These are currently on my bamboo circular needles – a thick sock made from fabulous wool from this lovely hand-dyed wool shop: Baby Long Legs.  I am using the Double Knit Merino Wool dyed in striking blues, turquoises, and purples!  I love the super soft texture and the squishy feel of it knit up!  I would definitely recommend this wool shop because of its good quality wool, unique and vibrant dyes, and attentive customer care.  Look for the pattern soon in my new tutorials section.  I’ve written it up and have all but the gusset sorted.

Today Little Wood Bird turns 1!  I am so glad for this space and the connection it brings to other like-mind creative people in the world.  I have met so many different and beautiful bloggers, through the comments they have left and the festivals we have participated in together.  I am so, so, so privileged to be a part of the artistic world – it brings so much joy to me and others!  Without art and creativity this world would be very dull indeed.  I am looking forward to the next year of meeting new people, being inspired, and learning more about giving.

So, in the spirit of giving, here’s a little something to honour this space that I love!  {You can’t have a birthday without gifts!!}

Giveaway:  16 Crocheted Cotton Face Cloths in jumbo and mini sizes {made by yours truly!}.

These eco friendly face cloths are perfect for your daily face care routine as they are soft and durable. They work great as replacements to your normal cotton cosmetic pads or cotton wool/balls because they will last years longer, which means much less waste. Scrub or apply product as normal and throw into the wash for next week.

There are 8 Jumbo Cloths measuring 2.75 inches across, and 8 Mini Cloths measuring 1.75 inches across.

Care instructions:  Machine or hand wash. Tumble or lay flat to dry.

To Enter:

Just leave a comment noting one way {stories welcome!} that art and/or creativity/ingenuity has influenced your life {today, yesterday, last year?} and I will choose the happy winner!

Giveaway closes on Monday morning around 10am {ish} England time…

I found a lovely new space via Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts – who is rejoining the bloggy world after she thought she was finished – so glad she’s back!!  I’ve followed her blog for a few years now, and have learnt sooo much from her about quilting.  She’s been blogging for about 3 1/2 years, and she has provided a wealth of inspiration and guidance for the quilting world!

She’s recently posted her latest bird quilt, which is stunning, as usual.  If you look at the picture she’s posted, you’ll notice little birds hanging from her chandelier – perfectly matching the quilted theme – and you’ll also find a link to the bird pdf pattern in her post.  Well…I clicked and was taken to the world of Spool, a lovely place that reminds me a bit of Purl in Philadelphia…instead of New York.

Spool Sewing boasts a blog, online shop, and a schedule of classes at their base in Philadelphia.  There are several freebies in their bloggy section – so go take a look!

So, Mark and I have been keeping busy visiting family over Easter…taking walks, seeing beautiful rainbows and eating chocolate!

We’ve had some really great weather recently, which has meant that I’ve started gardening more and blogging less…!  I am sooo energized when the sun is out – think I’m solar powered!

We’ve had a really good time…as you can see! : )

Enjoy the sun!!! xxx

I had a fun time making some chocolate covered nuts yesterday for Easter, so thought I’d share it here…

First, melt the baking chocolate in a double boiler, or a saucepan in a larger saucepan with boiling water…

Then, when its melted, turn off the heat and stir in your nuts – I used hazelnuts, pecans, and almonds.  Coat them well.

Spoon out clusters of nuts – maybe 3-4 nuts per cluster –  and place them onto baking paper/parchment paper lined baking tray and decorate with sprinkles or whatever your heart desires.  Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Take them out to sit until brought to room temperature and don’t melt in your hand when you try to pick it up.

If they manage to make it – store them in an airtight container and share them with all your friends!  And Happy Easter to all! : )

I bought some cranberries the other day from a local farm grocer and I wanted to make something that reminded me of home…but the only time we eat cranberries is at Thanksgiving or as a juice.  So, I decided to make this quick jam this morning and it has turned out lovely!

Just bring the cranberries to a boil with a small amount of water.  I used 3 cups of cranberries with about a 1/3 of a cup of water and 6 tablespoons of raw sugar.  Let that simmer for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Then remove from the heat to cool and then transfer to a jam jar.  Be sure to keep this refrigerated and eat it in about a fortnight.  Happy jamming.

We normally eat our home-made bread so quickly that we don’t have to worry about it going stale or growing mould.  However, I know the best way to keep bread is hanging in a cotton cloth or bag in a place out of direct sunlight, heat, and moisture.  You can either purchase these or take a cotton tea towel and fold it in half, stitch it up the sides, tie it with a string and hang it from that string.  I guess the idea is to allow the bread to breathe but keep it safe from the dry air and mould.
You can also use Furoshiki, a Japanese cloth folding method to wrapping items for storage or toting.  I really love using this to wrap cakes and things that are on a plate – it creates a sort of basket effect.  You can do so much using this method – its really easy, frugal, earth friendly, fun {great for kids to do} and attractive, too!  Here are some methods for folding your cloth:  http://furoshiki.com/techniques/ After you’ve got your bread wrapped up the way you want it, you can try hanging it by another cloth or string or on a hook.
Here’s my bread wrapping tutorial:


Another way to keep bread is in a bread box.  Unless you have a pretty good box, you may still want to wrap it up in a tea towel ro something just to keep it from moulding.
Freezing is another option.  After it cools, slice it and put it into a freezer safe bag in the freezer.  Pull out the bread you want as you want it and either toast it or grill it.

As you may know, my homeland is not the grand country of England – but rather the small and discreet pocket of the world called the United States of America.  For those not familiar with this country, it is broken up – not into districts – but states and my home is in a somewhat large state on the west coast, in a humble area natives like to call So Cal {short for Southern California}.  In this region there is a strikingly rich heritage of sun and we endeavour to see that this tradition continues to be celebrated by successive generations into our future.  The traditional fare is vast, but the most notable are the burrito and burger and I have yet to find a comparison.  Our people are uniquely kind and courteous and have a unequivocal way of making themselves known to the world – primarily through their modest and demure temperaments.  Hobbies include laying on the sand, staring in movies, going to the local gymnasium and perusing the Gap on a slow Monday morning.  Somehow the natives make do.

California beach sunset

Although I find the above amusing and slightly true – California is a bit more diverse and 3D than I allowed for in my description – {somehow} over my three-year stay in England, I am not as embarrassed of my State as maybe I once was.  Just last night I was talking to Mark about how I may not like all of the aspects of my culture – yes, aspects of it are blatantly uncaring of other people in the world, the environment, and my general moral standards – but my culture is something I know and find predictable and because of that I really like it.  I am starting to miss that particular aspect of life – knowing what to do and how to interpret situations.  I guess that’s how most people feel in a different culture when they are missing their own.

So, I am looking forward to moving back to the west coast of America.  We’ll be moving to Oregon in the north west, a place I’ve never lived but have visited a few times as my family are there now.  Hopefully sometime in August of this year we will be hauling all our earthly possessions onto a large bird across the Atlantic {and many other states} to our new home.  The thing that I am hoping to find when we settle in there is a renewed confidence in my surroundings, maybe some missed comforts, and to be able to draw on my experience in this culture here in England.  I am hoping my time here has made me a more dynamic Californian.  I will find it interesting to see which cultural values I have gained whilst being in England in contrast to Oregonian and Californian values.  Its not easy to see that from my vantage point now, but I am expecting bits to come out as we adjust there.

Whilst ‘proud’ is not usually my favourite term to use when describing my patriotism…I am feeling slightly more in that direction as I look forward to slipping back into some of the norms I am used to.  Just as I said that last line, REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK came catapulting through my head…any tips?!

Until next time…have a nice day! :)

A couple new items in the shop as promised last week…hope to write a bit more tomorrow…  Happy Friday!

Shop Little Wood Bird

Two girls by the river

Allowing others to see you

I had a wonderful chat catching up with a friend a couple days ago about life and things we’re facing at the moment.  The topic of authenticity came up – how real we are with people and ourselves – and it has spurred me on to share another dimension about my life at the moment that I haven’t known how to broach in this space as yet.  And actually I still don’t.

My family are going through a point of huge loss right now, and although its not appropriate to share the details yet –  or maybe ever – via this blog, I thought it a good thing to say at the least that all is not well.  Actually my world is turning upside-down as we speak because relationships are severed and some things are broken that will never be the same.  Some of you reading this do know the details and I thank you for your understanding and support.  But to those for whom this is sounding more cryptic as I go, I just wanted to be real in this space, especially for you.  Not only for you, for myself and those involved.  To talk about Etsy and little Julien and not say anything about this feels unfair.  Life is not only knitting and hamsters…its much more and I want to be real about all of it.

Anyway, this is not a plea for sympathy – although that’s always nice too : )  I’d been thinking for a while now about how I want to share all of my heart – not just the pretty bits – everything.  This space has been a refuge and I want to treat it well.  So, thank you for reading – it means a lot.

Our Little Family

today at the nest

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