Saturday, 30 September 2006

every morning

I can wake up to this. lovely isn't it. I bought this hand-sewn quilt from ebay (had to fight for it!!) a couple of years ago, and initially had it on the bed, but one day I decided to hang it at the window and it has been there ever since.

I love the way the light shines through like stained glass, even on a dull day (It was raining outside when I took the photos). I am not sure of its age, but some of the fabrics look pretty vintage, it is lined so I hope it will not fade too much, and I think I get so much pleasure from looking at it that it is worth having it there, better than being in a cupboard where no one can see it. I love how you can see the turned-in seams and how it is made up with the light shining through, and of course all those vibrant colours.

I have taken some pics of the turquoise parts for this weeks year of colour photographs, and these are some of the quilt top without light shining through.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

finished and scooted away!

Meet Bea, her of the lovely legs, and claimed by Esme before she was even half-made. since the photo-shoot I have seen her no more, as Esme has whisked her away somewhere, pleased as punch.

She is called Bea as we have had a lot to do with bees this last week, first the honey questions, then skep-making at the weekend, and today at school Esme was stung on the finger by a bee (but dont worry, she is fine now). I used the basic doll pattern provided by Amy from Month of Softies, although I did slim her body down very slightly.

I think she has turned out lovely, I rather hope Esme looses interest in her in a few days so I can reclaim her as mine!

monday morning: coffee and cakes

The best way to start the week, coffee, cakes and biscuits enjoyed with a good friend.

Yesterday I went to visit Julia of Weirdbunny, and we munched our way through a feast of sweetness, while chatting and browsing a substantial pile of magazines. We did then go for a little walk around the garden, to see various growing things and cheeping things, and enjoy the early autumn sun.

And what did I come away with? fresh eggs? veggies? no, not this time, but this

not the plant, but the photo, and a task, to fix weirdbunny blog up with a pretty header. so, watch her space, I did put a pic in mine but it was fairly hit-and-miss how i did it, and several months on I have no recollection exactly how to do it. but I will have a fiddle tonight, and see what I can do.

I didnt have time last night to look as I have been busy sewing, more on that later, must go finishh cooking tea as the kids are sounding hungry!

Sunday, 24 September 2006

a party, bees and giant pumpkins

Today we went to a party of one of the childrens friends at St Fagans, the National Museum of Welsh Life. It was really nice, the rainy weather from this morning cleared up by lunch time and the children were able to play in the play area , eat outside and play several rounds of favourite party games, pass-the-parcel, musical bumps, statues and so on.

Afterwards several families stayed on and had a walk around St Fagans. It has many old buildings which have been rebuilt and kept to what they would have been like, and there are often visiting craftsmen demonstrating traditional crafts. Today we found a beekeeper demonstrating how to make Skeps, straw bee hives, and look at his lovely smock too, it has bees as part of the detailed embroidery. Only earlier this week Esme was asking how honey was made, so this was great, the man explained everything to her very well, for a few minutes we had him all to ourselves and could ask all our questions. We even got to bring home some honey and honeycomb!

This is how skeps would be kept, although these ones dont have any bees.

We then caught back up with our group, who had gone on ahead of us, and after a quick break for gingerbread men and drinks, we got on the train bound for the castle! In the castle grounds the children had a great time chasing each other and having leaf fights with the fallen leaves. We found an exciting pumpkin garden, with loads of gourds and pumpkins.

the children liked this huge one best and I had to take everyones photo with it in turn!

Very tired now from our fun-packed weekend, I hope I can get the kids out of bed for school tomorrow morning. how come they wake up (very) early at the weekend, yet on weekdays I always have to wake them? it makes no sense.

Saturday, 23 September 2006

old mans beard

Sorry I havent posted for a few days, I was ill afterwards, I told you I didnt feel well on tuesday didn't I? Well, me and the baby were sick all night, still dont know what it was, if it was a bug none of the others got it, it could have been something we ate, I just dont know. Anyway, we have been better for days, just nothing much happening except the usual up and down to school.

Hey but we have been having some great weather, it has been so warm. Today we went for a family walk up one of the mountains around our town (I say mountain, I guess its classed as a hill, but its pretty big) The photo is of old mans beard, I dont know the proper name of the plant but we have always called it that, its not very beard-like in the first pic, really, it looks like this:

until all the white fluffy 'beard' is blown off, but we have had such strong winds this week that most of it is gone. Esme thought that it was hilarious when I told her that was what it was called.

We had a great walk through some really tall trees following the wide, gradual track and getting higher and higher. we only passed 2 other lots of people, a man walking his very friendly collie dog, and another family out on a walk like us (3 boys, one dad, one harrassed mum telling them off for throwing stones at each other).

Then we ventured off the main track through the trees, we played a very quick game of hide and seek (the children are behind the trees at the front) as the hiding places were a bit obvious.


We collected various bits of pine-cones, acorns, dock leaves (in case of nettle stings, Mummy) and a few small logs for our wood-burning stove. (dont tell the forestry, is it ok to just pick up logs and take them home? Im not sure, we did it anyway).

Saw some mushrooms/toadstools but none like weirdbunnys, ate a few blackberries and then decided to return to the bottom via the quick, steep, not-a-proper-pushchair-friendly-track way. I can't show you just how steep it is as the pic doesnt look like it was too bad, but our 3 wheeler all-terrain stroller was scared and lucie griped the sides pretty tightly. I am glad my mum is on holiday and wont be reading this or she would tell me off! at one point a couple of close-together trees provided a welcome pause (as the front wheel lodged between them) and I slip-slided down the track to take this photo, then clambered back up to rescue Lucie and skid our way down to the bottom.

once on level ground again we all realised we were very hungry and hot-footed it to the chip shop for lunch!

lovely legs is still in progress but she does have a body now, and it isn't the spotty fabric. Esme has claimed her already and given me instructions for hair and stuff, so i had better go do some work on her before it gets too late tonight.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

shes got lovely legs

these are the legs of my month of softies project for september. I really love the stripes and the shape of the legs. (there is a pattern if you follow that link). However, there is a problem with these legs...

thats right, they have no body! I have one cut out of the spotty fabric they are laid upon, but I am not sure if it works in real life, although it goes pretty well in this dodgy night-time photo. so, it is a work in progress, I have also sewn arms but i dont like them, I used the same stripey fabric, I did the arms first, but i think they need to be different to the legs. I haven't managed to do the month of softies for a while now, and I am determined to sort out these niggles and get this one up there. it seems slow, but I am hand sewing (teeny stitches), its the only way for these narrow limbs!

In other news, look what I bought today, new cereal/dessert bowls. lovely and green (to match my kitchen walls behind! ) and they were in the sale, so I bought 6. I do need them, as recently my kitchen drawer fell out, taking with it the whole pile of bowls from the cupboard underneath, I caught the drawer but all the bowls fell and most of them smashed on the hard floor. I have been mostly using the kids plastic bowls but they are really horrible.

They are gisela graham ones, I didnt realise this until I got home. I had planned to go back and buy the whole set(or get them put away!), but on the bottom they also say 'hand wash only' oh-oh maybe not then. My dishwasher is very gentle....

Also, I think I might be ill tomorrow, I have been shivery for two days and tonight I feel decidedly rough, uurgh. and I have to go and make the kids lunch boxes now heave so book me a sick day for tomorrow (oh I wish mums could phone in sick) please?

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Margam day trip

can I have some more of that nice long grass from your side of the fence?

Yesterday me and Hubby took the kids to Margam park, near Swansea. We have never been before, despite it being less than an hours car ride away. Its pretty good and there are lots of things to do, it has a farm trail, a castle, a wooden play-fort, a train (which wasnt running) and lots of space just to run about, with lots of trees to hide behind. no more conkers though, we found one tree but it was the other side of a stream and they looked too green to be ready to fall yet. The kids loved that we could get so close to the animals, and they were all really friendly.

Margam Castle

lots of steps leading up to it, but you couldnt go in and it seemed empty inside, pretty grand looking though.

And while I remember, look at the fantastic baby leg warmers I got for Lucie in Cardiff on friday!! I went for shoes, I came back with rainbow legwarmers, that seems fine to me. They withstood crawling around the woodchip-covered play area so they must be good.

Heres some of the animals we saw. although it appears we only took photos of Lucie, I can assure you the other two were with us as well, just managed to avoid being in shot.


large Boar, 'ssshhhh' he's sleeping (and snoring, loudly)

Hiya goat, nice house

baby ostriches

Eagle owl (Huge, and very close, stared a bit with her massive eyes)

There were also many sculptures around the place, in stone, metal, and wood. I liked this owly one, he is a bit the worse for wear, but pretty cool don't you think?

Afterwards we went swimming an Averavon, well, I say we, Andrew walked into a signpost on the way there (dont ask) so due to a bleeding gash and possible concussion I wouldnt let him come in the water. Theres a great pool there though, I am sure we will go again soon.

oh yeah, and we ate at macdonalds, it was awful, and the kids now have these horrible things that play pop music by some unfamous band repetitively over and over.

said toys are going to get lost during school tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 September 2006

more about conkers

I just thought I would mention a bit more about conkers as I presumed everyone had them and would know what they are, but they seem to be a British thing. As children we would play conkers in the playground at school, I was never very good, some of the boys were really rough and it was really best to stay away from them! follow the links to find out more.

Friday, 15 September 2006

37 conkers

After school today we decided take a slight detour on the way home to go see if there were any conkers underneath the enormous Horse Chestnut tree at the bottom of the hill. There were very few on the ground, perhaps only 3 or 4, but as we looked, and walked around the tree, the wind blew down more and more. It was quite exciting waiting, watching them fall and smash open on the ground.

Collecting conkers doesn't loose its charm as you get older, and these conkers are still as smooth and silky-new as they were when I gathered them as a child. The children loved it too and I was glad I had decided to take them last-minute, which is also why we used a lunch box for collecting. We managed to discover one conker in its shell that hadnt broken open, and the children saved opening it for when they got home (where they opened it together, aahh). Esme counted them when we got home with a little help, and there were 37. The leaves were put in by Esme too, to help keep the conkers cosy and warm.

Mmmm, and tonight as I made tea I made a new trial concoction fridge cake, I love fridge cake, its always going to taste nice, with all those yummy things in it. tonight I used melted butter (6oz), broken biscuits (8oz), raisins and sultanas (handful), pumpkin seeds(smallish handful), plain popcorn (2 handfuls - this was todays new trial ingredient) and cocoa powder(not sure how much, I just tip a load in to taste). all pressed into a tray, put in the fridge then when chilled, a big bar of Cadburys dairy milk melted and spread on top.

(There was going to be photographs- edited now, see below!!!), we were eating it before the chocolate had hardened and it was too messy and yummy to stop for pictures, the popcorn made for a nice flavour variation too. So here for now is my favourite cocoa powder,Green and Blacks, I dont use anything else these days, it makes for fantastic chocolate anythings!

and now this jar is empty, (I will try and take a pic of the remaining fridge cake later if I remember)(added now!!!), one good thing is it is very very rich, even I can only bear about 2 pieces in a sitting. and that is saying something, as my chocolate tolerance levels are set very high.

the sprinkles are for the kids benefit.

Hubby is now eating the cakes again, he just complained the popcorn tastes like cardboard (on about his 4th piece).???!!

Thursday, 14 September 2006

little flying bear

I made this little fellow over the last two nights while watching Spaced. this is a uk sitcom that it a few years old now, we had never seen it before but Andrew wanted to watch it after renting Shaun of the Dead a couple of months ago. So, He bought the (limited special edition - rolls eyes) DVD of the complete collection, and we are watching one episode a night until we have seen them all. I am quite enjoying it too, well worth a watch for a laugh if you see it going cheap somewhere.

Anyway, back to the bear. He is from my Japanese pattern book (must buy another soon) and I always liked the look of him. I am pleased that he turned out well, though he is pretty small. I used the totally worst fabric ever, it looks nice, but frays like crazy and is hard to sew with a small seam and turn through the little fiddly pieces. Please excuse the pyjamas and the ambient lighting, but does anyone else do it like this?

yes that is a screwdriver, I usually use a knitting needle, but I found this to work better for stuffint the litttlest bits, as the head seems to grip the stuffing.

Anyway, I had an idea for taking his picture with sky behind him, it just about worked I think.

Though you do get a slight reflection, have you guessed it, I used a mirror on the ground pointing skywards. You can also angle the mirror for surreal effects, see below. Now I am quite aware that I could do this better with photoshop, but it is more fun to have a direct photo with no doctoring, don't you think?

Theres another little bear here that I think is pretty cute, and there are other projects too, no patterns as such but the instructions are there (in japanese), mostly pages from Cotton time and similar I think. And how excited am I?? I noticed when visiting te other day that Kittycraft has moved to the UK! The website and shop isn't up and running properly yet, but when it is all I can say is, joint bank balance beware!!

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

lovely knitted dolls and clown

All my Aunties and Uncles were at the wedding, which was nice as we hardly ever get to see them, they live in Lincolnshire which is a long way from south Wales. My Auntie Janet is a fantastic knitter and she made these lovely softies for the children, two dolls for the girls and a clown for Laurie. Isn't she kind to have though of them, and the three of them are lovely, all knitted, their bodies, their clothes and even their hair. Lucie particularly loves hers and helped with the photoshoot in the garden, it has been sunny today as you can see .

Monday, 11 September 2006

Big wedding day

We had a lovely time at the wedding on Saturday, The sun shone to order, and it was so nice to see friends and family who rarely get together, being spread across the country. Jenny looked fantastic and her dress was beautiful, it had an antique lace 'overcoat' (I am sure that it is not called that!) with a train and was so detailed I just wanted to stare at the intricate pattern.
My brother Andrew looked pretty good too (Im not going to say that too loud though in case he hears!!).

The wedding was very calm and relaxing, Everything happened at the same place, the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception were all in the hotel, so it meant no rushing around which was lovely. Even my Mum managed to stay looking calm! She did all the flowers too and they looked fantastic, she is very clever. I dont think I got any decent pics of the flowers though, I had battery issues with my camera all day. Heres my mum (I forgot to put her on flickr, where there are more photos should you need to see any more!).

The kids had a great time too and stayed up way into the night, here they are with some wedding bubbles.

Theres no pictures of me, at least not on my camera, so you can't see my hat! I will scout around and see if anyone else took any.

Friday, 8 September 2006

My brother Andrew

There he is, the one in the middle (nice actions). Dont you just love school plays for great photos? Tomorrow he is getting married to Jenny so I thought I had better give you an introduction rather than just springing wedding pics on you all.

So, my (big) little bruv, he is 4 years younger than me and I remember as a child him coming on the scene and generally getting in my way. He was always the golden boy too, I was a pretty naughty child and he always did as he was told. I made it my job to make his life more difficult (and painful where possible), preferably without getting caught. Only recently I confessed to my parents that, when the boy fell down the stairs as a 1 year old, he didn't fall as they had always believed, he was pushed. And that was not a stand alone incident, and thats all I am saying.

Obviously now we are adults my "I want to get rid of you' feelings have turned into a much more amicable relationship, although we dont see each other very often or keep in contact as much as we should. I think we get on pretty well now though, all things considered. He may not be too impressed when he sees that photograph live on the internet, but it could have been much worse. I did consider several others, involving pottys, naked tea in the garden with cousins (this was my first thought, but then I decided cousins might also object), you can imagine I'm sure.

Hoping for sunshine in the morning and a great day for them both.

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

the Flylady

"Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don't know where to start? Don't worry friend, we've been there, too.

Step through the door and follow FlyLady as she weaves her way through housecleaning and organizing tips with homespun humor, daily musings about life and love, the Sidetracked Home Executives (SHE™) system, and anything else that is on her mind."

I joined the flylady support group about a month ago. I am a pretty messy untidy person, and rebel at the slightest whiff of routine, timetable or schedule, but I have to admit I quite like Flylady. I get a daily digest email every day and pick and choose the bits I fancy taking onboard. this is probably not how you are supposed to do it, but hey, its 'babysteps' (one of her catchphrases!).

Some of my favourite bits are to do short bursts of jobs, do something just for 10 minutes, like hoover, dust, etc, then switch to something else. I also like that she encourages us to use our best stuff for our own enjoyment 'treat your family like they are company', use the best china so it has memories for your children and it will make it even more special, wear your best underwear, enjoy using the special precious things you own. what lovely advice.

Since school started back (I know its only been two days) I have laid out the childrens clothes for the next day, prepared their sandwiches (I used to sometimes do it in the morning rushing) and got eveything ready the night before, including my clothes, and it does seem easier in the morning. and we havent been late yet.

I dont think I will ever be tidy, even when I dont have the kids as an excuse, but I am enjoying the little pools of tidiness and organisation I can create. Its a bit dorky, but kind of fun in a weird way, go on, sign up!

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

just like daddy

Today was Lauries first day at school, he was pretty excited about going, after all he has walked backwards and forwards (or should I say up and down) to the school with his big sister for two years. He had a great day I think, he was just a little dissapointed he had to finish early and not stay for the whole day like she does, but I explained to him it wont be long!

I celebrated back-to-school with some friends and a very large cake at our favourite cafe in town, should have taken pictures but we were too engrossed to think!!

(oodles more pics on the family blog for those of you who are related and need to see more! I will also be putting them on flickr today or tomorrow. email me if you dont have the blog address.)