Category Archives: Blog

Tying up loose ends…

I find that summertime is a slightly challenging time for my crafting.

No, scrap that… I have absolutely no issue with some calm sewing, seated in dappled shade with a backdrop of distant overlapping sounds of summer; lawn mowers, children’s laughter and cheerful bird song.

But it’s not quite the scene that you find in our garden at this time of year.

It’s a truth often said (or at least which should be often said) that a half finished sewing project, sun tan lotion, melting ice creams, and sand pit contents are not the component ingredients for a happy crafter.
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And in a final blow to my crafting plans, the Little Pumpkin has decided that day time naps are now firmly placed on the negotiating table.

So it can feel as if I’m constantly chasing my tail, but I know that I’m not unique in this pace of life.

And in the midst of all the chaos my sense is that, before I know it, the Monkey and Pumpkin will be well on their way to independence, running off with friends and leaving my ‘goodbyes’ hanging in the air unheard.

That before I know it, I’ll find myself longing for the days when a paddling pool was the epitome of post school entertainment.
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After all, it’s nice to be needed isn’t it? Nice to be a main cast member rather than the support act.

And so my ideas mooch around my head for a little while longer, but it’s a trade I’m willing to make. I might not be making all the projects I’d like to but I’m helping two amazing children grow into the people that they have been created to be.

And I’m walking with them as they discover the gifts and talents that lie their hands and the things that make their hearts sing the way that being creative resonates with my heart.

And in the meantime I’ve been trying to move things along and tie up loose ends, in particular a dress for the Little Pumpkin that I started for Easter but missed the deadline.
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In a fit of frustration at the dresses’ audacity to fail to be completed on time, I allowed it to sit there requiring, but not receiving, attention.

But it does look adorable on Little Pumpkin and so I’ve picked it up and fallen in love again with its pattern and colours.
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So now it is hemmed, pressed, finished and ready for wearing to a special day in a few weeks’ time.

Stitching Memories – The Sequel

So, as promised here we go with my second post on sewing drawings, and this time its a very special bit of embroidery, possibly my most important piece of work yet.

So, what makes an item deserve such an accolade?

Is it the materials, the best that money can buy? Or the design, cutting edge and on trend? Or is it fiendishly difficult in its complexity?

Well it’s none of those things, just a simple design in simple stitches on a simple pillowcase.

No bells. No whistles.

But if you look closely, intertwined with those threads is as much love as I could weave in.

Because this particular creation had a very important job to do; for one night this pillowcase needed to be my love, my snuggly hug, my kiss goodnight and bedtime prayer for my little boy.
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You see, we knew the date that Little Pumpkin would arrive and some lovely friends offered to have the Monkey stay over with them.

This was a massive blessing as it allowed the Monkey’s daddy to stay late at the hospital enjoying those first few precious hours being Little Pumpkin’s daddy too.

But I wanted the Monkey to know that he was still very much in our hearts that night and so I hatched a plan and got him to draw some pictures of his family. I then transferred and sewed his beautiful drawings onto a pillow case to take with him on his first night away from home.
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And when we dropped him off with our friends the Monkey walked in, proudly carrying his pillow, and carefully placing it on his bed before kissing us goodbye and running off to play.

As we drove to the hospital, I had tears in my eyes with pride at the beautiful brave boy we had and the brilliant big brother that he was about to become, comforted in the knowledge that he would still have his family with him as he rested his head on his pillow to go to sleep.

Stitching Memories

If you have children in your life at all, then you’ll have a sense of the breakneck speed that they grow up at.

Take Little Pumpkin, for example.

A month ago she had just turned one, still very much our little baby. All of a sudden she is cruising around her world with frankly terrifying, and dangerous, levels of confidence.

She puts phones to her ear and chatters “hiya”, blows kisses at cars driving past our house, waves goodnight as we carry her up the stairs to bed.

If there’s a good tune on the radio, the odds are that she will be wiggling away to it or clapping her hands.

I turn around and she’s crawled to a misplaced remote control and is sitting there pressing buttons while expectantly looking at the television.
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She just “gets” her world so much more. I can barely catch my breath.

And this pace of growth isn’t limited to the Pumpkin. The Monkey marches on with a year at a school having left him virtually unrecognisable from our little boy a summer ago.

If he isn’t reading away (a mixture of surprise and pride on his face as he decodes a juice carton) then he’s telling me about the life cycle of a frog (did you know that a young frog is called a “froglet”?) or working out the largest number that he can possibly imagine (currently a trillion and twenty three).

And his drawings contain a noticeable increase in skeletons.

But before all of this his world was much more limited to his family, his home and his back garden. Which probably explains the previous lack of skeletons.

And so I thought I’d share with you how I’ve recorded some of these pre-school drawings.

(The skeletons are a little more challenging to display).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that the amount of art produced can at times be overwhelming. Its so easy for these precious creations to fall behind the bookcase and lie there forgotten, gathering dust.

But these works of art can so often be a unique snapshot of a window into their minds,
their dreams,
the world as they see it.

And so a while ago I decided to record some of the Monkey’s drawings through very simple embroidery. In this case, on a cushion for the Monkey’s aunt.
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So here they are, a caterpillar, ladybird, urchin, and, my favourite, the snail.
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The stitches aren’t fancy, just a mix of backstitch, whipped backstitch and chain stitch.

But I don’t think the stitches should be fancy – it’s all about the drawings rather than the sewing.

I’ll be back in a few days with part two of this post and a very special bit of sewing, probably my most important piece of sewing yet.

Happy days

And so we are back from a lovely weekend with aunty hoogally, my sister.

A weekend of hanging out, chewing the cud, enjoying each other’s company. A weekend of cups of tea, sharing meals, trips to the park, fun at the playground, ice cream, the repeated stubbing of my little toe…

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and of course, a dinosaur.

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It’s funny really, Little Pumpkin’s naps went awry whilst we were away.

She would snuggle up for a feed and then, instead of curling up for a nap, would ping wide awake and point out the interesting curtains, or cupboard, or floor, or door.

We arrived back home just as she was due a nap. But this time, sat in her room, she quietened down and drifted happily off to sleep.

As I looked down at her sleeping, I knew that she was right.

It’s wonderful and exciting going away and seeing new things, but there’s nowhere like home for a good nap.

Painting memories

It’s easy to be busy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the crazy mayhem of family life.

I love hearing the Monkey chatting away with a friend after school, their imaginations taking them wherever they desire.

I love the well rehearsed and proudly announced line in a school assembly.

I love a tightly grasped swimming badge and the smile that goes with it,
the warm welcome at our local baby group,
impromptu trips to the park,
sticky fingers and even stickier kisses,
and the breath being knocked out of me by a hug that starts five feet away with a running jump.

But its easy in this busyness to miss the miracle unfolding before my eyes.

Its easy to forget that, right in the midst of all these things, I have a little girl determinedly growing up before my very eyes.
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And so last week, Little Pumpkin and I called a halt to all of the busyness, and made our way to a local ceramics cafe for a bit of quality time together painting pottery and making memories.

It was just the perfect day as the sun shone in through the cafe window and Little Pumpkin sat in a highchair smiling, watching cars drive by and blowing kisses at the people who came in to collect their items.

There was freshly brewed coffee for me and a cookie for the Pumpkin. There was music in the background and friendly conversation.

We were highly industrious, fuelled as we were by caffeine and sugar.
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And Little Pumpkin got her first taste of painting and found it to be highly agreeable.

Particularly the paintbrushes.
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We have been waiting excitedly for a week to pass to collect our items.

Finally the day dawned and off we ran to collect our items, all lovingly wrapped up in tissue and a brown paper bag.

And here they sit, ready to bring a ray of sunshine to everyday meals, helping me to remember my beautiful one year old who loves to blow kisses to strangers while watching the world drive by.
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Roll up, roll up ladies and gentlemen!

In honour of the Easter season, the Monkey’s school ran an egg decorating competition on the slightly unusual theme of the circus.

Now I’ll admit that I wasn’t quite sure how he would take to this theme but it ended up really capturing his imagination.

And so we ended up with the (drum roll please ladies and gentlemen….) Egg Man Cannonball!
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Look at his shiny green costume glistening in the bright circus lights.
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And his bright red cape flowing behind him as he stands preparing for his next daredevil feat.
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It’s no surprise that there are ripples of excitement in the crowds as they wait for their ovoid shaped hero.
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Birthday Bunting

This is a higgledy piggledy post insofar as it is a post about an item that’s already had its debut on this blog.

But birthdays don’t wait. And this is bunting with a story…
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You see we bought this house many moons ago when I still had the Big Career and the Big Wage.

Since then we’ve had job changes, redundancies, and two new (and wonderful) people join our family. Most recently there’s been our decision for me to step out of the workplace for a while in order to focus on our family.

And so we’re no longer able to buy the lamp, chair or curtains that my heart might leap at in a shop window. But it’s my home, that we all return to, and I love it because of that.

So, a while ago, we were taking down the christmas decorations and in the midst of trying to squeeze everything back into the boxes they hibernate in, I looked down to discover the Monkey crying.

Now I can’t blame the Monkey, I love christmas and am sad to see it go, but this wasn’t like him and so we sat down to try to hear what was tugging at his soul so much.

It turns out it wasn’t the end of presents, or chocolates on tap, but putting away the decorations.

The house didn’t sparkle any more.

So we made a deal, the Monkey and I. We even shook on it, so this was a Serious Issue.

We’d not cry about the christmas decorations going away, but in return we’d work slowly but surely at putting the sparkle back in the house, at making it look the way it did in our hearts.

And we weren’t going to do it with the shop bought rugs, or internet-store cushions.

We were going to do it with love,
and fabric,
and thread,
and wool,
and paper
and our imaginations
and most of all our hearts.

It won’t be an overnight thing as it takes time to really stuff these things with love and memories but little by little we will make our house sparkle so we don’t have tears in January.

And so, I’ve started with plain old bunting. But it will become our birthday bunting, there whenever we come together to celebrate another year with a treasured family member. There in the backgrounds of photos of cakes being blown out or presents being opened.

And each time we unpack it, it will be that little more precious because we will be unpacking family memories.

So here it is monkeys, ninja racoons and owls all present and correct.
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And a smiley Monkey all of our own.

Happy Birthday Little One

Thank you for joining our particular circus troupe. We are all the richer for it.

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Here’s to the next year and adventures in waiting.

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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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