Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Well hellooooo there

Bonjour, bonjour (rhymes with 'sewer' and has to be said in the voice of Del-Boy please).  I'm ba-ack!
Before I go any further, what do you think of this little Lego set up?  I made the mistake of saying to Mr N and the assembled crowd of mickey-takers that I thought the hen was probably my favourite Lego figure (clearly there are two things wrong with this: 1) that I know any Lego figures is worrying, but the fact that I have an opinion on them is almost too much; 2) I need to get out more), which prompted Mr N to hilariously put said chicken on the head of this rather fierce-looking blacksmith-slash-warrior and say that he thought it looked much better laying a human in the manner of an egg.  Cue raucous laughter from everyone else.  Oh, the japes we have chez Nut...
Anyhoo, I have survived my journey to the big smoke and I'm back, refreshed and ready to plough on for the next two years without a break (hmmm, slight exaggeration maybe, but god, I needed to recharge my batteries big time).  I foolishly forgot my camera, but managed to take a couple of slightly dodgy photos of an amazing rooftop garden with my phone:
I quite badly want one of these for my garden:
Oooh, and look at the view:
I kept saying 'oh, hang on a mo, I just need to take a photo of this for my blog' while my friend wisely walked ten paces ahead of me, whistling casually to herself, pretending she didn't know me.
One thing I didn't take a photo of was the mojito we had sitting outside, at a great Cuban place Mr N and I used to go to when we lived in north London - it was lush and I could have had about twelve, but then I'd have been bankrupt and lying under the table in an undignified manner, so instead we went back to my friend's house and had pasta and watched a crap film.  Perfick.
It was just brilliant to be away for a while (hmmm, that makes it sound like I hate being at home, which I absolutely don't, but sometimes it's just nice to be reminded that you exist outside of your children and that, indeed, you are an adult - albeit one who has opinions about Lego men).  Even the train journey was great - on the way back on Sunday, I was in first class - facing the direction of travel (no travel sickness for me, no sireee), no-one next to me, with my crochet and free food and drink brought round by a man with a trolley...happy days.
And blimey, it's been a whirlwind since I got back - it emerges that poor old middle nut's been getting abdominal migraines (I'd never heard of them until now) I did my impression of a mummy trying hard not to panic, but failing completely, when he calmly announced that he'd been suffering loss of vision and seeing shimmering lights for 'a long time now, mummy'.  Cue mad dash to optician (20:20 vision and full colour vision too), followed by mad dash to doctor: 'okaaaay, so he's been getting migraines you say?  Uhm, isn't that a bit unusual in a five year old?  WHY shouldn't I be concerned about this, exactly?'  His consultant's appointment came through this morning, so I'm hoping they'll be able to shed a bit more light on it for me.
I've also been a busy bee painting our sitting room - I blame Julia - she inspired me to get off my bum and just do it.  It's taken me two days of blood, sweat and tears and I still haven't finished it.  Ha ha - that makes it seem like we have some sort of palatial sitting room.  We don't.  I just get very easily distracted and the paint doesn't seem to be going on very evenly (I absolutely love Farrow and Ball colours, but blimey, it's hard work getting the stuff on the walls properly...)  In my head, I had 'Nordic vintage seaside handmade-esque' as my inspiration; so have plumped for muted blues and greys with bright white and natural fabrics.  What I now realise is that there's a fine line between that and 'Prisoner Cell Block H-chic'.  I'll keep you posted.  Photos will follow, if the warders will let me smuggle in a camera.
Finally, I have also been working hard at my crafty bits and bobs - my African flower creation is finished - I'll do a ta-dah when I do my monthly round-up in a couple of days.  And I have also finished the skirt I was making for baby n.  Now, before I reveal this item of clothing, I want to point out that this was clearly going to be cursed from the moment I started it - I should have taken the 'chopping-fabric-to-exact-width-of-waist' incident as a warning, for what she has ended up with isn't, in fact, a skirt; it's more of a ruffle.  It would fit a newborn baby who happened to have the girth of a sixteen-month-old.  Now, trying to get the girl to stay still long enough to take a photo was like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling, or maybe she was just embarrassed by the fact that her nappy was on show, but anyway, good luck with the following series of pictures:
The amazing one-legged girl
She's clearly spent way too much time watching what I do every day
Check out the tummy on her
Introducing bun-bun #3
Oh, and before I go, here's another little snippet of my life post-London - and let this serve as a stark reminder that we all need time to recharge our batteries, because god, sometimes they are drained in the blink of an eye: on Monday night, after a full day at work, I got into bed looking forward to a good night's sleep...twenty minutes after nodding off, middle started throwing up.  After clearing up said vomit, the sweaty-headed boy got into bed with me and Mr N got into his bed (the top bunk); shortly afterwards, baby decided to have a bit of a cry.  We gave her some milk and a bit of a cuddle thinking she would go back to sleep as normal children would - Mr N climbing back up on his bunk bed and me getting back into bed with my sweating, slightly delirious son.  SIX HOURS LATER she finally stopped yelling and went back to sleep.  Let's just say that none of us was firing on all cylinders the next day x

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Tonight's performance features...

...bun-bun #2 in the starring role.  Selected from a cast of six possible candidates, this rabbit was chosen for his uncanny ability to look like he is struggling valiantly against the quick clothes (as in 'quick sand') that are about to suck him into the laundry basket.  There are two things I need to explain at this point: 1) we have six bun-buns - as you can see from this one, baby n sucks them (ew) so I operate a strict washing/drying/sucking regime; 2) not sure why these rabbits are all male, especially as two of them have floral ears, but they most definitely are - perhaps they're just in touch with their feminine sides.
In a supporting role, we have an army:
I suspect, looking at this photo, that big n might have a touch of the perfectionist about him (I want to say another word there - one that describes a complete 'perfectionist', but I'm worried my blog might start appearing on all the wrong sort of Google searches if I do).  I am considering enlisting this battalion's help in trying to maintain some semblance of order over the next few weeks - I fear that threat of mutilation or death may be the only way forward.
And the role of chorus line, is capably filled by the African flowers:
Did I mention that I love these?
And let's not forget the understudy - seen here helping the director to Google 'how to dry bay leaves' on a smart phone:
So, there we have the cast - the series continues at a later date, for I am off for a fews days now - heading for the bright lights of the big city (that and my lovely, lovely, oldest friend) for a blissful child-free weekend.  I'm thinking: wine, Bridesmaids, crochet, duvet/sofa combos, Festival of Britain...oh, the possibilities are endless when the babes are at home with daddy for the weekend.  So, with a flick of my locks, I will bid you adieu and ride off into the sunset (cue the music, maestro) x
PS - I have to say a really huge 'thank you' to Becky at The Fluff Pot for also nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award.  Thank you so much, Becky - I think that's what you call a double whammy!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Vanilla sugar and an award

These little sweetpeas are sitting on the kitchen windowsill, bringing us a little bit of summer cheer as we drag ourselves kicking and screaming (well, we would kick and scream if we had the energy) through the last few days of term.  Ugh, this seems to be the longest term ever in the history of the entire universe and frankly, I've. Had. E. Nuff.  Now, I know that, approximately three days into the holidays, I will be wondering what the hell I was on about here, but at this precise moment, I just can't wait for the hols to start.  We're all just a bit fractious; fractious in a walking dead sort of way.  In fact, if you see a family of zombies walking stilt-leggedly down the road, it's us - please give us a Lucozade and point us towards home.
On a slightly more positive note, there have been a couple of happy occurrences in the nut household over the past few days: we had a lovely afternoon today (edit: this bit doesn't make sense any more as it's Tuesday and in fact we were at our friends' house on Sunday, which is when I originally tried to publish this post, despite the fact that it says Monday at the top.  Confused?  Me too!) with some very good friends (food, wine, conversation - adults; Coke, ice cream, running around - kids).  Essentially, we spent several hours eating and drinking then attempting to slump on the sofa (well, the adults did - it's hard to slump when you've got six children running around and jumping on your head.  Why is it that food has absolutely the opposite effect on you when you're, say, five, and when you're just a smidge over 35?  When does the change happen?  Actually, it's when you're a student, isn't it?  Silly me.)
I took a little something I'd rustled up, for my friend - not sure if she'll ever use it, but it looked nice on her windowsill.  (This isn't her windowsill, this is my kitchen worktop - thought even she might think I was a little crackers if I took my camera round specifically to photograph a jar of sugar; though I could be wrong.)
And the second little highlight for me was winning this award from the lovely Dinki Dots.
Thank you so much for this - I'm really thrilled and slightly worried, cos now I have to come up with seven new, interesting facts about me...Eeek!  (I think I might continue to scratch my head for a bit longer and post my facts later in the week.  Cop out?  Sorry!)  In the meantime, I'm passing the award on to Nelly's Eggs, Chipper Nelly, Cuckoo and Homebird because they never fail to make me smile - thanks gals!
I'm going to finish today with the latest installment from my assistant:
In the words of the lady herself: uh-oh x
Edit: I've just noticed I seem to be having a bit of an issue with my post not updating - not sure if this is a problem with Blogger (though other people's posts seem to have updated okay) or whether it's because baby n dropped the laptop from the sofa onto the very floorboards that you can see in the photo above.  I'm hoping it's the Blogger thing.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lovely little trinkets

You may remember from my last post that I mentioned I've been experiencing a certain level of muddle-headedness as far as my WIPs are concerned.  Frankly, I've got enough other gumpf in my life to make me muddle-headed, without WIPs getting in on the act too; so I've decided to be calm and logical and try to tackle them one at a time.  (I'm trying to imagine how I would have approached it in the days when I had a proper job and wore a suit, but my memory's shot and I've given all my suits to charity, so it's not working very well.)
Today saw me sitting outside in the sun, surrounded by piles of flags and bits of bias binding and pins - attempting to finish off my latest and absolutely final batch of tent bunting.  I feel I may now be approaching the point where people are likely to walk past my tent and mutter to themselves 'hmmm, she's overdone it a bit on the old bunting-front there.  Over-egged the pudding, as it were'.  And if there's one thing I certainly don't want, it's an over-egged pudding tent.  Anyhooo, I made my first lot in a very efficient and logical fashion from some rather delectable winceyette (just had to check the spelling of that on Google.  It's a funny old word - makes me shudder a bit.  It seems totally inappropriate for the thing that it's describing.  A bit like sleet.  I always think that's just completely wrong):
And then, with about 500 flags still to go, I ran out of bias binding.  So that was a bit of a pain.

So I moved on to something else: a really simple skirt for baby n, which I'd seen in 'Handmade Living'.  But like a true numpty, I cut the fabric to exactly the width of her waist, as opposed to twice the width of her waist, and that was just annoying; so I left that and moved on to something else...
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Calm?  Logical?  I think not.
So now I'm moving on to something that doesn't get me quite as het-up as my current crafty makes: the rather exciting things that have been arriving through my letter box this week.  Actually, the first rather thrilling blog-related thing that arrived at my house came a couple of weeks ago.  Now, before I go any further with this, I just want to set the scene: I had left the house in the usual flap that accompanies every morning's school run - I walked (ran) up the road to school with the children; meandered back towards home with a couple of friends; decided to pop into the village before going back home, to get some bread (had to borrow a couple of quid from a friend to purchase said bread - which reminds me, I still haven't paid her back.  Ooops); had a chat with a couple of people I bumped into; strolled home again an hour after I'd left, to find the front door standing wide open and an envelope on the front door mat.  After checking that my handbag, which I'd left in full view of the front door, was still there (it was - phew) I realised that I hadn't been burgled, I'd just been a complete goon and forgotten to shut the door in my rush to get to school.  Note to self...  Anyway, the point of all that is that the envelope was from the lovely Cuckoo, and contained the recipe for the elderflower cup cakes that I blogged about before.  So - thank you, Cuckoo - they were yum!
And on Tuesday I had a double-whammy of post-related excitement: this rather cutesome outfit that my auntie kindly bought for baby n:
Thank you, mushroom one!
And this lovely cube for big n's teacher, which I ordered from the very talented Fee.
I'm secretly a bit disappointed I can't keep it for myself because it's absolutely lovely, but sadly my name's not Miss Dorsett and I'm not a teacher, so it just wouldn't look right:
It was extra great of Fee to send this to me as I haven't actually paid her for it yet - thanks Fee, don't forget to let me know how much I owe you!
Blimey, this post's turning into a bit of a tome (by my standards, anyway).  I'm going to finish today with a snippet of my life: yesterday, while trying to make the dinner amongst the usual background of tv noise (boys), computer games (boys), the radio (me), shouting (everyone) I became aware of baby n standing near me saying 'uh oh, uh oh'.  This is a fairly recent piece of language for her, and it's one that never fails to make my heart sink when I hear it.  I turned from my position by the cooker, noting the strong smell of cinnamon in the air, to see bun-bun (baby n's absolute favourite toy in the whole wide world) lying on the floor looking like a victim of some awful, frenzied knife-related crime:
Note to self: must get a catch on the spice drawer... x

Monday, 11 July 2011

Fruits of my labour

Life in the nut house (pppfff.  Can't believe that's the first time I've written that) has been pretty frenzied lately.  Big N had a great birthday - cake, Pizza Express, Kung Fu Panda II, over-excited friends, Lego - what more could an eight-year-old boy want in life?  My mum paid a visit for a couple of days; our time-share dog paid a visit for a couple of days (at the same time as my mum, conveniently); we had lunch dates with friends, nights out with other friends, birthday parties...  Madness.  In amongst all the social-butterfly-ery, there have been the usual not-so-thrilling domestic duties chomping at my heels and I am proud to confirm that I have, indeed, finally cleaned the bathroom.  Great.  That'll keep us going for the next six months, then.  I've also managed to spend a bit of time in the garden - middle N and I were surprised and thrilled in equal measure to find these two beauteous strawbs on the plants by our front door.  I say surprised, because despite daily checks on the ripeness of said strawberries, the bloomin birds always seem to be one step ahead of us when it comes to eating them at just the right moment.  We were at home on our own when we discovered them, so we ate them quickly before the others got back.  (Ignorance is bliss, and all that...)
And as for the blackcurrants:
After four years, I finally got a large enough crop to make a crumble.  
I'm aiming for two next year...
And my lovely sweetpeas are starting to flower - hurrah.
I've got about a squillion WIPs on the go at the moment - so many, in fact, that my head's getting in a bit of a muddle thinking about what I'm going to finish first.  Which reminds me - I have a pressing need for Mollie Makes' lavender-filled strawberries as I seem to have a bit of an issue with moths eating holes in my clothes. Anyone have any ideas how to get rid of the blighters?  I always thought they lived in old people's houses and ate fur coats, but it seems they live in middle-aged people's houses and eat John Lewis cardigans too.  Must dash - I need to Google 'how to rid your home of clothes-eating moths' x

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Is it me?  Does this look not unlike a crochet blanket?  Or have I just allowed crochet to take over my life to a worrying degree?
This picture comes from my new favourite book: 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe
The illustrations are brilliant; I love the colours and the stylised design:
Kitchen sofa blanket, here we come! x

Sunday, 3 July 2011

African flower appreciation station

Just look what's appeared today.  
I love my flowers on my front door step; it's the only place outside my house that's safe from the ravages of small boys and footballs/sticks/swords/any other weapon that's to hand and so has become a little island of colour in a sea of boy-related crud.  One day I will reclaim the outside space as a proper garden, but until then I'll continue to take small pleasures from my pots of loveliness.
So it's been a fairly quiet old weekend really - work on Saturday, Wimbledon today (ah, poor Rafa - he's still my number one...), a bit of a clean-up in the bathroom - generally rock n roll all round.  Actually, it sounds a bit humdrum, but I love weekends like this - we seem to spend so much time legging it around all over the place that it's nice to be at home with nothing much going on.  We've got a busy few weekends coming up, especially with big N's birthday party on Saturday (I cannot believe my baby will be eight.  That makes me feel so old...)  Oddly we really struggled to think what to get him this year, we usually have a run down of the Lego catalogue, with items listed in order of preference (usually corresponds fairly closely to size of box) but not so this year.  After a bit of head-scratching from Mr N and me, we decided to sponsor an Amur leopard (no, I'd never heard of them either) because he regularly tells us we need to sponsor a tiger/dolphin/orang-utan - he loves his animals and even though he's a big boy in so many ways, I know he'll also love the cuddly leopard that comes with the sponsorship pack.  We also got him a guitar as he's just started having lessons at school - he came back after the first lesson and told us that he'd learned how to play a Led Zeppelin track; and to think it took Jimmy Page years to master...
I'm going to end today with a glimpse of my latest WIP.  I'm using the Rowan fine milk cotton that I bought recently in the John Lewis sale; and I have discovered.....African flowers:
How could I have lived for so long without these in my life?
And even as I'm beavering away making these as fast as my fingers can work, I'm still not entirely sure what to make with them.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.............. x