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June 2010
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August 2010

To our boy...


Manx Childer

Now the beauty of the thing when childer
 plays is
The terrible wonderful length the days is.
Up you jumps and out in the sun, 
And you fancy the day will never be done;
And you're chasin' the bumbees hummin' so cross
In the hot sweet air among the goss,
Or gatherin' bluebells, or lookin' for eggs, 
Or peltin' the ducks with their yallar legs,
Or climbin' and nearly breakin' your skulls,
Or a shoutin' for divilment after the gulls,
Or a thinkin' of nothin', but down at the tide
Singin' out for the happy you feel inside.
That's the way with the kids, you know, 
And the years do come, and the years do go,
And when you look back its all like a puff,
Happy and over and short enough.

Thomas Edward Brown

Happy 12th birthday today to our Tristan. This photo above was taken by his sister while he was jumping on a trampoline and singing at the same time. Those who know him well will know how perfect this image of him is.

Tristan spent a wonderful day at the Farnborough Air Show last Sunday with close friends seeing some of his favourite aircraft. He's also spent a lot of time with old friends this week and today, a beautiful sunny day, he's setting the agenda for family day out. Tristan's birthday has been a week long celebration, just as it should be when you turn the very important age of 12.

Happy birthday Tris for a wonderful year ahead, we love you so, so much.

Mama xoxo

WIP, WIP hooray...

Crochet necklace, this one's for me 

Another busy few days in what we thought would be a lazy-dazy summer. We had a fun visit with a lovely friend, and her family, an early birthday celebration for Tris that lasted a couple of days and today, finally an attempt at cleaning house (but here I am instead.) 

I've been enjoying playing with bits and pieces to add to crochet necklaces; experimenting with different ways to add beads and different stitches to strengthen the chain for heavier beads. And when my sweet mama was visiting she bought me one of these fancy tools to grind down sharp edges of found objects I'm crocheting around. Am I the only one whose mother would prefer to browse hardware stores with me than shoe shops? 

Comma on a buddleja (butterfly bush) in full bloom attracting visitors

Also, the buddleja bush is in full bloom and hundreds of butterflies are flocking to it. There are peacocks, red admirals, commas, painted ladies, common blues and brimstones. And probably many more that I don't recognise. Loads of honey bees are also attracted to it and we're seeing many more bees this year than last. If you have a garden and are without a buddleja, plant one, the butterflies are so entertaining. I've read they're easy to grow from cuttings, so there you go, free entertainment.

Lace anniversary

Yesterday was also our 13th anniversary. Apparently it's lace this year, a card and bookmark, but not much of a photograph - neither are as wonky as they look here. I can't say it's been the easiest year for hubby and I, maybe it's the curse of number thirteen. I'm sure 14 will be much luckier.

I'm just adding a clasp to the necklace above, back soon with to model it around me neck.

Happy Monday!

If I can do it, you can too...

Blue covered stone I made, white stone and standing mushroom, by Margie 

I could hardly believe that just seconds after putting up my last post the purl bee posted this tutorial by Margie. I swiftly grabbed a stone, thread and hook and started stitching. I'm not sure I followed the pattern exactly but it's okay, I still love it. I made this one as a mate to the sweet white one Margie made and I'm so excited to have made my very own. 

The stitches really are simple so if you're in the process of learning crochet give it a try. Really, if I can do it, you can too.

In the garden of a nearby pub

And these are some images from our day at a pub nearby. This pub has the nicest garden we've ever been to and as you can see, doggies are welcome too. There's a beautiful kitchen garden and little nooks where you can curl up with a book, the Sunday papers, or in my case, a bit of crochet. I'm hoping the sun will shine brightly tomorrow when we meet our lovely Sonia and family in this very place - I can't wait!

If you visit Hampshire and are in the Petersfield area, email me for directions to this special spot. Oh, I forgot to mention, the food is all local and amazing and the regional brews are definitely worth a taste as well.

 More images of our favourite pub on Flickr.  

Sharing inspiration

Hand embroidered luncheon table cloth, only £3 !

When I happen upon antique lace, embroidery or old linens at boot fairs, I find it impossible to haggle over prices. The work and love poured into every thread is always worth so much more than the price being charged. A couple of weeks ago I bought this large, luncheon-style, hand-embroidered table cloth from an elderly woman who stitched it herself when she was 11. She nearly apologised for charging me £3. I wanted to give her a little extra but she wouldn't take it. When I told her stitching crafts are popular again and that I love teaching little ones to embroider it warmed her heart more than a few extra pounds would have done.

Though embroidery is probably still my favourite type of stitching, I'm still really enjoying my quest to crochet. Admittedly, it hasn't been the easiest task, so I thought I would share some of the individuals who have inspired me to persevere.

Crochet covered stone and crochet+Liberty stone mushroom by Margie 

I've probably said it before, but Margie is one of the cleverest people I know and she's inspiring in so many ways. Her pretty, lacey, crochet covered stones and creations are gorgeous and highly coveted. I feel lucky to have my very own to look at every day. She also kindly offers many, many tutorials on her blog, crochet among them. Little G has been begging for a tiny pocket necklace like this for one of her stones (we have no pretty acorns around here so a stone it will be.) I dream of one day sitting on Margie's big porch, stitching with her side-by-side.

Grey Crochet Motif Necklace, un jardin de hilo 

Olivia, from un jardin de hilo, has such perfect looking stitches I can only marvel at the beauty. I love her colour choices too, maybe grey wasn't the best example, but I really adore this motif. Her Etsy shop is definitely on my wish list - I can't decide on which piece, really any of them would please me very much thank-you! If you crochet, Olivia also offers a few tutorials (in both diagram and instruction form.) Scroll through her site to find the tutorials, you'll be glad you did.

Porcelain lace, by Kristen Wicklund, Photograph by Laure Joliet

Found via Design for Mankind, this porcelain lace may not be soft to the touch but it is sweet and so pretty to behold. I fancy having a whole wall of Kristen Wicklund's porcelain crochet, just like the one hung at her solo show at Heath Ceramics in Los Angeles. 

Reincarnation, a work-in-progress crocheted from used plastic bags gathered in New York

Kristen also works crochet on a very big scale. I've seen plastic bags re-purposed in many ways, but I've never seen them looking this pretty. Maybe she'll exhibit in London one day - I'd love to see her work in three dimensions. To view much more of her work in two dimensions also see Kristen's Flickr photostream.

Nanou's Forest Little Miss

Nanou's Forest Friends combine two of my favourite things, wood and crochet, in the most magical way. I love the way Nanou brings fallen branches to life then dresses them up in fancy crocheted clothes. See more of Nanou's friend's on Flickr.

If you'd like to get "hooked" too it's definitely worth mentioning again two other people whose sites helped rekindled my interest in crochet. Alice, from Futuregirl; I tried her bracelet pattern early on with success, and Lucy of Attic 24. Lucy's hexagon pattern encouraged me to try new stitches and stretch myself, I even managed a scarf.

I hope you've all enjoyed the weekend as much as I have. Today was spent in the beautiful garden of a local pub (yes the whole day.) It was our last full day with my visiting mom and dad and we were bathed with warm sun while sipping long cool drinks. It was so pretty I had to take a few photos, they may make it to my Flickr at some point soon. 

Have a good week!

And the sun's still shining...

6am feet

Ever wake up in the morning because it's just too hot and bright to sleep any longer? So many parts of the world have had a lot of that lately. On this particular morning I took the puppy out then began to weed a big patch of crazy overgrown area in the garden, still in pyjamas of course; I thought if I took the time to get showered and dressed for the day it would already be too hot to lift a finger out there. It's more than a little weird for us to go so long without rain and very little cloud.

Painted tummy tattoo

The seemingly endless school activities running up to the end of term are over, and after sports days, concerts, assemblies, tea parties, Parents' Day, barbecues... both children and mother collapsed for a couple of days. In the midst of it all we enjoyed visits from a cherished Aunt and cousins over from the States and loved every minute of having them here. Gracie even got to bring a cousin to school with her one day, a highlight of her year I think.

Hand tattoo

T & G have already started their own brand of summer activities, I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the holiday will bring. So far their own tattoo parlour (inspired by the World Cup I think) and treasure hunts have been favourites.

Key to a treasure map  

We've also explored more of the local sea front this week. 

Sketching swans  

Gracie is sketching in Emsworth, a sweet little town nearby.

Swan family

Our puppy, Pippi was very amused by the swans, they weren't so amused by her.

Low tide in Emsworth

Fun in Southsea

Victorian details in Southsea

Crochet experiments 

And I've also wiled away hours at the swimming pool this week with crochet experiments, and it's been very fun. I hope you all are enjoying nice weather and quality time with the kiddos too.

P.S. Happy belated birthday Uncle Pete, Lauren, Brian and Zach. We love you and miss you!