Wednesday, 31 December 2014

So how did your year go?

It's that time of the year when I think about the year gone and my plans for the new one arriving.  I can't believe it is already the end of 2014.  It has gone so fast.  I have had an amazing year full of so much creativity,  love and most of all I embraced where I am, where I have been and where I am going.  I have grown so much. 

Last year for the first time instead of setting a list of goals I chose a guide word to live my year by.   

You might like to read my  blog from last New year  Goal setting with a twist to see the process I went through to choose my guide word.

The word I have used as my touchstone this year was.


I made an art quilt to remind me of my word.  I put this up in my studio so I had a daily reminder of my word. 

Read about how to make a word quilt here

This way of setting goals has been an amazing process. I have had more success this year than I have had any other year of goal setting. 

You can read about choosing a guide word for your self on Christine Kane's blog

She is an amazing woman and has an amazing blog.

Normally my year ends with so many unfulfilled goals and dreams and I spend the last few days of the year looking what I didn't do.  This year has been so different I am reflecting on what I have accomplished.  

The greatest learning was being able to accept what I can and cannot do or accomplish.  The peace that has come from this has been so amazing.

I have also learned to accept ........

  • That I can only do so much 
  • That my children can make their own choices
  • That  cannot make excuses for myself or others
  • That the sun keeps on rising every morning no matter what has happened that day
  • That I can learn one thing at a time
  • That priorities are made by me
  • That doing nothing is O.K.
  • And that we all have setbacks and it is O.K.

The #1 Reason Most People Fail - Money Saving Mom®

  • That I am perfect the way I am 
  • That everyone is on there own journey and have different ways of  doing that
  • That obstacles are part of the journey

Never let an obstacle change your desire to reach your goals. #quotes #motivation #inspiration

So I hear you asking these things are all great but what things did you do?  What did you tick off your to do list?  

You know what my to do list didn't really matter so much any more because my to be list became more important. I found the to do list just happened.  By focussing on the be the do became much easier. I accepted what a could do and did it.

This year I........
  • Finished every UFO (unfinished object) I had
  • Made 10 new pieces of work
  • Blogged almost every week
  • Created my web site
  • Exhibited for the first time  
  • Put a price on my work
  • Was creative in some way almost every day of the year.
  • Designed and made a new studio  which is such a wonderful and creative space.....many other things !!

I can't rave on enough about how wonderful it is to set goals this way.  What don't you try it to!!  I promise that choosing a guide word does not stop your goals form being completed it actually makes them easier to complete. Why don't you try this way of making goals for 2015?  

I will be posting my new word for this year in a couple of days.  Which word will yours be?

Monday, 29 December 2014

A simple Christmas

I have had an amazing Christmas and I am looking forward to the new year.  Christmas was simple but beautiful.  We have built up beautiful traditions as a family and each year these traditions become more and more precious to me.  Family traditions are so important to connect with family members and to build beautiful memories.  

Christmas eve dinner

On Christmas eve we have a special dinner as an immediate family.  We also open a handmade Christmas cracker which has a joke,  balloon, some chocolate and a gift inside. This year I put inside some fancy erasers for the boys,  a key finder for the man in my life (for obvious reasons)  and some silver snowflake earrings for the girls.  Phil bought me a pair of snips.......the best present for a quilter!!

We decorate the table beautifully and use the nice plates and cutlery.  This year we fill agar jars with salt, tea light and fabric to create a Christmas display.

I made beetroot and orange salad,  corned beef and mustard sauce, potato and kumera salad, fresh broccoli and bread pretzels.  We had a banana split for dessert.  I tried a new type of sorbet for the banana split.  It was delicious and a really healthy option.


  1. Open a can of sugar free fruit.  We used peaches
  2. Drain off the juice
  3. Place the fruit in a jug
  4. freeze the fruit
  5. When it is frozen use a stick blender and blend the peaches until there is no lumps of fruit left
  6. Serve as you would ice cream

The nativity story

After the dinner we re-tell the Christmas story from the King James version of the bible and sing lots of Christmas carols.  We dress up in the characters in the story.

After the Christmas carols we have a concert.  Each person in the house performs an item that is chrismassy.  

Each year we also prepare a secret box for a family in our community who need help.  We deliver it secretly.  It is always so much fun to be able to help others.

Christmas morning

Everyone piles on to mum and dad's bed to open their Christmas stockings. We have a beautiful Christmas breakfast.  This year we had fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal and crumpets. 

Then we unwrap our presents together.  
After all the presents are unwrapped we open our handmade gifts.  Each year we draw a name out of a hat to make a gift for.  I made a boy a skate board back sling and my man made me a coat rack.  I think this is always the nicest present.

I love to celebrate Christmas and to spend time with my family.  It holds such dear memories in my heart.  

I hope your Christmas was as beautiful as mine was.  I hope you have a wonderful new year full of new ideas and new directions and new traditions.  xxx

Monday, 22 December 2014

Creative Christmas

Every year our family celebrates the days leading up to Christmas by doing something special each day.  The aim is to do something creative to give away or to help someone else's Christmas be brighter.

These ideas from a post last year have been so popular I thought I would share them again today.  Just click on the headings for the links.

  •  Make a bird feeder and put it out in the garden for the birds or  make a home made colouring books and buy crayons and leave in waiting rooms for families

                    23 DIY bird feeders

Cookie Cutter Feeders - 23 DIY Birdfeeders That Will Fill Your Garden With Birds

Bird Seed Ornaments

 47 unexpected things to do with cookie cutters
number 15 is the bird feeder.  There are lots of great creative things to so on this page.

Colouring Christmas Pictures and Cards display

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Tutorial: Christmas crackers

I love this time of the year.  The lights,  secrets,  the wrappings and the creative makings.  We encourage our children to make gifts for each other.   Making a gift is such a beautiful thing to do for someone else.  A handmade gift has soul and deep love in it.  My littlest boy is 10 and he loves to create gifts for people.   I often find him at his carpentry table or with craft supplies creating things.  

I also love to make Christmas crackers.  The ones at the store look pretty but are often very expensive and don't really contain much. Each Christmas on new years eve our family has a tradition of opening a Christmas cracker each.   I stuff the cracker with goodies and even a Christmas joke. They are so easy to make and even children can make them or help out with the process. 

Here are instructions on how to make your own crackers.


  • Inner of a toilet roll or plasticwrap/foil tube 
  • Christmas wrapping store brought or make your own if your are making your own you will need some stamps and ink or paint
  • Ribbon or string
  • A gift for the inside
  • A balloon
  • A christmas joke
  • Lollies or choclates
  • Foil
  • A paper hat
  • Stickers or sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Pen

Ideas for gifts

  • Jewellery
  • Tie pin
  • Pens/pencils
  • Key rings
  • bubbles and wand
  • Christmas decorations
  • Torch
  • Balloons
  • Water bombs
  • toy cars
  • Mini bottles of lotion/shampoo
  • Seed
  • Chocolates
  • Lip balm/lipstick
  • Bubble bath
  • Nail polish
  • Wind up toys
  • Pencil sharpeners/ erasers
  • Vouchers
  • animals
  • rubber stamp
  • stickers
  • Candles
  • Minatures
  • Pen knife
  • Hair stuff
  • Sewing stuff

Joke links

Christmas jokes
More jokes
Great jokes
Squigly's jokes


  1. Collect all your equipment together
  2. Place inside each roll one joke,  one balloon, one hat,  one gift and one or two lollies or chocolates.  If they are unwrapped lollies/chocolates wrap them in foil.
  3. Cut a rectangle of wrapping paper   17cm x 37 cm (for a toilet roll)     
  4. If you are making your own wrapping you will need some plain paper and ink/paint and a selection of rubber stamps.  Put ink/paint on the stamp and print all over the paper.
  5. Place toilet roll in the middle of the long edge of the paper. 
  6. Roll the paper around the tube and put a sticker on the edge to keep the paper from unrolling.  You could even put the recipients name on the sticker or cracker too.
  7. Place a spare tube in the end of the tube of paper.
  8. Wrap a piece of ribbon/string in between the two rolls and tie firmly.
  9. Remove the spare tube. and do again for the other end.  You could tie the ends either in a bow or knot
  10.  Trim the end with scissor if needed.

Now you have your own personalised and handmade Christmas crackers all ready for the festive season. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Share the gift

Christmas is a very important religious celebration for our family when we celebrate the birth of Christ. This time of the year can be so hectic especially in the southern hemisphere where we celebrate Christmas at the same time we finish school for the year and have our summer holidays.  So as well as Christmas events we have prizegivings, work events and preparations for the holidays. With all this going on I have been reflecting on the  real reason we celebrate Christmas,  sometimes the real reason get lost amongst the presents,  events and wrapping.  The real reason Christmas is celebrated is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.  He is my saviour and redeemer and I am am grateful for the sacrifice he made for me. This is the most special gift at Christmas.

This link takes you to a short video of the reason for the season what is the special gift of Christmas.  It is so beautiful.

This year I have made a commitment the share a gift to my family.  I am going to spend more time with my children over this season and not spend so much time rushing around.  I am going to focus on them because this is the most important thing I can do. 

What gift can you share?  
 How can you make this world a brighter and better place?

Maybe you could.....
  • Teach a child to sew
  • Make a home made present for someone
  • Read a Christmas story to a child 
  • Tell someone they look beautiful
  • Smile at someone
  • Be happy and not stressed
  • Donate time to a homeless shelter
  • Make someone Christmas dinner
  • Visit someone elderly
  • Sing carols
  • Pick up rubbish
  • Lollipop someone's letter box (only in countries where this is legal)
  • Send a thank you letter
  • Babysit for someone
  • Make some Christmas goodies to drop off at someone's house
  • Make a secret parcel for someone
  • Weed someone's garden or shovel someone's snow
  • Dance with a child
  • Write a note to someone you love and put it under a pillow or next to their dinner plate.
  • Do an act of service for someone you live with
  • Massage someone's shoulders or feet

I also want to share a beautiful rendition of Angels we have heard on high By the piano Guys and 2 friends.  It is absolutely beautiful

I challenge you to make someone's Christmas brighter and happier this year by sharing something of your self.  

Merry Christmas
Love Catherine xxxxx

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