Snowflake patterned mini bowls

I was bought these little bowls for my birthday- I think they might be dipping bowls for oils and vinegar and I decided they needed a Christmas makeover. I’d seen a few posts on other blogs about decorating ceramics with permanent pen and thought I’d give it a try. The pen I used came from a set I bought from WH Smith that were half price in a sale, they were meant to be fine nib but seem more like thick to me!

Snowflake Mini Bowls

I decided to draw some simple snowflake designs, even though the pens are permanent they rubbed off fairly easily when I made mistakes! To make them properly permanent I saw a tip about drying them in a low oven, so I might try that. At the moment they make perfect bowls for Christmas bits and bobs!

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch

This year, I turned my hand to a bit of cross stitch to make a little Christmas decoration. It came about after I finally found some embroidery hoops that I knew I had but couldn’t remember where! They turned up when I was doing a huge clearout of the bedroom cupboard. Anyway, I had a little kit that had been given to me to make a cross stitch card, unfortunately the design for the card wasn’t really my thing so I instead used the Aida from that to make my snowflake.

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch Materials

I decided to do a freestyle pattern as snowflakes are symmetrical and so lend themselves to making it up! I had spotted in one of my Christmas magazines the decoration in the picture above and roughly followed this to start off with. However, the snowflake was far to small to stop at that so I kept adding extra until it filled out the hoop. I just have it resting on the mantelpiece for now, maybe next year I shall cross stitch some more to make a proper display!

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch

Cranberry, orange and almond loaf

I picked up the free Real Food magazine from Tesco last week and one of the recipes that caught my eye was for this cranberry loaf. I love cranberries and am always trying to find recipes to use them in. As a child the only time we had them was my Mum’s homemade cranberry sauce with the Christmas dinner, to me they will always taste of Christmas. Most years I will buy a packet when they appear in the supermarket to use in some kind of cake/ pudding as the tartness works really well with sugary batter.

Ingredients for cranberry, orange and almond loaf

This recipe also has another favourite ingredient- marzipan. I know a lot of people aren’t a fan but I find the grainy smooth texture and strong taste of almonds really pleasing. The loaf proved easy to make: cream together butter and sugar,whiz in some eggs, then fold in self raising flour and ground almonds, finally adding cranberries, cubed marzipan, orange zest and almond essence. Into a lined loaf tin then into the oven. As usual, the cooking time had to be extended for our gas oven. At the recommended 50 mins the mixture was still liquid in the middle! Another half hour later and it was just perfect!

Cranberry Orange and Almond Loaf

Advent Countdown Ideas

Advent Calendar Envelopes

I know it’s probably a bit late to be posting ideas for advent calendars although I think a couple of days adrift will make no difference! There’s any number of advent calendars out there to buy (chocolate or otherwise) but I particularly love these cute little cards that I bought for my nephews and niece. I started buying them a couple of years ago after seeing them in the window of a shop in Beverley called ‘Something Different’ on Butcher Row. There’s always a really good selection of cards at very reasonable prices. If only I could take a peak at some of the pictures behind the doors before sending them…..

Advent Cards

My crafty idea for an advent calendar started as something I’d seen in a magazine. That was for small, paper advent bags to put gifts in. I thought about making little bags but decided that I wouldn’t have the time (or the patience) to manage 25! I also wasn’t sure how to display them. Instead, I had seen these money envelopes in Wilkinson’s and had been turning over in my mind whether they could be used in a craft. Of course they could- advent envelopes!

Typewriter and Christmas Rubber Stamps

I bought the set of typewriter stamps from Amazon Marketplace (The Pea’s Knees Ltd, £7.99), I already owned the Christmas themed stamps from last year. It turned out pretty quick and easy to stamp up 25 envelopes and then fill them with little treats. My husband is more savoury than sweet(!) which explains the nuts and cheese. Hopefully, some of the chocolates might come my way!

Advent Envelopes and Treats

The noticeboard I used to display the envelopes was from a craft I posted about here. Of course there is any manner of ways to display them- in a Christmas bowl perhaps, or pegged onto a garland.

Advent Calendar Envelopes

Magnetic Fireplace Fix-up

Our kitchen has a fireplace that used to be covered over. When we stripped out the kitchen after we moved in we discovered behind the board was an old kitchen range. The idea then was to restore it to it’s former glory as a ‘feature’ in the kitchen. However, after staring at the dusty, dirty fireplace for too many years to mention, we finally admitted that it was better covered up!

Magnetic Memoboard

To make it useful, we decided to use magnetic paint and have it as a memo board for recipes. The paint tin promised only a couple of coats would be needed, but I reckon we did about four coats in the end. The board is just a piece of plasterboard sawed to size- it has been glued in place as have the bits of skirting round the edges to frame the board.

Magnetic Memoboard

The magnets used on the paint need to be quite strong to hold anything in place. I’m very pleased with the outcome- it means recipes from magazines don’t just get put in a pile and it gives inspiration for cooking during the week.

Lovely Wisteria

Today the weather seems finally to be turning into Summer (or at least the end of Spring!) The day was warm, the sky was clear and the birds could be heard tweeting! The backyard still needs a lot of tidying done, even after the start made a few weeks ago. For starters the deck desperately needs to be scrubbed and re-varnished, the table and chairs cleaned, weeds removed from the gravel and paving slabs, the list is quite a long one! For now however, I will content myself with looking at the lovely wisteria that we have trained along the willow fencing. It isn’t even rooted in our backyard but it covers quite a few of the neighbours walls with it’s beautiful pale purple flowers.

Things to Frame

This post will cover a lot of other ones that I’ve done in the past- a best of clips collection I guess! There are so many different things that look good in a frame and so many things that get collected and then put in a drawer/ cupboard that could actually be on the wall making you smile. Clearly there are loads more ideas out there for frame inspiration- however I only have so many walls/ shelves/ radiator cabinets to display them all!

Postage stamp art

This is one of my favourite things that I’ve made recently- it was a long time coming and required patience but the finished picture was worth all the effort! The stamps came from my childhood stamp collection and are mounted on accurately measured foam pads.

Pen line drawing artwork

This picture is an original piece of artwork by my Dad! My husband had been admiring my Dad’s sketches and drawings when we went to visit in the summer and this framed picture of the family home was one of his presents for Christmas. A lovely surprise and perfect for the mantelpiece.

Wall pictures

Here’s a few pictures that are on the wall in the hallway. The leopard cub is a birthday card, the picture of Prague is a postcard and the orchid drawing is from a natural history magazine. All things that would otherwise have ended up in a box somewhere or being recycled!

Framed vintage map

This is a close-up of a vintage map (it’s actually a brand new reproduction of an old map) of Hull, where we live. I could stare at maps of places I know for hours, especially old ones. Knowing which places have always been around and which are new, finding out what was there before fulfills a deep curiousity in the past and my present surroundings. I would definitely recommend buying some old maps to study and display.

Box frame memories

Again, this is a previous post on creating a memory box frame. The deepness of the frame means things such as champagne corks, shells and other trinkets can be displayed. The perfect way to remember a happy occasion/ great holiday.

Framed Wallpaper

The simplest and cheapest idea of them all- framing scraps of wallpaper. Either use some wallpaper left over from another project or do what we did and get some free samples at the DIY store of your favourite patterns! The clip frame is a bargain from Ikea. There are so many lovely wallpapers available online that would look great as framed pictures and most sites will send out a number of designs for free as test samples.

So which ideas have you already used in your house? Let me know of all the good ideas I’ve missed!



Displaying Photos

We have so many photos taken of all our holidays stored on computer. They get shown to friends and family and every so often we take a look at them to reminisce about an enjoyable time or laugh at the rubbish outfits and stupid expressions. Most of the time they stay hidden away, forgotten about and pointless, just taking up storage space instead of being treasured. Photo albums seem a distant memory- the last time I filled one was our wedding album and even then it took ages to sort it all out!

Photo wall display

well, last year I decided something needed to be done about it. The inspiration came during a visit to the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art. The museum had on an exhibition of photographs (which in the main I didn’t particularly enjoy, I’m not sure modern art is for me….) but it did have a wall with photos that people had donated to the the museum which were displayed on thin ledges in rows covering the whole wall. This got me thinking that I could do something similar at home on the landing wall- a big blank white space that’s been screaming out for something to cover it. Instead of ledges to prop the photos on I decided on using string and some of those little craft pegs you can buy. I had some cute ladybird ones that I’d never found a use for and also bought some plain red and natural colour ones. The baker’s twine I found on eBay along with the plastic sleeves for the photos (they’re meant to be for cards). The hooks to tie the string to at each end of the wall and the cable fasteners to keep the string in place along the wall came from a DIY store.

Photo pegs display

I absolutely love it! It traces all our holidays over the last 10 years and has all of our favourite photos on it. The photos make me smile every day when I look at them- and isn’t that what your photos should do?

Bird Feeder

Finally decided to tidy up the back yard (can’t really call it a garden as we have no grass!) so it will look presentable for any entertaining we decide to do in the warmer months. First thing to do was get rid of the Christmas tree- shameful I know- the poor thing still had all it’s needles on but they were a dirty shade of brown instead of the vibrant green of four months ago. So off it went to the tip (to be recycled of course) and we filled the boot with a new water butt instead. We’ve only got a slimline water butt and it does the job well, however, during a dry summer like last year the water ran out pretty quickly and I had to use the tap again to water all the pots we have. The larger water butt isn’t particularly pretty but it holds double the water of the slimline one so hopefully we wont run out again this summer.

Bird Feeder

Anyway, on to the bird feeder. The tweeting of birds has been reaching a crescendo in recent weeks- in fact some mornings it’s so loud I get woken up! I’ve been meaning to get a bird feeder that sticks to the window and hope that we will have lots of opportunities to watch the birds feeding really close up. Unfortunately, the presence of four cats next door and no trees nearby leads me to suspect it may never get used. Until then, my fingers are crossed, come on birdies you know you want to!

Personalised Coasters

One of my presents for Christmas were some glass coasters to put in your own photo or pretty paper.

Personalised Coasters

It’s taken me this long to get around to cutting out some pictures to put into them. I’ve had these roses pictures for ages, they were also given to me and I’ve used them already in a couple of different frames. I picked the best bits of the photos, drew around the guide picture that came with the coasters and then cut them out. The whole thing took about 10 minutes, I can’t believe it took me so long to get them done! Easy to change as well if I get bored with the roses…..

Rose Picture Coasters