Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Easter Tree

Easter's round the corner so it must be time for the Easter tree!! OK so it's not much different from last year . . but I've added some pussy willow and a bow!

The eggs have been blown. We discovered that DH was a dab hand at this and so he ended up doing all of them. We have set aside tomorrow morning for painting - which should be fun and hopefully we might have one or two which survive the experience! We might end up adding some glitter to them or even some scraps of fabric! I do feel bad about wasting all those eggs though.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Eggs . . . Easter must be on it's way

What a treat I've had today, my lovely parents-in-law not only whisked the kids off for the day so that DH and I could have a much needed day working in the garden (aching backs all round though . . .), but we were also given these bunch of lovelies from my parents-in-laws neighbours hens - who have been laying furiously. They must know Easter is fast approaching.

So with eggs in mind I've got a few lovely blogs to show you which might inspire you with your eggs. First up is Samster Mommy with her Glittered Eggs - right up mine and Flopsy Bunny's street. Then there is Moda Bake Shop with Bunny Eggs - a wonderful idea for using up lots of scraps of material. Finally To Be Charmed has some Japanese Washi Tape Easter Eggs - very lovely. We are going to attempt blowing and painting eggs this week - I'll let you know how we get on!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Mother's Day and Birthday Cake

I haven't got the best reputation in our house for baking great birthday cakes. In fact they are always a disaster! For Flopsy Bunny's first birthday, the sugar free carrot cake I made her had to be thrown away as it tasted awful, hadn't cooked properly and sunk in the middle - I had to make a last minute dash to our local butchers (yes they sell cakes too!) to pick up a victoria sponge! The second year, still reeling from the disaster the year before I played it safe and bought a smarties cake - which went down very well. The third year my sponges didn't rise (although they tasted fine) so I ended up making 4 cakes and finally settled on a 3 layer cake. The butter icing didn't go on too well either so I gave the cake to Flopsy Bunny to decorate and everyone was happy - Flopsy Bunny loved decorating her cake and I managed to save myself any cake decorating embarrassment by saying Flopsy Bunny did it!! So this year, I hoped that I might be able to produce something that was both edible and looked good too! Well it's not perfect by any standards but I must say I'm proud of myself! Obviously the princess decoration was not my own work but I think I managed to stay on brief - Flopsy Bunny had wanted a chocolate heart shaped cake. Unfortunately the heart shaped tin I bought on the internet was too small to feed all her little friends so I had to think outside the tin so to speak and settled on a round tin as I had a board and cake box to fit it!

So yesterday was a lovely day - a lie in, a wonderful breakfast, a hand picked posy of snowdrops and presents and a card from my two gorgeous children (with a little help from the wonderful DH), a glorious walk along the river and then Flopsy Bunny's party - full of bouncy castle fun, face painting and of course THE CAKE!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

No chickens . . .

'But where are the chickens?' asked Flopsy Bunny when I showed her the new PJ bottoms 'But what about the hearts? .... and the turn ups ....' I said hopefully. 'I wanted chicks all over them'. Hmmm must make her a chicken top PDQ, and memo to self not to include her in the creative process! Also with Easter looming very fast and all my ideas for Easter things still very much ideas at the moment, I need to get a move on. The PJ jacket is cut out and I just need to wizz it up. I must say I'm in love with fell flat seams. I've never done them before but the pattern directed me to do them and they are great! So much neater and really easy too - don't know what I've been doing all these years not to have discovered them sooner.

Monday, 1 March 2010

My name is Ruth, this is my story

Today's blog comes to you from my friend Fiona.
Ruth's diary is the new novel by Fiona Robyn, called Thaw. She has decided to blog the novel in its entirety over the next few months, so you can read it for free. Ruth's first entry is below, and you can continue reading tomorrow here.
These hands are ninety-three years old. They belong to Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. She was so frail that her grand-daughter had to carry her onto the set to take this photo. It’s a close-up. Her emaciated arms emerge from the top corners of the photo and the background is black, maybe velvet, as if we’re being protected from seeing the strings. One wrist rests on the other, and her fingers hang loose, close together, a pair of folded wings. And you can see her insides.
The bones of her knuckles bulge out of the skin, which sags like plastic that has melted in the sun and is dripping off her, wrinkling and folding. Her veins look as though they’re stuck to the outside of her hands. They’re a colour that’s difficult to describe: blue, but also silver, green; her blood runs through them, close to the surface. The book says she died shortly after they took this picture. Did she even get to see it? Maybe it was the last beautiful thing she left in the world.
I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to carry on living. I’m giving myself three months of this journal to decide. You might think that sounds melodramatic, but I don’t think I’m alone in wondering whether it’s all worth it. I’ve seen the look in people’s eyes. Stiff suits travelling to work, morning after morning, on the cramped and humid tube. Tarted-up girls and gangs of boys reeking of aftershave, reeling on the pavements on a Friday night, trying to mop up the dreariness of their week with one desperate, fake-happy night. I’ve heard the weary grief in my dad’s voice.
So where do I start with all this? What do you want to know about me? I’m Ruth White, thirty-two years old, going on a hundred. I live alone with no boyfriend and no cat in a tiny flat in central London. In fact, I had a non-relationship with a man at work, Dan, for seven years. I’m sitting in my bedroom-cum-living room right now, looking up every so often at the thin rain slanting across a flat grey sky. I work in a city hospital lab as a microbiologist. My dad is an accountant and lives with his sensible second wife Julie, in a sensible second home. Mother finished dying when I was fourteen, three years after her first diagnosis. What else? What else is there?
Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. I looked at her hands for twelve minutes. It was odd describing what I was seeing in words. Usually the picture just sits inside my head and I swish it around like tasting wine. I have huge books all over my flat; books you have to take in both hands to lift. I’ve had the photo habit for years. Mother bought me my first book, black and white landscapes by Ansel Adams. When she got really ill, I used to take it to bed with me and look at it for hours, concentrating on the huge trees, the still water, the never-ending skies. I suppose it helped me think about something other than what was happening. I learned to focus on one photo at a time rather than flicking from scene to scene in search of something to hold me. If I concentrate, then everything stands still. Although I use them to escape the world, I also think they bring me closer to it. I’ve still got that book. When I take it out, I handle the pages as though they might flake into dust.
Mother used to write a journal. When I was small, I sat by her bed in the early mornings on a hard chair and looked at her face as her pen spat out sentences in short bursts. I imagined what she might have been writing about; princesses dressed in star-patterned silk, talking horses, adventures with pirates. More likely she was writing about what she was going to cook for dinner and how irritating Dad’s snoring was.
I’ve always wanted to write my own journal, and this is my chance. Maybe my last chance. The idea is that every night for three months, I’ll take one of these heavy sheets of pure white paper, rough under my fingertips, and fill it up on both sides. If my suicide note is nearly a hundred pages long, then no-one can accuse me of not thinking it through. No-one can say; ‘It makes no sense; she was a polite, cheerful girl, had everything to live for’, before adding that I did keep myself to myself. It’ll all be here. I’m using a silver fountain pen with purple ink. A bit flamboyant for me, I know. I need these idiosyncratic rituals; they hold things in place. Like the way I make tea, squeezing the tea-bag three times, the exact amount of milk, seven stirs. My writing is small and neat; I’m striping the paper. I’m near the bottom of the page now. Only ninety-one more days to go before I’m allowed to make my decision. That’s it for today. It’s begun.
Continue reading tomorrow here...

Fiona's other novels include The Letters and The Blue Handbag.