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December 2008
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February 2009

The best way to wake up


I was woken by Tristan this morning wildly excited about his homemade warm, dough balls and a selection of accompaniments: strawberry jam, salt and pepper butter and Gracie's addition, plain butter with grated chocolate and almond, all yummy!

We use Dove's Farm organic spelt flour and for pizza, their white bread flour. Their Quick Yeast makes bread making quick and easy without the use of a bread maker (only an hour of rising.) And making bread the traditional way means we still get to knead the dough which is of course the children's favourite part of the process.

Tristan is really into bread making at the moment and it makes me glad I never succumbed to the ease of a bread maker, we have a live, happy and proud little bread maker instead.

These and a cup of tea, for me a perfect Saturday wake-up call.

watcha wearing Wednesday?


The very funny and talented Fi hosts a fun little tag-along called "watcha wearing Wednesdays." Stark contrast between her world and mine. Today it's jeans, my favourite very soft stripy jumper, patchwork belt a few more hidden layers, a thick coat and wellies. Fi is basking (baking) in 40+ sunshine down under.


I thought it would be simple to join in but turns out it was a little harder than I thought. It's so dull and foggy that I took this photo outside on my way down the track to our post box. I used my little camera so I could hold it with just one hand and it kept using the automatic flash - that's how dull it is!


This is all I could manage to get of me jumping in a mud puddle - that one's for you Fi.

Med-www?- Here's a little button I put together for her - those are her shoe-crazy feet.

To take part, click here. Watcha wearing - go on, show us!

Birthday whip


A birthday present for a dear friend. I hope dear friend isn't up early today and reading this, if you are, Happy Birthday! The colours are duller than in real life, I was tired of waiting for the sun to come out for photographs.

It's a scarf trimmed in antique lace. Something bright and breezy for a spring wardrobe. This fabric is from the stash I've been hording for Gracie's patchwork duvet cover. This is one of my favourites though and the colours are so perfect for this friend that I had to use it for her. It is backed with a natural linen to give it a slightly more grown-up look.

There are embroidered bits semi-quilting (no batting or interfacing involved just front and back) the length of it and I tried to be very tidy so that the embroidery is pretty on both sides.

I've found such lovely fabrics at Holland Fabric House I thought it only fair to share the shop with everyone, especially as good price, pretty fabrics are so hard to find in the UK (a hop, skip and jump to Holland.) Noor stocks very Oilily style fabrics, Oilily in look not price. Think I found her through some lovely project photos she showed on Flickr. Oh and she provides very good service too!

Happy Tuesday!

Spring ahead


This has been a crazy week of setting up my new computer and all the time consuming installing, plugging, cable untangling, device connecting craziness that comes with it - but I've loved every minute of it! I am back in the world of Apple and so, so happy - I've been away too long.

Thank you husband, parents, and parents in-law whose contributions made it happen sooner than I had expected.

This little image of spring is from the Easter project I put together for The Green Parent. Little mini-egg piñatas, grab a copy of the April issue for the how-to. It was so simple and fun my little helper didn't need bribing.

I thought this rather unseasonal image was a bit much, I mean our Christmas tree just came down (due to boiler problems, black, oily dust on all our storage boxes and the all around general mayhem that ensued.) Disregarding the tree, it still feels like we just finished the whole gift and turkey thing yesterday.

Yet after shipping off this article I dropped by a superstore to get cheap petrol, popped in the store for a couple of essentials unavailable in our local shop and there on a giant aisle lay shelf after shelf of chocolate Easter eggs. Is there an Easter term for Bah Humbug?

Horizons new


Exciting new projects will be revealed over the next few months, I'm busily preparing for public viewing. Here's a sneaky little peek. Okay, not so sneaky because I've photographed it and posted it.

Embroidery fans stay tuned, I see a launch and a contest with lovely prizes in my virtual crystal ball.

This little guy was skillfully stitched for me by the lovely young Ruth. I whipped up this cushion for her in thanks and he's gone off to brighten up her student digs. Thank you Ruth!

The quilt he's sitting on was not made by me, we inherited it with our old house. I'll be tackling my first real size patchwork piece soon when I make a patchwork duvet cover for Gracie which has been on my list for two years now (maybe longer.) Handy tips would be welcome from all you quilters out there :)

Swap simple

Ginger monkey swap image Katy, at I'm a GInger Monkey is hosting a swap that is so simple that happily I have time to take part. The swap involves a fabric exchange - yum!

It will be an international swap (though she'll pair you with a local if you wish) and she's accepting new participants until January 12, click here to sign up!

Favorite wrapped presents


Now my favorite wrapped gift, OK it's not really mine, it's Gracie's. It's an English made, 1950s model Vulcan Senior child's sewing machine. It is so sturdy and beautiful - the way things should always be made. Even the box is fabulous, and in surprisingly good condition as well.


There are a surprisingly large number of these available on ebay and most are in working order, good going for a machine made 57 years ago. Its magnificence made me seek out a bit of history which can be found here in a very quirky but interesting little article.

Today, most presents under Christmas trees are guaranteed to have a much shorter shelf life because of cheap quality.

I'm not airy-fairy enough to think Gracie will want to spend more time with this antique than her modern presents, but I do know she will happily use it and she'll understand why these machines are so special.

Another definite favorite, a huge card of spectacular, large buttons received in the post unexpectedly from a friend -THANKS Helen!


Yesterday was the last day of the Christmas holiday for the children and they woke up to several inches of snow and had dreams of school closing, it didn't happen - back to school this morning, and a very chilly one it was! At -9 Celsius it was not easy to prise them from their toasty beds.


Yes, those would be pajamas under the coat and boots.


A leafy snowman in the making. And yes, Tristan is also in pajamas.

Who has time for changing when you wake up to the first snow of the season?


Happy New Year to you all, and best wishes for lots of luck in 2009!

Joanie x

My favorite Christmas present


Mom and dad and some of the cousins.

My favorite present of all was the gift of family. Living far away probably makes me appreciate them so much more. I love my in-laws here but there's nothing like going home, and I feel lucky we were able to have afforded to do so.


Here comes the tide.


Can you tell which child is camera shy?

We spent most of the time with my parents and siblings and also went to Carmel and Big Sur for a few days. We haven't been for years. I spent most summers there with my family growing up and my husband and I were married there, to us it's particularly special. The kids loved seeing the area, especially the white sandy beach.

We also went to The Monterey Bay Aquarium but I was camera-less that day, though I don't think photos would do it justice - spectacular!