Saturday, June 12, 2010

Special gifts

It's hard as parents to balance the urge to give your child everything they desire and the ambition to raise a child who, rather than being materialistic, values what they have. We are fortunate in having family and friends who respect this and on occasions such as his birthday, generally give him wonderful, generous gifts that nonetheless have integrity and value- for example wooden toys that require imagination rather than plastic with flashing lights, bells and whistles which soon end up abandoned or run out of batteries. He also gets more than his fair share of handmade things- and not just from his crafting mother! I've mentioned his baby blanket and quilt before, but I could also have talked about the beanbag he napped on as a baby, top knitted by one Grandmother, fabric case sewn by the the other. Or I could show you the special 'wake up' bag made to hang on his cot, with pockets to hold toys and books to keep in entertained when he wakes in the morning (and give Mummy a little bit of a lie in). Or I could fill several photos with all the handknits from his two great-grandmothers that have warmed him from the very start...
Today, though, I thought I'd share two of his birthday presents. The first, being enjoyed by the boy and his Daddy, was volume one and two in a series of very special books put together by his Granny (my MIL). She's the one who lives on a farm. She's managed to find a place that will properly print and bind books and the first book she's had made is called 'Lambing on Grandpa's farm'. It's filled with photos of the sheep and lambs that have become a big part of her life (she runs the special care unit for orphan lambs these days!) and explains how the whole lambing process runs. The second is all about the birds that live around the farm and is equally lovely. He already loves having the books read to him so imagine how he'll feel when he's old enough to appreciate that they were written and made just for him.
The other present I wanted to share is the playmat. Perhaps even more impressive for being made by my friend who had her second baby only six weeks ago (remember the 'Big Sister' t-shirt), yet still managed to sew this in time for our boy's special day. It's not that you can't buy a playmat like this in the shops, it's the fact that this has care and imagination and love stitched into it, giving it a warmth that goes beyond the fact it's made from fabric instead of plastic. He's a lucky boy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Birthday Boy

Our little boy is 2! Just like every parent, I could say those two years have gone very quickly, but at the same time, the pre-mummy world seems a long, long time ago and is quite hard to remember. One thing that was planned in a pre-mummy world, by a Daddy-to-be who loves his cycling, was just which types of bikes our baby would learn to ride with. Here is the first in line- looking satisfyingly like a real bike, just without pedals or stabilisers so that he learns how to balance. I'm not sure who enjoyed our first trip to the park with it the most- birthday boy or his proud Daddy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Manu is go!

Is there anything better than getting a parcel of lovely new yarn through the post? Okay, there are a few things, but on this particular Wednesday, it can't be beaten. Ten lovely balls of Artesano Inca Cloud in charcoal are all ready to be made into a Manu cardigan for me. It's been a while since I had a big project on my needles, and certainly since it was a big project for me. I know it's quite a sober colour, but I think it will be quite versatile and I love the gathering detail so I don't want to distract from it. Right, enough of this blogging lark, I'm off to get those needles busy...hooray!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Felt chicken

It worked! A quick whizz in the washing machine with some eco-balls and Loretta the chicken was ready for stuffing. By coincidence P had decided the night before that he was going to remove his pillow from its case and rip it open, so I had a lot of fluffy stuffing with nowhere to go...until an opportunity for instant recycling presented itself! He was very excited to discover her in the morning and proceeded to cart her around, pat her (she's a lot more tolerant of this than our real bird, Penelope), kiss her, hurl her across the room like a football, pretend she was a guitar and at one point, stand on her (his poultry farming skills need a little refinement) throughout the day. He even decided that he'd rather go to the Post Office in his buggy than on foot, so that Loretta could accompany us. In other words, knitting her kept me amused for the weekend, but it looks like she will keep him amused for a good deal longer. What more could you ask from a felt chicken?!?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Normal service resumed (sort of)

I'm aware that compared to usual, there's been quite a reduction in craft project news and accounts of days out walking on these pages recently. I cannot complain that baby #2 is hanging on in there instead of arriving two months early as it's older brother did. However, this, my first real experience of full on third trimester pregnancy, is proving hard work! It has certainly got a lot harder to find the energy to pack up and get out there, despite the lovely weather. As for the craft, well, the energy is part of it. Finishing off various presents is another part, and the lack of materials for new projects is yet another.
Ah, excuses, excuses. But this weekend something like normal service was resumed. With C providing the much needed support, we headed to Fell Foot park on Windermere for a slightly impromptu rehearsal for the birthday picnic we're planning on Friday (yes, our little fella is 2 years old this week!). A sunny weekend meant that the number of people there was about ten times what it has been on other occasions, but once we'd bagged a parking space, it was lovely just to be among all the families taking every advantage of the weather. We coveted the canoes of some well equipped groups, although most had older kiddies than us- maybe a future plan?
We also took advantage of the gorgeous play park, which is the nicest I've seen in a long time, if ever. Set under trees and surrounded by rhododendrons which provide den and hide and seek potential in themselves, there's a zip wire and giant climbing frame for older ones, but for a change, also lots of great wooden equipment for little ones including a wooden sailing boat suspended on chains for authentic rocking wave motion and a cute little maze where a lot of shrieking and 'peekaboo' goes on! The floor is all soft wood chippings and even on Saturday it didn't feel overcrowded.
As for the crafting, well, I've been knitting a chicken. As you do. Okay, I know it's a bit weird, but a friend gave me a kit to make a felted chicken way back when I was pregnant with P and, despite carting it into hospital with me when he arrived, I just never got into it. Then on Friday night, as C and I watched a DVD, I finally got going with it. The knitting part was finished on Saturday night, so just need to stick it in the wash and felt it. Those familiar with my habit of ruining perfectly good knitted items by sticking them in the wrong wash and felting them will have every confidence in my ability to carry out this part...finished pics to follow, I hope.
This knitting was the warm up for the next 'proper' project though. I'm very excited that darling C has ordered the yarn for me to start on the Manu cardigan I've been wanting for ages. Should I finish it before the baby arrives, I think it will cope with the bump by way of draping around the sides. And yes, I know it's summer, but I am the sort of cold bones type that is never far from an extra layer, even in hot weather. Just can't wait for that yarn package to arrive!