Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Two, confused

When you're only two, the world can be a confusing place.
What gender am I? Is it summer or winter? Why is my mother laughing?

Monday, September 25, 2006

To market to market to buy a fat pig..

My mother requested a pig rubber stamp for her birthday and I was more than happy to oblige.

Who am I to argue with the gift requests of the queen of thrift, whose inside Charity Shop track brings all kinds of goodies my way. This visit it was some amazing dark red vintage buttons, and a loan of her pinking shears.

And the postman has been busy again with Moopy fabric goodness from


Julia and

Soo (who also sent some lovely fabric for me!)

Thank you so much you guys - The Minimoopy love experience is coming along nicely. Although I am anticipating post-craft-fair let down after the busy weeks of planning and making. I am steeling myself and setting up a few post-fair projects to get my teeth into.
But so many bloggers seem to feel a bit bruised by the experience. Any tips for overcoming the blues?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Toffee tumbles

Wow, you guys, thanks for all the lovely comments on the pin board. I would bask in them if I didn't know quite how easy it was to do, so go finish (or start) yours now!

Less easy was this weekend's baking challenge. I told Mark he could pick a style of cupcake to make for Daddy's Birthday and this was it - toffee tumbles.

Now don't get all excited, that was the illustration in the book. But make them I did - 3 billion choux pastry marbles later....

People who ice for a living must have hands of steel. Mine were getting cramp round the piping bag and I has a disaster with the toffee that goes over the top.But quite frankly, by that stage in the proceedings I was past caring, so slightly lumpy fudge it was. I think he liked them - enough to justify the effort? I don't know, but I tell you something - Mark is not choosing the cupcakes for his 40th next year!

And while I am here, a very overdue thank you to Karen for the beautiful, bright, teeny tiny swap package from her boys to mine. The fab snakes and fridge magnets were examples, with kits to make our own - we're really looking forward to doing them.
The teeny tiny swap has given us so much joy, both in creating our parcels and appreciating the goodies sent to us. Amanda's plotting round two, don't miss out!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pin board

I've seen a couple of pin boards around recently and have been feeling guilty about the stuff I bought to make one which has been lying around uncompleted for months.

Last weekend I got round to it and today I had the chance to pick up the upholstery tacks to finish it. It's base is a cork board, so it can be used with thumb tacks, or you can just slide your bits and bobs under the ribbons (which are twill tape in this instance).

Both my boys have versions of these in their rooms and they are fab for keeping hold of all that kiddy paper that just cannot be thrown away, but is ruined in seconds if left within reach. I'll take this to the craft fair and see if any commissions come out of it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Peg spaceman

How hugely behind on my blogging am I - Simmy and I were having a 'chat' about how life actually seems MORE overwhelming with the kids back at school and posting seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit for me.

I mentioned a few days back that Philippa had sent the boys a 'Make your own Peg People' activity bag, but I wanted to show it to you, because it was amazing.

Philippa had printed an original Miss C story onto the bag and attached a photo of some of the peg folk creations she had made to act it out. Mark was so intrigued that we set to work straight away. In the bag was all we needed, pegs, pipe cleaners, material, stickers, tissue and spangly doo-dahs.

Several minutes of intense concentration later and...

Ta-dah. He's a peg spaceman (or space alien, judging by the green head and antenna and single leg). We even drew a background for all the great space adventures he is going to have. Thank you so much Philippa - this one is going to run and run I'm sure!

And while I've grabbed a moment to myself, thank you to

and Cindy
for their cool Minimoopy scrap contributions. It's like Christmas every day around here!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Not very rubber stamp

In the absence of speedball, mastercarve or any other rubber stamp carving material in the UK, I decided to have a go at lino. It's much trickier to carve (being more dense and hard than rubber) but at least I am not constrained by having to make everything eraser-sized!

Fisk and Fern gave me some really great advice on printing without a press and so I had a go.

Did you spot the not-so deliberate mistake on the red print? I played around, experimenting with acrylic paint and water based stamping ink. My art shop didn't have water based block printing ink and I can't be bothered faffing on with turps.
I'm glad I tried a negative image for the first go, as I am not sure my hands are steady enough to carve leaving thin lines in lino. On balance, I prefer using rubber, but if I want a big stamp, this definitely works.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tis the season to be bouncy...

Birthday season is approaching - Mark, Andy, my brother and my Mum are all within 2 weeks of one another. Now as far as the adults go, this just requires producing of a thoughtful gift and card, but kids are a whole different ball game.

I have always been a huge fan of kids parties, we've done a monkey party, an underwater party (twice!), a barnyard bash and a building site. But this year, I have run out of steam.

As a child I loved my parties, lots of party games, stuff yourself with tea and a fab homemade cake. But last year I encountered party games resistance big time.

Now I admit, my son is a have-a-go hero - he's never met a game he didn't want to play or an activity he wouldn't try. I fully appreciate that not all kids are built this way, but I wasn't expecting the number of children in tears that I had last year. I swear I wasn't a party ogre - not participating was fine by me, but when you throw a party, you want the kids to have a good time and in my book, howling isn't part of the fun. So this year I have caved in and for the first time its to the gym for a trampoline party.

The thing that probably bothers me most about abdicating my parental party responsibilities is giving up on a theme - it may be cheesy, but our kids parties have always had one. I like the fact that it gives you a starting point for invitations, decorations, games, food - everything really. So the naff invitations supplied went in the bin and it was thinking caps on for a theme for a trampoline party. I was finding it tough, until I remembered Mark's affinity for road signs. So here are the invitations.

I'm thinking yellow tableware and perhaps an inflatable kangaroo (please have one party shop). Any other inspiration you guys?

I know the whole point of these activity parties is to stump up your cash and let it be someone else's problem, but I can't quite let go!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Our teeny tiny community

My teeny tinies have been kept very busy recently thanks to the flurry of activities brought on by two lovely swap parcels.

Angela's family sent cute handmade robot hand puppets, jacks in a bag, personalized fishy notepads, rubber stamps, stickers, feathers, beads, key rings, books - the goodies just kept on coming.

Philippa and her daughter sent us a great put together kit to make our own peg people (more of that another time..), books, soap, a crinkly winged birdie (my personal favourite) and a cute world map to show where we live in relation to where they live. The irony of this is that it turns out that 10 years ago, Philippa and I lived 2 streets from each other. Of course, we didn't know one another then - in fact, 10 years ago in the other universe that was 'life-before-children' I knew very few of my neighbours.

Andy and I both left home for work every day and returned without a thought for what went on in our street in our absence or the mini-dramas being played out behind the bay windows all around us. Now I am embarrassed at how self-centred we were. One of the joys of my children, for me, is the way in which they have given our family roots.

I love running into friends and acquaintances when I'm doing my errands. I feel valued when my neighbours ask me to feed their pet, or put their bin out, or water their plants. I am tickled at the fact our postman always brings all the 'working household' parcels to me to pass on when the workers arrive home. A sense of community is a real gift.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'd like to thank.....

At the risk of turning my blog into an Oscar-acceptance speech parody, I have a few thank you, thank you, thank you thank yous to do. What else is a girl to do when inundated with fabulous parcels of Minimoopy material from lovely people like:
and Em, who sent me much coveted Martha tea-towels too!

These Moopies are really going to be something.

I can't really intersperse my posts with any wickedly exciting crafting either, because I've just been churning out more and more of the same stuff - the curse of mass-production!

I do, however have two very exciting teeny tiny swap packages to share and two boys who have been in crafting heaven, but they might have to wait until tomorrow. This back at school lark is all well and good, but there are lunchboxes to wash, uniforms to iron and early nights to be had. Roll on the weekend.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

New Flickr toy

You know how much I love Flickr toys - Vintage Pleasure led me to this one.

domesticali. Get yours at
Go on, it's the weekend, get one for yourself!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The start of great things

Big day today, Johnny started pre-school, so it was two schoolboys, up dressed and out - although by the evidence of this photo, we failed somewhat on the hair brushing front.

He had a great morning - Montessori is puzzle heaven and he's a connoisseur - paradise. And me? I have to admit I blew my morning drinking tea with a friend, but I am determined to make better use of my time next week.

Look what the postman brought... a package of minimoopy fabric from Caroline. I asked for scraps and she sends loads of gorgeous cottons, beautifully ironed and a fabby 100 card (in honour of my 100th post). Actually that caused some very quizzical looks from my tea-drinking buddy, because even on my very worst bad hair day, I look a few years short of a century.
Thank you so much Caroline - your Karma rating has been greatly enhanced.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Conkers bonkers

Thank you, amazing bloggy friends, for all the offers of minimoopy fabric help. You're the best! Project Minimoopy love experience looks all set to fly and I am touched, as ever, by the support of this community.

And did someone send a special message to the park to say it was Autumn? Because look what's been falling off the trees.

So if life gives you conkers, make conker art.
Or at least try to, before small feet discover the joy of kicking conkers.

Neatly fielded by my nephew Matt.

The boys had a great weekend with their cousins' visit to round off the summer. It's school tomorrow, so no more early morning blogging for me. Strictly up, in the shower and out the door - sob, sniff.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy 100th post

My buddy beta-Blogger tells me that this is my 100th post, and what a fun ride it has been. I have seen people celebrate similar milestones with fun competitions and amazing give-aways, but I wanted to ask all of you for something instead.

The craft fair that I've been banging on about is in a little over a month. It is a charity event in aid of Home Start, which deals with families in times of difficulty or distress. My table fee and 10% of my takings go to the charity. But I wanted to do something extra and had been racking my brain for a good idea.

I'm sure you've seen plenty of Minimoopies inspired by Carly's pattern floating about blogland (only I can't show you any, because Blogger's on a picture free jag right now). She has very kindly allowed me permission to use her pattern for a 'Minimoopy love experience'. This bundle contains a copy of the minimoopy pattern and the materials to make a minimoopy of your very own. I want the whole price of the 'Minimoopy love experience' items to go to the charity.

If I can get enough volunteers, children may be able to help make their own design there and then on the day. If not, I plan to have a big basket of fabric so they can at least pick out their own colour combinations for the pattern to be completed at home.

Oh - fabric - and that's where you sweet generous bloggers come in. Now I have some scraps, but probably not enough (because believe me, I'm going to be selling the love experience for all I'm worth and I'm a good salesperson!). As a little 100th post gift to me I wondered if I could ask you to sort through your scraps and send any Moopy-limb-sized bits my way. Please e-mail me if you might be able to help.

And Carly, a huge thank you to you for your generosity in giving me permission to share your pattern, which is generally only for personal use, but in this case may get to spread a little love and raise some much needed funds.

Now I'm off to bake a little something to celebrate 100 posts.