Welcome to our blog.

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

Three children (17, 15, 12)*** 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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book and craft activity

How to make a witch’s cauldron

Our Halloween garland above the fireplace is taking shape. Little handmade extras appear as the days go by. This weekend, cauldrons were added. A quick and easy craft activity for all ages.

The best part was that everything we used to make them, came from my collection of pre-used junk that’s too good to throw away. Squirreled away for just the right moment. Guarded fiercely. Waiting for its day to be in the limelight once more.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds themselves justifying why they have a collection of little boxes and bottle tops? Jam jars and little bits of felt?

Anyway, back to the cauldrons. Want to see how we made them? Continue reading

Mountain children

children-in-the-forest-needle-felted-toadstool(Needle-felted Fly Agaric)

The books that are read to us as young children, help to shape the people we will become. It affects our style, our understanding of our surroundings, our references in the world. It’s little wonder as these books are often read to us over and over and over again. They are the first pictures that we study in detail and commit to memory in our young heads.

My children were raised on Elsa Beskow books. Not exclusively, of course, but they were a running theme throughout their young years, as they would be rotated on our Seasons table. The illustrations are delightful. The stories simple and centred on our natural world.


Imagine our delight when we walked into a forest that could only be straight out of the pages of the Children on the Forest book. If we had looked round one of the trees and spotted the small family out, gathering mushrooms and berries for the winter, none of us would have batted an eyelid.


I think its the first time we have found bilberries, growing wild. Oh, for a small basket.


Our walk was up Merrick Mountain, in Galloway, Scotland. It is an 8 mile walk to the summit, but we knew that we were not going all the way up. Our 10 year old dog is arthritic in her back legs and the boulder part noticeably took it out of her. She is so loyal, she would have accompanied us to the top and beyond, if we had asked it of her, but we knew it would be a mistake. Above the tree line would suit us.waterfall-merrick-mountain

Once beyond the fairly steep climb over the boulders, we reached a part that felt like a valley. Much easier and also beautiful in its own right. The heather was in full bloom, adding the perfect touch of colour.  bothy-at-merrick-mountainThe children explored the bothy, which is the first they have seen. Such a beautiful day. We had to remind them that conditions are not always as good in Scotland and long distant trekkers may be glad of this building as a shelter.

tree-climbing-on-merrickWe reached the trees. It’s fenced off to stop deer eating all the newly planted young plants. The children became the children in the forest. Acting out stories from the book. Reminding me of the tales.

red-toadstoolWe found bilberries and fungi in the shade of the pine trees.


At this point, half the party continued on, while I stayed behind, with two of the children, to give our old faithful hound a chance to rest. She blended right into the scenery.

pretend-sword-fightingWhile we waited, there was a chance to practise stick sword fighting while balanced on a log. To climb trees. Hunt for little people wearing red and white toadstool hats. With the light coming through the leaves, it added even more to the magic of the place.

lens-cloudAlso we practised our cloud appreciation on the lone cloud in the sky. A classic lenticular cloud. Formed at high altitude. Stationary. A stacked lens-shaped cloud.


Once the others returned, we headed back down the mountain. Ready for a cup of tea and cake at the cafe below. Only right to end where we started.

(Needle felting notes: I used Jacobs sheep fleece for the white base and spots. It felts up firm, with a slight spring. The red is merino.)

Anyone else read the Children of the Forest book?

(Affiliated link in this post.)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Book Bunny

A couple of weeks ago, I got together with my Friday stitching friends. It is the first session for a while and I had no obvious, portable project to take along. So I grabbed my bag of felted jumpers and, after a hasty blog search, I found a rabbit template.

I decided to use a scrap of printed cotton for the tummy and inside the ears. I used Falkland Island wool aran to make the fluffy tail. I found sleepy eyes worked best for this rabbit.

Last night, I finished the rabbit, still unsure what to do with it. She’s cute and, believe me, the children have taken turns to drop heavy hints about who should receive it. Dearest husband suggested I fill it with beans and use it as a door stop. I woke up this morning, still unsure where she was going.

Now, roll back a few more weeks to a parent’s evening. I had a different weight on my mind. My pressing concern was a reluctant reader. She groaned every time I asked if she would like to read to me. A horrible 6 year old heart-breaking groan. Sometimes she plain refused to read. Other times, she would, but made it obvious that it was under duress.

She said that she would prefer to make up her own stories, rather than reading others. In my heart, I agreed and didn’t want to force her. I would happily give her time, but I knew she would hate being left behind by her friends.

I needed a plan. One that didn’t put us at odds. Her teacher made a suggestion, which was cute, but it wasn’t quite right. I knew she hated the books from school, so as part of my plan, I visited the bookshop. While browsing, I found a sweet book that was just her. It had nature and growing and family in it. I knew she would identify with it. It was round about her reading level.

Jody’s Beans. And she loved it. The story is about one of her favourite gardening projects. A runner bean house. This book has helped her to find her reading flow. Along with other projects, which I’ll include in another post.

Today, she read it to me again. No groaning.  While she concentrated on the words, I admired the pictures. I love this style of drawing. So do-able, that it makes me think I could draw like this. (A girl can dream!) Then it hit me. My bunny was in the book. Look!

There she is. In almost every picture. Ok, the book bunny hasn’t got the floral fabric tummy, but the main colour is the same. And the ears are just as floppy. Clutched by the little girl, which almost looks like my little girl.

Even the Grandpa, who is the other main character in the book, has a kind of resemblance to one of her Grandpas. (Not saying which one…. I doubt either are reading!)

So there you are. Maybe subconsciously I was crafting with intent. Book + Bunny= happy child. What more can I ask!

This dreamy rabbit suits my loving daughter, who spends a lot of time in her own dream world. I think I know what to do with the rabbit.


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.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don’t just take. Written permission only. Don’t pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It’s not nice.

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