Thursday, 30 September 2010


Turquoise is my favourite colour. There is quite a lot of turquoise in our house. Our bedroom and bathroom are turquoise. There's a large section of turquoise clothes in my wardrobe, fabric in my first ever quilt and my next knitting project is going to be with turquoise yarn. I've already got the yarn. I don't however have any turquoise gloss hunter wellies and I think that they would really make me happy. They would look beautiful with everything I have and they are so shiny. They have gone straight to the top of my wish list. Perhaps I'm not totally miserable due to life, maybe it is all down to a lack of turquoise gloss wellies. Could a pair of wellies cheer me up? I believe they could.

Thank you very much to The CSI Project without whom, I would  have never known that turquoise was the colour of 2010 and been reminded that there are a pair of turquoise wellies with my name felt-tipped on the inside. I had previously thought that the two pairs of wellies I already have was quite excessive and I didn't need any more, but in difficult times...

I had so much fun looking at all the projects in their The CSI Project turquoise challenge this week. My favourite was No. 107 House and Family Rules. The wonderful creative mind behind the rules, Monika Wright, has kindly allowed me to show our version of her inspired idea. We did change some and I did particularly like Charlie's 'You only need to have a bath if  you are messy.'


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Simply Knitting

It isn't always easy to work out why but it doesn't stop me from questioning. Asking "Why?" is generally a good thing and to be encouraged in a lot of situations. However unfortunately there isn't always an answer or a reason. That is the hard part of life. Asking questions is the easy part, answering them is harder and trying to live with the fact that sometimes there is no answer is the hardest of all. So I simply knit. It has been a tough week and it's only Wednesday. It has been a tough year but then there are always good times and bad times. This project is probably going to be a long and on-going one, perhaps a scarf. When times are hard, there's often tears and not always answers but at least with a wonderful family and friends, I can simply knit and eventually everything will be fine.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Quilt day or duvet day

Sometimes you just have to be kind to yourself. After another restless night and waking up with my headache feeling even worse, I decided not to go to work but to rest. No-one ever hands out medals for going to work when you're not well and work is such a state of chaos at the moment, it was very likely to have made me feel worse. Life is too short to be worrying about work and running yourself into the ground, my family needs me. So once I had made the decision to stay at home, I had to think about the best way to cure my headache.

Should I have a duvet day and stay in bed resting?

Or have a quilt day? There wasn't ever really any competition. I'm quite pleased with how my first quilt is looking and with no-one at home I was able to lay it out of the floor and piece it together like a giant jigsaw. Spending the day carefully sewing the fabric together has been very relaxing and although my headache hasn't gone, I feel better. 
P.S. Sorry to anyone who had to cover for me

Monday, 27 September 2010

Moments of Beauty - Eight for a wish

I am not a particularly superstitious person, but I am fascinated by the folklore surrounding magpies. They are one of my favourite birds, simply for their pure audacity. Charlie and I call them pirate birds, we admire that they are the stealers of shiny things. I am never really sure whether to believe if they are good luck or bad luck. Should I salute them? Enquire after their wives? There are so many variations on superstitions surrounding magpies, that I choose to combine them all into my own interpretation; the more you see, the luckier you'll be.
Today I suffered badly from Monday morning so I tried to look for beauty on my way to work and there was plenty. I thought I'd choose eight of the sights I saw on my way to work to represent the eight magpies I saw on my way home from work. Coincidently a gathering of magpies, also known as a collective noun (should any of my students ever stumble upon my blog) is a parliament of magpies.

One for sorrow

Two for joy

Three for a girl

Four for a boy

Five for silver

Six for gold

Seven for a secret never to be told

Eight for a wish

I'm not even sure of the rhyme but I hope that seeing a parliament of eight magpies is lucky and if I do get a wish, it would be for happiness, for everyone.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Rainy day at the Euro fair

It can sometimes be quite difficult to get Charlie out of the house. Josie did a sterling job at trying to get him to go to the cinema with Mark and herself, offering bribes of popcorn and sweets, even an extra film but he just wanted to stay at home with his mummy. That was until I started talking about the Euro food fair. It captured his imagination and he got dressed with minimum fuss. Standing guard at the gates was a knight which added to his interest and the food stalls, smells and general bustle of people pursuaded him to take a look. We have been before and I'm sure on each occasion it has rained, which is skillfully illustrated by Josie's picture. I showed Josie my blog today and she was very impressed and keen to contribute / take over. I imagine she will have plenty to add. She even asked if you could have her own.
I do really like the Euro fair, so much delicious food, but I think today my favourite was the cheese stall. I might have liked to have looked around more but the weather was just miserable.

Charlie choose one of the cupcakes, which do look very attractive.

The piece of carrot cake Josie liked the look of was large enough for her to share with Mark and myself.

Mark and I went for a small selection of cheese from The Cheesemakers of Canterbury. I tried each one, they are all delicious and if you like fairly mild but equally tasty cheese, I would recommend them all, but then I do like cheese.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Charity Shop Saturday

The best time to go to a Charity Shop is on a Saturday and I do actually have inside information to support this statement. In my twenties I was lucky enough to work for Notting Hill Housing Trust Charity Shops who set up temporary charity shops in some of the most spectacular and amazing locations and buildings around inner London. When else would you get the chance to work in a charity shop in Picadilly next to Fortnum and Masons? I adored the old buildings in their sad and sorry state of repair. The lower shop floor was always made safe and fitted out in a shabby, temporary fashion and anywhere else was roped off usually with a hand written sign warning of the danger. One of my favourite's was the vintage 60s and 70s clothing shop just off of the Portabello Market. I had my pick of the cream of the cream. Well the trick is that you keep the best for Saturday as this is when you have the most passing trade and can make the most money for your charity. I suppose it's not really a secret, but quite good to remember if you want to pick up a bargin.

Josie and I often go out to the charity shops in search of teasure and today she had especially requested a visit to stock up her fabric basket. She is very creative and likes to cut up fabric and make her own creations, so it is best to keep her well stocked otherwise she can be tempted to use her clothes.

This beautiful Woods Seaforth china plate would have been my star find today. It is chipped but at 30p, it would have been a crime to not to bring it home. Although I now have my own 'Blue & White', the best was still to come.

Pictured at the top of the post you will see Josie sitting outside a charity shop with the most fabulous wardrobe. It was love at first sight and fortunately Charlie was in need of a wardrobe and Mark liked it so it now sitting upstairs in Charlie's bedroom. It is a truly beautiful piece of furniture in minature, standing not much taller than me. There is even a tie rack for stylish small boys such as Charlie, however we decided it was a good place to keep the pirate hat I crocheted for him. (He doesn't have any ties, Charlie and his Dad are not tie wearers). It had only been out for 5 minutes and as Mark was paying, a very good friend came in to buy it. She was so kind and let me have it for which I am really grateful. Charlie and I love the wardrobe so much, I am almost sure that it will feature in a post shortly.

Friday, 24 September 2010

I'd rather be in Broadstairs

Who wouldn't? Broadstairs is my favourite Kent seaside town and possibly the top of my list of British classics. Although Perranporth, Porthleven and Brighton have sentimental value and Westgate-on-Sea, Whitstable and Herne Bay have wonderful friends, Broadstairs has style, charm, Victoriana, traditional high street shops and Dickens. I could never be sad in Broadstairs.
"Not Broadstairs again" said Charlie when I told him where we were going on our day out, mainly because he wanted to go to the zoo on the mini bus.

Broadstairs is also a crafter's and treasure hunter's paradise. The walk from the train station down the high street started us on our Great Piratical Rumbustification. The first treasure trove is Bay 158, the perfect shop for anyone who loves beautiful things, the seaside and Broadstairs. I am quite a reserved shopper, not entirely through choice but ethically we should at least try. I haven't actually bought anything before but had carefully considered my purchase and think that the mug featured above is perfect. Charlie is however a consumer and could have easily spent more money than I earned in the past month, but did settle for a modest Emma Bridgewater pirate money box. Thank you very much to the kind gentleman in the shop for letting us take photos.
Next we picked up our lunch, bread and cakes from the traditional bakers, Crusties and fruit from the greengrocers, J Prentis. Walking down Broadstairs High Street is just like stepping back into my own childhood. There's a butchers, a fish shop, several flower shops, sweet shop with brightly coloured jars, tea rooms, two yarn shops, a fabric shop, ice-cream parlours, seaside chips shops, the most glorious charity shops staffed by elderly women and a tiny cinema proudly displaying a 'house full' for tonight's showing sign. Charlie got several more dinosaurs for his growing collection, but then can a little boy ever have too many dinosaurs? We ate our picnic on the beach at 11am which I thought was reasonable seeing as Charlie woke everyone up at 5.30am and I hadn't had breakfast. Thanks to a very kind neighbour who had taken Josie to school, I had had time to be organised enough to make a flask of coffee so was able to try out my new mug. It was perfect! The only thing to add really is that, after getting soaked on the way home from school, Josie spotted my new mug and read it.
"Would you rather be in Broadstairs?" I asked.
She stood there with her hair dripping, her clothes drenched and looked out the window,
"Not really," she said, "It's pouring."

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Official hot chocolate day

On the way home from school today, we got caught in a shower and because I had already made Charlie wear his coat, he officially declared it a hot chocolate day. During the autumn and winter if the children get wet on the way home from school, in order to cheer them up and hurry them along, we often discuss whether it is a hot chocolate day and it usually turns out to be one. So with the tomato plants composted, the persistant web making spider, the autumnal mists, the last few sweet peas in the garden and the first hot chocolate day, I think autumn is here and today I feel happy about that. To celebrate Josie and I made some chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and Charlie charlied them (crushed them and spread them over his face, hands, kitchen table, floor, bathroom sink and towel before pouring hot chocolate on them.)

Our cakes before Charlie got to them

I also have my first followers, which I am very excited about and some very positive and valued comments from friends. It's so very lovely to have Ridgeway Cottage to escape to, I daren't look in the lounge, I believe it is full of dinosaurs and a dino world made out of the cushions of the settee.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Autumnal mist

Autumn is beautiful but in many ways it is so sad, this year more than ever. To cheer myself up this morning as I cycled to work through town, I made an extra special effort to stop and observe all things beautiful. Sadness aside, Autumn is stunning. Josie describes it as her favourite season. There is a lot to like about the end of the summer. Cobwebs are amazing, how do spiders know what to do? Every morning I destroy a web in the door of the garage so I can get my bike out and it is there again the next morning, without fail. I even put the spider in the seat on the back of my bike yesterday in the hope that if I took it for a ride it might decide to find somewhere else, but it was still there this morning. I have to admire the determination and the incredible geometric patterns.
I do love the mist, it makes everywhere look slightly magical, especially in the early morning sun. The colours of the leaves are amazing and I am looking forward to collecting them with Charlie. One of our favourite games is catching leaves. It needs to be a slightly windy day and we wait until the wind blows the leaves from the trees. All you have to do is catch one, which isn't as easy as it sounds. I also read about using Mod Podge to preserve leaves on another blog but being new to blogging I'm not really too sure of the etiquette of linking to other blogs. Perhaps I should ask the Mod Podge lady herself.....I having fun already.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

End of the Season

This morning I picked what must be almost the last sweet peas of the season. I've been picking a small bunch for the vase on my desk at work since June and they have been just delightful. Nothing smells quite like summer other sweet peas and tomatoes of course. We had a real success with some small tomatoes in a hanging basket outside the back door this year. I grew two varieties in the same basket; balconi red and gartenperle. They were both delicious and a favourite with Mark for his sandwiches. Gartenperle was probably the tastiest, the most prolific and a curious pinky red. I collected the last of the tomatoes at the weekend and this afternoon the plants have finally gone in the compost bin.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Where to start?

I thought and wondered and considered and procrastinated about where I should start until I was so confused that I thought I would just jump in head first. I am excited about writing about what we get up to as a family and the wonderful things we are going to make and how they will all be collected here. My inspirations are from all the fabulous other crafting blogs I have read. I love the photos, they brighten my day. I'm sure I can learn as I go.

Here are the squares for my first ever quilt, all cut out and ready to go, so I really am starting at the beginning.