Believe it or not I started writing this post a month ago, however life has been really busy for us this month (in a good way!) and I never seemed to manage to finish it! However After a fall down the stairs this morning I have injured my back so have been ordered to rest. So the silver lining is that I finally have a reason to lie still and finish telling you all about Henry's birthday!
January was a HORRIBLE month and I was dreading 2013 if it was going to continue the way it started. However I have to say that things improved 100% in February! I have been really busy with Knitting tuition and am now teaching at least 3 days a week which is amazing! I cannot tell you how much I love my work and how being busy with it really does make me a happier person. I have lots lined up for March & April too so i'm really excited.
However that's enough about me, I only mentioned work because I think it's the only thing that stopped me going a little bit crazy over the last few weeks because......The main event this month was that our lovely little boy turned 2! How did the last year pass so quickly?!?!? I've only just recovered from the fact that my baby turned 1 and now he's 2! Don't get me wrong i absolutely love the age Henry is now because he has become the funniest & cleverest little boy i know (He can count to 20 & knows the alphabet!) and really is my best little buddy, but i really am in shock at just how quickly time is passing by since he was born. It feels like somebody has pressed the fast forward button on our lives. Is it the same for everybody? Does life ever slow back down again? It never feels like I get enough time to savour each stage of his development before it has passed like a flash of lighting & we have moved on to something new! I'm hoping that the millions (and that's not an exaggeration!) of photos that we have taken since Henry was born means that we will be able to look back and remember everything clearly even it does feel like we are zooming through his childhood at 100 miles an hour!
Because both me & his Daddy feel that life gets too hectic & we don't all get enough quality time alone as a family we kept Henry's birthday to ourselves without any Grandparents, aunties or friends around. It was a lovely day filled with all of Henry's favourite things. He had blueberry & banana Pancakes for breakfast, followed by presents which included more brio sets for his ever growing train collection and some new books. We then all set off for a train ride on the Avon Valley Steam Railway
. It was the perfect treat for our train obsessed boy & he loved it! I highly recommend it to any local parents!
We ended the day with dinner at Wagamamas (Henry's favourite) and then our little guy was exhausted so had an early night. I spent all of Saturday night baking in preparation for the little tea party we threw at home on Sunday for family so we were forgiven by the Grandparents for not inviting them over on the Saturday. I made a blueberry & mascarpone birthday cake, loads of cupcakes & a chocolate & cherry trifle (A nigella lawson recipe that was AMAZING!) plus the usual mountain of sandwiches. The party was great fun & Henry really enjoyed himself, but it's amazing how small your house feels with 20 adults & children running around in it! It was Mummy & Daddy's turn to be exhausted on sunday as we had family & neighbours around from 11am-10pm! Henry sure knows how to throw a party! :)
It was a lovely weekend full of laughter and generally a much more relaxed affair than his first birthday that fell in the midst of renovating & moving our house. However I have to say I have been left a little shell shocked now because since turning 2 years old all of a sudden there is talk of which play school & school we want him to go to and all of these decisions and events that seemed like forever away as I sat staring at my beautiful newborn baby 2 years ago now seems to be approaching at high speed. I enjoy and embrace every single day I spend with Henry but I guess what I'm trying to say is stop growing up so fast little boy, this Mama just isn't ready.
Well January was one hell of a month & not always in a good way. A kidney infection really knocked me for six over the last few weeks so at times this month has felt a little bit of an up hill struggle. That combined with some pretty arctic weather means that much of last month was spent inside curled up in the warm crafting from the comfort of my sofa. This is not all bad as it has given my body a bit of time to rest & recuperate as it has taken a bit of a battering over the last few months with infections & illnesses. It's really has felt like my body was telling me it was time to slow down & rest so that's what I tried to do.
One side effect of all this 'resting' is that I am now totally addicted to crocheting! I never thought that I would ever say that, but it's true. It's such a welcome change to have a new hobby. I love knitting & it will always be my main & first craft love, but I have found that having a new outlet for my creative ideas has not only been great fun but also really energising! I am a life long knitter so i don't really remember learning the skill properly (I think i was about 4 years old when my Granny first taught me) so I think that learning something new will actually make me a better knitting teacher too as I am experiencing the total confusion that comes with starting to learn a skill from scratch & also the joy that comes when something finally clicks.
I have wanted to make my own granny square blankets for the longest time. They always look so beautiful & colourful in that comforting granny chic way don't they? So I'm loving working on a giant blanket just for me as it's very rare that I make something for myself & it's been something I've yearned to do for the longest time. This is going to be a year long project I suspect as I want it to be huge so that it uses up a lot of my 'left over yarn' stash that is taking over my craft room at home and also I always have several projects on the go!
To make me feel less guilty about all this time spent crocheting when I should be doing something more industrious I have decided to start making everybody Crochet presents & also start selling some of my projects. I recently made one of my best friends a lovely crochet collar for her birthday made from a lovely silk & cotton blend yarn, I think she really liked it which was a relief! I enjoyed making it a lot and may pop a few up for sale in my Etsy shop soon.
I am also just putting the finishing touches to a baby/toddler blanket which will be going up for sale this week. It's a rainbow coloured granny square blanket made from Eco friendly, organic cotton. Perfect for little ones skin. I'm so excited to share the finished product but until then here is the work in progress:
So what projects have you all been working on while you hibernated through the dark, cold & snowy January?
I've also been baking a lot of cakes (yep January is most certainly not a diet month in my household!) but I'm not sure if cake recipes are a good thing to share or not at this time of year. Is everybody else still healthy eating?! Well whether you make them or not I have been so pleased with some of the results I'll be posting a few recipes this week. I think My Mr's work colleagues think he's trying to sabotage their healthy new years resolutions by plying them with homemade cakes lately, but hey why not share the cake love? Plus valentines day is coming up isn't it & homemade cake is a great cheap but heartfelt gift for your other half or best friend!
So Christmas has been & gone! Did you all have a lovely festive period? I hope so! I had a lovely Christmas! We saw lots of friends & family in the run up to the big day including a full christmas dinner and celebrations on Christmas Eve with Ken's family. We then enjoyed a quiet Christmas Day at home on Christmas Day (Ken especially who took the opportunity to stay in sweat pants all day!). My sister joined us on the day & we cooked our first Christmas dinner, and without wanting to sound like i'm boasting WE RULED!! It went without a hitch or a single argument which surprised everybody because my sister & I have never managed to share a kitchen without bickering in the past. We then traveled home to visit my Mum & Step-dad on boxing day for another round of food, drink & presents!
I feel very lucky to have been able to spend Christmas in my own home with my family and also to have received such lovely & thoughtful gifts from my loved ones. My favourite surprise gift was this beautiful print
from my sister. I have been admiring it for ages on Etsy so was so pleased to open it on Christmas Day! It's by Lucy Smith who often frequents the Tobacco Factory Market if you fancy a look at her work. I also received some lovely clothes from Ken all of which were items I've been lusting over for a while......It would seem that my not so subtle hints weren't wasted after all!
To be fair though I enjoy giving presents the most, I love seeing people's faces as they open the gifts I have bought or made for them. It really makes me happy. This Christmas was the first year that Henry has really understood that something exciting was happening so it was great to witness his wonder at all of the presents, food and lights! His young mind was on overdrive, and eventually we had to call a Christmas time out depriving him of sweets & presents after boxing day as he was HYPER! I think it's fair to say that christmas is a big hit with this boy! He has also made his poor dad & I watch the Polar Express on infinite repeat throughout December so I think he'll be bereft when we cut him off!
Here's a few pictures from our Christmas:
Colour in christmas table cloth = fantastic idea if you have a toddler!
So it's 2013 already! Wow! Where is the time going? I remember having a conversation 10 years ago with a university friend on New Years Eve laughing that in 10 years time we would be toasting 2013's new year as responsible 30 year olds drinking expensive wine instead of our homemade Cherry Cola cocktails using Lidl's finest & cheapest vodka & cherry brandy. Well some of that was true....I am indeed 30, but I didn't toast the new year with expensive wine, in fact since buying our house & having to tighten our purse strings as a result, most of our alcohol purchases are once again from my trusty Lidl! In fact here's the sad truth: If left to my own devices I wouldn't do anything for new year & would be in bed asleep at the stroke of midnight! I love Christmas & all of the festivities surrounding it, but by New Year I'm over it all to be honest & just want a bit of peace & quiet and to crack on with the new year ahead. Does that make me a grumpy old lady? Oh Well! New years day sees our decorations come down & the January spring clean begin and as much as i love seeing the tree go up & filling the house with festive cheer; i also really love how clean & spacious my home is once its all gone.
Last year I blogged my new years resolutions & I actually stuck to them! I have learnt to crochet at last, blogged more and started to teach knitting & I also started to spend more time in the kitchen cooking for fun again. So I hope to have similar success this year if I once again make the resolutions more public. I love having little aims for myself as I really need something to push me to do more......I suffer under the black cloud of depression a lot thanks to my PCOS so very often need something else to focus on and push me forward and get me out of my slump. This years aims are:
1. To get out without Henry either for a run or a brisk walk with George my Collie 5 days a week. Neither myself or Poor George have got as much exercise as I would like recently thanks to 2012's never ending rain. However after a few long outing with just the 2 of us I remember how good it is for both of us! I love getting out & listening to my favourite music loudly in my headphones as we pound through the miles together, and George gets more of my time and attention in the process so it's a win/win really. So far so good with this one.....even if i have gotten soaked!
2. To get more organised with my admin. I hate paperwork, but avoiding it only makes it worse so i'm going to get on top of this in 2013.
3. To keep my washing pile small......at times when I've been exceptionally busy or exceptionally low my washing pile has managed to take over my bedroom & become a mountain. The bigger it is, the worse i feel.....it's a catch 22! So I've started the year with a washing marathon & plan to keep it down. Wish me luck as this is the one I'm most likely to fail in!
4. To learn to let the small things go so I can focus more on the big things. I get stressed about the silliest things sometimes and i really need to stop. It can be exhausting and they really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. I need to take a step back and learn when to walk away from something.
5. Have more family outings. Lack of funds often leave us doing the same things at home or in our local park most weekends. However we have been planning to go swimming as a family for ages, and take a weekend trip to M Shed together. After our family outing in December to the theatre
we realised how much Ken misses out on so plan to do more as a trio at the weekends.
6. To blog through the good & the bad. I only blog when I'm happy.....so when I'm low i go quiet. Not because I don't want to write about it, but because at that time i don't have any motivation to do anything really. However I'm hoping that by aiming for 2 posts a week regardless I'll force myself to keep going & not get stuck in such a rut of "nothingness".
So there you have it.....bye bye 2012 (you were full of real highs & extreme lows) & hello 2013! So far this year is going well & I am full of optimism which can only be a good thing.
I hope you're all having a great 2013 & I look forward to speaking to you more in the coming year!
I'm so excited for Christmas!! It's our first Christmas as a little family in our new home without our own parents doing the cooking etc for us so I'm getting really into all of the preparations this year! However as per usual I started a long list of hand knitted presents in October......then left them untouched for a few months while i was busy looking after a poorly toddler or trying to keep up with my long list of things to do so I am now in full on speed knitting mode trying to finish all of the homemade presents in time! It will be worth it though as there is nothing quite like giving presents that have been lovingly made especially for the recipient......also although I am usually quite cash poor, thanks to years of yarn, material & button hoarding I am craft supply rich so I may as well turn them into beautiful presents!
I've been wanting to share pictures of all of the lovely things I'm making lately, but i an't until after they have been given or else it will spoil the surprise.....I'll be doing a post Christmas post of all of my homemade projects & I'd love to hear what everybody else made too.
I cannot remember the last Christmas Eve that I did not spend manically knitting trying to finish the last of my homemade gifts, last year it was a giant knitted blanket that i made for my sister. But Christmas Eve to me is sitting in the warm with a glass of mulled wine watching the Polar Express knitting presents! Every year I swear I'll finish everything sooner, but really I do love that feeling of finishing & wrapping the last of those special gifts!
Tonight is the last knit club of 2012 at Cordial & Grace (seriously where did this year go?!) and I am really looking forward to a toddler free evening of knitting & chatting. I love my son to pieces but his idea of helping Mama knit is to run off with my ball of yarn shouting "Mummy's Ball!!".......not really very helpful at all! I think that quite a few of my students from my last Christmas knits class are coming too so it will be lovely to see them all knitting Christmas decorations!
If you are interesting in learning to knit something for Christmas it's not too late, I have places left for my class at the Making Things Pop-Up shop in Cabot's Circus On
19th December 6.30-9pm. It's £16.50 for the evening and this includes all materials and patterns and a glass of mulled wine or spiced berry cordial and yummy gingerbread (i don't like minced pies!). Also because I'm super excited about this class & Christmas in general I'm giving away a present to everybody who signs up to the class to make the evening extra special!! For more details about the class see here
. Also I don't know if you all know but I now offer Knitting lesson Gift vouchers.....so if you know somebody who wants to learn this would be a great Christmas gift. Vouchers are available from £10 and can be emailed so are a great last minute alternative to commercial vouchers. I think it's lovely to take a break from buying generic commercial presents for everybody and to either go handmade or shop local with independent makers You can get some lovely gifts from as little as £5 & they are so much nicer than something mass produced. If you are short of inspiration I would really recommend a trip to Making Things club when you're shopping In Cabots for some fantastic locally made beauties!
So it's been over a month since i last posted anything.........this wasn't a planned break, it just happened. I became a bit internet weary & all of a sudden I just stopped going online. It was a mixture of being too busy to sit down & document life & being a bit disillusioned with the internet why I choose to document my life here.
This is quite unusual for me, I have used twitter & reading other people's blogs as a support tool & general escapism ever since Henry was newborn. I would sit for hours at a time either breastfeeding or holding a sleeping baby after a feed with only my iPhone for company. I made some amazing 'real life' friends this way & I don't think I would have been able to start up & continue with The Homemade Mama without the support I found online. However Lately there has been quite a shift in the way social media is being used and I'm not sure if I like it all that much to be honest. I log in to twitter, my google reader account & the dreaded facebook only to be bombarded with 80% sponsored posts & advertising.
I don't read blogs or go online to win free things in giveaways or to see what people are buying so that in some aspirational bid for their lifestyle I can run out & buy the same products. I go online so that at the end of a long tiring day (which a lot of them are) I can either be comforted by the fact that I am not alone in feeling exhausted/stressed/overwhelmed/or just plain grumpy or I can find something inspirational and beautiful to read about that reminds me that life is pretty amazing and full of lovely things despite my lack of sleep/money/time/motivation (delete as appropriate). It gets a bit much when you log in to find that 20 people are all trying to sell you the same cleaning product & trying to make cleaning sound fun..............Newsflash: This is not the 1950s so you are not going to sell me anything by trying to convince me that housework is going to be great fun. While i'm hiding from the mountain of washing that needs doing by looking on the internet instead, I don't want to be constantly told how amazing washing powder is & how much you all adore doing your washing!
Don't get me wrong there are still amazing blogs & accounts out there which I still love to read, many of whom accept advertisers but there doesn't seem to be the balance that there used to be & somedays I really have to search to find content that isn't trying to sell me something. But the problem isn't with the blogs & accounts I follow, it is totally with me. I mean don't you find that once you've noticed something irritating you begin to focus on it? Instead of just skimming over the bits I didn't want to read I would scoff & get annoyed about it. Looking back it's quite ridiculous getting annoyed about something that nobody is forcing me to read & that I can easily ignore.......but alas the brain of a tired & stressed Mama does have the tendency to get irritated about the minor or even irrational things in life (well this tired mama does anyway!).
Anyway that's enough of my moaning, what I'm trying to say is that I started to question why I go online and why I wanted to blog. I don't care about where I am in any blogging popularity charts or how many followers I have. In fact I don't even know if anybody reads anything I post. So I stopped, and at first it felt quite liberating taking a step back from all things internet based, but then I started to miss it. I missed checking in to see what people were up to, I missed the support that I get from people when I have a tough day, but mostly i missed documenting all of the good things that happen in my life. I found that when I stopped writing about the good days & the things that made me happy they somehow started to blend in with the bad days more & I just wasn't as positive about things. It's silly isn't it, but it's true that taking the time to write about & share all the fun things we do as a family or the new things that Henry has done, or new craft projects that i have made seems to make me appreciate those moments more before they get lost in every day life.
So I'm back......even though i'm not sure anybody noticed I was gone in the first place. :) I love autumn, and there have been so many instances where I have wanted to share a recipe I loved, or pictures of a beautiful walk in the Autumn Sun or even a project that I have finished ready for my stash of homemade Christmas presents.......yes that's right I'm starting to get quite excited about christmas! So I think I need somewhere to share it all so that Ken doesn't get too annoyed with me just babbling on about it so much to him!
Despite all of my moaning here are a few of the blogs that I have really enjoyed lately:Little Green Shed
: Lou always has something beautiful & Inspirational to show you that will brighten up your day. Nimble Fingers & Steady eyebrows:
I adore this blog filled with letters between friends Annie & Laura! It's full of the simple things in life. Sew Scrumptious:
A must read for fabric addicts & crafty Mamas. Louise also organises a charity effort which makes pillowcase dresses for charity. Over 2,000 dresses have been distributed to girls living in Malawi, Kenya, India, Ghana and Uganda. You can get involved if you like what you read as she is running a free pillowcase dress sewing workshop at Cordial & Grace
. Bristol Craft:
Bethany's blog is 100% inspiration & full of beautiful pictures. I'm only saying what you're thinking:
A diamond of honesty in a sea of 'perfect Mummy' blogs.
And to finish off here are a few pictures of recently enjoyed things from the last month:
After 20 years of trying I have finally learnt to crochet thanks to some amazing tips on crocheting for knitters from my fantastic & very crafty Auntie Hilda!
Autumn walks in the park
Oh yes I did......i reorganised my bookcase by colour so that it was full of rainbows! A sign that I am indeed a bit of a loser! ;)
Henry getting his groove on & dancing the night away at his Auntie Jess's 30th Birthday party.....I don't think there is anything cuter than a toddler dancing!
Running a packed out Wool & Knitting craft room at Windmill Hill City farm.....literally hundreds of people had a go making things with yarn! It was fantastic!
Going back to my Mum's to watch the Carnival in Warminster. Henry LOVED it as it was full of trucks & Tractors that played music. :)
Last Sunday we went for Sunday lunch at The Ethicurean
as a little treat. We don't really go out anymore unless it's for special occasions so it was nice just to do something for the sake of it. As I mentioned before we went to the Ethicurean last year on my birthday, it's such a peaceful place and can be a welcome escape from the city sometimes as it really feels like you're miles from anywhere when you are there.
Anyway the point of this post is because I was looking through pictures from the 2 September visits and I cannot believe what a difference a year makes! Henry was nearly 7 months old when we visited last time & wasn't mobile at all. He was still a little baby really (although at the time I couldn't believe how big he was getting!). Now he's 19months old, and spent every moment he could running around the gardens with energy that only a toddler possesses! Sometimes you don't realise just how quickly your children change because it happens so gradually. I feel like I don't get to savour Henry as much as I would like because life gets in the way sometimes, and we always seem to be so busy. Every now and again though I stop in my tracks & take a moment to appreciate what an amazing little boy he is & how much he learns and changes every week! He really does take my breath away.
It was lovely to take him there again as a toddler because he really got to enjoy the place fully and spent every spare moment running around asking what everything was.......although they no longer serve macaroni cheese as their children's meal which is Henry's all time favourite food so there was a bit of disappointment after being promised that for lunch!
Anyway that's enough of my soppy Mama ramblings! Have a lovely evening!
I'm going to be running a couple of knitting events for Windmill Hill City Farm.
I'm really excited as Henry loves the city farms that we have in Bristol and Windmill Hill and since we've moved it is now walking distance from our house. I was really pleased to be asked to get involved, especially as I'll get to teach some children to knit at Apple Day in October. I've got some amazing apple related craft projects lined up and I'll share some of them with you on the blog nearer the time as they'll be great for autumn!
I'm also teaching a beginner's Knitted Bunting Class there next Saturday 21st September & you can book via their website here
. It's a mixed age one to give anybody who wants to try knitting a go.
They run some amazing workshops there so have a look at their website if you fancy learning something new this autumn. The eternal student in me always gets the learning bug at this time of year! I'm quite tempted by the build your own bread oven......but I'm not sure our garden is big enough for one!
I'm really bust lately on the knitting lesson front & I love it!! I've already started to plan my Christmas patterns & lessons ready for November & December! The next few months are going to be great fun!
Anyway I hope you're all having a great Friday, I'll be back tomorrow afternoon to post up another free pattern as promised!
Tuesday night was the first Knit Club at Cordial & Grace. It was a lovely evening filled with amazing tea, cake & conversation as well as lots of knitting! Having been to quite a few knitting & Craft clubs in my time I can honestly say that Cordial & Grace is such a perfect setting! Unlike other events that have been held in reserved areas of dimly lit bars, pubs & Cafes we had the whole place to ourselves as the lovely Maria opened in the evening especially for us! We didn't have to shout over the loud music & conversation of other patrons and there was lots of light so we could see what we were doing!
Everybody who came was a 'new' friend who I hadn't met before which was great! Don't get me wrong it would have been lovely to see some old friends too, but to have a room full of people who I hadn't met before come along to my knitting club was amazing. I hope to see them all again next month!
I was feeling very sleepy after a bout of insomnia the night before, but a slice of homemade Mocha Cake perked me up nicely as did the delicious locally sourced teas! However I do have to apologise slightly to the other ladies present because being over tired seemed to make me slightly hyper & I literally could have talked the hind legs off of a donkey!! I promise next time to knit more & talk less! hahaha! I guess that's what happens when I'm released out in public without a toddler to chase around.
Anyway I had a lovely time, especially as I finally got to meet Emma & Rebecca in real life who I have been chatting to on twitter for months! See you all next time!
Also just a quick reminder that I am running an evening class for Beginners & Imrovers at Cordial & Grace every 4th Tuesday of the month. The first one is on Tuesday 25th September. Contact me if you have any questions o
So as you all probably know, I am organising a new Knit club (although please feel free to bring along crochet as well...) which starts this Tuesday night at Cordial & Grace.
I'm really looking forward to it, mainly because i get to eat some more of their delicious cakes!
Anyway, I have been chatting to Geraldine over at the UK Hand knitting Association
and she told me about a display that they are putting on at The Knitting & Stitching show
at Alexandra Palace on 11-14 October. They are creating a knitted & Crocheted sweet shop full of beautiful sweets made out of yarn. It sounds amazing! Geraldine asked if we would like to get involved & donate some knitted treats to the shop, and in return we would be featured as contributors & our group will be featured on their website.
So if any of you fancy giving it a go take a look at their page here which tells you all about the project. They have lots of free patterns for inspiration over on the website or you can use your own if you know any. I got slightly addicted to knitting cakes & Doughnuts a few years ago after buying this book
, so I can imagine knitting little sweets is just as addict
I'm trying to figure out if I have the time & money to go to The Knitting & Stitching show this year.......I went to WonderWool
in April & spent a small fortune on yarn & needles! Are any of you planning to go?
Anyway I'm really excited to see some on you on Tuesday night!
I'm so excited to share this with you all as it has been in the pipeline for sometime now, but we have only just finished planning everything! Lots of people have been asking me about starting evening lessons in the Clifton area & also the possibility of a Knitting club.......well now I'm doing both of them! I've teamed up with the lovely Maria at Cordial & Grace
to start lessons and a Knit Club there. She's in charge of the cakes & coffee & I'm in charge of the knitting.....a match made in heaven right?! All of the details are below in the flyers, but I hope to see you all there soon!