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 !!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

PINCUSHION & THREAD CATCHER ........

Well hello there everyone .........
Spring is here, and we're emerging out from under two snow episodes, that were wonderful, but very un Texas like !!!
A couple of inches both times ...... enough to play in and build snowmen and an active snowcano (just love those baking soda and vinegar experiments they did in Elementary School) ....... It's fair to say, that I no longer feel cheated of a real Winter now !!!


Snow Day 1 .... My Snowbabies :-)


Snow Day 2. Newly fallen snow

I have been busy, creatively creating. I haven't shared much though, as most of my makes have been gifts for friends, and I had to wait for them to arrive at their new homes before sharing them here on my blog ...... what's the point of a birthday gift if someone spoils the surprise !!!!

First up .... this adorable pin cushion/thread catcher combo ....


It turned out so well ... THIS is the pattern I used. I purchased it off Etsy. It was well worth the money spent, as the directions are so well written. The only thing I did differently .... and this only happened by chance ..... was that I didn't need to use the boning that the pattern called for. I did have it, and intended to use it, but the batting/heavy interfacing I used was really heavy, so the thread catcher stays open, without needing the boning in the rim. I have already cut out another one, to make up for another friends birthday, but I'm sure there'll be plenty more of these made over the next little while. I need one for myself :-)


Here's the birthday card I made to go with the gift. Really quick and easy, but I love it !!! Four rows of complimenting washi tape, and the negative image from a butterfly punch :-)

Happy Birthday Jill ...... Hope your day was full of fun !!!!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

LITTLE CRITTERS ......

If you popped your head outside today, you'd never think that Spring is anywhere near .... it is snowing in North Texas .... and has been for a couple of hours !!!! I, for one am overjoyed ..... I LOVE snow !!!!
It wont be long though, before the flowers start blooming, and the little critters start appearing. When life seems to start anew .... a beautiful time !!! With this in mind, I baked some cookies a couple of days ago ..... little Spring critters :-)


So cute .... and delicious too !!! My favorite are the hedgehogs ..... I've always had a soft spot for those prickly little things. Brits favorite are the snails ... she just has a thing for them :-)
After my recipe testing session last time, it must be revealed that we have a new recipe for decorated cookies ...... the shortbread type cookie won hands down over my long standing sugar cookie recipe. We are a family of shortbread lovers however :-)

Time to go fetch the kiddos - they're releasing them early from school today ......Wohoo - there is some snowman building in our future I predict ....