let's talk iPhones!!!

I've finally got an iPhone and I'm kind of a little bit in love with it!!! One of the best things about them is the apps. I thought I'd share a few of my favourites so far with you

This is one I'd been dying to get for a long time. It's a neat little community and I love seeing everyone else's photographs. Super easy to use, upload your photo, choose a filter and upload it. If you're on find me @thisenchantedpixie - come say hello!


2) pixlr-o-matic
I love this app - you can add great retro effects to your photo's in a flash. I guess it's similar to hipstamatic but it's FREE!!! I've played with this one loads :)

3) Diptic
Diptic lets you take images from your photo library and combine them to make collages. I usually then process them in either instagram or pixlr-o-matic

4) Labelbox
It's another great way to play around with your photos and add text to them

5) Pocketbooth
I'm a sucker for old style photo booths and this app lets me have one in my pocket!!!

6) MobileRSS
fully featured Google reader - syncs with my online reader so I can catch up with blogs on the go!

7) social networking apps - facebook, twitter, foursquare, pinterest,

8) Kids stuff - I downloaded a few free apps for my kiddos, so far these are the favourites!
doodlebuddy - paint, draw, scribble app!
Hello Kitty - a free fun game
Magic Piano - pretend you're playing a real piano!

What are your favourite apps?? I'd love to hear any recommendations that you have!
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window shopping

one / two / three / four / five

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Home Schooling

I've been planing to write a post on this subject for a while. But somehow I've never quite gotten around to it. The last couple of weeks though, I've had quite a lot of questions regarding our family homeschooling - so I thought it was about time I actually wrote this!!


Homeschooling wasn't something that we had always planned on. In fact, Lola went to Nursery half-days between ages 3 & 4. During that time, we were having to think about which school she would go on to, and the more we thought about the whole system, the more we didn't want to go down that route. We weren't overly happy with the 'system' or some of the things that our children would be exposed to. We also wanted to offer them the chance to just be children. To spend all day playing, to learn through play, to relax and not have pressure put on them at such a young age. Having a {almost} four year old of my own made me realise just how little they still are at that point. We are big fans of children being home until they are at least 7 years old.

We did a lot of research before we made the decision. I spent hours on line trawling through home-schooling websites, personal blogs, anything that would give me a little insight! It wasn't a decision that we made lightly, but I do think it was the best decision for our family.

We've now officially been home-schooling for 4 years. We are lucky here in the UK that home-schooling allowed, and we don't have any restrictions on how we home-school. We don't have to follow any particular curriculum, or conform to any standards, or under go any assessments. For the first couple of years we were unschoolers - we didn't sit down and do lessons - it wasn't 'school at home'. The kiddos learn so much just through observing and participating in real life. They helped me bake - fantastic for learning maths skills, plus changes in matter {solids, liquids & gases} as well as being an essential life skill. We played games, read a million books, made puzzles, painted and danced and laughed our way through days. 

My eldest daughter is now 8, and our manner of home-schooling has changed slowly over the years. Part of the brilliance of home-schooling is being able to adapt life to fit each individual as well as the family as a whole. While my middle daughter is an excellent self-starter, the eldest prefers to be given tasks to do. She is an avid reader, she loves to read history books and her knowledge already surpasses mine! Now we do sit down and do some 'formal' work most days, family life here seems to run a little smoother if we have a daily action plan and some official learning time. Still, I'd say that most of their learning is still organic and isn't taught.

I know a lot of people have asked about our daily routine, how I manage to fit everything in and what sort of things we do.
We still don't follow a specific curriculum, but I pick and choose what I need from several different sources. I spend an hour or so on a Sunday sorting out the girls work for the following week, organising what we'll be doing each day, making sure that any books we need are handy, any worksheets are printed out. I have a simple chart that I print out each week, a column for each day and a row for each child {just the bigger two right now!}. This is filled in with what each of them needs to do that day, and is pinned up on the bureau so they can easily see for themselves what they need to be doing. This method means that I know what we have to get done that week, I know that all the resources I need are on hand and we can just get on in a morning and tick that day's work off :)

In a typical week we'll have one or two sessions of Maths, one or two sessions of English, a morning spent doing science activities, several sessions on Studyladder {a on line Maths and Literacy Programme aimed at Primary and Junior High School ages} a morning focused on project work - the project we're working on right now is Oceans - last week the girls made this ocean diorama :)

We usually spend the mornings sitting doing this work - I can sit alongside to help out and catch up on a few emails or write blog posts etc at the same time. Miss Baya usually likes to do her work too - lots of colouring sheets and dot-to-dots ;) She is actually picking things up incredibly quickly because she sits in on her big sisters work :)

Afternoons are filled with free play, crafting, baking, reading, etc - I can do my work whilst the girls are busying themselves. I often set up art-y activities for them, putting different items out on the table, giving them ideas to inspire and see what they come up with. These times are so precious - my girls love to craft along side me, watching and learning as I'm painting, making clothes or jewellery. SO often they want to help out. More often than not I find one of them doing extra 'work' - they dont' see it as something that they have to do - but as something that is fun to do. And that is so important - we spend our lives in school being told what we need to know, often simply to pass a test, and this takes all the joy out of learning. But in truth, learning isn't something that should stop the minute we leave school - it is lifelong - we can never know everything.

We are pretty lucky where we live that there is a thriving home-schooling network. We attend several social meets, as well as art workshops, science workshops and many other great opportunities. The elder girls both attend Brownie/Rainbow groups and Lola goes to a book club at the local library as well. I know that one thing that seems to concern people is the whole socialisation issue. I had someone ask me earlier this year if the girls mind not having any friends!!!! She seemed to be under the impression that we spent all day, every day in the house and never saw another soul. The girls both have lots of friends, home schooled and not, and enjoy active social life's {far better than mine!}

We wanted our kiddos to learn the things that interested them, to find a love for learning new things and to thrive and be who they want to be. We are incredibly lucky to be able to go down this path. We have made sacrifices to be able to do this - my income is incredibly small, we don't have a car, we don't take lots of holidays, we buy secondhand. But it is totally worth it. Home-schooling is not for everyone - it is not always an option, and it doesn't suit every family or even every child within a family. We are not against any of ours trying school if they ever wish to. As long as they are happy then that is all that matters.

Useful sites, resources, etc.

If you're new to the concept of home-schooling or looking to find out more, some useful sites are:
* Education Otherwise {UK}
* Homeschooling{USA}
*Great ideas on working out your home school schedule

Some sites that we use for worksheets, lesson ideas, etc.
* Studyladder - an on line Maths and English programme (they also have some geography/music/language/art activities too) my kiddos LOVE this site - it's laid out in school years, with a tonne of educational games to do. They are always asking to go on here :)

*Lesson Pathways  - an American site, so for us, some of the content is not applicable (ie. history) but this site offers a free K-5 curriculum. It has some fantastic ideas and resources on their - we use it tonnes for science, history and geography work

*Home School Maths - great free printable maths worksheets

* Muddle Puddle - some great resources, printables and worksheets.

*Activity Village - a wealth of ideas, printables, worksheets, activities, etc

*A-Z Worksheets - more great worksheets

*Owl and Mouse - free games, software and educational activities

* The Lyons Den - educational resources mainly aimed at Kindergarten level

These are just a few of the hundreds out there - trail and error has shown that these are the ones we use mostly. The Lesson Pathways site is one of my very favourites - I use it weekly to plan our science and project work - it links to so many other great sites, full of everything you need to teach your kiddos :)

And if you have made it to the end of this then I am very impressed ;) 
I'd love to hear your experiences of home-schooling, and sites that you can recommend or any questions that you have :)

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Etsy Love: ThruALens Photography & a giveaway!

all you need is love

sorry 'bout the quality - it was dark and I was on my iphone ;)

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My name is Lynnette and I am the brains behind Enchanted Aria. I love anything crafty, creative, and my high school sweetheart. Photography is something I would love to attempt someday but for now (for the lack of a camera) I'll stick with my cricut and crafting skills. I love to design anything artistic, I play the flute and would love to open my own shop someday. I am open to just about anything creative and never say no to a new challenge. I am an awkward individual who would gladly talk to you about any of the above topics along with Cytochrome c Oxidase and anything Biochemical. This is me.


My name is Kami and I'm a tattooed and crafty mommy blogger. In my spare time (what little I have with a newborn!) I can be seen running around my house in dress up clothes, sometimes glue gunning my fingers together, and often hunched over my sewing machine madly creating new stuffies. I live to create, love to thrift, and hope to start my own home based business one day....stop by the blog and follow along on my adventures in parenthood, mothering, crafting, and gardening!

blog / twitter / facebook / pinterest
I am 23, a wife to a wonderful husband named Sean and a mommy to a fluffy cat Lexi. I live in beautiful rainy Oregon and I blog about day to day things, I join lots of link ups and share whatever I can about my life. I'm a people person and a great friend. I have a FB blog page and I love Pinterest too- check out my blog and let's swap buttons.

 Hi, there! I’m Tricia and I blog at mama marchand’s musings. You can also find me tweeting (a lot) @mamamarchand. I’m a part-time working mama who is head over heels for the hubs and loves being a new-ish mama to our daughter, little N. 

I started my blog three years ago, before I really knew what blogging even was. I just knew I wanted to write! It picked up speed in 2009 when we found out we were pregnant with our daughter, as a way to keep long distance friends & family updated on our life. Now? It’s a huge passion of mine and gives me my own space to muse about marriage, mamahood & lessons I’m learning in this crazy life.

I love all things handmade, cupcakes, organizing (it’s an addiction, really), coffee (a necessity), thrifting & shopping for deals, and blogging, of course. I just opened my etsy shop, Mama’s Nest Designs, and I love creating handmade jewelry with new and upcycled materials.

 embrace the apockylypse

 Hello darlings! I'm Pocky from embrace the apockylypse. My blog is a geek-loving perfectionist's guide to taking little AHA! moments & bringing creativity to everyday life. I started eTa with the idea of it being the first baby step to move from my zombie job to my dream job of opening my own online crafty shop. But then things started to grow & it became a place for me to make friends & talk about some of the things I love most: crafts, life & geekery. The one thing that keeps me blogging is the great friends I've made so far through blogging, so please come by & say hello! I promise I won't bite...hard.


I am Chantilly, a singer-songwriter and indie fashion lover :) I post outfits and ponder life experiences in my blog, as well as chronicle the adventure of making my next set of recordings. I've studied music composition, toured the northeast, and released an album last year! (You can download some of those songs for free on my bandcamp page!)

The new record is almost finished, and right now I'm gearing up for the release. I couldn't be prouder of what we've put to tape, and the experience has been dreamy, exciting, and rewarding. It'll be out in the next few months... so be on the lookout!

Hi I'm Marilyn and I'm the gal behind Pulp Sushi, an online boutique selling her handmade jewelry along with vintage-inspired items from fellow artists. "Handmade Nostalgia Love" is the overall theme for Pulp Sushi. The jewelry I make is inspired by mid-century accessories and vintage pinup glamor. I am an ardent supporter of quality handmade sellers and artists. My blog is narrative about what it's like to run (and build) a small business along with living in the Hudson Valley of New York. When I'm not glued to my computer, I like to knit, read books, catch up with some of my favorite shows (ie: Rachel Zoe & Top Model) and watch old horror and 1970's movies with my boyfriend.

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I'm Gillian, a 20-something crafter from Canada, and lover of all things crafty, reused and beautiful! I live in Ontario with my boyfriend and cute cocker spaniel-poodle mix pup Jesse. Craftzilla Conquers the world is a blog where I share fun tutorials, thrifted finds, recipes, snippets and photos from my life (I won't lie, there may be a lot of cute dog photos) as well as sneak peeks from my Etsy shop, Craftzilla Conquers. 

Handmade jewellery and crafts made from clay. Inspired by all things kawaii, retro and kitsch. *Now selling small textile items*

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Meet Gigi!!

He's our new little kitten, 9 weeks old - he came to live with us today! The kiddos are super excited - he's a little scared of them, but hopefully he'll get used to all the noise here soon!

His name comes from the movie 'Kiki's Delivery Service' {where we got Kiki's name from too!!} The Kiki in the movie has a black cat called Gigi and my Kiki wanted one too ;)

If you haven't seen the movie, here's the trailer - it's one of our favouite of all the Studio Ghibili movies.

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 Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US! I hope you all have some wonderful plans for your holiday weekend :)

While Thanksgiving isn't celebrated over here, I've been thinking about all that  I have to be thankful for.

I am incredibly lucky - to have a husband who loves me and three beautiful daughters.

To have this blog and all of you wonderful friends.

To have my own business that is growing day by day.

To be living life by my rules.

Don't wait for what you think you should have - be thankful for what you already do have.

I'm guest posting over on Living Apocklyspse today about being thankful.

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{Happy Holidays} Printable Christmas Card

well... it's almost the holiday season!! I made this cute little deer Christmas card the other day, and a set of matching gift tags :) I have the card  I made sat on my dresser... not written or anything - is that weird??!

Anyhoos... go HERE to download the PDF and print your very own!! I hope you love him :)

PLUS as it's Black Friday this week I'm having a sale!! 30% off my entire shop from now until next Tuesday with coupon BLACKFRIDAY30. Go grab yourself a bargain now!

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Christmas Wishlist

I thought I'd post my 'Dear Santa' list on here...y'know.. just in case he's reading ;)

love this rug
I ♥ the Moomins
perfect to brighten up my kitchen
this skirt is amazing!

La-Princesa x Rei OOAK Custom Blythe Doll No.3
I'm hoping Santa brings me a Blythe doll ;)
love these boots

I want a new Green man plaque for my garden
these cushions would look great on my sofa!
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight

p.s don't forget to go enter to win a Shabby Apple Dress!!!


{Make it yourself} Cherry Jam

Jam making has made a comeback! In recent years, the back-to-basics food movement has inspired a whole new generation of jam makers to carry on this age old tradition. It was something that was always a part of my childhood – nothing tastes sweeter than homemade jams!

Many people think that jam making is pretty tricky and time consuming. In fact, it takes very little effort and no specialist equipment . Plus, homemade preserves make the best edible gifts – perfect with Christmas just around the corner!

Here’s my recipe for one of my favourite ever jams – Cherry Jam

1.4kg cherries, stoned
Water to cover
1.4kg sugar
2 tbsp liquid pectin
3tbsp cherry brandy optional {I used cherry amereto, but cherry brandy or a liqueur would work just the same}


Step One
Place cherries in a large preserving pan, and add enough water to just cover the fruit. Simmer for around 15 minutes. At this point, if you prefer totally smooth jam, you can liquidise the cherries and water, or just mash the cherries up a bit if you like lumps!


Step 2
Add the sugar and the pectin, bring the jam to a rapid rolling boil, stirring very occasionally, until setting point is reached. To test for setting point, drop a teaspoonful of the jam onto a chilled saucer, place in the fridge for 2 minutes, if the jam has the right consistency and wrinkles when pushed with a finger, it’s ready. If not, return to the heat and boil for a bit longer.


Step Three
When the jam is at setting point, skim off any scum from the top, and stir in the cherry brandy if you’re using it, then funnel into clean, sterilised jars. To sterilise your jars, place both jars and lids, upside down in a cool oven (140C) for 15 minutes, fill while still hot.

Step Four

Then all that is left to be done is to create some handmade labels and cover your jam jar lids! I used old doilies I’ve collected from thrift stores. Or you can make your own, by cutting a circle of fabric, at least 5cm wider than the jam jar lid, and securing around the neck with a rubber band or ribbon.