Sunday, 31 October 2010

Tilly the Tiger for Halloween

Have fun on Halloween - I am with Tilly my little granddaughter, just 4 months old and already a tiger!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A taste of Christmas!

Being British, it wouldn't be Christmas without cake and pudding.
So take a look at these confections I found online - some lighter on calories than others, but all a feast for the eyes.

1. Cupcake tree ornaments made with recycled old sweater cuffs - buy the greetings cards here.
2. A simple way to decorate your cake would be to use these wooden scandi-style scene makers, available here.
3. If you don't fancy a traditional Christmas pudding then how about pudding style cupcakes? Rich and  chocolatey. Recipe here.
4. If you are feeling adventurous then look here for a fab tutorial on how to make these delightful and delicious gingerbread houses. Just love the idea of a gingerbread town sitting on my kitchen table.

I plan to take time soon to try out these ideas, then I'll know what will work for my table when it comes round to December. Love to know how you get on.

Time out with Tilly in Texas

Been a bit slow with posting recently because I am totally taken with Tilly in Texas.
Tilly is my 4-month old granddaughter and it is lots of fun here with her and my daughter Astrid.
We have a potential new blogger in the making as she is in love with my iPhone and her mum's Mac.
Busy beavering away at the moment, so come back soon for fun ideas with felt.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Weekly favourite blog spot

A new blog for a new week. Really don't know how I missed it before. Highly recommend you popping over to Papernstitch today.

Not only does Brittni have great DIY projects like this felted envelope, perfect for a special card... Christmas or otherwise.

The blog also features artists, crafters and talented people.
In short it's ever changing and super interesting stuff for all of you, who like me, love this sort of thing.

The fun doesn't stop at the blog. Brittni also has an online exhibition site showcasing many talented people and their wares. Think Etsy, but curated to just give you the cream of handmade goods.
Well that will keep us busy for a wee while!


Images: Papernstitch created on

Off to Texas tomorrow - so hope to be back online in a few days with a Texan drawl and a pair of cowboy boots on.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Start now to create some traditions for Christmas


By starting the journey now, we have time to create some traditions.
It takes time to be creative, lack of time is one of the main reasons we find Christmas so stressful.
It's not like I am decorating my house or sending cards this week... but I am starting on things that will be part of our time together this year.

When I saw this silk quilt on Niki Jones' beautiful online collection...

it started me thinking about all the silks lying dormant on my shelves.

Being an impulsive soul, I started straightaway sewing this grey with the ticking stripe silk - adding just a dash of red at the ends. It would have been redder but this was all there was.

The hand stitching is going to take time, but then I hope this quilt will be wrapping itself around a few christmases to come. 

So though it seems like it's a bit early, it really isn't.

'Patience is power; with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.'
Chinese proverb

I'll be back soon with some more ideas for thinking ahead for Christmas, but if you are feeling the spirit rising gather yourself here for some beautiful ways with Pinecones

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

I love Words and Wood (recycled)

I love good thoughts and I love recycled painted wood 
and now they have come together in gorgeous 'wood & word signs' 
by another Ingrid (in the Netherlands this time).

Order your own personalised message and then use it as a 'postcard'
 Ingrid will send it anywhere in the world for you.
What a brilliant idea.
Image: Ingrid Jansen

You could go further and order lots of wooden 'bricks' and make a real statement!
Image: Ingrid Jansen
Saw wood & word signs first on All the Luck in the World, Jane's great blog.
 (Remember Jane from here?)

Monday, 18 October 2010

If you can't get to Scandinavia today ....

Starting the week with a couple of my fave Scandi blogs 
that I think you will enjoy, maybe they are new to you too. 
I feel like I am transported back to Norway and Sweden when I open these lovely blogs.

Emmeline has a fresh Swedish style and beautiful images to illustrate her wonderful ideas.
I love the autumnal colours she had here last Friday.
Image: Emmeline

Helt Enkel's post title on Saturday summed up what I feel when I open her blog. 
Always something to be inspired by - from beautiful interiors to amazing photographs. 
Hope you enjoy them too.
Image: Helt Enkel

Anettes Hus gives me some Norwegian colour, 
the clear light shines through in Anette's beautiful images.
 She has much to inspire me with 
and a click back through past posts is full of useful ideas, if this is your first visit.

Image: AnettesHus

Most blogs have a translator to help if your swedish or norwegian is a bit rusty -
so hope you will travel far this week through blogworld ...
after all you are in Beijing, China right now with me!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Make way for Mushrooms

Make way for Mushrooms

Time for toadstools, now autumn is setting in.
A few of my favourite fungi featured here 
  • Elsa Beskow's adorable tale of a miniature family living in the Swedish forests
  • Padded toadstools from Maileg, to fill a bowl on your autumn table and later hang on your Christmas tree!
  • Anthropologie's mushroom plate - loving this from afar.
  • Feast for the eyes - but not to eat fungi art work by illumino
  • Toadstool teaset for the little kid inside us by Giana Eden
  • Mirror, Mirror toadstool by Snapdragon,  a delight to hold.
Fancy a few mushrooms?
Then  join me - Jamie's Mushroom Risotto is what I'm cooking tonight.
Image Jamie Oliver

October 14 - Mission Complete

October 14 - Mission Complete, originally uploaded by rufusandco.

Such a happy day for Chile and the miners trapped for so long.
Wanted to share some images of the final miner arriving above ground.

Never give up hope.

Creative space: today it's my iPhone where I created this image using Strip design app.
Check out other creative spaces here today

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Start now and you can make your own Christmas cards

Ever meant to make your own Christmas cards, but thought of it too late in December?
Well there's no time like the present to get started!

These days I don't send many Christmas cards partly because I live in China ( and some muppet in our local postal sorting office snaffles most of our cards rather than deliver them... I think they want the stamps, because all the bank statements and bills arrive). Sorry I digress. 
So I decided a couple of years back to make a donation to charity and send everyone an email to greet them and let them know their card was buying a goat instead. 

 But there is something special about making a few cards yourself
 to give close friends and family
and it is in that spirit that I started today.

I started with things that I had readily to hand and in quantity:
  • felt
  • black card
  • pompoms
  • fabric
  • sewing machine
If you like my idea, then start with what you have and only buy what you need - so if you don't have babushkas on your fabric then use something that is seasonal for you. (I like babushkas any season actually!)
Pompoms are not very practical as they stick out a long way but I really love pompoms and I think the warped card is worth it! You could easily cut  a star out from paper or fabric instead. 
Just keep it simple and graphic, that works best.
Black was an odd choice - I really wanted to use a brown recycled card - but it had been rolled up too long and would not behave. Actually I like the black now - so always work with what you've got, often it comes out better!

Inside the finished card (Not the wording, of course, that's for you to read in the blog)

The finished outside. 
I love red felt hearts at Christmas - think I've got hearts in my danish blood.
Sewing is not meant to be perfect - so give it a try.
I only sewed one pompom per card - but there are lots lying in wait in my cupboard!

 Just showing you the reverse side of the card and felt, to give you the backstory.

 Let me know if these instructions don't make sense - 
but please note I photoshopped this,
 and am very proud of the small steps 
I am making into that huge wilderness of photoshopdom.

"Pompomtastic" as my daughter would say - 
she inherited an irrational urge to collect pompoms too.
In case anyone was interested...
these pompoms are actually all the way from Chiang Mai in Thailand, 
made by Hill tribe ladies. 
(A must visit destination for all pompom lovers.)

Would love to hear what you think, 
you have to be a lonely blogger
to know the difference a little comment makes to my world!

OK enough from me - go have a cup of tea and start planning a few cards yourself. 

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Blog Inspiration

Starting this week:
Blog Inspiration:: Sharing a blog I have just discovered, love and want to share with you.

So many amazing people and their blogs waiting to be read. 
Thanks  52 Flea for introducing me 
to this fabulous french blog.... 
Enjoy it au naturel or in english
Image: Manon 21

Tea party for Gerd

Ten teacups to wish my dear friend Gerd a happy ?th Birthday today 
on the 10th of the 10th of 2010.

Gerd is a tea drinker par excellence 
and I hope she is enjoying a special cup today 
in Copenhagen.

Ingrid, Ian Alice & Rufus xxx

Friday, 8 October 2010

Christmas giveaway Winner is...

Firstly I want to thank the ten of you who wrote such great comments 

Secondly I want to say that Rufus slept through the whole prize draw, so you just have to trust me

Thirdly it was dolie who's name I pulled out of the hat. 
No messing about, all above board. 

If I had enough small stuff I would make up a packet for all of you - 

So I would like the 9 runners up
 to email me your address 
I want to send you a little chinese inspired decoration 
to go on your tree this year -
cos I love you all

Thanks for dropping by and come back soon for my October giveaway!

I think I'm going bananas!

If life gives you too many old bananas
Image by Stefan Sagmeister

 ... then make banana bread
Here are three I made earlier. 
Just need Goldilocks to pop by...
Oh Alice just popped by instead and has snaffled the little pink one.

If you feel like baking this weekend I recommend my recipe from The Mixer Bible - 
with variations by me!
Just find some ripe old bananas and you're ready to go.

Banana Bread
  • Half a cup of sourcream and milk (up to you the proportions but the more sour cream the yummier)
  • 2cups of flour (plain/all purpose)
  • 1 cup of sugar (white and sweet)
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter (220gm for the rest of us)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup of walnuts/pecans 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ( oh dear I just realised as I typed - forgot that this time!)
  • I added a few drops of real lemon essence, or you could add lemon zest. I like a bit of zing!
  1. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder, soda and salt together.
  2. In a food mixer bowl mix the sugar and butter (with a flat beater if you also have a Kitchen Aid - mine's red!) Speed 2 , or slowish and beat till light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and beat till combined. If the mix looks a bit curdled add some of the flour to get it back to normal.
  4. Beat in the bananas - (if they are not over ripe, then mush them in a bowl first). Add lemon zest if using.
  5. Alternately add some of the flour mix and some of the cream/milk  - till all is mixed in, with the mixer.
  6. Mix in walnuts.
  7. Bake at 180C for 45 - 60 minutes. (The little pink one took just 15 minutes)
  8. Cool on a wire tray.
  9. Invite all the bears in the neighbourhood round for tea.
I doubled up the mix because I had 5 very ripe bananas to get 3 loaves. I also added a couple of egg yolks left from making meringues. 
That's what I love about this recipe - it lets you play around and still turns out great every time.

To serve just fish out your Royal Copenhagen cake plate and all is good!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Creative Spaces- Knitting String

This week I found thicker, chunkier cotton 'rope' at the Beijing fabric market.
I just love knitting string.
Lots more colours to try out- pink, yellow and grey for starters.
Think this will be a table mat / hot pad, but 160 metres is a lotta rope so not sure when I will stop!
Today is Creative Space on Kootoyoo. This is where you should be if you want to share a creative moment from today.
Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

10 Creative Ideas for Advent

I love the word Advent - it holds so much expectation in its meaning.

This week I have lots of ideas to build the expectation starting from December 1st.
I think Advent calendars can be one of the most creative and exciting ways to get ready for Christmas, and you don't need a child in the house either!
I have a few ideas to share with you today, some to buy and some to create but all guaranteed to increase your happy expectations for the month of December.

Let's start with ones that are a countdown, pure and simple:
1. Zinc numbered tags from Jeanne d'Arc Living
Use these to add onto a string line. Behind them you see little paper packets which can be filled with a special note or instructions as to where to find a little present. I love the colour of zinc against old newsprint.

2. Use red striped ribbon and simple card tags. Make each number themed with something linking to Christmas. Each day, add a new number so that by Christmas Eve all 24 are suspended. No need for a present each time. I love the little charms hanging from each tag and the way Christmas has been spelt out on the tags. I wonder what 1 -16 say!

3. If you are in the mood for embroidery, and get started soon, then this could inspire you to sew on natural linen. Lululollylegs has a great tutorial on how to make this.

4. Ready to fill with a little gift, these Christmas cones are numbered for the days of Advent. Fill with small treats like sweeties or tiny toy. Lotta has many great ideas on Flickr 

5. A book for every day in Advent.
A Christmas Story Book Calendar is the brilliant suggestion of Mo on Babyccino Kids blog. The idea is to have a Christmas story for every night of Advent. You need to get started now, if you are going to collect 24 books together but what a fabulous way to remember Christmas 2010.

6. Pockets ready to be filled in this colourful calendar.
Check out here for a tutorial on making one for your home.

7. More pockets from Maileg, if you would rather just buy it. I just love her images for Christmas.

8. Yet more pockets in the shape of a tree, again from Maileg. But this could be the source of inspiration to make one yourself.

9. Nisse girl with pockets is the one we bought for our home last year and Alice, 16 at the time, was certainly not too old to enjoy a little pressie each day of Advent. By the way this Nisse girl is about a metre high!

10. Twenty four days too many? Then think of the 4 weeks of Advent and light a candle for each week. This little piggy will be just perfect

  • It helps to start collecting little presents well in advance, ie now, and think of variety so as to avoid 24 sweetie packages. 
  • Some of the treats could be written on a card  such as a trip to the theatre, ice cream parlour etc. 
  • Don't feel the pockets have to be filled with material things. Thoughts and promises are good too.
  • The first year I made an Advent Calendar, we still had all 3 children at home and buying 72 presents was a mammoth and expensive task. So if you are trying this for the first time and have several children to buy for, try to be creative in the type of 'gifts' or let the children take it in turns to open it for that day.
  • I would love to hear of any ideas you have tried and what gifts you may fill the pockets with.
  • If the gift is too big for the pocket, try wrapping it and then using a clothes peg to clip it to the outside of the pocket!
  • No child? Then do one for your partner and have fun ... or better still show them this blog and get them inspired to make one for you! 
Don't forget  to read last weeks post on Christmas and the decorative giveaway I have - closing date is just 1 day away - on Friday 8th Oct (China Me time)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Good design / Great design

Simple image of a favourite piece of Royal Copenhagen porcelain, in my window.

The Blue fluted design was transformed in 2000 
by a Danish designstudent, Karen Kjaergaard-Larsen 
into Blue Fluted Mega...

Image from Royal Copenhagen

The Mega design was a stroke of genius. 
Karen has made a 225 year old design of great beauty into a contemporary design .
It is now one Royal Copenhagen's best selling designs 
and proves how great designs live on with meaning through different generations.

I only own a couple of pieces (I'm working on it!)
 but even just using one plate 
can transform a batch of home baked poppyseed muffins 
into a special treat.

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