Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

we've made it home after 6 days of visiting parents, in-laws, siblings and friends.
we've watched weather forecasts fretfully, defrosted the car endlessly, mended the screen washers so we can see (stopping in laybys on the A1 to clean the windscreen was getting a bit tiring) met newly born nephew, been to a funeral (I know, not the easiest thing to do on Christmas Eve............), and stalked the highways agency website to get the all clear on the roads, as the route home kept getting closed...........

so the carrots are out for the reindeer (or after this week can we call them snowdeer), some ginger biscuits for Father Christmas - he doesn't always want mince pies apparently, the Christmas tree lights are on, and we've just watched "A Christmas Carol".

finally I can relax and start to feel festive

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope it is a truly magical and wonderful time for all of you xxxxx

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The C's of Christmas

yesterday I escaped to the city in search of Christmas cheer, culture, chat, coffee and completion of the Christmas list.........

- Christmas cheer -well the sparkly lights and the fantastic nativity scene in a shop window filled that need
- culture - I can't pretend I understood it, especially not the Damien Hirst exhibit......... but it was interesting, and a nice procrastination before braving the commercial part of the trip.....
- chat - my lovely sister in law met me for a day of catching up and putting the world to right
- coffee - and lunch and wine........
- completing the list - cupcake stands, cupcake cases, cups, books, Lego, puzzles, cake, pudding.......

so the shopping is finished, now the wrapping can start.......... look out for me in about a week when I finally escape from an enormous tangle of sellotape

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

book club outing

a few months ago the book club I've joined read Wife in the North, a blog turned book, written by a journalist who moved from London to Northumberland at the request of her hubby, who promptly went back to London to work, leaving her with 2 small children, and culture shock.

last night at Barter books, my favourite bookshop in the whole world, there was a talk by the author, sitting in the old waiting room, with a roaring fire, a glass of wine, and a talk about books and blogging; what's not to like.

as with the book I laughed, I almost cried, I admired the courage to bare your soul publicly, balancing the need to talk with the need to consider the feelings of those around you, and the reactions you might cause.

and when asked if anyone had a blog I kept quiet...... still not ready to share locally what I am happy to share on a wider scale, I guess my own blog balancing is still at the wobbling stage....

Friday, 11 December 2009

happy birthday Miss K

Yesterday was Miss K's birthday. 11 years, gosh how time flies.
and what did the birthday girl want for her birthday? well she's a girl after my own heart - chocolate, more chocolate (specifically "after eights") some books, a game and some pj's.

pj's I thought, I can do that. so I take the leftover fabric from downsizing a duvet cover, draw round a pair of pj's we already have, use the directions in Amy Butlers book to work out in what order to sew everything together, sew a motif onto a long sleeved t-shirt and hope it all fits.

note to self, next time check that clothing fits, before using it as a pattern, I've just spent an hour sewing a "border" on the bottoms (not shown), to make them long enough.............

thankfully Miss K didn't mind that they were too short, and happily went to bed wearing them, oh I can't describe how happy that made me feel xxxxx

tonight we have her party, 4 girls making pizzas, rock buns, decorating gingerbread men, and embellishing party bags. which sounds chaotic, until I start thinking about E's party which is tomorrow, and will involve 5 boys, club penguin, a LOT of noise, and running about and shrieking, and if I get my head round it, some penguin themed party games............... any ideas?

then we get E's actual birthday on Sunday, which means more cake! and my brother's birthday is on Sunday too, but we just seen him last weekend, so we won't see him again this weekend, and we'll just have to have some cake for him instead.....

the best thing about birthdays is the cake don't you agree.

and this morning we got another addition to the December birthday list, a nephew for Miss K and E, and I get to be an auntie again.

think that definitely deserves cake, I'm off to do some baking xxxxx

Monday, 7 December 2009

lantern parade

recipe for a truly magical evening.

take lengths of willow and create a square based pyramid, joining the corners with sticky tape
make a cross on the base, and attach a candle to the centre with wires
fill in the sides with more willow in designs of your choice
make a little hole shape on one side for a door,
cover with tissue paper pasted with copydex (very stinky quick drying glue)
leave to dry.

recommended time taken 45 minutes
actual time - over 2 hours........

return later as darkness approaches and attach your lantern to a pole

light candle.

and off we go, hundreds of lanterns shining in the darkness, up through the gardens, through the cherry orchards, past the cascade, fountains splashing in the darkness

candles lighting up the faces of enchanted children (and adults)

leading the parade past the holly king, through the enchanted forest, and to Father Christmas, who is busy handing out oranges.

perfect xxxx

Friday, 4 December 2009


Are you sitting down? Can you believe it? Two posts in one day!!! ok so there was a week of nothing before that, and before that but..........

anyway I'm just so happy with these snowflakes I couldn't wait, pattern of course from the lovely Lucy at Attic 24.
it may snow a lot more round here over the weekend, I can feel a crochet blizzard coming on, hope you all have a lovely weekend, with or without snowflakes xoxoxoxox

joy in the new year

I've joined Jacquie's Joy in the New Year Challenge, which is a challenge to finish up as many WIP's as you can by January 1st. I started a month late, but I've finished one! It's only tiny, and I can't show you anymore as it's a gift for someone, but I'm so excited, let's see what else I can finish instead of doing housework!

Sunday, 29 November 2009


if........... you go down to the woods today

it will be VERY muddy

occasional breaks in the trees will afford you fantastic views,

you can fantasize about choosing the most enormous Christmas tree in the world...

and it will be just as well that you have essential supplies, and an OS map, as you will get quite lost, and it will start to get rather dark................

and when you finally find the car it will remind you that you are dangerously low on fuel.

nothing like a Sunday afternoon adventure!

Monday, 23 November 2009

excuses excuses

I tried to come up with a list of really good excuses as to why I failed to commit to a whole week of kitchen poetry, and didn't even manage to start bathroom poetry, hosted by Lynn, which makes me feel truly terrible, as I pushed for her to start it........
so where is this great list, truth is, I couldn't do it, there are no great excuses, only a few pretty poor ones - including
  • hubby backed up all the photos onto an external hard drive, and then deleted them from the laptop, in an attempt to make it work better.. including my bathroom photos - but you really aren't missing much, a spider, some rather haphazardly balanced pictures on top of the bathroom cabinet, a small collection of plastic polar bears who live in the bathtub (??? strange but true)
  • I was too busy baking billions of cookies for the children in need bake sale at school, and truly frustrated to find them all still in E's rucksac when he got home. his defence "I didn't know where to put them, and Mrs C would have shouted at me if I asked" -- Mrs C shouts a lot..........
  • I stole away to the knitting and stitching show and had a wonderful day browsing, admiring, wondering, wishing... (and a little bit of buying)

so to try and make amends, one poetry picture, my knitted rag/strip bathmat.

and now for some eye candy, felt scraps bought in a bundle for making who knows what

lovely yarns, which were far too expensive for a impulse buy, so I've given them to hubby so he can wrap them up for me for Christmas - cunning plan huh!

sweet little crochet heart bunting, made mostly from jumpers that E and Miss K have grown out of and I've spent weeks unravelling. look I'm even blocking the hearts - ok so I sewed them together first, far too impatient to wait but still impressed that I'm blocking them.

and last but definitely NOT least, a lovely lovely lovely parcel that came from Fioleta with instructions to open before Christmas so I could be inspired. Thank you SO much, I love it. xxxxx

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

more kitchen poetry 2

we've been on a "drink boiled water" alert due to a burst pipe somewhere nearby.
no change for me then, I only drink tea after all but I did boil some water for the children, and cooled it in my blue jugs. poetry in practicality.

more kitchen poetry 3

kitchen window washing up vista.
steps adorned with pots of minature pansies just planted.
no sign of any flowers yet.
poetry in patience.

more kitchen poetry 1

I had so much fun last year with kitchen poetry, I've decided to join this year's hosted by fancy elastic

so I present the sun catching the fruit on the kitchen counter, and making them glow with autumnal colour.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

sewing sunshine

thank you for all the wonderfully supporting comments about yesterday's post, they really helped. I nearly deleted it later, but I'm glad I didn't. so thanks.
things are a bit better today.

and to bring some sunshine into this blog here's a little quilty picture I've made to hang above washing machine. I found this wonderful site with the most fantastic advice on quilting and free motion, called day style designs. I need to take a much better photo but I had such fun practising different little swirly free motion fillers, and some rather silly applique

the underwear on the line has caused much scandal with the youngest member of the family, could be worse, at least it's matching xoxo

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

stone towers

I took these photos a few weekends ago because I loved the way there was not just one stone tower

but almost a whole flock of them

each one precariously balanced

this is the one we added to the collection
this week I don't think I could make a single stone balance, it feels like there are stones crashing down all around. Miss K is having a hard time at school, and it feels like it's the end of the world for her, last night we had 4 hours of tears...... and today I've spoken to three teachers, made an appointment to go to school, spent hours reading parenting articles, and pondering self help book purchases, and eaten so much chocolate I feel slightly ill........
meanwhile E has started to compile a birthday present ideas list, so far it has on it ; a guitar, more lego (as if we didn't have enough) and a x board which as far as I can tell is the most dangerous looking skate board in the world

someone once told me it gets easier as the children get older

they lied

Monday, 2 November 2009

this week we've been.........

this week we've been............

scaring the post man

living a pirate fantasy life

eating soup

putting up a bird table, and delighting in watching it being visited

making aliens at the Hancock Museum

and splashing in puddles, drinking LOTS of tea, buying velcro so I can finish the worst sewing project in the world - EVER, reading a truly depressing book for book club, cutting back a hawthorn hedge to make some room for the bird feeder, and spending two days finding thorns embedded in my hands, realising I'm about 2 months late for something, and driving around the country way too much in a week of half term holiday - holiday for who I wonder - I'm exhausted

Friday, 23 October 2009

veggie magic

one of the weekly highlights for me is still our veggie bag
the best bit for me yesterday, was that hubby was home so he could carry it up the hill. I refused to let him drive, even though the car was available, so that he got the true veggie experience.

for the little people this was certainly the highlight of the haul

but for me - well take your pick, it could be a magic wand, a glamourous red finger nail, or best of all a red lightsaber !

rain fairies?

it feels like there's been an awful lot of grey and wet round here the last few weeks

in fact so much rain that these little mushrooms are popping up all over our garden.

either it's a sign of a lot of damp

or there are rain fairies in my garden?

I know which I prefer - what about you?

Monday, 12 October 2009

floodlit fountains

Sunday night, 7pm.
family all full of roast dinner, and eagerly awaiting the apple crumble to come out of the oven.
so we do eat the apple crumble?
oh no, we turn off the oven - leaving the crumble inside to let it cool down slowly, we wrap up in warm jumpers and we go out....

to the gardens, where there was a special late opening and floodlighting.

it is even more magical in the dark

trying to capture the fountains was quite a challenge,

as you still had to remember to watch out in case you got soaked....

splish splash

and the crumble was just the right temperature when we got home......

Thursday, 8 October 2009

crazy mom's quilt a long finally finished

finally, 18 months after I started - shocking huh! I've finished the quilt I started as one of crazy mom's quilt a longs. I think she has run 4 or 5 since...........
no idea why it took so long, perhaps because I knew it wasn't for me, and was always going to be a gift for my sister in law and her husband, (it was going to be a wedding gift, a year later and it's a house warming gift too.........)

all of the blues were from my stash, and I only bought the creamy white sashing and some of the cream for the blocks. so it's almost a scrap quilt. love that. want to start another one.

here's the view the other way on, not sure which is the top

and here's the back, also pieced to save on fabric. finished size 5ft x 7ft.

it's called Scattered Blues. and I finished it in my new studio - still loving that.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

being a teenager again

we've been here for 7 weeks now
which is long enough for me to remember which cupboard the cornflakes are in, but not long enough to have made enough friends.
so that when hubby goes away with work I don't want to sit at home all weekend feeling isolated, and instead the children and I hop on the train and go "home", back to where we came from 7 weeks ago.
which they loved, train rides, and being spoilt by grandparents, and seeing some friends.
it was rather bittersweet for me, in my head were constantly the thoughts of "I liked it here, why did we move?"

strangest though was sleeping at my parents house. I last spent a night there when we moved back from Boston 11 years ago. Before then it was in the holidays as a student, or of course as a child.

which is what I felt like on Saturday night. we ate dinner, Miss K and E went to bed, and then I suddenly thought "I really feel like going and calling on F."
F and I were at primary school together from the age of 5. We are still in touch because she is really good at that kind of thing, and whilst we've both moved away/back several times in the last 3 1/2 decades she now lives back in her family home which she inherited a few years ago. the family home that is a 10 minute walk from my parents.

"mum, can I go round to F's house" and off I wandered through the village, just the same as it always has been, and we sat and chatted, and drank tea, and put the world to rights for hours.

until long past midnight when I glanced at the clock, and said "oh god, look at the time, I haven't got a key and my mum will be sitting up waiting for me"

and she was...........

Friday, 2 October 2009

october views and veggies

I forgot to let you look out of the windows when you stopped by for a visit, so here is the view from the front room and my studio (oh how I love how that sounds!)

the road snaking down the hill past many many roof tops, before the landscape opens out to fields, and there in the distance a hint of water. depending on the day/time/sky/ it ranges from a brilliant blue, to the dullest of greys. mostly greys if I'm honest but it still makes my heart beat just a little faster when I see it.

this is today. ok, so who has stolen the sea? I still have roof tops to look at, the huge yellow salt bin (oh what fun, that means the road is going to be an ice rink come winter), but the sliver of sea which constitutes our view is gone.......

equally alarming is the view if I look the other way, in between the houses at the end of the street is a field, and beyond that about a mile or so away is the main road, once which travels the length of the country onwards to Scotland, or heading south it goes right past where we moved from. it is my escape route back to all that is familiar. I am very concerned it is not there......

something that is still there though is the hill. in order to get these views we live up a hill. I know it's still there because I walk up and down it several times a day. Yesterday it felt a lot further and steeper because I had signed up for a vegetable bag scheme at school. the idea is that you get a seasonal bag of local veg/fruit, and because it gets taken to school with lots of other orders you don't pay delivery. which is where the theory falls apart - ie it doesn't get delivered home.

and it's heavy
very heavy

but I'm really excited to find out what's in it, and I have another bag with me to transfer some of it into to make the carrying just a little easier

oh the excitement to open it all up, and discover wonderful treats, and to plan dinner around what's inside, (and what needs eating up first..........)

just one thing though, anyone know what this is?