Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

I had planned to do a proper Merry Christmas type post but time and Christmas doings have got in the way.

I just wanted to wish all of you lovely bloggy friends a great big


Wherever you are, whatever you're doing and whoever you're with I wish you a joyful and peaceful time. I hope you've all been very good and that a certain man in red will be filling your stocking tonight.

To those of you down under - hope you had a great day!!!

Loads of love and hugs


p.s. guess who we saw in panto on Sunday?

p.p.s. just so that the little green duck's song doesn't stick in your head all day have this one on me

p.p.p.s or this one - aah that's better :-)

and finally - thank you for all your great name suggestions for Mr P0045 - I'll be back with news of a winner after Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting in the groove

It would seem that today was not going to be all about last minute knitting.

After too many days looking at some very very ripe bananas languishing in the kitchen I just had to find a way of using them.

My good friend Google came up with this lovely recipe for banana muffins. To make them a touch more Christmassy I added a good pinch of ground ginger and cinnamon.
They filled the house with the most delicious smell.

Having done these I felt I just couldn't ignore the even mankier looking bowl of dessert apples.
After a bit of chopping, stewing and mashing of said apples, I baked another batch of muffins, using the same recipe but just substituting what looked like an equivalent quantity of fruit.

I also upped the spices on these ones with a good rounded 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cloves and cinnamon.

I haven't sampled the banana ones yet but they got the thumbs up from Minx and Monster. The apples ones taste just like Christmas...mmmm!

Amidst all this comfort cooking postie came knocking again.

This time he had my P45.

No...not that P45.

Mr P0045!!!
A very special (and very Christmassy) new friend for Gloria all the way from The Pigeon Loft!

Poor thing - looks like he had a rough time in all that Christmas mail!

My postie even apologised for the state of the which I replied 'It's ok, it's something squishy inside' which point postie wandered off looking rather bemused...

Rest assured Charlie - your parcelling skills stood up brilliantly to the rigours of Royal Mail :-)

Where were we?

Oh yes.

The parcel!

First things first, I just had to get Gloria involved in the unwrapping.

She's not quite sharing the sense of excitement here....

....but then she noticed the secret code 'Mr P0045'.

She could barely contain herself when this was the first thing to fall out of the package...

...see how thrilled she is with her new head gear?...

After a bit of posing Gloria got stuck in to unwrapping the rest of the goodies.

Another hat?

One to wash and one to wear?

Nope.....a hat complete with (rather dashing) new pigeon friend...

...seems Gloria Hennypenny is a bit of a pigeon fancier :-)

Now here's a thing.

Gloria and I have been wracking our brains to come up with a name for the new avian man in our lives. We tried (and failed) to think of something suitably seasonal.

Therefore, I've decided to throw it open to my lovely bloggy friends.

If you would like to suggest a name for Gloria's new boyfriend friend it would be much appreciated.

In return Gloria, P45 and I will send you a little something to say thank you. I'll choose on Christmas Eve so it gives you a day or two to get thinking...'cos you've got nothing better to be doing...right?!!!

The little something will be on it's way to the winning pigeon namer in 2009!!!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

TGI Thursday!

It seems to have taken forever for the end of term to get here and for the holidays to begin.

I finished work today and the children break up tomorrow. Not a day too soon as they are both very tired and very ratty indeed - not helped by the fact that they have been in the school play this week, which has entailed two late evening performances.

The school did a fantastic version of The Wizard of Oz. Monster was a crow and Minx was a poppy :-) All of the children were quite brilliant and I'm sure there were some future stars among them.

It's been very cold and grey in these parts this week. Fortunately Mr Postman provided a bright and cheery moment by delivering a very pretty and unexpected parcel from my superhero bloggy friend Maria.

Nestled within were two beautiful hearts that are now adorning our Christmas tree.

Thank you so much Maria - you really did brighten up a very very dull morning of 'end of term report' writing!

There has been a little craftiness going on this week.

Moogsdad whisked the beasties off for a walk on Sunday, leaving me in perfect peace to get on with some presents for Monster, Minx, my friend's daughter and my three beautiful nieces.

I've loved Lucy's wallets for ages (and have three of them!). I'd also wanted to have a go at making them myself and have had the pattern (Melly & Me's Wally and Wristy) for several months, after finally tracking one down on ebay.

Of course, being a rather obsessive sort of sewist I had to make six!!

Talking of obsessions..... second pair of socks came off the needles this week.....

......a pair for Monster for Christmas.....

.....and then I found some very happy yarn at Hobbycraft.....

......and started on my third pair.....

....for Minx..... done......

.....and down to the heel on it's partner!

As these are surprise socks I needed some other knitting to fill those moments when the nosey smalls are about.

So it had to be wrist warmers - again for my beautiful nieces (these are my brother's girls who appreciate their aunty's handmade gifts) and also a pair requested by the Monster.

Almost two pairs finished.

So just two and a bit pairs to go - by next Tuesday - easy...right?

Not wanting to get bored I also decided to dabble in a bit of homemade confectioning today. Rather squishy chocolate fudge for the teachers' pressies.

Feeling strangely goddess like I turned to Nigella for further sweet inspiration.

This is supposed to be honeycomb - or cinder toffee as Nigella calls it. Mine didn't turn out as airy and full of bubbles as I expected!

Eating this could result in expensive and painful dental issues!!

No matter what I do, I never seem to be able to produce good results from the Domestic Goddess's recipes.

Give me a Delia or a Prue Leith and I'm fine but dear old Nigella defeats me!

Maybe I need to don a skimpy little number and slap on some lippy before my next attempt?

Or not!!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

A lie in? I'd rather blog...

Silly me.

I imagined I would do this post two days ago.

Someone stole those two days from under my nose - which is why I am here at Silly O'clock on a Sunday morning instead!

First off I have to say a big Thank You to Kitty for this lovely award. Just in case you haven't got your reading glasses on, it's a 'Gift of the Gab' award .....who me? I'm sure I don't know what you mean Kitty ;-)....but thank you anyway!

I also have another big Thank You for a lovely blogger who I am just getting to 'know' - Thank You Joanne :-)
I do love the bloggy 'tradition' of awards...but I'm not very good at passing them on. Not because I don't want to - just because I really don't want to leave any of you out!!
So this is how I tend to do it. If you read my blog, either as a commenter or a lurker, or if I leave comments on yours, then please have an award on me :-)

For all of you who did such a good job of soothing my battered ego, two posts back, THANK YOU so much!! My heart was truly warmed by your lovely comments and my ego is feeling much less bruised.

Now, I'm sure you're all simply dying to know what I've been doing this week.....and who am I to disappoint?

We decorated our Christmas tree on Monday. We have a real tree this year, for the first time in three years.

My friend runs a wonderful horticultural project for Mind and she told me they were getting some trees in. We chose a gorgeous little tree in a pot so that we can put it in the garden after Christmas....note to self: don't forget to water it!

This year dressing the tree was a most enjoyable experience.

The reason why is obvious.

Gorgeous new decorations from my gorgeous bloggy friends :-)

L to R : Ali's wreath, Gina's angel and Twiggy's star

I'm also the lucky owner of two of Monda's gorgeous trees - I was sooo excited when I found she still had a couple in her shop, just waiting for me.

My Christmas tree makes me smile every time I look at it, thanks to my very special decorations that will be loved and treasured for many years to come.

Thanks to your support, I decided not to let certain people put me off making handmade gifts.

Minxie had (another!) party to go to yesterday (in fact she's still there for a 'Stayawake-over'). The birthday girl has already had one of my bag and purse combos so I had to come up with something new.

My favourite fairy story when I was small was 'The Princess and the Pea'.

What every Princess needs to help her have sweet dreams is a lavender pillow right?

I'm delighted to say that this little Princess's Mum told me she loves the cushion and she was so pleased to have such a special gift :-) Can you tell I was mentally sticking my tongue out at a certain person when I heard that?!

I wanted to leave you with a really special treat.
Moog doing what she does best.

Making the sofa hairy!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Very quick!

I'm not really here! Pretend you haven't seen me!

We've been invited to a wedding reception next May and I've been researching the 'hotel vs taxi vs one of us drives' scenarios.

During this research I came across this fab fab bit of hotel customer service info - scroll down a bit and read the 'terms and conditions explained' bit.

We may have to stay here cos they sound like loads of fun!!!

Hope to be back tomorrow with thanks, awards and the Christmas tree photos :-)


Monday, December 8, 2008

I love bloggers!

Things like this lovely award that the even lovelier blogger Jane kindly passed to me, and all the lovely comments on my last post, have reminded me once again just why I love blogging!!

I'm going to do my usual shirking of any responsibility and say I'm going to pass this award on to anyone who reads my blog - in either a commenting or lurking capacity - and to all those lovely blogs I read too :-)

I'm also feeling somewhat guilty as another lovely blogger sent me an award a week or two back and I can't find it anywhere...or remember who sent it to me! How ungrateful can you get? In my defence yer'onour I have trawled through my comments and emails twice and now dots are dancing before my I gave up! What I will say is THANK YOU.....whoever you are!

Now then, down to business.

There's another reason why I love you all.

Because you appreciate the handmade in all it's forms.

Because you understand the simple joy to be found in making something for those you love.

Because you appreciate the love and thought that goes into handmade gifts.

For valueing those handmade 'things' above anything that you can buy just because it's got the right label.

I don't know if any of Moogsdad's family ever read this blog. I'd rather like to think not as it's my space to be me and not to be their idea of who I should be.

I had yet another full-on experience of S-I-L's snootiness about my crafting this weekend, during a family trip to the theatre.

Minx was wearing her new jacket and skirt combo on Saturday and looked, might I say, extremely gorgeous. When S-I-L arrived she looked over at my baby and said (imagine sneary voice here) 'Oh, Mummy's been sewing again has she?'

Not 'Oh lovely - did you make her outfit?'

Or ' Where did you get her jacket from?'

Or ' Oh my God woman how can you send your child out looking like that?' - which, I imagine is what she was actually thinking!

I responded by bristling and saying ' Why, does it look homemade?'

To which she replied 'Yes' - I then went on to thank her for her kind remark and she then tried to bluster her way out of it by spluttering about 'designer boutiques' and 'a fabric combination that was very you'!

Do you know I have felt quite sick about it since?!

This is why I will not be making her children's presents this year. Things I have put hours of thought and love into in the past have met with a very frosty response. This is the woman who returns most of hers and her children's Christmas presents to the shops on Boxing Day people!!
She's scuppered when I make things 'cos she can't return them!!

If it doesn't have the right label she isn't interested. She seems to regard people that don't do this as somehow beneath her. Sad, huh?

I'm not going to let this put me off making things for my beautiful girl. She appreciates everything I make for her. In fact, I've got three very funky patterns at the ready for the next assault on the sewing machine :-)


p.s. if she does read this......consider yourself told!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A woman of many obsessions....

I've been an absentee blogger of late.

Google Reader tells me I have 437 posts to read.

I'm missing out on all that's been going on.

I have no idea what you've all been up to.

I lay all the blame for this period of neglect squarely with my tendency to become obsessed with the latest project.

A couple of weeks back I was all about socks.

Then it was folding paper.

This week I are been mostly revamping Minx's wardrobe (say in Jesse's voice please) :-)

But first there was a little pressie to be made for her classmate's birthday (she strikes me as a bit of a bling girl!).

A recent foray into Minx's wardrobe told me that she had grown. She also tends to be pretty hard on her clothes and therefore looks like a total scruff 90% of the time!!

Minx has told me she'd like clothes and make-up for Christmas - what self-respecting 7 year old wouldn't?!!

An upcoming pre-Christmas family get together had me panicking slightly. Her only smartish clothes are summer ones. I also couldn't afford to spend loads this side of Christmas.

So I dug out a skirt pattern, a denim pillowcase, a length of suit fabric bought 4 years ago and an old bridesmaid dress plus a 1950's vintage curtain from a charity shop haul ages ago.

The pattern is a Simplicity 'Lizzie McGuire' skirt pattern (no.4616) - I've tried to find it on the internets but have failed dismally!!
Made from a thrifted denim pillowcase and buttons from said pillowcase - cost about 25p :-)

The denim one is done (almost) according to the pattern, complete with the button tab detail.

One thing that has occured to me is this. As the daughter of a keen dressmaker I understand fully that feeling of wearing 'homemade' clothes. Now, don't get me wrong - my Mum was a great dressmaker but it was the era of Crimplene and Trevera fabrics when she was in full-on 'sewing for my daughter' mode.

These days the clothes that we see in the shops have that extra bit of detail that make them a little less ordinary. I knew that in order to make Minx feel trendy and happy in her new clothes I'd have to fancy them up a bit.....which led to this one.....

A fluted skirt from the same pattern. Modified with a ruffle round the hem and an appliqued flower - this now has gold bead stamens in the centre at Minx's request :-)

I bought this fabric for me four years ago. I reckon that makes this one cost nothing ;-)

So far so good - both skirts fit like they were made for her...and she likes them!!

....and finally.
A little panelled skirt made from the Laura Ashley wonder that I wore at my brother's wedding 17 years ago. I reckon this one also cost nothing :-)

I modified the pattern on this one by doing flat fell seams on the front and back seams which I then topstitched.

A trip to the fabric shop for a hefty supply of zips led me to buy this pattern.

The combination of this 1950's (I think) barkcloth (possibly?) vintage curtain and that damson coloured velvet had been squirreled away in my brain for an awfully long time.

I'm pleased to say it came out just how I imagined it.

I just hope the little woman likes it too!!

To make sure she looks cool and trendy and not homemade and dweeby, she'll be wearing this with some groovy tights and the fake Ugg boots that she bought with her pocket money last week - for the princely sum of £8 at Tesco's!

Apart from the fact that madam has ordered two pinafore dresses that's just about it for now.

I may allow myself the luxury of reading your blogs tonight.....but then again, I hear the siren call of the sewing machine....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dream job?

I didn't think I'd say this a year ago....I love my job!

I've been asked to make 'recycled' gift bags with a school next week. I have an hour and a half session booked, with 15 children. As I'm not sure how long the bags will take I thought I'd better have some other options up my sleeve.

Lucy told me about this fab tutorial and I just had to give it a go.

The Argos Christmas catalogue :

...with it's friend - Sainsbury's magazine:

I found a great tutorial for the gift bags here. I used two layers of newspaper to make mine and reinforced the base and 'the bit that the handle goes through' (very technical term!!) with cardboard.

I also found a tutorial (you need Adobe reader to open this one) for a really easy bag made from an A4 envelope.

Thanks to Ali for posting her great origami wreath tutorial I have another option if we need to fill the time. These are made with the weekend travel section of M-I-L's newspaper.
I've since made another 10 of these using some lovely old yellowed pages from a very decrepit encyclopedia...but no photo thanks to a very grey and dismal day.

Tomorrow's my day off and I have another girly present to make for another girly birthday party.....but I just want to knit socks.....

Monday, November 24, 2008

All the P's - party, pouch, PIF and a pair

P1 - Phew - we survived the sleepover... just!

I may have realised that four hyped up boys and two equally excited little girls does not make for a good night's sleep.

At least we have a few months to recover before we have to do the same for Minx's birthday!!

P2 - Feeling like a zombie on Saturday morning was not the best, especially as Minx had a party to go to on Saturday afternoon.

There was no way I could have coped with any form of retail transaction so I got out the sewing machine, dusted off my befuddled brain and made a quick zippy pouch for the birthday girl's present.

P3 - Mr Postman delivered a little cheer on Saturday morning with these beautifully wrapped parcels from the lovely Mrs Twiggy.

I had completely forgotten that I had signed up for a PIF on Twiggy's blog, so this was a lovely surprise.

The Green & Black's has been scoffed sampled already, the decorations are all ready to go up and the mulled wine sachet is highly unlikely to last until Christmas!

Thank you for my lovely goodies Twiggy :-)

Now, the idea with the PIF is that I pay it forward to three more people.

So, if you would like to receive a little PIFfy parcel from me - highly unlikely to be before Christmas but definately in the next 12 months - then just leave me a comment on this post saying 'Yes please'....or words to that effect :-)

P4 - I did it!!!!!!!!!

I really really did it!!!!

Look what I did!!!!!!!!

Thanks to Team GB for beating the Aussie medal tally (by one medal!!) and thanks mostly to my lovely Aussie friend Mrs TrashIdon'tcareifyouareapolicemanyoushouldn'tbeparkingthere
for buying me the most beautiful sock yarn, I have finally beaten my nemesis and knitted a pair......A PAIR....not one.....but a PAIR of socks!!!!


The can of worms is now well and truly open.

I'm already up to the heel flap on a pair of Christmas socks for Monster and have the wool ready for Minx's pair.

Even Moogsdad seemed mildly impressed with them.

He'd better watch out 'cos I might make him some too!!!


Friday, November 21, 2008


Surely it was yesterday?

It can't be nine years......can it?

This gorgeous young man is NINE years old today!

How did that happen?

Happy Birthday Sausage Monster!!!!

We're having a 'We're never going to sleep' over tonight. Four loud boys and two (relatively) quiet girls are terrorising the Moog. Moogsdad and I are flagging already.

It could be a long night!

Picking up Ali's tag I thought I'd do six things I love about my little boy:

1. The fact that he just came over here and said 'I love you' even though his three best friends are in the same room.

2. Those beautiful hazel brown eyes and those long long eye lashes.....just made for winning hearts :-)

3. How the world lights up when he really really laughs.

4. How he seems to know (and remember) everything about Star Wars - like a 'mini-me' version of his Dad.

5. Even though he's all long and boney he still curls up and fits perfectly on my lap.

6. How he gently picks up the creepiest creepy crawlie on the footpath to stop it being trodden on.

I could go on.

I'm just proud to be the Mum of such a sweet, kind and fun 'young man' ...who will always be my little boy!

I've also nearly finished my first pair of socks!

Sleep/insomnia permitting, they may be finished tomorrow!!


Monday, November 17, 2008

A fun packed weekend....or, the post with too many photos!!

Gloria and I knew we were in for a treat this weekend. We boarded our train on Friday morning full of excitement at the thought of two days in London meeting bloggy friends.

Even the fact that our reserved seat was one of only two wedged into a corridor between the toilets and the (closed) buffet kiosk could not dampen our spirits. Nor could the fact that buffet trolley man chose to winge at us, at great length, about the stresses of his job and the stupidity of passengers, diminish the euphoria.

See how excited Gloria looks?

Whilst I tried desperately to look totally engrossed in my book and avoid the eye of buffet trolley man, Gloria watched the world speed by.

Before we knew it we were being met on the platform at Waterloo by the mad Mrs Trash and the very lovely and long-suffering Wonderwoman[not!] or Maria as she is known in the real world.

Then it was off to Islington to meet up with the lovely Gina, my mad and funny friend Locket and her bossy BIG ( currently blogless) sis Ally.

It was a lovely day, with loads of laughs.


L to R -Gina, Trash, Maria, Locket, some strange woman.

There were some lovely gifties too :-)

A gorgeous partridge for my Christmas tree from Trashy.

A very pretty fairy from Gina.

A crochet hook roll from Lucy - see, Locket they all fit and I just need to find my others to fill it up!

Plus, all the way from America via Edinburgh and Newcastle, a beautiful bunny pincushion from Thimbleanna! (You were there with us in spirit Anna!!).

That naughty Mrs Trash also treated us to a very cute button badge from Poppy Treffry's beautiful stand at the fair.

After a fun time at the fair, sampling plenty of the wines on offer in the food hall, we said a sad goodbye to Gina and went on a mission to find Loop - the most gorgeous wool shop with the most patient and obliging staff!

We played spot the chicken with Gloria - who was very much admired by Lovely Loopman, by the way, Charlie !

Then that naughty Mrs Trash spoiled me even more. I recently won a bet with Trashy and thanks to the sterling efforts of Team GB I became the proud owner of a skein of the most gorgeous Collinette Jitterbug sock yarn and a set of beautiful bamboo dpns!!

Lovely Loopman even wound it into a ball for me with his (much coveted by us) wool winder.
These guys wondered what all the excitement was about...

We then said a very fond farewell to Trashy and Maria and headed to our luxury hotel for a three course gourmet meal.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one weekend, Saturday dawned fair and unseasonably warm and it was off to Covent Garden to a superb restaurant and another bloggy meet up!

Gloria was beside herself with excitement at meeting Vera - seen here modelling the gorgeous Baby Pebble's footwear. Vera even brought Mrs Stash Basket with her!!

As well as Locket and Ally, we enjoyed a lovely meal and loads more laughs with Dottycookie, Silverpebble and the most beautiful and well behaved Baby Pebble, Domesticali, Michaela and The Vicious Chicken and NBM!!!

Not sure Gloria approved of my choice from the least I didn't choose the chicken!

There were more pressies too!

One of Domesticali's gorgeous origami wreaths and some fab parcel string (which I'm thrilled with as I'd been on the lookout for some!).

A really beautiful bracelet from Emmapebble....

and another really beautiful bracelet from Dottycookie....they are so pretty and I've had to fight Minx off several times as she has her magpie eye on them!

...and here is what is/was left of some of Michaela's deeeelicious fudge - chocolate and walnut...mmmm - and cherry and ginger ....aaaaah!

It was so wonderful to put faces to blogs and also to feel as if we knew each other already. To feel so at ease with people you've only just met (in real life) or met once before is quite amazing.

If anyone had told me 18 months ago that I would have taken off to London alone to meet up with 'strangers' I'd met over the internet I'd have thought them quite mad! However, the reality is that I had the best time, in the best company, with people I am honoured to call my friends.
We really must do this again!! How's about a big bloggy picnic in late spring, followed by some crafty retail therapy?

This last bit is for you you can see it's going pretty well so far :-)