Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
For now, just a filler meme, found on Cetta's blog:
1. What is your occupation right now? Translator
2. What color are your socks right now? Blue (handknit!)
3. What are you listening to right now? Front Row on Radio 4
4. What was the last thing that you ate? A bagel with cream cheese and ham
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes, it doesn't feel like real driving to me otherwise!
6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Probably B. last night
7. How old are you today? 37
8. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Nope, nope, nope, don't do sport watching, yawn, boring
9. What is your favorite drink? Difficult choice between a good coffee and a nice strong cup of tea
10. Have you ever dyed your hair? Only with henna, but not apart from that. Can't be bothered. Life's too short.
11. Favorite food? It'd be easier to ask what food I don't like!
12. What is the last movie you watched? I can't remember, it's been a looong time!
13. Favorite day of the year? The days we go on holidays.
14. How do you vent anger? By throwing a tantrum and getting very unreasonable.
15. What was your favorite toy as a child? A cuddly hare.
16. What is your favorite season? Haven't got one, all of them have something I like.
17. Cherries or Blueberries? Cherries.
18. Living arrangements? Old cottage, needs some work!
19. When was the last time you cried? Can't remember, but had to swallow a lump the other day when listening to news about a little boy in Britain having been physically abused till he died. And he was only 17 months.
20. What is on the floor of your closet? Washing basket, boxes with fabric.
21. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? Cheese.
22. Favorite dog breed? Sheepdog
23. Favorite day of the week? Friday.
24. How many states have you lived in? 5 I think.25. Diamonds or pearls? Pearls.
26. What is your favorite flower? Nigellas (love in a mist)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
From here it's just a matter of upping the minutes slowly till you get to thirty minutes, and they reckon you can do 5 K inside 30 mins. So that's my next aim - but with this hurdle out of the way, I've got no doubts at all that I'll get there sometime!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I. is doing Halloween this Thursday with Brownies, and they were told to bring in Halloween food. As we're into cupcakes, I just googled Halloween cupcakes (where would we be without Google?) and found a photo of brain cupcakes. Used the recipe for cupcakes and buttercream frosting from The Caked Crusader (where would I be without The Caked Crusader?), which lead to a small disaster when I. decided she was going to add the milk and promptly added about half a pint - it was more sloppy brain rather than mouldable brain... So I started again and then we had great fun using a piping 'tube' (bit like a big syringe) for the first time. We're both agreed they don't really look like brains but we enjoyed making swirls and getting better at it. They're hideously sweet but they wouldn't be right if they weren't!
Monday, October 20, 2008
It's for I., who at nine years old has developed a thing for bags. It seems she can't have enough of them. I bought the fabrics in Holland at a fabric market, the pink cord of the outside was meant for a skirt for her but I couldn't think what sort of skirt would look nice so when I saw the pattern for the bag, I thought the fabric would be really nice for it. It's really soft, and lined with a stretchy cotton.
The pattern came from an old Ottobre, a Finnish magazine that I used to subscribe to. The only thing I don't like is the way the shoulder strap has worked out - at the top, where the fabric strips join, there is rather a lot of bulk which doesn't want to lie flat. I. doesn't seem too bothered and is more interested in the fact that the bag is entirely reversible...
After finding this pattern, I left a few other Ottobres out with patterns I'd like to make. Chances are though that they'll stay right where they are now, in a bag under my desk, gathering dust...
I leave you with a photo of our autumn bounty from this weekend:
Anyone want to take bets on whether these will last us to Christmas?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I think I have cast on for this cowl at least 6 times. The first three times were to get the number of stitches right - my yarn is a lot thinner than the pattern specifies, so I had to experiment to get the right number of stitches so the thing would actually go over my head. Then I kept making mistake after mistake - miscounted stitches, knitted a wrong row of the pattern, I can't remember what else but I'm sure there were more. If I'd actually been able to make progress in all that time, I'm sure I would have finished by now... This photo is from this afternoon; the kids had a catwalk at school tonight and I had to drop them off 45 mins before the start of the show. Not worth going back home, so I sat in the car and knitted. I've now done two pattern repeats and have started the third one. The yarn is from Hipknits, I love the variegation (blue with a hint of grey and the odd pink streak) and so far I'm loving the lace pattern. I want it done by Bonfire Night - and I want it to be cold enough so I can wear it for Bonfire Night.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
For dessert I had made an apple cake. I've been following the Caked Crusader's blog for a while and have tried several of her recipes, and none of them have failed yet. I wasn't paying enough attention to the recipe while cooking and forgot to slice the apples before coating them in cinnamon/sugar, but I just left the cake to cook a bit longer in the oven and they were fine. The cinnamon/sugar mixture goes really sticky and gooey, and is dreamy combined with the soft apples. A perfect seasonal recipe!
Monday, October 6, 2008
Quick photo impression:
Very windswept hair on windy ferry!
Looking at all the ferries and boats passing in Harwich port.
Little boy on wide beach early in the morning.
View towards the port at Hoek van Holland, again early morning.
Sunday was a visit to the Hoge Veluwe. Art combined with nature (o and quite a lot of rain!) makes for an entertaining visit any time of the year. The staircase is 'real' art, the bike in the tree was probably by a visitor who felt inspired...
Half the park was closed off as they were holding running races. I. and I have decided that next year we'll enter one of them - what a fantastic landscape to go running in.
We're all feeling shattered but I definitely feel I've recharged my batteries - which is what I was looking for.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Somebody in the comments asked where I got the kit from, and after a bit of Googling I got back here: Shaun the Sheep knitting kit They're a nice company to deal with, not necessarily rock-bottom prices but good customer service - their stuff usually arrives in a day, and I've bought quite a bit of stuff from them over the past few years.
I've got a few other projects on the go now, so check back in another 6 months' time or so for another finished object ;-)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
'Say hello, Shaun':
What adventures can I get up to?
O he's soooo cute mamma!
She hasn't said so, but I think she would love a Shaun of her own... And I hate making things twice. It may well become a Sinterklaas/Christmas present. This one's going to a colleague who's due with her first baby in a few weeks' time and who loves Shaun as much as I do. Let's hope baby will share this enthusiasm!
You wouldn't say that this boy has a superbout of tonsilitis would you? He came home on Sunday with a very blocked up nose. By Tuesday evening his breath began to smell. By Wednesday morning his glands were as large as golf balls. Needless to say he's now on penicillin! This photo is from yesterday afternoon and it was the first time he got off the sofa (apart from the visit to the GP) to do a little playing. I'm getting slight cabin fever and thoroughly fed up with Cbeebies... Looks like he'll be off school rest of the week too. I've instated an exclusion zone around the house and hope that the rest of us don't get it - so far, touch wood, we seem okay!
Spot the supply of Calpol and penicillin in the background ;-)
This seems to be our favourite meal at the moment: homemade burgers, homemade rolls, homemade chips. It's my version of McDonalds, but then cheaper and healthier. That is, if I manage not to pinch the kids' leftovers...
To prevent the onset of boredom I've been reading blogs here and there, and came across this website which shows name trends. You put in a name and it shows you when it was popular. When I put in my own name, the result made me laugh:
I've been getting on with Shaun and all that's left is his ears and then his head needs to be sewn on. I've been procrastinating as I was scared he would turn out not looking like Shaun at all, but he looks very cute so far. And not before time - the baby who he is meant for, is due in the next three weeks!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A weekend away at Vanfest. This was driving back home again in an impromptu convoy of about 11 other campers, all from different eras.
Echt Hema. (magnetic week organiser - kids are having a whale of a time with all the magnets for different occasions).
Mouse with a death wish (found this morning in the kitchen).
Dutch appeltaart for B.'s birthday.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
As for the challenge...
What are the last 3 things you purchased?
O I have to think about this one - now that the kids are back at school, I don't go out and spend much apart from petrol and food! Probably the fat quarter for I.'s fabric cuff, some filling for Shaun the Sheep who's nearing completion, and a couple of fuchsia plants from the local cat rescue place.
What are the last three songs you downloaded?
Not something I've ever got into. I mostly listen to the radio and am a huge Radio 4 fan.
What are the three best places you visited?
That's going to be hard to choose... Scotland has a warm place in my heart. I first went there with J. when I. was just a year old. We both loved it - the scenery, the people, the remoteness, the sense of community. We went back the following year and even toyed with the idea of moving up there. I have very fond memories of that first holiday there.
Rome was amazing too. I attended grammar school in Holland and did 6 years of Latin. As part of our education, all 17 year olds went to Rome for 10 days. Suddenly we were allowed to call the teachers by their first name and the whole trip forged a bond with the teachers which lasted for the next year when we took our exams. The trip was crammed full with visits, we had lovely weather, and the place is just steeped in history. Best of all, I saw a statue of the goddess with my name. Unfortunately, she was headless... ;-)
And then Zeeland must feature on my list. We took the camper over to Holland for our summer holidays last year and were planning to travel from the south coast to the north coast, ending up on the Waddeneilanden. But we never got that far. Our second campsite was brilliant, quiet and had a private beach. The other beaches in Zeeland were beautiful, the weather was great, all the kids (four of varying ages) were having a good time and mum came to see us for a day just before she became ill. I already knew Zeeland from my childhood, as we spent many summer holidays there, but could now see how beautiful it was there. Good times.
What are your three favourite movies?
Truly Madly Deeply
Witness (so I can drool over Harrison Ford)
Can't think of any more - I don't watch many films.
What three things can you not live without? (Other than family and friends)
Knitting/sewing/cooking - basically doing something creative
My bike and my running shoes and my swimming cozzie
The internet (having said that, two weeks on a camping holiday without tv/phone/internet is bliss!) Okay that means I get an extra one! The radio, and in particular Radio 4.
What would be your three wishes?
For my children to grow up happy and confident
For my parents to be around for a long time yet
To be able to stop always worrying about things which don't need to be worried about
What are three things you haven’t done YET?
Taken the camper on a tour of the Norfolk coast
Learnt to spin
Changed my career
What three celebrities do you want to hang out with most?
I don't think I'd ever want to hang out with any celebrities... Okay, maybe some lesser known celebrities: Charlotte Green, the BBC 4 newsreader, for getting a terrible giggling fit during a serious news item once; Melvyn Bragg for being able to make maths sound interesting, and Rolf Harris as he always seems so cheerful.
I had to think about this for a week!!
Name three things that freak you out.
Now that's easy:
Going on rollercoasters
(o and being late)
What are your three favourite dishes?
Zuurkool met worst (sauerkraut with smoked sausage)
Anything barbecued by B. (actually, anything cooked by him, as he's a very good cook but doesn't always give himself the time, so it's a real treat when he cooks for me)
My fish pie with smoked haddock and prawns.
Name three things you are good at.
Being a mum (most of the time!)
What are three things you are currently coveting?
Can I only have three? ;-)
A coffee machine
A redecorated house and revamped garden.
I have to pass this challenge on to three people: Lazy Seamstress, as I find her creations very inspiring and her blog honest and down to earth, Rebecca from Poshyarns for cooking things which make me want to run to the kitchen and pull out my mixing bowl, and the Intrepid Fibre Wizard, who's been through a tough time the last year but wrote about it in a very dignified way.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
For us this year there is a big change in routine. My nine year old is starting middle school. I know it's a cliché, but it is so true: she's growing up so fast. Last year I went to leavers assembly and sat there thinking 'but she's not ready for this'. But this past year, she's done a lot of growing up. She's becoming more independent, she has her own tastes and her own interests. She's discovering the world on her own, without having to have an adult hold her hand all the time, and it gives her a lot of confidence (more than I ever had at her age). She is fun to have around, to have a laugh with, to have a cuddle with. I can ask her for an honest opinion and know I will get one. Most of all, she's turning into a beautiful young girl.
Part of this stepping out into the big wide world is going to middle school. Going on a bus in the morning, instead of in the car. Having lots of different teachers instead of just the one. More homework. She was very ready for it. I'm not so sure I was.
What I am sure of though, is that she is my big girl. And I am more proud of her than I'll ever be able to tell her.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
But most of the time it looked more like this...
Update soon - trying to juggle work with two kids - much as I enjoy having them at home (and I do, now that they're getting older), I can't wait for school routine to start again!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Recently I have managed to stop feeling guilty about the little bit of knitting that I do and the lack of finished projects. I do enjoy knitting, it relaxes me, that's far more important than the fact that some projects take me months, years to finish. It's all about the journey, not just the destination.
I first saw this scarf-let being knit by Liz, a friend whom I know through knitting and sewing groups. I loved the texture of the stitch, it doesn't look like knitting at all, and thought it'd make a good present. It took me a while to get the hang of the stitch but once I did, it was very straightforward. As it's a present for I.'s teacher, I let her choose the buttons - not my choice, but then the taste of a nine year old and a 37 year old don't always match!
Excuse the summery outfit with the wintry scarf...
Strangely enough I couldn't imagine knitting it for myself but the wool is very soft (more info on Ravelry) and the scarf actually very snug and warm. I bought two balls and only used one, so I may just have to make another one the same. Although by the looks of the variations in the colours, I suspect with this yarn no item is the same.
Cast on for Shaun the Sheep tonight - baby due in 3 months, so I had better get going!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The highlight of this week though was the arrival of this:
After 2 1/2 months without a valid passport, it feels very liberating to know that I can just drive to Harwich and get on the boat. And as mum is having the results of her MRI scan next week on Thursday, the first thing I did after signing for the registered post parcel, was go to Stena Line and book myself on the ferry for next week. I haven't been to Holland since January and I can't wait...
Thursday, July 3, 2008
These are from the WeightWatchers July issue. They looked really nice, so I made them tonight to take to B.'s for dessert tomorrow evening. The ingredients include raisins, blueberries, cranberries, a grated apple and some ginger (apart from the usual flour/sugar/butter), and pumpkin seeds for the topping. They were ever so easy to make - just put all ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly and put into cases. They smell great too. I've been very restrained and not tried one yet! (having had a double caramel Magnum earlier may have something to do with that...)
I must make more of an effort to post cooking pictures. I. is really into baking right now and we bake something at least twice a week. On Monday we made chocolate chip/pecan nut cookies, which have seen us through the week. Next Tuesday we're making strawberry cupcakes...
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I had hoped to run the entire 5 K, but it was always a tall order. The running programme covers 9 weeks, and I started training 8 weeks beforehand. I repeated several weeks and then last week I came down with a cold, which put a stop to training (I spent most of Thursday in bed, asleep). Needless to say, I was very apprehensive about it, even though it doesn't matter how you complete the race - you can hopscotch backwards if you want.
To my complete and utter amazement, I managed to run two sets of 10 mins. I started off doing a 5 mins brisk walk, ran 10 mins, walked 5 mins, ran another 10 mins, walked 5 mins and then ran over the finish line. I was bursting with pride at the end, especially when I found I'd done it in 38 mins. I'm itching to get out there again.
It was a humbling experience. Everybody wore a number at the front and a sign on their back saying I race for... The names and 'stories' sometimes made for sad reading. A middle-aged lady with a girl's name on her sign, with underneath it: my daughter, 26. A little girl, not much more than 9 or 10, with 'for my dear mummy'. A few teenage girls with photos of an eleven or twelve year old boy. I've found before that running is easier if you can think about something else besides the running. Today I spent my time reading the signs, and I'm sure it helped.
Okay, so maybe I didn't run the whole thing. But I'll probably end up raising about 300 pounds, and I've gained a healthy new hobby which I'll definitely keep up. What else can you ask for?
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Lots of progress on the socalledpidge scarf, now that I have the stitch pattern sussed I love knitting it and have it next to my laptop, to work on it while the computer autotranslates files and I have to wait for it to finish processing.
Came down with a rotten cold on Friday evening though and haven't been out for any exercise. In fact, I'm sat here in pyjamas and a fleece top, dosed up on paracetamol and no energy at all. It's the first time since I started training that I really can't be bothered to go out, but as it's the first time since the end of April, I think I'm allowed a few days off.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
1. Managing to do three 5 mins runs (with two 3 mins intervals). Hard work but I so enjoy finding that I can push myself that much further than I'd ever have expected. I'll be pleased as punch if I can do 20 mins continuous running next week.
2. Eating a 'secret' icecream with N. after we'd dropped I. off for brownies, and N. saying 'don't tell I., mamma'.
3. After three false starts, finally working out how this stitch pattern works without the scarf going all wonky (it was veering towards the left yesterday).
4. Looking forward to my Saturday with the kids this week. Swimming, coffee in cafe, walk through park, lunch at California Kitchen, market shopping. All part of a very predictable routine but this week's been so busy and we get very little time to actually enjoy each other's company.
Maybe this was a Love Thursday post....
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Token has discovered he can get outside through the velux window. Snickers did it first, and when Token spotted her, you could see him thinking 'ah! I want to do that too'. He's much more agile than Snickers, and happily climbs the roof, goes over the top and comes back in through another window on the other side. What he hasn't worked out yet is that if you sit down on the open velux, the window will close. He did precisely that last night. I was in bed, heard the window close, followed by the sound of cat nails being scraped on roof tiles, followed by a loud 'boomph' - a definite sound of a cat falling off a roof. B. runs out, only to find Token madly dashing across the lawn. Maybe it's true cats always land on their feet.
Two things that cheered me up today (much needed):
I.'s blue toenails, matching her wellies ('mamma why are you taking a picture? You're going to send it to someone aren't you?')
And the arrival of soft, cuddly yarn in the post
which has turned into this
and is going to be this
Present for I.'s form teacher, as I. is leaving primary school this year and moving on to middle school.
O and yesterday this arrived in the post:
For those of you not au fait with Shaun the Sheep, click the link...
Cuddly toy will be for baby of colleague who is mad about Shaun the Sheep. Much to I.'s disappointment. I think I may have to knit her one too. She'll have to wait though till I've finished mysocalled scarf (or two or three).
PS Still running. I'm increasing the jogging and slowly decreasing the walking, and am on 5 min runs now. I won't be able to run the entire 5 kilometers next week, but it won't have been for lack of trying. I'm a bit disappointed, but it was always a tall order, and I've managed to get this far without injury and without losing interest. And when the race is over, I'll carry on running until I can do 5 kilometers - that's my next challenge!