Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Not bunched up...

 Yesterday as I thinned out the lettuce in the back garden MJ knelt beside me and asked what I was doing. So I told him. He started wriggling beside me and said, 'all bunched up, can't grow'. He repeated it until I realised what he meant. The lettuce were all bunched up and hadn't room to grow, and that was why we were thinning them! Apparently he heard it on one of his favourite television was very cute.

Well today I feel like I have been thinned out, no longer bunched up and am free to grow. For the last few days I have been feeling really tired and lacking motivation. But today is different. I have energy, I'm feeling inspired and I'm enjoying myself. I don't know what has caused the change but it must have something to do with the winds dying down, the temperatures rising and a fun morning swimming with the kids.

So this is what has been happening round here lately...

Lots of visits to the allotment to water the veg, ...

 to pick the first strawberries...

and lots of rhubarb.

I'm considering making some Elderflower cordial, but the buds are not quite open.

On Saturday we visited the Geffrye Museum in London. We were inspired by the gardens, how they mixed herbs and flowers together creating a lovely mix of colours and smells. Then we had a brain wave. We have been unsure of what to do with our back garden this summer. We have planted salad veg in the left hand bed with the right hand bed being a mix of salad veg and wild flowers. But it hasn't quite come together and just looks untidy. So we are going to recreate the gardens in the Geffrye Museum at a slightly smaller scale! The new herbs arrived this morning and I plan to get them planted out as soon as I finish this! I can't wait for the smell to hit me as I hang out the clothes each day.

 This is the little dress I made a few weeks ago for Lj and my friend's little one. It seems to work well but could maybe do with a little extra width around the nappy area...I designed it based on disposable nappies but am now pleased to say, we are back to wearing 'real' nappies. Lj seems pretty pleased with it!

Now to plant out the herbs before they wither in this heat!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Nappies and schooling...

My mind is currently musing over a number of issues...

Why am I still using disposable nappies on Lj?

I used reusable nappies on MJ but never quite got myself organised enough with Lj to use them. I'm feeling really challenged on this. I can't stop thinking about a recent TV documentary which showed people in India rummaging through waste trying to find plastics to recycle. One little girl was walking through piles and piles of waste in flip flops. On the screen it looked filthy, I can't imagine how it must have smelt, my wheelie bin full of soiled nappies would smell sweet in comparison. I understand that our nappies probably don't get shipped across to third world countries and are more likely dumped in landfill here in the UK (I hope) but still, even in landfill I am adding, every day, more and more nappies which will not biodegrade. I know by changing back to reusable nappies I will not even make a dent on our masses of landfill, on the traffic pollution and noise pollution that they bring but there is something in my conscience that might be eased.

Should I really be sending MJ to school full time from September?

Just now, while eating my lunch, I caught an interview on UCB UK with Jacqueline Hardy, a child psychologist. She was explaining the need for children to develop their creative minds while being less concerned about reading, numeracy and literacy up until the age of 7. MJ will start full time school when he is age 4 and 2 days and my concern is that school will focus too much on developing these cognitive skills in a controlled environment rather than allowing him to problem solve in everyday life. Perhaps I am being too protective, but I want him to be care free for as long as possible. I want him to be building dams and huts, climbing trees, making biscuits, pretending to be a pirate or an astronaut, laughing and crying with his friends, not sitting indoors at a table memorising his times tables!

Hmmm, I will continue to muse and try to make some sort of progress on nappies and make sure that outside of school I am engaging in creative play with MJ and Lj.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Our house in the woods

We have been going for walks in the woods since we moved here, over three years ago. When we first discovered the little huts in the woods, they seemed mysterious and we wondered who might have made them or how they got there. Over time we have found more and more houses and come to understand that young people build them when taking part in survival courses run by the National Trust. We have loved playing in and around them. Pretending to make cups of tea, light fires and even having a sing song inside them. However, never have we been inclined to try and make our own...until today! Today we constructed our own hut in the woods. The children could have spent all day building and playing, their imagination working overtime. It was sad to drag them away. MJ had to get to my heart I knew there was a special sort of learning taking place right there.

MJ and Emily with their own hut!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

This week so far...

We are having a fun week and it is sure to get even better with my friend coming to visit tomorrow. Jen always inspires as she loves books, all sorts of  books and quite often has a new book stashed in little Archie's pram for us to drool over together.

So what have we been up to...

:: We went to the lake to feed the ducks and found not only ducks but we were able to watch a digger at work, the digger being driven onto a trailer and treat of all treats we saw the tractor hook the trailer on. This may not sound all that exciting but to a 3 year old that is like Christmas morning. He was frozen to the spot as it all took place.

:: This was me trying to take a photo of Lj talking to the ducks but in an attempt to keep her from falling in or my camera falling in I didn't capture much.

:: I got my sewing machine cover made. I cut up the old torn one to use as a template and added a pocket for my pins, scissors and measuring tape.

:: It has taken me almost 4 years to realise that I just achieve nothing but frustration when I try to do structured learning with MJ. So I'm letting him direct his own learning outside of school from now on. With a few cardboard boxes, sellotape, scissors and a stapler he is one happy boy.

:: This week I have learnt how to make my own bias binding, a pillowcase dress and a ruffle! I can't show to much until the recipient has received the gift!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Freestyle sewing...take 2

 For my new niece, Faith, I gave freestyle sewing another chance! This time it worked much better...I'm not really sure why but the bobbin didn't struggle so much this time.

I haven't taken this photo very well, so the detail is difficult to see. Most of the sewing is using the dog feed but for the numbers and applique flowers I covered the dog feed and went freestyle! 

Normally I choose the font I want to use in photoshop and print onto paper, then use this as a template but after struggling with our printer not connecting to the network I gave up and just starting cutting...thankfully there are lots of straight lines in 'Faith'.

 The freestyle lettering...I think I could work on getting it a bit tidier. Perhaps if I use drafting chalk to write the letters on and then all I need to do is trace over it. However the idea of freestyle is that it is not perfect...but I would prefer it a little more perfect :)

These are a few cushions I made over the bank holiday weekend. I still need to do a few more. The fabric I used on the cushion to the left was given to me. It is a 1970's (I think, maybe older) Moygashel print. When the mill closed in N. Ireland they gave away all the left over fabric to my friends Dad. He stored it in the back of an old car...(he is a car fanatic and has many sitting around his house ready to be restored). One day my friend and I tackled the boxes and sorted through the amazing fabric. I love it and have it in a few different colours! The middle cushion is from a duvet cover I found in a charity shop and the cushion to the right is made from fabric I bought in Ikea.

Hopefully this weekend will provide a little more sewing time. My list of things to make gets longer everyday! But next, after some cushions, I want to make a cover for my sewing machine. I was inspired by one in the book 101 Great ways to Sew a Metre.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Life without mountains

When talking about the area where I live I speak positively, as there are many great things about living in this part of the country. However, I always mention the fact that there are no mountains nearby and that is what I miss most. Yet today as we walked through the woods, enjoying the last of the bluebells (English...not Spanish bluebells!) I realised that when there are beautiful outdoor spaces like this on my door step, I can live without mountains.
Blurred English bluebells