Monday, January 28, 2013

a peaceful weekend

We had a really lovely weekend here. The weather was awful so we just stayed in and enjoyed our own company: games, stories, some movies...
we baked a swanky cake with the swanky egg
and ate the cake
 and made the swanky egg shell even swankier.
 I cut Rebe's hair and we love it, it really suits her

 a little outdoor play in the green house

 some crafting
and I knitted Benny this armadillo hat. I'm now working on a horse hat for Rebe.
Hope you had a peaceful weekend too :-)

Friday, January 25, 2013


Things seem so much easier today. I feel steps closer to knowing where I am and what I need to do and that helps. The kids are all on the mend and there is a lot of love in this house...

We're loving this song, and it is good to remember that 'it's alright to cry'.
We're loving bedtime stories, particularly Mrs Pepperpot.
I'm really enjoying visiting this blog and have bought a copy of this great book as a result...really makes you want to 'stick it to the man'
 loving painting and drawing and making
 loving a fantastic armadillo exchange that Benny is having with my friend Melissa (Benny stitched that tiny baby armadillo all by himself!)
loving raw milk, I have finally found a source, oh the taste takes me back to my childhood in a German farming village :-)
loving our newly adopted cat, or rather he has adopted us. Big and soppy and ginger and Benny adores him. He's called Jack :-)
loving finding extremely accurate diagrams drawn by Rebe
loving finding an egg in the box who disguised herself as a chicken. We're saving her to make into a special cake, she's too swanky to just be scrambled :-)
loving loosing another tooth (guess which one by this picture I found that Rebe painted of herself)
loving knitting cable, my first attempt in vintage Irish wool yarn

loving doll making, as always.

There is so much that brighten's my day, so much love and I am grateful for that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

through the dark times...

...and I can tell you that the last week or so have been that.

We have been poorly here Under Rainbows, again. Rebe was off school for another week, some awful virus; high temperatures, a little vomiting, lots of tiredness, coughs and snottery noses, Joa got it and now Benny has it.
 But also, and much worse we had a horrible and disturbing incident with Andy last week. An incident that frightened and disturbed us and made me loose my trust in his getting hold of his mental health. I won't go into the details any more, but I just wanted to share with you two things that helped us get through this week.

One was an idea gifted to me by a friend. I had to make some very hard decisions, and these decisions required clear headed thinking, lots of phone calls to various agencies and supports, lots of talking it through. I made my decisions though, it took me a good few days, but I did it. As soon as I did I started to feel anxious, was I right, did I need to re-think? But my dear, sweet friend coached me through and said, You have already made the decision, allow yourself to believe in the choices you made. You made them after thought and research and with good hopes and compassion for everyone. 
She gave me the idea of making this a physical act, so on her suggestion, I gathered some pebbles from the beach. I now have a small heap of them on the window sill. Whenever I go through this process and make a decision, that is good and sound I will move a pebble from the heap into the basket. There, job done. I trust in myself and believe in myself and I can go on now, move forwards and deal with whatever the consequences of my choices are.

The second tool I want to share with you I found in my mothering soul.
 Benny needed me, he asked could it be just me and him. Of course it couldn't be just me and him, there is Rebe and Joa too, and no matter how much we might want a little space together I couldn't give him what he needed right then and there... but I could.
I sat him on my knee and with my hands I drew and invisible bubble around us. I told him that only him and I were in this bubble. Even if Joa was sitting right there next to us on the bed we were completely alone in this bubble.
It could look however we wanted it to. So with a swish of my hand I tinted our bubble green. I covered the walls with sparkles and glow-in-the-dark stars.
I told him how this bubble was magic and could stretch. It could stretch from one room to another, from one house to another, from one village to another, even to the moon and back and it would not break and we, Benny and I, would still be in our own private bubble.
I also told him how strong it was. In fact it is the strongest thing in the world. The sharpest point can't pierce it, the heaviest rock can't crush it, guns can't blast holes in it. It is indestructible. There is a door though, with a key hole and the only key's that fit are our very own fingers. 'But what if a baddie get's in and puts a bomb inside it?' he asked me anxiously. 'That's ok' I replied and sat him on my knee again and showed him how we could just draw another one around us.

The following morning after Benny had a very sweet and sound sleep within our bubble we told Rebe about it and I showed them in the simple drawing above how I could be alone with each of them all at the same time. Mother's magic is great like that!
So life is limping on for us, changes and nose wiping, a sprinkling of snow, appointments and school, but I have found my camera in my hands in the past few days. I am noticing our lives again instead of just getting through them.
We've been doing a little crafting. Benny stitched himself a baby armadillo

and we made a sling so his daddy armadillo 'Sandy' could carry his baby.

I hope that these two little tips are helpful to you and I would love to hear any of your own. All coping mechanisms welcome :-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

among the roots of my garden...

...Benny and I found this pod.

We carefully opened it up and there inside, nestled snug and deep was a tiny baby.

This doll was a very special project for a dear friend of mine. We have been talking about it for a few months now and I have loved working on it this month.
The baby is curled up inside a knitted and felted pod. There is actually a pretty funny story behind the pod:
 I had the general shape and feel of what the pod should look like in my head, but didn't really know how to make it. I decided to knit a base out of dark brown, handspun Jacob's yarn from here. I then picked up stitches all the way around the base and knitted in the round using strands of earthy coloured vintage Irish yarn from my stash. Round and round I went, it was so grounding and beautiful to knit. 
Now to the funny part. I wanted to felt the pod as a whole in the washing machine then cut the door hatch into it. I'm pretty rubbish at felting (apart from things I don't want to felt) I knew I needed something to bash it around inside the machine to help it felt. My first thought was pebbles, but then thought it probably wouldn't be so sensible to put stones into my washing machine. So then I thought potatoes! And that's what I did, I popped a couple of hard, clean, raw potatoes into the pod before knitting it closed and put it in the machine. It wasn't until I had switched on the hot wash that I thought about what I had done...what if the potatoes cooked...worse still what if they mashed all over the knitting? So with baited breath I waited for the wash to finish. Phew, although the potatoes had cooked they hadn't burst their skins. It did make me giggle though. Me and my bright ideas!
The pod didn't stand the way I wanted it to unsupported so I knitted a second 'skin' and sewed it into place stuffing it with some sheep's wool. Oh my, how warm that wee pod baby is in there snuggled up!

For extra warmth the pod baby is curled up inside a little leafy sleeping bag. This is knitted from the most beautiful handspun yarn, also from Melissa's shop. I have to say I haven't knitted with handspun much but I just love it, so organic and interesting. The colours are so beautiful too. Melissa's yarn is so lovely and the last I knew she was offering a discount on the yarn she has in her shop. She also does small quantities, completely perfect for dolls clothes, and she takes custom orders!
 The pod baby himself/ herself is about 11 or 12 inches long (I can't find my ruler to be more exact). He is pretty unique in that he has a wire skeleton. For this project we felt that we wanted the baby to retain the curled up shape from being inside the pod. So I used a similar technique that I use for the doll house dolls, wrapping wool roving around pipe cleaners and stuffing that into the skin. It worked really well, and although you can't see it so well in the pictures the baby is pose-able and will sit unsupported (and even cross legged...oh the cuteness!)

 The baby is wearing a little wool felt top made from an upcycled wool vest that Joa had grown out of. Over this he has knitted dungarees from the beautiful Jacob's sheep yarn I mentioned before. They are so sweet and really remind me of Pan or a little fawn's trousers.
 He also has a hat in leafy handspun, pointed of course, to match his green eyes.

 It was a special project and I felt that it has helped keep me grounded and rooted to the earth and nature at a time when I have needed it most.
I have some lovely projects coming up in the next months including a Scottish doll, 2 flower fairies and a family :-)

ETA: Melissa does still have a few yarns and if you use the coupon code 'flighty' you will get 20% off :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

loosing it (in more ways than one)

Do you know what this is?
 It is called a hexbug and one of these wee guys released a wave of pent up feelings in me today.
Yesterday we went to visit a gorgeous friend of mine, who showed us this hexbug that Santa had brought to their house at Christmas.
When we got home after our visit Benny found it in his pocket (!?!), I had thought then that I should take it away so we wouldn't loose it, but the kids were really enjoying it, so I told Benny to really look after it so we could return it to it's owner at playgroup the next day...
But it got lost, somehow between coming up for a bath and leaving to drop Rebe to school this morning it just vanished.
We started to look for it and to be honest I tore the house apart before 8am.
After I took Rebe to school I thought I'd calmly try and have another look. But, I got more and more frantic; every drawer was emptied, each bed stripped, every basket of toys tipped out, all the books from the shelves and pencils from the box. The more I searched the more frustrated I began to feel, the more like a failure, the more like I can't be trusted, the more like I was letting people down, the more like my time was being wasted, the more like I didn't want more things to be responsible for looking after, the more like the kids didn't care, the more alone, the more cross, the more upset... it went on and on, I was cross with Benny and said mean things, I was cross with the world. I slammed doors and banged around and threatened and cried and shook and raged... and I just couldn't stop! In the end, in floods of tears I phoned Andy and asked if he could have the boys for a while so I could have some space to sort myself out.

As I was driving home from having dropped them off I remembered something I had read only yesterday about events or things in life being like little mirrors of what is going on inside us. I saw immediately that the emotions I was feeling was not about the hexbug at all.
  Of course it is only a wee bit of plastic and of course my friend would be completely understanding about the situation. Of course all I really needed to do was to spend a few euro buying a replacement and getting Benny to help me give it to it's rightful owner with an apology.
I realized that the torrent of emotion that it evoked in me belonged to quite other events and situations and happenings that had occurred on the run up to and over the Christmas break...things that I had not felt like talking about!
I had another good cry (just to make sure I had really released all of those pent up feelings), drank a large coffee and ate a (smallish) bar of chocolate and felt much calmer, although very drained.
I also knew that I needed to apologise to Benny and make sure that he knew that the negativity that had come from me was not about him and the hexbug but belonged quite somewhere else all together.
So I wrote him a letter and explained myself as best I could, in terms he could understand. Of course Benny can't read, but he understood the importance of those written words when I read them to him.
I also wanted to make him something, to show how much I love him and how sorry I was:

 and do you know what that wee guru said to me. 'Mummy you should read Each Breath a Smile' (a wonderful book based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and he hugged me and got on with his day,
and I hugged myself and got on with mine.
Perhaps this would be a good marketing strategy for hexbugs: 'Hexbugs...the tool for the emotionally repressed' ;-P

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

don't really want to talk about it

Christmas that is, and new year, and the wonderful full moon celebration I had between them both, or starting back to school, or visiting or having visitors...I don't really want to talk about any of I won't. I'll just share a few random pictures and hope I feel like talking again soon...

custom 16" doll

fire on Christmas Eve

playing with the dollhouse on Christmas morning. Benny loves this, it was a big success!

craft kits from my kind aunt and uncle

random body painting...this is all you need to do to be 'a maniac'

busy threading beautiful beads, a gift from a special friend


memories of the full moon women's circle, a heart shaped rock my candle: my presence
endlessly awesome, gentle journeys, 

beautiful new art materials from aunt and uncle


custom 11" doll Hannah Leigh

Hannah Leigh in her Puff the Magic Dragon Suit