ALBOQ {Snapshot}

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Did I tell you we sold our house a few months back?  Yes, we did.  I know, very cool. It all happened very quickly and it was snavelled up at the first home open, which was really very exciting, and also a little bit sad - we actually didn't expect it to happen so quickly.  Anyway, we will be moving out in the next 6 or 7 weeks and so I have been really busy focusing on "the move" and beginning the serious packing process - which actually translates to I stand there, looking around, rubbing my head pondering where on earth to start.  It's a very overwhelming feeling, isn't it, packing up a whole house? And what it also means is those "little bits of quiet" that I rely on each day (for sanity and sneaky crafting time!) don't tend to be as available as they were a few months back and my creative pursuits have had to, rudely, take a back seat, not to mention having zero spare time to write up a blog post. So - instead of writing up one long post for one particular thing, I'm going to be a little Cheater McCheatster and give you a "snapshot" of the little bits and pieces I have done over the past couple of weeks, between packing and my daughter sleeping.  How does that sound?  I hope it sounds okay because I really don't have a Plan B.  Let's play ...

Did I also tell you I gave up coffee 42 days ago? No? Well, I did and what an absolute crazy idea that was.  I know I've mentioned it here before but I LOVE coffee, it is my daily pleasure, my love, my sanity, my pure golden joy ... I LOVE THE STUFF, and I miss it every flippin' day.  But, I am persevering with my break and am really just seeing now how long I can go without caving.  I feel it will be soon.  Anyway, I needed an alternative.  I needed a frothy hot drink to soothe my heart and mind.  I decided my saviour would be Chai Lattes - they are frothy, they are hot and they are yummy, mostly.  I started buying one almost daily, and I was enjoying them, but I found that almost all of them were way too sweet and I never actually knew whether it was "real" Chai or just some pre-mixed, additive-loaded guk.  I had an ingenious idea.  I would make my own Chai.  I Googled for a recipe and I discovered that actually everyone was making their own Chai, it was easy and my idea was not ingenious afterall.  I needed a coffee after that little let-down ... but I stayed strong.  I looked at quite a few recipes but ended up using this one from Tasty-Yummies, I just adapted it to suit me.  I left out the sugar, did everything in a pot because I don't have cheese-cloth laying around, and I added the tea bags towards the end - I thought it might be too strong having the tea bags simmering for 20 minutes.  It really is very basic to make and because you make a big batch at once the leftovers go in an airtight container or bottle in the fridge ready for tomorrow's cup.  I actually made enough for about 5 cups so I was good for the week, plus I have enough left over ingredients to make it again, and again.  But the very best thing is, it tasted great, like real Chai, not too sweet and I know exactly what's gone into making it.  I am still missing coffee but I have found Chai to be a very close second.

One of my favourite things to do is make up necklaces for my little girl - they don't always work out but I just find the process fun, cutesy and soothing.  I had ordered some little crocheted wood beads to make flower necklaces for my daughter's birthday party, as favours for her friends, but the beads were coming all the way from Latvia (I know that sounds dumb but you know what Etsy's like, you just get carried away and end up buying beads from Latvia!) and didn't arrive in time for her party.  I decided to make one for her and, lo and behold, it turned out.  I actually love it, and did I say it turned out?  The beads are held together with hot glue which gives the flower a bit of flexibility - always important when a 3 year old is tearing wearing it - and I sewed a jump ring (I think that's what they are called, a little metal circle) on the back and threaded through some satin string.  I think it's so pretty.  What do you think?
I also participated in a really fun little challenge called "The Creative Exchange", where I was partnered up with a fellow creative on Instagram, and after stalking them on Insta and Facebook, I packaged up a little box of treasures for them, suited to their likes and interests.  Someone will be doing the same for me.  Do you get it?  Basically it's love in a box, from a stranger.  How cool is that? 
I'd better not say who my exchangee is, in case she's still stalking me, but she has an obvious love affair with cookies and so my love box was made up of a handmade tea towel apron (oh my goodness, this is such an easy pattern, and so cute!), a pink spatula, a heart cookie cutter, a star cookie cutter, "You're One Smart Cookie" stickers (to be added to gifts), some pretty recipe cards and a cookie tin.  I really hope she likes it.  The Creative Exchange was hosted by the lovely and super talented Sam at Dunne with Style.  Thanks Sam - it was a whole lot of crafty fun!
The crappy looking wooden spoon and the pink spatula were not part of the gift - they were just for modelling purposes!
I also made some chocolate on Valentine's Day - y'know to show my love 'n all - but only 50% of my family liked it.  Both the males in my family thought it was "disgusting", but us females scoffed the lot.  I used the Natural New Age Mum's recipe which has been very slightly adapted from Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar" book.  The Natural New Aged Mum said to give it to your Valentine and then "prepare for smooches" ... but that didn't happen in my house.  Perhaps it will in yours. :)
And last but not least (well, actually, it probably is least), I was so very excited when my gorgeous little furry felt balls arrived on my doorstep that I dived into making something for my daughter's bedroom.  I wanted to make a felt ball covered heart to hang above her bed, it was going to be adorable, it was going to be charming, it was going to be made with love ... well, it was at least one of those things.  It didn't turn out as I imagined and if I could've been bothered I would've pulled it all apart and kept the balls for another rainy day.  Instead, I showed my daughter, she said it was "coot" so I hung it on her wall and left it at that.  It is made with love and she calls it "her love" so that's enough for me.
And that, my friends, is my "Snapshot" - a rather lengthy snapshot but once I get started it's hard to stop.  Now, I really MUST get back to packing!  Catcha soon, I hope. x


Floral Friday - "Something Romantic"

Friday, February 7, 2014

I can't believe a month has gone by since my last Floral Friday post.  Wow, that four weeks certainly flew by.  This month's Floral Friday theme is "Something Romantic", as set by Trishie of Under Lock & Key, and while the reason for my flower this month isn't exactly what you would call "romantic" (a 3 year old's birthday party!), the flower itself fits the romantic tag perfectly and in fact is a big favourite for wedding bouquets - the most romantic moment of all!  So what did I choose this month?  Say Hello to the oh-so-delicate, oh-so-delightful ...


What is the name of this flower?
Lisianthus but also known as Prairie Gentians or Texas  Bluebells (commonly referred to as "Lizzies")

What is its Botanical name?

Where did I find them?
At my local florist - love that place!

What was I doing when I found them?
Looking for peonies for my daughter's garden tea party

Do they remind me of anything?
Yes! They remind me of a Hamptons-style country home, an old-fashioned high tea or a beautiful, romantic wedding

How do they make me feel?
Lighter, softer, feminine.  They are so pretty and delicate and are a joy to have in the home

Do they have a scent?
They look like they would have a beautiful scent but sadly, no fragrance

Where do they grow?
They grow natively in warm regions of southern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and northern South America.  I wish they grew in my backyard (like last month's post)!

How ADORABLE are those buds?
Doing the perfect job at the tea party!
So, although my first choice for my daughter's party would have been Peonies (I missed the season by one week), the "Lizzies" did not disappoint and were the absolute perfect complement to my daughter's very girly, very pretty, very feminine little party.  And, I have found a new favourite flower!

There are quite a few other bloggers joining Under Lock & Key's Floral Friday challenge so please do take a moment to check out the links below to see what the other lovely bloggers in this series had to say about their "something romantic" flower.

Floral Fridays is a monthly photography project with different themes each month. This series is about fun and taking time out to smell the flowers. To play along, please email Trishie for next month's theme.