Sunday, 1 May 2016

I know, it's been a long time since I blogged on here. I've been busy, I've been... yeah, yeah let's stop making excuses! I've just not been motivated to write on this blog - life has trundled along as it does. Health issues have taken a front seat and learning to eat  differently in order to give my poor body a fighting chance has been a challenge.

Despite it being a challenge it is one that I have begun to relish and to keep myself motivated on the food front I've been writing a new blog. I know, I know I'm a traitor to this poor little neglected blog. I'd like to say I'll resume this blog too but hand on heart I'm not sure. what I do know is that at the moment my other blog is taking all my spare time. It's all about the new healthier recipes I've been creating to fit in with my slimming World eating plan. If you're interested do feel free to take a look at Slim 'n' Tasty - my new blog.

Slim 'n' Tasty Slimming World friendly recipes.

I aim to keep this blog live for the time being - I love looking back nostalgically  at old posts myself. So I'll pop back every now and again just to update things a little - and who knows once I get my health back on track I may well find my motivation for the comfort of my Vintage Hearth returning.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Advent Calendar Box for Oxfam

I was recently contacted by ParcelHero and asked if I'd like to take part in their Advent Calendar Campaign for Christmas in collaboration with Oxfam. 

The idea was that I'd be sent
 a small blank wooden box to decorate and to put a small handmade gift inside.

In all 25 identical blank boxes were shipped to 25 bloggers from all over the world to be brought together and used to create an advent calendar which is being auctioned for charity with all proceeds going to Oxfam.

The brief was simple, to decorate the box inside and out in any way I chose and to include a small handcrafted gift in the box.

Initially my mind went blank when it came to decorating the box but I quickly decided that I wanted my gift to be inspired by my summer holiday to the Isles of Harris and Lewis. I had brought back some offcuts of Harris Tweed and knew I wanted to use some of these in the creation of my gift. I have also been experimenting lately with needle felting so I decided to use some Harris Tweed to create a little broach and to embellish it with needle felting and embroidery. For the actual design on the broach I was inspired by the colours of the Hebridean landscape.

Once the broach was completed I used a picture of  The Isle of Harris landscape to fasten it to.

Having made the gift to go in the box, my thoughts turned to the box itself. As this was to be part of an advent calendar I wanted it to look festive so decided to decoupage the box using some napkins from last year. They were festive colours of red and green with a touch of gold and what's more the design reminded me of a plaid tweed. I neatened the edges with red ribbon and a row of red sequins.

Turning to the inside of the box I painted the edges in a misty pale lilac colour then decorated the sides and the inside of the lid using overlapping patches of gauze in colours reminiscent of the frequently stormy skies on The Isle of Harris. The inside base was finished off with another piece of the same napkin used on the outside.

I am delighted to have had the opportunity to contribute to this unique and inspired advent calendar and hope that it will raise lots of funds to help Oxfam in the war against poverty. 

You can find the E-bay auction here.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Once Upon a Basic Christmas...

A while between posts I know, but I'm out of excuses.  I'm feeling that life is too short to stress about the small stuff or to be honest about the any stuff! But I'll post as and when the mood takes me after all I'm not a career blogger - I blog for myself and if anyone is out there listening to my ramblings I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your virtual friendship because what I like about this here blogging lark is the support and kindness that comes from those who stumble upon my little space here and connect for a little while.

I've entitled this post "Once Upon a Basic Christmas" and feel it perhaps deserves a little explanation.When my dear children were young I was often strapped for cash, not just at Christmas, but of course those who struggle financially can find Christmas a rather large burden. You know though I like a challenge, in fact put me under pressure and I thrive - tell me I have all the time in the world and I'll take it - all of it! Tell me it needs to be done in the next 24 hours though and my little brain suddenly gets it's act together and I focus.

My previous marriage ended 5 weeks before Christmas when my then husband , who earned a reasonable wage, thought that it was acceptable to spend over 75% of his income down the pub - where incidentally he also spent every night and weekend afternoons! 

I walked out of the marital home with my children and a couple of bin bags of clothes ( I never looked back and have never regretted it for an instant) but faced with a rapidly looming Christmas holiday and 4 children  well, tell me about pressure! We initially moved back to my parent's home - they took me and my children in borrowing camp beds from friends and rearranging sleeping arrangements. We were lucky to manage to rent a furnished property quite quickly and moved into our own little refuge with 3 weeks to go to Christmas. 

Even if I do say so myself we did wonders on a literal shoestring! That and the subsequent financially strapped years taught me much about how to celebrate on a shoestring.

... motivation prevailing my next few posts will give some tips on how to not only survive but thrive a meltdown Christmas. (Also useful for a general thrifty Chrimbo too!) 

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