Monday, 22 December 2008

feeling christmassy

crisp, cold, beautiful days and a sense of excitement in the air. reflection on the year past and feeling happy about this moment right now. looking forward to the holidays.

a fun weekend visiting loved ones. and a handmade decoration for their pretty tree, inspired by this.

we've even got a teeny tiny tree of our own, complete with roots in a pot. perfect for our small boat space. with transparent coloured beads strung onto gold thread as baubels and a garland made of foil balls threaded together.

a very happy christmas to you.


Saturday, 6 December 2008


on the 8th day of christmas a moment of calm is found

while he munched on his chocolate father christmas.......

meanwhile outside the leaves continue to fall

and an exquisite flash of pink lace catches my eye


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

hello starlings, hello swans

from about october starlings start to appear in our area in large numbers. every evening just before it gets dark (which, sigh, is about 4.30pm these days), they all start heading towards the boats and perch on every mast available. their chattering gets quite noisy, then the horns start from people who would rather they perched on someone else's mast. as the light slowly fades, they all fly up, swooping and diving in the sky, creating beautiful swirly, changing patterns. it's truly an amazing sight. they always remind me of shoals of fish swimming in the sea. and as my mum said yesterday as we watched them in awe, it's amazing they never seem to crash heads, they must be so in tune with each other. then one last dance before bedtime as they dive underneath the local weatherspoons, of all places, to roost for the night.

we are very lucky with the wildlife we get to see here. there are also two swans that live in the marina and most days we try to find them or they find us and we give them some bread. i'm not sure how they came to be here or why they even stay in the salty water, but stanley absolutely loves them and as they approach starts waving frantically to his friends. i give him bits of bread to throw in too, which he prefers to munch on himself. then off they go to the boat across the way where a lady always has a bucket of fresh water for them to drink when ever they please.

i've also been making trousers, inspired by you little sis. these were made out of my maternity jeans. the fit is somewhere in between skinny and bootleg, poor child! i must remember next time to allow for more width in the leg for a looser fit and also in the waistband to allow more room for that fat tummy!

now the nights are drawing in i've had the urge to pick up my knitting. This wip is a scarf that i have been working on since i started to knit two years ago! so you would be correct in saying that i am a complete novice. my only finished project so far has been a dishcloth, which ended up much bigger and to my puzzlement very different to the picture from the pattern i was following. that was also the first and only pattern i have followed! i would so love to be able to knit a winter hat for stanley. little sis also taught me to crotchet last year, she is very good. but i think i need a refresher. it's no good me buying lovely wool if i'm not going to do anything with it. although that is what i do, as i have great ambitions! i don't think i'll ever manage a jumper, but i have hopes of making socks, hats and blankets some day! i'm not sure stanley will get his hat this year, but maybe i'll at least finish my scarf, after all i'm half way there!


Monday, 10 November 2008

making some dough

i'm sorry that it's been such a long time since i last visited this spot. life has been hectic! poor little francisco has been battling winter flu, the swiss cousin has been to visit, i have been trying to get my head around tax returns and book keeping for sticks new furniture making business and i have also taken on a part time seasonal job to see us through the winter. thankfully i have recently been reunited with my bread machine and i like nothing better than to sit down with a cup of tea, spread the butter on thick, and just take some time out.

we have also been busy making new things. this bag, made from various fabric scraps and some gorgeous turnip print and red chili fabric from buttonberry is much loved and often filled with lego.

and these trousers were a surprising success. made from some light brown linen with matching hems and pockets. i just copied them from an old pair of franc's trousers.

with all this extra busy-ness in my life, i will need to figure out a way to fit it all in so i don't feel like i'm in a mad rush all the time. hmm! let me ponder that thought over another slice of just warm from the bread-maker bread!


Monday, 20 October 2008

take one saturday

add a generous amount of sunshine, blue sky and a scattering of fluffy white clouds

take a walk into the countryside and mix in a few laughs and big smiles

and perhaps throw a baby into the air a few times until it starts giggling (optional)

and there you have it the perfect recipe to restore your soul

hope your weekend was lovely too.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

boys love dolls too

francisco wanted a dolly so i made him one. dolls shouldn't be reserved just for the girls, they can be as treasured and cherished by our tender hearted boys. it makes me smile when he says "i love her mummy".

i am very pleased with her. my first rag doll. a little plump in the arm department but nobody is perfect. the first of many i think, i really enjoyed sewing her face and watching her slowly appear before me, and seeing my little mans face light up. she is so pretty.


Thursday, 9 October 2008

this and that

sometimes baby stan actually manages to fall asleep in his pram when we're out and about walking somewhere. only sometimes, mind you. at these times, i take a deep breath and relish in the knowledge that i have a tiny moment when i can switch off and think about whatever i please and just quietly look around at my surroundings.

i find it quite calming, a bit like meditating as i walk along. and i love noticing tiny things hidden in the nooks and crannies as we continue on our journey.

i saw these small graffiti stencils the other day hidden among the loudness of the city and really enjoyed looking at them and thinking about who made them and how. then before i know it, it's back to the hustle and bustle as my lovely little one wakes up.

baby stan's new passion in life is dancing, give him a beat and he'll start grooving, waving his arms in the air and giving a good wiggle. seriously he'll dance to anything even the beeps of the 6 o'clock news! i was looking on the internet the other day for a jonathan richman song that stan could dance to and found this guy. he did a dance a day for a whole year to all different kinds of music. i started watching them and then got kind of addicted. i find it really interesting when people take on projects like this. i always want to know the story behind the idea, and what drives them. i have also recently been inspired by this lady. she has given herself the challenge of taking photo's of random strangers one a week for a whole year. i wish i had the courage to do something like these guys. i bet it makes them feel really alive amidst the sometimes humdrum of normal.

another favourite in our household is dan zanes, he is great. and baby stan loves this video, it's very cute watching him dance and wave to it!

and oh! and i've been tagged by the lovely ginny to tell you 6 random things about myself, eek! well here goes...

i have been writing stories in my head ever since i can remember. i even wrote in my school exercise book when i was 8 years old that i wanted to be an authoress when i grew up. not very pc i know, but hey!

i am a huge fan of the over the knee sock for keeping those (rolling) pins warm of a winter.

i love bread, any sort that needs slicing will do, spread generously with real butter, or with a bit of olive oil to dip into, i could go on.

i am a slow eater and a fast walker.

my fantasy one day is to have a small holding of my own. somewhere i can collect water, have a composting loo, grow veg and keep chickens. that kind of thing, preferably in a mediterranean setting. not sure how this will happen, but it's good to dream.

well thanks ginny, that was fun. now i invite some other lovely people to tell some random facts about themselves. so if you feel like playing... leya, chloe, danica, melissa, emma and need to link the person who tagged you, post the rules on your blog, write 6 random things about yourself, tag 6 people at the end of your post and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog, and finally let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

it's nice to think about things you wouldn't normally. have fun.


Tuesday, 30 September 2008

light green jumper-beans

there is a definite nip in the air now, and finally after our first week without rain since may, i think winter is coming. we were out in the garden today picking the last of the beans. the ones that had previously been hiding behind foliage, now grown long knobbly and gnarled with age. despite this franc and i both enjoyed popping them open and fighting over the juicy bombs inside.

we also made this beautiful embroidered patch together.

and loved it so much i made a jumper for it to live on.

it's a little baggy around the neck but all in all we are feeling very pleased with the results. a good first effort.


Friday, 26 September 2008

mystery gifts and other lovely things

a few weeks ago i arrived back to the boat to find a bag of home grown tomatoes waiting for me. how lovely. i looked around to see if anyone was just leaving, or if there was some kind of clue as to who they were from, but nothing. leaving me wondering what kind soul had thought to give us such a tasty gift. for the next few days, my favourite thing to eat were these gorgeously ripe tomatoes on crusty white bread, rubbed with a touch of garlic, a pinch of sea salt and a generous glug of olive oil. so delicious and summery! i still don't know who they came from so i keep telling everyone how thoroughly i enjoyed them, just in case.

this was followed by a bag of pears from someones garden, that were so far removed from the unripe shop produce you so often find. i did discover that these were from our sailor friend whose boat is just opposite ours, (from his friends garden). we baked them with honey and chocolate and ate them topped with vanilla ice cream.

i feel very lucky to be surrounded by such a lovely community here at the marina. there's always someone on hand to give a bit of advice about varnishing or how to keep the rain out! swapping a bit of parsley for coriander or to lend a video to watch on a rainy night. and it's nice seeing friendly faces as you walk along the pontoons, stopping to find out how they are and what's going on. everyone always comes by to see how baby stan is getting on and he loves waving at everyone that passes by, including the 2 resident swans and all the seagulls that live down here! i remember when i was pregnant last year, receiving bags of cherries, freshly caught mackerel and baby advice! and j often shares a couple of beers and conversation on a sunny evening before dinner with a willing neighbour. another sea-faring friend caught some cod the other night and generously gave some to everyone on our pontoon. how nice is that! we had it that night dipped in seasoned flour and fried in olive oil with mashed potato, green beans and a cheese sauce. and of course a glass of red wine. very delicious!

now we, (my sister and i), had never heard of etsy before i bought this book for her birthday last year. i had spent my pregnant work lunch times in the local borders bookshop reading it and thinking how starting a blog would be the perfect outlet we needed to nurture our creativity and keep in touch with each other. so here we are. and then we discovered this wonderful site dedicated to all things handmade and sold by the actual people making them. what an antidote to all those large chain stores that have somehow forgotten the individual somewhere along the way.

well i decided to treat myself and baby stan. for him, i got the lovely map bricks from sparklepower. and for me, this gorgeous bag from tinyhappy. both so beautifully made and carefully wrapped, the gocco print below (now on my notice board!) was included with my bag from tinyhappy. it's such an experience receiving something in the post that has such a personal touch to it. if you haven't discovered etsy yet i recommend you do right away. it's a lovely place to buy gifts for people. we love it.


Thursday, 11 September 2008

baking and making

as the days are beginning to shorten, and the summer which was waited for, but never really appeared is coming to an end. i felt the need for warm slippers in lovely bright rainbow colours.
i have also been;
jam making,
and preserving like a woman possessed. as winter really does approach i am getting desperate to keep a little summer sweetness jared up for colder darker times.

blackberry and apple jelly,
hedgerow jelly,
hawthorn ketchup,
strawberry jam,
pontack, (a new recipe)
pickled beetroot,
mint syrup,

and mulled pears.

i have also been spending some quality time with my little artist who at the age of 2 and a half has finally managed to draw some beautiful pictures of his papa. i love the movement that small children bring to their art.


Monday, 1 September 2008

a beautiful spot

this is our new screen saver. i love this picture and it's a nice reminder that it is sunny sometimes! so far this british summer is turning into a major disappointment. all grey skies and showers. so on that rare occasion that is it a sunny day, i feel like we need to go out and really appreciate it. we always did mean to do some walking when little stan was born. but you know how it is, somehow you never get round to doing all those things you hoped to do, when making excited plans over a fat belly.

bright blue skies, sloping green hills and a secret picnic spot under a wind swept hawthorn tree. we felt as though we were all alone, just the three of us breathing in our beautiful surroundings. it was lovely. it made us think, times like these should be more of a regular part of our lives and that we should try our best to make the effort. as it was so restorative and peaceful. resting and basking in that comforting sun. such a good feeling.


Sunday, 17 August 2008

the first blackberries

we are so lucky to have churchtown farm reserve right on our doorstep. most evenings rain or shine, these days mostly rain, francisco and i go walking. today i had the pleasure of not only sunshine, but also my dear friend chloe and her family for company.

we chased butterflies.

picked blackberries.

and just really enjoyed the rare moments of sunshine.


Friday, 15 August 2008

moopy love

it seems like everyone i know is turning one at the moment. well, i guess it's the crowd i hang around with these days! i bought this pattern from moopy & me ages ago and decided to have a go at making my first soft toy since my attempts as a child all those centuries ago.

as i suspected the mini moopies are a really sweet gift idea. and it's such a great pattern. i got a little production line going, managed to make 7 of the little chappies and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

my new secret weapon and invaluable sewing tool (which i'm sure you all already know about), is the humble chop stick. brilliant for turning tricky bits of fabric the right way round, and stuffing thin leg bits. i also made little drawstring bags for each of them, and on the ears, i added felt hearts embroidered with each birthday babies first initial. i am definitely going to make some more of these. it's pretty addictive!