Saturday, 27 February 2010

Bad weather and feeling poorly can be good for some things, I guess!!

So, with the weather being so miserable here and me feeling poorly, it has been a week of crafting.
My socks are now finished and I have rellay been enjoying wearing them. So comfortable and cosy!! I have been sneakily buying some wool for me to knit up once I have worked down my list of projects! I finally understand the meaning of 'wool stash'!!!!
But instead of casting on for Rob's socks (the first priority item on my list!), I have been making these...

The wool was a little dark perhaps for the top but I'm pleased with the effect. I've never really done anything with two colours before.

This egg was made up as I went along using the same principle as the banana...turned out ok, but now they want a whole set!!!

2 sausages so far and one fried egg, also of my own design, made up as I went along. Really pleased with this!!!
And the two older boys have also been making things....not knitting but sewing.
Jonathan made this drawstring bag for his marbles from the bottom of the leg of his old camo trousers....

And Tom has re-vamped this strap for his car, by sewing a loop on to one end and a hook on the other! He wants to test it out for strength one day soon before he takes it off roading!

And this of their own free will!!! And self taught, pretty much.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Why didn't someone tell me it was pancake day!!!!!

Is it just me, or do these things pass other people by too? It was a good few days before I realised that we had missed it. Maybe the rack with the pancake mix and lemon juice in Waitrose the previous week should've sparked something off?!!
Anyway, we had pancake day or Shrove Tuesday this week instead... Tom made the batter and between him and Jon they cooked and tossed pancakes for us all.
And then they obviously got a little bored of normal pancakes...

Tom called them Smurf pancakes!!!
I think I need to be more attentive about these special days....

Photo credits....first one of Louis was taken by William,
the first blue pancake picture and second Louis photo by David.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

I have come down with an horrific sore throat and that, coupled with my on going throat issue is actually rendering me quite pathetic!
That said, I have still made bread in my newly acquired breadmaker (Thank you Freecycle!!!!! Mine died on Saturday evening and I had been offered an almost new one and collected it within 24 hours!!! Fantastic!!!), done 3 loads of washing, made minestrone soup and cleaned the oven (yes, I know, why does it always feel so urgent when you feel so poorly?) and finished kntting my hat, and knitted most of the second one of my socks!
But, because I was so stationary yesterday, David and Will both played with the meccano in the living room and David built a fabulous digger following the set of instructions.....

And Will made this ladder to go with his fire engine. It's a portable one that they can move around easily!!!

Tom and Jon went to the farm shop for layers pellets and then Jon and David walked the dog.
We watched My Fair Lady in the afternoon in front of the fire while it snowed outside, and then David and I played cards before bed.
Jonathan made shortbread, which was enjoyed by all, and Tom took over at tea time, dishing up the jacket potatoes that I had put in the oven earlier.
So this afternoon, I am planning on finishing my sock, and then trying to decide which of the items on my long list of crafts to start next! I look at my sock wool stash and think I must start to make a dent in it, but then I look at the lovely green cotton yarn I have for face cloths and want to see them knitted up. And then of course David is wanting a balaclava like Jonathans, and Will is requesting a Waldorf baby doll....not enough hours in the day!!!
At least it is freezing cold outside and there is still snow on the ground, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on much by staying in by the fire again this afternoon. In fact, I'm relishing the excuse!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

We've gone 'Knitting Bananas'!!!

This is Will casting on for a carrot while I am busy next to him putting the finishing touches to our little creation.
And here he is, really getting to grips with the 'knitting'!!

Yes, he is still wearing his pyjamas and is is most definitely the afternoon!!!!

Yes, this afternoon we knitted this little cheeky banana from this pattern
Tomorrow I might try the hot cross bun!!!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

This roundhouse.

People who know me, will know that I long to live in a roundhouse or a yurt or wooden house in the middle of the woods somewhere in Wales.
Obviously the logistics of this with 4 boys is somewhat horrific!!!! But maybe one day......when the country runs out of oil and food, and the government are forced to let us do such things, instead of putting ridiculous obstacles in the way of us lunatic people who want to do it!
Anyway, this morning Will and I tried to build a roundhouse with the duplo bricks but to be honest, even with Will's amazing imagination and my determination to make it work, it didn't really turn out that well.

Then David started talking about Hagrid's hut and that Lego have a set...

so we looked on their website and found the instructions to build it. We also looked on Ebay to see if we could buy one, but as we are both far too impatient, we went upsatirs and dug out all the bits from his Lego box that looked like they might be useful!!!

And this is what we made!!!!

It took a long time to find enough of the right sort of pieces and my back is aching now with bending over the floor (again!!!) for so long, but it was worth it, David is so pleased with it. I know the blue roof is a little bright, but that was the colour that we had most tiles in and it looked better in one colour, rather than a hotch potch of different greys and black. With David's knowledge of what bits we do have and me with the technical construction, we made a great team!!!!
A shame my hat didn't turn out too well.....but my loss is Will's gain!

Friday, 12 February 2010

And here's what we have made!

No, I'm afraid I haven't already whipped up a couple of knitted bananas, although I feel like my brain is mushed up like one!
Today, I spent all day making this wee fellow under the scrutinous eye of David. He had a particular idea of what he wanted him to look like and it turned out just as he hoped! Phew!!!

He is a Peter Pan waldorf style doll, and can also double up as Robin Hood!! Most handy!!
These are the collages, inspired by what we saw on Tuesday at the Sealife Centre. David's first...

And William's...

I did a fair few of the drawings but the colours and ideas are their own.
And this is Merlin having a cuddle the other day. He looks so cute this way up...and is pretty much immobilised!!!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Knitting bug.

Ok, it's official. I have joined the thousands of people out there who are knitting addicts!
Just seen some patterns for knitted play food and will add them to my long list of projects.
I especially like these....

Although I think I would leave out the face!!

And obviously I would need to make a whole set of these!

Anyone know where I could lay my hands on some orange wool?!!!! :-)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

This one's for you Bmf.....balaclava!!!!!

Here it is!!!!

Obviously, I have since worked out a slightly better way of doing the dividing bit between the eyes but as Jonathan is pleased, that is good enough for me. On this occaision, anyway!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


Day trips in this house are like buses, it seems. We don't go anywhere for weeks and then are out all day for two days in a row!!
Yesterday we visited HE friends who live a fair way away, making it necessary for it to be a day trip rather than just a pop round to see them. The weather was set to be freezing cold and not conducive to outdoor activities, so we were set to spend the day indoors with 6 children from 3 to 13! After an initial time of chaos, with much noise and running around, they all settled down and 'paired off' involved in various activities.
William was VERY happily playing with my friends daughter, aged 6, with a wooden train and car track and consequently only saw him when refreshments were required!!!! Bliss.
As for the weather? It snowed pretty much the whole time we were there, but it did not settle. A lovely day for all and I now have the addition of raspberry jam to our store cupboard!!! Yummy!
And today we ventured off to Birmingham to the Sea Life Centre as part of an organised visit by our local HE group. It was the first time we had met any of them as we rarely make it to any of the meets there, and most trips are not necessarily our 'thing'.
It was quite a long trip there, as Rob took us the 'pretty way' through the town centre!!! We had left in plenty of time and still arrived half an hour early! The journey was slower that way , easier to make wee stops and certainly more interesting!!!! There were so many fruit and veg shops with produce in plastic bowls out on tables in the streets. There were lots of people on bicycles, and so many sari shops. The models were usually without heads, and very tall and elegant, yet all the ladies we saw walking around were only small. So obviously they have the same issues in their culture as we do in ours!! Although I guess it easier to find a sari to fit, or adjust one if you are not the prerequisite size!
It was quite strange for us to drive through such a built up and busy area, in comparison to our little village. I guess for other people who live in small towns, it isn't so much of a culture shock! And even Tom, and Rob who have recently spent a fair amount of time in Northampton, probably didn't see it the same way as I, and possibly Jonathan, did. I love looking at the buildings though. The mixture of old and new together. The architecture always interests me. I love old buildings, and although I know very little about which era they were built, it doesn't stop me from wondering what life was like for the people who lived there when they were new.
I felt the same when we visited our friends yesterday, as they live in a 1930's house with lots of the original features in tact. Really lovely. It made me reminiscent of our little victorian terrace we left behind 3 years ago. I loved the fact that it was so old and that many families had lived there before, even babies born there before William. I feel sad that the thing that attracted us to that house in the first place, and what we loved about it most was now lost.
I think that is what I would like most, to return to a house that has history, character and as many original features as possible! Somewhere my beloved Rayburn would fit in!
Anyway, back to today's trip.
We all enjoyed it. We all had our own favourite bits, and as always, mine is the rays...

David loves the sharks best.

I'm not sure what he's so cross about.

This little fella was a real cutey pie! He kept picking up small pebbles with his hands and waving them around!

Will's favourite was the turtles. He said they looked like they were flying!!

And these guys were just enormous. Two rescued sea turtles. The smaller of the two weighed 30 stone!!!!

And this reminded me of David's new lampshade!

A wonderful couple of days, all be it a bit tiring....ok, so I'm knackered!!! But I came home to a little package of wool containing the ball I need to finish Jon's balaclava. I must get it finished tonight!!!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Love/hate realtionships

Not of the human variety!!!
I was thinking more about Playmobil!
Today has seen me on my hands and knees grovelling around the floor, bending over boxes, trying to conduct a very long overdue sort of the boys Playmobil.
Now, despite the longing I have to have simplistic, waldorf, wooden toys for the boys, I happen to love Playmobil and Lego in all its guises.
But I also hate it!!!
They do have an awful lot, but them it is the accummulation of all the boys over the years...remember Tom is now 15 and we started off with a wreck of a pirate ship from a village jumble sale and a jeep with trailer and motorbikes from the village charity shop, when he was about 4 years old. They were both slightly broken with lots and lots of bits missing but it started something.
So 11 years on we now have a massive collection (but then we have no Playstation, Wii, very few computer games and no TV licence!!) of pirates including a new ship, 2 castle sets, one was second hand and one was new, circus ring,ice explorer, forest ranger, farm animals, and even a few cowboys and indians acquired from Ebay etc
I say massive but compared to other boys we know of (that go to school, I hasten to add. When do they get the time?), it is a small collection to share between two boys.
It provides hours of imaginative play, sometimes alone, sometimes together and that is not always easy with nearly a six year age gap!
I know that there are plenty of people out there who would dispute the imaginative side of the play when the little people and accessories come so complete in every little detail, but the actual playing is so imaginative.
We have used the wagon from the farm to make a covered wagon for prairie play, including cardboard canoes and teepees, the rangers are regularly planning expeditions to the North Pole and the pirates are often attacking the castles occupants!
I love the way the animals are all so smooth and rounded with movable limbs and sometimes mouths! I love the scope there is to make Zoro or Robin Hood by combining different people and I love the way that the boys narrate their own stories as they play and get lost in their own little worlds.
But, and it is a big BUT, I hate the way all the stuff gets left all over the bedroom floors as they insist they want to leave their 'little worlds' up overnight for play the following morning.
I hate the way the sets all get mixed up and then they can't find what they are looking for.
I hate the way they take hair off one man to give to another and leave him bald in the box!! or swop sword cases (there's another case for disapproval....violent toys eek!), gun holsters or neckerchiefs.
And Lego is no better!! Although it is a wondeful source of constructive and imaginative play, I really despise the way we have so many little men with dismembered bodies, no hands or hair and a whole host of little teeny tiny lights, that congregate in the bottom of the box with all the dust!! Yuk!!!
But despite this love/hate relationship, I find myself seduced in the same way as David is by all the sets and could spend an arm and a leg (lol, sorry couldn't resist that!) on the stuff!
We saw a set of indians complete with mats and papooses, and a lovely proper covered wagon (ours has the hitch part broken now)on Ebay earlier as we searching for spare parts, but how much Playmobil can one justify having?!!
If only I could sort out the storage issue, but then I have never mastered the art of clothes storage for these guys either! Oh well!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Business as usual.

Feeling much better this morning, Thank you!!
A good job too as the house was very much the worse the wear after my day (or two, as I was pretty under the weather the previous day due to a severe lack of sleep!) of doing 'nothing'.
The dishwasher hadn't been loaded from last night, the surfaces were covered in all manner of other bits needing washing by hand, the washing pile was humungous and the floor looked like it hadn't been swept for days. The eggs from yesterday hadn't been washed, or dated, what litle carpet we have needs hoovering, the bins needed putting out and the recycling sorted....the list goes on.
I managed to get Tom up to do the bins and feed the ducks, but the rest I have pretty much sorted now. Jonathan has just got up and we are going to head off to the woods for a little fresh air, I think. I'll let the washing machine take care of a load while we are gone, and maybe the bread maker will make us some dough too! It's not all bad!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

In sickness and in health.

Last night about half past ten, my poor Jonathan was sick. All over his bedroom floor. Poor boy. We sorted it out and removed the rug so that he could go to sleep. We left him with a bowl, just in case.
Less than three hours later, I suffered the same fate. I made it to the bathroom though, thank goodness.
I then went into each boys room and deposited a bucket, got back into bed, and still feeling awful, I sat awake listening for any sign that the others were going to follow suit.
We assumed that it was the chicken curry that I cooked for tea. It is only the second time I have cooked it from scratch and it was even better than the first attempt. I was really pleased with it, and everyone ate it!! I felt awful not least that I might be responsible for everyone else's suffering, but that the next day was going to be hell.
I eventually dropped off to sleep after about 2, maybe three hours, finally convinced that William and David were ok and that Tom and Rob could look after themselves if necessary!!!
So today has been a strange sort of day. I am so relieved that it wasn't my cooking, as it seems to have affected just the two of us, but I am also worried that if it is a bug, then the others may still get it!
I am so tired and have been lucky enough to have Rob home today, but while I have been up and about, mainly to reassure David that all is ok (he has a sick phobia), Jonathan stayed in bed for most of the day!
David felt compelled to make him a Get Well card, which he did mostly unaided, just a little verbal encouragement from me and I helped him to build some Knex models while the others went out and did a few errands.
Then we watched some episodes of Little House on the Prairie and learnt about rabies (that's rabies not babies!!) and about melting metal, amongst other things!!
So I guess what I'm saying is that every cloud has a silver lining, because although I have felt ill, it has been a productive day.
I just hope that tomorrow brings sunshine and good health as opposed to my worst nightmare....more rain and sick smalls.