Monday, 19 January 2009

First Barbecue of the Year

So, Saturday evening saw us off to our first barbecue of the year. That's right, a barbecue, in January. My friend Jayne had decided it would be a good idea to get her husband to cook the food, as she had a houseful of guests. And a good idea it was. We had fabulous food - thanks David and Jayne, some good company and a memorable evening. We set off in pouring rain, through the lanes to where they live. There were bits of tree and branches all over - and I forgot my famous homemade salsa! But, on we went. The plan was to leave the car, so drinks could be drunk, and to get a taxi home. The weather was so awful I did consider drinking tea, and driving home, but the wine and offer of cocktails won out.

Time comes to head for home, so, we're in the taxi, nearly home... and the road is flooded. And on the other side a car is being pulled out onto a recovery truck. So, we turn round, and head for the next lane along. In all we had to turn around three times before we could get through, it's the same stream that crosses all of the roads we needed to get past. A very interesting journey, and the sat nav didn't show any of the smaller lanes we were using, so the very trusting taxi driver believed us when we told him we could get through. The road was still half flooded when we went back to get the car on Sunday afternoon in the wintry sunshine, but you could get through.

Anyway, the picture shows the gingerbread house that we finally got around to making at the weekend. It was a kit with everything included, we just had to put it together with icing and imagination. The dodgy icicles are my doing, not too bad for a first attempt with an icing bag, I think.

Sarah x

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Reclaim the Weekend

Hmmn, time really has flown since I last posted. The girls are back at school. I'm back at work, so is Mark, but he's still on a four day week, even after his extended Christmas break. Hopefully there won't be another layoff for him. We're getting used to the lower income (we think) and are definitely getting used to having him at home all weekend, so, we're wondering if we can keep our spending down enough for him not to do overtime when (if!) the work picks up.

I read an article in Country Living, about reclaiming the weekends, and that seems like such a lovely idea. So, last weekend we tried to do just that, it nearly worked. I tried to keep the dreaded housework to a minimum by keeping on top of everything during the week. But Saturday afternoon did see me tackling the ironing basket, before Mark took over, and I got on with having a good sort out in the front room.

Our front room - it's home to two computers, and their desks, all of my crafting stuff (paper crafts, sewing, knitting etc etc), our cds and dvds some books and most of our paperwork - all in a room about 10 by 16 feet. It is also home to school bags, handbags and the air con unit for the conservatory - oh, and it has a large fireplace with an open fire. It's a room that really has to be kept on top of - but I love it. It's bright and airy, and often has at least two of us in here. It's also the favoured place for the cat. On my table, by the radiator.

Anyway, after it was all spick-and-span and a pleasant place to be again, the crafting could begin. So the felt project was finally completed.

Project? It looks like an egg cosy. Well, ok, it is an egg cosy. but, I did have to trawl the depths of my brain to remember how to do blanket stitch. Hang on, he looks a bit like Zebedee perched on that Christmas Cracker egg cup.

There, that's better. Oh, but now he has three legs. But very glamorous legs at that, let's look closer...

He's sat on one of my Three French Egg Cups (there used to be four, but one got broken!) And what seems to be a miniature egg - but no, it's the egg cups that are large. Are French eggs bigger than British eggs? I don't know, do you?

The pattern for the Owl Egg Cosy came from this blog, with a few tweakings by me. It's the same lady that designed the cat that we made in the last posts. Well worth a look if you have time.

In other news, we now have another car. And I think it's all working out beautifully - as I like to say, it will all work out in the end. Ever the optimist...

Sarah x

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Felt Cat

So, here's the cat that Phoebe made. Isn't he just so sweet. I like the way they all look so different. I like that she just got on with it, no inhibitions, just bringing it to me occasionally to start off or finish off a thread.

The girls went back to school today, so there will be a bit less making, I think. I've got a felt owl that's nearly finished.... And I want to have another go at the crochet. I found a blogger yesterday who does some fabulous crochet, and if I knew how to link to it I would. One day soon I'll learn, promise. Anyways, my sister lent me two books today, one of them called "Learn to Crochet", so, I think I will.

Off to go and watch the Ann Frank programme, the girls and I saw the first episode last night, I thought it was really good, gave the feeling of being cramped so well. And the mother's face, as she sat at the table, and realised that this was now her world. Her face, and knowing the story just brought me to tears.

Sarah x

Sunday, 4 January 2009


Not much happening this weekend. We took all of the Christmas decorations down yesterday. So the house looks lovely and clean, just a little empty. We did leave up one set of lights, but as we've always got fairy lights somewhere around the house it doesn't count as leaving your decorations up past 12th night.

This is the felt I mentioned yesterday. Aren't the colours gorgeous? The larger pieces came from Gallery Textiles, and the smaller pieces from Hobbycraft. I have got something on the go using some of this, but no pictures yet.

Sarah x

Friday, 2 January 2009

In the Bleak Midwinter

Ok, so we had a lovely low-key New Year's Eve. My sister and her family came round for a meal - Sea Food, Steak and Chips, followed by Simon's Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Ameretto sauce. We played some very rowdy games of Uno, then the children went off to do whatever they do, and we sat, chatted and had a few drinkies. Mom and Dad had been to their friends for a meal, so they all came and joined us at about 11, and we saw in the New Year.

New Year's Day, I woke to this view from my bedroom window...

A very, very hard frost.

Then, this morning, this is the view...

Lovely blue skies. Oh, and while I was hanging out of the window taking these photos, resident cat, Charlie Moggins came to help...

This is his preferred method of entry and exit, especially at night. He goes out of the bedroom window, along the window ledge, jumps onto the conservatory roof and descends to the garden via the fence... Or, as this morning, the conservatory roof was still a little frosty, he slides down the length of the roof sideways, before coming to an ungainly stop in the gutter! So far, he's never actually slid right off the roof.

So, back to New Years Day, we had a Pyjama Day, with us girlies spending most of the day sewing these "Mini Kittens", from issue 1 of Sew Hip! (a sewing magazine)

Mine's on the left, and Luu's is in the right. Phoebe's is nearly finished, and a similar version, but simplified for a ten year old who has never really hand sewn before - pics to follow shortly. They were fairly easy to make, although they did take hours. But, there was lots of chat and laughter and watching of TV at the same time. Oh, and they are smaller than we expected, do things always look bigger in photos?

We've been out and about today, and bought ourselves some more felt. Phoebe bought herself some more Fimo, and Luu spent her Christmas Money on some very snazzy watercolour crayons - so think there will be some more makes in the next few days. Oh, and I bought myself a crochet hook - eek! I've already tried to do something more than the chain stitch I already know - but somehow managed to get stitches along the length of the hook, too much knitting lately, methinks. My second attempt does look more like crochet, if a little untidy. Something to practice in front of the telly, I think.

Sarah x