We are now half way through our summer holidays with only three weeks left before school starts up again in September. Golly gosh, how these sweet summer weeks are speeding by, I can hardly keep up! The days feel long and short all at the same time, and it feels busy and lazy all at the same time too. Each day I perform my juggling act :: sixteen hours of being wife/mum/friend/yarnoholic. Housework (haha not so much), parenting (extremely relaxed), socialising (as much as I can manage) and crocheting (working flat out for Yarndale).
Whilst I have all three Little Peeps at home I am understandably not
able to get to my studio, well not in the daytime anyhow. When I've felt
up to it, I've been heading down in the evenings to work a few hours,
which has mainly involved processing the mountain of mail that continues to flood in containing
bunting triangles. During the daytime I have still needed to work, so have been fitting it in around family life at home. One of the jobs I have most enjoyed doing is creating these lovely little yarn cakes out of my Stylecraft yarn. My yarn winder is an old one which I bought second hand last year, but they don't appear to have changed much over the years and are still available to buy new (yarn winder on Amazon
). They are, quite simply, BRilLiaNt.
I've been taking the large 100g balls and winding them into smaller 25g balls. The reason? Partly for the sheer happy visual fun of it, but also for practical reasons...these balls are neater and easier to work with, and it is easier to squeeze multiple colours into my bag. Plus, it has allowed me to make up some "yarn bomb packs" to pass out to my hooky friends who are working hard behind the scenes creating for Yarndale. As you can imagine, I loved filling my table with plates of colourful yarn cakes, they looked good enough to eat.
Talking of plates of cakes, I haven't baked much lately actually. For one reason I am really trying hard to shed some excess weight, and for another it has been a weeny bit too warm for it. Last week I found myself craving the taste of lemon drizzle cake, so that is precisely what I ended up baking early one morning. Apron on over my pj's, back door open wide open, dancing around to the radio, Little B assisting in his sweet way (he loves to suck out the lemon skins, weird child). I use an old, no-fail recipe (in my archives here) and the results, as always, were lush.
These beautiful plates are part of the new season Rice melamine, which is all rather gorgeous and desirable. They were sent to me as a gift from the super-lovely peeps at Fig1, a gift that I accepted with a big smile and a certain amount of excited jiggety-jigging.
There were some bowls too, oh the bowls! These new Rice Japanese bird print bowls are beeaa-uuuu-tiful. I haven't had chance to photograph them very well as they are currently full of yarn cakes (they make excellent crochet accessories), but you can see some super pictures of them on the Fig1 website. As well as the gorgeous little print around the top edge, they have cute little bird prints sitting inside the bowl. Yummy.
In the above picture, I am multi-tasking you know. I am sitting at the top of my front steps, keeping a watchful eye on Little B as he whizzes up and down the pavement on his scooter, whilst simultaneously crocheting a patch of blue water. Uh-huh, w-a-t-e-r. Five colours of blue Stylecraft to make a puddle of water for my ducklings to swim in......
Yes, ducklings. I had this idea that the yarn bombing around the canal should relate to the immediate environment, so ducks and water it had to be. I have never crocheted a duck, and I didn't have even the faintest flicker of a design for one, so I went trotting off to search on Pinterest. Pinterest is such an amazing resource when you want to look for visual ideas, I can highly recommend it.
I found a couple of lovely free patterns....one by Annaboo's House called Wubberducky (love that!) and another one by Itsy Bitsy Spider crochet called Lil' Duckie, which is the one I am attempting above. The pattern is beautifully written and easy enough for a simpleton like me who has a bit of a brain freeze reaction to crochet patterns.
Awwwwwwwwww, lil' duckie, you are rather cute!
During these past few weeks, I've had to become rather good at multi-tasking. My number one job is to look after my three Little People, and I have been trying to create a good balance between leaving them pretty much to their own devices at home (which is the preference of the older two), and taking them out and about to do things. They are very undemanding children on the whole, and have been happy making short trips to get ice creams from the ice cream boat on the canal, or to a café in town for smoothies, or for a play in the local park. But actually, I do have a huge amount of work to do at the moment for Yarndale, and I have been squishing and squeezing it in to my days where ever possible. I take my crochet with me everywhere, and work up a few rows when ever I can.
My roses are blooming beautifully this year after I performed a bit of amateur pruning on them in the autumn. There are more flowers than there have ever been in previous years and I am delighted. They make me so happy.
Do you like my little crochet ladybird? I made her on a complete whim one afternoon when I suddenly needed a break from the stripes. There was no pattern, just an idea in my head of how to make it happen. She turned out a little bigger than I had anticipated, so I tweaked the pattern and made some smaller versions too...........
....aww, they are quite cute don't you think? Very, very quick and easy to make, I will write the pattern up soon if you fancy making some spotty little critters for yourselves. I think they would make lovely little pin brooches.
In between all the juggling at home, the mothering, the shopping, the cooking and the laundry, the play dates, the sleep overs, the school uniform buying and the haircuts, we have also had some fabulous little snippets of away time. This last weekend was especially lovely, a very special time spent camping with friends. You might remember that for the past three summers we have taken Connievan across the hills to spend a week in York. We lived there for eight years and have some wonderful friends there, and since we moved to Atticland we've always managed to spend time with them in the summer holidays. However, since we now have our lovely Connievan sat in a perfect spot amidst the green hills of the Yorkshire Dales, we decided to stay put this year and invite our friends across to join us instead. We are four families :: 8 adults and 9 children in total, and this weekend it was exactly ten years since our first borns were crawling little tots and we all first went camping together.
There is something special about this type of friendship, where the close bond between the ladies naturally extends outwards to include the children and husbands. Our Little People are no longer crawling babies, but they have grown up together and are instantly happy in each others company. Our husbands only get together during these annual summer meetings, but the laughter and banter is easy and relaxed. And as for us ladies, well we simply pick up where we left off.
The annual village fete was in full swing when we arrived, with the sound of music and the scent of barbecue filling the air. It was absolutely glorious :: a really traditional village affair, with stalls and games and music and food and a running programme of events on the village green. It was quite competitive. There was a strong man/woman competition, hill racing competitions, three-legged races, a dog show and tug-o-war. Our friends dog won first prize, much to the shrieking delight of all our children.
And of course, there was the village pub where we had the most divine cheesy chips (a tray of chips covered in sour cream, fresh chives, bacon and grated cheese) and hot roast pork and apple sauce rolls for lunch. As the bar inside is so tiny (like two square metres tiny), there was a barrel of beer set up on an old pine table outside where you could get plastic cups of the famous Timothy Taylors Best Bitter. I do like to drink bitter every so often, and this one is especially good when drunk al fresco on a warm summers day in the company of friends.
The walk back to the campsite in the late afternoon was jolly and filled with sunshine, chatter and laughter.
We stayed for two nights and two days, and the weekend seemed to last forever. It is cooler now we are heading towards the end of summer, and I was very glad of Connievan's multiple blankets. Our caravan bed is unbelievably cosy and I find it very, very hard to get out of it in the mornings. Sometimes I can persuade J to take Little B out for a while so that I can indulge in some cosy bed comfort.....a mug of fresh coffee, a little bit of crochet and some amazing pages to browse through. Bliss!
Evenings at the campsite were especially wonderful. We did what we usually do when we camp as a group and cooked together (we last camped together five years ago, do you remember?). Two barbecues were lit up and the men cooked up a feast of burgers and sausages. I took care of the bread products, someone else did salad, there were hot barbecued corn on the cobs and chargrilled peppers and melty cheeses, and it all worked out amazingly well. Seventeen of us fed and happy. We kept one of the barbecues going, stoked up with more coals and a constant supply of dry twigs that the Little People kept delivering. Marshmallows were skewered and toasted, and we all gathered around the campfire to keep warm and wait for the stars to come out.
The night sky was amazing on Friday night at the campsite, and we decided to let all the children stay up late to see it. By about 11pm when it was completely dark, we were all sat round the fire wrapped in blankets staring upwards, taking it all in. It was incredible...so many shooting stars! It was the first time the Little People had seen shooting stars, and I was so happy that they got to experience it. Even Little B stayed up to see it, he was so cute snuggled up on my lap chatting non stop about the satelites he could see moving slowly in the sky and the shooting stars as they streaked across. We found out afterwards about the perseid meteor shower and realised that probably explains the large number of "celestial fireworks" we saw. Isn't the natural world just wonderful?
Well I've been writing this post across two days now, fitting it in here and there, trying to catch up with my thoughts and memories. Sorry it's so long. Life is good. The sun is shining, and we are really enjoying the summer very much. I just wish it would slow down a bit.