My debut fantasy novel, The Archguardians of Laceria, is now available in paperback, and in all ebookstores!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Obligatory New Year Post 1: The Round-Up

   As a blogger, there are a few posts that are sort of mandatory, and when it gets to the end of the year, we're kind of expected to write about the old and the new, whether our readers are really interested or not. I don't really do this because I know I'm not interested in reading them from other people, but I have found that it can be helpful for me, personally, to put the year into perspective.
   Sometimes you're overshadowed by negatives, things you failed to achieve, and it's easy to forget the things you did, especially if those achievements were unexpected or not part of 'the plan'. That's partly why my new years resolutions, when I make them, don't have a solid end result - but I'll go into that more in the second obligatory new year post tomorrow.

   So what were my expectations this year? Well, I wanted to get published traditionally, with a literary agent, with publicity and professional advice and assistance in the areas I fail in, like advertising. Well, I finished and proofed The Archguardians of Laceria very early in the year and then sent it out to all fantasy literary agents in the UK, only to be rejected by all 8 of them. This would have been a huge blow to my confidence, but I've read enough literary agent blogs and books to know that there are countless reasons a manuscript will be rejected, and not being good enough is only one. Timing - the current market for the genre, the agent's own workload and so on - and whether an agent feels they can appropriately represent your work themselves are all more likely reasons. And I also know that literary agents don't leave compliments or advice unless they believe the work is worth something, and a handful of them - everyone who didn't send me a form rejection - paid me either compliment or advice, and every one of them told me not to give up. This spurred me on immensely, and instead of letting the book go to waste, like I have with others, I decided to self-publish it instead. After all, I felt it was good enough to bother a literary agent with, didn't I?

   So, no, things didn't go according to plan, but I did finally achieve some form of the dream I've had since I was 12 years old. The Archguardians of Laceria is only available as an ebook - Kindle through Amazon, and ePub for Kobo, Nook and so on through Lulu - and while that's not the format I would prefer (I read physical books), at least my work is out there. I did get myself a physical hardback copy printed, but it cost £25 and to actually sell it I'd have to charge £30 per copy and from that I'd make - no joke - 10p. The text is also tiny, so I can't justify asking people to pay £30 for a book they can't read.
   However, despite all that, the release of my book as an ebook means that this year has seen my most important success to date, and while it didn't go as I'd hoped, the end result is good enough. I have a presence in the fantasy writing world, even if it's a tiny one.


   I'm presently working on another story - new characters, a different world, completely different mechanics and an entirely new plot - and the first half is already almost finished. It's a long story, so I decided before I begun that it would be split into two books and would be available as both ePub, Kindle and paperback, and will be self-published if I'm rejected again.
   So completing this story is the next step towards my dream, which I will use to assault fantasy literary agents again before inevitably self-publishing. Having done it once, I'm no longer intimidated, and while I do feel that that method devalues the work, I also have to realise that letting it sit forgotten on a memory stick in a dusty old box just because 8 people said 'no' is the ultimate disrespect to my ideas, my characters, my time and myself.

   As for 2016's resolution, I didn't really make one. I made one in 2015 to try a new workout every month in order to keep my weightloss journey fresh and to avoid plateaus, and it worked so well that it became habit by the end of the year and I continued it throughout 2016, too. I will do so again through 2017, alongside an actual resolution, but it's proven to be a big part of my life and has helped me to lose weight, keep it off, build confidence, strength, improve my health and in fact teach me about human biology which, believe it or not, has also helped me in my writing.

   I'm happy with how 2016 has gone. I have no regrets whatsoever, and I'm happy to welcome 2017 and whatever comes with it.



Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Post-Christmas Etsy Sale

   Just a mini update while I recover from Christmas (and a migraine that, fortunately, waited until I had nothing on to strike) - there are a few promotions happening in my Etsy shop right now:
1. Spend £50 (or $50) in one transaction and get a £10 (or $10) Etsy gift card for use in any Etsy shop until the end of the 27th
2. Get 10% off in my shop until January 1st with the code CHRISTMAS1610
3. There's still free Christmas tea with all December orders!

   My next shipping date is Wednesday the 4th, and I'm presently putting together Valentine deadline dates - so now is a good opportunity to snatch up some handmade wildlife gifts for your friends and partners at a lower price!





Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Day

   I had a wonderful Christmas. I slept well the night before - most unusual - and woke at a suitable time. I had chocolate for breakfast, pork pies for lunch, then more chocolate, and then a three-game roast with oodles of veg and gravy, followed by a praline ice cream log. I felt as sick as a 5 year old by 9pm, and it was, frankly, wonderful. I sat hugging a plush highland cow my dad gave me while watching old Dad's Army, Blackadder and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Christmas specials in my PJs with Seeg.

   My sister brought her kiddies over at midday, and while I was dreading it, having already woken up with a mild headache, it turned out to be quite nice. Riley is seven and seems to be mellowing out - he wasn't stroppy yesterday, he was quiet and he didn't complain to go home when he got bored. Layton is two and a far happier child than Riley was at his age, and while I bought him a Thomas the Tank Engine toy my sister suggested for him, I also got him some jumbo crayons and he seemed more interested in those than the big gift. Seeg sat down and drew with him, and they both seemed to enjoy that.

   I got some really nice gifts this year, too. Seeg surprised me with, among other wonderful things, a beautiful CD of Chinese folk music, absolutely freaking beautiful, and, most surprisingly, a pair of Sylvanas leggings from Wild Bangarang. This was a huge surprise because this design sells out fast, but he got them from Blizzard rather than Wild Bangarang's site. I've wanted them for so very long, and I really didn't think he'd have got them because they haven't been in stock at all for months, so that was a massive surprise.


   My dad outdid himself, too, with Planet Earth 2, the Natural World box set, and the Life Collection, giving me over 80 hours of new Attenborough documentaries. He also got me a book I'd wanted for ages - Pliny The Elder's Natural History books 8-11, zoology - and a lovely plush of a highland cow!


   My sister also got me some beautiful notebooks - sometimes, when I hit writer's block, working directly on paper rather than a laptop can be a huge mind-clearer - and the first season of The Clangers' reboot.


   I got more chocolate than I know what to do with, and I ate, frankly, beyond capacity. It's the one day a year - the one day a year - when I don't worry about what I eat nor how much. I eat well all year long, and I don't skip my workouts over Christmas either. If anything, they increase in length and intensity in an effort to reduce the impact of the season. It was a wonderfully uncomfortable experience, and I slipped into my jimjams early for the mercy of a stretchy waistband.
   Absolutely. No. Regrets.

   And the festivities don't stop here, either. It's Seeg's birthday on Wednesday, which means more celebration (if certainly more well-behaved eating, the only exception being big burgers for dinner). New Year means nothing more than another roast dinner (yipee!), so that barely counts, but then it's my birthday on January 9th - which means pizza, ice cream and a whole box of chocolates. But believe me, by this point, I want to eat healthily. In fact, I'm feeling that desire today, already, and I jumped eagerly onto level 3 of Killer Buns & Thighs this morning - which, by the way, I nailed.

   I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day, and that you have a calm, quiet boxing day. Did you get anything unexpectedly good? Or unexpectedly bad? Or was there something you were hoping for that you're snatching up in the sales instead?




Saturday, 24 December 2016

It's Christmas Eve!

   It's been a funny sort of day, but a good one - I made some more cinnamon scones for the family, I had porridge with cranberries and a little bit of chocolate (a Hotel Chocolat tree decoration), and rather than write in my free time like you know I love to, I drew instead. I actually had lots of things I wanted to draw, but knew I could only manage one, so I decided on the one I felt was more likely to go well, despite it still being out of my comfort zone. I drew Daeaye, my World of Warcraft character, with Jukapa as a baby. She's a survival hunter and Jukapa is her main pet, a white gorilla, and I thought it would be cute to draw them both together, but him as a baby. It was tough with no references, and I'm very uneasy with digital shading, but I'm satisfied with how it came out as a quick piecex. I see so many amazing pieces on twitter because I follow quite a few digital artists, and while I wish I could be as good as them, I'm not prepared to put in the practice. I'd rather write. But here she is:
   It'll do; I'm clearly happy enough to share it!

   I also just started my Christmas sale - unfortunately I can only afford to give 10% off, but it's better than nothing! So from today until January 1st, use the code CHRISTMAS1610 for 10% off across everything in my Etsy shop.

   Tonight's plans are to scoff chocolate and watch Scrooged, while tomorrow I will eat everything in sight, as per the instructions in one Christmas card I received this year, and I will sing at the top of my lungs, badly, while wearing shiny clothes and forcing socialisation. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!

   Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, I hope it's fat and safe. Be happy, be kind, and be thoughtful <3



Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas Etsy Finds - Christmas Printables

It's nearly here!! Love it or hate it (I love it), Christmas is so very nearly upon us! And so, while my last Christmas Etsy Finds post on Monday was filled with downloadable Christmas crafts, this time around, we're looking at straight up printables. Truly one for the last-minute shoppers or for the crafters among us that just can't get enough.
I've gathered a selection of printable gift boxes, gift wrap, tags, toppers and party essentials that are sure to be a hit for adults and kids. And as they're all instant downloads, you get the patterns and prints as soon as you buy them - no waiting around! Unless, of course, your printer is out of ink...


https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/455008990/printable-winter-fox-gift-boxes-diy?ref=finds_l https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/194956307/christmas-retro-cars-cupcake-boxes-hold?ga_search_query=christmas&ref=shop_items_search_6
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/492057891/the-christmas-song-hand-lettered?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=printable%20christmas%20wrapping&ref=sr_gallery_17 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/478510120/gift-paper-printable-christmas-gift-wrap?ref=shop_home_active_3
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/113576275/merry-christmas-paper-cut-gift-topper?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=printable%20christmas%20wrapping&ref=sr_gallery_17 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/476860066/stranger-things-gift-wrap-printable?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=printable%20christmas%20gift%20bow&ref=sr_gallery_45
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/487950229/printble-christmas-gift-tags-for-kids?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=printable%20christmas%20gift%20tags&ref=sr_gallery_18 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/171352839/printable-christmas-gift-tags-let-it?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=printable%20christmas%20gift%20tags&ref=sr_gallery_35
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/117384971/diy-christmas-cracker-gift-box-printable?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=printable%20christmas%20cracker&ref=sr_gallery_20 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/256514752/downloadable-christmas-character?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=printable%20christmas%20crackers&ref=sr_gallery_10
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/491754185/printable-christmas-party-hats?ref=shop_home_active_2 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/170302716/reindeer-paper-crown-printable?ref=shop_home_active_40



http://www.ablackbirdsepiphany.co.uk/2014/12/hand-drawn-christmas-cards-free.html



Last year I made some free printable hand drawn Christmas cards and they've been hugely popular - weirdly so, all year long. But that's nice! There are four designs - two text, two animals - and they make great printable Christmas cards - or gift toppers. Use them, really, however you like!



Skinny Christmas Quiche Recipe

   This week I've been endeavouring to serve up some more festive meals for the family, and it's been quite difficult to find 'Christmas recipes' for anything beyond a full Christmas dinner or something to do with left-overs. So, in the end, I took normal recipes and tried to festive them up - unfortunately I struggled beyond 'pork', 'turkey' and 'cranberries', but I managed. I managed...
   I don't actually like quiche, but I so often make things that appeal to me specifically that I thought I'd cater to everyone else this time around - but in fairness it's also been years since I've had quiche, because I don't like it. This one, however, I rather liked. Perhaps my taste has changed, perhaps I've simply grown up, or, perhaps, this was the nicest quiche I've ever had. Who knows?
   But this isn't a normal quiche. It's a crustless and 'skinny' quiche to save calories (like we really need to pile on any more at this time of year). Now, I stress, 'skinny' doesn't mean 'healthy', it just means low-fat, and while you do need fat in your diet, at this time of the year, when you eat a lot more than usual and are sure to get fat from other sources, cutting it out of a few dishes and lowering the calories in the process doesn't hurt. Which is why I broke my rules of nutritional balance and made a skinny, crustless Christmas quiche instead of a typical one.
   Also, allow me to apologise for the picture. This was taken just before serving it up, and I have yet to perfect the art of camera settings for photographing under a kitchen light. It's been through a lot of colour changes to filter out the excessive yellow, which was especially difficult with an already yellow dish...


Ingredients:
Makes 8 slices - 100 cals with mushrooms, 200 cals with pork sausage
200-300g steamed & drained spinach 
200g cooked & chopped mushrooms or pork sausage
100g low-fat cheese (split into 25g, 25g & 50g)
6 eggs
250ml skimmed milk (or almond milk)
salt & pepper
Handful of cranberries (about 25g)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F /190 C/gas mark 5 and lightly grease a glass pie dish - non-stick spray or coconut oil.

2. Make sure you've removed as much of the moisture from the spinach as you can (it's easiest to have prepared the spinach earlier in the day) and then scatter it across the base of the dish. It won't completely cover it, but it won't have to. Then scatter the sausage or mushroom over the spinach in the same manner, and then 25g of the cheese.

3. Mix the eggs, milk & 50g of cheese in a bowl and pour over the mushrooms/sausage and spinach. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, along with the cranberries.

4. Set the dish in the oven for 1 hour, then allow to cool slightly and cut into 8 slices. Serve with a leafy salad, or more festively, roasted sprouts and cherry tomatoes.






Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Simple Christmas Cinnamon Scones

   My dad has been regaling me with tales of deceptive Christmas scones. Three times now he's been in a cafe and bought a Christmas scone, each time hoping for cinnamon but, in typical English fashion, not asking, just assuming, and eating it with muttered complaints when struck with disappointment. One was a plain scone stuffed with cranberry jam, the next had cranberries in it, all of which had sunk away from the edges to be invisible until bitten, and the third was filled with orange and lemon zest. All he wanted was cinnamon spice, but apparently everyone's idea of a 'Christmas scone' differs. So I thought I'd make him a batch.
   I've made scones before, they're not hard, but ratio of spices is an art and it's one I can never get right. But I couldn't find an uncomplicated recipe - one I could easily adjust to make a smaller batch in case they were awful. In the end I took a basic scone recipe from an old cook book and guessed on the spices.

   My dad ate the lot and asked me to make more a few days later. That's a win. I'm making more for Christmas Eve.



Ingredients:
Makes 8-10 scones; 150 cals each
150g self raising flour
50g chestnut flour (or replace with another 50g plain flour)
pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
150ml milk
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
Extra milk for brushing
Extra cinnamon for sprinkling
Make it healthier:
Swap the self raising flour for whole meal or oat flour with 1/2 tsp baking powder
Swap the unsalted butter for grass-fed or coconut oil - though the latter, in sweet baking, leaves a coconutty taste
Swap the sugar for unrefined like Billington's
Swap the milk for semi-skimmed or almond milk


Method:
1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7 and lightly flour a baking tray/cookie sheet

2. Combine the flours and salt in a bowl, then rub in the butter.

3. Stir in the sugar.Mix in the sugar, then add the milk to create a soft dough.

4. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Roll or pat it out to about 2cm thick and cut with a scone or cookie cutter. Transfer the cut out dough onto the floured cookie sheet/baking tray and lightly brush with milk. Sprinkle a little more cinnamon over each brushed scone. If you have a little dough left over, treat that one too so you have a sneaky little taster when they're out of the oven.

5. Slide the tray in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until they're lovely and golden and plump.

Leave to cool a little - they're best warm, in my opinion, but they're gorgeous both warm and cold.




Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Killer Body v2 - Level 2

   Well, that was not what I expected. I've been using level 2 of Jillian Michaels' Killer Arms & Back and Killer Buns & Thighs for the past two weeks, and, as with level 1, I found the upper body workout just as challenging as the lower body, but not as exhausting, making it easier to do some bonus cardio for 20 minutes afterwards (Christmas season and mince pies abound). Lower body was more exhausting for the simple fact that it works bigger muscles, which means more energy expended and so on.
   But what was unexpected was the leap. Jillian Michaels workouts usually scale quite well - the difference between levels are usually quite appropriate, a manageable increase which provides a challenge without being too intimidating. If you're able to do the intermediate or advanced moves from the start of level 1, you probably can on level 2, too.


   This time around, though, the difference between the levels - and this is the case on both DVDs - were a little more than usual. Sort of like an increase of 1.3 levels. It wasn't so much that I couldn't do it, but I did have to do a few of the beginner/intermediate mods the first couple of times on level 2 when I was doing intermediate/advanced on level 1. I've been managing, of course, but two weeks on level 2 does not feel like enough. The idea of moving on to level 3 yesterday felt far too soon, so I've decided to go through level 2 for another week and begin level 3 on Boxing Day or the 27th instead. I'd like to think, then, that it's possible I'll give level 3 three weeks, too - after all, after completing the initial 2 which are mandatory (self-imposed), what's one more? But that will be a decision I make at the end of that second week. Of course, given that it will be my birthday (YAY) at the start of that third week, a guaranteed tough workout will probably be needed. Pizza, cake, ice cream, chocolates and so on...


   But at this point I've been using the two DVDs, alternating for 5 days a week, for 4 weeks, and I have got to say that I'm definitely seeing results. My arms are slimmer and firmer, but my legs are seeing the biggest difference, and it's at its most noticeable when shaving them. They're firm all over, all the way around, even the inner thigh where a few weeks ago there was a little bit of squish. Truly, I can't believe the transformation.
   As such, while it's a difficult workout, I know as a fact that it's time well-spent and using the DVDs for possibly 8 weeks rather than 6 is a damned good idea. Guaranteed results.
   I probably won't update on this again until I've finished level 3 - possibly. After which I was intending on using a new Kettlercise workout, but I've decided that it's probably a good idea to dial it down for a while rather than going from one toughy right into another. So I'm going to hold Kettlercise back until February and have 2-3 weeks (dependent on how many weeks I give level 3) of 'free' exercise. I've got a DVD on my wishlist I'm hoping to be given over Christmas or my birthday, and if I am I'll probably give that a go. It's not suitable for a month's workout due to its structure, but it would be perfect for 2-3 weeks of free workouts.

   So I'll update on this in a few weeks! I'm giving these next two weeks in particular my all. Because I love to eat, and Christmas is my favourite time of the year. Plus it's Seeg's birthday on the 28th and then mine on the 9th, so I can't afford to slip up!



Monday, 19 December 2016

Aaand BREATHE.

   I keep sighing to myself. I'm so relieved. This Christmas has been a nightmare and I'm so glad to put it behind me! I just got back from my final post run of the year, and even managed to ship out an order placed only 30 minutes before I left (5.5 hours after the deadline), and I've just made myself a delicious bowl of miso soup with egg and salmon, and once I've finished - taking my time, for once - I'm jumping in the bath. I've got a lovely penguin bubble bar from Lush that I can't wait to use. I managed to bag the only one on the shelf that still had a nose.

   The house is fully decorated, and now that it's the Monday before Christmas, I'm getting the tree chocolates out and hanging them up. I don't like to do it too soon because 1) they never last and 2) that's all my fault. So I've held them back until now instead. Though in fairness I did buy two boxes this time...of Hotel Chocolat mini crackers... It's Christmas! I don't care!!
   I'm doing my Christmas wrapping on Wednesday, and I've got a tiny box of chocolates to enjoy with that, too. I love Christmas wrapping, it's so much fun, I make a big thing of it - all the lights on, Christmas films, hot chocolate and chocolates, and I wheel mum in to enjoy it all, too - so, no, I don't eat the whole box myself. Only 80%.


   So, (she types, sighing happily again) I feel like a weight has been lifted. I've got a new Christmas film to watch, too - Arthur Christmas, which I bought after spotting it on Abi Bumbles - and Seeg and I will be watching Scrooged on Christmas Eve (again) with some festive yums, because food is epic. Half the reason we maintain movie night is for the treats, if I'm honest.

  And, last but most certainly not least, I finally have the time to write again! I've not turned on my laptop or even opened a notebook for about 3 weeks - and how's this for obsessive? I had a dream where my characters couldn't remember who I was because I'd "not written for so long they forgot who I am". Ouch. Well, things quieted down a few days ago and I managed to steal 2 hours to make notes, and I know precisely where I'm picking it all up from. Fortunately I finished and proof read a chapter the last time I worked, and as the perspective shifts in the next chapter, that makes it a little easier to jump back in. So I'm very excited.
   And on that note, I lowered the price of the Archguardians of Laceria on Amazon and Lulu to £2.99:

Amazon US     Amazon UK     Lulu (ePub; non-Kindle ebooks)


I am a very happy Kim today.



Christmas Etsy Finds - Christmas DIY

Well, I just got back from my final post run of the season! So now I can stop crafting for orders and start crafting for me! So for today's post I've scoured Etsy UK for festive crafting tutorials! And as Christmas is so close, these are all downloadable.


https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/257331977/moose-cross-stitch-pattern-gift-xmas?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas%20download&ref=sr_gallery_26 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/254452366/pdf-pattern-reindeer-pixie-felt-softie?ref=related-0
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/260586409/how-to-make-a-paleo-gingerbread-house?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=gingerbread%20house%20tutorial&ref=sr_gallery_24 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/475398790/christmas-reindeer-cake-topper-pdf?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas%20cake%20tutorial&ref=sr_gallery_1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/245239603/pdf-pattern-felt-reindeer-plush?ref=shop_home_active_1 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/477758942/christmas-scene-paper-lantern-template?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas%20lantern%20pdf&ref=sr_gallery_8
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/260405005/winter-wonderland-skating-bunny-cut-your?ref=shop_home_active_8 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/260976439/diy-gift-box-dutch-canal-house-christmas?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas%20gift%20box%20pdf&ref=sr_gallery_11



http://www.ablackbirdsepiphany.co.uk/2016/11/miniature-christmas-pinatas-diy.html


   Based on my super popular miniature pinatas, I made a reindeer version, and then a Christmas pudding! These free miniature Christmas pinatas are super easy to make - cardboard like a cereal box, tissue paper and stuff to fill them with! I used Wilton's holly sprinkles. Chocolate drops would work, too, or a tiny toy. A silent, homemade alternative to Christmas crackers.





Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas Origami Snowscape

   I dared to try something new. I've never gotten on well with origami, but I decided to give it another go and make a winter snowscape - as always, I was aiming very high. But I kind of can't believe how well it came out considering the most advanced thing I've ever made by folding paper was a heart. So to make trees and foxes, well, that was something else!


   Yes, I jazzed up the picture - so sue me. A little lense flare on the 'star' - which was just a silver accent from a bouquet of flowers I bought my mum two days before - and some overlayed snowfall. There's a picture at the bottom of the post without the snow, but I did accidentally flatten the flare onto the image without realising until it was too late and GIMP decided I wanted it to be permanent and removed the 'undo' option for no good reason, as it often does.

   I used video tutorials for the origami - it's always easier to do things like this when you have a demonstration you can wind back several times.
   I made the origami arctic fox using the following video and just used different sized paper for the adult and youngster. The fox was really difficult to do so I advise practising on a large A4 squared sheet. The trouble comes, really, with the head. Once you've got that down, you're golden. It was so, so frustrating the first few times and I nearly gave up, but I came back to it a few days later with more patience and it went much better.

And I made the Christmas tree with this video, and it was so very much easier than the fox that it was almost therapeutic.


 




I don't claim ownership to either video, nor the websites or people they're affiliated with. I chose these two tutorials because I liked the shape of the finished pieces.



Ready To Ship Deadline & 12 Deals of Christmas - December 17th

 First of all, we've now hit the deadline for UK Christmas orders. The only chance now for UK Christmas delivery is by purchasing items found in my Ready To Ship shop section. All of these products have been made in advance and will be ready to post on my final post run of the year on Monday, lunch time.

 Otherwise, today's 12 Days of Christmas offer is free druzy earrings for all orders!
This applies to all orders placed today regardless of shop section.


https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PeachesandPebbles?section_id=20661717
 





Friday, 16 December 2016

12 Deals of Christmas - December 16th

Today's Christmas offer is spend 40, save 20! Get 20% off of all orders of £40 or more!
For my international customers, that's about 2 necklaces!
Click the 'apply shop coupon code' link on the right of your basket and apply the code 12DOC16 in the box that appears.

UK customers have until midday tomorrow to buy wildlife gifts in time for Christmas!
Monday lunch time is my final post run!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PeachesandPebbles?ref=hdr_shop_menu




Thursday, 15 December 2016

12 Deals of Christmas - December 15th

Today's 12 Days of Christmas offer is free chocolate - yes, free chocolate - with every order in my Etsy shop. It doesn't get better than that. And there's still a free cup of tea with all December orders, so you'll have a nice afternoon cuppa sorted today!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PeachesandPebbles?ref=hdr_shop_menu




Christmas Etsy Finds - Stockings

Christmas is just 10 days away!! I always hung my stocking prematurely - about a week before hand - even though my parents kept taking it down, telling me it had to go up on Christmas Eve or it wouldn't be filled. I gave in eventually, but now I realise the house was too cluttered with the mass of decorations to handle four 3-foot long stockings hanging on the wall for a week...
Anyway. For today's Etsy Finds post I've gathered together a few of what I think are the best sacks and stockings Etsy has to offer:


https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/471139922/christmas-sack-for-adults-pinterest-is-a?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas&ref=sr_gallery_1 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/466123056/retro-stocking-personalised-christmas?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas&ref=sr_gallery_3
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/202406708/monochrome-christmas-stocking-white?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas&ref=sr_gallery_9 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/168962932/christmas-eve-bag-personalized-christmas?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas&ref=sr_gallery_46
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/475213182/screen-printed-christmas-stocking-gift?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas&ref=sr_gallery_28 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/487273853/hogwarts-christmas-stocking-harry-potter?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas&ref=sr_gallery_29
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/484022471/baby-penguin-necklace-christmas-animal?ref=shop_home_active_5

I have no sack or stocking to add to this list, but I'm cheeky so I'm still going to slip my handmade baby penguin necklace in as a stocking filler! This tiny terrarium necklace houses a miniature emperor penguin chick, who measures 1cm tall, and the jar itself is 2.5cm tall by 1cm wide.







Wednesday, 14 December 2016

12 Deals of Christmas - December 14th

Today's 12 Days of Christmas deal is a simple one, but one everyone can take advantage of: free worldwide shipping on absolutely all orders. Just add something (or a few somethings) to your cart and apply the code 12DOC14

The last date for UK Christmas orders is this Friday!


https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PeachesandPebbles?ref=hdr_shop_menu




Tuesday, 13 December 2016

12 Deals of Christmas - December 13th

   Yep, I'm hopping on the bandwagon. From now until December 24th there will be a new promotion every day, and for that day only. Some will be big, some will be small - and today's is already up!

   Buy a book flower necklace and get a book flower ring for half price until tomorrow morning! Just add both pieces to your cart, in whichever books you'd like, and then apply the code 12DOC13.

And remember: the final order date for the UK in time for Christmas is this Friday!






Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Etsy Finds - Cards

I love Christmas cards - the colours and the glitter, even though it gets everywhere. Trouble is, I always buy more than I need. My Christmas cards list is really small - tiny family on both my side and Seeg's, and very few friends. So generally one box of fifteen cards will see both of us through very comfortably, with some left over.
But I still can't help buying about three boxes...
In case you hadn't guessed, today's Christmas Etsy Finds post features Christmas cards!
Have you sent yours yet?


https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/467496780/starry-sky-christmas-card?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas%20cards&ref=sr_gallery_20 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/468337786/hare-in-winter-woodland-christmas-card?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=woodland%20christmas&ref=sr_gallery_17
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/489944177/hand-drawn-winter-deer-christmas-card?ref=shop_home_active_12 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/210840442/6-pack-of-charity-christmas-cards-brand?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=christmas%20cards&ref=sr_gallery_21
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/472880717/christmas-gift-christmas-art-paper-pop?ref=shop_home_active_17 https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/117232818/3d-pop-up-card-sea-monster-holiday?ga_search_query=christmas&ref=shop_items_search_1



https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/252520505/christmas-robin-necklace-winter?ref=shop_home_active_12

   I am working on a way of incorporating my style into Christmas cards for next year, but for now, I'm adding my Christmas robin necklace to this one collection, because postmen! In Victorian times, the postman wore read and was called a 'robin' for it, and robins soon became associated with Christmas card deliveries. That's how the red-breasted bird has become associated with Christmas despite existing all year round.