The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Monday, 28 April 2014

A project to work on.

Did you know having hobbies counts as a healthy living factor and decreases your "real age"? I read that on Dr. Oz but now I notice it is in all the "what is your real age tests" and articles about longevity and health. Well how good is that! (having a pet is another one but we will get to that later).

When I am passionately involved in a project I am working on and normal life seems like an interruption I understand why this is true. The absorption in what you are doing, the enjoyment and peace are like a meditation. I even sleep better. I have said this with knitting, the rhythm is soothing and the following a new pattern stretches your brain like doing a crossword does and is good for your brain age. 

So now we have established our excuses to put more time into our hobbies!....

I am almost finished my bobble blanket, in fact I wanted to show you a picture today as I am so pleased with it. But I went to and noticed I haven't finished it off, tied in threads etc. I will soon when I have done these things. And waiting patiently I have yarn I have saved up for my next crochet project. I am so excited just seeing it sit there looking lovely. 

In a gorgeous home wares store I saw a large crochet blanket over a lovely french chair. It was cream and lacy. It looked fabulous and was a few hundred dollars. Inspired by that I decided my next one would be really big, and very pale cream and french grey/putty with some sparkly bits. And for the end of our bed. And I found these as my sparkly sections. I can't wait to start on this!

In between I am embroidering. I have to say you don't care one bit about the weather when you have projects to work on. You won't (hopefully) hear me moaning about the rain and being bored, ever. On that note I just got an e book called "How to live on 24 hours a day" which I am interested to read as I often think that. There are only 24 hours in a day and the weeks fly by and I can't live long enough to do everything I would love to do.

My one and only ragged and horrible pin cushion has looked like it needs replacing for ages. In Spotlight recently I looked for one. There was ONE small, sad, horrible pincushion to choose from. I thought that was amazing. I am noticing this, it's a very basic thing and you are lucky to find one. Like t towels it is very hard to get nice t towels.

I thought ok then if I can't find one I will make one and I will make them as gifts, since they are so scarce my sewing friends will like them.  With my little tiny bits and pieces I have been assembling...

I am trying to create a little stack of these, then add pins for sweet little gifts and to give myself a couple to actually use. Being little they don't take long and I'm making progress. 

Last night we had beautiful long soaking rain. I'm so happy about this. I have to get some ordinary things like grocery shopping done and get a move on. 

It doesn't matter if you are a complete beginner or you need to resurrect some skills you haven't used in a long time, working on a project is really wonderful. Learning a new skill is even better and there is no age barrier for that. Nana L learned to spin I guess in her 60s and it became epic for her! As much as I love each thing I do, learning a new stitch even is so exciting and adds to the fun of it.

I hope you are having a good week. Towards the end of the week I will not be posting for a few days... I am working on something big for the future of my blog and learning a heap of new things. (which I need to do). xxx

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Meals made ahead are like money in the bank.

I really think that a well stocked pantry and meals made ahead in the freezer are like money in the bank. Besides being so good not to have to cook every night you have a stash of meals for when things go wrong, you are unwell or you have a week with very little money. You can get through and feel confident you can.

Also easy nights and no cook nights make life much easier. We all get cooking fatigue. No one needs to cook every night. If you combine some super easy nights with some no cook nights then you have a much happier time cooking on the remaining nights.

My greatest help is the crock pot. (slow cooker).

Over the weekend I filled my biggest slow cooker with a beef casserole. It is so simple.

In this I had thick slices stewing steak. Mushrooms, onions, carrot, sweet potato, baby potatoes.... later I added broccoli. Pepper, two tins of tomato soup. That's it. One tin of tomato plus one tin of mushroom soup (or packet) makes it like a stroganoff. Either is fine. 
A dash of soy sauce or something else you like. 

I let it cook on  high all day, stir it a couple of times a bit. Thicken with gravy at the end if you want.

It just cooks down into a delicious stew. And we had that last night. Then I sat aside another serving of stew using the rest of the little potatoes in that. 

After that I used a wooden spoon to break it up more and then made meat pies. I got 3 big meat pies, family size. But you can make individual size ones as I did recently with my Texas muffin tins when I did this with chicken.

Pies make it entirely different and we will have a pie tonight, with relish. 

Pies freeze so well and are delicious! So I have meals made ahead and ready to go. It was easy. I made one for Lucy and her husband. I know that will be a help to them this week.

The thing is you don't need special recipes. If you have a favourite curry, soup, stew, casserole then use it. I never add any water, except for soup. The main thing is it will not evaporate so don't use much liquid. Add something like a tin of soup, a can of peaches, a moist ingredient, and stir once or twice to coat the ingredients in that or the juices. And let it cook for the day. You can do a whole roast and place the vegies around the outside. I do apricot chicken, pot roasts, lamb shanks, many soups, baked apples and anything you can think of! Long cooking is flavoursome and you can use inexpensive humble things and they become tender and beautiful.

My second cook up was I cooked a whole Turkey Saturday night. It was 4.5 kilos. I got it for $3.50 a kilo after Christmas. I got three. Now you can do this with a big chicken. Or since you have the oven on roasting roast two chooks at the same time and twice as many vegies.
Anyhow we had a huge roast dinner with cranberry sauce and a heap of roast vegies and gravy. It was beautiful. Andy was in heaven with this.

So that is a lot of meat! (especially being tow of us) and that is precisely the idea! The next day the boys went fishing and took chunks of turkey, the remaining leg and wings. These caused a sensation. Andys son said "that is one big chicken!" and was very excited when told it's a turkey. He devoured it saying that's what he wants in life more real meat! They were happy.

After dinner I made "tv dinners". I had cooked extra vegies, make plenty of gravy all in the first place planning to have lots over. One TV dinner was for Chloe and I think she would be having it tonight. I know she loves this!

They can be reheated in the oven or microwave. I have always made these. On a frazzled night or if you aren't well being able to slap a complete roast meal on the table in minutes is just wonderful! A roast meal is comforting, delicious and happy. Really they reheat very well. 

So now I have stews, pies, roast dinners ready to go. 

Other things I would do with left over chicken or turkey would be make wraps, baguettes, focaccias, chop up and make chicken soup without the chicken and add it in towards the end, make a pasta sauce and add the chicken or chop and add vegies and cheese and make a pie. 

Watching out for great specials on meat and vegies you can end up with so many meals. I would never say use this meat or that vegie. Use what you can get on wonderful specials and go from there. 

So I don't have to cook tonight or tomorrow night and all the meals are not the same at all. I have a built up freezer stash as well.

Oops I forgot to mention I had 3 bags of broccoli as it was $2.50 a kilo so on Saturday morning I cooked 7 big heads of broccoli, onions and added 2 tins of cream of chicken soup and blended that. I added some stock to taste and cheese. It turned out so yummy, nice and thick. I did that Saturday morning. I freeze it in individual serves as I try to have soups mainly for my lunches in winter. It made a lot of soup! I sat and had a bowl of this for my Saturday lunch.

I really hope crock pot cooking can be a big help to you as it is to me. Thick soups like minestrone or chicken soup can be a meal in themselves, have a bread stick or rolls on hand and warm them up and you have a family filler. Good hot food in winter is so warming and comforting!

Have a wonderful week! I think we have rain coming which we desperately need. And a new month! I love to consider everything we have done this month and plan a new one. Just time to tick a few extra things off the list fro April. Today is Andy's birthday too and yesterday was our anniversary. Celebrations! xxx

Use your brooches.

Old brooches seem to be in everyones collections of jewellery or bits and pieces. I really love them and yet never really wore them. But I would admire them and love the colours and sparkle. I think often they are old and so first a good clean to bring them up to their sparkly best is the first thing to do.

After that there are so many options! But get them out and enjoy them. 

Smaller ones can be glued (with super glue) to hair clips or slides and used as amazing hair jewellery. In fact in a bun or twist the brooch mechanism is fine and will work in your hair. Oh so pretty!
Brooches can change the shape of a neckline. I have a squarish neckline on a top I don't like. I change it to a sweetheart neckline with a brooch and this made it wearable for me and lovely. Another top is a wrap style gathered on one side but it is too big for me. A large brooch secured to make that gather a bit tighter works a treat, the top fits and the brooch really adds to it (in the same colour pale blue).

I have tied a ribbon around a cake and pinned a brooch to the ribbon as a beautiful cake decoration. 

I have a star brooch I use on top of my Christmas tree every year.

Suddenly my eyes were open to the possibilities! 

Pinned to a lampshade...

Pinned to a gorgeous ribbon on top of a special present.

A beautiful brooch pinned to an evening bag can take it up a notch and be matched to your outfit.

Pinned to a hat they can be just gorgeous or a beret. This can be so lovely and unique.

They can be very practical and secure a scarf in place that will never stay where you want it!

I have some which were lovely yet broken or imperfect and I use them as fridge magnets. I just glued little magnets on the back with super glue. They look lovely on my fridge! 

Other ideas are gluing them to a photo frame as a feature or clipping to a stretchy headband. Or glued to a vase or a velvet ribbon or belt. Make a curtain tie back or pin to a curtain tie back. It just goes on and on!

If they are languishing they can have a new life and add to your wardrobe. Seriously my too big top with the gathered fabric and brooch on my hip just works and gives me an extra top I may have overlooked. 

I love it when we have things that can have a new use and gives us that "I have new stuff" feeling without costing a cent. As a pin can rescue all kinds of situations a brooch is just a really pretty pin and very handy.

The weekend is almost over! I have a crock pot full of beef and vegies which is just now starting to smell so good. I am planning to write a post on some crock pot basics that are such life savers. There is just nothing like dinner being ready at the end of the day and having to do nothing but serve it. Especially when we are tired, have babies, little kids or have been out all day. Such a life saver. So that is tomorrow! 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Turning gloom into glow.

Already our evenings are so dark! It seems so soon and memories of garden watering as the sun set at 9pm seem a minute ago. But no, it is almost dark when Andy gets home from work. 

That can just feel so gloomy and cold! And I think it is hard on people having no recreation time in the daylight. But that is the season and we have to adapt.

A total transformation from gloom to glow is walking into an open fire. Everyone gravitates to a fire. It is beautiful, warm, comforting, lovely...

At the farm there are fires and things feel so cozy. Knitting near the fire.... ahhh!

Coming in at second best but still lovely is candle light. We also have fairy lights inside and I just love them. Between these we go from gloomy to a soft glow, twinkly fairy lights and things seem inviting, romantic and pretty. What a change in atmosphere! 

I have lots of candles around the house. I need to take a photo of the bedroom ones... I didn't think of that last night! So here is our lounge room and dining table...

A great tip is to place your candles in front of a mirror and double the effect and light. The same with fairy lights it seems you have twice as many.

Our hallway is really dark, I always have a candle on a hall table.

Our fairy lights are solar. You can get them often at cheap shops. They turn themselves on when it gets dark and depending on the sun that has charged them they go a few hours or into the night. I place the solar part on the windowsill where some sun hits it during the day. They are soft and sooo pretty. I want to get some more...

These are over my angel statue in the lounge room, it's tough to photograph when darker but this gives an idea...

These look wonderful along a mantlepiece or even draped around a canopy bed, along a curtain rod... they look just wonderful the darker it gets. They honestly transform the atmosphere and cost NOTHING to run. Between these and candles we barely use electric lights as night, I do to cook. So a massive saving too and all for a beautiful effect.

I bought a candelabra from the op shop on my trip the other day. It needed a spray paint as it was brassy. This has replaced a couple of small candles on the dining room table...

Now you do have to be sensible with candles especially with little kids around etc. In that case the solar fairy lights are great as they are not even hot if you touch the globes, cannot be knocked over. Mostly I would keep things up high and out of the way and have them anyway because these things are all magical when you are little! In fact solar fairy lights would work nicely as a night light in a child's room and be so pretty.

Further cozying up comes from adding soft throw rugs to the lounge, a hot dinner, soup, good things in the oven.... then a gloomy evening becomes so beautiful! 

Today I am making soup from a big broccoli special. And tonight I am roasting a turkey! Yep a whole turkey. I bought several when they were $3.50 a kilo after Christmas. Then I will have a challenge to see how many meals I can get from this turkey... but tonight it's a roast and roast vegies and gravy and the works. Also we had some rain overnight, I am so glad of that! So it is truly a cozy day and evening. Well, that is the plan.... Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Shop your own wardrobe.

Most of us have quite a lot of clothes and accessories, wardrobes over stuffed and still end up wearing the same thing everyday or stand there thinking WHAT will I wear? 

Also I think most of us have by now an idea of what we like, suits us and what colours work for us. If not be guided by your own colouring, the colours of your eyes and hair.

A couple of years ago I did a big clean out and put everything out that was left... ie it fit and I liked or thought had potential, and had a giant make outfits session from stuff right there in front of me.

I had new info. I had seen a stylist and I had read a million things about the current season and ways to work your re wardrobe to look "current".

Now, I don't really care if I look current or not. As often I think what is current is hideous. But sometimes you can take ideas and use them to your advantage!

One thing that worked that year for me was adding a good belt to a series of day dresses I had. I took away the skinny fabric matching belt and added a chunky leather one with a great buckle. Then added a long line cardi and boots. Ooooh I loved the difference. Adding your belt over the top of the lot ie belt over cardi as well looks fabulous too if you are thin enough.

Since my dresses re work made me so many new outfits that I actually wore all winter I have done this once or twice a year and each time I am amazed by my new outfits! Plus it's fun. And you have a lovely time wearing things you love in new ways each day for just ages.

The money you save! You can just save. Or you can use it to buy something really wonderful that is an investment piece and really something good that maybe you would never have otherwise. 

A big help for me was with colours. I am down to the colours that suit me best after years of working that out. They go together and it is so easy. But colour rules changed. You might be way more advanced than me but for me some colour discoveries gave me so many more combinations to wear.

In my colour palette the discovery that blues and browns LOVE each other was a big help. 
Since I wear smoky blues and have caramel hair caramel and blue eyes they already go together (since I always go everywhere with my own blue eyes and caramel hair!) So I mostly carry a caramel bag and live in smoky blues. I wear jeans a lot so this all works with jeans.

Looking at pictures of exotic cats convinced me about brown and blue. Brown or tabby cats with striking blue eyes. Nature isn't wrong it's brilliant!

Noticing this and being captivated by it I noticed that tiger colours, leopard prints etc looked amazing with blue. I have always had a soft spot for leopard prints, animal prints. I go for soft muted ones and wear with smoky blue. Previously I would never have thought to wear blue and animal prints. (works with muted greens too) But now it is a main combination I love. Nature is brilliant. And when I wear this my eyes look really blue. If I do it with a smoky green my eyes look really green!

So now I was able to mix a whole heap of things I wouldn't have thought "went" before. My wardrobe doubled or tripled in that instant.

If I am going away for a few days a few items make heaps of combinations and I'm set.

Now whatever colours you have collected try doing the same. Try Polyvore and Pinterest and try googling current colour trends as you will probably find the same thing, you have combinations you never have used before and they look lovely. 

Another one that worked for me was the discovery that it's cool to wear navy with black. What? Well this gave me so many outfits. The idea is to do it like you meant to not like you got dressed in the dark! Below is a skirt (the lace) top and cardi combination I wear that I love. But now I just wear navy and black together all the time. Very french apparently. Who knew? Again this one thing gave me heaps of new combinations to wear.

Then chunky statement necklaces came in. Which I loved. But you can just wear several necklaces together or twist them together and so it is nothing for me to layer five necklaces. People are always asking me where did I get my necklace and it is just a few together.

Also came stacked bangles. I love that look. Seriously just wear several you already own, make them different, skinny with chunky with different textures. 
(note go for a statement necklace OR stacked bangles... not both together!)

Doing this include your bags and shoes. This year my project revealed an almost new pair of ankle boots in caramel I neglected last year. I will wear them with my jeans and brown/caramel/blues and they are perfect. I actually don't need to buy anything.

If you have daughters be brave and when your clothes are all laying out ask her what does she think will go with what. Or do this with a friend. They most times see things we don't and it is amazing how fresh input gives you a whole heap of new combinations. I think we see what we have in a certain way. If our eyes are open to new possibilities we can be amazed! Well, I was. I had things in front of me that I would not have put together and just like that they became outfits I love. Wardrobe blindness is like domestic blindness, when you don't notice something after a while but if you go away and come back you think wow how did I not realise...? Fresh eyes. Fresh possibilities.

I hope that a wardrobe re work might save you money and give you some fun wearing new combinations. It is lovely to have a series of outfits lined up and not have to think about it again for some time. Winter is great as you can layer and it gives you variety from mixing and matching. It is just gorgeous to know you have an outfit ready for any eventuality ready to go. And a wardrobe that just works instead of the nightmare I have faced before!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A gift journal.

One year, after the girls had grown and moved out, I bought two lovely journals that were blank inside except for recipe categories and they had pockets to store mementos.

For months I wrote in each one all the best recipes and household tips I had. From what to do when there is sickness in the household to how to entertain a toddler and keep kids busy in wet weather!

I included recipes from Mum and the Great Grans, the family trees as far as I could get them, descriptions of people now gone, cards and letters from the Great Grans and so on. They started to come together as treasures of family information, keep sakes, recipes and tips.

I started with a solid journal with a thick cover so it might stand the test of time.

Being a big project I approached it that I would write in them a couple of times a week and collect things and over time they just grew.

In each I added into pockets cards and letters that Great Gran L had been given during her life, some when Chloe's Nana was born like the baby card above.

Chloe had written to Great Gran B and she had replied to Chloe with this sweet letter so I included that in Chloe's book with a lovely photo of when Great Gran was young. She had loved getting mail from Chloe, I think this must have been when Chloe was six or seven.

They were really lovely to make. A trip down memory lane as I did them. And thoughtful like what would I want the girls to know if I fall off the perch before I get to tell them some of these things. I love this photo of Chloe and Great Gran B. They were very fond of each other. Lucy has the equivalent photos too.

I gave the books to the girls one Christmas and they loved them. Making something like this really would be a wonderful wedding present or gift anytime for a daughter, great grand daughter. Cards, letters, recipes etc are all easily lost but become the treasures and links and memories.

As I still find new tips and recipes quite often at Christmas I will write the new best ones into lovely cards or writing paper and give them to the girls to add to their books. Eventually I should have the books back for a week and write new things in and give them an update.

I'm so glad I started these. Chloe also showed me a book I had written out for her when she first moved out of home. It was all the things I thought she needed to know and didn't. Some of it is funny now! But sweetly she kept it. Even writing and collecting for a few years will create a keep sake that will be amazing one day as long as you keep at it. And if you still have your Nana or anyone getting older get them to write out for you their tips and best recipes or fill in some pages directly for you. What treasures they become!

Yesterday I got huge heads of celery at the supermarket, they must weigh around 2 kilos each. And they were $1. So today I am making a huge pot of cream of celery soup. It is another really lovely autumn day. A perfect day for Prince William and Kate to be in Adelaide. My bobble crochet blanket is nearly finished, I think I can finish it on the weekend if I go fast! Being a short week things are flying by but long weekends are good fro crochet!

I hope you are having a happy

Monday, 21 April 2014

Holiday projects.

Over the weekend I had a very funny little moment. Chloe had a few days off just as we all did and had used it for a few projects (and a rest). She had seen a lovely jumper that she adored on Polyvore, it was a Miu Miu jumper for $485 
It sold out, I notice, at that price... 
If you want to see it google Miu Miu bow back jumper or look at this link

So Chloe bought herself a chain store jumper and set to work. 

Here is her chain store purchase....

And here she is in her Miu Miu inspired jumper...

My funny little moment was thinking she has spent her holidays doing exactly what she always did as a school child. School holidays were wonderful. We looked forward to them so much. And I was surrounded by mothers who hated school holidays complained the kids were bored and so on. Not us. I loved the girls at home. We had sleep ins, pyjama days, late nights, movie nights, movie marathons, days of cooking, days of crafts, little outings and it was gone in a flash, too soon.

I did feel if I had not taught the girls to cook, sew, housekeep, garden etc they would never have learned these things as what they did at school was pitiful. Similarly when I was at school my home ec teacher gave us a packet mix cake... that was learning how to make a cake. Quality. I'm sure there are better teachers and better schools but this is how it was.

But more and what ever school might have been like it is our job to teach our children and many things they need to know are best learned from us. I notice many skills I use everyday were taught to me by Mum or one of my Nans. 

School holidays are needed for rest. Kids get tired, even as they got older I found by the end of term they were tired. And I noticed growth spurts happened in holidays when they slept lots. Immune systems need the rest and catch up I'm sure. And we relished that.

Every holidays we had a heap of projects going and many carried through into the school term like crocheting a rug or something like that.

So here years later Chloe is using her long weekend to make over a jumper. I just smiled and am glad of all the little skills she has stored up in her that make her feel she doesn't have to pay lots for things she likes, she can make herself a copy for a fraction of the cost.
It was a moment of seeing some groundwork paying off! The time spent with your children and teaching them little things is not a waste of time, it is treasure and limited. Use it and love it. I can still help them and teach them but not like in those years when we all lived together day and night. 

A beautiful site for clothes ideas is Polyvore. Also Pinterest as you can use it to find outfit ideas and DIY fashion ideas which are limitless! Many times gorgeous designer things are really ordinary things with something added and you can really re create them easily. If you love clothes and fashion or have a teenager who does a wonderful site is LoveMaegan blog.
She is a stylist and has a huge DIY fashion section of tutorial for clothes, accessories and also home wares. Everything is designer inspired and gorgeous plus easy to do. I love her site! She also has great hair tutorials....
If you have teenage girls and need holiday projects try that site. 

I always say you can have almost anything your heart desires if you don't mind making it. This is a great thing to teach kids and when they get older and care about clothes then this is great. They can have the things they want if they can earn the money to pay for it or make it. Parents have budgets and teaching staying in your budget is the most important thing and is more important than teaching how to use a credit card!

Teaching simple things like how to hem jeans and basic mending is a little time well spent. Saying I will show you how to do it, lets do it together... it takes a bit longer but is a good investment.

Now I am thinking I should be working on some nice things for my wardrobe! I have a couple of super easy winter fashion ideas  and DIYs I'll post as it gets cooler.

Have a wonderful

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Handbag organisation.

There is nothing like being out and needing a something and knowing not to worry as you have just what you need right with you in your handbag. As I get migraines keeping a headache tablet with me to take right away is the difference between a headache and it developing into a migraine and being ill for a couple of days. 

Other things like a hanky or tissues, a band aid,  pen, note pad etc. are on my list of things I am always needing. Then phone and purse of course. 

As the weather has cooled I thought I would change to a more wintry handbag. On Flylady she has you clean and tidy your handbag and purse every Friday. I wasn't doing a very good job obviously as yesterday I emptied my bag out and my purse and started again. I think it weighs a kilo less now!

My Mum has always needed a lot of stuff and had a big handbag. One day years ago she realised her bag had become ridiculously heavy and decided to have a clean out. In the bottom she found a horse shoe! You know, a real heavy old horseshoe. She remembered she had picked it up thinking it was interesting and someone would want it... and forgotten MONTHS ago! lol. No wonder her bag was heavy. So in this fashion I emptied out my summer bag and found all kinds of bits and pieces that accumulate. 

I love having an organised handbag and I hate it getting too heavy. I use a larger size bag. Apart from the fact I like to have what I need I think a large bag is more flattering overall. (proportionately to your body, in the same way as a larger watch does... nothing makes you look fatter than a tiny watch!) Also I hate not being able to find things, rummaging for keys etc.

The easiest thing I have found is to have little purses to contain things. I have one for coins, one for makeup, one for tablets etc. This way I don't have to rummage so much.

I try to use mini versions of things, tiny powder, lip gloss, foundation, perfume, these are all sample sizes. And just a couple of things rather than whole packets. Otherwise it all gets too heavy in no time.

Then I find it really easy if I have a few scarves that work in with my bag. Then you look instantly like you thought it through ... without having to think it through! 

Ages ago I wrote a post about colour coordination and working out what suits you. I keep to a few colours that all go together and are my best colours. So really everything goes with everything. But the tip that saved me or sanity and hassles than any other tip is this.... if you match your accessories to either your hair colour or your eye colour they will really flatter you and you will always look coordinated since it is tough to leave either your hair or eyes at home. Lucy mostly wears a shoe or bag the colour of her hair (ash blonde) and she caught on to this well before me. It always looks stunning. If your hair is a deep red image wearing boots the same colour... see what I mean. No more issues with what colours to wear and what will go with what. 

My hair is blonde and my eyes look blue if I wear blue or green if I wear green. Mainly I wear soft blues, smoky blue, grey blue... and cream. Sometimes burgundy and blue. Anyway it is very simple. 

I have lots to do, everyone is coming for an Easter dinner tonight. I am hoping the weather will still be ok and we can have it outside as that is much nicer. Although evenings are much darker already I have fairy lights and we can light our chimnea so there is a lovely glow and it isn't too dark. I make lots of food so left overs will be everyones lunches tomorrow as well! 

This year I didn't buy much chocolate for Easter. Both the girls have households and budgets and are always watching their weight etc so for a few weeks before Easter I added extra things to my grocery list and made them up a little hamper each of useful things for winter cooking. Other times I have made it slippers or warm nightie, dressing gown or something like that. We are celebrating a day late this year, just going along with things everyone had on.

I hope you are enjoying your long weekend. We have a short week, really short week due to Anzac day as well. This week will fly! xxx

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Pen friends.

Pen friends are like most things you get mostly what you give! If you love beautiful things in the mail then pen friends are wonderful.

Even though I have internet friends and use email heaps there is still nothing like scented writing paper, stickers, lovely letters, pretty pens and the thrill of something lovely arriving to read.

When a letter arrives I save it until I have time, make a cup of tea and sit down to enjoy it properly. It is like a little visit with someone.

I know that for anyone a lovely letter is a joy. But for someone unwell, lonely, struggling... a beautiful letter is hard to beat. 

Letters are economical. There are times when you might wish to send someone flowers (and flowers are amazing) but really $100 does not go far with sending flowers. Why not write them a beautiful letter, a stunning card and paper and it will be just as loved, if not more as it will be kept. A hand delivered letter or card can be tied up with a beautiful ribbon.

It's true stamps are going up and I am a little more careful. I will send slightly less letters and make them bigger ones! And due to postage I am thinking all the time what little gifts can I include in a letter or card and not need to send a parcel. There are so many things!

For little inclusions you can add tea bags or coffee sachets, cocoa etc and the idea is the person will make it up and read your letter. That is pretty sweet. 

My current list of little gifts includes... pressed flowers, a hanky, a packet of seeds for the gardener, embroidery floss for an embroiderer, labels... for mail, for hand made items, for jam etc. depending... a packet of stamps (ultimate gift for pen friends!) gift tags, holy cards, tiny notebook, note paper, sticky notes, book mark, voucher, perfume sachet, soap leaves, little booklet...
I am sure there are millions more!

If you are not very mobile, or someone else is, letters can be a little ministry. It is a way of visiting the lonely or encouraging someone. Older people that are not using the internet and are hard to keep in touch with usually just love a letter.

I keep a lot of letter writing things on hand, mostly cards I've made and paper to use as well, plus stamps, stickers and pretty things. When we travel I pack up a kit to take with me as I get a lot of letters written then. I LOVE stationary! Beautiful boxed stationary used to be so easy to find... now it is really hard to get but I persist.

Then there's only one thing nicer than beautiful boxed stationary and thats beautiful perfumed boxed stationary! Now and then I have found old stationary in op shops, in boxes even! You can imagine my excitement. Once I found vintage wedding invitations, thank you cards etc all covered in white roses and doves. That saw me through for a year or more and was gorgeous.

I think thank you cards are another gorgeous thing. At any time a card is a chance to thank someone. But a special thank you is lovely. Just being thankful and appreciative is a gift in itself. Many times people are not thanked even for amazing efforts. A little thank you can be a huge thing. Like the letter in Great Grandmas Bible I shared the other day a letter might be treasured for a life time.

Usually we have a long list of choices of people to write to but if you would like a pen friend (or several) there are clubs and internet sites dedicated to finding you one. You might like a pen friend from a certain country, or with a hobby in common or in a specific language... what ever it is get googling. 

Pen friends for kids are great. Handwriting is slipping so it is good for that. Plus getting kids in the habit of thank you cards and thank you's generally is really good. Post cards can be a great way for children to start as you only need two sentences and you're done! 

I used to wait in the car for the girls to get out of school and would work on a letter or crochet in that time. But now even if I go to the doctor (and I know a wait is likely) I will have a card and pen to write in. It fills in the time and makes it happy instead of frustrating.

Really beautiful mail is a joy and if you are like me and adore it, get yourself pen friends and get writing. If anyone is thinking ohhh you would just love pink scented mail then your heart is like mine, private message me and I will happily make sure you get something pretty in your mailbox.

Happy Easter to everyone too. It is a lovely sunny day here. It is beautiful having a long weekend, a break is so good. Take a minute of it and write to someone and see what happens! xxx