Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A confusion of seasons

Despite the weatherman's protestations to the contrary, and the snow in many parts of the UK, here in East Sussex it is definitely still Autumn. The Smalls and I have left poor Mr DC to fend for himself and come to visit my parents. They are surrounded by lovely National Trust properties and today we decided to visit Sheffield Park Gardens, along with my sister, her family, and half to population of the South East. It was heaving!

If you look closely you'll see there's a bridge on the left of that scene, and it was jampacked. No stopping! Move along down the bridge please!

When we lived in the US we used to drive miles into New England to look at the foliage, and became what was charmingly termed 'leaf peepers'. Well, you can do that here too, admittedly on a smaller scale.

See that house? People live there. Very Lucky People.

The parking was a bit of a disaster area, and we saw examples of dump-the-car-and-run that any resident of Rome would have been proud of, but it was worth it.

PS To the makers of Spooks (and look away if you haven't watched it yet): I know you don't like us to get too attached to any of the characters but re-the ending of Monday's episode - did you have to? Sob, wail.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Zippity doo dah

Once upon a time I had a trusty Singer sewing machine that made straight stitches and zigzags and on which I made bags and ballgowns and all manner of prettiness - as long as it didn't need buttonholes, and as long as I could sew zips in by hand. A couple of years ago I convinced Mr DC that I really needed to be able to do free motion quilting and lose my fear of buttons - and oh, by the way, it would be fun to get to grips with zips too.

Look what I can do now!

Instructions for a basic boxy zip pouch are given by Three Bears, but I've added tags and linings and changed the proportions to make pencil cases as the take home gifts for Tiny Small's birthday. The middle sized pouches are good for make up or tiny sewing kits, and the really weeeeeeny one holds a hair bobble or two and slides onto the end of a little hairbrush so it's always ready for ballet class.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Well, really!

Just how much blog excitement can one woman stand in a single weekend? First came a much anticipated meeting with the queen of crafty blogs, the delightful and extraordinarily talented Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits. Julie asked me to test knit her cupcake pattern (it's fab, and fun, and full of pictures of knitted cakes) and it turns out we live only thirty miles apart so we met here for tea on Friday. Tiny Small and I were enchanted by her bag of little cotton animals - rabbits and bears and badgers, oh my! And imagine our excitement when Julie produced these tiny lovelies for the girls:

I haven't stolen them yet, but I do love them as much as the Smalls do. Thank you Julie, for a lovely morning. Again, soon, perhaps?

And as if that wasn't (weren't?) enough, yesterday saw the arrival of The Box! My poor postman - I saw him through the window extracting a tape covered box from the back of his van and was lying in wait by the front door when he knocked. It was a very, VERY hard choice, but these are the three delights I chose to keep. The girls petitioned extremely hard for the ribbons. I was after wool, but in the end they won me over - anything for a quiet life. What I put in is a secret but the box is heading back to Trashy tomorrow after a very long journey round the world!

It's looking a bit the worse for wear ...

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Tread softly

Twelve years ago, Mr DC and I were married on a gorgeously sunny October day with champagne and feasting. Forward to the present day and now there is coffee in fairy mugs, and a sunny anniversary picnic with this little lot. I couldn't think of a better way to spend last Sunday.

Many thanks to everyone who wished us a happy anniversary. Fancy Elastic tagged me for 7 random things, so I thought I might try to think of 7 random things about our wedding.

1. We were married in Oxford, even though we were living in the US at the time.

2. We had a one night honeymoon at Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons as we'd run out of holiday - we'll gloss over the fact that it cost about the same as a week in the Canaries!

3. My wedding dress came across the Atlantic in a box; I clearly remember the agony of waiting for it to come onto the luggage carousel at Heathrow.

4. The hotel had our little wedding as well as a big wedding on the same night, both using the same disco. Unfortunately we ended up with the B-team on the decks until Mr DC's cousins staged a coup...

5. We were determined not to have a formal first dance, but our guests refused to start dancing until we did. On the spur of the moment we chose Ella Fitzgerald singing "Let's Fall In Love", not too bad at all!

6. I had a rotten cold on the day and couldn't taste any of the food.

7. The reading during the ceremony was W.B Yeats' "He wishes for the cloths of heaven". It remains one of my very favourite poems - and I know I'm far from alone.

I'm supposed to tag people, but I never do, and especially not since I've hijacked this one! If you feel like having a go, I'd love to read what you have to say ...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The Big Weekend

Tiny Small was born the day before our wedding anniversary but this is the first year both days have fallen together on a weekend, and the first time we have managed for either of them to have a party on the Big Day itself. I was determined not to spend the whole of her day tethered to the oven so for once was organised enough the day before to get most of the baking done. I am, to borrow a phrase from Nigella, "unhelpfully obsessed" with preparing the food for birthday parties. If I could find a recipe for PomBears I'd probably try to make those myself too, that's how bad it is.

The day went brilliantly, with sun and happy children and if there were any tears I don't remember them. There was junk modelling (This kept them occupied for 40 minutes! 40 MINUTES!!!)


face painting

stained glass window making (these are now adorning windows up and down the High Street in our village)

lots of cake

and a very happy four year old. And this year she even managed to blow out her candles without burning her lip. Hurrah! Happy Birthday Tinker Two!

Friday, 10 October 2008

But what are you going to do all day?

When I gave up work, I was asked repeatedly (and in some cases incredulously) how I was going to fill my time. I am sure there were people who thought I'd be watching Phil 'n' Fern and eating bonbons on the sofa. If only! Tall and Tiny Small keep me very occupied - yesterday Tall told her ex-childminder, "Sam, I do miss coming to your house a bit." (More like she misses Horrid Henry, methinks). "But isn't it nice having mummy at home now?" "Yes, and we're giving her a nice rest from work." Ha!!!

Of course, you are all far too sensible to think I'm busy doing nothing, and I'm sure you'll understand why Tiny Small and I chose to fill a sunny afternoon this week with some soap felting action, courtesy of the Little Travelers via Crafty Crow.

She managed most of this by herself, once I'd assembled a little soap-roving-muslin parcel, and she rubbed and rubbed till she had neat little bars of soap each encased in their own colourful felty flannel. They are lovely in the bath, and it means we don't end up with disintegrating soggy soap blobs anymore. See? Useful! I'm thinking Christmas presents ...

Thursday, 2 October 2008

When only sugar will do

Colder days make me feel less guilty about indulging in sugar and stodge. Don't get me wrong, I have more than my fair share in summer too but somehow autumn days make it seem more acceptable! We had a barbecue last weekend and ended it with a UK version of s'mores. We enjoyed them so much we decided on a rerun in the kitchen with marshmallows, digestives and a grill.

No chocolate this time, but no-one seemed to mind.

I love wrapping up and eating outside as it gets darker, with plenty of wine and candles. Yum.