perfect end to an otherwise pretty rubbish week!  Hope you get chance to do some stargazing too and snuggle up to those you love.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine, Be Mine!

What a beautiful day to be in love, or just to be.  Mother Nature is smiling on us and the island is bathed in delicious golden sunlight.  Hooray!  It really does feel like Spring today.  I have spent the last two days sitting in front of my computer with my head in my hands in despair.  I told you I was computer-illiterate and I have convinced myself of that fact even more; Facebook is a pain.  It will not let me upload my pictures, nor will it let me write a post, without putting it somewhere I don't want it, or duplicating the same thing twice.  I am so not happy.

As my sister-in-law says; Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.  Charming, but oh so true.  Anyway, I've had enough of it for now, and went for a lovely walk with the children and dogs to cool down and remind me what life is all about.

Proof indeed that Spring is surely only a heartbeat away.

Another table-cloth embroidered by my nan, many years ago, given to me by mum today.  I am getting quite a collection going now!

Just a quick reminder that one of these candles is up for grabs to the person who leaves a comment telling me why they would like to win.  You decide which one and I will send it to you with love and good wishes from my extremely windy island!  Have a look at the Celebrate! Giveaway! post to read about them.  Please don't be shy, someone is going to win and everyone can have a go.  You never know, it could be you!

Have a lovely Valentine's Day with your loved one, or just dream about meeting them! Thank you for reading. xxx

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Celebrate! Giveaway!

I am a self-confessed non-techno babe.  I haven't a clue when it comes to modern technology and am much happier with paper and pens than a key board.  But the time has come to join in a little social networking and to that end I have just joined Facebook.  Oh golly, I do feel a bit sick about it, but it's too late now, the deed is done.

In truth, I only really did it for my business, Windy Island Handmade.  I'd much rather look a person in the eyes when I speak with them, or on the telephone, if I have to.  I like to see how the person I'm with reacts, how they smile and to hear the sound of their voice.  You can't do that on a computer.  But it has it's place in the world and connects us with people who we would never, or may never, meet.  I am after all, writing this post to people who I have no connection with, whatsoever, but still I do it.  Odd, isn't it?  I am completely grateful to you and overwhelmed by the amount of you who, either accidentally or on purpose, find my blog and read it.

So, as I am now one of the millions of people world-wide who are on Facebook, I feel I must mark the occasion in some small way.  The whole point of this for me is to send my creations out into the world.  I have been designing and making some gorgeous candles in my kitchen for the last month and now the time has come to send them into the unknown, all by themselves, to see if they can bring a smile to people's faces and make someone say 'Oooh, I love it!'.  I do hope so.

Sooo, I was wondering if you would like to try one?  For free?  You can choose from this one, which is Fruit Salad.  It is a soft, feminine green in colour and smells fresh and warmly fruity.

Or maybe you would prefer a taste of summer with a Strawberry Shortcake candle?  This reminds me of warm jam being made on a summer afternoon, after picking a basket full of sun-ripened berries, or biscuits baking in the oven to be smothered in cream and fresh strawberries and devoured by hungry mouths, sticky with juice.

My third offering is Mother and Baby.  You don't have to be a mother or a baby to have one of these!  The scent is soft lavender and baby powder.  I hoped it may help a new mother and her baby to relax and cuddle up together and enjoy those first heady days of getting to know each other.  For the rest of us, the soothing fragrance will filter into our tired bodies and help us to wind down.

Do you remember my crocheted doily making frenzy?  Well, this is the reason for it all.  Each candle comes with it's own little doily to sit on and keep it's feet warm (and to keep wax off your furniture!) and they are all wrapped in a paper band and ribbon or lace.  They will be wrapped in spotty cellophane and have a little tag with the candle's name and some info about Windy Island Handmade.

So all you have to do to get your paws on one of the above, is to leave a comment telling me which candle you would like to win and why.  The children and I will pick the most imaginative and let you know via this blog.  You have one week to get thinking and write your comments!  I really hope you like what you see enough to have a go.

In the meantime, I am trying to copy a link to my Facebook page through this blog.  Give me a day or two, I'm not that good with technology!

As always, thank you for reading and have a good day. xxx

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Beach Love.

My mood of feeling flat earlier on in the week escalated into a full-blown migraine, so the last three days have been spent trying to keep warm, still and quiet in order for said pain to leave me in peace.  Finally, yesterday evening for a few hours, it did.  It re-surfaced when I woke this morning, but I'd had enough of it by then, so we decided a long overdue trip to the beach was in order.  Wellies on, coats buttoned up and dogs on leads.  Off we go...!

It is a dull day and a bit drizzly, but there is no wind.  Oh thank the heavens for that.  Having it screaming round my window for the last 48 hours has driven me quietly mad.  It isn't even too cold; another blessing.  Puppy has never been to the beach nor seen the sea, so he was in for a treat.  He has been rather too full of himself lately, so maybe a bit of uncertainty wouldn't do him any harm.  He hates the car and that was the first thing to take the wind out of his sails.  The lane to the beach is quite windey and bumpy, so it unfortunately made him bring up his breakfast.  We were prepared for this and H1 had put down paper and old towels for the event, Puppy completely missed all that though, and threw up on H1's coat instead.

After what seemed to be the longest ten minutes ever, we arrived at the beach and Puppy soon forgot his ordeal.  For the first time in his short little life he ran freely on the sand and pebbles and has his first swim in the sea!  He wasn't sure about it to begin with, but by following MAL's lead, he relaxed and just enjoyed it.

We enjoyed it too.  The smells of the sea (which is actually plankton poo), the sounds of waves washing over pebbles and the bands of seaweed deposited by the rough winds we have had lately, all make the process of walking the dogs on the beach something really special.

I love the things that nature leaves for us to find.

I know the seaside always looks better when the sun is shining and the sea is a sparkling, twinkling blue, but it has something about it during the duller months of the year too.  An empty beach is a thing to treasure.  Silent and belonging just to us for that moment.  I love seeing what my children do with it, when they are left to their own devices, with no television, computer games or homework to get in the way.

It doesn't take long.

It doesn't matter what they do.  H2 loves to get wet and sandy and build things; H1 likes to throw stones in the sea and Pea likes to hunt for nature.

I just like to sit and watch them explore and marvel in the beauty of our island home.

Yes it will look a whole lot prettier when the sun comes out, but it's still rather gorgeous to me.

We returned home with two wet and tired dogs, rosy cheeks and a car full of dog sick.  The boys dried off the dogs, Pea made dinner and I got the glorious task of cleaning out the car.  Oh joy.  Oh rapture.  It was nice to sit in the kitchen with Pea afterwards and eat soup and drink tea.  Now we can all spend a guilt-free lazy afternoon.  I am rather hoping that someone will wander into the kitchen and start baking as I could really enjoy an afternoon piece of chocolate cake.  Anyone?

Have a lovely day and thank you for reading. xxx