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September 2009

Summertime is playtime, outdoor edition


Our warm, sunny days have gone something like this:

A visit to our good friends in Whitstable; hunting for crabs when the tide goes out,


...and finding a variety of friendly mollusks instead.


Walks on the Downs, photographed by Tristan.


Swimming lessons with Zoe, the super-fun swim teacher whose photo I forgot to take.


Slipping and sliding in the garden.


Having conversations with trees.


Making a lot of wishes (hoping for a puppy of course.)


Walking over the hills and through the woods to friends who have "The best rope swing in the world!"

You might have thought we sent Tristan away to an extended summer camp, these days he chooses to be behind the camera more than in front of it.

The house is 90% packed up and it looks incredibly tidy, I'm thinking maybe we shouldn't unpack when we get to the other side, it's kind of refreshing having no objects surrounding me.

We won't be online for a while so this is farewell for now, I may find a way to get back here soon but if not I'll see you when I see you.

Thank you all for the good thoughts and well wishes about our move, it really hasn't been too stressful. We're truly excited and have no preconceived ideals or expectations for what lays ahead. We get to live in another beautiful part of the country, make friends that we haven't yet met and enjoy the next phase in the life of our little family. It's all good.

I hope to see you sooner than later,

J x

Happy Birthday Baby Rufus


Welcome to very new baby Rufus, born this morning. Rufus may look older than less than a day old but that would be due to the fact that he is a whopping 11.2 pounds (5.1 kilos.) He's so beautiful, definitely worth the wait.

Happy birthday Rufus and congratulations to mummy, daddy and your very excited big brothers.

With lots of love from all of us! xoxo

Secret present revealed.


A little something for Rufus to wrap up in and play on. It's baby size but still a whole finished quilt, my first.


It's a departure from the antique linens and fabrics I like but this Moda charm pack spoke to me and said "Buy me because I'm easy to stitch up, you'll have time to finish and I'm full of fun prints." I agreed.


Summertime is playtime, indoor edition


I've been feeling a little guilty about hubby and I not taking the children anywhere for a holiday over the summer because we're moving house. Then they remind me through their actions that children really just want to play. Of course this is England, summertime doesn't always equal sunshine so playtime often happens indoors.

The image above is from the latest article for The Green Parent. It's their education issue so I created a homemade bingo game children can make themselves. Bingo can be designed to help reinforce learning things like letter forms and sounds or math, even vocabulary. Kids love Bingo, even if they're learning something.


I may have mentioned that Gracie is dog mad. Not as in the foaming at the mouth, rabid kind, she just loves them, all of them, even if they act ferocious or are lacking in the cute department. A few days ago she pretended to be a dog - all morning. This included walking on all fours, drinking out of a bowl on the floor and whimpering for attention. We have no dog biscuits because we have no (real) dog and she was very upset to not receive any for performing tricks, so she decided to make her own.

She had to quit her doggy alter ego to bake because, as she rightly pointed out "Dogs don't bake." We have no bone shaped biscuit cutter so we drew a template that she cut around.


These are made from the simplest sugar cookie recipe and Gracie loves them. She refused to let anyone have the bone shaped biscuits and saved them for the next day she decides to be a dog. 


A house can not be full of moving boxes without children pilfering at least one for their own devices. On this morning (may have been afternoon, pajamas sometimes stay on that long around here) Gracie decided to build a little shop with one. When her brother joined in the shop became a kind of telephone/online ordering service; he then created a cardboard computer and showed her how to make our house phones ring so they could "call" each other.


More than a few card games have been enjoyed these past few weeks with friends, Go Fish being the favourite.

And over the last couple of days they've spent hours drawing, tracing and colouring Pokémon characters and demonstrating their "evolution" in an attempt to make me understand the whole game. I'm not much wiser but even more astonished at the amount of details, names, facts and figures they immediately commit to memory regarding the mythological beasts. Must be a way to harness the memory power put into Pokémon and apply it to something a little more necessary, like maybe the times tables!?


Still eagerly awaiting a new little babe around here who is running a bit late. Haven't heard from the mummy today, hoping maybe she's in a place where mobile phones aren't allowed and next time I talk to her she'll be holding her little one. Here's a tiny peek at the gift.


We move on Saturday rendering me Internet disabled until around the 10th of Sept - drat! Darn that British Telecom! I didn't use such polite language offline.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Sunny skies predicted for the week ahead... outdoor edition coming soon.

Quick craft

Crochet necklaces-3

The chores of moving leave me little time to make things, lucky these necklaces take little time. I save special shells, stones and trinkets picked up here and there for projects like these but for the little girl gifts I use charms bought from a local bead shop. 


I started making these simple chains after following futuregirl's sweet bracelet tutorial a while back, remember these attempts to crochet? While I haven't advanced much yet I plan on learning more stitches and how to follow patterns soon. Margie's very fun merfish are on the list for what to try next. 


Only one photo was needed but I had fun taking these images. Gracie chatted away about how she was in the process of abseiling down the side of the house from the balcony when I interrupted her. She pretended to be frustrated but secretly enjoyed it, check out that teenager look on her face in the last one.

Get kids "hooked"
While G showed no interest in making these herself our sweet twelve year old neighbour wanted to learn and is now a crochet addict (I'm hoping she'll teach me new stitches soon.) 

Chain stitch necklaces have my three key ingredients for successful children's projects: they require simple materials, incorporate the child's own design or embellishment and they're quick to make - a perfect first foray with a hook :)

Old friends


Spying fish

Not long ago Sonia recorded her family's favourite spots before their big move and I've found myself doing the same. Slipping my small camera in my handbag more than usual before I go out, subconsciously saying goodbye in my mind.

Running along the river

These are a few shots of West Gate Park in Canterbury. We've always come here, it's beautiful and old and easy to wander into after a meal or shopping. The River Stour runs through it and you can go on little boat rides; on very hot days kids jump off overhanging tree branches into it.

The medieval West Gate Towers were part of the ancient wall of the city, they now hold a little museum where prisoners were once kept.

West Gate Towers aren't really crooked - dozy photographer!

Favourite places really do become friends. I know we'll be visiting this old friend on many return visits.

Funny bulbous tree trunk

This tree isn't enormous, but the trunk is. Tris and Gracie still love to hide behind it. G was a little camera happy that day, hard to tell isn't it!?

Favourite restaurant

If you visit Canterbury and this park eat here at Cafe des Amis it's right across the road; a great little place that we all enjoy. It's funny, a French name, Mexican inspired food and most importantly, great cervezas. 

Have a lovely weekend everyone :)

Birthday fun


Tristan broke his own piñata this year, it was a Pokemon ball !??

We've had so many grey clouds and rain lately but on Friday we had a glorious sunny day for Tristan's birthday party. The weather was warm all day and it was a perfect evening for a late night pow-wow in a tipi with his buddies followed by a camp out and being serenaded by an owl who's taken up residence nearby.


The troops gathering for an assault course.

This tipi was made by Chris who lives down the road in our village. He hires them out and sells them and they are gorgeous. This one wasn't being used this week so he put it up for a few days in our garden for an amazing rate and it was so much fun. You can see his handiwork here, he even stitches all that canvas himself! 

The photos don't do the tipi justice. I don't seem to ever get decent pictures at my children's birthday parties, all too hasty, hence the shot of Tristan's back in the top photo.


Girls seeking refuge from the wild boys.

We all had a great time and now the sorting and packing can truly begin but we're also excitedly awaiting the arrival of a new little baby any day. I told the expectant mummy (seen here) that it's okay to have the baby now because I've finished making the present - I'm quite excited about it ;)