Too early for a wreath?


No? I’m so glad you said that!

I like a wreath. I suppose I was aware of them from an early age but the idea of a wreath around  Christmas time was firmly fixed in my mind from the family trips we made on Christmas Eve to the cemetery. I apologise if this sounds too weird but this is what we did. And as we moved through the cemetery many of the graves were adorned with that circle of evergreen foliage and a few red berries from the holly sprigs.

As I got older they became a thing of beauty to me as I realised that they came in all shapes and sizes and all manner of foliage and flowers and I did try making my own, I even did a workshop at Sarah Raven about ten years ago too. It was only recently that I tried this idea once again with the Hydrangea wreaths.

This festive season I want to dabble with these arrangements again and thought I would start early and test out an idea or two. I watched a few tutorials on You Tube and decided to try the plastic wreath ring filled with floral foam first. I had an old ring and cut the dry foam to fit then pre-soaked it in a sinkful of water. I wasn’t sure exactly how long to soak it for, it ended up being about an hour.

Then I gathered supplies from the garden. I picked anything I thought would last well tried to select a vareity of textures and ended up with Bay leaves, Ivy and Gaura and added a couple of variegated leaves into the mix with Pittosporum and Lamium.


I prepared the stems by cutting them short and stripping the bottom leaves.


I actually had to cut them even shorter than they were in the photos.


I was so happy outside trimming and preparing I didn’t realise that I was loosing the light so I started filling up the wreath and grabbed a shot of it half full before it got dark. You can also see from this shot that I had already attached the ribbon for hanging the wreath up before I filled it with foliage.


Note to self – you always need more foliage than you think! I kept adding the bay and ivy and then the Pittosporum and Lamium.


And finally the ivy seed pods and the Gaura. It was actually the fact that our Gaura was producing all those little ‘tassels’ that made me want to make a foliage wreath in the first place! They are so lovely and weird.


And there it is. Not too fancy, not really ‘festive’ but a first attempt at this kind of hanging wreath and a start to my wreath making season.

Posted in Bloom, Things to make | 2 Comments

30 Vegetarian Pizza’s – Feta, artichoke and black olive


Here’s to another pizza, another combination of flavours. I have said ti before and will say it again I love artichoke on pizza. We also added a few cherry tomatoes. All in all a great success.

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Photo a Day – week thirty six


More building round here.


Making chocolate bread and butter pudding.


Dew drops on fennel.


Cous cous salad.


One ear up and one ear down.


We showed her how to make pom poms! Gav made two, he was the pom pom whiz.


Ah, now I can explain. An eggnog latte just jumped into my car on the way to work, no really!


And onward we go.

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December Daily 2014 – Foundation Pages


It’s time! Woo!

I have prepared pages in advance of December as usual. The finished album will be just over 6 inches square this year.

I have made the ‘number’ elements for each day but left some of them loose. For the purpose of planning though and getting my head in gear I set a number to each page when I took the photo below. I now have a record so I can go back to it for reference but have the freedom to change pages around if I want to.


My colour scheme as ever is red, white and kraft with silver and some clear elements.

Here’s a closer look at some of the pages.


I love using cut down page protectors. I’ve sealed the raw edges with washi tape or sewed them closed.


Here is an example of where the number is not fixed to the page yet. I added a little negative punch out of the snowflakes to remind me that I love using little strips of the negative shapes in projects.


Here I filled up the page with embellishments and sewed boxes around each to hold the elements in place.


An example of a cut down page which allows you to see further ahead into the album.



One of my all time favourite go to pages, a red envelope.


White on white for this page with added glitter.


Another fav technique, fold out pages. Here I added that cut out strip of Amy Tangerine card. I might use it on this page and I might move it to another day but I have it there in the photo to remember.


Can’t get enough of these.


More embellishments sewed into the pockets.


Added a little banner of circles to this one.


Another narrow page. And more sewing! Love me that red thread…


Using an old embellishment here, a fragment from Tim Holtz. I added some paper behind the plastic and glued it on.


And finally a transparent page. I found this lurking in my stash from many years ago when I tried printing on transparencies. More sewing to fix that metal edged tag to the page.


I have a little stash of goodies in a box to use during the month so we are almost ready. Just need to make the covers now. I’ll be back to share that in a few days.

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Doing a happy quilty dance


Oh yeah! At long last this baby is done.

And you know what? Love it. Why did it take me so long?

After my last post (can’t believe it was all that time ago) I did pull it out again about 6 months ago and sew a few quilting lines but struggled feeding it through my sewing machine as it doesn’t have a walking foot. So it was cast aside once more. But last month I pulled it out again and decided that I was happy with the amount of quilting so I would just finish it off and call it done.


I attached the binding onto the front and then hand sewed it to the back of the quilt.

And there it is all done.


And I am officially crossing ‘sew a quilt’ off my list.

I’m itching to start cutting a new quilt top but my rotary cutter has gone blunt! (Lack of use perhaps.) So the new quilt will have to wait, you never know I may have it cut by 2016…….

Posted in The click tick list, Things to make | 2 Comments

Read 2014 – The unpleasantness and the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers


I was lucky enough to have several Lord Peter books passed onto me by a friend. I really enjoyed this one. It contained all the great things of a classic detective story.

Happy to have a pile of these books to pick up and enjoy.

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30 Vegetarian Pizzas – Goats cheese, beetroot and pesto


Can’t believe we have reached pizza number 20. This combination was inspired by a Pizza Express pizza I had back in March. Not sure it’s still available though. I looked at a photo I’d taken of the pizza to work out all the toppings. As well as the goats cheese, beetroot and pesto there is onion, pine nuts and the rocket was added after cooking. One word….YUM!

We don’t tend to pile lots of flavours onto our pizza but this combination showed me it is such a delight when you do. These ingredients work so perfectly together.

The sauce and base were our usual. Only 10 left to make. Woo!

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Planning December Daily®


Here we are again at this wonderful time of year when I get to make my most favourite album and document the magic of December.

As I have in previous years, I’ve been pondering my inspirational pins, leafing through past albums and looking at the supplies list in Ali’s kit for a hint on the trends this year.

I have been a bit stumped for a cover design. I so easily fall back on the same old same old because I like what I like and nothing has been jumping out at me. So even though I’ve done it before I think I’ll go back to kraft coloured card stock and white. I just can’t help it.


I could tell you right now that some of the stories will be about the advent gifts, the eggnog latte, the wrapping, the putting up the tree and the twinkle lights. I do worry about repetition but mostly I know that tradition is one of the beauties of this project. And I know that without a doubt there will be something new.

Here is a little list of things I want to remember to use/incorporate this year -

  • see through pockets filled with glitter and sequins
  • teeny banners along the tops of pages
  • type on photos before printing (especially white type)
  • full page photos
  • use the idea prompts I’ve ‘pinned’ to help capture the magic
  • have fun!

And just look at that amazing collection of albums. When I first embarked on this project I could not have imagined the joy I have had from doing it December since or the wonderful gift those albums give each time I pick the up.


If you are on the fence about joining in, don’t be. Jump with both feet and in a couple of years you’ll have a mantle full of goodness too.


December Daily® is an album project developed by Ali Edwards. Read all about it over here.

Posted in December Daily | 4 Comments

Photo a Day – week thirty five


This picture is catching up from last week. The view from the cottage window.


We took my Mum to Lindesfarne, she wasn’t keen on crossing even though the tide was still out, this sign didn’t help either!


On the way home we stopped for coffee. I got a cute gingerbread man with my gingerbread latte. ‘Tis the season apparently.


Just had to snap this. You can just see the steam rising from the top of the plastic that’s covering a supply of logs we had delivered recently. I couldn’t believe that the sun at this time of year could create steam.


Oops. Just had to get another eggnog. We have a standing joke in the family about not liking to give our names in Starbucks for the drink order, we always give ‘Alex’.


So happy to have this fella back on the sofa. All the fireworks have kept him trembling and sat on the floor so it was lovely when he jumped up to snuggle with me.


A basketful of our onions.


Oh yes he is back to normal, thinks he owns the place. Feet on the table indeed!


And there we go.

Posted in Photo a Day | 2 Comments

Salad for lunch? – part one


Hang on I hear you cry, it’s November the salad season is over! I would agree but in the quest for less bread I have been trying to make salad for lunch instead of my go to cheese and pickle sandwich. I love pickle……

But enough of my obsession with a bit of Branston here are four salads I have test driven.

The one at the top of the post was chick pea, carrot, cucumber, and bulgur wheat with a few cashews and mixed leaves. I added a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

Next is my version of this. Green beans, broccoli, black beans, sesame seeds, quinoa and nuts. I made a sesame/ginger/soy sauce dressing which really makes this salad perfection.


Here is a Mexican inspired one. Corn, black beans, red pepper, quinoa and a few leaves added for extra crunch. A lime and oil dressing with coriander was added to this one to keep the Mexican vibe going.


And finally back to bulgur wheat. Similar to the first salad but with red pepper instead of carrot.


It is much more effort to make these but they are so much better for me. I will be back with more.

Posted in things we eat | 2 Comments