Saturday 29 January 2011

The plan

So, whilst cleaning the oven yesterday (long overdue by a couple of years!) Sophie decided she would like to do some painting. Well, I'm all for distraction when doing cleaning, so we set up the dining table and she set about creating. I decided to join in, and decided to paint the allotment plan for this coming year. I figure this will be neatest it will ever look, for a start there is not a weed in sight! And so that it doesn't matter if I lose the piece of paper, I thought the safest place to put it was on the computer, and then for easy reference put it on the blog! I haven't lifted a paint brush in years, and thoroughly enjoyed just messing about.
And then just because...
I took Sophie swimming for the first time in a long time the other day. She hated it, and we lasted about 5 minutes. However, she has taken a shine to wearing the arm bands at any inopportune moment. We were trying to get ready to go to school at this point!

Thursday 27 January 2011

Luke and his poetry

Luke's love of writing is not a secret. He wants to be an author when he is older, and excels at anything with a literary slant.

As part of the gifted and talented programme at school they had a day of poetry, lead by the poet laureate of Birmingham. They had a bit of a competition between different groups to see who had produced the best poem (with performance as well), with the winners going on to a regional competition being held at a local theatre. Luke was in a group of 4 boys, and they put together a 4 verse poem about the war in Afghanistan (Luke later extended it to an 8 verse poem). The outcome of the competition was that his team came joint first with a team of 6 girls. They had to have another performance this week to see who won. The girls practiced lots, and polished their performance. The boys turned up at the required time and just "did it" first time with the extra 4 verses in it. The outcome was that the boys won, apparently on the merit of the poem (not the performance!). Luke was so chuffed, as he had pretty much written the whole thing, was the youngest participant by a whole school year, and had very nearly reduced the teacher to tears.

He now has to decide whether to take part in the performance in the larger competition, as he really doesn't like public speaking. But, whatever he decides he has had the boost of confidence this has given, and the means alot to him (and us!)

I am trying to get him to put it on his blog Land of Luke: Inside the mind of me. He has some other WIP's on there at the moment.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

A rainbow in the making

Here's a few things that we've been up to over the last few days, which struck me as rather colourful! My first attempt at green juice, cavolo nero, alfalfa sprouts and orange juice, rather lovely I thought, although Sophie took one sip, pulled a disgusted face, and told me to go away! Some gorgeous yellow wool arrived in the post from Gill. All carded and ready to go!
A pile of fabric I picked up from freecycle, from a wonderful woman who did lots of patchwork, and had a wonderful homemade home. Inspiration indeed.
Orange and mango lollies!
And chocolate peppermint slices!

Sunday 23 January 2011

Cooking up a storm

Lots of willing helpers in the kitchen at the moment, from food preparation... whole meals being cooked.
Luke made the Saturday evening meal again. We had mini toad-in-the-hole, and the left over batter made the rather impressive yorkshire puddings above. He has been using this Sam Stern book for recipes and inspiration, it seems a good middle ground between the cook books aimed at pre-schoolers and the fancy cook books of some well-known chefs. Just right to wet his appetite in cooking. And to top it off he is making Leek and potato soup at school tomorrow.
Sophie has been getting in on the act too. I was a bit late doing lunch the other day, so she decided to do lunch for us. Bananas anyone?
And continuing with the cleaning and decluttering. Before...
...and after!
Still a box to go through, but a vast improvement!

Sunday 16 January 2011

Just how weekends should be

Saturday was such a relaxing day, but productive all at the same time. The boys even commented on what a nice day it was, people getting on with things they wanted to do, no arguing, lovely! So what did we do? Teddy bears picnic in the kitchen... ...followed by the wooden farm, reading books, playing games, paper craft (otherwise known as Luke making more paper guns!), playing outside, homemade tomato soup (thumbs up from everyone!), watching the Baggies game (Stuart), and a quick shopping trip for late Christmas presents. To top it off, Luke made tea (I could seriously get used to that, I was able to do a few lines of knitting whilst tea was being made!) He made the most delicious cornish pasties, making his own pastry too.
Sunday was meeting up with Stuart's brother and his family at a lovely restaurant near Warwick. Food was amazing, children were well behaved, and everyone felt they had had a lovely get together with lovely people.
We all feel rejuvinated for the week ahead, blimey, we even got homework done before Sunday evening! This really is how weekends should be. :)

Friday 14 January 2011

Excited about wool

So here's a picture of the wheel all set up and treated. I would love a corner in the lounge to have it set up, but alas, there is not enough space, so a corner behind the dining room door has to do! My first attempt at spinning, using some wool I'd bought for wet felting. Very fiddly as it was in short amounts, so there was alot of joining on, and it seemed that as soon as you got a rythm going that I had to stop again. It is very slubby, and varies wildly in it's thickness, but I am determined to make something with it!
And look what I've ordered! A 500g bag of waste wool. Perfect for practicing! And there is a decent amount of the brownish colour on the left, might even be able to make something useful! There is some wool that needs carding in there too, so a chance to practice that!
And look what I found when I ordered some fish with the organic box! Wool insulation! I was very tempted to not return the bags, and use the wool instead. I might still approach Abel and Cole to see what happens with the bags at the end of their life ( surely a good wash and the wool would be useable?
And to top it off, I have approached our local Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers (in Stratford) and their next proper meeting is a practical in spinning! Can't wait!!!!

Tuesday 11 January 2011

A sense of urgency

There seems to be alot of people struggling at this time of year, either with weather, illness, or just life. So I feel a bit guilty that things are going well at the moment! I do long for the new growing season, but this year I am reminding myself of the chaos that comes with suddenly needing to do loads of things outside as well as inside, I always feel split in two, and never do anything particularly well. So this year, I am using this lull to its greatest potential. To get as much done and straight as possible now so I hopefully have less pulling me to do things inside once the growing season starts.

I want to get my head around this spinning lark! And really get to grips with my cello. That alone would keep me busy, but they are the treats I give myself when I have got on with a few household management tasks that are LONG overdue. I don't think I have ever washed any of the curtains in the house (and we've been here for nearly 11 years! URGH!!) so that is another thing to get done.

I am grateful for this natural lull in life, I don't think I could manage everything without it, but I am also determined to make the most of fewer immediate demands, and enjoy the luxury of sitting crafting, or tackling a job that has been long neglected, as well as spending much more time doing whatever the children fancy. Whilst on one hand it seems very relaxed, there is also a sense of urgency to get all these things done now the days are lengthening, and the ground starts stirring.

Friday 7 January 2011

Proud mama

Not that it has anything to do with me, he's just my son who has a flair for writing! Luke had to write a poem about flight for his creative writing class, and the results were a stunning poem, which earned him a head teachers commendation. He has given me his permission to reproduce it to share with you all.

Flight by Luke

Gracefully gliding through the ocean of sky,
Delicate creatures of flight soar like a thin slither of glass,
Drifting, diving throughout the wild ebony night sky,
Wind gallopping through their fluffy, furry feathers,
Like raging Italian stallions, bounding out of a fiery field.
Wings erupting outwards from it's fragile body,
The darting arrow vaults another mile in a blink of an eye.
Spotting the truly minute speck of dust that is the soft ground,
The bolt fires, plummets, plunges towards the landscape.
Aerodynamic beak ripping through the bitter air,
Like a diving stone descending to the ground.
A gargantuan flick forms a barricade,
Preventing this phenomenal sensation from plunging into the ground.
Attacking the sky once again with it's mammoth wings.
The elder pounds like a ferocious tiger,
Climbing, climbing, climbing.
Patiently perched on the steep cliff edge,
Our commanding Aquila Chrysaetos waits;
Always waiting.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Turning the day around

After spending the night tossing and turning over some silly comments I came across on Facebook, and after some wonderful advice from online friends, I managed to escape the doom and gloom (made worse by such a gloomy day weather wise). We had a trip to the farm shop, whic means we now have a choice of meals. Even though the last few days meals of wracking my brains as to what to make have resulted in some wonderfully tasty meals ( although I will never understand how one meal that is woolfed down by everyone, but had lots of leftovers, when rehashed is then picked over, despite being the exact same food that they ate the day before!)

Anyway, after the farm shop, Sophie and I were watching Peppa Pig, and they had one of those cup and wire telephones. I got thinking, and decided to make one for the boys. Luke and Ethan had never done it before, Alec had, but it didnt work. Well, they were amazed. Played with it for a good half hour, took it to neighbours to show it off! Sophie added "interference" to the line, which was interesting!

Then, after making sure homework was done for school tomorrow, Luke set about making some coconut ice slice, as a treat for lunch boxes tomorrow. I even managed to squeeze in some cello practice!

Other things we have been up to are spring cleaning! This year WILL be the year we get straight. So we now have shelves in the utility, with space for all my preserves too, as well as clear work surfaces (honestly, this space was an utter tip before the weekend!)
And I cleaned the fridge today, it is gleaming, I could get quite used to this cleaning lark, it is an honour to open the fridge now!
And to top it all off, our new vac arrived this evening. Our previous one died a death the other day after 1o years of faithful service. We now have an all singing, all dancing Dyson "ball". For someone who is always willing to find an excuse not to do housework, I have been strangely suprised with these last few days, and how great it has been making me feel. We are a long way off straight, but I reckon a week on each room, that should keep me going for a few months, and hopefully it will be easier to keep on top of it all then.

Saturday 1 January 2011


This Christmas had a few low points for me. Spending it in a gorgeous house, in a wonderful part of the world was lovely, but the house is up for sale (was for sale last Christmas too), but this time it was all too much. I had done all the dreaming the year before, but this time it just seemed to rub salt in a wound. It doesn't all come down to money (even though that is a big factor) there are other factors to consider, which all boil down to the fact that at this point in time, a move to country just simply isn't possible. I just wanted to stop dreaming, stop hurting myself with possibilities that just couldn't happen.

But, what would life be without dreams, what would be point?

I dream of ...
a Rayburn...
...a family garden and farmhouse...
...for the children to grow up with the freedom the countryside offers.So, with my dreaming head on, this would be a granny flat, or holiday lets.
and Stuart reckons a high roofed conservatory replacing the present one, and joining up with what would be his office.
But back to reality, to now, the only thing that I can do something about. I am going to treasure every moment this new year brings. Be grateful for having family close by, and the time to spend with them. Create a beautiful, loving home right here in the town, and get my nature fixes at every opportunity. This year is going to be wonderful, and as for that house, well I can dream!