Friday, January 30, 2015

OHC and Window Star Tutorials

Hello everyone! It's a lovely bright shiny day here after our snow storms of yesterday. Unfortunately we did not make our art lesson as the passes over the Peaks are both still closed. So instead we went on a nature walk.

 Before I share that with you, a couple of lovely readers wanted to know how we made the window stars I showed you in yesterday's post. There are lots of lovely tutorials out there, we used this one from Arwen Art. They don't give the exact measurements but I cut my rectangles to measure 11 cm X 5.5 cm. Garden Mama has a tutorial which gives a slightly different 'shadow' pattern within the star.

I found this YouTube tutorial if you prefer to watch it being done.

Moving onto our OHC this morning...

The girls wanted to check to see if the small lake in the park below our home was frozen, as well catch a few downhill runs on their sledges. So we combined those things with a twig identification walk. I find that winter is a good time to identify trees as they have very distinct differences. Without the leaves you are able to see the trees spread - an important part in identifying trees, the bark and of course being able to get up close and observe the twigs. We used the Nature Detectives Twig ID sheet to help us along.

We saw lots of Hazel catkins, I was hoping to find some of the Witch Hazel female flowers but I think it may be a bit early to see the flowering twig of the Parrotia persia species yet. The flowering period is from February to March - we'll keep an eye out for that, and a bit late to catch the Hamamelis mollis species which is autumn flowering.

What we did do was take a twig of what we identified as Ash. We have popped it into a vase of water and placed it on our nature table. We will wait and watch to see the leaves come out in the warm environment of our home. 

Do you ever force branches of flowering shrubs indoors? 

2014 - Forced Magnolia
Each year around late February early March, when I become desperate for spring to arrive, I cut small branches of Forsythia and Magnolia  from my garden and bring them indoors. I place them into a vase of water and after about a week of the warm environment they burst into bloom giving a lovely display. The Magnolia although beautiful is quite messy. It drops it's flowers fairly quickly, but for the first day or two of the flowers being out it's worth it!

Right, I think that's a wrap for now. Have a wonderful weekend everyone and I look forward to seeing you soon :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

I had my day all figured out. I was going to nip out to the fabric store and stock up on some lovely fabric so that I could spend the afternoon sewing away and stocking the shelves of my Etsy shop.The thing is, mother nature had other plans...

A few snow showers was what we were expecting today, nothing too bad. Snow showers come and go. We had them yesterday, icy showers mixed with snow - no settling. Well ... I think we got significantly more than just snow showers this morning!

Now you know me - I love the snow. But I was totally unprepared for this. I had planned to do a bit of grocery shopping on my way back from the fabric store as certain things are running low, but there is NO WAY I was going out in this. So I have been forced to be a bit creative and make do - the result was a successful and delicious lunch of baked potatoes and various toppings :) My girls were happy so I guess that what constitutes 'success' in my home.

I must say that I enjoyed taking a few pictures of the bright colours within my home contrasting with the crisp white of the snow outside...

Of course this type of weather always causes absolute chaos on the roads. DH enjoyed a 2 hour, bumper-to-bumper, snail-paced drive to work this morning. It's only a 10 mile run which usually takes him 20 minutes. 

We are due to cross the Pennines tomorrow as we have an art class, at the moment the pass is closed but I'm hopeful that it will be open again by tomorrow morning - should do, they are quite good about getting the roads cleared generally. At the moment though it's not looking good, apparently the higher ground can expect more snow overnight. :(

Anyhoo, we have a lull in snowfall at the moment with blue skies overhead, the news update has said that it won't last for long as there is another 2 or 3 hours of snowfall on it's way. I think I'm going to take advantage of the lull and go for a snow walk :)

Happy Thursday to you all...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Last Days of January

Only a few more days of January left. It's been a really good month for us here at Moor View Cottage. My days have indeed been savoured and slow. Of course they have been punctuated with busyness at times but nothing that has sapped my joy in any way. Busy is good sometimes, as long as it is productive.

So this last week of the month is always a time when I look back over what the month, in this case - January - held and then look forward to what special times and things are unique to the upcoming month.

So January in our home means our annual craft of window stars are made to brighten up the dark cold days...

We've had a fair bit of lovely snow already...

*We have celebrated Epiphany
*enjoyed daffodils from the grocer brightening up the conservatory
*loved our snowy walks
*achieved my stitching goals for the month
*spotted the first snowdrops and noticed all the spring bulbs peeking their green spikes through the frozen earth.
* celebrated Burns Night (25th)

Sunday will usher in February and with it lots more reasons to celebrate it's seasonal goodness in our home.

February means...

* lengthening days but perhaps more chance of snowy days

* a short month bringing us ever closer to spring

* a birthday in our family (21st)

* remembering my departed father on his birthday (2nd)

* Candelmas (2nd)

* a Snow moon (3rd)

* St. Blaise (3rd) patron saint of wool-combers, I think I could think of some fun yarny thing to do don't you?

* Valentines Day (14th) and a bit of home decorating to mark the occasion would not go amiss :)

* Lent begins (18th) Ash Wednesday

* Shrove Tuesday (17th) ~ aka Pancake Day

*Half term break

*Sale of our house in South Africa to go through (28th)

Lots of things to look forward to :) Makes my heart happy to think of all those homey, simple things that bring joy and fullness to our lives.

Have a lovely Wednesday everyone...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog And **Giveaway**

**Don't forget to read all the way to the end to find out how to enter my giveaway**

2 Bags Full

I do love discovering new blogs. There are so many creative and lovely people out there who take time to share their passions and their gifts with the world through their blogs. I have a select few that are my trusted favourites, I have been inspired when I have seen talented people share their beautiful handiwork, whether that be knit, crochet, sewing, or stitching. It's inspired me into creating more, stretching my skills or perhaps even learning a new one. 

I have been inspired to live intentionally, embrace seasonal happenings and celebrate them in our own way in my own home. I have drooled over the talent of bloggers who's passion is interior decor, how simple they make it look, so simple that I have been encouraged to do the same within my own home.

When I noticed this beautiful badge pictured above on a lovely creative blog that I enjoy reading, I thought it was a great idea not only to get my own blog out there but also to discover new-to-me blogs. Most of us like a party, a celebration, so I was keen to join in the blog party fun with Vicki at 2 Bags Full.

So for those who are visiting Under An English Sky for the first time, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Shirley, I live with my husband, two teenage daughters, two cats and a hamster in Chesterfield England. We have home-schooled for 10 years and still going strong. We are a South African family, originally from Cape Town, who have left our homeland and set up a new life in England. We are completely in love with this land and can't wait to take our citizenship at the end of this year and be counted as British on paper {we are already British at heart :)}

On this blog you will read lots of different things, some homeschooling adventures, although these posts are less frequent than they once were. You will read allot about knitting, crochet, sewing and cross stitch. I love my home and our Christian faith is key in our lives, so you will find lots posts sharing little ways we celebrate and mark the seasons, natural, British and liturgical in our home. You will also see posts of a hearth and home flavour - you know- decorating, in the kitchen, gardening, that sort of thing.

In keeping with the celebrations of this lovely blog party, I would love to give away a homespun creation. I have an Etsy shop (currently on vacation mode whilst I stock the shelves) where I sell (amongst other things) good old cheerful bunting - a must for just about any British celebration! I always, ALWAYS have it strung up around my house and when summer comes along it gets strung up outside too :)

** The Giveaway **

 I have a string of scalloped bunting to give away.  This string is around 3.5 m long with 7 scalloped flags. I have used the cutest autumn-print Flower Fairy cotton, alternated with lace trimmed solid-colored tan flags. There is a loop at either end of the bunting so that you can easily slip it over a hook to hang, alternatively the string is long enough on either end of the flags to tie around a tree or shrub if hanging outside.

This giveaway is open to all readers whether you are a follower or not. This is not boarder restricted so I am happy to post anywhere in the world.

 This contest will finish at midnight on the 14 February and the winner announced on Sunday the 15 February. Please use the Rafflecopter entry form to enter - a valid email is essential so that I can contact the winner. Your email address is completely confidential and shall not be used for any other purpose than to get a postal address from the winner.

Thank you so much for visiting Under An English Sky, please do feel free to browse past posts to get an idea of what I blog about. 

Blessings to you all...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Snow Walk Before Lessons

I'm sorry if this is boring ;) but I guess my joy at getting the white stuff is because I grew up in Africa - where there is not much of it. What there is happens high up and requires hours of driving :) 

So this morning we woke to a white wonderland - oh so pretty! It had snowed very lightly all through the night but really picked up allot just after we woke around 7 this morning.

I love how vibrant the daffodils look against the white backdrop don't you?

Anyhoo, I decided to give the girls a snow-break from lessons for a bit so that we could get outside and enjoy the falling snow and do a bit of sledging. That's the great thing about homeschooling, we can grab opportunities that come along at the drop of a hat. We bundled off and set out.

This snowfall has delivered more wet snow this time round. Boxing Day's snow was certainly more dry, we struggled to form snowballs from it. But this time we had no problem. The girls had a few downhill rungs and then convinced me to have a go. "Come on mum, you have to be 'fun mum' this winter" - thanks Boots advert!

So I did, who can argue with the Boot's advertising slogan lol.

We then made our way down to the lake, it was pretty much frozen over. All the waterfowl were skating along the top, there was only a small patch or two of broken ice for them to swim in.

We continued on our walk, enjoying how different the landscape looks when covered with snow. The girls relieved some bowing branches of their snow loads with much delight as I happened to be under one of them at the time.

After having walked in the falling snow for a good 25 minutes we were beginning to feel a bit wet and cold so headed home. Home was a welcome sight :)

We shook off the snow, grabbed a hot drink and opened the school books. All longings for the white world outside completely satisfied and minds able to concentrate on lessons :)

Happy Wednesday all...