Sunday, 30 March 2008

Attack of the paper plates

We decided to have a little Easter party this week - admittedly, after Easter but when it comes so early what do you expect? So we entertained seven little girls (and two little boys) to an afternoon of easter nest making:

cress egg head construction:

and Easter bunny treasure hunting:

For once I had more activities planned than we had time for, so we ended up making the paper plate bunny masks the next day. This is what they were supposed to look like:

but this was what the girls wanted them to be:

Is it me or is there something reminiscent of a very scary film there?!

Monday, 24 March 2008

This WILL get messy

Those of you who were traumatised at the sight of our floury moon craters should look away now ...

Last week was the Science Festival in Cambridge, an annual event packed with some imaginative and exciting activities for little and big people. Unfortunately mine were felled by colds so we couldn't quite face dragging into town and fighting the crowd; instead I remembered the fabulously weird properties of cornflour in water I'd seen described at PlanetScience (a brilliant resource for anyone wanting to make a lot of mess), and that Simmy had told me about a few posts back - so we laid out a mat and got on with it. I learned about colloidal solutions at school and university but I'd never seen it in action before.

Oh My Goodness.

Once we'd got the proportions right - the recommended 8 eggcups cornflour to 4 eggcups water was a bit thin - we could scoop it up and roll it into balls (solid phase)

then open up our hands and watch as it behaved like a liquid and ran through our fingers.

People, there was food colouring. There was flour all over the floor. There was a LOT of laughing, and we even had to save the flour bowl for Mr DC to play with when he got home.

We embedded eggcups in the goop and found that if we pulled them hard they would stick fast, but if we were more gentle the flour particles would not stick together and the cup could come free. Quicksand, anyone?

The finale was a viewing of the Brainiac Walking on Custard clip which explains it far better than I have just done!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Fluffy bunnies and Easter chickies

Well, it seems you all love the pink bunnies as much as I did! They are settling in well; I was worried about the looks they were giving me as I made the hot cross buns until I realised that on the opposite page (in Nigella's Feast) there is a recipe for an Easter rabbit curry. Whoops.

Anyway, now I know that Jennie has received her parcel I can show you what I made for her:

I know some of you have already seen this little fluffball over at Jennie's blog, but I wanted to show him here, partly because I was very pleased with him - he's the first non-square thing I have ever crocheted! - and second because some of you asked about the pattern. He is the fluffy bunny from PlanetJune and he is not only very straightforward to make, the fluffy wool is quite forgiving of mistakes once you get used to not being able to see all your stitches very clearly! I am now bitten by the amigurumi bug and am designing my own simple bunny - watch this space.

I also made a covered notebook, with the rest of the spring fabric left over from the coffee cosies last week.

This is a pattern I made up a couple of weeks ago and I've completed quite a few of them. I always liked the Pink Chalk Studio notetaker but it was a bit more than I really needed and besides, I like a hard covered book rather than a notebook so I came up with this - it has a pen holder and pockets inside but doesn't end up much bigger than the notebook itself. I even used interfacing and a magnetic closure - I feel so grown up!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Doing what rabbits do best

Along with legions of others, I signed up for Lucy's Bunny Hop Swap, and was paired up with the lovely Jennie from Falling Down the Rabbit Hole (she's not feeling very well today - get well soon Jennie!). You can guess from the name that she is not a stranger to bunny making ...

Yesterday our parcel arrived; I took the girls to the post office to pick it up and they 'looked after' it while I drove - and all I could hear were squeaks, and cries of "pink bunny!" and then munching sounds. No-one took any notice of me wailing "but it's MY parcel, not yours!" Pout. Or indeed PLOM, as my husband's family say (PLOM = Poor Little Old Me).

Anyway, imagine my surprise to arrive home and discover not one,

not two,

but *three* pink bunnies!

There was also a pretty embroidered card and lots of sweeties and chocolate from Jennie's children to mine, and a brilliant Easter Bunny book about a right-on Mummy Bunny who has 21 babies and trains them to do the housework so she can deliver Easter eggs - I think I am going to pinch it for myself, it's fab. Thank you, Jennie and co - it was a fabulous parcel, and hard to believe it was really your first swap!

We hid the goodies out of bunny reach but they seem to have bonded into a good team while they were sitting in their parcel.

Blooming cheek!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Mum's gone to Islington

When Lucy Locket sent out her London invitation a few weeks back, I was powerless to resist. So, finally, the day came and five (well, six if you count me) went mad at the Country Living Spring Fair. Gina very kindly offered me a lift down, so after respective children had been deposited at school and nursery we travelled down the A1 to Cockfosters, jumped on a tube (Gina took pictures but I was too slow!) and trundled along to the Islington Business Centre which was resplendent in pink and spring green and overrun with ladies of a certain age. We were just admiring the pen of sheep outside when who should surprise us but Mrs Moogsmum and Lucy's big sister (the as-yet-blogless-but-under-extreme-pressure-to-join-in-the-addiction) Ally. Lucy phoned to say she was en route in a taxi and we waited and watched and squeaked a lot until finally a very happy face waved at us from the window of a black cab and out she jumped. We stood outside for ages until finally someone said, "Do you think we should go in?" and we decided we would - Jane was due to join us later on.

The Spring Fair is quite an overwhelming spectacle - hundreds and hundreds of pretty stalls, everything calling "Buy me! BUY ME!", but where there are bloggers meeting, there will be presents and the ones today way outdid anything that was on sale.

(sorry about the photos - it's dark but I wanted to post this tonight).

First we had Gina's pink carnations to make sure we would recognise each other - these caused huge numbers of comments as six of us wandered around the stalls chattering and looking (but mostly chattering) - I think some people probably thought we were members of a bizarre craft cult. Lucy did a great job explaining blogs to the uninitiated though. If I didn't already have one I'd have been inspired to start writing ...

Lesley quite rightly thought we would all need bags to carry home our loot, so she made some specially for us, with designer labels and a cleverly integrated ribbon to tie it up when you roll it to put it in your handbag. My girls tried to pinch it - step away, half-pints!

Lucy brought everyone a pretty wallet - mine is very springy and I really, really wished I had already switched to using it when I had a moment of turning my purse upside down without zipping up the coin holder and had a few moments inelegant scrabbling for change on the floor.

Ally gave us all chocolate bunnies - but I am afraid there is no picture as they are eaten!!!

My contribution was mug cosies and dottycookies:

(If they're too big for your mugs, you can loop the elastic round the button!)

I have to say though - these ladies are hard core. Gina and I had to head off mid afternoon to pick up our children, and not only were the rest of them still going strong, they hadn't even stopped for lunch!!

Thanks all, for a fabdoodletastic day. Let's do it again soon - please?!!!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Giant steps are what you take

What to do on a soggy Saturday afternoon?

Gather some basic supplies:

Sit on the kitchen floor, or another easily cleanable surface.

Prepare the target:

and stand well back as your children fling their marble meteorites to create


We had long chats about the dark side of the moon (no, not the album; that will never be seen in this house - no offence to any fans out there) and whether or not the dinosaurs were killed by a meteor strike, which in turn led to silly mental images of dinosaurs being bowled over like huge skittles.

But most of all we made a mess and giggled.

Who knew there was so much fun to be had with a bag of out of date flour?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Out of action

Sorry, I've been out of the loop a bit this week. I don't usually write about work, and I'm not going to start that now, but it has been pretty much all consuming this week and by the time I've arrived home I've been unable to do much but eat cereal, veg in front of the gogglebox and go to bed. So, apologies to everyone I have not emailed, and all the blogs I have failed to visit. It should calm down sometime soon, I hope.

So, in the absence of anything newer, here are a couple of pictures of the doll I made for Gina for the Valentine's swap. She's already written about this and revealed the dolly's name. This was very far away from the kind of project I usually undertake, but I very much enjoyed making her. She is based on a pattern from Dandelion Designs, and was designed to use only a fat quarter of fabric for her dress. My little ones have been asking for dolls of their own but I think they might pull the arms off and I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of response ...

Should get some sewing done this weekend; the girls have gone off with their daddy for a couple of hours so I am going to get off the computer and do something productive. Who am I kidding, I'm really going to scrub the bath.

PS Has anyone seen The Last King of Scotland? Having recently watched Atonement (wonderful film, loved it, but how anyone could recommend it as an"ideal Valentine's gift" I have no idea - did they watch it all the away to the end?!) I was wondering whether to rent the other film for which James McAvoy received good reviews, but I fear it might be too violent ...

PPS Someone from Minnesota (?) called Katherine/Kathleen (?) emailed me - gmail misfiled your message, and just as I was about to read it, it ate it - could you mail me again maybe?

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Celebrating mummies!

Happy Mother's Day to anyone who's celebrating it today (I know it's not Mother's Day in the US, not sure about other places). And special thoughts to those for whom this is a difficult day, for whatever reason.

My two have been busy making cards and pictures "secretly" at home and at school and nursery - lucky lucky me! Tonight we are looking forward to a roast chicken of which Hugh F-W would be proud and Eton Mess for pudding - with raspberries, home made chocolate meringues and fat free Greek yogurt, Lucy, so you can have some too!