Saturday, 30 January 2010

Yet more socks, silly faces and steam boats.

A few piccies today.
Firstly, Tommy's long awaited socks!!

Silly ketchup face...

And David's steam boat.

He did try making a little movie with Willie as prop manager but it needs a little, erm, err...fine tuning!!!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The aftermath.

Why is that we are so good at demolition and chaos in this house? I long for a neat and tidy house. Well, not maybe neat and tidy, but I'll settle for almost tidy!!! We get inspired, start having a sort out, do a bit of shifting about, a bit of painting and then when it is time to put it all back together again, I kind of lose the impetus.
Take this last week or two for example.
It first started with Tom exploding, after goodness knows how many years sharing with Jonathan who is, THE most untidy, messy (and dare I say dirty?) boy that has ever lived. Well, maybe he isn't but he is here!!! And even by our communal standards he is bad! Lol.
So we had a discussion and he requested that we had a change around. So Jon ended up with a room on his own (eek, proving the theory that crime pays!!!)because no one could o wanted to share with him. Tom ended up in with Will!!!! And David moved to a smaller room. The move went well. But there is still some sorting out to do from that. A few boxes left in the bathroom and some stuff in my room.
Then we painted he kitchen, while Rob was in the mood and still has some time on his hands. I was so fed up with not being able to wipe the dirt off the walls, for fear of losing the paint!!!
That led on to the tiling, a quick coat in the little bathroom and then the dining room was just a continuation of the kitchen....
So what am I left with???
Stuff everywhere not in the right place. Every surface needs washing. The feeling that there is just too much to do and not knowing where to start!!!! I have done lots this morning already, and have just stopped for a cup of coffee, but there is always the stuff that never really had a home in the first place....what do I do with that?!!! I like the uncluttered look of the rooms when you empty it to decorate, but we can't keep it like that. It seems to be impossible!! The kitchen and dining room is the centre of activity in this house and is therefore full of stuff.
I just wish I could whittle it down a bit.
Right. Back to the monumental task in hand!!!
Tiles look nice though. :-)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A bright idea!

I have to share this...
I made it today in about 10 mins from an old lampshade that was damaged and 3 pieces of A4 card!! It was one of those moments when I was trying desperately to think how to make a new cover for it rather than throw it away. I know that you made a beautiful material one for a table lamp recently, Louise and that got me to thinking. This lampshade was originally made up from the sturdy wire frame and six plastic panels that were like frosted glass with roses embossed on them. So I thought that material covering was perhaps not the way to go. And then, inspiration struck!! The card was some animal print ones that Granny had sent up from Cornwall and so I cut six new panels from the card using the old plastic piece as a template, popped them into place, and voila!!!!

I'm really pleased with it!! As is David, whose room it now illuminates!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Our weekend.....

So, here we have two beanbags that David and I made at the weekend. An old pair of jeans was the donor material; the same pair that was used for Will's christmas doll's dungarees actually. Filled with an opened, but not very popular packet of dried beans. David did nearly all the sewing himself with just a little help from me along the way. He was very pleased with himself. He and Will enjoyed trying to throw them in to a box, just as soon as they were finished.

A fire, made by daddy and Will out of wood to replace the wood and paper one they made before. Will loves painting pictures, but he loves making things and then painting them even more. This morning after breakfast he painted one of the empty tile boxes blue for a kennel for one of his toy dogs.
Yes, I did say EMPTY tile box!!!
It has only taken 3 years to pluck up the courage to have a go at tiling the splashback in the kitchen!!!

and after....

Just a few final touches needed to the grouting and sealant. It makes such a difference to the room!
And what is this left in the coat cupboard? I thought you'd emptied it Rob, before we started painting?

Oh, I see! New bunkbeds for the boys!!!

And Indiana David and the legend of the newly tiled kitchen. Here he is wrestling with a rubber snake, aided by his faithful side kick Louis!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

This week.....

Will and daddy finished his Fire Station for his new fire engine...

We had friends over to visit and we swopped some books and DVD's, which has indeed kick started our pioneer/native americam indian/Little house books theme again. I have read aloud the beautifully illustrated Little House easy readers (in one sitting!!!), we have finished our Native American Indian lapbook, and looked back on the Little House in the Big Woods one we did last year. David is keen to do the next Little house book now.

It was good to see another HEing family with similar views and values as us. It is always reassuring and inspiring to talk and share ideas and stories. We took them to one of our local woods and all the children had a great time on the rope swings and exploring the woods.
We have also been watching The Coal House at War, which is a BBC series about three families that go to live a mining village in Wales, set in 1944. It is really good and very different from The 1940's House, because you can really appreciate the community spirit that must have been so important to people during that time.
Jonathan plays darts quite alot here....we have a board up in the living room!!!! He plays 301 with Rob and we call it maths!!!! He goes through a fair amount of flights, and he decided to recycle these odd flights and fashion these....

Here's a close up....its made of wood...of course, what else?!!

The best thing is that it actually flies straight and you can play with them like the normal ones...they are just less dangerous!!!
And I have been knitting more little projects. Rob has been wanting a hat for running to hold his MP3 player ear phones in, so I did that at the weekend from the same WW2 pattern site that Will's balaclava came from, and I finished Tom's first sock (pictures to follow).I also knitted this face cloth yesterday.

I'm really pleased with it. It was made in the spirit of Use it up January and was made with a very small ball of left over cotton yarn form Will's poncho that I knitted. I literally JUST had enough to make it.
Rob has managed to get the kitchen painted with extra durable paint, as the last time we painted it, we must have ued the world's only wash-off-able paint!!!! No good when your kitchen sees as much mud as ours!! So now I have to do the skirting boards, which we didn't even get round to last time and are still yellow from the previous owners obsession with yellow!!! Once we realised the paint wiped off, we kind off lost interest in the whole thing, but this time we have even bought some tiles for the splash back, which is just currently bare wall. Not good when the paint just wipes off on the cloth!
Tom went on Explorer camp in what remained of the snow at the weekend, and came back relatively clean but extremely tired. Scouts it seems do not have as much common sense as you would think....if I mentioned aerosol cans and lighters in the same breath you would probably wince. But in a tent????? The boys in question were sent home and, this is the 'best' bit, one of the parents asked for a refund as her son was missing the second half of the camp????!!!!!!!
So it has been a busy week despite some or all of us being under the weather with sore throats and coughs. Now time for some relaxation..... ;-)

Saturday, 16 January 2010

I am in mourning...

for the snow that was so loved and appreciated. I woke up this morning to the sound of heavy rain and knew that The Thaw had begun in earnest. Will and I were up at 6.30 this morning and by 7 am he had painted this among other things.

It started off as a dog...see the nose and the larger shape was to be it's head? But as he painted he narrated as usual and it turned into a hedgehog, closely followed by a ladybird!!!! He never ceases to amaze me with what he can 'see'.
By about 11am the view from the kitchen window looked like this...

That is all that remains of the snowman of a previous post.
Our garden has returned to the mud fest that I had almost forgotten existed. It looks such a sorry state. I so miss the snow and feel engulfed somehow by the grey dreariness that hangs over the garden. As I type this, a fog is coming down over the fields behind and inching closer to us, as is an early darkening of the skies tonight, I think.
But every cloud has a silver lining, or so the saying goes, and Rob went off shopping with Jon and William while David and I continued sorting out th ebedrooms after our re shuffle this week.
This is the absolute bargain that was to be found for Will in a charity shop!!

It is the same type as the safari car that Rob found in a charity shop around this time last year, I think. It is lovely. Very well made, but missing a few hose or second ladder, or any firemen. I am thinking of buying the little bendy men from Myriad and making my own for him but they can be bought online....£20 for 4 firemen. They are so lovely, but how can you spend four times as much on the men as you did on the car?!!!
This is Will painting the cardboard box that is to become the fire station. He is very excited about it!!
I'll try to get a photo of the completed set up later on!!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Fame at last.

Well, sort of.
Tom rushed out to buy this magazine yesterday while we were in the midst of moving bedrooms around. Not a very convenient moment, but justified I think given the circumstances. He had a tip off you see.

A page about the recent off road event that he took his truck to.

Did you spot it? Tom's truck!!!!!!

So very exciting!!!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

And still it snows....

Am I really the only person left loving the snow?
All the blogs I read seem to be a bit fed up with it....but I'm not!!!!
So, this morning the snowman in the back garden looks like this......

and still it snows.
It has been snowing continuously since first thing this morning. It is beautiful.
This morning I spent the morning in the kitchen ( no change there then, eh?!!) and tried to make lots of good things to eat from what we had in the cupboards.
So I made, with varying amounts of assistance from the boys as they passed through and lingered for a while in the kitchen...
4 loaves of bread from the wheat we ground yesterday.
Carrot and coriander soup from the recipe here
1 batch of apple spice muffins
1 batch of macaroons
Chicken korma
Onion bhajis
Raspberry blancmange (2 pints)
and Jonathan checked on his ginger beer that he has started.

Needless to say in a house full of 6 people, 3 of which are pretty much full grown men, the first four items have pretty much been consumed already, with the next three on the menu for tonight and Jonathan drooling over the last item!!!

Well in the spirit of this post here I think, along with the blue wool for the balaclavas I've knitted. Going to continue on this theme, I think. Not much left in the cupboards to use up though, food wise so will have to look at the wool and material stash and the HE resources!!!!

Looking to have a big shift around here at home so it could be time for some de cluttering too!!!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The wrong sort of snow.

This is the snowman that they made today. Will has been watching the snowman cartoon alot recently and has been desperate to make one. The weather has been either too cold for Will, as he has been poorly or as in true Winnie the Pooh style, the boys have been telling me it is the wrong sort of snow!!! Too powdery apparently. But today as it has started to thaw, it seemed 'just right!!'.
Willie is sporting his new balaclava that I knitted and, as the second attempt at it (see previous post for the first attempt!!), I am pretty pleased! He likes it too which is a bonus!!!
So is it really thawing? I hope not. Is that really it? I hope not. I love the cold and frosty/snowy weather. It is all so bright and exhilerating. Jonathan and I have been looking after the horses and sheep this weekend as the owner is away, and so we have been walking there and back twice a day to feed and water the animals. It is a 3mile round trip along the road, but we have been going the long way round (4 miles)up the bridleway to give the dog a run and to let them all play in the snow drifts up the top. Some of them are so deep they come up to about Jonathan's waist!!! It is has been quite an adventure as we have been walking back in the dusk, and will miss the routine when he returns tomorrow.
And Louis has been allowed the free run of the house for the last few days. We started gradually, with him being out in the evenings, and he was settling really well once the boys were out of the way, and now he is a fully fledged, free roaming dog!!! He is currently sleeping on the sofa next to me as I type. Just like a baby.

He has a a few run ins with the cat, but as he is a bit of a wimp he doesn't challenge Blackie...just looks at him intently from a safe distance!!! Merlin and Louis already have an understanding. They are sort of friends but Louis can't resist chasing him out of the living room. Merlin frollicks off kicking up his back feet playfully. This morning we found the pair of them in Merlins cage...very cosy!!!!
So can the three animals live together in the house without killing each other? Well, Merlin has superiority over Blackie, Blackie has the upper hand with Louis and Louis just wants to be friends with them both!!!!
It will be interesting, no doubt!!!

Friday, 8 January 2010

I'm loving this weather...aren't you?

This is Merlin enjoying the snow this morning...

He has been a much talked about topic in our house, these last few weeks for a number of reasons..
1.Although Merlin was purchased (rescued) for David, I knew that the enthusiasm of the boy wouldn't last and so it now falls to me generally to feed and clean him out most days.
2.He has had a number of baths, which he REALLY enjoys, to try to combat the pungent aroma that IS Merlin.
3.Probably related to the one above, but I feel deserves a point in its own right, is the fact that Merlin has recently taken a strong interest in certain soft toys that have been left on the floor...namely one brown beaver and a not so white cat. Lets just say that this behaviour has led to some interesting discussions about sex and babies!!
4.Also, possibly related to the above 2 points, is the fact that every so often Merlin decides that he doesn't want to use his litter tray and will leap up on to the sofa as soon as my back is turned and WEE!!!!!! YUK. This will NOT be tolerated, as opposed to the interest in the soft toys which just makes everyone fall about laughing!!!
But what are we to do? Find him a girlfriend? or take him to the vets and have him castrated? Either option sounds expensive and/or lots of hassle. Hmmmmmm.
So today, having spent yesterday in his cage in disgrace, I let Merlin outside in the snow....about 10 o'clock and he has only just decided to come in!!!! Its half past 1 now. He had a lovely time out there, skipping about and exploring, and sitting in the patch of sunshine. He even had a frolic around with Louis.
Who, incidently, adores the snow too. He rushes around grabbing mouthfuls, shoving his nose in as far as it will go and deliberately throwing hmself into snow drifts and leaping around like a deer!!! He has been loving it!!!
This is Will and David enjoying some painting. David is painting a peacock and Will as usual, is narrating as he paints.
Will hasn't been out in the snow much. He is finding it too cold and he has actually had a bit of a cold the last week too. Poor wee boy.
So, I thought I would knit him a balaclava as the one he usually wears is too big and therefore not as snug and warm as it could be. So I searched on the internet and found a pattern that was from WW2. It looked just the thing and dead easy too. I needed to make it smaller than the one in the picture so I guessed that by using smaller gauge needles and finer wool, it would be just that.....

Oops! Too small. So this one is winging its way to Hannah for Willow when she is out and about in the Mei Tei.
And these are the cornish pasties we made this morning, inspired by a post that I read here yesterday.

They were yummy! A lovely hot lunch before the boys went off to the woods to gather........wood!!!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Nearly shredless marmalade.

This is my beautiful new preserving pan in action this morning.

And these are the four jars of Lemon and Lime marmalade that I made in it. I have never made marmalade before and this turned out really well. It tastes really yummy. It is not quite shredless, but there are very few bits of peel in it as we all prefer it this way...and I am so pleased with it. Not quite sure why it is orange though!!!!

So a massive thank you to My MIL Maggie who sent me the money to buy it! I also bought a metal jam funnel to go with it, and boy, together they make the job sooooo much easier!!!!
Thank you Maggie xxxx

Monday, 4 January 2010

Winter as it should be....woolly socks and hot water bottles!

Isn't it beautiful today? We woke up to a bright moon in a starry sky, with a wonderful frost that has made everything white.Hoar frost. All day. We braved the roads in the car for a walk in the woods first thing this morning. The journey was bright and beautiful...the sun shining across the fields and hedges. Glorious. It wasn't sunny in the woods. In fact it was downright freezing, but still beautiful!
This is how winter should be isn't it....cold and frosty.
We came home and lit the fire. Cosy in the living room we had scrambled egg and toast for lunch.
Just how winter should be.
The boys all have thermal leggings to wear when it is like this. In fact William has worn his since September as trousers generally, but David and Jon got theirs for christmas. A necessary for outdoors folk at the moment!!
Something else the boys got for homemade fleece hot water bottle each for Will, David and Jon.

These are David's socks that I knitted for christmas also....

And here is William modelling his pair just as I finished them this afternoon!

I hope to cast on for Tom's later on. He had neither a hot water bottle cover, or thermal leggings as he seems to have his own central heating system!!! But everyone gets cold toes don't they!!