Thursday, 29 August 2013

Last minute holiday baking.........and shoes!

The end of the holidays is upon us and could there be a better reason to bake cakes? That coupled with the fact that it was BFF's birthday yesterday meant that my oven was in overdrive. A birthday cake had to be baked (obviously)

and because Husband likes a plain sponge with nothing but buttercream to decorate it, I thought I ought to make one that he and the boys could have a slice of (theirs didn't coming with added maltesers though!). But flapjack is my husbands favourite homebake so I thought I ought to make something especially for him

Then it occurred to me that since I had 2 extra children yesterday due to the childcare swap, it was in danger of all being eaten before he had a chance to get a slice. Therefore, I thought I'd make some rainbow fairy cakes for them to scoff with their lunch

There's not a lot left! I'll need to top up my baking supplies at the weekend because I think I'll make some cakes for their lunchboxes next week, just to make going back to school a little easier to deal with.

Could I just (rather randomly) mention shoes during this mid-week get together? I'm quite well known for thinking that my children don't need many shoes (or clothes for that matter) - a pair to wear and a pair of wellies if they're lucky. So where have all the shoes in my house come from??? As I write this, my kids aren't even here (thank you Mum and Dad) and yet I have tidied away 6 pairs from upstairs and I am looking at 3 pairs drying on the patio after they were used during a recent pond dipping expedition. I have bought 10 pairs since the beginning of the holidays and still think I might be at least one pair of footie boots short! I thought not having girls would save me from having a mountain of shoes (I'm a girl with few pairs of shoes herself due to my height and ridiculously large feet) so what has happened? I've lost the plot somewhere along the way I think. But I feel better for having got it off my chest......

Here's to the weekend!

Love Natalie

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Liebster Award Nomination!

Upon returning from holiday and attempting to catch up on all things technology based, I was thrilled to receive an email from Lucie at Love, Lucie ( to say that she had nominated me for a Liebster Award. The award is passed between bloggers with less than 200 followers (I have learnt from Lucie that ‘Liebster’ is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome). I have read many blog posts from people who have been lucky enough to be nominated for this award or similar so I am absolutely delighted that Lucie thinks my blog is worthy of the badge!

These are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post. (I’ve found 9!)
4. Go to their page and tell them.

So here we go......

11 facts about me:

I am married with three sons.

I live in Surrey (not the posh bit - the bit right next to Gatwick airport).

I have a caravan.

I have a Beagle called Flash.

I work part-time in a doctors surgery.

I will reach the big 4-0 at Christmas!

I am an avid reader.

I love music, and really enjoy going to concerts.

My favourite colour is purple.

I love food! I enjoy cooking, but I particularly love eating!

I live in the house that my husband grew up in.

Lucie's questions for me:

1) Is your work/life/family/craft balance as you would wish it?
I am very lucky to have a great job that I love, at a workplace that offers me great hours that fit in wonderfully with the needs of three small children. Like most people, I'd love more time generally, and I'm sure I would spend some of it crafting, but I would have to say that I think I'm really fortunate that I am able to spend a reasonable amount of time pursuing my hobbies vs the time spent at work (and with my family of course!).

2) What else are you passionate about that you don’t normally blog about?
I love reading and I watch lots of films but I generally don't write about these interests in my blog.

3) Do your friends read your blog or do you keep your personal friends separate from your blogging friends?
Many of my friends read my blog and my best friend has always been very supportive and has helped me with design and content at various times. Generally my friends don't write comments on my blog because we often talk about what I've been making when we are together, but I love to think that some people just have a quick read of my blog, or look at the pictures, and others have something to say about my posts. I'd welcome new followers!

4) Why did you start your blog?
My best friend and I have often talked about starting a blog in which we would put the world to rights as we often do this during dog walks! I had started reading lots of blogs last year, not necessarily based on craft - some lifestyle, some cooking - and found I often wanted to join in the "conversation". I started crafting more and more, for myself and others, and I was baking an awful lot, and I just thought that it might be fun to have a blog to share what I had made.

5) If you had to choose one craft and discard all others, which one would it be?
Tricky question! I think I'd keep knitting.

6) Do you buy books, magazines and patterns with regards to your craft or are you inspired just by what you come across on the net?
I usually fill my Christmas list with books about craft, and I make great use of special offers on magazine subscriptions so that I get a regular stream of magazines to read. I also enjoy pinterest, though I can find it time consuming. I'm not very good at art so tend to find "inspiration" from photos and pictures in magazines or on the Internet (or in shops, where I can often be heard saying "I could make that!"). I always give credit to the person who gave me an idea where possible.

7) Have you started thinking about projects specifically for Christmas yet?
I'm always thinking about Christmas! I have been thinking about making some Christmas coasters and hanging felt decorations but I've not done anything yet.

8) How many works in progress do you have on the go at the moment?
Honestly? At least 3 cross-stitch projects, but other than that, I can proudly announce that I have spent some time during the school holidays finishing off lots of projects. I have a very long list of things I want to make though!

9) What do the closest to you think about your craft?
My husband is hugely supportive of my crafting - as a keen hobbyist himself, he loves the fact that I have something that I am passionate about. My children are always very complementary when I have finished a project, as are my close friends which is very kind and generous of them. I hid my crafting for very many years but now feel confident to enjoy it "in public"!

10) Has your craft been taught to you by a family member or are you self taught?
My Mum and my Nan taught me to knit and embroider. I had never done cross-stitch until I met my husband and I was introduced to it by my mother-in-law who was a very keen cross-stitcher. I did a textiles GCSE at school but didn't find it very inspiring so until recently I haven't really done any proper sewing. I now enjoy having a go at sewing projects that I would previously have shied away from. My aim is to make a jelly-roll quilt.

11) What is the best and worst things about blogging for you?
I think of blogging as a sort of on-line WI. Although I do dip in and out of blogs all week, I like to set aside a couple of hours one evening a week (whilst car or sport programmes are on the TV) to really catch up with what people have been doing and follow links given by people whose online opinions I trust. I think there is so much to be gained from seeing what other people have been doing, and to read about others with similar lifestyles to your own. Like many people, I often read a blog and think "that has happened to me". The worst thing is time - it takes longer than some people probably realise to write a post that is vaguely interesting, and keeping up to date with blogs that you follow can take a long time. Everyone has so many interesting things to say!

My questions to my nominees are:
1)Where do you see your blog/craft in 5 years time?
2)What was the first thing you ever crafted?
3)Do you make mostly for yourself, others or to sell?
4)Why did you start blogging?
5)Do you have an allocated craft space/studio?
6)Do you have a dream project that you'd like to make if money and time were no object?
7)How much time do you spend each week writing posts and reading blogs?
8)Is there a craft that you would like to be able to master?
9)Do you only make things for a purpose or do you have a "stock" of items that you've made for fun?
10)How many Works In Progress do you have?
11)What are you most proud of having made?

And my nominees:

I look forward to finding out more about the people behind these blogs!

This post has felt terribly self indulgent - thanks for reading!

Love Natalie x

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Like many mum's, I take part in a childcare swap during the holidays so that we can all keep going to work without having to worry too much about childcare. So on my day off, I fill the house with any children that need looking after (I say looking after, but they usually entertain themselves!) and then my kids go to various friends houses on the days that I'm working. Having three sons, I rarely have the pleasure of a girls company but during the first week of the holidays, I was lucky enough to be asked to look after a friends daughter (her son was here as well but he was off playing with the other boys) and this particular young lady is a keen crafter so guess what we did.....!

I had seen a picture on Pinterest of a pincushion that was hanging around a sewing machine and thought that it was a brilliant idea and that I needed one. Every young crafter needs a pincushion so whilst I made one for my machine, Antonia made one for her wrist. And here are the results:

Mine is made with some lovely material that came free with a magazine, and I used a piece of craftex at the back so that it lies flush with the machine. I have used a piece of white ribbon to allow me to tie it around my machine so now I have a pincushion to hand every time I'm using it. Antonia's was made using some scrap material that I had left over from a previous project. She was able to practice her hand sewing skills and also used a sewing machine for the first time, which she thoroughly enjoyed (a machine is on her birthday list now). She was quite rightly very pleased with herself for having made something so pretty and so useful.
I have managed to fit in more craft than I thought I would given that the holidays are in full swing but I've been a bit slow on taking pictures. Hopefully next week I'll be able to update you on all the things I've finished. In the meantime, it's time to link up with Handmade Monday over at
Love Natalie

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Like many pupils up and down the land, my sons wanted to give their teachers gifts at the end of the summer term. Sometimes I find this to be an arduous and costly task, since you don't really know these people so don't know if they prefer wine, chocolates, if you get them flowers, are they going on holiday etc etc. This year has been no problem though because all 3 of my sons wanted to make something! So I present to you the Junior Jones efforts:

Number 1 son left junior school last week so he wanted to do something really special for all of the teachers he has had through year 6. I noticed during Open Evening that they each had his graffitti-esque name drawings on paper in their rooms so I suggested to him that he make them a canvas version each, and this is the result.

Number 2 son is not quite as creative as his brothers (he is too busy playing sport) but asked if he could personalise a lavender heart for his teacher, so she now has something to remember him by!

Number 3 son has had a wonderful first year at junior school and has had a fantastic teacher so we decided she deserved something a bit special. He always enjoys the sewing in DT classes so we found a poem that we liked and he made this.....

He and his teacher decided to dispense with their correct names this year and have referred to themselves as Vaughny and Jonesy since Christmas, so he has signed himself off appropriately! I can honestly say that I only put the fabric into the ring at the end, he wrote out the poem, did the sewing and put the brads in place himself, and was mighty pleased with himself too!

He also had a wonderful teaching assistant so he personalised a lavender heart too.

I can't deny that I'm indulging in a proud Mummy moment looking at these photos, I'm sure the teachers were thrilled to have been given something handmade.

Join me over at Homemade Harbour ( for Handmade Monday, catching up on all that has been crafty this week. Having been away for a couple of weeks, I can't wait to catch up with everyone!

Love Natalie