Thursday, 11 August 2011

Tea Towels!

I recently took part in a tea towel exchange on This is the tea towel I sent to a lovely mama...

 ...and this is the gorgeous one which I received!

Handmade and homemade gifts mean so much to me, so I was chuffed to bits with my tea towel. It's really cheered me up! And the mama who created it has also inspired me to get my sewing machine out and jazz up my own tea towels. I've been so busy lately, taken on too much, said yes to too many things, that I haven't had time for the things or people I enjoy. I feel really guilty that the tea towel I sent wasn't handmade. It's my mission to re-prioritise and find more time to be.

Thank you so much, whoever you are. Your gift means an awful lot to me, and has really touched me. xxx

Friday, 15 July 2011

Turning Two

We have recently celebrated Moo's second birthday! Where have those two years gone? Just a few snaps of her day...

She had a lovely day!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Home Grown Strawberries

I wouldn't say we were anything even approaching self-sufficient, nor do we, at present ,aspire to be. We do however like to grow a few favourites at home. Especially strawberries. It started off a few years ago, as one large hessian planter with holes in the sides, with 8 different varieties growing. This was lovely and we got  to try different varieties, but sometimes there was barely enough for a bowlful as they ripened at different times. So over the past few years we have grown other planters, pots, baskets and so on with our favourite varieties.

This is our third punnet full of the year.

This little hand appeared as I was trying to take a picture- strawberries are Moo's favourite.


What to do with a glut of strawbs? A yummy strawberry and cream cake.


Saturday, 18 June 2011


Beanie isn't usually one to enjoy painting, crafts, cutting and sticking or anything of that ilk. So when he asked could he do some painting, the other afternoon, I jumped at the chance! We used brushes, dabbers, sponges and rollers with simple primary colours.

a relaxed start...
interesting effects with dabbers...

a roller...

ooooooo... he chatted about how the colours had mixed...

 a handprint... lots of handprints...

The whole painting sequence was only about 5 minutes, which is quite long for him as a) he doesn't like painting (or anything of the messy play genre) and b) he doesn't tend to have a long attention span anyway!

I don't want to be too pushy with something he doesn't enjoy, but on the other hand I would like to present him with the opportunity to be a little bit creative, so have been searching for ideas he may like. We are hoping to do some painting with toy car/vehicle wheels this week along with some printing with shapes carved into potatoes!

I have to say though, I really should not be allowed to paint with children as it always ends like the final picture, with paint everywhere! Maybe that's part of the fun though!?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Dyeing Playsilks

I've seen and read lots of things about play silks, both on a forum where I am a member, and also in blogs I am following. Other mums enthuse at the myriad of play opportunities they enable. As well as looking beautiful, they stimulate the imagination and can be used in such an open ended and creative way.  So I thought I'd have a go at making my own for the little people to enjoy!

This is how I did it.

Firstly, I ordered my playsilks from but you can also get them from ebay. We got 6 hanky sized and 6 45cmx45cm, as well as 2 large ones (90x90 i think!). I ordered them at 11am and they came the following day! Very impressive service!

Most instructions I found used white/distilled vinegar. But I couldn't find any, so we used malt. It sent the playsilks a beige colour at first, but once they were dyed there was no difference! I measured 2 cups of hot water to 1 cup of vinegar and soaked the playsilks for 30 mins.

Next, I mixed up some more vinegar mixture. Again one cup of vinegar to two cups of water. (About 3 cups of vinegar and 6 of water was enough for the 6 colours I needed). I split this between 6 jars and added food colouring. I mixed green, purple and orange using the primary colours I had.

I then soaked each playsilk in each colour.

 I microwaved each one in turn for 1 minute then stirred, repeating for 3 mins in total.

 After this I rinsed each silk in the sink until the water ran clear.

And this is how they turned out! Excuse the crinkley-ness! They have been well played with so far, from pee-po to a river for dinosaurs to cross, as well as being muddy puddles to jump in!

I also made two large rainbow ones- one with stripes and one where the children just painted on the vinegar/food colour mixture randomly. To do this, I laid some cling film out on the table, and laid a silk on top. The vinegar/dye was then painted on with paint brushes. Next I rolled the silk and cling film together, like a swiss roll. I then microwaved it for 1 minute as above. I forgot to do pics of this bit though! Apart from this one!

I'm planning on doing some larger ones soon, so will maybe take more pictures then. I must do a lovely arty washing line shot too!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Oh Tulikowo, how I adore thee!

My truly beautiful Tulikowo mei tai. A work of art!

with zip on/off sleephood attached

exquisite applique

oh so comfy

and the sleepy dust works too!

sleepy dust works on days out with daddy too!
'Tis an absolute beauty, and perfectly knee-to-knee, but not too high on the back for arms out, so it will be staying a while! The *only* thing I am not entirely sure about is the cord straps. Still getting used to them. Other than that is beautiful, exquisite, amazing and a work of art!

Pics taken on Mother's Day, at Sacrewell Farm- we had a lovely day. Daddy pic taken at the Owl sanctuary, Beanie is currently obsessed with Owl Babies and owls in general!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Caramel Shortbread

We've all been full of coughs, colds, headaches and runny noses here so I decided to do some baking to cheer us all up, feed a cold and all that!

This is a fab recipe for caramel shortbread and works every time. Its a favourite in our house and a few slices always make their way into Daddy's work as well.

I use a different brand of condensed milk though, its quite hard to find condensed milk other than' a certain brand', but worth it!


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Thrift shop bargains and a stroll around the block.

We've had a slow day today. We wandered across to our friendly neighbourhood thrift shop, a sort of charity shop. Basically, you open an account, take your 'like new/still lots of wear left' things in and they sell them on your behalf, but you get 80% of the selling price back. They keep 20% and donate to local groups such as youth clubs, Brownies, schools etc. If your things don't sell in 8 weeks they go to the charity shops in town. The vast majority of the stock is children's clothes, shoes and toys so it's great for us, we always find something.

This is what we picked up this morning.
For Moo: A waterproof, a shrug type cardi and a rag doll.
For Beanie: Lightening McQueen book, Bigjigs Geoboard, 2 pairs of Jeans and some Clark's shoes.
                                                               All for £10.30- how fab!

They are having a charity coffee morning on Thursday, so we will be along again to hunt for more bargains and also buy some yummy cake! The lady who runs it also has her own cupcake business and makes the most delicious coffee and walnut cake too!

After our thrift shop visit we had a little wander. Beanie decided there were owls at 'Daddy work' so we wandered along to see him! On the way he had a look at the fish in the police station pond and chatted to the man changing the street lamps. On the way home he re-visited the police pond fish, chatted to a police man, decided that we should go and see our allotment, laughed at his voice echoing in the bus-shelter-hut thing, got quite cross that there were no tractors in the farmer's field today and twirled round a pole for at least five minutes. It took us that long to get home that daddy caught us up, heading home for lunch.

Just a little wander around our neighbourhood then.

Friday, 14 January 2011

The search is on!

We love babywearing. Having the children so close is a wonderful feeling, and we do love the excitement of all the different carriers and lovely colourways and fabrics too.

Recently, our beloved Joey has become a little small. Its height is perfect at 18" to the tip of the headrest, but it no longer goes quite knee to knee on Moo. So the search is on for its replacement. We think an inbetween size may be best. I've looked at dream carriers- they seem pricey. I've looked at Olives and Applesauce- not sure wether full buckle or half would be best. And then there are Kinderpacks- in my dreams. Recently I have begun drooling over Ocahs too.

We love the colourway of our Joey- this was just after Moo's first birthday- it fitted perfectly.

Our needs: both children are arms out, so something maybe 16 or 17" high would be good. Our Joey is 15" wide so I think Moo would need a 16 or 17". Depending on seat darts that is. Beanie has recently decided on our long walks that Daddy ought to carry him. So a toddler carrier is needed for him too. Maybe an 18".

So the quest is on. I have this beauty on holiday with us at the moment.

A Daisy Chain Wrap Conversion. Perfectly soft, beautifully comfy, just wide enough for Moo to have a bit of growing room... but sadly a little too high for my arms out toddlers. We love the applique though. Beanie calls it Gaston.

We have a Kleinsmekker, a Rose and Rebellion and a Sling-a-licious on the way for short holidays with us too! The search continues!

Catching Up

The last month or so has passed in a bit of a whirlwind. Hubby's mum was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer at the start of November and passed away on December 10th. Our time has been taken up with visiting first her, then my father-in-law, helping with arrangements and sorting different things. Then with the funeral 3 days before Christmas.

Our best laid plans, well stayed as plans! All gifts were purchased by mid-November, but we ended up in a mad dash to wrap them as different people visited and I think my cards were only posted a day or two before Christmas. So despite being reasonably organised, my goal next year is to be that little bit more organised.

Still, we had a lovely Christmas. My father-in-law stayed with us, and the children received some lovely gifts.

A picture catch up:

Some of Beanie's gifts

Decorating the tree

Tree number two!

Cuddles with Grandad and a beautiful rag Doll