Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas crafty bits

Now Christmas has been and gone I can share a few of my crafty bits with you. I was so hurried I didn't get pictures of half of them put in pleased I managed to get so much done.

For my lovely friend I made the summerflies shawl. It was her birthday just before Christmas and I really liked knitting this pattern.

Here is dh's jumper, he seems to like it and says it is really warm and comfy. It is about the only jumper he has that is really big enough for him.

A hat for my mum that isn't actually quite finished. I made cabled wrist warmers in the same yarn that she has had, but she will have to wait a couple of days extra for the hat. The picture doesn't show the depth of the red.

A purse that i improvised for a secret santa gift. I dont think she reads this blog but if you know who i mean please don't tell!

And I also made a deep purple silky lacy scarf for my grandma and a plain scarf with some white king cole galaxy for my neice. I haven't got photos of either unfortunately.

Finally some yummy fudge. I have only made no cook fudge before, not real stuff so I was really pleased with how this turned out.

So now I can move on to something for myself, I think I already have about 5 projects lined up!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

2 years

Today was the party for my littlest man. He was 2 on tuesday and today we celebrated with family.

It is lovely to see the person he is becoming. He is much feistier then his older brother but also less stubborn. His talking has come on an amazing amount in 6 month, from 2 words in June to thousands now. He is getting really sociable and he loves singing more then I can tell you. Why say something if you can sing it? He loves all things train, tractor and digger related, and he loves eating strawberries, olives and cake. He has never slept through the night but is so much more settled with bed then the big boy has ever been. He still loves his mummy milk and I'm very pleased to have reached 2 still feeding. I don't know how long we will nurse for but he loves it and it has health benefits for both of us so no plans to stop just yet. He is getting really good at using the potty now. I'm sure with a push he could be fully toilet trained very soon but we are just following his lead at the moment. Because of which all birthday pictures are pantless so not internet friendly. Aside from that some are also rather dark as we had a power cut so presents were opened in the dark by candle light.

Happy birthday to my special lovely wonderful little boy.

The 'real' meaning of Christmas.

It is often easy to get caught up with everything going on at Christmas and forget to slow down and think about what Christmas really means. Now the boys are getting to an age they understand a little I want to try and instill a little in them about Christmas not just being about stuff and presents. Which has led to me thinking about my own view of Christmas.

In nearly every shop we go in people ask the big boy what he is getting for Christmas, the litle one if he is excited (he hasn't got a clue), whether they have been good for Father Christmas and so on. There are lots of gorgeous Christmas trees as well as the over the top full on tacky flashing houses. A local church is having a Christmas party with a giant Kangaroo rather then Santa?! (Why has a Kangaroo got any more to do with the birth of Jesus then a big man in a red suit?)

But is Christmas about the birth of Jesus? The bible doesn't tell us to celebrate Jesus birth, but it does tell us to remember his death and resurrection. Christmas is in large, a take over of pagan celebrations of Yule and the solstice, and the roman celebration of  saturnalia which involved gift giving and is thought to be where the tradition of cards comes from too.

I don't think we shouldn't celebrate Christmas because of that though. I don't feel the need to throw out my tree or not give gifts. I think that the navity is a great focus at Christmas and looking to the birth of Jesus is a good moment to reflect on what we believe.

For me I think Christmas is a time to be thankful to God for my family, a celebration with friends for the good things he has given us, as well a being thankful he came to earth. As to the 'real' meaning of Christmas, I think that is a bit more complicated, and a question I'm not sure of the answer to.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Reasons I love the school run

I love crisp winter mornings, and I love walking. I am very fortunate to have a lovely school run.

It often is a run too, as we are late leaving the house trying to get wrapped up in wellies, rainsuits, hats, scarves and the works. It is a beautiful route though, and a lovely little school at the end of it. The boys love seeing the ducks, chickens, horses and occasionally goats too. We often see tractors too which is a huge bonus when you are nearly 2 and 3 years old.

I love winter, we are on Christmas countdown now, the leaves are crunchy, there has even been the odd spot of snow in the air. The boys have loved the change in weather too, and the bright cold days means more playing out time which is always good for all of us.

My time is being spent frantically Christmas crafting, so after Christmas I should be able to update with loads of pictures. Presuming things get finished! I can't wait until new year to be able to start one of the shiney new projects I have lined up just for me.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Funky wipes

How gorgeous are these? Even for those who aren't a hippy at heart I would definitely recommend washable wipes. They clean so much better then disposables, and long term they save you a lot of money too. I've just invested in some new wipes, aren't they funky? They are a fleece/terry wipe from a wahm called ruby red designs based here in the uk. See another great reason to use washable wipes, supporting little businesses rather then help Tesco in their bid for world domination. The big kid was very excited by them, the one problem I can see occuring is requests for specific wipes every time I wipe a bum "but I wanted a  pink wipe Mummy, not a stripey wipe"

I don't think (or at least I hope) we will be in need of nappies for much longer as the little one is showing great signs of being ready to potty train properly, but wipes will always be needed when there are children in the house.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


As of yesterday I am now officially on the allotment waiting list! It may be a long wait, but I'm rather excited either way! Hopefully one will become available by the time little guy starts school, although when I spoke to them it sounded like the list wasn't half as long as I expected. Possibly as trying to ring was fruitless, you have to be very determined to actually manage to get hold of someone, but once I did they were really helpful so now it is just time to wait.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Baby knits

I am very excited about the fact I am going to be an Aunty again very soon. This is my first attempt at booties, this is the simplest pattern ever, and they don't look too bad
The picture doesn't actually do them justice, but they are very tiny and cute. The hat is one I have done a couple of times but is really simple too. They are both knitted in a bamboo cotton as my sil is allergic to wool so hopefully these will still be nice and snuggly.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Sleep, please?!

Parenting isn't a competiton, but when a friend complain yesterday about her children waking her up every 2 hours the night before my first thought was 'you got 2 hours unbroken sleep? You lucky thing!' I didn't say that as I know how incredibly unhelpful that would have been, but it is how I felt. Last night I only saw 4am once, I think I saw every other hour several times.

It has been a hard couple of weeks, sickness bugs for me and the little one, horrid colds and chesty coughs, and suspected ear infections again. Plus I think we have more molars coming through so it all makes for very unsettled sleep. They never sleep through but it isn't normally quite so horrendous! Then DH was away for a couple of days in Prague, how I wished I was there, it is a beautiful city and one I love.

But then I realise how fortunate and blessed I am. My boys are generally very healthy and have never had any serious health worries. They may wake me up in the night but I am so blessed to have them and be their mother. DH may have been away having lots of lovely food on expenses, but he is never gone for more then 5 days max, and he is here to support us. He may not be perfect, but he is definitely one of the good guys.

And parenting really isn't a competition. We all have our own trials and issues, but we should all be here to support each other through them, not out do them.

One thing I have been grateful for is the sunshine. It may be cold but when I feel grumpy there are few things better then getting out for a walk. Where we live there are so many beautiful places to walk just a stones throw away. A friend has just shown me a new and beautiful place to walk, then today I took my SIL's dog on my favourite walk from childhood.

Sometimes I just need to step back and breath and remember that although I will never be a perfect parent, that isn't the task. The task is for my children to grow up happy, safe, secure, challenged, stretched, supported and most importantly knowing they are loved, and that is something I am trying my best to do.

Friday, 9 November 2012


I must admit that autumn is not my favourite time of year. The promise of summer is gone, winter isn't here yet, it is colder, wetter, darker. I dislike halloween, there are no bank holidays, and far too many colds.

Saying that Autumn can also be beautiful. I love the colours of the leaves, the fireworks and bonfires

I also love the chance for more wooly knits, lots of ear warmers and wrist warmers. I have just knitted this scarf for a friends birthday last weekend and I think it is perfectly autumnal. A guilty knitters secret, it is also the first thing I have ever blocked! Probably not blocked well, but blocked never the less.

It is a shame the pictures don't show the colours well, but it was dark and the flash always washes the colours out. I've also knitted ds1 a scarf this week, and the first of my big Christmas knits is nearly cast off. The second big knit is making good progress and I just need to get on with lots of little knits and a baby knit for my new nephew due in December.

I'm still stuck on presents this year, I haven't got time to craft as many as I would like but I'm not wanting to be overwhelmed by buying stuff either. It is hard to balance out with not want Christmas to be all consumerism.

Anyway, roll on winter, snow, Christmas, family time, decorations, my new nephew. I'm looking forward to it all ready!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A special gift

I've been really missing my Grandad these past couple of weeks. He died in March but it seems so much longer ago. His house sale is just going through so the final house clearance was done a couple of weeks ago. While they were doing this they found an envelope at the bottom of an old box, inside the envelope was these.

My grandma died just before I was born, I believe in the March and I was born in the May so I never got to meet her. This is her wedding, engagement and eternity ring. At some point after she died my Grandad's house was burgled and people were left to believe these rings had been taken, we presume my Grandad let people believe that to avoid politics and maybe so he could keep them himself? They are a size k, the same as my wedding ring, apparently it is from my grandma I get my figure and we must have had the same size hands. My uncle has passed these on, I have now put the eternity ring on with my wedding and engagement ring and think about my grandad a lot. It has to be a bit of a family secret with certain people which is sad, but I am so very very grateful to have them.

Monday, 22 October 2012

On and off the needles.

I am tired, so tired, so the needles haven't been top priority. Also my keyboard currently looks like this so blogging isn't top either

That is it's third keyboard, it's 4th is in the post. It has also survived 2 seperate pints of water. I should never leave it to do such frivolous things as tidy up or get dressed.

Here is a couple of the bits I have knitted. I had a request, fot a very very long pink hat, the initial pink he chosen was too garish so I chose a different one, and here he is, the coolest kid in preschool. He is very happy.

Also off the needles are a couple of baby hats for friends, a couple of headbands, and some more wristwarmers for me made in a lovely chunky yarn bought for me by a friend.
As for on the needles there are mainly presents for Christmas, but I shall capture those later as it is time for nursery pick up.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Wave of light.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Ring slings for Papua New Guinea

Following on from the cloth nappy donation post I will like to share this story. It is a blog I have never read before but it was shared withme and Iwould like to share it with you. If you have the time please read it, they are looking to help the women and babies of Papua new Guinea by providing them with a ring sling as a means to feed their babies as they gather food.

Cloth Nappies for Ethiopia

This post is taken from Iamnotthebabysitter but I thought I would share it with you all incase anyone can help.

Sister Donna lives in a rural area a couple hours outside of Awassa, Ethiopia. As of right now the sister is asking for one thing that she said would dramatically impact the health of the village- cloth diapers.

Children are not diapered, which poses less of a problem during the day when they are outside. However, the infants and unpotty-trained children are sharing a bed with their parents (and often other family members) on one thin pad used as a mattress. The children will urinate and defecate on the mattress. It is not cleaned properly and never replaced, which is where the health issues start to arise. Cloth diapers can dramatically reduce the ocurrence of upper respiratory issues in the people of the village as well as a host of other hygiene related illnesses.

Knowing the AP crowd seems to like to cloth diaper (I definitely did!) I think this is a need that can be met by this community. If anyone wants to start a cloth diaper drive for the sister or just send in your new or gently used cloth diapers (any kind of cloth diaper is welcome) send to the address below, or contact me if you have more questions!

Let’s do this!

If you are interested in donating your used cloth diapers, or would like to send new cloth diapers to the sister please sent via this address:
Co. Eric Nothelfer
addis Ababd Pl.
Dulles Va. 20189-2030

Sr Donna Frances

Thursday, 27 September 2012


He sees you, He's near you
He knows your face
He knows your pain
He sees you, and He loves you
He knows your name
He knows your name

For my lovely friend, and for anyone else who is hurting.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

More adventures with dying, and now yarn!

 I started with some 100% wool, this is from the west yorkshire spinners, bought from my local yarn shop. I soaked it in a vinegar and water mix.

 Spread on clingfilm then painted using food colouring. I used the technique in this blog
 My second skein of yarn I tried a different technique. I put the yarn in with the water and vinegar, but didn't fully mix the colour so that there would be some varigation.
 When the water was clear the dye is fully absorbed.

 So dryed, and then balled.

I originally thought the first technique didn't work as well as the second as although the blue took the red and black hadn't fully fixed. However I have since found this and realised that the problem may have been with the actual dye itself rather then the technique. The blue/yellow/green has taken perfectly though.

So it was fun, just to knit them up now, although I haven't decided what into yet. Then I need to decided whether to buy some different food dyes, try with koolaid, or whether to brave buying some acid dye.

Monday, 10 September 2012


There is no jam so  nice as homemade damson jam. However after 2 bumper years the tree barely fruited this year. The same with my plum and cooking apple tree. It has been a good year for my strawberries and currants and blue and blackberries, but the weather has been all wrong for the fruit trees.

So this year we are having autumn jam instead of damson. I picked this little lot the other day and the jam it made wasn't bad at all.

We used 1.2kg of fruit, 800g of sugar, and a good slug of red grape juice. The red grape juice has plenty of natural sugar so you need less then usual granulated sugar, making it that tiny bit better and it adds a lovely flavour, while still setting perfectly.

That made me 4 jars worth, to go with the remaining 2 jars of mixed summer fruit jam. Delicious with real butter and homemade bread!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The C word

You know the one, the one you shouldn't mention in summer. Well it is now September, so with 107 days to go I will very quietly  whisper Christmas.

I have just treated us to this

It is the most gorgeous advent calendar but the price reflects that unfortunately. I have loved it for years though and I have never been fortunate enough to get one in sale.So with a discount code and a bit of money from selling a sling I have bought one and I can't wait for december to open the little drawers every day with the boys.

I have bought my first couple of presents, just a couple of books, but my aim is to try and craft a lot more this year. I am partway through hubbies first jumper and I think lots of little knitted accessories may be in order. Last year I made some fudge and chocolate marzipans for a secret santa but I think he was fairly unimpressed which makes me hesitate before going down that route again. He is an incredibly difficult person to get anything for though, and I had been unfortunate to get him 2 years in a row. I don't sew, but I can bake. So if you have any crafty Christmas ideas let me know!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

2 weeks in the French countryside

It wasn't quiet, fighter planes testing overhead, combine harvesters starting at 10pm, Owls fighting, the inlaws, 2 small boys...
However it was beautiful, and great to have lots of days together, time at the beach, and good food. I think the husband has gone back to work for a rest though. And look, I even found a knitting shop!