Monthly Archives: February 2014

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The infamous Gruffalo Costume…

Well, now you know who I am, it seems appropriate to introduce a few of the things I’ve made in the past. I can be fickle with crafts, a bit of knitting, a dab of crochet but there’s always a sewing project on the go and the Monkey realised a long time ago that he could use this to his advantage.

For in the Monkey I have a little person who seems to believe that his mother can make anything he dreams up. Whilst very sweet it’s not strictly, or in fact remotely, true. But I do love a new project!

Now the costume that most of my friends remember is the Gruffalo costume, so it feels fitting to make this my first creation to share with you.
Gruffalo Back
For his third birthday I had agreed to a Gruffalo party. Now I had seen Gruffalo costumes available to purchase and agreed to the party theme on this basis. What I didn’t allow for was the fact that in those early days the only costumes sold were far too long for a three year old, and lacked the necessary stomach padding that a skinny pre-schooler really needed to pull off the role with conviction.

And so the great summer of Gruffalo sewing began.

Now the Monkey is at best a fidget and at worst a mere blur and, looking back at his third birthday party, the photographs of him in the costume are a case in point.

Having now sadly outgrown his costume I have had to commandeer the services of an absolutely adorable replacement to model the costume.
I’ve already agreed with the Monkey that Little Pumpkin should be allowed to inherit this costume when she is big enough, but that’s a long way off.

In any case, I’m not making another Gruffalo costume.

Not for all the chocolate cake in the world…
Not for all the chocolate cake and good wine in the world…
Not for all the chocolate cake, good wine and sedatives in the world.
Gruffalo Tail
One hot summer sewing thick fur is enough for me!


Well, so now I’ve invited you in, I should probably introduce myself.

I’m Susan.

Now there’s not a great deal to say about myself that you won’t see replicated in millions of homes across the world.

I’ve worked in the past whilst a parent but, for the time being, am a stay at home mum to two beautiful children. This is a new path that I’ve recently set off on. It’s exciting, sometimes daunting; leaving the world of work and taking this risk, but we think and hope and pray that it’s the right path for our family.

After all, don’t all the best adventures start with a certain amount of uncertainty and risk?

So then there are the little people who make sure I’m not wearing too much of a groove in the sofa!

There’s the Monkey. He’s five and is in the first year at school with its ups and downs. Mostly ups but it’s a tiring life setting out on such big adventures.

Then there’s his little sister who is currently charging up towards her first birthday in April. Now the Monkey has been “Monkey” for as long as I can remember, he answers to it in the streets, he knows it’s his nickname and it will be a very sad day when he grows out of it. It’s a special name, term of endearment, between him and me.

His little sister is another matter.

It feels wrong calling her Monkey Two (or ‘Too’) as she is neither second fiddle to her brother nor the updated version. I’ve tried out a few nicknames without complete success so far.

She is my ‘Angel’ certainly, but I’m guessing that name won’t have the same longevity as soon as she learns how to be naughty!

When I was pregnant, the Monkey was most insistent that his little sister be named “Little Baby Santa Claus”. Thankfully the agreement of pre-school big brothers is not required when naming a child and it was soon forgotten when she arrived. I don’t think that we will be resurrecting it as a nickname.

I’ve used ‘Pumpkin’ more consistently than anything else, but I think I’ll have to see whether it fits. Because this one… this child… whilst adaptable, sociable and an absolute pleasure to be around, also has Opinions and I suspect that they will be inflicted upon us (loudly) many times in the coming years, including her thoughts on her name.


So for now we will run with Little Pumpkin or Pumpkin, but forgive me if it changes along the way. This will no doubt be by order of the Pumpkin herself. Immediately! This second! Without further delay!

Now it’s my intention to share with you, along this path, not only some of the things I create, but also how I’ve made them. But seeing as we are really at the early stages, I will get together a few things I’ve made in the past by way of introduction. They won’t have tutorials, certainly not for the time being. Some of them (yes I’m looking at you Gruffallo costume) were so much more complicated than anticipated when I originally agreed to make them for the Monkey that I’m not sure I can bring myself to walk that particular journey again. There isn’t enough therapy in the world for that.

But that’s for another day.


Who am I?

My home is my heart and my family is the beat that pulses through it.

When I’m not playing chase, cosying up with a book and a child, changing a nappy or making dinner then you’ll find me planning, plotting or doing craft. After my family it’s what makes me, “me”.

So why “Hoogally”?

Many moons ago, before there were nappies or school runs (was there ever such a time?!) my husband and I travelled over to visit some new friends in Denmark. While there we came across the words “hyggelig” and “hygge”. Please, all of Denmark, forgive my poor second hand explanation.

Hygge, I’m led to understand, is about togetherness and cosiness. It’s a warm space to enjoy life together; hanging out under thick blankets or sitting around a table sharing good food. Good conversation with good friends.

It’s oversized blankets, thick scarves and candlelight when it’s cold, picnics in the park or barbecues with friends when it’s warm.

So take a Danish word, pass it through a native English speaker on to us and hyggelig became hoogally. If you say it out loud it’s a little more understandable, and forgivable – I hope!

And that’s my heart for my home and my family – that space, when the day’s challenges have been faced and met, when wrongs have been righted, mountains climbed, lessons learned and all the fun possible squeezed out of the day.

To return home, take off our coats and to be with one another.

An intimate space of acceptance. A place where we can put down the day, stop, pause and live in the moment alongside one another. No to do lists, no clocks, no judgement. Just hanging out, sharing our hearts, sharing food, sharing laughter, dreaming dreams.

With blankets. I really love blankets!

But the guest list isn’t limited to my family of four, friends are welcome too and you, you out there, you’re welcome too.

So kick off your shoes, put down your day and hang out for a while. Let’s share some Hoogally!


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