Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Endo- something day!

Oh today was a good day... This morning a parcel arrived from Bubs addressed to Master Benny Angel. He brought it to the window sill to open it...
What's inside I wonder?
A new strawberry-berry hat :-)

Joy of Joys!! Benny has been so upset since the loss of his hat. It was certainly the most dramatic and painful thing that has happened to him in his 2 and a half years. He has nightmares about it (literally) and the wind- who blew his strawberry hat off- has become his enemy and he is always very concerned about other things (like me) blowing away.

The delight on this little boys face when he saw his new strawberry hat, but that's not all... a tiny, tiny one for Lambie too!

My gorgeous strawberry hatted boy :-)

Today was an Endo-something day for me too (apart from the 25 mins I spent 'on hold' this morning trying to get through mountains of red tape grrr!)

This is a shop in our neighbouring village where Rebe goes to school.

It is a very, very old fashioned drapers shop and it is where I have to buy Rebe's school uniform from.
Basically, there is a long counter, a few towels and pinnies, socks and table cloths and then the school uniforms out the back. The back room looks as though it was some kind of tailors shop long ago. On a long table there is an old sewing machine with scissors still resting against it. Bobbins with threads on, needles and pin cushins and a sweet old iron are all still there where, whoever it was, left them after their last day's work. It is truly like stepping back into the Ireland of old ( I really love it there and the little old lady who runs it - Mrs Harrington- is ever so sweet.)

While I was there buying Rebe her uniform in the summer, I spotted that in the back of the shop there were shelves and shelves of dusty old bags of wool. 'Oh I didn't know you sold wool' said I. Turns out she doesn't anymore, but still has a little old stock.

Since the summer I have been buying the odd ball of wool from her for small projects like Benny's pirate hat. What I like about her yarn the most is that nearly all of it is 100% wool (my yarn of choice). This is because it is vintage yarn and has been lying about her shop for decades, the Blarney Woollen Mill ceased making wool in 1973!

Any of you that knit know that 100% wool yarn is difficult to get and is also rather expensive (I would pay about 3.50 euro for a 50g ball of the plainest, simplest wool) and she had shelves of it that she was selling cheap. After a bit of thought and plucking up the courage I made her an offer to take all of her odd balls off her hands for a hundred quid. It has taken her about 3 months to sort through it all, but today finally I went and got it...

A boot full of yarn. I'm in knitters heaven.

It is mostly odd balls , perects for dolly sweaters and hats. And here and there there is enough for kiddies sweaters or a dress or longies. Here are some of my favourites...

Now I only need to think of a way to sort, organise and store it all?

I would love to share a bit too, would anyone be interested in a vintage Irish wool give away?

Now where are my needles?

I hope you had an endo-something day too x

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Endo-something Book

About 10 years ago, my life was pretty upside down and I felt unhappy quite often. At the time I was living with my dearest friend who gifted me this book... She brought it back from a trip to Maui. After a bit of thought I decided that it would be my 'Endo-something' book. It got it's name from my trying to explain (probably very drunkenly) to my friend what I was going to use it for. I wanted a book that would release endorphins in my brain every time I looked at it (only I couldn't remember the word endorphin, hence Endo-something). I wanted a book that would make me smile and laugh and rejoice and feel happy every time I looked at it. It is still very special to me, although gladly I hardly ever need to look in it because I feel sad. I thought I'd share it with you here and a little of it's contents... On the opening page, to set the scene, is this quote from Roger Hargreaves... 'If you ever feel as miserable as Mr Miserable, well you know what to do...just turn the corners of your mouth up!' There are no rules as to what I put in this book, only that it must make me smile or laugh. So I have included... Photos of times and things that made me laugh and still do. (Elaine do you remember how that troll just kept turning up!... Nick: the world's smallest banana in Mshiri)
I write down little things that happened, scenes, that were funny
special photos
postcards of great places I've been (with great people)
newspaper cuttings of good things I have done (this was when we were helping the home birth insurance campaign in 2008)
quotations from songs that meant a lot at the time.
Funny news paper clippings
This is a small bag of stones that I found in my shoe after Andy threw me into the sea on our first date (romantic guy eh?!)
Memories of babies, look at Rebe's tiny, tiny foot print.
Benny's birth page, the top line of numbers is my timing the contractions, my emergency hospital bag list, our lists of possible names.
There are quite a lot of special flowers I have pressed, these were from my friends' wedding cake. And of course special pictures drawn by Rebe. This was her first ever 'person' picture.

It is so full of so many special memories and things, the above is only a snippet. The good thing is there are still so many pages to fill! To some extent this blog is an Endo-something blog also filled with great memories and pictures. But there is something special about being able to hold these memories in my hands.

Do you have an endo-something book? If not, I can't recommend them highly enough?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

just for fun...

We had a lovely relaxing day yesterday. I went off without the kids to do the food shopping. When I got back we made a healthy (ish) carrot cake and prepared for our special dinner. Rebe's school reading book has been about a little girl who is having a fancy dress party for her birthday. We decided to recreate the story, costumes, food and all... The robot needed a yellow box...Joa really enjoyed joining in! He did get a bit yellow though ;-) We took lots of pictures of the dinner and we plan to copy some of the script from Rebe's book and then print off her own version of the book to take to her class. I'll share it here when finished. I love doing these sort of projects. They take up a whole day, they really fire our imagination, they are something we all do together and they are so much fun! I also finished this little lady...She is a custom order for a friend of mine's daughter. I actual think she looks a lot like her. Can't wait to introduce them. And now just for fun.... Who is who? I have always felt that all my kids look so alike, and then I found a baby picture of me too... do you know who is who? Answer given tomorrow x

Friday, March 25, 2011

A rare sighting...

Yesterday, for the first time ever, a very rare sight was seen here Under Rainbows... 'Lio', Rebe's imaginary friend! I can't believe I even managed to get a picture of him! Lio has been Rebe's friend for about 3 years now. He was around a lot up until about a year ago. He was the projection of what Rebe wanted to be: he could climb to the top of the tallest tree, he could jump off things really high up, he would tackle bullies. He is a little boy with yellow hair, his mum has brown skin and is called Fiona and is often pregnant. I know so much about this little boy but never 'met' him before. He is hardly around now. Rebe has grown into her body and her confidence in her self is great, so I guess in a way she's grown into him and doesn't need him in the same way anymore. Still it was a special treat to meet him :-)

The weather has been so warm and lovely that all our afternoon are spent outside, in the garden, on the beach or in the woods.
Look sandals!! :-)
Joa had his first explore (and taste) of the beach...
swishing his hands through the sand

delighting in the new smells, tastes and textures (look at those massive top teeth, no wonder he was cranky!)

playing a very deliberate game of placing handfuls of sand on my leg. It's always so thrilling watching the children discovering something for the first time. One of the special things about parenthood.

Yesterday Rebe made this hobby horse, pretty much all by herself...
She and Benny were fighting over the one we had so I suggested she made her own. I got her an old sock of Andy's and an old mop handle and some stuffing. I helped where required and requested but it is very much her own horse....and she loves him!

I think he's pretty cool! And boy can he gallop fast :-)
Wow it's been a busy week here, and we have quite a full weekend ahead, but all lovely plans and nothing too taxing and lots of crafting. I'm working on 2 dolls I have on order and a wee rainbow cardi for a friends new babe.
Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bake along: Raisin Bread

Following the success of our bread making morning a few friends and I have decided to get together once every couple of weeks for a bake along. It is a lovely idea; a group of mummies following once recipe together, sharing ingredients, stories, tea and the washing up, while our children played together or helped if they wanted. I thought you might like to bake along too...

Raisin Bread

To make 1 loaf (we halved it and made a small loaf each)

500g strong white flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
150g raisins
125g milk
125g warm water
1 large egg
2 tbsp orange marmalade

Put flour, salt, yeast and raisins in a mixing bowl.
Measure water and milk together and add egg. Whisk together.
Add wet ingredients to dry and add marmalade.
Mix together with a hand or wooden spoon. When it becomes difficult to stir turn out onto a floured surface (preferably without a tablecloth on Laura!)
Knead the dough for about 10 mins or until it is no longer sticky. Add more flour if required.
Leave the dough to prove in an oiled bowl under cling film or dish cloth. Leave in a warm place until the mixture is double the size.
Reshape your dough and put into a greased bread tin. Cover and let it prove again for about 30 mins.
Bake in middle shelf of a preheated at 220C oven for 12 mins then turn down to 190C and bake for a further 10 mins. Do hollow tap test to make sure it's down.
While cooling mix a glaze (1 tbsp granulated sugar dissolved in 2 tbsp warmed water) and brush the top and sides of your loaf with the glaze. (If you have golden syrup this is also lovely brushed on as a glaze).

Recipe from The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fernley- Whittingstall & Fizz Carr
Our next bake along will be Pizza :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Needle felted jacket tutorial

My littlest man is growing so fast, he's got 4 teeth, cruising and getting into everything. He is also growing out of many of his clothes including his wee jacket, so I decided to make him one... I'm so pleased with how it came out and i would like to share with you how I did it :-)

It is made from an upcycled man's sweater. I found this navy one in a charity shop for 1.50 Euro. It is 100% lambs wool, you do need it to be pure wool or as close to as you can find. Put it into the washing machine on the hottest wash it does with a little of your normal detergent and a towel which helps to agitate it. When it comes out it, it should be smaller and thicker, leave it to dry flat.

Now you need to make your pattern. I made my own using Joa's coat as a guide, but you can use a 'proper' pattern if you prefer, I'm sure there are loads out there. This is the little coat that Joa has been wearing and I wanted to make something similar (but without the hood). I laid it onto brown paper and drew the front body shapes, the back and also a sleeve. I then drew around them again giving myself an extra inch. This gives me a seam allowance and also gives Joa room to grow.

After cutting out the individual pattern pieces I matched them up at the shoulders and sides to make sure that the front and back would fit together, trimming any excess.

Pin the pattern pieces to your sweater and cut out. I used pinking shears although I think if your sweater is well enough felted you don't have to do this, normal scissors will do.

I cut the sleeves off keeping the cuff, rather than having to make a cuff. I also used the bottom of the sweater as the bottom of my jacket, again keeping the edge.

So you have 2 fronts, a back and 2 intact sleeves.

Now you can start sewing them together.

With right sides facing sew along the shoulder on both sides.

Now to attach the sleeve. With right side out place the sleeve as if the arm were folded over the chest. Then open the sleeve to place a pin at the top inside edge securing the top of the sleeve to the top of the shoulder . Sew around the inside of the sleeve, attaching it to the inside of the arm hole (gosh this sounds mental...perhaps I should have had more coffee before trying to write this...I hope you get what I mean).

Once you have attached the sleeves you can do any hemming needed. I put a hem along the open edges of the front, the neckline and I also hemmed the bottom of the jacket as I had vastly over estimated how much growing room Joa needs (I mean he's not 12 lol!!).

Turn back the right way and mark with pins where you would like to put the buttons and button holes (buttons go on the left front and holes on the right for a wee boy).

Now for the decorations. I had never needle felted onto fabric before so I thought it wise to have a wee practice first. There are some good tutorials out there and I find youtube particularly useful, but I feel with needle felting the best thing to do is just to have a go... but basically put thin layers of wool roving onto your felted fabric and stab repeatedly with a needle felting needle. Build up colour and shape, one you start you won't be able to stop it's lots of fun :-)

I put decorations on the front and the back (scroll down for more pictures).

Now cut in your button holes.
I used one of those thread cutter thingies, but a good sharp scissors will also do. Make sure when you cut them that your buttons will fit through, and do it slowly so they don't get too big.

Sew on the buttons in place so that they are in line with button holes.

Stitch around the outside of the button holes with embroidery thread, using blanket stitch. This is not totally necessary, but it will keep your button holes from ripping and also looks quite cute if you used different colour threads on each hole.

And there you go, you've made a completely fabulous jacket that cost practically nothing. Here are some more pictures of mine...

The back: a hedgehog and butterfly

The front: a snail, toadstool and bee

My dear little Joa wearing it...

Happy crafting!