28 October 2012


Jenna is back, with a smile on her face, and a journey stick hung with shells and pine cones, string and paper.  Is she taller, or is it just my hungry eyes learning her all over again?  She let me read her journals.  What kind of eight year old draws molecular structures in their journal, and hypothesises about water pressure after learning to dive?  The same eight year old who writes that she misses her mama's arms, and draws pictures of her sisters, and tells me how afraid she was that Talia would forget her.

She made gifts for everyone, and bought me a beautiful little bracelet with her own money.
She learned to ride, and says she will miss Darkie and Charlie Brown a lot.  She swam two lengths of the pool without touching the bottom for the first time.  She has had a gloriously free week.  And although she tells me it has been a wonderful luxury having a whole room to herself, she says she won't miss it at all because it's so good to be home and in the familiar.

I am totally shocked that there has been *no* sibling bickering yet.  At all.  The last time we had a half day without any arguments was... um... I don't remember.
The little ones made cards for her return, and dressed up in their best party dresses, and ran to greet her with screams of joy.  It is really truly wholly good to have her back.  This year has been a blossoming year for her.  :)

Seven Days - Riches








1.  Me and my messy living room - forever struggling to feel confident sharing pictures of myself
2.  Daddy and baby
3.  The Willow at Attenborough
4.  Impulse bargain yarn
5.  Giant biscuit!
6.  Golden leaves
7.  Return

26 October 2012

Unschooling Week

This postcard is stuck at eye level on my kitchen wall, bringing a brief hot tear to my eye every time I pass it (many many times each day).

While my big girl is running up and down the beach, learning to ride, and swimming every day on holiday with my mum...


The baby has started walking daily and is growing more and more confident.  She was toddling a few nervous steps from time to time, and now she runs across the room in a funny little waddle.  She has also begun deliberate mark-making with crayons and pens.

When we went to Attenborough, Morgie and Roo mostly wanted to look at seeds under the microscope.  Talia wanted to play with the crayons - and feed the ducks.  Up until this week she has always tried to eat the seed herself, and looked at me askance for throwing it away.


I have discovered that Roo can count to thirty - and do addition on her fingers. (We asked Morgan "what would six more be?" and Rowan responded, showing us how she worked it out!)

Morgan has chosen new books and read them herself with help on long words. She has also been playing with alphabet cards "writing" the names of everyone she knows. I can't believe how much phonics she understands without any teaching. She's only five. I was so sure she would be much later to read and write.  She has also finally got the hang of cycling on a bike with pedals.

We made story dice together yesterday.  Mostly the usual routines and groups have been abandoned in favour of avoiding half-term busy-ness (and in favour of getting more sleep, since the middle two darlings have been sleeping in a little this week).

There has been more time for crafts, somehow, and I cannot *believe* how I *ever* thought it difficult to take three children to town without a meltdown (mine or theirs).  I have enough hands, this week, and yet...  I really miss the wonderful company and ready smile of my eldest.

24 October 2012

Wobble Wobble Splat

Making progress is just a matter of sheer determination some days.

23 October 2012

Another colourful interlude

I don't know if I will ever get bored of the pretty yarn pictures.  Those who have already had enough of the happy woolly posts, look away now...  ;)


Indigo, lac, and logwood.  I can't decide whether I want to list this, or make something with it myself, a lace cardigan for a girlie, something really soft and pretty, oh my goodness I love these yarns.  A day spent dyeing is always perfect confirmation that I REALLY want to do this for a living.  I mean, if I can't *not*, get actual withdrawal when there are no dye days for a while - and wake up thinking, "oh I just have to make a skein with *this* colour combination" - it's meant to be.


Just LOOK at that blue!  I couldn't believe just how dark the indigo vat was this time.  I put one playsilk in for just the barest few seconds, and pulled it out to see a deep bright navy!  I have three skeins destined to be rainbow, and the blue is so dark it will need a really deep red to compete with it.  It was much more forgiving after some of the colour had been exhausted.


The folding and sorting of so much laundry this week has had one great side effect - a bag of beads turned up.  Of *course* I put a stack of clean clothes on top of it.  *rolls eyes at self*  Bonus jewellery making session!  :)


After all the crafting yesterday, today was all about alone time with the children.  In the morning, I took Morgan out all by herself.  We went for coffee (well, tea, and lemonade, respectively) and looked around the book shops in town.  I took her to the supermarket and she chose the ingredients for all of our dinners this week with a level of maturity I would never have expected even from this thoughtful little one.  She did not stop talking the ENTIRE time we were out.  Those of you who know my Morgan will barely be able to believe that, but it's true: constant chatter!  :)

Twilight hours





Life is very early mornings and very late nights, this week.  Life is mist and twilight hours and dew and feeling fuzzy around the edges.  Life is soft-coloured and frost-tinged.

Talia is taking inconveniently long naps and sleeping painfully few night time hours since her horrible cough just over a week ago.  The day/night reversal isn't getting any better.  I foresee an exhausting day of trying to keep her from napping ahead of me...


Outside my window... there is a washing line filled with naturally dyed yarn, indigo tones dripping with dew.  The garden is dishevelled and cold rain drips down my kitchen window.

I am thankful...  for regular updates from Jenna as she holidays without us, and for the kind of friend who comes and folds my laundry for me.

In the kitchen...  the dishes from last night are still piled up, and more yarn sits on the draining board with a rainbow of tiny naturally dyed silks.  I ran out of room to hang things up last night!  The colours are soft and sweet; the morning just *feels* those soft greyed peaches and blues today.

I am wearing...  new jeans that won't stay up, and a scruffy old olive green tshirt with tiny colourful buttons.  I wish I were back in my nightie...

I am creating...  Christmas gifts.  Always with the Christmas gifts right now.  I don't know if Jenna's cardigan will ever be done, but mostly I am knitting hats one after another because I am in mortal terror of not being finished in time this year.  This is the danger of taking on several commissions all at once and forgetting about the Christmas knitting.

I am going...  to take my sweet Morgan out for hot chocolate.  All by herself.  This may be the first time in her life I have ever been able to take her out on her own.

I am wondering...  why my toddler is hiding behind the airer...  mystery solved - she is colouring in her face with red pencil.  Of course she is.

I am reading...  some more historical fiction - S J Parris was annoying me with the first-person arrogant pretentious Bruno, but I am enjoying Suzanna Gregory's gentle murder mysteries.

Oh and I have "Loving our Kids on Purpose" on my e-reader, which is sitting uncomfortably.  I have the feeling the author has a different definition of punishment to mine, and the idea of a two year old only allowed to be with their parents if they are "being fun" just frankly pisses me off.  His heart is in the right place though, and I'm persisting - I will have teenagers some day and he seems to have a real love for young adults.

I am hoping...  for enough sun to dry the indigo wool and take some pictures of it all.  Oh and some sleep would be nice.

I am looking forward to...  tomorrow's planned walk and yarn shop trip.

I am learning...  to speak softly.  It is the work of a lifetime for me to be able to return a gentle answer.

Around the house...  Morgan has a pile of rainbow alphabet cards and is making words out of them.  She is sitting up in the window, behind the curtains, with them in her lap.  Rowan is standing on a stool with a bowl of cereal, wearing a pink beaded necklace around her head like a crown.  Talia is stacking bricks and knocking them down with some glee.  

Papers litter the mantle, and every shelf in the house needs tidying.  The doll house stands empty with its wooden furniture in a heap on the floor in front of it, abandoned in some kind of game.  The picnic basket is in the middle of the floor with a selection of books inside it.  The airer is drying silk bunting and knitwear.  There is chaos and colour all around.

One of my favourite things...  Talia's left dimple.

A peek into my day...

21 October 2012

Seven Days (ish) - busy but good








1.  Journalling with friends
2.  Exploring a pigeon shed - and meeting the chicks!
3.  Baby the wrong way round in a Pizza Hut highchair
4.  Painted oak leaves on the working surface (blanks from Waldorf Mouse on Etsy)
5.  Rowan "writing"
6.  Morgan arranging things (as always)
7.  Talia enjoying the trolley my grandad made for me when I was a baby

It's just been a busy week.  We're happy and well and enjoying life, but we've barely seen home some days. These children and their social lives!  We have found some new friends, and importantly for Jenna, some friends who *also* don't go to school.  We have had visits with friends, planned and unplanned, gone to our usual library and museum days, had two free Films for Schools trips, and seen a fair bit of Ashleigh.  :)  Next week is going to seem very quiet in comparison!

20 October 2012

An adventure for my Jenna

Today this little one took another of those tiny steps away from us and out into the world.  She has gone on holiday with grandma for a week, eight days without her family, and how hard it was to wave goodbye and give her all of my joy and none of my grieving.

She had a little cry this morning and clung around my neck whispering miserably how much she would miss me.  But the excitement won out - of course it did - and she is going to have a wonderful time.

This child, whose love language leans heavily towards gifts, she is really easy to show affection to in a way that she can actually hear.  And when that part of me that receives her asking for things as greed and uses words (inside my head) like "spoiled" and "entitled", well, I just have to be reminded that she is just as delighted with a love note or my remembering to pack her favourite snack or making a friendship bracelet for her or offering her a candle to light at bath time.  (I also need to remind myself that if she often seeks concrete signs of affection, she is also generous to a fault and loves to make and give gifts.  I can barely persuade her that she doesn't have to spent the whole of her income from her art work on things for friends and family.)  If only I could always remember to put my energy into filling up her cup rather than judging and fighting to meet her needs how I *think* they should be met!

Yesterday I helped her to make a beautiful holiday journal to draw and write in while she's away.  I let her loose on all of my stash of pretty papers and ephemera, and sent my best pens off with her too.



Spot those stickers made from pictures of her?  I couldn't resist adding them to the hundred free business cards from Moo.  Ohmygoodness I was so excited to get these.  Silly-excited.


How quickly the years are going by...  It astonishes me almost daily.

This week has been very very busy.  I have had moments of feeling the fear of all the spinning plates coming crashing down.  I have had, well, whole days, of feeling anxiety about the mess and chaos and not knowing what I'm doing.  The cure, right now, seems to be riding it out and keeping moving until the whoosh of all the things I'm juggling drowns out the judge-y voices.  ;)

15 October 2012

Autumn treasures - and loss

Oh my lovely daughters...


They fill my cup to overflowing.



There is so much joy and beauty - and the touch of sadness, remembrance, grief, death.  This time of year fits it so perfectly, the inward turn to memory and melancholy, the evidence of beautiful decay and the cycles of life all around us blazing golden and dulling to brown.


Today, please join me in the International Wave of Light at 7pm, to remember and cherish all of those touched by infant loss and miscarriage.

I am guest posting over at Crafty by Nurture too, on the subject of baby loss, if you would like to pop over and see.



So many Autumns now, remembering loss, and holding all of those who share in grieving close.  Love to you today, all of you.  xxx

14 October 2012

Seven Days: colour and shadow







1. Spotted on the sand...
2.  Rainbows on the line in the dusk.  (There is something about photographing silks that I am simply never tired of!)
3.  Spinners from melty beads.
4.  Night time walk with little cousin (who is as big as Talia already)!
5.  Morgan's project time.
6.  Shadow puppets.
7.  Busy baby.