23 July 2014


...is for knitting

which I like to do when relaxing or chatting with friends.  I can pick it up knit a few stitches and put it down, depending on the pattern of course.  Like so many things it has its own language, I remember looking at the patterns my granny knitted when I was a child and could not make head nor tail of them, gibberish they were, now they make perfect sense.  This pattern is for a Langdale written by Lily Kate France who was just fourteen at the time.  I am so nearly finished, a few rows on the last sleeve, weaving all the ends in my least favourite job and a gentle blocking.  I told you knitting had its own language!  Blocking means shaping it after you have finished knitting to tease out imperfections and get it to the shape and size you need, it locks the stitches in place.  Whilst it is blocking (it takes a while) I will be casting on my next project using the stripy looking yarn one of these for my youngest as a Christmas present.  Yes I know it is only July but if I don't start soon I won't have everything made in time.........

Meanwhile head on over to see what others are sharing for the Alphabet Photography Project

21 July 2014


...this week of...

...happiness watching my children playing with their friends, days spent outdoors in the wonderful summer warmth, harvesting potatoes for tea, knitting time, a quiet weekend at home

...sadness at terrible events across the world

...creating rows of knitting - nearly finished now, picnics, lego stop motion films, liquid soap, yogurt

...reading The Year of the Flood by the wonderful Margaret Atwood one of my favourite authors, to the children The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and these picture books* you can read a short review of them here, 179. Alice the Tennis Fairy by Daisy Meadows, 180. Walking Through the Jungle by Debbie Harter, 181. L'Ours dans la villa by Stella Blackstone, 182. L'Ours a la mason by Stella Blackstone

...learning about whittling, bees, ants, adding, stop motion film making,

...thinking about blame and how it seems so many look to apportion this especially when trust has all but gone or broken down

...hoping to harvest my blackcurrants this week

...wondering about places to go for an overnight wild camp with the children

...looking forward to a quieter week this week

*as part of the 300 Picture Books Challenge


I hope you have had a lovely week too......................enjoy the one to come!

19 July 2014


I grew up in a messy house, at least my memory of my teenage years is such.  My parents have had a empty nest for around eighteen years and moved into a brand new house recently and still their house is far from tidy so I feel I am safe to assume that my childhood home was messy.  I am not a fan of constant mess and clutter.

We used to spend time, every week, at a friends house which was untidy, no I am going to be honest, it was more than untidy it was cluttered, messy and dirty.  That is of course my opinion I would never judge anyone on the state of their house if I had I wouldn't have stayed friends or visited the house so often.  There were times, particularly in the winter when it was too cold to sit outside that I wondered what on earth I was doing there it was with mixed emotions that we stopped visiting a few months ago.  I felt relieved and slightly guilty.

In my own house everything has to have a home, a place it could be put away.  There is a finite amount of places that things can be put away in our house so usually, around birthdays and Christmas time we have to give something away when we receive something.  I was discussing this with some friends recently and the FlyLady came into the conversation, perhaps my friend and my parents need to heed her advice.

I have perfected worked hard at the art of decluttering my house but other parts of my life, well they are messy, not in a my life is a mess sense, but more in a disorganised, flitting from one thing to another sense.  I am easily sidetracked and very fond of displacement activities when I need to do something that I would rather not be doing.  I have come to realise I am hopeless at planning ahead and saying no, so I end up with too many things in the diary and not enough time to prepare for each of them, for different reasons I was in the exact same position last year.  Hmm perhaps I could do with learning from my experience.

Everything we do outside the house involves some form of preparation be it a few bits and pieces of clothing, a picnic or a fully packed car.  When I am planning what we will do I forget about this bit.  Over the winter we tend to do less outside or that involves lots of packing, but that doesn't mean we spend the whole time at home!  But come the spring and warmer weather and suddenly we are like caged animals and I go mad putting so many things in the diary that I forget the bit about preparation.   So in a need to do better kind of effort I have once again reached that time of the year when I feel like I am going mad and have backed off organising much for the rest of the summer to keep myself sane.  What I could with doing is remembering that in the Spring, keep the bigger picture in mind, and to remind myself constantly it is ok to say no.  I am not sure how I am going to remember this so if you have tips you can share.........

16 July 2014


...is for Jam...

...strawberry, picked by me and the children at a local pick your own.  We have tried to grow them in the garden but they just don't ripen so we grow other plants instead.  We picked six pounds of strawberries and ate most of them!  We made just over two pounds of fruit into three pounds of jam, my daughter helped me, stirring the pan from time to time.  I hope she remembers it, in time, just as I remember doing the same with my mother, and she with hers the wonderful alchemy of jam.  Now I am off to make some scones, they are perfect with strawberry jam and cream don't you think?  In the meantime head over to PODcast to see what others are sharing for  the Alphabet Photography Project.

15 July 2014


I have been wanting to make some small thank you presents for a while now.  I have been hampered in this by too many distractions which I have now said no to, and a lack of ideas of what to make.  I wanted/needed them to be something I could make fairly quickly, with bits and pieces I had in the house and they had to be small enough to send through the post without breaking the bank.  A while ago I pinned a tutorial which I realised would be perfect as I had some brooch backs in the house! So not wanting to pin something that I would never make I practiced what I preached.

In the end these weren't made that quickly partly because I have so little time for any crafts or creating at the moment and partly because they are quite fiddly.  This could be because I made these with six petals whereas the original suggests five but I thought the pattern of petals with the materials I was using looked better with six, the next one I make I will try five.

I have punched holes in some card and painted on the word Thank you and there you have it a card with a wee present attached.  Now I just need to get them in the post.............

Joining in with Nicole

14 July 2014


...this week of...

...happiness being outside with the children, finding the time to tend to my garden, saying no, watching a fledging bird right before our eyes, outdoor swimming

...sadness at excuses that are not addressing the situation 

...creating rows of knitting, fabric flower brooches, picnics

...reading an intriguing book, Nowhere People by Paulo Scott, to the children The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and these picture books* you can read a short review of them here 177. The Ice Princess by Mandy Stanley, 178. Lulu and the Treasure Hunt by Emma Chichester Clark

...learning about wasps, birds, tanks, food, bodies, nutrition, 

...thinking about how important it is to be truthful

...hoping we don't exhaust ourselves this week as we are very busy!

...looking forward to meeting up with friends we haven't seen for a while

*as part of the 300 Picture Books Challenge


I hope you have had a lovely week too......................enjoy the one to come!

10 July 2014


I have so many words in my head right now.  They are a jumbled mass keeping me awake at night jostling around in brownian motion.  There are snippets of conversations, emails I have received or written in my head but never sent, information that I form together to make conclusions that may be completely wrong.  I wrangle with these thoughts and eventually come out the other side with a clear head and some decisions.

For the past ten years, no longer than that, I have been a volunteer.  Giving freely of my time to young people in my area who are part of the Scout Association.  I have watched children grow from young children through to adulthood and when I bump into them as adults it always gives me great pleasure to hear what they are doing with themselves.  The time I have given has changed over time, stopping completely when my children were babies.  Lately it has increased, I have not been pushed into this, it has been my choice and I have been happy with this for the most part.  Until I start getting emails from a parent which are frankly, rude.

I worked for ten years with volunteers, I managed them and paid staff.  I had a team of over eight hundred of them (and three paid staff).  Almost all the contact was by letter, phone calls or emails with the odd occasion face to face.  It was so important to use the correct language, as it is in contact with anyone, but with volunteers it doesn't mater how irritating or rude they are you must ensure that they always feel valued and included.  The data protection act meant that anything your wrote about them they could ask to look at we had to keep our opinions to ourself and never write them down!  The emails I have recently received would have been totally unacceptable in that organisation, I would not have lost my job but, there would have been serious repercussions.

So I need to make a decision, as added to this I am feeling somewhat taken advantage of.  I had been asked to organise something by one of the Leaders who it now transpires will not be present and has known for weeks they wouldn't be.  I am happy to organise stuff but I am not happy with the fact they have waited until this week to inform me, they had led me to believe they would be there and the rude email is as a direct result of their interfering with incorrect information with something I had already sorted out.  I have now made my decision and I know it will be unexpected, it is to me too, but I am happy with it and feeling very relieved.

It's easy to not notice small changes.  Children change every month, sometimes every week or even by day.  If we look away we miss them.  There are so many distractions to keep our attention elsewhere but when these distractions increase slowly they can become so absorbed into our lives that we don't notice.  It is as if it has always been so.  I am too distracted at the moment and my precious time with my children feels like it is shoehorned in between organising things for others.  I have decided no more.  My children and my family come first.  Saying no is hard, it can make us feel bad about it, we are letting people down.  But if I continue to say yes I know that I am letting my children down and that is not what I want.

Now I just need to sort out some of the words that have been said to me by friends and make sense of the pictures they have given me and stop the dancing going on in my head......