Is anyone else experiencing that thrill of the new year and a fresh start? I'm feeling oddly motivated and so ready to make changes. This is a bit of a 'mish mash of stuff' post, I will start with the sewing so you can skip the rest if you're so inclined!

I have been working on my green tea and sweet beans quilt whenever I feel like some 'me time' so over the past few weeks I've finished these blocks:

A churn dash block, Poppie block (I deviated from the pattern and decided to English paper piece a clamshell and leaves and then appliqué it on) and two Drunkards Path blocks.
I need to finish my first appliqué block and I'm also working on the Tulip blocks. I love hand sewing so much, really relaxing and rewarding to see the blocks coming together.

Before the return to the monotonous school run we managed a family outing with my mum to the Reading Museum to see an exhibition of my great-great-grandfather's artwork and prints (that's my kids great-great-great-grandfather).

We didn't realise you weren't allowed to take photos until we were told after snapping these ones, but since we're family I'm sharing. You can see a picture of Allen W. Seaby on the official poster (bottom left) and there's our son (top right). I've grown up with Seaby prints in our house, I have a toy bear that he carved in our living room (well out of kiddies reach and so not a toy!) and my mum has a collection of his books. I even remember my grandpa reading me his stories when I was a little girl. It's really only as I get older that I realise how wonderful it is to have this connection, these memories and how very creative and artistic my family is. I felt so proud to take my children there, my son pointed out all the pictures he's seen at Granny's house and even our youngest was thrilled looking at all the beautiful bird prints. I'm also glad to have Seaby as one of my middle names (well done mum!).

The Reading Museum was a lot of fun, there's some great exhibits and 'hands on' stuff for the kids, which kept them happy. I was really taken with the Huntley and Palmers Collection, they were once the worlds largest biscuit manufacturer and, although I'm not a huge cookie monster, I was fascinated by all the amazing biscuit tins:

I totally understand why people become collectors! There were so many tins and it was cool to see how they changed through the years.

Apart from the fact I can't afford to hoard biscuit tins, there's another reason not too and that's my de-cluttering and cleaning mania. It started with me and my husband decorating the hall (just a splash of paint; Statue of Liberty, Valspar) and various DIY bits around the house. Once you start you just can't stop and I have to fix and tidy all the things I've been ignoring for too long. I want to keep going because it feels so good. I know I'll never have a show home and I wouldn't want one (and I have three kids so realistically it's impossible!) but I still want to feel happy with our stuff and get into a better routine.

I was happy that Instagram led me to Clean Mama - a great site full of advice and cool things like printables (I am totally using them) and recipes for home cleaning.
She is currently doing a #clutterfree30 challenge to kick start a declutter and provide a simple cleaning routine - check out this blog post for more info and to get a free printable routine for January. Clean Mama makes a lot of sense to me, the ideas are completely realistic and I would like this routine to become habit.

And if anyone knows a good way to hold on to this fresh new year feeling please let me know!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced