Monday, 28 November 2011

Birthdays and celebrations on the way

We've been busy this week, starting our Christmas decorations:

And the present-making continues apace... in the end I decided to make both projects - at once!

Gap-tastic cowl above, lacy headband below

Milly squeezing the cat & me in my lovely handmade headband - thank you Lisa! :)

Milly's birthday is fast approaching - as is mine, which I feel very ambivalent about - so I have been secretly building up a stash of gifts for her. It's very hard trying to explain how to keep secrets to a 3 year old though - she's dying to tell Milly what she's got! Luckily she's not seen the main things - a cute monkey costume, which I think she will LOVE and facepaints - YAY!! I bought some for Jess too so she doesn't feel left out. I also ordered some helium balloons something I've never done before, which is really exciting. As usual I've spent my birthday money on gifts for other people, but I did treat myself to some overpriced but very yummy Cath Kidston hand cream.

So this week I have lots to get done - well for me anyway - birthday cake and card to make, finishing off knitting projects before their owners-to-be arrive for Mil's birthday this weekend, so I can stash them away and try to resist the temptation to get them out and show them off! Granny and Grandad AND Aunty Boo AND my sis are coming to visit which is fantastic - my sis lives up Lancaster way so it's a treat to see her, and we don't often see Aunty Boo either. Then Granny is taking Jess back with her for a couple of nights, which will be the first time she's stayed away from home.... she'll have such a good time! I had hoped to get out to the new River Cottage restaurant which has opened in Plymouth for a birthday meal this weekend but sadly it was not to be, fully booked. Bangers n'mash in the local pub instead methinks!

Have a lovely week!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Patchwork cushion



All finished! That's another pressie crossed off my list.... just a few more to go. Next up is a cowl-neck scarf OR a headband, I can't decide.

Both patterns are free downloads, but the headband looks a bit more of a challenge! I have only ventured tentatively out of the scarf knitting box, and that was to make a little bag, which to be fair, was also square, so I'm hardly out of beginner needles yet. Still it's good to stretch yourself a little!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Photos from our week

One of the best things to keep the girls quiet and absorbed together for an hour or so while I get dinner on: a bowl of cornflour and water! It looks awful afterwards, but because it's only flour it's easy to clean up. And if you've never experienced the weirdness of wet cornflour, try it! It seems in the space of a breath to veer between solid and liquid and back, very peculiar.

Milly is still obsessed with putting everyone to bed: last night I found this little scene on the table, she'd found a crushed shoebox for Piglet to sleep in, all tucked up under his cardboard blanket!

And here's a scene Jessie had set up before she went to bed: I found out this morning that they are all gathered around Eeyore because "he is sad". Aw. It shows how she craves order because she's made sure each type of animal is with its own kind - even Tigger has been put next to the zebras with his stripes!

Taking Lucky for a walk in Looe

The sea was cold and grey so we didn't explore very much, but it'll be a good spot to return to in the summer, lovely heaths overlooking the shore.

A rare photo of Mum with her girls! Looking lumpy. I did have to shove the camera at Jude for him to take it, but at least there's some record of my existence rather than always being on the other side of the camera!

And this is Jessie's look du jour (well all week really): crazy princess! Well, it's more crazy old witch, but this is the only costume she has... She is wearing a floppy crown I made for her third birthday, which is pretty, but quite impractical as it was cut out of fleece scraps. I want to make one for Mil as her birthday is coming up, but I think I'll use proper felt this time.

And the cushion cover is slowly taking shape. I added a little white border to the patchwork to help break up the design a bit; it was a bit fiddly (mainly because my lines are never straight!) but I think it works well. I quite like an idea I saw for a cushion back, where someone had cut out an old shirt and used the existing buttonholes to fasten the cushion, but I think for this I'll have to stick to a pillow opening, as I want to use the same fabric as the front, this lovely peacock blue. Originally this was an amazing full-length hand-made coat with a funny cape around the shoulders, which I'd bought in a charity shop years ago but never found a use for. I had intended to alter it so that it was wearable (back in the days when I used to wear outrageous clothes!) as I always find it so difficult to tear clothing up if it can still somehow be worn - a bit like writing in or ripping up books, something in me feels it is deeply wrong! So I'm glad that it has finally found a purpose, and hopefully it will give me the courage to tackle the boxes of old clothing I've kept but never dared to tear up for patchwork...

Monday, 14 November 2011


A finished project! Yay!

I'm really pleased with this little basket, it took a day to make from selecting the fabric to finished piece. Now I just have to decide who to give it to for Christmas! If I had planned everything properly I'd have made some pretty little soaps to put inside, but there you go.... looks like a visit to Lush is in order...

And here are a couple of pics of the process to show just how easy it was:

All the pieces cut out
Stitching the patchwork panels in a line to save thread!

We all had a lovely day out to the Eden Project on Sunday - well I say day, but we didn't get there until about 3pm so it was brief but lovely! They are offering Cornish and Devonian (?) residents annual membership for £5 which is fantastic so I'm looking forward to going back many times over the next year. It's really nice to be able to do things with the girls during the week when it's less crowded - it was packed on Sunday which was a shame as there were some great kids craft activities going on but there were too many people. And as it is one of my favourite places to go anyway, I don't need much excuse!

In the Mediterranean biome

And here's my next project to start:

It's going to be a patchwork cushion for my sister... yes, another Xmas present! I was quite happy with this layout until I started playing around with some bits of yellow and green silk to make it a bit more interesting, then realized I'd have to find something to stiffen the silk up with - interfacing maybe? - or it will drive me crazy sliding all over the place and I don't think it would work in conjunction with the sturdier pieces. So maybe I should just keep it simple.

Nice to be sewing again after so long!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Snowflakes & crochet

Been busy making these paper snowflakes: Mil's 2nd birthday is coming up and my idea is to hang these in her bedroom so that when she wakes up in the morning she sees them. They'll also double up as wrapping decorations for Christmas presents or just to hang up and look pretty! There's a great website which has some lovely designs and I was also inspired by How About Orange and her very pretty designs.

I'm getting a bit obsessed with them so I'm breaking off every now and then to work on a crochet box I've started (taken from Kirstie's Homemade Home); bit of a blurry pic, but you get the idea. This is the first 'proper' crochet project I've attempted apart from granny squares, so it's quite thrilling.... and I think I've finally got the hang of it now I've done the fourth side! The first three were all a bit wonky as I was just making it all over-complicated.... I had to borrow a book from the library to learn how to do the stitches properly, as lovely as Kirstie's book appears to be, it is very lacking in detail for a beginner.

Anyhow, that's on hold as I've run out of the wool I was using..... so I may have to finally start a fabric project, which I haven't been interested in doing for a while now. I thought I'd try this lovely tutorial by Ayumi from Pink Penguin which I bookmarked ages ago.

Generally I've been feeling much more positive since taking Bach Flower Remedies. Even after just a couple of days I felt more confident and calmer, quite amazing. The midwife was very reassuring when she visited and she also phoned to check on the progress with the doctor - none - which was kind of her. I rang the surgery and was told a doctor would call me back at some point that day, which he did, but I didn't manage to get to the phone in time.... he called back later that day and said he "didn't have time to deal with me as he was off to Cambodia for ten days" and that a colleague would call me back the next day - nice. As it happened, apparently she did try to call, but couldn't get through (?) and left no message so I had no idea she'd tried until the midwife told me. So, after wasting two days sitting by the phone waiting for a call I decided that it was just a waste of time.

All I had expected the doctor to offer was counselling or medication, neither of which I think would be particularly beneficial for how I've been feeling anyway. Aside from the rudeness of that first doctor who called, they are a pretty good bunch at the surgery but I do think I'm better just getting on with things as I am. At least I know that the midwife is understanding and she has offered to come and visit anytime I feel I need her to, which is really good, as I know how overworked they are.

As much as I hate feeling as shitty as I have been, I also think it's kind of healthy to go through this kind of thing: there are many shades of emotion in everyone after all, and what would be the point of forever being a sort of squishy pale pink? I'm not suggesting that it's a good idea to wallow forever in a pit of self-despair, but it is a part of who I am and it would be more unhealthy to just ignore it.

And here's a pic of my lovely smiling girl, who helps make my grey days feel much sunnier!


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