Tuesday, 24 May 2011

For my sanity

It has been a long time since my last blog but my life has been hectic which is not an excuse. I need to get back into the habit as blogging gave me much needed time to reflect about my day, take a moment to relish the good moments and understand why the bad ones happened. I don't necessarily post on these but it is just the time to disconnect, look at my photos from the day and chill. I have missed that.

How I feel at the end of some days! I took this picture when I visited the MOMA NY

The weather has been so glorious over the last month but school has made many demands on my time and I haven't had the opportunity to enjoy this weather as much as I should, hopefully I will be able to do so next week during the midterm holiday. I know Mr. farmer down the road is desperate for rain though as his field is looking decidedly brown. Maybe we can compromise with rain at night but sunshine during the day.

Good night


Thursday, 10 March 2011

How time flies...

Apologies, apologies, my most humble apologies for neglecting this blog. This past month has been so hectic I don't honestly know where it has gone. 

First of all some pictures from our first attempt at making dumplings. The afternoon was so much fun and it was great to work with the boys and produce something so delicious. The surreal moment of the afternoon was when one of my pupils was talking to his mother in China via Skype, asking her for instructions and showing her the quality of our chopping, which according to her left a lot to be desired. It really is a small world.

Dumpling no 100
The one perfect dumpling

The half term break bought my sister and her two lovely children to England and what a lovely time we had. On the first day we visited the Craft, Hobby + Stitch International show at the NEC in Birmingham. We spent a very long time admiring the fabric on show, especially the Kokka and Echino. They had a fabulous quilt on show and some really cool bags. This filled us with inspiration so a day of the holiday was dedicated to sewing. I will post some pictures of our creations tomorrow as the pictures are at home and I am not.

It was great to see my sister and spend time with her and the children and hopefully I will be seeing them again soon!

Bed time rounds call.



Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Beautiful Sunshine

Today was winter at its best. A crisp dry day, sun was shining but with enough bite in the wind to warrant a scarf, simply the best. I just love days like today.

The view from my classroom was the best it has been in months. It was so clear I was able to see the neighbouring village across the mere.

Not much time for anything else as life seems to be hectic at the moment. Looking forward to half term with my sister and her gang. Hopefully quite a bit of sewing will happen during this time as well. 

Good night


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The ahhh factor

I'm fed up with verb tenses, complex structures and pronouns that refuse to stay put so I thought a bit of chillaxin time before putting the older boys to bed would be nice. They are supposed to be getting ready now but from the noise coming from above it sounds like a game of hallway football is going on. I'll give them ten minutes and then shout!

The UPS man was busy today as he bought me several packages in the post. The most exciting one contained some leggings I ordered on behalf of my sister for my nephew. The ahhs going round the staff room were surely heard on the playground. They are just too cute for words. See for yourself:

This is the back of the leggings. The front is just stripy. This pair are called Owl on tree stump. 

I also had a little virtual stroll around Ebay and found a fabric shop called fancy moon fabrics and just had to part with some money. I bought three fat quarters. These two fabrics were designed by Alexander Henry:

and this one by Kaffe Fassett

I think they are lovely especially the Mexican Calavera print. 

I still need to get a start on the embroidery I need to do before my sister arrives in 18 days. I have got as far as transferring the pattern on to the fabric, I now need to get the fabric to the hoop and the thread into the needle! Hopefully this will happen this weekend. 

Chinese New Year is on Thursday so I will be celebrating it in style with my Brownie pack. One of my Chinese students has agreed to come in and teach them how to write Happy New Year in mandarin, we will gorge on spring rolls and prawn crackers and learn a bit about the traditions that accompany this important feast. I'm looking forward to it already.

Must go as those boys really should be in bed by now.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

an apology

This is an apology to myself for neglecting me! One of the reasons for starting a blog was to encourage myself to try different things. I have a list of projects I want to undertake, I have visions of what I would like my house to look like, recipes I would like to try and new experiences I would like to, well, experience  but they all seem to require enormous amounts of time, which I can not quite seem to find. My weekends seem to pass by in a blur and no matter how hard I try I can not quite get on top of things at school. I would love to be able to freeze time just for a day so I could catch up on those little things that get in the way of life - like that pile of ironing I can see out of the corner of my eye.

Well that is my rant of the day.


Friday, 21 January 2011

Positive Friday

As some of you may have guessed already I am a teacher. I teach languages at a through school (2-18 years) in rural England. Apart from teaching I also have a tutor group made up of 10 twelve/thirteen year olds, who as you can imagine, can really take some motivating at times. We have tutor period every Friday afternoon and at the beginning of the school year we decided that Fridays would become "Positive Friday". During tutor period each child tells the group about something positive that has happened to them that week and we take pride in our successes and in our small victories. Louis might have remembered his planner every day, Abbie got her maths homework all correct, Nick scored the winning try in a match, etc. You get the gist. In return for such positive vibes I bring in a treat. I like baking and this gives me an opportunity to try different things out without having to eat all the spoils by myself. 

This week I decided to try a cookie recipe from a book I bought a couple of weeks ago. The book is called The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits written by the owners of Biscuiteers. I fell in love with it as soon as it arrived in the post. I baked the vanilla cookies and used a foot cutter that I have. I iced the biscuits and I must say that I think they look pretty good. The kids were very impressed and are looking forward to next week's contribution.

This weekend I have quite a few projects to get through. I have to make some netball bibs, which should be simple enough and then my new craft light has arrived so I plan to get cracking on some of the embroidery I need to get done. 

Have a good start to the weekend.

E x

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Quick post before I retire for the evening, I just wanted to share some new fabric that I received this week.

I bought it in the Sew Mama Sew fabric sale. I love all of them but my two absolute favourites are the safety pins, which I think I will use to make a travelling sewing kit. There is a tutorial on how to make one by Dawn, creator of the uklassinus blog.

I am going to use this material to make some bibs for two colleagues at school, who are both expecting babies in a few months. I think it is so cute and also gender neutral as neither one of them knows what they are going to have. 

The staff room is full of baby talk and I must admit a small part of me is jealous. My baby, all nineteen years of her, is getting ready to start university in September. I am very excited for her.


E x

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Where does all the time go?

Well it's Sunday night again and another week has gone whizzing by. I honestly don't know where time goes. I was saying to a friend of mine this morning that wouldn't it be great if we had a 48 hour day so that we could accomplish all those things we want. 

I had good intentions this weekend to start on some embroidery that I want to have ready for when my sister comes to visit. She is going to show me how to piece it into a quilt. She's coming in February so I really need to get cracking but by the time I had finished teaching, done the shopping, etc the light wasn't right. I think I am going to have to invest in one of those special crafting lights. I quite like the look of this one:

Today was spent with the boys. Three back to back football (soccer) matches did not leave a lot of time for crafting. I did take my needlepoint to the house but the excitement of the games and the running comments from two of the more vocal boys meant concentration was zilch. Not good when cross stitching. This is the cross stitch I am working on. I have been working on and off on this particular Butternut Road design for three years possibly four. 

I need to finish it as I have another one to start and I can't do that until this one is done. 

Finally as I seem to be rambling I'll add the last picture of the day.

Yes, a tree, I have a thing for trees, hence the title of this blog. I will explain one day the why of the name of this blog. But back to the tree. I walk past this tree most days, it not only tells me of the passing of the seasons but it is also one of my favourite trees. I don't know why, it just is. It makes me happy, it greets me like a friend. 

Good night 


Thursday, 13 January 2011

I like it!

I received a message the other day from my sister. Six little words and I was hooked....

Check out my stuff on Pinterest

I pressed the link and there it was for me to see, a picture board or two or three with pictures of all the things that inspire my sister. So many things to look at, so many ideas, what inspiration.

I have set up my own board but there is not much on there at the moment. I will add to it slowly but surely and fill it with things I like, pictures of things to make and bake, places to visit, people to see.

Check it out and you might be inspired to create your board.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

And I'm off...

Today I finally had the opportunity to spend some time playing on the sewing machine. I decided to have a go at making that cell phone case I wrote about a few days ago on here.

Marina chose this material for the case:

Here I am sewing:

And here is the finished product:

The phone snug in it's bed!

Sorry about the quality of the photos.

A short blog today but I'm off to bed as I am still exhausted from yesterday's trip.

Good night


Monday, 10 January 2011

Out and about

I am out and about today so I thought I would try a mobile blog. It won't be a long one because I am nearing my destination.

I am travelling by train tonight because I have to admit it is one of my favourite modes of transport. Faced with the prospect of a long drive or the comfort of the train, give me the train any day. There is something strangely reassuring about a train in motion.

I was planning on bringing my embroidery with me but I must admit that in my usual disorganised way I didn't quite make it home in time to pack in style, it was more of mad 30 second trolly dash. Instead I caught up with some marking as I really had no excuse!

There goes the announcement, must dash.


Sunday, 9 January 2011

An exciting addition to the home.

I bought a sewing machine!

That is my exciting addition.:
I have never owned a machine before but I have wanted one for a long time and when I saw a similar machine to the one above last week I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a demo. I duly attended the demo yesterday and as I sat in front of the machine my heart gave a little flutter. Twenty minutes later I was hooked and walked away the proud owner of a new machine. So exciting...my head hurts from all the creative ideas going round in my head.

My first project is going to be a cell phone case for my daughter, as she has just had a new phone. I found a lovely tutorial by Cheryl at a pretty cool life so I will be working on that this week. This is what I hoping it will look like:

I also bought some calico and threads to start embroidering the dolls I bought from Jenny B Harris at allsorts. The plan is to embroidery 12 different dolls and incorporate them into a quilt. I will keep you updated on how this project is coming along.

So all in all a very good weekend, apart from the ironing!

Off to tea with the boys.


Thursday, 6 January 2011

Happy days

Have you ever had one of the days when you wake up and just know it is going to be a good day? Well today is one of those days for me. I woke up very early (4:30 am) feeling happy and I can't shake the feeling. It's been brilliant!

I watched a beautiful sunrise, but didn't think to take a picture, I managed to boil my egg just right, not too runny, not too hard, I wasn't late for school and all my children were in on time. The perfect start to the day.

I also had an unexpected free period and so managed to cross quite a few things of my school to-do list which is ever growing but never shrinking.

The post bought a beautiful book all I ordered on recommendation from the blog Saidos da Concha. I can't wait to try some of the recipes. I am definitely going to have a go at making some of these delicious macarons:

And some of these fortune cookies:

If anybody has suggestions for fortunes they'll be gratefully received.

The downside to such an early start is that my body is telling me to go to bed now but my head is saying no way it is too early.

Good night


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New year, new project

I was reading the Sunday newspaper when I came across an article about New Year's resolutions. I can't remember the name of the lady who wrote the article but she made the point of saying that when we make our resolutions they can be quite demoralising from the start, so in 2010, instead of making a traditional resolution for the year she decided to write out a list of things she wanted to achieve by the end of December. Juggling was on the list, as was learning to run. I have decided that this year I to am going to make a list of things I would like to achieve or learn in 2011. There are 12 months in the year so I have 12 things on my list...

1. Learn how to make a patchwork quilt.
2. Make a perfect macaroon.
3. Learn how to use a sewing machine.
4. Keep the blog going for the whole year.
5. Go swimming every week no matter how cold it is outside!
6. Get my Brownie sleepover licence.
7. Talk to my sister at least once a week. (She lives too far away.)
8. Experiment more in the kitchen.
9. Spend more time with the people who make me happy.
12. Smile more.

I have left 10 and 11 blank on purpose to give me a bit more thinking time. The other 10 were easy as some are things that I have wanted to do for a while and by committing them to paper and to this blog I will feel more compelled to do them.

Good night


Monday, 3 January 2011

The trees outside my window.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody! A few days late but as this is my first ever post I felt it was appropriate to start with something relating to novelty and what better than a new year.

My daughter introduced me to blogs a year ago and 2010 was spent reading a myriad of different posts and watching from the sideline the lives of others. It has been inspirational.

As a teenager I meticulously kept a journal where I recorded everything from my first kiss to my first solo adventure abroad and through adulthood I have sporadically written down my thoughts in a little leather book. So, why you ask a blog. I like the idea of sharing my pictures, thoughts, recipes and projects with other people. If I can encourage just one person to do something new through my blog then I will consider it a success. I hope to be able to look back through my posts at the end of the year and see just what a great year 2011 has been.

I don't want to ramble on my first post and it is back to work tomorrow so it's time to go to bed.

See you tomorrow.