Friday 1 November 2013

Little Sweetpea turns 6

Little Sweetpea recently turned 6, a whole 6 years old!  It only seems like yesterday I bought her home, a tiny little dot, who had made our family feel complete.

How we all adore this little girl, full of giggles and love.  She likes nothing more than playing with her older Sister and Brother.

She adores the film Labyrinth and now has a fascination with David Barrie (Bowie to you and me).  The photo below is of her (with The Goblin King style hair) waiting for David Barrie to come for afternoon tea .... no matter how many times I told her he was far too busy she insisted his would come over in his blue car.

She adores Katie the Campervan and cried when she had to go to the garage for bodywork .....

She is a real girly girl who loves walking around in her flamenco shoes ....

She spent her birthday going to Jumping Jacks and then went for a sleepover at her Nan and Grandads.  They were going to take her out the next day shopping but she wanted to go and visit her Great Nan and Grandad instead :-)

Middle Sweetpea made her a cat for her birthday which she adores and I made her some felt cakes to go into a picnic basket we bought her and a baby carrier which she had been wanting for ages.

A whole 6 years old ...... why does it sound so much older than 5 years old???  Why does time have to go at, what feels like, the speed of lightening?

Anyone for a piece of cake????

Items made with the following tutorials just in case you wanted to have a go to:
Doughnuts -
Cake -
Baby carrier made from Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book.

Friday 25 October 2013

Catch up ......

Dear Blog, how I miss thee so ..... time, as usual, seems to be running away from me.  I thought I would do a little catch up to tell you what I have been up to.

In July we had fun times strawberry picking with friends, visiting the village fair where our Sweetpea flowers of course won first prize and middle Sweeptea's collage did to (also our eggs, broad beans and my photography :-)).  We had many a happy hour sitting by the river with family and friends.  I kept creating sewn items as usual ...... I really don't feel right anymore if I can't create at least one thing a week.  We went for walks in secret forests and little Sweetpea got lovely and muddy in a local fresh spring fed river.    This was also the month when we had to prepare middle Sweetpea for leave Primary School ...... worrying times for her.

August saw eldest Sweetpea completing his fish pond which looks fantastic now.  The bee hives kept growing from strength to strength, we now have 4 hives.  Little Sweetpea tried to learn to ride a bike .... we are going back to that at a later date.  More family fun with Cousins and Aunties visiting.  Katie Camper started having her curtains created with the help of little Sweetpea.  Bob the felted fish was created.  Family BBQs with fun trying to put up a tent whilst the men looked on.  Lovely trips to National Trust properties.

August also saw Eldest Sweetpea turn 13!  Not sure where the years have gone.  It only seems like yesterday that I left work on the Friday, worrying I would get bored waiting for him to arrive ..... he arrived 6am on the Monday morning.  He was such a chilled out little baby and toddler with a love of all things science and nature.  He is becoming a lovely (if not slightly hormonal) young man with a love of engineering and nature.  We went to Wimpole Hall for his birthday which we all really enjoyed.

The children also got to go to a local music festival with their Grandparents and Aunty in August, they came back with lots of fun memories and photos :-)  August also saw a lot of child swapping with a friend over the Summer holidays which was great for keeping the house nice and calm .... they got to use their friends pool during those lovely Summers days too.  Little Sweetpea had her first ever proper haircut ..... can't believe her hair grows so slowly!

September saw a really emotional time in the family with middle Sweetpea starting Secondary School.  She was so worried about starting that school so there were lots of sleepless nights and chats.  She took her first bus trip on her own and returned on the bus a happier person ..... she has now settled in really well.  Such a relief!  September also saw picnics with Bert the cockerel, little Sweetpea becoming obsessed with David Bowie (or David Barrie as she calls him - the photo above is of her waiting for him to arrive - she was sure he would be coming round for tea), crochet and fun in Katie Camper.  We also spent a lovely day in September walking along Devils Dyke ..... we have been wanting to do this for ages and it was so lovely walking along there with my Mum, Sister and the kiddies.  It also saw the delivery of some new wheelie bins .... wow the kids were excited, they are easily pleased :-)

Phew ....... I think I am up to date now ...... I will try not to leave it so long next time x

Saturday 7 September 2013

Return to school photos/ birthday photos ......

Some time ago I saw a fab idea at Capturing Childhood for a school photo.  It was so good I just had to take it on board and have been creating one of these photos for each of my children ever since.  The idea would also work really well for other milestones such as Birthdays, I can just see a child holding a balloon with a lovely sky in the background :-)  I thought I would write a tutorial on how I create these memory keepsakes ....

First of all take a photo of your child/grandchild against a uniform background.  Think bricks, wooden slats, barn walls, blue skies ......

Don't worry if you child is shy or hormonal, this only brings out their real personality in the image even more.

Now upload your photo to something like or  This tutorial shows you how to use Picmonkey.

To upload the photo just click 'edit a photo' as shown above.  This will take you to your computer files.  Now find the photo you want and double click on the image you want to upload.

You will now find yourself in the basic photo editing area.   This is fab to upping your exposure, cropping your image, making the colours more saturated etc.

Click on what looks like a test tube bottle (please note this icon has now been changed to a magic wand icon), you can have great fun here playing with your photo.  There are lots of styles to choose from so pick the one you like.  You can also layer the styles up and fade the styles as you please.  Have fun !

Now you need to interview your little one (well you could have in fact done that earlier if you were more organised than me ..... pah who needs to be organised lol).  Ask them things like what their favourite thing is, hobbies, what they don't like, what they want to be when they grow up, well anything you want really.

Click the P (see above marked with red arrow 1) on the left hand side of the tool bar.  Then click 'Eraser Dust' (marked with red arrow 2) ..... this gives you the writing on the blackboard chalk writing effect.  Turn the text to White.

Then to add the stars, hearts and things like pigs click the icon above with the arrow next to it.  Change the colour of them to White (yeah I know White isn't technically a colour but what on earth do you call it if you don't call it a colour??) to match your chalk board writing.

Also do you see that image of an apple at the bottom left that says 'new' next to it ..... click on there and play too, lots of fab new styles and ideas are added there all the time.

Save the file back down to your pc ...... voila you have created a lovely little memory image. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have fun creating  x

Tuesday 13 August 2013

This moment ........ the lost tooth

Little Sweetpea (now aged 5) lost her tooth yesterday morning.  It had been wobbly for some time but after her big brother pushing her it got knocked out ..... the first I knew about it was when she appeared crying with blood all over her face :-(

After some cuddles and consoling she seemed happy to know the tooth fairy would be paying her a visit.

So yesterday evening she popped her tooth in hair fairy heart that I made her last year and we hung it on her bedroom door for her.  After a few wakings we realised she may be worried about the tooth fairy arriving so we popped it on our door instead.

She ended up in our bed in the end but was overjoyed to find a shiney 50p and a bottle of very special fairy dust.

This has been worn round her neck all day.  None of the older children have ever been left fairy dust, I told her it must have been because her tooth got knocked out and that she was brave about it :-)

Saturday 3 August 2013

2013 Mallorca Holiday

I thought it was about time I updated my blog, I seem to be finding it really hard to find the time to pop in here lately :-(  I was chatting to a fellow bloggy and real life friend about this and I think as I now take so many photos I am getting more and more picky about the quality of them and it is stopping me blog more often.  It takes so long to go through my 100s of images and then edit or watermark them that by the time I have done that I run out of time to type.  I am spending more time on facebook as on there you can just share and image with a one liner ...... hhmmmm maybe I ought to start doing that here???

Anyway I have gone off my original reason for popping in (probably another reason I run out of time lol) and that was to chat about our holiday.

We went off to Mallorca back in early June and to be honest I was rather nervous about our trip.  If anyone read my last years diary of events on our holiday you may remember that eldest Sweetpea was being held hostage by the teenage hormone monster :-(    Well I am glad to say that this year was wonderful, the hormone monster only visited very rarely and it made such a difference!

I did things a bit differently too, I took the children out on their own for a few evenings.  We went on nice long walks exploring, chatting, giggling, treasure hunting.  It was so lovely spending time with each of them on their own and they really enjoyed it too - wahhoo I must still be slightly cool if the older ones want to spend time with Mummy :-)

Above is a photo of some of those walks, the 'Coto Privado de Caza' sign made me chuckle as Little Sweetpea kept asking about those signs.  I told her that it meant that that piece of land was private property, this worried her so much that after seeing about the 3rd sign we had to turn back.  We were walking on the track next to the land but no matter how many times I tried to explain this to her she was still worrying :-)  The cloud photo in the images above is from an afternoon when we went to the beach for a picnic.  It was so windy there that we had to go back home and abort the picnic idea, we then decided to picnic on the villa roof and whilst doing that we were watching the clouds and guessing what they looked like.  There is also a picture of Mr Sweetpea doing our annual height chart of the children, my goodness Eldest Sweetpea is shooting up in height!  Precious memories.

Piggle had to join us on holiday again this year, he loves Mallorca and snuck into the hand luggage!  As did the gnome on the top right of the images above.  My Grandad loves gnomes so we took him out for him to see when he goes out there, unfortunately we are not sure if him and Nan will go out again as they are starting to worry if the steps up to the villa are too much for them and the long walk through Palma airport :-(  Mr gnome will however be a happy little reminder of their times out there in the sun.

We had lots of lovely beach time, the beach is fantastic as it is like a babysitter for us in a way.  The children are so happy there and hardly ever argue when there.  There was surfing taking place, sand castle building, exploring, fish and crab catching.  Little Sweetpea even had a little Hermit Crab pet for the day, he was put back where she found him before we went home :-)

I enjoyed many a happy hour creating a new crochet ripple blanket whilst down on the beach or in the evenings/mornings back at the villa.  I didn't get too many odd looks whilst I sat crocheting happily away at the seaside, well may be the odd one when I had to chase an escapee ball of wool down the beach steps :-)  I think I will call this one my tranquility blanket as it certainly made me feel tranquil.   As you can see it is very different from my last creation, I just love the bright colours of this one .....

Mr Sweetpea was busy cutting down tree branches whilst we were there.  My parents bought the villa many years ago when I was about 10 years old and not many years before that there had been a huge bush fire which literally burnt round the hills surrounding the villa.  This meant the land looked quite bare when we first got there but the views were fantastic so we are now trying to cut back some of the tress branches which are now blocking our lovely view, plus it keeps Mr Sweetpea busy :-)

We had fun exploring the coves around our favourite beach in Porto Colom ..... just loved the secret tunnel under a house near the beach (top right image).

 The island is just so beautiful ........

....... if not a little hot, it got above 40 deg C some days which meant we didn't go to the beach until about 4pm most days.  We had great fun people watching whilst there too, there was one chap who rowed to the beach most days from a big boat with his dogs Ronnie and Reggie.  One day were also saw a couple Paddle Boarding, I didn't realise that craze had got as far as Spain :-)  The girl who was doing it had her labrador sitting on the front of her board.

The children found lots of animals whilst we were there, some more welcome than others.  There were Octopus, crabs, Dresser Crabs (Dad did some research on these and found a fab video clip about them) and the not so welcome Jelly Fish which stung Eldest Sweetpea on two occasions.  I did offer to wee on it but he wasn't having any of it :-)  For any of you who don't know if you wee on a Jelly Fish sting it stops it stinging, I am not being ultra weird lol   The beach had an invasion of these Jellyfish for a couple of days, even the locals were shocked at how many came into the cove.

To end the holiday we had to have our annual family photo so show how much the children are growing ..... and Mr Sweetpea is shrinking :-)

Thursday 30 May 2013

Photography Fun

Many years ago, when I was at college and doing GCSE retakes (I wanted a higher grade in Maths but we won't digress into that subject :-)), I got the chance to take some new subjects that weren't on offer at Secondary School.

One of those subjects was Photography.  I remember those years with great fondness, it was such a great subject to take at that age, we spent many a happy hour 'on location' taking photos with our manual SLRs and then we got to spend time playing in the dark room processing and editing the images we had taken (whilst larking about and grabbing peoples ankles under the dark room tables - lots of fun lol).  OOhhh the excitement of seeing if what we had shot onto the film was the image we had in our minds eye.

Roll on a few years, a hubby and three children later and I had lost my creative flare.  It was sitting dormant inside me waiting to be rekindled.

Then about 3 years ago I set a New Years Resolution to get back my creative side.  I started with sewing and baking and then fell back into photography.  I bought myself an Olympus digital SLR with my Christmas, Birthday, Christmas money ......

I started taking snaps of family life .....

But was drawn to taking photos of nature and in particular flowers.  Probably something to do with the fact that they don't run away when you are trying to take a photo and tend to stay still when you ask them too (unless it is a windy day of course).

I can lose myself for hours, looking at flowers and playing with camera settings to get the photo I want.

I do miss the excitement of using a dark room but love the way I can take lots of images of one flower without worrying about running out of film.  There is then the excitement of uploading the images and editing them.

I do sometimes feel guilty that I am now spending time creating for my own enjoyment rather than creating things with the children and feel maybe I need to re-balance that slightly but I am so glad I have got the artistic me back :-)

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Crochet Ripple Blanket .... Ta Da !

Back in early 2012 I bought a whole load of wool in the hope that I would be able to make my family our very own ripple blanket.  Roll on several months to 17 December 2012 and I finally managed enough quiet time to sit, figure out the pattern and start it !

I printed off a fantastic photographic tutorial created by Attic 24 for her Neat Ripple pattern and set about starting a chain.  To do this I measured my daughters bed and was calculating it to fit her bed.  I did a test chain to see how many chains would fit 1 inch and then calculated how many chains I would need to fit her bed.  I started off with roughly 200 chains (or a few more I think).  I then moved on to the first ripple, here I hit a problem, the chain seemed to be pulling the ripple round rather than laying flat :-(  At this point I gate crashed the local toddler group knowing that my friend Kathryn aka 'The font of all Crochet Knowledge' would know how to mend it, she advised me to use a bigger hook for my chain and then move back down to my 4mm hook for the ripple - it worked fantastically!

So off I went again, happily rippling away.  I tried to do at least one ripple of each colour a day, so two lines a day.  This seemed to work well for me as it didn't set off my tendonitis (or whatever I have wrong with my arms at the moment) too much.  I love the way that not rushing it meant that as I was creating the blanket I was memorising what was going on in my life so it holds lots of memories.

I rippled away to keep calm on the run up to Christmas (Christmas always gets me in a bit of a tiz).  I rippled away wondering what a tick tick tick sound was on a very rainy day only to realise that tick tick tick sound was in fact a drip drip drip sound of our roof leaking !

I took my growing blanket to my parents on Christmas Day and rippled away whist chatting and laughing with family and friends.

As you can see above the blanket slowly grew to be a lot larger than I had meant it to be (excuse the escapee ball of wool hidden under the blanket in the above photo :-)). So I had to ripple for a lot longer than expected.

I took my blanket to work and added more ripples in my breaks whilst my lovely work mate Valentina sat beside me unravelling a large merino wool cardigan she bought from a charity shop and winding it into new balls of wool.

My other work mate Manny used to sit snuggled under the end of my blanket as I was creating new ripples on the other end.

The children spent many a happy hour sitting under the blanket whilst I was working on it, it feels so snuggly and can easily fit all three children under it.  Even Mr Sweetpea had it thrown over him whilst I worked on it in bed some evenings.

I then got to the end of the ripples which made me feel a little sad .... I really enjoyed the rhythm of creating them and the memories they hold.  I then set about finding a pattern on how to edge it.  I followed the pattern on Little Tin Bird's blog for this and it seemed to work really well.  So I filled in the ripples to make them straight and then went round again with a single crochet to add a bit of a border.  As you can see above Piggle (one of Little Sweetpea's fav soft toys kept an eye on progress).

I then decided I wanted to add a scallop edge to it so followed a tutorial on You Go Girl's blog for this. I did make a little mistake with this as the nicest side of the scallop is really facing the wrong side but I still love it.  Little Sweetpea was ill when I was completing this part of it so she snuggled under the now named Comfort Blanket to make her feel better - it worked as if by magic and made her feel a lot happier :-)

I still felt the Comfort Blanket needed a little extra so I added some roses and leaves to the corner.  The rose pattern is from the book Cute and Easy Crochet and the leaf pattern is from Attic 24s blog.

I rather like them as a finishing touch.

Here is a break down of what I used:

Stylecraft Special DK wool in colours -

Pale Rose

I bought 2 x 100g balls of each colour and used 1 1/4 ball of each colour on the blanket.

I started the blanket on 17 December 2012 and finished it on 20 April 2013.

Crochet hook used - I used a 4mm Tulip Etimo Rose cushion grip hook.

I wasn't too sure about the colours when I received them, I bought them online and it is hard to tell what the true colours look like on the screen.

Nevertheless I am rather in love with our Comfort Blanket now it is finished.  I love all the memories it holds for me and love how when the children snuggle under it and it brings a smile to their face.  Who would have thought a few balls of wool could mean so much and bring so much joy :-)