Friday, September 30, 2011


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It's hot.  A thick wadded eiderdown of heat has been pulled off Europe and up and over Britain and tucked in tightly, no room to move to get the covers off and stick a foot out to cool down.
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I'm lucky that my Thursday work is as wife and mama, and Fridays we dress down at the salaried job so I've stayed fairly cool and we've had space and time to enjoy August's encore.

It's so very still. Yesterday it was quiet enough to hear the motorway from the garden, in an stagnant calm punctuated only by the shuddery whirr of washing machines up and down the village gearing up for their final spin.

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A gold and yellow heat though, not the scorching white hot of full summer; a day-long sunset heat, a summer-set perhaps.  It may be warm but the laundry isn't drying as fast as I expected, and every time I turn around Kitty has added another pale straw leaf to the pile of foliage she's planning to have for snack.

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We dressed to match the temperature and found we matched, well just about everything else; the swing, the season and even some newly finished handspun alpaca/merino.
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We played hide-peepo with leaves and lay and looked at the big blue sky.

But it's Kitty who took the cooling off efforts to a whole new level.  Today her nursery had their water play dish out for the babies.  Imagine if you will, a large saucer shape filled with a couple of inches of water, and my little girl, dressed in a pretty blue frock, pink frilly knickers and pink flowery baby shoes.  What could possibly go wrong?

Did she splash her nanny? No 

Did she drench another baby? No

Did she climb straight over the edge, crawl to the centre and sit there giggling before anyone quite cottonned on to what she was doing? That's my girl!  I only wish I had a photo to show you.

As for the handspun, the first half had sat on my wheel for a while, but I picked it up again last week when I needed a little fibery calm in the midst of the run up to Kitty's party, and when H wanted company while he painted.  It's an alpaca/merino mix, mostly alpaca I think and it was part of the Socktopus fibre club many moons ago.  I spun an aran-weight ish singles and gave it a nice hot bath and a few thwacks before hanging it to dry.

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I've got 192 yards from 100g and I've love to make some fingerless mitts with a leafy design because this weather's only forecast until Tuesday and there'll be days when I'll need them all too soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Handmade Birthday

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We threw a party for Kitty on Saturday and invited grandparents, aunts and uncles, and her baby friends and their parents so we had a house full.  Thankfully (for those who remember the elbow to elbow standing room only of her christening party) we had lovely weather and threw open the back doors to allow everyone out into the garden and we all had a wonderful time.
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The banner (which had a little tag along banner with her name on it) was made to the pattern in Alicia Paulson's Stitched in Time book and while it was still pinned to the bias binding on her birthday itself, I managed to sew a few seams before the party.  The fabric and the fabric paint came from the stash.  It's a brilliant pattern and I'm wondering why I didn't make one for us, or one for Christmas sooner.  Actually, Christmas would be pretty - hmm, maybe one to add to the ever expanding to do list.

Auntie Zee and Uncle D came up early on Saturday morning and they, with Uncle and Auntie C helped transform our lounge and formed a seriously efficient cupcake assembly line.
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We have lemon, vanilla, ginger and almond/blueberry cupcakes, each with a different case and different decorations to tell them apart.
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Zee spent a good chunk of the morning painstakingly cutting out the little F's (yes, Kitty begins with an F) and teasing them away from the cutter with a toothpick. I think you'll agree that she did an excellent job.September 638 September 637
The leftover cupcakes made their way to church on Sunday morning where they disappeared rapidly so I think they were a hit all round.

And of course, there was the birthday cake (take 2)September 634a
This time it was a lemon drizzle cake filled with strawberries and topped off with butterflies.  Kitty was a bit nervous of the candles again, but she clung to Daddy as we all blew out her candles and made her a wish.
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I think she enjoyed being spoiled rotten by her nearest and dearest and she definitely enjoys her presents.  Auntie and Uncle C brought Lotty:September 662
Who can either be a push along or rocking caterpillar.  Kit gives her big hugs around Lotty's neck and squeezes her ears for the songs to play.

Grannie and Grandpa gave her what I think may have be the toy of the afternoon - her tunnel.  I'd love to show you pictures of any one of the babies playing in it but it never seemed to have fewer than two babies in it at any one time and it was always moving.  They're all so speedy now that when I reached for my camera with Kitty climbing in the top end, this is all I got from the bottom end.September 646
Two little Fs together.  September 672
As I'm sure you guessed by my radio silence, the last few weeks have been full of present making.  I'm now 5/7 of the way through the other babies' presents, and I had time after finishing one and before starting the next to make presents for my lovely little girl.

First up:
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Her sleepy time dolly (currently unnamed) made from the Whip Up pattern hereSeptember 625
together with a little mini quilt made with leftover strawberry fabric to my own invented pattern. September 626
The dolly is lovely, and the pattern is pretty easy to follow, although despite a gazillion attempts I couldn't figure out how to make her bunches point downwards so she has perky pigtails, but I think they're cute.  The one change in construction that I made was to use a smidge of steam-a-seam to attach the collar and the arms just so that they didn't shift around so much while I was sewing down the edges - worked like a charm. September 623
For the quilt I made the top, cut batting and the backing to match and then layered them as the two fabric sides face together and the batting on the bottom.  I stitched around the edge with a walking foot leaving about a 5 inch gap, pinked the edges and flipped it the right way around.  The only quilting is a line around the edge, and a little label to finish it off.  I think I need some new labels really - or is it too twee to have 'Handmade by Mummy'?September 629
I had started a jumper but the pattern just wasn't working so I pulled it all out and started a stripy dress.  As even I can't knit a whole ball of sock yarn in about 3 hours knitting time, it wasn't much of a surprise that it's still on the needles, and I now need an extra ball of yarn for little miss lanky-legs so that's going to be a little while still.

And last but not least, from the hand of Mummy:
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Pirate trousers!

It's the quick change trouser pattern from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings and it's brilliant.  The fabric is from Fabricworm and they're totally reversible -black skull and crossbones on one side and a blue sea with ships and treasure maps.  It says "Ahoy there mate" on her knees and I think they may be the cutest thing I have every sewn.

So there we have it, my little girl is one, wrapped in all the love, time and handmade cuddles that I can give her.  We spent today blackberrying with Godmummy Mandy and setting the world to rights, and now my freezer is stuffed with berries - crumble for Sunday lunch anyone?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Year

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One year ago today a little girl entered the world and made me a Mama.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY not-so-tiny Wee Girl!

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At one year old you are amazing.  You're chatty and full of beans and you have the energy to defeat both your parents, although happily not the stair gates.

Last Sunday you climbed the stairs with Daddy following behind and I met you at the top as I got out of the bath with an enormous smile at your achievement.

You aren't quite walking but I doubt it will be long now - your crawling has some serious speed as you wiggle your way around the house.

You love your books - every morning you make a beeline for the bookcase to have all your books (and some of Mama's) spread out around you, and at the end of every day you snuggle up next to me to read your bedtime stories.  One of these days you might even stop trying to eat the books.

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It's been a while since we went swimming but you're making up for it in your bath; scrambling out of your bath seat and trying to climb up the taps and splish sploshing all the while.

When you got downstairs this morning you found a little Kitty-sized swing in the lounge and your face was a picture - you couldn't wait to empty your other presents out of the seat and climb on in.  We'll be adding the leg extensions and putting in in the garden later so you can swing as I hang out laundry.

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Daddy and I took you out for lunch at the pub,
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Fish, chips and peas for your birthday lunch, and a smear of ketchup shamelessly purloined from Daddy's plate before we realised what you were after.

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Your birthday cake was pretty simple, a victoria sponge filled with whipped cream and raspberries and topped with more of the same.
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This year you've learnt to breath, to nurse, to smile, to laugh, to cuddle, to roll, to crawl, to eat solids, to pull up, to toddle and to chatter.  It's been a big year.
Well my little girl, you're still quite tiny but you're not a baby any more.  Being your Mama has changed my life in so many wonderful topsy turvy ways.  I love you and I would not be without you for the wide world.

Happy First Birthday, and many more to come

love Mama 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Foodie Delights

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We went to the Leamington Food Festival on Sunday morning for a post-church, pre-lazy Sunday afternoon kind of snack lunch.

I'd love to show you photos of the stalls, the hog roasts (plural, plural hog roasts I tell you), the cakes, and the madness that was the cookery demonstrations but alas, our hands were full.  Kitty had a gentle nap as we surveyed the stands, and then tucked in.

Hog roast for H, followed by a red sausage, and freshly cooked sweet and sour chicken with thai noodles and sweetcorn fritters for me.

Kitty woke up in time to try some Homity Pie (which she loved), and we visited the cake stall for strawberry meringues and strawberry cakes to take home. H doubted we'd get the meringues home in one piece but as you can see they did make it.

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I made no promise of the kind about the strawberry tarts - but they tasted good just the same.

I think that we may have another foodie in the house too - well, let's look at the evidence:
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Spaghetti sauce is the new shampoo don't you know!

It was everywhere! - her vest is being soaked but her comb may never recover from being used to extract pasta as three washes only just put paid to that unique auburn tinge.  Suffice to say, this girl loves her food.

And finally, for Godmummy Mandy - "Look what I can do!"
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