Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Smarty pants

A couple of weeks back we attended the wedding of one of my cousins up in North Yorkshire. A pretty frock, make up and blow dried hair for me, best bib and tucker for the boys. Didn't we look smart?

Especially the little fella in his smart shirt ... it was even ironed for the occasion by his Nana! (I'm not known for ironing clothes!)

It was fun watching the deteroration of tidieness throughout the day, two or three hours in and he was a very different child having totally smeared himself in chocolate truffles :) Those table favours came into good use trying to keep him quiet through the speeches!!!

The venue, Goldsborough Hall, was super posh. A gorgeous house with awesome chandeliers and gardens that looked unreal because they were that perfect.. you know the kind where there is literally not one weed to be seen as far as the eye can see, the gravel has been raked into patterns and the grass looks to have been cut with nail scissors ... by hand! The day generated lots of post match analysis on the drive home the next day - you know disecting various relatives and their weirdness alongside discussions about how we want our own wedding to be. We just can't get that one sorted in our heads at the moment!

Overall we had a very nice time, it was lovely to see everyone all dressed up and the weather was perfect so we could spend most of the afternoon outdoors. Keeping a one year old entertained and well behaved throughout was a challenge - quite long stretches of weddings are either really boring (official photos anyone? yawn) or require small people to keep uber quiet. Keeping the other half entertained on the other hand was quite easy ... he rather took advantage of the free champagne and was more than a bit merry by about 4pm! Boy-oh-boy did he suffer the next morning. Don't think he realised he can no longer hack the pace like he could in his youth :)
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

It has been a while...

Ooops where did that month go? Well, mostly it was spent moving house, unpacking boxes and sitting for hours on the phone trying to get the darned broadband sorted out. Don't get me started on BT and their inability to provide even basic levels of customer service. But excuses, excuses I should have got round to this before now. Bad blogger!

So, yep the big news is that the peapods have a new 'temporary' patch... welcome to number 22!

We just about survived the move - I would not recommend moving house with a one year old ... ever! But the bad backs and aching arms have healed, I've stopped dreaming about stacks of boxes and we have just about got the place habitable. It is very odd being back in rented digs and it has taken some time to feel settled again, partly because we are very much hoping that this will be a fairly short term home for us.

We have found upsides to the new digs ...
- Being able to walk to work (loving it!)
- Flick of the switch central heating (no more smoky stoves and shifting coal - hurrah!)
- Big 70s windows as opposed to dark and gloomy cottage windows and three foot thick walls ... no seasonal affective disorder for me this year as I can see sunlight!

And a few downsides...
- No garden to speak of beyond a very yellow poorly looking lawn - no veggie plot, no herb patch, no raspberry patch or apple tree :(
- The terrible bright blue bathroom
- The awful oven (it only has one shelf and takes about 4 hours to cook anything)

I'd take some pictures but they are not very inspiring - think suburban identikit houses. Deperate housewives only for the over 60s - twitching curtains a go go!
Toodle pip

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Pumpkin and (cutie) pie

There have been some autumnal activities going on round here recently. I've knitted a new hat for R's winter wardrobe after realising all the ones we used last year no longer fit...

Racing helmet hat

The pattern is a vintage racing helmet from Sirdar Sublime made using odd balls of stuff from my wool box. I love making hats, one for me is casting on soon!

And in preparation for moving house we've been harvesting what we can of the garden produce, including our pumpkins...

Pumpkins again

A tad early for Halloween but I've been told they store well so, fingers and toes crossed they should last until the end of October.
Toodle pip

Friday, 14 August 2009

Sock it to 'em!

Just a quickie to record the fact that I have completed knitting a pair of socks...


The lovely self striping wool was a birthday present this year and I have really enjoyed making these. Portable, pretty and very wearable!

Modelling my first successful socks!

Toodle pip

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Chop, chop

Ever since he was tiny the munchkin has been blessed with a very full head of hair. It was very long, dark and spikey when he arrived and gradually over the months it has evolved into the most lovely blonde sun kissed curls. However, this last few weeks things have got a bit out of hand. The curls were starting to grow sideways, the ends were tickling his ears and dropping in his eyes - basically it had all gone a wee bit bonkers. So Daddy took the little chap to the barbers this morning and ta da, we have a tidy new look ...

The before and after shots!

Sitting still while being snipped was a bit of a challenge but he managed without screaming the place down, thanks largely to the rice cakes and biscuits we plied him with to encourage him to sit still. Doesn't he look all grown up?
Toodle pip

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Party time

Normality returns after a hectic week at the patch. Visitors have departed, the cards have been put into the memory box, the balloons have been deflated, the bunting has been taken down and packed away, and the last crumbs of birthday cake have been snaffled with a cup of tea.

Yep, the birthday party of the year is done and dusted ... and I can finally get round to blogging about some of the things I've been up to over the last few months. I can't quite believe how much planning went into one little tea party!

We had the hand knitted birthday tank top...

Yum yum

The hand knitted present...

Knitted monkey puzzle characters

Just in case you can't tell these are wonky cast of animal characters from his favourite book 'Monkey Puzzle'. Here they are lined up ready to be popped into their jungle print bag...

Birthday bunch

We had the crazy idea last minute bunting I sewed from my scrap bag ... not pictured how did I manage to miss snapping that?

And finally the (very badly) hand crafted birthday cake...

Disaster cake

This highly engineered structure was meant to represent the little man's favourite toys - stacking cups - but it turned out to be just one giant pile of highly coloured sticky icing :) It slid all over the place during construction yet the icing was like working with glue. Well at least it holds memories!!

As you can tell we gave him a hand made birthday - the best kind if you ask me.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

One year old today

Happy birthday little man! Oh my how you've grown :)

We've had a soggy old day in this neck of the woods. The birthday treat to the local rescue zoo was a bit of a damp squib, not much to see apart from a very cute baby wallaby. Most animals were sensible enough to hide deep in their various enclosures well away from all the rain and the scary looking wet people. Then our celebration lunch out was a rain check too as the place we wanted to go was closed. Doh!

So we just stayed home and played with new toys this afternoon. Grandma and Grandad came for tea and to play and we did a little mini celebration for the munchkin .... here is R enjoying his smoosh cake :)

I'm just out of shot panicking slightly about the impending clean up! Proper party shennanegans coming up at the weekend so more birthday news to follow in a few days.

Toodle pip

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Memories, miles and millions of boxes

After a long period of wondering and waiting things are starting to happen at the Peapod Patch. We've finally got a buyer for our house - hurrah! Things are not done and dusted till we sign on that dotted line, but (dare I say it*) things are looking promising and it looks like we will be on the move. Once we have got ourselves into rented accomodation we can then be much more flexible about re-locating further north, once the right career move comes along of course.

*I'm working against my natural pessimism by actually stating in the open that we have a buyer for this place!

Unfortunately, things are not looking quite so rosy on the jobs front with another turn down this last week. Oh well - everyone says keep at it and the right one will turn up eventually. I sure do hope so. The process of applying for jobs, doing all the thinking and preparation and then driving miles and miles to be interviewed is completely draining ... especially when you don't get the job after all that effort :)

The up side of the long journey to attend the job interview was a lovely few days spent with my Mum. One evening we fished out a box of family photos and trawled through them ... ah the memories. Not to mention the terrible fashions and the even more terrible haircuts! Makes me very determined not to do home cut hair for my little monster. I will have to dust off the scanner when I get chance and share a few of the best ones :)

So that is the miles and the memories covered. Just the millions of boxes to tell you about. The prospect of moving sends the better half into a frenzy of happy packing madness - he just loves boxing up and he has to be physically restrained from boxing up all the essentials far too soon. We are heading out on daily scavenging missions to acquire cardboard boxes ... bins, skips, back of shops ... beg, borrow, steal - you name it we'll be there jamming them into the car. My late Dad who was king at the art of 'acquiring' would be proud! The house is disappearing under piles of brown flat pack and acquiring that strange smell that only cardboard can provide ... lovely!

Boxes boxes

The haul from today!

Toodle pip

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Adventures in a tin shack

The post holiday blues have firmly settled on the patch this week as we returned from our first proper family holiday.

We spent a few days exploring Pembrokeshire which was just what the doctor ordered. The weather was very kind to us with the sun shining pretty much all weekend long. Our Tin Bungalow was utterly fabulous. Quiet location, fab interior decor and a lovely garden. None of my photos do it justice - it was truly fantastic. The only downside was the massive electrical storm we had on the first night, a tin shed in the middle of a field is not the most comforting place to be when the lightning starts a flashing!

The little man had lots of lovely first experiences...

Paddling in the sea...

Digging sandcastles...

Eating a whole yummy ice cream by himself...

Taking big train rides...

Taking little train rides...

And making new friends

(Explanation required: this dopey half dead fly was hanging around in the conservatory while we ate breakfast and R was fascinated by it .. shouting, pointing and generally going nuts about it - consequently we named him Felix and nominated him as R's new friend!)

A fun time was had by all...

I'm looking forward to next years hols already!
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tea party of the year ...

So our baby boy turns one in a few weeks time and the tea party invites have gone out to various Nanas, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. We've quite got into the spirit of planning a proper celebration for the munchkin, which is most unlike us - this baby lark is obviously going to our heads :)

Much of the effort is (and will be) going into the home made feel that represents us lot as a family. Lots of homemade edible goodies will be made for the day itself, R will be getting a home made present (if I ever get the blinking thing finished in time) and I've a home made birthday boy outfit almost done and dusted.

But the first home made thing I can share with you all is the party invite...

Reu in stitches

A hand crafted embroidery portrait of the birthday boy himself!

This was inspired by an embroidered portrait of the White Stripes we've had hung about the place for years. It was quite scary doing his face, I traced the basic shape and positioning of features from a photo and agonised for ages about what colours to choose for skin, lips, eyes - there were a few 'oh my god he looks just plain wrong' moments where I thought I'd created a picture of a funny looking alien but I think it turned out ok considering. The finished article was then photocopied onto card and bingo - one dozen party invites!

We also let the little man loose with some poster paint and he signed every one with a lovely splodgy hand splat. When I say let him loose I mean we pinned him down painted his hand red with a brush and then forced him to splat 12 pieces of paper in quick succession before plonking him in the bath!! I cannot imagine the carnage that would have ensued had we really let him go with the paint.

Toodle pip

Friday, 5 June 2009

Stop that door!

Craft update time. I don't have much to report at the moment. Progress is being made on a few things but they are either far from complete or need to remain under wraps as they are surprises for the Reu's first birthday next month(muchos excitement at casa peapod!).

One project I can report on is this that I recently made as a house warming gift for one of my sisters...

Door stop

It looks super neat because it is made from a ClothKit thingy which gives a very professional finish - makes a change from my usual wobbly efforts. I was sent the kit as a gift when I took out a subscription to Sew Hip Magazine. I've dabbled in sewing magazines on and off for a while now, especially if they have a pull out pattern! Other titles I've tried have always seemed to be pitched at the more mature seamstress - complete with features like how to adapt a blouse pattern for when you get all crooked and your shoulders get all hunched over! There is a cheery thought huh?! Sew Hip has a young and fresh feel and I'm already a big fan. Seems like I'm not the only one, some back issues have been going on Ebay recently for as much as £15!

Toodle pip

Saturday, 30 May 2009

I seem to have misplaced my mojo

Crumbs, it has been a while. I seem to have lost my mojo. Not just my blogging mojo either, life in general seems to have got really hard recently. Nothing bad has happened, and when I look at it I have nothing at all to complain about and a hell of a lot to be thankful for, so I feel really shallow wallowing like this. It just seems like everything is getting me down at the moment and all I want to do is curl up and sleep for a very long time.

Time to find some new energy and turn over a new leaf. Here is my plan of action:

Work stresses. I need to stop working extra hours for no extra money and acknowledge that when I have a 16 hours per week contract, then all that work get out of me is 16 hours worth of effort. Plus, I need to double up the effort to look out a new job. I've actually already done this and I submitted two job applications just yesterday.

Family stresses. Once we all get over our sickies and stop feeling sorry for ourselves (we've had a family cold doing the rounds for the last 10 days now and him indoors has a bad back again) then me and the skinny one need to up the effort to spend more quality time together. We are going to ask for some help from the rellies and try having the odd night out/afternoon off from the little man. We adore our little family unit of three but we're getting very insular of late and we have starting being very very crabby with one another. Case in point one night this week where I just about wanted to wallop him (hard) for the way he was breathing. Unreasonable ... moi?

Health stresses. Now I am no longer breastfeeding (sniff) my waistline seems to have ballooned instantly, and just when I thought I'd got away with not piling on stones after having a baby, my metabolism goes into hibernation while my appetite still rages on expecting those extra 500 calories per day, preferably in the form of saturated fat. So I'm going to have to stop making trips to lovely cafes for tea and cakes just to pass the time and get me through the day and start exercising more. I need to do this to be around to see my little lad grow up and offer him the energy he deserves. Sounds heavy but I really need a kick up the proverbial for this one.

House stresses. We need to get our house sold to allow us the flexibility and financial release to relocate should the new job situation go my way. We've been on the market for almost 12 months now and have had 30 plus viewings but still na da. Not much we can do here really given the current financial woes ... want to buy a pretty Welsh cottage anyone? Any reasonable offer condsidered. But in the mean time I must commit to keeping on top of the housework and invest some time in doing those little DIY/tidying jobs that would make the place look even more presentable. Plus, I think renewed energy going into the veggie plot and garden would be no bad thing. Knowing our luck we might just be here to harvest all those veggies in a few months time!

Money worries. These are just irrational and silly as we are actually doing alright money-wise at the moment. So, I just need to stop stressing about this one. In fact one of my resolutions ought to be a positive one to go out shopping and treat myself more often to some lovely things...not the edible stuff obviously. See point above!

Craft Overwhelm-i-ness . I need to review my list of things to make, prioritise them and spend some time actually enjoying making stuff again. I often think my making habit is a bit of an emotional barometer ... if it starts feeling like a chore to pick up the knitting or sewing then I'm heading towards a bad place emotionally. I think if I can get some stuff finished before starting anything else new then I'll get that sense of accomplishment I probably desperately need at the moment.

There that feels better. Ah, the power of the confessional blog post that virtually no one reads. I feel more positive having blurted this lot out and for having seen in black and white that I do actually have plans to address some of the stuff that has had me lurking in the doldrums these last few weeks.

Oh, and my final resolution to self must be to get back into doing this blogging lark. It might help if I learnt how to take a decent photo, looking back at some of my posts my photos are gawd awful!

Toodle pip

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

WIPe out!

I've had a run on finishing up some WIPs over the bank holiday weekend. I love how there are little stories behind each and every one...

After much pondering we booked our first family summer holiday a couple of weeks back. We are staying fairly local and heading down the coast to explore Pembrokeshire for a few days. So many places I've never been to and all virtually on our doorstep - tut tut! Anyhoo, we've booked a totally cool place to stay The Tin Bungalow and we are off exploring. In readiness I've bought plum a bucket and spade set and run him up a beach bag ...

Beach bucket bag

Working with plastic covered fabric was ... interesting. Much use of masking tape to stop it sticking on the machine, then much cursing as several fingernails were lost in the process of peeling off the masking tape which has stuck tight!

Then today I have put the last touches to Reuben's hand made cot quilt ...

Reu's cot quilt

Side one, side two

This is another one of my signature scrappy squares quilts, based around the same colour scheme as a tiny quilt I did for his moses basket while I was pregnant. I keep swearing I'll do something more adventurous with my quilting but I keep coming back to these, I think I just love squares (not to mention spots and stripes)! I'm still very much a learner when it comes to quilting but I tackled doing proper binding for the first time on this one, just don't look closely at my supposedly mitred corners. They went terribly wrong but I couldn't face unpicking anything - so I just fudged them :)

My final work in progress story is less positive. I've ended up ripping out half a jumper I was knitting for myself from a batch of charity shop wool. With no ball bands to determine fibre composition I thought I'd risk making something wearable with my find, a few evenings in and my skin was shouting for mercy! There was no way I was ever going to be able to wear the darn thing so I had to give up. I'll hopefully use the wool up for something that will have less contact with my skin. I've been meaning for some time to turn my attention to crochet and I've a tinkle of an idea running round my head based on a granny squares blanket design I saw at the WonderWool exhibition last month, must get practicing.

Toodle pip

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Knitted graffiti!

I've yet to see this on the streets of Aberystwyth - underground graffiti artists who 'tag' through the medium of knitting. Very odd indeed. I'm not sure what to think about this, although I think I'll stick to making bubba clothes myself rather than making a leg warmer for a local lamp post.

Check out Keep Cardiff Cosy!

And read the original article here Too cool for school huh?

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Today I've been to the Wonder Wool Wales exhibition.

Fun was had pottering round lots of inspirational stalls - plenty of colourful stuff going on, lots of spinning and feltmaking, classes, a sheepwalk fashion show, and hundreds of crazy ladies wearing bonkers home made creations :)

Wool was not purchased. There was some beautiful but way too expensive yarn which I really would have liked to buy, but I couldn't justify the money for what I had in mind (a crocheted blanket since you ask ... not that I've learnt how to properly crochet yet!). And lots of the yarns on offer were too itchy scratchy for me - most natural fibre/real wools drive me nuts and send my skin crazy. I did get some back copies of a magazine at bargain price and some edible treats though, they had a parallel local food festival going on at the same time and the stalls were all mixed together. Now those little foody purchases I could justify :)

Toodle pip

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Fabric fix

I've had a fabric fix today thanks to a trip to meet my Mum for lunch in Shrewsbury. Three delicious courses and two fab fabric shops later and I had purchased a few bits and bobs for the many many sewing ideas floating round in my head. Six felt squares, three fat quarters, two bell buttons, two yards of gingham ribbon, one yard of plastic backed fabric and a partridge in a pear tree .... sorry, I mean and a McCalls pattern for a miniature armchair!

Phew :)

This is my latest completed project - an 'oooh I want to do one of those' tutorial I saw during fat quarter month over on Sew Mama Sew.

Armchair sewing caddy

Neat huh?

Their site is a dangerous cyber space to hang out, their frequent and detailed tutorials give you confidence to tackle all sorts of clever thingumy bobs and I find every time I visit I'm adding more ideas to the virtual to do pile, scratch that, usually it means adding another batch of printed off instructions to my sewing projects to do pile.

So that was it for my fabric fix, tomorrow the focus moves onto all things woolly but more of that another time.

Toodle pip

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The many faces of bo ...

Please excuse the self indulgent bubba admiring, paging through the little man's photo archive yesterday I was struck at how his personality is emerging through all his different facial expressions ...



Double delight

Shouting with joy




Who me?


That's funny


Toodle pip

Easter holidays retrospective

We've had quite a few little trips out here and there over the past couple of weeks and each time I've thought, oooh I must blog that, and then never got round to it. So I'm doing a retrospective to catch up :)

Trip 1 - en familia 'Yorkshire branch' visiting Salts Mill in Saltaire. Lovely architecture and tall towers for photo posing ...

Highlights of the day were a fabby art shop with lots of lovely notebooks and pencils to covet and delicious cake in the Salts Mill diner served on very cool crockery. We very much wanted to take a little something of the flatware home with us but common sense prevailed and we took the moral high ground. Consequently, all we came away with was this little card which held our receipt...

Salts Diner

Lowlights of the day were being ripped off at the very scary chip shop by being charged 10p extra to have our take away chips in a tray (I know we should learn to lunch in a higher class establishment) and then getting caught up in football traffic, cue wailing baba! His timing is perfect.

Trip 2 - shopping spree to York. Breakfast at Bettys - R showed a fondness for Bettys cinammon toast, he's developing very expensive tastes...

I managed to finally buy new trousers (ones without elasticated waists - huzzah!) and get a treat from here. Apple and almond face scrub and a tube of their fab hand cream - because I'm worth it.

Trip 3 - seaside excursion to St Annes for some bucket and spade action, ice creams and charity shop bargains galore - £3 for a big bag of pale turquoise wool, kerching, a quid for a giant cone of sock wool, double kerching :) This time I'm going to make something for myself!

Here's R enjoying the sand ...

Trip 4 - A spontaneous outing to a distant garden centre to acquire some potted herbs for the herb bed. Pointless detour via Berriew to visit the Andrew Logan sculpture museum ... closed :(
And a very worthwhile detour to Montgomery for delicious lunch here ...

Castle Kitchen, Montgomery

The apple pie has been firmly established as a 'pudding memory' to be talked about for years to come :)

All this and I've got a double day trip coming up this weekend and then goodness knows what birthday jollies to look forward to the weekend after. Crikey what a busy April! And have you spotted how food based all our activities are? Lunch here, cake there, ice cream here, a bit more cake there -but what is a good day out without food huh?

Toodle pip

Sunday, 12 April 2009

A duvet day

Despite the nice weather here today and the urgent need to weed the veggie patch and put the seed potatoes in, I decided to shun the wellies and spend a happy hour or two creating with my sewing machine. Well, in fact the sewing machine took the minor part as it felt like I did more ripping of seams and unpicking than I did of actual sewing :( I was working on transforming a recent charity shop bargain - one of the Monsoon curtains I blogged about here - into a duvet cover for the little man's cot.

Here's how it turned out...

Curtain to duvet transformation complete

I've just got the two bottom seams to hand finish this evening. The darned machine turned poorly on me at the last minute with just two bits to go ... so I've shouted at it and left it to sulk in the corner! Here's hoping that it feels better by tomorrow as I have more Bank Holiday sewing plans up my sleeve.

Toodle pip

Pasg Hapus!

Which means Happy Easter in Welsh!

I suspect we might have a few smeared happy faces this week ... little man has had his first tastes of choc choc.

Where's my Easter egg?

It has been a while since my last post and we have been busy bees here at the patch. Another trip up North was completed to see my family (which should have felt like a holiday but didn't as it was so tiring!), work has been a bit bonkers for me and to cap it all we've been sleep training the little man. The bags under my eyes are not a pretty sight!

Being away from home meant I was t'internet-less for the best part of a week and I got back to literally a gazillion blog posts to catch up on ... I hadn't quite realised how many I now follow. Have I mentioned that I'm totally obsessed with reading blogs these days! Most of them make my own efforts look rather pitiful and I'm often green with envy having had a little peek into these people's lives, homes and craft creations. Him indoors keeps threatening to ban me as he says it makes me seem very dissatisfied with my lot in life ... can I help it if I was meant to be more rich and talented than I actually am?

I think some general blog improvement is required round here. Having started out this thing as more of a personal record of stuff that goes on in my life, I now feel the urge to become more part of the community out there - it looks like a lovely friendly place to be. Any tips from fellow bloggers most welcome!

Toodle pip

Monday, 30 March 2009

Come rain, come shine

What ever the weather the little man gets taken on a walk every day, sometimes just the once but usually at least twice - once during Daddy's shift in the morning and once during mine on an afternoon. I find it is a good cure for the dreaded afternoon grizzles and the blast of fresh air does everyone good. Today we decided to document our favourite route ... the Talybont loop.

Ready for the off ...

Ready for the off

Round by the pretty church ...

Pretty church

Up the lane ...

Down the lane

Past a house I'd like to live in, the one on the left. Sewing room on the top floor, window seat in the bay window, greenhouse out the back (you get the idea!) ...

Nice house

Over the bridge ...

Over the bridge

To say hello to the fishes in the stream ...

Say hello to the fishes

We get very excited when we say hello to the fishes ...

I like the fishes

Then past Mummy's other dream house which is in the process of being renovated and stripped of its character. They pulled down a victorian glass house/conservatory that was on one side of this cutie ... next the plastic windows will go in ... grrr!

Dream house

I think it is the symmetry of the place that I love. It is how you would draw a house as a child and I think it would definately suit some roses round the door ...

Roses round the door

Then is is a quick scoot round to the playground ...


For a quick swing swing ...

Swing, swing

Before it is back home for a well earned cuppa and a sit down. Phew!

Toodle pip