Thursday, 31 January 2008

Revelations

Two posts in less than a week? Steady!


I had to write. I've had meetings with two wonderful women in the last few days, which would not have happened had we not all decided to take the plunge and start blogs. First I met up with Gina from Fan My Flame at a local farm shop - it turns out we have various village connections, and keep overlapping when we go shopping. Gina even kindly offered to be an unofficial swap partner when she found out I'd missed Lucy Locket's Valentines signup - how groovy is that?!


Then today Alice from The Magpie Files came to Cambridge, and we visited the Fitzwilliam to look at the pottery animals and trawl the gift shop; and the sparkly new John Lewis for wool, hats and lunch (but why is it no longer called Robert Sayle, hmmmm?). She surprised us with really thoughtful gifts, which are in the pictures scattered through this post - thank you Alice, for a wonderful day, for your generosity and for being such a lovely friend!


And in both cases I have to say - why has it taken me so long to get my act together? Any fears I had that things would be awkward were dispelled within seconds of both meetings - the conversations flowed, we laughed, it was GREAT. This on top of reading about the virtual baby shower thrown for Manda at TreeFall ... It feels as though blogging, or at least family/craft blogging is creating a real online community, and it is a complete pleasure to be a small part of it. Yay, all of us!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Psychedelic monkee madness

I entered a draw over at MonkeeMaker late one evening; I was comment 54 and thought I had no chance of winning - but I did! And early on Thursday morning a parcel arrived, and Tiny Small and I could hardly control our excitement. There were yummy chocolates, and a very cheeky person who made himself at home right away:


Once the chocolates were gone, he became a little confused by the cheerleader pompoms,


so we thought we should take him upstairs to endure Trial by Pinkness.


He wasn't impressed.


"Arghhhh .... my ... googly ... eyes ... heeeeeelp!"


He spurned the help offered by a friendly native (bit of a violent streak there?),
and discovered more horror lurking on the wall:


"Giant ... pink ... flowers ... I ... must ... find ... shelter!"

But what's this?


Could it be?


Camouflage!

(with apologies to my sister who made this fabulous cardigan, a favourite when the girls were small enough to fit into it.)


With renewed courage he set off to explore,


and scaled the castle.


Success!

But hang on a minute ...

Who does he think he is? King Kong?!

We rescued Mummy Cat and put Monkee (for thus is he known in this house) in his rightful place.


We are very glad he has come to live with us (though he is a bit cheeky), and now the initial shock has passed, I think he is quite contented here too.


Thank you, Kerry - you've made three girls very happy, and one man slightly worried for his wife's sanity ...

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Awkward silences

I've been away with work for a couple of days, staying in a very lovely country house hotel (what a treat!) It was a gorgeous sunny morning, crisp and slightly foggy so I went off for a walk around the grounds after breakfast, met a friendly cat, tromped through some mud and still had half an hour before the meeting starts. I could get used to this! I'm afraid I committed the cardinal crime of leaving my camera behind, and couldn't get the pics off my phone (technically incompetent) so here's one of the primroses cheering up the garden.


I had a slightly awkward conversation with some work colleagues last night - for some reason the topic turned to blogs - none of them write one and there was a lot of "I can't understand how anyone would want to do that!" I took the cowardly way out and said nothing, even when their scorn turned to incredulity - "I found out my neighbour writes a blog about her knitting patterns - good grief! Some people have too much time on their hands! They must be complete exhibitionists." How could I explain? Should I have tried to? Alice wrote about something similar recently; I wonder how many other "secret" bloggers are out there. Would you have said something?


Anyway, as I mentioned last week, along with many of you I was lucky enough to receive some awards recently - thank you to Gina, Tess, Lesley and Anna! I am very slow off the mark here, as many of you have already had these; I am going to cheat and copy Gina's neat solution to passing these on, which is that if I have commented on your blog then you certainly qualify to receive any or all of them. Especially if you are a covert blogger too!


I am supposed to write seven weird things about myself now - I've done a few lists like this recently so I'm a bit low on ideas and anyway, I probably reveal far more than seven of these on a regular basis ;-) About the only thing I can think of is that I LOATHE baked beans. I used to love them, but then I had them when I was pregnant and now I can't stand the smell of them. It does make life with a 5- and 3-year old quite interesting ...

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Well, hello there!

Say hello to my new hat! I love this hat, it was very easy to make, it is very warm and snuggly, and I made it in my favourite colours - what's not to love?! I found some wool at the local garden centre, of all places - it's called Freedom Spirit (the colour is Fire), it's 100% wool, it says it's British, and it is cheeeeeap.

The pattern was a free one from Knitty. The cable band was good fun to do, and the rest is just stocking stitch so it worked up very fast. I made it bigger than the pattern suggested because I hate tight hats, and I wanted space to put in a fleece lining in case it gets really cold. And it is long enough to cover my ears.


Can you see the poor injured camera? It had an argument with the driveway but the only bit to really suffer seems to be the flash - which we never use so it is masking taped shut. I didn't shout or swear when someone-who-shall-remain-nameless dropped it, I hope you are proud of me!

I received some awards last week, for which I thank Gina, Lesley and Tess enormously. Unfortunately my naughty computer is being uncooperative and not allowing me to save the icons. If and when I can I will put them up and pass them on!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Throoooooough the keyhole

Inspired by Mrs M's revelation that MasterM started taking pictures at the age of 5, I thought I'd show some of the photos Tall Small took over Christmas. We started handing her a little camera last summer and every so often I get a surprise view of our house through her eyes when I download the contents. Her latest obsession has me slightly baffled ...

I give you - the lid of the laundry basket. Or, in small child eyes, a perfect spot for hide & seek - after you've dumped the clothes on the landing, obviously.


What is it with the laundry? This is the tumble dryer, and there were at least 2 more of this shot. Perhaps she thinks it is a magic sock maker.


While we're in the kitchen, here is the light, a source of endless fascination. Even better is the garden light which they switch on and off until I think they'll have the birds banging their heads against the windows in a desperate bid to Make It STOP!


She'll need to run faster than that to get a photo of Tiny Small ...



And finally, the bedroom/toyroom/messiest room in the world.


Princess outfit carefully laid out - this, plus a pair of fairy wings is the usual mode of dress here. Wish I had one.


The best place in the house - their beds, with quilts (I use the term loosely) made by me, and fondly known as the "hot blankets".


So there you have it. Sorry if you were hoping for more artfully posed house shots, but there's waaaaay too much clutter here for that!

Friday, 4 January 2008

Nice cup of tea and a sit down

I love tea. I didn't used to; as a child I thought it was nasty and couldn't understand why my mum drank so much of it. Then as a teenager tea was deeply untrendy - black coffee was the beverage of choice in our sixth form common room. When we lived in the US it became a highly desirable commodity - at that time Twinings was very hard to come by and if you did find some it cost a fortune, so we would ask visitors to bring us boxes of teabags, and would stuff our suitcases on the way home from (infrequent) trips home.


And now we're home again, and I drink gallons of the stuff; there's usually a pot brewing, or half drunk, or just waiting on the counter. And there's my problem - I get distracted and wander away and the pot goes cold. So, a tea cosy was what I needed! There's a simple pattern in Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing but to be honest you don't need a pattern - I made a template out of paper and used some leftover wadding to pad between the outer and inner shells and now my teapot is very happy and very hot!


I made some coasters too - I started with the basic geometric quilted ones from Last Minute Patchwork Gifts, which were easy and fun:



and then I started getting silly with the free motion foot and spotty material; I like these a lot.



And now I have my hot cuppa, I can sit down and enjoy the goodies sent to me just before Christmas by Lea:
and Tess:


A good read and and a very Dottycookie apron, and a beautiful beaded brooch respectively - yummy! Time for a quick break I think ...