Monthly Archives: March 2014

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So it’s been a bit of a rough ride recently in the hoogally house.

A nasty tummy bug swept through our family hitting one of us at a time, just to really make its presence felt.

So we retreated and kept our heads down then slowly, one by one, we got back onto our feet and shook off the dust of the previous week.

But, onwards and upwards, turning our faces towards warmer weather and new beginnings.

Which, in the manner of a 1950’s television announcer, links back to my previous post which explained that I’d had somewhat of a pause in my craftings, but was filling this time with plotting and planning New Things.

Well my mind has indeed been beavering away and these beaverings have started to bear fruit in the form of a pair of simple trousers for the Little Pumpkin this summer.

For Little Pumpkin, when not laid low poorly, has a generous tummy.

A most adorable tummy.

Just perfect for blowing raspberries into, for kissing, for cuddling your arms tightly around.
But not perfect for trousers with hard metal buttons, or tight leggings that draw her into a figure of eight.

And to be honest, I am a firm believer that a baby or toddler tummy should be celebrated, applauded and embraced.

Not constrained.

But it does make clothing a little tricky.

And so I can proudly reveal the first, of what I hope will be many, lovely elasticated rolling-around-and-having-cuddly-adventures type trousers.

I’m quite proud of them actually. My first piece of clothing for Little Pumpkin.
They aren’t lined, because these trousers are intended for summer adventures. So they are a smidgen too long at present.

But not too long for a practice run…
There are a few tweaks that I’d make to them next time.

But then I’m one of those annoying people who are never quite satisfied. Always fidgeting with a sense that if I just make this piece a shade wider and move that piece just a teeny bit to the left, that the world would be a better place.

But I digress. They work. And Little Pumpkin seems to like them.
So just you wait…

There’s a sunny day in July, waiting for these trousers.

Little white clouds will skip across the sky carried by a light refreshing breeze. Birds will be chirping away, bike bells ringing from the street mingling with the sound of laughter. If you time it right and listen hard, I think that might be the sound of an ice cream van far off in the distance.

Little Pumpkin will be toddling a bit more confidently but her hands will still be in mine, at least now and then.

Maybe we will be playing in the sandpit in the garden making tracks in the sand, or maybe we will be at the park whooshing down slides.

Shall we meet you there? It’s going to be lovely…

New beginnings

I’ve had a quiet few days on here.

Truth be told that after all of the (starting and) finishing of the beanstalk costume and the excitement of my birthday, the remainder of the week has been filled up with our day to day rhythms.

That’s no bad thing in that I find a peacefulness from waking up knowing that today we go to this place, meet these people, or do this thing.

Every so often its the day that the Monkey gets to catch up on retro cartoons at his after school club. I miss him. After nearly five years of him by my side I’ve learnt to walk in step with him and I still miss his hand in mine and the chance to see the world through his eyes.

But every cloud has a silver lining. So on these days the lack of the Monkey is counter balanced with a glorious whole day with Little Pumpkin and a chance to learn to walk alongside her too, even if its only figurative steps at this stage.

For in the ordinary run of things we go straight from lunchtime nap to school run. This makes Little Pumpkin very happy because there is no better point in her day than when she is reunited with the Monkey. Because the Monkey is Crazy, Unadulterated Fun. With bells on. She giggles and waves her arms as if to say “Hurrah, and now there is fun afoot. Let the crazy begin!”.

But as her mummy, an extra afternoon with her is a blessing. It often marks a change in our pace, a slowing down to really start to get to know the little girl who is blossoming before my very eyes.

The afternoon, truth be told, is her very best time of the day. And it’s nice now and then not to have to share it, or her.

It also gives me space to think and to start to form ideas of new things to make.

I’ve a few things coming together, I’ve been dreaming up designs and planning away. But all in my mind so far.

And so here sit some fabrics.

Some new and some old (loved but held back for that perfect project). Waiting for scissors to cut, needles to weave in and out, back and forth and dreams to form into reality.


Such an exciting but daunting stage. Will it work, will it be as lovely in my hands as it seems in my head?

So here’s a toast to first steps and fresh ideas.

Here’s to dreams.
And making them real.

We interrupt this broadcast…

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a run-of-the-mill, common-or-garden post on its way.

We interrupt this broadcast, however, to bring breaking news of great magnitude. The content of this post has been brought to you thanks to the watchman-like duties of the Monkey who tonight saw the fruits of his diligence.

This is one of those times when voices should be stilled and the images allowed to speak for themselves.
Yes readers. We have fledgling beanstalks. Of the purple kind.

I will leave you to digest this information within the walls of your homes and the arms of your families.

A beanstalk to call our own.

In the past we’ve been known to dabble in the world of growing our own food with, admittedly, varying degrees of success.

Over the years there have been potatoes (a success), sweetcorn (less so – it was just too cold for them to ripen), carrots (wonky but tasty), leeks, shallots, sprouts and more.

It’s been fun but I wouldn’t say that we’ve reaped a harvest that has recovered the cost of outlay. Not in volume certainly, but maybe in taste.

Our greatest success however has been with beans.

So when spring started poking her head around the corner, the Monkey and I got all excited about growing some vegetables.

After the success of last week’s costume there was, of course, only one vegetable of choice for the Monkey to grow and that was beans!

Even more excitement was found with the discovery, in our local garden centre, of purple beans. Surely if any bean was going to grow a magical beanstalk it would be a purple bean?

And so here we are at week one of the Great Purple Bean Growing Adventure!


And here they sit, soaking up the springtime sunshine.

Bless him the Monkey prayed last night that his beans would grow and ran downstairs in the morning to see how they were doing. This may be an interesting lesson in patience, for all of us!

Simple pleasures.

I love birthdays. Yours, mine, anybody’s.

And today was mine.

Over the years I’ve found all manner of ways to celebrate my birthday from fancy meals out and trips away to parties with friends.

But this year’s birthday, with its preceding night of interrupted sleep, inevitable school runs and a baby’s schedule did not have the makings of a birthday to remember. In fact, I started the day with very few plans and yet it turned out to be one of my best birthdays yet.

You already know about my start to the day, with a family breakfast, lovely gifts from my children and husband (and presents, equally loved but not mentioned, from further-flung family members).

The Monkey was at his best as he skipped to school chatting away to his Dad.

Which left Little Pumpkin and me and the quandary of what best to do on a glorious day like today?

Well the Pumpkin is still on the mend and, restricted as she is in her ability to move under her own steam, has limited appreciation of the joys of playgrounds or museums.

And so we headed out to our local cafe, which happens to reside in our local garden centre. Because Little Pumpkin is already more than able to appreciate the joys of a cafe even if she is still meant to be recovering from illness. Why it’s practically medicinal.

Little Pumpkin could barely contain her excitement upon being placed in a highchair and, after closely following every plate of food that left the kitchen, was finally rewarded with more than her fair share of a toasted teacake.

She is really turning into a little girl, babbling away to me, grabbing the plate if I don’t give her some teacake quickly enough, waving to anyone who looked in her direction. A real joy to be with.

On our way out we couldn’t resist the field of yellow spring flowers swaying in the breeze.

And now have our very own piece of spring sat on our dining table.

And someone else who made his way home with us.

We took the long way home. It’s really not that much longer, but the views more than make up for it, I’m sure you’ll agree.

And then before we knew it, it was time to collect the Monkey and to make our way home from school, stopping by for a very welcome cup of tea and slice of cake at a friend’s house.

Who could ask for a better birthday? And a timely lesson for me of the peaceful satisfaction to be found in the appreciation of simple pleasures with family and friends.

Reasons to be grateful

So many reasons to be grateful today…

For beautiful blue skies with fluffy white clouds, the bright spring sunshine warm on my face and the soul lifting sound of the return of birdsong.

For Little Pumpkin recovering from her nasty tummy bug.

And for all the effort that my family put into making me feel special on my birthday and the beautiful creativity that went into their efforts.

A jar full of sweeties and a home drawn card. Perfect!

Vouchers for treats in the future and a treat for now too!

A chocolate pig eventually released from ten month old fingers in return for wrapping paper to play with.

And breakfast together, laughing and eating. Sharing that pause in the day before we all go on our different paths. The sun streaming through the window. The Monkey telling me about all of the different sweets that he chose for me. Little Pumpkin relishing pain au chocolat and the return of her appetite. My wonderful husband blessing me with a mug of my favourite coffee and breakfast served to me.

I hope that everyone reading this has a day filled with reasons to be grateful.

World Book Day Costume…

So the Monkey, being Very Big Indeed (or so he says) is now in the throes of his first World Book Day at school.

Did I mention that he thinks I can make any costume he can dream up?

I thought I had.

Did I mention that he has a well fed imagination?!

Well it turns out that last term’s project at school of Jack and the Beanstalk really captured that wonderful imagination.

And so, without further ado I now reveal…..

The Beanstalk Costume!


It’s not quite as polished as I intended to be, I had a few more tweaks I’d have liked to have done, some tendrils on the trousers that sort of thing. Unfortunately our family has been in the grip of a nasty tummy bug, and indeed little pumpkin is still fighting her way out of it. So time has been very much at a premium.

I wanted bean pods but the Monkey was most insistent that there should be NO BEANS MUMMY!

And yes he knows that strictly it isn’t a “character” but he had set his heart upon it. And as a mother it is my privilege, for an all too brief time, to be in the business of making his dreams come true.

He has asked every day this week “is it The Day yet?! Can I wear The Beanstalk?”.

Of these days are memories made.

Mending rips and tears…

So, take one five year old boy, add a non uniform day and mix with his favourite jeans.

Bake for about six hours.

What do you get?

Yup – you guess it – ripped jeans and a five year old’s tears.

But this wasn’t quite the disaster it seems. A while ago on pinterest, images of monster themed patched up jeans were doing the rounds. I don’t know where these originated from, but if you do then let me know and I’ll give them credit for a fantastic idea.

Now it’s not as if I haven’t had a shortage of ripped trousers and jeans to try this on. On the contrary, there has been a painfully ready supply, but most of the rips have been far too extensive to patch up in this way.

Time was of the essence so that the Monkey could wake to mended jeans and so I took only a few photos.

And the result?

One happy monkey, all tears forgotten, and favourite jeans restored to his affection.

Well loved jeans.

I don’t know how long the mend will last as the Monkey is hard on the knees of his trousers, but for now all is well.


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