Wednesday 28 November 2012

On the move

I am on the move.  Not in the real world, just online.  I have reached the limit for photographs on this blog, and am being asked to pay a monthly subscription for the honour of being able to upload photos to this blog.  Therefore I am moving.  I figure that those who are interested in the comings and goings in this household will follow us to our new abode. 

So our new address is:

It would be lovely to see you, and I promise to become a frequent blogger again, and try to show you other things other than crafts!!

Monday 5 November 2012

Day of the Dead

Stuart and I had a weekend away this last weekend.  A band we like, Rodrigo y Gabriella, were playing a "Day of the Dead" celebration in the Old Vic Tunnels, under Waterloo station in London.  So children went to Nanny's house, with much excitement, and Stuart and I boarded a train to start our adventure. 
After arriving at the hotel, we went exploring, to find our way to the venue.  The entrance was down a tunnel full of grafitti.  I think people were encouraged to use this tunnel rather than anywhere else, so every spare bit of wall was covered, and there was quite an aroma of paint!!
On our way back to the hotel we discovered a Cuban bar, so thought this was a good way to get into the Latino spirit, even better as it was Happy Hour!!

 Not really knowing what to expect, I had decided to get into the whole feel for Day of the Dead, and dressed up as a skeleton bride, with a sugar skull face paint effect too.  I did feel slightly daft when walking about amongst everyone else who was dressed normally, at least with all that face paint on, no-one could see me blushing!  Stuart did try the face paint, but it didn't really go with his beard!
 Well, once we were there, it was amazing!!  The tunnels were so atmospheric, very dimly lit, and rather spooky. There was free mexican food, which was delicious.  And a rather nice Mexican cocktail with lime and jasmine in, which was all too easy to drink!
 This tunnel is where the food was served, and where the concert was held.
 There were sculptures around the place.  This donkey was made up of tiny little bronze figures.
 There were lots of candles, and eerily lit places.
 We were fortunate to be able to meet up with friends too, which made it even more special.
 More candles...
 Other people dressed up (so I didn't feel completely silly!)
 And the highlight of the evening... Rodrigo y Gabriella.  The most talented guitarists ever!!
A fabulous evening, topped off with breakfast in Covent Garden the following day.  Magical, really a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Life with four school children

Yes, all four are in full-time education now.  Sophie, who 18 months ago would not let me leave the room has taken to school in a magnificent way.  She loves it, it has ignited something in her, and she is on the go constantly, amazing us with her speech, observations and zest for life.  In fact she is slightly sad at weekends when she can't go to school!!  What a turn around, and I am so proud that she has done all this in her own time, without coercion. 

They had to go dressed as a Roald Dahl character  the other day, who better to go as than "Sophie" from the BFG! 
Ethan went as the BFG and I made him is own Sophie doll to make him a giant.  However, he will not let me post a picture of him dressed up, and I respect that.
Luke has had his hair cut, in accordance with his new school's policy.  How grown up he now looks.  

Life with four children out the house has been "interesting".  I have been keeping busy, such as creating some Scooby Doo characters...

...preparing more wool for spinning, in order to fulfill another custom order...
...making brooches to sell at a Guild stall in November...

...making felted soap using the wonderful soap from Michelle over at Handmade Haven.
But I find it so difficult to get motivated.  I seem so much more productive when I have people around me.  I guess I haven't had this emptiness or "me" time to this degree for the last 14 years, and it will take some getting used to.  The frustrating thing is that I can't get down to the allotment in all this nice weather we have had due to injuring my knee a month ago, and still not being able to kneel down. 

Still finding the joy in the world around us though.  Just look at this web that spanned the double driveway and garden the other morning!! 
Wishing you all a wonderful autumn, and those adjusting to a new rythym, I know exactly how you feel!!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Goodbye dear friend

 Gimli, my darling Gimli.  Only with us for a short 15 months, but what an impression you made on our lives.  The gentlest cat I have ever come across.  I would forget you had claws, as you never drew them.  So laid back, quite literally!  Your favourite way of relaxing was on your back with legs splayed open!
 That furry tummy just waiting for a tummy rub.  But ready to come out for a walk to take the children up to school.  Diving into bushes at approaching cars.  Waiting for me to return home to open yet another packet of Felix "as good as it looks" food.  The only food you would touch (apart from ours!) and then not particularly keen on the chicken flavour!

You would play occasionally, but it ruffled your fur, so you always had to stop to groom yourself.  You loved a brush, and would stretch your back legs out for me to get a good go at those fiddly bits.  You always had goosegrass burrs or grass seeds in your fur, and even caught the odd slug in your fur too!!

 You had a best friend, Geddy, who liked your food, but you never chased him out, just came to tell me he was eating your food again!  You were a real hit with the neighbourhood, and I hear stories of your antics, such as sitting the other side of a glass window tormenting a greyhound, or sauntering back from the park early in the morning, after your nights out, or even trying out other catflaps, and scaring the owners when finding you and Geddy in their house!!
How can you be no longer with us?  It is not fair!  You lived a wonderful cat life, and we are so grateful that we could share it with you.  I still wait for you to return home, forgetting that you are resting in peace at the bottom of the garden.  I hear noises and think it is you.  I open doors, expecting you to be there.  Even Geddy came calling, and was caterwaling at the front door, bidding you to come out to play. 

Gimli, my furry baby.  I miss you...I love you...sleep tight xxxxx

Tuesday 11 September 2012

And the birthday season comes to a close

Luke brings the family birthday season to a close.  Always an affair slightly overshadowed by the return to school, and this year slightly overshadowed by the fact his presents were delayed!  But he was very understanding and was not left completely present-less. 

14 now, on the cusp of turning into a man.  So many changes that these next few years will bring, but still so wonderful to see our little boy Luke when he is relaxed at home.
 As is tradition, I made him a cake.  I wasn't that happy with it, as it didn't turn out how I wanted it too, and looks obvious that I was really tired!!  However, Luke liked it, and that's what matters!  (By the way it is paints and paint brushes if you were unsure!)
 So, after a day at school, we had a chinese takeaway as per Luke's request, and then they had to burn off their MSG fuelled madness!  What better way than on the trampoline!  That's Luke's legs, he is the most sensitive of the lot of them, and it really is quite amusing just seeing how silly he gets!! 
Luke's hoard of WarHammer turned up the next day, much to his delight, and he now has a full Ork army to construct and paint.  One happy 14 year old indeed!!

Friday 7 September 2012

New starts

 September is always a time for new starts, and this September is no different.  Luke is off to High School.  Getting there under his own steam, and at a school where only a handful of people from his old school are going.  Also note the hair!  He had to have it cut to collar length, much to our consternation, but Luke accepted the schools decision, and is happy with his new style.

Sophie starts school too, which has coincided with a massive burst of independence (alas not independent in walking, she still prefers to be carried, and is getting really heavy now!)  She is enjoying school, and the first day walked in, waved goodbye to me at the door, whislt all the other parents were going in with their child, all I could do was stand on the periphery and watch her take her first steps to independence.  How she has changed from that child who would not let me leave her at pre-school 18 months ago. 

We are seeing how she manages school over the next few weeks, as she has the option of staying doing part-time until Christmas as she is one of the younger ones. 
Alec has gone back to school minus his best friend who has moved schools.  He is coping well, and is hoping to join a couple of clubs such as photography and chess.  Ethan is in his final year of first school (how did that go so quick?) and is loving being back with his friends. 
As for me, I am at home now, by myself for the first time in 14 years!  It can get very quiet, but I have so much to keep me busy, especially with my Aisling Designs shop that has a steady flow of custom orders, and I have been finding time to create extra things to stock my shop with too.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

A rainbow party

A rainbow party with a few friends was how Sophie chose to celebrate her birthday (a week later)!  We spent the few days before hand preparing a 6 layer birthday cake, making rainbow party bags, melting crayons to make rainbow crayons to go in the party bags, making a "pin the pot of gold at the end of  the rainbow" game, and a treasure hunt where they had to find numerous stickers around the garden, each a different colour of the rainbow.

 Of course there was pass the parcel too, and musical statues.
 There has to be jelly, rainbow jelly!
 I love the look on her face here, I think it is fair to say she had a nice time!

 And inside the cake, of course, it was a rainbow!!
My intention to take lots of photos failed, because I was too busy enjoying myself too!

Monday 3 September 2012

Our baby turns four!

Well, she did over a week ago.  My excuse is out internet connection has made it really difficult to upload large quantities of photos.  But, better late than never, here is an account of her day.  There was a certain theme to her birthday... pirates!  A playmobil pirate ship (loved by her and Alec and Ethan!) A pirate princess dressing up costume, soft toys of Jake and the neverland pirates... you get the idea ;)
We decided to visit Dudley Zoo, as we hadn't been there with the children, and we had heard they had improved it quite a bit.  So off with set, with Sophie's gruffalo I had made her for her birthday.
As we got there, the heavens opened, but fortunately we were able to remain in the car until it passed.  There were torrents of water racing down the hill, so there was a bit of dam buildinng going on, as well as racing wood down the torrent!
I took Luke, Alec and Ethan up the chair lift, but Sophie was too small (much to her dismay) so Stuart and Sophie walked up and met us at the top.
A bit of exploring of the castle.
The grey clouds threatened the whole time we were there, and we could hear rumbles of thunder too, but the weather was kind to us.
And of course, downpours of rain prior to our arrival meant there were lots of puddles for Sophie.  In fact, I think she could have quite happily stayed splashing in the puddles the whole day long!
The parts that they have done up have enabled people to get up really close to the animals, such as this penguin.
This tiger was one of 130 left.  A beautiful creature, a shame it has to be in a zoo, but when faced with extinction I guess needs must.

We spent ages watching the giraffes stripping the bark of the trees.  Sophie, for some reason, wants to ride on a giraffe, but fortunately she was happy just to look at them.

Another area that has obviously had alot of money spent on it is the lemur walk.  These funny creatures share the enclosure that you walk through, and amaze you with their acrobatics.
These meerkats were funny, they followed me with their gaze wherever I went.  It was only when their zoo keeper arrived I realised why, She wore glasses and had her blonde hair tied back.  I guess it was a case of mistaken identity!
Sophie and I fell in love with this little fella.  He was scrabbling around in the dirt finding morsels to eat, rubbing soil between his hands and picking things out.  I was watching Sophie singing as she did the same (not picking things out to eat though!)
There was a little fairground, which Sophie wanted to have a go on, and as it was her birthday we agreed!
 Same went for the candyfloss!
 Then it was home for a birthday tea, and of course cake!
So a belated birthday blog post to our big little girl!