29 February 2012

Inspiring me, right now...

I really am going to get round to this, any day now, even though I find wet felting a bit of a trial to be honest...  One of those things where I love the finished articles, but get sooo bored of the craft itself.  Sorry, avid felting fans.  (Tutorial from Rhythm of the Home archives. I am so glad I found this. Perfect for popping a little present into.)

Karna Erickson makes these sculpture/toy/madness/things. I am in love.  They are just fabric fabulousness.the dwelling
(Did you ever see anything so awesome? She has an Etsy shop, too.)

Grain-free dairy-free brownies - I have to try baking these for allergy-prone family. :)

Cute bunny egg cozies (or finger puppets, why not?!):
I am so sure I can make something like these for the girls for Easter! Now where did I put that wool felt?

Screen printing tutorial from Avie Designs, another activity we're going to try.  Soon.  Hmm, when have I heard myself say that before?  Perhaps Pinterest is facilitating that well-known problem - too many things on the to-do list!

Doesn't it look like fun, though?

28 February 2012

Beauty and Truth

There are days when my voice cracks from shouting, like after this funny cheeky little one has squished the entire brand new bar of soap into tiny tiny pieces in the sink... She has done that twice this month. And started having "accidents" again - though this is assigning more positive intent than she perhaps deserves, when she *tells* me she is going to pee on the floor...
This morning was really bad. Talia cried in the night, the kind of crying that only pacing soothes, and Martin slept right through it (is there ANYTHING more infuriating??)! I pulled on clothes and sling and Tali and stormed out around sunrise, to walk and walk and restore my centre, and not throw things at my husband's head.
I knew he'd worry. I didn't care. I had to wrap that baby up and get out out out of that house.

After a while it occured to me that three little girls would worry, too.

Well, here I am, anyway. I'm home, I'm OK, and I'm feeling a bit daft for the dramatics.  We're all fine. And tonight I'm going to throw things at my husband *before* I start to seethe - it's his turn to pace. ;)

I thought I was a patient person until I had children. I thought I was NICE. It can be harder than anything, not to react how my first instinct tells me to, not to retaliate, to pause and breathe and use my head and my heart. You wouldn't think it to look at the pictures. In the pictures, everything is beautiful and perfect. DSC04211
Maybe the pictures contain the greater truth, after all.

27 February 2012

How the weeks fly by!

And the years, too. Goodness. To see Rowan, sitting on a bench in the sun, such a proper little girl now, talking to herself and making her hands walk and dance and talk in her lap - who needs toys for creative play? Oh wow. She is just flying off and up and away from me, isn't she?
Jenna bought a geometry set in a charity shop on the way home from story time at the library this morning. She wanted it so badly she spent her own money on it. And couldn't wait to get home to play.
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She really surprised me here, honestly. She figured out so many important rules of geometry on her own, just messing about. When I drew her a page full of triangles she sat and measured all the angles, adding the numbers up just to see what happened, I have never seen her add numbers larger than ten before (without serious pushing by me, anyhow)! ;) How many reminders do I need to simply TRUST?!
I sewed the buttons on the Spring Pebble. Talia wasn't terribly impressed that I wanted to try it on her in her afternoon colicky period. But I like the sweet little vest (and the miserable baby wearing it). Today went quite fast (oh, apart from the crying times) and when I realised Martin was already overdue from work and I hadn't even started anything for tea it became a chips-for-tea kind of a day too. On the other hand: DSC04369 DSC04370
We have been outdoors and in, busy and quiet; Jenna and Morgan put on a magic show, Jenna read Where the Wild Things Are and Blueberry Girl to Roo, Morgan played with her alphabet cards and a wall chart I made for her, Tali cried and nursed and smiled at her Grandma (a lot), and they all watched Peppa Pig until I thought I couldn't bear to hear the theme tune ONE more time. Yet another wondrously magical ordinary day.

26 February 2012


Isn't this baby just DELICIOUS? :)
No matter what the problem, she is always happier in water.  She stays in the swimming pool for almost an hour before getting tired!  She'd stay in the bath all day if she could.

Oh how blessed I am. So so so blessed.

There is just nothing like these baby days. I feel in my heart that she is likely my last baby, yet I can't feel anything but happy - happy we had her, blessed to know her, peaceful to move forwards to whatever our family will be and do next... Her laughter fills me up, right now. She is perfect.

25 February 2012

Sick Day

Yup, I was right. Sofa days it is...
On the up side, we did some star-gazing and planet-watching last night. :) Excuse the street lamps - this is the crescent moon with Venus and Jupiter above it! Awesome! :) DSC04301
I made raw date and raisin balls for an easy healthy food fix. Of course, we then ate macaroni cheese for lunch so perhaps that cancels it out. ;)
Everyone did some painting after breakfast. It's our usual activity for Friday but we ended up going out instead. I finally have some baby food jars to store the mixed watercolours in, so hopefully less will get wasted now. Also, the little glass jars are aesthetically pleasing in an odd sort of way. If I had any skill at woodworking I'd make a little tray to stand them in, too, because that's how my brain works. :) DSC04327
Some block building was Rowan's choice for things to do today. Then the girls all curled up with blankets and watched Aladdin, and then played with the doll house for a bit. It has been one of those simple quiet days.
Morgan's alphabet cards arrived from Myriad and the three bigger children all played with those, and Tali did some random crying while I sat helplessly. She is really snotty and keeps dry-retching. :( Then I finished knitting her Pebble while she napped fitfully, sobbing and making little snorty piglet noises every now and again.

 Apart from Tali crying, it has been really quiet here today. I don't like them being ill, but I have to admit I've kind of liked the peacefulness and the quiet play. Recently a lot of their creative play has been LOUD dashing around acting things out kind of play, so this is a nice counterpoint!  I just hope they are all happier soon.
All in all, we're doing fine. Get well soon, poorly babies.

1001 Objects

1001 objects from Derby Museum archives, displayed by material rather than function or dating. We love love love this new gallery. It is so beautiful and accessible. We used to use this room as a corridor to the rest of the museum, just walking by the huge Hanson Log Boat that is the centre of this big new exhibition. DSC04286
Splinters of Wood
You can see a case of similarly shaped wooden objects right at the front, all different in purpose, period, etc, only the material in common. A wooden crocodile sculpture from Africa besides a weaving shuttle from the next county. The secret draw underneath has a display of different butter paddles. We love that you have to look in the guide to find out what things are - so you have chance to guess and discuss objects before you read the description that goes with.

Fragments of Bone
Roo always points out the huge lobster, he makes her laugh (and yes, he is a he, according to Rowan anyway).

 The cabinet full of new ways to experience the objects in the gallery - magnifying glasses, bug-eye lenses, coloured acetate, coloured lenses, torches with picture slides, bark and other textured pieces to play with, drawing things and scrapbooking papers to respond on... Such a wonderful idea.
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Shards of Glass
We like the heart-shaped hand made double vessel, the poison bottles, and the old glass milk bottles with really wide necks. I also can't help pointing out the Cox and Malin bottle (made locally) that we own a twin of!

This quern stone needed inspecting. Apparently the only way to use a magnifying glass properly is to press it right up to your face. :)
This is besides the cabinets titled, "Chips of Stone" with arrowheads displayed by size not by date, a model cathedral, stone marquetry jewellery, and a box for visitors to post their own pebble into.

I'm so impressed and delighted with the work that has been going on at the museum lately. We can't wait to be allowed into the newly refurbished art galleries too. :)

24 February 2012

Simply Doing

Well, what have we been up to the last couple of days? Hmm, well yesterday afternoon was pretty much a disaster. Tali cried solidly for two hours again, and I cried too at one point, and eventually shouted at her to stop it (!) and she peed on me, laughed, and finally fell asleep in my arms. Right. 

There are times now when the crying is just overwhelming, and it physically hurts to hear her so unhappy and be able to do nothing but be there for her.  It's hard to let myself off that emotional hook; that if she is crying I must be failing to meet her needs somehow.  All that, "AP babies don't cry" nonsense.  I sit there and stroke her head and repeat over and over to myself "love is enough, love is enough".  That was one hell of an afternoon, anyway, but at least she went to sleep happy!

The Season Table got a Spring update yesterday.  This makes me smile.DSC04278
I did a bit of knitting too, on Tali's Pebble.
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Jenna played reading eggs, wrote her own "spy language", translated a page of pig pen code after I showed her how that one works, and made a necklace for a friend.  And here was me having a panic last month that she wasn't often interested in reading or writing activites and resisted anything I suggested like I was offering her poison...
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Babywearing mini so mama could make tea a bit more easily... DSC04263
Then today we headed out to the museum.
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I sorted my kitchen shelves out. :)  I refuse to show you a picture of how badly they needed cleaning.
We also finally had some tax credits for Talia, which meant treats this week! New shoes, rainbow tights, cusinaire rods, mini tea set, and Waldorf alphabet cards. You wouldn't believe how long we've been waiting to get some of those things!

We did try to get Jenna shoes recently, but she vetoed every sensible option and we ended up with a cheap too-big pair of gold suede boots that she fell in love with.  It's such a relief to have nice practical shoes for her now!  And they were on sale too, Mountain Warehouse, £7.50.  Seriously happy.
I think we're going to end up having a sofa day tomorrow though - by the time we got home from town today Jenna was complaining of a headache and feeling tired and hot, and since then the three little ones have all developed runny noses.  Looks like another cold, and another couple of quiet days for us while they recover.  At least it's now warm enough for us to still get some fresh air while they're ill.  And who knows, maybe this will just be a day or so...

22 February 2012

Knitting and Reading

I haven't been making a huge amount recently, but I have finished these. Garland that *still* needs blocking -
And a nice light springy swing cardi.
I'm going to make a simple little granny square bonnet and a nice spring-coloured pebble next. I've chosen yarn! It's a beautiful soft pastel rainbow, acrylic-y but nice James C Brett Passion. :)

As for reading... I finished Fire (Kristin Cashore) and didn't like it quite so much as Graceling, the main character was a bit too nice... And I've read the rest of the Michelle Paver series too, which *did* live up to the promise of the first book - more for my must-get-for-Jenna list! Then:
Thankyou so much for recommending these! A Song of Ice and Fire series, and this is book, um, four? In a week. Honestly. They're really good. Not *nice* at all, but very very good. Oh and I borrowed a book of knitting patterns from the library that might help me use up some of that basket of colourful woolyness. :)

21 February 2012

Busy Days

Yesterday we went to Story Time at the library, then straight on to Sling Meet where we had dinner, before picking up some shopping on our way to Emma's house. Martin literally dropped us off at the door before going to work, so the girls and I took a taxi home just in time to make tea. Yes, so, a busy day. Martin found it very stressful, whereas I really enjoyed it and found myself not getting nearly so stressed with the children as I often do in town! I got this picture of the children just before our taxi came, all around Em's dining table using up her lovely oil pastels. :) DSC04189
How happy Connor was to see them! It was so gratifying to arrive to his cheeky little smiles. :) Today we spent the day at Wollaton Hall. Ah, I'll stop wittering on and let the pictures tell the story. DSC04219 DSC04220 DSC04227
 Tali always sleeps so peacefully in the sling on her Daddy. *jealous* DSC04232
Morgan's drawing of a grass snake. :) They all took their journals again and drew some of the interesting random natural history exhibits in the big glass cases. DSC04228
 Then outside to walk... This may be my favourite picture in a while... DSC04234 DSC04238
That's how *I* have to carry the baby. She will NOT go in a sling for me, and only stops howling when I face her outwards and bounce her. I feel like a right idiot, carrying my tiny newborn baby around town like this, wearing a sling she will not tolerate for anything. DSC04250 DSC04242
 By the lake we stop for little boo to have her own little picnic... DSC04256 DSC04259
 As you can see, Rowan was very tired by then! It felt like a long long trek back to the car. DSC04257
Then pancakes and toffee apple cheesecake for tea - not so healthy but very nice! :)

 OK, so *limited* wittering... ;)

 Tomorrow is going to be pretty mad as well, Wednesday usually is as it's swim day and the children are even hungrier than usual. We tend to feed them their first lunch at 11am, then a picnic when we get out of the swimming baths at about 2pm, and their normal (large) snack at 4pm! I make a whole loaf of sandwiches and pack a flask of smoothie and some fruit and biscuits and things for our picnic. And they're only very little now, I can just imagine how much food they will eat in ten years time!

 I think the crazy-busy thing is me attempting to compensate for the usual slump at this time of year... I will drag us into Spring by hook or by crook! I'm still surprised how much energy I have right now, but I'm not going to complain. It's unusual for me, but very good. I just hope I don't burnt out, or burn any of the family out, on the manic busy-ness...