so that was december...

From right to left...
*December was kicked off with a cute and edible blogging social organised by my pal Aspiring Kennedy and held at Biscuiteers in Notting Hill. Proseco and piping made for a fun evening.
*One 'Freelance Friday' started with a brutal scalpel injury and was followed with a visit to a walk in clinic and lots and lots of waiting around. Needless to say that was not a fruitful day of work! Never fear!...Santa Claus popped some nail glue in my stocking.
* We had such a lovely Christmas back in that place we used to call home. I scored big time with Christmas gifts this year. Not a questionable gift in sight, just pure pressie gold!
* A very happy December Sunday, when my friend Camille was baptised, cheered on by the TW family.
* Trinity West's first public carol service. I did a bit of decoration which mainly involved instructing big strong boys up ladders in the art of hanging giant baubles. A highlight was the kid's chance to get involved in a song, aided by the beautiful sound of clashing percussion instruments.
*Our second London Christmas has been and gone and I'm sure London is the best place to be in the run up to all the festivities. Unless you don't like crowds that is.

Well Happy New Year to you all! Hoping the year has lots of great things in store for you. I spent the last day of the year working on a bit of a blog overhaul so I'm looking forward to getting that up and running in 2014!

Merry Christmas

John 3:17 // Original photo from The Collective Quarterly
Why are we celebrating? Do we ever really stop to think for long? Today we celebrate God breaking into this troubled world with a plan to save us from ourselves. He stepped into human history; a real living, breathing, feeling man, destined to live the perfect life we couldn't and pay the price we should have. What an amazing truth to celebrate! Have a very Merry Christmas however you're spending it and I'll leave you with some words from my little bro who puts all this far more eloquently than I'm capable of. 

all tucked up

Happy Friday! It's a very happy one for me as it marks the start of my 2 week Christmas break. I haven't taken any leave since my summer holiday so I AM EXCITED! If you too or relishing your newly acquired Christmas break, perhaps you're up for a few holiday projects or even a last minute gift for a friend. This DIY phone pouch is useful and pretty. Now there's a combination you don't get that often. I'm known for smashing up phones and scratching them into an abstract mess in my bag so this is a welcome addition to my life, for sure! A sewing machine would be very handy for this project, unless you're happy to spend a while hand stitching. 
You'll need...
To make:
  1. Paint dashes onto your canvas with the fabric paint and allow to dry. Cut two rectangles 3cm bigger than your phone from the felt and then do the same from your spotted fabric but leave an allowance of about 6cm at the top. I doubled up my spotted canvas with a plain canvas layer to give a more solid white. Line all fabric sheets up.
  2. Fold the longer top edge of your spotty fabrics over the felt and iron down to hold in place. Then on a sewing machine with the white thread, stitch a straight line to secure.
  3. Then reverse your sides and pin together, leaving a material allowance around the edge. Check that your phone slots in and out.
  4. Use your sewing machine to follow the pins. Curve the corners as this will make it neater when you finally turn it out.
  5. Trim the excess fabric. Cut a few small slits in the excess around the curved corners.
  6. Turn your pouch out. This may take a bit of manoeuvring.
  7. Thread the tapestry thread through a needle and hand stitch into the corner of your pouch forming a loop.
  8. Thread on the beads, pushing them close to the fabric and then tie a knot in the loop to fix them in place. 

And there it is! Happy using or gifting. Tuck all your phones up and keep them safe.

something for your screen

This is definitely something I need to be reminded of everyday. If I really believe that God has shown me more love and grace in Christ than I could ever imagine or deserve then he should be what I treasure most! He has cleansed me of all the wrongs I've done and ever will do and welcomed me into the family of God and I've been blessed with a precious, eternal inheritance that will never fade. He didn't have to do any of this and yet he has. Ignoring this is settling for so much less and how fickle we are even as children of God, when we live out our days treasuring earthly things more than Christ. All the others things inevitably disappoint but Christ never does. What we treasure most with our time, money, thoughts, energy etc shows us what we've really given our heart to.

Download these free desktop wallpapers right here.

festive freebies

Happy Friday to you....and not long now until Christmas. Somehow I haven't managed to buy a single present yet but at least I've got the gift tags sorted (eek). Perk up your gift wrapping with this printable selection.
All you need to do is... 

  1. Download the printable gift tags
  2. Print onto card
  3. cut-out the shapes
  4. Hole punch on the dot
  5. Thread through your string
Download and enjoy while I find some presents to gift wrap and ponder why I haven't written a single Christmas card when I work in the card industry.

aspiring kennedy; what to pack for a trip to England

It’s that time again! Time for Lauren over at Aspiring Kennedy to share some travel love and as my blog readership is shall we say US heavy (an understatement) this should be pretty handy if you are thinking of making the journey across the pond. For more from Lauren, check out her awesome blog. Sit back and soak in all her fun adventures in life and all around the globe.

1. Scarf // This is essential. It'll keep you warm when the sun hides out, and can easily get stashed in your purse when it doesn't. 

2. Coat // I hate to say it, but a coat is almost essential year round here. Light weight trenches or quilted coats are perfect for the "warmer" months.

3. Booties // People think it rains all day in England. That's not true. It just typically rains at some point on every day in England. So while you won't be drenched, you definitely want to be wearing the right shoes when the clouds do cry… or you might find yourself crying, too. I wear booties a lot. It's a good middle ground from the bulkiness of longer boots while still offering good protection from the crappy weather.

4. Water bottle // I like to keep these in my purse when I'm doing the tourist thing to avoid repeatedly paying £4 for bottled water. And yes, the tap water is safe to drink…. and request at restaurants. Hooray for legislation that requires restaurants to provide it for you.

5. Socks // I always say that Brits flash a bit of their quirk through their socks. When you're on the tube, take a peek at the ankles of the businessman across from you. You'll see the brightest and happiness socks peeking out under their dress pants. Get in the spirit with your own pair.

6. Guide //Take some notes from people who know how to travel in the NY Times "36 Hours" book. It highlights some amazing things to see/do/eat during your stay. Oh, and you can also pick up a few things on the travel section of my blog, Aspiring Kennedy.

oh christmas tree

I'm very excited to be putting our tree up this weekend! It was always a bit of an occasion growing up. Even as teenagers me and my brother would clear our diary to make sure we were present on this magical day. Bought decorations are lovely but there's something even better about making a few new decorations every year. Here's an idea to try. These hanging tree decorations look just the right dose of handmade and couldn't be much more straightforward.
You will need...
How to make...
  1. Start by rolling out the clay until it's all about 1cm thick. 
  2. Use your cutters or scalpel around a stencil to stamp out your shapes. Use a pencil to make a hole at the top of each shape enabling you to hang them later. Set aside.
  3. For the circular decorations you need to stamp in your Christmas phrases while the clay is still mouldable.  
  4. Leave all the shapes to dry out overnight or you can use the microwave to dry them out quicker. 
  5. Then glaze your decorations. I did two coats either side to make sure the coverage was even and nice and glossy. 
  6. You can now get busy with your sharpie marker. The gloss enhances the metallic affect. Simply draw out whatever design you want. My doodles are pretty easy to copy. I used a medium nib sharpie but if you want more detail you can go for a fine nib. 
  7. Then thread your string/tapestry thread through the hole and tie a knot in the end.

hug in a bowl

Nothing spells out winter quite like a whopping, great, big bowl of soup. I usually make big vats of vegetable soup during the hibernation months, to take to work for lunch or I whip it out as a speedy dinner (only if Nick isn’t around as he insists that it doesn’t count as dinner). Much as I love squeezing as many vegetables as humanly possible into one broth, I tried something a bit more interesting. Grab your hand blender, follow the link to the fabulous Aspiring Kennedy for maple carrot, apple and bacon soup and get cracking.