Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let it snow

When we woke up this morning and looked out of the window, we were so excited! Snow! It is not often that it snows in London, and Lily had been very confused about why there was no snow at Christmas. She assured me that it would snow in January, so maybe a meteorological future beckons! Everything looked so pretty:

Before we went to school there was just time to make a mini snowman, but it now seems to be melting fast, so may not be there by the time the children get home from school.

Still, we had a great walk to school in our wellies and getting up was no problem this morning as we all just wanted to get out and play! I noticed a couple of days ago that the mornings don't seem quite so dark and gloomy, so I am hoping we are over the worst in terms of lack of light - I find it such a struggle to get up at this time of year and feel I should be hibernating! The light cast by the snow is so lovely, it makes getting up less of a struggle!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fee fi fo fum

On Saturday it was Ellen's birthday treat and she had her friend Kitty for a sleepover. We went to Jack and the Beanstalk at Richmond Theatre and then out to Tootsies for dinner. I don't usually enjoy pantomime but this one actually made me laugh - largely down to the talent of Tim Vine, who was excellent as Jack's one-bean-short-of-a-bushel brother. Richmond Theatre had a great enticement on the front of the theatre (what child wouldn't want to go in after seeing those boots!):

The children thoroughly enjoyed the show, particularly Lily, who was shouting out 'He's behind you!' at all the crucial moments and going Ssssssss! with gusto when the baddie appeared!

I finished off another Mason-Dixon baby kimono, in the mixed berries colourway again, for Kitty's mum's new baby, but forgot to take a photo of it before giving it away. And I have also knitted this lovely purple one for another new baby:

Now that my urgent baby knitting is done I must press on with Paul's jumper. I have been making very slow progress with this, largely due to the baby knitting taking priority, but I must get on with it now otherwise I will run out of time! I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Any colour you like

Yesterday members of our Putney knitting group had a dyeing workshop with Nic. Mary very kindly hosted the workshop in her kitchen - and we just needed food colouring, plastic sheeting, loads of cling film and a microwave:

Nic explained to us all how to do it and provided some undyed sock yarn for us to experiment with and then we set to work with the food colouring:

Everyone in the group has very particular colour preferences and we were all hoping to achieve our desired colours. The results were amazing. Here are (L to R) Mary's incredible rainbow and mermaid skeins, Jill's beautiful pink and green ones and my wine-coloured ones:

We were all thrilled with the end results and I think I may be on to a new thing! Here we all are in Mary's kitchen proudly holding our skeins! The colours are stunning - look at Felicia's sunset skeins and Linda's mossy green ones! Lesley (on the left) and I have very similar colour preferences - can you tell?

It was a fantastically inspiring morning and I feel very motivated to go on and do more! Here is my end result (which went to work with me yesterday afternoon and dripped dry in the office!), all dry and soon to be wound into balls to knit!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Birthday girl

It's hard to believe, but Ellen is 8 years old today. Happy birthday Ellen! I am amazed at how quickly and yet how slowly the time has gone - like time was bizarrely elastic in some way.

I made fairy cakes for her to take into school to give to her class (I always feel this is a bit nicer than just buying a party bag of sweets for her to hand out at home time, even though the sugar content is probably fairly similar!). In true Nigella fashion, I decorated these ones with dolly mixtures:

Because yesterday was at last a sunny day we decided to take advantage of the fine weather and headed off to Bocketts Farm for the day, taking a picnic with us. The farm is great for the children, with lots of friendly animals (the goats are my favourite!):

and life in all its richness - this little calf was born on Sunday, just before we arrived - he is called Casper, and was so sweet!

The children had great fun and I was very relieved to get out and about. I have felt very cooped up in the wet weather and have been longing for some open space, so it was lovely to see some animals and get some fresh air:

A friend of mine also had her fourth child today (Ellen is thrilled to share her birthday!) so some more baby knitting beckons!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Out of my life...

A clear desk makes me happy! I finally wrapped up the book on Tuesday afternoon (literally and metaphorically) and it was collected by the publisher. I have since had some good feedback about all the work I put in, so I am delighted not only that it is not on my desk any more but that what I have done has been appreciated (a rare quality these days).

Since then I have done a bit of knitting, including starting Beau, which I am making for Paul (the photo doesn't show up the yarn well, but it has lovely green and purple flecks, which are very pretty):

and how could I resist the lure of Koigu in Stash (answer: I couldn't!) as a reward for finishing my work project:

I had started a cardigan for Ellen for her birthday in the lovely yarn Nic gave me, but have decided not to pressurise myself into doing it, particularly as Ellen has also been so difficult the past couple of weeks that I don't feel inclined to knit for her at the moment! Her best friend at school left just before Christmas and I feel that she is reacting to that but I also think that she cannot use that as an excuse for general bad behaviour! I will make her a scarf but that is all I can manage at the moment!

I am feeling a bit Januaryish, not helped by the weather and the dark mornings which make you feel like you are getting up in the middle of the night. Still, it is not as bad here as it is in Finland, where daylight is in short supply. Like Lene, I keep telling myself that it is getting lighter by a few minutes each day, but I still don't feel that it is making a difference in the mornings, when I am trying to prise the children out of bed! My general gloom has not been helped by taking antibiotics all week for unidentifiable abdominal pain, which I hope will clear up soon, as it has been going on for a couple of weeks now.

Tomorrow I am starting to teach some girls knitting as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award, so am quite excited about that, and am looking forward to the challenge over the coming weeks.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

You say you want a resolution...

At long last I have found time to post my resolutions along with a bit of knitting I did over Christmas and new year. I have been bogged down in The Book again and am now in the final stages of collating the editors' corrections with my own and tidying up all the loose ends - I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow.

My aspirations for 2007 are simple really. The house constantly exhausts me and I find the endless tidying and chores incredibly wearing on top of work and everything else. Three children seem to make an incredible mess and I find it very frustrating having to tidy up endlessly with no real result.

I believe that one way to improve things would be to declutter. In itself this is a huge task, so I figure that it needs to be done in stages - baby steps. Although I have known about and followed FlyLady half-heartedly for a while, I have not been doing it assiduously so I figure that this year I will. Let's hope it achieves the results I crave. I specifically want to declutter the kitchen and have a serious cookbook cull!

I saw a friend of mine yesterday who is going to South Africa next month and is taking some clothes for children and babies so I also plan to look out some things for her to take that my children have grown out of. We have so much and others have so little and I would really like the children to appreciate that, particularly after the excesses of Christmas, but I know it is not something that they will necessarily understand at this stage in life.

I also want to finish some things I started knitting last year that have fallen by the wayside as I got distracted by other things (mostly gifts for people!) - namely,
1. The Debbie Bliss ribbed cabled cardigan (I wanted to get this done for Christmas but was knitting so many presents that my knitting for myself was put aside!).
2. The bolero I started when Stash opened.
I also want to knit some lace, specifically the Wings o the Moth shawl and Kiri.

Over Christmas and the new year I made a couple of extra small gifts:

Fetching again in Malabrigo for someone at work who suffers from cold hands and liked my pair; and a scarf adapted from the Misti Alpaca scarf pattern, this time in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk aran and without the frill as it was a gift for a man:

My knitting is not quite on the same scale as my Aunt Adelaide's, who every year knits all the children something for Christmas. The number of her great nieces and nephews is now in the teens but every year we still get some lovely Christmas knitting! Here are my three wearing this year's gifts (with Max in on the photo too!):