Friday, 30 January 2009

Ball for Baby

This week's project theme at unplug your kids is 'ball'. The only ball thing we've done together is a very short game of football at the weekend - it was rather chilly, but fresh air was in order. I did, however, make a ball for the baby this week. I sewed it by hand for once and found it very relaxing. Apparently grown-ups are allowed to join in with the projects too, so I'm posting about it. Here is a picture of it, trying to get close to its future recipient. Its quite small.

Here is a picture of a dinner we had the other day, in our quest to enjoy more nice fresh veggies and have meat less often, so as to justify buying nice stuff from the butchers when we do. I wasn't mad on the couscous because I don't much like kitty (kidney) beans. But we all love roast butternut squash (well, Dan tolerates it - he loved the couscous) and ma's mushroom recipe was absolutely fab. The most important part of making this meal is choosing the most phallic squash possible. They look so funny.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Another 'fashion' post...if you can call it that!

Today I was browsing the internet and I found a new website with lots of good info on pattern cutting, most of which I will always be too inept and lazy to try or understand. But I saw this top and thought - hey I can make that! Then I thought - if I left out the raunchy slits, and used proper wide straps instead of drawstrings, and negotiate the lack of shaping caused thereby with plenty of elastic, and used my bump measurement plus 4" instead of bust plus 3", and shoved a bit of elastic in each side of the hem at the bottom to give it a better might even be a maternity top. That is how my wacky mind ticks over you see. Then I panicked at the thought of these alterations. Then I decided that, if I can imagine them, I can execute them, which is rather optimistic. But here is the not entirely dissatisfactory result (in as far as it fits and is practical and thrifty):
Please excuse the poor photography, it is a bit late - always the best time for sewing. In the end I only used the pattern to get armhole dimensions, which were cut straight rather than the conventional curve. Funnily enough, the armholes are the only part I would change next time (might make a similar nightie). They are too deep, and there is a reason armholes are usually curved - it makes them fit better. Luckily my bust is now large enough to support a looser cut of top, whereas I'd usually need a closer fit for modesty. But it looks OK with a cardi, and I'm really pleased with the elastic at the bottom which almost gives it a slight 'bubble' shape, something I do believe may be slightly fasionable. My choice of brushed pink gingham cotton is decidedly dowdy, but very comfortable and maternal. So there you go.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Lovely Dungarees

What is it about dungarees that is so very reassuring? Maybe because they are so comfy. Maybe because there is no danger of your trousers falling down or cheeky boyfriends lifting up your skirt. No wonder they were adopted by radical feminists as a sort of comfortable chastity belt. I have however always thought it a shame they did that because it sort of made the rest of us feel like we couldn't wear them without it being some sort of statement. Well, here is the statement I am making - Dungarees are lovely. Bring back dungarees! (Apart from cropped dungarees, they should be strictly reserved for children.)You will have to excuse the dreadful photo. I tried to get my face in but it is 6 in the morning, so its probably just as well I didn't. I woke up a couple of hours ago worrying about everything and nothing as I only ever seem to do when pregnant. Normally I reserve these hours for sleep. But I got up and had a nice bath and thought - Dungarees! Now I feel better already. You can't go wrong when you've got dungarees. I feel a good day coming on - woe betide anybody who dares to mock my dungarees in even the most lighthearted manner. (Thankyou Ben for my lovely dungarees and being the best thing ever x)

Friday, 23 January 2009

Friday Declutter Challenge - utensil drawer!

Grrr I don't want to declutter my utensil drawer. I definitely wanted it decluttered, but the idea in the passive tense is more appealing than when it is written in the first person. Never mind, organising queen at says I must, which is very reassuring. As it sounds like we might be moving house within the next couple of months, gradual decluttering is definitely necessary, and there was waayy too much stuff in the utensil drawer. (The challenge was also for the cutlery drawer, but mine just needs a quick wipe out which I'll do later when I wash up. I had a more pressing drawer today!)

That is because it used to be shared between two drawers, one for everyday utensils like wooden spoon, knives and potato masher etc, and the other for baking stuff like spatulas, sugar thermometer (that I've rarely used but love!) etc. I emptied out the overflowing drawer and decided that it was maybe time to revert to that system. But now the 2nd drawer was overflowing with jars of herbs and spices spilling everywhere.

So I sorted those out too. Baking ingredients like baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, arrowroot (what is that?), cream of tartar (same question!) and jelly diamonds went into the baking cupboard, as did some stray bottles of food colouring and flavouring. Some very lovely spices I was given for Xmas in pretty pots that don't actually do up properly - well, I don't use them, and the pots don't work, so I'm afraid they're in the bin. Some open packets of spices went into a tupperware thing where they can hopefully keep a bit longer, and not spill everywhere. My fave spices are in marmite jars which now take up a lot less space, so I can fit some baking stuff back in.

And the rest of the utensils fit a lot better in the other drawer. I chucked out quite a few bits, including defunct oven lighter, broken jacket potato skewers (normal skewers are fine), a cheap, blunt knife, a barbecue thing that is huge and a give-away gadget that makes lovely carrot curls, but it utterly superfluous. The rolling pin is relegated to the pan cupboard because it only fitted in diagonally, which had been bugging me so much. And I was a good girl and made sure to use the opportunity to clean those drawers right out, and then used some bits of double sided tape to stick my chopped up table cloth drawer liners in - hopefully they won't get all bunched up now.

It's gonna take a while for me to get used to the new arrangement. But it feels good. Absolutely knackered now as the midwife came this morning and I had to sit on wooden chair for ages filling in forms, my back is really hurting. Also up with poorly D again last night, though he is a lot better and I got more sleep than the night before. Did manage to bake some cookies though, hurrah!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Poorly Boy

Here is a picture of a boy who is so poorly he didn't even flinch when the super-bright flash went off in his face. The TV is showing some atrocious nonsense possibly about club reps in Majorca or gangsters girlfriends or something (I'm not watching it either but fancied the company) but I have no fear of him absorbing any of its content. He is too poorly.

But I am not too worried about him now, Fimbo is keeping guard from under the blanket there.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Today Barack Obama is President

D has picked up on all the media excitement about Obama, and we've been discussing American politics and history in a brief, vague 6 year old kind of way. I've picked up on all the crafty excitement about Obama's inauguration on the ol' interweb, and eventually decided that being in the UK doesn't need to prevent us from joining in with the celebrations and learning a bit about our friends accross the pond. So we painted the stars and stripes (not very accurate I'm afraid):

And while D was at school I baked some 'cupcakes' which we later decorated with red, white and blue icing and silver balls for the stars (I'd forgotten how horrid silver balls are to actually eat). Meanwhile we had the ceremony blasting enthusiastically from the radio, and finished off with what I told D is an 'American' dinner of spicy chicken drumsticks and potato wedges. Not sure how authentic it actually was, but never mind. We had lots of fun.

Monday, 19 January 2009

I'm knitting a hat - for me.

I suppose that I should really be knitting a hat for the baby. But I did knit it one little hat already, and as its due in May, cotton caps will probably be mroe appropriate anyway. So when I saw this one today, I really fancied making it. I saw it here
I'm not even sure I really love the pattern all that much, but it looks so great and fresh in the picture, and I've enjoyed working this stitch pattern before, so here goes.

This ball was originally destined for a huge sloppy jumper with a cable down the front. But somehow it never got done, like so many things. Maybe this hat is more achievable. The wool doesn't quite look like that in real life, the blue is more subtle and a bit more greeney. Maybe the camera doesn't like green, because it hasn't picked up the snot green shade of our lovely cosy sofa either.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

bye bye nasty old plastic plates

I found a cool website which sets little decluttering challenges. I'm gonna try and join in with the china cupboard one.

Here is my china cupboard before - it isn't the worst cupboard in the kitchen by far, probably because we use it a lot, but there's some unnecessary stuff in there:

Why are there so many of those horrible plastic plates? Why one egg cup on each shelf? Do we need all those odd plates and bowls toppling around up top there? Do we have to keep those nasty charity shop plates we bought when we first moved out?

Here is the cupboard after I took out some crud. I like the fact most things on the bottom shelf are the same colour. Unfortunately Ben said we do need 10 dinner plates occasionally, and he is right. So nasty ones stay for now. As do quite a lot of plastic things, for sentimental reasons. I found a nice china bunny bowl which Dan can use for brekker, and he has a matching bunny mug which is nice for milk or hot chocolate. And all the egg cups are together again. I've decided it is necessary to have 4 types of bowl. I have:
4 pasta bowls
4 cereal bowls (+bunny bowl)
6 glass bowls which look pretty with desserts in
4 earthenware type pot things, nice for mousse, servings of dips/hummus etc, and one day I might try souffle or creme brulee in them.
Had to keep quite a lot of the random plates because they were my great nannas and I love them.
The glass cupboard is something I have been meaning to attend to for a while. I like my colourful glasses but they rarely all fitted in. Just got rid of some nasty free coke glasses and some plastic cups (one child does not necessitate 17 plastic cups). Might look out for a set of matching, unbreakable, non-plastic mugs for children with handles. Do these exist? Realised none of our mugs match either but never mind. Some don't have handles but are well loved nonetheless.

Well, that feels a bit better anyway. Will give some liberated plastic stuff to neighbours kids and the rest is probably best off in the bin really. Bye bye nasty old stuff.

Curvy lines

I enjoyed my curvy square so much I adapted it for Dan. I just wrote little numbers for him to join up, and then he coloured it in! Yay curvy straight lines!

Dan's finished picture!

Mumma's picture

Friday, 16 January 2009

Positive reason to give up smoking #2

Time to Doodle! Remember drawing these curved squares at school?
Normally I spend all my free time sitting around smoking, or thinking about smoking, or rolling the next ciggie etc. I hope I can last it out this time because doodling is fun.

Positive reason to give up smoking #1

There are many reasons to at least try and give up smoking. Most of them are so depressing they make me want to smoke. Here is a good reason not to smoke:

Nice food! The time, inclination and funds to make it, and enough of an appetite to enjoy it. Today I bodged some hummus for the first time, it was quite nice actually and very garlicky, And some roasted sweet chilli peppers and onions and tomatoes and stuff. And some cheese and bread and butter, and berries with greek yoghurt. MMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yummy. And fresh hot coffee. I woke Ben 10 minutes before lunch so he had a bit of time to get down stairs for it. He said - will there be nice cheese sandwiches from the toasted sandwich maker as well?

Could have strangled him. Chose to ignore him instead and fortunately he didn't want toasted sandwich after his lovingly made lunch.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Painted Marble Run

I've been feeling a bit guilty because we've been meaning to make this for months, and never quite got round to it...but finally we did and here it is! Although it is quite simple, constructing the corners was a little fiddly, and the tube at the bottom actually runs into the box so all the marbles collect isnide, instead of all over the floor. D's favourite part was probably the constant experimenting necessary to make sure the tubes were balanced so that the marbles would run smoothly into box, and trying to handle the masking tape itself without getting in a tangle.

D loves it, and was even keen to paint it all over, painting being something he tends to find a bit boring usually. We used acrylic paint so that it would go on smoothly over the masking tape and shiny cereal box.
We managed to incorporate a sort of 'jump' so you can see the marble fall from one tube to the next.