Friday 26 December 2008

Christmas highlights

my Christmas highlights; parties, presents, decorations, and inspiration

food highlights; tea bread, butter house, exploding icing, and foodie gifts

Miss K's highlights; pink technology, and more pink technology, playing with cousins, and look what my naughty cat did!

E's highlights; Darth maul, r2d2, presents under the tree, and waiting for daddy to check under the tree!

hope your Christmas's were filled with as many lovely moments as mine, but next year Miss K will you please please please go to sleep before 12.40am on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday 24 December 2008

the tray is set for Santa


Christmas wishes

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire.
all lit up for Christmas.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, I hope you have a truly special time.
with love,


Thursday 18 December 2008

a present for J and a present for me.....

hurray another present finished ! this one is for J

with just a little reminder that if we ever manage to move house then we need some chickens....

it's amazing that any sewing has been done at all, as we seem to be the plague house at the moment; first both children and I were ill, then they got better, but I didn't quite seem to, then Miss K was ill again, and I ended up with a sinus infection, and then after 2 days back at school Miss K is poorly again, and has spent most of today in our bed asleep............ and now I'm wondering why I didn't just get in with her, and do the same.........

yesterday I was feeling almost human again, and was due to go and volunteer at the quilt museum, so in the interests of getting some fresh air, and because it's actually a real pain to drive into town (traffic, finding anywhere to park, environmentally unfriendliness, cost of parking) I decided to go on my bike

not such a great plan, all the main roads were fine, but the side roads which make great short cuts from all the nasty traffic were rather icy, and I ended up in a heap on the road/pavement with my bike on top of me, and my face on the concrete........
a passing cyclist stopped and picked up my bike, and helped me up, and made sure I was ok, for which I was extremely grateful.
one grazed knee, one bashed shin, one scraped chin, one cut lip, very sore mouth/teeth, nothing broken but completely injured pride..........

the lovely people at the quilt museum found me the first aid kit, and then I spent a happy morning making sure no-one stole the quilts, answered a few questions (nothing hard thankfully!) and spent lots of time watching a fantastic machine quilting demo by Philippa Naylor, who I'd seen give a talk several months ago, and it was just fabulous to watch her work, and ask questions, and realise how much I've been doing wrong - ok so that's not soooo good............

In the interest of cheering myself up I found myself unable to resist buying her book, as a Christmas present to me, and I only had a little peep before putting it away till next week.
It's just gorgeous, the colours here don't do it any justice at all, it's vibrant

and the layout of the pages is refreshing

and the examples of her work outstanding

look at these feather shapes, just fabulous and all stitched freehand, no drawing involved.

even this photo of an iron is inspirational!

and this colour on white is amazing

this might well be the book I spend the whole of the Christmas holidays curled up on the sofa with!

Tuesday 16 December 2008

what planet are you from martha stewart?

it is the time of year for teacher Christmas gifts, last year we had miniature Christmas cakes, this year (because I haven't made the Christmas cake yet, still scarred from the wedding cake disaster) we relied on the trusty old cookie press. My dad bought this on a trip to the States before I was born, and many years ago I borrowed it, and somehow it hasn't been returned yet..

I just love the old fashioned (sorry vintage) instructions

and the ease at which you soon have a cooling rack of delightful cookies.

so far so good. next step wrapping. according to Martha, "an easy and effective way to present cookies is in a tower wrapped in cellophane" hummphhh, my cookies wouldn't stand in a tower, my cellophane rolled on the floor, the tape got stuck in my hair.........

Monday 15 December 2008

more birthday cake

Saturday was E's birthday, he was 8.... my little one is 8, how did that happen?????

We had lots of plans for an exciting day, but illness and weather, and an abundance of lego
meant plans changed and we stayed in, apart from a quick trip to my brothers house to celebrate his birthday too, he was 45 and had a hedgehog cake!

I've finally finished a Christmas gift, it took a LOT longer than the recommended 3 hours, and challenged me a great deal, but I'm pleased with it finally, and I learnt some neat finishing tips.

and Lizzie Jane tagged me to post the 4th photo in my fourth folder, so far so good, but the 4th photo was one of J falling down the hill whilst sledging last January, so in the interests of not getting divorced for Christmas, this is from the 5th folder.... I don't think Fred has a lawyer, but he is sleeping in a suitcase so perhaps he was hoping for a vacation...........

I'm supposed to tag 4 people, but instead I shall open it up to everyone, it's quick and fun, and I'd love to see a random photo from everyone....!

Wednesday 10 December 2008

10 today

Happy birthday Miss K
10 today

a birthday cake designed and baked by the birthday girl

no presents yet, because we're waiting for daddy to come home from San Francisco today!
we had a party though, at the weekend, I managed to take 8 children to the cinema (with a little help from Grandma), the children were all very well behaved, which is more than I can say for these guys, who were bouncing on the chairs, scampering about, and being wild things.......

Friday 5 December 2008

flat as a pancake...

last night I tried to make Alice's buttermilk scones....

they looked more like buttermilk pancakes, but warm from the oven with lots of butter and jam they tasted ok - this morning, cold - not so good, the birds might be getting the rest......

Also baffling me is this pattern, from living creatively, now I'm no dressmaker but it seems to me that the 2nd net tier at the bottom of the petticoat needs to be longer than the rest of the petticoat, or else you can't gather it up, to create the fullness in the pictures. but the instructions are to cut the same length...... well I'm going to make the 1st layer shorter and we'll see what happens.... any advise would be much appreciated!!!!!!! xx

it might end up on the bird table with the scones...

which would be a shame because I really like the fabric...... and if I can't finish it, then I'm down a present.......

Wednesday 3 December 2008

one warm hand

inspired by Lisa, I now have one warm hand. ok so the wool clearly wasn't right for pattern, as it knitted up much too big, the first time I started it was clearly enormous, so I ripped it out, and reduced the number of stitches. It's still rather baggy, but very soft, and such a pretty colour don't you think........ just need to finish the other one.

there's snow forecast tomorrow so I might need it.

Monday 1 December 2008

online shopping

there are pros and cons to online shopping

- it's a bit festive humbugish to be sitting in the kitchen at the laptop, and missing out on all the Christmas lights, and music in shops, and every where decorated...

- but then you also miss out on all the really tired and grumpy shop assistants too, and the people with loads of bags who bash into you, and the queues.......

-it's harder to pick a spontaneous present online - that just perfect present doesn't jump off the shelves at you

- but you're less likely to have a heated argument with your partner whilst sitting calming at home with a cup of tea -being in a queue in M&S is a totally different ballgame...

- you can't pick up the present online, and hold it in your hand to see if it "feels right" for the recipient

- but in store you can't read the reviews to see if it's a good buy

- which means you aren't baffled by choosing between 4 1/2 stars by 263 reviewers, or 5 stars but only from 9 reviewers...........

- it's certainly warmer and drier at home than struggling through the shops in the cold and wet.

- but there's something about treating yourself to a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows when you have a large pile of parcels at your feet to feel smug about...

- you don't have to take little people with you when you go online shopping, so it's a lot easier to hide what you're buying from them

- but the magic on little people's faces as they see another Santa in a shop window is part of what it's all about

so in the end Freddie gets the last say on online shopping, he thoroughly approves because as well as some rather uncomfortable books he also got a nice box, and this lovely new bed..........

Saturday 29 November 2008

the naughty step

sometimes when E and Miss K were younger they had to sit on the naughty step (and then we changed it to a naughty doormat......)

we're wondering what shaggy has done to put him on the naughty step........

Friday 28 November 2008

open house

the aftermath of an open house!
I invited some friends round for a joint "Christmas shopping Open House", one jewellery designer, one card designer, one bead artist, and me......... After panicking no-one would come there was a houseful, and I couldn't get chance to take any photos during, so these are the after party shots.

once neat piles......

a few less bags!

but no less brooches, 3 orders for different ages though

lots of washing up

and some goodies for me! 2 mice for the stockings - sugar mice are traditional, these are more tooth kind!

a scary snake with a pipe cleaner inside so he's bendy!

and two sparkly dragonflies, which may or may not find their way into the Christmas present box.....

oh and that last piece of chocolate cake just got eaten!

Monday 24 November 2008

sewing and shoes, fingers and toes

well a little bit of Christmas sewing has got finished, this was a sample for the rainbow quilt I made, and it has LOADS of mistakes in it, but I couldn't just throw it out, so it's been finished for Miss K and her dolly Rosie. One down, quite a few more to go.....

I seem to have failed hopelessly at joining in Nancy's week of shoes, so instead these are the shoes of the moment - slippers, with truly ridiculous knee high socks from M&S which are keeping me warm and toasty!

just as well as yesterday we woke up to this, all gone now, but still very chilly!

the rest of the time I live in these, Ali would describe it as being loyal to her shoes, but in fact it's more the other way round, after 2 steroid injections in my ankle for a torn tendon I'm wary of anything other than trainers, in case it flares up again. Not sure what they'll look like with a party frock on at Christmas....

have been doing lots of extra walking this week due to this

Miss K bit her nails SO much that the end of her finger got infected, and I've had to walk to school at lunchtime every day for a week to deliver this

perhaps NOW she'll stop biting them....

other ways we've found of stopping her biting her nails includes this method, bundle her up in a sleeping bag, and make her crawl about the kitchen floor like a big green slug! and no we're not mad and going camping - Miss K went to Brownie pack holiday.

Thursday 20 November 2008

7 things

Thank you Lisa for this award and the 7 things tag that came with it, ......

7 Things to do before I die

in no particular order:
  1. learn to crochet
  2. raise 2 well adjusted children
  3. see the Northern lights
  4. make a difference to someone
  5. take better photographs
  6. meet up with some of my new blog friends
  7. find my mobile phone

7 things I do now

  1. procrastinate
  2. spend a lot of time looking for things that I've tidied away somewhere, or left somewhere randomly - like my keys for example, or my mobile...
  3. scatter threads through the house as I sew

  4. take lots of photographs
  5. drink lots of tea
  6. eat too much chocolate
  7. avoid doing the ironing at all costs, until both children are clamouring for school uniform

7 things I can't do

  1. crochet
  2. park in small spaces, or parallel park, or in fact park in medium sized spaces, if I'm on my own I'll drive about till I find a space I can drive through, and straight out of, without any of that nasty reversing nonsense.
  3. find my mobile
  4. touch my toes. even after 4 years of going to an exercise class which is meant to make you all flexible and supple.....
  5. get the points to match up in this quilt block I'm making with triangles.
  6. make small talk at parties where I don't know anyone, - I'm always the one in the kitchen doing the washing up...
  7. start the day without a cup of tea - this started when I was pregnant with Miss K, and if I moved at all first thing in the morning I felt awful, so J would bring me breakfast in bed. I no longer get the breakfast - who'd want cornflakes at 6am, but I still get the tea.

7 things that I find attractive in the opposite sex
  1. the ability to park
  2. sledge hammer or saw wielding ability

  3. being able to cook me delicious dinner
  4. willingness to deal calmly with insurance companies/builders/phone company/estate agents when I am so cross with them I want to shout and hurl the phone at them
  5. sense of humour - you need one in this house!
  6. extreme tolerance of my inability to park
  7. being willing to bring me a cup of tea in bed every morning, and then not be ungrateful when I ignore it and go back to sleep.
7 things I say most often
  1. in a minute
  2. have you cleaned your teeth?
  3. has anyone seen my keys?
  4. has anyone seen my mobile?
  5. I love you
  6. when will you two be old enough to make mummy a cup of tea?
  7. what would you like for dinner?
7 celebrities that I admire

not sure if this is admire as in have a crush on, or admire as in talent, charitable good works, or sense of humour....

so a random selection then.... Nigella, Ian Botham, Kylie, Rebecca Addlington, Ronan Keating, James Blunt, David Tennant

7 favourite foods
  1. chocolate
  2. chocolate cake
  3. chocolate dipped strawberries
  4. chocolate brownie
  5. hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows
  6. hot buttered toast
  7. Christmas dinner

    mmm, do you think I should have tried to include some healthy options...

7 people to join in the fun..

Simone, Lynn, Nancy, Rachael, LizzieJane, Jessica, Lesley