Saturday, January 24, 2015

PRETTY PROJECT BAGS ....

I have a bit of an obsession at the moment, with my hook and yarn !!!
Perhaps it's the cold weather, or maybe it's that there are so many lovely patterns available at the moment, but I just can't seem to get enough of it. I have three long term crochet projects on the go at the moment .....


My 2015 Mood Blanket ...... Wow, it has grown a bit since this picture was taken !!! An update will happen on January 31st, after the first month of the year is over.


Sophies Universe ..... a CAL that has got me completely hooked (Hee Hee), and will run for 20 weeks. This one is for me, and will eventually be a lovely afghan.


And a second Sophies Universe. This one came to be, because my plan (which will remain a secret for now) for the first one, was not going to work out.

So three long term crochet projects needed long term homes ..... the Joann and Michael's bags were just not cutting it. Ugly .... Ugly .... Ugly .... they were, and I can't stand that crinkly, packet noise that plastic makes !!!
I pulled out old faithful again ..... my reusable shopping bag pattern. It's roomy, it's cute and it's quick to make. I dug out some stray pieces of duck cloth (I like the thickness of it for these bags), as well as some half cards of binding I had left over from previous projects, and spent a couple of blissful hours sewing.


 Arent they so bright and cheerful ..... I love them !!!


See what I mean about roomy !!! One of the bags is holding 14 skeins of yarn, without a problem :-)


Here they are, all packed full of yarny goodness.

I'm not the neatest person ... my parents will vouch for that, but I do like everything to have a home ... and a plastic shopping bag did not fit the bill !!!

Last week I mentioned my friend Val's recipe series that she's running on her blog .....
Well recipe number two, was for Hot Chocolate. I am not a hot chocolate person - I find those sachets you buy at the grocery store pretty tasteless to be honest. However,  there is a restaurant back home, called Spur, that makes THE most delicious hot chocolate (the only one I've ever enjoyed. Even Starbucks hot chocolate doesn't do it for me). This recipe tastes almost identical to that,  So THIS HOMEMADE MIX, may just have changed my views ..... it is outstanding !!! You really need to give this a try !!!


The kids believe that unless it come served with spray cream and sprinkles, the hot chocolate is not the real deal !!!!

Thanks for popping by for a visit - I so appreciate it.
Until next time ...... Happy Crafting !!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

OLAF .......

The Frozen frenzy seems to still be in full swing ...... Well it certainly is if you're 6 years old !!!!

My little niece has just turned 6 .......


Here she is, the little cutie pie. This is an old photo (from Summer 2013), when we stopped in London for the day en route home, so she has grown a whole lot since. It is the most recent photo I have of her though ....... BAD Aunty award for me !!!!

Being an Aunt is honestly one of my most favorite things .... I can't explain why, it just is :-) I'm lucky enough to have 3 nephews and 1 niece.

Over Christmas, I got THE absolute cutest voice message from her (I've got it stored on my phone, and I listen to it occasionally), telling me, she has learned to knit (Granny taught her), and she's busy making a scarf, and doing a mighty fine job of it too. My task, when next I'm with her, is to teach her to sew !!!

I thought it would be cute for her to have a special bag, to carry her knitting around in. So ..... this is what I came up with ....



I did one of my freezer paper stencil tote bags. I found a picture on the web, and used that as my jumping off point. I used fabric paint to do his mouth, nose and stick arms and hair. The design is outlined with embroidery. Those googly eyes were just perfect to finish him off !!!
I couldn't find snowflake buttons, so settled on stars instead, which I think I now prefer.


I found some really cute Olaf fabric at Joanns, which I used to line the bag ... I was so excited at how well the blue of the fabric and the two blue spray paints I used for the front matched .... Winner !!!

I made her this shaker card (my new favorite card to make), to go with her bag and other goodies I'm sending (all Frozen themed of course).


I filled the shaker box with the number 6 and some sequins ....... every girl needs a little sparkle !!!!
The cupcake is one I made from a mold, using sculpey.

Happy 6th  Birthday Jess .... We love you to the moon and back !!!!

On a side note (and a delicious one at that), my friend Val has started a recipe series. Once a week she's posting a recipe ... not just any old recipe, but one with a history. Hop on over to her blog to read the background to this idea .... It's so sweet -  you won't be disappointed. My goal, is to make each of these recipes ...... Her first recipe was for PECAN TASSIES ... they were outstanding. I've tried many varieties of this recipe, but this one wins hands down for me ...... I personally think it's all to do with the pastry/dough you make :-)


They were a breeze to make too. So ..... pop on your apron, start heating that oven, and get baking !!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

MOOD BLANKET 2015 ....

EDIT (1/14/2015): I've been asked if I'd be interested in hosting this as a CAL for 2015 ..... So here goes ladies(and gents) It's my first venture into the realms of this kind of thing (so please be patient with me)....


     SQUARE A DAY CAL 2015 !!!!

The year is still young, there's time to get caught up .... so grab your hooks, grab your yarn, choose your square pattern, and lets get hooking !!!

The idea will be to crochet a square a day ..... 
-You may decide to do a Mood Blanket, like I am. 
-You may decide to crochet a square that matches the sky for each day.
- You may want to just crochet a square in a color that takes your fancy on that specific day 
The possibilities are endless. The squares don't have to be made into a blanket ......
- Perhaps a scarf or cowl (just think ..... my January/February Cowl or Scarf)
- Anything you can make using crochet squares is a possibility.

From time to time, I'll have a few fun giveaways too, for our participants.

The idea will be for you to post on your blog, on the last day of each month, to share with us your progress, and show us what you've been up to that month.
So, come join in the fun ..... 
Email me (kerry_james@verizon.com) with your info (Name, Blog Name), so that I can add you to the sidebar.
Then grab the badge, so that we can spread the word. If you know somebody, who you think would like to join in the fun, pass the info on ...... the more we have join, the more fun it'll be !!!

So lets get hooking !!!!


This concept took flight last year (well, it was the first time I'd ever heard of it) .... it's popularity has not waned, and there are hundreds of crocheters around the world, who have decided to take up their hooks and yarn this year, and create one of these beauties !!!!
I toyed with the idea of doing one last year, and decided against it. However this year, I'm up for the challenge. A square a day for 365 days of this year .... a gorgeous blanket to show for it on December 31st ... Ahh, I'm excited.

I've chose ten colors to match my most common moods (the white is my border and joining color), and I've chosen this SUNBURST GRANNY SQUARE PATTERN, to make my squares.
I've chosen to use Bernat Satin yarn with a 3.75mm hook ..... I've never used this yarn before, but there was a great selection of colors to choose from, and it's super soft and squishy. I'm three squares down so far, and it's not too bad to work with either.


I've only bought one ball of each, and I'll buy more as I need it. My hope is that I wont need to buy any more black and grey, and that I'll be back at Joann's to buy many more balls of pink, yellow and red !!!!
I chose to use Lucy's (Attic 24) JOIN AS YOU GO to join the squares. If I had to sit and join 365 squares at the end of this project, I can truthfully say, this blanket would remain a WIP. I really like the join as you go .... I can watch it grow !!!


2015 so far .....
The first square has a white center to signify January 1st .... When I look back, I'll know where the year begun.


I have twelve of these in my planner (I made my own planner this year ..... that'll be a post on it's own). I LOVE it .... I've been able to personalize it to me !!!
I found this free printable somewhere in the wonderful world of Google. Each evening, I decide which mood best describes my day, and I color that days square in .... that way if I fall behind, I know which colors to use to catch up.

I love the idea of having a project that will span this entire year. Each square only takes me about 15 minutes to make and join. It's a great way to unwind at the end of each day.
My plan is to give you an update at the end of each month. So stop by and visit with me, and together we can watch this beauty grow !!!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

WELCOME 2015 ....

From our Family to yours .........




Happy New Year !!! May it be a year filled with love, laughter, memories made and dreams come true, for each and every one of you.
May your creative juices flow abundantly - let's make it a year of creating beautiful (and tasty) things. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

CHRISTMAS COOKIES 2014 ....

I love sugar cookies ...... but best of all, I really love pouring over pictures (thank goodness for Pinterest !!!), of beautifully iced sugar cookies. The talent of some of those cookie decorators out there is just amazing !!!
It's taken me a while to find a recipe that I like ..... one that tastes just right, keeps its shape,  and isn't a pain to make. I've tried many, but THIS RECIPE, has become my go to sugar cookie recipe. They turn out perfectly every, single time :-)
Part two of any decorated sugar cookie, is of course the icing. I've used Royal Icing many times, and while it's easy to work with and dries really hard, to me it tastes yukky !!! Not to mention that you eat it at your own risk ..... teeth, watch out !!! Then I found THIS RECIPE ..... icing sugar cookies will never be the same again !!! It tastes so much better, and while the icing dries, allowing you to stack your cookies, it wont break your teeth !!!!
And so I give to you Christmas Cookie Platter 2014 .....


I decided to keep it simple this year (truth be told, I left making them until Christmas Eve :-).
Snowflakes (Wiltons Cookie Cutter), and Polar Bears (from a Woodland cutter set, I bought at Ikea). Only two icing colors too .... red and white. Very Scandinavian looking, which I love.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, how they turned out ...... my best decorated sugar cookies ever, I think.




The little polar bear is my favorite ..... all wrapped up for winter in his little scarf !!!!

I set up a little Christmas Breakfast Buffet, every Christmas morning. It's not healthy (but hey, Christmas comes but once a year !!!). We enjoy this while we open our gifts. Here is this mornings buffet ...... Shortbread, Scone with jam and cream, and Christmas Cookies.


I hope you've enjoyed a lovely day full of love, laughter and new memories with your nearest and dearest. Ours was sweet, simple, and truly lovely.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

OUR ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS TREE .....

This little tree, has become a treasure trove of Christmas gorgeousness !!! Each ornament has a story to tell, because each one was lovingly created by hand. This entire tree is decorated with these special ornaments, and I just love it !!!!

So which little lovelies were added this year ....


 A gorgeous zipper wreath


A beautiful wire and bead tree


A lovely painted wooden egg


Some cheerful little clay toadstools (can we all say cute !!!)


A pair of cork toadstools (he has a red friend too)


A snow scene bell .... so gorgeous :-)

As you can tell our group of swappers are THE best !!! So many different talents !!!
My Friend Val hosts this little swap for us each year ...... she is a phenomenal swap mama, and an awesome friend. Thanks Val for another fantastic ornie swap .... can't wait for next years one :-)

I'll leave you now with a daytime and nighttime view of our tree, but not before I wish you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas. May you enjoy and cherish  this time spent with friends and family, as we celebrate and give thanks for, the most precious gift of all ...... The birth of our Lord and Savior.



Sunday, December 21, 2014

10 YEARS ....... A DECADE ..... A BIG CHUNK OF TIME ....

10 Years ago today, our family stepped foot on American soil ..... We were ready to embark on a new adventure. We were filled with hope, excitement and optimism ..... with a little bit of anxiety and nervousness thrown into the mix, just to keep it real.

"If I could turn back time, what would you do differently?"»  I definitely have a few things on my list...

10 long years have passed .... at times I cant believe it has been so long, and other times it has felt like an eternity. I look back along the road we've traveled this past decade, and it looks nothing like we had expected it too ..... it's a road littered with heartache, disappointment, despair, hopelessness, betrayal, unemployment, damaged relationships, a loneliness that is crippling at times ..... I could list hundreds more adjectives .... it hasn't been a pretty journey.

As you'd expect with any journey, I've learned a few valuable lessons along the way ...... First World does not always mean better (and this has been particularly true in the areas of education and medicine)...... Just because we speak the same language, does not mean that we are culturally anything alike .... Cut throat means a whole lot more than I ever believed it did .... Despite what they'd have you believe, America is not foreigner friendly - I've lost count of how many times I've met people who have been very frank about telling me, that they view foreigners with suspicion (and my children go to school with their children ..... concerning on many levels)...... A journey such as this one, changes you as a person, and not always for the better - pessimism, fear and jealousy have become all too familiar to me. I don't like these character traits, but they're ever present.

This journey has been one, in which we have lost absolutely everything and gained nothing ...... however, it has also been a journey of faith for me (this in itself is priceless)- I've found myself on my knees crying out to God more times than I can count .... I believe that faith is the only reason I'm still standing 10 years on.

I do not know what the next 10 years will look like for our little family ....... frankly it terrifies me.. Added to that, is the fact that our children are 16 and 14 ..... College is so close now, as is the independence that comes with that ...... I try to spend as little time as I can thinking about that ... I dread it, I feel that when they move on (as they should), I loose the only things we have left  .... this Mama Hen is nowhere near ready for her Chicks to flee the nest !!!

I know this post is nothing like my usual crafty/foodie posts ...... There is a sense of relief  though, in having put feelings, that I've kept close to my chest,  into words after so many years. The most common question we still get asked (after where are you from), is "So do you like it here?" - it's a difficult one to answer honestly, only because people are so easily offended - so I'm going to take this opportunity to answer it here - honestly, in my own little space - We're from South Africa, and NO, I absolutely do not like it here ..... Normal posts will resume soon.

Take Care