Thursday, 31 July 2014

When In Doubt......










Do something that makes you happy....makes you calm.......






Go for walks and breathe in the country air....




Drink in the golden glow as the sun starts to set....



...and marvel at its beauty.








Bake a cake...for no other reason than you just want to.




....and love nature, for all that it brings....











I have felt restless this week. Doing simple things has been lovely. The Bears have been good......no massive bickering this week....phew. I have just been thinking a lot about stuff. This little blog of mine. What I want from it. I'm trying to figure it out. Every now and then I think long and hard about it and where I am going with it. Sometimes I feel satisfied with it, sometimes I feel bored with it......and sometimes, I'm not sure if it's going anywhere. But does it need to be? Maybe I just feel blah and my little space here bears the brunt of it.

I'm taking a short little break......just a little one. Just some time to gather my thoughts, spend time with the Bears and not feel tied to anything.

I'm sure when I'm back I'll have mountains of words to write and pictures to upload.


Until then.......


xxx








Friday, 25 July 2014

Emotions and Makes.......



This week has been a tough one.

The last few days of term. Always so busy.

Baby Bear finished at his Infant School. If I am honest, I had been dreading that moment. I loved his school. I loved the staff. I loved the atmosphere. He has blossomed over the last three years there. As each day counted down over the last couple of weeks, I had noticed a knot in my tummy. Everything was crammed into the last couple of weeks of term, and I just wanted to relax....and savour his last couple of weeks there. I think, knowing he's my last baby, and he's growing up, it's marking an end of an era for both him and myself. I have felt heavy hearted this week......and a tad emotional. On his last day, I dropped him off, came home and had a little weep. Of course, Baby Bear thinks nothing of it. He likes his new school and all the children will be going to it also, so he doesn't lose any friends. I guess it's more about my feelings towards closing a chapter on my life forever. I don't do change well. It takes me quite a while to adjust. Once my little emotional blip was over, I was able to concentrate on other stuff.


At least there's the summer hols. I'm preparing myself mentally for mess everywhere. It's funny that the older Bear's are awake earlier when they are on their school holidays and always up before i'd ever need to wake them on a school day. On a school day, I have to holler several times, and often threaten them with a wet sponge if they continue to lay in bed. Middle Bear was making himself a lunch by 9.15. No kidding. I asked him why. His reply was that he had had his breakfast at 6.30, so it was reasonable to presume that lunch would be next. I asked if it was reasonable to presume that a second lunch would be taking place at midday? Of course was his reply (and looking at me like I was a complete muppet for asking). Geez, I'm going to be spending a FORTUNE on food these next 6 weeks. The eldest Bears have grown about a foot in the last 6 months. I don't think that has helped either. I suddenly feel old.........and REALLY short. By week three of the holidays I'll be ready to get the 6 hours back, so I can get the rooms looking decent again.

So, to take my mind off the end of a chapter in my life, I've been crafting little bits of this and little bits of that.

It's been ages since I had my paints out. I really enjoyed my crafty exploits.




Baby Bear and Middle Bear share a room, and my plan is to re-jig it in the holidays. Move furniture, splash a bit of paint about and make it look a bit more decent for them.

I had been thinking about a dark feature wall, and constellations. I have loved the 'Fur Neil' Moon Painting by Martin Krusche  here and was very tempted to get it to put above Baby Bear's bed......until I saw a fab crafty idea on pinterest which led me here. The Mommo Design blog is brilliant for ideas for kids rooms, with lots of Ikea hacks to make cheap and fun creative rooms. I thought this lamp was such a fab idea as I could kill two birds with one stone. Baby Bear needed a new bedside lamp, and this was just perfect. A lamp was bought from Ikea and away I went. I am pleased with the outcome for a first attempt. I just need to do the rest of the room now to be able to put it in, but Baby Bear likes it, so job done.



So this is my attempted version. 

This is how it looks in daylight above. It really just 
looks globe like.



This is how it looks when it's switched on. More moon like with the crater effect.



And here it is in the deepest and darkest of night.




Oh. My. Word. 





I LOVE IT




It will look fab by Baby Bear's bed. Trouble is, I'd quite like one for myself. It even could make a welcome home in my kitchen. Perhaps another trip to Ikea. Any excuse.




I also dressed up my bunny lamp. I've had this for a while. I think most are sold with a bit of colour, but I got this one from the White Company with some vouchers I had......and true to the White Company's ethos, the bunny was totally white. She needed a little bit of pink and brown to make her come alive and match her younger sister. So, whilst the paints were out, she got a little make over too. Nose and ears pinked up a little, and eyes browned. 'Hazel' looks much happier I have to say.




I also started another project with some gifted yarn. The joy of relatives. I am always willing to receive unwanted yarn from them. Not sure if I actually have enough to finish what I have started but I will give it a go. I haven't got around to getting more yarn for my project from my last post. Many thought it was a doily, it's actually a cushion cover. I have two rounds left to do on the first side then make a start on the back. It's from the 'Woman's Weekly' vintage collection, and it's a re-worked 1970's pattern. The pattern is available to download online from their patterns website if anyone is interested.


I finished off some pot holders that had been lounging in my unfinished pile for a while.











And I did a whole heap of starching, to give some body to my other ones...





That was a heap of fun. I felt very domesticated!




I baked this week too. Not for me. I'm trying to steer clear of bad food. My life is full of fruit, veg, water and green tea. 





Not the most appealing, I'm a sucker for sugar, but I am trying. I made some shortbread for Baby Bear, and Big Bear made some banana and blueberry mini muffins. 





All good stuff, and all eaten pretty much straight away. I'm not even sure any of the muffins got cold.



In truth I just wanted to stamp on cookies.


I also stumbled upon the most brilliant book. 






For a while I have pinned some great food ideas on Pinterest. I like picnics in the summer and love container food that is delicious and easy to transport. I found a couple of pins of desserts in mini mason jars, that can be made and transported easily in these individual jars for picnics. Mini cheesecakes were my favourite. Anyway, this book was all about the jar. I loved the thought of making something actually in the jar, cooking it, letting it cool down, twisting on a lid and shoving it in a picnic basket. If you cook with mason jars they are fine to bake with in the oven. How simple is that? Less washing up, quick and simple. This book has three chapters. Cooking all sorts of food in the jars for picnics and outings. Another one for actually making treats and putting them in the jars to give as tasty treats to friends and family. Then, my favourite one, layering dry ingredients to give as baking gifts to friends and family. Just layer ingredients, put on a lid, tie with some pretty ribbon and attach a pretty tag with recipe instructions (like in the picture). A lovely homemade idea and one I will be doing this coming christmas.




I am making the most from my hydrangeas this year too. They are on the turn now outside. They have given me a brilliant show this year. I really am a pants gardener, so anything surviving and producing some flower of beauty is always simply amazing to me.


On my trip to Ikea to get the moon lamp I picked up a few of these planters. A complete bargain in the sale. Some will be given away to family, but I'd like to do something crafty with the ones I keep. I'm liking lampshade ideas, but we shall see.




Apart from being emotional this week, I do love the holidays and am glad they are here. Gently waking up. Having longer breakfasts, and getting ready when I want. Taking time over my morning cuppa and even enjoying an early morning read. Can't be all bad.



I've washed and sorted china and loved looking at prints.














I do love Greengate. 

So....a big ride of a week.

I hope next week is a bit more relaxing.

Have a super duper weekend.

xxx















Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday......



Errgghhhh it's so humid.

Rain and thunderstorms tomorrow.......I cannot wait.

I'm like a bear with a sore head when it's humid. I wilt. I have no energy, and I hate it when everything's an effort.

Moan over.




It's been a busy week. Family have been visiting. Lots of outings. Lots of coffee and cake. Lots of full evening meals and glasses of wine. Eeeeek. I had salads and light meals planned in my head, but it didn't pan out that way. 






I'm not complaining though on that front. What's life without a few pleasures? I got to visit some of my favourite places.







Oh well. I will be good again next week.

Onto new projects. But i'm irritated. My fault, but i'm still irritated. I had wanted to make something for quite a while. I was sure that I recognised the pattern book. I wasn't sure if I had it or if I had seen it at a relatives house. Not really trusting my own memory at the moment since 'flask gate', I thought i'd maybe have to try and get the pattern book on ebay or try and see if the pattern was available to buy online. Last week, after one of my book sorts, low and behold I came across the book. 

Yay. Happy me.

Buying the said yarn amount on one of my trips out, I couldn't wait to get started. I chose a different yarn from the one specified. Same style, similar colour, but I hadn't realised that my yarn had 20m less a ball than the one specified (WILL I EVER LEARN?), so i'm out and I can't finish it yet. Grrrrrrrrrrr. I'm liking it though, and it just means another trip out next week when the weather is a bit fresher.




Oh well, I can't be distracted from the mundane cleaning and ever increasing washing pile today.

No rest for the wicked as they say.

Happy friday all


xxx

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Blankety Ta-dah........




Gosh, I am loving this blanket sooooooo much.

It's been so nice to work on something over the top and bright for a change.




It packs a punch that's for sure.

By late afternoon yesterday, it had clouded over a little, so it was better to take pictures.

Here is my

Summer Lovin' Blanket


It sort of reminds me of 80's, rainbow, disco stuff.

Really cheery and happy though.



I did feel that I needed to go all out flamboyant though with it........so colourful pom poms were added to each end. To me, they totally make the blanket. Completely over the top....but totally fun.



I'm totally smitten with it's vibrancy. The red is the reddest red i've ever come across, a real bright cherry red. It matched the vibrancy of the geranium red very well.




I am loving those pom poms so much. 











To say i'm pleased with my little blanket is an understatement. I think I really needed to make something bright and cheerful.



So....are your eyes going all funny yet? 

Yes, I know, Pic overload.

I made this blanket with it being an 'outdoor' blanket in mind. It's a large single bed size.

It was all made using various colours of cheap branded acrylic yarns......sirdar, and Womens institute. As usual I don't have brand colours or numbers....because I'm useless at recording that stuff. Knowing that it was for outdoors, I could go less luxurious and it be a little less soft on the old skin. Some acrylics are just plain awful, but some are actually pretty good. You just have to pick and choose. I find some colourways in some brands fair less well, so i'll chop and change to suit me. I actually found it was the really cheap brands that did the best and brightest colours. I knew, it needed to be robust and be easily shoved in the washing machine if it got garden grubby and these cheap acrylics work well for that. It was all dk yarn and made using a 4mm hook. I used a 14 chain repeat ripple and the basic colours used were:

Cherry Red
Baby Blue
Mid Blue
Mid Pink
White
Bright Yellow
Spring Green






I think Stylecraft acrylic would do the trick and would have all the colour ways for a blanket like this if you are interested in creating something similar.

I'm thinking that if I ever decided to make one for indoors, it'd be nice to make one in cotton. Rico creative cottons have very vibrant colours which would work really well with this colour scheme.....although it would end up costing at least three times as much I reckon to make for a decent size. It might just go on the list though.

I liked varying up the ripple colour thicknesses. My last ripple blanket was a two row colour all the way through, so it was nice to add variation to this one.





So, all in all, I love this blanket.

It's bright

It's fun

It's all about the summer

It doesn't take itself too seriously, and it's made to be used and abused.



So, I may just make myself a coffee, pick up my blanket and have a few mins out in the garden.

Tootle Pip

xxx



Edited: I worked out that it took me 29 hours to make from start to finish. I've never really worked that out before on any of my makes. One hundred and four rows each taking 15 minutes, then the sewing in of the ends, the edging to be done, and the pom poms to be made and attached.