Creative · Nature · Seasons · The Great Outdoors

New Beginnings

I always see January 1st as a fresh start, although if I’m honest its always usually January 7th by the time I make the appropriate changes that I planned! It takes a good week to come down from the buzz of Christmas but I get there eventually!

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I spend some time contemplating the last year. What can I improve on that perhaps I didn’t do particularly well with. Where shall I be taking my business in 2017. What personal achievements do I want in 2017. I see the mistakes I’ve made in business and in life, I see the strength I’ve had. I see my beautiful little family standing strong beside me and that in actual fact, I’m stronger than I realise. That in fact I can achieve whatever it is I desire as long as I believe I can.

I make notes, I make lists, I organise the shit out of the year ahead! Always in a fresh new notebook,  which is important if one is starting over a new!  😉  I start as I mean to go on, ok kinda because theres still loads of christmas chocolate left in the house and those chocolate coins are screaming out to be eaten! But the motivation to make this year my best yet is strong!

I see so much light at the end of the tunnel for the year ahead, light that perhaps has only been a dim flicker for the last 6 years. I’ve won some and I’ve lost some and I’m ok with that now.

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The lovely Sarah and Lisa mentioned that they have a word for the year. A word they keep by them to help them along throughout the months, reminding them that they are capable of whatever it is they plan. It got me thinking about what my word would be for this year. It didn’t take much thinking to be honest. My word for 2017 is going to be BRAVE. Brave enough to be me regardless of what others may think.  Brave enough to follow my dreams. Brave enough to hold my head high and move forward into 2017.

What word would you choose for the coming year?

I’ve plans for new creative makes. Seasonal artwork and a possible new little person (of the fictional variety) for my little business this year. It’s all about following the pull of the seasons, my love of all that is nature and the causes and effects of a time well spent out in the wild.

Now if I could just add a few more hours to each day, I may get my Etsy shop re stocked, sooner rather than later!!

Wishing you all the strength to achieve your goals and desires throughout the coming year.

love Victoria.

 

Creative · Seasons

Merry Christmas! 

So it’s nearly time, our tree is up and adorned with treasures we’ve collected or made over the years. The house is full of fairy lights and schools out until next year! 


I’ve spent the last couple of days wrapping gifts, listening to Fairytale of New York and baking Christmas treats with the real hope of getting organised and regaining my Christmas sparkle which did a bit of a wild escape recently but I’m thrilled to see it’s back in full force! 


My little Etsy shop has SOLD OUT! Which has brought a great big smile to my face! There may not have been a vast amount of products on offer this year what with baby Zara’s arrival n’all but the popularity of what was in there has taken me by happy surprise and along with all the support I’ve had over on instagram I just wanted to say thanks so much! It is true what they say, we do do a little happy dance! 


I’ll have my shop restocked with old favourites and hopefully new favourites in the new year but for the time being I’ll be celebrating the festivities with my family, possibly consuming a tad too many mince pies and watching The Snowman on repeat! 

Wishing you all a fabulously festive Christmas full of love and over indulgence. May your stockings be filled with gifts that you love and your glass always full of something sweet! Have a great one! 

Love Victoria 

Creative · Nature · Seasons

Festive Traditions & Makes

Christmas is upon us,  and I couldn’t be happier about it! Come December the 1st (Ok, around mid November if I’m honest) little bits of holly start sneaking indoors and fairy lights start appearing. I start pinning things on Pinterest and my creative to do list gets bigger and more unattainable by the day!

I did though get time to make a family advent calendar. Not sure wether this will turn into a family tradition or a possible one off for 2016 but its added an extra bit of excitement to each day so thats never a bad thing!

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Its an exciting year for us this year as its my baby’s first Christmas and with my eldest Rosa, being at a great age for still believing in the man in red I really want to take the time to let it all soak in. To not rush the days past with the usually day to day chores and spend them creating & baking and filling them full of memories and traditions. It seems I have a mini Mary Berry on my hands who adorned her christmas tree biscuits with chocolate drops & snow, and did a better job at it than I think I would of done!

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One thing we do every year is head over to the Christmas tree farm to get our tree, we went a little earlier this year to pick it and couldn’t of chose a better day as it was all frosty and white. A real winter wonderland. If little lady hadn’t of complained the entire time her feet were cold then it would of been even more magical but so be six year olds I guess!

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Each year Rosa and I make Christmas decorations for her to give to family & friends, this years inspiration came, of course, from Pinterest. They are really easy to make, and she only required me to help her with the cutting out as we didn’t have a cookie cutter in this shape.

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We’ve used Air dry clay in the past but this year we had some clay we could bake in the oven. We got ours from a ceramist we met at Potfest but air dry clay would work just as well. I cut out a gift tag shape from some cardboard to use as a template and using a knife, cut out the tags on some rolled out clay. We used wooden guiding sticks so it was all a similar width then placed a hole through each one for the twine to go through once baked. Rosa collected some herbs and leaves from the garden & we used those to create indented patterns on the tags. At this point we followed the guidelines for baking, then once ready Rosa painted them using an acrylic wash in an earthy green shade which is lovely for Christmas. I love to incorporate nature where I can into our crafts and this was a great one to do, plus I think I’d be happy making these myself one day…another craft added to the Pinterest to do list!!

I guess the list will stay long but, but I’m ok with that because these are the things that make December fun for us. The housework may be slacking slightly but it can wait because Christmas only comes around once a year and I’ve whole board of gift wrapping inspiration I’ve not even stared looking at yet!

Are there any traditions or festive makes you have each year? Pop a little comment in the box below or take a photo and tag me in it on Instagram I’d love to see!

Happy December!

Love Victoria

 

 

Nature · Seasons · Slow Living

So Good In Every Way

 

 

As we say goodbye to Autumn and welcome in the shorter days I find I’m getting outdoors less and less. I really should try harder though because there’s something wonderful about wrapping up warm, heading out for a long walk & coming home to an open fire,  cosy blankets and a nice hot mug of tea!

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So when chatting to the fabulous Ali about being guest judge for  So Good In Every Way  What more of a perfect excuse to remind myself to just slow the heck down. We decided on using #sgiew_wonder  and I’d love it if you’d join me over on Instagram for the next couple of weeks where I’ll be hopefully taking the time to remind myself of all the beauty that nature has to offer and the sheer pleasure of warming cold toes by the fire. Its the simple things really!

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If you head head over to  http://incredibusy.com Ali will explain ‘How To’ and you can follow the So Good in Every Way team over on Instagram.

@sogoodineveryway

@incredibusy

@redtedart

@willowdaygram 

and me @featherandwild

Don’t forget to use #sgiew  &  #sgiew_wonder on your photos and I’ll be picking my 9 favourites in a couple of weeks!

Love Victoria

 

Creative

The Chaotic Mind of a Creative

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Handmade, homemade, made with love, make do and mend, whatever it is, it seems we’re all at it in some way or another.

Back in 2014 I took the plunge and headed out into the world of self employment, fulfilling my life long dream of being an artist. I was thinking canvases & galleries, but something wasn’t quite right. Once I dipped my toes into the water, my spirit left. I didn’t fit in that world.

Damn it I thought to myself. I’d worked so hard getting there but didn’t like it once I did…typical me!

With this though, came opportunity and chance meets. Gentle encouragement and people that could help me get to where I wanted to be. Slowly but surely I started to realise as long as I was being creative in some way, and as long as people wanted to buy my work then I still had a shot at being a self employed creative.

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Over the last couple of years I’ve found my ‘style’ which was a real lightbulb moment for me and I’ve found the confidence to create what I want rather than what is popular or fashionable at that time. I’ve grown as a creative and I’ve come to realise the importance of being around other like minded folk. The importance of supporting other small businesses. My little creative world wouldn’t be what it is without the help and support I’ve had from some lovely folk in my life and that is why I believe in supporting & raising each other up where we can. If I could sit and list all the talent thats going through my Instagram feed I would, but I’d be here all night and I’d hate to miss someone out!  These folk though, wether artists, photographers cooks or incredible mums making things as a hobby, inspire me daily. I tend to see things in images, that is why, along with Pinterest it is such an important  part of my creative journey. The talent I see on my instagram feed is so uplifting and there isn’t a day goes by when I’m not pinning new ideas not only for my studio but for my home life too.

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I do what I can to keep my studio space organised and its important for me to bring little bits of the outdoors in to calm me and inspire me but if you could step inside my head you’d be calling for the men in white coats! It’s full in there of the “Oh why did I paint that” to “Oh but I could paint that though” “If only I could knit I’d be making this…perhaps I could learn to knit, what about crochet? Oh but weaving, that looks easier why don’t I start weaving as a hobby, but when do I have time for a hobby? I must get outdoors with the proper camera, autumn is just so lovely, but then I must complete this commission and ooh look cake.”  You see, its mad in there and thats not including all the mummy things I have to do too!!

I can’t be the only one out there who feels this way (she says hoping someone puts there hand up going “ooh me too!!”)  and I know half the time the ‘important’ things I really MUST do that day aren’t actually that important at all. I continue to put more pressure on myself than is needed.

Since having my second daughter Zara this year, I’ve struggled to continue as I was prior to her arrival. I very much underestimated how hard it would be to run a business while running a family! I’ve so many things I want to make, so many new ideas floating around in my head yet finding the time is tough as I don’t want to miss a moment of her little life. My eldest Rosa is 6 (going on 16)  and I know how fast it goes, I know how much you forget and I know the time will come when Zara, like her sister will start school and time will once again be mine but in the meantime I will continue to do the little bits I can, because I want to. I will always want to make, I will always have ideas to create things. I will always get excited around November time because its time to do the christmas crafting with my daughter and also for myself. I love making these little wooden christmas decorations and they proved popular last year so I’m making it my priority to get some in my etsy shop this year. There may not be many so lets call them limited edition!

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To round this off though, even if its just one gift purchased or one treat for yourself, buying from a small independent business really does put more than a smile on someones face. It encourages them to continue with their dream and in my case filter out some of the ideas into a sellable reality, creating a little more space in my chaotic mind for more ideas to creep back in!

I will though, forever be overwhelmed at the thought that my creations are now dotted in far away places across the globe and I can’t thank people enough for all the support they’ve given me over the last couple of years.

Now if only I could find a way to hand deliver every purchase!

Food Glorious Food · Seasons · Slow Living

Hibernating & Apple Crumble

My love of Autumn stems back to childhood. Kicking fallen leaves is still one of my favourite things to do and I have been known to cross the road in the past if the other side is of better leaf kicking quality!

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It’s also the time hibernation commences. I strongly believe all humans should partake in the occasional spell of hibernation. There’s nothing like switching off technology, locking the front door and sitting by the fire with a hot drink and a big cosy jumper. Time to catch up on your favourite magazine. Read that book you’ve been meaning too or pick up that sketchbook and pen.

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For me, hibernation starts in October. The curtains are closed as soon as is justifiable. The world is shut out for the evening and pyjamas are on the same time as the kids. The candles are lit and the fire is stoked. Its the time I switch from smoothies to porridge for breakfast. A time when soup is a perfectly suitable meal most days and I crave stews and one pot dinners. Then of course, there is Crumble!

Apple crumble is my treat for that extra bit of comfort when the nights start drawing in. There are many variations of crumble recipes out there but the one I use and have found to be the most likely to have me heading back to the fridge for third helpings is this:

Apple Crumble Recipe

Serves 8, no 4, possibly 6 depending on how big your portions are!

Ingredients:

 Filling:

◦ Approx 500g of Brambley Apples, peeled cored & sliced into 1cm chunks (ish)  You can use eating apples if you’d prefer which offer a slightly healthier version as less sugar is needed. I’d use 1 tbsp of caster sugar rather than 2.

◦ 2 tbsp Caster Sugar

Crumble:

◦ 175g Plain Flour

◦ 110g Caster Sugar

◦ 110g cold butter, cubed

◦ Pinch of salt

Topping:

◦ 1tbsp Oats

◦ 1tbsp light brown sugar

Method:

Fill up a baking dish with the chopped apples. Squash down with your hand and sprinkle over the 2 tbsp’s of caster sugar.

Place the flour and 110g caster sugar in a bowl with good pinch of salt. Rub in the cold cubed butter with your fingertips to create a breadcrumb texture.

Pour the crumble mix over the apples and flatten down with the back of a fork to even it out and so it holds together when cooked. Sprinkle the light brown sugar and the oats evenly over the top.

Pop into into a pre heated oven at 170 / gas 5,  for 35 – 40 minutes until the top is golden and the apples are soft.

Try waiting 10 minutes or so before consuming as burning of the mouth can occur to the impatient kind. (Trust me I know!)

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Life of course, does go on and true hibernation is not an option but then if it were, I’d have to have some time off each week to head outdoors. To kick those leaves and to breath in those cold crisp mornings because without these I wouldn’t be reminded how wonderful it is to see & feel the seasons changing and that would be very sad indeed.

But as the clocks change, and the days get shorter, its highly likely I’m to be found in my pjs, fighting with the dog for the warm spot by the fire, bowl of crumble in one hand, spoon in the other.

Love Victoria.

Creative · Forest Schooling · Nature

Giving Nature a Home

Doing our part in giving nature a home, however small that part may be, is so important.

Now, I’m not about to say I’ve never killed a house spider thats threatened me on a dark autumn evening. Or that I’ve never batted a wasp thats flew too close to my face, or my G&T. But all in all , I’m happy for the wee beasties to live in my garden.

My eldest daughter who is six has always loved the bugs. Everything from slugs to spiders (although she’ll admit that those big legged pesky ones that live in her bedroom aren’t her favourite!)
She has a lovely habit of bringing the odd snail or worm into the house, much to my delight, so it made sense to build a bug hotel with her in the garden. At least then she’d have somewhere else to put her ‘new pets!’

I had a quick look on Pinterest for some ideas (whatever did we do before Pinterest?) and asked her dad for some help sourcing some of the bits we needed. We gathered up some of her vast collection of shells  and made a special trip to to the woods after school one day to gather sticks and pinecones which is always extra nice this time of year.

It took around two hours to complete our hotel, that included gathering all the equipment and another trip to get some more leaves and evergreen branches.

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If you fancy having a go at making one of these hotels yourself I’ve put some brief instructions below and if you don’t have the space to build a bug hotel like this there is  still things you can do to give nature a home. Take a look over at https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/give-nature-a-home-in-your-garden/ where there are loads of ideas to suit everyone.

To make a Bug Hotel you will need:

◦ Old bits of wood. Pallets are great for this and easy to come by.

◦ Bricks (around 18-20) we had 2 on each side, 4 in total on each level.

◦ Straw

◦ Bark

◦ Old logs

◦ Old terracotta pots, small ones!

◦ Woodchips/shavings

◦ Hollow bamboo canes

◦ collected treasure from the beach or forest. Razor clam shells are great. Sticks, acorn cups, pine cones, dried leaves, moss etc!

◦ A drill

For the Hotel sign (not essential, but nice!) 

◦ An old piece of wood

◦ Some rope

◦ A pyrography pen

Instructions:

You need a level ground to start and a nice spot! Ideally next to flowers, plants etc. We used an old paving slab under a tree.

Build up the levels by laying the bricks, then the wood, then the bricks etc as many levels as required. We did five levels, but you can do less and add more at a later date.

Then fill in the gaps with your collected bits & pieces. We put plenty of dried leaves down. Filled the terracotta pots with straw or wood shavings, placing them on their side so beasties can venture in to keep warm. Placed some evergreen around some hollow tubes and drilled holes through some old logs. We then filled any space in-between with the shells and pinecones etc.

The sign was made using an old spare piece of wood. We drilled a couple of holes in either side to tie the rope through so we could hang it. My daughter wrote on it in pencil the name she chose for her hotel. She was quite original with her choice and called it ‘Bug Hotel!’  😉  To make this weather proof I burnt over her writing with the pyrography pen.

This was definitely, in her books one of her favourite activities. From collecting the pine cones and sticks in the woods to the excitement of knowing her first bug had taken up residency. It doesn’t end there though, she’s out daily seeing who new has checked in! Even her dad at one point questioned who was having more fun building it, him or her. So its proof this activity isn’t just for the kids!

If this has inspired you to create your own home for nature then please do let me know. I’d love to see a pic of your final masterpiece!

love Victoria

P.S Apologies for lack of progress pictures. We were too busy concentrating on the task it completely slipped my mind to photograph as we went along!