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….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”


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One of the best parts of summing my week up in a word is writing a list of all the stand out moments we’ve had in the last seven days. You know. Those events that make you stop and reflect. Stand back briefly and watch it going on. Hopefully, appreciating that you are part of it. Admittedly, not all events fall neatly into that box, but enough.

This week, we moved into the “two teens in the household” category. Middle turned 13. It suits her. She is a social butterfly like her sister, with a wide group of friends. So instead of offending any by leaving them out, she opted for a family day out, which will happen later on.

Her older sister and I had fun making the cake for her. The leaves are made from fondant and we used my favourite leaf pressing cutter.  I’m pleased with the effect. There was also pizza and a DVD, to finish off the day. She seemed happy.

I love seeing them all grow, but sometimes it is so hard. Toughest of all is seeing them make choices about their futures, that at the end of the day is their choice to make. We can just offer guidance and be there.

Eldest is starting to make her A’level (Advanced Level) choices for next year. (I know. Oxygen seems to forcibly evacuate my lungs every time I think of it. Already?) She needs to choose three subjects and this has sent her into complete indecision mode. Lots of throwing her hands up in the air. There have been moments, I have secretly envied the parents of children who already know their career path.

So this week she has surprised me by narrowing it down to four subjects. Two science and two languages. With the submission date looming, I forsee a moment of breath holding, as we wait to see which side the coin will land. It is tough. Really, really tough.

As for the rest of the week, it has been full. We went leaf peeping at Stourhead and lit the fire in the wood burner for the first time this year, which helped to confirm that the year really is advancing at its usual fast rate. We seem to have made our decision to replace one of our cars with an electric car. Advancing our green living mission massively. It feels like a huge, positive change.

I’ve had a fair bit of waiting around for people this week, so I’ve made inroads into  The Snow Child. I am loving it. The story is familiar and wonderful, but the writing is delicious as well. You know how you find yourself savouring the words and not wanting to rush? This is one of those books. I find that the way it is written makes me think about mindfulness more too.

This week, I’ve made a point of moving away from my screen at lunchtime and reading a bit more, while enjoying pumpkin soup and homemade croutons. Yum.

So that was my week. How about you? What have you been up to?

Linking my word of the week – Advance

Hanging out with jungle cupcakes

jungle animal party cupcake set dog topper

 As soon as I hear the question, “Can we do this again, pleeeeeese?”, I know I’m on to a winner.

Another successful, creative activity with the children. A brief moment to stop, and enjoy the feeling of notching up another happy mother moment.  Carving more sweet childhood memories.

I swear they grow slightly taller each time this happens. Continue reading

Who needs wrapping paper when you can sew?

Alternative wrapping paper2


There is a certain fuzzy feeling when you give just the right present to someone. Something that you’ve taken time to choose or make. The pleasure of wrapping it up, in just the right way. Crisp paper, creased edges and the perfect bow. The hope that they really will like it, as they begin to unwrap it.

Repeat this process, until all that is left is a pile of crumpled paper. Soon to be scooped up and put out for recycling, or the refuse collectors.

potato print parcelpotato parcel paper

(homemade printed paper, wrapped many presents, over one year!)

I like wrapping paper. It can wrap practically any shape or size. It provides a lovely tearing rip when it opens. Sometimes we use plain paper and decorate it.  The only problem is that I’m not keen on the “one-use-then-dispose-of” nature of wrapping paper. I am the one who collects up the interesting bits for future crafting from the discarded pile. I especially love any trimmings, like ribbons. But inevitably, there’s a lot of paper left. Reusing the paper works to a certain extent, but somehow, its loses its crispness and is obviously recycled. Some work better than others.

This is where alternative gift wrappings come into it. I have 5 suggestions.

1. Pillow cases. If the present is big, then I have a number of slightly large pillow cases to use. Some are Christmasy, others are for birthdays. All are used on the beds.

pilllow case gift wrapping

2. Wrap a box. Use some of the discarded paper to decorate a box. Looks lovely and can be used over and over again. That’s if the new owner will give it up.

recycled paper gift box

3. Use fabric. Use a pretty tea towel, with a ribbon to keep it all together. Recepient has two presents in one. My sister knows me well, and has the perfect solution for wrapping presents for me. She chooses pretty fabric as wrapping. Just how many ways can I recycle pretty fabric?

patchwork toadstool cushion front

patchwork toadstool cushion back

(Fabric turned into a patchwork cushion)

4. Make comic bags. Use festive magazines or old comics to make gift bags. Children particularly love the comic versions. I’ve found that parents make a point of letting me know how well the bags went down.

comic bags in box side

For a more robust bag, the comic can be replaced with fabric. I’ve used these as party bags in the past.

5. Make fabric sacks. Finding inexpensive festive fabric is easy at this time of the year. I like to make the sack with a wide opening and no handle. The most simple version is two rectangles of fabric sewn together, leaving one long edge open. All tied up with a colourful ribbon. If I can find it, a crinkly ribbon, for that authentic present opening moment. Seeing a child’s head disappear into the sack, checking out the contents, always makes me smile.

So this week, I’m getting busy, whipping up a few more Christmas sacks, of various sizes. Some big, some small. My supply of sacks are low. The more I make, the more I cut down on the crumpled paper mountain. Making it a greener Christmas.

This is part of my becoming a greener me in 100 steps project.

Joining in the Christmas Blog Hop here (Just need to figure out how to add the code!)


There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

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