Sunday, 3 April 2016

Paper: Wedding Card

A good friend and ex-colleague of mine is getting married today, so I took the opportunity of making a wedding card for her. It is a simple make that you can adapt to whatever paper scraps you have to hand, as only tiny rectangular pieces are needed.

I used my Sizzix Big Shot to emboss one of the cake layers - I really need to use these more often!

To make this card you need:
- a blank card and envelope
- assorted papers in your colour scheme
- embellishments
- glue

Cut one thin rectangle for the base/plate of the cake, then using an assortment of paper, cut three more rectangles to make your basic three tiered cake. Round off the top corners (if you can't do this well with scissors, you can use (clean) nail clippers). Glue these onto your card blank and embellish with ribbon trim and hearts, as required.

I tried to tie mine in to their pink wedding theme.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 14 March 2016

Sewn: Bookmark

Just a quick post tonight with my Le Challenge entry for this month's theme "Reading". I love reading and every year I have a reading challenge on Goodreads. I always have at least one book on the go at all times, and read both physical books and kindle books. 

But I get so frustrated though with reading real books because I either end up using a scrap of paper as a bookmark or fold the corner (I know, I know). So this was the perfect excuse to sew up a bookmark!

As you can see, I haven't really mastered the art of embroidery, but I enjoyed making this nonetheless.

It is perfect for this book of short stories that I have borrowed from a colleague, "The Stone Mattress" by Margaret Atwood.

I struggle with putting in links when using my iPad, but to see what other entries there are on Le Challenge this month, the button is on my sidebar.

What are you reading?
Love Mrs Jones X

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Home: Kitchen Refresh

Our kitchen refresh is in progress. I still love the kitchen cabinets which still have some life in them yet, but the kitchen walls were looking pretty grim after six years, and I still haven't fixed any blinds up over the windows (don't worry, we are not overlooked)! I was toying with staying with a neutral palette but my husband talked me into going for something warmer, because the kitchen is north facing so doesn't get a lot of light. We selected Dulux Melon Sorbet in Kitchen + which is supposed to be easy to clean (and after a hot chocolate incident it has been so far, so good).

Here is the only "before" photo that I can currently locate, which was taken about a year ago after we bought our breakfast bar.

Kitchen: Before

As you can see, I am still working on getting the blinds: I have chosen pleated thermal blinds which are similar to Venetian blinds but have a honeycomb structure to keep it warm in winter but cool in summer. Much as I would love to go for a cream colour blind, with our cat, it seems more sensible to go for a charcoal tone.

Kitchen: After

The breakfast area: We originally had a small dining table here, but as we have a separate dining room, it wasn't really used. The breakfast bar is used all the time, from having a coffee and laptop session, to prepping food and building Lego. It has created a more sociable space for guests who can sit here and chat while we are cooking.

I love that our existing turquoise accessories go really well with the new paint. Below is the area of the kitchen that I would love to hide but would be impractical to. I am also still looking for a solution to stop all the splashes and scuffs on the wall behind the bin, possibly a piece of acrylic?

I would be lost without my meal planner whiteboard! It is one of the key ways in which I have reduced our household food budget (which is really another post entirely)!

Some of the features that I love in my kitchen
I still have to crack on with the linked utility room and order those blinds! We are hoping to refresh most of the downstairs this year.

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Sewn: Cat Bed Cushion

My kitchen is currently having a facelift (more about that in another post) and is looking lovely and fresh. Unfortunately, the cushion that sits in the cat basket was really looking grim in the light of the redecoration - anyone with a semi long-haired cat will know just how much fur they shed! So, I whipped up a new cushion this morning. Is it mean to have used this caged bird fabric?

I always had a bit of a sticking point with round cushions in the past, but it came together quite nicely. This may have been because I used a round tray as a template.

I even used the automatic buttonhole function on my sewing machine (something else which I have struggled with in the past).

I did try to get Atticus to pose for me on his new cushion, but everything has to be on his terms! 

I am linking up with Le Challenge this month, because the theme is Round. Do check out what everyone else has been up to.
Le Challenge

Mrs Jones X

Note: the elevated cat bed is from Pets at Home.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Walk: West Deane Way - Walk 3

Although it is lovely to drive out to the countryside and walk, there is something very satisfying about starting a walk from home without having to use the car. Today, I walked part of the West Deane Way walk 3 in the clockwise direction from Nynehead to Tonedale. I joined the trail at Wharf Cottage and extended the walk by returning in a circuit by roughly following the B3187.

West Deane Way Walk 3: Clockwise
Terrain: Muddy lanes, fairly flat. If you extend the walk into a circuit, it is even pavements but the second leg is mostly uphill.
Distance: 2 miles for Walk 3 (5.9km for my circular walk)
Time taken: 1 hour 20 minutes

Opposite Wharf Cottage are some interesting remains of Nynehead Lift which was part of the Grand Western Canal.

This is the view from the top of Nynehead Lift towards Nynehead Court. The walk continues into Long Copse.

The Highlights: It was lovely to see so many snowdrops along the hedgerows but there were none along the wooded lanes - maybe in a few weeks time.

The Lowlights: Unfortunately the walk ends at the sewage treatment plant at Tonedale, however if you are following the proper walk, you may wish to do an about turn before you go too near!!

Love Mrs Jones x

Note: This walk is part of the West Deane way which is a 50 mile circular route through Taunton Deane. For more information and links to all the maps, see here.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Patchwork Plans 2016

I didn't get an awful lot of sewing done last year, but already have quite a few plans for this year.

Currently making...

I have started (finally) on a quilt using the Dashwood September Blue fat quarter stack that I have now had for too long.

So, the whole stack has been cut into rectangles ready for pairing together into squares which will have some white sashing between. My original plans were something with quite largescale pieces as the features prints are quite large, so my rectangles are 24cm x 12cm.

I am currently whizzing through the initial chain-piecing, and am hoping that it will be quite a quick and easy quilt.

Patchwork Plans 2016

I have recently discovered Freshly Pieced's blog and have a huge crush on this Moroccan Lanterns pattern:

Moroccan Lanterns PDF Pattern - Freshly Pieced Quilt Patterns - 1
Image Source: Freshly Pieced

I really want to get my hands on a copy of Nancy Purvis' book Quilting from Every Angle. Her quilts are modern and really fresh. I particularly like Fossil and Vertebrae.

I am also on the lookout for a raccoon quilt block - can anyone recommend one?

What are your patchwork and quilting plans for 2016?

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Walk: Worlds End Pub Walk

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to get more active. I definitely increased my activity levels in 2015 but I want to make more of a commitment in 2016 by going out more frequently. The idea of going to a gym or exercise classes really does not appeal but I do really love going out in the fresh air for a walk, and the bonus is that apart from a pair of walking boots, it is completely free!

My first walk this year was a circular walk from the World's End pub in West Buckland, Somerset and is available to download from their website (bottom left hand side). 

The World's End Pub Walk
Terrain: Mostly quiet country lanes and (muddy) fields - some gentle undulation.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Time taken: 1hr 30 minutes

This walk quickly takes you away from the busy A38 onto a quiet country lane past the back of the orchards of Sheppey's Cider Farm and into farmland. We spotted what I think was a kestrel perched high in one of the apple trees.

The route then takes you across a footbridge into a wet and muddy field (walking boots a necessity when it has been raining). Soon after this, we were led somewhat astray by the written walk instructions which have clearly been superceded by a new public footpath {at point 2, follow the public footpath signpost to the top left corner of the field rather than the route between the hedge and fence}. Then as you emerge through the gate you turn immediately left onto the farm track.

The Highlights: The abundance of mistletoe growing in one of the orchards was a lovely sight, as was the dark fern lined cutting on the last leg of the walk. At one point you have a great view over the area and up to the Blackdowns and Wellington Monument.

We resisted the temptation to spoil our good work with lunch in the pub, but had it been a frosty day, I think I may have had to give in to a bowl of soup!

Love Mrs Jones x