Monday, 30 April 2012

The Blankets are a-Growing

Ok, so they are growing r-e-a-l-l-y  s-l-o-w-l-y, but you have to admit that I am making progress.

No prize for spotting the goat! space for photography minus children allowed in this house!  See the other little leg?  {and my mismatched socks - whoops}

Anyhow, the blanket is 7 blocks x 5 blocks.  I have just started on the opposite side of the blanket.  When that is done I will join the 2 halves.  I was going to take a photo of the back show the dreaded weaving in that still has to be done.  At least you can watch TV and weave at the same time - so there is at least one upshot...but....UGH!  Oh, the back pic never happened....

A high-speed crawler came speeding through and I gave up.

My ripple hasn't had many more rows added either.  I am not massively keen on that pale green bit at the top, but am hoping that it will blend in ok with the pale blue and the next warm colour...which I am yet to choose.

I wasn't happy that the camera strap was dangling in this photo, so took another photo....

...then Ava arrived, so I took another photo....

...speedy baby arrived, so I took another photo...

...I gave up altogether!

I am hoping to have a bit of hooky time tonight, joining a few more little squares to the flower blanket.  Fingers crossed for a good evening.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Through the Eyes of a 3 Year Old {April 2012}

It never ceases to amaze me that a 3 year old, like almost about to turn 3 kind of 3 year old, can take some pretty Amazing photo's.  These are just some of the photo's Ava took during April.
She took these photo's with my Canon Ixus 960 IS.  Pretty good, no?

At least I spared you seeing me in my pj's!!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ava's 3rd Birthday

It was Ava's 3rd birthday yesterday.  I can't believe that she is no longer a toddler...I guess that it has really been a while since she was an 'official' toddler.  She recently discovered skirts and the last few days has demanded to wear one - day time AND night time!  She only had one skirt that I made her a few weeks ago, which she had been refusing to wear.  Then...BAM..all of a sudden she is refusing to take it off!?

Anyhow, for her birthday I made her a little circle skirt out of some gorgeous cotton fabric that a kind lady gave to me.

Twirling demonstration...we still need to work on getting the skirt twirling properly!  We also need to work harder on getting those fingers out her mouth more permanently...

Here we are again, this time modelling her new shoes, which conveniently arrived in the post on her birthday, and eating rainbow birthday cake.

Just to confirm....she did in fact sleep in the new skirt last night.  I had to peel it off her this morning to get it in the wash basket.

Her birthday cake was rainbow cupcakes.  I was a bit over enthusiastic about the amount of food colouring needed!  I mixed up 5 different colours, and put a dollop of each into the cupcake cases.  The recipe is my favourite - Mums Beat & Bake Cake.

They were iced with a lovely light (and pink) buttercream icing piped on with a round nozzle and then decorated with Dr Oetker sprinkles.

Candles were lit {again and again and again}. Happy Birthday was sung {again and again and again}.

Cake was eaten and enjoyed.  Tongues (and no doubt tummies) were stained.

Cupcake wrappers were compared and admired....well, by me at least!

I made her one other present - memory coins.  I bought the coins from here and the images were inspired by these.  I still want to add colour to them, my coloured markers only arrived in the post today, and seal them with beeswax and olive oil.  Will do a big reveal when they are properly finished.  So far, she has enjoyed the memory game...and has invented her own tiddly-winks game with them too!

It was a good day and a really, really busy day yesterday - even although it poured, Really Poured!  By 5pm she was completely wiped out.  I still can't believe that our precious, adorable, clever little girl is 3 already.... I just have to come to terms with baby Chloe turning 1 next month - when she will soon become a toddler...

Monday, 23 April 2012

A Snapshot of my Day {20 April 2012}

It is amazing how quickly we forget how our lives have changed - day to day, month to month, year to year.  It is also amazing what other people think we do with our days - however we are 'classified'.  I mean, a stay at home mum drinks coffee all day and has a pretty stress-free existence...doesn't she?!  Well, in my case, NOT!  I thought that having just one child was hard work, well two is a lot harder.  A lot harder than I ever imagined...trying to keep them from injuring each consumes a lot of my day.

I figured that it would be interesting to have an ongoing record of what we did on a particular day (midnight to midnight).  Wouldn't want to bore anyone reading this {wouldn't want to bore myself either for that matter}, so I won't do it too often.  It would be a snapshot.  Obviously, every day is different.  It would be interesting, for me anyhow, to see how our days change as the little flowers get older.  If you are already bored, I apologise.

The first snapshot will be my yesterday {whoops, I got distracted and never posted this!} - Friday, 20 April 2012.  Here goes.....

Midnight Thursday
Sleeping until woken by Chloe.

Chloe awake.  It took 20mins to cuddle and settle her.  Then I slumped back into bed until Ava woke.

Ava awake.  I went to fetch her.  She had already de-sleep-nappied herself and was in panties.  She came back to bed with me for cuddles with Flower Daddy and I for 15mins.  I got dressed and we came downstairs.

I dealt with wet laundry in the machine and tumble drier.  Let the dogs out and back in (boy, we really do need to get the cat flap operational again!).  Gave Ava breakfast of porridge.  Made Flower Daddy coffee.  Chloe woke up, I fetched her.

Our much appreciated cleaning lady arrived.  She comes once a week and leaves us with a lovely clean house, which stays lovely and clean for all of 5minutes.  Coffee for me, porridge for Chloe - which is a 30minute operation!  Food get's flung everywhere (the wall behind her chair is always plastered in something).  De-clothed Chloe {for the purposes of porridge-smear-furniture-floor-adult & sister clothing-damage-limitation..get the idea?}.  Ava watched Peppa Pig (her current TV obsession) through much of this.

Tidying downstairs and changing Chloe's nappy.  Milk for Chloe.  Washing dishes...this is always a tricky task with Chloe around.  She attaches herself to your leg, standing, so you can't move anywhere.  Hanging laundry...which requires lots of clothing recovery and re-hanging of laundry as Chloe insists on 'helping'.  Sounds funny - but is darn annoying when you are the target of her 'assistance'.

Time for the girls to get dressed.  I managed a loo visit minus the audience (that is a Luxury and a half! and is very much worth recording!).  Chloe is a real wriggler, so getting her dressed is a wrestle.  Getting socks on her feet is especially a very bad joke.  Ava is now at a point where she won't wear anything unless it was her idea.  Yesterday, she didn't want to wear any of the pants on offer, so had an almighty tantrum...and I lost my cool.  Chloe sock drama + Ava pants drama = Mom verging on spontaneous combustion.

Out the house to run some errands.  A ride in the car these days involves window negotiation with Ava.  She wants it down, I want it was cold outside!  It also involves snack negotiation and pram negotiation - i.e. keeping her in the pram to make my life easier and her refusing healthy snack bribes to keep her happy.    Not-so-toddler negotiation...what a such thing.  You often hear 3 going on 13.  Yes, we are pretty much there.

Getting Ava out the car involved bribery, again.  Chloe went straight from the car to her cot for a snooze.  Ava came and helped me hang laundry outside, 'helping' me with the pegs.  She passes me pegs from the peg bag.  It makes hanging take f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  More laundry in the machine.  Ava loo visit.  Much easier taking Ava to the loo when Chloe isn't around.  Of course the little wriggler wants to be in on all the action.  To makes matters worse, the dog food and water live in the loo too - and why wouldn't a baby want to play with dog food and water?!  Anyhow, she was snoozing this time, so that was an easier Ava loo visit.  I let Ava watch a little TV, while I started drawing up a circle skirt pattern for her birthday.  {I want to make a little twirly skirt and maybe a matching t-shirt for her birthday next week...if I ever get around to doing it!}

Chloe awake and time for lunch of beans on toast.  Post arrived for Ava from Granny - lunch forgotten and sticker contents take precedence!  Loo visit for Ava - this time Chloe is in on the I have to lift the dog food and water out of reach and sight.  Chloe still grabs at Ava's legs and pants and loo seat.  (am I honestly the only person to ever have experienced this high-action loo business!?!?)  Another spontaneous combustion moment for me.  After we are all out the loo and the dogs have their food and water back, Ava and Chloe play with Ava's dolls house which is cute.  I carry on drawing the skirt pattern until Ava starts dragging Chloe around using her bib like a dog collar!  Argh!  I separate them - Ava draws next to me and Chloe carries on playing with the dolls house.

Ava is outside playing by her swing.  Chloe is pulling clothes off the airer - AGAIN.  She is also rocking the airer in such a way that it might fall over at any moment.  When Ava comes back in, we play and sing a bit - Old MacDonald - with Ava's animals.  Chloe takes them out of the bucket and puts them back in again and again and again.

We go upstairs to play for a bit.  I have a little dress to sew for our niece and am very eager to get started.  But there are tantrums/pushing/kicking to navigate and distract, so little sewing happens.  For 30mins I try and get Chloe to nap.  I give up and we come downstairs again.

Ava and I build a tower out of her blocks.  Chloe is so cute trying to help us put blocks on.  She was standing next to me - next thing she stood All By Herself!  Clever Girl!!!!!  She did it again and again and again.

Spaghetti bolognaise for supper - of course the wall, the dogs and the floor are plastered courtesy of Chloe. Another loo visit for Ava.

Early into pj's.  No bath tonight.  It is cold, so I light the fire and then worry that Chloe might stand up against it (it is one of those built in ones and is raised off the floor).  We had a short Skype visit with Flower Daddy (Chloe went bouncy NUTS) followed by a short and very noisy Skype visit with Granny.  Milk drink for both the girls.

I decide that I want to make a chocolate cake to eat with custard after supper.  Not the best idea ever with 2 tired and cranky girls to keep happy at the same time.

Bedtime for both girls and story time for Ava.  Chloe is restless and it takes some some settling.  It takes me an hour and a half between eating my dinner and getting Chloe settled.  Flower Daddy is out for the evening, so no back up tonight!

Peace at last.  Time for a bit of TV and blanket crochet.

Time to rest my head on a comfy pillow and snuggle down for as much sleep as the girls will allow me.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

New Product New Product New Pr-o-o-o-duct!

Ok, ok, ok!  I am just a little excited to have these in my shop now.  I first mentioned them w-a-a-a-y back in September last year.  I just can not believe that almost 7 months have gone by since then.

I finally conquered my fear of my mammoth sized screen week ago, and today, I squeezed in time to print a bunch of these quirky-fun tea towels.  

The design is my own, created especially for you or your little people to colour {or, you could just enjoy it as it is}.  You could use it in your own kitchen, or save it for a special Granny.  There is also plenty of space above the print for a memorable message to be written to your favourite person.

We have coloured the tea towels with crayons as well as Crayola fabric markers.  I must say that the crayons were a lot more fun, and most definitely easier for little hands to use.  We taped the tea towel to the table and coloured away, then I wrote Ava's name and the date on the side...and posted it off our Grannies, with strict instructions that this work of art was to be Used and not just sit in a drawer!  

I kept the marked coloured one for me....

So, hop on over to 1 of my shops and grab yourself some colouring fun!  

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Fiddling with HTML - Linkety Link Labels

If you have been keeping your eye's peeled on this blog you will have noticed that I have been fiddling...a lot...with the layout and links.  I guess that I am working towards making my blog look pretty and welcoming and in the process, trying not to let it look like a gazillion others.  I am not there yet, but I am learning and I think that it would be handy to make notes about what I am learning here.  Maybe you can learn too.  If not,
then at least it will be a good place to remind myself of what I did, just in case I need to do it all over again!

Hoooo-boy, I hope not. All the cutting and pasting is a royal pain in the butt.

Let me make it Very Clear - I am a building architect, not a computer architect....I know nothing, zilch, zero, niks {get the message?} about HTML. On the other hand - Flower Daddy knows a little bit about it, and chimes in whenever I get stuck and fixes my problem...often a bit of Googling is required first...

So, what I am trying to show you here is how to create these linkety link labels:

First you need to create your images in whatever imaging software you are comfortable with and then save them as image files, e.g. jpg.  My right margin is 320 pixels wide, so I made a white background 310 pixels wide and centred my word on that background.  Make the height of your image consistent and just high enough to fit each word on.  You need 1 image for each word.  So, here, I have 8 images and the text is centred on the white background.

My blog is on blogspot, so all my uploaded images are automatically saved online to Picasaweb.  So this is where I have saved these images too.  But you could also do it on Photobucket (as an example, I am sure there are other appropriate places).  So for Picasaweb I click on the folder I want the image to live in and then select the "add photo" button.  Once your photo is uploaded copy the image URL and save for later.

Then create a new blogger HTML gadget - go to "layout", click "add gadget" in which ever area you want your links, then select the "HTML/Javascript" gadget.

When you have done #3 above a window pops open where you can add lots of lovely nonsensical 'code'.  What you see below is what mine looks like after I have done lots of copying and pasting of image and weblinks.

Ugh - I prefer pretty colours and pictures to all this code language!

A very brief explanation of what you see above follows, it is actually not as bad as it seems when broken down into bits:
So, let's cut to the chase!  If you want your link to open in a new tab, copy this into your HTML gadget window:

<a href="http://paste your weblink here" target="_blank"><img src="https://paste your image URL here" />

If you are happy for your link to open in the same page as your current page, then use this instead:

<a href=" http://paste your weblink here"><img src="https://paste your image URL here" />

Keep copying and pasting until you have how ever many images you want.  Save your gadget.  Save your blogger arrangement.  HEY PRESTO!  Job done!

For the weblinks - I have obviously linked to my various shops and facebook.  Those are easy enough to find weblinks for.  But, I have also linked to "pages" created in blogger.

First you need to create the pages and select "don't show".  When you have created your pages, click on the page in the "pages" window.  This will take you to the "pages" page {make sense??}.  e.g. if I click my "about me" page, it takes me here:  So this is your weblink for that page.  You can use it in your HTML gadget.

Nifty to know - if you want a bunch of small images next to each other, in 1 line, you just do exactly the same as everything I have explained here.  Except that you make your images smaller.  So, if my right column is 320 pixels.  If I wanted 4 little images in a row, then I would size each of them no bigger than 80 pixels wide.  The code that we are using is like a sentence.  Without hitting the return key, the sentence all stays on the same line, or just moves over to the next line when it runs out of space.  So, in our HTML gadget we haven't included any 'code' to tell the computer to put the images on separate lines.

Whew!  This post has taken me forever to put together.  I hope that is has been useful to someone.  Please let me know how you get on with this - if it works for you, if something doesn't make sense, or whatever you fancy sharing.

Next thing to figure out is how to put all these linkety links into 1 picture frame image....and I don't have a clue where to start!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Very Pink Cupcakes AKA Beat and Bake Cake

Being a very girly house that this is (poor Flower Daddy - 2 girl dogs, 2 daughters and a wife to make him suffer), we rather like pink cupcakes.  Pink cake AND pink icing!  Sometimes, just sometimes, we add blue sprinkles to the topping - for a bit of added manliness.  He doesn't complain.  Just as well, or us girls would eat the lot.

These ones are quite a lot Pinker than our usual pink (see the blue sprinkles?)...the photo is pretty rubbish too.  This icing was icing sugar, fresh lime juice, pink gel food colouring and a little water to make the icing easier to spread.

These are more typical of our usual pink cupcakes.  Pink butter cream icing with pink sponge hiding underneath.  Not a crazy glow in the dark sort of pink, more of a respectable and edible sort of pink.  I'll have to take a photo of the sponge next time we bake them.

Much concentration and enjoyment goes into the decoration and eating of them.

The recipe that I like is actually my moms Beat and Bake cake recipe.  When we were kids she would double it and make a massive tray bake cake.  I remember the icing being either chocolate or granadilla flavoured butter cream icing.  Yum!

It makes a lovely flat topped cupcake.  If you fill the cupcake cases 1/2 way, you can easily spread a runny icing on top without losing it all overboard.  Fill the cases about 3/4's for a piped icing finish.

Enough yabbering, here is the recipe:

125g soft margarine, not melted
200ml sugar
300ml flour
2 tsp baking powder
125ml milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
a few drops food colouring

Heat your oven to 180 deg C.
Chuck all the ingredients into a bowl - I use my Kenwood electric mixer - and beat slowly until everything is nicely combined (about 3mins).
Pour into your cupcake cases or baking tin and bake until golden brown ~ cupcakes: approx 12mins ~ cake: approx 25mins

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Yarn Bombing in Bushey

I have to giggle....I am sometimes a bit slow to cotton on the The Plot - generally speaking.  We just took a walk into our little 'village' and encountered a Yarn Bombed light post.  We stopped, we looked, we smiled.  I thought - that's pretty cool!  I haven't seen yarn bombing in person before.  Seen lots online, but never in real life.

Then I thought - Hang On, I have e-mailed this person called The Fastener before!!!  Not actually met her, but spoken on e-mail, about something completely unrelated.  Anyhow, long story short, I looked at her website and see that once again I am late to The Plot.  It appears that it was installed a month ago already!  Honestly, I have walked into town more than once since it was put there - I just somehow missed it.  Go have a look at the original pics here.  It was covered in flower brooches intended for people to take home and enjoy and love.  How brilliant and generous...can you imagine home much time it must have taken to knit and pull it all together?!

Rats - it makes me want to do something generous and colourful I don't have enough on my plate already.

Anyhow, go have a look at her blog and see what other clever bits of constructed yarn she has left lurking about.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Sneak Peak - new doll softie in progress

I was allowed some much appreciated time this weekend to do a little screen printing.  I have had a few new acetates ready to burn to my screens for far too long.  I managed to do a few at the end of last week.  But printing is MeSSy....and I need guaranteed child and baby free time to get stuck in.  I don't really fancy cleaning ink off of either of them....or cleaning where ever they spread the ink!  Or re-printing everything because they pulled at them, smudging the prints...or any other mischief they get up to while my hands are dirty.

So here is little miss Lucy all printed and drying.  She is an intelligent little girl who is a bit of a neatness nut, but loves colourful boots and buttons.

I need to get these all ironed and stitched together, which may take a little while...but, if you have a special need for one, please let me know and I will hop to it a little quicker.

I have also printed more of Hillary Hippo, which I ran out of a week or few ago.  So these will be in my shops soon too.  There is also a friendly crocodile and sausage dog waiting to be this space!

It is sunny right now, rain is coming later today, so us girls are going out to enjoy some rather chilly sunshine.

Where ever you are......

Sunday, 8 April 2012

All I need to know I learned from the Easter Bunny!

This is one of those e-mails doing the rounds at the minute.  It's cute, so I am sharing.....

  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket. 
  • Everyone needs a friend who is all ears. 
  • There's no such thing as too much candy. (too true, too true)
  • All work and no play can make you a basket case. (too late for me!)
  • A cute tail attracts a lot of attention. 
  • Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day. (that is me...every day...whoops...)
  • Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits. 
  • Some body parts should be floppy. (couldn't be more right...lots of floppiness here)
  • Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans. 
  • Good things come in small, sugar coated packages. 
  • The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
  • To show your true colours, you have to come out of the shell.
  • The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

I hope you are having a happy, bouncy, chocolate-y, sunshine-y long weekend.  If not - you'd better hop to it! (sorry, couldn't resist)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Daffodils and Pilfered Flowers

It's an icky wet and grey day here today.  We had HAIL last night!  Flower Daddy and I had our noses pressed up against the window, mesmerised.  Stupid, yes, but we are from South Africa and haven't seen hail like last night in a verrrry long time.  South African hail dents cars!  Last nights hail was a very weak little cousin, but still mesmerising.

Just as well I have some flowers on our kitchen windowsill to brighten the day.

These daffodils were a £1 Tesco pot and have grown from bare bulb to display these gorgeous mini daffs.

On a little walk the other day, Ava and I pilfered these pretty pink camellia's.  Can't wait for our little camellia trees to be in bloom.