Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Call Deed Poll Immediately!

Okay. I am officially changing Gracie's blog name to "Little Miss Cookie" (aka LMC).

That so made me LOL. Especially as she has a Little Miss and Mr Men addiction going on at the moment.

Thanks Lesley :)


*the photo is Little Miss Naughty... in case you were wondering ;)

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Is That Fairy Dead?

Mostly, recently, I’ve found myself being a bit crap at things.

I don’t know whether it’s the tail end of the winter that’s still getting me down, or the fact that everyone in the house has been sick with something pretty much since Christmas, or the fact that I’ve changed my hours at work so I’m not in the office over 4 days not 3. Whatever the reason, the end result is that I can’t seem to accomplish anything, despite having a million and one things to do.

Ignoring the fact that I have a list of crafty projects 5 miles long (what was that? The year of finishing things? Eh? I have no idea what you’re talking about :P), my house is an absolute bomb site/ pig sty/ crap hole (depending on what time of day you ask me and what level of polite company I’m in).

What I need is to get some control back over my home. Then I know other things will fall into place. About 5 years ago (way back before I was a Mummy, when I was a professional, buyer person who wore suits to work and went on business trips) I discovered the Flylady website. For any of you not familiar with this it’s basically a home organisation programme which encourages you to declutter your home and set up routines for cleaning, laundry etc. I signed up and I’ve been FLYing on and off since then. Although, clearly much more off than on lately.

The proof of this lack of Flylady activity? Well. I have two Flylady clingies (little stickery type things) in my house – one on the dishwasher and one in the bathroom, that I used to use to remind me about my routines. The clingies have a picture of Flylady with her little wings and magic wand. They look a little like this:

Gracie used to call her the cleaning fairy and told everyone that she came to help Mummy keep the house clean.

Yesterday I was perusing the Flylady website for the first time in ages (they’ve got a proper message board now… how cool is that? Well, probably not, but I could never get to grips with the linear yahoo board so I was excited. I am that sad!) and Gracie piped up from the sofa:

“That’s the cleaning fairy who used to come and help you round the house. Is she dead? She hasn’t been here in a while”.

From the mouths of babes, I believe the saying goes?

I think maybe it’s about time I got back on that FlyWagon, lest my daughter embarrass me even more by telling everyone at school that her mother never cleans up anymore!


Friday, 25 April 2008

The Three Year Quilt.

There are times when you have a really bad cold, and people ask you what’s been wrong with you, and you say you’ve had the flu.

Then there are other times, when you have the actual flu. Like, real, proper “if there was a £50 note in the front garden you wouldn’t crawl out of your pit to retrieve it” flu. Like influenza. That’s where I’ve been.

This delightful bout of influenza had a whole host of lovely stages to pass through before emerging from the other side, half a stone (that’d be 8lbs for you non UK people, or 3.6 kgs for you metrically inclined people) the lighter.

Phase One: I appear to have been run over by a steam roller.

The first sign that something untoward is afoot. Every limb aches, your joints feel like tennis balls and you're convinced if you lean forward too far your head might well roll right off your shoulders because it’s not possible for your little neck to support something that’s clearly the weight of 3 small elephants.

Phase Two: Is it me, or is it hot in here?

Ah, the fever. Deep joy. You’re hot. In fact, you’re roasting. The thermometer is giving a reading of 39.7oC (that’d be 103.4oF) and yet…… your whole body is shaking and causing your teeth to chatter and you feel the urge to bury yourself under a pile of snuggly blankets in an attempt to keep warm. Which is ridiculous, because clearly warm should not be something you’re lacking.

Phase Three: One lung or two?

The coughing. Not just a polite, girlie little “excuse me” cough. We’re talking big body-wracking hacking noises where you sound like an 80 year old 60-a-day smoker and you can hear the mucus rattling round inside your chest. Not to mention the fact that every time you cough it just amplifies the fear that your giant head might indeed accidentally become detached from your body and go for a nice little roll across the living room floor (where there’s a good chance the cat might use it as a football).

Phase Four: Drowning in a sea of snot.

It shouldn’t be possible for one human being to produce so much mucus. You can’t lie down because it literally feels like you’re drowning in your own snot. You can’t help but think that if the cells of your body spent more time actually doing battle with the virus and less time in the mucus production business that you might stand a chance of getting better quicker.

Phase Five: Misery loves company.

Now everyone else in the house has the flu. Which, as a mother, puts you in right down at the bottom of the pecking order. So now not only do you a) still feel like a bag of crap but now you b) no longer get any sympathy and c) have to spend your time trying to make everyone else feel better.

Phase Six: Virus, meet your new friend, bacteria.

Not content with being on its own the virus decides to let in its newest buddy, the bacteria. Hello chest infection complete with dizzy spells (caused by congestion in the ears – which for some reason makes me think of lines of tiny little cars all line up in a big ,long, inner ear traffic jam). Is there no end to this misery? Thank God for Penicillin!

So. That’s where I’ve been anyway.

What does that have to do with the title of this post? Not a lot really, but I thought an explanation of my almost 2 week absence from the land of blogdom was needed.

The title of the post has to do with this:


*can you spot the not-so-deliberate mistake? I've been looking at this in various stages for 3 years and I didn't notice it until this evening, and I'll be buggered if I'm unpicking the bloody thing now!

Which is a double quilt for my youngest SIL’s birthday. I’d love to say that the title is a fancy schmancy name for pattern I came up with for it. Unfortunately, in reality, it refers to the length of time it’s taken for me to get around to finishing the damn thing! Seriously. They’ve made blockbuster Hollywood trilogies in less time than its take me to make this quilt. As it’s her birthday tomorrow though I thought I’d better finally pull my finger out and get round to finishing it. For future reference though – dizzy spells and a sewing machine? Not the best company. Ah well, ‘tis all finished now.

You might recall before the delightful flu bug hit that I mentioned I was going to learn to crochet. Well, there was some pre-snot-ridden progress with that. In this case practice making, whilst definitely not perfect, at least progress.

These were the first (very poor) attempts:


Thankfully, things finally started to make sense and I managed this:


and then eventually this:


My first completed granny square!! Woo hoo!! Could this prove to be addictive? I think possibly yes.

So, that’s me. Finally back in the land of the blogger. Now I just need to go and catch up on the 150+ posts that my Google reader is telling me I’ve missed. I’ll be catching up with you all on your blogs shortly! Hope I haven’t missed anything too exciting.


Sunday, 13 April 2008

The Stream In The Sky.

Unsually for a Sunday, we've been for a family day out today.

The ILs are on holiday in North Wales so we drove down to see them and spend the day there. We were slightly hindered by the fact that Gracie wasn't very well this morning and despite insisting she was okay (mostly because she desperately wanted to see her Nanny and Auntie) she puked twice in the car and various times throughout the day. She soldiered on nonetheless though and mostly enjoyed the day.

We spent the time at Trevor (cool place name) which is not far from Llangollen and is home to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (also known as the stream in the sky) which is the highest and longest aqueduct in the UK. You can walk across the aqueduct (which we did), along a three foot wide foot path with a railing on one side and the narrow water way that channels the canal on the other.


and what's on the other side of that small span of water? Well......... a one hundred and twenty six foot drop is what!

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Never has the phrase "Don't look down" been deemed more appropriate!

It did make for some stunning views though. Which I could have photographed much better if I hadn't forgotten the camera in the madness of getting everyone out of the house this morning. My trusty mobile phone camera came through with some reasonably okay photos again though:




On our walk along the canal we saw a narrowboat with Rosie and Jim peeking out of one of the windows. Unfortunatley when I went to take a photo on the way back they'd gone - no doubt on one of their many adventures with that pesky duck. Gracie was most impressed that she saw them anyway.

Despite the puking and some grumpiness we had a nice day out. Even SILs doggy had fun


Although I'm pretty sure she was much happier when the two annoying, pokey small people had left the building.

I suspect I may have a sleepless night tonight dealing with demands for the puke bowl from her ladyship so I think I'll call it a night and sort my crap stuff out for tomorrow and head off to my bed.


Saturday, 12 April 2008

Saturday Morning Fun.

It's not my fault. Blame the Trash Can lady. Seemed like fun for a rainy Saturday morning though.

Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the questions. Your answers must be real places, things, names... nothing made up. If you can't think of anything, skip the question. You can't use your name for the boy's/girl's name question. If your name happens to start with the same letter as mine, sorry, you can't use my answers.

FAMOUS SINGER: Marilyn Manson


STREET: Mulholland Drive

COLOR: Mauve



BOY'S NAME: Marvin

GIRL'S NAME: Melissa

MOVIE TITLE: Mississippi burning

DRINK: Mocha Latte




U.S. CITY: Memphis

PRO SPORTS: Motor Racing

FRUIT: Melon

REASONS FOR BEING LATE FOR WORK: Man on line (dead or otherwise)

SOMETHING YOU THROW AWAY: Money (although mostly unintentionally!)



If you're reading this then consider yourself tagged (if you can be arsed) and leave me a comment here so I can read your answers!!


Thursday, 10 April 2008

Setting Goals.


I think it's important to have goals in life.

When I was young I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast - but that was never going to happen (well, not unless they added "cart horse" as a gymnastic discipline). Later I wanted to be a Forensic Scientist - but that was never going to happen on account of the fact that whilst I have a great aptitude for biology, I suck (badly) when it comes to Chemistry and maths. I always wanted to get my degree and to get married and have a family - so I guess along the way there are some goals I've achieved.

Anyway. I have a point to this. Honestly.

After seeing things like these little guys and this very gorgeous thing on my bloggy travels my new goal that I'm setting myself for the remainder of 2008 is to learn how to crochet (because you know, what I really need is another craft? Right? ;P). It's one thing I have never been able to master. I think I didn't learn when I was younger because my Mum doesn't crochet (and not learning how is listed amongst one of her regrets in life) so she was never able to teach me in the way she taught me to knit. See, if you work really hard you really can blame your parents for everything (I hope Gracie never reads this! Eek!).

I had a quick trip to the library after work today. I love libraries. I could happily have whiled away an hour or so there. I managed to pick up these two basic crochet books (and a book with knitted toy patterns, but that's a whole other story) to get me started.

I have plenty of yarn (not too much you understand, but a pleasant little stash that is accumulating) and a single crochet hook that I stole borrowed from my Mum (begging the question of why she has a crochet hook when she doesn't crochet - obviously it's a goal she's still harbouring ;)) so I'm raring to go to see if I can make it work.

Wish me luck! I anticipate there being some flying yarn activity later this evening as my crochet attempts get unceremoniously lobbed across the living room. Ahhh.... it'll be just like when I was learning to knit. That takes me back *sigh*.


Tuesday, 8 April 2008

I Felt It Too: Part 2

So. What’s with the felting you might ask? Well. After seeing this stunning felted jumper blanket over at The Stash Basket, I thought I would give this felting malarkey a go myself. One bargain charity shop lambs wool jumper and a hot soapy washing machine cycle later I was left with a pile of lovely jade green felt pieces and no idea what to do with them! Until inspiration struck and I decided to go down the bag making route with the fabric.

So, here it is in all it’s felty-quilted-squishy glory.


The back is quilted with a circle pattern to match the front (well, actually, the front was quilted to match the back because it needed something to tie the two pieces together (creatively speaking, not literally, that’d be the sewing machine’s job ;)).


The detail on the front was done using pre-made felt cut into circles (after having drawn round a bizarre range of household and crafty items to get the right sizes), bonded to the bag with some bondaweb (fantastic stuff, took me right back to GCSE Textiles lessons), with buttons and hand stitching with embroidery thread to embellish.


The inside is lined with gorgeously soft brushed cotton (which I’ve been harbouring in my stash for ages), with an inside pocket and closed with a snap fastener (my last snap fastener in fact, I must get onto Etsy for some more!).


Some nice big pink buttons to finish the strap and it’s all done.

The body of the bag was made from the front and back of the jumper. The pocket was made from one side of the top of the front (where the v neck was) and the strap was made from the sleeves. Recycling at its very best!

I made this using Jodie’s fabulous One Hour Bag Tutorial over at her Ric Rac blog. Not because I’ve never made bags before, I have. It’s just been a good long while since I made anything baggy. Well, except for my arse, but that was a whole different kind of creative process involving cooking and popping out two small people, and was a hell of a lot more hard work. ;) The last time I made bags was these two:





These were made way back when Gracie was a teeny tiny person and I was on maternity leave. Being that it’d been such a long while I didn’t trust my baby-addled nappy brain to cope with the whole inside/outside/rightside/wrongside/turning out process that is bag making, so I thought a tutorial was a nice way to easy myself back in.

That said, it was supposed to be so it would be an easy process, which it would have been, had I not decided on the embellishments, and then the quilting, which turned an easy bag into a not so easy bag. I think it turned out okay though. There’s hope for my mummy brain yet!

Now I have to confess that in a moment of totally crazy, blog hopping madness, I have signed up for Lucy Locket’s “Mini Quilt Swap”. What was I thinking??? The bloggers that sign up for Lucy’s swaps make such gorgeous, amazing creations! I only hope I can do it justice. I need to get my thinking cap on. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s working very well. It probably needs to go in for a service or something. Hopefully we can get it up and running before the deadline! ;)

Right then. That’s it from me. Off to get some work done.


Monday, 7 April 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

Firstly. This project was temporarily postponed over the weekend due to a number of factors including a poorly Grace (ear infection in both ears - youchy), 8 loads of laundry (really must try to keep on top of that more), and some friends round on Saturday night for a catch up and a bit of Wii sports. I have made some progress, but I thought it was a bit rude to continue sewing when our guests arrived. Hmmmm. I'd sign up for this group, but I think I might have to withdraw my application ;) On the other hand, just think of all the crafting I could get done if I made more of a commitment to the cause!

In other news. There was an incident of what could possibly be construed as child cruelty in our house over the weekend. I was cutting Kendo's hair (probably my least favourite job in the world (apart from maybe ironing) even though it only involves attacking it with the hair clippers). There was some joking that if Egg got too near me I might start on him. Then there was some discussion that he really did need a hair cut (me thinking possibly a decent trim). After some deliberation I decided to have a go with the #6 guard on the clippers. Which didn't work spectularly well, on account of the wriggling (if you've never tried cutting the hair of a small person then try to imagine attempting to shave an octopus whilst simultaenously shoving it into a large bag, that should about sum it up). Eventually I gave up and just attacked his head with the #4 blade. So he's gone from curly mophead, to Ewan McSkinhead (thanks Lou ;)) in the space of 30 minutes. Typical that the day I cut his hair off is the day is snows though isn't it - poor munchkins got permanently cold ears!

Here he is before:

*Yes, that mess you can see way in the back ground is the current state of my craft room!

and here he is after:


It's taking me a while to get used to it, and I still have the occasional "who's taken my son and replaced him with this bald child" moment. I think it makes him look older, and he's still bloomin' gorgeous (biased? Me?) so I'm sure we'll all get used to it. If not, well hey, it's only hair and it'll grow back after all.


Friday, 4 April 2008

I Felt It Too: Part 1

Just passing the time at the moment, because we're expecting a visit from the lovely Lou and her munchkins any minute, but I wanted to share this, because I'm quite excited about it.

I'm working on a project involving this:


Which is a pure lambs wool jumper that was a total charity shop bargain. See:


It eventually ended up looking like this:


and now it's in a pile of stuff that looks like this:


waiting to be turned into something yummy. Hopefully finished tonight and blogged by tomorrow. Munchkins permitting.

TTFN. Must go put the kettle on for Lou's arrival.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Up With The Larks.

I don’t own a pellet gun. Which at the moment seems like a real shame, because if I did by chance own one you could bet your bottom dollar I’d’ve been outside this morning having some serious target practice with the annoying collection of birds that are always giving it the dawn chorus in the three big conifers in one of our neighbour's gardens. Seriously, is there any need for that at the crack of sparrow fart?

That said, this morning it wasn’t actually the dawn chorus that woke me. It was the Egg chorus as my cheeky little man decided (once again) that 5.40am was a perfectly reasonable time for everyone in the house to be up and at ‘em. No amount of shhhhing and tummy rubbing and general cajoling could persuade him otherwise. I think I might need to be having some serious words with that little guy. He’s just at that horrible stage in between needing an afternoon nap and not needing an afternoon nap that completely throws a spanner in their amount of sleep. Gracie was just the same. It’s this kind of thing that really isn’t in the parenthood brochure. They should publicise this crap better – we’d have the population levels controlled in no time!

As it happens we had to be up a little earlier than usual this morning as Gracie had a doctor's appointment about her eczema (which is having a bit of a moment, flaring up, getting infected (from scratching, which is impossible to stop her doing over night, save gaffer taping her arms to the bed ;-) ) and generally hanging around being sore and itchy, which sucks. We’ve come away from there with yet more cream to add to the arsenal. So, that’s two creams to be applied twice a day, but there has to be at least an hour between applying them, then emollient moisturiser 5-6 times a day (but you can only put that on 20 minutes after the other creams). My head hurts just thinking about the logistics of that! I think I might need to write a timetable. Poor Gracie’s going to go through the next couple of weeks all greased up like a cross-channel swimmer. Bless her.

I’ve been reading this fab interview this morning with the lovely Lisa from over at the U-handbag blog. I’m totally in awe of people like Lisa, and the fabulous Emily Martin over at {Inside a Black Apple}, who manage to make a living from their crafty ideas. It’s so very, very difficult to come up with an innovative and unique crafty idea these days. It seems everything you could ever need (and perhaps somethings you didn’t even knew you needed) has already been crafted by someone, somewhere. Pretty much everything I make is inspired by something I’ve seen on my blog travels. Maybe one of these days unique inspiration will hit and I’ll manage to come up with something people didn’t know they needed? I can but hope.

On the topic of people coming up with fab ideas. I’m going to give a shameless plug to Anna over at Marmadaisy who is starting a “Fat quarter Friday” feature with some projects and tutorials designed to use up some of those fat quarters you’ve been hiding/stroking/saving for a rainy day. I don’t know what the first project will be, but her tutorials are always fab so I’m sure it’ll be something lovely (and probably something you didn’t know you needed ;)).