Monday, 30 May 2011

Being Human

It's a busy business being human don't you think? Although Alice might disagree with me as she did earlier on today saying "I'm bored".... (un)fortunately for her she has a mother and father who elaborate on the meaning of words and has a similar response to this every time she complains of being bored. This involves a mini-lecture regarding her multi-listed gezillion things she has and can do to not be bored (and to count her blessings for these of course), followed by boredom being a big part of being human in work, play and rest and that there really is no such thing as bored it's only you who makes it so! This is then followed by the whole instant gratification lecture by which time she had almost switched off and last but not least the comparison of our childhood's in the 1970's to hers! Please tell me this is normal parenting or I shall no doubt scream ;0)

Eeeeekkk that looks a lot hairier close up!

So, being human when you are a wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, crafter, knitter, crocheter, reader, radio listener, movie watcher, cook, baker, music lover etc etc. does not lean towards boredom in my case.

A bank holiday (aka 3 day weekend in the U.K.) means a lot to one such as me.

Time to....

Hook on my granny blankie which is a mammoth task but with a continuous bit of plodding on will be ready for the autumn, lets hope anyway. I like this blanket, it's good in many ways, it's easy crochet, no masses of concentration needed, uses up all bits and balls of yarn just hanging around with no specific purpose and it's always there on the back burner when I am considering my next knit or hooky joy.

Time to....

Admire (and stroke!) new purchases from my LYS sale today

Scrummy 50% off purchases to put in my new box made by a friend's husband originally to house a few geraniums on my windowsill but I had other ideas :0)

Time to....

Rustle through Alice's wardrobe and drawers with charity shops in mind and plan a half term shopping trip to bye our growing girl more shoes, jeans and PJ's xox

Time to....

Catch up on some reading. Do you read more than 1 book at a time? bad habit I know but I like to mix a bit of fact and fiction.

Time to....

Lie on the couch and listen to one of my favourite albums from one of my favourite movies....ah bliss. 

These are some of the more pleasurable things I've been up to this weekend, I don't think you want to hear about me going cycling, going to the gym, food shopping, pulling weeds, picking up the 2 glorious people I live with's clothes off the "wardrobe of the floor", playing Scrabble and Draughts, cooking a curry, making homemade lip balm with Alice (her latest craze) and preparing the outside wall for painting!!!!!!!

Hope you have had a glorious time whatever you have been up too Till next time  
Penelope xox 

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Sweet as honey

Hello again, hope your weekend is enjoyable so far, time for rest and relaxation, time to reflect and put your feet up a little?

Can I firstly say a big thank you to all of your who have put up and commented on my musings over the last week. Possibly a little bit self indulgent some might say but then I guess I see my blog as a journal of sorts where I can be myself. So thanks once again and I can't tell you how jubilant we were to see Alice again yesterday, she ran into my arms and it was sweet, sweet as honey to hold and cuddle her again. She had the most amazing time and has come back a little wiser, a little more independent and no less loving and beautifully natured as when she left xox

So, can I show you what I've been knitting this week while she has been away? I showed you a photo of it in my second to last post and spent the week knitting away and thoroughly enjoying the harmony and therapy this pattern gave me.

So here is the honey cowl...

It was very appropriate that I finished knitting it today as it's been grey, blustery and rather chilly here today.

The pattern is a Madeline Tosh pattern and can be found here as a free download. I have been desperate to knit myself a cowl and was very pleased when I found this very easy pattern ( definitely for any beginner - I promise)and loved knitting on circular needles (all 220 stitches per row). The amazing thing is that it's designed to knit up creating a waffle-like effect that is so insulating and warm and toasty to keep any chilly winds out.

I love it. Definitely a winner as far as I am concerned! 

I used some Debbie Bliss yarn that I've had stashed away for a while which in hindsight hasn't given the best drape but I know better now and can go for something softer next time :0)

While I am on the subject of honey, here is a simple and delicious Rose Elliot recipe I made today. Rose Elliot in my eyes if the Queen of vegetarian cooking. Her recipes are simple and easy to follow with everyday household ingredients, nothing too exotic or extravagant but always delicious.

I made her red cabbage (1 small/medium), celery (heart of celery), walnut (couple of tablespoons) and apple (2 medium) salad

Chop them up roughly (or however you like) and mix together. You can also add a handful of raisins / currants if you want a sweeter salad.

Make the honey dressing with 2 Tablespoons honey (I didn't have clear honey as the recipe states but I don't think it matters very much), 2 Tablespoons Olive oil, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar and some salt and pepper.

Pour over the salad to make a glossy slightly sweet and very deliciously crunchy salad.

Perfect to take to a bring and share meal with friends

Hope your weekend is as sweet as honey
See you all soon xox

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The filing cabinet

Warning this is a post full of the laments of a sentimental old fool! Thank you for letting me indulge myself

I am a romantic dreamer at heart, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I spend a lot of time thinking, I get depressed easily. I believe in the innate goodness in everyone, I reflect a lot on the past and can cry easily. As an ex-patriot living in England there have been and are times when I find it hard to know where it is that I belong. I miss my kin, my own kind at times, there is no need for words or explantions there is just a mutual understanding. No words necessary.

Nostos = homecoming; Algia = pain

I love the meaning of nostalgia, I like the word a lot.

It describes a collection of hopes, dreams, losses and gains and was first used appropriately in Homer's The Odyssey. Interestingly enough, The Odyssey as you probably all know was about the Greek hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. His wife Penelope, waited patiently for him remained faithful by fending off suitors by weaving by day and unravelling a tapestry night she said needed to be completed before she wed again. This clever decoy prevented her from marrying any other whist she waited for her beloved.

I like that my name and nostalgia have a connection.

So to put it in a nut shell I've been feeling nostalgic these past few days. I've had some time to think, day dream and reflect whilst Alice has been away and it never ceases tp amaze me how much I have developed a 'coping' mechanism to deal with my feelings of the past, my homeland and childhood spent in South Africa. I have a cerebral filing cabinet, it has drawers, folders, layers, papers filled with pictures, smells, tastes, sights, feelings, memories, dreams, sounds...

I have nostalgia compartmentalised.


What else could I have done? I needed to, I have to, otherwise a cloud would hang over me and I wouldn't be able to embrace this life, the here and now, the beauty, the joy, the all encompassing gracious life I have been given.

So what better to with these feelings but create. Create a little of my past, do something that I haven't done for years...... something very basic and simple but with so much meaning and a sense of nostagia for me..... play with buttons. Change something old into something new(ish) with buttons, something I used to do in my late teens and early 20's and it has felt GOOD.

I bought these beauties a little while ago

They are from the beautiful Rice in Denmark and sold in a pretty upholstery shop in Hastings Old Town. They made me feel nostalgic for my childhood and all those pretty homemade dresses my mum made for me and my sister and I knew these would find a very good purpose in my crafting.

So I chose one of my old cardigan's I bought in Gap about 12 years ago

It's 100% cotton and has been loved and worn a lot but I think it still has another few years left in it yet and so I got busy snipping off the original buttons (thank you kind person who originally sewed these on with such precision)and sewing on the new sweet buttons to give it a new life, something for the future, something which will one day feel nostalgic to me.

New life, New joy!

Simple but so me

My humble thanks to all of those who read and comment on my blog, it's really lovely to be in your company xox

24 hours until I have my precious child back

Monday, 23 May 2011

Staying strong

Daisy's are one of Alice's favourite flowers, ever since I can remember she's always enjoyed picking them and making daisy chains and that's why I chose this photograph I took yesterday when we went to Charleston House as part of their annual festival.

I had the heart wrenching time of saying goodbye this morning as all the parents waved their 10 year olds off on their school trip to York. It felt as though my heart had been ripped out of my chest saying goodbye to her. I know this may sound a little over dramatic but she is inter-woven into my being, my fabric, my makeup and it's the first time she has spent a week away from us. I wanted her to go, cerebrally I know it's one of the best early years adventures she could have with all her friends and companions around her BUT nothing and I mean nothing prepares you for this. No book, no poem, no words of wisdom from my own mother could describe how I feel and felt this morning. 

I'm OK and of course will survive and be stronger for this experience. We have some special little things planned this week, just Andy and I. I am working too, so my routine continues and I have planned a couple of girly things to do with friends which will be lovely to have the freedom of coming and going without having to think that I need to be considering Alice.

I found this image on the net here and thought it not only beautiful to look at but so very apt for this week

So true don't you think?

I hope you have all had a great weekend, it has been rather blustery here in the South East of England and the North wind blew and blew yesterday on our little excursion to the exquisite, quintessentially English home and gardens of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant who formed part of the Bloomsbury Group, a group of artists, writers and intellectuals. Virginia Woolf, who wrote Mrs. Dalloway and A room of one's own amongst other novels was Vanessa Bell's sister. T.S. Elliot and E.M.Foster were also good friends and regulars at Charleston House.

We have been on a tour inside before and it's so fascinating and definitely well worth a visit if you are in East Sussex. Instead of going in again, we wondered around the breath taking gardens, had tea and cake and lay on the banks of a large pond playing scrabble.

It was a lovely, relaxing family afternoon and to top it off I indulged in a little something for myself with a little stash of notes that I got for my birthday and it felt decadent to do this but I did it any way....

Is this not just one beautiful, hand crafted, mouthwateringly squueeeel with delight bracelet? It's a one off by the jeweller and I shall treasure it forever. Very special and very decadent!

In the meantime my fingers have been knit knitting away at this...

Soon to revealed and shared with all you lovelies.

Thank you for your comments and words of love and kindness, no doubt this week will have me posting again to be in your company
Sweetness and inspiring moments to you all this week
Penelope xox 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Strange fruit

It's friday! Hooray for the weekend!

I've taken a couple hours off work and come home early today and found myself doing a little cleaning, hanging out the washing in the glorious sunshine and making a yummy salad for tea what else needs doing? Oh yes, maybe a little hooky joy before I fetch Alice from school

I got my greedy paws on the new crafty magazine Mollie Makes which has just been published. I first heard about it on a few blogs at the beginning of this week and thought ooooh I neeed a copy of that and promptly hopped on my bicycle into town only to be dissappointed that it had sold out! Fortunately, I managed to find the last copy in a major supermarket the next day and was best pleased. It's a gorgeous publication with every detail having been thought out beautifully. If you pop into the link above you can get a sampler of what some of the pages look like inside. I would say it's defnitely my kind of crafty handmade magazine and something to collect over time.

So far Mollie Makes Me....

Happy with this...

Very simple and Quirky

Apple Cosy xox

Blessings and little flowers and dreamy days to all of you this weekend xxx

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Getting ready

Hello, how is your week treating you so far? I feel like I have been in a blurr of work related activities and non-stop home life. I have'nt had much time to do yarn related chilling out other than finishing off my second sock, which I am loving by the way and want to say a HUGE thank you for all your compliments and kind words of encouragement. Really meant a lot to me xox

This week has found me putting on a brave face as I help Alice gather all her bits and bobs to be packed into her wee suitcase for Monday when she goes to the beautiful city of York for a whole week(!!) with all the other Year 5's. That makes about 90 kids with her Head teacher and her entourage of staff. 

She goes to the most fabulous school and they are so good about having interesting school days out etc. But 1 whole week! They will be continuing their learning journey about the Vikings and have a busy schedule to fill each and every moment there. I feel a little mixed up as I'm so for her learning and growing in her independence too but she's our one and only child and such an integral part of our everyday fabric it's going to be very strange without her.

I guess I worry about her coming back and seeing a noticeable difference in her maturity and sense of identity in the world. I know I may sound like I'm being silly and I know it's going to be such a wonderful enriching experience for her but I'm just being sentimental and having to come to terms with my little girl growing up :0)

We've had to put name tags on all her things and she has had great fun dragging me around Boots the Chemist to bye all the mini-travelling shampoo's / toothpastes / soaps etc. Unfortunately she didn't think it was very "cool" to have a thrifty wash bag with me decanting enough shampoo etc from our current supplies into recycled bottles! We made a deal that I'd indulge her on this very first week away school trip and then she can recycle all the mini-travelling bottles for any future ones (they go away to the Isle of Wight in year 6).

Then there came to choice of who to take as her cuddly to sleep with, will it be Scamper, Rose or Bashful ? Which of her furry friend's would have to stay at home wrapped in their blankies waiting for her to come home?

Alice had no difficulty in choosing, it would be none other than her oldest furry friend Rose and the squares blanket she knitted for her (with my guidance) and help picking up stitches. I crocheted an edge around Rose's blanket and Alice made a little pillow for her to put her head on, very sweet indeed. 

(Rose looks a little naked there, I might just have to indulge her in a garment or two) Unfortunately Alice will have to leave her Alice pillow at home that I made for her a couple of years ago. She normally uses this to prop her up in bed when reading.

Last but not least she has chosen this badge from her collection to pin on her backpack to remind her of home xox Hhhmmmm wonder who she could be referring to there?

So that's me so far this week, I am hoping to be have some hooky time soon and am just about to make myself a cuppa and indulge in the first edition of Mollie Makes, a new crafty magazine that I spotted on Coco Rose Diaries a couple of days ago. It looks scrummy and just what I need right now, a distraction from Monday looming.

See you all soon 
Penelope xox

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Flying socks!

Hello it's me again! Can I say thank you and welcome to all of you and yes I did notice my followers creeping up to 101 ... it seems a little silly really but actually it's true what a lot of you lovelies have said on your own blogs how much of a sense of community and virtual friendships blogging brings and like the gorgeous Alice says without the comments no doubt, like with any diaries I have kept in the past I would have given up a while ago. By the way she is having a dotty give-away if any of you have not yet visited - go and see xox

Now back to the subject at hand (or is that foot?) .... this week whilst my beloved Andy was away in Strasbourgh and surrounding area on business, Alice and I had another girly week and waited in anticipation for him to come home.

As you can see, it's a beautiful place, wish I could have accompanied him! Now, back to the waiting in anticipation... Alice slept on his side of the bed, wore a t-shirt of his so she could be close to him and made him a welcome home Papa card. As for me, I missed him no doubt and it was good to have him home last night happy, tired and safe and sound BUT part of my anticipation on him coming home was the return of THE CAMERA (ssshhhhh don't tell him ;0)

This is why I have not posted this week and I've been itching to show you some soxy love, so here goes

I must say that it was a great joy accomplishing knitting my own pair of diamond paneled socks, I have only sewn up one so far but couldn't wait to log it here in blog land, not only did I get the thrills of the "knit factor" by learning new skills but I was most excited to see it evolved as I went on. I have been searching for a 2 needle sock pattern for ages (remember my fear of DPN's?) and found this modern take on some 1930's styled socks from a great web sit called "All about you" found here which I have mentioned before. It's a UK based website linked to a lot of the magazines published in the UK, aimed at women mostly and has a lot of free knitting and crochet patterns which you may want to explore.

So, according to the pattern this is what my socks should look like (don't you just love those shoes)

And here is mine

So .... a little different but a little similar? As you can see I am an amateur knitter and kept my beginnings of making the sock in ribbing, not what the pattern asked of me! and my sewing up of my sock is not quite as neat and my shoes are not vintage and my legs are not perfectly shaved and my floor is not quite as clean!

However, I LOVE my sock(s) and my legs, my floor and my shoes


Oh how I love my shoes mmmmmmwhaaa .... sorry got carried away. My mum likes to tell me the story of when I was little and whenever we had visitors or we visited friends all the women knew I was coming and took their shoes off for me to try on and play in, so I've always had a fascination with shoes and wish I could be a little more daring in my choice of shoes.

Anyway, in case you were wondering where I got these deliciously comfy shoes about 3 years ago and what make they are I thought I'd show you

Yep, you guessed it they are FLY of London shoes and if you click this link you'll be able to see a website that I found that stocks most of their eclectic range. I bought mine in a shop in Brighton and was on my own ummming and ahhhhing over the design, colour and cost and after trying them on a couple of times and walking away and thinking Am I crazy? I've never worn a pair of red shoes before, I usually go for the neutral brown / black leather but then that little part of me that little eccentric part of me came shining through and I bought them and have never looked back! In fact I now have a pair of brown leather shoes in this style and a pair of divine brown boots too ( all bought in the sales mind you and yes they are brown!).

I super love them and always forget about them in winter and when the spring arrives I love releasing my sandals and summer shoes and locking up those winter brrr brrrr shoes.

They are chunky and squishy and yummy
Enough to make you wants to fly

Have a wonderful weekend, I intend to xox