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June 2009
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August 2009

Eleven years today

Cover-bale

Big enough to climb clover bales unaided.

Sleeping-T

But little enough to look similar to the day you were born.

Making-pinata

Big enough to make your own birthday piñata
But little enough to still want a birthday piñata.

Happy 11th birthday to Tristan, our big/little boy!

The sleeping boy picture was taken just a couple of nights ago. I had to take it because it looks just how Tristan was born. At the risk of being graphic, he kept putting his hand on his face while I was delivering him. The midwife would push his tiny hand back in, and he kept putting it back up on his cheek. She gave up, I tore, I didn't care; he was healthy, he was beautiful - what more could a mama want.

I'm a little late posting this but it's still the 30th in parts of the world. At least Tris isn't still up to see these pictures going online, he'd heavily object to the sleeping one because he looks so sweet.

Joy in the postbox

Fun-in-the-post

A lot of focus on children around here of late, even our anniversary included a trip to our favourite restaurant, with children. But that's okay, it's summer and Tris had just got over a nasty few days of high temperatures so they joined us. Still very little organizing, sorting and packing is done, we've had a revolving door for visitors and it's been way too fun having everyone to stop and get down to the business of moving yet, but we still have 28 days left, no problem right?

I've been feeling as though a tiny little bit of self-indulgence was in order so I ordered these new house shoes from Abby at Infusion Fibers. It feels very luxurious having such beautiful shoes made to fit my small feet, I'm saving them to wear in our new house. I also ordered this extra pretty Hope Springs Eternal print from Margie and she generously added more of my favourites to the envelope - I can't wait to see them gracing space in our new home. Then the postman brought another sweet little envelope from France, those flowers are a giveaway, they can only be from the wonder looms of Nanou. I love seeing her writing in our postbox, it always means loveliness within. Nanou, is so creative and very kind.

I hope all of you enjoy fun post this week, and thank you for all of your kind anniversary wishes!



Read any good books lately?

Bedside-reading
A little bedside reading.

Reading at bedtime helps me turn off the conversations I have with myself in my head and go to sleep. Problem is, if a book is good I just keep reading until way too late, nevertheless I'd love more recommendations.

I'm not too partial to bestseller lists but do enjoy books that take me back in time or to distant places and also modern classics. I'm currently "On the Road" with Jack Kerouac and I'm loving it, we just arrived in Denver for the first time.

Recently I finished Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" which I wouldn't normally have chosen if it wasn't so highly recommended by a like-minded friend. It was brilliant, some find it depressing, I found it hopeful. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison are a couple more authors I've recently been returning to and really enjoying.

So there you have it, a couple of my recommendations. What about you, read any good books lately? If you're not away on a holiday tell us what they are.

Also go see the next beautiful crocheted stone at Resurrection Fern that is up for auction, I know you'll want to bid, it's so sweet.


Silent auction for a cause

Stone-auction Margie of Resurrection Fern and Cathy Cullis have come together in a collaborative effort creating a series of these beautiful crocheted and embroidered stones. The two have decided to hold a silent auction raising money for Autism Ontario to use in the area of research and treatment. 

To bid on this lovely "today is a borrowed blue" stone follow the instructions on Margie's post. It's a fantastic opportunity to try and get one of their hugely popular pieces and give to a wonderful cause at the same time.

Good luck!


Floss management solution

Mushroom-house
My fingers have been very busy stitching over the last few weeks. Gifts for teachers, friends and so on - it all seems to happen at once. I really should be getting on with that de-stashing and packing referred to earlier but so far I've been a happy procrastinator and enjoying our first full week off school. I'll start next week... really I will.

Actually procrastinating isn't entirely accurate, in addition to stitching I've managed to hire a moving company, arranged a new dentist and final appointments, organized a service for my car (it's making very scary noises), created a new project for these guys which included a photo-shoot with small children (interesting), nursed a poorly little girl, took my sewing machine to be serviced (first time in 10 years, I love my Husqvarna) and spent several enjoyable hours teaching my children card games. The last item was of course the most important because they laughed like hyenas when I lost - it was so much fun.

That's all I can remember from the last five days, regular mum stuff. Doing a lot of little things, not really feeling like anything's been accomplished until now when I write it down here.

I was very pleased with how the little Rene Cloke inspired home above turned out, it may become an embroidery pattern.

And this crude, tiny applique of our school for our departing, long serving French teacher. It's a small sachet and the school is only 2.5 cm high but I managed all twelve windows and even fit in the attic windows. I thought small would be quick, I was wrong, but Madame Page is well worth it.

Tiny-school

My happiest achievement of the last few days has been finding a solution to my huge embroidery floss management problem. The problem being that I'm too impatient to manage it. I've tried the cards but gave up as my stock grew and I tired of transferring them, plus I don't like the creases the cards make in the floss. There's mainly been big glass jars stuffed with skeins, but now I have this.

Floss-storage

Not pretty, but meet my new system, shower curtain rings bought on sale for 8 pence a pack. I'd planned on making key rings with one of the classes at school but ended up doing something else instead so these were left waiting for new inspiration. It hit me when I tried to figure out a way to hang my floss in my fabric cupboard. I began separating the skeins by colour then slipped them on the rings and put them all on to one main ring and bingo! So simple and it works like a dream for me - very easy to sort, find the right colour and keep tidy. This is just a third of my floss but I know I'll get it all sorted because this system is quick and easy.

Notice the dry lawn in the background courtesy of our recent heatwave. No worries, the rain is back.

Happy Thursday everyone :)


Sailing away

Keen-sailors
Some of the keen sailors ready to launch.

The last project of the term with my class was spent making these little boats; we then put on wellies and waded into the stream at our school to sail them. We had such a great time making them, though the weather was not on our side for sailing that day as it was blowing a gale, small craft warnings should have been issued - great fun was had anyway!

Boat-one
Benito's successful launch.

Boat-2
Steady now, the wind is picking up!

Pirate_boats_2 Here's a closer look. Remember these made by Tristan? Though they're nothing new, these boats are a favourite of mine as they have my key ingredients for a fun young children's project: they require simple materials, they allow for a child's own design or embellishment and they're quick to make.

How to: Cut the edge off a juice box. Cut out a sail or two from heavy paper (fabric could also be used,) embellish the sails if you wish and put a hole in the middle at the top and bottom of the sail. Next slip a lightweight stick or long straw through the holes and push the stick into a lump of Blu Tack. Push the Blu Tack to the bottom of the carton and launch your boat. Simple!
(NOTE: Blu Tack is a clay-like adhesive used in place of double sided tape, I don't know a term for it in other countries.)

We finished school on Wednesday and it was quite an emotional one. Some of you know it was our last day there as a family because we're moving to another county in August. We've had so many good times there, it's a wonderful little school and we'll miss it. But onto new adventures, the childrens new school has a creative emphasis; Tristan will have more freedom to explore his music and Gracie her art. It's a big move, but one we feel will be well worth it.

I moved to Kent when hubby and I were married, both our children have been born here and after twelve years in this lovely area our friends have become our family - we will really miss them but happily be only two hours away. 

We have a busy summer ahead of de-stashing, packing and probably more than a little partying as we say our good-byes. Wish us luck!



Dragonflies revisited, a tutorial

Flying-dragonflies2

I love dragonflies and wanted to make them with my class but they're a little young to manage the wirework dragonflies I made with previous classes so we simplified by using recycled plastic to create the wings.

Supplies: scissors • hole-punch • permanent marker • recycled plastic (we used the lids from strawberry containers) • 2 pipe cleaners • coloured tissue paper • white glue • sequins and glitter optional

How to:
First use this wing template, or draw one of your own and trace around it four times onto plastic using a permanent marker. Cut out the four wings then glue pieces of tissue paper on to decorate them. Leave the wings to dry; the glue will make the tissue paper more translucent when dried. When the wings are dry, put a hole in the squared off end of each one with a hole-punch.

Note: I've drawn two wing shapes on the template, a simplified shape to make it easy for younger crafters to cut out as well as a slightly more realistic shaped wing.

Click on this diagram to see it close-up.

Dragonfly-tute1




  • To assemble thread one wing each onto the pipe cleaners. Push the wings about 4 cm down the pipe cleaners then twist the top of the two pipe cleaners together tightly a couple of times just above the wings.       
  • Now tightly wrap the long end of one pipe cleaner around the wing two times close to where the wing was threaded and repeat with the other pipe cleaner.
  • Twist the long ends together 3 or 4 times tightly under the wings then thread on the two remaining wings and repeat step 2.
  • Twist tightly under the second set of wings and continue twisting down the length of the pipe cleaners making a small loop at the end completing a tail.
  • Curl the short ends of the pipe cleaners into small loops to create the dragonfly eyes.
  • Finish by adding a bit of glitter and sequins if you like.  
    There are a lot of great books about dragonflies to be found in libraries, they're fascinating little creatures. Children always think it's amazing that dragonflies start their lives in water and they also marvel at their amazing colour variations. Look out for dragonflies and damselflies this time of year near ponds and lakes, they're a real treat to observe in nature.

    If you give these a try let me know, I love to see children's interpretations of these projects, grown-ups too. Get a group of friends together and make several, they look fantastic hanging from the ceiling in one big swarm!

    Have a great Friday :)