Friday, 31 July 2009

sewing stuff

Here are some projects that I have been working on, which I have actually managed to finish. The yellow shoulder bag which I started a while ago has turned out quite a success, I think I will be keeping this one for myself.

Here is the cherry blossom embroidery I made some months back, I eventually managed to turn into a little zip bag/purse.

I made some of these lavender/chamomile tote bags way back in Easter as gifts for the boys teachers. I had so much fun making them I made some more!

For quite some time now I have been pondering on whether to run an Etsy shop to sell some of my projects. Seeing lots of other people doing this I have been quite inspired. I do not intend this to be a business, I am far too busy and committed elsewhere for that to work. I basically want it to be fun, a way to enhance my crafting experience. I do not claim to be an expert of any kind, but I enjoy creating and only intend to cover the basic costs involved, which in turn can then enable me to make more things. It is always nice to own something handcrafted, maybe from a different part of the world and I want to be involved in this. I read of many others doing swaps and think this is a great idea too. Spread the love, as they say.

As I mentioned before, I have been chewing on this for quite some time, deciding whether this was the right way to go and whether it will fit with me, and so have decided to take the plunge, together with a whole lot of excitement and nervousness.

Thursday, 30 July 2009


We spent today with friends of ours at a small town called Ware. We visited the tiny museum there. Below is Adrien at the museum in a WWII bunker with gas mask.

We had a picnic in the beautiful gardens and fed the ducks in the nearby river. In between the sunny spells were torrential rain showers which soaked us through, but that was all part of the fun.

Monday, 27 July 2009

new member of the family

We are welcoming a new member of our family today. Rhino the hamster, our first proper family pet. Alex has been begging us for a pet for some time now, so we thought a hamster was a good way to start. He is sleeping under the shredded paper at the moment, but when he is more settled and calmed down from his move I will introduce him.

Alex had received a special award from school at the end of year assembly, for his great achievement in reading. He has been having problems with his hearing and didn't get the best of starts at school because of this (this is quite a story within itself, I may elaborate further another time). But he has done so well this year and I was so proud of him getting this award, so I did promise him a 'special treat'.
My dad took the boys and I up to the pet shop this morning to choose our new pet. He is a gingery, browny colour and we love him already. The boys don't get to see their grandfather very much so this I think made it all extra special for them.

Saturday, 25 July 2009


I used to be quite an avid reader, but over the last year or so I have been concentrating my efforts more on being the best mum I can be, and creating a 'creative' life for my family, and so my reading has suffered. But I do miss it, and of course to be the best mum I can be requires me to take a little time for myself and be a little selfish at times.

We generally visit our library weekly, but unfortunately recently the only ones checking books out have been the boys. So I decided to change that today. The first book Life of Pi by Yann Martel; I remember when this book first came out, I was living in the US then and Alex was but a year old, and I must have checked this book out of one library or another between the US and UK some 7 or 8 times, but I never got to read it - that is about to change NOW. The next book The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson; this sounded interesting and the last book is The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith, part of the Ladies No.1 Detective Agency series. I have read all the series of books so far and have loved them all, so look forward to digging into this one. I find these books very easy to read and a good way to get back into reading after a book hiatus.

Here was some of the boys choices. The Secret Path by Nick Butterworth, Adrien loves the Percy the Park Keeper stories. Captain Small Pig by Martin Waddell & Susan Varley, The Black Cat by Allan Ahlberg & Andre Amstutz and lastly a very sweet story of a frog looking for a home, Home Sweet Home by Caroline Pitcher. This book was also good because at the back was notes to parents/teachers for ideas to extend the story beyond the book.
What are you reading? I love recommendations and am always interested in what others are reading.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

teacher gifts

I wanted to tell you about the gifts we made for our teachers. The problem is that with all the rush that went with making six of these gifts, (we were up until late last Thursday night) together with all the other end of year activities that needed to be done or attended I completely forgot all about capturing their sweet goodness on camera.

We decided to make some Fruit Nut Balls from Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life.
I wish I could show a picture of them because they were so gorgeous looking, sitting nestled in cute cup cases all round and plump with shiny chocolate 'hats' on them. (I may make some more and will be sure to show you them this time.) We then made from cardboard these small gift boxes to hold the little darlings in. I downloaded a template from here. We then decorated the boxes with tissue paper, and Alex had the wonderful idea of picking some fresh flowers from the garden to decorate too. The boxes managed to fit 7-8 balls in them.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

a time to explore

We visited some new woods yesterday and enjoyed the discovery of somewhere new. We played imaginary games of monsters and bears chasing us, where we had to hide and make quick escapes.

Spotting and identifying fungus to add to our nature journal.

Trying to catch grasshoppers to take home, but being unsuccessful we just observed.

Monday, 20 July 2009

paper dolls

The school summer holidays are officially underway now, and although I look forward to spending more time with my boys, not have to walk to and from the schools six times daily and generally relax and enjoy the summer, the thought of seven weeks with two rambunctious boys with endless energy and a shoestring budget does feel a tad overwhelming. We are lucky in that the town we live in does provide lots of free or heavily subsidised activities for children over the holidays from our nature reserve to our local museum. Something that has kept us quite busy over the last few days was these Charlie & Lola paper dolls which you can download free here.

We also have plans to build a Charlie & Lola dollhouse from old boxes, that is if the paper dolls last that long!
We are also working on a Charlie & Lola activity book, again which can be downloaded free here.
I do not have a specific plans for the coming weeks, I try not to stick to a rigid plan to avoid unnecessary disappointments. We do hope to go to the seaside, the local museum, local art gallery, nature reserve, town park & farm, open air paddling pools and hopefully lots of picnics. I hope to not be away so long this time.

Friday, 3 July 2009

hot, busy days

I never intended to be away for so long, but sometimes life just gets in the way. With just a couple of weeks now until school's out, there are the many end of term activities to juggle between two schools. We have also been having somewhat of a heatwave here, and I don't do heat well, it melts my brain and all I feel like doing is lying down sipping ice water.

Had a wonderful day at Adrien's sports day. A picnic lunch to start on the school field, then time for races. My little guy getting to win the 'beanbag on head race'. I am quite upset though that the schools seem to be taking a non-competitive line on sports days now, so there are no winners apparently. How sad for children who do not excel academically and wait for their day to shine on the playing field, for that now to be taken away from them.