Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CROCHET HOOKS, BITS AND BOBS KEEPER ....

Well this may well be the reason, that we here in Texas, are knee deep in water !!!! I've updated my blog!!!
May has been a crazy month for me. I am the coordinator for all of the 8th Grade End Of Year functions at our Middle School. That includes a Formal Dance (which was held on May 16th), organizing the printing and distribution of their 8th Grade T Shirts, and their Graduation celebration, at a local fun park this Friday ..... coordinating, organizing, and collecting money from 350 teenagers is a fulltime job !!! So yes, it's been busy, busy, busy, but a ton of fun too :-)

With May quickly coming to an end, I took last Saturday off from "business", to get my mushroom themed article made, for Val's Craft Along. May's theme was mushrooms and toadstools.

I have finally found the most perfect crochet hooks ..... well for me anyway !!! These don't hurt my hand when I crochet. I only have three of them so far, but I'll get them as I need different sizes. The perfect crochet hooks, need the perfect home.


I decided to make a fold over bag to keep my hooks, and crochet bits and bobs safe I didn't work from a pattern. Instead I made it up as I went along, adding what I needed to make it perfect for me.
Appliqued mushrooms - so pretty :-)


These are my perfect hooks !!!!


The two sides have pockets for the crochet hooks to slip into. I also added a length of wool felt, so that I had somewhere to keep a few needles and pins.


I added a little zipper pocket to the back. It'll be useful for keeping my scissors, stitch markers and other bitties safe.
I finished it off with some red binding and a spotty ribbon tie :-)
It is already in use, and is working so well for me :-)

And while we're on the subject of crochet, it's time for another Sophie's Universe update !!! I am way behind on this, but hey, I'll get there in the end. I have just finished Part 7 ....


Not the best photo, but natural light is not very abundant here at the moment !!! She is really pretty, and growing steadily. I have learned so much from making her, and have surprised myself as to how much I can actually do when it comes to crochet.

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit - it is very appreciated.
Wishing you all a happy day filled with sunshine .... and some crafty time !!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

HUMMINGBIRDS .....

These little birds fascinate me ........ I adore them !!!!
We've put out feeders for the past few years, and would get sporadic visits from one or two hummingbirds each season. I've always used the store bought nectar.
This year, I decided to change things up after chatting to a friend of mine, who makes her own nectar. She has hummingbirds that pay her visits daily throughout the summer. I also decided to put up more feeders, in the hopes of attracting more birds. The nectar I make up is 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. I empty out the old nectar and wash out the feeders before refilling them with fresh nectar every Saturday ..... such a rewarding weekly chore.
Well, I'm pleased to report, it has worked, and I am elated !!!


This male kept us entertained all through dinner tonight. The weather here is glorious at the moment, so we're taking every chance we get, to eat our meals outdoors. This little guy spent about 30 minutes this evening, flying down to feed, then he'd fly up and sit on a branch in the magnolia tree you see behind the feeder. He was not bothered by us .... and let me tell you, when they make an appearance, we go into paparazzi mode !!!!


This little lady is also a regular - I think they may even be a pair :-) You can see how we have multiple feeders in a row - there are 4 in total, and they visit all of them.


There little wings make the most amazing humming noise - very loud for such little things !!!


I'm hoping these birdies will hang around all summer .... they're a sight to behold :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ......



21 Years ago today, I married this awesome man ........ I'd do it again, in a heartbeat !!!!
Happy Anniversary My Love. 
Love you always and forever XXXXX

Monday, April 6, 2015

EASTER 2015

So how was everyones Easter? Full of family, friends and memory making I hope. Ours was quiet, but sweet. Just the four of us.
I thought I'd share with you all today, Easter 2015, in The James home :-)

On arriving in the US 10 years ago, I was horrified to discover that Hot Cross Buns were an unknown entity !!! They were an entrenched part of our Easter tradition back home, and something that I really missed. I hated the idea that my kids wouldn't know what they were, or how delicious. This year, I was determined to bake some. I did an extensive search on the internet, to find just the perfect recipe. They couldn't have icing crosses, that just isn't traditional enough .... had to be the flour and water paste ones. It couldn't have "added extras" .... things like apples !!! Where did that come from !!! I found THIS RECIPE ..... it is everything a good Hot Cross Bun should be !!! The process is a little time consuming, you'd expect that though, when working with yeast, but this recipe is a keeper, one that will take up its rightful place in my recipe folder, to be used year after year :-)


Ready for the oven ....


Fresh out of the oven, and glazed ....

Another favorite in most families I think, is THE Easter Basket !!! Richard started asking about his at least a week back. I decided this year to get a few good chocolate Easter eggs (Brittany has decided that Lindt is her chocolate of choice ..... can't blame her really !!!), and then a non chocolate item .... a book for Brittany that she'd been wanting, and some fishing lures for Richard. Andy got his fair share of chocolate (and gummy Easter bunnies, I couldn't resist ) !!!


We skipped Easter Lunch this year, because we attended the Baptism of a friend of mine at Church, instead of attending my regular Easter Sunrise Service. Lunch, I decided would be a snacky affair, and that I'd do Easter Dinner instead. I've wanted to make one of these bread bunnies for ages, but have never got around to it ..... this year I was determined, and I'm so glad I did ...... it was SO cute !!!


With a hollowed out hole in his tummy to hold the veggie dip ..... He is a definite do again. If you want to give him a try, there are tons of tutorials on Pinterest, that you can have a look at.

Easter Dinner was a roast turkey breast and sides occasion ..... lamb or glazed ham would have been my prefered choice, but Brittany only eats poultry, so turkey it was. It was quite delicious !!! I made Lemon Meringue pie for dessert, but we never got to eat any, as everyone was too podged ...... lucky us, dessert on a Monday night :-)
I like to pretty up my dinner table on special holidays .....


This was our place settings ...... my kids LOVE crackers, so when I found these Easter ones at World Market, they were a must have :-)


Aren't these little carrot patches just the cutest!!! I used THIS TUTORIAL to make them. They were pretty easy to put together ... the dirt insert was a little fiddly, but I think they were worth the effort. The kids loved them :-) Lindt chocolate carrots - what's not to love about that !!!


This year is flying by .... Easter has come and gone, and we're on the rapid down hill, with only 8 weeks left of school, until the kids are out for the summer.... I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I love having them home with me ... Summer Holidays are no problem for me ..... except for the hideously awful heat, of course :-(

Wishing you all a wonderful week.....

Friday, March 27, 2015

AVIAN REAL ESTATE .....

Here in the South, Spring is in full swing. The trees are bursting into leaf, flower buds are ready to pop open, the grass is green and the regular mowing schedule has begun. Our garden is alive, with birds collecting material for nests ... building nests ..... and preparing for the next generation, and I LOVE it !!!!
We had one birdhouse in our garden last year, that was home to 2 sets of little wren babies - this year, the house sparrows have claimed it first. The decorative African mask we have on our back patio is home to little wrens every year .....


A couple of years ago, we organized a Scout Recruitment event, and there were 4 birdhouses that the little boys "painted". Let's just say, I saved them from the trash !!! They've been sitting in our garage for a while, so this year I decided that they were very much needed in our yard. I gathered up some patio paints, brushes and lots of ideas (thanks Pinterest .... again !!!), and got to it !!!


They were very ugly to start ......



Amazing what a few coats of paint can do !!!!
The "Mushroom Cottage" has some detail on the sides too:-)


"Chickadee House" ..... hopefully some little lovestruck birdie couple decides to call this home.

We chose the trees we wanted to put them up in, then Hubby came up with a way to attach them .... I can do the creative part - I'm not that good when it comes to the practical, that is his domain !!!



Here they both are, up and ready for the taking !!!
I have two more still to paint ..... best I get busy..... Spring waits for no one :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

PERLER BEADS ......

I am so late to the party with these lovelies, that it's ridiculous. Yes, my kids had them when they were younger, and yes, I may have ironed the odd beaded creation here and there, but I never paid them much attention ..... that was until a couple of weeks ago.

I'm not sure how they made an appearance on my Pinterest feed, but they did, and I'm mighty glad about that.


I was totally amazed at the wonderful things one could make with these little plastic beads, and just how many people there are out there, who make a living on Etsy, selling those wonderful creations.
The timing of this discovery was perfect - I'm taking part in a year long craft along hosted by my friend Val (click on the badge on my sidebar for info ..... it's not too late to join in on the fun !!!). March's crafty challenge was to "Seussify" something, in honor of Dr Seuss's birthday. One particular Perler item had caught my eye ...... Coasters !!! I've been meaning to make a couple for my "office" for forever, but have just never quite got there ... well now I have, and it's another thing crossed off my (ever growing) To Do List..... with the added bonus, that they're super cute, super colourful, and just make me smile !!!



I found some charts on the net and Pinterest, that I could adapt or use as was ..... and here are the results. Grinch, Lorax and Sneetch !!!! Mr Grinch is my favorite :-)
In my research, a number of crafty people, suggested backing the coaster with cork, once you'd ironed the beads and melted them - Great idea - it makes them non slip, and it helps absorb any liquid, should that be necessary.


When I shared them on the swap blog, one of my good friends and fellow zombie doll maker, suggested that a zombie coaster would be quite fantastic ....... Sooooo


I made these two ugly, adorables, and popped them into the parcels with the dolls from yesterday's post :-)

Brittany and I sat for hours (and I mean HOURS!!!) over the 31/2 snow days we had, creating. She made some gorgeous round coasters with designs she made up ..... I'll share those with you in another post. Those buckets of beads should come with a warning that reads "Addictive". I can see so many possibilities  ..... scrapbook embellishments, card embellishments, mobiles, tree decorations, boxes,magnets ......etc.

Time for you to go and dig in your kiddos toy cupboard and see if you can unearth a tub (bet you can) of these little beads ..... pull them out, have a little play around, and you'll understand exactly what I mean :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CLOTH DOLLS .....

Hello again ..... two posts in two days .... I'd say things are looking up at the moment :-)

Type "Cloth Dolls" into the search box on your computer ..... you'll be transported to a place of such creative talent !!! There are hundreds, if not thousands of cloth dolls out there .... and Oh My Goodness, so many of them are drool worthy !!!!

Needless to say, the bug bit me, and I had to  ..... just HAD to ..... make some. I raided my stash (these are great projects to use up all of those little scrappy bits on) ... fabric, buttons, lace, ribbons and even my scrapbooking inks, paints and jewelery making waxed threads .... anything was fair game.
I was particularly taken by some dolls I'd seen on Pinterest, that, to quote a friend of mine, "were so ugly, they were adorable" .... I couldn't have agreed more. All primitive looking (a little zombie .. ish to be honest :-)

I coffee stained my main fabric, and free hand drew out some pattern shapes that I liked.
Saturday morning, I jumped out of bed and tip toed to "my office", while the rest of my family were still in dreamland. I popped a Queen CD into the CD player (I'm well aware I've just aged myself :-), Made myself a mug of coffee, and let my creative side run wild ....... It was total, complete, absolute bliss!!!!



See what I mean so ugly, they're adorable !!!!
I winged my way through both of them ...... sewed where I wanted to sew ..... painted where I wanted to paint ..... it was honestly creative carte blanche !!! I'd recommend it to anyone ..... no rules creating ... It sent my creative mind into overdrive !!!


Boy, do I adore him !!!! He was Brits favorite :-)


And her too !!!

I sent them off to two of my sweetest bloggy friends ever ... Girls who have the same need to create that I do :-)

I have drawn out more shapes that I'd love to try .... Oh My a family of Ugly Adorables ... I can hardly wait !!!!