Saturday, January 16, 2010

Never look a gift horse in the mouth

For some reason, P decided that today was a day for a loooong lunchtime nap. I could have taken a picture of him sleeping- it is the most beautiful sight, for so many reasons- but that would probably have been tempting fate. Instead, as I'm on my own with him this weekend I stuck 'Big Bang Theory' Season 2 on the DVD and finished off cutting out the squares for the quilt. I even had time to have a try at laying out some possible combinations- three episodes make the time spent count up to five hours. I'm really please with how it's looking, but now I can hear some squeaking on the baby listener so I think 'mummy's quiet time' is over. We're off to the farm where I'll hopefully get some work done on my knitting instead.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hooray! Hooray! Oops!

Well, I went and pressed the button and as if by magic (okay, the 'magic' of Royal Mail who delivered quickly, but decided to deliver everyone on our street with their next door neighbours mail today. Lucky we are all nice, honest people on our street) today the rest of my fabric for P's quilt arrived. Beautiful,no? And the colours seem to work really well together. Just a slight hiccup...I spent ages deliberating over shades, patterns, price per fat quarter etc. and then failed to notice that the lovely multi polka dot in the top picture is actually fine needlecord as opposed to the cotton of all the other fabrics. Oops.
Anyhow, no problem, I'm sure I'll find a use for it- at the moment I'm considering a Noni felted market bag which I made (complete with the fiddly fuschias, which I wouldn't do again) for my mum's Christmas present a few years back. I think the larger size, lined with the polka dot cord would be rather lovely.
Of course, the real problem I'm left with is that my careful calculations for how much fabric I need are now out by one. I rifled through my fabric stash and could find any number of blues, pinks, florals etc. but no green to speak of at all really. Then I had a peek in my wardrobe and found a Howies skirt from a few years ago. I think I originally fell in love with the cute little mushroom print fabric, but the style has never really suited me- it's just a tad to short and flouncy for someone of my shape and age. I've hung onto it because it wasn't cheap and because I still harbour one of those daft hopes you have about certain garments that one day you'll try them on and magically look good. So what better than a reality check for my wardrobe and a chance for that sweet fabric to look so much better as part of a handmade-with-so-much-love quilt? You can see it nestled in the middle of the 'final collection' in the second picture. It fits the sort of 'magical woodland' theme that seems to have developed in the prints (the fish are obviously in a pond in a clearing!) and gives another lighter shade to the mix.
I've given myself backache tonight, sitting for too long on the floor and using my brand new birthday dressmaking scissors to begin cutting out squares. I'm trying to keep track of the time I'm taking to make the quilt and so far, with planning, choosing fabric and now cutting out I'm on 3 and a half hours of uncharacteristically careful work so far. It's providing a bit of contrast to the knitting though- at the moment I'm working on a commission (I love saying that!) for Audrey's Tea Shop, which involves fiddly colourwork that it's good to have a rest from sometimes. I'll post some pictures of that soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It's not always great having a birthday in the middle of winter. One year snow meant that nothing arrived by post until a week after the big day. No problems like that this year, a positive flurry of lovely cards and gifts arrived despite the weather. Among them was my lovely new Cath Kidston oilcloth satchel. It will no doubt become a mama bag, filled with spare clothes, emergency crackers, drink bottles etc. along with my usual detritus of knitting, receipts and interesting leaflets and flyers. Still, it is sooo pretty and should last for years and years.
C having taken the day off to spend with us, we went to Lancaster, where, following lunch at the Whale Tail I began the fabric stash I hope to turn into a quilt for P's move to a proper bed. This needs to happen later in the year and I'm toying with a futon-style bed on the floor as he is so wriggly in bed I think that otherwise he'll always be falling out and waking up. We also need to sort some safety issues out before he's able to roam free in his room, but when that's done I want to make the transition a positive one so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try making my first quilt. I think it's just going to be straightforward squares so that I can focus on being careful and precise (uh-oh!) in shades of green, just to make a change from the cot quilt in seaside colours he had made for him by my mum. I've just spent a happy hour on Fabric Rehab creating a shopping basket of fabric that would mean I could get going. Just got to get the nerve to hit the 'buy' button!

Monday, January 11, 2010


It could be that it's just a coincidence of child development, or it could be that P senses what's coming, but yesterday evening we saw a new behaviour from him. The vintage baby doll was something I bought at a car-boot sale as a child and it's ended up being a sort of ornament (although my husband would dispute its aesthetic qualities) in the majority of my adult dwellings. Around bath time last night, P found her and immediately started cuddling her, holding her in the air and cooing at her and referring to her as 'baba'. For the rest of the evening, and on and off all day today 'baba' has been carried around, cuddled, 'fed' and given 'drinks', put down the slide, nestled in cushions and bounced on the baby chair. Again, it's not a behaviour we've ever seen before in him, but it does bode well for our new arrival. That said, for all his boundless energy and fearlessness, our boy does have an incredibly delicate and gentle touch- usually reserved for carefully pushing buttons and switches, undoing fastenings etc. I saw this again today when he clambered onto a chair to examine the basil plant I'd left on the window sill (it wouldn't survive in our arctic kitchen). I encouraged him to rub the leaf and smell the scent, but having done that, and seen how the leaf ended up ragged and squashed, he was oh-so-gentle until his curiosity was satisfied.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Unexpectedly good

I can't claim to be the originator of this idea for a sandwich. I was taught to make it by my sister, but I've a feeling even she got the idea from somewhere she used to go to eat. It's definitely a candidate for the Holy Eye Cookbook, however, as in a way it says something about my big sister. She has an ability to take the ordinary, do something a little unexpected but make it work very well- like hanging pictures higher up the wall than you would think or finding second hand objects and reusing them in a way that is somehow magical. This sandwich is similar- when you look at the ingredients you think 'eh?', not least as the combination ranges from Greek to Chinese influences, yet somehow it just works.
Anyhow, you take some fresh crusty bread and split it so you've got a nice big surface area. Spread this quite generously with hummus and sprinkle on finely chopped red onion and roughly chopped fresh coriander. Finish with a smattering of Chinese sweet chilli dipping sauce. On a wintery day like this the fresh, zinging flavours evoked sunshine and cut through the stodginess of all the comfort food we've reached for recently. However, this works just as beautifully in summer- filling yet light. Try it- you might just like it!