Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

The presents have been wrapped and labelled.  Goody bags have been filled with this, these, and this . . . (lovely family please don't look at the links!!).  The house has been decorated and there are more lights around than ever before!!  The crib has been filled and is being played with.  We've been jingling all round the house to Christmas music.  I think I'm ready - oh no - I keep forgetting there is one present left to finish off . . . !!

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Excluding all drafts

I've been like a thing possessed recently, which is strange that it has only taken 10 years to sort out the drafts in our house!!  So armed with draft excluding tape I've been attacking the doors, filling in the cracks.
Then I had a quick delve in my fabric stash and made myself a pretty draft excluder.

Pretty, but not very practical as DH pointed out!  Oh well, when it gets mucky I'll just have to make another one!  I'd like to say it has been toasty in the house since but I'm not sure how much of a difference it has made!  Aethestically though, a huge difference!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Old and New

It is going to be a Christmas twinged with sadness this year, with the loss of both my grandmothers.  But although I miss them, miss buying presents for them, miss seeing them, they are both with me.  My dad's mother, who was a great horder, had this little gem hidden away in her box of Christmas goodies, still in the orginial packaging and still working if a little wonky.
Something old, that's new to us and that we will treasure and bring out every Christmas from now on.

Sat beautifully on my mother's mother's writing desk!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Finished Gifts

If last week was a 'making' week, this week is definitely going to be a 'finishing off' week - well it has to be as time is ticking by.  So remember these little gorgeous cut out Christmas shapes?  Well we left them to dry over night and they turned a lovely white colour and quite hard by the morning.  Then the fun began.  I decided on a minimal colour palette, mainly because the cost of the little bottles of acrylic paint would soon mount up.  So just metallic gold and silver and a blob of red glitter glue for Rudolph's nose!  Flopsy Bunny and I had a great time paining, leaving everything to dry and then painting the back.  Then the ribbon box came out and much ooooing and aaaahhhing went on as we selected the best ribbons.  And there we have it some very effective, if I can say so, Christmas decorations, I'm rather pleased with them, I hope the teachers will be too!!!

Well, they weren't all for teachers . . .!  A few managed to find their way onto our tree!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Making Gifts for Teachers

This post should really be called 'presents in progress', but I felt I had a bit of a 'making' theme going on this week so couldn't wait for the finished item!
As usual I've been totally inspired by SouleMama's blog and her post where they were making Christmas decorations which got me thinking that they would make really nice presents for the children to give, teachers, family and friends!  Especially as I had already made the teachers Peppermint Bark in the summer . . .  So I just happened to be passing Hobby Craft the other day and had a bit of a trip down memory lane when I ended up in the modeling isle and saw DAS.  It bought make memories of my mum making a nativity village out of boxes and then fashioning little people out of DAS which she painted.  We loved getting the village out every year, playing with the people and the crib scene but also loving the little people we had made.  It was that childhood memory which made me want to continue the tradition with my own children and prompted me to buy the crib set.  Anyway, I seemed to have drifted off the point!  DAS is a wonderful air drying clay which we just rolled out and using cookie cutters, cut out Christmassy shapes, added a hole to thread ribbon through later and we are now waiting for them to dry.  The next step - painting!!  Hopefully I'll have some finished articles to show you next week.
Have a wonderful weekend.  We will be spending the weekend making our house Christmassy and I can't wait!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Making Gift Tags

Its full swing on the making front at the moment.  Our after school activities are all geared up for present wrapping and card writing.

For the star stamp we used Flopsy Bunny's lino cut, but this time instead of a roller and some paint we used a gold ink pad.  It had varying results and we both got covered in gold - which was fun!  Flopsy Bunny went round the outside of some of the stars in glitter pen, we really did have some fun! 
I love this time of the year, there is something magical about Christmas and not just for the children.  I love decorating the house, getting presents together, wrapping them up into gorgeous parcels.  Lots of glitter and sparkle, just wonderful! 
PS . . .  the second roll of wrapping paper has been printed and I think I'm going to leave it as that (mainly because I don't have anywhere to keep the paper while it's drying!!)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Making Wrapping Paper

I got busted today.  DH had tootled off to see Flopsy Bunny in the Nativity and his parting question was 'what are you up to today?', 'Oh working' I said nonchalantly . . . Cut to 40 mintues later, the front door opened and DH was back (he was meant to be heading off to London on the train straight after) 'Ah working heh?' he said as he saw me, with a long roll of brown paper, a lino cut and some red paint . . .!

Well, what can I say, except when the mood takes you, you just have to go with it AND I've been itching to print my own wrapping paper for years now!  In fact I was looking back to this post, where I had mentioned wanting to do it!  I've always loved lino cutting, I got into it as a teenager and loved carving out my design.  I've had yearnings to print my own fabric one day and now that I've finally got round to printing the wrapping paper, who knows where that will lead . . .!
It definately has the home made look about it . . . but I'm happy with that.  One roll done, two to go and then there are the star gift tags and the 'hand' christmas cards!!  Watch this space . . .

Monday, 10 December 2012

Making Mary

We have all been very excited about this week, as it is - Nativity Week.  I have been doing some very special sewing to make my little Flopsy Bunny into Mary.  She was soooo thrilled to be chosen and I must say I will be bringing a lot of tissues with me to the performance on Thursday!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Pre-Christmas preparations

There is a rule in our house - nothing Christmas related until the 1st of December.  It is one of DH's rules and I have to say that he is quite right to be laying down the law like this as I would start Christmassy things way back in September given half a chance!
But I couldn't resist a little bit of pre-Christmas preparations as I like to call them!!  I have been meaning to do a little bit of lino cutting each Christmas and using it to stamp onto brown paper as our wrapping paper.  This year I finally got it together and Flopsy Bunny and I (but mainly me) enjoyed a lovely rainy afternoon, drawing onto lino to create our stamps.
Here's an almost finished one - just ready for next week (as everything Christmassy starts on the 1st - my CD is lined up and ready for action!) when I will be rolling paint and stamping to my hearts content!
How are your Christmas preparations going?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

On and off my needles

Before I had a chance to photograph a 'just started' shot of my latest project, it's finished. . .  well, one is and that's before the exciting embellishment has been added.  So far I am just loving this pattern.  It's turning out to be a quick knit which is just as well as they may end up as Christmas presents and then I'll need a pair for me!  I'll do a proper Ta-dah post when I've finished them off with the pattern details too!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Unexpected craftiness

Flopsy Bunny was struck down with another version of the Noro virus this week, which seems to be still circulating round her class at school.  As she was not terribly ill we got to spend some quality 'crafty' time together!  I loved her playdoh dogs all in a line.  Then I had the idea of looking through my fabric stash to find something to make some draft excluders.  I have noticed recently how drafty the doors are and I think I need to take action!  Well, as you can imagine this little foray into my fabric pile did not turn out exactly as I had hoped.  Flopsy Bunny started a pile of her own, 'this would be good for a dress and what about this for some socks?!'  I managed to get away with promising a nightdress for her dolly but of course I had to make it right away!!!
Then Little Roo came home and announced that Ro-Ro also needed some PJ's before bedtime.  The race was on, me sewing away frantically while they ate their supper.

But at last everyone's favourite toy was kitted out with new nightwear ready for bedtime!  Do you recognise the fabric of Ro-Ro's PJ's, yes some left over fabric from Little Roo's duck shorts, which were a real hit this summer.  While I was photographing in Little Roo's bedroom I thought I would just show you some of the many layers on his bed. 
Do you remember this? The camping quilt is making an outing now that the weather is getting colder and Little Roo is beginning to feel cold at night.  I also wanted to show you the blanket on top that I knitted sometime ago, it is lined with fleece and has satin ribbon round the edges - he is certainly going to be toasty warm this winter!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Some half term craftiness

I can't quite believe how quickly this year is zooming by. We had an extended half term with inset days either side of the week and even that week seemed to go fast.  We made another Halloween trip to the Ashmolean museum.  They do some lovely craft activities for children.  They must get through A LOT of wooden spoons though as last time we made a spooky spoon ghost!

This year Flopsy Bunny made a snowy owl called . . . Snowy!!
Little Roo requested a dragon (called Fred), and helped to stick bits on.  There have been some very uncharitable comments about his wings looking like a bow tie!  As part of the creative craftiness the children were encouraged to write a poem about that spoon puppet and we had a fun drive home working out words that rhymed with Snowy and Fred.  Little Roo's poem was a little bit easier to compose, and Little Roo had his dragon falling out of bed and bumping his head! 

Monday, 5 November 2012

A dark, damp space

DH and I have been busy this half term on a little joint project.  There's a small dark, damp area of our garden just outside the backdoor; when we first moved into the house there was an old coal bunker there, which remained unused as we don't burn coal and it wasn't really useful for anything.  Then when Flopsy Bunny came along we dismantled the coal bunker (reusing the concrete sides, of course, to stand compost bins on up the garden!) and put a sand pit in its place.  I had visions of Flopsy Bunny happily playing outside while I pottered in the kitchen within ear shot - but alas she didn't much like being in this dark, damp place either!!  So this year we decided that the sand pit had come to it's useful end and was emptied out and moved to an unused patch of the garden to become the kids mud patch, I would like to say flower bed or vegtable garden but I know that Little Roo will just be digging holes and filling them up with water!  Better there though than in my veggie patch!  So finally this little area of our garden has reached it's potential - a log store!!!

So DH and I set about building this little store.  It always amuses me when we try and do things together as we have such different ways of going about DIY projects.  But we managed this pretty well don't you think??!!  I was on wood sawing and painting and DH was in charge of power tools - of course!!  Ah a season's worth of logs - how comforting now that the temperature is dropping!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Spooky biscuits

A day early, but preparations under way for a spooky Wednesday.  I quite like this 'before' look on the baking tray- a bit of a night scene, including a full moon!!

Although the biscuits looked even more spooky after they had been decorated by the kids.  The eyes didn't come out quite as expected as Little Roo decided to add the chocolate drops to the icing sugar mix - but maybe they do have more of an eerry quality to them.
Here's to a Happy Halloween everywhere!!

Friday, 19 October 2012

On my wall

I've been having a little bit of a sort out and tidy up, an Autumn Clean, rather than a Spring one!!  It has sparked some sadness in the house, particularly for DH as I've been collecting all our baby items together to sell and we've been wistfully looking at each other thinking - an end of an era!  Where have my babies gone I've been asking and my practical Little Roo pointed to the wall with the height chart pencilled on and said 'we've got bigger!'

It's not just been wall's that have had the treatment - but window sill's too!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

New Clothes

There's no denying it, it is well and truely autumn.  This week I could resist it no longer and packed all my summer clothes away, rather wistfully I might add as I felt I had hardly worn them this year.  I then said hello again to all my winter clothes and decided that my wardrobe needed a good clear out. Everything came out, summer clothes were put away or sent to the charity shop and winter clothes were arranged by type and hung on my nicest hangers.  It was a really enjoyable process and something I don't do every often but it made me realise what clothes I had, which items went with which and what gaps I had.  I decided I needed some trousers and skirts and then remembered some fabric hidden away for what feels like years for just such items.  So I dug around in my fabric/craft stash and came up with this pile of loveliness. 
The top fabric is some shorts I had made for myself about 20 years ago which I had kept to refashion into something for Flopsy Bunny, a skirt perhaps or maybe even some more shorts!  The second fabric, the one I'm most excited about is for a skirt for me - that might come top of my to do list!  Then the bottom fabric came in a bag, with a pattern, cotton and zip - all ready - why has it taken five years to get this far???!!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

C is for . . .

. . . cucumber!!  Our very own, home-grown (you can tell by the knobbly bits!) cucumber and it is sooo sweet and soooo delicious - its definately on my list of things to grow next year.

I've been thinking about my veggie growing this year and had been quite depressed by slugs eating my courgette plants, deer eating my beetroot and beans, tomato blight etc etc.  Then I realised I had been focusing on all the negatives and thinking that I hadn't done very well at all but completely forgetting all the truimphs, my lettuces that just kept growing, the one sugar snap pea plant that produced so many peas!  My bean plants who managed to keep going even though all the lower leaves had been eaten and produce lots of green beans.  My lone courgette plant who valiantly produced courgette's non-stop and is still going.  My one rocket plant which gave us some lovely peppery bursts.  I need to be thankful for these small successes, learn from my mistakes and who knows what will happen next year!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Sunshine after the rain

The sun was shining today.  After all that rain the past two days I felt I must get out, be outside and soak up some of this lovely sun and light.  Autumn and winter are beckoning and I'm trying to hold onto these nice days.  I took a walk across the bridge that connects our village with the next one and looking up the river wished I was on a boat, setting off somewhere with the wind in my hair and without a care in the world.  Picking up a coffee at our local cafe I wandered off to the allotment to pull up some weeds.  Ahhh, the perfect morning, away from the daily grind - it was such a tonic.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A mini break in Barcelona

This summer my parents decided that they would like the children to come and stay for a couple of days, at their house, without the parents.  Both children?  A couple of days?  Without us?  That had mini break written all over it!!  Question was - where to go?  Now I'm not sure if I've mentioned My List here before, but a couple of years ago there was an article on women turning 50 and one of the interviewee's was Carol Vorderman.  Don't get me wrong Carol Vorderman is not the sort of person I am usually inspired by but her idea of doing 50 things she has always wanted to do in her 50th year got me thinking.  So I put together a list of my own, places I wanted to visit, things I wanted to do before I die!  That kind of thing.  Well of course there will be some things on the list that I'll never get to do but it does focus your mind and keeps me on track with what I hope to achieve and do in my life.  So Barcelona was on the list, I have never been and really wanted to go, so off we went!

 Well the title of this post should really be a hommage to Gaudi!

 Or at least a hommage to La Sagrada Familia!

 Wow it was amazing
 I was totally blown away by it all but I also loved the city too.  So vibrant and cosmopolitan.
It was so lovely exploring and we walked miles, ate lots of gorgeous tapas but for me the highlight of the trip was seeing the Bicibar
We saw it in action and it was hilarious - had us giggling all weekend.  For those who haven't seen one of these before, people sit on the bike seats and peddle frantically while being served drinks and tapas - what's not to like - a moving restaurant!