Montreal

Montreal
Cute Houses of Montreal

cocktail

cocktail
A Winter Cocktail

Life changing magic

Life changing magic
The Life Changing Magic

How do you read your blogs?


Now we're all just about over the mass panic of last week and the announcement that google reader was shutting down, I'll freely admit that I joined in the panic of tweets at where to turn read my blogs too, and Jo from Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open kindly pointed me in the direction of Feedly. If you're still after a reader, then head that way. It's sufficiently like Google reader to not annoy me too much, it sits within Chrome, so is super easy too, but i get more pictures and the ability to customise the colours which I am loving (yes, I know how simple that makes my brain sound)

But if you've made up your mind, done the switch and chosen Bloglovin' I have an account and you can follow me here
Follow on Bloglovin


And if you're going off piste, I  have a HelloCotton account too, which you can find here. I do like Hello Cotton for their homepage round-ups, so you might want to have a look at that too.


So, what do you use to read your blogs? Are you waiting it out and staying with Google Reader, or have you  moved too? 
8

Lust List March



Just a couple of things I've been massively lusting after this month (but I know I can't afford until Glasto is paid for!)

Daisy is one of my all time favourite perfumes, I love the bottle and the smell, and this limited edition sunshine version is a must on my perfume shelf! I am a huge fan of the Uniqlo collaborations, and the one with Celia Birtwell is no exception - I la-la-love the dresses and skirts she's created. And they're out tomorrow.....And I am a little obsessed with al things Elderflower, not least this amazing liquor. Seriously - find some, drink it - preferably in a dash of prosecco - you will thank me. And I've had these adorable feather rings on my Etsy to buy list for the longest time - they are just so pretty.

So, what are you lusting after at the moment?
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Guess who's one today


That's right, Grandmaster Flash, Puppy Vuitton II. So, in honour of his grand old age, I thought I would take the shameless opportunity to post you some of my favourite shots of him. (And some of my far too many Instagram shots too!)






He has taken over not only our home (seriously, dog toys are everywhere) and our bed, but massively stolen our hearts. And, guess what, there is chat of getting him a little puppy brother!   
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Crafternoon and a stamp making DIY

Last month I hosted a (long awaited) Crafternoon stamp making session with some friends from life, twitter and the WI. As Sunday was so sunny, I spent far too long in the park with the puppy and not enough time sorting out the house, or making treats (I think the time was well spent) but I don’t think it mattered.



It was a lovely afternoon of crafting and gossiping and hearing about one friends ridiculous injury from a can opener. I did worry about letting her near the craft knives and cutting tools! I will admit to not approaching the first few stamps I made in the most logical manner – I hacked away at them with abandon, until I saw the beautiful, neat stamps Laura had created – after I witnessed what could be done – I changed my tactics.


And I barely took any photo’s from the event, just a couple on my phone – I know. Rubbish right. So to make up for this I thought I’d do a little tutorial on how easy it is to make stamps – well, it is if you follow Laura’s techniques.

I did a lot of googling about the best stamping equipment to buy and the Speedyball Easy Carve came up trumps. Having not used anything else I can’t compare but it did work really well – it was super soft to cut through, and when we stamped with it, it was even, which I guess is a plus when stamping!



What you’ll need;
Speedy carve stamp block (you could use a rubber if you want but this was super soft)
Craft knife/Lino cutter or both.
Tracing paper
Felt tip
Stamp pad ( I bought in bulk from Hobbycraft so everyone had one to take home!)




 The first thing you need to do is figure out what you’ll want your stamp to be of. This was the major flaw with my Crafternoon stamp creating – I didn’t really think too hard about it beforehand and just rushed in.

Draw out your design on the tracing paper in pencil - remember if there are letter or numbers involved you need to do them backwards or they won’t print the right way round.




Once you’re happy with the design, go over it in felt tip. Take your speedy carve block and place the tracing paper on it. Push down the tracing paper to make the felt-tipped outline appear on the block. (As the speedy carve block was loads bigger than any of the stamps we made, we all cut away our stamps to a reasonable size.)




This is where the trial and error started. I went in all gun hoe and started hacking away at the rubber around my design with the lino cutter. But as I have mentioned, Laura took a far more sensible approach and used the craft knife to cut away her block in squares. It produced a much neater result, and is what I have done here.


Cut round your design carefully with the craft knife, and then make incisions into the spare rubber. Only cut about half way into the block, rather than all the way through, or you’ll have nothing to hold on to later! Now take your knife and slice sideways in to the block, removing the rubber around your stamp shape. You can do this ‘digging away’ of the excess stamp with the lino tool if you like but I found it harder to get a neat result. That might just be my cack handed skills though.



Do the same with any space that needs to be removed inside the stamp shape too – here I used a combo of the craft knife and the lino cutter as it was a little fiddly to get it neat. It might take some time but you’ll be thankful when you come to stamping later.

And now you’re ready to tidy up any jaggedy edges, and blow away all the loose rubber.




Once you’re happy with the stamp, grab your ink pad and do a trial run. If you like it yay! You have a stamp. If you think it needs more work, go for it.


Oh, and here are my stamps from the gun-ho, hack away it it stage. Look at the mess around the anchor!



8

#PostCircle



A few weeks ago I sign up to this fun sounding swap - #PostCircle by Miss Beatrix, in which posters are split into groups of six, and encouraged to send lovely little letters and sweet postal goodies to each other. Following on from the Travelling Notebooks project Missie Cindz and I set up to promote snail mail I thought it would be lovely to get some more postal buddies - and also have a reason to put pen to paper.

And earlier this week I got the details of the lovely ladies in my circle and I can’t wait to get to know them both through snail mail and online. So, without further ado, meet the Red Deer circle;

Serena
Twitter: @serenab_
Instagram: thisis_serena

Megan
Twitter: @megsweetpea
Instagram: peggysweetpea

Helen
Twitter: @timewasting
Instagram: helahic

Anna
Twitter: @walkthedust
Instagram: walkthedust

Anna P
Twitter - @annaphi

Now, I need to start stocking up on some wonderful note paper and stamps and figure out just what I am going to send through the snail mail to everyone. And if you want to get involved - it's not too late. Drop Anna an email, you can find the details here. Whilst the first set of #postcircler's have been assigned, I think it's an ongoing process and I hope it will just gather pace. 
6

Fancie Bookclub - The Snow Child



Well, this is a bit of a well timed post given that it’s World Book Day. Last night was bookclub night at Fancie – as always it was a wonderful evening of cake and book chat and last night was the biggest turn out yet! Well done Sarah

Our read this month was The Snow Child by Eowyn IveyThe boy’s mum bought it me by coincidence for Christmas, as she had read it and thought I would love it too and I love a recommendation like that.  But oh my, oh my, oh my, I don’t know where to start with this book. From the cover to the very last page it was just beautiful. It is one of those books that you just can’t put down, but at the same time don’t want to read because you don’t want it to end.
 
The story follows Mabel and Jack, an older couple who have moved to the harsh reality of the Alaskan wilderness to set up a farm in 1920. They are childless, which Mabel believes is her fault for not loving their unborn child enough when she was pregnant. They live a pretty solitary existence, besides the, at first unwanted visits, from their neighbours, and it is clear this solitude is a necessary escape for them. One evening, at the first snowfall that year, make a little snow child. She is given hair and a smile and eye’s and to top it off, scarf and gloves. The next morning the snowchild is gone. Destroyed. In her place is a young girl, Fainia, who lives and hunts in the forest with her fox cub. Mabel is reminded of an old Russian fairy tale of Snegurochka her father used to read her about a little snow child, made from love and sent to a family, much like theirs but knowing the ending of the story she just can’t bring herself to look at the last pages, or begin to imagine a the eventual fate of Fainia. We follow the struggle Mabel and Jack face to not only survive in the bleak winters of Alaska, but also to accept this little girl who arrives with the winters. Somehow the bleak Alaskan landscape comes alive to be almost another character in the book - and even sounded a little romantic (but maybe that’s just my need to escape at the moment – or that I read it in the mountains)

I thought maybe, as I knew from twitter that the general consensus was people had enjoyed the book, we wouldn’t have a good discussion, but the slightly magical elements proved a little contentious, as did the discussion about the relationships between Jack, Mabel and Fainia and then with their neighbours. We also somehow got onto the stories of a cat eating a Chihuahua and also bringing rabbits into the house as ‘presents’. Delightful.


Have you read The Snow Child? I’d love to know what you thoughts are. And next month we’re tackling J.K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy – which I am really not looking forwards to – I can’t say why though, so if anyone wants to change my mind – feel free.  

And if you're in Sheffield and want to join a book club, Sarah is setting up a second Fancie Bookclub evening - get in touch with her on Twitter or search #Fanciebookclub

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Travel: Mutzig made me do it......


Last week we spent a wonderful week on the snow in Morzine with the boy’s sister and her husband. I’d have to say that it might be my favourite resort we’ve been to - it's a proper town, huge ski areas and loads of cruise-y runs for my ruined joints, which might also explain why we spent Saturday afternoon drinking biere peche Mutzig’s and looking at brochures discussing how much it would cost us to buy a chalet. (Anyone got £750,000 they’d like to give me – you could come stay whenever you like. Promise!)





We had bluebird skies, perfect (if not a little slushy by the end of the week) snow, some great apres bars to visit and a beautiful apartment to chill out in by the end of the day. We also ate pretty much every carb/cheese/boulangerie bought snack available to us - major detox time after all the beer and food!


We ate some amazing sarnies in about the the best locations on the planet - it sure beats the work canteen! Why does a ham and cheese baguette taste better on freshly bought pain? And mustard mayo. Amazing!


Plus I got to see the lovely Zoe who is seasonairing over there. It was lovely to cruise the runs with her.


Whilst my knees might not feel the same – I think the time I spend on snow might be my favourite part of the year. Just look at the colour of the sky.


And in case you didn’t see me raving about it on Twitter and Instagram – check out my new hat from some friends at Nuco. It’s made by a super cool company called Hats for the Hill – they custom crochet your beanie for you in a matter of days in pretty much whichever style and colour combo you can think of. They even have a swap-able bobble feature so you can switch it out to match your mood! I think they might be one of my favourite new company finds…..

Right, now back to dreaming about moving to a resort!
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