Sunday, 4 November 2012

How to make bright white LED fairy lights soft white.

I have a love of fairy lights. I have a few strings up all year round. They lift the gloom on a grey day and make me feel festive. However, I am really not keen on the clear white bright LED lights. Nor is my Mister. One year I bought new Christmas tree lights. I spent a good while placing them on the tree and then popping on all the decs. With great expectation and excitement I flicked the switch on to see the tree in all it's glory.......and... Oh my eyes! Bright light Bright LIGHTS!!! The Mr and I squealed like gremlins. I stripped the tree back to naked and went on a Soft Fairy Light Mission. If only I'd had my eureka moment back then.


My Eureka moment was nothing short of sheer cleverness in the Hermione Granger fashion. Yes I'm bragging. Yes I'm smug. Yes maybe you are all way ahead of me and have been secretly altering your bright white lights with gay abandon. Well whatever the case here is how I literally just now turned a Way Too Bright White Hurt My Eyes ornamental heart into the Sweet Cosy Soft White Light Heart that you see above.


Here is my magic wand. A glass painter pen that I bought from Hobby Craft. I'm sure any glass pen would work. I found the yellow pen I had bought to be too cold. The orange above was perfect. Only put a blob on the end of the light though as when the lights are off, if you have been over zealous, you will have orange dollops in your decoration. This makeover took me about 48 seconds. It took longer to write this spur of the moment post.

xxx

Sunday, 28 October 2012

School cakes

My last post was about the gifts I gave Big Cuckoo's teachers when he left his old school at the end of last term. So I thought I'd follow up with the cakes I sent in for the end of year fundraiser.


I really enjoyed having a big bake up. I don't have an excuse to do it very often so I went a little overboard.



There's a bit of a rough tutorial on one of my really old posts if you want to have a go at making the above ice cream cone cupcake. They sell very well at kids school fundraiser type events. To transport them just pop them in a muffin tin with some tin foil shoved in to stop them toppling.  Big Cuckoo's reception teacher has asked me to make a heap for her wedding next year. I'm not sure she was serious but I think I'll decline this time.


These ones reminded me of the seaside. Of ice creams and helter skelters and hot summer days (the likes of which we didn't see much of this year)


As well as making the cupcakes I made some mini loafs. Mainly because I wanted to play with the cute cases. I was very impressed with the brown cardboard ones I got from a supermarket (Sainsbury's or Morrisons, I forget which). I was less happy with the polka dotty ones. They went a bit greasy which, for me, spoilt the over all presentation, not that hungry primary school kids care!



I made the piped sugar pansy's some time ago. As long as you store then correctly they last indefinately. Well I suppose sugar is a preservative so it should be no surprise yet I am always wary. I have to eat a few to test them out, naturally.


On Thursday, since it was Little Cuckoo's half term, we went and collected his best friend from Big Cuckoo's old school. For a long time I thought Little would be joining reception class along side his bestie but there is just no way I can get Big to his school and Little to a school in totally the opposite direction. So Little has joined a different one closer to Big's. It was so nice to see everyone. I realised just how much I miss the place. It was lovely to see Big's old teachers and report how happy and settled he is. though I know he does miss his friends very much.

I've been thinking lately about the blogs I miss. I bet you all do too. I miss Unravelled, Posy and Crochet with Raymond. I don't think the later two are coming back but I'm optimistic Emily will return when life calms down a bit. I also miss Nicole and Jamie from Must Be Destiny and Snow in December. (All links in my side bar)

I've so much more to chat about but I better go and get dressed (3.45pm and still in my PJ's!)

xxx

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Continuing the garden theme

In July Big Cuckoo said farewell to his school. He had been struggling for some time and although the school had done what they could it became clear he needed more specialised help. His self esteem was fragile and his attitude was one of defeatism. We could see he was happy enough in that he enjoyed his friends but increasingly he was falling into moments of distress and his behaviour was born of frustration and irritation. We took the decision to pull him from main stream, it was a big emotional leap for us all. It's hard to have the realisation that your son is finding things too difficult, that his happiness was being affected, but trickier still to remove him from all he knows, from all his buddies. 

Anyway, I'll blather on no more about this as I have thought and talked about very little else over the past six months. At least that is how it feels, it has been a discussion niggling away in my head in the background for a long time. Happily for us all, mostly for Big, he has settled into his new school, he has made friends and over the past two weeks he has been such a happy child. His confidence has grown and he is motivated anew. I found him the other night with his homework sheets, he was tucked up in bed, chatting away to himself whilst filling out one of those sheets that has letters all over it in dots for him to trace. It was enough to make me want to run about whooping with sheer relief.

Of course, when he left his old school I wanted to thank his teachers and helpers so they all got gifts and a letter each. I made his main teacher (who was a huge support to me when making our decision) and his gorgeous TA a gift rather than giving them a CK book bag I'd bought.

I made his teacher a gardening pinny. I got the pattern from Cath Kidston's book "Sew". 


Loving my shellac'ed nails here. Coordination a gogo!

I reckon she'll use it a lot as she is a keen gardener. She sews a lot too, so I know she appreciated the effort. I did try really hard to be very precise and neat with the stitches.


It didn't take too long to make, I can't say for sure how long it took as I made it in snatches of time over a week.


I popped on a few buttons for embellishment, it needed a little something, my urge was to whack on a great big corsage but I wasn't sure the recipient would agree. The buttons are cute though. May be when I make myself one I'll pop a flower on the crotch area, just for the ridiculousness and the fact that it'll make the large juvenile part of me laugh uproariously. Is it wrong I find myself so funny? Well someone has to laugh at my lame jokes, visual or otherwise.


I popped a pic of the finished pinny on Instagram and my good friend Princess saw it and commented that she knew a person who might like one for their birthday. I'd forgotten this but when I was panicking just days before her birthday that the Cox and Cox wooden angel I'd bought her hadn't arrived I remembered she had said she'd like a pinny.


I love these little charms.

So off I trotted to raid my fabric stash and found a long forgotten meter of this Heather Bailey Fresh Cut fabric. So very Princess, totally the stuff she gravitates towards.


I popped a few weapons in for the pic, she wouldn't put much more than twine
and plant labels in it. Don't worry, she'll not do herself a mischief!


I have thought of several other people who would probably like a gardening pinny for Christmas so I'll have to wait for mine.



I'm getting a shed load of spam emails everyday now. Mostly they are trying to sell me valium and xanax. I wonder what they are trying to tell me?!! They are irritating me no end, I know if I disallow anonymous comments or do the word verification thing they will stop. But I get some marvellous comments from anonymous commenters and I know I find the word verification a pain in the whatsit most if the time. I wonder if there is any other way of preventing my email in box from filling up with all this spam?


Opps, nearly forgot to show the brooch I made for his TA. I saw this over at Coco Rose Diaries (where else!) and have had it on my to make list for over a year. I used this tutorial and it was a really enjoyable little project to make.


I modified the original a little. I ironed on some fabric with bondaweb, I'm not sure I love it like I love the originals I saw. I just hope Big's TA liked it.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Whoooooooooooooosh.....



.....that's me flying through the last, goodness me, seven or so weeks since I last spent time with my blog. I never planned to have a break, I have simply been happily engaged with my life. Distracted from blogging as it were.

I warn you now, this is a very photo heavy post of flowers. 46 photo's of flowers. It's all or nothing I'm afraid!

Poppies from my Bunny Mummy seed swap








A big distraction has been the garden. We have a lovely garden, it's big, quite private and safe for the boys to run amok in. We have lovely views as we are right on top of a high hill. The downside to all this is it is a windy place where weeds are rife, it could be a stunning garden but I haven't had a clue what I'm doing.  This year I decided, having been inspired and encouraged by bloggers and instagrammers who have beautiful outside spaces, to get a grasp on this gardening lark.


The dahlias survived another winter and have been stunning (though FULL of earwigs)







Helebores? In September! Is that odd?








This grew from an out of date Cottage Garden perenial seed mix..

...and this little lot.

I have subscribed to Gardeners World magazine, I have the program on series link, I make notes in a pad, I have a folder with pages printed off the web and torn out of magazines, I have been reading Alan Titchmarsh's and Monty Don's books. I have been busy with it all.

That's the brim of my sun hat


It's paid off too. It has been a good year in my garden and I have optimism that next year will be even better. I have looked at what has done well and I'll plant lots more of it next year. I have a vague plan of what I need to do for earlier Spring blooms. I really feel I am getting there.

Made for me by Big Cuckoo ♥

The Beastlings!


I have to point out that I only do the fannying about in the garden. Lucky (oh so lucky) for me I found a chap from in the village who comes up each week and mows the grass and does the hacking back and weeding. Over Winter he is going to continue coming up to remodel parts of the garden, deal with some mad bushes, pop in a new border for me to plant up and dig out the things that I don't really like. His work in the garden has given me enthusiasm to keep trying hard and to learn more. He doesn't have much actual gardening knowledge, but he will do what I ask of him. So I am forced to learn. It's a great partnership.

The constant supply of posies in the house has been a treat. I doubt I'll ever tire of snipping blooms and bunging them in a jug.



Shelf from Simply Scandinavian














I gave this bunch to the lady I do my school run lift shares with.

I adore flowers in a dented tin

Flowers in an old Lazy Garlic jar is just darlinggggg! Ha!

Having a little posy by my bed has been my most favourite thing.







I have even managed to harvest enough lavender to make a small bag to put in the wardrobe. I'm super pleased with myself about this. I have high five'd myself all around the kitchen!


I can't say that I enjoy gardening. To me it is like housework out doors. I call myself The Furious Gardener. On reflection I feel happy and proud of parts of the garden that have worked out nicely. Yet I welcome Autumn whole hearted because I feel there will be less do do out there in the way of fannying about. Through the Autumn I'll be The Pointy Gardener. "Please could you dig that up?" I'll say to our Chap from the village. "Please could you chop that down?" "Would you mind bagging up the leaves to make leaf mulch?" "Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!" Yes, that's the sort of gardener I'll be now, maybe A Grateful Gardener would be a more accurate nick name.

Today. Right outside my front door.


Right, that's me done for today. I hope to swing by more often now the garden is slowing up...but then again with the C word less that a hundred days away, who knows!


PS. You didn't really think it was all glorious did you? This is my failed veg patch. The raised bed furthest away has been commandeered by a bleedin' badger who has turned it in into a latrine. Yuk. And that bleeding badger ate my hen, Oliver Foxy, during the day time. Not happy.






PPS. This post was done for Karie and Marleen ;o)

PPPS. Fee is not in Spain, She has NOT been mugged. Don't send money to rescue her as the phishing gits'll get it. Send it to her paypal account! Ha ha hahahahahahahaaaaaa!!!! Just jesting.