Tuesday, 15 December 2009

This one is for you, Jo!

A cold and frosty day but the warm sun is streaming through the window making everything look beautiful. I tried to capture it on my roses.

Sorry I haven't been in touch for a while, there have been a few reasons which may become apparent in the next few months.

But it doesn't mean that I haven't been crafting!

Bringing the smell of Christmas to our home.

Preparing for Christmas day.

Thinking of our friends and family and trying to find ways of letting them know that we love them and think of them often.

Decorating our home for the pure pleasure.

Will be in touch : )

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Happy birthday bunting

Just in time I finished some 'happy birthday' bunting for a special friend. I had been meaning to get it started a long time ago but due to a bout of tiredness I hadn't the energy to get it started and got very frustrated as it remained on my mind.

It had its challenges as the bunting I have made before didn't have edging (and i'm not sure i would do it again with edging and without a pattern). I even got a few wounds from hand sewing as I was doing it at speed while playing trains with Mj. But now it is finished in time and i'm more pleased with it than I thought I was going to be.

Now I want one for my family!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

He is showing signs of being a man!

Today I had a little giggle to myself as I played the shopping game with Mj. The aim (for us) is to find all the items on our shopping list and add them to our shopping trolley. Mj decided that he needed two shopping trolleys but just one shopping list. Then at random if he fancied something he could add it to his (spare) trolley and still have plenty of room for the items on his list. Is it just me or is this exactly what men do when they go shopping?

More growing.

Mung beans soaking

Fenugreek beginning to sprout

I never realised it was so easy to grow bean sprouts til today! Now we are soaking and sprouting all sorts. I'm not sure how long it will last as I know I will grow tired of the daily washing and rinsing but then the thought of some new fresh ingredients to add to my soups and stir frys may be enough to spur me on. As always Mj is in on the action.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

What's happening.

Kohl rabi growing in our garden.

Stitches increasing on the needles.

Bread cooking in the oven.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

'bish gone?', 'tb gone?'

Translated: 'fish gone?' and 'tv gone?'.

Everything in Mjs little world seems to be changing.

Yesterday we went to the Fitzwilliam museum and while looking at the Egyptian artifacts in the display cabinets Mj suddenly through his hands in the air, palms pointed upwards and exclaimed...'bish gone' or in other words 'Where have the fish gone?'. Bless him he thought the glass display cabinets were fish tanks...easy mistake I guess for a two year old.

M and I have been re-evaluating (a good word) our lifestyle.
What makes us happy and what steals our joy? What makes us tired and what inspires us to live life fully?
It frustates us both that we can without noticing, spend lots of time in front of the television. We don't choose to sit and watch a show that we want to see. We slump on the sofa feeling tired and think that by watching some mind numbing trash we will be recharged and re inspired. It doesn't happen. We don't get recharged so we stay there, slumped on the sofa until it is bed time. Another evening wasted. One of the things which frustrates us the most is wasted time.
So, as our TV liscense and Sky package are due renewal today we thought we would not renew them and instead challenge ourselves to spend our evenings more productively without the TV as a crutch. We have re arranged the lounge without the TV now at which Mj through his hands up in the air, palms pointing upwards and exclaimed 'tb gone'...or in adult english 'Where has the TV gone?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

'If there's a rocket tie me to it'

This morning I feel like I am tied to a rocket.

I was going to title this 'all a bit frantic' but then I realised that the speed (fast) of the music in the background was probably not helping my franticness...I checked what it was that was playing and it was this track by Snow Patrol.

I always get like this when I'm trying to get organised to go away for a few days. I have one hundred and one things running through my head which I mustn't forget to pack or complete before we leave. My heart races, I run all over the house, I over heat and well dare anyone get in my way! By the time we leave I'm exhausted!

Thankfully my friend is very kindly taking mj off my hands for a few hours this morning.

Anyway, this post was meant too fill you in on the things I have been up too in the past (almost as frantic) days.

Learning the art of baking bread...which is not as complex a science as I thought!

Making a baby quilt for my mother to give to her collegue.

Being inspired by this book. Easily read, practical and challenging...the perfect book for me!

A surprise gift for a friend (so I can't disclose too many photos).

To do List:

Hang washing out when it stops raining (please stop!!!)
Clean bathroom
Clean out car
Pack car
Nip into town
Empty bins
Do recycling and composting
Read paper (then recycle)


Will tell you all about our trip when it happens...I'm really looking forward to it!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Thanks Sylvia

On Tuesday we had our monthly 'Craft and Coffee' morning. As mentioned before, I was trying to knit some socks but with great frustration. I wasn't really sure what I was doing wrong but I knew it was wrong. It looked and felt wrong.

So I took it along on Tuesday and asked Sylvia for a tutorial. Within minutes we had recognised the problem and fixed it. I now feel confident to get knitting...so 'thanks Sylvia'.

Honey and Lemon

1. Take one lemon, slice in half, remove pips and squeeze juice into mug.
2. Fill mug with water (just off the boil).
3. Add to mug one teaspoon of honey.
4. Stir
5. Sip and notice your razor blade throat sooth, aching head feel more bareable and mood lift miraculously.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Sunday afternoon naptime

It is sunday afternoon and my two boys are napping but I'm feeling too restless to nap!
We have just had our annual 'thankyou' service and lunch so perhaps it is the slice of banoffee pie that is making me buzz and unable to rest.

Update- My blue fence is complete. I will take a photo when I have the planters back in position and tidied up. I'm so glad I went for the blue, I'm sure it will keep help keep me happy over the cold and dark winter months.

I'm feeling a bit creatively challenged at the moment. I started my knitted socks on Friday evening but got oh so frustrated with them. The needles are tidy and I was feeling fat fingered. I must have started over again about 6 times and am still barely started. Knitting club is tomorrow evening so I'm anxious that I won't have a project to bring along.

I also designed my Christmas cards this week. A bit early I know but normally I love to design them and get started making them, especially this year as I would like Mj to help. I came up with a design but just didn't feel 100% happy with it, so I got a second opinion and that wasn't 100% positive either so I have given it up and will start again.

In the creative world it is funny (in an interesting way) how sometimes things come together with such ease and yet some pieces are filled with frustration and doubt. If I have a project which I am unhappy about I find it difficult to stop and re evaluate or just stop for a break yet I know that this is probably exactly what needs to happen.

Life can be a bit like that too.

On a more positive note, this week should be an interesting one as I am meeting some Romanian friends tomorrow, have 'Craft and Coffee' on Tuesday and am going to an Architects conference on Wednesday.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

From grey to 'forget-me-not'


One hour later -almost finished but no paint or energy left!

Our garden was looking kinda grey, especially with the onset of winter. We have still some veg growing but apart from that there was no colour so I have been thinking about how I could brighten it up and make it more cheerful for the winter. The fence at the bottom of the garden didn't help the greyness and so I decided that if it received some TLC then it would help brighten the whole of the garden. The problem was deciding on a colour. I was tempted to go for yellow (can we get any brighter than that?) but felt it might be over kill. So blue it was, again...my favouite colour (in any shade) which never fails to satisfy.

It will need another tin of paint to finish it off and then I can start accessorising! I would like to grow some tall plants against it, perhaps runner beans, sunflowers or sweetpea in a long white planter. I'm also imagining some candle lanterns hanging from it or some thing like the image below which is very cute.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

New cardigan from old jumper!

I was unsure as to how I should title todays blog...it was almost 'Good weather for ducks'!

Yes, the rain is back with intent after a long absence. I used to hate the rain as it made me feel so moody and lifeless. Not a good thing when you grow up in Northern Ireland! However, while a student in Bath (where rain is also common) I decided one day that rather than let the rain depress me I should try and find some beauty in it. So instead of drawing the curtains in an attempt to shield myself from it I would enjoy the patterns that it made as it landed on and rolled down the window. Instead of hunching up my shoulders and running frantically through the shower I would relax my shoulders and just enjoy the change of smell in the air and the noise as it bounced off various surfaces.

I was reminded of those days on my walk home from toddlers with Mj in his buggy today. We don't get much rain here so I was out of practice in 'experiencing' the rain.

Once Mj wakes from his mid day nap I plan to get his wellies, coat and hat on and go in search of a big puddle so that he too can learn that rain is for enjoying!

On returning home in the rain I went to change my wet clothes and came across this jumper/ cardigan. I re styled it back in June after being on holiday in Cornwall and meeting a lady who takes jumpers and re styles them. She did some amazing things to old jumpers but she didn't have a website so I am unable to share her creative work with you. However she has a market stall in Marazion (near St Michaels Mound, Cornwall) on sundays, if you are ever that way!

I never liked the shape of this jumper, it was too short and not very flattering but I did like that it was 100% wool and very cosy on a cool day, so inspired by the re styling lady I thought I would try some re styling of my own. It was so easy. I cut it up the middle, ran a zig zag stitch round the raw edges and added a button...finished! Just the type of project I love.

Now, if it is raining with you today, don't be sad that the summer is over but be happy because the ducks are loving it!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A new week begins again...but a moment to reflect on one past

The river Cam at Audley End House. It has got to be one of the most tranquil landscapes, if we didn't have to keep an eye on an excited 2 year old!

John eating the apple pancakes as quick as they cooked on the pan.

Our first batch of spinach- eaten on pizza and then as creamed spinach as part of our sunday lunch.

My favourite- apple pancakes, simple but delicious.

Finally I got around to pickling some beetroot from our allotment. My finger nails are still pink!

I can't quite believe we are starting a new week. Last week seems to have flown by without me finding time to catch my tail! I had a friend staying so we had lots of nice outings, including a day in beautiful Cambridge and another day in busy London. Saturday was spent surrounded by food, picking it, cooking it, pickling it and eating it.

Now I feel I need to rest and map out the week ahead. This week I want to: continue reading 'Knit Two' by Kate Jacobs, I really hope it is as good as 'The friday night knitting club' by the same author and start knitting some socks (I found a great little sewing/ knitting shop in Cambridge and couldn't resist buying into another project) as well as all the other things which fill the average week!

I will be in touch.

Hope you have a good week.

Monday, 28 September 2009

This weeks motto.

'...act justly, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.' The bible, Micah ch 6 v 8

Written by the prophet Micah over 2000 yrs ago but equally apt for this world today.

'Act justly'- Lately I have been feeling that I need to take a stand for justice in a world which uses and abuses vulnerable people. I'm not sure how I should do this but I know that I detest injustice so i'm keeping watch for the time when I need to stand up and say 'stop'.

'Love kindness'- This sounds easy but I know that when the pressure is on and time is short kindness is not running through my actions. As humans we have this natural ability to consider ourselves before and above all others...for me to 'love kindness' I need to continually remind myself in every situation that kindness is more important that self preservation.

'Walk humbly with your God'- If we are walking with God, talking to Him and listening to Him it is not difficult to be humble as he continually shows his great strength and power which contrasts with our fragility. But to walk with God requires a daily devotion to Him and for me that is a discipline I long to cultivate and achieve.

So this is my motto for the week...we will see how I survive. I'm sure it will be tested in me many times and everytime I stand at the kitchen sink I will see it written on my chalk board!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Blueberry Bear

Blueberry bear was inspired by Strawberry bear and some blue gingham! I have always loved the idea of making toys and dolls but didn't know where to begin so when I saw Julia's beautiful strawberry bear I decided it was time for me to give it a go. I found a cute book in my local library called 'toys to sew' and in it a pattern for 'Smart bear'...now I had no excuses.

Starting in lilyjean style (much enthusiasm) I began making blueberry bear but found progress slow so my enthusiasm waned and soon he was put to one side. That was until I was reminded that my library book with bear pattern was to be returned shortly...so with a new found gusto I started cutting, sewing and stuffing. I had also tired a little of the blue gingham but loved this cream and blue stripe cotton so thought I would incorporate it also.

Bear is finished apart from a nose piece which I'm unsure as to whether I should add. If I ever try another bear I will try adapting the pattern to my own design. I would prefer the more rounded nose of strawberry bear.

The book which Blueberry bear is reading in the photo is from one of my favourite shops, Temporary measure. Check out their website, especially their fanastically funny cards.

Now, what to do with Blueberry bear, where to put him or who to give him to?

Saturday, 26 September 2009

The great big conker hunt

What a beautiful sunny day for our annual Great big conker hunt. Surely it can't be almost October. It was so nice to see people of all ages and backgrounds with eyes peeled search the forest floor for those precious, shiny natural gems hiding among layers of fallen leaves.
I feel sad when I think that in years to come it may not be possible to have a conker hunt in the U.K. following the news of the spreading disease among the species. Perhaps it will make us appreciate more fully the beautiful mature trees we have here and the joy that it brings to spend a few hours in their midst.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Bargin of the week

Two hours after looking at Brio train sets in John Lewis I came across this set in our local charity shop (the best charity shop for toys I have ever come across), it cost just £5. Unfortunately it is missing a few pieces and there are no trains but we can still make a road and train track and I'm confident we will be able to pick up some trains in other shops. I was tempted to keep it for Mj until Christmas but when we got it home I was so excited about our find I couldn't help but build and discover it with him.

I also got a wooden serving trolley for £3 from the same shop to help with storage in the shed...no excuses for an untidy shed now.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sweeties...aka cherry tomatoes

We have a sweetie plant growing in the garden! We didn't teach Mj that cherry tomatoes were sweeties, he just seemed to decide it for himself. Not many have reached the kitchen, most have been picked and eaten straight from the plant. He has finally learned that we can pick the red ones but must not pick and eat the green ones. Seems simple but it has coincided with picking blackberries where we must pick the black ones and not the red ones!!!
Not many left on the plant now but we do have two peppers growing in the same pot which I am getting very excited about picking and using. I'm not sure what we will use as sweeties once our friends plant and our plant is finished for the year!

Monday, 21 September 2009

A finished quilt

The front of the finished quilt.

The patchwork which forms the back of the quilt...notice the blue bunny rabbit fabric I previously mentioned.

Finally the quilt for my friends little boy is finished and ready to be packaged and posted. It is always a good feeling to see a project completed. This quilt is different to my previous quilts (examples below) for a number of reasons. I wanted to use a royal blue wool blanket I found to make the quilt warm and cosy but also wanted to try being a bit more freestyle and less planned in my quilt making. I haven't decided just how successful this freestyling is yet...i'm concerned about how well it will wear with day to day abuse. However it did teach my some new skills.
I'm not very good at doing the same thing twice so it gave me some new interest and pleasure as I experimented.

Quilts I have made in the past few months.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


I love donated food, especially fruit. So it was a thrill to receive a box of freshly picked bramley apples from our friend. Now I need to think of lots of ways to use them. M thinks crumble is the way to go everytime but i'm convinced we will get sick of crumble one day. Mj has already put them to use, transporting them around the house in his tractor and trailer, lining them up in size order and leaving them in unusual places!

Monday, 14 September 2009

hats for little ones

As Mj is growing like a runner bean I felt it was time to clear his wardrobe of clothes he has out grown. There were many well worn but not worn out t-shirts. I hate throwing things in the bin so in a bid to recycle I tried Soulmamas new born baby hat pattern. It is so simple I could make them with Mj sitting on my lap, which he was delighted about. Our church puts together baby bundles (hat, baby gro, blanket, nappy etc etc) to send to Africa so these hats will be put to good use.
I want Mj to grow up with a desire to serve and help others no matter where they live or what their background is. I doubt he will remember making a hat out of his t shirt for a little baby in Africa but perhaps it will establish a positive habit with us both of trying, where we can, to serve.

'I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to my fellow-creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.'