Beautiful Easter Eggs – Naturally

Happy Easter everyone and a very Happy Orthodox Easter too!  This year both Easters fall on the same day uniting all Christians. So Hristos Se Rodi (Срећан Ускрс) to all my Serbian relatives.  Christ is Risen indeed.

Today I just had to share how my very talented cousin Aleksandra, coloured her Easter eggs.  I think this is so incredibly beautiful.  She uses onion skins for the colour rather than food colouring and sprigs of herbs for the impressions.  Her technique is below.

 

 

 

To Make these beautiful Easter eggs:

Wrap the egg and herbs in stocking very tightly knotting the edge of each stocking.
Put a dozen eggs in cold water, with the outer peels of 8-10 onions.  Add 3 tablespoons white vinegar. Bring to boil, lower flame then cook about 15 mins. Turn off flame and let sit in pot until cool or take out earlier when you like the color.

Although Aleksandra used brown onion skins, she says red onions, beets or red cabbage can also be used for a more vibrant colour.  She also used a variety of herbs but thyme was her favourite.

Tip: If you re-use the liquid dye, the next batch of eggs will be darker.

Tip 2: When placing herbs on the eggs, wet them first with a bit of water to help them stick.

 

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Freedom Friday: When Inspiration Takes Over

I know that this is unusual for what you would expect for a Freedom Friday post.  However, since Freedom Friday is all about unleashing your creativity and getting some inspiration, I wanted to share this video from Akiane Kramarik because it captures an artist in the throes of inspiration.  I have often seen people when they are overtaken by inspiration.  They speak with a sense of awe which makes you feel that suddenly you are standing on holy ground.  I have been following this talented artist since she was a child and know that even when she was very young, she often got up in the middle of the night to paint.  You see, when inspiration beckons her, she gets up and follows it.  There really is ‘no time’ to be creative.  There may be ‘little time’ but not ‘no time’.  How serious are you about your craft?  Serious enough to pray for time even if it calls you out of bed?

You can view Akiane’s works of art through the years here.

Creative Photo Idea For Your Home

You may not have dexterity or feel that you are artisitic but you still feel the urge to be creative and that’s okay because there is a wealth of possible ways to express your creativity.

Welcome to the second post of Freedom Friday.  The series that will hopefully unlock your creative potential.

Confession time:  I am not artistic. I am messy and clumbsy.  I cannot master my hands and make them do works of art…however, I am creative and you can be too.

So here is my #1 idea for unleashing your creativity even if you are not artistic.

So let’s say you got some photos and you want to make them into works of art to hang on your wall.  These photos mean a lot to you.  They may be travel photos, family photos, or photos that mean something to you for various reasons. Is there anything you can do with these photos to turn them into works of art or beautful pieces of decor for your home?

As for me, I am all about books!  Both my husband and I adore literature and we love to write.  If you are like us, you don’t need to be great at drawing or creating things.  However, you can use words and pictures that are meaningful to you to enhance your home.

I used a few lines of this Robert Frost poem which has been special to me and my children and matched it up with this frosty photo. Now it hangs proudly in our lounge.

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You can also match song lyrics or quotes with photos of your choice. Take random pictures of things that interest you such as graphics or wallpaper design or a drawing your child made–  anything that you love. Use a photo editing tool to change the overall colour or feel to the photo to match your interest or your room’s colour scheme.  You can have the image printed on a cushion cover or blown up into a large canvas picture if the resolutions are good. The possibilities are endless!

 

Photo source

Photo source

 

One final note to remember is this wonderful quote from John O’Donahue:

Photo by Marilylle Soveran

Photo by Marilylle Soveran

Welcome to Freedom Friday

Hello everyone!  Today, I begin a new weekly blog entry called Freedom Friday.  It’s the day of the week we give time for freeing our creative side.  Look for upcoming inspirational home design ideas that will hopefully lift us off our mundane habits and get us creating!

Today’s inspiration comes from Pinterest. Unfortunately, I have failed to find the originator of this photo as every web page I clicked onto had a link with a different source.  So if anyone knows where this photo originated from, please let me know.

I am a big lover of bringing the outside in as well as trees (and as you all know) books.  I am LOVING this idea.  I am definitely thinking of doing this in our new home if we have the space!  I think my hubby will agree to it.  🙂

bookshelf

I even like the worn out leather chair next to it and the fur rug underneath.  It’s all about texture and making a showcase for your cherished books!

Please feel free to comment and if anyone has seen some inspiring crafty home decor, please email me pics! 🙂

 

Christmas Gift Ideas for Staff and Work Colleagues

Christmas offers us a great opportunity to step up and step forward.  The leading up to Christmas can often divert our thoughts away from ourselves and to those we care about and appreciate.  When we take the time to really consider what gifts to give others, we may find that inspiration often comes to us.

Of course we are moved to give gifts to those we love. Considering what to give those closest to us often comes easy because we know them best (or they may have given us a few hints).  But what about those we appreciate who we may not know so well?  What can we give the people we work with?

Well for starters, how about a desk novelty gift they could use all year round?

 

Does your team have a good sense of humour?  What if you gave them each a mug that fits their unique personality?

 

 

If you have a small budget and were only thinking of handing out Christmas cards, why not add these peppermint candy canes but with a little bit of creativity, it shows you care a bit more.

 

One year, I gave each of my colleagues a minature stocking with a few candy canes in them.  I love these monogrammed ones.

 

 

Another year I made each of my co-workers a home-made Christmas ornament.  This one isn’t one of mine, but you get idea.  It’s a great idea to personalize them.

Isn’t this hysterical?

You don’t have to spend a lot of money but a bit of creative thought really helps.

My idea this year for my staff and co-workers started with making these giant snowflake sugar cookies.

 

 

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I then added these very large monogrammed china cups which I found for a bargain at Matalan. And voila!

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Anyone else got some gift ideas for the people you work with?

Simple Craft: Thanksgiving Coffee Table

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I am feeling particularly thankful today as I look back in my gratitude journal at all I am grateful for…big and small!  Every moment in life there is something to notice and be thankful for. Not too long ago, I purchased this glass-topped coffee table for my living room.  It has a wallpaper under the glass which I have flipped over and added autumn colour (faux) leaves in honour of Thanksgiving.  I think it looks pretty under my bowl of pumpkin pot-pourri.

autumncoffeetable coffeetableautumn

 

 

This will change soon for Christmas.  If anyone has ideas what I can put under the glass please feel free to comment.  Nothing with Santa please.  I have nothing against the jolly chap just don’t think he makes great décor.

My prayer is that you all find time to contemplate on what you already have to be thankful about and you feel truly blessed.

Namaste.

Adding Personal Touches To Your Home

When it comes to affinity in design, using your imagination is a must!  If you can draw or paint, then this becomes simple.  Just create a work of art for your home.  This can be in the form of a framed drawing or canvas painting or a mural on the wall.

Image Source

Image Source

If you are craft-y, you can create wreaths,

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quilts,

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cushions,

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mosaics,

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throws

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…whatever you are into.

 

The last few days, I have been thinking wall art and wondering just what I can create with photo editing to add some personal touches in my home.  Photo editing is a great option for those who aren’t particularly good with their hands but have a creative eye.  Taking a photo I had of my daughter Brianna, I combined it with the background of a modern Alice In Wonderland drawing and then edited the photo image to look like a drawing as well.  This was the result:

 

Briannaalice

 

I’m thinking this may even make a nice image for a cushion cover…will see.  There is loads more that can be done with photo editing.  You can even create an Andy Warhol or Impressionists type effect to your photos.  These can then be framed or printed on cloth.  If anyone has any other ideas, please share in the comments below.

Designer Paint And Smart Photo Editor

It has been a while since I have posted in the Interior Design genre but today I want to share with you a couple of exciting finds.  My first find is from the exciting world of interior paint.  While I was perusing Designer Paint, (the website which offers oodles of choices in designer paint) and ordering some paint samples to try for a secret room makeover in my house, I came across their Colour Folio.  It is a box containing the latest paint colour cards from all the designer brands they sell.  This box of goodies only costs £5.95 and even comes with a paint brush!

This A4 size box is pretty nifty and comes with velcro fastenings.

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Below is what I found when I opened the box.

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Look at all these paint cards!

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Sorry forgot to show the paintbrush but it is there under all those cards.

I also ordered a few paint samples.  I am still unsure about what paint I will be choosing so it’s great to be able to try before I buy.  If you are now expecting loads of posts from me on this up and coming makeover…you will be right but you may have some time to wait as I am notorious when it comes to making up my mind about things.  I love colour but hate getting it wrong so this may take awhile.  Here’s a clue…I may be going over to the dark side.

Another thing I have been working on is photo editing.  In the past I have used Photo Bucket on line and Portrait Professional for fixing lighting, blemishes etc.  Today I have downloaded a new software from Anthropics, Smart Photo Editor and I am excited about the 1000’s of ways I can improve my photos.  I am not a photographer which is why I like the help of software to fix all my photo mistakes and enhance them as well!  Here is one I played with by changing the sky.

 

Before photo of a scene in Cumbria

Before photo of a scene in Cumbria

 

Adding a rainbow

Adding a rainbow

 

Gorgeous rosy sky

Gorgeous rosy sky

I can even add tree branches!

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Or a night sky:

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Using software like this is a great way of creating original artwork for your home.  Why buy when you can create?  Exciting, no?

 

Christmas Card Tree And Season Greetings

Just thought I would share a quick project I did today.  I went shopping at my local supermarket and saw these gold mulled wine scented branches.  Originally, my husband and I were going to trek through the woods and fine some but it had been raining when we had thought we would go.  Luckily, I found these today.  I put it in a large vase, and hung Christmas cards from the branches by first making a small hole in each card then stringing some gold curling ribbon through it.  Now my cards aren’t falling all over the place!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I have appreciated every one of you for taking the time to read my posts and for all your comments!

Christmas card tree

Keeping Halloween Wholesome And Pretty

When I was a child Halloween was innocent fun.  When I was 6, I dressed as the Statue of Liberty.  My brother Dennis was an astronaut.  When I was about 8, I dressed as a gypsy.  When I was 9 I wore my mother’s wedding dress.  Her dress was from the 1960’s and was calf length so it fit me as a full length dress.  When I became a Christian, my A of G church’s youth group had a Halloween party and I dressed as Charlie Chaplin.  When I got married and started having children, I began to worry about whether it was the right thing to do to celebrate Halloween.  This got compounded with the fact that many houses near me were decorating it to be horribly scary.  Witches and ghosts and Frankenstein’s monsters  I would have found acceptable but hanging corpses and dismembered body parts coming out of graves while eerie noises and screams were heard coming from these houses convinced me not to allow my children to trick or treat.  It was so bad, I didn’t feel comfortable walking to the local shops with my children as we had to past these houses.

There is a 4 1/2 year gap between my first three children and my second three children.  When my children got older, my oldest ones criticized me for not allowing them to go trick or treating all those years.  I held my ground until we moved to our current neighbourhood here in England.  People in England generally don’t celebrate Halloween much but those that do tend to think of the holiday as completely a scary one.  Almost all little girl costumes are witches and boys are vampires or werewolves.  People are surprised when I tell them that in the US many children dress as princesses and super heroes. The reason I finally allowed my children to celebrate the holiday was because just directly across the street from us is another US/UK couple with two small boys.  The dad loves to do Halloween BIG.  He is a kid at heart and a great dad.  He plans Halloween for weeks and every year we don’t know what he’s going to do.  One year, he put on a show for the kids with a mad scientist and a lot of humour.  Another year, he made sort of a maze with sheets in his drive  and had people pop out in costumes to be just a little scary but not too scary.  The decorations are all on the fun side of scary made for small children to enjoy. As this is a rarity in England, our small village now gets in on the festivities and children can go door to door and ask for treats.  We use to live in another part of England and nobody celebrated it.

When I allowed my three youngest to take part in Halloween, they were already old enough to know what I didn’t like about it and why I was now allowing it within reason.  The rules being no scary costumes and this was all about socializing and getting to know our neighbours.  With that said, I want to share some wonderful photos I have found online of Halloween decorations, crafts and costumes that are wholesome fun and beautiful!

Halloween front porch

Except for the sign in front, this could simply be considered an autumn decoration.  I have bought these same type of flowers and have planted them in a large pumpkin (keep in pot before putting it in a pumpkin otherwise it will decay quickly) and will leave this out in my front garden so trick or treat-ers will know to come.

etsypumpkin

This is a decoupage pumpkin which can be found on Etsy but it looks easy enough to make.

betweennapsontheporch

The above photo is from another blogger I follow.  www.betweennapsontheporch.net.  She does some amazing home décor and crafts.

Halloween-Decoration

How cute is this???

I love this idea!

Creatively different!  Fun Aliens!

And now for costumes:

How cute is this homemade Sun-maid costume?  I love it when parents take the time to get crafty!

Wheelchair-Costumes

This is a wheelchair costume.  I came across this last year and it brought tears to my eyes.  Wonderful!  Here are a few more:

dragon

snoopycostume

flintstones

cinderella

Let’s keep Halloween wholesome, creative, safe and fun for kids.