Sunday, 31 May 2015

Blue skies, freedom and a birthday

Hello. How was your week? I hope it's been a good one. Ours had
been slow and quiet but very nice. We spent most of it at home,
pottering about, taking it easy. I enjoyed not having the usual school
day morning rush and I really loved having both girls at home with me.
On Monday we went for a walk in Derbyshire and on Tuesday we
 all went on the bus to town and did some window shopping. We didn't
really have much planned for this week and just as well, I think, with
all the rain that we've had. It wasn't only wet most days, it was also
cold and windy. I didn't mind it so much though because we were just
staying at home and when it did stop raining, there were blue skies
with lovely fluffy clouds. They are always an uplifting sight, the blue
skies especially, and more so after another wet and gloomy morning.

On Wednesday the girls had a sleepover at Nanny and GrandDad's.
That meant an afternoon and the following morning all to myself to
spend as I liked. Freedom! Yay! 

I don't get many free time like this and so of course I relished it.
I read magazines, listened to the radio, watched a bit of telly but mostly
I crocheted. 

I worked on my shawl, hooking away happily uninterrupted for 
a hours. It was bliss!

It was my birthday on Friday. As per usual this week, the day started off
cloudy and rainy. But in the early afternoon, just as we were setting
off for Derbyshire, the rain finally stopped. The skies cleared and
the sun came out, making our walk around Chatsworth sunny,
beautiful and very happy.

Chatsworth in the sunshine, with my little family plus cakes and lots
of cards and sweet presents. This birthday was a good one.

And I don't mind being forty one. I'm happier now than I was ten
years ago, I can genuinely say this. So older, but happier-- I don't
mind forty one at all.

So that was our week. Before I go I'd like to say thanks for all your
kind and lovely comments especially on the things I've made lately.
They're very much appreciated. Thank you! 

Wishing you a good start to the coming week. See you soon.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Into the Woods

We went for a walk at the Longshaw Estate in Derbyshire on Monday
morning. The estate, which is part of the Peak District, is only a short
drive from Sheffield and is very popular with walkers and ramblers.

We started off from the Longshaw Lodge and followed an easy trail
with great views across the moors.

We walked along streams and meadows dotted with sheep and lambs
and admired the many beautiful flowers lining the footpath.

The girls really liked the play trail, especially the many hiding places
behind twisted branches and fallen trees.

It was time for a snack when we reached the pond. I was glad I'd
brought a flask of tea. It was cold and cloudy, not once did the sun
peek out from behind the clouds the whole time we were there. But
no matter, we were still having a nice time. We shared some bread
with the ducks and they were delighted.

We kept going and went down a path into the woods where, to our
surprise, we found bluebells, lots and lots of them! I've never seen a bluebell wood before, such a delightful sight. We'll definitely come
back next year just to see this again.

We kept going for a bit then decided to head back after awhile.
The girls were complaining that they were tired and hungry- again!
We've had our dose of fresh air and the outdoors. It was time to
 go home-- although not before a pizza lunch in Kelham Island and
a quick shop at Aldi.

So another Bank Holiday Monday spent well, I think. We all had
a great time and we all felt better, as we always do, after spending
time outdoors. The only thing missing was the sunshine. Oh well,
at least it wasn't raining. Maybe on the next Bank Holiday we'll
get lucky.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Party Invites

It's that time of the year again when we start making plans for the
girls' birthdays. They're both June babies, born two years apart
almost to the day. Markie was born on the 13th and Lulu arrived via
elective c-section on the 14th. June gets a bit busy around here as
you can imagine, but it's a nice and fun sort of busy. We do different things for each of them on their birthdays but they usually have
 a joint party and this year it's on Saturday the 6th.

Parties need invitations and this time I made my own again. I've used
 my typewriter to write the message and I'm pleased that I did. It has really made the job easier and quicker. Then I just added the balloons
using craft paper cut in small circles and drew the balloon strings
 with a pencil. They're simpler compared to the ones I made
last year but I like them just as much.

It's been fun making these invites. I hope all of Markie and Lulu's
friends will come. They're both very excited about it and are really
looking forward to all the fun and games. They've been to friends'
parties and now they can't wait to have their own. I'm hoping, as
always, that it will be a good one for both of them. I'm sure it will be.

The sun is shining brightly here this morning. I hope it's the same
where you are. Have a lovely Wednesday!

Friday, 15 May 2015

A Pirate Costume

This week I have been busy putting together a pirate costume
for Markie. Their topic at school this half term is titled 'A Pirate's
Life for Me' and all their learning are linked to pirates. As it's the end
of half term next week, their class is having a pirate dress up day.
And of course, as the costume maker in this house, I have to come
up with something that she can wear for this fancy dress day.

I started off by having a look in Pinterest for inspiration. I also looked
in her closet to see if there's anything she can use and found her red
and white stripey dress. She can wear a waistcoat over it and with
 a bandanna and an eye patch I thought she'd look piratey enough.
So that was decided, but first I had to make the waistcoat.

I've never made one before and just wanted something that
would look sort of like a waistcoat. I made a pattern based on one
of her shirts and this had three pieces- two for the front and one for
 the back. They were sewn together and this is how it turned out:

The fabric I used was leftover from her ladybird costume. It's
so flimsy I've had to line it with calico but it also saved me from
having to deal with hems so that turned out okey.

To add a little pirate touch, I embroidered this skull and cross bones
and created a badge.

 The armholes don't quite match and it's all uneven but it's wearable
and I think it goes well with the stripey dress. I'm actually pleased
 with it-- I didn't have to buy any of the materials, Markie likes it
 and most of all it fits!

I hope our girl pirate will have lots and lots of pirate fun at school
on Tuesday. Once again it's been a pleasure making her a costume.
I do wonder though what the next half term' s theme will be...

Hope it's been a nice week for you all. Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Just my type

Over the weekend I spent a lot of my spare time typing away in my
old typewriter. I've just replaced the ribbons with new ones
 and the weekend's typing job was invitation cards for the girls'
 birthday party.

My typewriter is an Empire Aristocrat (fab name don't you think?),
 a portable manual that I found in an antiques centre awhile ago.
 I bought it because I like typewriters and I thought it would be
 fun to have one at home. It comes out of its case every now
and again and I like to tinker with it. The girls like it too and
I have enjoyed 'introducing' them to this useful and interesting
 old machine. Their fascination with it when it's out on the table
and it is being used is something I love and enjoy.

The Aristocrat is not pretty nor colourful like the more collectible
 models from the 1950's but it works well. There are a couple of
sticky keys but I'm used to them now and it's actually quite
easy to use.

As for my typewriting skills, they need a bit of polishing but I still
remember the 'qwerty' keyboard and I can type without looking
at the keys- all thanks to typing classes in high school. Back then
we all used typewriters. It's a different world now but it's good to see
that these humble writing machines are not completely forgotten.
 There's a growing interest and people like collecting them.
 It's good that they're not all ending up in museums or worse,
the scrapheaps. I think it would be a great shame if they did.

I still have a few more invites to do, plus the envelopes and
I might even make little thank you cards. More typing work for
me then-- and more typing fun!

I hope you've all had a nice weekend. It's sunny here today,
 although a little bit on the windy side. Hope it's nice and
lovely where you are. Happy Monday!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Beach Treasures

We love beachcombing and these were the little treasures we collected
on our recent holiday in Robin Hood's Bay - seashells, stones, a small
piece of drift wood, a broken tile, a fossil. The seashells, particularly
the ones in the first photo, were plentiful and easily found. The stones
were chosen for the colours and shapes. The small white stone (lower
left in the photo) reminded us of Bonting, Alfie's pet stone in the Shirley
Hughes story. I think the bigger, yellow stone is a meteorite. My husband
found the fossil further along the beach near the cliffs. It does look
like a fossil, although exactly what it is we don't know. I'm none the
wiser about the shells either which has made me want to have a
good seashell identification book because I'd love for us to learn more.
That will be something to look out for the next time I'm in a charity or
second hand bookshop, or even in car boot sales.

I've cleaned all our beach finds and I'm planning to store them in a
tin labelled with the date and beach where we found them. Previously we've just kept whatever beach things we've brought back from the seaside in plastic bags and forgot all about them as soon as we got
home. Mrs.Tiggywinkle has inspired me to look after them better.
They are part of our holiday memories and we really should keep them well. I hope we'll have many more tins full of beach treasures
after this first one.

Monday, 4 May 2015

A fine day out

After two days of cold and rainy weather, the sun finally came out
 today, the last day of this Bank Holiday weekend, and he had his hat on!
It was too nice a day to just stay at home so off we went to the sculpture park to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. We always love coming here
and I think the park looks even lovelier at this time of year. The whole
landscape looked so green and fresh. It was a pleasure to be out and
about there today.

The current Henry Moore exhibition is brilliant. But there were also our
old favourites like Barbara Hepworth's  'Family of Man' and Sophie
Ryder's Lady-Hare 'Sitting'. We were delighted to see the 'Galloping
Horse' is still there galloping away. 

In the time that we were there we did a fair bit of walking, had loads
 of fresh air and enjoyed all the fantastic artworks we saw. I think it's 
been a Bank Holiday Monday well spent. We went home tired,
 but happily so.