Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Weekend

 We have just returned from visiting friends in Newbury this weekend. We visited The Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham, a lovely walk round the lake and a fun play in the adventure playground. The National Trust property at Basildon Park, doing the Easter egg hunt in the freezing temperatures, then lunch round the wood burning stove in the cafe. I had a wander down Newbury high street while the rest watched 'Brave' under the duvet and finally this morning we celebrated Easter at Glendale Church, Newbury.

A lovely weekend of good food and good times!

Happy Easter.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Retro with a little Granny Chic

If you are a regular follower of my blog (thank you) you will know that I love a bargain, therefore I love charity shops. Lately I have been a little more reluctant  to visit them as I feel our house is filling up and myself nor my husband like clutter, so I don't want to keep buying and filling...however the pull of the charity shop is a strong one for me.

In the last couple of weeks I have made two purchases which I am just delighted with and can't resist sharing them with you.

Check out this sewing box, it is beautiful and in great condition. I snapped it up for £9.50 and then had to carry it around town and to my sisters house as Lj, my aunt and I had thought it was a good idea to walk into town on a -1deg day!

Second bargain of the month (possibly year) is this G-plan nest of tables. Not in such great condition as the sewing box but not bad at all. Thankfully one of my new neighbours loves retro furniture and has been educating me over the past few months. So when I looked at these tables and saw the 'G Plan' label I knew I had to get them and for £6 you can't do wrong! P.S. I love them too!

As I showed them to M last night he remarked 'So we are sticking with retro in the lounge then?!', to which I replied 'Yes, and a little granny chic' :)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Meet Ernest owl

It is amazing how anxious I feel just asking people if they would like to come along to my skirt making workshop (see previous blog post!) so to balance that stress I needed to make something simple. Something which doesn't really have a function although I have attached a split ring so it can be used as a key ring and something which can be completed in a short space of time. Ernest owl was born this week. Lj has really taken to him. He is make out of fleece so is very soft and strokable! I think I will pop him in my pocket and when I feel my worries and anxieties begin to rise I will hold my wise old owl tightly and remember that worry achieves nothing and crafting is supposed to be fun, not burdensome.

Enjoy making...

Saturday, 23 March 2013

My first workshop!

It is almost exactly a year ago when we were looking to sell our house and buy something a bit bigger that I came on my own to view this one. It was a beautiful sunny day and I cycled across the park to see it. The sales man laughed at me on my probably would have taken three times as long to drive! From the minute I walked through the front door I loved it. I didn't love the peach walls and orange velvet curtains, or the brown and heavily patterned carpet in the lounge and dining but I did love the sunshine streaming through the large windows and the large open plan lounge and diner. A couple of days later M came with me for a second viewing and we put in an offer, which was accepted.

From that time I have been thinking about what an ideal space the lounge and dinning area are for entertaining. We have put it to good use so far but I want to use it more. I can see women sitting round the table with their sewing machines humming. The lounge rug rolled back and more women cutting fabric on the hard floors. Me nipping in and out of the kitchen, making tea and serving cake. Perhaps some chilled out music in the background and plenty of chattering voices in the foreground.

But for me, it is easy to dream...a little more difficult to put those dreams into action! So here I am, putting myself, my dream and our house out there in the public eye with this first workshop.

As I read my bible this morning I was guided to Proverbs 16v3 which says 'Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.' I have been praying often for this venture of bringing women together so I know that if it is a success it is because of God's blessing.

So if you live close by, come and join us and if you live far away then please pray for us! Thank you!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Just Ask!

As I drifted off to sleep last night I was listening to TED- Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking. Perhaps that was why I woke this morning with the urge to ask my sister to look after Lj while I had a little alone time in town this morning. Very unlike me I did actually ask her...after considering and re considering a number of times before 9am! And I'm so glad I did. I just needed an hour or so to be by myself with my thoughts...if you are wondering what those thoughts were...the picture above of the books I have acquired today may give you a clue.

1. 100 ways to make your business a success
2. Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
3. 101 Low fat feasts.

Now I just need some more time to read! But not now as my friends are about to arrive with their 5 kids between them!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ribbons for your pennies

We were given a set of Blackberry farm books. They must be 40yrs old. You can still buy them on Amazon but in a new format. Lj loves to look at them and have me read them to her.

'Saturday at Blackberry Farm' is about the animals receiving their Saturday pocket money and what they would spend it on in Sam Sparrows shop. The story is delightful and a nice lesson on serving others. However the reason I am blogging about it is because I keep being drawn to what Posy wants to spend her pocket money on. 'I want a new bit of ribbon for my dress,' said Posy. Personally this is what I would want to spend my pocket money on too but how many little girls get the chance to spend their pocket money on a bit of ribbon, a button or a piece of fabric. Some of the little girls I know would love to spend their pocket money on a new outfit for their 'build a bear' or a 'Usbourne, sticker fashion design' book...but I wonder, I wonder if they had the opportunity would they rather make their doll a little outfit from a bit of fabric they had chosen or indeed design and make their own clothes...even if this just means sewing a bit of ribbon to their skirt?

I still dream of opening a craft shop. In fact there are two units vacant in our local shopping area and every time I walk past I dream of my craft shop. Somewhere where little girls (and bigger girls!!!) could spend their pocket money. Somewhere to come and learn how to re customise a skirt, or make a new outfit for a doll.

M and I have had the conversation on making this a reality a number of times but every time it comes down to unanswerable questions.
Would it make enough profit to make it worthwhile?
Would the hours I would have to put in mean that our family life would suffer?
Would I be better just getting a job in a local Architecture practice when Lj starts school?

etc etc

The questions remain unanswered but the dream is still very much alive in my heart!

Monday, 18 March 2013

A busy morning

While I did a spring clean in the Lounge and Dining area this morning, Lj was keeping busy. Now she is fast asleep on the sofa and I am playing around with images in Photoshop!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The North wind doth blow

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

My Aunt arrived this week for a visit and so did another wave of unbelievably cold weather. Marion can remember lots of rhymes and poems from her childhood so we are teaching the kids this very appropriate one!

I am feeling like the little robin...not wanting to leave home so am spending a lot of time drinking tea and eating M's homemade coffee and walnut cake!

Lets hope for a warmer spell next week!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Just now

It is Sunday morning...

We will be leaving for church shortly but before that we are getting a few chores done in preparation for my Aunt arriving this evening.

The weather is miserable, a mixture of sleet and rain. No hope of my two loads of washing drying outside. I wonder if M will be able to bear our house looking like a Chinese laundry today?! We will probably have the discussion AGAIN about why I won't use the tumble dryer.

Lj carries her full potty to show me, pleased with her efforts, spilling it on the floor as she nears me. Leaving the potty with me she returns to her baby doll, knocking the drying clothes from the radiator as she walks past.

I have set MJ the task of tidying the play room...he is on a mission and doing a great job...perhaps a little too great as it is frustrating Lj immensely that he keeps tidying away anything she sets down!

I should be getting on with the hoovering now but instead I decide it is more important to take some photos in day light of my latest creation. A personalised wedding gift for some family friends.

The last load of washing is where to hang it?!

Oh and by the way 'Happy Mother's Day'.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Lj made Daddy smile this morning by singing...

One, two, three, four, five,
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then I let it go again.

Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on the right.

It must have been special as bringing a smile to M's face these mornings is not easy!

Lj enjoys numbers. She has been counting from 1-10 for a long time now and can pretty much count from 1-20. She is learning to recognise her numbers in relation to people ages, for example before she could recognise the number '2' she would say, 'that's my age', and then say 'number 2'. Number 1 is Zara's age, 3 is Alice's age, 4- Anna, 5- John etc etc.

A few weeks ago I bought some number cutters so today we made gingerbread (my favourite) and she cut out her gingerbread numbers. She would ask me 'what age is Nana', I would say and she would find the cutters to cut out Nana's age. Then I wondered if her lunch was cut into numbers would it help her eat it...and it did...whoop whoop!

Oh and while I had my camera out she wanted me to take a picture of 'Frogit', her new friend! How cute are 2 yr old hands!!!

Sunshine and oil platforms!

After a long and cold winter we had some sunshine and warmth yesterday. So after school we got outside and enjoyed it. It felt so good to be kicking and throwing a ball in the sunshine rather than standing shivering with hands in pockets, wishing I could go back inside.

While I made dinner MJ watched a documentary about building an oil platform. When I went to turn his light off and remove his drawing pad at bedtime I found him designing his own oil platform! I love his drawings!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Glue gun fun!


What a great Christmas gift for me! A present from Opa (Dutch for Grandfather, I believe!). Yesterday I got to try it out.

 I can now glue the wooden parts of my peg boards together more securely.

I use these to hang the kids paintings but they could be used for just about anything...artwork, shopping lists, bills to be paid...

get organised :)

Friday, 1 March 2013

Kindle protection

My valentines treat from M was a new kindle fire which I love. But perhaps not as much as Lj, who is often requesting to play games on it. We even caught her downloading new games, thankfully not doing too much damage to M's credit card! She is also slowly learning that it is not another cheap, plastic toy which she can carry around and drop where she likes. However it still needed some protection, or perhaps that was all an excuse for me to get designing and sewing again!

My design criteria: I wanted a cover which didn't need to be completely removed in order to use it. The turn on/off button and volume control are on the top edge and the charging socket is on the side edge so I needed to be able to access these without removing the cover and the screen needed protecting when it is in my handbag. A few hours later I produced the first version. I used fabric from Ikea and elastic that had been taken from the waist of an old pair of MJ's school trousers!

My second attempt will be one for M's kindle and I will make a few design changes. He is not so keen on the way the flap is secured ie with elastic and I don't think it is necessary to have elastic at the corners of the screen so I think I will try using Velcro to secure and will make four fabric corners to keep the kindle in place. Now to find a suitable manly fabric!