Thursday, 30 March 2006

Exciting book purchases

I have made two exciting purchases today, the first was from a charity shop. It has lovely illustrations and I wonder if I may have even owned this book as a child as it looks sort of familiar. the book was given to someone originally for christmas in 1979 according to a handwritten inscription on the first page.

The second book was also a bargain, in the sales, and is a desk diary for this year (I know, I know, its nearly April!) but it was really cheap, and I have had my eye on it for some time. It contains photographs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand from his Earth from the Air project, which I first heard of several years ago, so I am sure many of you will already be familiar with it. If you aren't go and take a look as there are some amazing photographic images and a strong environmental message of sustainable development.

While I was in town I also had to visit Thorntons and buy chocolates. These are what I bought, Continental Summer collection.

because yesterday I did a terrible thing, I forgot my Mums birthday.

I must go now and make her a card to accompany her chocs.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Twirly whirly scarf knit

While we were away last weekend I knitted this scarf. I am quite proud of it as I am really no knitter, and I finished it in one evening. It is not as impressive as it seems, though, as it is knit with special yarn that makes the swirly frills. knitting with this yarn takes a little getting used to, but is good fun, and it grows really fast!!

This is the yarn I used, 'Knitit' by Wendy, I only photographed one ball, although I ended up going back to the shop (A great little craft shop in Llandudno) and buying a second ball to make the scarf nice and long. I used one and a half balls, and the scarf goes round my neck 2-3 times. The yarn is lovely and soft and not too heavy. I have enjoyed wearing it this week, although the children really like playing with it and I have to keep pinching it back out of the toybox!

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

I want a garden like this

While we were away we visited an amazing private garden that belongs to a friend of my Mother-in-laws. It was great because it was so natural, a rugged hillside with wild flowers and trees, but also full of quirky surprises like this horse sculpture,

a hidden away treehouse.

places to sit and rest

and treasures in the undergrowth

Sadly though my garden is very small and flat and square. I am not good at growing stuff (neglectful you might say), even my next door neighbour laughs at my lack of greenfingered-ness and the fact that my garden has so many toys in it and so few living things. oh well, I can dream.

Monday, 27 March 2006

bought some spring home with me

Ok, I know I keep going on about spring, but look, in North Wales they have blossom!!! I stole this bit (quite literally) and have bought it home with me and put it in a vase so I can sit and look at it. We had a lovely weekend, I will post more about it later.

Other exciting (very exciting!) news, my candyswap parcel arrived today!!!! Full of fantastic goodies from Emma in Colorado. It is all very yummy and I am working my way through it.

I am munching on my second snickers egg as I type. Thankyou Emma, you were very generous and the chocolates are really delicious. I must try and slow down or it will all be gone by the end of the day and I shall be sick. You can see more of the candyswapper swap pictures over at the new flickr group.

Now, I must apologise for being totally clueless when it comes to technical blog stuff. Today I have discovered that some people have actually commented on my site, and that I had a whole bunch of comments I had to agree to publish onto my site. Sorry if you commented ages ago and wondered why I was so rude and didn't reply to your question. The comments are up now, anyway, and I was very pleased to find them all-thankyou!

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Bunny in a hurry

I have had over a week to sort out my daughters costume for her Easter concert next week. As usual I have left it to the last minute. So, tonights challenge is can I turn this little lot into a bunny costume???

The answer, of course I can!!

It did mean staying up until 3am though (I didnt start until 9pm by the time the children were in bed, and had to stop to watch desperate housewives of course). By the time I had finished the head, my enthusiasm had waned somwhat, so some of the sewing and general makeup of the body is a bit iffy. I hope it will do, when all the children are standing in the hall everyone is squished together, so its the head that counts!! Esme approved and skipped happily to school with it this morning.

More fantastic sweets

These are some fantastic knitted liquorice allsorts I bought this week on Ebay (UK Ebay). I was hoping they would be here before I sent off my candy swap, so I could include some of them, but they came later so I wll have to keep them all!

We are up visiting Grannie and Grandpa in North Wales, So I will post when we get back home.

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Sweeties; daughters, and the edible kind too

This is one of my favourite drawings from my daughters recent offerings, she draws pictures all the time and always wants to be drawing, colouring or making things, she reminds me of me when I was a child. Today was parents evening, Esme is a good girl in school, and it is so lovely to have someone else (in this case 2 people, as the teachers jobshare and do half a week each) tell you how fabulous they think your child is. It was really lovely and I walked home from the school with a big smile on my face.

Another thing that had me smile today was going to the post office to post my candyswapper parcel to my swap partner in America. I know, its a day late, but the children were unwell yesterday so we couldnt get out of the house. I am very easily amused, we have a lovely old-fashioned local post office, it is part of our corner shop, and the couple who own and run it make every visit enjoyable. I love the chit-chat and general ambiance of the store, and the excitement (for me - it's a novelty) of posting someting all the way to America. The swap is secret, I think, so I will not tell who the recipient is yet, but here is a look at what I sent.

The swap theme was local chocolates. I tried to put some british 'greats' in, some cadburys dairy milk bars, Thorntons viennese truffles (my favourites) Fruit gums, Parma violets and some cute coconut mushrooms. I also put in a kinder egg-who can resist?? and a couple of giotto bars, not very local, but sure to be a hit with my partner. I am only sad that I was not able to include any dark chocolate, there was some in there, but the weight was too much, so that the postage alone topped the suggested budget. Something had to go, and I am eating that here now, I hope she understands!!! I was still over budget, but only a few dollars phew!!!

I made the little bag to put the candy in, with a detachable sweetie on the front. I hope my partner will like it, I tried to use fabric that I thought she might like, from what I have learnt of her from her blog. It was some material I already had in my stash, but I thought it would be nicer than just slinging the candy in a plastic bag to post. I am pleased with it anyway.

I am having difficulties with blogger tonight so I hope this page will upload ok, and I might have to add the pictures over the next day or so.

Sunday, 19 March 2006

A busy weekend

Yesterday was my friends daughters 8th birthday party, She had a pottery party and I was asked to go along to help. We had a brilliant time, it was a really fun party and I might just have one the same for my next birthday!! The children made pottery animal tiles.

When they are dry the children will be able to paint them too. I wish they had had parties like this when I was growing up.

Last night after the party we went to see The Mighty Boosh in Cardiff. This was my christmas present to my husband Andrew. It was really good. My Mum and Dad came over to look after the children, and I must keep this short, as my Mum is still here and I should be with her and not with the computer!! We had a good time, and it was nice to go out as a couple without the children. 90% of the audience appeared to be students though, with did make me feel a bit old, and there were some nutters wandering around the town afterwards, though I suppose that is to be expected when there is a match on.

Well, I am going to go and catch the last few minutes of ' The World' with Andrew and my Mum. Oh also spring may be on its way after all, today we have had brilliant sunshine all day, although it is still cold, it's a start!

Friday, 17 March 2006

the doll is finished but spring is not here

She was supposed to be a quick project while it was still cold and snowy, and her completion was meant to bring with it milder days, spring flowers, fluffy chicks and lambs and such, you get the picture.

so, why is it still snowing???

We went out to get branches for the Easter tree yesterday anyway, even though it was freezing. The children have just been helping me to decorate it with the ornaments from previous years, some bought and some that I have made.

I couldn't take a good photograph of the whole thing as the light is bad, and getting worse, and my garden out of the window in the background is really scruffy looking at the moment. So, here is an idea of what it is like, Maybe I will try to get a better picture another day. The branches are pussy willow, we happily stumbled across the trees on some local tumbledown housing plot last year, so we returned this year (secateurs in pocket!!) to gather more.

My friend gave me the little yellow birds last year, aren't they cool? I do have some more wooden beads to paint, and also some more, bigger branches currently up in my bathroom, which I think I will get the kids to make some decorations for. I like spring decorations, they cheer up the house, and encourage us to think of the warmer spring and summer days ahead.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

I have just booked a place ...

..on a Janet Bolton workshop. I am really looking forward to it, She is a textile artist whose work I really admire. She has written several books such as 'Mrs Noahs Patchwork Quilt' which comes with a pattern to make a quilt, here is mine.

I finished this applique quilt about 2 years ago, I am now making another one in the same series, but I haven't done any work on it recently, another UFO! Partly the reason is that I started a square with some black Kaffe Fassett fabric, and it is half done, but I have lost the rest of the piece of fabric. In true scrap fashion I guess I should just use a different fabric rather than searching for some the same.

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

White duck eggs

Yesterday I didn't get around to posting, I spent the day at my friends house, and she gave me these lovely eggs that her ducks had laid as I left. My friend lives halfway up a mountain (well, a very big hill) and once I have made the climb up to her house I always enjoy visiting. She has ducks and chickens, bunnies and a dog that barks at me.

In the winter when I visit we sit and chat in front of her cozy woodburning stove, we talk about the various things we are making and swap ideas. We like to look at lots of books and magazines, and scrap books with cuttings in, and of course there is always coffee to drink and cake to eat.

In the summer it is even better, as we can sit out in her garden, by the summer house or up on the deck beyond the vegetable garden and raspberry canes. Sometimes we even sit in the wooden playhouse which has a good vantage point over the children as they play and is a real suntrap. Yesterday however was drizzly, so we stayed inside.

She gave me this crochet egg, to go on my easter tree when I get it up, and a little strawberry dangly thingy, some stickers and some hand-me-down clothes for my daughter.

Monday, 13 March 2006

Mouse tea

My daughter thinks that me and my husband drink mouse tea. real mouse tea, made with real mice.

We have recently started drinking camomile and peppermint herbal teas (the reality), but unfortunately this has coincided with several mouse incidents.

Mouse incident 1. Just before christmas we discovered evidence of mouse inhabitant(s??) in our attic and some of the upstairs rooms. I was surprised, to be honest, at how unbothered I was by this, but thought I should try and get rid of them before they took over. While I was planning my attack (mouse friendly trap v. poison!) our cat decided to step in and do what good cats do with mice. My daughter discovered the mouse lying dead but unmarked in the hallway downstairs one saturday morning.

I somewhat hopefully decided that there was probably only one mouse and now it was gone, but we knew there were still mice about. I phoned the council who sent a man (just 10 minutes after my phonecall - thats why we pay council tax!) and he put down some poison under the floorboards. My 'they do go back to their homes to die, don't they?' was met by a chuckle, and after entertaining my son with a daffy duck impression (My son is 2 and has no idea who daffy duck is) and leaving a list of antedotes should any children eat the poison (reassuring) he was off. So I hoped, were the mice.

Mouse incident 2. About a week later, eldest daughter (again) went upstairs to put on her pyjamas ready for bed. next thing I hear is "eeuuuwwhhh, mouses don't live in houses!!!" . I run upstairs to find she has discovered dead mouse no.2,the disgarded pyjamas in a heap on the bathroom floor had seemed the ideal place for a poorly-feeling mouse to curl up. She had picked up the pj's and the mouse had fallen out of them onto the floor. she wasn't very impressed.

So, she has had more than her fair share of dead mouse discoveries. And yes, a herbal teabag floating in a mug of boiling water does look quite mouse-like. Especially, I guess, when you are 4.

The mug is new, one of a set of four and perhaps more round bottomed and quirky than the photo shows, a lovely present from our nice friend Rachel.

Sunday, 12 March 2006

It's finished!!!

Finally, I can tick this off my list of things to finish. I am so pleased, as it has been in progress for years. literally.

Let me tell you about it. About 4 years ago (!! yes I know) I went on a lovely day course at a nearby art centre. It was Fathers day, a good excuse, I thought, to leave my husband with his baby daughter for some father-daughter bonding! So off I trotted, and I began this.

It is a rag rug, but designed as a wall hanging rather than a rug (don't you dare put your feet on it). It is made out of all my daughters smallest babygrows, explaining the mix of pinks and whites and reds. I am quite pleased with it, and despite the rather wonky hearts it feels lovely and nobbly to the touch, and is warm and soft and full of memories. I promised the tutor I would send a photo when I finished, but I can't even remember her name now. I am not sure how I will display it, I will have to do some research, whether I can put a baton on the back, or whether I should frame it, I don't know.

So now I can get on with some new projects. I want to make spring things, easter things, but we have had snow again today, and it is hard to get in the mood when the trees have snow on them and no sign of blossom. We watched Madagasgar this afternon with the children on rented dvd, it was quite amusing in parts, I liked the penguins best. I started sewing a little doll, we shall see how she turns out in the next few days, she is a quicky while the snow gets over and done.

Friday, 10 March 2006

braid, ric-rac and buttons...

I have had a nice laid-back day today in the house doing laundry and playdoh with the children, and taking some photos as the sun has been out, between the showers.

Yesterday I visited our local sewing shop and bought all this lovely braid and ribbon, Isn't it bright and colourful? I dont know what I am going to do with it yet, but I am sure I will think of something. I also bought some buttons, these sweet gingham ones that look quite vintage (and knowing our shop they probably are a bit old!)

And also these white shirt buttons

"...but wait", I here you say "those are just normal buttons". But they are not, and I had to buy them as I was laughing to myself so much in the shop, Look, they are Gordon Bennett buttons!!!

I do not know if this is lost on international readers but here in the UK "Gordon Bennett" is ( 'scuse me while I quote the dictionary) an 'exclamation expressing surprise, incredulity, or exasperation'. Which is why it made me laugh. The phrase has become somewhat outdated but what a funny thing to see on a button. It amused me anyway.

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

rain rain go away

It has done nothing but rain here today. AIthough it has been warmer, I wish it would be dry and cold not wet and mild. I guess we should expect this wet blustery weather now it is March. I have not done much, I walked around town for a bit and bought some pink things, a new spotty oilcloth for my table and a pink washing up bowl (my husband will be pleased - washing up is his job!). The bowl will go really well with these fantastic scourers I got from Tescos of all places, and they were only 63p for 6!!!

I also wanted to get some daffodils to brighten up my house, after seeing Yarnstorms lovely vaseful. I did have some growing in pots but when I went away at half term they didn't get watered so the heat and dehydration killed them. Anyway, they weren't so cheap so I decided to leave it until another day. It would have been a challenge to carry them, as I was already struggling with a pushchair with a toddler in, a baby in a sling, an umbrella and a large pink washing up bowl walking home in the wind and rain.

Desperate Housewives is on in twenty minutes, so I just have time enough to get a drink and a slice of the banana cake I made this evening and sit down with my nearly finished project.

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Kitties, Birds and UFO's

Here are two of the three kitties I made using Hillarys free pattern over at Wee wonderfuls. My Dad returned my camera to me today, and these were some of the pictures I had been waiting to upload from it. Wee wonderfuls was the first blog I ever read, and is still one I follow closely and enjoy visiting. It sounds corny but I do find it inspirational. I am looking forward to the pattern book and more of these lovely patterns.

I kept my kitties simple and didn't add the felt trim, partly because I knew my baby would try to eat it. I also replaced the button eyes with fabric for the same reason. You can see more of my pics over at flickr, I have just added a Flickr thingy (those things must have a name?!) underneath my links on the right of this page.

This is the knitted bird I mentioned in my previous post. I originally knitted a much smaller one using wool, following a pattern from a friends knitting magazine, but I had been wanting to try knitting with fabric for a while, and it seemed like the ideal pattern. I cut strips of fabric, sewed the ends together and rolled it into balls, then I knitted it using chunkier needles, and this was the result. I am really pleased with the effect and hope to do more of this in the future as it was fun and knitted up quick too.

Talking of cutting strips of fabric, here is a peek at a UFO I began about 4 years ago, and have set myself the challenge of finishing now before I begin anything new. It is so nearly finished and really could be done in a few evenings if I really try.

I do find it hard at the moment to sit and do things that require both hands, my baby daughter who is 8 months old is such a Mummys girl and likes to be in my arms continually. I am totally into attachment parenting, but sometimes a break from physical contact is nice, even for half an hour! I have just spent a little while on it, so hopefully I can get it done this week. I have so many new things I want to start.

Monday, 6 March 2006

birds on a wire

How cool are these pegs that look like birds??? I have just ordered some from wheredidyoubuythat so I will be the envy of all my neighbours. Not yet, but in a month or so when it stops snowing and gets warm enough to hang washing out to dry.

I am really into birds, bird patterns and designs at the moment. I can't wait to get my camera back, I have just finished knitting a bird out of torn fabric strips and will be able to post a picture in a few days.

I am really excited about Super Eggplants' candyswappers, I joined up yesterday, and as a total chocoholic it sounds like such a fun swap. It is also a good excuse to remind myself of my favourite chocolate and sweets (through a little sampling, of course). I bought some chocolate today that is 86% Cocoa, I was impressed by the high cocoa content, and of course if it is too bitter to eat alone I will just have to make cake with it.

Saturday, 4 March 2006

lovely shopping

I had a lovely day shopping yesterday, I went into Cardiff on my own (well, with my two youngest children) and just had a great look round and bought a few bargains, including some toys which will make good birthday presents for the constant stream of parties children have. There are lots of Easter and spring items popping up in the shops which are lovely, I really like this time of year in terms of decorating the house, its as good as Christmas! I will soon get my Easter tree on display, I must get my box of decorations down from the attic.

Unfortunately I left my camera at my parents house last week so I cannot show any of my lovely purchases yet. Instead, take a look at this lovely online shop called Rice, not fully operational yet, but it has some fantastic things in it I can't wait to buy.

I especially like the hobby horses and other animals.

Just look at the Elephants!!

Thursday, 2 March 2006

free is even better than thrifted

When we moved into the house we live in now, almost 3 years ago, the previous owner left many possessions for us (a bit of a surprise, on moving day when we thought the house would be empty). This was a little annoying, as I was 35 weeks pregnant and in no mood for such complications. Most of the stuff was junk, old cards (his brother had a market stall), music magazines piled to waist height in 70's wardrobes upstairs, and so on. But there were some gems amongst the rubbish, a fantastic shaped chair, which I must photograph and show you another day, speakers which my husband quickly grabbed (he loves anything with wires) and an old Singer sewing machine.

Unfortunately the machine was in a wooden box, locked, and had no key. I was excited about its contents, but soon had more pressing concerns as my son was born early, just 9 days after we moved in, and the sewing machine went into the attic. A few weeks ago, I discovered a newish friend from school who I have become good friends with has a similar boxed machine...with a key! I borrowed the key and LOOK what was inside!!!

I was reminded of my machine after reading this post from Moopy + Me a few days ago and wondering if her thrifted machine was the same model, but I think they are a bit different, on closer inspection. I have no idea how to thread the thing up, it seems complicated, so if anyone out there can give me any advice that would be great!

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

beginning to blog

my first tentative steps into my new blog, my first blog. just to test.