30 April 2014

Yarn Along - portable projects

When I'm going to be in the car for a while, I need knitting that does not require me to either keep my place or look at my working very often. So, another Coffee Bean it is. :) (Of course if I'm saving a project for our little trip to the seaside and then do more than half of it before we even get in the car, that's less helpful...)

But, well, Talia needs more cardigans, right? ;) (It's my Arwen Makes hand dye as usual. Experimental colourways which definitely deserve larger batches next time. Also, the tropical blue/orange is going to become socks.)

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Also, I REALLY love this book. :)

That plus planning beach walks and adventures, well, I'm a very happy mama right now! Oh, also, I have new project bags, look! Dark Star Designs and The Yarn Tree obliged with pretties, and now my projects don't get tangled in the change bag. :)

27 April 2014

(Some) Days (a not very sparkly post)

When I want to take pictures, sometimes it's because I see something overwhelmingly lovely in our ordinary moments or in our adventures. More often, the habit of picking up the camera regularly pushes me to go and FIND something sparkly. It's a way of documenting gratitudes. My creative self saying, look around you - on each and every average and extraordinary day - THERE IS MAGIC HERE.

This week hasn't felt particularly anything-much. It has had its ordinary ups and downs. I just haven't picked up the camera and gone looking for the beautiful and the magical. I hadn't even realised until I came to write this post. Resolving to take more pictures this week (I don't think that will be too difficult, as we have *lots* of adventures planned)! Anyhow. Not seven days, but some pictures from my week.

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1. I do love how these two snuggle up together, each doing their own thing!
2. Soft play
3. A stray bluebell
4. I am NOT sleepy, really I'm not. (I am.)
5. Mrs Chickens
6. Snuggly

26 April 2014

Un-Wild Places and Nature Walks

Many of our wanderings are in and around urban housing estates and the city centre. Our walk to the post office takes us past new terraces being built, green-painted metal fences, neatly cut hedges, front gardens overgrown with a profusion of broad green nettle leaves, spider-webbed fences.
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Our walk from soft play sling meets back in to town takes us past bluebells growing madly in a tiny patch of soil, corners of wild growing things, fenced in shrubs ringing the blocks of flats. So much beauty in the seed head of a dandelion and the glory of butterfly bushes left to assume sprawling tree forms where abandoned buildings slowly decompose.
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Nature does always find its way, somehow.
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There is always something to stop and examine, always a new plant to learn, a new creature to observe. Snails on a wall. A sprinkling of cherry blossom. Puddles to splash in. A leaf boat to make. Trailing sprays of bramble escaping across the path to disentangle from our skirts.
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We find what wildness we can, right here where we are.
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25 April 2014

Simple Daybook - while the toddler naps

Outside my window the grey clouds are drizzling, leaving puddles on the grey pavements. The garden is muddy again, and the chickens are resenting the reduced dust bathing opportunities. The apple tree is pink with blossom, and the willow has its delicate green leaves back.

I am thinking of the to-do list without end, and basically ignoring it all in favour of knitting projects. There is laundry and more laundry waiting to be folded and put away. This afternoon has been a peause, a quiet in-breathing before we are off adventuring tomorrow. Almost none of the jobs I wanted to do have felt all that important after all.

I am thankful for a life filled with the laughter of children.

In the kitchen the shelves are a little bare, as we need to do food shopping tomorrow. I have something along the lines of tomato pasta planned for tea, but the children thankfully don't mind. They are in a hungry playing-in-the-garden-all-day phase and the happy side effect for me is that whatever I present them with at meal times is devoured with impressive speed. The down side is the cost in fruit and cereal!

I am wearing purple trousers and a green tshirt, with the thick squishy red lace cardigan. Hair pulled back out of my face, as always. Rainbow-and-amber beads.

I am creating another Coffee Bean, because Talia has grown out of so many smaller knits recently. I'm only making size 12 months, but she just about fits the 6 month size still so the extra room in the arms will be just fine.

I am going to see the sea! Really soon! (I can't wait. True soul food for me, and fun for the children too. *happy sighs*)

I am reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - I just started it in fact. It's really very good so far.

I am looking forward to a few days with the whole family together, nobody rushing off to work, and perhaps time to finish my book (and my knitting).

Some of my favourite things; a scruffy little willow star hanging in my window, puddle jumping with a delighted toddler, broken egg shells used in collage, bright floral skirts on a skipping five year old, and cups of tea on a chilly afternoon.

A peek into my day:
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23 April 2014

Yarn Along - Stripes, Fairytales, Sleep (lack thereof), and Sick Days

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Knitting: these blue organic hand dye scraps were begging to be used for something lovely. I turned them into a Little Coffee Bean cardigan and am now on the hunt for the perfect buttons.

Another Coffee Bean required casting on right away to make a cardigan for Talia in some lovely pink, turquoise, and mint green, dyed just for the purpose. I won't be striping this next one, as I just wanted an extremely easy no-brain-power-required piece of aran weight car knitting for a jaunt to the seaside! How could I have left it so long before knitting this cardigan again? I'm starting to realise that between patterns I want to knit someday and patterns I love and know I want to knit again, I may never finish all of my imagined future projects in one lifetime.

Reading: Some Kind of Fairy Tale. Well, wow. I finished this today and it was another intense, lyrical, resonant, dark story with a lot to say about family and love, and the nature of the mind, and human kindness. I wouldn't say I *liked* this book all that much, but I found it compelling and it left me feeling satisfied and uncomfortable at the same time. More adult than The Book of Lost Things, but similar in themes. Similar to the Golem and the Djinni in the ambiguous but pleasing resolution in the final chapters. More positive and affirming than The Magicians, but more believeably nuanced and shadowed. (I am on a distopian fantasy binge... Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is next on the list!)

Shall I write another, "I am so darn tired," post for you all? No? Go ahead and fill in all that with your vivid imaginations, empathy based on your own parenting experiences, and randomly chosen phrases from previous posts whinges mmkay? ;) Oh, also, we're ill again. So you can imagine some whining about that, too, if you like. I'm starting to feel a little better today, so throw in a little something meaningful about life still being sparkly even when we don't feel so much like noticing.

Aw, thanks, look at that - you practically wrote the rest of my blog post for today for me, in your head. :) Here's an illustration of my day, in the form of Morgan with a cold pack on her hot little head (this seven year old spent almost the entire day asleep).

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I think while this illness plays out I might get a lot more knitting done...

Joining in with Ginny and friends to share another glimpse into our current knitting and reading.

22 April 2014

Bluebell Woods (and unrelated words)

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The year is really flying. The words are coming slowly, mind like treacle, the tiredness constant. So much *everything*. I want to write about the changing seasons and the garden, projects and ideas, the children and how they are growing, everything. Perhaps I'm just too busy living it - or perhaps more that the wakeful toddler is getting past the point of "just a phase" and on to a new level of maternal sleep deprivation. Breathe. Follow the joy. Love. Repeat.

20 April 2014

Week in Pictures

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1. Cherry trees in Spring
2. Pony Venn diagrams
3. Two year old nursling
4. Extremely proud of the dress Ashleigh made for her
5. Seder meal
6. Dance show
7. Easter egg cake

18 April 2014

Outside

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Spring walks in various parks and woodlands are such a joy. This week we had chance to take a meander with my mum and her dogs, including lots of daisy chain making and running around. Also including me trying to get the extremely elderly dog out of the lake. Thank goodness she managed to get out again, as she's almost blind and quite frail. Given the split second decision to catch the baby or the dog, mum saved Talia, and was then quite insistent that I not go in after the silly fur-baby.

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Good memories and bad ones all together. Isn't that just the way?

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I can barely believe that we planted that little stringy cutting from my mum's willow tree when Jenna was just a baby. When we moved in to this house we planted it from its big pot into the garden, and now it stands as tall as the house. I remember speculating as to how old she would be before she had a tree large enough to climb, and yet even by the time she was three it was sturdy enough for her first brave attempts. It has grown up with her, with all of them.

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The garden is such a blessing. The grass is still patchy (as in, there are actually some small patches of grass in places), and the bushes are leggy and unpruned. It's a wild space, mostly. But there is the promise of fruit in the pink on the apple tree, and so much laughter out there every day.

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17 April 2014

Fifth Birthdaying

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Those are sea pigs on her birthday cake. I never want to attempt tiny icing tentacles again in my life. She had a gloriously happy sunny day, though. And shared it with lots of friends. :)

16 April 2014

Yarn Along: sunshine and fantasy fiction

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I cast off the improvised gradient shawlette. Next time I dye this colourway I need to remember that if I want the yellow in the middle, I need comparatively little, and a lot more of the gradient needs to be in the blues. (Oops.) Oh but it does make a very pretty shawl. :)

I finished The Golem and the Djini towards the end of last week, and then loaned it out to my mum. She phoned us on the second day of her holiday to confess that she's been walking around with it because she can't put it down. It's a good read - intriguing, grown up, dark, funny, culturally rich.

I ran out of books again. I wish I lived nearer to the library - and that the library got new books in more often...

Oh, I also crocheted Rowan a quick little Berry Delight hat. Great pattern, and especially fun to make because I won the pattern in a giveaway. :) Thank you, Charmed By Ewe.

Joining in with Ginny and friends for a weekly round up of knitting and reading.

14 April 2014

Five Years

Ruby Doodle, I simply cannot believe how quickly the years with you are passing. Today you are five, and so amazing.
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You are a collector of stones, and sticks, and tiny plastic rainbow ponies, and wooden animals, and anything with the Octonauts on it. You stuff your pockets with different shaped leaves. Yet you are so generous with these collections, all these little things you like to bring everywhere in your bag or your coat!

You have the sweetest little singing voice, and the loudest yell I have ever heard. When you are happy, you radiate sunshine, your sweet little pixie grins are bestowed freely on everyone. You find such a lot of joy in every ordinary day. When you're unhappy, goodness don't we all know it. Five years, and I those storms still surprise me with their intensity - and with how quickly they pass. You are so passionate, so open, so enthusiastic. Never less than entirely given over to what captures your attention.
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Being your mummy is exhausting sometimes, but every single day is filled with laughter as I share in all your joys. Don't grow up too quickly, OK? As you used to remind me so often when you were smaller, you are still my baby.
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(And yes, you REALLY FREAKING LOVE that pink skirt. ;) )

13 April 2014

Seven Days - light and dark

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1. Roisin and Morgan frightening the shoppers in town!
2. Tired eyes
3. Jars of ponies
4. Stories for Talia
5. Rainbow sock yarn
6. First of several birthday celebrations
7. A sea pig - sort of!