Wednesday 29 February 2012

The decision is made

Thank you for all your thoughts on Etsy.  I have taken the plunge (after a few frustrating hours of trying to get my name sorted out, to no avail), and am now on Etsy.  I am keeping the Misi shop going for now until the products expire, but I won't be adding anything new to it.  All my bunting is now via the Etsy shop, and when I get some story bags in stock (still working on custom orders at the moment), then they too will be in the etsy shop.

If you fancy checking my shop out it is here.

I shall also add a link under the Aisling Designs banner on my blog.  Also, should you be on facebook, please check out my page there too.

Monday 27 February 2012

Everyone's happy!

 A while ago a friend introduced me to Stratford Armoury, mainly for the soft play barn, as we needed somewhere to meet up.  But we had a quick peek at the museum, and I vowed that I would have to come back and show the boys, as I was sure they would like it.  So, this Saturday we paid another visit, and I could not even have imagined what a success it was.  The younger ones enjoyed dressing up.

The older ones were fascinated with the vast array of model armies, and the chap who was running the museum was a great enthusiast too, so email addresses were swapped!

Guns were explained to an attentive audience...

 ...and played with!
 Sophie enjoyed the armoured elephant
 More boys and their "toys".
There was a fantastic World War I and II exhibit, which appealed to Stan, and we finished off the visit with a lovely meal (thank you Stan) and a trip to the play barn for the younger ones.

Everyone got something out of it, a great feeling ticking everyone's boxes!  I can see us frequenting this place again.  It is all a private collection, and it got me thinking, I wonder if there are other little places like this around, private collections that are open to the public.  Not too massive to be exhausting, but full of interesting and quirky things that perhaps you would not find elsewhere.

Friday 24 February 2012

Decisions, decisions.

 Aisling Designs is keeping me wonderfully busy at the moment.  I love having little projects to do, and have actually made some bunting that is not to order.  This "Hope" bunting will hopefully one day find a home with someone who needs to have a little light, and brightness brought into their lives.  On the back is embroidered part of an Irish blessing "May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain".  It is £18 plus postage.
I've also had some custom bunting to do too.  Ready for a little girl's birthday later in March.  
 But my indecision comes from what to do with my Misi shop.  It is useful to have somewhere to show what things I have in stock, but I have never sold anything directly from the shop.  It has always been via either facebook, my blog, or word of mouth.  Facebook now has "shops", but not everyone chooses to use facebook.  I could use Etsy instead, as it has more traffic, but could I cope with a possible increase in orders, especially at this time of year when the garden and allotment are beginning to call to me?  
I would love to hear from others who have online businesses, whilst juggling everything else.  What are your experiences of using Etsy?  Where would you look for handmade products?  Please feel free to share any experiences you have, both positive and negative of these different methods of selling, as I am going round in circles here!!

Wednesday 22 February 2012

And the winner is...

 All 16 names were written out and placed in a felted bowl. 

My lovely assistant then chose a piece of paper from this bowl.

 And the winner of the drop spindle and seeds


...Alexis AKA MOM.  Congratulations! If you could email me at claire dot davies at junitech dot com and give me your address I can send you your prize.

Yarn along- Little Red Riding Hood

Knitting has been happening again, with the production of some story bags.  I am currently making the characters for Little Red Riding hood, trying to match the clothes etc to those in the story.  Little Red is nearly done, just awaiting the eyes.  I don't know why it is, but I never like putting the eyes on, seems to spoil it in my opinion, but I think she probably does need eyes.  The Big Bad Wolf is awaiting stuffing (not with Grandma, this is the nice version ;) ) and mother is on the needles at the moment.  I love making these little characters, the children are probably fed up of me showing off my little creations, but I get a real sense of satisfaction of creating something like this from some yarn!  The pattern I am using as a base for the dolls is Phoeny's Man Dressin Up doll, and the wolf is JellyBum's Wolf.

Reading wise, I'm still reading Car Sick.  It is a great book about how to reduce car usage in our society which is so often built around the car.  Not just a book preaching "don't use your car", but how to engage the wider society about reducing car usage.  The recent bit I have been reading about is walking buses, and cycling training.  All these would be do-able in our local area, but it's getting the impetus and support from the local people.  Last time they tried to organise a walking bus at Ethan's school they had 2 volunteers, and that was it.  I think it might be time to approach the school again.

Joining in with Ginny again for her wonderful Yarn Along, looking forward to see what everyone has been up to this week.

Today is the last day for entering my give-away.  If you are quick you might be able to have a chance.  Just leave a comment at the end of this post and join in the celebrations of 300 blog posts.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Seven Days of Half Term

 The week started with a visit from a friend we have been trying to meet up with for a while.  Car problems and mid-day pre-school runs meant that we had very little time to travel and meet up, so we eventually managed it on the first day of half term. So lovely to catch up and see the younger children play so well together.

By Tuesday we had a car back.  So after dropping Stan and Stuart's brother off at the train station in Birmingham for a little adventure of their own, we went to visit the BBC studio at The Mailbox. There we could have a go at presenting the news, or the weather forecast or a bit of Newsround. Very difficult, and we got some rather funny results, as we saw when we played back what we had recorded.

 We gave the big car a bit of a spruce up.  After it had been used for Stuart's daily commute along the motorway, it was looking decidedly salty, so we restored it to it's original black colour.  Sophie, when asked to clean the wheels, cleaned the tyres, well that will teach me for not being specific enough!!

 Wednesday was a day of utter chaos!  9 children running riot in the house!  Luke had a friend over to play WarMachine.  Alec had a friend over because we had been promising him for a long time that he could have this lad over.  Ethan had a friend over as he was feeling left out, and we got joined by the boys from next door too!  I made a batch of scones using the scone mix I got the other week.  17 scones lasted all of about an hour or two!

Thursday saw Sophie decide to make a house out of a box.  It had windows, a door, and later in the day curtains.

 It got played with by anyone (or thing) that could fit in it!  Sophie was very disappointed that I could not fit in it, and to be honest, so was I!

 By later in the week it was becoming more and more tatty, but still played with!  I am actually amazed at how many people could fit in it.  I found Alec and Ethan using it as a bit of a retreat with the iPad for entertainment!

Another, pretty much, home-based half term, but that is just how we like it! 

Joining in with Jacqui again with a review of the week.

Just a reminder, feel free to enter the giveaway .  Closing date is 22nd February.

Thursday 16 February 2012

A double edged sword

It's strange, I look at all these wonderful blogs and see beautiful crafts people do with their children, or the adventures they get up to in beautiful settings (ok we do have some adventures but not as many as I would like) and I feel a tinge of jealousy that our life isn't like that.  I then bemoan the fact that there are very few blogs that I have come across that share what life is like with older children who go to school, but then don't often blog about what my lot do!  Why don't I blog about it?  Probably because it doesn't fit in with the crafty, slow(er) living, low tech life that I dream about.  But I'm going to redress this imbalance right now and introduce you to Minecraft.

It has taken over the boys lives a little bit, especially since Stuart set up a server for them, so they can now play online with each other and their friends.  So what is it?  It's a computer game where you have to mine for things and then can make items with the things that you mine.  The example that sticks in my head is if you combine water and lava you get obsidian, but you can only mine the obsidian if you have already found diamond to make a diamond drill bit.  The boys create accomodation and have to protect it from creatures that try to destroy it all when night falls. 

Since they have now got a server, some of their school friends are joining in the fun too.  Although it also adds a political element to it too.  There have been occasions when some of the children have been silly, and Luke and Alec who are moderators are sorting things out as diplomatically as possible (I overheard Luke at one point, and was struck with how fair he was being).  They have also introduced a monetary system, which has already thrown up a few interesting results.  For example Luke is now employing Ethan in the making of potions to sell.  But last night somebody started to steal the potions. 

I am really impressed with the imagination and skills this game draws upon.  It is not the most graphically enhanced of games, which I think adds to its charm.  However, and this is the double edged sword bit, it does suck them in to spending alot of time on the computer.  Luke and Ethan are pretty good at regulating themselves, but Alec finds it difficult to to drag himself away, and when he isn't playing it, he is researching things about, but then that is all part of his character, such a focussed child when something interests him.  For half-term we have had to impose a curfew, so that after lunch computer time is ended and we go find something else to do.  I don't like curfews, but without it I know exactly what this half term would consist of!!

So there you have it, technically addicted children, but they are my children, and I can see the benefits they are getting from it as well as the drawbacks!  And right now, it is!

Oh, and on a completely different note, don't forget my giveaway to celebrate 300 posts.  Just leave a comment here.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Inspiration and Pinterest

Do you remember me talking about finding inspiration for crafts here back in the autumn?  So many people mentioned Pinterest, so I thought it would be worth checking out.  Well, apart from it being addictive, it is full of inspiration for not only craft, but food, lifestyles and dreams, reading, pretty much anything you can think of actually!!

So, I have added a button on the side of my blog, should anyone want to see what is inspiring me at the moment.  But also it is great for seeing what others are being inspired by too, so it would be lovely to see you over there.

Tuesday 14 February 2012


 No, not the film by Zac Snyder, although it is a very good film, if a little blood thirsty!!

No, this is my three hundreth post on this blog.  I can't believe that I have really had that much to blog about!!  But I thought that it would be a good time to have a giveaway.  I was thinking what kind of things I tend to blog about, and how that could be linked to a giveaway.  I figured I couldn't really give away the children, and I wanted to do a crafty giveaway later in the year, so the only other things that are left are vegetables and wool!  So there we are, a giveaway of vegetables (ok I know tomatoes are actually fruit!) and a drop spindle kit made by one of the ladies at the guild.  It has a few small rolags to get you started along with instructions, and a handy little bag to keep it all in.

If you would like to enter the giveaway just leave a comment. I will draw a name from a hat in a week's time, so 22nd February.
I have loved the process of blogging, having a record of the things we get up to, and I have loved getting to know fellow bloggers that I would never have come across if I hadn't started on this journey.  Thank you all for joining me in blogland.

Comments are now closed on this post.

Monday 13 February 2012


I come across the discount website Approved Food, which I think is fantastic given our current food bill!Order a load of wheat based mixes such as bread roll mix, scone mix, and pizza base mix, along with a few packets of tortillas...

 ...and then I come to the realisation that the symptoms I have been experiencing lately are very similar to when I had to give up wheat when I was pregnant with Sophie.    So the closest I am going to get to anything cake-y or bread-y or scrummy, is a gluten free cake, which whilst edible, is not quite the same. 

My first attempt at gluten free cooking, not bad, I suppose!

I'm sincerely hoping that I can get away with a month of gluten free to give my body time to heal, so fingers crossed please! 

Sunday 12 February 2012

Seven Days

 Well, we started off with snow.  Exciting for the children, and the cat.  But started to wear a bit thin when trying to push the push chair through it to the shops in order to get food.  Sophie has done really well walking to school, and pre-school and back again, as she would normally go in the pushchair, but trying to negotiate the steep hill that gets very icy is hard enough as it is, without adding a pushchair into the mix!  It led to a few hair raising moments when both Sophie and I were sliding, and I was trying to support her, but could barely support myself!  Hills and snow are great for sledging, not so great for everyday living!!

Of course, in the midst of the snow we also lost Hetty, but I have already mentioned that, so I won't go on!  But on a brighter note, I won a little competition on Facebook, and received a beautiful faerie in the post from The Faerie Factory.
 Stuart has been very busy with miniatures, spending the week painting some WarMachine Sygnar models for a demonstration the club were helping out with at the weekend.  The club is coming on in leaps and bounds, and making quite a name for itself in the local wargaming world.
 I have been busy too, with two lots of bunting on the go, another order for bunting in the sidelines, as well as a couple of story bags to complete.  I am hoping this next week some of them will be completed.
 To finish off the week, a local derby with our team (West Bromwich Albion) playing Wolves.  Televised, and they won!!  We have come to expect any televised game to be a wash out for us, but a 5-1 win was fantastic, and Sophie was "boing-ing" to the telly!

Thank you Jacqui for the idea of these weekly reviews, I love looking back on the little things.  Looking forward to the week ahead, it is half term, so we can live at our own pace, and we don't have too much planned, which is generally what the boys like doing best, their own thing!!

Wednesday 8 February 2012

The end of an era

 Hetty, our remaining chicken became ill yesterday morning.  By yesterday evening she had passed away.  Not sure what exactly was wrong with her, possibly perotinitis, possibly sour crop, possibly coccidiosis.  She went downhill so fast that I was truly shocked at her death.  The day before I had made a mental note to myself that her wings needed clipping as they were looking full again as she was stretching them out.  She had come running out the hen house like a horse at the starting gate of a race, I had been about 20 minutes late in letting her out and she was raring to go!!  How she is no longer with us is just difficult to fathom. 
 Hetty was such a character.  Whilst the others would follow you around the garden, Hetty would make for the back door, knowing that if it were open there would be scraps on the kitchen floor for the picking.  The time she investigated the rest of the downstairs and got flustered when I tried to shoo her out of the lounge!  She was an escape artist extraordinaire, standing on the top of the eglu, jumping up and launching herself over the netting that was our attempt at keeping the chickens in one part of the garden (seeing a chicken flying up the garden at head height is quite a sight!!).  She always had a bit of a wild look about her, feisty I think the word is!  She was never happy being handled, and could give quite a vicious peck!  In later years, her and Betty were inseperable, she is now laying at rest next to Betty at the bottom of the garden, in their favourite dust bathing spot.
 We have decided to not have any more chickens for now, they need more space than we can happily give them (if we are wanting to use the garden too), but I have truly loved having them in the garden the last 3 years.  I have loved knowing which chicken has given us the egg we are about to eat; I have loved being greeted when I open the back door; I have loved their eagerness when they see the saucepan, knowing there would be porridge; I have loved looking out of the kitchen window and watching their antics (I didn't realise how much I did this until today when I kept catching myself gazing out the window looking for chickens).  An end of an era indeed, a journey I have enjoyed, and hope to repeat again at some point, but not right now.  Rest in Peace Hetty (and Betty and Little).  xxx

Sunday 5 February 2012


 Yay, it snowed!!  I was getting rather sceptical that it would snow, but yesterday afternoon it started, and once the snow got to a useable depth the children (and cat) where out in it!  Plenty of snowballs, plenty of throwing!
 Sophie was out in it for much longer than I could manage, and thoroughly enjoyed herself. 
 It was Gimli's first experience of the stuff, and he seems to like snow far more than rain!  He was chasing around in it, pouncing and thoroughly enjoying himself.

 Ethan was wrapped up nice and warm, but I think we will have to invest in some better gloves.  Sophie has inherited his old gloves we had for Lapland, and Alec's gloves that Ethan has inherited are now numbering one!  What's the bet though, at this time of year you cannot buy gloves in the shops, they'll be getting ready for spring and summer now!! 

One ironic moment, in amidst the snowstorm was the sound of the parakeet.  Not sure what he made of it all, but he's still around!
 And then, completely unrelated to the snow, the other night the moon was utterly fabulous, so bright in the sky and so clear.  My camera was nowwhere near up to the job, and I so wished I had a telescope at that moment.  But I thought I'd still put my measly photo here, just to remind me of the splendour I saw that night.
Hope you are able to enjoy this seasonal weather.  Ethan was hoping that Father Christmas would pay another visit, seeing as it was snowing.  Sorry Ethan!

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Woolly Wednesday

 Another month already, wow!  Well, in January there have been various woolly projects on the go.  I managed to finish spinning the beautiful purple wool from Sarah.  And then plyed it.  It was such a delight to ply, seeing how the changing colours mingled with each other.  It is like a collection of purple gems. I have been known to just look at it and admire it!!  I don't know what to make with it yet, but I'm looking forward to see how it knits or crochets up. 

I have now moved back to the alpaca, but for the life of me cannot spin it thick.  I don't know if it is just my technique, or because the alpaca has little natural crimp it won't hold very well if I take too much.  So I think my plans for the chunky knit dress may have to be put on hold, either that or it will end up as a 10ply or something ridiculous like that!!
 I had a little play about with needle felting too.  Making my first three dimensional needle felting as a gift for my niece.  I am rather fond of this little bunny, even if he does have a bit of a crazed expression! 

And I am already making plans for this lovely Portland fleece from Dawn.  Just got to wait for the weather to improve a little. Some of it will be going towards my Guild ring for the National Exhibition after a bit of dying, spinning and knitting!  I've already made a start on one of the rings, but not much to show for it at the moment, hopefully by next month something will be taking shape.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is up to this month.