Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Have you had your Omega 3 today?


Me: Yes, very good for you. Full of.. um... fish oils!

Hubby: You're going to take a photo of them aren't you?

Me(feigning innocence): A photo??

Hubby: For your blog.

I think that man knows me too well.

Sometimes the packaging is reason enough.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Amy Butler longings

Do you ever see something and just know that it was meant to be yours? I saw this Amy ButlerBarcelona skirts pattern and by hook or by crook, I'm going to get my hands on one and make a be-yoo-tee-ful skirt.

Gorgeous isn't it? It has haunted my dreams, partly because I saw this very fabric last week in Liberty and stupidly did not buy it because I didn't have something specific in mind to do with it. Well, now I do!

Just a few small issues:

  1. The pattern isn't quite released yet (but soon, soon).
  2. I'll need to go all the way to London for the fabric (but in some respects that's a good thing).
  3. I have never sewed a garment from a pattern before. Bugger.

But hey, I could do something about that pesky #3, and what better place to start than the Lounge pants in 'In Stitches' which I've been drooling over since Santa left it in my stocking.

So here they are. Not quite finished - I have some red grosgrain for the trim but ran out of red thread and rather than use something not matchy-matchy I decided to wait until I've bought more. I don't want to spoil them at the last hurdle, because I am so damn chuffed with them.

So I'm lounging about (because what else do you do with lounge pants?) wondering if one of you lovely State-side folks would fancy doing a swap with me for a certain Amy Butler pattern when it comes out... ?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

When Johnny and I went to Mostly Books for our weekly story time fix, Anu pointed me towards a real gem - "The incredible book eating boy" by Oliver Jeffers. My boys are intrigued by the tale of Henry, a boy who develops a taste for eating books and nearly comes to a sticky end before he realizes that reading them is just as good.

The tale is a good one, but the illustrations - they are truly wonderful. If you take a look through this sketch book you'll get an idea of his style. Then run out and buy the book.

I'm not sure why I am buying any more children's books, because after hearing about my plea for 6 year old reading recommendations, Tess, my lovely sister-in-law sent Mark this pile of goodies. Should keep him busy for a while!

And thanks so much to Bethany for this parcel of vintage style lovelies - I find it impossible to believe that
Bitter Betty Blogs is only a year old, but I enjoyed sharing in the celebrations.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Keep calm and carry on

This couldn't be a more appropriate mantra at the moment, so when I saw Fiona's poster, I paid a little visit to Barter Books and lo and behold, here it is in all it's glory.

Do you want updates to my many stranded sagas? Probably not, but I'm going to inflict them on you anyway.

The fence erecting, gas pipe puncturing neighbours left a big crater next to the driveway, unmarked and unfenced. A car reversed, fell into the hole and broke the gas pipe again! I tell you neighbours, the universe is trying to communicate something to you. If you listen carefully it goes something like this " do not attempt to erect the fence, it is not meant to be".

And the Mark saga? He has been in a different class this week in a 'creative curriculum' special and lo and behold - no problems at school. Hmmm. Is the universe trying to tell me something? The educational psychologist has spoken to the school and is refusing to take Mark's referral until he has a diagnosis. But if he won't see him, how do we get a diagnosis, given that Mark's issues emerge in groups of children, not one-to-one with an adult. Aaaaargh.

Is it any wonder I am feeling frustrated and fed up?

Well, at least Trisha of black white bliss came through with a stack of lovely magazines from the Decor8 swap that I can stick my head in and pretend the world is a glossy, shiny, perfect place.

Happy weekend all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fringe benefits

There are some bonuses to your neighbours trying to erect a fence in land that isn't theirs without consulting you. When they dig through the gas main with their mini-digger, they have to abandon work and that means you get to play on all the plant hire stuff - yippee!

Some people just don't listen when their karma tries to tell them something.

My karma has been pretty spectacular of late - I won a fabric give-away over at sew mama sew and got to choose this monk-alicious flannel.

Johnny's monkey tried to steal it, but I have other plans. Looking closely at the print, we managed to find the whole family in monkey form. The one on the green square with the tufty black hair is undeniably Mark - check out his hair on the digger picture and see if you get the resemblance!

Monday, March 19, 2007

The impatient embroiderer

First, it was the Japanese craft book, then the embroidery floss holding box (just like someone else's methinks), and now, a copy of 'The impatient embroiderer' by Jayne Emerson.

I think I'm being bitten by the embroidery bug. What is it with me and new exploits? Jill of all crafts (master of none). But it's such fun to try new things.

The Country Living Spring Fair was bunting city - I haven't seen so much bunting since the Silver Jubilee. But beneath all the bunting were several gems, saying hi to
Plump Pudding, meeting Janet Bolton, finding a course I can go on to build my own dovecote, watching grown women go weak at the knees over a knitted sofa. A good day.
Still can't post photos normally to Blogger, now Hotmail hates me too - what did I do? And sorry if I haven't replied to an e-mail or comment. I'm trying.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Mothering Sunday

Yup, us UK Mummies will be celebrating Mothers Day tomorrow. This year I got it together and managed to make my mother's gift - a table runner.

I do wonder about the wisdom of making it in linen, but the table is a pretty flat place, so hopefully not too many wrinkles. It is backed in micro suede, which means it shouldn't be too slippery either.

And my own Mothers Day celebrations involve a little excursion to the Country Living Fair. Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones you give yourself. Happy Sunday all you Mummies out there.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Beautiful package

Is everyone else having problems with trying to upload photos in Blogger or is it just me? I have been trying to post about this wonderful Paper and String package for days and days now with zero success. Thank goodness for the Flickr 'blog this' facility.
The wonderful flowers are the product of a little winning streak I've been having lately. On the first Thursday of every month, there's a little give-away thing going on over at her blog, so mark your calenders, because the packaging alone is a work of art.
I caught our postman (hi Matty!) trying to stuff the jiffy bag these came in through the letterbox. Stop stop! Don't you know blogger to blogger packages are sacred and require special handling? Absolutely no stuffing allowed.
Actually, I had a strange postal happening today. I went to pop a little something in the post and re-used an old jiffy bag and it came from the person who I was sending the stuff out too. Wooo - spooky co-incidence.
I know she will understand and appreciate my little obsession with re-using packaging and envelopes. When I need to send permission slips, dinner money and suchlike in to school, I always use our unwanted junk-mail envelopes. And woe betide hubby if he uses a pristine one for such things. Control freak? Me? Only a little...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thank you

I always knew you guys were special. I wish I could find a way better than mere words of thanking you - for your support, advice, kind thoughts, sharing of your own stories and plain making me laugh after my last post. You are truly amazing and hopefully I have managed to thank most of you in person (well, by e-mail anyway). Your comments and e-mails have meant a lot.

We're all doing fine here - Mark had now been given a referral to an Educational Psychologist (not until May, but hey, it's a step forward) and we start with the GP/Community Paediatrician referral tomorrow.

And yes, I've got crafty stuff to show you, but it's late, so it'll have to be tomorrow.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Syndromes, Spectrums and Symptoms

Blogging has been hard for a while, really hard. It seems so dishonest talking about a bit of sewing, a swap, minor domestic issues, when all the while there is an elephant in the room that I'm trying not to mention. Not letting its sweaty grey presence be felt.

It has sucked all the pleasure out of this little corner of my life and I want it back. And the only way I can think of doing it is by outing the elephant.

Being a parent is hard. It's certainly the hardest job I've ever done (and that's not even taking into account the lousy salary and bad perks) and I'm sure that would be the case whatever sort of children fate had dealt us. But we are being forced to confront the fact that parenting Mark may just be hard for reasons beyond his or our control.

When his teacher hit me out of the blue last month with a tirade ending in 'I think you need your Doctor or Health Visitor to take a look at him' my heart sank. I recognised her frustration and the behaviours she was describing (although I still feel furious about the unprofessional and insensitive way she raised them). And I felt the roller coaster ride beginning.

We've always known Mark was quirky, an individual, with his own way of viewing life and dealing with it, but now it seems that this is not acceptable. Not to school anyway. And so I find us in the pinball machine of referrals: special needs co-ordinators; community pediatricians; educational psychologists; doctors. Uncharted waters.

It's not that I don't see elements of Mark that could fit with a diagnosis of Aspergers or Sensory Processing Disorder, or a load of other syndromes that I am probably not aware of (yet). It's not that I haven't wondered if he is 'different' at the end of many a difficult day when my patience has been tested to the limit.

And it is not that I am reluctant to see him labelled either. You could label him purple for all I care, as long as it helps make his path through life a little less rocky. And that's what this boils down to. Is the amount of time and emotional energy we will have to invest in order to get to a diagnosis worthwhile?

He is my child - is an educational psychologist (however eminent) ever going to be able to tell me things about my beautiful boy that I don't already know? Would my time not be better spent just helping the person he is navigate life as it is?

But then what if there is some eating regime, some behavioural therapy, some special help that I can't give, and that I can't access without a tag to hang on him. I would kick myself. Perhaps I should have started this ball rolling myself? Perhaps in some way it is a relief that a professional has given me a push. So half-heartedly, I allow them to begin and wonder where this will all end.

See my elephant? Better get used to him - he may be around for some time.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ben's butterfly

Rather belatedly, I wanted to share the note that Johnny's friend Ben sent him for his birthday.

Isn't that the cutest delivery system? I love it when children take the time to make their own cards - they are the ones we always treasure most in this house.
Happy weekend everybody.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

cat embroidery

I've finally resorted to posting from Flickr as Blogger won't let me upload any photos - is it just me?

My first stab at an embroidery from the cute Japanese book I impulse bought. I think the fur is meant to have that textured look - uneven length stitches - I'm sure there's a technical term for that.

But the eyes, the slightly satanic eyes, are all my own French Knot work.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Change the world

My car is in the garage and has been since Friday. You have no idea how many favours I have had to call in to cope with 2 kids who have schools in opposite directions, neither of which are walkable.

Sometimes village life isn't all roses round the door.

Still, looking on the bright side, my personal carbon footprint is looking so much better.

I've been reading this book - it's all about small personal steps we could take to change our world. And when I read Amy's post, I cheered. As they say at Tesco, every little helps.

Sorry, no photos, blogger really hates me. Perhaps it is because I'm a Slytherin...

Sunday, March 04, 2007


So, how was your lunar eclipse? I have to admit to having no idea that there was going to be one until I read it on the Busywork blog. But I am always up for a celestial happening and last night was beautifully clear - just right for a spot of moonwatching.

Unfortunately, hubby decided that he might do a bit of lunar photography and was then very sad that this was the best he could do. Especially when I showed him some of the amazing photos on Flickr. Don't you just hate it when your skills don't match your aspirations?

Happens to me all too often, and I think I might be setting myself up for a fall with my new purchase.

Can't *really* embroider at all. Bugger. I get so frustrated with the practice-to-improve-your-skills bit. I just want to churn out the amazing ideas in my head. If only life worked that way.

And thank you so much for your great 6-year-old reading suggestions. There were some old favourites of mine in there that I had forgotten and some new to me titles that I must check out.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy World Book Day!

Although I gather the rest of the world isn't celebrating it today, but hey, eccentricity is meant to be a British characteristic.

Reading is a really important part of life in our house. When Mark was tiny, snuggling up with a book was always his favourite thing. It guarantees one-to-one adult attention, gives ample scope for cuddles, educates and entertains - the perfect blend really. He lugged around a series of books as a security blanket, the most beloved being "Kennst du Das? On the farm" - unhelpfully in German, but when you can't read I guess it doesn't matter.

The not reading stage didn't last long in his case, as he was reading at 3. I thought he had just memorised lots of his books, but one day we were on the Motorway and he read the side of a truck. I very nearly crashed. And just in case you're thinking it, I swear I wasn't a pushy mummy, busy with the flash cards. Life's too short.

Mark's been devouring books ever since. Current favourite - Charlotte's Web. I loved it as a child and it looks like the magic still works. When he was told that his class were dressing up as book characters today, he had to be Templeton.

Johnny is very jealous of the furry costume and refused to put on his shirt in protest. He also refused to stay out of the picture. I think I may need to make a second. The fake fur is incredibly good quality, with a suede-ish backing. So much nicer than scratchy acrylic. I quite fancy a furry suit of my own...

So, what are your book recommendations for reading matter for a 6 year old boy? Because when he comes home with his book token, we're going to need a spending plan.