Thursday, November 30, 2006


Christmas stockings weren't a major part of my family Christmases growing up, but I do think they are a lovely idea. It's the thoughtfulness of those little bits of something and nothing that I like best about them.

So I wanted to make 3 this year for my Mummy-chums - the people who will have the kids for me in emergencies, babysit, drink tea and natter with me and water my plants when I'm away. Here are the two which are done, but I am struggling with the third.

I need another motif - maybe using blues?

The fabrics on the cuffs are bits left over from Caroline's contribution to the mini moopy love experience. She told me to go ahead and use them up. I have quite a bit of fabric left, some in small pieces, but others in larger bits. They have posed me with a bit of a moral dilemma. I don't feel right about using them for my own projects because you guys gave them to me as a charity donation. But I don't want them to go to waste either. If you sent me some fabric and have thoughts on the matter, please let me know. Maybe someone else needs fabric for a charitable purpose and I can help out?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tweedy pie

Look who flew into my shopping bag today! I like to add a couple of new ornaments to my collection each year, and this little robin called to me. I was in town with no kids this morning, so I had the chance to go into a tiny shop named Eben Lark. Usually I daren't venture in there with a pram and grubby fingered boys, so I console myself with lusting through the window.

The owner is such a lovely woman and I felt good about supporting a local craftsperson. She was also very patient as I evangelized about getting herself a web-presence (it's the ex-management consultant in me, can't help spotting a missed opportunity).

I also stopped by Mostly Books (the bookshop with the blog, remember?) to pick up my next book group read. The last one was Beyond Black by Hillary Mantel. But that's NOT a recommendation - I hated it and am looking forward to savaging it next Wednesday. The next one seems much better, I'll let you know - need to settle down with my Mocha and enjoy it.

And thank you for all the kind Maths advice yesterday. It's one of those things which brings out strong feelings in many of us, it seems.

Monday, November 27, 2006

9+1, 8+2, 7+3, 6+4, 5+5

Gosh things were quiet in blogland with all you turkey-gobblers off celebrating! Glad things have perked up today, but if you're still in need of some uplifting, how about a little game over at compound word project? Shari has put together round two of this and I'm all excited because I'm one of the photographers this time round - go see if you can guess mine.

Guessing the diptychs reminds me of that awful 80's show, 'Catchphrase' with the incredibly annoying Irish host who kept shouting 'just SAY what you SEE' at hapless contestants. I was such a fan. It's a good thing I wasn't married to Andy way back then. We have always been really competitive with TV quiz shows - keeping a personal tally for University Challenge - looser washes up. He'd be at the sink permanently if we did it with Catchphrase - intelligent he is, lateral thinker he definitely isn't.

I've been thinking a lot these past few days about the ways our minds work. Specifically Mark's. His teacher came to me last Friday concerned that he wasn't grasping 'number bonds' or many mathematical concepts for that matter. She says he isn't listening in class, which I'm sure is true, but I'm not sure it's the root of the problem. He can do Maths with real-world examples and with props to help him, but when faced with just numbers you can see him starting to flap and he gets so flustered he can't figure out what he's meant to be doing. Then he makes a wild guess. Already at 6 he has decided Maths is not for him and I think his teacher's attitude is likely to re-enforce this.

It makes me sad, doubly sad because I was EXACTLY the same as a child. I have always struggled with maths - I can do it, but I am not confident about it and find myself easily flustered. Geometry and statistics are fine - I have something concrete to visualize, but plain numbers are scary. I know some of you who read this do homeschooling - any advice for me? How can I help this poor child before he gets totally turned off.

He needed some cheering up, so I freezer paper stencilled a dinosaur on his vest. Maths I can't do, prehistoric creatures I can.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The name's Bond...

Went to see Casino Royale this week, with the girlies. I had my doubts about the new Bond, but you can consider me converted.

I have to admit to being partial to the odd mindless explosion, car chase induced mayhem and shoot 'em up extravaganza. There's nothing better than a good action movie. With jumbo sized popcorn please.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Brown paper packages....

While I may have been quiet in blogland, there has been plenty of joyful whooping going on here in real life. Mostly at the appearance of an awesome series of packages from lovely blogging friends. The first, a Japanese Craft book called 'Fabric bag' from Soo, with cute buttons too. I am very inspired.

Then a Capello thank you special. Very handy seam ripper there - been used already. And chocolate - oh yes, and lovely fabric choices for the pincushion.

And a give-away from Michelle - a micro mini Santa hat which will be adorning my tree this year and some gorgeous handmade Christmas cards. This may be the start of a whole paper crafting obsession for me - I am very afraid.

Thank you so much. Partly for the lovely things you sent, but even more for the warm feeling that I get when one of these amazing parcels appears, put together with care, wrapped with panache and sent off to someone who would be a stranger if it wasn't for this crazy experience that is blogging. Sent for no reason other than knowing it will put a smile on their face. That's special - thank you.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Aaaaah - what a relief

Nearly two weeks without a blogging fix, and I think hubby has finally managed to sort out our computer. I missed you all, but I must admit, the enforced break was strangely liberating too. Eeek, does this mean I need to be re-thinking my blogging time allocation?

While we were away I scooped some irresistible cookware items - the snowflake cutter got it's first outing tonight with some puff pastry snowflakes. My boys are puff pastry addicts. In fact, I don't think I have ever met a child who doesn't like it. We don't even need to make a pie, they're happy to have it cut into shapes, brushed with milk and baked. Easy peasy.

The cake stand has yet to be christened, but it's my friend Sarah's birthday this weekend so you never know. I'll let you peek at her present too, but no telling OK?

It's a galvanized bucket, filled with goodies for the perfect fireside experience. A couple of logs in the bottom, some bundled kindling (ribbons obligatory), pine cones scented with cinnamon oil, herb bundles for burning and some fancy pants matches for lighting.

I read somewhere that pine cones are nature's own firelighters, being packed with resin which burns very hot. With some cinnamon essential oil, they smell incredible. The herb bundles are thyme, rosemary and bay, all from our garden and bound with stripy string. Yes, THE stripy string - do you think its sacrilege to consign some of it to be burned? I'm viewing it as a sacrifice at the altar of the Gods of Good Packaging.

Happy Thanksgiving to all you celebrators over the pond, may your turkeys be tender.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sick computer

Hi! Thanks for all the good wishes about our grownups-only jaunt. Bath was great, but I came home to a very sick PC. Hubby is administering first aid (and a new hard drive) so hopefully I'll be up and about in blogland soon. Don't forget me will you?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday wip - chaos control

It's that time of year again, the pre-Christmas cull of the playroom. Tossing all the broken toys, setting aside donations for the school bring and buy sale, hoovering the deep crevices in the sofa. It's not a pleasant job, but someone's got to do it.

My kids are so lucky to have a playroom, but at times it depresses the hell out of me. I turfed an entire bin bag full of stuff and STILL the room is groaning. And the silly season is about to start where we all rush about buying each other even more stuff, when actually what we all really want is extra time to enjoy the stuff we already have, which of course we would have if we didn't spend so much time shopping for more stuff for everyone else.

I'm sorry, I'll stop ranting now. But I do think that this year we might try some gifts of experience - some new food to try, a trip to the cinema - ideas folks?
But actually, the best gift would be for this amazing person to sort the room out for me. Look at hers.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Balancing Cats

Winter-mode seems to have struck our household - with the clocks going back, the playground after school routine has lost its appeal and we're ransacking the toy cupboard looking for amusement. This week that's been provided by 'balancing cats'.

You can pile grandma, her parcels and her cats into some pretty amazing structures I can tell you. The game is officially called Matoudematata and we got it last Christmas at an amazing toyshop in Bath whose name has slipped my memory.

Oh yes, Bath. Andy and I are heading off there, sans children, for a couple of days next week. Grandparents are being shipped in, copious notes on routines, swimming lessons and lunchbox contents need to be written, the fridge will be fully stocked and then we are hitting the highway to freedom! A hotel, grown up meals, the possibility of a lie-in - oh yes, it's going to be good. So if anyone has recommendations of not-to-be-missed places, tell me quick.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sweater enhancing goodness

A happy parcel day today from Monica - very cute lollies (of course I'm going to give them to the children) and this lovely brooch.

She must have sensed that I was having a 'boring blue sweater' day which could only be brightened by felty goodness. Thanks Monica! I absolutely love it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

String envy

Dreaming about Christmas is one of my favourite ways to spend time. The planning is almost better than the real thing (less work, higher likelihood of achieving perfection). Images often stick around in my head and this one of Alicia's packaging was one of them.

I thought about it long and wistfully and then it came to me - without stripy string my Christmas will never be perfect. And I've found some!! From a butcher's supply place on the Internet - yes, stripy string is for trussing joints of beef - at least red is, blue is for pork and green for lamb. I learnt a lot from the butchery supply site - very educational.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A foggy day, and London town (sorry Ella)

It's been a foggy day and I'm feeling like a real homebody. I think it's the backlash from my lovely Saturday in London with Caroline. It was the perfect Autumn day for strolling around the capital, shopping and yakking. I love walking in London - there is just SO much to see and take in, amazing architecture, great people watching, street vendors selling chestnuts, oh yes, and shopping (we did VV Rouleaux, Cath Kidston, Emma Bridgewater and a newsagent stocking Marie Claire Idees in a single street). Caroline is as charming in person as she is in blogland and I can't wait until we get together again.

I've also got a lot of stuff to play with at home, since a parcel came from Laura at the end of last week. The boys are busy with their new books. I am the proud owner of some original stamps and stamped stationary and the funkiest post-it's known to man.

We made a batch of leaf biscuits this evening for dessert and I'm cooking up some plans for this fabric.

And .... prepare to hyperventilate ..... this!
Thank you so much Laura - you've really hit the spot with these lovely goodies. I may not emerge for some time...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Last of the cupcakes...

Okay, I promise this is the last of the Halloween baking, but these went off to school for a coffee afternoon fundraiser.

Apart from 3 reserved for 'the boys' at home. Johnny, what happened to the cupcake?

He's pleading innocence, but I spy evidence to the contrary.

And a happy post day today, with a little parcel all the way from Old School Acres. Don't you just love that blue fabric? Thanks Laurie!

I'm still struggling with a little thank you mail out of my own to all you lovely folks who helped me out with Minimoopy Love Experience fabrics. Here's a sneak peek... Happy Thursday!