Coming inside

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It’s been a while since I wrote here.  Both kids have been ill and any spare time online has been donated to finding seasonal crafts and gift ideas.  Last year I was exhausted balancing a full time job in a busy medical ward, being a hands on parent, and being pregnant to boot.  We didn’t have very much support available to us then, and not having a car to save time on travailing, or much money to make life more comfortable, meant we were pretty poor in every way of the word.

This year?  Well this year has been a blessing.  Maternity leave has allowed me to spend much needed time to recover from the difficult year before, and my attitude towards being active has really changed.  I feel more centered now we have a monthly rhythm.  Before this year we were always out and about, with no real set schedule, but in recent months I’ve really found an inner peace in doing less and enjoying the smaller moments more.  It has also had a great impact on my family’s relationship with each other.  Graham and I seem to have more fun spending time together than we did before, and by allowing a slower pace to be introduced, family time has become a much greater priority in our household.

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Beth has taken to wanting to sleep anywhere but in her bed.  I don’t think she dislikes her bed, rather I think she is just getting a bit bored of it.  The same bed every night gets a bit repetitive, doesn’t it? So she likes to mix it up.  I don’t mind, I’m the same way too.

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The Christmas crafting has already started in our house. Today we are making tree decorations and from there we’ll start the gifts. Graham and I are planning to make everyone a small token gift this year but we’ll have to see how well it works out.

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Preparing

 

So far, November has been a month of preparing for the months ahead. The Swallows have left for the warmer climate of Africa and flocks of migrating Geese have been passing high up in the sky.  Beth and I love watching these birds fly in their perfect formation, and I like to pretend they are waving their wings to say hello to us.  A friend has been given some pheasant and game birds, and I’m hoping we can use their feathers for some crafts. Is that maybe a little morbid? I’m not sure.

Have you ever watched the BBC’s “The Great British Year”? If not I’d really recommend it.  We don’t have a TV so I’m usually a bit late in finding out about these things but I’m glad I discovered it. It gives you an insight into what different animals and plants endure in the cycle of one year, and it’s my kind of television.

On the subject of the BBC, Graham and I have started a bit of a silly Sunday night habit.  When the kids are settling for the night we put on radio 6 and we tweet the presenter so he will read out what we have said.  This Sunday’s show was asking what was the first record you bought and we wrote in mine was Mr Blobby. It was read out but the song was never played.  I just can’t imagine why!

Graham and I have started planning our Christmas gifts.  We try to make everyone’s gifts and this year I think we have a clear idea of what we want to do.  Beth is getting a new bike, and a few bits we know she’d like, but everything else is being hand made.  Arthur is too little to care but I know I want to make him something special since it is his first Christmas. So far Graham has bottled spicy winter ale, and at a friend’s house last weekend we made Delia Smith’s Spiced Picked Pears. It smells like Christmas in a jar and I can’t wait to eat our pears with some cold meats.  My Dad and his partner will be getting some with a nice cheese and wine for their gift, if I don’t steal it first! I have to hold off making peppermint bark because I eat it all before anyone gets their present.

A friend brought this dark chocolate mince meat for us to try out and It really is tasty.  I made it on Saturday but I added pistachio nuts and extra cranberries. Although, it has three apples in it so I don’t know how long it will last but I’d like to make it again.

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Picnic and patchwork

I’m not the greatest at sewing.  I think it’s because I’m really impatient and I find the ironing and prep work before you get going a bit dull.  It’s a shame really because there is nothing nicer than handmade goodies and I find myself admiring beautiful quits on a regular basis. I have a few patch work blankets from good will shops, and Beth has a beautiful vintage blanket that was a gift from my Great Aunt, and I just love them. So really I should learn to be more patient and just get on with it. Over the last 6 months I forced myself to finish a quilt for Beth to snuggle in outside her bed. It took such a long time! She has an IKEA blanket that saved the day when she was soaked by a passing car but I wanted her to have one that I made.

And so on the day I finally completed it we took it with us on a picnic with friends. So two things to tick off my bucket list this summer 🙂

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And dear little Arthur has been allowed to use it too.
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Spring luminary lantern

The weather here in Scotland has been pretty wild the last few weeks. We have had hale stones, heavy rain, and freezing cold winds. Despite this, the days have been getting a bit longer and sweet snowdrops and crocus flowers have started popping their heads out of the soil.

To welcome the reawakening of the flowers and plants we made this spring luminary lantern to light on our dinner table while the evenings are still dark. It turned out really nicely but I would advise that you never leave the tea light candle lit if you aren’t going to be near by.

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To start I drew this tree on watercolour paper with black pen and Beth drew on flowers and leafs with coloured pencils.

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Then she painted the paper with olive oil.

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After the excess oil was blotted with an old cloth, the paper was trimmed, and I used my hot glue gun to glue the paper lantern into a wide tube. Once cooled we placed a lit tea light inside and enjoyed our lantern.

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