Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Knitting socks seem to be the thing at the moment so I thought I would join in the fun.
I recently won the give away on Becks craft blog for the sock knitting kit (Thank you so much Becks!!) and despite my preconceived idea of how crazy knitting on 4 needles was, I have managed to produce a tube!!!!
Yes, I followed the instructions and even managed the 16 or so rounds of K2P2 ribbing and am now about half way down the cuff in good old plain stocking stitch which, bizarrely enough is just knitting every round.
So feeling rather pleased with myself, I just thought I would re read the instructions for the heel.
I will never manage that!!!!
Is there some kind of helpline for sock knitters to call when dealing with the heel?
Can I call Heel Helpline?
Or maybe someone I know has actually has done it before and will be able to tell me that it isn't that scary, and once you start it all seems to make sense?
Oh, please?!
I think I may be stuck at the heel later on and will need to publish a photo of my half finished sock and leave it as a WIP
Hrmmph That may put my christmas present list a bit behind.....
Oh and does anyone have a pattern for fingerless gloves?
I'm thinking half knitted sock may convert happily to glove.....

Monday, 26 October 2009

The treadmill that is life.

It's been a busy week. We haven't stopped. It's been like a roller coaster of ups and downs, excitement and anticipation, fear and distress.
Some things have got done. Some things haven't. Time has been well spent and on occaision, not.
I have a mental list as long as the Great Wall of China of things that need to be done, things that ought to be done and things that I would like to do. It is rare for this list to get any shorter than it is at present.
It is a full time job just washing, cleaning, feeding and clothing a household of this size, without even thinking about the fact that 5 out of the 6 are male! That isn't taking into account the Home Education aspect of things. Then you have the fact that most of us like to be outdoors. We all like to make things in varying degrees; which means that perhaps we have more materials and ongoing projects around than other families might have.
We have more animals perhaps than ordinary families...cat, dog, rabbit, quail, chickens and ducks plus the horse down the road. We have also added the allotment to our list recently.
Maybe it is more accurate to say that we have our fingers in more pies than most people!!!!
Some days it all ticks along...well, speeds along, and other days it just all seems too much to deal with. Then even the normal day to day stuff seems insurmountable.
What I need is a ...dare I say it...maid. Not a housekeeper because I like to do the cooking but just someone who does the stuff that needs doing on a daily basis. The boring stuff!!! So I can get on with the exciting stuff!!!
I think I must be tired.
And why is it that we have joined the odd sock brigade? Until I had William, I don't think we had odd socks. It just didn't seem to be a problem for us. Now they are just an accepted part of our life. They even have a semi permanent home on the landing. Sometimes the pile gets really big and then we realise that there are now a few pairs in there, and then it gets smaller again for a while. But it is always there, laughing at me. Just like the dirt and dust around the house. The boxes of clean washing alongside the boxes of dirty washing. The number of boxes is usually the same, just that the ratio of dirty to clean changes.
The treadmill of life. I know that everyone is on it. But why does my wheel seem so much harder to turn sometimes than other peoples?

Monday, 19 October 2009


We drove through a nearby village yesterday on the way to an art gallery, and there were hand made boards up out side a couple of the houses in protest of plans to build a wind farm in a neighbouring field.
What is that all about???? The boards were on a very, very tight bend (almost 90 degrees) and in order to look at them, Rob alomost under steered the corner. So not only are the boards dangerous, and probably have no planning permission themselves but have they really thought it through? The boards protest not about the noise as a first concern, but the house prices!!!! What about the price of the world??
I have to say I was flabbergasted at the ridiculous campaign. 3 boards in the village, which is in the middle of nowhere.
We stayed in Wales last yearfor a month, in a mobile home, less than half a mile from a wind farm. The noise or visual impact was so small...we hardly noticed their presence.
They have been planning one very close to us. We have made no objections.
Have people got their prioties wrong? Or is it just me???

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

And sew..........

This is my new craft that I was planning. It is a Waldorf style doll and my first attempt! I bought this pattern and supplies from a lady on Ebay, while waiting for my book and other supplies to arrive from Myriad. I was itching to get started!! This one is made from velour fabric with a stockinette stuffed head. He has a little bell in the end of his hat, and stitched features. Will and I decided not to leave this one with a floppy body, so stuffed it gently with organic wool this morning to make him more cuddly. I am really pleased with the way the head went, as apparently this is the most difficult bit and is kind of make or break really. If the shape isn't right, or the features aren't in the right place, it can look so wrong! But this is Turq and Will loves him. I have plans to make another, similar one for a friends little girl, and a more baby friendly one too. You know who you are!! ;-) And then I will move on to 'proper' dolls with stuffed bodies, and limbs with clothes and hair....I am so excited!! I loved making this one and hope that this could be the start of something.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A few recent photos...

So, here we have the little Imp hat I knitted for Will the other day, on the spur of the moment. Kind of cute and he likes it..he decided on how to finish the top off..neat finish, gathered or gathered with pompom. I haven't done much hand knitting recently so wanted to do something very simple and quick to get the feel for it again. Why is it that I always forget how to csat on in between knits?!!!
And this is the paper mache wigwam, cardboard tepees and fire that Will designed and made. Complete with compulsory playmobil indian!!
Will wearing his headdress. David made one too but the picture of the pair of them shows even more mess than this one!!! lol
Chimney sweeping.... now this deserves a whole post to itself really but this is the reminder to ourselves of the ordeal that was chimney sweeping!!!! Needless to say the brush and the poles parted company at some point during the proceedings, and reuniting them was not a simple task!!!! Maybe I'll tell the story one day...in my book!!!
The wasp that Rob painted on the side of Tom's Vitara. Good old acrylics again.....not sure how long they will last on the side of a car, but the effect is good isn't it?
Tom's Vitara with completed paint job....it started off white remember? He did a brilliant job, I think.
And Tom's Vitara at the Off Road weekend complete with very dangerous looking bumper!!! It completes the wasp look!!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Allotment update

And a couple of photos of Jon (and Will)riding Bob bareback!

And this is what the allotment looked like after Jon and I had spent an hour or two there on Friday. Jonathan did the major digging, and I used the trowel to get a few of the stubborn weed roots out of the clumps of earth and picked up as many weeds as I could see behind him. We took two bags of roots etc away and feel we have really made some good progress. We intend to tackle another bit this week so we can put some manure down before clearing the bit at the end by the compost heap. Jonathan is really good at the digging. He has muscles in the right places and the stamina to keep going to finish what he has started. We have the same mentality: I just lack the muscle power!
This was after we popped down the field to see Bob and let the chap's chickens out. On our arrival we noticed a sheep in an odd position and my heart sunk. It was one of this years lambs, lying dead on a gate that had previously been leaning up against the fence. It must have been reaching through the bars to get to the grass behind it, when it fell. Why it didn't just walk around it, I don't know. Although it is a sheep and not best known for it's brains. It managed to get it's head back up through the gate, but the weight of it's own body must have been too much and it died through strangulation. It was still warm when we got there and I wish we had left the house an hour or so earlier as we had originally planned. We might have been in time to save it. Instead, we were left with the task of lifting the gate, and propping it up on a wooden block, so that we could both lift the animal to get it free. It took us both to carry it in to the barn. It was so very sad. Obviously the animal was bred with slaughter in mind, but this was an undignified and cruel death which served no purpose. Very sad indeed.
I feel that I should end this post on a high of which there are many...Tom's Off Roading weekend last weekend, Star Trek with Explorers this weekend, the many craft projects that have been produced and Jonathans afternoon helping the local Farm shop to name but a few. Rob's Fire Service Training is going well, and the website is taking shape slowly. I have a new craft that I am very excited about and am waiting for book and supplies to arrive in the post in the next few days. All exciting stuff, and never a dull moment here. So, consequently I am exhausted and off for some quiet knitting by the fire, instead of waiting for blogger to upload photos....I'll do them tomorrow.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Coils and wheels.

I thought I would share a couple of things we have seen recently. The pictures are ones that I have found on the internet as we weren't quick enough with the camera to get our own shots!! Or maybe we were too fascinated with what we had found to bother.
We found four of these yesterday on a beautiful, sunny, autumn walk along the canal. They were basking in the sun but obviously it was still quite cool and they were slower than usual, hence we got to see four grass snakes!!! One of them just slithered under the nearest hawthorn root, and we could get a really good look at his face close up, while he was coiled up in safety. He was beautiful, and it was really exciting to be able to look at hime for so long. His little tongue flickering in and out, tasting the air. Fabulous!

And this is what we found on a walk on David's birthday back in August. I managed to pick this one up, to the delight/disbelief of everyone!!! It kept coiling itself really tightly around my hand, so that even though I knew that it was a harmless little Slow worm and that it is really a legless lizard, I still got a little squeamish and had to put it down before getting a better grip!

And one day a couple of weeks ago, we were driving along and saw a Penny Farthing going along the road!!! We drove along behind it for a while so that the boys could see, and it was so thrilling to watch this chap cycling along on this ancient machine. Or was it? It looked more like a newly built copy to me, but why would anyone do that?!! Jonathan quickly pointed out to David (and me!!!) that it was called that because one wheel was like a penny and the other, a farthing. This was quite meaningful to David and probably Will too, because there has been much talk and handling of old coins in our house recently. And if the boys had been in school? No doubt they would have 'been looking' at Victorian times at some point, with pictures of various things from the era, but they wouldn't have seen this. You can't beat seeing a real Penny Farthing actually cycling along a very quiet country lane, to understand what it must have been like to ride one! He was so high up! And the wheels so thin!! Jonathan would've loved to have had a go, I think. He likes a challenge!
Oh and a link to another fabulous you tube video...The Badman song.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Another brick in the wall....

This is the link to a great video on you tube courteous of openartsurgery. It is a protest video against Badmans report and enforced schooling.
I think it is fab!

The lyrics are...

we don't need your registration
we don't need your yearly goals
no right of entry to our houses
badman leave home ed alone
hey badman leave us kids alone
all in all you're just another brick in the wall
all in all you're just another pawn for ed balls

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Use the fork.....

Sorry, couldn't resist the title!
Some before and after photos of our allotment today.
This is the view from the gate down the central path..ours is the patch on the left of the path, and you can just make out the fence posts on the far left of the photo.
This is the view from the other end, up the path. Our plot now being on the right of the photo, with the tall fence at the end!!!

This is after a couple of hours....

And this is what it looked like when we left at lunchtime. Feeling very pleased with ourselves, but enough for one day, I think!

It is ours officially of today, so we were down there before 9 o'clock this morning trying to clear the weeds. We did really well and discovered that not only did we inherit raspberry canes and rhubarb along with the mountain of sow thistles and nasturtiums, docks and buttercups, we also have a row of very neglected and weed choked strawberry plants. We dug them up and brought them home. I spent a while this afternoon, relocating them in the bed that we recently emptied the compost bin on to. There is quite a substantial strawberry patch now, provided that they all survive the move. Fingers crossed xx
Jonathan and Rob did most of the heavy work, although I did my fair share and can feel it this evening!!
I also thought I would tell you about the amazing Merlin. He is basically a house rabbit, with a cage in the house that he sleeps in at night containing his food and water, an outdoor area with shelter and a litter tray in the living room for when he is playing with the children or relaxing in the evening by the fire!! I heard that!!! I heard you snigger as you read the bit about playing with the children. Or maybe you didn't..maybe you just visioned him sat on someones lap as they stroked him?
I said played with the children and that is what I meant...I wish I had it on video to show you, and I will endeavour to capture it, because it is a regular occurance, not a fluke or one off!!! It is worth seeing.
This rabbit actually picks up the bricks/playmobil/animal and moves it!!! When William or David are playing he sort of goes up to them, picks something up and tosses it to them! It is just so funny to watch. He also does it if something is in the way of where he wants to sit. He just picks it up and moves it to one side!!
He also jumps up on to the sofa, as he just did while I'm typing this, and has a look at what you are doing and then jumps back down again. Funny little fella!