Monday, 31 July 2006

weekend family get-together with no pics

returned last night from a great weekend away at a family gathering at Martin and Migs house near Newbury. Blogger wont let me post any photos right now which is annoying but you can find some on my flickr. (over there in the side bar -> )

it was lovely, lots of family (much extended), many tents, nice weather (even the rain) and we had a great time. Lucie played up more than usual, her latest new skill is tantrum throwing, she learnt last week and is now perfecting it. I hope she did not teach her littlest cousin anything of the sort.

more when blogger will let me post pics

Thursday, 27 July 2006

lemon yellow

found this crayon in a new box of crayons belonging to my son, it is lemon yellow, but not proper crayola. a cheap copy. the name is there though, so I thought I would photograph it (at dusk, so not very good pic).

It is this weeks colour for Happythings new year of colour, I missed white last week, and may only remember to take part sporadically, knowing me, but I will try. There is very little yellow in my house, I did walk round and have a look but nothing sprang out at me. My bedroom as a teenager was yellow (lemon yellow!!) but I think I have rebelled against the colour ever since.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

we're going on a bear hunt...

we found some!!!

today we went to the Bear Factory, a well planned and looked-forward-to trip, and the children blew all their birthday money on these two suspicious looking bears!

It is a great experience, you first pick your unstuffed bear, then take him to the stuffing machine where stuffing zooms across the 'factory'/shop above your head through see-through tubes and into the enormous stuffing machine. there a man asks what level of cuddliness you want your bear to have and fires stuffing into the bear using a foot pedal to control the machine, and you can even have a go (I did!) then you go select a heart, kiss it to fill your bear with love, then have it stitched into the bear and all his holes sewn up, and voila.

except then you must go grab a crazy costume (red indian with mirrored sunglasses, whats wrong with that???), take it back to the lady who stitches, and get her to dress your bear.
thn there is just the birth certificates to collect, boxes for your bears, and part with all your cash, and off you go.

Esme in particular enjoyed this trip a great deal and now has the tricky task of naming her bikini-clad bear (pattie, bella, blackberry?). Laurie liked it too, but was more impressed I think with his free burger-king toy after lunch (boys!!), looks happy enough here though!

we also stopped in Queen street to watch some of the street entertainment, we saw Mimbre do a show, who were brilliant, combining acrobatics/balancing and dance/modern clowning (hard to describe), plus a few walkabout acts as well.

as you may be have noticed, I forgot to take my camera out with us today. I must admit to hijacking that pic from their website.

and hey, we even got a few mummy shops in before we caught the train home. what a day.

just a kid swap arrived!!

great excitement in our house this morning as the postman arrived with a large parcel covered in Hello Kitty stickers!

a good distraction too, as the kids ripped each and every sticker from the outer wrapper, I was able to sneak away and open the goodies inside in the corner by myself! here's what I found:

All wrapped up lovely, with bear labels on each mini-parcel. opened up:

the consumables

the littlest things (the clip is handmade)

things for making (check out the cute ribbon annd fabric!)

other faves, cute retro mirror and fab funky plasters

thankyou Jovanna, you spoiled me, and I will have to keep all this hidden from the kids!!

Monday, 24 July 2006

strawberry picking

Last week the children went fruit picking with Nanna and Grandpa, and picked a lot of strawberries, and some raspberries and blackberries too. they had a fantastic time, and had been looking forward to it for ages.

look, I make that 3 large punnets and 3 baskets of fruit!! Grandpa took these pics and just sent them to me.

there are some great ones on Nannas mobile phone too, of Esme in the act of picking, and of eating, but they may never make it here, as we are all technophobes who cant move pics from phones to computers.

Thankyou Nanna and Grandpa for a lovely day!

Sunday, 23 July 2006


My little pony cake - mid-blow.

Esmes party has been and gone.


thats me done with all my kids parties for another year.

Saturday, 22 July 2006

childrens festival

Today we went to the Cardiff childrens festival. this is a part of the larger Cardiff festival which has lots of things happening over the next few weeks. It was pretty fun, of course we didnt get there until halfway through the day, and there was a lot there so we could have made a full day of it, but you never know with this sort of thing. (and sometimes they charge for everything and it costs a fortune!!)

We saw some shows, we liked the one in the first picture above, it was funny and they had some great props/set, very clever, but unfortunately cant remember what they were called.

We also saw the Sheep Show, on the back of a big lorry with celebrity sheep, each sheep was a different breed (some common, some rare) so it was part educational, as the bloke talked about the breeds in an interesting way, then he sheared a sheep and showed us the fleece, we even got a little bit to take home.

I did consider asking if I could take the whole fleece home and offering it for swaps on here, but I chickened out!!

The children made a butterfly (Esme) and a mask (Laurie) but unfortunately the pics I took were rubbish as it was getting late and the kids were tired and uncooperative, but I am sure you can imagine the sort of thing. nice fun day anyway.

hmm, and after that, not so fun, I had to go to the supermarket shopping for party food for Esmes party tomorrow. uurgh. I tried listening to podcasts on my way round, but the crafty goodness of Denyse Schmidt (craftsanity (9) kept distracting me from the matter in hand so I had to turn it off!

About the bags I made for the teachers, I was asked if I used a pattern, yes I did, I bought a bag kit at Malvern quilting show in May from a Japanese quilting stall, and used the pattern from that. it is nice and simple, it has a shaped bottom (lucky thing!) and is lined in the same fabric as the main part of the front (the green). I got the fabric from a local fabric discount shop bargain bins - £1 a metre!
It says it is 'san remo' of prestigious design if that means anything to anyone.

Friday, 21 July 2006


Happy Birthday Esme.

five seems so old, and yet still so young. and 5 years ago today I first entered motherhood, and it feels like I have been a mum forever. and I cannot believe it is only 5 years. and I have 3 children now. sometimes it is as if you dont even notice these things happening, the time whizzing by. slow down time, let me enjoy these early years.

guess I can keep using this as an excuse not to clean my house....

Thursday, 20 July 2006

'Cariad Esme'

tomorrow is the last day of term, and I think we are all really looking forward to the holidays! I thought I would make bags for the teachers (an idea blatantly stolen from my friend Julia aka weirdbunny) as our end of year present, They turned out pretty cool, i think (now I want to keep one) and each contains a yummy box of maltesers - couldnt let them go without chocolate could I?

They were pretty quick to make, I chose fabric and cut them out yesterday night and sewed them up tonight. It would have been quicker, but I cut some other fabrics first then decided I didnt like them so much, they looked too wintery or something, I might still make up the other bags another time.

The 'flower' button trims I added were vaguely based on a memory I had of one of Mollychickens tutorials, but mine are a much simpler (lazier) version with much less sewing when I looked them up!!

Here they are again so you can see the fantastic tags Esme drew for them. Cariad Esme is welsh for love from Esme.

And altogether they only cost me 97p, for the chocolate, as I already had the fabric.

oh, and I had to buy some cotton thread as I ran out, but that was 35p from the corner shop.

it worked like 35p thread too - note to self - buy decent thread next time and then it wont break about every 5 stitches.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

new toy

look what I just bought

Its a Nano which is a baby ipod.

I have been attempting to get into podcasts, so far I am really enjoying craftsanity, I listened to a podcast interview on there earlier with Heidi of My Paper Crane which I really enjoyed hearing, and there are several more I am downloading (is that the right term???)as I blog.

Not much else going on, its the last week of school, its boiling hot, and I'm going out to sit in the paddling pool now, if the kids have left me any water in there that is.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

heres some I gardened earlier...

ok, I admit it, I am not responsible for the growing of these beautiful flowers. I am not very green-fingered and I only have a small garden, which is mostly full of kids toys, and a few rather neglected pots. But I love going to parks and enjoying the flowers and green spaces.

These pics were taken this week at our local park, in the sunken garden, which is something of a secret. it is always planted out so beautifully and the flowerbeds are laid out like a sort of maze that my children love to run round. we like to come here, and it is nice and relaxing too. this is what public parks are for, after all. I plan to explore more nearly parks this summer holidays.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

what a freebie!

Some lovely people in blogland right now are having giveaways, where they can offer items and other people (like me) can ask for it, and if you are first, you get!! So, look at all the things I got from Alison of starlit nestfrom her Monday giveaway last week.

Yes, all those pattern books! cool or what??!!

My favourites are the patchwork 70's apron pattern, the butterflies and the book about hex symbols (didnt think I would like this, but its really interesting, and has great illustrations).

In return I must send her a postcard showing the giveaway stuff in its new home (or something along those lines) and as I live miles and miles away, I will pay for the postage in the form of fabric (so much nicer to trade in fabric than money, wouldn't you say). So thankyou Alison, the package arrived safely and you should be getting one as well soon.

Monday, 10 July 2006


could be the title of this (finished woohoo!!) fabric/applique handstitched piece. I began this at the Janet Bolton workshop I went to in Bristol way back in April (it was the end of April, but thats still a long time ago I admit).

It was loosely, or perhaps not so loosely as it has turned out, based on one of Esmes drawings. well, 2 of Esmes drawings, the second pic inspired the colours and feel as well.

I kind of wanted to leave the smiley mouths off altogether, but with no mouths the people looked very menacing so, although cooler without, I decided to add the mouths right at the end. I knew that otherwise it would always freak me out and I would not be able to have it on the wall!

so, now they look like they are playing hide-and-seek or tiptoeing past sleeping babies rather than up to the house to scare those inside!!! Much better.

I am glad I took my time on this, I am pleased with how it turned out, now all I have to do is frame it. I am having mounting/framing difficulties at the moment, I can't get the frames I want. I made my husband drive us to Ikea this afternoon on a frame hunt, but they didn't have what I want in the right size, and dont even make them that size any more, sigh. I think I can get them in Habitat (for twice the cost) so that will have to do.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

show and tell

please excuse the bad photos (again) but this is what I sent for my mag swap to Ann.

I made a linen appliqued magazine cover to sit on her coffee table, I hope it isn't too big, as I sized it to fit the largest of the UK mags I sent, but I think US mags tend to be slightly smaller. better too big than too small anyway.

Ann told me she likes miniatures and I found this dolls house magazine that had some cool projects, including this, which was the clincher for me!!

how to make a 'greasy spoon' great british cafe complete with full english breakfast, and honestly, these aren't like red phone boxes and bowler hats, they do still exist and thrive even here in the UK.

(I know, I know, we do still have red phone boxes, but they aren't exactly commonplace are they???)

just look at the fried egg, bacon, sausages and mushroom, too cute!!

So I really hope you enjoy the mags Ann, and if you make the greasy spoon please let me know!!!

Friday, 7 July 2006

wip friday -to prove I do still make stuff

Today I began this, guess what it is.

It is a really nice little project, I packaged up, putting the printed-off pattern in a ziplock bag with some fabric pieces cut out and even a needle and thread ready like a little kit. It was to be a reward for finishing some of my UFOs but today I just decided to do it anyway, so here we are. hopefully I will be able to show the finished item before the week is out. so, back to sewing...

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

magazine swap arrived!!

My mag swap parcel from Ann of nani kora arrived!!! look at the loveliness! I asked if she would be able to get me a copy of MS Kids mag, and she trailed around many bookstores looking for it bless her. Ann also sent me Family fun, which looks like a cool mag and has some great crafting-with-kids ideas in (we decided to send 2 mags each as we are both mag-addicts!).

And...look what else she sent me (and made for me!!!), a fantastic bag to put my mags in and stroll down to the park with (which I did today-by the way). It is really nice, and trimmed with vintage buttons.

Thanks Ann!

Monday, 3 July 2006

...just what am I doing?

yes, it is as it appears, I am vacuuming my lawn in the dark.

Half ten at night, and there i am with my trusty henry hoovering my rather sad looking grass.

why? because (several hours earlier) I knocked a glass off the table after tea, and this was my first opportunity to come out and pick up the (literal) pieces. I did begin with a brush and dustpan, but the light was fading rapidly and I kept having to use my fingers and it hurt. My neighbour looked over the hedge, wondering what I was doing, and jokingly remarked I should use the vac...well I thought it was a good idea.

And I think it worked, I could hear bits being sucked up, although I will have to check it out in the morning before any little bare feet venture out again.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

candyswap arrived!!

Yum !!!!

My candyswap parcel arrived from Jeanette of purplecupcake, look at the yummy candy, especially lots of nice pink sweets in a variety of berry and cherry flavours. The weirdest candy is 'Berry Much' candy which has gummy sweets covered in chocolate, very strange, in a good way I think.

And I have been a bad swappee and havent sent off my parcel to Mya, still, although it is all ready to go now so I will definitely have it in the post first thing on Monday, I promise!! Also, my magazine swap should go in the same post, I just need to package that one up (well, its only 3 days after the deadline yet!!).

Anyone who knows me will tell you that organisation is not one of my strong points. (someone kick me up the backside to get a move on please!!)