The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Rustic memory board and wedding mementos.

This week I am making some more rustic boards, inspired by some I saw in a beautiful french country store a couple of weeks ago. 

I had a piece of board that was one of the menu boards for the wedding and I recycled this. I simply cut two layers of quilting wadding and glued that over the board. Hessian is only $3.50 a metre at Spotlight just now. It's from a very wide roll so for that money it is so much fabric! I'll make some other things...

It's easier if you use a tacky craft glue. I use pegs (clothes pegs) as they are like having spare fingers... 

The crisscross material is left overs... it was from Bunnings... it is sold to tie trees back. However you could fold hessian to make strips, use thick string or rope possibly. 

Before I cut my hessian I stencilled my crown on. I got this crown from an etsy store and have used it in a few projects. I love it! Then I cut the hessian to be larger than the board by about 3 inches all round.

Then I arranged the hessian and the crisscross design over the padded board until I felt happy it was centred and even. The binding I cut so there are a few inches each end to turn over and secure on the other side. I used pegs to "pin" it all in place and carefully turned it over and glued it all in place and re pegged to hold while drying.

I flipped it carefully to make sure it was all good and straight before it was dry... as you can need a little alteration but it was fine.

Now you can cover the back with cardboard so the mess at the back is concealed. 




I think this would be a great gift for anyone who loves rustic/french/farmhouse styles. It cost well under $10 anyway. You could use a sharpie to write letters or decorate instead of a stencil, or you could cut out an applique for a similar effect. The Graphics Fairy has so many french designs for free... and tutorials on how to transfer designs onto various things.




I love mementos. I have been drying the brides bouquet and the bridesmaids.... this is a bridesmaids almost dry now. Looking lovely!

Other things I used are the wedding invitation and flowers from a flower girl basket and a headband my niece who was a flower girls wore. They are pretty souvenirs of the wedding day.



i am really happy with it and it goes well with my home.

With so much left over fabric I am thinking what else to do with it. Maybe a table runner or place mats.... ? I love left overs and I really like hessian/burlap it gives a down on the farm feel to things. 

It is such a warm day here. Hot actually. I am staying in and working on some projects. Also I am following a You tube tutorial and learning a new stitch. I tend to like stitches that look a little lacy. This one you start in a corner and work out... never done this before. But it looks beautiful, I will show you down the track (assuming I get the hang of it!) 

Oh and it's a new month! I'm writing a list of things I want to get done in April. One of them is to wash my carpets before the weather cools too much. I hate that job but I love how it looks after! 

Have a wonderful day.xxx


Sunday, 30 March 2014

The wonders of soup.

Soup is a wonderful thing. You want to be a good soup maker and it's easy. Nana Lucas was a great soup maker. When I was little I was so glad to get her soup, always delicious!

As far as soup goes signs of success are everyone loves it and eats every bit. This is success to me. If it is packed full of vegies then you are filling the family up with so many vegetables that it is wonderful. It has to be thick or it is more broth and I think then you will have less fans of your soup. 

I have a basic cheats recipe that I use all the time. The key is you need a flavour base. Now if you are a good cook and know how to make delicious soups don't hold this against me. I know the girls ate more than their 5 serves of vegies everyday all their lives and soup helped me do it. 

A flavour base could be stock, stock cubes, a homemade blend that equates to a packet of soup mix (Helen makes these, you can google for recipes), a packet of or a tin of soup . 

Basically I make what ever is on a big special. This recipe has worked with celery, cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli or a mix. 

My basic recipe is roughly to every kilo of your vegies add one or two onions, water to 1/4 way up the pan or crockpot and 1 or 2 portions of your flavour base. I use a tin of cream of chicken soup and a packet of chicken noodle soup, usually. You can match your soup mix to your soup ie cream of celery in celery soup etc. You can use stock cubes or stock... but this is what I do. It just turns out delicious, it is easy and I get the low sodium soup when on special so I keep a supply. Now I know this is cheating and someone is bound to tell me but for me it makes it so good and everyone LOVES it and eats it up so good result.  And when I make soup I usually make a full crockpot of it as I like to have a cook up.



Pumpkin is a favourite. When the girls were in England in winter it was cold and they were somewhat miserable and they apparently sat around talking about Mum's pumpkin soup longing for it. Good sign! Well I always make it about half pumpkin and half sweet potato and I might add a carrot or two and always a few big onions. The sweet potato makes it richer somehow. I make it thick. I only ever add minimal water as you can add later but its harder to reduce it. To serve I add cheese, fresh herbs and a drizzle or milk of cream. 

After it is blended I save a cup or two of this and make it into pumpkin scones. These are unbelievable. Yep the whole soup is in them. As savoury scones and cheese they are lovely. A tray full of these gives me even more food very cheaply. Serve warm and they cause a stampede.

With cauliflower I will add more cheese.

I send this in a thermo and did even to school. Used as after school snack. 

Used before main course your meat will go further as main can be smaller. This was a trick our Nans used all the time. Or a meal on it's own if you serve corn bread or rolls, croutons, cheese or whatever. How about a big plate of garlic bread? A very inexpensive meal. So warming and good.

Now many of us will have a man or someone who says they don't like soup. Most times they have had lousy soup and decided this. But if this is a sticking point them we are back to the old "a rose by any other name" situation. Make a super thick meaty soup with chicken or lamb shanks and call it stew. Serve with crusty bread. 

My Dad has giant cook ups in winter for men. Usually they are all starving and as they approach the stove he says "would you like stew or soup?" (this is true) If they say soup he ladles them a serve from the top of his giant pot. If they say stew they get it from the bottom. Done. Well they all love this and are happy. Men hey, love the simplicity. Well, I love the simplicity too!


The other day zucchini were a wonderful price so decision made! It was so good. I the freeze individual portions as I find in winter if I eat soup for lunch it is good for me, I love it and I don't gain weight! 


Oh the cheesy one was going to Chloe, I don't add cheese etc to freeze. 

Now other tricks are if you have someone who loves pasta but says they don't love soup then fill it with pasta. Call it pasta. Pumpkin works well with this. At the end just fill the bowl with pasta,soup, top with cheese. Call it pasta. Hello they are still eating all those vegies. In the same way if you have a chid mad on rice fill it with rice and stir and call it Risotto. Unless they are watching Masterchef they won't catch on for some time!

I will do a post of how to make "kill any germ chicken soup" and make it so easily. It is wonderful and sooo delicious. And a minestrone type soup that you can add lamb shanks to that is a more man style soup if you need that. 

The best thing in the world is using your crockpot (slow cooker). I will get my vegies ready the evening before and pop it on in the morning if I will be away from home for the day. Pop it on and when you get home you walk into a house that smells of home cooking and dinner is done. I use a stick blender and just blitz it there in the crockpot. (carefully as it is hot!)

Whatever method works for you, soup will stretch your budget and fill everyone up with vegies. What a wonderful thing. 








Saturday, 29 March 2014

Family.

Yesterday I had the fun of looking at the professional wedding photos. We have been waiting for them...

They are really wonderful. They captured so many precious moments. How I will choose my enlargements, don't ask me!





I found it a very emotional day. More than I expected originally that is for sure. I think ceremony is a very important part of life. Without the wedding we never would have had these moments that I will treasure forever. Such a big day and so beautiful. I think I counted every blessing that day and since...


A massively emotional thing for me was Lucy asked her Grand Father to walk her down the aisle. These are the moments the chickens come home to roost. Dad was the major man in Lucy's life growing up, he looked after us and protected us and helped us in every way when I found myself a single Mum before Lucy was even born. What I would have done without my parents I don't know.

On top of that Dad nearly died over 15 years ago with a massive heart attack and has run on 50 percent of his heart since then. That makes him sound sick but he works full time and so does Mum. So him just being here to see this was enough to make my mascara run, just thinking of it...


These little girls were just angels all day and they never tired! They danced around like fairies throwing rose petals and being gorgeous all day!









This is my brother with Lucy on the dance floor. I really love this photo!


I could go on! But I'm sure you get the idea! I want to make a lovely album and include copies of the speeches and things like place cards, invitations and pressed flowers (which I have pressing in books)  And I want to frame a series of photo enlargements. I don't have artworks on my walls. Mainly I like clear space. But to me these are better than art and they will make me happy every time I see them. 

What a day. I have never seen my Father smile so much as that day. I'm sure his face ached from smiling by the end! The support and love of families, what is more important than that? 







Friday, 28 March 2014

Gift wrap.

In our local newsagents they have some stunning gift wraps and I have been known to have a look. Even buy a sheet for a craft project if I think it is worth it. But mostly it is about $4.50 a sheet or more. So really if I have made the gift this would be more than the gift! 

Lately I have used magazine images in quite a few crafts, the cards and the gift bags. They are so handy. In all these projects the thicker better quality paper magazines are much better. Mostly they are around $8 plus. Well I never buy them. I am given a few, Mum gets Country Life which is perfect for all of this and otherwise I look in op shops and usually they are 50c. Glamor magazines are gorgeous for shoe adds, perfume, jewellery etc. But gardening magazines give you floral images... even if you want you could do motorbikes or cars on boys cards etc or whatever theme you want.

The full size pages that are suitable I use for gift wrap. They look as good as any expensive wrap you can buy! 

This to me is another example of a rose by any other name. Paper is paper. So consider alternative uses for paper that has been used already.

So... I love images of jewels and they make lovely wrap and cards! 




Gorgeous shoes make fabulous wrap for the shoe lover. I often pick things for the colours like this picture I chose as I knew I had matching ribbon to use....


You can give a diamond, what could be better! These images are so easy to come by and are gorgeous!





Perfume ads can be dramatic and fabulous. I keep back ribbon on hand as it goes with a lot of pictures and looks classic and stylish so it is really handy. This always looks good.


When the girls were at school all this applied to school book covers. And Chloe now saves these images for the handmade diaries and journals she makes. 

So keep your eyes out, you will spot gift wrap in movie posters, music posters, advertising material and so on. It can look really fabulous.

Next week I will show you another one that looks so stylish and is sooo cheap. 

Have a beautiful weekend. It is so sunny here. Today I get another batch of wedding photos to look at! This will be lovely. So many to choose from. I had better get onto the frames I am re doing! 

Also I am almost finished a rug I am crocheting. I will attack that in the evening!





Thursday, 27 March 2014

The homemade gift.

I was getting low on magazine pictures for my projects and yesterday my daughter gave me some glossy magazines! yay new supplies! 

The other day I showed how I make over store shopping bags into useful gift bags. These ones are from Spotlight, they come in bundles and in a whole range of colours and sizes. They are so handy. Now think how they could be great for party favour bags as well as ways to make up cooking gifts or gift kits ie a collection of related things. I love to do this! 
If you know what a person likes making them a little themed gift is lovely. Like give a tea drinker a pretty cup, different flavoured teas, a few little biscuits and so on. 


Today Andy was calling on Kath in the nursing home. I sent her a card and a little present in one of these gift bags. Now I know she will love it as she loves pretty things. They are awesome if you don't feel like you are a good parcel wrapper. Just line it with tissue paper, pop gift in and tie handles together. No more wrapping!



To make them I use the same supplies I would for cards. Here I have a magazine image, left over ribbons from the wedding, lace scraps and a broken bracelet. 


It works that they match the cards I make so they look nice together. When I need a gift quickly everything is ready to go.



To form a paper ruffle I use crepe paper cut into the width you want. Run a line of craft glue along where you want it to to go then press your paper into it and squish and slide it together to form a ruffle... working along the row. 

I am thinking the ones with paper ruffles could be made in a variety of pastels for Easter gift bags. They could be really sweet and pretty. And Easter is coming up!

Over and over again I have found gifts do not have to be big or expensive. If they are thoughtful and kind and you make things look lovely then they are a joy and just loved! 
I really used to feel I had to spend x amount of money and all of that. It was actually Laine's Letters that saved me from that thinking. One time she only had three dollars for a gift and she was creative with what she could do. She said it is more important to stay in your budget that overspend on a non necessity. And she thought of a sweet gift that was a success. Also over time I have seen that hand made items are valued and actually in fashion and sites like Etsy are all handmade gorgeous things. These things are valued not by the cost to make but the cost of the time put into them and the artistic value, like everything else is. So if I make a tin of biscuits for someone I try to think how much homemade biscuits would be (Mimi saw a small bag for $30!) and not that they cost me only two or three dollars to make them. They also took my time and effort and presentation etc. Anyway people love getting this stuff! So value your work and be proud to give it. You can truly save a fortune this way and with your cards etc as well.

I can only do it by doing things all year around and building up supplies or I would be wiped out and have nothing in December! But things seriously add up if you do a couple of projects a month it is amazing. 

I am so pleased it's Friday! I hope you have a very happy weekend coming up. Get out the knitting needles or what ever work you have to pick up and get started on something you have been thinking about! xxx



Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A rose by any other name...

When the girls were little Chloe decided she didn't like quiche. Since I had chooks and therefore eggs, quiches etc were very handy for me. So next time I made it I made it look slightly different and called it Egg and Bacon Pie. Well they loved egg and bacon pie and we never had quiche again. :) 

Similar to Quiche and Bacon and Egg pie quite a few things have the same ingredients more or less and different names...

Years ago when mince was cheap I would have a cook up with a few kilos of mince at one time.

I just did this as I have had mince on a great special which is rare now. Being a good special I got 4 kilos.  I dealt with 2 kilos at a time.

The first 2 kilos... I chopped 4 large onions and fried them in a little olive oil and then added the mince to brown. Add pepper and dried oregano.

I added 5 large jars Dolmio Spaghetti bolognese sauce. This is a lot of tomato~ if I have tomatoes I will make this and use about 3 litres of sauce for 2 ks of mince. I let this cook and simmer for around one hour.It needs this time.  It is so good for you. Concentrated tomato is wonderful stuff. It saves you eating 100 tomatoes. 

Now this big pot of sauce will make so many things... all delicious.




Then I have a thick deep red meat sauce. I will use instant lasagna noodles and make a lasagna. I use extra of the liquid here as the instant noodles use it up. If I have left over vegies that could do with using up I chop them and toss them into this mix. All added goodness. 

This now is the base for a heap of meals.


Spaghetti Bolognese.
I will serve some over spaghetti pasta for dinner usually on this first night. I cut fresh oregano and parsley from the garden and sprinkle this and cheese over the top. Yummy!

 I gave Lucy a saucepan of the sauce to take home...

Chilli.
You can separate some mix and later add kidney beans and chilli. 

Lasagna.

Now like the quiche and pie... Lasagna is flat pasta, meat sauce and white sauce/cheese sauce over the top. It will taste the same whatever pasta shapes you use really just look different. So mostly these days I forgo the sheets (as I use instant and you can never get them to fit your dishes...) so I use shells or giant shells and fill or whatever shapes... it is just easier. This way I can easily make individual serves, smaller sizes etc.(I cook my pasta and then do my layers) Lasagna freezes so well. I make a white sauce simply using powdered milk. I do almost 2 litres milk from milk powder and blend into it 4 tablespoons corn flour. Blend, microwave high 3 mins, stir and repeat until thick. Stir well each time so it is smooth. Add pepper, parsley, big handful cheese at the end, stir. I pour this over the pasta and meat sauce... sprinkle grated cheese over that and bake. No need to add butter to this sauce heavens it has cheese. I made and sold trays of Lasagna to a cafe for years and was told Italians said how good it was. Honestly the long cooking is the important thing.
Now your meat sauce can handle anything, you can add whatever you have left over... mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, eggplant, it will all cook down. You can also use other cheeses like a layer or ricotta or use up every bit of left over cheese in the fridge. If I am going to freeze or reheat later I under brown it. So then when you heat it the second time it doesn't look too dark or dry... so these look not brown enough as they are going into the freezer. Next time they will be deep golden. I serve with a big greek style salad.






Chow Mien.
Now there is left over thick meat sauce. On the last night if there are a few cups still going I will add to it and make what I was taught is Chow Mien. Well, I know its not true Chow Mien  but its so delicious... to your mince meat sauce add 1 packet chicken noodle soup, sliced cabbage, a cup or so of cooked brown rice... simmer until all soft and serve with grated cheese. Honestly that sounds terrible but it is so good! The kids loved this. If needed to stretch further we served this with toast. I sometimes need to add water or more tomato sauce to this to make it moist enough, it should be very thick, not runny, but not dry. There are no rules, add and once you have done it once you will adapt it. You are using left overs so there are no set amounts. 

Now the other 2 kilos of mince... 
I chop a couple of onions quite finely. I add a packet of dry stuffing mix (or you can use dry bread crumbs and seasoning of your choice... 2 cups) one and a half cups of milk, two eggs, 2 cups of tomato sauce or tomato base, a big handful grated cheese. Mix all really well. 

Miracle meat loaf.
Half of this I made a big meatloaf. Actually I use a bit less then half. All you do is form a loaf shape and pat it firmly and place it on baking paper on a plate to go into your microwave. Or you can press it into a loaf dish. Spread some tomato paste across the top and sprinkle with cheese. Microwave high for 13 minutes. Done. I only do this for cold meat in sandwiches, let it go cold to slice. It is so good in sandwiches. But if you don't want that I would use it all in muffin tins as follows... or form it into burgers... or roll it into rissoles.




Individual meat loaves.
The other half I make mini meat loaves in muffin tins. These are awesome for lunch boxes. I also have a rectangular muffin tray. These make lovely neat meat loaves to serve with vegies for dinner. They just look neater than slices. You can get mini muffin trays and these make cute meat loaves for kids and they can take them to school. Bake in oven about 15 mins. Also if you make a lot you can freeze batches for lunch boxes or for heating and serving with vegies another night. Meat loaf served with mash, carrots and greens is so old fashioned good.




Hamburgers.
Or freeze them in muffin tray raw... thaw and cook in fry pan and squish slightly and call them hamburgers. Serve with relish, burger buns and lettuce etc. Yummy. Or call them cheeseburgers and melt cheese in a burger and soft buns.

Meatballs.
Or make little ones and call them meat balls, microwave and serve with pasta and tomato sauce.

Sliders. 
Or call them sliders and serve with sloppy tomato sauce on rolls.

So from one cook up you can have so many meals. Depending on the size of your family of course. But form this cook up I get a lot of nights off, give food to the girls, know if I am sick or tired I have plenty of freezer meals and it was all quite inexpensive.

I have a series of similar things where you cook one base and then turn it into a series of other things. Honestly it is a bit of a sneaky trick but when you have a special and you cook it up you might as well provide yourself with a few nights off in the process. And knowing I have meals in the freezer I am never stuck. If unwell or things happen, there are good meals to use. 

I just got a text from Andy... he had mini meatloaves and a salad in his lunch box. Text says "meatloaf/rissole thingys are yummy!"

I'm happy with that! 





Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Gifts from remnants.

When I went through my pretty laces and fabrics the other day I first plan my larger projects and cut them out so I have the bigger bits I need. The there are smaller and smaller bits as you go leaving you with little bits for the cards etc. I get more this way.

I wanted to make some pin boards/inspiration boards. I have so far made two with the prettiest remnants. Next I would like to make some rustic/french style ones.

The first I made as a pin board with pretty pins. I got the pins from Kikki K. But you can use thumb tacks and stick jewels to them with super glue. This way you can turn odd earings etc into pretty pins. Pretty pins make all the difference and to me if this is a gift the pins to go with it are part of it.

Thick corrugated cardboard is perfect. I got a giant tv box from the side of the road, this gave me enough for 6 of these. Yay! It is really thick good stuff.


Decide on your shape and size and cut your material about 10cm larger. Use "tacky glue" as it holds and stays almost instantly. I just cover and cut some cuts into the edge of the fabric to allow you to turn it over evenly around the shape. The mess on the back doesn't matter you cover that later. Add a hanger ribbon and glue in place. Using a large piece of white cardboard (or whatever colour you like) cut the identical shape and glue this over the back. This gives you a neat back, seals all the mess inside and makes it stronger. Your edge could be anything gathered ribbon, lace, braid, lots of little different bits... I had this lovely rose trim.


This one I topped with padding (quilt padding) and glued ribbons in place to hold your pretty notes. It was harder work and more fiddly. I did the back the same. 

I am making one for my craft room for inspiration and the others for gifts. I think for side of the road cardboard it is a good deal! Everything else I had except I did need a new bottle of Tacky Glue. But that will get me through heaps more. 

I may even make some mini ones with the left over cardboard maybe for a little girls room or something like that. 

Mainly what I am trying to do is fill my gift cupboards while using up things that have been crowding my craft area. There is no use saving stuff if I don't use it.

There are things staring at me that I know have potential and are beautiful that I yet to have an idea for. Pinterest helps with this. I type in "old frames" or "crafts with braid" and also Google then click "images" and see a million pictures that fit your request. This is how I tend to use up things...

It is the most lovely day. I want to get some sunshine so will do a few things in the garden and some washing. Also its Wednesday. I look in my planner and tick off how I'm going with my goals etc. That helps me to knock a few more things off before the week gets away from me! 

Have a lovely day!






Monday, 24 March 2014

Laine's Letters, encouraging words.

In less than a day I had a link to Laine's Letters thank you to everyone that helped! Her site is no more nor her contact details although I would love to write if I ever found it. Maybe she will blog again in the future.

However the Internet Archive Wayback Machine holds things of the past, thankfully and Kerrie and Helen both found Laines Letters and Shell told me about Wayback machine.

So I spent the night re reading some of Laine's letters. I am going to print them out now so this doesn't happen to me again.

Oh the memories! I remember Laine would get up in the morning and get all her Handmaidens working. She said that for us our appliances are our modern day handmaidens. This is so true! So she (then I) would get the washing machine going, bread or rolls/buns/pizza dough etc in the bread machine and the dish washer or whatever helpful appliances you have. Then set to work as between you and your handmaidens you can achieve a lot and fast.

Another one was Laine's baking centre. I set one up to so everything was out, on hand and ready to go. This made scones, cakes, anything minutes away at any time. So easy.

Laine made your budget into a joy, your work into fulfilment and your home into a haven. She taught you how to decorate for free, use what you have and be grateful for it. 

The number one thing though was she helped me as a stay at home Mum and our happy and peaceful home was influenced by her. At her wedding Lucy thanked me for her "fairytale childhood" and I seriously say Laine helped me with that as she gave me the clear priorities.

Well, last night I made some more cards. Some of the easiest ones where really I am just using a magazine image.



Mum gets some really nice English country magazines. These are great for nice pictures just like on cards you buy. Too easy! Sometimes I buy a magazine like this at an op shop and sometimes I have bought a vintage bird book or something like that as for $1 or so I might get 100 images for cards and tags. Amazing.



I've used these up now so back to assembling things that go together tonight!

Gift bags are really handy but expensive. I save shopping ones, you can get people to save them for you...


This is a quick and simple one. There are so many ways to do it, just cover the logo and decorate!


Now filled with tissue paper I can use it, add one of my cards and a gift. A supply of these is so handy. And free. Later I'll post a fancier one. I have made some and noticed people re using them, decorating with them etc which means to me they liked them anyway.

You can also buy bundles of plain gift bags, Spotlight has them. I did that for the Hen's Party gift bags and decorated them in a bridal theme. I think they worked out about $1 each. If the kids are doing drawings have them draw on these and then you have personalised gift bags that Nana will think are lovely!

Yesterday I managed to get a big bag of Zucchini for $2.50. This is the best buy in a while. So I am making my first soup for the cooler weather as it is quite cool today. Otherwise I would have sat them in the freezer until the weather cooled down.

Also I got mince on special. It is ages since I bought it. Here it is cheaper usually to buy chicken or roast meats than mince (defeating the point!) But it was on a great special. So I am cooking it up and making several things as I go. I am very happy with this! I love shopping trips like this! I have a lot of meals right there for very little.

It is the coolest day so far. Time I got out warmer clothes it seems!

ohh and this is the link to the Laine's Letters Archive...


http://web.archive.org/web/20010420093507/http://www.lainesletters.com/










Sunday, 23 March 2014

Laines Letters.

Over the weekend I got a start on my card making. I have about sixty blank cards. I bought them in packs of six for $2 in lovely soft pink and natural. Also a few pale lilac. Obviously I have done this a few times and added them to my stash and now have this many! So I am making sixty!

I have heaps of ribbons and laces, broken jewellery etc and I grouped things into themes and colours yesterday, as you saw.

My first group is birds and naturals...



And my second group is pink, lace and roses...


I have eight done anyway! Now though it is great fun creating combinations. The pictures are up cycled gift tags. As I go I will post more pictures. It is as always very relaxing crafting away. When you get so absorbed in what you are doing.... this is a beautiful feeling and so relaxing and such a happy time. 

Years ago when the girls were little and I was then a single Mum I used to read online Laines Letters. She was a Christian wife and Mum and wrote beautiful letters of encouragement, recipes, budgeting and so on. I LOVED her. Now I look back I know she had a massive influence on me and her letters were an amazing ministry. 

When I "met" Helen on the 50c thread we became friends very quickly. So much in common. And her boys are a little younger than my girls. It turned out Helen had read Laines Letters too and loved them as I did. I was so excited she knew what I was talking about! 

Regularly since then I have gone back to Laines archive to read. She hasn't posted letters in a long time and I have always hoped she would. Now the archive is gone. There is a one post blog about adopting from China and another with a couple of posts. The archive site had a window... you could click on and go to letters, recipes etc. I could cry it's gone.

I have wanted to write to her and the email contact does not work. 

I am hoping perhaps she might release the letters in a book. That would be a gorgeous thing! 

If anyone knows anything about Laine, has copies of her letters, contact details or even a vague idea of where she lives would you let me know? I want to write to her and ask her to publish these letters and at least let her know how much they meant to me.

Recently I made a new friend and she also read Laines Letters and loved them. I cannot imagine then how many women in the world were encouraged by Laine. Her husbands name was Art, I think he was originally from Mexico? 

It all goes to prove that when we speak words of love and encouragement we really don't know who might be reading and who might be encouraged. Her beautiful words and attitude have stayed with me and I felt like I knew her and her family as she described them all and their daily lives. I was very lucky to have found her and blessed by her writing.

I think it is a reminder to speak encouraging words to each other. Laine told me not to let anyone ever discourage me from the importance of raising the girls and keeping the home. And I didn't although the world tried. She told me it was the most important worthwhile task and it was. If I met her now I would kiss her and thank her!

We need more Laines in the world, their work is beyond words.

(Adding... this post resulted in finding a link to Laines letters listed in a web archive. One of them is in my next post and here is another....
Alphabetical listing of Laine's Letters I hope this helps those searching for her.)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Hunting and collecting.

I think people get it into their mind that crafting is expensive and you need to head off to craft and paper shops and spend a fortune. But really women have been making things beautiful forever using what they had or could come by and their creativity.

One of the sweetest examples is when I see old jars or canisters that someone has painted then they have added a cut out flower to make it a pretty container for their kitchen. I could cry that is so sweet! Another is true patchwork when women turned outgrown clothes and the remnants from sewing them into gorgeous patchwork quilts. They way they did it the fabric was essentially free. They were making something from nothing really. How beautiful.

Things fall at our feet all the time that we can use. Just now autumn leaves are about to fall at our feet literally! Pressed these are so beautiful and have so many uses.

All year I collect bits and pieces that could be made into my card supply. Pretty images... these come from all over the place, catalogues, magazines, old cards, wrapping paper... then I find sheet music a help due to the aged paper, music notes, gorgeous vintage titles that sound romantic... I get books of music for 50c to $1 which gives you a dozen pages or so. This makes amazing wrapping paper too. (tied with a black ribbon)



Lace, ribbons, broken jewellery and here a discarded hair clip from my daughter...  I have used buckles from shoes, belts, bits from old hats, pressed flowers, stickers, glitter, leaves, feathers, fabric scraps...

Last night I dragged out my current collection and worked it into groups of colour and theme. As you do this it brings ideas together. 


I could just as easily be covering boxes to use as gift boxes or decorating gift bags. All the time you get things in gift style bags, if you make them over you have amazing free gift bags. I noticed to buy these they are expensive and gift boxes are too. You never have to buy these things at all. But lovely cards are so expensive. I go looking at them it seems each one I like is $8 or more...  Making your own you can give $10 looking cards to everyone plus you can use them very generously as thank you notes, I hope you are feeling better notes, use them to write your letters. We all just love pretty things in the mail! Mail someone a hand made card and say "I am thinking of you" or "thank you for your wonderful friendship" and see how you go! I buy packs of 6 blank cards and envelopes for $2 in cheap shops and these are the base of the cards. So mostly the end result is less than 50c per card. 


If you get really stuck into it you can make up packs of cards into groups of six or so and package them up. I use cellophane bags and tie them up with ribbon. I pack of lovely cards is a gorgeous gift. I make these for my Aunt knowing she loves to write letters and cards are so expensive that surely a supply is a very handy thing. When a birthday comes around she has some cards to use. 

When we go away for a few days I pack up a supply of cards and letter writing paper, stamps and my address book as sitting and writing is so lovely and I will have time to relax and write letters. I love that. Away from the computer and TV I will write and relax. Longing to do that!

Later in the week I will show you how some of these turned out and how they look packaged into presents. Just think if I made 50 they are worth close to $500 if I bought them. Isn't that crazy? So many things we make are like this, especially if we are using what comes to use or what's around us. Amazing! I love how abundant it feels to have a big box of cards ready to use.

I hope you are having a lovely Sunday and some rest and relaxation. xxx