Tuesday, 4 November 2014

My boy

On my last post, I said that I can't put into words how much I love my little boy. And I can't. I really wish I could write an eloquent, profound post about how amazing he is, and how wonderful and rewarding it is to be his mum. But as much as I love to write, I just don't think I'm capable of capturing all those feelings and emotions and being able to explain them in a blog post.

A few days ago though, I took a moment to just make a list of some of the things that I love about him. It took about 30 seconds to fill the page (albeit in my Filofax), and that was by no means everything. Just the first things that sprang to mind. This was the list:

- His smile / laugh. All babies are cute, I know. But we've been blessed with the cutest little boy, whose smile just wins you over immediately, and who has the most infectious little giggle. And he laughs so much. I mean, all the time, he's just sooo happy.

- Funny facial expressions. He likes to pout a lot, which is funny. And he's started doing this thing where he'll just suddenly stand in front of you, pout, grunt and kind of tense his arms - sometimes it's a bit like that pose that bodybuilders do when they hold their arms in a kind of circular shape whilst flexing all their muscles, and sometimes he holds his arms out straight, with his palms facing upwards, whilst doing the pouting and grunting. We haven't taught him this, he just started doing it. If you do it back to him, he giggles like mad.

- Carrying things. He likes to carry things around the living room. We have a fabric doorstop, which is a kind of padded block with a weight at the bottom (like a beanbag, not a hard weight). Despite it being reasonably heavy, he'll pick it up and just wander around with it. He also picks up his changing mat and carries that around, looking very purposeful and industrious. I joke that I might tie it to his waist so that when he falls over he'll always have a soft landing. 

- Farting. Sorry to lower the tone. I know it's very juvenile of me, but his 'botty-burps' are quite funny, especially when he gets the comic timing just right, and does one as he bends over. I'm sure I won't find them funny when he's 15.

- Waving. It's taken a little while, but he's just about got the hang of waving bye-bye to people now, or just generally waving back at you if you do the same to him.

- Peekaboo. I genuinely don't know what I'll do when he stops finding peekaboo funny, because we play it all the time. He'll be round one side of the sofa, I'll be round the other. Sometimes I'll creep up on him and shout peekaboo, or sometimes I'll call his name and he'll make his way around to me. Either way, he laughs himself silly. If I sit there looking down at the floor, he'll tiptoe round till he's standing right in front of me, and he'll start to squat down to look at my face. The moment I look up and make eye contact with him, he squeals with laughter and runs back to the other side of the sofa to do it all again. It's hilarious and I could play peekaboo for hours with him (apart from the fact that being on the floor all the time kills my knees!)

 - Watching him learn and play. Obviously, this is just an endless source of fascination. Just one example of this is that his grandma bought him a cone on which are different coloured rings of different sizes. At first, all he'd do with it was pick up the cone from the base and turn it upside down so that all the rings fell off. If you put the rings back on, he'd just take them off again. The other day, I watched him putting the point of the cone into the middle of a ring on the floor, and then lifting the ring up and letting it slide down the cone into place. It doesn't sound like much, but the fact that he's now starting to want to put the rings back on is just amazing to me, and I just love watching him figure things like that out.

 - Tick-tock. He's obsessed with clocks. We don't know why, but it started the first time he came in our house. He couldn't take his eyes off the clock in the living room, even though it's perfectly normal and unremarkable. So we kept showing him the clock, and calling it the 'tick-tock'. This progressed to all other clocks, and even watches are 'small tick-tocks'. He now points at clocks and says something which sounds like "ti-ta", so tick-tock may well be his first words (I've not been working on 'cat' so much just lately, although I'm trying 'mummy' and 'daddy')

- Bedroom clock. Further to the above, he has a clock in his bedroom, which he can see from his cot. He didn't seem too bothered about that one for a while, and then one morning I went in to get him up, and he stood up in his cot and pointed at the clock, and said "ti-ta". It was as though he'd just noticed it and couldn't wait to tell me that he had his very own tick-tock! So sweet!

- Marching. Now that he's walking, I think he sometimes finds it hard to stop! He'll walk into the kitchen and then stand in one place, but his little legs will keep going. I call it 'marching on the spot'. If I copy him, he thinks it's hilarious.

- Dancing. He really loves music, whether it's the little songs and jingles on his toys, or music on the tv or radio. As soon as he hears it, he'll stand or sit still and then start rocking backwards and forwards in time.

- Curiosity. This is a bit like the peekaboo game. I've taken to lying still on the floor, and covering my face with my hands. I know he's approaching me, because I can hear it in his breathing, it's like he's a bit excited and trying not to giggle. Then I'll feel his fingers close around mine, and he'll lift my hand away from my face and then start laughing. We can do this many many times. It's quite strange laying on the floor, looking up at him, but it's funny too. It seems to puzzle him, which just makes him laugh, but sometimes he gets a bit over-excited and almost falls on me. I fear having a tooth knocked out!

- Determination. I don't think it will be very long before he's learned how to open the baby gates. They've got two buttons which need to be pressed together to open them. He's discovered the top button, and the look of concentration on his face while he tries his best to get the gate open is slightly disconcerting. He hasn't quite figured out that they need to be pressed together, and he probably hasn't quite got the strength or coordination in his hand to do it, but he's nothing if not determined, so I have a feeling the gates might be redundant before long. I love that he's so bright though.

Mischief and Millie - Junior is very curious about Mischief, and just wants to be friends. Mischief is tolerating his presence at the moment. He insists on still being in the living room, despite all the noise and activity, but occasionally Junior gets a bit close, and Mischief decides to go upstairs for a bit of peace and quiet. Thankfully he's learned to jump over the baby gates so he can make a quick exit when he needs to. Millie, on the other hand, only comes downstairs after Junior has gone to bed. They have been face to face about seven times so far - Junior doesn't quite know what to make of Millie, and she just stares wide-eyed and then runs off to hide in the wardrobe. She's always been very timid, and won't come downstairs when there is anyone different in the house, so I'm not sure if they'll ever officially meet. I'm glad that Junior is growing up around cats though, and getting used to them, and I look forwards to the day when I can explain to him that he needs to be gentle when he pets them!

So that was just the first few things that popped into my head. I know if you've got children you will have experienced the awe and fascination of watching them learn, and I'm sure they will have had their own funny expressions and quirky habits (and still do), so I'm not talking about anything new and groundbreaking. Except it is new to me of course. And I just felt like I wanted to make a note of it here.

I find the whole 'anonymity' issue quite hard, although I completely understand why I need to maintain a level of privacy for my son, given his circumstances. I would love to be able to post a photo of his gorgeous smile, but it goes without saying that his safety is my ultimate concern, and far more important than worrying about the lack of photos on this blog.

So, you'll just have to take my word for it about the smile ;-)

Monday, 3 November 2014


A special little man has had a very special birthday.

We still haven't finished opening presents - we're pacing it, so that he has time to play with each new toy.

There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day, and Junior loved all the attention.

I made a chocolate fudge cake.

I piped his name on to it afterwards
I ate too much chocolate fudge cake.

It was shared with family, honest...

I can't believe that he's one already, but it doesn't feel strange. He was nine months (almost ten) when he came to us, and it just feels as though that's when his life 'began'. I never really think about those nine months when he wasn't with us. It doesn't bother me that I didn't see his first smile, or his first tooth appear, or that he'd already started walking holding onto furniture. I can still picture in my mind the smile that he gave us on the day that we met him - that was our 'first smile'. He already had six teeth, so that just seemed normal, and his seventh - yes, 7th! - tooth has just cut through, on his birthday of all days, and that's just as exciting to me as if it was his first one! A couple of weeks after he came to live with us, he was walking along behind the sofa, holding on, and then he just let go and took a few steps across the floor, unsupported. So we got to see his first 'proper' walk, and he hasn't stopped walking since! 

I can't put into words how much I love this little boy. He's changed our lives beyond all recognition. Every thought, every action, revolves around him now, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

... probably not what you're expecting though.

I have a FINISHED ITEM to show you!!! In fact, brace yourself, I have TWO FINISHED ITEMS!!!

I'm talking about crochet, of course.

Ages ago (I wish I could remember when, but I don't think I made a note of it anywhere), I started making something called a Road Trip Scarf, so-called because the person who designed it was on a road trip when she did so. (I can't imagine creating a new pattern whilst on a road trip, even if it was one of our 11-hour long drives up to the Highlands of Scotland - I'd be too busy just looking out at the scenery. I'm also not clever enough to design a pattern).

Anyway, these scarves seemed to be all over the crochet groups that I'm a member of on Facebook, and around the same time, I was trying to think of something I could make with two 100g balls of King Cole Riot.

Oops, can't rotate it...

Lightbulb moment!

According to the Deramores website, the shade colour that I had - 402 - is called Wicked, so allow me to introduce my...

Wicked Scarf!! (wow, that name took some thinking about)

Haven't blocked it - literally just finished it here!!

There are lots of variations on the embellishments, but most people seem to use a mixture of flowers and braids or tassels. I squeezed almost every last inch out of the two balls of yarn, because I wanted the scarf to be as big as possible, but at some point I had to stop increasing and allow enough yarn for the edging (which I tweaked slightly from the original pattern). Once I'd done that, I still had some yarn left, so it was time to do some flowers. I wasn't too keen on the ones on the pattern, so I found these and made two, attaching a wooden bead to the centre. I also didn't like the braids on the pattern, so I made six chains (I think I chained 20), threaded a bead onto each one, and then tied three to each corner of the scarf. I still had a little bit of yarn left, so I cut it into small lengths and put tassels into the last stitch of each chain.

I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. When I started making it, I was hooked (excuse the pun) - I loved how quickly it grew. Then I kind of got a bit bored with it, and moved onto something else (more on that in a minute), and then went back to the scarf recently to try and get it finished, albeit only on an evening after Junior has gone to bed - little Mr Grabby-Hands is not conducive to getting any crochet done! I wasn't sure how my flowers and tassels would work out, I'm not very good at that kind of thing usually, but I'm pleased with them. The wooden beads knock together though, which might get a bit annoying after a while! But I like how they look. So there it is, a finished scarf - yay me!!

Speaking of Junior, I really wanted to make something for him to wear. My mother in law is always tearing patterns out of her Woman's Weekly, and one of them was a little cardigan in a kind of basketweave stitch (I think it might also be known as a waffle stitch, but don't quote me on that). So I thought I'd have a go at it. I bought the yarn from a shop in Skipton that was having a closing down sale; in hindsight I wish I'd bought a nicer colour online, but I was desperate to start making the cardigan, so I chose this pale blue. I don't really like it though as I think it's a kind of 'old-fashioned' colour, I could've gone for something a lot more vibrant. It was meant to be 4-ply, but it felt like DK to me, and it wasn't nice to work with, kind of fluffy and splitty at the same time.

But I soldiered on. I made the back. Then I made the left and right fronts. Then two sleeves. It all went surprisingly smoothly for me. Then I had to make the last piece, the collar. Such a small bit of the cardigan, but I came unstuck several times, mostly because it involved something called a Short Row Technique, which I'd never heard of before. And it wasn't explained in the pattern, it was obviously assumed that I'd know what a 'turning row' was. I didn't. I asked on the Ravelry forums and thankfully someone explained it in just the right way for it to fall into place, and I finished the collar, attached it, and then sewed all the seams. I bought some buttons the other day (with bees on, as a nod to Chris' beekeeping hobby) and attached them this evening, so this is also just finished.

Excuse the not very good photos, taken this evening in the living room where the light is a bit dim.

It's not perfect, by any means, but I am quite pleased with it because it's the first item of clothing I've ever made, if you don't count scarves and gloves etc. My sewing leaves a lot to be desired, so the seams are a bit of a mess if you look closely, and I'm not sure how long those buttons will stay on. But overall, I'm pleased, even though I think it's a bit old-fashioned. I think I'll try and get Junior to wear it once, at least, and after that it might go in his memory box as the first thing his mum ever made for him!

I don't get much time for crochet these days (not complaining though!), so the time that I can spend on it is a lot more valuable. I feel like I've really knuckled down to get these two items finished, and I'm quite proud of myself for that. There have been loads of other things that I've wanted to start, but I've been quite strict and not allowed myself to get distracted with another project. And now it feels really good to know that I've got those two out of the way!

Months ago I started a chunky tablecloth for the outside patio table; I just bought acrylic yarn from Poundworld for that, since it's only going to be used outside. It's a real slog though, the yarn is quite rough and doesn't seem to slide through my fingers so I keep having to pull a length out every few stitches. I'm not enjoying it, but I've got too far to abandon it, so I think that's going to be the next project to finish, before I allow myself to start anything new.

But not tonight - I'm off to bed!!

Happy Halloween!

Chris has bought a couple of pumpkins recently, to practice carving them for Halloween.

I know they're supposed to look 'scary' once they have a candle inside, but this one looks like something out of a horror movie, even in the day time!

Hmm, think we need to try again...

Monday, 27 October 2014

Absent Friends

It's only a coincidence that I'm writing this after my previous post where I acknowledge that I haven't been blogging as frequently as I'd like. From my Filofax 'to-blog-about' list, I thought this might be one of the easier topics to start with. But this is something I've been thinking about for a while, and I've also noticed other bloggers commenting on it.

I have a veeeerry long list in my right-hand sidebar of blogs which I read on a regular basis. There is a bit of a mixture there - quite a few were discovered thanks to a mutual love of crochet, there are one or two relating to Strictly Come Dancing and other reality tv shows, some Scottish blogs and some where I just like the style of writing.

The way that the list is arranged, is in order of most recent post first, so when you scroll down to the bottom there are the blogs which haven't been updated for months, and even years.

I wonder why?

I know it's incredibly morbid of me to even think it, but I often wonder if something awful has happened to the author of the blog - a life-changing illness or accident, or even the very worst-case scenario, that they are no longer with us. Because the thing is, unless you have a co-author, or someone who can access and edit your blog, how would anyone ever know what had happened to you? I suppose somebody could leave a comment to explain, but that's if they even know that you have a blog. Chris knows that I write this one, or at least, I've mentioned it on occasion, but I'm not sure he'd remember that, let alone know the name of it. If something terrible did happen though, updating your blog with a statement probably wouldn't be a priority for your family or friends, would it?

On a lighter note, maybe the blog authors have just got a bit fed up with blogging, or they are too busy just getting on with their lives? Which is absolutely fine and understandable, I'm not in any way suggesting that they should still be writing if they don't want to.

I guess I was just prompted to mention this because I miss some of these blogs:

Andrea at Apples and Pears - I hope Andrea is ok.

http://yarnroundhook.blogspot.com/ - I used to be able to read (and enjoy) this blog, but it now says that it's open to invited readers only, and I'm not invited! Which is a shame, because the last blog post which shows on my sidebar is tantalisingly entitled 'Scotland', and I would've loved to read what she had to say about my favourite part of the world!

Ugly Overload - This was just an interesting blog I came across, the opposite of the very popular Cute Overload. I can't say that I really miss it, because I didn't look at it all the time, but it seemed to be doing really well, and it's strange that it hasn't had any more posts since 2013. 

Paper Mountains - I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the lady who writes the blog, but I believe she and her family had gone to live in Scotland, which was one of the reasons I enjoyed reading her posts. This one is also invitation only.

Crochet With Raymond - I really enjoyed reading about the gorgeous Raymond, and admiring Alice's colourful crochet creations, so it was incredibly sad when she announced that they had lost Raymond, and therefore she wouldn't be carrying on with her blog. It was never clear to me whether they believed he'd died, or just wandered off on an adventure of his own - I prefer to think it's the latter. Of course I completely understand why she stopped writing this blog.

These ones have also been unusually quiet (for them):

(I was just about to add another one to that list, but when I went to copy the web address, there was a new post!)

Those are just a few of the ones that haven't been updated for a while. I know this will seem really hypocritical after I've just said that I miss them, but I think I am going to remove some of the older ones from the list. I've left them there a long time, to see if they are updated, but now I think it's time to let them go, hopefully to make way for some new, interesting blogs to read. Any suggestions would be welcome!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Busy But Happy :-)

This poor little blog has been neglected for a while, but with very good reason. I am absolutely loving being a mum, and spending my days with Junior, who is a bundle of joy and so much fun to be around.

But there are things I want to blog about, and it's hard to find the time to do so (not complaining though). Also, I tend to forget some of them, and by the time I remember again, the moment has passed. I've just made a list in my Filofax, of topics that I want to write about, which is a start, and I'm going to try to at least write some draft posts, even if it takes me a few days to finish just one. They will probably be a bit random though, not that there has ever been any kind of order to this blog so far!

So, back soon, hopefully, with some new posts...

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Not quite finished...

After Yarndale, I spent a bit of time looking at the online shops of the exhibitors. One retailer who I made a purchase from - Eden Cottage Yarns - mentioned on their website that they were going to be at Armley Mill Wool Festival on Saturday 4th October.

Hello? How had I not heard about this before? Well, because it was the first one, apparently.

I'd had such a lovely time at Yarndale, I found it quite hard to 'let go' (I hope fellow yarn addicts will understand what I mean). This past week I've been obsessed with finding as many blogs about Yarndale as I can, I just love reading about other people's experiences of the weekend, as well as seeing all their fabulous purchases, of course!

So when I found out about another, albeit much smaller, festival that was local to me, I felt like I needed to go, kind of for a bit of closure.

I've never been to Armley Mill, but I had an idea where it was, and we didn't have anything on today. After a discussion with Chris about whether he could have Junior, we decided to make it a family trip. Chris wasn't particularly bothered about the yarny side of things, but we thought he might find something interesting to look at in the mill, so off we went, arriving at about 10.20, although I didn't realise that the festival started at 11.00. Some of the stalls were still setting up, but we were still able to go in and look around. We watched a demonstration of some of the mill machinery (it's so bad that I don't actually know what it was - a loom, maybe?), and by the time that had finished it was almost 11.00, so I went back to the stalls, and Chris wandered off with Junior.

I had a good look around and eventually made a few purchases, but I was quite restrained. There was lots of gorgeous yarn there, but I'm running out of space, and I don't think I should be spending a fortune on luxury yarn when I don't have firm plans for it.

So, this was my little haul from today:

Two skeins of Cobweb Lace from Natural Born Dyers. It's 50% Baby Suri Alpaca / 30% Merino Wool / 20% Silk and it is lush! The stallholder showed me a shawl that had been made up in this yarn - I kept picking it up and he asked me if I wanted the pattern for it, but I said "no, I just love touching it!". I'm not quite sure what I'm going to use it for. I really want to have a go at the Lost Souls shawl; the pattern says to use Aran but I fancy doing it in a lighter weight yarn, so that it's soft and drapey. I'm not sure whether this will be too light to show off the skull pattern, but I suppose I could try it for a few pattern repeats and see what it looks like. If it doesn't work I'll look for something that specifically uses this yarn because it's wonderful. The colour is called Mudstones, which doesn't sound very nice, but it's a lovely silvery-bluey-gray. I wanted an appropriate 'skull' colour, without being too dark and depressing! But even if I end up using it for something else, it's still a lovely shade.

When I first went to the NBD stall, the chap was demonstrating one of their stick spinners, with the wonderful name of a Spurtzleur! I'd been saying to Chris that I was interesting in spinning, so he kind of shoved me forwards to have a go! The NBD chap explained about the spinner and how to use it, then handed it over. "Right, the thing is, I'm left-handed," I said, "will that make a difference?" There followed a brief moment where we both tried to figure out how to do it, before I ended up trying it the right-handed way after all (I crochet right-handed anyway). So I had a go, and I was hopeless! Operator error entirely! But it was interesting, and I'm still keen to try spinning at some point.

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the stall where I bought these brooch pins and tiny 'handmade' tags.

I bought these badges at the stall of The Knitting Goddess. She was at Yarndale, and I remember seeing the tray of badges, but I couldn't get near them! The advantage of arriving early today meant I could have a good look through - she seemed to have a lot more knitting-related ones than crochet, but I managed to find these six. I'm going to pin them to my project bag, along with my Yarndale pin badges (although, annoyingly, I've lost the back off of one of them, but I'll have a spare somewhere).

So that was it, not a lot today, but like I said, I think it was the closure I needed from Yarndale. I feel like I've learned a lot more in the last couple of weeks about different yarns, especially the 'luxury' ones. I've squeezed and smooshed so much gorgeousness last Saturday and today that I feel more confident about knowing what I want, and I'd know what to choose if I was ordering them online, for instance. Not that I'm planning to buy any more yarn at the moment though... (ha!)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

I came. I saw. I fondled* ;-)

*Fondled all the smooshy yarny goodness, that is!!

Yes, much like the contents of my purse on Saturday, Yarndale 2014 has been and gone.

I'm in!

Last year, I didn't buy much. I was determined to make up for it this year.

Mum and I arrived about 9.10am, and even though I'd seen online that the car park wasn't going to open until 9.30, they'd clearly started letting people in long before that. Although I didn't have a problem parking last year, apparently it did go a bit pear-shaped due to the volume of people arriving and a lack of organisation. But from what I saw today, the parking was much better organised. We were on the second row in a grass field - a bit further to walk than last year, but perfectly adequate, and a nice view! We had a sandwich before making our way up to the auction mart.

The canal is down in that dip somewhere!

We could've gone straight to the back entrance but decided to walk around to the front instead. We'd seen a lot of people heading that way so I was expecting a long queue (as the place didn't open until 10.00) but there was hardly anyone outside, because again, even though it was early, they'd started letting people go in and either show their pre-paid tickets, or pay on the door. Inside, the doors to the Yarndale hub (the foyer bit where all the bunting was hung) were still closed, so everyone was just milling about, but it wasn't too crowded and everyone seemed in good spirits.

I'm not sure what time they let us into the hub, maybe about 9.45. This is where the Yarndale merchandise could be found - I bought two badges (are they called Bert and Betty? Or is it Betsy?), a canvas bag and a 2015 calendar. I took another couple of photos of the bunting again.

We were all still queuing to get into the main hall at about two minutes past 10.00, so one of the Yarndale people who was on the merchandise stall went through with an attitude of determination to 'hurry them along' and the next thing we knew, the doors opened and in we went.

First decision - left or right? We went left, and walked down one side of the aisle and then back up the other side, rather than criss-crossing, and so on.

The much-anticipated display of crochet mandalas had been hung on a raised walkway/balcony which spanned the full width of the mart.

The general public weren't allowed up there, but there was a chap taking photos.

Every time we got to the top end of an aisle we'd have a look to see if I could spot mine (I'd shown mum a photo of it on my phone so she knew what she was looking for) - I was determined to find it before we left. I didn't actually spot it until we'd finished looking at all the stalls, and luckily it was above an empty aisle, which meant I could get quite close underneath it to take a photo. I'm so glad I took part this year, after missing out on the bunting from 2013. It was brilliant to see my mandala up there with the other 1181!!

Second row up from the bottom, third one in from the right!

Despite knowing about Yarndale 2014 for, ooh, a whole year, I failed miserably in my attempts to find some patterns that I wanted to make, to the extent that I spent about two hours on Friday evening frantically flicking (that's hard to say!) through all my Simply Crochet magazines trying to find something, anything, that I wouldn't mind having a go at. I found a cardigan and a couple of jumpers for me, and a couple of baby hoodies. As we walked around today, I gradually talked myself out of buying anything for the jumpers for me, and I'm reluctant to make baby clothes because I'm so slow and Junior will grow out of them so fast. So in the end I just looked for the yarn for the cardigan and anything else that caught my eye. I'd written down the exact yarn that had been used in the magazine, but I was expecting to have to buy it from a different retailer at least. I hadn't looked at the list of exhibitors, so I was quite surprised to find the sellers of the yarn had a stall there. I chose a different colour to that used in the pattern (because they didn't have that colour), but otherwise it was exactly the same yarn, so I've no excuses for my cardigan turning out any different from the magazine!!

Five 100g/400m skeins of Pendle 4ply in 'Robin Egg', 100% superwash merino wool from Eden Cottage Yarns:

Eden Cottage Yarns

So what else did I buy? Well, I'd read that Lucy was going to be selling a new blanket pack (in conjunction with Wool Warehouse), so I popped into the Knit 'n' Natter Lounge (where Lucy was having her photo taken like the crochet celeb that she is) to buy one. It's Stylecraft Special DK, and you can't go wrong with that, so I thought it was an easy way to add to my Stylecraft stash. I don't know if I'll make the ripple blanket with it, but I will probably make a blanket of *some* kind with it. One day. There are some new-to-me colours such as copper, denim, parchment (I might have some of this, can't remember) and sherbert.

As I said above, I fondled lots of delicious yarn. I touched, stroked, smooshed. And I really wanted to buy some. But I didn't know what, or how much, or what for. So I bought some anyway. I don't know what I'll do with it, I probably haven't got enough to make much more than a scarf, unless I can match it up with something else. But I just really wanted to try some. I had that 'urge'. Any suggestions on what I can make with it, please let me know.

This is a 100g/600m skein of 80% extra fine merino/20% silk lace from Cuddlebums. The rainbow colours on the stall were stunning and irresistible, although when I bought this I was fast running out of money, which is why I only bought one. I hope I can find something gorgeous to make with it.


These are two 100g/400m 4ply/fingering weight skeins of 100% Superwash Blueface Leicester. The dye lot is called Licorice Kiss, and it really does remind me of a bag of Allsorts, or the pink and blue ones at least! It's from Easyknits, who I believe were the very first stall on the first aisle when you started on the left hand side, as we did. I didn't buy it from them when I first saw their stall, because it was the first and obviously I wanted to have a good look around before I made any purchases. When we'd seen every single stall, I said to mum that I'd just go back and look at the first one, because I felt like I hadn't spent enough time there. I had a nosey around and saw this yarn, and couldn't resist. After buying this I had about £6 left in my purse, and we called it a day!


Last year I was quite taken with all the needle felting that was on display, so this time I bit the bullet and bought a kit. Hopefully, if I don't mess it up, it will look like a little brown hare when it's complete. I like hares. I'm also pleased that I'm going to be trying out a new skill.

Needle Felting kit by Jenny Barnett


Speaking of new skills, I watched a stall holder demonstrating some hand-spinning (I think she was using a drop spindle), but unfortunately I can't remember the name of the stall. She was making it look very easy! I'd love to have a go, but I don't know enough anything about it, so I might do a bit of research online. There are so many skeins/hanks of gorgeous wool ready to be spun (are they called rovings? I'm not even sure of that) in all the colours of the rainbow, it must be amazing to watch them turn into yarn.

There were, of course, the gorgeous angora rabbits and alpacas, which, being a non-yarny person, is the thing that my mum most looks forwards to seeing.

I think the lady in blue must've been the owner, as she was feeding them

So soft and floofy!

I think these were Bigwigs

I wasn't really expecting to buy anything for Chris (who was at home with Junior all day), but we stopped to look at a stall selling ceramics, and I spotted something bee-related, so I couldn't resist. It's a honey spoon rest, although he tends to pour his honey straight from the jar, so he thinks it might get more use as a coaster.

Tile Productions

So all in all, a very successful and enjoyable day at Yarndale 2014! And when I got home my little boy was so happy to see me and wanted a big cuddle, which was the perfect end to a fab day.

Can't wait for Yarndale 2015!!

[Blog post written on Saturday after my Yarndale visit, but completed on Sunday when I had chance to upload my photos]

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Junior is desperate to start walking. He cruises around the furniture - holding onto the back of the sofa, the top of his little head just visible, he carefully makes his way around the side, to the front, and then back again. We've actually seen him take two or three steps, unsupported, but these tend to be more down to momentum - he walks along the back of the sofa as normal and then carries on for a couple of paces, not realising that he's let go. And then he plops down onto his bottom and crawls to wherever he was going.

Tonight though, he started at the other side of the room, standing, holding onto a chair, and then he was off - seven steps, unsupported, until he reached the safety of the sofa! Chris and I were stunned - we looked at each other and said 'WOW' at the same time, and I must admit, I felt those happy tears making an appearance. And this was not long before bedtime, when he's (supposedly) tired. And wearing some pyjamas that are still a bit long for him, so the feet are a bit floppy at the end of his legs, but he still managed to walk! And it wasn't even wobbly walking - just for those few seconds he looked very sure-footed. It was wonderful! (And a bit scary, in a good way, to think that he's so close to being, officially, a 'toddler'!)

And in another first, I think I may have taught him his first word! Is it mama, you ask? No. Then it must be dada? No. It's 'cat'. Whenever Mischief is in the room (which is very often, he's steadfastly refusing to back down and be forced out of his living room, no matter how noisy it gets), I point to him and then look at Junior and say 'cat'. I can see that he's watching my mouth, and after I've said it a few times, he'll smile and giggle and kind of whisper something which sounds a bit like 'ca'. So I'm convinced.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Wonderful Thing...

... has happened.

After an emotional journey of almost two and a half years, with lots of low points and moments of despair, Chris and I finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

We've adopted a 9 month old boy!

He moved in with us at the end of August. I've no idea what day it is any more, and I can't remember what 'not tired' feels like. I'm loving it!

He is bright and inquisitive - he's always looking around to see what's going on, and he must've been an owl in a former life because he can almost swivel his head around 360 degrees. He has a wonderful sense of humour, with the most infectious giggle, and will play peekaboo round the back of the sofa over and over again, laughing his head off every time you jump out at him. He's walking around holding onto furniture or with the help of his baby walker, and we're sure he won't be long before he's walking unsupported. When he crawls, he's like a little pocket rocket, getting from one side of the room to the other in no time at all. He loves his food, but doesn't like having his face wiped afterwards. He sleeps right through the night for 11 hours straight, and babbles away to himself happily when he wakes up each morning. He laughs at the clock on our living room wall every day. He has six teeth. He's wonderful, and we love him.

For obvious reasons, I have to be careful about what information I reveal - there probably won't be many photos, apart from non-identifying ones - and of course I can't say his name, but I think I'll call him Junior on here, as that's how Chris and I sometimes refer to him.

I'd love to blog regularly about what we're up to, but I'm finding it hard to find the time, and when I do have time, I'm too tired to do anything really! I need to frame myself and be more proactive, and use my free time more wisely, but I'm also trying not to beat myself up about the things that aren't getting done around the house. The most important thing is to have this intensive bonding period with Junior - just him, Chris and myself. We haven't even been allowed to introduce him to family yet, but hopefully it won't be too much longer before we can start to show him off to everyone.

So if things go quiet on here again, I've actually got a really good excuse this time! I'm busy being a mum. At last.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Filofax Friday - First Tour

I hope I'm not stealing anyone's copyright using Filofax Friday in my title - I've seen it on a few blogs so I'm sure it's not a new idea.

I've had my filofax for a few weeks now, and I've finally got around to taking some photos of my setup. However, I've done it mainly for reference, because I'm seriously thinking about changing it! I love my planner, but I don't think I'm happy with the way I've got it arranged at the moment. I've kind of kept it very similar to how it was when it arrived, and the bits that I have changed have been as a result of being inspired by other bloggers and videos on Youtube. However, as much as I might like someone else's style, it doesn't mean it will work for me. So I'm taking my time and trying to decide what I need from my Filofax, and then I'm planning a complete 're-jig'.

For now though, here's my first tour!

When I open my Filofax, this is what I see:

In the slots on the left I have a selection of page markers/tabs, sticky notes, fancy paperclips and in the zipped pocket, some more paperclips. I'll show you a photo of them further down. Apart from one clip, one tab and one sticky note, I haven't used any of these yet, so maybe I should take them out? On the right, I have more sticky notes attached to the clear plastic flyleaf (is that the right name for it?). I like this idea, but I found I was using them as a bit of a to-do list but not transferring the information elsewhere, which wasn't really my intention, so I'm also not sure if I'm happy with having them there.

When I turn over the flyleaf, there are more sticky notes on the other side of it. I don't think I need this many to be honest. On the right is one of my first attempts at making my own divider. It's just some plain card, with a bit of washi tape on it. I had some 'letter' stickers which I've had for years, so I wrote out 'What's on your mind?' on the divider, because this is my brain dump section, an idea I've seen on various blogs/videos. I like the idea of making my own dividers but it's frustrating for me because I have zero artistic talent, and I mean ZERO!! I've seen some beautifully decorated planners and I feel slightly sad that I'll never be able to achieve anything like that - I think I'm destined to have a fairly plain one!

Anyway, I've got a few sheets of Filofax lined paper behind my Brain Dump divider, but again, I don't think this section is working for me. I often feel like I have a million thoughts racing through my mind, but when I come to write them in my brain dump, my mind just goes blank! I think it's supposed to be a kind of 'stream of consciousness' section, but it doesn't seem to happen for me. I definitely need somewhere to write down random thoughts (when I can remember them!) and I've been reading up on bullet journals. I quite like the idea of writing stuff down in no particular order, but using various symbols to organise it, so if I can work out how to incorporate that into my filofax, it might be something I'd like to try. I really don't want to buy another notebook specially for it though, because the whole idea of getting a filofax was to not have loads of notebooks all over the place. 

I took out some of the pages that came with the filofax - the public holidays, time zones, conversion tables etc - but I did leave this page with the full yearly calendar on it as I thought it might come in useful. I don't think I've looked at it since though.

I bought this fold-out year planner from Staples. I haven't used it yet because I can't decide what to use it for! I didn't really want it to get too cluttered, so I was thinking, maybe just put my annual leave on it or something like that. I'm still deciding what to do with it - I don't really look at it but I'm sure I would if I was using it.

Now we get to the month on two pages section (I'm still getting the hang of the 'proper' names for all the inserts). The previous months are all paper-clipped together, and then I'm using a bulldog clip to link this spread to the current week, which I'll come to next. I'm quite happy with how I've decided to use these pages. First of all, I've outlined the month just using a coloured pencil/crayon - I've seen other people highlight the month this way, and it does help distinguish it from the extra days of previous/following months. Then, although it doesn't show very well on the photo, there are different coloured asterisks in some of the squares. My colour-code list is on the front page of the section which is paper-clipped together, but I didn't photograph it. For example though, dark green refers to work - it might be annual leave, it might be a meeting or something else I want to remember. Whatever it is, it gets a green asterisk on the relevant day in this section. Pink is anything that's personal to me, and if something happens on the same day as a a work thing, then there will be a green asterisk and a pink asterisk in the same square, and so on. The only order is the order in which I write them in. It's just a way of having a quick glance at the month and being able to see whether something is happening on any given day, or not. I don't have a very busy social life, so to be honest, most of the squares are empty! Oh and birthdays are written in light blue against the numbers down the side, but they also get an asterisk and an entry in the diary. No excuses for forgetting someone's birthday!!

The list in the bottom right corner is just stuck in with a bit of washi tape, so it can be moved if necessary. I've been trawling through Pinterest for funny and/or motivational quotes and pictures, and then I printed a load off and just taped them throughout my planner. This list is called 'Creating A Day Worth Living'.

As mentioned, the bulldog clip takes me straight to the current week, but I didn't want to photograph that as there are personal things written in this week, so I've just turned to a random week. I probably should've picked one with at least one event though. Imagine if I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday 29th July. Well, anything medical is written in red, so it would've had 'dentist' and the appt time written in red ink on Tuesday, and in my month on two pages, there would've been a red asterisk on the 29th. As you can see, there is another one of my Pinterest quotes stuck in at random. I really should use my filofax to schedule special 'internet time' because I really do spend too much time on my computer.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I'm also currently using the black ruler/today marker that came with the filofax, but the bottom hole of the ruler catches on the bottom ring when I turn pages, so I'm thinking about taking it out. I also had a go at making another divider here, to act as a today marker and also a to-do list. It's the same card (but yellow, not pink) with a bit of washi tape for decoration, and I gave it a 'to do' tab. Initially, I'd planned to stick notes onto it, but when I did that it soon started filling up and looking untidy. So I've actually put one of the filofax to-do lists at the back of it, which works better, although I'm still not 100% happy with it. The plus side of having a full width divider instead of the ruler is that if you're writing something in further into the diary, you're not writing on the 'bump' of the ruler. So I probably will get around to making myself a proper 'today' or 'this week' marker/divider at some point, and it will be a good excuse to borrow Chris's laminator, which he's said I can use.

After the diary section, I've used the tabbed dividers that came with the filofax to create some more sections. I've got one for family, which is just stuff relating to me and Chris and the cats, plus some contact details for other family members.

Then there's a social media section, where I thought I might write ideas for my blog, that kind of thing. I know some people write down their favourite websites, but honestly, I look at so many I just wouldn't have the space, plus I have them bookmarked on my computer. Referring to the comment above about spending too much time on the internet however, I'm seriously considering having a page where I just write down all the things I want to look up online, and then I'll schedule a time to do them. At the moment, a thought will pop into my head, like "oh, who was that actor in that film about xyz..." and I'll go on IMDB and look it up straight away, even though it's not urgent or even important. And the trouble is, once I'm online, I'm only one small click away from Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. So I thought if I could write down the things I want to look up, I won't forget them, but I won't need to go and check them out straight away either.

The next section is lists, which is fairly self-explanatory, although again, possibly not exactly right for me. I was keeping my to-do list here, until I moved it into my current week. I've seen some planner users who have 'this week', 'this month' and 'this year' lists, or variations on that theme, and I think I might need to do something like that. The to-do list I've got in my current week has things on it that aren't urgent, or that I'm just too plain lazy to get around to doing any time soon, so I might as well not have them there. Some of my other lists are working a bit better, like a wish list, and a places to visit list.

The last section is just a miscellaneous one. I've used the alphabet index tabbed dividers that came with the filofax, and my plan was to use it as a kind of filing cabinet, as others have done. You put things under the most appropriate letter for you. So if I wanted to write down details of my car breakdown service, for example, I could put it under A for The AA, or B for breakdown, but I'm more likely to just think C for car. Then I could write down other useful information about my car, and have it all in the same place. This section hasn't really got going yet, but I think it could work.

One idea I had which has worked quite well, is that I've made my own pages for my filofax, using some old letter-writing paper. When I was younger I used to have quite a few penpals, so I tended to collect nice writing paper. I stopped penpalling years ago, but kept the paper because it was too nice to throw away. It was also too nice to just use for scrap, so it's just been sat in a drawer for years, unused. When I got my filofax I decided I could use the writing paper - yes, there'd be a bit of wastage after I'd cut it down to size, but at least it would be getting used now. So the two photos above show a couple of pages - of course, I plan to use the cat paper for anything Mischief and Millie related!

Nearing the back of the planner, I have some of the filofax financial pages, and some graph paper. I really would love to keep a track on my spending but I don't really know where or when to start! I've even been thinking about buying a pocket sized filofax to use as a purse/wallet, and getting the appropriate finance pages for it so that I can keep everything money-related in one place. If I could have some kind of envelope to store receipts in, I thought I might find it easier to quickly jot down what I've spent if it's all in the same place. But I shouldn't really be thinking about buying another filofax when I'm still getting used to this one!

I bought the graph paper because I saw someone using it to design a crochet pattern and I thought I might be able to work something out myself, but I haven't as yet. I also thought I might use the very back page of it as a 'scribble page' for trying out new pens. To be honest, if I don't start using either the financial pages or the graph paper soon, I might take them out and leave them out when I rearrange things.

After the graph paper I have the credit card holder that came with the filofax. At the moment it contains details of the paper size in mm for the Personal, for when I want to cut my writing paper down to size, and a couple of pictures I cut out but which didn't get stuck into the diary. The middle one says "why is it when a certain coworker goes on vacation I feel like I am on vacation?" and that is so true in our office!! A colleague (who has a loud voice and sings along to the radio really badly) went on holiday a couple of weeks back, and it was bliss, the office was so peaceful!

Behind the card holder I have the filofax stickers - I've used one or two but there are some there that I will never use. I bought these in Staples because I was going a bit sticker crazy, but really I probably shouldn't have bothered.

Behind the stickers is a thick cardboard template, again for cutting paper down to the right size, including where to punch the holes. It also acts as a bit of a back plate and makes it a bit easier to write on that side. Remember what I said about having ZERO artistic talent? I can't even make a simple word look good!

Finally, the back of my planner contains some Martha Stewart Dewdrop removable stickers. I thought these might've been an American only product so I was surprised and pleased to find them in Staples. I've only used a couple so far, but I do like them for recurring events which you might want to keep moving through your diary. For me, that includes a regular blood test which I have to have, and I'm also using one for a reminder to pay my credit card. I get a text on my phone as well, which I have a tendency to ignore sometimes, but I'm hoping putting a dewdrop on the same date in my planner will help me to pay my credit card on time each month.

I also have two notebooks in the back, which is probably at least one too many. The one with the emoticons on the front is just plain white pages, and it's just slotted into the pocket by it's back cover. The frog that is peeping out of the pocket I've had for years. You see, I have this problem where I buy nice stationery, but then I decide it's too nice to use, and that I don't want it to ever run out. So I don't use it... So I finally decided to stick the frog notepad in the back of my planner, and I might actually start using it now. I might take out the other pad, because like I said, I don't think I need two.

The pens I'm using are two Bic 4-colour ones. One has your basic black, blue, red and green, and the other has pink, purple, light blue and light green. I think the only colour I haven't used so far is the light green, as it really is very pale and quite hard to read. The pens write really nicely though, and they both hook into the pen loop. The only thing I worry about is what happens when they run out and you can't get to buy another one for a while? Oh no, I can't write in pink!! Tragedy!!

So that's my Filofax! I just thought I'd show you a photo of some of the other bits and pieces that I've bought for it, or stationery which I already owned and I've decided to make use of for filofax purposes! Ooh, I've just remembered, I was going to show you the stuff in the front pockets, wasn't I?

Ok, so this is front and back. Bottom left are six thin metal paperclip/page markers with various messages on. I got them in Hobbycraft, and I think they were in the Smashbook section. To the right of them are some sticky notes, again with different messages on. They're mounted on one long piece of card, I just cut it in half so that it would fit in my planner. They were in the same area of HC I think. There are two different types of sticky page marker/tabs/flags whatever you want to call them, and then there are the MS Dewdrops, the two notebooks and my pens.

And this is some of the other stuff! Standing up at the back are a few packs of stickers. In the plastic box are my bulldog clips and paperclips in the shapes of hearts and stars. I've also got some little frog clips (there are three at the bottom centre of the photo) but to be honest they're probably too bulky to use in my planner. There are lots of different sized sticky notes, some of which are too big (they'd nearly fill a whole page), plus three more notepads. Just above the three frogs is a pad which has different sized sticky notes on it saying Today; Urgent; Reminder; Soon; Sometime. I really like that, and that's a bit like the kind of to-do list that I need to make for myself. I got that in Wilkinsons. To the left of that are a few rolls of washi tape. These were all I could find in Hobbycraft, and I know I can get much nicer ones online. Next to my planner are some spare pages which I removed and I've held together with treasury tags. I didn't need half a dozen pages for writing names and addresses on, I don't know that many people!!

Things I didn't photograph were the pack of different coloured cardboard, some of which I've used for my homemade dividers, some of my other pens (thought I'd try some Sharpie markers, and a Frixion pen) and coloured pencils/crayons.

So that's it! My current planner setup which I'm hoping will soon look a bit different. As well as maybe changing some of the sections, and creating new ones, I'm also thinking of altering the order. I've kind of got diary/calendar first, lists etc second, but because my social life isn't all that busy, I'm thinking why not have the diary at the back, and have the sections for brain dump, to-do lists etc at the front, as I think organising is more important to me than scheduling, if you see what I mean. 

If you have any thoughts on my set-up, or if you want to share yours, please leave a comment below. I love seeing how people use their planners, and I'm hungry for ideas and inspiration!!

That was quite a long post, so if you've made it to here, thanks for reading!

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