Friday 30 September 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Joining with Amanda again for this lovely ritual.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Yarn along - A bit of this, a bit of that!

 Haven't really been able to settle to anything this last week, well that's not quite true, I have, but there are various things I can't do with different members of the family around.  The cable bag is my default, so that is coming along nicely. 

I missed a friends little lads birthday, so am making a present as a belated gift.  A fishing game, whose pattern is here on ravelry.  But am now awaiting some stronger magnets to finish it off.  So I will get everything to the point of having to add the magnets, and then hopefully it will be done soon after they arrive.
 The granny stripe can only be done in the absence of my FIL, so it is coming along, but a little slowly. 
 And I am also working on a project that can only be done in the absence of my Mum, but as that is not strictly knitting or crochet, I will talk about that at a later date!

My reading has been similarly ad hoc.  Introducing myself to a little yoga (oh my how awful is my balance!!), and plodding my way through Everyday Blessings.  A lovely book, but when the day is done, and I am exhausted I only ever seem to manage a couple of pages before sleep overtakes me.  This is not due to the book, I am like it with most books I try to read at bedtime!!
Thank you Ginny for providing a little bit of focus for my projects, it's about as focussed as I have been all week!!

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Feeling Frugal

 A trip to the allotment this afternoon gave me this haul!  I had an hour down there, and the whole hour I was harvesting things (there were three plums and a strawberry too, but they got eaten by a certain fruit monster that accompanied me!)  Luke asked me this afternoon how much the allotment cost for the year.  It's £30, and this was really brought home to me today what a saving it is, as we are growing things organically, compare just todays haul with the organic fruit box and veg box we got delivered today for the same price as a year at the allotment!  So not only was I feeling pleased with myself for the amount of produce brought home today (especially given the neglect the allotment has suffered this year), but also very pleased about the money saved.

Combine this with a lovely trip to a charity shop this morning.  Sophie was at pre-school (she has settled in amazingly well!) and I was due to meet up with a friend for us to do some crocheting, however it was such a lovely day she suggested we walk up to this charity shop.  Well, I found some real treasures, a basket of crochet cotton (basket and all!), more cotton thread of the variegated kind, a skirt, jigsaw puzzle and some books, all for £5!

A lovely day from start to finish!

Monday 26 September 2011

WarHammer Young Bloods

 Luke has been working on this model for the last few months in preparation for a painting competition at the massive Games Workshop exhibition known as Games Day. The competition he was entering was the Young Bloods competition, for those aged 14 and under.
 (apologies for pictures on their sides, my camera got confused!)  The detail he went into was astounding.  So much better than anything Stuart or I could create.  In fact Stuart reckons he is the best painter in the whole of RedWarSoc.

Can you see the purple gem on the leg below, that is all made to look translucent with shading.  And the diamond tapestry down the side is free hand.  When you think the model is about 2 inches high at the most, that is very fine detail, and one very steady hand!
 The word "courage" was also painted freehand, and is about a couple of millimetres high.
 The cape was pretty hard to do, trying to get the shading right.
With all this hard work that he put into it, you can imagine his disappointment when he didn't get through to the second round.  Out of 100 competitors, only 6 got chosen to go through to the second round, this is what Luke was aiming for.  He was truly deflated.  And I honestly think an injustice was done.  Unfortunately we don't know where out of the whole event came, he may well have been 7th but that will never be known.

How do you pick yourself up from this?  How do you support someone when they feel their best is not good enough?  You talk about experience, what you have learned from doing it, and you plan for next year.  Competition is hard, but entering this has really pushed Luke, and he has produced his best work yet.  He likes a challenge, and his painting will always be a winner as far as I am concerned.

Friday 23 September 2011

{this moment}

Joining with Soulemama, on her reflections of the week.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday 22 September 2011

So much to share

For ages I have been meaning to do an update on Gimli.  He gave us a scare a few weeks ago with a suspected bout of intussuseption, which is where the intestine telescopes inside itself causing a blockage.  The vet could have left hom for 24 hours to see how things panned out, but if it was intussuseption then it could have made him so weak he wouldn't survive the op, so we had to have an emergency operation for him.  Thankfully it wasn't as serious as we feared, but he still had an operation to recover from.  He has well and truly recovered from it, and us up to all kinds of michief.  He discovered the fish the other day, he thinks the chickens are great to play 'chase' with.  He likes the new windchimes in the conservatory (this picture was when we were supposed to be limiting his movements after the op, try telling that to a kitten!)
 He is so good with the children, Sophie spent the whole afternoon pushing him around in the basket under her pushchair!
 Now he is allowed outside, he is investigating all the neighbours houses, and many trees, as well as standing his ground with cats that have been in the area much longer than he has!!

Other things...

I thought I'd got a picture of this, but it must have been on Alec's camera, but back in April Alec and I saw a parrot type bird in the back garden early one morning.  A beautiful bird, green, with a blue tail and red beak.  I didn't think anything else of it until recently when I kept hearing this unusual bird call.  I saw the bird the other morning, and it is the same bird!!  I think we have identified it as a ring-necked parakeet, which can apparently survive British winters, so hopefully this one will, and will have a long free life.  I must try and get a piccie of it if I can ever lure it close enough!

Remember a couple of weeks ago, Alec had buried his nose in a book?  Well, thanks to Laura, we managed to pick up some more in the series of a diary of a wimpy kid, at a knock down price.  The books arrived yesterday, Alec is about 20 pages from the end of the next book.  He even woke in the middle of the night and did some reading (he thought it was later than it was, and when realised how early it was he went back to sleep!)
 And yesterday I went shopping with a lovely friend to a fabric shop.  I know I don't need any more fabric, it literally falls out the wardrobe when I open the door, but I really could not resist this.  I think I may have bought enough to make a summer dress with it, so I think it will be a project for the spring!  It was a real eye-opener going into Birmingham, I haven't been in for a long time, and many places are unrecogniseable to me.  Sophie made me smile by asking to see the yellow tractors, by the end of it she did call them diggers, but I suppose she's more used to tractors than diggers around here!  It was truly a lovely day, I never really see shopping as a pleasure, but it really was, I guess it must have been the good company (and only one child to keep track of!)

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Win some, lose some

 Joining in with Ginny again at Small Things, for her yarn along.  This week there are some successes and failures.  I was messing about with a heart last night, started making it with some left over yarn from some wool my MIL treated me too (King Cole Riot).  I then thought is would be very symbolic to stuff it with some of lavender we dried from the wreath from her coffin.  So now I have a personal memento of such a special lady.  The lady who, in fact, taught me to crochet.

The failure was this Ipod case I made to put in my Misi shop.  Lots of little niggly things that make me just not happy with it. The sides aren't straight, the butterfly isn't quite symmetrical, and it just doesn't seem right.  So if any one wants an Ipod/Iphone cosy for free, let me know, as I don't even have one!
 And as far as reading goes, this is probably a bit of a cheat, as I only got lent this book today but am already loving it, and it is feeling very right, and am looking forward to doing some experimenting.

Monday 19 September 2011

This weekend...

... we learned about  wasps nests.  Ethan found this little nest on the way up to the shops on Saturday morning.  So we talked about how they get the wood, and make a paper out of it, and how each cell has a grub that will form into a wasp.
Once we got to the shops there was a little fair on the green which had a local beekeeper with his bees there, along with the honeycomb.  So we were able to compare the bee and the wasp.  There was also an apple press there, so we learned how to first of all break up the apples, then put them in a cheese bag, and press them.  Both Alec and Ethan had a go at the pressing, and we all had a go at the tasting of the end product. 

Sunday we went to a local craft centre, and they had a sculpture trail.  One of the sculptures fascinated them all, a moving, balanced sculpture which you could get spinning in all fancy ways.  However, when it got knocked over, we then had an opportunity to learn all about balance, fulcrums etc, and an increased awe at how this particular structure was made, as we attempted to put it all back together again!

Luke also learned alot about time management, doing himself proud with two projects and two other pieces of homework completed along with more painting on his model for a WarHammer competition for next weekend.  Although, I may have to have a word with the school about the amount of homework (we're only two weeks into term, and it already excessive!)

So just a few examples of things that we picked up this weekend, nothing special, but lovely nonetheless!

Friday 16 September 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Joining in with Soulemama this week.

Thursday 15 September 2011


Today should have been a day for celebration. Stuart's parents would have been married for 60 years. What a cruel twist of fate that the first significant date following Jean's death was such a milestone.

We made new memories though. Stan, Sophie and I went to the tea room at the farm shop for lunch, then we sat and watched the animals whilst Sophie played in the sandpit. Then an afternoon watching the children and all their comings and goings once they returned home from school. An evening meal, talking about everyones days at home, school and work, a new routine that is becoming normal to us all. Today has been a good day, full of good memories old and new, and for that we are blessed.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Granny stripes and juice

I am joining in with Ginny again this week, with her "yarn along".

This is a long term project I am working on.  Following the death of my Mother-in-Law a couple of months ago my Father-in-Law gave me all of her wool.  She would create the most beautiful, colourful fairisle jumpers, and whilst I cannot even hope to recreate anything like that, I thought a blanket for my Father-in-Law, using his wifes wool would be a nice gesture.  It is going to be double bed sized, so I have a long way to go.  I think I may have made a slight error though, I decided to do the stripes lengthways, which means I need more wool of a particular colour to complete a stripe.  I have already had to remove one stripe as there was not quite enough wool to complete it, and I have a horrible feeling that the brown stripe I am currently working on will be the same.  I was hoping to have it done by Christmas, but I think that may be a little ambitious!

As for reading, well, I must admit to being a bit of a convert to juicing. My diet was needing a serious overhaul, and for now, juicing is giving me that opportunity to focus a little on what I put into my body.  It also making me feel alot better, and less likely to reach for those sweet nibbles in the cupboard that I eat and then regret doing so within seconds.  So my book of the week is a recipe book, full of lovely ideas as to what juices you can make, and a sister book to this also goes into the health benefits of each kind of juice.

Friday 9 September 2011

A Teenager in our midst!!

 I know it is a cliche, but really, where does the time go?  That tiny 6lb 8oz baby, that turned our lives upside down, pacing back and forth in the evenings wishing that the colic would go away, gazing in wonderment that we could be blessed with such a beautiful baby, but scared that we were going to get things wrong.  It certainly doesn't seem 13 years ago.  But it is!  Luke is now 13!!

He was rather disappointed that the first day back at school fell on his birthday, but looking on the bright side, he decided it was probably better than a few days into term where he would be expected to do some work!

The war gaming theme continues throughout his birthday.  The cake with dice that add up to 13, along with point counters.
 We decided that a key to the house would be a symbolic gift for him turning into a young man.  We commisioned a key fob with the Protectorate of Menoth symbol (Luke's current WarMachine army) on it from Pippa.  He was absolutely over the moon with it, and was more excited about that than the surprise Xbox!
The day before his birthday was RedWarSoc (the wargaming club), so they took some cakes along that we had decorated with a template of more WarMachine symbols and cocoa powder.  It went down a storm with the geeks!  So simple too!
 And just to show what happened when I got complacent about knowing the recipe for the cake!  Added baking powder by mistake!!  It did make for a nice flat top on the cake though!!

Thursday 8 September 2011

Bobbins and dyeing

 I have spent this last month trying to free up bobbins.  I have four bobbins, and am coming to the conclusion that this simply is not enough!  I had some zwartble on one bobbin, so needed to spin another to ply it with, which therefore needed another bobbin to ply it onto, but I really wanted to start spinning the alpaca as well!  So patience has had to be the order of the day, finish one job before I can start another.  Perhaps it's a good thing I only have four bobbins, otherwise I'd be tempted to start so many projects, and knowing me, never get to finish them!
So really out of curiosity I was wondering how many bobbins other people had. 

I also went along to a Guild day at a members house.  I could not stay for long as it was during the holidays, and I had two of the children with me.  They were doing all about dyeing, both natural and chemical.  It was definitely worthwhile going as it made me realise how little you actually need to do natural dyeing, as I had always had visions of needing piles of onion skins, for example, to get any colour. 

Hoping to get alot more spinning done in the next few weeks, so I have some alpaca to work with, and hopefully a skein to give to my Mum for either her birthday or Christmas.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

A sight for sore eyes

Alec picked up this book (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) yesterday at WHSmiths.  He has barely put it down since then!  We had to steer him around town as he was reading it as we returned to the car.  He has been sat on the sofa for hours last night and today reading, and he is nearly finished. 

He really struggled to learn to read, and it really has only been the last couple of years when it has started to click.  It really warms my heart to see him reading more than any of his siblings now.  And it gives me the confidence to not push Ethan with his reading, as it will come when he is interested enough in it. 

I think we may have to get a few more of this series of books for Alec though!!

Monday 5 September 2011

WarHammer weekend

 As an early birthday treat for Luke, we had a trip to WarHammer world in Nottingham on Saturday.  Inspiration was all around us.  We found the model (above) that Luke is painting up for the Golden Daemon Young Bloods competition at the end of September.  And his is comparable, which is amazing for a nearly 13 year old!

I was awestruck at lightening effect on the cloak of this Dark Elf.  When you think that all these models are just plastic or resin, it is a real testament to the talent of some these artists that they can do such amazing things with them.
 There was awesome scenery.
 There were wood elves (my current collection)
 And amazing artwork.  I'm a bit of a sucker for a dragon!

 Father and son in admiration of the models.
 And besides the gorgeous food we had in Bugmans Bar, which is decorated a la Goth, Sophie managed to pluck up the courage to give an ork a very quick hug! (I wasn't quite fast enough to capture the complete hug!)
A great day out, followed by a day of WarHammer at the club as a special event.  I think it is fair to say we were both inspired, and worn out by the end of it all!  I even neglected the knitting and did some painting, but I won't show you as it is nowhere near as good as the stuff they have on show at WarHammer World!

Saturday 3 September 2011


 How can we have lived in the West Midands for the whole of our lives, and never visited the Clent Hills? We've known about them, driven past them, but never visited. We have really been missing out! Stuart came home from work yesterday, after his half day of work on a Friday. The sun was shining, there was a warm breeze, and he suggested we went to invesigate the hills. What a fantastic idea. I will let the pictures tell the rest, needless to say, we will be going back there many times in the future.

 The boys found a good sliding slope!
 The views were breathtaking.
 The colours were beautiful, and a glimpse at what it will be like once autumn arrives.

 Luke used Sophie's pushchair to go down inclines big and small.  We found him at the bottom of hills having used it as a go-kart!
 The highest spot.
 We reckon the green field on the hillside would be perfect for our hobbit hole!

We will be back!