Saturday, 30 October 2010

Building & Sewing

Today I finally helped with the building work (after stealing some sewing time of course).  Barrowing 1.2 cubic metres of hardcore rubble in our recently aquired hole at the back of the house. 
Obviously I did the hard work loading the barrow & my minion/husband waltzed it round & emptied it. 

We had some help/hinderance as you can see.  They didn't stay long prefering to run around the garden /building site chasing each other.  Its funny, we tried to make the lawn as large as we could given the space available, & yet its only when something is plonked in the middle that they really run around in the garden.

I also managed to make some trousers for Tintin which are almost finished.  They would have sewn up in a trice but I decided to make things harder for myself by creating cuffs & a pocket from an old necktie.  I never appreciated just how much fabric it must take to make one little tie.  I am now off to deconstruct as many as I can find.  I am sure there is a wealth of making possibilities waiting for me.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Fashion Design Day

Oh my word, I am so glad that's over! 
It had taken up alot of my mental time.  Thinking about what to do, how to pitch it etc.  I think it went OK.  It wasn't as fantastic as I hoped, but the kids all went away with something in their hands.

I started the day with showing some of the reconstruction that I had done.  Then we cut up some Tshirt fabric & hand sewed some fingerless gloves.  As in folding a rectangle, sewing the long side with a gap for thumb holes.  Then I got them to do a fashion walk around the hall to some music, as I felt they needed a break & some exercise.  The hall was rather hot & stuffy.
Then the fun began with the jumble bag opened & they were let loose.  The age range was a bit tricky as the younger ones were only aged 8/9 so needed lots more help.  Luckily there were a few ladies to keep on top of it all.  One was operating a sewing machine for them.  I loved their creativity once they got going with it.  Some had ideas that they couldn't quite achieve but we managed to fulfill as many dreams as possible!

At the end we did a photo shoot, but the kids weren't really very forthcoming!  Don't these kids practice in front of a mirror with the hairbrush? Not a poser amongst them.  Well, except perhaps my daughter...
The top was a tshirt made into a halter top tied at the back.  The skirt was originally a dress she turned into a wrap skirt.  Plus her gloves of course.
Just at the point we wanted to take some photos of their work, the street theatre group had a coffee break in the room next door.  Very kindly they let us use their set for a photo shoot.  So much better than the curtain in the hall we had been using.
I would love to show you some of the other outfits but don't feel I should as I didn't get permission.  The older ones were 12 & 13 who made some cool outfits.  I really enjoyed doing the older kids.  There was one boy aged 11 who was rather shy but got totally into it did some amazing applique on a Tshirt. 

All in all, it went fairly well.  But boy, will I sleep well tonight!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Party day!

Wow, what is this chocolate stuff?!  And why hasn't lazy Mummy made a more boyish Birthday crown in the last 3 years? (I MUST make one before Tintin's 7th as I won't get away with it this time!)

Party spread.  Annoyingly the rabbit looked a bit like road kill.  One day I will get it right.  However the lurid lime jelly made me wonder mum.  Check out my new jumble finds of Meakin coffe pot (used as a Tea pot - I live on the edge) and jug.  Want a close up?
So glad I got a close up, as a few hours later my beloved husband broke it whilst doing the washing up.  Its a good job I like him.
Taking a swing at the jelly.  On a mat under the table.  Those cheeky adults took the chairs.

A lovely day with grandparents, uncles and aunt + Bini's best friend K who adores Roo. 

We played blind mans buff as there were enough of us.  I think the adults enjoyed it more than the kids.  Certainly it was done for the older children, as Roo was rather bemused though he did enjoy his go.  Then went off to slide down the stairs with K. 
After a morning spent baking cakes and 2 kinds of biscuits, I am shattered!   The kids all went to bed without any messing around aswell.  And so to half term tomorrow...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Present sewing

I am sewing some presents for little girls birthday parties which seem to be coming thick & fast at the moment.

These will hopefully get hair bands attached to them before they go off to their twin owners.

Hungry Juggling Mice awaiting a filling meal of lentils...

I am hoping to steal a march on some Christmas gifts too. Time to start making a list & checking it twice.  I always have more ideas than I have time (or expertise!) to accomplish. 
I think a few kids in our family may get these juggling animals. They are easy and fun to make.  According to Tintin they are also fun to play with, even if you can't juggle yet.

Mummy needs to learn how to play chess whilst she is sewing. 

He & I are learning together as apparently just saying I can't play is not good enough.  Needless to say he is winning.

Happy Birthday Roo baby

Well, who'd have believed that the nose in the air strop worked so well!  Right, enough whining & colourless posts.
Happy 2nd Birthday my lovely little Roo baby.
Although we had swimming lessons so no proper party, we managed some presents & jelly after dinner.  I managed to get the bunny out the mould but used over-hot water & it melted too much!  It was a rather sleek bunny.  Racing bunny we called it.  I have another chance to get it right for his tea party at the weekend! 
He enjoyed his day, & loved us singing him Happy Birthday over & over again.  Blowing out the candles on the birthday ring with a big grin on his face & us all wearing party crowns.  Lovely memory making.
Happy Birthday my darling child.  We love you.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Thank you for your comments on to remove myself from my own followers list.  I have followed Liesl's instructions & removed myself sucessfully.  Felt very pleased with myself.  Still following my other blogs. Excellent.  Me 1: Blogger 0.
Oh not so fast Miss Smartypants.  I have just gone on to view blog & although my dashboard says I have 6 followers, nothing is showing on my blog.  Sobbing gently on edge of sofa now.
I hope I have not un-followed you, because I am very gratefull that you are following my humble blog. I just have no idea how to get the icons back.
I will triumph over this minor crisis. Eventually.  Right now though I shall make like my 6 year old & walk away, arms folded and nose in the air with a snorting Nhhuhh!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Muppet alert

I have somehow managed to click the wrong button & have ended up following myself!  I do sometimes feel that am chasing my tail but I did not intend to do this in the blogasphere.
I don't want to look like a narcissistic fool following my own blog.  Does anyone know how to get myself off my own case?!
Sheesh. what a total Muppet!  Just as I thought I was getting the hang of Blogger...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

An Autumnal walk to school

Before these clouds came across the light on the leaves was wonderful.

The leaves were swirling around and falling off the trees.

This is our favourite Autumn tree on the school run.  Mine anyway.  The kids prefer the beech & Hornbeam beyond it that is on common land & ripe for climbing.  All in all, a lovely school run today.

Thank you for your comments on how to get the jelly out of the mould.  I will attempt to make a bunny for baby Roo's 2nd Birthday this week.  

Monday, 18 October 2010

Fashion Design Day

Our local village has set up a fantastic charity to provide things for the kids to do, to fill the gap in the village plan about facilities for local children.  Whilst not actually my village it is where we go to our favourite toddler group.  During the summer they put on a climbing day, taster classes in street dance & karate amongst others that my kids attended.  On top of that they only ask for a donation as they have worked really hard to get funding.  A very dynamic bunch of women!
I went along to the cheese & wine evening, & said I would be willing to help on the Fashion Design Day in half term.  Somehow along the line that has transpired to me co-organising the whole thing!  So next week I have to look like I know what I am doing in front of 15 plus pre-adolscents & teenagers.  I have bought this book which is fab and thrifted a big bag of Tshirts at jumble sales. 
Also have a bag of sparkly jumble donated by one of the dynamic women. Luckily this wonderful site is providing all sorts of inspiration.  Marisa is making marvellous things with dresses most of us would overlook as hideous.  She's even got on NY telly!  Check her out, she's really amusing as well as enthusiastic.  I am not sure we will be able to replicate some of her efforts at the fashion day, but its really given me some ideas to help the kids.

Tomorrow I have to go to Fabric Land with my co-organiser to buy sparkly things to add to the clothes.  Its a tough life. 

I am hoping for a bit of this sort of effort as modelled by my dear daughter earlier this year!

One day she will be mine!

I am soo excited.  This lovely shed/summer house is coming to me to grace my allotment.  It may be needing cut down to size to appease the allotment stazi, but it is going to shelter me & mine from an unexpected rain shower. Or brewing up a warming soup on a cold day using something I have just picked, on the gas cooker I have yet to buy.  To store my tools and bits so I don't have to lug stuff each time I go down.   To make a cozy corner to read in, take a nap, play barbies & trucks.
Oh such lovely dreams.  At the moment she is in pieces, heavy heavy pieces, horizontal on some pallets on our plot.  Beloved and I are now horizontal in heavy heavy pieces on the sofa.  She will be rebuilt another day.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bunny love

Whats a small boy to do when he's managed to snag one of these bunnies whilst thrifting?

Some of this stuff goes in here.  Some goes in our mouths.
Oh big brother you are so wise.

This is the bit that freaks Mummy out.  Careful now, don't rest it on the jug...

In to the bunny it goes.  Leave it in the fridge overnight & eat straight from the mould.  Of course, why would you wait for Mummy to get round to trying to flip it? 

Question. Should we grease the mould before putting jelly in?  It has been so many years (read decades actually - don't think I've done this since childhood) and I really can't remember.  And being the font of all kitchen knowledge to this 6 year old I am feeling a little off pedastool.

Friday, 15 October 2010

And not a well one amongst them!

Oh dear.  Keepapi Cottage is being systematically soaked in tea tree oil to try to rid us of various bugs that seem to be meandering their way through us.  I have had the final child off school for 3 days with the D&V bug although he has stuck with the D part.  He's finally starting to eat again tonight.  Daddyman comes home and crashes out on the sofa with him.  Bini is sniffling.  Baby is mostly fine but still a bit grotty nappywise.  And I am rather shattered!  No one is really poorly, but not enjoying full health!
At least the boys are still managing to find some smiles!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Mummy, I've made a cake

On the weekend the kids get themselves up & we lie in till babe wakes up.  Last weekend I was woken up by Bini wispering to me 'Mummy, I've made a cake, but haven't put it in the oven.'  She took Roo as he had woken up & I promised to be down shortly.  A few minutes later this is what I came down to...
His hair was covered from putting his head in the bowl when the spoon wasn't up to the job. Whilst behind him, the finishing touches were going on with the cake.

Aprons were not a la mode on this morning, not when there are a handy pair of pajama shorts to wipe your hands on.  My dear sweet boy can mess up any outfit in the blink of an eye once food gets involved.  I try so hard to get napkins & aprons used but fear I am trying to push water uphill.

A recipe was sort of followed.  Self raising flour was not used but some baking powder or bicarb ( I never did get to the bottom of that mystery) was put in.  Consequently the cake rose slightly and then fell back exhausted.  A bit like me, then.

Oh yes, they did eat the cake.  Bini even waited till Daddy went down the shops to get some cream.  Tintin just ploughed on in.  Its flatness didn't bother them, but the packets of self raising flour has been noted now for future reference.  We'll see what next weekend brings.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Its Draining again!

Oh yes!  My lovely boys dug re-dug the ditches in the allotment this weekend.  We had fun watching the water drain away as they met up.  It was so gloriously hot that bare flesh was exposed and even tanned. 
I don't think I would be able to get any further work out of them if I posted pics of this so will leave you with one of the happier moments from the kids.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Oh Wally I love you!

Oh the joys of  'where's wally'.  The quiet times and excited 'look mummy's.  I am thinking of buying the box set.  There is just soo much to find!

Friday, 8 October 2010

look what my brother made me

We have been having fun with freezer paper here at Keepapi cottage.  Its not easy to get hold of in the UK, but I found a roll online & we've had a bit of fun.  Also a world of joy with fabric felt-tips. Baby Roo had a packet of plain onsies and well, we can't have that can we.

Tintin made this fantastic design which I might re-use on something else

Big sister got adventurous with the felt tips.  I love his rosey cheeks and the arm detailing

There were a few more but I won't bore you with them all.  My attempts with my new Indian print blocks didn't come out so well.
I must remember to do some testers on old fabric first.  It's not as if I don't have a few bits of fabric kicking around. Ahem.  Still, he only really wears them underneath clothes in the winter.  Plenty of time to practice before spring!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pumpkin envy

Even in a day of recuperation some lovely moments could be found...
This has just grown and grown on my friend V's allotment.  Only one fruit but Cinderella need look no further for transportation.
Treasures still abound even when you are poorly.  And Mummy insists on taking you to get the compost from the church compost heap that is now ready.  Thankfully one of the church wardens is in the allotment association & gave us heads up to a free heap awaiting removal.

Magic leaf suspended in mid air & dancing around like its alive. 

A much better day for baby boy.  Seeming quite bouncy really.


How I wish this were a post about bean bags, balls & other thrown things.  Although that might be a strange thing to blog about.  No, I have another one down.  The youngest Keepapi has his first vomiting bug.  He looked very surprised at the whole event really.  I would have been laughing if I wasn't covered.  So, grounded once again & mooching around at home.  At least the laundry will keep me occupied!

 These grapes were picked off our fence, escapees from next door's vine.  There are about as many again that hubby picked.  Any ideas what to do with them all?  Baby likes to eat them, when they stay down, but even he's not going to get through all these!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

hello my old friend

I am reacquainting myself with my sewing room after a few months not making my way to its door.  Silly really as I will be loosing this space soon enough when Bini needs her own room & the boys start sharing. 

Earlier this year I revamped it, although there are a couple of jobs malingering on the to-do list.  I tried to increase & organise the storage (always an issue!) whilst creating surface space for us to sew on.  Oh & it needs to be a spare room aswell!  Tintin has now joined the storage needs for his sock dolls & has been allocated the 'larder compartment' which he's nearly outgrown already. 
I have been doing up a 1950s kitchen unit with glass fronted doors.  I adore these units, I have one in the kitchen too.  The doors I was going to put some vintage fabric in, but discovered that I had stapled through to the other side!  So now I have to repaint the door & might go back to the glass.  The pull down shelf only had one sliding hinge & I am struggling to find another one.  Any ideas?! 

My plan had been to make the kitchen unit Bini's sewing space but her great grandmothers sewing machine is now on another surface. I love this machine.  In the picture is a head scarf that she decided to make recently on it.

Ahhh its good to be back!

Monday, 4 October 2010

crafting errors vs learning opportunities

Note to self: Do not make things for children that are asleep & can't try them on.

This little fellow took shape last night on a felted jumper hat.  I used the pattern from the lovely Amanda's book Handmade Home, for infants/toddlers.  Turns out that my baby has a rather big head...
My other son is totally in love with the bird & just wants to have it in his bed. Bless.  I guess I will have to make a few more hats with 'wella bird' for all my children.  I am wondering about making the failed hat into a pocket for the tank top I am thinking of making the baby with all of these. 
Have I collected enough felted jumpers yet?  Somebody stop me.  We have a couple of Jumbles & Give n Take days coming up so who knows what goodies will find their way home.  Question. Do I have a storage problem or a hoarding issue?

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Highly Recommended!

Oh my goodness!  I went to the Parish Council Allotment/Tennants meeting last night where they gave out the awards for the best kept allotments.  We got Highly Recommended!  I actually wooped when the Chairman announced it.  Then embarrased myself in front of the whole gathering by doing a happy dance.  The Chairman asked what I might have done if I'd won!
To be honest, I felt like I had.  I was so excited!  I give myself a hard time for not being as far along with the master plan as I hoped.  It was judged not by the council this year but the neighbouring town allotment association.  So a bit of external validation was a good thing!  I have to remember what we have come from:
This was March 2008.  Before the ditches were dug. We are the bottom plot of a gentle slope of heavy claggy clay.  It was a quagmire! My first year (2007) I tried to grow without doing drainage. Big mistake. So the second year we went back to basics & dug ditches & put up rabbit fencing.  When I say We, you understand who actually did most of the hard graft, right?!
My Hero! With alot of help from my brother too.  I potter around & my boys do the hard work.

This was us the next spring 2009.  The apple trees in tractor tyes & raspberries went in. My husband put in an asparagus bed, which is his baby.  Beautifully manicured.  Hopefully we will get some harvest from it next spring.

This was taken last week.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any at the time the judging happened.  It did look pretty but I just didn't think we were far enough cultivated to get a commendation.  Tintin was very excited about the competition & I had to keep saying to him that we weren't really in the running. Apparently we weren't doing too badly after all!