Friday, 26 November 2010

The nativity and a sneaky peek

Sam got a new dressing gown yesterday. He was very pleased with it and insisted on wearing it all afternoon over his clothes. It came in very handy when Izzy got home from school as she needed someone to play Joseph to her Mary. I found them on their makeshift stage (Izzy's newly delivered and as yet unpacked new bed and mattress) doing a nativity play. Izzy had a blue skirt on her head! Sam actually thinks that the (previously unnamed) doll really is called 'baby jesus' and has insisted on calling it that ever since.Oh dear! I think Izzy is still coming to terms with the fact that she is a cow in the real nativity at school.

Heres a sneaky peak at what I am sending over to Beatrice in Spain for the Christmas Decoration swap.

You didn't really think I would show you did you? You'll have to wait until it arrives safe and sound. I really enjoyed making stuff for this swap. Can't wait to show you as there were two completely new things that I gave a try!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

No black eyes

Thanks for your kind comments re Sam's little accident. Luckily he seems fine and although his nose is still a bit bruised and swollen, he didn't get a black eye as I thought he might.

I've attended a few local craft markets recently and picked up some little things for stocking fillers. I absolutely love this keyring (a treat for myself!). The stall was full of beautiful things. Unfortunately the lady who made them wasn't there so I couldn't chat to her and she doesn't yet have a website which is a shame as I would love to feature more of her work. It was absolutely gorgeous and made from recycled materials. I really want to have a go at more freehand embroidery and this little key ring has really inspired me.

I also bought these tiny little boxes. They are all hand drawn with ink and then hand painted  - the colored bits appear to be finished with some kind of varnish as it is slightly shiny and raised in texture. I love the detail on the boxes with little drawings inside as well. Would you believe that some of these were only 50p! There were some bugs for Sam and a friends little boy...

Izzy choose these little flower boxes as a present for her grandma. They all slot inside each other

This butterfly one is for Izzy. Apologies for the dreadful photo

and not handmade but cute nontheless

Friday, 19 November 2010

Note to self

Note to self: Don't let your 2 year old stand up in the buggy because it will tip over and your 2 year old will land on his face on the hard floor in the Waitrose cafe and have a nose bleed and end up in the A&E department of your local childrens hospital.

I feel awful. Sam NEVER stands up in the buggy so it didn't cross my mind that he would do it today and that the buggy would tip over and he would hurt himself. We were having such a lovely day too having coffee and cake with the grandparents. The one thing I have to say is that when the NHS works well, it works really well. I was a bit concerned that his nose was swollen and also about concussion as he was very subdued so I popped into my local GP surgery. Within 5 minutes both a nurse and a GP had had a look. They advised me to go to the childrens hospital as they were a bit concerned that it might be broken. A mad car dash and half an hour later we had been assessed by the triage nurse and examined by a (very young and handsome!) doctor. We then waited 15 minutes for the doctor to consult with an ear, nose and throat specialist before being given the all clear to come home. They think its just badly bruised. What a great service. Thankfully Sam had perked up by then and was running around the waiting room laughing his head off. Thank goodness for the NHS is all I can say. Its bloody stressful this parenting lark!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Competitive parenting

I am not a competitive person by nature. I was very good at athletics when I was younger but always lacked that ruthless competitive nature you need to really push yourself. I've always had a fairly laid back approach to winning and losing and life in general until recently...

It all started when Izzy started school and the teacher said that all the reception children would get their first reading books sometime in the New Year when she felt they were ready. She made it clear that it was not a race and that we should not compare our children to others who got a reading book first. I joked with my friends at the time that clearly it was a race and that we would all be checking out each others book bags to see who got their book first. I WAS joking but if I'm honest I've been feeling a bit competitive about the whole thing ever since. Izzy got her first word bag the other day and I had to restrain myself from punching the air when I saw it. We have been practicing and I've had to really check myself when writing comments in the book that comes with it. What I want to say in capital letters is 'clearly my child should be one of the first to get a reading book!' Luckily I'm able to realise that this new found competitive streak is not a good thing and I'm not madly coaching Izzy in order to ensure she gets her book first (honest!) but the competitive streak is definitely there and I don't like it! Anyone else feel like this??

Finally a bit of sewing is happening. A personalised apron for Isobel. I hope she likes it!!

Also congratulations to my friend Carole who recently had a craft/tea/cake sale at her house in aid of Home-Start (a charity I work for that supports parents with children under 5). She raised over £300. I took some of my stuff along to and sold about £85 worth which was fantastic and very unexpected so I was very happy to donate 15% back to Home-Start.

More sewing tomorrow. Another apron for 'Phoebe' and I still need to get those Christmas decorations sorted for the swap.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Slobs

I'm back from my girlie week-end away which was great fun. We had planned a big night out on Saturday night but when it came to it we just couldn't be bothered. We got into out PJ's about 4pm and spent the next 8 hours glued to the sofas reading trashy magazines, watching dirty dancing, eating chocolate and drinking wine. Apart from getting up to open the door to the man delivering our Thai takeaway I don't think we moved from the sofa! We moved from trashy DVD's to the Telefest that is Saturday night e.g. Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor and the Take That documentary. (I seriously need some Take That tickets). There was much heated debate on the merits of Robbie Williams rejoining the band fueled by copious amounts of wine and champagne but eventually harmony was restored and we returned to trying to catch Maltesers in our mouths from the other side of the room.

It wasn't all slobbing about though. We did venture out (briefly) to sample the delights of New Quay.

We sat on the Harbour wall (but didn't see any dolphins) and frequented New Quay's famous pound shop

which is now a £1.20 shop. Thats inflation for you! We all managed to acquire a large amount of crap Christmas items which will no doubt fall apart within weeks.

Anyway I'm feeling all refreshed now and need to crack on with making some personalised aprons that have been ordered and also my Christmas decoration for the swap I've organised. Better get sewing.....

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The boys are in charge!

Tomorrow night 6 of us are leaving the men in charge of the children and going off for a week-end in New Quay, Wales. 2 whole nights with no children!!

Most of us met through being on the local pre-school committee and we have since formed a really great friendship. Being in their company is so easy and such fun despite the fact that we seem to spend most of our time sorting out squabbles between our older children (a feisty bunch of 5 year old girls now at school together). Its been funny seeing how we have all dealt with the upcoming week-end away. I'm a last minute chuck things in a bag and worry about food when we get there kind of girl. Another in the group (you know who you are!!) has been making lists for weeks now and has us all organised with a food shopping trip planned for tomorrow morning and an itinerary for the week-end. The great thing is that we can all laugh about it as we know our roles and play up to them. I think she is hilarious for being so anal organised and the thought of my laid back 'lets just go to the Happy Shopper when we get there' approach brings her out in hives. I've decided that I am definately a follower whereas she is a leader. I'm happy to do what I'm told or hand money over but I'm not that bothered about the organising bit. I will, however, be very pleased when we get there late tomorrow night and there is a pre cooked meal (chicken enchiladas!), some chilled wine and a whole selection of drinks and snacks with us (yes she is that organised!). So what are you? A leader or a follower?

You may have noticed that I have a super dooper new blog header. The lovely Bonnita designed it for me. I love it. It was very reasonably priced and she also designed me a new folksy shop banner and a new avatar. She was very patient with my vague ideas which changed every five minutes so I can definitely recommend her. Check out her folksy shop here

Monday, 8 November 2010

Bring on the swap!

I have now matched up everyone who left a comment about the Christmas Swap using my usual scientific method of names in a hat so without further ado here are your swap partners....

I am matched with Frogs and Sprogs

Please can you get in touch with each other directly using the links above to swap addresses and info about yourselves. Swap parcels should contain at least one handmade Christmas Decoration, a Christmas card and some Christmas chocolate! If people are unable to swap for any reason please can you let me know. Swap parcels should be with your swap partner by 1 December 2010. I love seeing what people send and receive so please blog about your parcels if you can and let me know so I can come and have a look. Happy making!

I went to John Lewis yesterday and came across this gorgeous childrens sewing machine.

Its for age 5 plus and a proper working sewing machine rather than the toy ones I have come across before. I've insisted that Izzy put this on her Christmas list for Santa! I also bought a pair of very expensive boots. The only pair of boots I have ever been able to find that fit my legs and don't look like wellies.

The only thing is I'm too scared to wear them now in case they get wet!

Sam and Izzy have suddenly discovered guitars. Jon plays and I tried for about 5 minutes in my 20's before deciding it was too much like hard work. Move over the Gallagher brothers - introducing The Stewarts

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Family history

A while ago a passing remark from my great aunt intrigued me. She spoke of a photo she had lost, the only photo of her older brother Edward who had died aged 8 months in the 1918 flu epidemic. I had never heard of baby Edward who was also my Grans brother. He was the first child born to my great grandparents. My great grandfather was in the Navy and away at war when he died. He didn't find out for many months as there was no way of contacting him and my aunt told me that at Christmas he had sent home money 'for the baby' not knowing that the baby had died some months before. I couldn't get this story out of my mind. How must my great grandmother have felt losing her first child with her husband away, not being able to let him know and then receiving a Christmas gift for the baby out of the blue. Its heartbreaking.

The story made me want to start finding out even more about my family history and I am now completely addicted! Today I found out that my great great great great grandmother lived to 104 and met the king. Don't believe me...check out Granny Jarrett!

The internet is such  a fantastic thing. I came across these press photos and reports on a strangers family tree today. we are probably related in some way. I also received an email from someone else telling me about some Irish great great grandparents. Watch this space...

So who else is up for the Christmas decoration swap???

All you have to do is make a handmade Christmas decoration and send it with a card and some chocolate. Easy peasy!! Swap closes on 7 Nov. Click here to enter.