Thursday, 29 September 2011

✸ A little bit of crochet and a big thank you ✸

Well, I'm pleased to report that my mood has improved with the weather.  This was my view in a sunny spot on my lunch break on Tuesday - it looks beautiful, doesn't it?  The reality is that I'm sitting in a car park next to a recycling bin, but hey - the sun's shining and that's all that matters.  (I actually had a bit of an incident in this car park a few months ago, but I won't dwell on that because it still makes me anxious and on the six billion to one chance that the owner of the Porsche that was unfortunately parked near to my car, happens upon my blog - as far as he's concerned, ignorance most definitely is bliss.)
But I digress - really I should be saying a big, huge, enormous thank you to you lovely people for really cheering me up when I was feeling a bit glum (I just love that word).  You're all brilliant and I am sure that karma will handsomely repay you for your kind words.
So, apart from loitering in car parks, I've managed to get in a bit of hooky time:
(actually, this photo was taken in the car park - if you look very closely, you can see a drain by my left thigh)
Can you also see my sparkly new Boden-sale-bargain scarf?  Mr N was a bit rude and scoffed at the irony of me buying something from the johnnieB range.  I think he was implying that it makes me mutton dressed as lamb, in some way, but I just put my fingers in my ears and said 'la la la - can't hear you' (then I flicked his ear, cos he really likes it when I do that...)
And this is the fruit of my crochet-related labours:
Hmmmm, on reflection, that's just asking for trouble putting that there - it's far too easy for grabbing little hands to reach.  This is much better:
Ah *happy sigh* my high-up little crafty corner, how I love it so.
Before I go, and for the benefit of anyone who's reading this and feeling mildly disgusted with me for being involved in some sort of low-level hit and run incident, I'd like to make it clear that although my car was scratched to the metal (grrr) the Porsche didn't have a mark on it (well, not that I could make out in the semi-gloom anyway). x
PS - I've just remembered something that makes me just a little bit excited every time I remember it - I went wild today and bought a treat for me and Mr N.  Do you want to know what it is?  Eeeeeek - it's a quilted mattress topper!!  For so many years I have longed for one of these babies and now, finally, I have one (well, I nearly have one - I can't actually pick it up until tomorrow and that's just killing me, but this time tomorrow I will be well and truly ensconced in my bed and that is thrilling).  Oh lordy, that's just made me think of something else completely brilliant that's happening tomorrow - it's the return of Strictly Come Dancing.  
Oh happy day. x

Monday, 26 September 2011

❊Watch out, there's a whinger about...

Ugh, I'm feeling tired and run down and sorry for myself and what I'd really, really like to do at this precise moment in time is crawl under my duvet with an enormous piece of cake and have someone on hand whose sole role in life is to play with my hair and rub my feet.  Boo hoo hoo, moan moan moan...
WHY is my daughter a nightmare-inducing insomniac?
When will I get a proper night's sleep again?
Where is the fairy with the magic wand to make all the crud in my house magically disappear, to be replaced by only clean, sparkly, freshly-laundered things?
How can I lose half a stone whilst simultaneously indulging my deep love of wine and cake?
Where is my 'back up brain'?  The one that will kick in when my scrambled egg head forgets things like where exactly I left my children, and hospital appointments, and what I need at Waitrose when I've left my shopping list in the kitchen.  Huh?  Where???
Actually, that 'back up brain' idea's not a bad one - as soon as I can track down my front door keys, I'm hot-footing it to Dragon's Den. x

Thursday, 22 September 2011

☆ Twinkle, twinkle ☆

The boys and I (okay, mostly I) spent a happy moment or two looking at the lovely sunset that we were treated to last night.  Middle in particular was keen to discover whether the old saying about red skies at night was true and I can confirm that, in this case, it was!  (Mmmmm - that's meant lots of lovely, hung-outside-to-dry washing to sniff today.)
So, apart from inhaling fresh washing smells, I've been frittering away my time making a little pile of these:
I have Plans for these little beauties.  Christmas plans (I've written that bit really small because it makes it less scary).  Plans that involve threading them on invisible thread with little red hearts and beads and then hanging them in the big bay window in our sitting room.  Ooooh, add some little tea lights and some sparkly baubles and I'm already feeling a twinge of the festive spirit (crikey - talk about peaking too early.)
These, which admittedly might seem a trifle premature, have come about as a result of reading this post from the lovely Little Cottage Comforts blog.  What can I say?  I panicked.  She's right - the making starts now or gibbering wreckdom beckons. 
And here is a little peek of something totally and reassuringly unrelated to Christmas - my beautiful Tea Wagon picture:
 Tuhwit tuhwoo, baybeee. x

Monday, 19 September 2011

Pincushion and parcel

I came across these lovely flower pincushions on one of my blog-trawls last week.  I just love Little Woollie's blog - she makes some really lovely things, so when I saw these I decided I just had to make one for myself.  I really like how it's turned out and it was lovely and quick and easy to make - I'm certain I'll be making more of them in the future - I think they'd make really great presents too.  I used some white Rowan handknit cotton from my stash and a vintage button from the crafting treasures that my gran gave me recently.
On a completely other note: look what came in the post today:
Such a beautifully-wrapped parcel from Jane at Teawagon Tales.  This contains a gorgeous applique made by Jane - when I saw it on her lovely blog, I just knew that it had to come and live in my newly-decorated sitting room!  I haven't had a chance to photograph the contents properly yet as I haven't quite decided where it's going to 'live', but I am completely in love with it and can't wait to show you!
So that's it from me, really.  Hope you've all had a good Monday - I've been running around like a mad thing working/looking after poorly children/being a taxi - just the usual mummy stuff! x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

✪ Sunday stuff (on a Saturday)

This is a bit of a belated post - these pictures are actually from last Sunday, but I'm working on the 'better late than never' principle here'
Check out the dog 'refreshment facilities'.
I just love this little shop, which is really no more than a tin shed, but it's been decorated so beautifully and has such an amazing selection of things for sale, that it's a sheer delight to visit.  It's right next to a canal just down the road from us and it caters for passing canal boats as well as walkers so it has everything those two groups of people could possibly need from diesel to fridge magnets (shaped like canal boats, of course) to maps.  Unfortunately it also sells sweets, which the kids get very excited about, and homemade cake, which Mr N and I get very excited about.  (I'm not sure how a slab of coffee cake fits in with my 'oh god, I've still got half a stone of post-baby weight to lose' diet, but what the heck - I loved every mouthful.)  They also have adverts in the window for canal boats that are for sale.  Mr N and I have spent many a happy moment fantasising about being footloose and child responsibility free and living a simple existence on one of these - not sure if Ocado would deliver to a boat though, which could be a problem.
Can you believe all five of us were up, dressed and ready for action by half past nine?  In the morning?  On a Sunday?  Unheard of.  I got into one of my 'right, let's get out and about and do something' moods and so we loaded the car with all the essentials - the boys' bikes, hot chocolate, chocolate biscuits (there's a theme emerging...) and wellies and headed off for some fresh air slash high-calorie action.
Look at this lovely little thing, with a chunk taken out of its wing - I wonder what caused that?
This is the ideal spot to sit and eat chocolate biscuits (or a dried fruit bar in baby n's case, poor girl, she doesn't know what she's missing):
We forgot her coat (oops), but she completely rocked the 'I'm wearing my older brother's jumper' look:
I have to say, I think it works really well with the Gruffalo wellies. x

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

✮ Wishlist

As promised, in lieu of seven interesting facts, here are seven things on my wishlist.  Thanks again to Faith for the Versatile Blogger award.

Atelier Shinji Ginza 
I found this amazing jewellery designer on one of my recent Etsy trawls.  I love it all.  It's 'me' in jewellery form:
✮ Joules slipper socks
This one's a bit crazy, seeing as I just bought myself some new slippers last week (you remember the day when the weather warmed up?  It was that day) but these are definitely going on my 'list of things to drop hints about nearer to Christmas'.

✮ Pashley bike (with wicker basket, obviously...)
When I was small, my mum had a yellow Pashley tricycle with two seats on the back.  My brother and I used to sit on these seats like minor royalty and wave at people as my mum cycled through the lanes (we lived in the middle of the country, on a farm estate).  It was idyllic.  Just thinking about that makes me smile and also feel slightly sad, oddly.  I also had a friend who lived in Winchester (*sigh*) and who was a Goth - I thought she and her friends were the coolest thing ever.  They all had black Pashley bikes and used to ride off into the countryside on them and have picnics.  How cool is that??  Ever since then (blimey, that was the eighties) I have longed for one of these beauties so that I can waft elegantly around on it with freshly-cut flowers spilling from the basket.  Inexplicably, I always have a long skirt on in this daydream - clearly practicality doesn't come into it.
✮ Lloyd Loom chair
Classic.  I long for one of these.  It would have a crocheted cushion and blanket on it, natch.
✮ Paper Patisserie labels
How could your life not be enhanced by having some of these lying around?  My kids don't have the monopoly on sticking stickers all over the place, you know.
✮ Chickens
When we lived on the farm estate in the country, we had what can only be described as a menagerie.  We had three pigs (named, hilariously, by my dad: Pork Lunch, Bubble and Squeak.  Sicko.  Later on we had Oxford Sandy and Black pigs called Verbena and something else, which I can't for the life of me remember.)  A dog, Toby (a much more normal, but slightly less appropriate, name.)  Shetland sheep (including a psychopathic ram, named Rambo.  Natch)  And loads of mental hens.  I used to dread my mum asking me to feed them, because I was only short and when I walked in their rather extensive patch of garden, they used to mob me to get at the bucket of food.  I never twigged that bringing the bucket up so that they couldn't jump in it had exactly the opposite effect to the one I wanted - encouraging them, as it did, to jump even higher and even closer to my head.  Anyhoo, this hasn't scarred me too much and I now find myself longing for a couple of birds to scratch around in my garden slash football pitch.  I would have two hybrids to ensure a good supply of eggs, and one that laid blue eggs.  I don't know which variety this would be, but the idea of having fresh, blue eggs is completely thrilling.
✮ A bit of peace and quiet
Oh yes, as all of you with small children will appreciate - a bit of peace and quiet is a luxury and a rare occurrence.  Perversely, I know that when my children are all at school/university/away somewhere that isn't home, I will miss the noise and mayhem and long for them to come back.  But for the moment, surrounded as I am by high-volume activities, I will continue to yearn for half a day on my own, in which I can do as I please (probably crochet/blog-surf) without having bleeding eardrums.  Ho hum. x

Thursday, 8 September 2011


In a fit of enthusiasm to finish the job of 'joojjing up' my sitting room, I recently found myself sitting at my crafting station (dining room table) surrounded by fabric, scissors, bits of thread and various other sewing-related paraphernalia:
A bit of jiggery-pokery later, and I had a new cushion for my sofa.  What do you think?
The spotty fabric is an off-cut from my mum, the buttons were knocking about in my button tin, and the ribbon and animal fabric are both vintage delights that my granny gave me on my recent trip to Dorset.  Thanks gran!  The animal fabric was, in fact, a lampshade (natch) and it does have a seam down the middle of it, but I love it so much I just had to use it.
I am leaning against it as I type this and I can confirm that it is, indeed, very pleasingly squishy - just as a cushion should be.
Before I go, I need to say a big 'thank you' to Faith who recently awarded me theVersatile Blogger award. Faith has a lovely, funny blog that always makes me smile.  And yes, Faith, I think it would be a brilliant idea for you to open your posh cake shop next to my dreamy yarn shop - I think that would, in fact, be a match made in heaven.  (I need to point out here that the Wiggly Willow thing is a joint venture with Cuckoo, but I am more than sure that she would approve of the yarn shop/cake shop scenario.)  And, while I'm on the subject, of course you could have a part-time job Jo - I would require you to bring in cupcakes on a regular basis though.
I know at this point I am supposed to do my interesting facts, but frankly, I've run out of them - I'm terribly boring in real life.  I am planning to do a 'seven things on my wishlist' post imminently though, in lieu of interesting-ness. x

Monday, 5 September 2011

Granny's garden of flowery loveliness part deux

I forgot to mention that I went completely overboard taking photos of my granny's garden when I was in Dorset over the summer.  I thought that if I just sneaked these in, you might not notice or mind too much...(which reminds me of my Blogger-related woes, which I will return to later).
I wanted to bury my nose permanently in this honeysuckle, but it wasn't open properly and there were rather a lot of bees about.
I do love acers *sigh* especially when their leaves change to those amazing pinks and reds and oranges that acers do so well.  They're not quite up there with beeches in my mental 'tree top trumps game', but they're definitely top ten.
And here's a wiggly willow (I'm now going off on a mental tangent imagining the amazing yarn shop I will one day own.  This yarn shop slash haberdashery will be called 'Wiggly Willow' and I will spend all day reading inspirational blogs, stroking balls of yarn and drinking cups of tea from old, mismatched cups.  Gotta have a dream.)
My grandad made this bench from a fallen over tree.  He was a lovely man and I miss him a lot.  One day a few years ago, shortly after my grandad's death, I was in the kitchen and overheard big n talking to someone in the dining room next door.  I walked in and asked him who he was talking to as there was noone else in the room.  He replied that he was telling great-grandad about what he'd done that day as he thought he'd be interested.  I firmly believe that my other grandad (who died the month before I was born) has watched over me as I live my life; and I wonder whether big n has the same thing with this grandad (who died while I was pregnant with middle n).  You never know, do you?
And just because I ended my last installment of granny's garden with a picture of a ladybird's bottom, I'm going to end today with a picture of a lovely furry bee.  Byeeee x
PS - ha - nearly forgot to mention my Blogger issues: my posts don't seem to be updating in other people's blogrolls (or if they do, they take several hours to do it) does anyone have any idea why this might be?  I'm at a complete loss.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Crochet update - August

You may recognise this flower - it's one of the hellebores I made a while ago - but this one has been turned into a brooch as a little thank you to Catherine for my lovely giveaway pressies (glad you liked it, Catherine!)
My summer hols blanket (aaahhhhh, siiiiigh).  I don't want to show you too much or it won't be a proper ta-dah when I've finished it, but this baby has made its way on to my list of 'things-I'd-save-if-my-house-was-burning-to-the-ground-and-everyone-was-safely-outside-and-not-trapped-and-if-it-was-safe-for-me-to-go-into-the-building-without-fear-of-a-piece-of-flaming-ceiling-falling-on-my-bonce'.
And the stripy side of my little rocking chair cushion is finished, though the reverse side most definitely isn't.  Gaaaggh....  I made the entire reverse side out of pale pink, edged it in purple, decided I hated it, frogged the lot and haven't touched it since.  Humph.  Anyhoo, I will finish this soon - I've bought some lovely, clean-looking white yarn - I just need to locate my stripy cushion love again then it'll be done and dusted in no time.
And in the other news tonight:
ooooh, look at this little lovely - it's my bargainous patio rose that I bought for the princely sum of £1.50 from a local florist.  As I paid for it, the florist pointed out to me that there are, in fact, five little rose plants in the pot, so I have high hopes for a positive profusion of these beauties next summer.  (Though, knowing my gardening abilities, it's more likely that they'll all die over winter.  Positive thinking now....)  If you look closely at the photo above, you might be able to see the enormous tin that I filched last time I went to Pizza Express.  I saw them lined up on the counter and it appears that I have no shame, because I actually asked the waiter if I could take one home to grow plants in.  I haven't been back since.
And here is a close-up of the one flower on it, before baby n decided to eat it...

Ah, and here are my beautiful 'dotty dollies' that big n bought for me with his pocket money from the festival.  Yes, I did shed a tear and also instantly forgave him for every annoying thing he's ever done in his entire life - of which there are a few - he is king wind-up merchant.
Right, I'm off now - Monty Hall is on the television and I need to give him my full attention - he is definitely on my list of guilty pleasures (along with Monty Don, bizarrely.  Do you think it's a name thing?) x