Monday, 16 December 2019

INTERIORS // A Nordic Wooden Garland

How To Make A Nordic Wooden Garland

This year I have found myself getting even more simple with my Christmas decorations. Each year I seem to scale back on filling the shelves with odd trinkets and I am actually finding that my decorations are becoming more and more simple. I love that though. For a while I have been a keen follower of Scandinavian style and their simple way of living. My Hygge life still continues to be a part of real life and actually the older I get the more I am finding I am removing myself of plastic tat. The pull to it all is still very real, so much of me wants to purchase a tree train right now and that is fine but so many of my other decorations now have a different feel.

There are a couple of reasons for me turning to texture and simplicity this year; one is that nothing truly beats a natural product. I love a real Christmas tree, real greenery and berries for decoration, paper tree ornaments and fabric wrapping. All these things not only have a very natural feel to them they are all (excuse the term) "eco friendly". I didn't set out to be like that but I empty out unused Christmas decorations each year to charity shops and Christmas fairs because I refuse to fill the ground with plastic. That is something we must all be conscious of and having now bought and made great re-usable Christmas products (check out my gift bag tutorial and my Christmas Wrapping tutorial) I feel that if I ever am done with these decorations they are completely recyclable or at least burnable (non poisonous).
Anyway that is not the point of this post, this post is to share something I have made: a wooden bead garland. 
As a staple on pinterest when you search for "Scandi. Christmas'" a wooden bead garland is simply perfect as a decoration. I just love the wooded aspect, the texture and colour and in our house these garlands will suit our more minimalist approach to decorating.

I purchased some wooden beads and cotton rope and made my own garland, then I purchased more because I loved it so much and here we are!

What you will need:

I have 3 different sizes of wooden beads and the recipe makes you 2.5m of garland with beads to spare to make another smaller garland.

6mm cotton rope (get 5m)

To make the garland is pretty simple; choose a bead layout (I went small, medium, small, big, small, medium, small, big ..........) and thread away. Using this pattern I used all the large beads and had medium and small leftover which I could use to make smaller garlands. The small beads made a really nice connection between the bigger ones but go with whatever you like, that is the joy of making your own!

I have found that this is just one of these nice projects you can do at home simply and even the children can get involved. As a *Top Tip* I would selotape the end of the rope (like a shoelace) to make treading easy.

The Results

Well hung around real greenery and draped over our mantle, this garland fits perfectly with our style.
Hope you like it; are you going to have a go??


CREATIVE // Paper Snowflakes; The Simplest Of Decorations

Simple Seasonal Activities

I have to say, I have taken a step back this season and am just enjoying the simplicity of Christmas time. Being at home is my favourite and during the week when we have work and kids clubs I find that at the weekends I never get that pull to have to go out. Instead, and more recently I have been enjoying the fruits from an advent calendar my Mum gave me. This is an activity based advent calendar and it has been our best one ever. I absolutely love it and have found that it has enabled me to put into place something that I have long wanted to do, make advent a time for doing activities with each other, not singularly. 
The advent calendar I am referring to is this Advent Activity Calendar which each day gives you something to do and is really the reason why I am writing this post.
One of the early day's activities was to make paper snowflakes and I have to admit, I haven't made these for years, as in decades and I can't actually believe it. In fact I felt horribly guilty that Raph knew how to make them from making them at school and not in the family home but it is just one of those things.

Anyway, guilt aside, we have absolutely loved making them together and honestly can't stop!
Obviously this isn't a how to post but simply a little reminder of just how good these are to make and how you can display them around the home.
For us, it has been a nice activity, one that I hope we can keep doing for a good many years and only get better at.
As a little top tip, once cut, give them an iron and they will stay flat. Place a piece of paper over the top as you iron to protect them.

What to do with your Paper snowflakes

I decided to hang our paper snowflakes over our dining table. I knew that I wanted to display them in some way but just hadn't anticipated that over the table would be the best place. I still need to plan a Christmas table arrangement and redo the fireplace with fresh greenery but at the moment these snowflakes look awesome and it is nice having something the kids and I made as such a decorative feature. I used white tack and white thread to suspend them all. It has worked out so well! 

If you are looking for a simple and fun activity, get out the sheets of white paper and get cutting!


Sunday, 15 December 2019

CREATIVE // A Christmas List & Homemade Pyjamas

Making a wish list and some simple pyjamas bottoms.

As we head into the final full week before Christmas day I thought I would share with you where we are as a family currently. The children have written their Christmas letters to St.Nick and have both asked for 3 things. 3 things that very much suit their characters and three things that reminded me that they are still children without any technological needs which is really refreshing. I think it was Giulietta's gift list that made me really smile, She wants roller skates, PROPER ballet shoes (i.e. ones with ribbon ties, not her usual elastic ones) and a ballet tutu. They are all things I am sure I asked for in my youth. I specifically remember one Christmas getting a very, very expensive ballet tutu. I only found out how expensive it was later in life but I remember how beautiful it was. I also remember getting roller skates which I played with for hours and hours. All my siblings and I had them through our lives and begged our parents to tarmac our gravel drive so we could use it as a skating surface, needless to say they didn't! Raph's list is so him; a Nerf crossbow, a remote control car and some lego. That boy is very predictable if nothing else. I was relieved that neither list contained anything "grown up". Our children know where we stand as parents on gaming / tablets and I am thankful that they understand that right now that is not what they need to have fun. 
They break up for school this week and I can't wait for their carol concert, it is a fitting end to the school term and it means we can get away from school that bit earlier which always feels like a bonus. Once that is all done it means that we can relax into the Christmas holidays and begin our celebrations with no thoughts of school looming over us. 
With that in mind we plan to watch loads of Christmas movies, eat plenty of my cinnamon biscuits and spend time seeing family and enjoying the fact that we all get a bit of time off work. Rob usually takes around 2 weeks which is just amazing and it feels like a real luxury to have him around for all that time. 

There is still time to 'make', ready for Christmas

I thought I would share a quick sewing project that you yourself can also enjoy in time for Christmas. I whipped up some basic PJ bottoms for the kids in a lovely brushed cotton fabric. They seemed like a nice way for them to have something made (they really love anything I sew for them) and I was even surprised at just how easy they were to make.

You Need:
A sewing machine {I have the JUKI DX7}
Elastic for the waist

I am not going to offer you a step by step guide because the pattern pack does that for you. I am however going to tell you that this truly is a simple pattern and I really found it easy to follow as a complete novice sewer. 
What I found easiest was that for the first time, the cutting out was simple. I suppose it is a basic idea, but it really was a pattern that as soon as I started working on it I understood what I needed to do.
I have to say I made one adjustment. As Etta was a bit in between the suggested sizes I actually put a roll hem on the bottom cuffs of the trousers rather than a turned hem. This is because I wanted to make them so they could be rolled up to make them shorter and then rolled down as she grew. I thought the rolled hem would work best for this.
Other than that, here are some pictures of the kids modelling them and being thoroughly pleased they have some Christmas pyjamas.

Head into Christmas with the right attitude

With all sorts of things going on it seems right to end with a reminder to just enjoy this whole season  and not focus on just one day. Christmas day is just a small part of a bigger picture so remember to enjoy each day in the lead up to the actual day itself and enjoy the celebrations as they continue to the new year.


Saturday, 14 December 2019

FOOD // Follow The Star Biscuits

Let's Be Kings & Follow The Star

It's simple. Sometimes you just have to live faith in the easiest way you can and at this time of year it is just that; easy. We believe in the young woman, the trustful man and the miraculous baby. Why not? There are loads of theories about why we celebrate Christmas but the reality of it all is that celebrating the birth of a baby is the most romantic of reasons to celebrate and one that sits in line with our faith.

One of my favourite biscuit recipes is one that comes out at this time of year; my Cinnamon biscuit recipe, and it makes me feel all Christmassy on the inside.
I shared this recipe years ago but thought it could do with a revival and a new use. Not only can these biscuits be used for hanging on the Christmas tree in a more traditional German style, but they can be used as part of the Christmas story and that is why we now make these.

Star Of Wonder

We were watching NATIVITY this last weekend and I must say the best song in this very good film is the stars song 'Sparkle & Shine'. As soon as it came on I proclaimed to the family that this is the best song. I just think the words are really good and the line "Here's something you won't believe, it's the first time ever Christmas eve" just puts simply the joy that the symbol of the star brings to the Christmas story.
A key character we need to remember in the night sky and that one bright star that showed the shepherds and kings the way to the manger on that very first Christmas eve. 

The Recipe

350g plain flour
3tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp of bicarbonate soda
175g dark brown sugar
85g golden syrup
100g butter
1 egg

Melt butter, syrup and sugar together in a saucepan on a low heat.
Mix all dry ingredients together (flour, spices, bicarb.) in a bowl and set aside.
Lightly beat one egg.
Pour egg and melted sugar mix into the dry ingredients and mix until you have a squishy brown mixture. (you will find a rubber spatula is your friend).
Leave to cool.
To make the biscuits you will need a well floured surface and some cookie cutters, for this we just use a star shape.
Once cookies are cut and put on a lightly greased baking tray, bake them at 180°C for 12-15 minutes.
Leave to cool and decorate. We used icing and silver balls but go wild!

Enjoy The Journey

The best bit about all of this is the eating part. Obviously you can use these Christmas biscuits however you want but for us it is that nice reminder of the star in the story of the nativity which we try and make come alive at this time of year. Enjoy.

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