Sunday, December 16, 2012

On the doorstep

Mr Moog and I moved here, to Southampton, way back in 1998. In that time we've explored, and come to love, so much of the beautiful countryside around Hampshire but somehow, have not spent so much time exploring our home town.

The in-laws have been here for a pre-Christmas Christmas weekend, starting with a trip to a proper panto at Ferneham Hall, in Fareham. Cinderella, starring Madge from Neighbours, no less.
Buttons was my favourite. Especially his John Travolta number. Awesome.

 Lovely mother-in-law happened to mention that she'd seen an advert for a Victorian Christmas event at the Tudor House in Southampton. We had seen nothing about it but a quick Google search sealed the deal and after a hearty breakfast, we took a short drive across the bridge into town and entered a Southampton that we never knew was there.
The Tudor House has undergone a major restoration programme over the past few years and reopened last year as a very 21st Century museum. The exhibitions and interpretation were so well put together and all of us found something to engage us.

There's an incredible history behind the site, parts of which date back to the 1100s - and that kind of history blows my mind.

We discovered today that Southampton was once an important spa town, with folk (including royalty) travelling from all over the country to take the waters.

We discovered that the city walls were constructed to order by King Edward III after an attempted French invasion. A small part of these once extensive walls (and nothing of Southampton Castle) remain, most being lost to centuries of change and the ravages of the World War II bombings when Southampton was heavily hit.

We discovered that several hundred years ago the city walls, that are now well within the city centre itself, were actually right on the waterfront, with a beach!

We discovered that the Tudor House was at one time occupied by a dye-works, an architect and a milliner in the midst of an area of terrible slums and that Jane Austen lived nearby.

We discovered that this is a beautiful peaceful little haven in the middle of the bustling, retail-driven city centre.

I discovered that I need to be more careful taking photos with my phone, just in case it looks like Mr Moog is peeing in the courtyard of an important historical building (he wasn't).

We decided that next time we go shopping in town we will come here for lunch.

Nothing whatsoever to do with's a pretty cow (bullock?)...

.....we saw these beautiful beasts on our 5 mile walk up at Selborne last weekend, and discovered this evening - thanks to Countryfile - that they are in fact Park Cattle, first brought to these shores by the Romans, and now used at Selborne to manage the habitats of the nature reserve.

This one even had a cow bell. I loved that - made me think of Heidi and I just knew you'd appreciate that :o)

You may be wondering what happened to this weekend's pudding. Well, there was one - or two, but they were baked and supplied by mother-in-law and have been eaten (unphotographed) by us. A beautiful bakewell tart and an apple pie. Minx was unexpectedly given the weekend off pudding duty but will be back next week with a host of sweet delights.

We're now looking forward to the last few days of term and getting fully into the Christmas spirit, including 'Verastonbury' at our local park on Thursday night.

Bring it on.

Moogs xxx

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thank Crunchy it's Friday

It's been a funny old week.

After being thoroughly coughed and sneezed on, by a very poorly looking little girl, in one of my school visits for work last week, I wasn't in the least bit surprised to find I was starting a cold over the weekend.

I was totally unprepared for a whole week with a very very sore throat and resulting disrupted sleep - plus feeling generally very sorry for myself. I don't do feeling poorly and self-indulgent very well. I get extremely cross and bored with myself.

It has meant that I've made a little more headway with the WIP targets. Two more pairs of socks were ticked off the list.

A pair for Minx....

...and a pair for the big-footed teenage Monster (these are my favourites and I'll be claiming them when they get too small for him).

Both pairs made from leftovers. Both pairs needed a ridiculous number of ends sewn in. Minx's pair alone involved the weaving in of 87 ends!

I'm now dithering between several WIPs and need to refocus. It might be the crochet blanket this weekend as that'll both keep me warm and see another tick off the list.

There was pudding last weekend. Minx did this one with very little help (interference) from me.

Kiwi pavlova.

I had some for medicinal purposes - delicious.

I'm now playing catch-up, writing Christmas cards, wrapping presents, getting the house ready for the in-laws visiting this weekend and a trip to the panto.

Sunday pudding is planned. The pastry is made. I'll be back with photos.

Moogs xx

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Well, so far so good. I've managed to finish off two WIPs since my last post.

My first priority was some lovely Ellie mitts for my girlie in rainbow striped yarn (Knitpicks Felici in 'Boardwalk' colourway). They used less than one 50g ball of yarn and are so soft and cuddly, with little flower buttons at the wrist. Perfect :o)

Next it was down to some seriously tedious knitting. Way back in August, with a good three weeks to spare, I cast on some socks to give to Mr Moog as a special surprise on his 40th birthday. He's never seemed keen on me making him handknit socks but I vowed to change his mind. After all, handknit socks....what's not to love?

However, after boring myself to tears knitting on and on and on with these greeeeeey boooooooring socks I totally lost interest and they'd been sitting untouched for months. He'll now get them for Christmas...

.....and I kind of hope he doesn't like them because I don't know if I have it in me to ever make him another pair!

Monster now has the same sized feet as his Dad (only size 9 so not colosal) yet I still enjoy knitting socks for him. Even though they now seem to take forever to knit, Monster's socks are much more fun as he likes them as bright and bonkers as possible and that is just enough to keep my knitting mojo ticking along row after row. Mr Moog likes them dark and plain. Yawn.

I think five pairs for a tenner from Tesco sounds like a plan.

I've done something pretty drastic and have frogged two of the WIPs from my previous post - the fluffy jumper and the black/rainbowy socks. I decided life was too short to be knitting things that don't make me happy.

Right, onwards with the WIP-busting.

Happy knitting!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No pudding!

My lovely daughter pointed out to me yesterday that we hadn't done a Saturday Pudding this weekend. She's absolutely right.

We did, however, have an incredibly naughty chocolate fudge brownie cake as Monster's second birthday cake to share with his (very tall and deep voiced!) friends, who came round on Saturday for his birthday 'do', which involved much playing on the XBox. No photo of the cake though....cos we eated it (I eated far too much of it!).

Due to an unfortunate accident with an uncovered razor that someone's Darling Husband had put in the toothbrush pot (my fault for not seeing it, according to the man himself....ahem) , there's been little by way of 'making' going on over the past few days. To stop me going completely barking I've been having a good old sort out - tidying up ready for Christmas, and putting some thought to where my crafting will take me in 2013.

This has involved reading a couple of copies of Craft Seller magazine cover to cover twenty times and treating myself to a subscription. I've picked up lots of useful, sensible information and have a head full to bursting with ideas and possibilities for the new year. I've also been chirping about on Twitter, following all sorts of people, and have spent my non-knitting/non-crocheting/ non-spinning/ non-sewing evenings catching up on some of the beautiful work happening out there in the world of blog.

So, I now want to get cracking on making lots and lots and lots and lots of beautiful things.....however, the bossy person living in my head has told me I cannot possibly start anything else until I finish what I've already started. No 'pudding' of nice new crafty things for me until I've finished my 'dinner' of WIPs

I knew I'd got a few bits and pieces sitting next to my comfy chair, waiting to be finished, but as none of them have a deadline (other than Mr's 40th birthday socks that should have been done by 3rd September), and some (ha!...all) of them were started on a whim and all of them involve having a healed-up poorly finger (my current favourite excuse), not to mention none of them are as exciting or sexy as whatever it is I decide to make next, I was managing to maintain my happy state of denial.

All that tidying up for Christmas, however, led to me unearthing them and has made me face up to the pile of WIPs that might be holding me back from achieving my next big crafting dream (whatever that may be)....and I took a photo.

In the cold light of day it doesn't look soooo bad - I've seen some folk on Ravelry with such enormous numbers of WIPs that I'd be having terrifying woolly nightmares were I in their shoes. For me, though, this is quite enough:

7 socks in progress - three of which are total no-brainers that I should be picking up in any odd moment but, for some reason, they've sat there for three months or more.

1 pair of rainbow fingerless mitts - only cast on a week or two ago for Minx, with a Christmas deadline so not making me feel too guilty just yet.

1 jumper - another easy peasy knit as it's just stocking stitch, knit in one piece from the neck down and I'm making it up as I go along....which seems to be why I stopped as I need to work out a bit of shaping.

1 fluffy waistcoat thing - have knit the back. It grows really quick. Not sure I'm feeling the love enough to finish it. Don't think I'll ever wear it. Might have to frog it and reuse the yarn.

1 owl motif towards the eight needed for one of these bags. Not as easy as I thought it'd be. Not as excited as I was when I first started it. Was planning on making four of these bags for Christmas presents. Have changed my mind. Now have ten balls of brown cotton yarn to do something else with.

1 crochet shawl - not loving it - may be off to the frog pond.

1 simply enormous yarn eating granny stripe blanket - worked a bit last night but got bored as stoopid sore finger made the going very slow.

1 simple patchwork quilt - middle panel done  (months and months and months ago), needs sashing, backing, binding and hand-quilting. I can see the finished quilt in my head and would quite like it out of there and on the sofa.

The next bit makes me a little nervous. I tend to avoid setting myself targets, if at all possible. That seems to be a recipe for failure and disappointment as far as I'm concerned. I'm the person that looks at you blankly during my performance review when asked about my five year plan.

I prefer to think of myself as a take it as it comes sort of a person, living in the now, not big on the old long term plan and target setting bit....not great on the short-term plan thing either, if we're being really honest here.... but maybe, just maybe, setting myself a bit of a target, with you as my witnesses, might be just the thing to help me clear the decks ready for all the backlog of crafty inspiration that's currently wedged in my poor tired brain to be allowed to come spewing forth in readiness for a truly craft-tastic 2013.


So here's the target. Amid all the usual happy chaos of life in the run-up to Christmas I am going to throw myself headlong into that there pile of WIPs and before the bell tolls to ring in the New Year I will have finished (or frogged) every single last one of them.

I promise.

Did I also mention I wanted to knit Monster some new fingerless gloves? Maybe I should cast them on right now and add them to the WIP pile?

Moogs xxx

p.s. I will not be including two huge sacks of raw alpaca fleece waiting to be spun or some funny crazy patchwork sewing that I've been making for the past three years in this target. That would be silly.