Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Tears before bedtime

Yesterday was a day of shopping for school shoes and other tediousness interrupted only by grabbing the moment when it actually wasn't raining to cut the grass, so by tea time everyone was getting a bit scratchy. We decided to blow the cobwebs away and made an after-tea trip to the beach for a run about.

It started so well - the rain had driven most other people away and the tide was low so we had loads of space.

Shoes came off and we dug our toes into the sand, experimented with footprints and hand prints and squealed at the chilliness of the water in the puddles.

Just after I took this picture we all raced off into the sea...

then came a minor disaster. Tall Girl and Tiny boy collided, Tall girl banged her nose and Tiny Boy sat down in the sea. They didn't see the funny side. The seaside fun came to an abrupt end and I had to coax, cajole and carry three squawking smalls back up the beach. They pulled themselves together enough to spend a few minutes on the playground once I had provided dry trousers for Tiny Boy but the moment had past. I think we were all quite glad when it was time to come home.

Today was wet wet wet so we spent a chunk of the afternoon making a collage for Grandad. J's Dad is a bit under the weather so we are going to send him this picture of his garden to cheer him up. I just need to work out how to post it because it is about a metre wide!

I am making good progress with my mitred squares cushion which I will try to show you tomorrow.


Friday, 24 August 2012

Holy Island adventure

Good morning!

Yesterday turned out to be a better day weather-wise than had been predicted so we headed down the road to Lindisfarne or Holy Island for a bit of fresh air and exercise. On the way there, the most exciting experience was a toss up between going on the causeway (which had an appropriate amount of sand and a little sea covering it still) and stopping at the level crossing to see a train go by.

After a pleasant lunch stop we started out for the castle which is about a mile from the village - quite a walk for very small legs. The castle itself is not very child friendly and a little on the dear side for Mum and my brother who aren't NT members, but entry to the garden is by donation so we went to look at that.

It is a Gertrude Jekyll garden with planting in very large blocks of colour. This is completely different to my garden which has plants shoved in here, there and everywhere with more concern for where there is a space than for planting combinations.

The GJ approach is very appealing but takes a certain amount of patience and planning. Not my strongest assets!

I also loved the paving. I am a bit of a sucker for a nice bit of paving and one day would like to replace all the concrete paths we inherited in our garden.

It seemed that we had picked exactly the right moment to visit with the garden at its peak. Everything seemed to be in full bloom.

Maybe that is because GJ is a better garden designer than me and we just didn't see the things that had gone over!

I liked all the little details too, like this old wheel barrow tucked into a corner behind the veggies,

and the large stone that is used to make the gate shut automatically. So simple and so clever!

Tall Girl liked this block of sedums surrounded by something lovely and furry which I have discovered is called stachys.

After the garden we popped onto the seashore for a bit of rock climbing.

There was a lovely view back to the village with the ruined priory.

Oh and if you ever wondered why we call him Giant Baby...

Have you had any lovely summer adventures? I do hope so.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Hanging out at home

After our time away - three whole weeks for the Smalls - we are rediscovering how to be at our house.

I spent hours picking then removing leaves and bugs etc from 12lb blackcurrants.

I have made half of it into jam and am off to beg more jars for the other half later.

The smalls have been rediscovering their toys and local delights like the new splash park which they love.

Next week will be all about preparing for the new school year - shoes and uniform and PE kit etc but I am keeping this week a school free zone, letting them just play.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Tall Girl's view of London and Cornwall

We had a fab family holiday, taking two weeks to go down the East, across the bottom and up the West. As usual Tall Girl snuck off with my Camera quite a lot so I thought I'd show you her highlights...

Open top bus

despite the rain.

 All the sights.

Palace Guards.

Imagining being the little African girl in Sing at the Queen's jubilee concert.

Watching Tower Bridge open.

Going on the London Eye

and on a boat trip.

Really bumpy slide!

Hanging out with Pop.


Garden sculpture Tall Girl style.


Chilled out Mummy and Daddy.

Digestives, lots of digestives.

Making fairy dust

out of muddy water.

Running really fast with her best friend Lokie.
Splashing in puddles.

We also did beaches and castles and camping and more playgrounds and cafes and galleries and gardens but she was far too busy to photograph those.
Btw, the bus tour, boat trip, Tower Bridge tour and family rail card were all courtesy of Mr Tesco and saved us a fortune.


PS Did you spot the photos not taken by tall Girl?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Three ta-das and two works in progress


Long time no see. Ada, of Vintage Sheet Addict, was completely right and I didn't blog while we were away, then we got back and I through myself into things rather and haven't managed it. Anyway I am here now and want to show you a few things that I have been saving up.

Firstly, remember these?

and these?

Well they became two little bean bags for my friends children who we visited on our hols.

 They are two and a half year old, boy and girl twins.

I think they were pretty pleased with them since they kept trying to bring them into the garden to play with.

The pattern is based on the one in this book but as usual I didn't follow it exactly!

The next thing I want to show you was very exciting for me - my first commission. Well, my first sewing commission. I was once asked to make a vase by the friend who now has the twins when I was doing a pottery night class. This time, as that, I was completely gobsmacked and delighted that someone thought the things I made were worthy of house room. The thing is, this time it wasn't for a friend who would be pleased with my efforts simply because they were mine. This time it was... professional... The lovely lady who is behind the St Abbs Market asked me to make some oven gloves for the cafe kitchen. Here was an opportunity to showcase my work, to try out a new pattern and to seriously fall out with bias binding!

Not content with wresting with the stuff once, I also decided to make some in an different colour combo for another lovely friend who we would be seeing on our travels.

I think it is pretty clear to me that I won't be making any more! I was please with the results in the end but nothing is worth that much unpicking.

While we were away my crafty efforts were limited to what I decided to take with me. After much thought I decided to return to knitting for the first time in months. Since teaching myself to crochet last year it has rather dominated my crafty output. I decided finally to do something with these.

 I always knew I wanted them to be a cushion cover but hadn't figured out how - knit/crochet, stripes/squares/hexagons/spots/flowers the possibilities were just too daunting.

I grabbed some needles and experimented with mitred squares. I tried some in stocking stitch but the complexity involved in keeping them square didn't sit comfortably with the simple feel I was looking for, so I tried them in garter stitch and was hooked.

I still have to figure out how I want to join them together and how to introduce the cream but I am on my way.

The last square is on the needles at the mo and might even be completed with my next cuppa.

The whole idea of receiving commissions may have rather gone to my head, but at the market my Mum has had to give several people scraps of paper with my contact details so I was persuaded to make these.

My very own business cards! I am totally thrilled about how pretty they are.

and can't wait to take them along to the market on Friday.

Lastly, I want to tell you how lucky I am with the excellence of the Smalls' grandparents. You might have already gathered that my Mum does a lot of looking after and playing with for me, enabling me to indulge myself with crafty makes and blogging, but J's parents really come into their own when a couple of times a year they take the Smalls away completely for a few days or even a week and let us catch up on time as a couple, unSmallfriendly jobs and sleep. At the moment Granny, Grandad and the Smalls are having a high old time wearing each other out over in Cumbria and I have been painting the porch.

This is a job that has been a work in progress for the best part of a year. Finally the entrance to our house won't be littered with paint pots and screwed up dust sheets. I have another coat of gloss to put on the front door tomorrow and then we can have a real flap on our letterbox instead of some rolled up newspaper to keep the rain out. This is making me extremely pleased!

Tomorrow I think I will treat you to some edited highlights of our hols. You'll be looking forward to that!