Monday, 25 June 2007


I have been wondering about the nature of change lately. Is it possible that we can completely transform ourselves - from pumpkin to carriage - or is it that we simply release a part of our nature that has always been there, hidden under layers of duty, necessity, or embarrassment.

Being part of a community has enabled me to fully realise the creative side of my nature. It is wonderful to be able to share ideas, and have the mental space to create.

What is this community? It is the Etsy UK Street Team, and this is my entry for the June challenge - 'fairytales'. Join in - you never know what you might become.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

And the moral of the story is...

...don't expect minimalism when you leave a four-year-old girl alone with a packet of shiny cake decorations and say 'just get on with it, lovey'.

I don't see anyone complaining, though.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Slop it in and stir it around

I love making muffins. They appeal to the slapdash side of me that can't rear its head during normal baking activities. No need to weigh anything, or even mix it that well. In fact, the less you stir, the better: muffins like to be largely ignored. Lumpy mix makes for fluffy results.

These ones are even a bit good for you - full of oats and wholegrain flour, with canola oil instead of butter. They are practically perfect.

They freeze well too, given half the chance.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Crafting for the school fete

I have sore eyes and needle-pricked fingers this week. It is school fete season and I am the proud owner of half a craft stall, with only three weeks to make stuff for it. I am going for a multi pronged approach - hair clips and alice bands for the little girls, and bags and brooches for their mums. I'm afraid to say that the boys don't get a look-in. Equal opportunities it isn't.

Monday, 11 June 2007


The Etsy UK street team have been having a secret swap recently, organised by the wonderful Askey. According to her instructions I sent a set of tiny felt flower brooches to Tiny Island, and waited with bated breath!

We all knew who to send our parcel to but not who we would receive from, and after days of stalking my postman (just like waiting for exam results) a parcel arrived. It was from Nonsuch, who makes amazing things out of reclaimed and vintage textiles.

As a child I always hated surprises, and would do anything I could to avoid them. I could never keep a secret of any kind, and always told my sisters what they were getting for their birthdays. Life becomes more predictable as you grow up, and the opportunity for genuine wonder is a rare thing. I was surprised not only by the secret swap, but also the fact that I no longer hate surprises. Thanks so much.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Yarn to scarf in two hours

Another Etsy purchase today, again from a member of the UK street team. Snowberrylime spins this gently variegated yarn from the softest merino, and as soon as it arrived I knew what it had to become.

Number one was immediately co-opted into ball winding duty, and two hours after the parcel had dropped through the letterbox I had this scarf, from a pattern in this book. Now all we need is some bad weather.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Flapjacks from heaven

I have been chatting along with the lovely ladies of the Etsy UK street team recently, which is a great, although entirely unproductive, way to spend the day. There has been a lot of talk about the deliciousness of the flapjacks made by Marmalady, so I thought I had better check them out. They arrived this morning and if they make it through to the end of the day it will be a miracle. Really good - chewy, oaty, not too sweet. Must remember to hide them from the kids.

Monday, 4 June 2007

fold and press and fold and press

There is something very calming about mindless repetitive tasks - stuffing envelopes, folding laundry, making risotto. Japanese folded patchwork is in the same mould. Cutting, folding, pressing, folding, and pressing again. The beauty of this quilt is that most of the work is done even before you pick up a needle, and the pieces are small enough to stitch in front of the television with brain in neutral. I was going to make this for my mum's birthday, but there is absolutely no way that it will be finished in time (this sunday), so now she will be getting two presents. Goodness only knows what the other one will be - I may have to resort to chocolate in order to save valuable sewing time. I don't think there will be too many complaints.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

A colourful weekend

We are having a very colourful weekend. Golden boy got his first pair of shoes - he screamed at every pair until he saw these red ones. Then he was like an angel, behaving beautifully for the shoe lady. He knows what he likes.

These peonies were so pitiful looking in the bud that I bought two bunches. Now they have exploded into crazy pinkness and have taken over the whole house with their scent. They make me smile every time I walk past the windowsill.

Number one had a go at wet felting, and found it so difficult to choose her colours that she used them all:

Finally, I am delighted to report that the new fruit and vegetable season has arrived with a vengeance. For the last six months our weekly vegetable box has been full of swedes and curly kale and swedes and curly kale and swedes, and although they are very virtuous there is only so much a person can take. Spring has finally sprung, with asparagus and the first proper strawberries following fast on its heels. Every year I forget how incredible English strawberries are in season. They are totally unlike the refrigerated, polystyrene puffs that are around the rest of the year. The children eat until they have stomach aches, and still ask for more. Who am I to argue?