Wednesday 30 November 2011

Rudolph the body-less reindeer

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things for her weekly yarn along.
 I have spent much of this last week trying to solve the problem of Rudolph.  I had done the legs, and head, but had underestimated the amount of wool it would take (I had been using remnants from other projects).  So after going round every yarn store I could find in the local area trying to match the wool, I could not even get close.  I eventually remembered that the wool I was using was sat in the wool basket as part of an unfinished hat. So, hopefully that is the problem solved, and I will have enough wool to finish Rudy off in time for Christmas.

And as for reading, well, not really managed to find a spare moment this week, you can tell it is busy, as my copy of The Mother magazine came through the door this week, and I haven't even managed to flick through it yet!

Tuesday 29 November 2011


 An order completed.  An excited me, who cannot wait until morning to try and get enough natural light to take pictures (although if today was anything to go by there isn't much of the natural light about at the moment!)
 I hope that the recipient is happy with it.
 I have loved putting this together, and have ideas for the future along the rainbow theme.

Monday 28 November 2011


The usual suspect has reared it's head again.  Trying to find balance in life.  I have a tendancy to take on alot of things, and then get the feeling I never do anything properly, because my time is split so much.  But then I get bored doing the same thing day in and day out, so I need some distractions!  The trouble is, it is always the things I enjoy that I feel need cutting out to make time for the important things such as the needs of the family. 

One of the things I have already cut down on is computer time, and that is working quite well.  The other thing I was contemplating cutting out was the allotment.  I always feel guilty when I am down there, that I ought to be doing something else, but then when I am not down there I feel guilty that I am not down there, if you see what I mean! 
 But then I look at photos of some fairly recent trips down there, and see the work I have done (clearing the strawberry patch of bindweed, couch grass, and some invasive wild strawberry) and I remember how much I enjoy it.  The solitude and peace it gives me, and the produce it gives the family too.
There have been particular crops I have never been happy with, ie potatoes, carrots, beetroot, so I think this next year I will just grow more of the crops we seem to do well at and enjoy.  The allotment will be staying, and organisation will be more evident (hopefully!).

I think organisation is the key to it all, a skill I lack in quite dramatically.  And I really think I need to learn a word that is spelled N...O.  I don't need to say it to others, just myself.  Just because I can do something myself, eg knit something, crochet something, make something in the kitchen, grow something, doesn't mean that this is the way it should be done every single time, it is ok to take the short cut occasionally and either buy it, or let someone else do it. 

I am hoping this new mindset will help me feel more in control, and give me time with the family.  Rather than feeling I am firefighting every second of the day, being pulled every which way.  Fingers crossed. 

Thursday 24 November 2011

Yarn along - a bit late

Ok, a day late, but it's the joining in that counts isn't it?  So here's my belated contribution to Ginny's yarn along.

But one thing I am determined not to be late with is the granny stripe blanket.  Definitely over half way now, and aiming to do a colour a night, although life seems to be conspiring against me this week!  Time is becoming more and more precious as we up the activities leading to Christmas along with all the preparations, so spare moments are grasped here and there to achieve my target.
 Nights are getting later and later too.  And reading is probably one thing I struggle with at the best of times.  But taking part in a book swap, my partner realised my inability to devote much time to reading before falling asleep, and sent a couple of books of short stories.  I have started on this one, which is all based in China.  Ironically I have probably read more this last week, as I keep thinking, it's only a short story, I'll just finish it!
So there we are, late with my yarn along, but trying not to be late with the important things in life. 

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Seven Days

Celebrating the ordinary that makes up our week.  Joining in with Jacqui at Barefoot Crofter.

* trip to the park with neighbours from the present and the past. 
* a working dishwasher, oh the relief!!
* play tent for the children, don't be daft, they're made for cats don't you know!
* just one of those moments
* needing cake, feeling virtuous with the gluten free flour, best not mention the cocoa Sophie insisted on adding, and the chocolate spread I thought would enhance the overall effect.  Very nice they were too!
*Beginning to get Christmas-sy with my first attempt at Christmas cake
* Making Christmas cards, with contributions from Luke, Alec, Ethan and myself.

Thank you again Jacqui for this opportunity to celebrate normal, everyday life.

Monday 21 November 2011


It would have  been Jean's 84th birthday today. A day that should have been full of celebration has such a tinge of sadness today.  Jean, we celebrate the love and kindness you gave us in your life, and everything that you meant to us.  Of course, we wish you were still here with us, and feel your absence every day. 

Happy Birthday Jean. xx

Thursday 17 November 2011

Snow, school, and a touch of irony

Not your usual idea about schools being shut due to snowfall!  No, this is joining in with Ginny at her Yarn Along.  In between the rows of the granny stripe blanket I have been crocheting snowflakes ready to put in my misi shop.
 They have been stiffened and are all ready to be hung on a Christmas tree.
 All a bit ironic as we still haven't had any frost!
 And as for school?  Well, I have been reading "Life with School" by Veronika Sophia Robinson.  A wonderful insight into their journey as an unschooling family.  Ironic again as all our children are in school, but so many snippets can be taken and applied to our own lives, and our time outside of school. 

Monday 14 November 2011

Seven Days

Joining in with Jacqui's lovely idea about looking at the extraordinary ordinary from the last seven days.

Beginning to use up the apples from the allotment (thyme and apple jelly, and apple chutney)
 Helping make some banana and chocolate chip muffins (well, what else do you do with those really mushy bananas?
 Making playdough.
 The boys discovering toys that have been sat on the shelf for far too long.
 Home improvements restarting
 The best picture (how I wish for a fantastic zoom lens!) of the thing that makes me smile every morning.  I hear the parakeet every morning, and it graced us with its presence in the garden the other morning.
 New looks for the younger boys.
Thank you Jacqui for making me look at our week with fresh eyes.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Look what happens when...

... you get asked to do some painting with your youngest, the day after watching Grand Designs!

Obssessed?  Me? Probably!

And just to prove that Sophie did some painting too, lots of pictures of submarines!

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Yarn along- it's all progress

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things.

Well, after thinking about the granny stripe blanket, and pondering lots of different solutions to the oversized problem I decided I would play it safe, and just continue with it as it is, it will just be extra snuggly!  So, in order to get it done in time for Christmas I have to do at least a stripe a day, which is fine if I don't have anything else to do, but that never happens does it!  Anyhow, I am managing to do it, and if I skip a day (like Monday when I fell asleep taking Sophie to bed!) then I am making it up at other times. 

As for reading, I have fallen in love with this book. It is just my kind of thing.  Short little snippets that I can pick up and savour.  I do not need to be able to concentrate for long (5 minutes at night and I'm asleep!), but the wisdom held within it's pages is retained, and I can apply it to my days, which at times can be anything but peaceful!  If you have never read this book, I seriously recommend it.

Friday 4 November 2011

Inspiration for crafts

 I have been thinking for a while how nice it would be to have an inspiration board.  But it would take up precious space, and would (knowing me) accumulate all manner of irrelevant things just for want of somewhere to put something!  Also, alot of the inspiration I find about me can easily be stored as digital images, so I thought the best place would be as an element of this blog.  So interspersed with everything else that goes on, will be a few posts tagged as inspiration. 
 It also struck me that if I am to create seasonal things for Aisling Designs I am going to have to work a season ahead of myself, so these leaf pictures are to give me ideas for some painted clay leaves to incorporate into a mobile.  This will be for 2012 though!

 Other inspiration came in the form of an order for bunting.  It has given me an idea for doing some bunting that can be easily personalised, but can mostly be made up in advance, therefore making turnaround much quicker from order to delivery.
More inspiration for bunting has come from this lovely lady, who visited us at the Guild the other week.  Michela creates the most beautiful pieces on felt, which are embellished with stitching.  From the beautiful small badges, to enormous wall hangings on felted blankets, she really is amazing, and has inspired me to have a mess about in the new year to make some seasonal bunting on felted flags. And if you are around Coventry in December, check out her exhibition at the Herbert Gallery.

What inspires you?  How do you keep a record?

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Planning - Woolly Wednesday

Not much in the way of spinning as such, but a plan for a big project!

The other day I saw my neighbour wearing this lovely knitted dress in a really chunky knit, and my initial reaction was, I bet that would be easy to knit!  So I asked to borrow it to see if I could work out the pattern.  It is only 119 rows from shoulder to skirt hem.

So pattern hopefully figured out, my next task was to price up the yarn.  But it was over £40 for the yarn (in the sale), and I bet the dress was less than that bought in the shops ready made up. I had promised myself not to buy any yarn now, and just spin my own, and the lure of doing this from scratch became too much!  After all, I still have the best part of an alpaca sat in the dining room, and an alpaca dress really would be lovely and soft, and the brown colour is definitely a colour I would wear.  Soooo, my plan for this... this!

I just have to work out how to spin chunky wool now!  I am hoping that perhaps spinning it slightly thicker than I usually do, and doing three ply would result in the right guage. It's a heck of a lot of spinning, and will probably take up the good part of a year, but it is a challenge, and ultimately creates a dress that is local, handmade and hopefully one that fits!!

Check out other projects on the go this Woolly Wednesday at Spinspiration

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Autumn at long last?

 It's official, Autumn has finally arrived!! My favourite tree in the whole wide world is in it's full glory.  Apparently it is a special kind of maple, I think, which this photo really does not do justice to, the colours are radiant, and it looks like it is on fire.  It makes me smile every time I walk past it.

The majestic oak tree on the green is also looking autumnal, bathed in the soft light of the setting sun.
 Hallowe'en has been again.  I was thinking it might pass us by, but Ethan had other ideas.  So a quick dash to get a pumpkin, a tiny pumpkin at that, as they had sold out!
 Some goodies to give out to trick or treaters.  (and a few for ourselve too!)
 And an evening meal with pumpkin light helping.
 Of course there had to be the dressing up, and Alec and Ethan were invited to go out with some neighbours trick or treating. 
 But despite all this, it still really doesn't feel like autumn.  Sophie and I went to feed the ducks (and got dive bombed by some seagulls).  No coats were needed, still comfortably warm.
 Just had to include this as she was really going for it on this rocking car!!
 Playing the drums in the sun.
 And apparently this is her best friend!
But really, I am still harvesting tomatoes off our plants, which are just about still going.  Gardens around here still have bedding plants such as begonias and geraniums in full bloom.  But it is the 1st of November!  So I think autumn has finally arrived, as long as I don't look too hard.