Friday, 30 April 2010

2 Year Giveaway

Apparently it was 2 years ago that I stepped out into the world of blogging. I can't remember how long before that I had been obsessed with all the amazing blogs out there that now become part of my daily read. But like most of us it took a while to go from the step of reading to doing.

As we all know it seems a scary step to take at the time, but words can not describe the fulfilment and enjoyment one gets from blogging. You do it. You know what I mean!

As a celebration of reaching this 2 year milestone, I have an amazing giveaway for you. In fact I have not one, not 2 but 3 prizes to offer you. All you have to do is leave a comment sometime between now and next Friday May 7th to say you would like to be entered into the giveaway. Names will be drawn at random, using a random generator or cheap child unpaid labour if one insists.

My first giveaway prize is a £20 voucher from Saints and Pinners. As you know Saints and Pinners has fast become my favourite UK based online fabric store. It is run by Mother and Daughter-in-law team Jo and Fran, who together have selected a beautiful collection of fabrics and patterns. Thank you Jo and Fran for donating your generous prize and for making buying fabric oh too easy!
If you have been following me recently you will be aware of my current Orla obsession. This obsession has been fuelled by the array of goodies that Rosie and Chris from Illustrated Living teasingly offer on their amazing website. Did you know you can accessorise your entire house in Orla? Ok you did. I've told you before. Well, Rosie and Chris, as founding members of the Orla Self-Help Group have kindly offered my next prize of a Scribble Multi Stem Mug, along with a matching Wash Mitt. See, you'll already have Orla in 2 rooms if you win this!
Finally, number 3. A little something from me. I produced these yesterday after being completely inspired on an Ikea visit this week. I knew as soon as I saw them what I wanted to make out of them. Some very sweet people have already got their mitts on them, before they even made it into the shop, but I'm wanting to give one as part of my big Give-away too.

It's been an amazing 2 years and I never imagined where I'd be when I started. How many wonderful, helpful, inspiring, funny people I'd meet on the way. Thank you all who stop by and comment. Thank you all who read behind closed doors. And here's to the next 2 years, with your help and support xx

Oh, and good luck ;-)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

I was rather green when I saw my buddy's post the other day and her recent blue and red purchase from Ikea.
I needn't have been as when the lovely lady brought my linen stash over that she picked up for me when she was there, there was a gift of a set of the afore-coveted bowls...for me!
Aren't they just perfect?

The linen is side hemmed table runner width and is a really lovely quality and weave. We've both been struggling to find good linen in the UK at the mo, so when Ikea got stock back in, Manda was straight on the phone and asked how much I needed.
Phew. I can breathe again knowing my linen stash is replenished.

Oh and if all this wasn't enough, Manda also brought over my birthday pressie of this divine Rob Ryan print. I absolutely love it and can't wait to get it up on my new walls. It's going to be just perfect.

Thanks for ALL of it, are a gem xx

(P.S. Friday is my 2 year Blog Anniversary...I can't quite believe it! Come by for a FANTASTIC birthday won't be disappointed ;-))

Monday, 26 April 2010

I've been working on Ruby's quilt this weekend and would have finished it if the sun hadn't been shining quite so much (I know, such an inconvenience).

We had one of those weekends where everyone was just chilling and doing what they wanted. Our kids and the kids next door spent the weekend hopping from our garden to theirs and back again. We were never quite sure whether we had 6 kids about or none!

Because everyone was happily doing their own thing, I snuck some guiltless time in the attic and pieced together the quilt. I actually thought Ruby would be able to take it to bed last night but that didn't quite happen. It was one of those gorgeous evenings so all activities were temporarily halted when we decided to stroll up the road to our local Pizza Express.

A shared bottle of wine later and children not in bed at a decent hour stopped any further progress being made last night. Since I had nothing pressing to be done this morning I decided to finish what was almost completed so at least tonight Ruby would have it.

Translate that to mean a bribery to get one overtired little girl into bed at a reasonable hour, after her galavanting about far too late the night before.

Friday, 23 April 2010

We are almost coming to the end of the Hoop Up Swap on Flickr and it is amazing to see how diverse the pieces that everyone has made are. Each group had about 6 people who all decided on their own theme that they wanted the group to work to.
It's been fantastic to see everyone's interpretations and final Hoops. Go take a look at all of them here to see what I mean. There are some really stunning pieces and I have picked just a few of my faves here to show you. Check out whose is whose here.
I have a busy month coming up with countdown to Samuel's Bar Mitzvah, so I don't think I'll be doing another Flickr swap for a while. But it's been wonderful to be part of this some fab talented people...and I'll certainly be following the progress of the next swap even if I abstain from taking part.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

I seem to have kick started myself back into action. First the blog post, next doing something with the cut out squares for Ruby's quilt that have been lying on the studio floor for several weeks.

Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's waking up from my little hibernation.

Maybe it's not having to make any more paint/wallpaper choices (don't mention the carpet/curtains/rugs/wardrobes...)

Whatever it is, hopefully it will hang around a while as this quilt still has a long way to go.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

With everything that is going on around here at the moment, I feel like I'm neglecting my blog somewhat. It's very easy to quickly get out of the rhythm of blogging.

But I miss it. I miss posting. I miss the contact with you out there. I miss your feedback, opinions, news.

I am determined to get back to more than a once a week pop-in to say hi. And as beautiful as my latest fabric purchases from Saints and Pinner are, I promise to give you more reasons to stop by very shortly...

...including a fab giveaway for my 2 year Blogiversary...

Watch this space ;-)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Hoop Up Swap on Flickr that I've been involved with for a while now is finally coming to completion.

I have to admit that it has been quite a challenge to fulfil. I go through phases when I am able to sit and embroider and also when I am in the mood to do so. I don't think everyone has received my best, as some of the pieces I've felt under pressure to complete when I haven't been wholly in the mood.

It has however been good to be taken out of my comfort zone working to someone else's brief and do some pieces that I may not have thought about doing. I have also met some great people along the way whose paths I may not have crossed.

(stitchery adapted from

So I shall take the positives from the experience and look forward to receiving and sharing with you, the pieces that others have kindly and thoughtfully embroidered for me.

Monday, 12 April 2010

As always happens when the weather changes and we spend more time outside, I realise how our outside space needs some tender loving care...a bit of prettying up. I find it all too easy to neglect the outside, especially in the cold dark winter when we rush inside and hardly glance at what we have.

I dragged Matthew to the garden centre yesterday and we picked up a few bits. I bought a fabulous Allium plant that I just can't wait to see bloom. In the meantime, I'm really pleased with the pot that we bought to plant it in.

Next on the row is some sweet peas that I have planted in some rustic pots by the front door. I meant to do it last year, but it didn't quite happen. I'm hoping we'll have a continuous supply of beautifully scented pretty flowers to greet us as we go in and out.

I spotted these Black Eyed Susan's and thought they also would add a bit of sunshine to the deck. I have never bought them before and have no idea how long they stay flowering for, but they look very pretty at the moment.

The last in the row here is my pride and joy peony plant. This is right next to the front steps and gives me insurmountable pleasure when it is bloom. It is the most stunning dark pink-red. It pops its head up from nowhere after sleeping underground all winter and fill me with ridiculous anticipation until it is in the bloom. The downside is it doesn't stay in bloom for long. You have to catch it while you can.

I had to get these lavender plants - one in the front and one in the back. I love the shape of them and again think they will provide lots of scent and calm tranquillity.

It's amazing how the sunshine and a few plants can perk your mood right up. Simple pleasures.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Ode to Orla

As you well know we have finally been getting on with the pretty stuff after the mayhem of putting the subsidence back together. And as you well know Orla has been featuring rather heavily in the whole process.

I didn't really mean for the house to turn into quite such a homage to Orla. But in many ways it does mean there is some unity to the house. It feels cohesive.

I'm not even sure which is my favourite Orla room. I absolutely love our bedroom. When we decided to use the wallpaper there, I was slightly hesitant, but it seemed like a good idea to save the compromise on style we would have had if we had gone with any of the others. And it's actually alot more restful than you would think.

I am totally in love with the living room. Again, it works. The grey pulls the room and the house together and the wallpaper with the fireplace is just a dream. I am convinced I am in someone else's house when I look at it.

The final Orla touch is the towels in the bathroom. This wasn't exactly planned. I was buying this phone for Matthew's birthday, when I happened you do...the towels. As you can see they fit in perfectly and to be quite honest, we had been wanting new towels for ages, so it wasn't quite as impulsive as it looks.

The house is just about done. The hallway is to be completed (no Orla there) and quite a few finishing touches are needed, but I promise, for those of you who don't quite share my love of all things Orla, this will be the last posting on the subject.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

We were in Bristol over Easter staying with one of Matthew's brothers and famille. The other brother and famille were there too, so it was a mad old but great time. I love both his brothers and wives and one of my sister-in-laws in particular. I would have chosen her as a friend and I think that's always a good sign.

We are all on the same wavelength alot of the time. Just to illustrate the point, we'd brought down 2 bottles of bubbly, the others had too and the host family had bought a couple in too! So 2 nights and 6 bottles of bubbly later... ;-)

As well as seeing my lovely in-laws, the other thing I love about going to Bristol is the obligatory trip to John Lewis' Haberdashery. We don't have a John Lewis in Leeds, although rumour has it that is soon to be rectified. We took the kids to see Nanny McPhee (fab film) and I managed to drag everyone into JL while I fabric shopped. JL fabric department is one of my favourite places to buy fabric. I love that you can buy as little as 10cm. I know you are thinking 10cm won't get you very far, but believe me I can make a heck of a lot of these and certainly a load of these with 10cm.

Time was short so in supermarket sweep style I picked up a few stash favourites - stocked up with some Cath Kidston dots and flowers, a couple of Tanya Whelan's, an Amy Butler spot that I love and then this gorgeous green Liberty esque almost Tana Lawn, which I think is going to be a new fave. The small scale is perfect for my pics and cards.

If you haven't yet discovered the wonders of John Lewis fabric Department, it's well worth the trip of finding your nearest one.

Hope you all had a Happy Easter x