Category Archives: Baking

Making Merry Makings

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Hello there my lovely reader friend! I do so hope you are full-to -bursting with festive fun-ness and other such seasonal sillyness. As you can see, I have been busy baking my merry mincemeat muffins, complete with a sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar…mmm…

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…and the merry mmm-ing doesn’t stop there, for instead of our normal, everyday crumble, we had a ‘Crimbo Crumble’ with apple, brown sugar, cinnamon and seasonaly-sweet merry-mincemeat!

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My gorgeous-in-grey cosy throw has now been all been sewn up – a definate labour of love sewing all those many, many (many) squares together…

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…I must confess that I muchly preferred knitting all those sumptuous squares of several stitch patterns! The blankie does look rather super though and is just in need of a lovely lacy border which I am currently knitting…

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As I became somewhat addicted to trying out different stitch patterns, I ended up with a rather huge pile of squares, which has therefore formed a rather huge blankie, requiring (you guessed it) a huge long border. Luckily, I love knitting lovely, lush lace and as I have a massive pile of Christmas films to watch, you can guess what I’ll be up to for the festive period! Here’s wishing you oodles of fabulous festive fun dear reader and I’ll leave you with a few seasonal shots of some sparkly-twinkly lights. Merry Christmas☆

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So, a Sunless Summer Spent…Saving the Universe!

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Well hello my lovely blog-reading friends! I hope you managed to have some fun this summer, despite all the gloomy damp weather. It was all a bit disappointing wasn’t it? As the sun failed to make many appearances in the sky for us, I have added a sunny yellow glow to my bloggings for you, by way of the delightful dahlia pic above. I just adore dahlias: so vervaciously vibrant they can’t fail to cheer you up.

If you managed to escape to anywhere exciting for the summer dear reader, I hope you managed to find some sunshine, for we certainly did when we visited wonderful Wales for our hols. During our time there we enjoyed the many delights of Cardiff such as the castle..

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…all very impressive with rather a lot of steep steps that were fine to climb up but somewhat scarier to descend (eek!) We also loved ambling around the many Edwardian and Victorian shopping arcades…

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…enjoyed a brew and Barabrith in the many cosy coffee bars…

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…we wondered at the many delights of Cardiff Bay, or Tiger Bay as the locals call it…

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…such as The Roald Dahl Plas…

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…the mighty Millenium Centre…

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Oh, and did I mention that we saved the universe there too? Yes indeed, we visited The Doctor Who Experience and had an epic-awesome adventure working with the current Doctor Who to save the planet from various aliens…

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…and generally had a fab out-of-this-world experience…

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We also visited the beautiful Barry and Barry Island, where we walked in the footsteps of TV’s Gavin and Stacey and I’m not gonna lie to you, it was crackin’!

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We were made up to visit Trinity Street where Stacey, Gwen (not Gwen from Budgeons), Bryn (don’t mention the fishing trip) and Doris lived, Marco’s where Stacey worked, the arcade where Nessa (sort of ) worked…

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…Boofy’s their chip shop of choice…

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…and sat on the same wall that Gavin, Stacey, Smithy and Nessa all perched on for that final episode and looked out to sea…

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…genuine!

Back in England, we had a delightful day out in Teignmouth: still as serene as ever…

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…a trip to Totness and Dartington…

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…and gazed in awe at the beautiful, big, big skies of Budleigh…

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What have I been crafting up this summer? Well for starters I’ve only been at the chalk paint and had a go at a bit of upcycling! Yes I ‘updated’ my ‘dated’ solid pine bed with a lick of pebble grey chalk paint and I have to confess, I am rather chuffed with it…

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I must warn you though dear reader, painting furniture is seriously addictive, as I have been eyeing up other suitable candidates around my abode that look ripe for a quick makeover! My new watercolour paints had a quick testing too…

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…and my ink pen enjoyed a little ‘mindfulness zentangling’ or doodling as we know it…

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My crochet hook worked up a sweat on a chic chevron cushion I designed with a buttoned closure on the reverse…

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…along with a whimsical wall hanging for darling daughter, complete with tickly tassels and dreamy driftwood…

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A trio of charm bracelets were crocheted from a Mollie Makes’ kit and as there were three I let my two darling daughters squabble out the distribution between themselves; far too dangerous an area for me to venture into…

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My knitting needles have been happily stitching up some cosy treats for autumn, such as a textured caress of a cover for my notebook…

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…several squares in many, many patterns, in glorious greys for what will one day become a warming throw…

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…and a cosy cushion cover in gorgeous grey stripes of a selection of stitch patterns…

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I had a little go at crafting with leatherette via another Mollie Makes kit, this time a tropical cocktail of a couple of brooches…

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Thankfully there were two of them, so I was spared any teenage traumas when it came to sharing them out – phew! A bit of baking was also enjoyed which produced a lush lemon loaf…

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…it didn’t last long mind you! Bit like our summer… Well I will leave you now dear reader and as I began my bloggings with a dahlia, so I shall end with a dahlia, well, a jug full of the dashing darlings actually! Keep on crafting…

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Bountiful Blossoming Blooms

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Yes indeed dear reader, summer has well and truly arrived in my garden, as you can tell from the bountiful blossoming flowers that have appeared on my courgette plant in the photo above! Courgette flowers are definately not ‘backwards in coming forwards’ as far as blooms go, for they are indeed rather enormous and rather yellow. They do however perform the most breathtaking magic, by turning into one of these beauties…

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Rather impressive is it not, dear reader? My first ‘crop’ I do declare, but maybe just a ‘cropette’ seeing as it’s just the one. My pepper plants are also producing perfect peppers of the green variety…

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…and to top it all, I’ve only gone and grown real live olives on my little olive tree!

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There has been much excitement in our household dear reader, at the tentative initial success of our petite patio potted allotment efforts!
It’s delightful to sit amongst the bounty of blooms in my garden, all buzzing with the hum of happy honey bees. Ho hum…

There have also been a few ‘blooms’ in evidence in my latest sewing project, for I have finally finished the cute-as-pie Lucky Bear free project from Mollie Makes. The flowery embroidery was a joy to stitch and has left me yearning for more floral-fancy needlework and as for the little bear himself, well I was so enamoured with the cheerful chappy that I just had to draw him…

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He’s quite a flowery, fanciful fellow isn’t he? Talking of fancy flowers, my coloured pencil sketch of the cottage garden hollyhock ‘bloomed’ (pardon the pun) this week…

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I just love the blousy blooms of the handsome hollyhock, don’t you? On the knitting front, the delightful diamond lace stitch cowl I was knitting is now complete…

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…which leaves me with an empty pair of knitting needles and in a bit of a quandry as to what project to pick next, from my infinite list of ‘oh I must try that’ to-do list! I also have an endless list of ‘ooh I so have to bake those beauties’ cakes and cookies to-do list. One such scrummy delight was baked up during a rather miserably muggy day of rain at the weekend: my oat and chocolate chip cookies. A Facebook pal has requested the recipe, so as promised here it is…

Oat & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
4oz (115g) butter
4oz (115g) dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3-4tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla essence
5oz (150g) plain flour
1tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
4oz (115g) rolled oats
7oz (200g) milk chocolate chips

Apologies for all the ‘ounces’ reader, for although I declare myself to be fully ‘metrical’ whilst in public, at home behind closed doors I am totally beholden to my dear old imperial chums: pound and ounce!

Method:
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs, milk and vanilla essence, beating well. I usually add a little flour with each glug of eggy mix, so as to prevent curdling hazards.
2. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, stirring until well mixed.
3. Fold in the rolled oats and mix well, then add the chocolate chips.
4. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour.
5. Place 2 teaspoon-sized heaps of the mixture on a greased baking sheet or one lined with baking parchment. Leave room for them to spread a little and press them down a bit in the centre with the back of a spoon. You should be able to make about 20.
6. Bake the little beauties in a preheated oven set at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 10-12 minutes, until they are just starting to colour at the edges, then carefully transfer them to a wire cooling rack with a spatula.

These cookies are of the soft and squidgy variety even once cooled, but you must devour at least one whilst it is still warm from the oven, as they are divine! They are also extremely fabulous when warmed slightly and eaten with ice-cream but they are also lovely just enjoyed with a cuppa…

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Mmm, don’t they look delicious…sorry dear reader, but my cookies are calling me so I will leave you to bake, blossom and bloom my friend!

Heavenly Headboard Happiness

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Well hello there lovely Reader! And a jolly Happy New Year to you too! I hope you had a wonderfully festive-fun-filled Christmas and that you are poised for all of the magical possibilities that the new year has in store for you. I spent the festive season busily hooking up the gorgeous-in-grey granny squares for my darling daughter’s headboard cover for her bed. She was hankering after silver grey granny squares with circles and I reckon I managed to fullfil her whim.

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I also managed to complete the cosy cowl my other equally darling daughter had requested, in a beautiful blue. I used one of my favourite knitting stitches – American moss stitch – as I just find it so textural and effective. I think my daughter’s chosen shade of blue just glows…

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My seasonal stitching wasn’t all about giving though, for I did a bit of makings for me too. I started knitting a cowl for myself in a rather lovely recycled cotton t-shirt yarn, which is truly wonderful to knit with. I chose a lacy pattern again, using the ‘Lacy Linen Snood’ pattern I’ve used before, which can be found on Rowan’s website – http://www.knitrowan.com – if you are drawn to it’s lacy loveliness dear reader…

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I am working on a little something that has a certain ‘hint-of-Spring’ about it as well. I’m not quite sure what my ‘hint-of-Spring’ will become as yet, but working on it is definately casting a little sunshine over the gloomy-grey days we are having to endure presently…

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Aren’t they just the cutest, candy-coloured, crocheted creations? Don’t they just sparkle with a smile-inducing ‘hint-of-Spring’ with every square? They are terribly addictive to make and look good enough to eat, bless ’em!

Well that’s all for now my faithful blog-reading friend, I’m off to get crafty but first I must restore my inner crafting karma, with a cosy cuppa and chocolate chip cookies (baked by me, of course dear reader!) Keep on crafting…

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Huggable House♡

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And a jolly-jingly-jangly hello to you my fellow crafting chums! I hope I find you suitably nestled in front of your twinkly tree, feasting on festive food and full of Christmas cheer! As you can see, I have completed my latest knitted pillow design: a hug-worthy, housey-housey cushion. I’m so pleased with how the triangular intarsia roof turned out and shall use this pattern more in future….

I also had to forage around in my felt this week, as a friend wanted me to make a foody felt brooch as a present for a relative. Well, here’s the tiny-tasty-treat I created: a magical-mini-morsel of a fat-free-forkful!

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Talking of food, but this time the really-real variety, I’ve been baking up some tasty treats in my kitchen today: gingerbread snowflake cookies!

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…and before you ask dear reader, yes they are truly scrumptious and no, I can’t possibly share them… I can however share the first pic of my chocolate Santa collection with you. I make a new collection of the jolly festive chaps every Christmas and so far this year I have a grand total of 8! So excited dear reader! I just love chocolate Santas…

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Aren’t they adorable? They just make me smile when I look at them and fill me with a festive glow☆ I’ll  leave you now my dear reader friend, with a seasonal health and safety warning from my knitted mate Rodney Reindeer…

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***☆***☆***☆***MERRY***CHRISTMAS***☆***☆***☆***

Floating Happy as a Cloud…

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Yes I’m in a ‘happy-floaty-dreamy-cloud’ kind of a mood at the moment dear reader, for I have finished many-many WIP’s, including a couple of squishy cloud pillows. The first completed cloud can be seen in the pretty pic floating above here; it’s a hanging version with hand-embroidered wording and shiny beads on sparkling silver thread. A little bit of hanging heaven☆ My other completed cloud pillow is of the rather larger variety, more of your normal cushion size, with hand-embroidered wording once again. When I started to work on it I wasn’t sure what other decorative bits-and-bobs I was going to adorn it with, but as I was stitching away a daisy popped into my head (as it does from time to time) and indeed a crocheted daisy fitted the whole ensemble perfectly – I hope you agree…

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I just love daisies, such a happy flower don’t you think? Keeping to the pillow theme, have a ganders at my latest cushion design – an embroidered star☆ which once again has hand-embroidered wording…

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…and is made from fabric with teeny-tiny stars on it. Ooh, and modeled by one of my darling daughters: my little star, holding a star☆ and ‘sew’ on to more sewing (pardon the pun) for I have finally sewn up my two doggie plushies: a sweet sausage doggie…

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…a darling Dascshund indeed, who was often to be found in my garden, dashing around after daisies…

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…while Scottie Doggie plushie was totally captivated by butterflies, bless him…

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Pleased as punch with my plushies dear reader, so expect to see more soon in other fabrics. Now for something completely different (but still crafty, fear not) a little bit of weaving! Yes I finally managed to weave a triangle into my woven wall-hanging and added some totally terrific tassels along the edge, then mounted it on to a darling piece of driftwood I discovered on one of my beachcombing forages. Want to see it?

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My little bit of monochrome magic, which looks marvelous on my lounge wall. So pleased with the triangle, so shall attempt another weaving with more triangles, now I’ve got the hang of it. If you fancy having a go yourself dear reader, ‘A Beautiful Mess’ blog has some great weaving-related ideas, so head on over to http://www.abeautifulmess.com and search for ‘weaving.’

Now for knitting. You know I was getting well into lacey knitting last time? Well, I searched through my stash of magazine cut-outs with different lace stitch patterns and came across a diamond lace pattern I was rather drawn to, so I decided to use the lovely linen and cotton mix yarn I had in my stash to knit up another lacey neck cosie, in a delightful denim blue shade…

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Lush colour and fab pattern♡ Of course as well as my continuing obsession with lacey knitting, my obsession with crocheting pebble cosies continues too…

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Simply adorable aren’t they? And now that the autumn mornings are becoming a little on the chilly side, perfect for the poor pebbles. Well I think I have rambled on rather enough for now dear reader, so I shall leave you with a pic of some of my comfort baking to off-set the end-of-summer blues: yummy-scrummy chocie muffins♡ Keep crafting…

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Loving Lovely Liebster♡

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Yes I have muchly exciting news to tell you dear reader, for my rather humble little blog has won a Liebster award! Thrilling news, isn’t it? I was nominated by the lovely Sarka, whose equally lovely blog can be found at http://berriesandyarn.wordpress.com and is well worth a browse if you haven’t done so already. After my jumping-around-with-joy moment had passed (well, you have to, don’t you) I settled down to have a read of all the rules and regulation thingies you have to follow, which although a bit complicated, are jolly well worth the effort. I think the whole Liebster thing is a fab idea, as it not only promotes newbie bloggers, but also helps you to discover other inspiring newbie bloggers too. Great stuff! So here goes with the rules and regulation thingy first (or the grown-up bit as I like to call it).

1. You have to link back to the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer 11 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
3. After completing those questions, you must nominate 11 bloggers with under 200 followers and give them 11 questions of your choice.
4. You must not nominate the person who nominated you.
5. You must let your nominees know that they have been nominated and provide a link to your post for them so that so that they can learn about the nomination.

Phew! That’s the boring rules and regs bit sorted. Now for something much more interesting dear reader: the questions I was asked, well here goes…

1. What got you into blogging?

Ooh, easy, I just loved reading all the fabulous arty-crafty blogs that are out there and always found them so inspiring, that I decided to start my own blog in the hope that I, too, would inspire people to be more arty-crafty.

2. What is it that you enjoy the most about the blogging experience?

Well obviously as I mentioned in my first answer, the thought that my lovely readers are beavering away at something creative because they have seen something on my blog that has inspired them.

3. And is there anything about blogging you find annoying or irritating?

I would have to say the ‘techy’ stuff, as there have been quite a lot of said ‘techy’ things that have blown my mind, or caused me to have meltdown moments with the rather scary cyber space!

4. How do you find new blogs to follow?

As I blog with WordPress I quite often look for new blogs via search tags on my blog feed. I am also a member of Bloglovin’ so I’m always finding lovely new blogs to follow on there too. Magazines are also a good way to discover new bloggers as well.

5. What inspires you?

Oh my, everything and everyone! I love Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for inspiring pics and people, but the world outside your door is full of inspiration isn’t it? That’s why I always carry a notebook around with me and I’m always taking photos on my phone when I’m out and about.

6. Do you prefer paper diaries, calendars, planners, stationery, etc, or do you rather go digital?

I have a ‘thing’ for notebooks! I have them all over the house and I’m always jotting down ideas when they pop into my head. I also love post-it notes and I have lots of lists of ideas/projects on my mobile phone too.

7. What’s the best book you have read this year?

I read LOADS of books but recently I have enjoyed a couple of books by Debbie Macomber: ‘The Shop on Blossom Street’ and ‘A Good Yarn’ simply because they are about a yarn store owner and they also have free knitting patterns in them!

8. Given unlimited time and resources, what is your dream project?

I would love to be involved in a huge community art or craft project with children and adults.

9. On the other hand, what sort of a quick project do you go to for instant gratification?

Easy, a doodling session!

10. What was your favourite boy band in the 90’s? Don’t tell me you did not have one.

I was probably a bit beyond boy bands in the 90’s, age-wise! Although when I was of a ‘boy band age’ as it were, I was well into Duran Duran!

11. If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

Ooh, tough one, I guess I would have to say Nelson Mandela, because he had such courage and determination to fight for what was right and true.

Well, I hope that was of interest to you dear reader, now for the next bit: my list of nominations! Here are the 11 bloggers I nominate for a Liebster award, drum roll please!

http://abipartridge.wordpress.com

http://jademosinski.wordpress.com

http://artprescription.com

http://littleillustrations.wordpress.com

http://lovelydeer.wordpress.com

http://sewyeah.co.uk

http://thelittleroomofrachell.wordpress.com

http://themightyhare.wordpress.com

http://ucuspucus.com

http://thebloominggarden.wordpress.com

http://varnatantu.wordpress.com

There we go, nominations complete, and what a truly inspiring bunch they all are too; a great mix of art, crochet, knitting, sewing, weaving, gardening and other inspiring crafts. I hope you enjoy your blogging adventures while you explore dear reader! And now for the final bit, my 11 questions for the 11 lovely bloggers I have nominated:

1. When you think about your blog, what makes you smile?
2. What new form of art or craft would you like to learn?
3. What do you collect?
4. Where is your favourite place for being arty or crafty?
5. Tea and biscuits – do you dunk or crunch?
6. What is your favourite toast topping?
7. Where would be your dream arty-crafty destination in the world?
8. E-reader or good old-fashioned paperback book, which do you prefer?
9. What is your favorite season of the year and why?
10. Which famous artist/crafter/gardener would you like to meet and why?
11. What would your dream job be? (If you’re not aleady doing it, you lucky person you!)

Well I hope those questions get your imaginations working! Congratulations to all the bloggers that I have nominated and I hope you are all inspired by each other’s blogs, which is what the Liebster Award is all about I reckon! So farewell for now dear reader and remember to read those blogs and be inspired! Blog on…