Monday, 30 January 2012

A repeating pattern jumper for MJ!

My first ever knitted jumper is finished but not quite finished in time for Christmas! I did manage to get the main body and sleeves completed before Christmas but stalled when it came to grafting the body and sleeves together. For some reason I was totally daunted by this part. I was following ‘Knitting without tears’ by Elizabeth Zimmerman which gives you patterns with a lot of flexibility i.e. you can knit a raglan style jumper for any size as long as you first work out the gauge you are knitting at. I’m not sure I would recommend it for a first jumper! (But it is an interesting book none the less.) When I came to the grafting/weaving or Kitchener stitches at the armpit I just couldn’t follow the instructions. But thankfully U tube came to my rescue.

I also messed up at the neck and decreased in stitches to much so on first try on it wouldn't go over his on second attempt I wonder if it is a little loose on the neck!
Anyway, MJ tells me that he loves it as it is a ‘repeating pattern’ design! So if he is happy, I am happy!

Now, what will be my next knitting challenge?!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sticky goodness!

 I believe I have just stepped up in the world to 'Mum who make cakes for school fundraisers'!  And for my debut I started simple with Nigella Lawson's Marshmallow Crispy Squares.

45g Melted butter
300g Marshmallows
180g Rice Krispies

1. Melt butter in pan.
2. Add marshmallows and allow to melt and blend with butter.
3. Mix in Rice Krispies.
4. Spread into greased tin.

My little tip is: As the mixture is so sticky and difficult to spread in tin. Place a layer of cling film on the top and use your hands to push and flatten the mixture into the tin.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Wild 'n' Wacky

I feel that 2012 has not started positively for me. Normally, I love to plan for the new year ahead and enjoy the first few weeks of putting that plan into practise. As the weeks go on the plan may get pushed further and further to one side but I still feel content that it worked for a while and although I haven't continued everything in earnest I am still fulfilling some of my annual ambitions. This year however has been different. The first few weeks of January 2012 have been tough!

:: Although we accepted an offer on our house and placed an offer on another house back in September 2011 we are still waiting for the chain to complete and receive a date for moving. This has been complicated by the fact that our buyers mortgage agreement will run out in February and ours will run out in March. So it is currently looking like our buyer will pull out and we will therefore have to withdraw our offer, taking us back to square one!

:: The company that M works for is making huge cuts which means we live in the fear that he will be made redundant. The realisation that I may have to find a job and start working again totally shook my world and made me realise how much I take my current position for granted. It is a privilege to be able to walk MJ to and from school everyday, to have time to meet up with friends and their kids, to have time to sit and read stories whenever we feel like it etc etc.

:: Our church family is going through a hard time and some hard decisions are having to be discussed and made.

And because of these things, M and I are finding ourselves sitting up late each night talking things over and over and over leaving us exhausted each day, just about able to keep the day to day necessities going but leaving our 2012 plans in the dirt!

However, as we headed for 'Wild n Wacky' today our plans took a turn for the better and we ended up in the forest with our friends. After an hour or so of fresh air, the children running free making up their own games, a hot chocolate to warm us and some adult chat I felt like a different person and my friend (who also does not get much sleep due to a 5 month old!) remarked how walking in the forest restores her balance. Then it clicked... I don't want 'wild n wacky', I want balance!

And so as a new week begins, even though all our troubles rumble on I am going to seek 'balance'. I am going to spend time alone, reading and mediating. I am going to think of and serve others with joy. I am going to rest when I feel tired. I am going to go for my 3 x weekly runs but walk if I am struggling. I am going to aspire to eat healthily but if I need a coffee and cake then I will sit and savour every mouthful. I am going to play with my children without tidying their room at the same time and I am going to buy some new tea towels :)

'For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.'
2 Timothy 1:6-8

Monday, 16 January 2012

'I am a turtle'

Lj loves to read. I often find her sitting in my chair in their room with her books on her lap. She chats (in toddler language), turns the pages and points at objects on the page. Yesterday, as she was reading aloud, MJ told me that what she was saying was 'I am a turtle' and that is just what it sounds like!!!

MJ reading to Lj on my chair in their room
MJ is presently exploring 'Elmer' at school. Nana (on the motorway*) gave Lj some Elmer books and a soft toy Elmer at Christmas time which was very timely. We were reading them one evening (as we have done most evenings since Christmas) when MJ sprung to life and told me that Elmer was 'patchwork' and Wilbur was 'chequered'. He could also tell me that the Author writes the story and the Illustrator draws the pictures. I would love to be a 'fly on the wall' during these story times in his classroom. It sounds like his teacher truly brings them to life.
Elmer by David McKee
Today as I had a browse in some of our town's charity shops I came across two interesting looking books. I am drawn to the front covers of books and totally 'judge the book by the cover'. I hadn't time to look at them in detail so decided to purchase. They are::

Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
 Is this not the most adorable front cover?! And...

Creole Thrift by Angele Parlange
So, now the kids are in bed and M is meeting with his book club friends, I have plans to do a little knitting, perhaps watch The Mystery of Edwin Drood on i player and flick through my new books...oh and do my 'sketch my day' (perhaps a blog post in its own right one day!).

* Nana on the motorway is my mother in law who lives 2 hours drive away and my mum is Nana on the aeroplane, who lives a short flight away!...this is how MJ has differentiated his Nana's for a long time now.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Cake a month:: Banana Cake

On the second Tuesday of each month I take part in Craft and Coffee at our local church. This year I have set myself the challenge of baking a different cake from a new recipe each month for this group. 

January:: Banana Cake from Kirstie Allsop's book, Craft.

The result:: It looked fine and tasted OK (to me). It was perhaps not sweet enough for my taste and this may be due to the fact that there is no sugar in the recipe! I'm wondering if this is a printing error or intentional! However it almost all disappeared during the session and what was left my kids quickly cleared up when I brought it home. So, it can't have been too bad!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Card collection 2012

I give/send a lot of cards...or that is how it feels. So last year I decided that in January I would design and make enough cards to last me through the year.  It is now January (in case you hadn't realised!). So I did a little precedent searching on 'Not on the high street'...I just love this on line shop and felt really inspired by Stripey Cats. And here are the results. I started with cats, then tried the cupcake and ended with the elephant! It was a fun couple of hours and I now have 20 cards. Not enough to get me through the year but a good start none the less! I used leftovers of my Christmas stack papers and buttons from the stash.

Bold Stripe Kitty

Dotty Cupcake

Faint stripe Kitty

Green Kitty

Pink Kitty


et first collection of 2012 cards.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012