Sunday, April 20, 2014

It is well with my soul | Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, I hope you are all having a lovely day! I have been wanting to update my chalkboard for a little while now and on Good Friday I finally did, I'm slowly improving my chalkboard skills but don't look too closely!


Dodgy calligraphy aside, It is well with my soul. Today I celebrate that Jesus died for me, beat death and rose again to everlasting life. It is truly well with my soul. Because of God's extravagant love for me (and you) it doesn't matter what life throws at me because it is all temporary. The worries, hurt and brokenness of this world will one day fall away...and even as I stand in the midst of it, crying out to God, he holds me close, he loves me and I have his unshakeable joy and peace.

This quote is from the hymn of the same title.It is an incredible hymn which never fails to moves me. The author had experienced such heartache but was still able to see God's goodness in his life. You can read his story here, it is well worth a read ... but here are the lyrics of the hymn -

When peace like a river, attends my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And has shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
You will whisper your peace to my soul.
But Lord, it's for You, for Your coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so it is well with my soul.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 31, 2014

D.I.Y. gardening kneeling pad...

I feel like the title for this post ages me about 30 years! But I am truly intent on getting into gardening so I may as well get accessorised appropriately ;)

I've mentioned before that, because we rent, we can't do too much with our current garden, so it is more about maintenance. I can't help but dream about all we would do if we had complete control over it but for now I'll settle for weeding, pruning and adding spring bulbs. When it's chilly, tidying up the garden moves waaaaay down our priority list...so when the wave of warm weather hit this weekend we made the most of it and got outside...but first I made my kneeling pad!


Now I use the term kneeling pad in its loosest way since really I've just made a rectangular cushion...but it works for me and, since I had all the supplies to hand, it cost me absolutely nothing!

Ideally I would make this with a waterproof fabric like oil cloth however I had this blue fabric lying around so I just made a removable cover so that it could easily be washed.

It's so easy and I plan to to use the same method (but with much prettier fabric) to make some indoor cushions!

Just in case you fancied making a kneeling cushion then here's a quick guide to how I made mine...


1. Cut the lining fabric into a 30cm x 90cm strip and fold in half. Sew the sides together, starting 10 cm from the folded edge to leave space to pull the fabric through to the right side. I added a line of zigzag stitch to further strengthen the seam. Trim any excess fabric.

2. Turn the lining cover inside out by pulling it through the hole. And stuff with your filling (I used hollowfibre filling)! Sew the small opening together, I would normally use a slip stitch for this but I was feeling a little lazy so I just machine stitched it closed.


Ignore the seam in the middle of the cushion, I used an old curtain lining which had this seam in it already!

3. To make the outer cover cut the fabric into a strip of approximately 33cm x 110cm. Double hem the short sides (if your fabric allows, otherwise a single hem would be fine).


Now right after my scissors started slicing up the fabric I realised I hadn't added the extra length to allow the fabric to overlap so please ignore the added fabric in the next photo...I went into automatic mode!

4. Lay the fabric out right side facing up and lie the cushion on top. Fold one end of the fabric over the cushion and position so that it is roughly in the middle of the cushion. Fold the other end of the fabric over so that it fits the cushion snugly. Pinch the two ends together as you remove the cushion. I'm sure there are more technical ways to do this but it just saved added measuring out! Pin the sides together.


5. Sew down the two long sides and then turn the right way out. Now it's ready for the cushion!


This took me no time at all...and it really did help my knees! In fact, there is a significant lack of chairs at work so I often end up kneeling when I chat with people...I wonder whether I'd get away with carrying one of these around the hospital for such times?! I could even make one to colour coordinate with my OT green trousers :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beautiful Venice...

We snuck away to Venice for a few days last week and, oh my, it was so beautiful! It was somewhere we had both always wanted to go and it was also my first ever trip to Italy, I loved it so much :)

It was initially forecast to rain the whole time but the sun came out and shone on us most days...even though the wind meant we had to keep our winter coats firmly on!


Venice has got to be the most iconic place I have ever visited. It was somewhat surreal to find myself there in the middle of the famous sights, feeling like I knew it so well but really knowing nothing about it all. Over the years we have watched documentaries, read books and visited art exhibitions about Venice, it would have been easy for our expectations to be too high but it was everything we hoped it would be and more.


But to be honest, the ice cream would have made up for any disappointment.


We packed in a lot of walking but it was so relaxing to be walking around with no time limit or agenda. We arrived in the afternoon of Monday and spent the rest of that day and then all of Tuesday exploring the different districts. Venice is full of narrow alleys and beautiful bridges over quiet canals. We kept coming upon beautiful buildings and squares which were deserted...in any other city they would be a main attraction yet Venice seems to be overflowing with them.


We didn't bother going on a gondola... this is going to seem very unromantic but it was ridiculously expensive for what it was! I think in the Summer you could probably group up with people but we didn't mind too much. There is a water bus so we went up and down the grand canal in that a few times...hence many of our photos being lopsided from the current!


On the Wednesday we visited the main attractions - we went up the campanile (the bell tower in st Mark's square) and visited to the Doge's Palace and the Cathedral. Everything felt so over the top and ornate...the Venetians were pretty sure of themselves back in the day and were happy to shout about it in style! Another highlight was visiting the Rialto bridge and market...there was so much fresh produce to drool over!



I would highly recommend visiting Venice, it was so lovely! It was the perfect size for a three night stay...we felt like we saw all that we wanted to and also fitted in visiting a neighbouring island. Visiting in March did mean it was a little cold but it was still lovely and sunny - and more importantly out of the main tourist season so we didn't have to queue for anything or struggle with crowds.

So long Venice - thanks for having us! and for the awesome ice cream :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Get in my belly already...

Oh Pinterest, why do you thrust such beautiful photos of food at me day in day out? No matter how much I search for salads and smoothies you invite me to drool over cakes and treats and I just can't help but accept.

Maybe one of these days I will actually make some of these but for now here's some cakes and sweets that I'm drooling over...

Apple pie bars with toffee sauce from Kwestia Smaku (translator tool needed unless you speak Polish!)

Chocolate marshmallow teacakes from BBC food

Thin mints by Deliciously Yum

Quadruple chocolate mousse cheesecake by Portuguese girl cooks

Orange cinnamon Belgian waffles with dark chocolate fudge sauce by

And I'm done...for now.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Knitting update (take 2)...

So things have been very quiet on the knitting front since my last update in... oh, October! It was mainly due to the fact that I got bored with what I was knitting. Pink is not really a colour I would automatically go to, it was just some yarn I had inherited. I do want to finish it at some point because I love the idea of knitting something for my niece (for whom pink is the go-to colour).


But I tidied up, the knitting got put away. And it was a case of out of sight, out of mind. But the other week I hosted a knitting night as part of the craft nights I help coordinate. This time I went out and chose my yarn...and went for the chunkiest yarn and some of the biggest needles available! It turns out this is the way forward for me, it comes together so quickly! I also learnt to purl stitch so I'm having a go at making a scarf with a stocking stitch.


I had a minor emergency the other night when I reached the end of my yarn...I know common sense should prevail but I had no idea how to start a new ball off! I was going to just tie the ends together but then thought that it must surely be more complicated than that. So I went for the default option - and called my Mum! Turns out it is pretty easy - Thanks Mum!

So I'm officially back on the knitting bandwagon...I hope! I've got so much further with this already. I would love to make a blanket at some point but I think a scarf is enough for me to deal with at the moment!
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