Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Egg Bunnies and Butterflies

The girls and I had a go at painting and decorating hard-boiled eggs
this morning. It's the school's Easter egg decorating contest tomorrow
and they are both super egg-cited!

We've never painted eggs before; it was messy and very fiddly. 
Lucky that we used kids' washable paint. It made cleaning those
messy little hands much easier and although we had to paint
several coats and it took ages, the colours came out all right once
they've dried. 

As you can see we used egg cups when we were painting. They were
very handy - the girls painted one end first and when it dried, we turned
the egg over and did the other side. 

So what did we make? Well, meet Lulu's three little egg bunnies. They
have craft paper ears, googly eyes and pom-pom tails and noses.

And these are Markie's butterflies. They too have googly eyes and
craft paper for their wings and like the bunnies, they have cupcake
holder beds.

There are so many brilliant ideas for decorating eggs in Pinterest
and that's where I saw those bunnies. The butterflies are our own
little creation. We'd have tried making a ladybird too but we didn't
have any polka dot paper. Oh well, we'll try that one next year.

These were all a team effort - they painted, I made sure they covered
all the surfaces; I cut out the ears and wings, they glued them on together with the eyes, tails and noses - and we're very pleased with them all. The girls fancy themselves winning tomorrow. There will be
 one winner per class including nursery and the prize is a giant
chocolate egg. If it's up to me they'll both win because they did an
egg-cellent job (sorry!). Those bunny tails should earn extra points
just for cuteness! But, of course, I'm biased. We'll have to wait
and see tomorrow. Wish them luck!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Lenten Stitches

It's that time again in the Lenten season when small squares
of fabric are collected from parishioners in our church and made
into a patchwork 'Fabric of Suffering'. Each piece of fabric represents
our worries and anxieties and sewn together and brought to the altar
on Good Friday, symbolizing our unity in suffering with Christ. It's a
tradition I find moving and heartening and has made Lent, especially
Holy Week, an even more special, hopeful and meaningful time for me.

And it's now a little tradition for me to embroider the fabric that we
bring to church.  I don't really have to but I like sewing by hand and
 I always love the quiet moments when I'm stitching and I think of
what this fabric means to me and my family. This year's embroidery was
inspired by Markie's school project which was a collage of the four seasons.
I thought it was very fitting - day in , day out, through the changing seasons,
we pray that we stay faithful, that we are happy, safe and healthy. It's all our
hopes, plans and dreams for 2016 in this small square of fabric.

I started by cutting out a paper template of a tree and traced this
on to the linen, chose the threads and stitches and did the sewing.

I used stitches I know well - back stitch, long and short stitch,
lazy daisy stitch, French knots - and one that's new to me -
cable chain stitch which I used for the snow in the winter tree.

The new stitch was from this dictionary, a beautiful and useful book
 I found in a charity shop ages ago. I'm always inspired whenever I
have a look at it and hopefully I'll have another stitchy project to
work on later in springtime or the summer.

I really enjoyed making this from start to finish and I am looking
forward to bringing it to church later in the morning. School breaks
up on Thursday so we can all go to church on Good Friday. We'll
see our fabric make up the garment with everyone else's. It will be
moving and beautiful and as always, I'm grateful that we can take part.

I hope you're all having a nice, relaxing weekend. It's cold again and
if it's the same where you are, I hope you stay warm and cosy today.
See you soon.

(You can see the previous years' Lenten stitches here and here)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Hello Spring

We went for a walk in Ecclesall Woods and around Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet on Sunday morning. It was a perfect spring day, the sun shining
warm and the breeze quite cool, to borrow Dickens' words: it felt like 'summer in the light, and winter in the shade'. Who could resist being
outdoors on such a beautiful day? We squeezed in this walk between
church and the supermarket shop and in the afternoon, we played and
pottered about outside for as long and as much as we can. Monday
was very much like this and today, after a drizzly, murky start, looks
set to be another sunny, mild and lovely day. I am loving spring
very much; I'm glad it's finally here.

I have my embroidery threads, hoop and needle out this week for my
Lenten fabric and I am so enjoying all the hand stitching. I'm hoping
to finish it by the weekend - Sunday, I think, is the last day for bringing
them in. I hope to share it here with you before then.

We've had some spectacular sunsets lately, a whole spectrum of
colours in the sky, from coral to grey, purple to aquamarine. It's a brief,
ever-changing, captivating colour show and we see it all. Just brilliant.

I hope you're having a fine Wednesday whatever you're up to today.
Take care and enjoy the rest of this week!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Making + Made

Hello. How was your week? Very good, I hope. I want to say
a big thank you for all your lovely and encouraging words about our
pop up restaurant in my last post. We really appreciate them. Thanks
also for your well wishes for Lulu. She still has a niggling ear infection 
but she's got oral antibiotics for that and she's generally well again,
 back to her usual chatty, chirpy self which is fantastic. She's at
gymnastics with Markie this morning so I have a couple of hours
to put my feet up, have a cup of tea, do some blog writing and reading.

I thought for my post today I'll share with you what I've been making
and have made over the last two months. It's not much, actually.
There's my crochet blanket which I've been working on throughout
the winter and which I'm quite determined to finish by Springtime.

I decided after Christmas that I'll try and concentrate on this before
starting other similarly big projects so most evenings I usually have
this on my lap, adding row after row while we watch television. And
the good news is I'm now less than ten rows away from the finish line
- yay! Hopefully I'll have this all finished and ready to share with you 
in a few weeks' time. I can't wait. I'd like to get back to my other
WIP, my flower cushion cover, and make this Orla Kiely tea towel 
into a cushion cover. 

I've just remembered that I also need to start on my Lenten stitches,
my square of fabric that I'll give to church to make the 'Fabric of 
Suffering' for Holy Week. I'll probably start this sooner than later -
Holy Week is only a week and bit away!

For things I've made, there's not much, and again, it's because of
my crochet blanket. I did dust down my sewing machine to make
these cushion covers for mother-in-law.

She asked me to make her these for Mother's Day and I was happy
to oblige. It was actually nice to do some sewing again after months
of crochet, and it has inspired me to turn that tea towel into a lovely
 new cushion - soon!

Back in February, Lulu had a Superheroes Day in nursery and all the
children had to wear a super hero costume. I didn't really want to
buy anything new so it was lucky that a friend sent the girls a couple
of Super Girl capes and we found a mask to match. 

I appliqued her name to an old t-shirt to complete the outfit
and that was her costume made.

Markie's project for last term was to make a Nature Log and 
I helped her make a little scrapbook to write down the things
she's observed while out on our walks and also to keep various
bits and pieces she's picked up like leaves, sticks, etc.

I got this idea somewhere online to make a book out of paper bags
so we can insert dried leaves and things she's collected and she
can write something about it on the 'pages'. She did all the writing,
stamping and drawing, I helped bind the bags together with hole
punches and pieces of string. It came out really good actually, 
I'm thinking of making them for the girls for the summer holidays.

So that's my little round up of making and crafting. I was hoping
to join Jennifer's Winter Project Link Party but I think I'm too late
for that now. Hopefully next month.

Time to pick up the girls. Thanks again for your comments
from last time. Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Snow, Spring and Mothering Sunday

Hello. How are you? It's a beautiful Monday afternoon here, bright and
clear but very cold. Spring was very much in the air and on the ground
at the beginning of last week but it had felt so much more wintry
over the weekend. It even snowed on Friday. It came down thick and
fast and lasted for a few hours but thankfully, it didn't settle and was
gone by late afternoon. We only had mild frost this morning but the hills over in Derbyshire, the ones that we can see from our front windows,
 are still covered in snow. I'm still optimistic about Springtime though
- it is coming, it's on its way. It's just taking its sweet time getting here.

We had a busy weekend. We had our fourth pop up restaurant last Saturday, but at a different venue from our usual. My husband and
 his team of two had a smaller kitchen to work in, we had to set up the place ourselves and provide the cutlery, tableware, etc. We managed it
all somehow and the evening actually went really well. We're so delighted and we made a good profit too which is very important.  As always,
 we're exhausted afterwards. Mothering Sunday yesterday was a quiet,
 let's-not-do-much sort of day as a result but it was lovely and happy. Lulu made a beautiful necklace for me at nursery and I got a handmade
 card from Markie. In the afternoon we had a little Mother's Day party complete with cupcakes and balloons. It was all the girls' idea and
 they enjoyed it all as much as I did which, for me, made the day
 even more special and wonderful.

Today I have Lulu with me at home. She's a bit poorly and not really
up to going to nursery this morning so we've been taking it easy-
Cbeebies, lunch on the sofa, lots of cuddles. She seems to be better
this afternoon, so fingers crossed she's now on the mend.

I hope your Monday is going well. I have a lot of blog reading to do -
hope to catch up with you all soon. Take care and have a good week!