Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

The clock's a tickin' and in a few hours we will have our feet planted in a New Year.

Did you finish your New Year's Resolution List, or are you still scribbling?
I bet several of our lists have similar items on them.   
1.  Lose weight.
2.  Kick bad habit.
3.  Fix relationship.
4.  Make more money.
5.  Get better job.

Notice how we are always standing with our hands in our sides looking at what we 'don't have'?  Doesn't feel too good, does it?

I love this quote by Thomas Merton
 “We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.”

Every year we live brings unforseen journeys, but every year we achieve things too. Some of the things we achieve we never even had on that list.  We should not forget to stop and congratulate ourselves for what we have already accomplished. 

Close your eyes and imagine that you are standing 365 days into the future.  Look at everything you ticked off your list during 2014.  Doesn't that bring a warm feeling to your heart?  Sure feels good to have reached your goals. 

This is a fact.  Tomorrow is the first of 365 days.   If you start working tomorrow with a positive attitude towards your goals, it is possible that you will be standing in future where you imagine right now you are. 

Let 2014 be the year you let your positive attitude pull you towards your goals!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in the Irish Cottage

Merry Christmas.  I hope you ate too much, lay around being lazy, and had a lovely day with your family.
Our small clan of relatives got together for dinner in the Irish cottage this year. This is the studio's extra classroom, which also doubles as a dining room when we need it.
Here are a few pictures of the decorations.

25 December

Monday, December 23, 2013

23 December

Please note that Tin Soldiers Studio will be closed between 17 December and 25 January.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

22 December

Today is my father in law's birthday. 

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Siegfried! Wünsche für ein schönes Jahr.
Baking cakes is not something I do well, maybe because I only learned once such wonderful men came into my life.  This year's attempt does not look too bad :-) Hope the candles don't run away before we light them!

 Phew!  We made it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

17 December

Here are a few photos of yesterday's Annie doll making workshop.  How lovely to end the year on a high note!

Oh, and another box arrived today.  This one holds the key to Saturday's box... wonder how long I will last before I start ripping paper?

Monday, December 16, 2013


Please note that Tin Soldiers Studio will be closed between 17 December and 25 January.

Every summer a variety of frogs and toads breed in our ponds.  The various species have different patterns of development, and some mature much faster than others.

Today the bufo rangeri (toad) tadpoles that hatched in the mud pond a few weeks ago decided all at once that it is time to get out and breathe air.
  All those black dots on the rocks are tiny toads.
Sweet, I find things miniature and perfect very fascinating.  These little guys only grow to about 11cm, but oh, the noise they produce during summer evenings!  No wonder their common name is raucous toad.  I am looking forward to hearing them sing next season.

And no, I haven't opened the box.  It's my Christmas present to me and I'm exercising lots of self constraint.  Today we also have our final all day doll making workshop of the year.  Maybe if I'm a good girl I will let myself take a peek in the box later this week.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Megan's gift to you

Ho ho.  It's that giving time of year.  So children, today I'm Santa!  I hope you have been paying attention.  Listen carefully,  because only the good kids will get the prize.

Since 1 December I have been posting vintage Christmas images.   All the pictures have a certain thing in common.  Have you spotted it?  Not yet?  Go back and have a look, you will spy it somewhere in every picture!  Hint:  it is related to our common passion.

Once you know what I'm talking about, go to my Etsy shop HERE, and select a pattern that you would like to have for Christmas.   

Then leave a comment on this post, telling me what the mystery item in every picture is, which pattern you would like, and what email address I should send it to.  Within a day or so, your wish will be fulfilled. 

The rules:
No cheating by peeking at other people's comments :-)
One pattern per person please.
Offer valid until 24 December 2013. 
If you don't want to leave your email address on the blog, or can't leave a blog comment for some reason, you may email me privately at megbear99(at)gmail.com

And by the way, the 50% discount sale in my Etsy shop also started today.  Use the coupon code MERRY50 to get all your purchases at half price.  What a bargain!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bird Felt Ornament - Free Pattern

The days of December are marching along, and everyone here is in a festive mood.  The dogs are especially frisky after being cooped up indoors yesterday while it rained.  Long walks in the veld, and lots of pigeon chasing is on the cards for later this afternoon, we need to work off some excess energy.

And for those of us who don't chase pigeons for sport, here's a little birdie felt ornament to make for the tree.
 Cut pattern pieces from coloured craft felt and blanket stitch together.  Use beads, sequins, buttons, embroidery thread etcetera to embellish.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Santa made a delivery!

Santa made an early delivery today.  Maybe because I've been throwing so many hints, or maybe they were just too big to fit on the sleigh with all my other presents :-)
Owl boxes!  He even got the colours right.  The grey house will be put up on the side of the barn, and the green house will go in the blackwood tree behind the studio.
These boxes are durable and were designed specially to be attractive to owls.  Once a pair of owls have raised a family in a box, they will keep returning to it.
Now all we have to do is wait for owls to take up residence.  This could take a few years... patience, sigh, does anyone know where I can get owls for Christmas?
With owl metabolism much higher than that of a snake, they are very prolific hunters.  I'm hoping that they will naturally solve our snake problem.  Owls do catch snakes when they can, and even if they don't get every snake, they will exterminate rodents and other small animals that are snake food, thus causing the snakes to move out of the owl's hunting area. 

If you would like to read more about JoJo owl boxes, you will find the information here

We have another early Christmas present.  It has been raining for more than 24 hours now.  You can see in the picture how wet everything is.  I can almost hear the garden grow.

Monday, December 9, 2013

9 December

Please note that Tin Soldiers Studio will be closed between 17 December and 25 January.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

8 December

Hope you are having a relaxed weekend, and doing some crafts too. 
Yesterday we had our final all day teddy bear making class for 2013.  It was a magic day, made so by the lovely ladies who attended.
I will visit a friend in a neighbouring town today, looking forward to the trip!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

7 December

Had our final beginner teddy bear making workshop for 2013 in the Studio today.  Fantastic turnout, and such lovely people!

Friday, December 6, 2013

6 December

Today I'm run off my feet with work, no time to play and make pretty things.  Hope you are planning a relaxed and creative weekend!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Trees

Have you been a good person this year?  If so, I'm sure your name is at the top of Santa's list.  But if you want lots of gifts, you need a tree for Santa to put them under. 
Here are some ideas for making an unconventional Christmas tree. Click the links to find instructions.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gift tags

I hope you are busy decking the halls (or decorating the apartment), cooking fragrant and tasty treats, and wrapping your self made gifts already.  I'm still in a frenzy of camel making, but I've started a little bird as well.  Pattern for that coming next week.  In the meantime, if you have started wrapping gifts, remember who they are meant for by putting a tag on them.  I found these wonderful bird gift tags.  They are free, ready to cut out and print.  Browse to Rebecca's blog by clicking the picture or the link below for high resolution images.  There are several more little birds to choose from.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas - so little time, so many things to eat.

When I was a child, we were revolted at the thought of having to eat fruit cake.  We knew that there was going to be a resounding smack if anyone said yuck within earshot of the dinner table, so the safest thing to do when dessert came around was to claim that we were too full to eat another crumb.  Of course, these days I'm approaching anything edible with more sophisticated taste buds, and can make quick work of a slice or two of fruit cake.  As evidenced by my expanding girth...
In the southern hemisphere Christmas arrives in the middle of summer.  There is an abundance of fruit and fresh vegetables to choose from, and during the very hot days a cool fruit snack is much more suitable than fruit cake.  
Here are some quick ideas I'm going to try.
 Strawberries and cream Santa.
 Marshmallow, strawberry, banana, grape Santa.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Counting the days, and making little treasures

Please note that Tin Soldiers Studio will be closed between 17 December and 25 January.
At this time of year I really get a Santa's workshop feeling here in the studio.  I am crazy busy finishing Christmas orders, and making small things to give away to my family.  One of the fun things we made at Sew Along recently is a camel ornament.  I found the free pattern somewhere on the internet a while ago, now I can't find the original page so that I can link back to it.  I'm sharing it here with you, hope no one shoots me :-)
Here's a picture of my herd so far.

I made mine from felt, and sewed on the outside with blanket stitch.  I could imagine that colourful scraps of cotton fabric would also look pretty.  And lots of beads and sequins, there can never be too many!