Friday 27 May 2011

This week

 I've been meaning to blog all week, but just never really got around to it, so here's an amalgamation of all the different things I was going to post about!! 

Do you remember around this time last year, Luke suffered a real disappointment with his swimming, they didn't think kis swimming was up to scratch, and whilst trying to get his 2000m badge they asked him to stop? Well, he has been working hard, his teacher has been working on his style, and last Saturday (at a silly time of 9.15am (that doesnt usually exist at the weekends, well not in terms of being out the house!) Luke got into the pool and started the first of his 100 lengths.  An hour and a half later, he got out the pool with a beaming face, as he had achieved his goal. 

In the meantime, Alec was going for his 100m badge, but did not stop swimming!  In the end he ended up swimming 400m!!  And Ethan was attempting his 10m, and swam 20m!  So a very successful morning all round.  Well done lads!

Over the autumn we put up a bird box in some "dead space" at the back of the shed.  We had been wanting to put in a camera, as the tv was only the other side of the wall, but we didn't get around to it.  Wish we had now, as we have a family of blue tits in residence!  Can you see it sticking it's head out the bird box? This is the closest we can get, which I suppose is perfect for the birds, but I would love to be able to have a closer peek!
 I love this patch of the garden at the moment, so colourful, and it always brings a smile to my face.  I also love the fact that at other times of the year, the interesting areas are in different parts of the garden. 
 I was doing a bit more spinning the other evening, when Sophie wanted a turn.  I slipped the drive band off, so she wasn't pulling the wool through, but felt like she was spinning by pushing it with her hand.  I was impressed with her technique though, she's obviously been watching, as she was treadling, and holding the fleece and yarn correctly, she was also trying to get the yarn to feed through.  I guess soon enough she'll have to have her own bobbin to spin on to!
 And finally, we had so many downpours yesterday there was no hope in staying dry when picking the boys up from school.  No problem though, we embraced the wetness, and set off early for some puddle jumping.  By the time we were back home, we were truly sodden, but it didn't seem to put Sophie off doing a tad more puddle jumping!!
So there we are.  Random glimpses of the week.  I would have hoped to have shown you all the plants I have transplanted down the allotment, but the weather keeps putting pay to that at the moment.  Got so much to still get planted, but we'll get there, slowly but surely!!

Friday 20 May 2011

Sophie's plans

Ethan had a birthday party to go to straight after school the other day, and I think Sophie was feeling a little left out.  Therefore, she decided it was her birthday, and she needed a birthday cake with candles on.  Well, I had to oblige her!  My excuse was that we were out of nice things to eat, so it would serve a dual purpose!

Once Ethan returned home, we sang happy birthday to us all as a family.  However, the candles got blown out by one individual (not naming anyone!), which upset the others.  The candles were relit, only to blown about by another individual (the idea was that we would blow them all out together ... how wrong was I!).  I think we had to relight the candles another 3 times to keep everyone happy.  Then we tucked in.  Very nice too!  Good idea Sophie ;)
 Then, this morning, in the midst of the chaos of getting everyone fed, washed, dressed, sandwiches prepared etc prior to getting out the house for 8.30am  Sophie decided she wanted to decorate a biscuit!  This takes a good ten minutes, as she has to do it all herself, no help from Mummy at all, and if I dare help as she seems to be struggling, we have a bit of a tantrum!  All tubes of writing icing also have to be used!  I was trying very hard to be patient, and giving her my attention without hurrying her.  The red icing went on first, and I commented that it looked like eyes and a mouth.  Sophie then decided to do white hair, black cheeks, a yellow nose and one more green cheek and a bit of green hair.  She knew exactly where they should all go, and I am so pleased that I took the time out to facilitate what has become her first recognisable piece of art.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

The family addiction

 Boxes in all kinds of places, stacked awaiting their contents to be spilled, and created.  From dining chairs, to corners of rooms...
 ...dining tables, bedrooms...
 and even kitchen window ledges!
 These role playing models (mainly WarHammer) are taking over the house!  Luke has been interested in them since he was about 7, even though the general earliest age of interest is around age 12.  He has been working his way through armies, perfecting his painting, and getting his head around all the game play strategies.  His book of choice is a rule book of one army or another.  One of his recent paintings is of this boar.
 Considering it is made of metal, you would never know, to me it doens't even look painted, just so natural.  He has got us all hooked on this.  Stuart has set up a local wargaming society which has been a roaring success, with geeks coming out of the woodwork left, right and centre!!  So now Luke has people he can talk to about this, who actually understand the passion, and the rules!  He has been introduced to new armies, new rules, and he is in his element. 

Stuart and I have also indulged a little, havnig both admired games workshop models from afar for many years!  We have been known to be sat at the dining table into the early hours of the morning, building models, filing them, painting them.  I am very slowly workig my wat through my wood elf army, these are some of the dryads that I have painted up.  It takes forever!  Whenever I see some of the armies that have been created, it really brings home to me how many weeks or even month and years these things take up! 
Having said that, it is a wonderful hobby, it is keeping Luke stimulated, it is creative, tacticle, and now has a wonderful social element to it, with the weekly group. 

Saturday 7 May 2011


 Have I mentioned before how I love my allotment?  I'm sure I have!  Not only does it provide nutrients for our bodies, along with exercise.  It also nourishes my soul.  It's like walking into a magical wonderland.  We get to it through a hole in a hedge, wander past the chickens (not mine!)...
 ...wander down the grassy paths lined with plum trees and blackberry bushes...
 ...and then we reach our plot.  Not the prettiest, but I'm working on it!
 And, as ever, I have my little helper!  This time last year I really wondered how I could keep going with the allotment, as Sophie used to think it was just a time to breastfeed.  However, she is getting much better now.  She is getting over her fear of tiny creatures, and is enjoying getting stuck in, and just a little bit mucky too!
 Most of the potatoes are in and beginning to show through the mounds, so I'd better go earth them up again next time.
 We have promise of another bountiful harvest of strawberries.  One of Sophie's favourite!  Not sure I'll get to make quite so much jam this year if Sophie has her way!
 Redcurrants already beginning to start to blush red.  I love how these look when ripe, little red jewels.  Still don't know what to do with them though!!
 The last of the purple sprouting.  Some of the plants are still producing a bit, and I'm loath to pull them up, but we need the space for the root crop, so I think their time is numbered.
 The allotments are the prettiest allotments I have ever come across (apart from mine, which lets the side down a bit!), I always thought that allotments were a bit... utilitarian!  But these, they combine practicality with beauty.  Little compounds which have a few plots in.  Our compound is mainly women plot holders, some who have many, many years experience, which is a delight to draw upon. 
I hear news that the government is banding about the idea of councils being able to sell off allotments.  I really do hope my little piece of magic is safe.  I have missed the consultation deadline, but will fight tooth and nail to protect my source of food and sanity.

Friday 6 May 2011

Shiver me timbers!

 Another dressing up day for school.  This time they have to go as pirates, and taking "pieces of eight" to raise money for the school funds.  I could have gone to the shops and bought a ready-made outfit.  But I'm always up for a challenge, so the last couple of days have found me raiding my fabric stash and creating a pirate outfit fashioned on Jack Sparrow!
 Of course, there has been a little helper too.  Her job here was to pull the pins out whenever we got to the next one, safest way I could think of getting her to help, whilst keeping fingers away from sharp fast moving needles, and feet away from the power pedal!

And here is the result (not the best photo I'm afraid, I keep forgetting to use the flash indoors)
The boots are some black material sown onto the trousers, with some elastic going under his shoes to keep them in place, a red sash of polycotton, same as his bandana, the shirt is actually Alec's school shirt which he donated (unknowingly!) with lace around the cuffs, and buttons removed from the top half, replaced with a leather shoe lace, and finally a long waistcoat from some thick green denim-y type material.  Ethan was very pleased with it all (and so was I!)

Thursday 5 May 2011

Woolly Wednesday - spin, spin, spin

 Well, what have I been up to this last month?  A fair amount of spinning actually!  I got some unknown wool from a friend, which had been carded on a drum carder, there are however, some bobbles in it.  Don't know whether that is due to the type of wool, the age of the wool, or the carding.  It made it quite difficult to spin into a regular yarn,
 The stuff on this bobbin doesn't look too bad, but at times it would really get very bobbly, and I was unsure whether I'd be able to do anything decent with it.  However, once plyed it has created quite a pretty yarn.  Too rough to use as clothing, but I'm going to try my hand at cable knitting, and make myself a bag or two with it, as I still have alot of fleece to spin!  Is there a way of getting bobbles out of carded wool?  Or does it basically need re-carding?  Not that I will with this, as I quite like the effect, but for future reference it would be handy to know.
 I also acquired some zwartble wool from Dawn (thanks Dawn!).  I have been able to try my hand at carding, after picking up some carders that were slight seconds, from a link on Spinspiration a while ago.
 I was able to get some lovely fluffy clounds of zwartble wool.
 Looks like I might have another source of spinning fibre too!  No Luke, it isn't a hair brush!!
 The wool once spun looks like it might be my first "proper" looking yarn. I'm beginning to feel I am getting the hang of this!