In a world of pure imagination #treasurytuesday

I have been doing #treasurytuesday with Craft hour for a while now, but I have failed to share anything on here with you. This morning I have crept upstairs to do it while the kids are distracted. So I thought I’d quickly share. My #treasurytuesday has been inspired by the sad news that Gene Wilder passed away yesterday. I loved him in Willy Wonka and you just cant beat the original. The song in a world of pure imagination had been going around in my head all night, so I knew I had to base it on that. Bright colours, things good enough to eat and fantasy all thrown together.

Colour mixing cross stitch

This weekend I have been playing around with colour mixing in my cross stitch. I have used variegated threads before but wanted to try something that gave be more control over where the mixed colour was in my pattern.
Colour mixing cross stitch

I used my simple heart pattern to try out my experiments as I wanted to be able to compare across a design and this is simple but large enough to give a good sample.
The first experiment was to look at bleeding the colours, going tonally from one colour to another. The photo just about picks it up, but it is not true colour mixing.

Colour mixing cross stitch

The next experiment was to mix the colours by using one colour for the first bar of the cross and one colour for over the top to form the x. I like this one and could see myself using this one in places where I wanted to add texture. Roofs of buildings on in area of grass.

Colour mixing cross stitch

My final experiment I haven’t quiet finished but want to show you anyway. This is called mixing in the needle and depending on the size of your fabric and needle can be done with multiple strands. Here I threaded my needle with two blue and one orange strand. As you can see the blue dominates but I love how as the thread move when to stitch you see little glimpse of the orange. This would look great when stitching where you wanted to show movement, perhaps in hair or on a swaying dress.

Colour mixing cross stitch

I will continue my little experiments and share them with you soon.
If you want to sew this cute heart design you can find the pattern here or browse through my cross stitch patterns page here. (They are all free!)

Back to school, quick lunchbox ideas.

Back to school is on the horizon and with that can follow the dread of lunchboxes. The rush in the morning, the panic of what to put in it, the guilt of whether your feeding them a healthy lunch. Not to mention the unappetising appeal of soggy sandwiches.

Back to school, quick lunchbox ideas.

Hartley’s jelly pots is championing the back to school period with a new campaign, Hartley’s your lunchbox. The campaign aims to motivate parents to turn their hand to brilliant lunch creations and collect an exclusive Hartley’s lunchbox through its collector scheme.

Back to school, quick lunchbox ideas.

Hartley’s is offering customers the chance to collect 12 special edition green lids from across the No Added Sugar Jelly Pots (115g), to claim a free Hartley’s lunchbox and stickers.

Back to school, quick lunchbox ideas.

You can claim your lunchbox by going to the Hartley’s website Each lunchbox comes with two sticker sheets to personalise your lunchbox.

With all that in mind I thought I’d share with you my quick ideas for nutritious healthy lunchboxes. That’ll see you through till October Half term.

My basic formula for insuring my children are eating a balanced lunch is to divide the lunchbox into five categories

Fruit and vegetables.
A treat (optional)

Then I choose two things from fruit and veg, two from carbohydrates, one from protein, one from Dairy and if you want one small ‘treat’. Also I would add drink.

With this I make sure they are getting enough of everything they need to give them enough energy to learn and play right through the afternoon.

Here are my suggestions for quick things to give that don’t take a lot of prep.

Fruit and vegetables.
An apple,
A kiwi – peeled and put in a pot
A handful of dried fruit – my kids love raisins, sultanas, cranberries, papaya, apricots, blueberries. There is a wide range of dried fruit available and something to suit everyone’s tastes. Just make sure you pick un sulphured apricots and avoid crystallized fruit as that is sugar coated.
A satsuma
A banana
A peach
A plum
A handful of strawberries
Cucumber, carrot, pepper or celery sticks
A handful of cherry tomatoes,
Mangetout, sugar snaps, or peas in their pods.
Baby corn

Carbohydrates (not a soggy sandwich in sight!)
Bread sticks
Packets of five crackers
An English muffin
Toasted pitta sticks
Pitta pocket to stuff
Unsalted un sugared popcorn
Crisp bread
Rice crackers

A slice of ham (try and avoid having this everyday)
A hard boiled egg
Tuna mayo to go in a pitta pocket
Sunflower seed butter to go on the pitta sticks (most schools will not allow peanut butter so this is a great alternative for vegetarians)

Cheese (so many varieties and ways to serve)
A fromage frais
A yoghurt
A bottle of milk
Or soya or dairy free alternatives to all the above if your child is lactose or dairy intolerant.

A treat (optional)
Jelly pots are the perfect size for children’s lunchboxes, providing convenience and a wide range of flavours to keep kids happy.
A cereal bar
A packet of low salt crisps

To this I always add a drink, an icepack to keep everything cool and a spoon!

Back to school, quick lunchbox ideas.

This post is an entry for Britmums #HartleysYourLunchbox linky challenge, sponsored by Hartley’s Jelly

Back to school, quick lunchbox ideas.

Rainbow pencils cross stitch, new photos

So here is the second set of new pattern photos I took. Taking the advice of hubby I have included a little prop and I must admit I think these photos look cute. Which is probably why I could cut the number of them down and so I thought I’d show you them all! Which is your favourite? I’m still experimenting with staging the photos, trying to work out how to get the best lighting and how best to show off the stitch work. A work in progress and I’ll keep you updated with new pics as I get time to play when the boys are back at school.

If you want this free pattern click here or visit my free patterns page.

New cross stitch pattern photos.

For my birthday my parents treated me to a new camera as a way of helping me with my online business. I have loved learning about how to work my new DSLR and obviously still have a lot to learn. The other day my boys went out with their grandparents and so I hopped to it fashioning up a quick studio in the outside porch and testing out photographing my stitching.

I must admit it took ages and by no means have I got all the photos taken that I planned. So it will be an ongoing project but over the next few weeks I hope to update both my pattern photos from my Etsy shop and stitch up and photograph some of the free patterns I featured here.

So here is the first free pattern I have photographed.

 I have been experimenting with props for the photographs, my husband says he prefers this type of photos. I was pretty happy with this pic apart from the lighting. Photographing outside is tricky.

I on the other hand prefer to see close up images of the stitching and I’m sure other sewers do to. I love the way the camera can pick up the texture of the floss and fabric so well.

The sun came out again in this one and I framed the picture tighter with the props. What do you think?

 I also thought you might like to see how my free patterns could be used. So I mounted it up in a white circle aperture card with wadding behind to raise it out from the card. Looks cute doesn’t it!

I tried to different coloured background to shoot it on, I think the white background look more professional but I prefer the warmth from the pink velvet.

If you like the look of this pattern just click on the link and it is yours to download immediately.

What do you think of the photos? Any pointer from photographers greatly appreciated. 🙂

The Trap by Melanie Raabe – A review

The Trap by Melanie Raabe – A review

I often find I read more in the Summer, I don’t know if this is because the nights are longer or because the Kids are off school, but I often find myself working my way through a pile of books given to me at Christmas. This summer was an exception and I had little to read, so when Mumsnet offered me the chance to review ‘The Trap’ by Melanie Raabe I jumped at the chance.
‘The Trap’ is Melanie’s debut novel but it doesn’t come across as that. It was written with great maturity and creates a clever and suspenseful storyline.
The context of the novel is written from Linda’s perspective. Her sister was murdered and her killer was never caught. However Linda saw the murdered and twelve years later sees him again.
She feels she is unable to accuse him as he is know a well known reporter, so she targets him in the only way she knows how, by writing a book about him. 
It is then that I felt the book became slightly formulaic in that when the novel is published she will only give one interview and guess who it will be to…
However enough suspense carries the reader through to the end and it is an enjoyable summer read with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.
One to pack for the holidays.
Disclaimer – I was given a free copy of this book to review by Mumsnet.