Christmas is Coming and What 2012 Brought

After a very busy few weeks working on Christmas orders, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and am starting to wind down.  I must say, I’m looking forward to my Christmas preparations enormously; and although we have already trimmed the tree there is still much to be done.  I’m looking forward mostly to sitting and making those decorations I’ve been dreaming about for the last few months, making a new Christmas table cloth from an old cotton bed sheet, and baking Christmas cookies.

Because it’s the simple things that make me happiest.  I like the homely feel these little activities bring and I like the cosiness of my house at this time of year. There’s nothing nicer than that time of day when the Christmas lights softly glow as the early evening twilight blankets the sky.

I like sitting in the big armchair with a cup of hot chocolate and a mince pie, and watching films like The Snowman whilst wrapped in a cosy crocheted blanket.  I like looking through my recipe and crafting books ~ at the moment I’m particularly enjoying Granny Chic by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel; it’s crammed with page after page of tempting delights to create for yourself and your home.  Like I said, it’s the simple things that make me smile.

Last weekend, we decorated our tree and with a few of the tinier leftover baubles I decided to make a table decoration using the twigs I had saved from my Easter Tree.

What do you think?

Using some mini baubles and a felt bead necklace (that sadly proved too itchy to wear but was perfect as a mini garland), along with some tiny crocheted circles we were heartily chuffed with our efforts.  The reindeer was something I treated myself to at the Country Living fair in London, but you can buy them online from here.

I *love* making things from found bits and bobs.  It’s very satisfying to know that items which don’t really have much of a purpose can be pulled together to create something pretty.

As the year draws to its inevitable close, I find myself looking back and recalling some of its moments…like the day I stood on the sand island on Portminster beach and for a few minutes there was nothing but the warmth of the sun, the soothing sound of the waves and the calling of the gulls.  I remember feeling very peaceful and happy, and even now when I remember that day I get the same feeling again.

I remember meeting new friends for the first time, and feeling like I’d met the tribe of chums I’d long been yearning for – savvy, funny and bright, wise, clever and creative.  We are scattered across the UK, but have forged a bond that will endure.

And then there were some more difficult hurdles to overcome.  My partner lost his Mum in October, and I remember that heartbreaking drive to South Wales vividly…it felt as if something hugely dark and inescapable were looming up behind us and there was a feeling of being at a loss, of grasping at hope although futile, of losing all sense of normality.  We spoke soothing words to each other to try and ease the painful reality of what was to come.

We made it to the hospital in time and we will be forever grateful that he was able to speak to her before she drifted into a sleepy coma.  She died on his birthday in the early hours, and there was a single clap of thunder and flash of lightening around the time of her passing that nobody could really explain.  She was a feisty woman with a heart of gold and a marvellous sense of humour which she has passed on to her son and grand daughter in turn.  She gave so much and was the most generous spirit that will be missed enormously.

It seems in some ways that 2012 was a year of losses, of surmounting hurdles and moving on.  I lost my Literary Agent earlier this year which although at the time was upsetting and disappointing, has left me free to pursue other avenues with my art.  We don’t always see the gifts in loss at the time, but when we can accept the loss and start to move on then the blessings are revealed.

A long term friendship also dissolved, and I’m at pains to say that this was a very difficult journey.  There came a point where I felt the friendship was becoming toxic; I felt drained and tired being around this person and I began to realise that this friendship was no longer making me happy.

Despite several attempts to make the friendship work, it soon became clear that this wasn’t an option and sadly it ended very sourly.  I experienced fear, intimidation, guilt, sadness and finally apathy.  I’m now much happier without this person in my life but am still grateful for the good times that we shared in the early years of getting to know one another.  I have emerged a much stronger person who now understands personal boundaries a little better.  I have strict rules on what I will and will not tolerate from another human being; perhaps if I hadn’t tried so hard to please and to be 100% available to this person in the first place then maybe the friendship would have worked out differently.  Or not.  We are who we are, and sometimes we need to move away from someone in order to find the people who we truly fit with.
And so now I look towards 2013, and I am full of optimism for what’s to come.  I have plans to create another Wish List of things to achieve next year – I started doing this in January of this year and it’s amazing how when we write down our dreams and our goals we seem to add fuel to them actually becoming  a reality.  They can be large or small, it doesn’t matter – but getting them out of our heads and onto paper creates real magic.

Some of the things on my Wish List that I achieved this year were:

1:  Spend Summer Solstice at the beach – we did, we were in Cornwall and it was beautiful!

2: Get an Indian Head Massage – done, and it was terrific and even more than I could have hoped for – more Indian Head Massages in 2013!!

3: Go to the Country Living Spring Fair – I had looonnnnng wished to go to this and this year I did!! And I went to the Christmas one too!

4:  Get an eye test – a pretty ordinary thing I know, but oh so necessary and something I’d put off for eons!! I booked myself in and huzzah, the eyes are top bonza!!

5:  Get a Kindle – I got one for my birthday, and although I’m very much a paper book person and still have a vast collection of books, I find my Kindle to be one of the best inventions in the world ever and wouldn’t dream of being without it.

6:  Go to the Brudenell Hotel in Aldebrough for coffee and sit and watch the sea through the windows – done.

7:  See my friend Kirsty, who lives in Cornwall and whom I haven’t seen in TEN YEARS!! – Done!! We went to the zoo with my daughter, it rained most of the day but we didn’t care and it was the loveliest feeling in the world to see her again, the nicest thing being that it felt like yesterday that we had last seen one another.

Some of the things I didn’t get around to…

1:  Sea swimming.  It was just tooooo cold this year.

2:  Kayak on a lake – my dream was to go up to the Lake District and do this, but the right time never presented itself.  Maybe next year…

3:  Make a proper Chilli Hot Chocolate.  Actually I plan to do this later on today 🙂

 

I think I’m going to love you and leave you now, finish up on my orders and sneak in a little Christmas Hooky time by the tree.

Have a lovely weekend, wherever you are in the world.

My Guide to a Stress~Free Christmas

‘A Letter to Santa’ ~ watercolour on paper
Hello dearest!

Winter has landed early in my little corner of the world; the temperature is barely above zero and there are snow flurries and gusty winds which have left the trees bare and grey.  However I do like this time of year; I like to see the white snowy fields criss-crossed by the dark dry stone walls and a brooding Pennine sky looming above, I like bracing wintery walks followed by drinks of hot chocolate, curled up on the sofa wrapped in homemade hooky blankets and a good film on TV…

…in stark contrast I Do Not Like overheated shops, big queues, hustle and bustle and the rush to get to Christmas.  Nor do I enjoy catching bugs from being in germ ridden, overcrowded places or the stress that can come from Christmas shopping.  I also dislike arguments with family and friends brought on by stress and a car crash of everybodys’ mixed expectations of how things should be.

So, I’m going to share some simple secrets on how to get to the big day, serenely, on time, feeling relaxed and in tip top health.  I promise you won’t be disappointed – it’s so simple and it all works.

‘Snowflake Angels’ by Carys

Here goes:

1:  The Fend Off Colds and Sore Throat Miracle Remedy (aka: instant Pep Up Tonic)

I make this myself, a lot.  I like to drink this as a soothing, warming herbal tea.  It’s wonderful if you’re feeling under par, at the onset of a cold, or feeling the razor sharp swallowing that comes with a nasty sore throat.  It’s my instant pep up and bacteria fighting winter tea:

You need:  fresh ginger, fresh thyme, fresh organic lemon and a manuka honey (or good antibacterial one, such as Troway Hall‘s).  A little loose tea leaf infuser is useful too, to hold the herbs and spices (otherwise you can just put everything in a beaker and strain through a sieve into your mug).

Best made fresh, Makes 1 mug: 

Grate or chop a thumb sized, peeled piece of fresh ginger.
Snip up a generous palm full of fresh thyme.  Add both of these to your infuser.
In a mug, add a teaspoon of good honey and a couple of teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Pour boiled water over all the ingredients and leave to steep for 5 -10 minutes.  Drink up and enjoy.

‘Snowflakes’ ~ Crochet pattern by Attic24

2:  Do Easy Christmas Shopping – or Don’t.

There’s a couple of really easy ways to avoid the nightmare of Christmas Shopping…those bustling, busy, hot shops full of queues and crying children.

Don’t do it.

Solution 1:  The obvious one, shop online.  Do it all online.  The amount of stress you’ll save yourself is un-bel-ieeeeeveable.  There’s nothing you can’t order online these days, so save yourself the hassle and stay home.

Solution 2: Choose Handmade.  In these days of feverish mass consumerism, I’m finding the gentle art of homemade more and more appealing.  Handmade is the way forward and there are oodles of books and magazines to whet your appetite and inspire you.  My favourites are Mollie Makes and Handmade Living.

Hand Embroidered Lavender Pillow gift ‘Cornishware Jug & Daisies’

3:  Let go of Expectation.

I’m one of those people who roll with the flow on a lot of things although I do have a perfectionist streak which comes from a Virgo moon bobbing about in my birth chart somewhere, so I do have to battle with that part of me sometimes!

On the whole though I think I’m pretty easy going about how stuff turns out these days.  Take my Christmas tree for example, it’s not perfect.  It’s covered in a myriad of different rainbow coloured decorations and lights and is ever so slightly tipsy, with the fairy on the top listing drunkenly to one side – but that’s ok, we don’t mind things like that.  It makes me smile to see it 🙂

However, Christmas can bring out our inner perfectionist.  We can want the whole day to go a certain way, to look a certain way.  We can want the people we’re with to be a certain way and we mentally prepare for it down to the tiniest detail and feel crushingly devastated when something goes ‘wrong’.  Some folks prepare for this one day for months.  Can I just say…and I know some of you reading this will already have elaborate table layouts planned and a time table written out – please, for your sanity, just try and release your hold on any expectations you might have about it all.  Let the day come, and let it go.  And in between, relax and enjoy it.  Things will go wrong, things won’t always go as planned.  Relaxing our level of expectation will release a whole truck load of stress, which is a good thing – I mean, Christmas is meant to be enjoyed, right?

All decked up!  My daughter chose those funky pink lights!

4:  Congratulate Yourself

Yes.  Do this often.  In the middle of everything you’re doing, stop right where you are and hug yourself (I mean it, this releases endorphins like you won’t believe).  I also encourage you to say something like ‘You’re so GREAT!!!!!! You are doing such a WONDERFUL JOB!!!’  This is a good thing to do – it makes you instantly feel better and a little self love goes a long way in helping you be nicer to others.  Don’t wait for someone to pat you on the back for your efforts (you can get grizzly waiting for, or expecting a compliment), do it yourself.

5:  Nurture Yourself

Probably obvious, yet as essential as breathing in and out.  Nurture yourself.  Be kind to your body and mind.  Do relaxing things for yourself; go outdoors for walks and breathe in good wintery air, do some gentle exercise like yoga or pilates or take yourself off to Zumba and dance your butt off!  Take deep relaxing baths laced with essential oils to lift the spirits (i heartily recommend grapefruit and eucalyptus for this time of year), drink plenty of water – at least 6 to 8 glasses a day, and sleep.  Switch off your computers at least half an hour before you turn in, and do a bit of reading to gently unwind and prepare your body for rest.

Looking after yourself first isn’t a selfish thing to do, you’re actually going to be in a better, healthier and more naturally giving place to look after your families when you do this stuff for you.  


All of this works, I swear.  And I know this because I do it myself.

And I hope, in a small way, these little stress busting tricks and treats will help you too.

Sending bunches of mistetoe and a glass of mulled wine your way…
Love Julia x x x

Christmas Tiptoes In…

Before I go any further, I had better warn you that this post includes some rather gratuitous pictures of Father Christmas and Reindeer.  It also includes several mentions of the ‘C’ word and if you shudder at the mere thought of it in November then do feel free to depart and come back again next time! (I won’t be offended – honest now!) ;D


Being in the art business though, I seriously have to keep up with what everyone else is doing (or get left hopelessly behind) and so, I’m going to give you a quick peek into the festive part of my gallery!


Some of you may already know that my little Christmas Card Emporium is now open – I haven’t liked to shout too loudly about it up ’til now because a lot of people are (quite rightly) allergic to All Things Christmas until at least December the 1st but now Bonfire Night has passed, I thought I’d just let you know what’s in store…



Christmas Cards are available both individually and in packs of eight…each one is created by hand, titled and signed by myself.  The individual cards are presented in a cello envelope, and the sets are finished with a festive red raffia bow and tag.  10% of all my card sales go towards the Down’s Syndrome Association which I am so pleased to support; my nephew Oliver who is now 5, was born with DS and it is a pleasure to be able to give something back to such a wonderfully supportive organisation. 

You can find out more about the DSA here.



My Christmas card shop features the return of some popular designs…



…and also my newest one; Christmas Kiss…



There’s also free P&P for customers within the UK but I do ship worldwide too!


I’m really pleased to have my cards and prints in several lovely shops already this year, including the gorgeous Andrea Willis Designs in Scarborough, and The Rowan Tree in Devon.

(Andrea’s gorgeous shop)


And on the subject of Christmas, my original paintings and fine art prints would make a wonderful gift ~ sign up for my newsletter to receive an exclusive discount!  



You are welcome to visit my online gallery by clicking here, and you can sign up to receive my newsletter by clicking here.


Thank you so much for visiting me today, and if you’ve got this far then thanks again for putting up with so much Christmassy~ness! 
Next time, light permitting (it’s been dank and awful and photographs nigh on impossible to take) i’ll be sharing not one, but TWO Ta~Dahhh moments of the hooky kind with you!


I do hope you’ll drop by to take a look!


Sending love
Julia x x x

Christmas Spirit

Hello!

I’ve been doing a spot of baking this morning – mince pies – and Im topping them with a generous dollop of thick cream, well, you’ve got to haven’t you!!

To be honest, it’s been a rather busy old week, what with dashing about Christmas present shopping, working on a commission piece (which involves those materials I showed you last week) and enjoying a very festive night out with some dear friends (and still recovering from it!!).  So it was nice to get into the kitchen this morning, stick the apron on and do something relaxing and satisfying.  There’s nothing like a fresh, home baked mince pie served warm from the oven is there?  I used Rachel Allen’s recipe from Bake, if anyone is curious! 🙂


I think it was when the rather huge tin of Quality Street was brought into the house that the Christmas Holiday Feeling crept in too.  A rather carefree sensation has taken over which is very nice I must say; The Snowman is on the DVD player and I’ve posted out my very last order of the year – which brings me to say… 

Thank You so very, very much to each and every one of you who has visited my little on-line shops this year, and bought pieces of my work; be it cards, prints or originals…I am absolutely so grateful that you like my work enough to buy it, and I hope to welcome you all back when I reopen my shops on the 3rd of January 2011.

Despite all the dashing about, I’ve still found time to marvel at the Simple Stuff ~ like the reflection of sunlight on shimmery tinsel glittering on a wall…

…icicles glinting in a pink sunrise, hot chocolate after a cold walk, the crisp, creamy crescent of a new moon in a deep navy sky, the silent heron in the river at the bottom of the garden…

 I also love the rainbow bright colours in this glittery chain which the Small One has taken to wrap around her chair at the dining table too!
 I must say I find a lot of pleasure in the Simple Stuff, yes, I really do – and I’ve discovered that it’s necessary to make the most of those moments when life is Too Full to get to the paints, or even to hook a line of Rainbow Ripple.
It’s nice to have these tiny moments in the midst of the seasonal mayhem, although it’s wonderful fun really with a three-and-a-half year old girl in the house…there is rapturous excitement at almost everything and it’s completely contagious!!  This afternoon promises to see some paper snowflake making and if Im lucky, I might even squeeze in a tiny spot of crochet! 😀

So – I send you each warm mince pies and mulled wine, tiny moments of tranquility and calm in the midst of the Christmas Chaos – and I would like to wish all of you a Sparkling Christmas and Radiant New Year.  

Thank you to everyone who stops by and reads or comments (or both!) – you are all so very, very welcome to be here and it’s always a pleasure to discover that you are.

See you next year…Much love
Julia x

The Gorgeous Christmassy Giveaway!


Helloooooooooooooo!

I’m beside myself with excitement!! The magic number has been reached, which means the fun can begin ~ my Christmas Giveaway (hurrah!!) to celebrate 300 Followers (thank you very much for everyone who has and does), and because I haven’t had one in such a ding dang long time!

OOh, and also, because they’re heaps of fun, and I just love doing them 😀

Being on the brink of December, I felt it was only right to have a Christmassy themed giveaway, which is why there are two of my brand new A5 Christmas cards for you, which are hand titled and signed by me…

‘Father Christmas’
‘Santa’s Gift’
…aaaaaaaaaaaand…specially hand stamped inside with a festive greeting:
You may also have spotted in the top picture, a little decorative fabric heart ~ this is a little hand crafted creation I have made using a very pretty fabric, and will be sure to brighten up a little corner of your home.  It’s finished with a nice vintage button (from my Nan’s very own tin that’s been handed down the generations) and a nice rustic twine bow and hanging string.

You probably also spotted a little packet of something rather delectable, which to me is one of the tastes of Christmas, and wouldn’t be Christmas without them ~ yes!! Lindor truffle balls!!!  I kid you not!

So what do you think?  Would you like to take part?  OOh heck, silly me – almost forgot…there’s one more thing…

…I’m going to let you choose a mounted print too!
I’ve shown a picture of Daffodils and Bunting here, but the winner will be able to choose their favourite from the selection of prints on my website to the value of £14.00.  

Ooooh this is so very exciting!!!  I love the chance to be able to send a little goodness out into the world, big happy smiles all round!

So – lets get down to business!! 😀


How do you enter the giveaway?  Just leave me a comment on this post, telling me what makes Christmas special for you.

And that’s it – I’m looking forward to your sharings and I will draw the winner one week from today…hmmm, that will make it Wednesday 1st December!! Perfect!!

Anyone is welcome to enter, anywhere in the world – so without further ado, let the fun begin!!!!!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! 😀

Sending humongous scoops of love out to you today
Julia x x x

‘Thank You’ and a Giveaway Announcement

Hello!

I’m hurrying in to write this post, and I’m afraid it is a rather short, but hopefully sweet one.
First of all, huge thank you’s to everyone who has bobbed by to see our little felty Christmas tree decoration, your comments have really made me smile, and have meant such alot to me this week.

Ah yes…this last week has been a rather tiring one.  The Little Egg’s cold got worse and she stayed home from her nursery sessions all week.  This meant I didn’t get out much and didn’t get much done…and by the weekend I was also feeling a bit out of sorts, but banished any nasty cold virus away with lots of steaming hot ginger tea (she says, crossing her fingers!).

Still…it’s not left much time for blog posting, or creating. 
 Aside from a juicy box of stock that I am filling and sending to a lovely shop 
called Abercorn & Co.  Do check out their website, it is chock full of the most gorgeous things!!  The box above is a picture of some of the stuff I’m sending out to them, and I’m over the moon that they asked me!  I’m hoping to have it all wrapped up and ready to go by Friday as I’ve been plagued by late stock deliveries and things like that, little hold ups that we just have to grin and bear!  Apologies for the terrible photo, the light here is dreadful at the moment, mostly because our weather is looking like this:

The trees are wearing their winter outfits already and make for skeletal silhouettes against dreary, grey washed out skies.  It’s also terribly cold.  Which brings me to something cheery and nice to share.

I’m going to host a Christmas Giveaway!

But…

(and its just a little but)

I am going to be bold and ask if we can reach 300 Followers first, and when that magic number appears, that’s when I will announce it!  I can promise you a Giveaway of lovely Christmassy goodness, a special little something, my way of saying ‘Thank You’ for visiting, following, reading and commenting – as it means alot, it really does.
Becoming a Follower also gives me the excuse to visit you and your blog – I very often randomly dip into my Followers list and end up somewhere completely new and very lovely, so please feel very welcome to add your name to the heap!

Righty-ho!! It’s Little Egg’s bathtime so I’m off!!
Have a lovely evening, all being well I’ll be posting again soon with cheery Giveaway news!!!

Much love
Julia x x x



I know it’s early, but…

I’m too excited to wait a minute longer!!!

I am absolutely over the moon to be able to finally share my Christmas card design with you!  ‘Santa’s Gift’ is my 2010 offering, and already I am busy printing and packing up orders!  

This year, the card packs are tied with some festive red raffia and a coordinating tag.
There are ten cards and envelopes in each set, and each card is titled and signed by me.
I also do all the printing, making and packaging here (it’s quite a cottage industry I’ve got going) and the cards will only be available to buy from me online.

…and I also designed some gift tags, which you can buy in sets of 8, or as a download!

To find out more, you are very welcome to visit the Christmas page on my website here.


So, aside from beevering away on Christmas stuff, I have also been making a bit of time for myself too.  Last Saturday afternoon I had a gorgeous couple of hours in town, most of which were spent in the book shop and John Lewis where I went into something of a trance in the wool department!! I’m looking for some chunky wool for a new project I’ve got in mind and came away deliberating on that gorgeous Rowan Cocoon…just the problem of choosing a colour now and then I’m away!!  
Talking of wool, I haven’t forgotten I promised you a Joining Popcorn Squares tutorial, I’m sorry it hasn’t materialised yet, but it will – I’m going to try and do it for next week, so please bear with me and I’ll do my best for you!


On Sunday, continuing the theme of relaxing and switching off, we headed out into the brightest blue of Autumn days armed with a huge picnic.

The morning looked promising as we left home…

…and headed down familiar lanes…

We took ourselves to Clumber Park for the day, and enjoyed a gorgeous Autumn walk in the woods.  We managed to find a few chestnuts, but we reckoned the greedy squirrels had already stashed the best of them!  Our wee girl was in her element, running about, collecting acorn cups, chestnuts and pointing out clusters of plump mushrooms and those beastly chestnut stealing squirrels!

It was very peaceful in the woods, away from the well trodden path, only sunlight and birdsong filtered through the gauzy branches of the tall pines – our relaxing walk ended up at the kitchen gardens where there was an apple festival taking place.  The gardens still look marvellous at this time of year, with colourful splashes from dahlias here and there, and fantastic, architectural forms of seed heads towering above.

There was also a display of pumpkins and squashes in the glass house, as well as a table selling locally produced honey (a jar of which came home, so delicious on warm crusty bread).


Just before I go, I would like to say ‘Hello’ (waving) and Welcome to some new Followers – please do say ‘Hello’ back if you feel inclined, it means I will be able to visit your blog too if you have one, and it’s always nice to ‘meet’ my readers!

For those of you who are interested in reading a little bit more about my doings, I’ve just done an interview for the Craft Candy blog – It’s being posted this Friday, the 22nd October.  The link to their blog is here, if you want to hop over and have a read 😀

Next week, I am going to be mailing out an exclusive preview of my hand illustrated Christmas cards.  They are very Limited Edition (meaning that there literally will only be a handful of them produced).  If you too would like a peek before they make it into my online emporiums, and perhaps be first in the queue to snap one up, you can sign up here .

Right!  I’m off – I hope you all have a day filled with lovely things, and I will see you all again (with a tutorial) very soon!

Much love, thanks for dropping by!
Julia x

Ta-Daaahhhh!

And there it is!!

A two page spread about me and fellow Craft Candy member Lucia Kempsey (Im the one on the right of the page, posing by my heart wreath)! We found out yesterday that it was going to be in todays paper instead of yesterday and would accomodate two pages instead of one, so that was very exciting and a grand bit of publicity for us and the group.

Needless to say I couldn’t wait to read it! Jo talked to Lucia about making Christmas presents, and featured some of her homemade gifts, including her really excellent idea of recipie jars, which she creates by adding ingredients to a Kilner jar with the instructions for the recipie on a hand crafted label! I love that idea and might give it a whirl myself! Lucia makes wonderful things using thrifted jumpers such as the teddy in the picture, as well as corsages, brooches, badges and bags.
You can find out much more about Lucia by clicking the Craft Candy link in the sidebar and looking in the members section 🙂

For my part of the interview, Jo talked about how my Mum and Gran had been a big influence in all areas of art and craft and how my Mum had finally been able to teach me how to use a sewing machine when I received one last Christmas. She wrote about all the decorations that were in our home, the ribbon wreaths, gingerbread men and snowmen tree decs, festive bunting and my thrifty ideas for wrapping gifts using recycled brown paper, coloured twine and strips of handmade fibre papers. Its been a really good experience and I hope the article will inspire some of the readers to go Handmade this Christmas themselves!

I remember one of the questions that she asked me was about my supplies and the cost – now Im quite lucky in that Ive already got quite a stash, and she did mention in the article that I like old clothes from charity shops – well its a good place to start isnt it? You can sometimes come across the most vile blouse with the most exquisite vintage buttons imagineable on it for just a couple of pounds, or a skirt with the nicest pattern on it thats just ripe for a makeover (ie: textile picture, lavender hearts…)

So Handmade doesn’t have to cost a fortune, thrifting is a Good Thing, but Im also quite happy to splurge now and again in John Lewis, or on this fabulous website I found today: www.saintsandpinners.co.uk

And splurged I did 😀

There has been a dusting of snow on the hills here today, and the temperatures are very low – time to get the crochet out and a nice mug of G&B’s hot chocolate.

Thanks for all your fabulous comments on the last post, I thought about it afterwards and realised its probably terribly British to be quite modest and afraid to sound shouty and loud about achievements – however, you were all right, and I do feel very chuffed!!

Keep warm, chat again soon!

Love Julia x

Shabby Chic Inspiration

Last week we returned from a trip to Suffolk to find a bit of a leak under the kitchen floor (it was pouring out through a crack and down the cellar stairs!)so we promptly departed to my folks’ house while the kitchen floor was excavated and new pipes laid….!

Due to the fact that there was no internet there, I spent many an afternoon when the little one took her nap, browsing through various magazines and drawing furiously in my journal, mostly ideas for new Christmas cards of which you can see the results of one here!

Id been rather taken with this faded aqua green handmade paper that I found in our art store recently and felt it would enhance the shabby chic style lettering I wanted to use for this design. I was very inspired by some of the nordic Christmas style decorations I saw in some of the magazines, and liked the simplicity of the ginghams and spotted fabrics that were used. I’ve attempted to recreate the effect of fabric here using watercolours and watercolour crayon, edging each letter when dry with tiny stitch marks made with a very fine liner pen.

The finished card in all its Christmassy glory!

I recently decided that I would like to make a contribution from each card that I sell, to the Downs Syndrome Association. Im very lucky to be blessed as being Aunty to a very special little boy, Oliver, who was born with downs, and this charity has been a huge support to my sister (Ollies’ Mum) and surrounding family. Ollie is pure sunshine, the bonniest little chap and you can’t help be be bowled over by this happy little person when you meet him!

This card is for sale at my Etsy shop right now, for £4.50 (includes P&P).

Sending sparklers and catherine wheels to light up your November the 5th!

Julia x