Thursday, 20 August 2009

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Hippy nappies

Dan has banned me from posting photos of him, which is his prerogative, just don't want you thinking I'm neglecting him.
Here are extra pics of Abi to make up for it. We have started using washable nappies, sometimes terries which are surprisingly fab, and sometimes these hippy disana ones which are less practical but very slimline, good at containing the business and very cosy looking. Sooo cute!

We (well I actually, B is tolerant of this but not actually actively involved!) started out using cheap plastic knickers, but B is apparently traumatised by the memory of their rustle, and so they are being replaced by knitted merino disana wool soakers...oooh!
They are treated with lanolin to make them waterproof. They are not slimming!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Knitted Gnome Doll Pattern

As promised, here is the pattern for Abi's gnome doll. I have never written a pattern before so i hope it goes OK, its a pretty simple pattern so hopefully you'll be able to fathom it out. It was made out of the leftover wool and cotton I had lying around. (Please see previous post for further action shots!)
Tension - not crucial as long as it is tight enough to stop stuffing poking through, so use needles a couple of sizes smaller than those recommended for whatever wool you are using. I used dk/worsted weight throughout, and knitted the doll with 3.25 mm needles, although the hat is also dk/worsted and knitted on 4mms.
Foot - cast on 10 sts.
P 1 row
(K1, K twice into next stitch) repeat to end of row (15 stitches)
Work 7 rows stocking stitch and change to main colour.
Work 2 rows stocking stitch
*Next row - knit twice into first stitch, knit accross to last stitch, knit twice into last stitch (17 sts)
Work 3 rows stocking stitch.*
Repeat from * to * until there are 23 stitches, and leave on a holder. Work a second leg in the same, and then knit accross all 46 stitches.
Body - Work about 30 rows of stocking stitch, or until the body is just a bit longer than the legs.
K2tog accross entire row (23 sts).
P 1 row, and change back to head colour.
K twice into each st, and work about 20 rows stocking stitch.
K2 tog accross next row
P 1 row
K2 tog accross to last stitch, k1 (12 sts)
Cut wool leaving a long thread the draw up remaining stitches and fasten off.
Arm - cast on 8 stitches
P 1 row
(K1, K twice into next stitch) repeat to end of row (12 sts)
Work 5 rows stocking stitch and change to main colour.
Work 2 rows stoocking stitch
*K twice into first stitch, knit to last stitch, knit twice into last stitch
Work 3 rows stocking stitch*
Repeat from * to * until there are 18 sts, then work shoulder as follows:
K2 tog, knit accross to last st, K2tog
P 1 row
Repeat the last 2 rows until 10 sts remain, cast off quite tightly. Work another arm the same.
Hat - cast on 34 stitches (don't forget to use normal size needles for this, I changed colour every 4 rows)
Work about 6 rows garter stitch
Work 4 rows stocking stitch
Decrease at each end of next row
Work 3 rows stocking stitch
Decrease at each end of every following right side row until 6 sts remain.
Work 6 rows stocking st on these 6.
Cut wool leaving a long thread to draw up sts and fasten off.
Sew up the seam down the back of the head and body, using corresponding colours to match knitting. Sew up one leg and leave the other open to turn right side out and stuff, then sew that one up too. Sew up each arm seam and stuff before attaching to body. If you attach the top of the should almost where the body meets the head, the arms will lie at a nice angle. Using the same wool as used for head, sew running stitches around neck, wrists and ankles, pull tight to shape these areas, tie the threads and hide the ends inside the doll.
Sew up the seam of the hat, and then sew neatly onto head.
Done! Please let me know if anything is unclear or wrong.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Gnome Doll

I knitted a gnome doll for Abi. Couldn't be bothered to wait for daylight to take a decent photo!

Abi seemed pretty impressed by the doll before it had a hat. But it looked too strange all bald - much cuddlier now.

D - are you knitting a doll for Abi?
M - yes, I hope she likes it.
D - Will she have lots of dolls?
M - this one should be just fine for now.
D - I expect that when she's older she'll have looaads of dolls...

What is D getting at here? Is there something which he feels he also needs looaads of? If only he were still so easily pleased, but he does have a cupboard full of floppy teddies and other odd projects which he loves a lot, and the knowledge that I only took up these hobbies when I first met him.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Simple piece of Fabric

Abi loves the lovely sling her Pa bought her...but it really gets a bit hot and sweaty for around the house. So I was reading about 'simple pieces of fabric', which I suppose are how most women carry their babies anyway...

...Ben is going to think I have finally lost the plot when he sees this, its just some bit of fabric out of the cupboard (tho I did check out measurements and instructions for using first):
Nice and cool for getting off to sleep round the house. Please don't tell Abi that she might be about to grow out of this cradle-style carry! I think I'll hem the edges when I get time, this could be handy for keeping her happy in this heatwave.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

An outfit for the sling

The sling is hot and sweaty in this weather, so something cool was necessary

Around the house, bare is fine, but out and about she needs her legs covered and everything else cool. This is based on a pinafore in 'all year round' but bodged without pattern. I'm gonna make more with a more generous crotch.
Pretty baby!

I bought enough fabric to make myself a matchy skirt but its too sheer :(

Thursday, 18 June 2009


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Happiness = painting with children

I love painting with Dan sooo much. Painting isn't, however, one of his activities of choice so I felt a bit bad when, after declaring several times that he could not decide what to do and implying that the responsibility for this fell to me, I declared in response that we would paint. There were initially of course the usual groans...mostly I think because painting can all too easily be about the perception of the picture you end up with, rather than the joy of creation. I know I can be guilty of this when doing creative things with Dan, but school has a big influence of childrens' approach to art too. So I love seeing pictures like the top one here which is one of several similar ones he painted for Abi to look at. We stuck a couple up in her corner of the kitchen where she often gets bunged at breakfast time so we don't trip over her.

Hopefully she will enjoy having some shapes and colours to look at now.

We painted a few more too which I've stuck over the crib and I would have taken a photo of but she is in there right now. Dan loved thinking about how she will be looking at these pictures, and he loved using the watercolour pencils and paints in a free way.

I didn't try to take a photo of Dan painting, much as I would have loved to, as he was so absorbed (and to be honest, so was I!) but here is a sneaky one from yesterday's jam tart baking session
and a (possibly) better picture of abi in her sling - I usually make sure she is more symmetrical than that if we were going out!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


My children are hiding! Daniel is a bit shy about having his photo taken today, although I think that's more to do with the fun of running away shrieking than any self-confidence issues! He seemed to enjoy playing up for the camera when I took pictures of him running away!
Abi has been hiding her face in the depths of our green sofa, so that I could take a lovely photo of her bottom. When browsing slings yesterday I decided that tights were in order as her legs will dangle in the new one. And also some slippers. And when I saw these tights with hearts on the bottom...yes they are a bit naff, but also very very sweet.
And here is a dodgy picture of me with Abi in the new sling. She is there right now. She has been there whilst Dan and I made wholewheat pastry for a broccoli quiche (we are having a mostly vegetarian week, the outlaws will be proud!)

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Playing with toys

Abi is nearly 6 weeks old now, and as she starts to smile, she leaves behind that first true newborn stage. She seems to be entering a new level of consciousness, interacting more with her environment and showing a lot of awareness of those around her. She loves it when her brother goes by and sometimes get cross when he goes. Here are some pictures of her playing last week, after which she promptly fell asleep. Its very tiring looking and listening and wondering why your arm keeps flinging up at that pretty bright red thing.

See Abi's pretty lamb? It is very nice, usually living in her crib. It is incredibly soft and has a kind, sleepy face.

Here is something I sewed Abi while she was napping.

It is an idea from a book of homemade toy ideas ben and I have been browsing. Bad photo but I think the idea is that a cloth-bodied doll is nicer for young hands and can be chewed etc, and that the blank expression enables open-ended play. The ones in the book had natural wool fleece hair (choking hazard) or were bald (and therefore odd looking) so I made mine some felt hair. Ben said it is a helmet and started playing silly games with it, so he had to read the page which says we must always treat the dolly with full respect as if it is our baby's baby, so that she can see this example and know we take her games seriously. Maybe its a bit early to worry about that yet, but I didn't like the way Ben was treating Abi's doll...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

A Boot Fair - hurrah!

A sunny day and a boot fair, within cycling distance! I wish I'd managed a better picture but Dan cycles too fast even for maximum zoom! You can see what a lovely sunny day it was.

At the Boot fair Dan found a mighty fine skateboard. Sometimes secondhand things are more fun, and it is less of a big deal when it turns out that (like Ma hinted!) skateboarding might be trickier than it looks!
We had sweets and candyfloss, which was very nice.
Abi did not pay any attention whatsoever, as she enjoys her sling too much. This afternoon she has been inclined to persistent wind, but I think the sling has got her off to slumberland again now.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Milk Spots

No wonder this baby is getting a few milk spots. A bit like some sort of drug addict whose affliction is apparent from the state of their skin, the evidence of Abi's fondness for her two favourite things is clear. The health said they are reassuring as they show she is getting plenty of calories from breastmilk (apparently the calories are relevant to the milk spots) and enjoying all the close contact - to the extent that she gets all clammy and exacerbates the spots. She does not care. I like this photo a lot, as I don't look as odd in it as I usually do in photos. Maybe its something to do with it being black and white. And I look as happy as I feel.

Soon I must post a picture of Dan on his bike, which he has learnt to ride without stabilisers. This is very impressive and exciting. I can't wait to go on a proper bike ride with him sometime. It is half term for a week now (which I didn't realise til he emerged from school with his PE kit for washing today), so there should be plenty of cycling/strolling along the old railway line as long as this lovely weather holds.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


How strange to have 2 such different children, who are brother and sister. Daniel has always just been Daniel until now, and suddenly he is a brother. This seems like such a wonderful thing to be able to give him - a role he can take pride in when it suits him, and ignore when it doesn't. It is nice to think he isn't sort of alone in the world. And lucky Abi has arrived in the world already a sister as well as a daughter.

It is strange to imagine how the next few weeks and months will pan out as they exist on their parallel yet very different time schedules. Daniel has now long understood the significance of the 24 hour day and GMT. He sleeps 7 til 7, eats regular meals, goes to school and plays in the afternoon. Abi functions around a vague 4 hour sort of thing. She wakes up and has a look around. Then she likes to have a little snackeroo, but isn't usually awfully hungry at first. Sometimes she will look dozy for a while. Then she has what I think of as 'Abi chat time'. Every day she seems to open her eyes for a little longer, and has a little time where she is just quiet and thoughtful, looks at things and listens to me waffle on at her. Then she generally has a change, a bigger feed and eventually drifts back off again for a few hours. Of course it doesn't always go like that, sometimes she will sleep for an hour or two and just want a quick feed. Or just get up for a change and snackeroo before dozing off again.

Somehow these two beings co-exist and fit in around each other just about fine. I see some tough mornings ahead where Abi will have to sacrifice some snack and cuddle time to get her big brother to school. And other times where Dan might have to read himself a bedtime story occasionally if Abi is particularly unsettled. But how lovely to think that they will always, always have that special sibling bond.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Abi greets her Public

I really hope this works! Here is a film of Abi after a feed, waving her arms about, doing her guinea pig squeak impression, and being generally cute. She sounds a bit raspy - think its just wind, but am going to ask midwife about it tomorrow as she is quite a noisy breather sometimes, and I can't help worrying as she is so very ickle.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Here are some photos of Abigail Sarah Warton (there may yet be another middle name to let Ben get his say). She is very lovely. I don't know how well they capture her dumplingness.

Here she is soon after delivery.

And getting on with feeding while I had my lunch

And looking quite dumplingy, wondering where the milk went

And meeting her big brother:

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A very nice afternoon

Wow today was hot hot hot! So we had Ben drop us in town on his way to work, and headed to the beach. Only a week or two ago I would have felt too ill to brave such an expedition, but today I really enjoyed being able to take my son out for what might be our last special mummy/daniel afternoon for a little while. It was really nice to stroll about town with my huge bump.

I did take Dan to the beach about a month ago, but could only really manage to just sit there. Today we went paddling, dug in the sand, made castles, buried bits of each other and had lots of chats about this, that and the other. Dan really enjoyed rubbing seaweed into my legs - he used to be a bit scared of seaweed and I think I was meant to find this very disgusting, but it was actually very nice on hot skin! I think you'd pay quite a lot for similar treatment at a health farm place.
In return Dan had me bury his hands and feet, and we lounged about chatting for ages. Dan insisted I take a picture of him in this position (where he looked ready to fall asleep!) and made me take it again when he realised I had left his feet out of the shot! They are nice feet.

And lastly, a picture of Dan scrambling over the breakwaters. Another thing he used to be quite scared of, but is suddenly happy to scale, and has to be reminded that once they get higher than, say 6 foot and are covered in slimy sea gunk they are actually quite dangerous! He was also planning on jumping off one about 5 foot into the sea! Very brave, but fortunately averted. I just can't believe how sunny all these pictures are. I had planned to give Dan a good old dip in the bath tonight but for some reason there wasn't enough hot water (our boiler is sometimes temperamental). So he went to bed rather sandy, but with that glorious smell of sunshine in his hair.

Monday, 13 April 2009


Easter took me by surprise this year. It is very confusing that is on a different date each time. Dan's birthday was once on good Friday, but this year we got a whole week inbetween. Here are some silly fairy cakes which didn't get iced until stupid 'o' clock the night before:They're meant to be rabbits in their burrows, but not sure how successful they were...also completely inedible for adults due to the excessive amount of icing.

We had a little easter egg hunt (which I of course forgot to take any pictures of) after a lovely brekker of boiled eggs and toasted soldiers. Ben helped cook the eggs, which might be why he looks a bit stressed, although I expect he was just enjoying pulling silly faces for camera:

Hope you had a nice Easter too.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A post about Baby

Some proof that there is a baby kicking about in there (not just food!):

Blogger is refusing to let me move photos about today. Those 2 at the top were meant to be inserted in the following text in the appropriate places but I can't be bothered to figure out whats going on there right now, so just use your common sense please.
I now get hooked up to a monitor twice a week for half an hour, and we listen to its heart going bompdybomp and watch the little waves coming out of the machine in a reassuring pattern. I thought I'd take some photos of the traces as they take all the notes away when the baby is born, and I think they're pretty interesting. The top photo is of the first trace taken last week.
That top line with little bumps is the baby's heart. The bottom line shows the very exciting braxton hicks I was also having that day. As each one started, Ben and I could bet on how high we thought they would go. Irritatingly, Ben was much better at this than me.

Next is today's trace. No braxton hicks today. We waited in a stuffy waiting room for 2 HOURS for this, but it was worth it.

And they took more blood, and said my results from last time were closer to normal range. On my (now rather thick) maternity notes is written 'overall = reassuring'. So there you are. Might find out the sex on Thursday!

Monday, 6 April 2009


The night before...

Pressies and cards...


And good pals to share it with...

Sometimes I think it must be so tough being a kid. And other times, not so much!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

New pleasures

Today Daniel enjoyed a new pleasure...that fantastic feeling of satisfaction you get upon completing a crossword. This is from the childrens section of the Grauniad, and he loved the whole process of looking up the right clue, using existing letters for hints, and that on-the-tip-of-tongue experience when you just KNOW what the answer should be but can't quite think of it...

The crossword experience is all the richer for being shared with somebody else, but D was super excited to find he could get some all by himself, and had a good shot at the spelling too. I had a less successful attempt at the grown-up one. Hmm, I need someone to come and help me!

Today has been a day of funny little activities and interludes, but nothing specific. There were some periods spent in the garden (I had a picture of this but blogger not playing nicely), digging and I don't know what whilst I did some chores. And some crafty moments, and Kerplunk, and maths, and helping me sort socks, and a bit of Top Gear followed by Enid Blyton. All the important stuff.
Another very good thing today was a radio programme on Fats Waller. The ratio of talk to music could perhaps have gotten away with being more biased towards the music, but still very interestesting and a good listen. Get it on the radio 4 website now or regret it later.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Spring is now a-coming!


Daffodils and little lammies!


Oh yes, it feels like Spring has definitely arrived this week. Today I did nothing except sit out in the sun with my good neighbour, because I think I overdid it yesterday and felt a bit funny for it. Everywhere I look there are daffodils, except my own border, where there are catkins on the tree, grape hyacinths, and love-in-a-mist starting to spread out too. How lovely! Whenever I see the daffodilies, it reminds me of the picture above, which I took on a picnic with Grandma last spring. I say picnic, but it was actually sandwiches and pop on top of tankerton slopes but, like today, that day really had the feel of new life and warmth in the air. I remember declaring that it was not a day for cleaning, but that we would instead go out in the sun. And so we did. I was very scared that the brakes would fail and grandma would roll away down the slope, which is why we are seated at some distance from each other. I wanted to make sure the back two wheels were on concrete.