Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

A little Scottish saying for you this Hogmany (New Year's Eve)...

{Lang may yer lum reek!}

A salutation wishing long life and prosperity.
Literally, long may your chimney smoke.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A Winner!

Congratulations to Trulyana in London . You've won my little giveaway ! Hope this makes your day. There will be a little parcel in the post to you as soon as the Post Office opens..not sure if it will be Monday or Tuesday.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Hearts and Flowers part 1. - decorate a mug - easy peasy tutorial.

Here's a very simple little project to make a last minute gift for a teacher or auntie. It's lovely for your child to be able to give something which they have made themselves. Fill it with a cellophane bag of choccies tied up with pretty ribbon, and Bob's your Uncle!

Most crafters will probably have a heart and a flower paper punch in their stash. They are very versatile items to own. I'm using Tonic Studio's paper punches for this project. If you don't have any paper punches, then may I suggest that these ones would be good basic punches for you to start off your collection. (And believe me, once you've started your collection - you'll be buying more!!! )
You will need... a willing little helper. This is my sweet and creative 4 year old daughter .

A heart and a flower paper punch...

...and a bunch of other stuff. I have here some Pebeo Porcelaine paint, a sheet of acetate for making a stencil (although you could just as easily use paper for this), an old sponge cut into little blocks for painting, some milk bottle lids for the paint, some masking tape and most importantly, a plain white mug for decorating. I find Tesco's basics range brilliant for this. A straight sided mug is easiest to work with.
{Slight intermission where my daughter discovers building with the foam blocks is fun...I always save any foam from packaging...I think this foam might have come with a laptop computer. }

To start with, I cut a strip of acetate the right size to go around the mug, then after a little help positioning the shapes, my little girl punched them out. OK this was posed, she did need to press with both hands to activate the punch, but she did manage to punch out the shapes all by herself. We alternated heart/ flower/ heart/ flower etc. Now we all know paper punches are wonderful for using with paper to make cards and other paper items, but did you know that using them to create a stencil can be very effective too.
We fastened the punched strip to the mug with masking tape and then my little girl chose some paint. She mixed the colours herself using a cotton bud in the plastic lids.
Using the little pieces of sponge, she dab, dab, dabbed. Then mixed a couple more colours and did the same. We then moved the stencil to the bottom of the mug and repeated the process. Simple!
If you need to tidy up any areas simply moisten a cotton bud with water and clean up the edges a little.

Look what I did mum!
Now, you need to follow your paint's manufacturers instructions for curing and baking in the oven to fix the paint, then it's ready to give.

Of course you don't have to use hearts and flowers, if you have other punches that you would prefer, then go ahead - have fun! Let me know if you try this - I'd love to see the results.

I have another hearts and flowers tutorial coming up in the new year, so keep a look out for it!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

It's giveaway time at Doda's

I wanted to share a little giveaway to thank you all for visiting my blog. Your comments always make my day, and I love to make new bloggy friends and visit your blogs too.
If you would like to enter with a chance of winning you can...
  1. Leave a comment on this post for one entry to the giveaway. Let me know what country you are from.
  2. If you would like a second entry, then if you are already a follower or you become one, post again letting me know.
  3. If you post about the giveaway on your blog, then come back and let me know, you can have a third entry.

What you will win is these hand rolled pure Scottish beeswax candles - two pairs of pillars. The aroma of these is so delicious! I made them this afternoon and the scent has pervaded the house! Mmm !
You will also win this charming Alice necklace made from polymer clay. It comes on a silver plated chain in a handmade little gift box.
You will also win this crazy brooch which is perfect for loose weave woolens. Use it to fasten a scarf or a cardi. It is a reminder for you to eat your five fruit and veg a day!
It has a tiny little pea pod, a carrot, an aubergine/eggplant an orange and a tomato. It will certainly be a talking point. This also comes in a handmade little giftbox - one of my matchboxes.

I look forward to reading your posts and checking out where you are all from.

( I will choose a winner on the 24th December, so that gives plenty time for entering.)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Here is our little house in the Highlands. As you can see, it is rather chilly right now.

Current conditions are freezing fog. I am trying to keep my little girl cosy inside as she is cough, cough, coughing away at the moment.

...and now to warm your heart, a couple of pictures of my two silly girls. I don't really know how Naomi took these photos of herself and her sister, but they are cute aren't they?

...and I showed you these a long time ago, but here is another use for the plastic milk bottle lids I save. These are my pin cushion brooches. Very handy to have when you are sitting doing hand sewing and need somewhere to stick the pins and needles. Have you ever stuck a needle into the arm of your sofa only to forget about it until you prick yourself on it later? Hmm? No? OK! Anyway, they are very handy, and the plastic means that you don't stick yourself right through the brooch with a pin. I was going to list some in my Ebay shop eventually, but because I have been busy with the house at the moment, most crafts have taken a back seat. Although I have started to crochet a blanket in the evenings. I might show you later.
...I'll be back soon with a little giveaway... until then...stay warm and cosy :-)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Bottle caps are tops!

Hello from the snowy Highlands!

Today I am sharing with you my love for bottle caps. I like to save the lids from our plastic milk bottles because they have so many uses. Today I used one for mixing a little paint to touch up some scratches on our mahogony bath panel. These lids are just the right size for small amounts of paint and I don't need to wash up afterwards. Very handy!

I have many other uses for these little lids. Next post I will share another handy tip for using these lids. So DON'T throw them away, hang on to them and lets see how many uses we can come up with.

(This was last night, just after it had started snowing. My little girl was so excited she went out without putting her coat on - there is much more snow today)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


We don't celebrate thanksgiving in the UK, so I am sharing a very Scottish Highland and totally un-thanksgivingy image and sending greetings to all my American bloggy friends. I pray you have a very lovely time with your families counting all the blessings you have.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Thursday, 11 November 2010


In 2000 we moved to Belize in Central America for 2 years. The best part of it for me was all the wonderful people I met while there. My husband worked as the Principal of a small Christian school and through that we came in to contact with some amazing people. I have many fond memories. However, life there was not as comfortable as we have grown used to in the UK. We frequently were without water, did not have AC, had no hot water for washing dishes, and the only hot water tap was in the bathroom- not attached to a shower, so we used to fill a bucket with warm water and then wash ourselves with the aid of a plastic jug. It would have cost too much to fill a bath, but I do have some hilarious pictures somewhere of my daughter having a bath squashed into a blue plastic tub - I wouldn't dare embarass her by sharing those!

Food was expensive and we often had to trail round several shops to get the things we needed at a price we could afford. Sounds like I am grumbling about it, but no, it taught us to be more appreciative.
Yes, food is getting expensive here too, but the food on offer in the supermarkets is incredible. The first time I visited Tescos after we returned I felt overwhelmed by the choice.
When we moved back to this country, I said I was going to paint a lizard or a gekko somewhere on the wall of each room in our house to remind us to be thankful for all the blessings we have in this country that I used to take for granted.

OK, so where are all the gekkos in my house? Well, I've told you how long it has taken me to get around to doing all the rooms, and now we are finishing it all off with a view to selling, so the number of lizards now totals one! Yes, that's all I am afraid. He's in the master bedroom. I wonder what the people who purchase this house will make of him?

So...the next house we get...Lord willing...lots of gekkos!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

How to make a desk pad

I made the desk pad yesterday- (not that I haven't got another million jobs I should have been doing,) but it was very satisfying all the same!
Please excuse all the junk in the background. I have boxes of stuff sitting all over the place waiting to go out to various places. We've been doing some clearing out.


I happened to have a piece of hardboard just the right size although I have made these before out of stiff cardboard, so if you want to make one, then cardboard would be fine.
I had a scrap of fabric left over from a past project. Just a little bigger than the board size. Do you remember my peg bag ?
It is a Laura Ashley fabric scrap I was given by my sister in-law who is a wonderful interior designer. How I love her scraps!
I cut it allowing around an inch and a half overlap all the way around.

I watered down some pva glue - just a little bit, then spread it evenly over the front of my board and smoothed down my freshly ironed fabric over it.
Then I flipped the board over and stuck down the edges with the help of some masking tape to hold the fabric in place while the glue dried. I have made one of these before using iron on bondaweb. It was much less messy and far speedier, so if you are wanting an instant fix, then go ahead and use bondaweb.
Once the glue was dry, I used some scraps of vintage leather to make some nice neat corners on the my desk pad. The size I used for the leather strips was 1 1/2" by 4". I made a paper template first to get the right size. I used my hot glue gun for a strong stick and only glued the leather onto the back of the board, leaving the triangles open on the front for tucking in paper or little notes.
The scraps of vintage leather came from a chair that was fairly broken up but I didn't want to waste the leather. I had bought two of these chairs - yes two, for £1 a few years ago at my local auction. Here is the other chair which was fine but didn't have a seat cushion. I had a bit of foam so I cut it to size and made a cover for it. It's my favourite chair.
To neaten up the back of the desk pad I used a bit of lurid green felt I had leftover from a puppet project. But you could use whatever you like. If you use bondaweb, then you could use ordinary fabric because the bondaweb will prevent any frayed edges. If you are using glue, then be patient and let it dry properly before turning your pad over otherwise it will stick to your desk -not that this has ever happened to me ;-)

These deskpads are very handy for protecting a desktop or table, and perfect for when you are using your sewing machine and don't want to mark your furniture. They look pretty smart too.

I wonder if you'll make one...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Desk - a long story!

I finally finished painting my husband's desk! This desk has been with us since we were first married around 21 years ago. It was our first trash rescue as a couple. It was being thrown out and was across the street on the kerbside looking sad and lonely. We waited until it was dark, and tiptoed with it it across the road to our first apartment.

It had been painted in thick white gloss - badly painted - so I stripped it down and painted it with an acrylic satin paint in ivory. I painted a decorative teal line on the side drawers and the top - like a rectangle with a curved indented corner. It was very Laura Ashley. I wish I could find a photo of the Laura Ashley furniture that I was trying to emulate. We used it in our large dining room as a sideboard/buffet table, and it was very useful.

The next house we moved to, we sadly didn't have room for it, so I gave it to a friend who did. After a number of years we had both moved house again, and this time, she didn't have the room for it and I did, so I asked for it back - I'm cheeky that way! This time it became Naomi's desk. After a number of years it started to look a bit worse for wear. The acrylic paint is never quite as hard wearing as oil based paint, so I stripped it back down again and sanded it ready for a repaint. The desk then came with us when we went off to Belize in Central America for a couple of years. It never did get it's re-paint. I used it as a sewing desk and Naomi still used it as a desk too. It had quite a bit of glue stuck to it, and a number of scribbles in fibre tip pen where she missed the paper. When we came back to the UK, it became my husband's desk, and he has never complained about the unfinished scribbly state it was in. It remained in this sorry state and only now have I finally finished it! I used an oil based paint this time. A Crown satin paint in an off white. I'm not planning on re-painting it again - like ever!

I have changed the handles from drop ones, which were quite pretty, to these drawer pulls. ..I have a bit of a thing for these kind of drawer pulls, plus I love how they echo the shape of the shell on the middle drawer
I bought them about 11 years ago. I think if I could do it again, I would have bought silver handles, but otherwise, I am very pleased. Now the hard part. Getting the desktop to remain tidy

I have a cunning plan. The in-tray has been done away with - it had became a dumping ground for any bits of paper lying around. I have tidied out the drawers and now the top right hand drawer has become the in-tray. I also need to make some kind of desk pad to protect the top surface. As you can probably see we are still carpetless, but this is the last room on my list, so I better get on with all my jobs! Hmm, now for a desk pad.
Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Hi !

Hi! I know it's been a while.
Nice to sea you!
Things have been kind of busy round here lately,
and I have not been very good at updating my blog.
But I wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten you.
That you are still loved.
I still have much to do with the house and have been busy painting and decorating this last wee while. I don't have a great deal to show you at the moment, as I have been doing a bit here and a bit there, but hopefully some images will come soon.
So, exactly what have I been doing since I last posted ?
Hmmm...let me think...

Well, I've finished the long hall ceiling and am currently working on painting the wood trim. I have finished painting Naomi's room and am now waiting for a carpet fitter who is coming next week. I have started painting the wood trim in the back hallway. I have nearly finished painting my husband's desk- one top coat to go . I finished doing some touch up painting in my son's room. I fitted some wood trim in the bathroom. Have had a few clearouts and got rid of some junk. I have made two batches of jam. (Strange jam I might add!) Kiwi, apple and ginger jam, and mango, apple and redcurrant jam. Both look a bit like science experiments, but they taste really yum. I have managed to accumulate a huge pile for ironing, and failed completely when it comes to keeping the place dust and cobweb free!

I hope to have something to show you next time I post. Thanks for dropping by.
(photos by Naomi of a rare sunny day at Rosemarkie beach)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Our house-martins now have a little window on the world. My husband took this photo earlier this evening! Aren't they adorable. This is their second brood of the season.

Friday, 24 September 2010

The long haul... or hall

We moved into this house about 7 years ago and in our immediate enthusiasm began ripping out the awful wallpaper and carpets and starting to fix things up, then there were a few hiccups along the way ...I had a baby, and then we built a log cabin in the garden for my parents to sleep in when they visited among other things... and many of the jobs that were started have been waiting a long, long time to be finished. In some rooms we have had no carpet for a number of years, and we have just kind of gotten used to it. Now we are planning, Lord willing, to put the house on the market and move to something easier to maintain, therefore, I have to get those decorating jobs done now. My list is long, but I am slowly plodding through it. My current task is to get the hall ceiling fixed up.
It is a long, long hallway. The ceiling had some swirly patterned artex on it - (not one of my favourite things I have to say.) It also had some patched up holes where we removed a tiny shower room at one end. I wasn't going to try to fix up the swirls to match it in. It would have been simpler to call in a plasterer (more expensive, but simpler) but as there is a small amount of bounce in the floor on which the walls are resting, this means that there is also a small amount of movement in the ceiling so it necessitates a finish with a certain amount of flex to it...unlike I boring you? ...sorry!
Anyhoo, this is as much for my own record as it is for boring you with... this is the before...
...then there is the mid stage... I apply a grey gloop to cover over the swirls, but this does not leave a perfectly smooth finish like plaster. Also it is a very slow process as I apply it with a credit card, because the applicator that you are supposed to use ends up with me being covered in more grey gloop than the ceiling. I have used this stuff before for my kitchen ceiling about 5 years ago, and forgot just how much I hated the job. It's the kind of job that brings me to tears! OK, so it actually did make me cry - pathetic I know!
Then this is the almost finished stage, I have now applied a sort of gritty textured finish to cover over the grey gloop. I need to give it a coat of white emulsion paint now to hide the grey properly.

So I have three separate stages going on right now, and I am just over halfway with the grey gloop. I only have a couple of hours in the mornings to do my decorating while my little girl is at nursery, so that is why progress is slow. Thankyou if you have read this far! I shall keep you posted on the progress of my long haul with the hall. Have a wonderful day!