Thursday 16 December 2010

Bug central and pretty sugared flowers .

Thank you for all your well wishes on my last blog post, they are really appreciated.  Unfortunately eldest Sweetpea went down with the bug a couple of nights ago so we had two children being sick and one coughing all night - fun times!  The up-side is that we all snuggled in bed yesterday just chilling out all day and all did some sewing (apart from little Sweetpea who sorted buttons).   They all seem a lot better now (fingers crossed) although I do feel a bit off colour but I am hoping that is just lack of sleep.  Thank goodness for on-line shopping as I would have been stuffed otherwise with a week out of my Christmas shopping schedule due to sickness as the kiddies are off from tomorrow onwards :-)  Oh how I hate Christmas shopping.

Well enough of my moaning, now for some lovely brightness on this grey, dark and cold day (well here in the UK anyway, I bet it is lovely in other countries).

I  bought some Violas a few weeks ago to bring some brightness into the dull winter garden and then pondered on making them into sugared flowers.  I remembered reading somewhere that you could eat Violas and Pansies so looked up how to sugar them.

First I picked the flowers and then washed them to make sure we didn't get any sugared caterpillars :-)

I then asked the chickens nicely for some of their eggs and used the egg whites to paint over the petals.

I then scattered caster sugar over the petals and then left the flowers to dry overnight.  I think I could have done with a sugar shaker however to give a finer look, also I think you can buy super fine granulated sugar which would probably look better.

I then popped these in an airtight container until I had time to bake some cakes.  This happened to be a week or so later (that is what happens when you are a Mum of 3 lol).  I then had to find the time to ice the cakes, which was another few days later (hence the rushed crappy looking iced finish above :-)).  I did however love love love the glittery finish to these lovely flowers.  They also store fantastically as the egg white seems to seal the colour and moisture into the flower so maybe next time I will make a bigger batch and store them away for a while. 

Take care all of you and keep those bugs at bay :-)

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Recycled Baby Jars - Tutorial

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last blog, glad you loved seeing my crafting space at home :-)  One day ... yes one day I will have a lovely garden studio in my garden or a proper area in my home for me.  Thinking about it though I do love sharing my crafts with my kiddies so the dining table is great for us at the moment.

As many of you may know I am a bit of an eco warrior at home.  I recycle as much as I can, I don't like to throw things away (my poor mates are always getting stuff from my house just in case they find it handy :-)) and if I do think of throwing something I first ponder on what I can use if for.

This brings me to baby jars.  A long time ago I found a tutorial on Craft Pudding on how to turn a baby jar into a pin cushion with the bonus of being able to store ribbon/buttons/beads in it.  I wanted to make one but little Sweetpea didn't really ever have baby food from jars so I updated my status on Facebook asking for baby jars (yes my mates know I am bonkers so weren't surprised by my random request :-)).  A lovely lady called Kathryn came to my rescue delivering me some baby jars - thank you Kathryn !

So I got to work.  First I picked a pretty fabric and cut it to 5 inches diameter.

I then did running stitch around the circle.

When I had sewn all the way round I added stuffing (you have to use stuffing and not cotton wool as I first tried as the fibres are too thick and it won't let pins be stuck into you pin cushion :-() and started to pull the thread tight.

When it is fully tightened make sure you knot it to secure into place.  Tilt head to see next couple of photos - blogger playing up again - ggrrr why does blogger do that :-(

Use a glue gun or super glue to stick this to the jar lid.

Pick some co-ordinating ribbon.  Glue around the rim of the jar and then add your ribbon.

Ta da - some fantastic little things that look lovely and are also useful.  Plus you get the feel good factor of using up old jars.  I use my little jar all the time - it is fantastic!


Just a reminder that my giveaway entries finish on 30 October so get your name on this blog post (click on link) for the chance to win lots of lovely goodies :-)

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Off the Beaten Track - Positive Affirmations ......

Wow, thanks for all your entries to the giveaway and lovely comments, they always make me smile :-)   If you haven't entered already then pop over to this post for info and to see what you could win.  Scented Sweetpea's Giveaway

Well this blog post is a little off the beaten track but what with most people feeling like time is flying past (there seem to be a lot of posts in blog land mentioning that at the moment) and with stressful things like Christmas (eekk I said the word!) coming up I thought this might help some of you.

When I was expecting little sweetpea we were due to go on holiday.  I have for some time found getting ready for holidays quite stressful, especially the driving to the airport and waiting to get on the plane.  Not sure why that is but as soon as I am on the plane I am fine but the whole getting there etc gets me all tied up in knots.  Also being pregnant seems to exasperate this I think because I am more tired than usual.

As I was pregnant I knew there wasn't much I could take to chill me out.  I usually take Valerian which is sold in Boots, this tastes quite yukky but does the trick, I couldn't take it being pregnant.  I looked at Bach Rescue Remedy too but the pharmacist said not to use it when I was pregnant - not sure if this is good or not so as I have never tried it.   This lead me to look into other ways of relaxing and I came across positive affirmations.

Positive affirmations have worked really well for me, it is so simple that it has really taken me by surprise at how well it works.

What are positive affirmations?

Well basically you install in your brain some lovely calming moments and when you get stressed you can recall these.  This brings back the feelings of that moment and so you bring back your relaxed state.

How do I make them?

When you find yourself in a particularly lovely state of mind and are enjoying a moment of calm hold your forefinger and thumb together tightly.  Close your eyes and soak up the sounds, feelings, warmth of the moment and hold your forefinger and thumb together tightly again.  Repeat this several times.  

How do I recall this feeling?

When you feel stressed hold your forefinger and thumb together and those images, feelings etc will come flooding back.

When I do this I have the images below flood back, the children giggling, the water running or waves lapping and the warmth of the sun on my back.  Hhhmmmm water seems to be a recurring theme in my relaxiation, maybe we need a big pond in our garden :-)

I also find listening to upbeat music works wonders too, there is nothing like a good singalong to cheer you up :-)

I hope you can use this for yourself, it really works well for me and is so simple.  What techniques do you use to relax ?

Thursday 16 September 2010

Little helpers jars (52MMM)

I am not sure about you but I am always looking for ways to encourage my kiddies to help around the house or do their homework without having to resort to nagging or shouting which believe me is hard :-)  I have pondered on pocket money but then again feel that they should be happy to help a little around the house without needing to be paid for it - hhhmmm difficult one is pocket money.  When I saw this idea on A Feathered Nest's blog I had to give it a go - not only does it look nice on the sideboard but it may just work!

I saved up some coffee jars which I washed out and removed the labels.  I then used some ribbon that my Nan recently gave me and got some lovely tags from this site Eat Drink Chic - I used the blank tags at the bottom of the page.  There are also some more lovely labels here Creature Comforts Blog.  I had some pom poms already but may need to get some more.  I give them a pom pom if they empty their lunch boxes when they get home, one for homework done without a fuss and little sweetpea has been getting one each time she uses the BIG scary toilet :-)

So far so good, when the sweetpeas got home from school and I told them they got a pom pom for emptying their lunch boxes they rushed to do it - I was stunned as this is something they always moan about.  Little sweetpea has been persuaded to use the BIG toilet and is happy with herself when she pops her pom pom in the jar for being good.  Now all I have to do is expand the list of things they get pom poms for and think of how many they need to get to get a treat and what the treat will be - any ideas?

Hope some of you may find this a useful idea - oh how I love these little jars of pom poms on my kitchen side :-)

Edited :  after reading some of the comments below I think this idea would be fab for us adults too - hhmmm how many pom poms until I can get a huge cadbury's fruit and nut bar????

Thursday 29 July 2010

What is in a name?

I sometimes wonder how people come up with their blog names, don't you?  There are some many wonderful blogs with great names out there how do people think them up?  I thought I would share with you how I came up with mine. 

We have been growing sweet peas for some time but last year we decided to enter them into the village gala day competition.  Little sweetpea, middle sweetpea and big sweetpea all entered some and they won 1st, 2nd and 3rd!  This year we entered them again and came 2nd and 3rd - luckily it was a friends who won first so we weren't sad that we didn't.

I love our Sweetpeas, they grow well every year and I love their lush green foliage against the vibrant colours of the flowers.  The scent in the summer sun is devine as you walk past them. 

We have some gorgeous coloured ones, here are a couple of my favourites.

I also love the way they attract bees to the garden, the flowers are literally buzzing sometimes.

And what is the secret to growing such virulent sweetpeas ...... chicken poo! :-)

How did you come up with your blog name, I would love to know?

Friday 23 July 2010

Blog Award and 10 things about me

The lovely Shazronnie at Making Stuff recently gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award - thank you very much :-)  If you haven't been over to hers take a look as it is a fab blog with a mixture of all things crafty and some mouth watering recipes.

I do get confused with which award has what rules but I think this one has a 10 things about you thing going on.  I quite enjoyed this last time as it not only made me think about me for a min but also I learnt a lot about you too from your comments.

So here we go, 10 more things about me, ....... lets hope I can think of 10 things :-)

1)  I was mainly bought up by my Dad and Grandparents for quite a few years of my life as my Mum was the one who went to work full time to support my Dad setting up his business.

2)  I had all my kiddies without any pain relief (well apart from my natural chemicals) and am very happy about that but would have loved to have tried an epidural really - they were just too bloomin quick!

3)  I did photography at College and it was the best course I ever did (mainly for the fun times it created) - I really want to go back and do it again with my new SLR.

4)  I love cooking sweet things but am really no good at cooking savory things - luckily hubby is.

5)  My fav perfume is Clinique Happy as it always does make me feel happy and confident.  I think as I have worn it when having fun times it brings those feelings back when I wear it.

6)  I was once a bridesmaid as a child for someone I had never ever met and who weren't family.  Some lady (a friend of my Aunty) saw me and my sister in a photo and thought we looked pretty - very strange.

7)  The magazines laying next to my bed at the moment are, Gardners World, Green Parent and a craft magazine - that just sums me up really :-)

8)  I really want a VW Camper van but as they are nearly £28000 I think I may have to wait until I am old and grey (or have a blue rinse) before I get one.

9)  The house we live in is around 300 years old.   I am waiting for some new windows to arrive for it so that it looks more like it did originally - only been waiting 12 years for them :-)

10)  My fav places are 'our' beach in Mallorca, a quiet local beach which hardly ever has too many people on it and the Marina in our village.  hhhmmm is there something about water I find relaxing ???  In fact I used the thought of surfing to 'our' beach to get me through little sweetpeas birth and it worked wonders.

Now for passing this on, I really do have problems doing this as I wouldn't follow your blog unless I really loved reading it.  If I follow your blog, have recently commented on your blog or have only just visited your blog then this is for you :-)

Thursday 15 July 2010

52 MMM Challenge Part 2 - Playdough

I am loving this 52MMM Challenge, it is really inspiring me to do things that I have put off for a long time.  Why oh why haven't I tried this before, I can't believe how easy it was!

Well today I have made play dough for the sweetpeas.  It has been quite a hectic week in the sweetpea household with middle sweetpea suffering an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting on her toe on Saturday afternoon.  After seeing tracking marks of an infection heading up her leg and her foot looking like a balloon I rang the Dr and she is now on adult dose antibiotics for the week.  They seem to be working but she has been very bored at home so is back at school today.  She is hardly ever ill, before we went to the Dr she asked if it was the place I had gel put on my belly - that was when little sweetpea was in my tummy and she is now 2 1/2 years old!  I am hoping this will be a nice surprise for her when she gets home.  Sorry enough of my rambling - here is what I did.

I found a lovely tutorial on how to make this at Skip to my Lou , it is really good and simple to follow.

All you need is:

A cup of warm water
A cup of flour
1 teaspoon of oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar (found this is the cake making section of Tesco after looking for ages)
1/4 cup of salt
Food colouring

All you need to do is mix these (apart from the food colouring) ingredients into a pan and then start to warm it up.

Keep stirring and it gets really sticky and hard to stir, when nearly all the water has evaporated take it off the heat.  Let it cool and then take it out of the pan.

I then added a little glitter to mine, you can never have too much sparkle in your life :-)

You can then knead in the food colouring.  You can cut it into as many pieces as you like dependent on how many colours you want to make. I cut mine in to two so that little Sweetpea can learn 2 new colours - I think 4 at once would just confuse her brain.  I also used paste food colouring that I bought off e-bay to make cakes with, it is edible so is safe.

Here are the red and blue balls I made.

Just store them in an airtight container.  I think I may start keeping those lovely coffee jars to store this in as it will also make fab pressies for Sweetpeas friends as she gets older and goes to parties.

She absolutely loved playing with it (and still is as I type).  I am hoping the older ones love it just as much.  Be warned however, make sure your little ones don't eat too much of it.  Middle sweetpea was a child who loved to taste everything.  Once when she was at pre-school she came home and pooed bright green for 2 days - when I asked what had she eaten she replied 'playdough'.  When I asked why they hadn't stopped her she replied 'I hid under the table to eat it' :-).  It is quite salty so I am surprised it didn't make her ill.

Really do give this a go if you have little ones, I so wish I had tried it so much sooner!

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Easter Holiday Projects Part 6 - Stained Glass Windows

I like to recycle 'rubbish' if I can in my house and had some sweet wrappers left over from Christmas.  I also bought some e-cloths recently and pondered on what I could re-use the packaging for.  On looking at these items together stained glass windows jumped to mind (I am a bit strange like that :-) ).

I cut out the two clear panels of the e-cloth boxes and gave one to the oldest and middle sweetpea, and one for me of course.  Little baby sweetpea decided she wanted to bypass this project and go straight into painting so she did that instead.

We then drew designs on paper and cut out the sweetie wrappers to fit the shapes in the drawings.  Eldest sweetpea got annoyed at this point and decided he wanted to paint on some canvases I recently bought for them so he did that.  Just two of us left :-)  Middle sweetpea and I carried on and made these:

These were fun but very fiddly to do.

Now these are some old watercolours I had when I was younger, all the sweetpeas loved trying these out!  I bought some canvas from Wilkinson's, 4 square ones for £4 and they had great fun trying the paints out.  Amazingly most of the paints were still OK.

Baby sweetpea did get a little carried away however - I looked away for about 2 mins and there was a blue tongued monster staring at me :-)  It seems watercolours are quite tasty !

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Easter Holiday Projects Part 5 - Tissue Paper Covered Eggs

For our art project today we made tissue paper covered eggs.  I have been saving up the eggs shells from my cake making for a few weeks now, these were washed out and then glued shut again so that the kiddies can keep these eggs for as long as they want to.   I got some tissue paper out of our craft drawer and cut them into little bits.  We then used pva glue which we painted on the eggs and then stuck the tissue paper on them until we got a couple of layers. 

They all really enjoyed this activity.  Baby sweetpea wasn't so sure about sticking tissue paper to her glue and for quite some time just put more and more glue on her egg.  We managed to persuade her in the end but only when she was sitting on my knee to do it.

Then she got really stuck in :-)

Here we have the finished eggs, baby sweetpeas feather version, my butterfly one, middle sweetpeas chicken and oldest sweetpeas bumble bee complete with sting in its tail.  These were great fun to make.

Just a quick update on the poor pigeon, i am afraid he was put out of his misery last night :-(  We couldn't let him sit all night in pain and with his bad fracture there is no way the bones would have knitted back together again.  Thanks for all  your comments re kiddies becoming more independent, I have sat down with them today going through how they shouldn't talk to strangers etc.  It is hard to teach them that not everyone is nice in this world as we live in a lovely village but they must learn this. 

Monday 12 April 2010

Easter Holiday Ideas Part 4 - What to do with easter egg boxes.

Apologies for lapsing on my Easter holiday ideas.  Mr Sweetpea is back to work after a week off last week and I work Sundays so it is back to full on mayhem with all the kiddies at home (a nice but tiring mayhem).

The other day I was pondering on what to do with our Easter egg boxes.  I do hate throwing things away (partly due to my eco ways and also an inherited hording gene :-) ).  I remembered that when I was I child I loved making boxes into houses and thought maybe the kiddies would like a go.  I had some wallpaper samples and the kiddies and I got to work cutting and sticking to turn the boxes into rooms.  They really enjoyed this after the initial arguments over who had what box, who had which wallpaper, who had what pair of scissors!

After a couple of hours or crafting they created a little house with cardboard furniture and little felt rugs.  Little baby sweetpea just spent the time gluing her box.  She got upset if you tried to get her to stick anything to the glue so she just made a sticky box instead.

Not sure what to do with the smaller egg boxes yet, any ideas?

This afternoon the oldest Sweetpea and middle Sweetpea went to take Ted (one of our dogs) for a walk on their own.  They are getting to that independent age now but I am still a little uncomfortable with them walking off alone.  They were walking on the route which has hardly any road crossings and the oldest Sweetpea cam running home with a pidgeon that had a compound fracture to its wing.  He was so wishing to help it recover but I am not sure we can help the poor thing.  He is currently in Sweetpeas room in a box snuggled in a towel and in the dark but I think he will die of shock :-(  I am in two minds as to whether to put it out of its misery now or wait and see how he gets on.  Better be off I suppose.  Hope you all had a fab fab weekend in the sunshine.