Monday, 31 May 2010

One of my favourite times of year!

Look at this- my fav summertime breakfast; fresh local, yummy smelling strawberries with yoghurt.

We had a lovely walk this afternoon, we went exploring and found ourseves in Upnor so went to the castle while we were there, Stephanie and Dylan has lots of fun playing on the banks in the ground. They rolled down them, slide down them all the fun things I remember doing as a young'un.

When we got home they played lovely in the garden together and then did some crafting while I made dinner.
What a perfect day..........

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Lots of started, but not yet finished bits!

I have had a fairly busy week, with sorting through all sorts of things in the bedrooms and decluttering- there are lots of things which we do not use so I have sorted through them and boxed them up ready to take them to a bootfair in a couple of weeks time. The idea being that the money raised is spending money for our holiday.

The pictures above show work in progress on the charm quilt I am attempting to make.

This is on our daytrip to Legoland where we had a LOT of fun.

This is number 2 of the dresses I have mde this summer for Stephanie. It isn't showing up too well but the middle has gorgeous beadingon it; the beads are like fake crystals. Stephanie loves it so much that she wore it to her dads yesterday and made him wash it last night so that she could wear it again today.

I'm so impressed with how lovely the dress was, with some prompting from other mums I know I am making more with the aim of selling them. I need ot research online stores where I may be able to do this. I have found one called etsy and want to look up more and then decide the most suitable one. The picture above shows the begininngs of the first dress I am hoping to sell.

Here we have a cake I made earlier I am planning to ice and decorate as a special treat.
These are one of Stephanie's favourite snacks at the moment. They are cheese whirls based on nannys recipe. I have used here wholemeal flour as a change, so will be interesting to see what fusspot --I mean Dylan-- will make of them when he comes home tomorrow.
This is my dinner for tonight; healthy- definately not. Tasty and an unusual treat for us- definately.
My mission for myself this week is to finish some projects before I take on any more. The charm quilt for obvious reasons will not be completed, bearing in mind how much work will be required to do this, and it is half term which means lots of fun out playing with the children. For tonight I plan on decorating the cake.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

child labour?

We have had a lovely weekend away with family for my gorgeous niece Sophie's birthday. This is a pic of her and her rather yummy and unusual brithdya cake. My sister made it with wholemeal flour, she never uses white since she made a crumble with wholemeal. It was so nice I am going to get some wholemeal and try it myself.

When we got home we did some gardening; Stephanie helped me to cut the grass, then both Dylan and Stephanie helped to rake the cut grass and put it into the compost bin. I need to get some more blades fr the lawn mower as I broke four doing about 1/3 of our little garden. So will be off to b&q in the morning to get some more so I can finish the job. Although I am feeling a bit concerned that my garden may look bald when we have finished, as the small amount I have cut is looking a little patchy already.
Stephanie is so impressed with the dress I made her we had to take it to my sisters house and Ang had to wash it while we were there so Stephanie could wear it again- we were only there for 2 nights! So I have just sat and cut out the pattern peices for her pink dress she has chosen. I have brought rather a bit much fabric, I have enough to make 2 dresses. Will consider what to do with the other half of the fabric another time. I need to find a local shop with a larger selection of fabric, the shop I love in Rochester sells lots of fabrics good for patchwork peices but not so great for clothes. The shop in Chatham has a small selection of coloured fabrics but no great patterns.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

how does your garden grow??

these yummy leaves came from our veg patch and were in a our salad for dinner- very yummy and satisfying to know tht we grew them.
This is how our veg patch is progressing- perhaps I should take pics during daylight hours so that they are a little clearer. It is looking very good (well I think so!). you can see the carrots, the american cress and the onions sprouting up very rapidly in the raised bed. I need to hang the hanging baskets the dwarf tomatoes are in. I have only planted one of the potato bags so far, I will plant some more another day, I have run out of compost so am stck until I get to the garden centre again. I have 3 more to plant, so am going to plant one of potatoes, one of carrots as we eat so many of those. Am so far undecided on the final one, hopefully I will decide by the time I have the compost.
The hexagons are coming along nicely, I know have 254 made ready to by sewn together, a few more sewn then I will begin peicing them together. Also pleased that Stephanies dress is sucha hit, she has worn it a couple of times already and has now packed it to take to Auntie Lala's house this weekend. I must get on with making her next dress that she has chosen for me to make her.
Why is it that despite having finished my degree I still have no spare time?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Lots of little bits and bobs

I have now got lots of work in progress. I have a half made dress for Stephanie, I forgot to buy the zip, so can't finish it until I have been to the sewing shop again. The pic above shows my cheeky madam wearing her half made dress!

She really likes the dress and has asked me to go and get the zip so I can put it in and she can wear her dress. I was worried when I was making it I thought it might be a too big, but when she wore it there is room for her to grow, but not too much so it can be worn.

My first attempt at embroidering with my lovely new sewing machine, its not as easy as I thought it would be, takes rather a lot of practice to get the movements at a good even speed, practice makes perfect! So I better prectice.

This is the design I plan on embroidering onto kitchen chair covers and on placemats. I have made the insides of the chair covers, upcycling my old flat pillows, which are just the right thickness for padding out the kitchen chairs. I now need to buy some fabric to cover them, I also want to make the placemats in the same fabric. Am planning on going down to root through charity shops tomorrow to see if I can find anything to upcycle which might fit the bill.

The hexagon stash is growing as well, I know have 204, so only 969 to go! I still am not entirely sure how I will peice it all together, I am tempted to choose one of my favourite hexagons as a centre and then spiral out from there until I have a more definate approach. So far I have one firm favourite, I also think it will be Stephanies favourite as it is a rainbow, made from the offcuts of her dress I managed to accidently, but brilliantly make a rainbow, which at the moment is one of her favourite things, with a request for a rainbow bedroom when I eventually get started on the decorating.

Friday, 14 May 2010

decision made

After pulling my sewing machine apart and cleaning it. It still is not working right, so I contacted the company recomended to me yesterday which does servicing etc for sewing machines, and it was going to cost £45 to get it looked at, and then the cost of any repais/parts etc needed to get it going. So I have treated myself to new one, not the fandangled computerised one, but I do have one which can do free hand emroidery, I have yet to try it out. I have a child free afternoon/evening tomorrow so I will be giving it a go then.

Dylan has just counted my hexagons I now have 120 finished, so that leaves 1053 to go!
I need to print off some more of the paper templates as I have now run out of those. Also need to start thinking about how to peice them together/ pattern to make. I need to get more of the different prints/ colours sewn so that I can see them to make the decision I think. Or possibly I just need to scatter them all over the floora nd make a decision that way, this is a tried and tested method you know, very technical!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

oh bummer!

I found the material I bought 2 summers ago to make Stephanie a summer dress. So I decided I should start making the dress, got it all pinned and ready to cut out;
I started to sew it together and found that my sewing machine is not working properly, I am having lots of problems with the tension, I think it either needs servicing or replacing, bearing in mnd I have had it for 11 years. So I am going to phone around tomorrow and see how much it costs to have it serviced and see if that sorts out the problems. If that is too much money I will have to look at a new machine, which I am secretly excited about, as I would really like a computerised one. However, I am unsure whether I can justify the money that one would costs. I could manage with an ordinary machine like I have already, but I would love the fancy one!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

and I'm hooked!

last night I began making hexagins for my take on a charm quilt, I have sat tonight sewing the little squares of materials I cut out last night into little Hexagon shapes.

I now have 60 little hexagons look;

I want to go and get some different patterns and colours, so I feel a little shopping spree coming on in the morning. I have found I will need 1173 (?)hexagons so just over 1100 to go then.

Tomorrow we have a suprise coming; I ordered my veg box last week and missed the cutoff time to get delivery last thursday, so it is coming tomorrow instead. In the mean time I have forgotten what I ordered! so will be interesting to see what delights I have to eat the next week.

Talking of food I made a menu plan for our dinners to last the rest of the month, in th ehope that I stop forgetting to get the food out of the freezer, resulting in me going to the shop and buying more food.

Other things I keep forgetting are to change the address on things such as library, rewards cards (tesco/ nectar). I have today changed the address with the library, maybe tomorrow I'll remember the clubcard. Right now I am off to read one of the books I chose at the library.

oh and before I go you will be pleased (or maybe not!) I have ordered a compost bin and it should be with us by the end of the week.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

I'm making! this blog is very interesting and the blogger describes how to make a charm quilt. I have decided to make a quilt using her instructions, however I have a limited stock of fabrics so mine will not be a 'real' charm quilt as there will be repeated prints on it.
I started with some peices of paper from my recycling box, on the back I printed the hexagon templates and cut those out.

then I found a pile of odd bits of material, and cut those into squares, following the instructions I now have;

When I have finished basting them, and sewn them together I will ave a very pretty (hopefully!) quilt for Stephanie. Bearing in mind these are 1" hexagons, this may take a while.

Whats that you say?? how is the search for a compost bin coming along?

hmm, tomorrow perhaps, I really am easily distracted.

Monday, 10 May 2010

a little drilling!

I decided today that I was brave enough to attempt to put up shelves, well spice racks and a utensil rack in the kitchen. I am very pleased with the results, so am posting just so I can show you!
Am going to get another utensil rack and another one or two spice racks (need to work out if i need 1 or 2) next time we go to ikea.
Stephanie and I also planted some more seeds in the garden. We have added lettuce, chanteney carrots, and french beans. We also transferred the pea plants to the growing bed. We have now ran out of garden space for planting. I aam going to transfer the dwarf tomato plants to the hanging baskets and hang on the shed. I also have 2 empty planters so will fill those with something. We also saw potato plant bags in argos the other day and am thinking of giving those a go.
I must find out where the best place to get a compost bin from is. So my eco challenge for this week is to organise a compost bin as am very shocked by how much that goes in my bin could be composted.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Alovely family day

I finally have for you the picture of the vegetable patch the children and I made in the garden, can you see our little plants growing there? We have carrots in the top left, then its american cress, then the first shoots of the peppers, and then one or two onion shoots down in the bottom left. the raspberry plant looking good so far in the bottom right.

I think tomorrow I am going to plant some lettuces in the space to the top right. I also need to sort out the thin veg ptch next to the shed and get the peas planted out. I want to move the tomato plants as well, they are in the yoghurt pots in the bottom of the pic, I think I am going to plant them into hanging baskets and attach the baskets to the shed.

We went for a walk around a local RSPB nature reserve how sweet do my little darlings look walking along together; will overlook their bickering which led to me announcing we were going out. All was forgotten after a little run, thank fully! We followed the set paths around the woods looking at different flowers, meeting dogs walking their owners and generally just a lovely couple of hours outside getting some fresh air together.

We also found some fungi/mushroom. We saw a very prettily displayed black one on a high up tree branch, i forgot at that point my camera was in my pocket. We then found this big one! unfortunately I do not have any knowledge of mushrooms so refrained from picking it, but it would be great to know if it was edible or not; I love the idea of finding and harvesting my own free food.

We made do with food that I got in the shops; when we got home we had a lovely roast dinner together

The house is finally starting to look tidy, there isn't very much left to unpack. I have a few little bits I want to do;
  1. put up spice racks- interesting have never done anything involving drilling before, but determined to learn!
  2. sort out shelves in tall kitchen cupboard- it needs 1 or 2 extras so it is less of a wased space
  3. sort out understairs cupboard- it has already become the dumping ground!
  4. build Stephanies new bed once it arrives tomorrow
  5. buy a loft ladder and use it to stash things such as christmas decs out the way!

During our lovely day and the 2 hours I spent ironing I have decided there are 4 main thing sI like about our lovely new house

  1. the washing line- my washing smells yum when it comes in off the line
  2. the space, we can all be in different rooms doing our own thing if we want
  3. the outdoor growing space, ok small but better then we had
  4. Dylan can go out and play with friends as it is relatively quiet here and there are children roughly the same age.

Eco wise I have not done anything significant this week, our crops are too small to harvest, I missed the order deadline for the veg box, but have ordered one to be delivered this coming Thursday. I have however managed to finish my degree. I got my dissertation mark which I am ecstatic about, I don't think my overall degree classification will be in the same league, but well can't have everything now can we!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Normal Service??!!

Hmm sorry I still haven't taken the pictures, I have been so busy completing my university work. I have now handed in all my work and have officially finished my degree. A very scary prospect, am nervous and excited about the future.
I am going to start getting the house properly organised tomorrow, I need to get everythign sorted and all the boxes unpacked, even the ones hidden under my bed!

Once I have got organised I will get the pictures of the veg patches. I promise!!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

check out these green fingers!

We have been busy working in the garden this week. We have turned this

and this
into raised beds. It turns out I have forgotten to take the after pics yet! I will do those tomorrow. WE have planted rainbow carrots, onions, american cress, peppers and we have bought and planted a raspberry bush. The peas and sunflowers are still in the baskets they need to go into their beds. I also think I am going to plant some lettuces in the little bit of the patch that is still unplanted.
After chatting with my dad this morning I am also considering getting a fruit tree. The children were after an apple tree in B& Q the other day, I said no as I thought we would need more space to grow one. According to dad I can grow one in a large pot in the wasted psace next to our veg patch. So will look into that and how much the pot will cost during the next week.
I have been giving lots of consideration to our finances and our environmental impact this week. I have come up with a plan which wil hopefully help me spend less. I am going to go to the supermarket once a month and do a big sho rather than a small shop each week. This will (hopefully) prevent me from buying as much. Will also mean we have more time to do more fun things as a family. I am also going to remove any money not required for direct debits from my bank account eac week. Sperate what I have into different piles, e.g. food, diesel money etc etc. Any left in th epot at teh end of the week goes into the debt savings, in the hope I will begin to pay of some of my bills quicker.
I have also been thinking about my environmental impact. I have come up with a few ideas to reduce this;
1. Buy a seasonal vegetable box each week instead of buying whatever is on offer at the supermarket. I ordered one this week and was very impressed with the quality when it arrived. We got it from here http://
2. buy eco version of washing up liquid
3. buy eco wash powder. I was very impressed with the version we bought. It smells lovely, just have to hope it doesn't affect the children's excema- time will tell!
4. I bought an eco shower gel for Stephanie.
5. Not something I have done personally but it has rained A LOT so my water butt is half full, so when it stops raining again I can water the plants with rain water rather than tap water.
So very impressed with the changes so far. Plenty more I can make I have these planned;
1. Make seat cushions using my old pillows I have saved for this purpose.
2. I am going to buy a compost bin.
3. I am going to make some of our own clothes- probably Stephanie's to start with because she is smaller and less fussy than Dylan!
4. change all cleaning products over to eco versions as and when I need to replace them.
5. Look into eco toiletries for me.
There are lots more but I will discover these as I go along. I think small goals to start with as I will get too confused with lots of changes at once. I am going to check out the library when I remember to go and change our address to see if they have books with more tips in for us.
I am planning to implement the above 5 things during the month of May, then hopefully I will set some new goals for June. One I would like ot implement but is very hard given where Dylan's school is in relation to the new house is to drive less and walk more. Think we will achieve this better during weekends and school holidays.
More updates on our progress soon.