Sunday, January 30, 2011

Once upon a time on a rainy and cold Sunday afternoon in mid-winter...

... we took our new go-cart out to Bridlington. And you know, it's amazing how a homebuilt wooden cart with two lads in raingear can bring a smile to people's faces. We had at least 10 people comment on it, reminiscing about the carts they used to have when they were kids. Nostalgia is alive and well in Bridlington! ;-)

D couldn't resist squeezing into the cart himself together with Tick to race it down the ramp to the beach promenade.

Building sand castles at Bridlington South Beach.

Father and son...
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some Time Alone...

... can be something very precious indeed. With two little lads, our lives are full - gloriously, industriously full of play and laughter and business. It's wonderful but it's also exhausting, and it can be difficult to have so little time for each other and for yourself. D and my evenings are sacred. Once the lads are in bed we sit down together. Sometimes we talk, or watch TV or read, but we always treat it as time together, spent as a couple. It's important and it's precious, looked forward to every day.

But there still isn't much timee to be alone. Before we had children, D and I used to spend whole weekend days doing whatever we liked most... D would build or fix something in the shed / garage, and I would knit, sew, draw, read... We always had some projects on, there was always so much to do, and we used to 'meet up' for coffee breaks and lunch to tell each other about what we'd been doing.

Today, there is little time for that, so a while ago D and I agreed with Grandma that every few months or so the lads would have a Grandma day while we just... tinker. There is a real sense of decadence in those rare days - to get up and immediately launch into something and to know you don't need to stop until it is either done or the day is coming to a close.

Today, I decided to get the oil paints out. D got an easle and paints for me about... 2 years ago?... and ever since then they've sat in a corner of the dining room, waiting for that one day when they'd finally get unpacked and used. Since this is really nothing you can do with little ones around it's taken a while. ;-)

Now, I've painted before, not for a long while, but I used to love it and used to dabble in it on and off. Never with oil paints, though, so this is a completely new medium for me, and I was VERY excited to finally get to try. These two projects were supposed to be just starter experiments to see how I'd work with oil, but I'm actually quite pleased with them:

#1 Wakeful

Oil on canvas. Painted wet over wet. A red bird in her nest, wakeful and diligent in the silence of the night.

#2 Doodles

Oil and mixed media on canvas

This was really just that - doodling. The way I tend to doodle while talking on the phone. Just with oil and bits from the kids crafts box and a few pieces of ribbon. I didn't have a particular project in mind and just kept on filling in the blank spaces until it was - full.

Afterwards it ocurred to me that it looks a leeeeetle bit like the art of Mati Rose McDonough. I still have a print of hers somewhere, waiting to be framed. I wasn't conscious of this while painting it but maybe my subconscious was inspired by her?

And while I was so busy inside, painting and getting high on paint fumes, D was in the shed, making this:

A go-cart! How cool is that! It's entirely made from scrap, found in the shed - old bits of wood and bicycle wheels. The lads were so excited when they arrived back home earlier. D needs to finish up a few things this week, but next weekend we'll take it out for a ride.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ten Favourite Childhood Games

Curtesy of Carole Knits.

1) Clue - I loved this game as a child. The gardener did it with the candle holder in the library...
2) Monopoly - I used to play this for HOURS. Honestly, I wanted to play this game all the time and for as long as possible. Nobody in my family shared my fascination with it or my stamina.
3) Rummy - I used to go on a skiing trip with my gran, and my two great aunties once a year around Easter time. During the day I went to a skiing school for kids and in the evening we played endless rounds of card games. I used to be very good at this - now I can't even remember a single one of the rules!
4) Nine Men's Morris - again, as above. One of the games we played during our annual skiing trip. I used to beat the old ladies all the time. ;-)
5) I Spy - kept me entertained on endless car journeys
6) making up stories - I used to make up endless stories on long walks and entertain (or bore) my family with them. And I used to play a Tell A Story game with my gran on the phone where we would each have to think up a story and tell the other. We spent hours on the phone...
7) Make Believe - I used to love 'becoming someone else'. With friends I used to spend whole days being detectives, or indians, or farmers, or doctors and patients, or pirates,...
8) Dressing Up - my great aunt had a box full of dressing up stuff. Alternatively my mom's ball gowns and high heels would do too... ;-)
9) Reading - I was fanatical about books ever since my early childhood and used to spend whole nights reading under the duvet.
10) Mensch aergere Dich nicht! - a German board game that is fairly similar to the game Sorry! I think... We played this quite a lot when I was little.

It's done...

... actually, it was finished a few days ago, but I didn't have time to upload a picture. It was immediately hogged by the lads, which is kind of nice. They like to snuggle under it as they watch TV. :)

In terms of craftmanship this isn't that great. It's wonky in places, there are a few creases, and the trimming is pretty terrible. I forgot all about how to do this properly and fudged my way through it. The corners would make any seasoned quilter run away screaming. I don't really mind, though because this is not a gift - it's just for us to love and use. And it's already getting a LOT of use here from both the lads and us grown ups. I'm considering stitching a few more colourful hankies on top of the others to brighten it up, but for now I'll leave it as it is I think...
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Monday, January 10, 2011

I am shocked...

Well, colour me shocked. My last post was in 2009, when I had just finished the Primeval socks. So much time has passed, Primeval is actually on TV once again.

I declare, things will have to change. I acknowledge that with two very lively little lads and a busy job I don't have a lot of time for lengthy posts, but since Bean, older of the two lively lads, is developing both a crafts and photography addiction I should have ample opportunity for photoshoots. We may have to remodel the blog a bit - make it into more of a communal project rather than a solo enterprise, but that's an exciting change, no?

So, more photos, slightly less writing. There is also less knitting going on these days. Not none, but time is limited, and I'm doing a lot of crafts and mosaicing and painting with the little ones during the day and also some sewing at night, so things progress somewhat more slowly around here than they used to.

This is the plan:

1) posting approximately 2x per week. I have two days with the lads, so those might be my posting days.

2) one progress / crafts photo per week (we do a lot of STUFF)

3) one snapshot of our week (a still with very little comment) - everyone has those moments every day. Moments that you want to capture and that require very little commentary. So you'll get one of those

There may be more, but probably not every week. I don't want to overburden us with plans that we might not be able to live up to. Busy lives and all that.

So to start this off, here is my WIP right now:

This is my handkerchief quilt, made from old family handkerchiefs that I have kept and/or have been given over the years by members of both my and D's family. I kept them because I always rather liked those dainty little fabric square, some of them with quite exquisit lacework, others more utilitarian and plain, but each of them with a story to tell, with intricate monograms in the corners, mended patches, fine and at times brittle fabric. A little scrap of history, every single one of them. Not knowing precisely what to do with my little stack of handkerchiefs it ocurred to me that they would be perfect for a quilt, so I sewed them all together and backed them with a length of blue paisley fabric I had in my stash. Not finished yet, and far from perfect (turns out that handkerchiefs are really awkward to sew together - all that brittle fabric...), but very much anticipated as a snuggle blanket by the whole family.