Wednesday, 23 December 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Now that the birthday celebrations are over (mine and Little Roo's) the serious business of Christmas can begin!! It was great to see Kirstie back on our screens with her Christmas show, which inspired me to go out, buy some red card and gold glitter and get sticking!! I'm rather pleased with my stars. Flopsy Bunny got in on the act and her stars are going to be Xmas tree decorations and gift tags. I was going to get my lino cutting stuff down to make some reindeer stamps but couldn't find anywhere that sold lino so I guess that will have to wait until next year.

So this will be my last post before Christmas and I have 10 more rows to knit and then the small issue of sewing up but I'm hoping to get a picture on Christmas morning for a post-Christmas post. All that's left to say is
Merry Christmas
wishing you all a fabulously festive time x

Festive Tip

If you are planning on having lots of roaring log fires this festive season - like us - then stock up on tangerines too! The peel, when dried, makes the most amazing fire lighters and much cheaper than having to buy some!!!

Balancing tangerines when I should be knitting . . . you can see why I don't get many things done around here!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow ...

Our snowflake decorations were made just in time - Flopsy Bunny got a bit bored with the glitter glue (can't understand it myself!) so I had fun instead!! Now back to that knitting - worried? me? only two days to go ... my needles will be whirring!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The panic is beginning to set in ....

Now that my beautiful baby boy has turned one - and we did have a lovely day; he beamed all day saying 'Happy', and was very pleased with himself - my thoughts can turn towards Christmas. Eeeekkkk!! Flopsy Bunny's advent calendar has become a harbinger of doom, with each door that opens meaning another day less to get ready! I have managed to do some Christmas shopping and have put up some fairy lights outside, which gives our little cottage a twinkly feel. But I still have a whole pile of mauve wool to knit - luckily onto the sleeves now so should be done by Christmas eve. I was also hoping to make one of these for my sister, but I'm not sure I will be able to get it done in time. I would like to make some more clothes for Poppy doll and I'm half way through making her a ballet/princess outfit. I'm obviously on a rag doll vibe at the moment as I came across these adorable Elves and feel very tempted to make them. But I might wait to see what reaction I get from Poppy first before launching into more dolls!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A doll called Poppy

Meet the new member of Flopsy Bunny's doll family - she's not finished yet as the eagle eyed amongst you will notice! But I wanted to show her to you all the same. Father Christmas will be popping this one into Flopsy Bunny's stocking on Christmas Eve.

When I saw Cupcakes for Clara's doll I thought what a fantastic doll. I had been looking for a doll that Flopsy Bunny could dress for ages. I had been disappointed in all the plastic dolls available as they are difficult to dress as the arms don't move very easily and the rag dolls available didn't really have the right feel to them either. But I loved this one, so I hopped down under to Hop Skip Jump and bought a Poppy Doll pattern. It's a great pattern, really easy to follow and makes up great. Included are patterns for a pair of trousers and two tops. I'm now frantically sewing when Flopsy Bunny is not around so she will have lots of little outfits to dress her dolly in.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Nellie the elephant

Here's my latest creation - I'm not sure if it is a Nellie but I'm sure s/he will have a name soon - something typically 70's to go with the retro look! The pattern was one of my mum's - free from a copy of Woman and Home from the 1970's. Sadly the instructions have long been lost but it wasn't too tricky to work out how to make him up. I just loved the fabric when I saw it and thought it would be great for an elephant. The flowery one is by Moda - American Jane - Peas and Carrots "Daisy in Red" and the other fabric is "Pez in Red" from the same collection. The fabric has been discontinued but I managed to get hold of some on Etsy - wonderful place . . . The thing I love most about this elephant is that it is rather coy - looking down, hiding behind his ear's rather like his owner Little Roo, who is also a bit coy - and gorgeous too!

I'm busy, busy, busy making things so hopefully I will have more to show you soon. The mauve wool is growing nicely, despite Flopsy Bunny's best intentions - she has a fascination with my knitting which normally involves pulling the needles out and undoing a few rows - needless to say I'm not taking this very well . . . I'm also just about to cut out some material to make a rag doll - I'm very excited about this. Hope you are making some exciting projects too!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Spooky goings on ...

It's all been a bit spooky around our neck of the woods. We've been to a Halloween disco, which was excellent fun for Flopsy Bunny and even Little Roo enjoyed himself and it gave us all a chance to dress up. I've realised that I have LOTS of halloween dressing up clothes, not sure why, but I have devils horn's, witches hats and my favourite fluffy spider deely boppers!

So the halloween disco was in aid of our local pre-school and I was roped into making some halloween biscuits.
Ok so the photo doesn't really do them justice but I was actually quite pleased that they even got to this state! I used this receipe for the biscuits and rather wished I had read the comment that had been left before I started making them - I've only just seen it!! Like the commentator I also found that I got a gooey mess at the end despite following the receipe exactly! In fact I only put in half the quantity of buttermilk as I could see which direction the mixture was heading! So it did not make a dough and therefore it was impossible to cut cookies from it. Luckily I put the whole bowl in the fridge for a couple of hours and using masses of flour to flour the surface, my hands and the rolling pin I managed to cut out some decent-enough looking biscuits. The decorating bit went a bit better, although I discovered that Flopsy Bunny had been round eating all the chocolate drops which were the bats eyes! Luckily I still had a bit of black icing left to stick some more back on!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Rainbow gorgeousness

Gorgeous colours - what a lovely package to open this glorious autumn morning!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

One year on ...

Ok, so I've missed my first blogging anniversary by a day! I had it in my mind that it was the 24th October and as it turns out it was the 23rd! That is sooo like me .... But I'm pleased to have kept going for a whole year and want to say lots of thank yous to all of you who have read my posts and to those who have commented - it's been wonderful reading them!

It's been a lovely year where I have discovered lots of crafty people and seen some wonderful finished projects. I have to say that this has to be my best finished project of the year:

followed by this one. I haven't made as much as I would have liked to this year - I hope you will forgive me on that one and hope that next year will be even more industrious!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Hello Goodbye

Goodbye artex ceiling and anaglypta wallpaper. Hello smooth walls and ceilings and bright fresh colour (although the photo doesn't do it justice as the light was so poor that day). Still a little bare but getting there - our newly decorated sitting room - love it!

You may have noticed a little musical theme in the last couple of posts - just something for you to hum along to when you are reading!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

We've spent a lot of time in the car today - not intentionally I might add - we wanted to check out a Cotswold village as a possible place to celebrate DH's birthday next year. But by the time we got there it was lunchtime and by the time we had had lunch it was time to go back home again! I did manage to sneak a quick look in a lovely antiques shop close to where we parked the car and came back with this lovely - so not a completely wasted trip!

The funny thing about today though (and all that time spent in the car) was that there seemed to be several different vehicle conventions going on. First I spotted 5 open topped Porsche's in convoy, later 3 VW Camper Van's, 4 old fashioned buses and 3 hot air balloons all in convoy - it certainly was the day for being out and about!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Collective Unconscious and Fruit Flies!

I've been musing about Jung's concept of the Collective Unconscious lately and the idea of universal experience. It makes me think that there is a lot more to our existence than we are aware of, particularly when it comes to communication and that we could be communicating on many different levels, not just the verbal level.

So case in point, fruit flies! I've been plagued by fruit flies for the last month or so. I'm not sure where they came from, but I can't seem to be able to get rid of them, even hiding the fruit in the fridge doesn't seem to work. So imagine my surprise when last week I came across two things about fruit flies! The first, very usefully, was angry chicken's blog who had, under the title of random things, instructions on how to make a fruit fly trap! The second was an article in The Week, on some research about fruit flies which discovered that after mating the female fruit fly, rather than take her normal lunchtime nap would busy herself with chores - finding food or a good nesting site, while the male went to sleep. I now seem to know a lot about fruit flies!

I guess it could be coincidence (which I'm sure it is) but then there is a part of me which likes the idea that we are all connected in some way and that if we need something, it will come to us from somewhere!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

A pile of mauve wool

Can only be for one person ...

Knitting is the only thing I can do at the moment. The excitement of getting on with my sewing projects has been put on hold while a bigger project is taking place. We are having our sitting room re-decorated and everything that was in the sitting room is now in the dining room and at the back under piles of 'stuff' is my sewing machine ... So knitting it is then for a little while but probably a good thing as I want to finish this little number by Christmas eve!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

I'm back ...!

Sorry it has been a bit quiet here recently. We went away for a quick bit of last minute sun - which was lovely and then it has been full swing back into the chaos of a new term. Things have settled down a bit. We are into our new routine - which everyone was craving after the unstructuredness (not sure if this is a word!) of the summer holiday. So that combined with the fact that Little Roo is getting into something resembling a sleep routine and actually having proper naps - yea! - means that I've started on the mountain of projects I have been accumulating.

So first off, trousers. Strangely, I've been humming "Donald where's your troosers", while making these lovelies for Little Roo - I have been far too influenced by my DH I fear! So inspired by Oxford Kitchen Yarns, what gorgeous trousers ... I set about making a pattern for Little Roo. They are a bit wide at the bottom so the next pair might be more tapered. Also a bit summery - I had intended making them in the summer! - but they have done the trick as the change in season and a growth spurt means he hasn't many clothes that fit him at the moment. The fabric is Daisy Chain by Amy Butler.

Now that the sewing machine is out and the dining room table cleared the next project is on it's way!!!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Wonderful Herbs

I've been having a bit of a herby day today. We've had a bit of a glut of herbs recently courtesy of our veggie box. So for lunch I made my favourite soup - parsley soup - which is really leek and potato soup but just before it is ready to whizz up in the liquidizer you blanch a good bunch of parsley in some boiling water for a minute and then plunge it into cold water to stop it cooking. Then add to the soup and whizz! Fantastic parsley flavour and fabulous green colour - a total hit in our house.

We've also been inundated with basil too - so I've been making some basil ice cubes. Chop up some basil and put a teaspoon of chopped basil into each cube of an ice cube tray, fill up with water and then freeze. Hey presto you've got freshly chopped basil ready and waiting
whenever you need it- just add a cube or two to whatever you are cooking!

Monday, 31 August 2009

Fabric Love

I've been indulging myself a bit and going a little crazy on Etsy buying up some fabulous fabrics. I love fabric, always have, my aunt (who has been researching our family tree) says we come from a long line of tailors and craftspeople so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. My obsession with fabric and making things wasn't helped by a Saturday job I had as a teenager in a local fabric shop. I didn't really earn much in the way of money as most of it was spent on fabric. My mother used to sigh and mutter "I hope you're not intending on wearing that tonight" as I came home holding a bag of fabric each Saturday, and I would reply "yes!" and set straight to work making a skirt or trousers to wear out that night! Those were the days ...

I have plans for all of the above - I just have to find some time ... As we are coming to the end of the summer holidays and routine and structure will again return to our lives I'm hoping to set to work on this little lot. In the meantime I gaze lovingly at my little pile and it makes me smile! As you can see it doesn't take much to make me happy!

Now Kellie, from Don't Look Now! is another lady who has a similar love of fabric and she makes the most amazing and gorgeous quilts and cushions. I am totally in awe of her designs and the way she uses fabrics. Not only she is incredibly talented but amazingly generous too and she is having a give away on her blog at the moment to celebrate her 100th post. All you need to do is hot foot it 'down under' to her blog (it is totally worth doing as the give away is a fantastic quilt called Lilly Pilly) and leave a comment and keep your fingers crossed. Here's hoping ...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Blackberry and Apple Jam

Blackberry and Apple Jam has to be my all time favourite jam. I'm not sure whether it is because of the taste or whether it is because it was the first jam I ever made. I first made the jam at school and in fact still use the recipe today. Although reading through my book I don't think I was paying much attention that day (I was a bit of a dolly daydreamer at school) as it was rather brief, I had left out the amount of sugar needed and the instructions were simply, wash and then cook the fruit, add the sugar and boil until setting point is reached. OK so that is basically how you make jam but there was no ideas of timings etc. So this year I decided to actually work out some timings so here is my recipe for Blackberry and Apple Jam:

3/4lb Blackberries
1/4lb Cooking Apples
1lb Sugar
A little water
Wash the blackberries and peel, core and chop the apples. This time I cooked the fruit separately, but in the past I have cooked them together. I'm not sure if it actually makes much difference and might actually cook them together in future. Anyway place the fruit into a saucepan and add a little water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft. If you are cooking them separately then add the cooked Blackberries and Apples together into a large saucepan and then add the sugar. Heat the mixture gently and stir while the sugar dissolves and once it has dissolved bring to the boil and boil for about 8-10 minutes until setting point has been reached. I now use a jam thermometer as I can never work out if it's reached setting point using other methods such as the cold saucer method. Then it's just a case of filling up your sterilized jam jars and adding labels!

I made twice the quantities and made about 4 jars worth with a little left over for tasting, although I might have made more but I think I over boiled it at the end - got a bit distracted with two little ones and having to change a nappy! If you are not a fan of the pippiness from the blackberries, The Cottage Smallholder has a non pippy version. I might have to pick some more blackberries to make a second batch, the rate we get through jam these four jars won't even last until Christmas!

Friday, 21 August 2009


I love this time of the year, combine harvester's racing round the countryside to get the crops in. It brings me back to my childhood. Our garden backed onto a field and we used to love watching the harvest being gathered, all very exciting. The most exciting part was when they burnt off the stubble afterwards - not very PC I know - but it was quite mesmerizing to watch as the wind made the flames dance around the field and the loud crackling sound will stay with me forever!

I've had my own little harvest as you can see. Although I'm a bit ashamed to say that we have lots of brambles in our garden! We have an amazing wild garden. On a hill, so parts of it are inaccessible and it backs onto woodland - or rather our garden is half woodland. I have long since stopped trying to tame it and have now accepted that there will be bits that we can manage - a couple of flowerbeds and the rest will just have to be taken over by nature. Anyway, the good thing is that we haven't had to go far this year to pick our blackberries! These ones are destined to become jam which is just as well as last year's jam supply has run out and we are now having to resort to shop bought jam so I need to make some quick!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Pussy Cat Antics

It's tough being a cat, even one who sleeps all day, all that sleeping can get boring after a while so Saffy has decided to make it a bit more interesting and set herself a challenge to find the most novel and unique place to sleep in. I mistakenly left a skirt of Flopsy Bunny's resting on top of this bowl and hey presto it turned into a cat bed! As you can see she was a little put out at having her sleep disturbed for the photo!

All this cat chatting is really to disguise (badly I feel) the fact that I haven't been very crafty recently. I could put it down to the fact that I don't make much in the summer as we tend to be out and about, or that the little ones leave me with no time, both of which are true in part but excuses aside I don't really have any excuses! I have materials for several projects but nothing has materialized so I might just muse awhile until I get caught by the making bug again - which I'm sure won't be too long - so please bear with me! Meanwhile, back to the cat ...

Friday, 7 August 2009

Happy Anniversary to us ...

It's ten years today that DH and I tied the knot on a lovely sunny August day in a country church and we've had a fabulous time together since! Above (picture will follow tomorrow but I felt I couldn't show all of you before poor DH had even opened it! Luckily he doesn't follow this blog very often so I think I am safe!) is my present to him, a couple of love birds just like us. I discovered them at Fresh Air a sculptural exhibition we go to every other year which is wonderful. These beauties were made by Mike Savage and a couple of emails later had them flapping their wings all the way to our house and now out into the garden.

Sorry for the delay in posting the photo - I felt I just had to weed the herb bed where the birds had landed, but then in the end have added a non-weeded photo! Oh well at least I have a weed free bed now!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Chocolate Raisin Jumbles

It may be tipping down with rain outside, but inside we have chocolate raisin jumbles! Flopsy Bunny and I spent an afternoon baking while the rain poured and Little Roo slept. The thing about having a three year old helping is that it involves a bit of pouring, a bit of stirring and a LOT of licking - spoons, fingers, cookie mixture when mummy isn't looking! I don't blame her though! The cookies are lovely and just as I remembered them - a favourite of mine from my childhood, thanks for the recipe mum!

Friday, 31 July 2009

Lovely Lolly

An unexpected sunny afternoon had Flopsy Bunny and I running for the ice lolly's to eat in the garden. We had been very excited when our rocket lolly moulds arrived in a package from Lakeland and I quickly whipped up some lovely raspberry lolly mixture (recipe courtesy of my sister). I wasn't sure how much the recipe would make but in the end we had lots of mixture left over (after filling all the moulds) so I filled up some little pots with lids and froze those too and DH and I have been having little raspberry sorbets for pudding - what a treat!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Tu-whit Tu-whoo

"Otto Owl is a great thinker. I believe he is thinking now.
He gets his best thoughts, however, sat in a tree with friends"
(from And So to Bed: Hand Knits and Things by Lucinda Guy)

When I saw this pattern for an Otto Owl Toy I knew I just had to make it for Little Roo, mainly because;

  1. He's a bit of a night owl, wanting to be the last person up and then sleeping in in the morning.
  2. He looks a bit owly, big blue eyes and a solemn look on his face when he is thinking
  3. And then there's the name ...
I'm really pleased at how my little owl turned out and especially pleased to have been able to borrow the pattern book from my local library. I didn't know whether I would want to buy the book until I had seen it, but now I have seen it I definitely want to buy it and knit everything in it!

Sweet dreams my little owl boy and happy (belated) wishes for turning 6 months x

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


... she's turned you into a princess!

We were late picking up DH from the station last night because Flopsy Bunny was trying to decide which of her 4 tiara's to wear. Picture her now in her tiara, PJ's, crocs, sparkley pink socks and handbag! Oh to be three again and have big decisions such as these to make in your life.

Have a magical princessy day.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Can you see what it is yet?

... said with a Rolf Harries accent! Feels like ages since I posted about something crafty so here is my next nearly finished project. A little bit more knitting to do and then sewing up. A belated six month birthday present for Little Roo.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Where have all the blackcurrants gone . . . ?

Just back from our holiday to discover two completely bare blackcurrant bushes ... which did have berries (albeit green ones) on them before we left. The beans didn't fare too well either. Slugs, deer and black birds have been having a fine old time while we have been away. Luckily the gooseberry bush was left alone and I picked 3lb of them yesterday! Gooseberry recipes gratefully received!

The garden has taken on a life of it's own while we were away and it's about time to trim back our two bay trees. It always seems such a shame to just compost the bay leaves but I have more than I can use and give lots away too - does anyone have any tips for making use of excess bay leaves?

... now back to that huge pile of washing!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

How does your garden grow?

My peonies are out and looking gorgeous, this variety is called 'bowl of beauty' and it definitely lives up to it's name don't you think? With all this warm weather we have been outside alot. Flopsy Bunny has discovered the joys of raking and planting seeds and we are going full steam ahead with the veggies although I know deep down in my heart that the slugs will eat everything ...

We had great fun making wigwams for DH's bean plants, afterwards he reminded me that they were a self-supporting dwarf variety which didn't need the canes ... oh well Flopsy Bunny and I enjoyed ourselves!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


Very topical at the moment I know, what with the cabinet reshuffle, but we've been having a reshuffle at home too! With Little Roo's arrival the question of who was going to sleep where seemed obvious - Flopsy Bunny would move into the spare room and Little Roo would take her room - easy! Or so we thought. The problem was where to put all the things that were in the spare room and this has orchestrated a ripple that has run through the whole house. There are still some periphery ripples but in the main it's done. Flopsy Bunny is sleeping in her new room with most of her toys. Little Roo is sometimes sleeping in his room but preferring to sleep in our room if he can get away with it! The assorted clutter and stuff has either been thrown out, found new homes or been hidden in the black hole that we call the loft for further deliberation at a later date!

One of the main problems is that I'm a hoarder and I come from a long line of hoarder's. I believe that actually I'm very green as I tend to hold on to things "in case they are useful in the future", maybe I've inherited the make do and mend war mentality of my grandmothers. Although as DH pointed out when he discovered three big bags of bags (not even handbags but paper bags you get from shops or gift bags given to us over the years) that even I couldn't use all those and that they were just taking up space - he had a point. So I've been ruthless. I've also discovered a wonderful blog about spring cleaning your house in 10 days! (my sort out has taken 6 months and is ongoing ... but never mind).

Anyway, one of the causalities of my tidy up were all my magazines - no where to store them, so I have been ripping out pages to stick into a book (when I have the time) which I can look at to give me inspiration. The photo above is a selection of the pages I've pulled out. But I have found some really good articles, wonderful photos and images and lots of recipes for jam so the whole process, in the main has been very useful! The other hit of the mass tidy up is that I've found a new home for all my craft things, everything in one place so I'm very happy about that - just need to get making now that I've got some space to do it in!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Bib O'Love ... well sort of

I stumbled across this bib on Ravelry (yes my favourite site!), it's from Mason-Dixon Knitting. A good way to use up any yarn hanging around. I had bought the green wool originally for the baby kimono as I had an idea of doing stripes or bands of colour but then decided to go for just one colour. So I used the green for the bib and the left over blue to do some stripes at the bottom. The ties are a bit too long but Little Roo is quite a big baby so I'm hoping he will soon fit into it. There has been lots of dribbling recently, with fingers in mouth so I can only guess there's a tooth or two coming through. Also we start weening him tomorrow (eek!) so the bib has been made just in time!

I can now start on my next project which is actually already underway and I'm very excited about it ... more on that later.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Shhh ...... someone's sleeping

I managed to get a quick photo of my Buddha baby wearing his new kimono. I am really pleased with this little cardi. I agonized over whether to have the buttons opening on the left or the right but decided it didn't really matter and I would stick to the pattern. As I mentioned in an earlier post I got the pattern from Interweave. It's a very ingenious design in that you knit it all in one piece and you only have to seam the underarms. The shoulder seams are joined by a clever three needle bind off - thanks to Mary for her invaluable tip on how to do this as the glossary wasn't included in the photocopied pattern I got from Interweave! The only tricky bit for me was remembering to slip the first stitch on every row. It does give a lovely finish - but I missed one which got knitted and only discovered it when I had gone too far to turn back, luckily the second one was spotted quickly so I could redo it. You have to be a bit vigilant! I decided to do buttons rather than the ribbon tie as it was for a boy and found some cute little fish buttons. The button loops were made by making a loop of wool where you want the button to be and roughly the right size and then I did a sort of blanket stitch all the way round the loop. More photos of the kimono can be seen on Ravelry.

I was reading periwinkle's blog last night and she had posted that she was off camping this weekend. We too are being mad impetuous fools and spending the weekend under canvas. Well it would be canvas if we were borrowing DH's parents 1930's tent again which we used last year. We had a very retro look on the campsites, with all our old and borrowed camping equipment. But with the arrival of Little Roo we needed a bigger tent and really we needed our own tent - not that the grandparents go camping that much anymore! Anyway we road tested the tent and Little Roo last May bank holiday and it was deemed a success. It's funny that camping is a real divider, you either love it or hate it. I must admit I'm not one of these minimal campers, turning up with a tent on your back and with a small stove to cook on. Given the choice between a luxury hotel and camping it would be a hotel every time! But with little ones, they just love it so it's got to be done. Here are a few points that make camping work for us
  • We only ever go for two nights which means you are never far away from a hot bath and comfortable bed!
  • We only go if there is minimal (preferably no) rain forecast. It's just no fun camping in the rain. Luckily the forecast for this weekend is good.
  • We make sure we have lots of layers to wrap up warm with and blankets to snuggle under.
  • we bring some knitting do - that's me of course not DH! Camping is prime knitting time when little ones are scampering around the field.
  • we go with some friends, which makes the whole thing so much more enjoyable. In fact last time we went we invited people who weren't camping to join us for lunch and another family came for an afternoon cream tea! You can entertain even in a tent.
Anyway, enough on camping and the joys of, I have lots of packing to do! Enjoy your Bank Holiday - whatever you are doing

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Homemade Home

I must say I have been loving Kirstie’s Homemade Home programme. She’s not everyone’s cup of tea I know but Kirstie’s a girl after my own heart. I love how she transformed her cottage in Devon and made it into a home, something unique and interesting. I share her love of looking round other people’s houses to get inspiration and I find the most interesting homes are the ones with old pieces of furniture or with interesting or beautiful objects in them. I have decided that if I don’t absolutely love a piece then I won’t have it out on display, that goes for all my clutter too (but that might be the subject of another post!). I’m also trying to remember that if I see something wonderful then I must buy it, rather than regret it later on. We have a wonderful bric a brac shop in the village and I have got some wonderful things from it over the years. It’s the sort of shop that you have to keep popping in to as the stock changes quite often and all the good bits are snapped up, but whenever I’ve needed something I tend to find it in that shop. Unfortunately it’s the sort of shop that is not practical to push a buggy round so I have to sneak off on a Saturday afternoon to get my fix!

Of course the best part of the programme was watching all the talented crafts people trying to teach Kirstie their crafts. Really inspiring to watch and a great advertisement that things you make yourself can be just as gorgeous as something you might buy in a shop if not better because you have something fully original and one off. So don’t go searching for that perfect cushion – make it yourself! That’s what I did with the cushion above, it goes brilliantly with my red and gold sitting room and was fun to make to!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

To Finish or Not To Finish . . .

. . . that is the question? I'm in a bit of a dilemma about this ballet bag for Flopsy Bunny. As you can see, I made the bag some time ago, a cute pink gingham rucksack. It works really well, it's the right size and Flopsy Bunny loves to carry her gorgeous ballet outfit in it. But I'm not sure I can add the ballet bag to the finished project list as I had intended to sew a ballerina on the front of it. The fabric I bought for the ballerina is gorgeous and I had almost forgotten how gorgeous it was until I got it out of the bag yesterday for the photo! The problem is that now the bag is in use I wonder if it needs a ballerina on the front of it. More to the point, now that the bag is in use I feel (in my mind) that it is finished and I've already moved on to the next of many projects! So there you have it, a minimal ballet bag and some lovely fabric still to use for another project . . . or . . . what do you think I should do?

Monday, 11 May 2009

A Novel Project

My author friend Fiona, or should I say my friend who's a novelist - either sounds good doesn't it?! Anyway, my clever friend Fiona has a new novel out, The Blue Handbag and being a creative type has started a project to interview 100 people who have read the book. It attempts to find out a little about them and a little about what they thought of the book. A bit like a huge international book club meeting! Very exciting. Anyway, the 100 Readers project has started and you can take a look here - 2 interviews have already been done. If you'd like to take part you can get your copy of the The Blue Handbag book at Amazon, or you could just pop over and say hello. It was Fiona who got me into blogging and she has lots of other interesting blogs as well so well worth a look if you are a budding writer or just want to read her pearls of wisdom.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Three Needle Bind Off? - HELP!

Today I mainly want to be a cat, curled up in a sunny patch, asleep ... or just dozing. I realise I have been daydreaming about sleeping a lot recently and can only put it down to 5 months of sleep deprivation. Roll on 6 months and hopefully Little Roo will be sleeping more and feeding less in the night. It does make it difficult at the moment to choose what I want to do with any scraps of time I might have for myself. A big part of me will be saying - sleep - but then I think I could be knitting!

I'm in the middle of knitting Little Roo a baby kimono which was featured in Interweave some time back. I managed to buy a photocopy of the pattern from Interweave and have been happily knitting away. It is knit in one piece and then it appears to be joined together by some clever three knitting needle bind off (or cast off for those in the UK). Unfortunately I didn't get a copy of the glossary with my photocopy so don't really know how it is done. So if anyone out there knows how to do such a thing or knows of a tutorial on the web they can direct me to, please let me know! I'm sure I will eventually find out how to do it - otherwise it will be seaming for me!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Bunny Obsession

I'm starting to wonder who in our family really has the bunny obsession - is it Flopsy Bunny who has enough bunnies to fill a small burrow ... or is it in fact me . . . ? I caught myself typing "Bunny" into the pattern search on Ravelry the other day and then spent a good half an hour going through all the bunny patterns frantically adding them to my favourites and then at the end wondering if I really needed to make all these cute little bunnies. Of course need doesn't really come into it when talking about knitting or sewing, so maybe I've got a knitting obsession which just happens to be focused on knitting bunnies at the moment! Anyway, here's the latest bunny from Artsy-Fartsy-Mama. It is so easy to knit, in fact it is a square that has been cleverly turned into a bunny with simple stitching. A bit like origami. Really clever and very cute. The only thing I would say was that my bunny was a bit top heavy and keeps falling over so if I were to make this bunny again I would put a weight in it to keep it standing up.

So with Easter over and my promise to myself not to knit anymore bunnies - the bunny nuggets will have to wait until next Easter - I have started on something for Little Roo who has been a bit neglected of late in receiving knitted things. I have a couple of things lined up for him so watch this space!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Easter Egg Rolling, Hunting & Eating

The Easter festivities may be over - but we did have some fun. There was the annual village egg rolling on Good Friday. It has become a bit of a tradition in the village although no one can remember how it began or what time it actually starts! - so there were lots of separate groups of people walking up the big hill in our village to roll their very hard boiled (you need to boil it for at least 20 minutes to make sure it doesn't explode as it hits the ground!) and beautifully decorated (so you know which one is yours at the bottom) eggs down the hill. It may sound a bit silly but it is great fun chasing after your egg. The fun continued the next day when Flopsy Bunny went on an Easter Egg Hunt with some of her pre-school friends and of course Easter Sunday was mainly about eating the eggs found on the hunt the day before and also some that the Easter Bunny had brought. As I mentioned in my last post, Flopsy Bunny has got a bit confused between Christmas and Easter, she was certain that the Easter Bunny would be hopping down the chimney with some eggs for her!

So not much time for anything crafty but I just wanted to add a note to my last post about the knitted Easter Eggs or egg in my case! I filled my egg with polyfil but I think next year I will use a polystyrene egg as I wasn't too happy with the shape of the egg - more barrel than egg! Although if I had time to mess around with the filling I might have been able to get it looking more egg shaped. The pattern as usual was excellent and really easy to follow and complete and I discovered that post-Easter you can hang the egg from the baby gym and it becomes an egg-cellent (sorry for the pun!) toy for Little Roo.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Easter Tree?!

I love festivals and holidays - Christmas must be my all time favourite but Easter, Halloween and Bonfire Night are special times too. All good occasions to decorate the house and do something different. Since the little ones have arrived I have more of an excuse to allow my inner child to run wild! So this brings us to Easter, for the last couple of years I have started doing an Easter Tree - for want of a better name for it, but my Darling Husband (DH) has been very disparaging about it. "You'll confuse Flopsy Bunny" he says - which I have done, she keeps talking about the Christmas Bunny who will be delivering eggs and that we don't need an Easter Tree because she and Daddy already got one at Christmas. Anyway, I have put these minor problems aside and gone ahead with the tree and I love it! It's surrounded by all the things Flopsy Bunny has been making and a few Easter relevant toys.

I've also managed to make one of those darling little Easter Eggs from Little Cotton Rabbits. Very quick and easy to make and I intend to make more when I've got some more wool. For now one is enough! The fact that I've been able to finish a few projects makes me realise now things have settled down. We are past the three month stage and life is losing a little of its chaotic feel.


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Bunny Party

Out of the blue last week, Flopsy Bunny announced "lets have a bunny party mummy!" I'm not sure what she had in mind exactly, although it is bound to involve chocolate, biscuits and cake ... and more chocolate, biscuits and cake!

Anyway with Easter just round the corner, I thought some Easter decorations were in order. Luckily, just in time, Little Cotton Rabbits came up with a gorgeous pattern for a Bunny Egg Cosy. A great hit with Flopsy Bunny, who as you know just loves bunnies and is also quite partial to the odd boiled egg! It was so easy to make, that I'm hoping to make one for Little Roo - luckily as he is not on solids yet there isn't a great rush to do the second one; and I have also astounded myself in being able to complete this bit of knitting! I'm wondering if I have time to make some of Little Cotton Rabbits Easter Eggs or maybe that's a step too far!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Visitors to our Garden

We had some wonderful visitors to our garden last evening, three Roe deer. Much nicer than the Muntjac deer that usually come into the garden to munch all my flowers and seedlings, although disconcertingly these three deer hot- hoofed it straight over to the veggie patch! The veggie patch had been more like a weed patch until the weekend, when miraculously both little ones were asleep at the same time and I managed to weed the whole bed. I then put on some wonderful leaf mulch compost that I have been making since we moved into this house 6 years ago. It's amazing to think that a bin bag of leaves would turn into the most gorgeous compost you could imagine, I hope the vegetables enjoy it!

Well I think this blog has spurred me into action and I have finally finished off the booties for Little Roo - and they fit! Horray! Little Roo was crying last night as I was nearing the end of making his booties so I tried knitting with him on my lap - not a complete success I must admit, although I think he enjoyed it. He kept batting the wool with his fist and then managed to grab hold of it in his vice like grip and that was the end of the knitting! Luckily he fell asleep in my arms and I managed to sew up the booties while he was still asleep - what multi-tasking!! Just off to the shops this afternoon to buy some wool - very excited!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Revamp and Challenge

I've given my blog a bit of a revamp, a new banner (designed by my wonderfully talented brother) and layout. I think it looks much better, but would love to hear what you thought of it. I'm still very new to blogging and there are some absolutely gorgeous blogs out there and I'm in awe of their beauty as well as the really talented people behind them!

So a number of people I notice have been setting themselves challenges for the coming year and I thought I might jump on the bandwagon. OK, March might be a bit late to start ... and I don't think I will manage as many projects as some, e.g. Adventures of a lady in training but I thought it would be a good place to put my ideas, hopes and inspirations. So I will be adding a list of projects I intend to do over the coming months and hope to show the finished results on this blog. This list might give you an idea of the things I like and if you see something that would be right up my street I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Spring is on the way and I'm back!

I feel a bit like a spring plant/flower at the moment; tentatively pushing up and out into space and light after a winter hibernation. Not that I've been hibernating, but my life has been turned upside down - in the nicest possible way - by Little Roo. Three months on and I feel like some semblance of normality is returning. Unfortunately making things is still a bit tricky, especially as Little Roo doesn't do much sleeping in the evening - my prime making time. But that doesn't mean my creative side has taken a back seat. Instead I have been gathering ideas and inspiration for projects to do when I've got time.

The concept of time changes when you have a newborn. Things that you could normally do quite quickly take a lot longer and you are forever having to put something down before finishing it. I have been trying to make some little booties for Little Roo as he seemed to have very cold feet, they are also quite big so I think it takes longer for his blood to get all the way down there to warm them up. Anyway, what with the cold feet and all the snow we had a pair of knitted booties seemed a great idea. I found a lovely Debbie Bliss pattern and decided to use up some of my left over wool. Unfortunately what would normally have taken me 2 evenings or possibly 3 to make ended up taking months and then of course Little Roo kept growing. So as fast (or slow) as I made one, he had grown out of it before I could start the next one. I have three booties, all in differing sizes and have now given up - especially as the weather is much warmer now. I'm just hoping there's a baby to give them to next winter - when I've made the matching pairs that is!