Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spooky doings while time stands still

How can it be that some days seem to have more hours than others? I seem to have packed lots into today and still have almost an hour until I have to fetch the naughty babies from school. Maybe it's Hallowe'en that's doing it ......

As we don't go trick or treating we've developed a few of our own traditions to make Hallowe'en fun for the Monster and Minx.
They like to dress up in suitably spooky outfits.

We have to hang something across the living room door. Usually I use tattered black plastic rubbish bags but this year decided it was too wasteful to buy them just for this. After a rifle through my stash I happened upon some gifted gold crushed velour - could have made myself some attractive slacks from it but never mind (JOKE!!). I've stuck a notice on 'Beware all ye who enter here'.

A smashingly spooky menu is required:
Bats Blood Soup - Heinz Cream of Tomato (3 for 2 at Co-op just now if you're interested!)
Dead fly bread with ants eggs - homemade bread with oregano and sesame seeds:

Bursting bloodshot eyeballs - cherry tomatoes.
Popping pupae slime with yeti ice - lime jelly with grapes and ice cream:

Ugly face cakes - self explanatory - green cake mix, yum yum!

Feeling hungry yet?
I've set the table, having stopped briefly to whizz up some ghostly placemats. I love how the purple fabric clashes with the walls!
After dinner by candlelight we have to turn off all the lights and play a great game for about half an hour that involves DH and I growling and creeping round in the dark frightening the living daylights out of the babies - n'ya ha ha ha haaaaaa.....

Sausage is well into the spirit of things and has been making good use of the How to Draw Cartoons book he got at the library yesterday. How do you like these guys he did last night using thumb prints? Aren't they fab? My favourite is the big red multi-eyed guy!
I know you're probably not at all interested in any of this but would rather know if I've managed to make something for the 50th post giveaway.
Well, yes I have - this is something else I got done today :o)
Here it is.....
A handy shopper/tote bag (!) that is made entirely from recycled fabrics - scrapstore on the outside and charity shop on the inside (and that's a good thing - not just me being scroogey). I'm not showing the lining as that's part of the surprise. I use one this sort of size as a knitting bag.
The bag will contain some more goodies, including a fab apron that I found at the Age Concern charity shop just this morning but I'm not going to let you see them - ha ha!
So don't forget to leave a comment on yesterday's post if you haven't already and if your name is drawn out of DH's best top hat on Friday afternoon they will be winging their way to you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Sorry about the title of tonight's post but I'm literally bursting with expletives and venom and just could not be trusted to write anything remotely polite. All I have to say is....TECHNOLOGY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There, that's better.

See i could have gone on and on about not being able to access broadband at all last night at all and then thinking I could not access it today at all so going to the local public library with a very chatty sausage monster just to let you all know I still love you and then being told by DH when he got home from work tonight that he had in fact fixed it last night when I;d gone to bed in disgust and had in fact told me just before he went to work at 7.15 this morning that he'd fixed it last night but I OBVIOUSLY don't LISTEN and then excitedly reading everyone' s blogs on the PC once the kids were in bed tonight prior to doing my 50th yes 50th already I know doesn't time fly when you're blogging post and then the monitor screen went suddenly blank so here I am now on my little old laptop that I bought off of work when I was made redundant - keep everything crossed and we might just get there.


I had a great weekend and have survived half term. My two seem to have bickered, niggled, argued, told tales and wrestled for a week whilst I have been peacemaker and shouting dictator. However, they both told me on Friday that it was the best half term ever as we got to stay at home. Usually we would be away at my Mum's and the kids wouldn't see their friends. This time we've been to the Country Park with mates three times and they've climbed trees and just chilled.

Yesterday they were still off for teacher training days so we got some prep done for tomorrow:

Did you know the strandy bits in pumpkins are called Pumpkin Brains?
I found that useful fact on t'Internet whilst researching pumpkin recipes. I cannot bear to throw away all the pumpkin flesh and with two disemboweled pumpkins there was a whole lot of flesh.
So I made pumpkin soup from the tatty bits and froze loads of it. I made roast pumpkin (for which I have discovered a lovely recipe if you're interested) with the chunky bits. Then I steamed and pureed some more tatty bits and invented some muffins that were actually not only edible but also very yummy.
Pumpkin and banana muffins - ta daaaaa...

I may need to tweak it a bit but if you want an exclusive Moogsmum Hallowe'en Use Up Your Tatty Pumpkin Bits Pumpkin and Banana Muffin Recipe let me know and I'll post it. I am still working on the name for the recipe though.
I had da Minx all to myself yesterday afternoon and not surprisingly she had an agenda. Sewing with Mum whilst talking constantly in a voice that could be heard at the top of the road was her plan!
First we had to make a dolphin for her class at school. She's in Dolphins Class.
Here's Dippy the Dolphin.
Taken from this pattern:
From this book that cost me 40p at the library sale months ago:

Apparently her teacher loved it when she took it in today and gave her a big hug!
She also wanted to sew some straight lines so we decided to make her a bag. She chose all the fabrics. I had to fight the anal controlling adult (apart from when she eyed my best scrapstore stash!) and let her go with it. Here's her design front:

and back:

and lining:

Isn't it great? I love how those fabrics look together and would never have chosen those myself.
So now my lovely (albeit very noisy) Minx has given me a billion new ideas for bags etc.
Okay okay - I give in. As you may have noticed this is my 50TH POST and there seems to be a certain tradition among you lovely crafty blog folk when one reaches such a momentous milestone in one's blogging career (work with me people, I'm stringing it out here to build the suspense!) and that is ........ A 50TH BLOG POST GIVEAWAY!!!!!
This is it all you lurkers out there and, especially, all my non anonymous bloggy buddies - if you leave me a comment on tonight's overwhelmingly waffly post your name will go into a hat/bucket/dog's bowl/smelly sock and I will ask the Moog to draw a random name out of said receptacle and the lucky lucky winner will receive some hot off the presses (making them tomorrow!) crafty bits from the Moog.
Go on say something.
If you've never said anything before say it now - as long as it's repeatable!!!
Now, I'm off to watch some of our Billy Connolly's World Tour of Australia video to recover from the excitement of being back in the land of the living.
Love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
P.S. I'll close the draw for the giveaway at 12 noon on Friday

Technical hitch!!!

Just a very quick post - as I'm currently sitting in my local library doing this - we seem to have developed a problem with our broadband connection - marvellous!!
I had a lovely weekend and really appreciate all your kind comments. Last night I sat down at the PC eager to get back to the blog and post some crafty goodness but what d'you know I just could not connect to the Internet or email :(
DH is on the case but as you will all know these things can often take time. As soon as we are back online I'll be making up for lost time and of course a bit of a giveaway too.
Finger's crossed I'll be back soon - I'd better be as I seem to have an awful lot of time on my hands all of a sudden ;o)

Friday, October 26, 2007


I was getting a little stressed as I seem to have so much to do. What with friends here today and also weekend visitors plus fitting in a football match for Sausage tomorrow morning, 5 million tonnes of laundry (yes, that old chestnut - again!), a house in need of TLC, grocery shopping (opted back in and did a big shop at Sainsbury's for the first time in ages), laundry, entertaining kids, changing beds and then changing them again, reprimanding kids, planning meals, laundry, cooking meals, stopping kids killing each other, drinking wine and laundry (no - not drinking laundry. Mind you if it was alcohol I'd have no trouble dealing with it!!!) all the while fighting an overwhelming urge to ignore all of it and crochet instead, I did seem to be getting a trifle (understatement of the decade!) flustered.

So, I've had a word with the boss who, despite her fearsome exterior, is actually very supportive in times of need. She has told me it's ok to take a blog break for a day or two. She also said you won't all dessert me and not to worry that we're in spitting distance of the big
five-O on the blog. She's told me to concentrate on enjoying my weekend and to come back refreshed and raring to go with some good crafting next week.

Mind you, I imagine she'll have her foot on the back of my head when I get back, pressing my nose to the grindstone.

Great being your own boss isn't it - even if you don't actually earn any money.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and look forward to 'seeing' you all next week.

Now.....where's that wine......

Thursday, October 25, 2007


If you think this is scary you should see them with their masks on!!

The Minx and the Sausage Monster are getting very excited about Hallowe'en, as you can see, and had great fun today deciding what costumes to wear. They don't go trick or treating - it hasn't really caught on round here. We do have a special dinner on Hallowe'en though and everything is given a spooky or gory name - like Bursting Eyeballs(cherry tomatoes), Witches' Fingers (sausages) - you get the idea.
I plan on making some nice green fairy cakes next Wednesday, with purple icing - yum.

I'm getting desperate to sew and have started planning some new projects (!!!) to do once the kids are back at school (hurry up, hurry up ;) ).

Browsing through this soft toy book:

I happened upon my Rosy Doll that Mum made for me over 30 years ago ( I know! I really am that old!) and Rosy is still going strong in the Minx's room.

It's a very simple and straightforward pattern which I intend to modify and update a little to make it more groovy. I may have to make some of the original design too as it's very cute.

Here's another WIP. Can you tell what it is yet?

Other than that this week has flown and evenings are spent rippling - I did 6 colour rows last night which equates to 12 crochet rows! Went to bed just after midnight as a result. Also had to go and buy even more yarn for it today as the colours I seem to be using most were running out fast. I had intended just to use my scraps from my stash for this blanket but my 'random' rows have developed a sort of pattern all by themselves - not a rigid pattern but enough to upset me if I run out of a particular yarn.
We've got some friends coming round to play and bake oaty cookies tomorrow and one or maybe two lots of friends visiting on Saturday and Sunday. Best stock up on vino plonko then - not that I need an excuse :o)
DH is away in Italy overnight at his work's innovation awards ceremony as he is a finalist. It sounds very grand but I'm assured it isn't really. Don't care how grand it is - just hope he gets a big fat bonus!! He won't be back until about 3am on Saturday so he'll probably socialise by falling asleep on the sofa - these youngsters have no stamina - LOL!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rosy cheeked children and building dens

Today has been glorious for late October. A chilly wind but so warm in the sun. We took the children to the country park at lunchtime.
After a brief picnic eaten on the hoof by the two boys and two girls it was down to the serious business of collecting sticks and building dens in the trees. Royal Victoria Country Park (or Victoria as we know it) has some beautiful huge evergreen oaks with branches that come right down to the ground and, as the name would suggest, all year round foliage. Plenty of cover for aspiring housebuilders.

Conveniently enough, there was a bench in the sun for us Mums.

There was lots of healthy boy vs girl competition and remarkably little wingeing, arguing or fighting.
We got there at 12ish and left at 4.45pm. Apart from popping back to us mums to touch base, ask for the loo or obtain refreshment we hardly saw them :o)

They went to bed rosy cheeked, exhausted and happy to have been with good friends just being children doing what children do.

I opted to go cameraless so I'm afraid no photos of the outdoorsy goodness today.

K and I have known each other since Monster was 6 weeks old and her boy was 16 weeks - nearly 8 years. Our girls were born 2 weeks apart. We went through breast feeding, weaning, sleepless nights and then morning sickness and second births together.

We had lost touch briefly as the children attend different schools - only 1 mile apart! We met again earlier this year when my parents were down here visiting for the last time - about 6 weeks before Mum died. K lost her Dad last October - a year at the end of this week.
Isn't it amazing when you can pick up a friendship again and find you have so much in common. No recriminations for having lost touch but a gentle understanding that sometimes life gets in the way.

She understands that I want to bake and sew and knit and crochet and ignore housework and ironing. She had to apologise to the tumble drier repair man just last week when he found her in floods of tears amid a vinegary fog because he had caught her in the middle of making pickled onions!!! I know she understands when I say I want to grow my own veg and keep chickens.

Just this week she has got a Moog of her own, albeit a newer and less curly model.

We can empathise with each other when the children become a little 'difficult' or when we feel we can't cope. We can laugh with each other over the barmy things we do.

I've found this same sort of understanding and acceptance since I started my blog. It blows my mind to think of like minded people both close to home and thousands of miles away reading my ramblings - even more so when you leave comments :o)

Here's a bit of good stuff I found in blogland:

Children growing out of their favourite t-shirts too fast? Go and see this great tutorial at Betz White's - you'll be rummaging in their cupboards for t's to refashion before you know it!

You have to see this lovely farm playmat that Sooz has made - things like this could make me broody!!

Sorry for the lack of visual stimuli today. I do promise more photos tomorrow for any visual learners (like me!) out there.

BTW - I'm not really going to make a granny square skirt or rippled boots and despite my sarcastic under(over?)tones I do actually love that book.
It has given me a crumb of an idea though. How about everyone out there reproduces something from a truly 70's or early 80's pattern - we could have 'World Wear What You Would Have Worn if You'd Been a Crafty Blogger 30 Years Ago Day' - right, where have I put those American Tan tights? ....

Monday, October 22, 2007

If you want fashion ideas - I'm your woman!

We filled the morning scouring the charity shops in a nearby town and calling at the farm shop for these beauties:

I couldn't resist the little ones - they were so cute - if indeed a vegetable can be regarded as cute!

There was a total lack of nice fabric to be had today, which is no bad thing, but we did find some books for the Minx and Sausage Monster, including a Where's Wally that we didn't already have. These are Monster's favourite books - probably because they don't involve much actual reading!

I did find this little 49p beauty for me, published in 1979 - can you tell?

Lots of 'how to' photos for which, no doubt, the author/model had the manicure to beat all manicures - fab nails girlfriend!!
I also gleaned some priceless inspiration for what to make with all those odd granny squares I've made. What do you think? I suppose it needs the right blouse and accessories.

If you are ever stuck for what else to make other than rippled blankets how about these babies:

Oh wow - how about the two worn together, with maybe a crochet camisole? Tell me honestly what you think please ;)
As promised here's an update on the Minx's surprise ripple blanket. I usually manage about two to three stripes each evening before the repetetive thumb strain sets in.
Last night I rippled to Dirty Dancing, mine and my Mum's all time favourite film. I welled up a couple of times, especially when I realised I would normally spend half term holidays with her and my Dad. He doesn't cope well with the kids and I don't cope well with two little ones and one, even more demanding, 70 year old one so those days are, sadly, gone.
This time last year we were at Mum's and there was no indication that she was anything other than perfectly healthy. We have so many good memories though and I know she was there with me last night watching our film :o)

We're meeting up with friends tomorrow so whilst the children play together us girls can drink tea and talk, talk, talk :o)
Thanks for all your comments you guys - I may not manage to reply to all this week as I don't envisage much time on the computer!! If I so much as walk towards it Sausage starts badgering me to be allowed to play computer games so it's easier not to!!
Here's a big hug - HUG xxx - that's for nothing, just wait until you do something (as my mother used to say) !!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Colourful moments with my Minx

I sometimes find there is not enough me to split between both of my children and get so caught up in mediating/nagging/arguing etc that quality time just doesn't enter into it. This weekend I've had a bit of one to one time with both of them and it's been lovely.

On Saturday afternoon the boys ventured out on a quest for new football boots so Minx and I got stuck in rearranging her bedroom furniture and giving her toys a good sort out. I had only gone upstairs to change the beds.

Although she probably, in all honesty, lost interest after the first twenty minutes we did persevere and when all was done she gave me a big Minxie hug and said 'Thank you Mummy, I love my new room' .

I'm glad she did as it didn't feel so bad when I then ventured back downstairs and discovered everyone had trashed the living room whilst I'd been detrashing her bedroom!!

This morning the boys were out at football so it was more Minx and Me time. She had plans. Baking a chocolate cake with white chocolate buttons and butter icing to be exact. She's been planning this since Thursday :o)

We bought these colours a few weeks ago to prettify our cake making:

Please don't be horrified and think 'what sort of mother is she, feeding her kids these dreadful artificial colours?'

I'll justify their use - we rarely eat processed foods, sweets are rationed and you only use the tiniest amount of the colour - so there ;)

She didn't want to make chocolate icing to go on the chocolate cake as the colours would not show up. She's in charge see.

So of course it had to be turquoise vanilla icing. Appetising huh? And three packets of buttons!!!!!!!

Quite pretty colour combo with the Milky Bar buttons though. Very tasty cake but veeeery sweet.

I wouldn't be able to eat more than four slices without feeling a bit sick - ha ha!

Once the boys got back Sausage was allowed an hour of gawping on the computer playing Star Wars Battlefront - marvellous.

Minx was getting naggy, noisy and quite frankly a bit of a pain in the bum - see Monkee Maker, they are getting to me already!!!

I rose to the challenge (for once) and asked if she fancied doing some sewing. She did. Although I feel she actually envisioned the sewing machine and piles of fabric. Mummy won and we did some peaceful embroidery.

She decided to do the sun and drew her design with soluble marker. She added clouds and hills (yes, they are hills) and only needed a bit of help with the eyes, starting off new colours and untangling the back at times. I think it's not at all bad for her first real embroidery attempt.

Apparently I have to frame it :o)

Being a productive sort of a girl she then did another. Can you guess what it is?

Of course, a tennis racket and ball - well guessed.

I enjoyed a bit of stitching myself too.

The Monster asked me if it was an old lady. Bless him, maybe his eyes weren't working after prolonged periods of shooting clone warriors.

My one to one time with Sausage Monstrosity came this afternoon and was spent in his room, rediscovering the carpet and unearthing his cupboards and bookshelves. He required a bit of motivation of the 'if you don't stop mucking about you won't get the pocket money that you didn't get on Friday because you were mucking about' variety - takes me back to this .

So - Monday tomorrow. Me on my own with them. This is where the fun begins. I know that if I keep them occupied and put in lots of effort we'll all have a lovely time. They are lovely sweet children and before I know it they'll be all grown up and out with their friends rather than hanging out with me. We're meeting up with friends a couple of times this week but otherwise it's chilling and recharging our batteries (well, their batteries at least!) and hopefully lots of creative fun.

I think I'd better make a list of 'things to do at half term that are free'!

Ooh, I know - I did say we'd go and choose pumpkins tomorrow. There, that's twenty minutes filled! Easy, see.....

I'm off to ripple for an hour or two - catching up as I didn't do any last night. I'll try to do a photo update of the rippling this week, if I can take a photo without Minx seeing her 'surprise' (which she's already tried to sneak a peak at!!).


Friday, October 19, 2007

Half term starts here

I gave up on the sewing today when my machine started to do silly things with its stitches. Most days I'd have sorted out why it was mucking about. Today was not the day.

We decided a walk was in order once the children were home from school and headed for the country park.

It's been a glorious autumn day with lots of sun but a nice sharp edge too. I was amazed that we almost had the park to ourselves and we were rewarded with beautiful light and some real autumnal treats.
The spindle tree with it's unusual and very poisonous fruits. I just love these colours.
The wayfarer tree (Viburnum opulus) has juicy translucent red-orange berries.

This is my favourite tree in the park, a blue cedar that is simply huge. The late afternoon sunlight shining on it today was worthy of several photos.

I never cease to be captivated by the big ships using Southampton Water and today we watched the P&O cruise ship Arcadia as she embarks on a Mediterranean cruise. I'm not sure if I fancy taking a cruise. I think I'd possibly go a bit stir crazy being on a ship for days. I'm also not sure how I'd cope being in a relatively confined space with so many other people.

The water was like a mill pond and the colours of the sunset were so beautiful.
It's going to be a cold night and we're getting frosts again. It seems like autumn is really really here and I'm loving it.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
I've just realised I'm marching rapidly towards my 50th blog (already!) and it seems there are certain traditions to uphold as such milestones are met. So keep watching this space - there will be some goodies winging their way to a new home soon.
Blimey - better get busy then!!
Love L xxxx

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hello my blogaholic friends!!!

Hee - hee - nice to know I'm not the only one who has developed a blog addiction! Thanks for the comments folks xx

So now that Blogger is behaving again here is yesterday's doings.

I made lots of piles of this:

To make a pile of these:

Eight reading pillows - complete apart from buttons and a cushion pad. I've got the tricky bit done and now have a few weeks to get them stuffed and fastened before Christmas.

I used up lots of thrifted, gifted and reused fabric from my stash. Three for boys and five for girls. Minx is going to have the green floral and turquoise one (my favourite) and Monster is going to have the green sheep fabric one.

That was yesterday.

Now onto today.

A quick trip to the farm shop meant I had to buy these. Intended for roasting, soup etc a la Jamie Oliver. However, they are so pretty I want to keep them a bit longer before I cut them up.

My friend read my mind and rang to see if I fancied going to the Scrapstore again. Did I ever!

There was not as much fabric this time but the pieces were bigger and some lovely designs. All this lot plus some drawing paper for the kids and cardboard tubes for the gerbils - for £2!

This is Nina Campbell fabric - soft furnishing weight cottons with lovely prints.

This is Osborne and Little and big bits too, all over 1 metre!

Most of this has already been cut up to make bags. I've asked if I can have a stall at a couple of events coming up at the kids' schools in November and December. It will be a very useful and low-cost way of seeing if anyone actually wants to buy any of my stuff!!

Lucy has one of these events tonight and I'm sending her good vibes - hope you sell out Lucy!!

If you haven't already seen it, check out this fab Mom song video on Ali's blog - I swear I must have written it in my sleep without realising!

I also chuckled at Hollyhocks yesterday - see the bit about the girl with no scissors. It got me to thinking maybe I should gather all the scissors in our house together and count them in the name of research. Then reality hit and I realised this was too Herculean a task for me - suffice it to say they are in every room, in numerous drawers/boxes/cupboards and 20 pairs would not even go near as an estimate!!

There is also some great destressing going on at Mollychicken and Julie's - if you were ever in any doubt about the health benefits of knitting go check them out.

Off now for another 6 monkey rows and a some more rippling.
Loves xxx

PS - you got pictures tonight but now Blogger is playing with my spacing - aaagh!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Short and sweet

I seem to be having problems with Blogger tonight. I keep getting a message that they are aware of the problem and are trying to fix it. Only now do I realise what a blog addict I am!!

So, no pics tonight just a quick hello and thanks again for all your lovely messages. Now I have no excuses not to ripple or monkey about!

See you tomorrow xxx

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Big foot

I was very firm with myself this morning. I refused to take any more of my c**p or pathetic excuses and told myself to get on with it and do some sewing.

You know how it is. You have lists and lists and then more lists with all the things you want or need to make. However, instead of ticking things off the list you just keep adding more to it!

By this morning I had well and truly had enough of me. Out came the sewing machine and just about all my fabric stash and I got busy. As I've said before I plan to make most of my Christmas presents this year. The reading pillow that Bethany has made over at Red Yarn was the catalyst I needed to wake up my sewing head!

In the process of assembling the first one I tried something exciting and new...

something I haven't tried before...

it's like a whole new world has opened up...
Sorry if you were hoping for something more exciting.
I have used the buttonhole foot on my sewing machine for the first time to sew proper buttonholes - as opposed to the wonky ones I've made in the past when I couldn't be bothered to change the foot!!!
Now I want to sew buttonholes on everything!! I did 24 of them this afternoon :o)
Here's the pillow production line:

and here is the one I have completed so far:

I've adapted the pillow very slightly having not put pockets for glasses and pens on the front and not piping the seams. They would have looked nicer if I had done those finishing touches but I figured the recipients won't know the difference.
I would have liked to try the piping as I've never done it before. However, after buying the toggle clasps I didn't have enough pennies left for 12 yards of piping cord.
I've got to make some cushion pads to go inside but I wanted to get the complicated bits under way. I have the joy of stitching on 24 buttons to look forward to once they're done. That may have to involve red wine!!
With all this frenzied stitching I have not rippled today or even checked out many blogs.
I have knitted the first 25 rows of a monkees bum though! DH wants the computer so I'm going to settle down with Jamie Oliver and my rippling
Love xxxx