Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crafting in Heaysman Tartan

My very best friend in the whole wide world is having a baby. He is due any day now and I am so, so excited about it! The only rubbishy thing is that my friend and her wee family live in a whole different country so it will be a good while before I can give them all a cuddle. But I can cuddle them in a different way...

A few years a go (what am I talking about...over a decade actually) my friend's dad gave her what seems to be several million yards of this amazing yellow and orange striped fabric. I have a vague memory of her telling me it was swiped from the refurb of a university halls of residence, but don't quote me on that. 
But for me, it is her tartan. This fabric is everywhere, patched onto the families clothes. It was all over our house when we were at Uni together covering sofas and hanging from windows. In fact I am the very proud owner of a knitting bag made of this same Heaysman tartan. 

So when I was thinking of making the wee ones snuggle buddy it occurred to me that it really should be made of this fabric.

 I requested a small amount and was delighted when through the post she sent me several yards. I have had so much fun the last few evenings up to my ears in yellow and orange stripes.
It is pure sunshine this fabric and it brought back so many happy (and some fairly rude) memories while I was working on my gifts.

 So, I made a snuggle buddy for the little one, 

 a smart tie for the big brother...

and for mummy and daddy a Heaysman tartan sling to carry their new and very precious little bundle...
 I sort of made up the pattern looking at a few things online and using my ergo for measurements and I am delighted with it. The fabric is good and strong and has a wonderful weave with a very slight stretch so it will really cradle the little one snug and firm to his mummy or daddy.
 Joa kindly let me use him to model it...
 It is my way of wrapping my arms and my love around this family that is so dear to me and to welcome this new addition to the world and to our lives.
Love you guys x x

Trickle Treat!

Oh it's been a Happy Halloween here today :-)

We spent much of it in the kitchen making very good use of a pumpkin:
 We scooped out all the flesh and carved a funny face on it.
 We rinsed then toasted the seeds in the oven until they were brown. Then while the tin was still hot we plopped a knob of butter onto it, coated the seeds and gobbled them warm.
We made chorizo and pumpkin soup:
and we also made pumpkin cakes.
 It was based on a recipe from this book, which is one of my favourites and while they were baking in the oven we read the stories, poems and songs that are in the chapter on Halloween. The recipe is very simple:

Pumpkin Cake
blend together
2 eggs
3 cups of raw pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla essence
1.5 cups brown sugar (you could use less than this, it was quite sweet)
2 tblsp water
1 tsp each of cinnamon, mixed spice and salt
3 tbsp oil
When this is smooth add in 2 and a bit cups of s/r flour and a tsp of bicarb of soda, half cup of raisins and half cup of mixed seeds and nuts

Mix and plop into cake tins and bake in a medium oven foir about an hour.

When ours cooled we iced it with cream cheese and icing sugar...

For a lover of carrot cake this is a good alternative.
We made 2 cakes, one as a thank you present for friends of ours who very kindly treated us to a trip to the theater yesterday and lunch out.

The other was to take with us when we went out trickle treating (as Benny calls it).
I don't like trick or treating when there is no tricking involved, just asking for treats. IN Scotland we used to do a party piece: a song or a poem or trick. Here I encourage the kids to take a home baked treat to our neighbours when we go. We took pumpkin cake and also baked some pumpkin shapes biscuits (also from a recipe from Family Festivals and Food).

So while all the baking was baking and cooling and not being eaten there was lots of time for drawing:
 a mummy

 and also a little crafting:
 The kids made themselves some goodie bags (when it came to be time to go they decided they really weren't big or strong enough and they took baskets instead).
 To try and balance our time between indoors and out we put on our woolies and hats and went out to make witches potions in the garden:

 Do you see that witch there, in the field, collecting herbs and witchy things?

 Benny thought it a good idea to distribute his potion around the garden to help the plants grown next year. So if we have a bumper crop you'll know why!
 Finally it was time to go out...

my dear little witch, pumpkin and cat!

Happy Halloween :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

pumpkins and pictures

 Friday was Rebe's last day of term and the school had a 'reuse and recycle' fancy dress theme. Rebe and I had made her a vampire costume out of (mainly) bin liners, but complete with a very sweet tin-can bat. I had some lovely pictures of that to show you, as well as some pictures of a cool duplo farm the boys and I made. But when I uploaded the pictures to the computer I found those mysteriously gone! Oddly enough there were 18 pictures like this....
 and no less than 42 pictures in a series depicting Joa peeling and eating a boiled egg...

...and then... AHA! The giveaway... the culprit takes a self portrait....
Once I had found my camera again (somewhere I was sure I hadn't left it and with significantly less charge in it) and got a picture of this boy making a very delicate and careful job of decorating a 'thank goodness it's the half-term break' cake.
 To surprise Rebe on her return from school we left it on the table with one of our 2 pumpkins.  Benny and I wanted to make this one into a fairy house (the other we will carve into a normal jack-o-lantern)
 He thinks when it is halloween we should take it to the woods and leave it there for some real fairies to come and live in. I think that is a great idea and something I'm sure we'll do :-)
The boys also finished their painted pumpkins by sticking some tissue paper at the back and sticking them to the window.
Joa also discovered that not only is the oven good viewing, you can also warm your feet at the same time. I mean can TV do that?!?!

Well, we have had a lovely start to the holidays already and I am so happy we have over a week to just be, to relax and unwind and be together. We have a few things planned but not too much. I hope your coming week is filled with peace and joy and laughter :-)
2 Under Rainbows babies finished and waiting to be shipped to heir new mama's

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

how to wear a hug...

Do you remember this doll I made for an exchange a wee while ago? Well, the post today brought the shawl that my dear friend Mel knitted for me.

Oh I love it so much! It is incredibly soft and the colour is divine.
As soon as I put in on a real warmth spread over my shoulders. I know that it's not just the warmth of the wool. But this is like wearing a million hugs.
 Mel wrote a gorgeous note that she sent with the package telling me how much she carried this shawl around with her while she was working on it and how often she thought of me while she was knitting it. And I can feel it, there in every stitch is her love and care. I am carrying her warmth and friendship around my shoulders and it makes me smile and feel so glad and happy to have found a friend like Mel :-)

I want to show off to you my lovely winter boots:
I had spent a few evenings looking and searching for just the right thing online (there just isn't the selection here locally so it has to be online) I finally found the right boots and I was so lucky because my mum wanted to  get them for me as my early Christmas present :-) yay for sheep lined, warm winter boots and yay for mummies who buy them for you (thank you Bubs!)!
So I am feeling better again. Allowing myself to feel my feelings last weekend was very freeing and in fact I have felt so much better we have even been doing some painting...

 Yesterday afternoon we made Joa his Halloween costume for Buddies.

 He'd make a great Mr Strong...if only I could persuade him to wear it ;-P
It's hard if your mum thinks you have hilarious shoes and she wants you to wear them all the time...and it's hard when you have a big brother like Benny...

..who dumps mud on your head in the mud kitchen...