Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tiny crafty doings

I never thought I'd hear myself say this.... but I really must defend my dentist!!! She really wasn't being rude when she said I have incompetent lips- it's a recognised condition.

Basically, my gorgeous pouty lips don't naturally close when I'm in a relaxed state - if I'm really relaxed I look like I'm catching flies i.e. mouth agape in a gormless fashion.... v v attractive ;)

This means I'm a mouth breather....and I really do have to concentrate hard to keep my gob shut and breathe through my nose!! Unfortunately it also has potentially serious consequences for one's gums. Saliva is vitally important in gum health - with your mouth shut your gums are bathed in lovely lovely saliva that serves to dilute the plaque bacteria on and around your teeth.

If you're a wide mouthed snoozer like me, your mouth dries out and the little b**gers have free reign to invade your also wake up with a mouth like sandpaper...nice!

Is it any wonder Moogsdad finds me devastatingly attractive?!!! :)

Ho hum.....that's enough of that I feel.

Let's go onto something a little nicer.

As the excitement of potential chicken fostering got me in it's grip the other evening, I decided to make a little teeny tiny needlefelted something to keep the dream alive.

I finished her off today - she previously lacked eyes.

Henrietta (of course!) - a diminutive fowl -
with a rather fluffy beak and a gentle disposition

and cute from all angles :)

Monster told me she needed legs. I chose to ignore him. Because my brain hurt when I tried to work out how to make teeny chicky limbs. She's broody. Legs not required.

I've been stitching something this evening that may become a mini-quilt for Mrs Locket's Magnificent Wall of Quilts.

It seems yesterday may have been a blip and service is returning to normal :)


p.s. in case you're still wondering Monkee Maker - I'm a very competent kisser - I can pucker up with the best of them - the relaxed mouth-wide-open bit doesn't apply to kissing.....well, maybe some kissing...........just don't tell Moogsdad ;-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trying so hard to juggle.....but I keep dropping my balls!

The reality of being a working crafty blogger is hitting home....hard!!!

I don't seem to have anything left over for craftiness right now. I spent the weekend catching up on housy things I hadn't got done during the week.

The kids have a much better work/life balance :)

They spent all of Sunday destroying a tree in the garden and building a very nice den - with the help of one of Monster's football buddies.....

Minx has found time to craft.

While her brother was at football training last night she asked to use my sewing machine. Of course, since my big sort out I only have my best fabrics downstairs!! Thank goodness I'd kept a little box of scraps to hand!

She made this cat and his/her blanket with minimal maternal assistance :)

...close up

I did whip up a quick stitched 'New Home' card once she'd finished but totally forgot to photograph it.......and I made a needle-felted chicken....eyes pending so no photograph yet!

Tonight has been thrilling - an hour and a half in Tesco filling our empty cupboards. I know you'll all start nagging me to do my grocery shopping online but I just can't - I am a total control freak when it comes to food shopping! I like to take my time and see what's new or on offer or interesting or not bruised or out of date......

Tomorrow I'm working from home, getting myself organised and trying to get my diary filled with school visits.
I may have company as Sausage Monster, who has been relatively healthy all winter, is coming down with a nasty cough/ week two of his poor harrassed mother going back to work!!!!

Before I take my leave to a) read all of your lovely blogs, or b) fall asleep on the sofa, I want to thank you for all your fab and very helpful chicky comments - I've followed up all of your links and have found out sooooo much about chicken mothering and all of it is good!!!

Even after a couple of sleeps Moogsdad still thinks that 'his idea' of keeping a few chickens is a good one! He does, however, work at his own pace and likes to do everything 'properly' (Virgo!!) so I don't imagine the ladies will be here this week!!!

In the meantime, we may be going to visit his friend's chickens on Saturday.........we sure know how to have fun in this house :)

Sorry if I'm a miserable old bag not very chirpy tonight. I had two hours of dental prodding* this afternoon and it doesn't tend to lift my mood!

(One reason I'm having this gum problem is because I'm a 'mouth breather' and I do, apparently, have 'incompetent lips' - I got this ego boosting bit of info from one of the dental consultants this it any wonder I'm not a bundle of laffs tonight?!!!!)

*dental prodding - due to an ongoing gum problem I'm having treatment that involves having my 'pocket depths' measured - or to put it another way, having a sharp implement pushed down into my gum, all around each and every tooth, to see just how far it will go!

xxxxxx (incompetent kisses!!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Going to be a Mummy....

Some time back when I was a newby blogger I did a post about our garden and about how I was wanting chickens but Moogsdad was very determined that we would not, in fact, keep chickens under any all.........subject closed.

Get the picture?

I was, therefore, somewhat surprised earlier this evening when the man himself sidled into the living room and proclaimed 'I've been thinking about what we can do with the end of the garden'.

'Yup' I said 'Slab it all over and be done with it'.

'We-ell, not exactly' said he.

'Definately not decking' said I.

'Mmmm, well, how about maybe some chickens?' said my contrary mary husband.

So there you have it. I may be having some babies sometime soon. Once we've gone into the whys and wherefores of backyard poultry husbandry.

Moogsdad said we shouldn't get too attached to them. I couldn't see why not as we'd only be keeping them for eggs. Moogsdad then worried me by saying 'It's easy enough to ring their necks'. (B**ger that!!).

I do have to admit something though.

I'm actually a bit scared of chickens.................................

Any advice would be most gratefully received.

Especially on such weighty matters as where can we get chickens from and which ones are good layers without needing a cockerel to keep them at it?????


The loveliness if bloggers :)

I celebrated completing my first week at work with a rather nice red wine last night. I may have accidentally had one glass too many and have been feeling slightly less than brilliant today!

Still, we've soldiered on and delivered children to various Saturday activities and friends to the airport and have spent the afternoon in the garden.

Moogsdad is still out there, as are the little beasties - Moog and I got too hot and have retired indoors as we are both ladies and as such don't relish getting overheated and sweaty - not that Moogs sweat of course..... but I couldn't say panty could I?!!!

I may be digressing - unlike me.....

Now, here's a thing.

We know, do we not, that there are many wonderful and very generous people out there in the world of crafty bloggage. I've been on the very lovely receiving end of this generosity already this week with my beautiful picture from Est and my surprise fabric bundle from Monda :)

I was quite blown away this morning when:

a) the postman knocked the door before 10am (he's more of a late afternoon postie!)

b) he handed me a parcel that looked like this when I opened it:

....and inside the most beautiful treasures!!! A delicious bundle of Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop fabrics - to top up the one's I stupidly used on Minx's Fairy Mary!!

I have to say a huge huge THANK YOU to my lovely bloggy friend from over the pond, Bethany, who sent me these for my birthday :)

Bethany, I love them and I am particularly moved by your lovely act of kindness and friendship as I know you are having a tough time lately and yet you still always think of others. I'm sending you a big(((((hug))))) across the miles!!!

My fabrics were stroked and cooed over for quite some time this morning and have now been safely stashed and will only ever be used for something very special indeed!! (NO more fairies!)

I finally did a bit of sewing last night....and again this morning...and have finished my mini-quilt for my swap partner :)

A very much enlarged sneaky peak:

I have another to make for Mrs Locket as she endeavours to build her wall of or two ideas are starting to form in my muddled mind and I'll get started soon......maybe......eventually.......

Moogsdad has foolishly invited a football buddy of Monster's round here to play tomorrow. Yep, that's Sunday - my day off! It seems I now have to serve up pizza for Sunday lunch.

I don't really mind, as he's a lovely lad and his folks have recently had to cope with a bereavement so I'm sure they'll appreciate a quiet day - and I'll appreciate Monster being occupied and not constantly bickering with Minx!!!!

I'm hoping for good weather so I can shut them in the garden but the man on the telly said 'rain'. My other plan is to leave it all to Moogsdad as he arranged it :)

I'm now going to ignore my family for a little while longer so I can lurk around in Google Reader catching up on your bloggy doings!!!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Missing you ...

Well, here we are, almost at the end of my first week in my new job. Apart from a tiny lurk, I've been somewhat absent from blogland this week as I've been a wee bit wiped out each evening.

The good news is that, after a couple of little admin issues, work is turning out to be great and the people I have met so far are really lovely. I had my first visit to a school today to see the education programme in action and it's going to be so much fun - the kids were fab and so switched on to environmental issues :)

We've had meetings every day and there's a lot to take on board and plenty to learn but I'm sure I'll soon get into the new 'normal' and find the time for the creative things I enjoy and, most importantly, blogging!

Whilst I've been at work (or collapsed on the sofa) my veg seeds have been bursting into life.

I bought some 'sprouting seeds' and these ones are sprouted red cabbage seeds - they taste just like mustard and cress seeds but look really pretty sprinkled on salad. They're growing in a tray of damp tissue on the kitchen windowsill.

These are tiny baby basil plants :)

.....and the rocket seeds are rocketing away!!

I had a second - and this time successful - attempt at making mayonnaise using these fab instructions from Mrs Marmaladekiss. Thanks for sharing the recipe and great instructions Julia - the whisk did the trick!!!!

I tried to use my handblender to make it first time around and it failed dismally. This time I used my electric whisk and it worked like a dream.

I used some to make homemade coleslaw - yummmmmm.

I've used a bit more tonight to make Marie Rose sauce to have with some fish for tea.

I haven't managed to get round to making the meringues yet though!

Being out at work has meant I wasn't here to receive a lovely parcel of fabric that I'd ordered from Monda's shop. Tonight we whizzed down to the local sorting office to pick it up.

You really must go to Monda's shop if you haven't already been.

My gorgeous new felted wool blanket pieces :)

Monda also put this fabulous bundle of goodies in the parcel as a lovely surprise!! Thank you so much Monda - I don't how I'll ever dare to cut into it!

Before I go I feel the need to say something.

Just what's up, huh?

I go back to work and miss a bit of blogging and like the whole world updates their blogs like every day and sometimes more and I now have like twelve billion blogs to read!!!

Slow down people.

Chill a bit and take it easy.

I have catching up to do, ok?!!!!

.....going to get my fix now :)


p.s. I did do a little crafty something this week but can't show you as it would spoil the surprise for someone who has a birthday on Saturday - don't tell her I told you so!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Working girl

Well I did it!!!! I'm back out there in the big, scary real world where real people go to work every day!

As first days go it was pretty good. The team I'm working with are lovely and the work is really interesting - there's even a great website with an interactive house!

I was scheduled to be at the main office from 10am to 2.30pm. The car park charges covered up to 4 hours, or up to 10 hours - as I was expecting to be there for four and half hours I had to pay £7!!!!!!!

We were allowed to go at 1.30 !! Could have got away with the 4 hours parking ticket after all - ack!

I've got lots of stuff to read up on but time has been allowed in my training programme for all of that. Tomorrow is the admin/procedure/form filling-y type stuff and then home for 'research'.

Thank you all for your lovely emails and comments - it means so much to know you're right there with me :)

I was going to post pictures of yesterday's lovely day out in Portsmouth but when I got home from work (how weird does that sound?!!!!) - I found something much more interesting waiting in the post box....

Something with stamps as lovely as that and wrapping as lovely as this.....

.....can only be good, right?

Too right!!

My very lovely and very talented bloggy friend Est has sent me this absolutely beautiful stitched picture....fully framed too - all the way from Malaysia!!

Est recently had a giveaway post to celebrate her one year Bloggyversary. I was one of several very lucky bloggers to be sent a beautiful gift :)

Thank you so much Est - you are so kind and generous and a wonderful craftswoman - I will treasure my picture always!

I'm now going for a quick lurk on your blogs and then an early night for me.....


Sunday, April 20, 2008 room

We've been having a big clear up and clear out this weekend. It's frightening just how much crubbish one household can gather!!

We are lucky enough to have a little conservatory on the back of our house - only 8ft x 12ft - which inevitably gets buried very quickly under all manner of junk.

I keep my fabrics out here and things had got rather out of say the very least!

Moogsdad has done a fab job of building some good accessible storage in our, now dry and clean, loft and we'd decided that I could store the bulk of my fabric up there. I'm keeping the essentials that I use very regularly downstairs in the conservatory - all the other 'I'll use it one day' stuff is now out of the way.

All those tiny scrappy bits that I was keeping 'just in case' have been bagged up (into two black bags!!!!) and freecycled to a lady who runs a preschool. Another bag of fabric that I will really never use - 'cos it's not nice! - is going to the charity shop.

It's amazing how different the whole house feels just knowing we have an extra useable space :)

At 6.30 this morning, when I couldn't sleep, it was the perfect place to sit with a cup of tea and listen to the wrens and blackbirds singing :)

At 8am I was joined by some more of Moogs clan.

Even her ladyship has given it her seal of approval!

I had fun making this bit mine :)

....and this is the drawer I love the most :)

This corner needs a bit more work but it'll be clear once the charity shop bits and pieces have gone.

During the clear out I came across this:

I'm never going to knit Herbert the Gardener Bear or Robin the Twitcher.....or even.....wait for it....Pearl the Knitter!!

Therefore, I'm giving it away - to the first person to leave a comment, on this post, saying yes please!!

Now I have to go and feed the babies croissants and get ready for a grand day out here!

We're swashing our buckles and swabbing our poop decks in readiness for boarding The Victory - avast m'hearties!!!!!!!


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Some sewing at last...

It's been a funny couple of weeks. With the kids off school I seem to have had very little time or energy for crafty stuff.

My new job starts on Monday and I have a feeling crafty doings may take a bit of a back seat, as I readjust to trying to fit my whole life into about 2 hours a day!!

I'm looking forward to my new job now. I've received an intinerary for the first month and most of it fits in really well around the children, so fortunately I shouldn't have child care to worry about.

What I'm not so happy about is that someone in HR accidentally miscalculated my salary - by forgetting to take into account the fact that I will not be working during school holidays!!!! This has made a considerable difference to what I will earn but, obviously, I'll still be earning more than I am now!!!

Right. That's enough whingeing and bellyaching for one post.

Onto much nicer things.

Minx drew this the other day:

She and I have been on our own for the past two days, as Monster has been at a football holiday scheme.

Minx wanted me to turn her lovely Fairy Mary picture into a real live doll.

I wanted to try to reproduce her picture exactly as she'd drawn it.

She had other ideas!! (she wasn't keen on the wonkiness - whereas that's what I love about it).

We entered into prolonged design negotiations. The upshot of it was, that I was given a detailed brief to make a doll similar to one I'd made for her brother, (loosely!!) based on the very lovely Jodie's dolls.

The fabric choosing took quite some time, as she wanted to use some very odd combinations.

In the end.....gulp......she decided that my beautiful Anna Maria Horner fabrics were just the ticket.

Minx was most insistent about curly hair, so her poor mother was forced to use some very lovely real chunky merino wool that I'd been saving for a felting project.

So here is Fairy Mary in all her Chocolate Lollipop glory - complete with big black iron mark on her blouse!!!

Her trousers are some gorgeous fabric that Leigh sent to me, for my birthday, that coordinates perfectly with the AMH fabrics.

Minx did want Mary's face to be as close to her picture as possible - somewhat wild and staring... and now, I've just noticed, with unevenly dilated pupils too!

Apparently, I have to make her a hat today to finish her off - 'cos that's a hat in Minx's picture, apparently, and not a prematurely balding fairy!

I now hope to be showered with dozens of wonderful comments about what a wonderful Mummy I am for:

1. giving up almost 10 hours of yesterday to make sure I got FM finished for Minx!!

2. using my very bestest fabrics that I was saving for 'something special'.

3. realising that nothing could really be more special than a little dolly for my naughty Minx :)

In other crafty news - I've been working on my mini-quilt for my swap partner :)

Also, a huge thank you to Leigh, who has awarded me this lovely You Make My Day Award
Thank you Leigh...and right back at you with this one!!

As I'm a very lazy blogger and have been very remiss at taking up a couple of tags I've been sent recently, and replying to your very lovely and very much appreciated comments, I'm going to continue this trend!!

Rather than list everyone who makes my day .....partly 'cos I'm chicken and get scared of missing anyone out!!!!!.......I'm going to pass this on to everyone who reads my blog, whether you comment or not....I know you're there 'cos sitemeter tells me so :)
All of you make my day :)

Have a happy weekend xxxxxxx

Wednesday, April 16, 2008!!!!!!!

As you may have been aware, last night was THE BIG NIGHT! My date with the lovely Moogsdad to go to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton to watch.......


Well, what can I tell you?

They were every bit as fantastic as I knew they would be...only very much more so :)

I felt a certain kinship with the lovely Ms Saunders as she does, in fact, spend a goodly amount of time surfing the 'interweb'. Then again, the lovely Ms French is mad for chocolate - there's nothing to choose between the two of them.

Moogsdad bought me the souvenir programme - which is the best theatre programme I've ever had as it is full of very funny and very interesting info on the 'lucky bitches' - and no cruddy adverts!!

They wore these fabulous Simon Cowell trousers throughout the show. Must get me some :)

It's hard to believe they're both 50 and have a comedy career spanning thirty years - for most of which I've been a huge fan!
This makes me feel very old as some ridiculously young people who are also fans have possibly only been aware of them for the past ten years!!!

Here's a fact or two from the programme:

Jennifer's first job: Never had one.
One of Jennifer's phobias : being forced to climb up a very tall crane.

Dawn's weight: Perfect weight for size.
First job: Chambermaid and Gentlemens' Fancy
One of Dawn's favourite countries: Narnia

There are lots more but if I divulged any more secrets I'd have to kill you........or face prosecution for breach of copyright. I'd risk the first but not the second ;)

I bought me this, to drink every bit of my daily intake of fluids from henceforth - including wine!

Tea works well in it - especially with a little something to stop it being too wet :)

The show was just brilliant, with some familiar characters - including the old ladies on mobility scooters, Jennifer 'doing' Madonna, a brilliant rerun of the original sketch that led to Jennifer Saunders writing Absolutely Fabulous and the two girls at the bus stop discussing contraception - which, if you're not sure involves dozens of towels, a todger like a cactus, thousands of fish and green slime!

For a finale they came on as the big fat randy old men - complete with swinging lifelike dangly bits that 'accidentally' fell out of their trousers - this had Moogsdad in tears of mirth. Boys - they always laugh at the willy gags!!!

One of the highlights ( for me!!) was Dawn French strapping on a chocolate detector and going round the audience collecting a bucket load of chocolate and doing naughty things with a mini video camera :)

Just the best night out ever!!!!!

As if all that wasn't enough excitement for one day how about this:

My lovely friend Mrs Trash sent me this fabulous birthday present.

Complete with a gorgeous new cuddly friend in my favourite colour!!

He made himself at home straight away.

I emailed Trashy straight away to thank her and tell her I'd called him Leopold the Leopard.

It wasn't until a couple of emails later that she kindly told me he's a monkey!!

Maybe I need to try him in different poses?

Thanks so much Trashy - I love him - and species really is not important......he's not going to be breeding after all.........


Sewing has taken a back seat this week as we've been gardening. Father-in-law made himself useful yesterday by finishing off the raised bed that Moogsdad had started to build.

It's now seeded and slug-proofed (beer traps) and dog-proofed (fence) and hopefully going to produce a bumper crop of delicious fresh veggies.

Trouble is, it's full already and I could do with another three for the other seeds I've sown and all the packets of seeds I bought in a moment of overenthusiastic 'self-sufficiency' daydreaming!!!

I've done this too:
and these will be delicious and heavily cropping spuds!!!! Grown in empty compost bags as shown in Gardener's World magazine.
Minx helped and has planted her window box.....not showing the inside of the Wendy House as the little b**gers made mud pies in there last Thursday!!!
One very last bit of rambling.
Some people ( naming no names MONKEE MAKER!!) seem to be struggling with consuming their Easter chocolates - more specifically chocolate bunnies.
Minx was given this one yesterday and here's what she did with it........within about thirty seconds!
No sentiment that child!

If it's still a problem MM, send it to Minx - she'll be happy to help :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

How the other half live!

Continuing with the rather disturbing 'housework' element of Saturday's post, we carried on with the Spring clean and extended it into the garden!

I have wanted to grow vegetables in our garden for a couple of years but last year, with Mum's illness, we just weren't around enough. Everything we sowed got well and truly slugged!

We only have a small patch to give over to veg growing but we've decided to do it properly and build a raised bed, filled with good compost - not our crubbish garden soil.

The naughty people helped me to clear the patch of ground on Sunday morning - at 8.40am!! (Cue continuous hissed reminders from their Mother that 'all the normal people are still in bed and please could they keep their voices down!!')

They worked very hard and within an hour had cleared this:

Moogsdad has made a good start on the technical woodworky bit of building the raised bed but freezing rain eventually made him call it a day.

Fingers crossed, it may be finished tomorrow.

Today we met up with my best friend and her little boy. We decided upon a half way point - the very lovely and very peaceful little village of West Itchenor, in Chichester Harbour.

The only road that leads into the place stops abruptly at the water's edge!

There were some great boaty things to investigate.

I don't know what this plant was but the tortured, stunted stems and bright red buds were interesting against the solid stone wall.

Apart from a few marine businesses, a rather exclusive looking yacht club (dahhhhling) and a boatyard, there are no shops here. There is, however, a very lovely pub called The Ship Inn, that does fabulous food, where we treated ourselves to lunch :)

We had a walk along the water front and began to suffer a shared bout of garden envy!

This is a very wealthy area with the most stunning houses, with vast gardens leading down to the Harbour.

Peak through the trees and there before you is a 'small' part of one garden!

House envy soon followed:

My friend and I have known each other a very long time. We are both quite content with our lot and neither of us aspire to any sort of ostentatious lifestyle.

However, we both felt we could aspire to living here!

This led us to wondering how on earth you ever get to live in a place like this - what job do you have to do? who do you have to marry? is it 'family' money? are they all lottery winners?!!!

Both of us agreed that, if ever either of us ended up living in such a place, which is highly unlikely (!!), then the other could count on being employed as our 'little woman who does'/cleaner (hah! - she's far too tidy to employ me!!).

The kids each chose a house they'd like to live in to.....and proceeded to ask when we were moving!!!

Ho hum!

Better buy a lottery ticket just in case ;)

With the kids at home for two weeks I haven't achieved much crafty stuff.

I have made a start on my mini-quilt for Lucy' swap.....not sure I'm happy with it so far but I think it'll look different again once I actually do some sewing!!

I'm way behind on reading everyone's blogs, so I'm now off for a lurk.

The in-laws are coming down tomorrow to babysit - as the time has come for us to go and see................

FRENCH AND SAUNDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yup, in just 22 hours time I'll be in the same air space as DAWN FRENCH!!!!!!

Did I mention I was going to see them?