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I knit, I sew, I run, I look after children and hamsters, I take truly terrible pictures, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Friday, 10 April 2015

I wouldn't know. I've never been hungover. After I've had too much whiskey, I cook myself a large flank steak, pan fried in salted butter. I eat that, put on a pair of wet socks and go to sleep.


Last day of the holidays today, and even though I've really enjoyed it, I'm sort of looking forward to going back to work next week.  Actually I'm really looking forward to my children going back to school; and I will actually take some time in the mornings; I'd like to spend at least one morning a fortnight doing something that isn't being at school unpaid.  After all, it's highly likely that my work schedule will change in September, so it's best to make the most of it now while I still can.  I might even do some sewing.  There's a dress I want to make as part of a Simplicity Blogging Challenge, and I've got the fabric chosen and I bought the pattern (the top pattern, the 1960s shift dress) yonks ago.  Just need to email them about it.


Anyway, what else would we spend our last day of holiday doing but something crafty, and we went to Badger and Earl again for a potato printing fun session.  The girls had a great time making their own tea towels, and choosing some fabric for another summer dress; although Hattie apparently wants a skirt now, not a dress.  She has enough dresses actually Mummy (sfx: massive sigh, eye roll).   She'll be asking for leggings next, which look easy enough.  A voyage into underpinnings, how exciting.



We all loved Badger and Earl, and I think we'll go again as a treat in half term; maybe I'll even take Lucy to make some finger puppets.   She can't sew yet, but I'll have a go at teaching her.  We saw some lovely examples, and she'd really like one of her own.  I can always help her if she gets stuck.


See these amazing works of art?  Lucy's is all her own work, and started off very careful and lovely until she realised that she could use her fingers, and then it got a bit messy.  Still great, of course.



This one is Hattie's, and she did most of it herself; I was impressed that she didn't get bored sooner.  They seem to enjoy crafty things or they could just be humouring their mad old mum.  I'm not sure I mind either way.

I do recommend Badger and Earl by the way.  It's very lovely indeed, and as I've said before, only a bus ride from my house.  The bus ride feels a lot longer when you have two children sing all 50 verses of "The Wheels on the Bus" next to you, and I apologise to all the other passengers on the E3.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

We did some baking today.  After all the cycling and swimming and walking and looking at statues of sheep yesterday, we decided to have a bit more of a homebody day today.  The children were both exhausted, and agreed to stay in bed until 9; the plan was flawed, as the light wakes them, then they play for a while, then come down to us to get us up, which was not really early, but was definitely before 9.  I know I shouldn't complain really, and they are good sleepers both of them, but I really needed a rest after yesterday, and I didn't get one.  Sucks to be me, FML and all the other things people who are really privileged but are having a bad day say.

I like reading Joy the Baker's blog; I've ever made any of her recipes because I am a lazy, lazy cook, but these biscuits sounded amazing on first read through.  Peanut butter is delicious, chocolate is delicious, and a combination of the two sounds delicious.  Then I re-read it and wtf bacon?  Even though I love bacon, it has no place in biscuits with chocolate.  With peanut butter, maybe.

Anyway, we made the biscuits.  I did the donkey work, the girls rolled them in sugar and, of course, ate them.


Hattie has a party on Saturday afternoon, and requires a Frozen dress.  I'd better get on with it then.  Two days to make a dress is probably enough, except I've managed to lose the first page of the instructions; how terrifically irritating.  

Ho hum, I'm sure enough sequins, sparkly pink gems and floaty underskirts will make up for dodgy sewing.  

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”


It's somehow still the Easter holidays, and I'm desperately hunting around for things to fill the girls' days given that we only booked one week of tennis for Lucy, and there's only so much CBeebies I can stand.  We've still got swimming in the afternoons; Lucy's now in Stage 3, but won't be for long, and my little baby seal Hattie loves sploshing around chasing monsters in the baby pool; she needs lessons because she won't listen to me, and I don't want to have the swimming argument with her.


So today we went into Central London to look at Shaun the Sheep statues.  The film came out a while ago; we haven't seen it yet, but it looks pretty good; the statues are pretty fabulous too, and we have now found 12.  It's the usual thing -  statues decorated by artists and celebrities and sponsored by companies; there was a Paddington one a few months back; what a rubbish idea having a trail walking around London outside, in the middle of winter.  


Anyway, we did the 12 from one of the trails on the app map, and took a daft picture at each stop.  The girls walked over 7km today, and then swam, and then went on their bikes, so it's little wonder that there were lots of tears before bedtime.  We're trying to get Lucy to ride a bike by herself; this is not working very well.  Hattie, with a lot of stick-with-it-ness, is happily pedalling away on her bike with stabilisers; we had a few shouts of resistance to begin with and a lot of frantic pedalling backwards with super steering into the grass.  



Happy days.

Monday, 6 April 2015

I ate a whole bunch of fiberglass insulation. It wasn't cotton candy like that guy said. My stomach's itchy.

Bank Holiday Monday night.  We've been busy today; Simon is training for the London to Brighton bike ride in June (Fathers' Day, we each do our own thing on our respective thing) so he rode out to Princes Risborough, and because I am kind and do not think he has to cycle 70 miles in one day, I took the girls out to pick him up in the car.  One of my ex-colleagues moved out that way with her family; I miss her at school a lot, so it was nice to see her and catch up.  Her son is the same age as Hattie, and her daughter is 18 months, which meant that Lucy was a bit at loose end, but she coped with it all remarkably well, and it makes a change; normally it's Hat who's the third wheel.  We drove back the way Simon came, through Little Missenden, which has a lovely playground next to a cheapish pub, somewhere to come back to, especially when the girls are a bit older and ready for the Roald Dahl Museum.

Anyway, all that driving meant I made 3 hexipuffs on the way back, which makes a good segue into the next bit.  Smashing that fourth wall.    Or something.

  • Hexipuff Quilt - It's something like 180 out of 250.  Which is great.  
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - No change here.  I've blocked the two sets of six, but I need to make more circles that aren't purple.  So it's still 16 out of 30. 
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - 40/57 rows done.  Lucy loves this and doesn't think it needs to be longer.  I think it does.  She wants to keep it upstairs in her bed all the time.  I want to work on it.  
  • Wisteria jumper -  Still the same.  I am not going to start anything new until this is DONE.  Hnnnggggghhhhhh.
  • Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. It really is Spring now.  The need for this is lessening.
  • The Weather in the Streets 
Still 98 to go.  Same photo as last week; I'm still pretty happy about it.
  • Yellow squares - 109/143 done - 34 to go
  • Blue squares - 56/72 done - 16 to go
  • Grey squares - 69/102 - 33 to go
  • Turquoise squares - 2/11 done
  • Orange squares - ALL DONE
  • Pink square - DONE
  • Purple squares - DONE
  • Red squares - 7/10 done
  • Dark Green squares - DONE
  • Pale Blue square - DONE
  • Pale Yellow square - DONE
  • Dark Blue square - DONE
  • Pinky-Red squares - 7/10 done

  • Hattie's 4th birthday blanket.  12/36 Rainbow Granny Squares done.
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  Not being done.  Being thought about but not done.
  • Peacock Mitten - I'm almost a quarter of the way through the second mitten.  Still.
  • Coraline cardigan - I've wound the wool for this, but I need to finish the Wisteria jumper first.
  • Petrie top - I should probably start this one soon.   
  • Knitted Coco -see above.
  • Socks for me - I have no suitable sock wool that I like.
  • Rainbow jumper - still depressed about losing jumper 1, and in mourning.  
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning.  I need to sort the stash to see what I've got of this.  I might even need to sort out whether I've got the wool.  I think I bought some, but I don't remember.  How awful.  
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - Oh Lord, I keep putting this off.
Done:

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie
Ringo mittens
Aiken
Striped jumper for Lucy

ALL THE KNITTING ALL THE TIME WITH ALL THE CAPS LOCK STUCK ON.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

If this is your idea of a joke, then you belong in a Woody Allen film because I’m not laughing.

I started writing a blogpost on the blogger app, and the keyboard wasn't working, which was a massive pain in the bum and totally got in the way of the creative writing process.

Happy Easter if you celebrate it; we've had a really nice day with egg hunting around the garden; mean, no fun Mummy hid Care Bears that they already owned, instead of chocolate, but then relented and put some chocolate buttons in some plastic eggs for them to find as well.  The girls were most annoyed that I hadn't hidden the eggs "properly", but you know, if it was so easy, why did it take you 20 minutes hey kids?   I took some pictures but they're on the big camera and it's nearly Monday and my computer has no battery life left and and and.

I went for a run today, and my left foot was so painful, I'm going to have to go and see a physio, which will be expensive, but, and in sentences I never thought I'd write, I really want to do this half marathon, so I should spend the money now rather than risk a more permanent injury.  So rubbish.

Old age is creeping up on me.  Stuff about knitting tomorrow.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Once I accidentally drank an entire bottle of vinegar. I thought it was terrible wine.

More sewing, this time for the children.  I only make very simple dresses for the girls, they grow so very fast, and I don't like fussy things on little girls.  The pattern I use is a Simplicity one, and it is about as simple as you can get.  Two dress shapes, front and back, bias bounding on the armholes and the neck and a hem.  The girls get to choose their own fabric, and the dresses take me all of an hour to cut out and sew up.


Lucy hasn't worn hers yet, so no modelled shots yet. You can see how simple it is, although I should probably retrace it, so that it's longer.  The dress is very pretty, but it's definitely one to go over a top and leggings.


Hattie has not only worn hers twice, she has also got chocolate on it and probably pen.  Here she is, about to go on an adventure.  She has her minion backpack and shoes on; we bought them from the boys section of Bratano near Hobbycraft; for goodness sake, minions are for everyone, especially bonkers 4 year old girls.  


We are making preparations for her 5th birthday party and her minion cake.  Her birthday is in December.  It's going to be a long 9 months. 


Friday, 3 April 2015

This online slang dictionary says it's short for "amazing." Or it's a club drug made from a tooth whitener. Either way you win.

I've been on my own all day, well ever since last night really, and I've started to go a bit feral.  I've been writing my SENCO course essay all day, and obsessively eating brie and listening to the frightfully posh Paul Temple on YouTube.  Did you know you could listen to recordings from the radio on YouTube?  Well, now you do.

Anyway, the essay is done, all 5002 words of it, not including references, and I'm very pleased with myself.  The house is an absolute state; paper everywhere, all my articles and notes and bits and bobs are strewn around the kitchen, the sewing machine is still out from yesterday and the washing up is waiting on the side for tomorrow.  I need to do a wash, and go for a run, and maybe leave the house for a while, and have a shower and all the other civilizing things that I've completely forgotten to do today.  I don't have much time to write normally, that old refrain, so I've just submerged myself totally.  And it is done.  Done. DONE.

Last night, as well as sewing up the Mortmain, I had a bash at the wraparound dress from the second Great British Sewing Bee book,  It's a bit of a wearable toile, as the jersey is  a bit flimsy, flippy floppy, and I turned over the edges instead of bias binding it.  I tried it on last night, and it fits pretty well, but I'll need a vest top underneath if I'm going to wear it to school.


I've got a much nicer stretch fabric to make a "real" one with, and I will properly bind it this time.  The pattern is a bit of a pain frankly; not terribly well written, keeps on referring me to pages further back in the book, not very well drafted - the sleeves don't fit in properly, and so on.  User error means that I cut the front skirt on the wrong way so it stretches wrong, and then I sewed the right front to the left back, and the left front to the right back; neither of these things were the fault of the pattern, but have irritated me and left me much less keen on the whole thing.  Plus I had to trace the pattern from the book, which was  a massive pain in the bum.  Ah well.

The family are due back tomorrow; I will try to post some modelled photos of all the dresses in the next couple of days, and I might even have made another one by Sunday.  I might make another Coco, it's been a while since I did that, and I've got some spotty fabric for a Francoise burning a hole in my stash.  I'd really like to make another Cambie dress, but that requires a lot of thought, as the bodice is not made for my shape, and I need to do some faffing about with it.  

But first, first I need to either tidy up or set fire to the downstairs.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

I like my money where I can see it - hanging in my closet

I've been sewing up a storm recently.  As I may have mentioned, Simon bought me a lovely Mother's Day present, a two day Mortmain sewing course at Badger and Earl.  Well, day 2 sort of ran away from me, and I didn't manage to actually finish the dress until just today.  The exposed zip just about killed me, and I had to have 4 or 5 goes to get it in properly.  It still doesn't quite look right, and I might still have another go, but later when the pain is just a happy memory.

Here's what it looked like on Sunday last week.


The zip's tacked in place with red thread.  In the end, the best way I found to secure it was to hand sew over the teeth and force it into place before sewing it twice.  Anyway, it worked in the end; have a  sort of close up.



I finished the hem as well; I'm taking advantage of the children being away with Simon.


I'm going to have to wait until they get back to take some modelled photographs, and I'll even brush my hair this time.  I should probably iron the dress too; for some reason it doesn't take kindly to being kept in a bag and then sulkily dumped on the sofa.

The pattern is an absolute dream to make, and I loved every minute of my classes with lovely, lovely Jane; and I'm definitely going to make it again, with sleeves and without sleeves, but with an invisible zip.  Just got to get the fabric together.  I might make it with contrasting facings too, now I've beaten facings into shape.  

The classes were at Badger and Earl, which is the most delightful sewing cafe/haberdashery/fabric/yarn shop a bus ride from my door.  We are going there for a fabric printing class next week, which will be great fun for all of us.  Jane wrote about the class here, and there's even a couple of photos of me with my tongue stuck out in concentration.  Look carefully and there's a modelled shot of me in the dress, in its previous length, where it makes me look slightly like Kimmy Schmidt coming out of the bunker.


Dammit.




Wednesday, 1 April 2015

When I was your age, television was called books.

Everything keeps getting in the WAY of blogging.  Whether it's cooking, or looking after the children, or working, or not writing my essay, the blog has taken a bit of a back seat recently.  Which doesn't mean that I don't want to write anything, just no TIME to do it, and when I have time, I don't have the energy.  

Anyway, there's quite a lot of knitting going on, and sewing, and even running.  Not much running, and not very fast, but at least it's happening.  
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - lots of change here, I've made 2/5 red circles, 2/5 orange circles, 2/5 yellow circles, 3/5 green circles, 2/5 blue circles and 5/5 purple circles.  AND I've SEWN 12 of them together, which is brilliant.  It properly needs a good block though, but here is a poor quality in progress photo.  I've got another month to finish the knitting, sew it together, reblock it, line it and give it a border.  Hurrah.  16 out of 30 isn't bad, but it's not great.

  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - 38/57 rows done.  Lucy loves this.  I'm tempted to call it done, but I don't think it's quite long enough, and it does need a border.  It's quite wide and not very long; she says it covers her, but I'm not so sure.

  • Hexipuff Quilt - It's still 172/250; I'm going to put it in the car for our next long trip.
  • Wisteria jumper -  Still the same.  I am not going to start anything new until this is DONE.
  • Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. Brown wool found again.  Hattie isn't showing any particular desire for a cowl, so I will put this on the back burner.  Plus, it's technically SPRING now.
  • The Weather in the Streets 
Woohoo!  There is progress with the blanket.  There are now 98 squares to finish.  ONLY 98 LEFT TO GO.  It still looks the same, but it is bloody MASSIVE.
  • Yellow squares - 109/143 done - 34 to go
  • Blue squares - 56/72 done - 16 to go
  • Grey squares - 69/102 - 33 to go
  • Turquoise squares - 2/11 done
  • Orange squares - ALL DONE
  • Pink square - DONE
  • Purple squares - DONE
  • Red squares - 7/10 done
  • Dark Green squares - DONE
  • Pale Blue square - DONE
  • Pale Yellow square - DONE
  • Dark Blue square - DONE
  • Pinky-Red squares - 7/10 done

  • Hattie's 4th birthday blanket.  6/36 Rainbow Granny Squares done.
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  His birthday is in SEPTEMBER PEOPLE.  I started this.  I used the wrong yarn, but the pattern is pretty clear, until you get to the ears, at which point it becomes obtuse, so more thinking needed.  
  • Peacock Mitten - I'm almost a quarter of the way through the second mitten.  
  • Coraline cardigan - I've wound the wool for this, but I need to finish the Wisteria jumper first.
  • Petrie top - too cold to think about spring weight tops.  
  • Knitted Coco -see above.
  • Socks for me - I have no suitable sock wool that I like.
  • Rainbow jumper - still depressed about losing jumper 1, and in mourning.  
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning.  I need to sort the stash to see what I've got of this.  I might even need to sort out whether I've got the wool.  I think I bought some, but I don't remember.  How awful.  
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - Oh Lord, I keep putting this off.
Done:

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie
Ringo mittens
Aiken
Striped jumper for Lucy

ALL THE KNITTING ALL THE TIME WITH ALL THE CAPS LOCK STUCK ON.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.

It's been a while.  Life keeps on happening, in its boring and inevitable way.  Module 1 of my course is now over, and I still have 2500 words of my essay to write. The title has changed, along with the focus, but nothing else.  Module 2 has started, what terrific fun it all is.  There have been a few minor health niggles, nothing serious, so no running at the moment.  I've got either the start of a terrific cold, or something I can shake off easily, so I'll have to get shot of that before I go out again; I dislike being unable to breathe when I'm running.  

Anyway, enough about that.  There's been some knitting going on.
  • Lucy's stripey jumper.  Finished and done.

  • Wisteria jumper - I've just finished the body of the jumper, "just" the sleeves to go.  I need to try it on and make sure that everything is OK, and also see how much more going round and round on the sleeves I need to do before the tricky cable bits.
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - 38/57 rows done.  Lucy is using this, so I am going to do 2 more rows and a border, and call it done.  
  • Hexipuff Quilt - I've managed to do about another 10, which is fantastic, and I'm very pleased with myself.  172/250, which is my target for this year.
  • Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. Brown wool found again.  Hattie isn't showing any particular desire for a cowl, so I will put this on the back burner.
  • The Weather in the Streets 
The numbers are depressingly the same.  Ho hum.  We're on a break.  Still on a break. 
  • Yellow squares - 107/143 done
  • Blue squares - 52/72 done
  • Grey squares - 64/102 done
  • Turquoise squares - 1/11 done
  • Orange squares - ALL DONE
  • Pink square - DONE
  • Purple squares - DONE
  • Red squares - 6/10 done
  • Dark Green squares - 5/7 done
  • Pale Blue square - DONE
  • Pale Yellow square - DONE
  • Dark Blue square - to do
  • Pinky-Red squares - 6/10 done
  • Hattie's 4th birthday blanket.  6/36 Rainbow Granny Squares done.
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  His birthday is in SEPTEMBER PEOPLE.
  • Peacock Mitten - oh God, this is too depressing.
  • Coraline cardigan - moved to be finished by April; this is Britain, it will still be cold then
  • Petrie top - too cold to think about spring weight tops.  
  • Knitted Coco -see above.
  • Socks for me - I have no suitable sock wool that I like.
  • Rainbow jumper - still depressed about losing jumper 1, and in mourning.  
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - March project
Done:

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie
Ringo mittens
Aiken
Striped jumper for Lucy

You win some, you keep some the same.  Again.

There's also been some rather exciting sewing happening too; my Mothers' Day present was a two week, two Sundays, sewing course, making a lovely Mortmain dress with Jane of Handmade Jane fame, at Badger and Earl in Chiswick, so I've been doing that.  The dress is beautiful, so far, and I'll have it finished and ready to photograph next week.  I'm going to need some new shoes to go with it too.

What's new with you?