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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inspiring creativity

Encouraging creativity

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

If you have a table of children crafting side by side, one of two things is likely to happen. Either they will inspire each other or it falls to bits, with one child slipping from their chair and declaring they “can’t do it”.

Cue crumpled up paper falling to floor.

It can all change in a split second. One moment they are chattering. Encouraging each other. Next pencils are downed. A glance at the work next to them, may be all it takes. The power of comparison is tangible.

Not an unfamiliar event for the youngest of the family. Sigh.

Being a youngest child, I can empathise with my last born. Somehow you forget that older siblings have several years more practise. Even then, everyone’s journey is different. The older ones probably chose and lead the project. With less years under your belt, you also probably don’t fully appreciate that we are all individuals and have our own style.

It can be tough.

This summer, I’ve set up a few art and craft projects that give him a chance to succeed. No right or wrong. No comparisons. Working on his own style.

He’s had the clock movement for a couple of years, but couldn’t settle on a clock face. We found a basic wooden one in Hobby Craft. He loves street art and comic style. I suggested keeping it simple would keep it on the wall for longer. He pointed out that he could always change it later. I like his way of thinking.

So he went for splatter paint. Boy, did he have fun. Our front path was speckled with colourful paints for days after he finished. Is he happy with the results? You bet he is. He did his own thing and succeeded. His clock will hang on his bedroom wall for all to admire, and the ticks of the second hand will be a constant reminder to be himself.

Am I happy? Yes. The project was finished. That on its own is a major success. He’s pleased to display it too. Not a crumpled paper moment. My heart sings. For one moment at least, I’m riding the parenting wave.

(Cue Beach Boy sound track, and sunset)

 

 

 

I made a beetle blouse

I’ve been sewing again. Tra la la! Little dance of joy. Sewing definitely makes me happy. Escaping for even a short time to play with my creative ideas, is good time. On my own. It means later I can take a back seat while encouraging others to be creative. Resisting the temptation to wade in, with my sleeves stylishly rolled up, and take over their projects. It’s OK. I’ve already had my own creative time. Instead I can nudge them to think deeper and out of the box, without spelling out how I would do it.

May is the best time for me to feel a fresh burst of creativity. I find I’m inspired by the increasing number of different flowers appearing in the local hedgerows and our garden. Oh, the colours. Not just the colour, but also the scent promises wonderful times to be had outside, in the coming months. Even the different shades of foliage add to it all. So beautiful. It’s probably no coincidence that my handmade wardrobe offers up more spring outfits than any other season. The burst of colour sends me dashing to rifle through my fabric stash for just the shade to complement it all. Again.

This year is no different. I opted for a blouse made out of green fabric with beetles on it.

Regular readers of my blog probably won’t be surprised by my choice of a beetle fabric. Way back when, before career apps were even a twinkle in their programmer’s eye, I was researching my next steps in the dismal, back room at school, that passed for our career office, I wish someone had pulled out the paper brochure for entomologist. I suspect it wouldn’t have had a well worn spine, with bent edges, as some of the other brochures (I’m looking at you, accountancy and law), but it would have opened my eyes to another possibility. I might have been put off by the forecast salary, but at least I’d have known it existed.

As it happens, I had to wait until my first born came home from primary school with a mini-beast project, before I even came across the word “entomology” and the concept that you could study and earn money by being one.

All’s well that ends well, as they say, as I can still indulge my amateur interest in all things bug like.

I like bugs. Especially beetles as there is such a variety. Vast majority have not been categorized and have no name. Just imagine. We know so little.

Back to spring time sewing. I pulled out New Look 6598 from my pattern collection. It’s one I’ve used before (here and here) and find this style of blouse works well for me. This time I went for view D and left out the sleeve cuff, to cut down on the unnecessary bulk.

One of the reasons I love making my own clothes is that I can add creative details to it. Making it mine. This time, the fabric on its own seemed too plain, which I know sounds odd, seeing as it’s covered in beetles, but believe me, it did. It was calling out for something extra. Digging through my trimmings collection, I unearthed a length of white daisy flowers. Still in theme with the beetles and added a much needed contrast.

At first I was just going to add it to the sleeves, to draw the eye. Then I looked at adding it to the neck edge only. In the end, I threw caution to the wind and went for both. As they say, go big or go home, and it is my top.

The buttons were a lucky find. One night, I searched in my button tin and couldn’t find four matching green buttons. Unwilling to wait till the morning for the fabric shop to throw open its doors, I started looking for any four matching buttons, the right size. I’m not sure I’d have considered the black ones otherwise, but the more I looked at them, the more sense they made.

Do you see the many surfaces? They remind me of an insect’s eye. Perfect. I have no idea where they came from but they must have been waiting for this project.

Blouse done. I can see this one being worn on a regular basis. The green is vibrant and the little beetles cute. I suspect some people might be eeked out by the idea of beetles, but I am one happy person.

Thank you to Youngest, who took the photos and to Hero who opted to stay out of the photos, unlike previous hounds. A cool spot directing, from behind the camera, is more his style, it seems.

Homemade birthday gifts

I’ve put together a couple of birthday gifts this week, for the children to take to birthday parties. I have thoroughly enjoyed putting them together. Taking time to think about the recipients, coupled with the creative input from my own children, have made these gifts so much fun to make. I want to make them again.

I forgot to take a photo of the first. It was an “Emergency Den Making Kit” inspired from here.

The second gift is ready to go this evening. It is a peg doll kit. As a child (ok, even to this day. Shh!) I remember how much I loved going through my mother’s button tin and shoe boxes for ribbons, lace and little bits. It was a real treat to be allowed to look through to find something for a sewing project.

Having an eight year old of my own, I know that this jam jar of all sorts will appeal. I didn’t want to spell out how to make a peg doll. Instead I hope the suggestions might conjure up pictures in her mind and inspire creative magic. Much stronger than I could inspire with a step by step.

If nothing else, it should make a good rainy day activity.

Photos

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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