Friday, May 31, 2013

good morning

Grapefruit.  Mmm!  Dulcie doesn't take after me in many ways, but I do like to think her new-found love of grapefruit could be genetic.  Like me (and unlike her father) she eats it with gusto, as you can see.

Dulcie is currently enjoying a very long lie, following a night of staying up late and torturing her dad while I was out at work.  These weekdays I get up early, setting my alarm and showering before Graham gets up for work.  If I'm not washed and dressed before Dulcie gets up for the day, there's a real danger I won't get washed and dressed at all.  Days like today (rare though they are) would be a great godsend of time to GET THINGS DONE, but since Dulcie still always ends up in our bed rather than her cot (though no longer for the whole night - we are making some progress behind the scenes) it means I can't wander far from the room or do anything that makes the slightest noise.  She has an annoying habit of waking silently and then sneaking over to the precipice of the bed's edge.  So far, she has only fallen out once.  She came out of that incident relatively unscathed, but it's not something I am keen to repeat!  So, while I listen for signs of life from the bedroom, I have been paying (HUGE) bills online and perusing a few blogs where, it seems, not much is really happening.  But then I am the one blogging about grapefruit, so who am I to speak?!

Once Dulcie is up and fed and dressed, we will be going to toddler group.  Shudder.  I try to take Dulcie every week now.  She quite likes it (though usually only if I am within touching distance) while I still hate it, but I haven't come close to running out of the place in tears for a couple of months, so I guess it is getting better.  As Dulcie becomes more mobile/independent/nosey, I find myself more and more aware of Joe Public judging me on my parenting skills.  He needn't bother - I judge myself quite enough, the voice of Supernanny looming loud in my ears.  The thing is, sometimes I know perfectly well that I'm doing things wrong (telling Dulcie not to do something then not bothering to stop her if she does it anyway) but it's usually because that's what I need to do for myself and my own sanity.  Quite often I take Dulcie out once I've reached the end of my tether in the house, and letting her off with murder in the park (while watching for real danger) is the closest I get to a break all week.  So sue me, Supernanny!  

Yesterday, Dulcie and I spent lots of time in our new favourite hangout of Kibble Palace, the big glass house in the Botanic Gardens.  We can spend ages in there, watching the fish, putting our coppers in the zig-zaggy collection box, climbing on and off benches, picking flowers/saying, "No, don't pick the flowers."  Yesterday Dulcie found an area covered in tiny stones, which she proceeded to pick up and throw around.  Under the tiny stones was a layer of mud, which she scraped up with her bare hands, making sure it got right under her fingernails.  She then wiped her hands all over her lovely pale green dungarees before scooping up more, which I had to wrestle away from her mouth.  She did get the message about not eating it, but decided to smear it all over her face Commando style instead.  I was quite glad when she found a small puddle and started guddling her hands around in it, thinking it might get at least the worst of the dirt off.  However, once her hands were clean, she decided to sit in the puddle.  The first time she did this, I swiftly removed her.  The second time, I removed her more slowly.  By the third time, I had lost all energy and was wondering what the point was.  She couldn't really get much wetter or dirtier by this point.  This was how I found myself relaxing on a bench in Kibble Palace while my 18-month-old daughter, with barely a square inch of her person mud-free, rolled around all on her own in a puddle on the ground, giving every gawping passer-by the biggest smile they'd ever seen.  And did they judge me as a terrible mother?  You know what, even in the middle-class, somewhat uptight surrounds of the Botanic Gardens, most of those people who caught Dulcie in flagrante walked off with a great big smile on their faces too.  And when we got home, all that mud washed right off and my energy levels were restored enough to be able to make a start on dinner.

So what am I saying?  Well, I guess I should be saying that it doesn't matter what Supernanny or her band of spies think of your parenting techniques, that you do what is right for you and to hell with the glares and stares.  But I think what I'm actually saying is that as long as your child is smiling and full of the joys, you can get away with pretty much anything!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

we do really

Yesterday, Dulcie and I walked for half an hour to get to Bounce and Rhyme at the local-but-one library, only to find out it wasn't on (this seems to be the story of our lives lately) so we had to wander through Partick to get to the park instead.  Dulcie loves being able to walk on her own and I'm usually pretty happy to go at her snails' pace and stop to look at everything.  I was particularly happy when she showed such an interest in this graffiti, which had already caught my eye and was destined to be photographed for blogging anyway.  I do love a bit of good-humoured negativity when it comes to graffiti and this one did make me chuckle, even though I am quite fond of Scotland really.
Dulcie was absolutely determined to hang out at these railings, the little wall being just the right height for her to sit on.  She hung around here for ages, just swinging off the railings and pulling the weeds out of the pavement.  I thought she looked like something satright out of 1978 and was definitely rocking that urban-cool look, with street cred coming out of her ears... if only it wasn't for the handmade cardigan!  Incidentally, Dulcie's cardigan has already been attracting compliments from total strangers, so is obviosuly a winner.  Yay!  Maybe that's why she made so many friends yesterday.  Everywhere we went, people we'd never seen before were chatting to her and playing peekaboo and even giving her presents.  Ah, the power of crochet! :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

achievements large and small

 Or should that be "achievements small and smaller"?  Either way, looky-look, I finally finished Dulcie's cardigan, sewing on the buttons at work last night.  It's not perfect (a little baggy round the body and smallish on the arms - she's long and lean, this one) but the great news is that Dulcie herself loves it.  Yay!  I took it off her while we were having lunch and, as soon as we were finished eating, she ran and got it, giving me her best "Peeeeease!" until I helped her put it back on.  Mind you, she did later appear wearing a pair of her dad's dirty pants round her neck, so perhaps I shouln't take it as that much of a compliment!
And my other achievement? Finding the missing part (the central piece, no less) of everyone's favourite wooden cat puzzle, which had been AWOL for weeks.  Dulcie and I are both glad to have him back in one piece, or should I say, back in five pieces?

On a day when I didn't manage to get dressed until nearly 3pm (and even then  only by sacrificing my shower) achievements like this are not to be sniffed at!

Monday, May 27, 2013

the mum limpet (in dungarees)

Waaaah!  Believe it or not, this outfit makes Dulcie really happy.  It gets pulled out of the dirty washing basket at least three times daily.  But this is just how she was feeling all of last week.  She's still coughing and spluttering, but seems otherwise back to her old self - a bit less clingy and able to demonstrate the pleasure she finds in things once again.
This was as close as we got to a smile that day.  I could tell she was enjoying herself at the park (partly because of how much she screamed - Jesus H Christ - when I put her back in the pram to leave) but we got lots of comments from strangers about how nonplussed she looked.
Hardly surprising when you see this photo demonstrating her absolute joy on the swing...
She may look cute, but she's a brute.  (She's not really - that's just one for the Reeves and Mortimer fans.)

Flying solo with a poorly little mum limpet all week was hard work, but I still made sure to savour all the extra cuddles she forced on me.  Ah, I do so love this little blighter, but hopefully this week she'll at least give me enough space to do things like eat and go to the toilet!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

elgin and beyond

I've been back from our holiday up north for over a week now, but am taking the better-late-than-never approach to a spot of holiday-snap sharing.  We had a lovely time, especially Dulcie, who couldn't have been happier having a big back garden to play in.  This barrow was very popular once she figured out how to lift and push the handles all at once.  Other big garden hits included a couple of footballs (I tell you, I was THIS close to phoning Manchester United's talent scout!) and a sit-upon ladybird rocker thingummy.  She also just generally loved picking up stones and checking out/falling in all the flowers.  We have a shared back garden at home, but, being all slope and no flats, it is no good for a toddler to toddle in.  Luckily, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to parks, but it's not quite the same as being able to wander freely from kitchen to garden and back again.
These are the baby rays at Macduff Aquarium where we passed a lovely afternoon with the fishes.  I love
the baby rays and their cute alien faces.  Those are actually nostrils rather than eyes, apparently, but they'll always be eyes to me.  We thought they looked like Zoe Wanamaker with her big, stretched face in Doctor Who.
We arrived just in time for feeding, where the dogfish (a.k.a. mini sharks) took a worrying interest in Dulcie above all others.  We also timed it just right to get to hold plenty of rockpool critters. My mum and I had watched a programme about rockpool inhabitants on BBC Four a few weeks before. It was a great programme, but did make me a bit wary of the seemingly placid starfish and limpets. Scary stuff!
Here's Dulcie with my dad, just outside the aquarium.  She was happy and entertained all afternoon here, so it was well worth the two-hour roundtrip, plus we stopped for ice cream on the way home.
But by far the biggest hit of the holiday was the beaches.  Despite it being a bit cold and blustery (great opportunity to break out the puddle suit!) Dulcie's face just lit up as soon as we arrived.  This is her on Lossiemouth's beach, gathering shells, talking to dogs and generally having a good wander and nosey.
Thank goodness Dulcie's grandparents had the energy to run up and down the dunes with her (again and again and again) because her parents certainly didn't!

I do have some photos of Graham and I on another beach (Findhorn, where we had fish and chips in a little pub overlooking the water) but I'm not sure he'd thank you if I shared them.  And I would absolutely be willing to share the video he shot of me trying and failing to jump over a 30cm-wide river (rivulet!) but it's on Graham's phone and I'm writing this on my lunch break at work, so no can do.  You'll just have to use your imagination.
And so, with a toddle off into the horizon, ends the holiday highlights post.  Happy days.

Friday, May 24, 2013

what is a terrorbite anyway?

bunting by dropstitch
bunting, a photo by dropstitch on Flickr.

I got an email from flickr this morning letting me know that they've increased their free storage to a terabyte. I'm not very good with bytes etc, but I'm pretty certain that's massive. This is all very good timing as I was (reluctantly) about to pay to go pro again so that I could use my flickr account to back up the photos from my Mac. My Mac is currently unusable and is refusing to let me do anything (and I mean ANYTHING) until I delete some files. I've ordered an external hard drive, but once you start contemplating losing all your photos (and designs and whatever else) you start to wonder whether a hard drive is reliable enough either. And so I had decided to get back into flickr. And now it looks like I won't even have to pay. Yay!

In the meantime (God knows when I'll find the time required to transfer/upload and delete everything) it's exciting to be able to see more than my last 200 photos. This is the first photo I ever shared on flickr. This feels like decades ago. I was quite surprised to realise this was only taken in 2007, a mere six years ago. I spend a lot of time worrying that 23 to death-at-indeterminate-age will pass in a flash and nothing will have changed and I won't have done anything, so it's quite nice to see that I have done and changed quite a lot just since the age of 27, even if it is just making some stuff and getting new glasses/cutting my hair off, rather than buying property or becoming a company director or getting married or what have you.

Anyway, this photo. This is me holding some giant cupcake bunting that I made for my eldest niece's birthday. Kim will be eight this year, so I guess this was for her second birthday. I spent ages making this bunting (which Kim still has up in her bedroom - yay!) sewing up all the felt icing by hand and hand-stitching on all the different beads for sprinkles. I used to love taking time to complete rambling and over-ambitious handmade projects, doing things maybe not in the fastest way, but pottering and learning as I went and having something fun to show/share at the end of it. I'm always hoping to get back to that sort of crafting (one of my reasons for shutting up shop on etsy) and I think maybe blogging etc. makes it harder - you feel like you should constantly have new things to share. But I have quite a few plans now of things I want to make for Dulcie and for our house, so hopefully I'll get back to my 2007 levels of slow but solid craftiness eventually. That said, I haven't found so much as a minute to attempt to sew up Dulcie's romper suit since I got back from my mum and dad's, and she is busy growing out of her crocheted cardigan while I try to find the time to attach buttons. I won't be too hard on myself about this though. Dulcie is a bit under the weather this week and it has made her into a mum limpet. I can't even go to the toilet or check a single email without it turning into a major drama (I'm making the most of her illness-induced long lie to type this) so there is really no way I could embark on a project that actually demanded time and attention. But soon, soon! I don't know when or how, but (I repeat) soon!

I used to use flickr a lot before I had a blog. You should go and have a look at all the fun and pointless things I used to make and do. It's fun to look at, or it is for me, at least. I should really start using flickr properly again. My brand of "properly", I mean, i.e. snaps of life's minutae - things made and things spotted in the street. 

But time, time, time... ya bass!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

compromising on matters of the heart

When I got my internal defibrillator fitted, I was advised to get some incredibly ugly and embarrassing medical alert jewellery to wear.  I couldn't bring myself to do that, partly because I don't want my situation out on display 24/7, partly because I am more vain than I probably appear and partly because I just don't do jewellery.  However, in a bid to come to terms with stuff and accept things that I have no control over, I compromised and made this medical alert card for my purse.  I figure that in an unconscious type of emergency situation, passers by or paramedics are as likely to look in my purse as they are to check my body for tacky but useful  items of jewellery.  I do feel a bit safer now.  

I'm not minding my swanky device so much these days.  It can still be a bit sore and uncomfortable at times, but mostly I can forget it's there and I very rarely feel the fear that I might be shocked.  I think I may even be starting to feel a little reassured by its presence.  This is all very positive really, considering I've only had two months to get used to it so far.

I am still a little bit paranoid about it at times, I suppose.  Graham has agreed to go on a first aid course so that he knows how to resuscitate me.  Kind of romantic?!  Ha!  I also get a bit anxious at work since I figure (probability-wise) that I'd be quite likely to be zapped there if I was going to get zapped anywhere.  I decided I wanted to tell the managers and first aiders what the situation was and what to do in an emergency, figuring that was another good compromise - it meant that not everyone would know my freak status but that there would usually be someone around who did.  I wrote a carefully composed email and ran it by my boss, but then I realised who the first aiders were and that one of them was the office's (nay, the world's) biggest gossip and someone I definitely did not want to know my business so I did not send the email.  I decided I would just have a quiet word with a few people who often seem to be in the office when I am, but it's not really the kind of thing that is very easy to bring up in conversation, so I haven't managed to do it yet.  I guess I should.  Once it's done, hopefully I can stop thinking about it.  Being able not to be thinking about this situation (the situation as a whole, not just the device) most of the time is my goal.  I think I might be getting there - very, very slowly, but getting there nonetheless.  I'm pretty sure I've had some 15-minute spells of not considering my impending doom lately, which is a big improvement and makes it slightly easier to stay on the right side of sanity!

Hey, my medical alert card co-ordinates perfectly with my red purse.  Don't presume these things happen by accident, people! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

sewing BEE (see what I did there?)

I think I have mentioned in passing a few times that I was planning to make a couple of outfits for Dulcie?  Well, here is the lovely fabric that I bought for the project.  It's not like I needed fabric (God knows I have enough vintage sheets etc to clothe that girl for life!) but once I saw these in Mandors, I just had to have them.
Look at these bees!  Even though I knew such an obvious and directional pattern would make the already daunting task at hand that bit trickier, there was no way I could have left this fabric behind.
 And this one is just so pretty and of a time that I love.  It looks a bit washed out here (I took these photos on my phone for ease of blogging from my parents' house) but is a gorgeous deep, dull green in real life.
 This is the pattern I'm using.  I'm going to make the romper suit (top middle) from the bee fabric.  If it turns out insanely wonderful, I'll probably make the same from the green fabric because I think that would make a cute romper too, but the original plan was to use the green to make the dress (bottom right) so I may still stick to that.
Because I might want to use this pattern again when Dulcie is a bit bigger, I thought I should trace the pattern pieces rather than cut them straight out.  Of course, this is really just another added stage where things could go wrong...  I traced most of the pieces yesterday, until I ran out of greaseproof paper.  Hopefully I'll finish that and cut out the fabric pieces today.  I'm so scared about cutting into the fabric, but I keep telling myself to calm the heck down.  Really, what is the worst that could happen?  If I make a hideous mistake, I can always use the fabric for some other smaller projects and, if the worst came to the worst, I could buy more - that's where new fabric has the edge over vintage/recycled, I guess.  My hope is that if I have the pieces all cut out before I get back to Glasgow then I'll be far more likely to make a start on this before summer is over.  I've never sewed clothes from a proper pattern before and really have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm hoping this project will be the start of something and may leave me brave enough to attempt making something for myself to wear.  Wish me luck!

UPDATE:  It's now Thursday evening and I have cut out all the pieces of fabric for the bee romper suit and have marked on whatever I need to, ready to start sewing when I get back to Glasgow.

Some great things:
1) I have a fair amount of the lovely fabric left over - hurrah! - and a little project in mind for it.
2) Now that all the pieces are ready to go, the challenge seems totally achievable.  I've read through the instructions and (famous last words) the assembly looks more straightforward than some of the soft toys I have made in the past.  Maybe I can do this?!
3) I'm getting very excited at the thought of having achieved my clothes-making goal at last.  I've wanted to do this for years!

A dose of reality:
1) I'm getting ahead of myself here and there is still scope for things to go wrong.
2) I'm not sure when I'll get round to doing the assembly - it's much easier here in Elgin where I have people on hand to distract Dulcie and big, clean spaces to work in.
3) I am petrified this isn't going to fit Dulcie and I will have to find someone smaller to give it away to and then I will actually cry.

Oooh!  Exciting!  Watch this space!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

life in the '80s

 Now that Graham has returned to Glasgow to guard the homestead, I can reveal that Dulcie and I are away on holiday at my parents' house.  Last night I found these photos and thought they might be of interest to the general populace.  They are very random snaps, but they made me laugh.  Oh, life in the '80s...

Check out the shining examples of technology in that top picture!  That's my slimline dad on his slimline computer and my sister demonstrating just how user-unfriendly hoovers were back in those days.
 This picture is from a school Halloween party some time in the mid '80s.  The scary trampy clown person is my dad, I'm pretty sure (I don't think headteachers could get away with such disturbing costumes these days) but it's the tiny werewolf in the background that tickles my fancy.  I had hoped this was the Halloween party where Janice dressed as a mummy and couldn't eat the doughrings because her mouth was covered in toilet roll bandages (photos of that party had been requested!) but apparently my dad dressed as the slightly less terrifying John Darling at that, so this must have been some other year.
And here is a picture of me from spring 1982, just a wee bit older than Dulcie is now.  Well, about six months older, which I suppose is quite a big difference at that age.  I did think, initially, that there was zero resemblance between us, but on closer inspection I realise that I have seen Dulcie make that same funny expression with her mouth.  That's my sister again in the background again. I'm being very kind and am resisting posting a picture of her around a decade later in the world's most terrible outfit with the world's most terrible haircut (the double whammy!) because I am kind like that.  I did email it round a few people though - ha!

she thinks she can wink

Back with another video, lazy blogger that I am.  I filmed this quite a few weeks back, when Dulcie first learned to "wink".  You can tell my mum trained her - she winks with both eyes at once too!

Monday, May 13, 2013

little washer girl

Here's a video of Dulcie loading up the tumble dryer, having just emptied the washing machine.  Dulcie loves to "help" these days.  Would you believe she was roling on the floor in angry tears just a few minutes before this video was shot?  Housework is a great distractor.  (It can also work for me sometimes!)  The video is over two minutes long and not a lot happens, so it is perhaps just one for the die-hard Dulcie fans ;)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

poor man's ET?

Recently, Dulcie has developed a bit of a thing for choosing her own clothes and will often insist on wearing something other than what we have picked out for her.  Sometimes this results in surprisingly good looks, but other times... Well, not so much!  When I was getting her ready to go out one day last week, she spotted her old jacket, now a bit on the small side, and was determined that she would wear it as opposed to any of the outdoor gear that actually fits her.  I helped her SQUEEZE into it and my dad managed to snap this photo.  Too funny.  I can't believe I actually let her go out like this.  I think she looks like a cross between a poor wee soul (with no neck) and ET.  What a face!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


 It's my birthday today!  Hooray!  Despite starting the day off in hospital (just a scheduled check-up, nothing too drastic) I've had a lovely day.  My presents were small in quantity and high in quality, just the way I like them.
My mum and dad gave me this amazing vintage musical card (as well as a gorgeous vintage fabric print) which I love, love, love.
Here's a little video of it in action.  I love the sound it makes, totally adorable.

Mail was pretty thin on the ground today (as it has been in general of late) but, in a coincidence of perfect timing, the embroidery I'd treated myself to on etsy arrived.  I was a little nervous opening it for fear I wouldn't love it as much as I had expected, but it was even nicer in real life and I love it even more than I thought I would. Yay!

The rest of the day was spent hanging out with Graham and Dulcie (a rare treat in itself) going round the charity shops and out for lunch.  For tonight, we're hoping Dulcie might go to bed at a reasonable hour as we have cava and lots of cheese in the fridge.  Mmmmm!  All in all, a pretty happy birthday :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the sun has got his hat on

 I couldn't resist this happy little tin in Marks and Spencers when I saw it on Monday night and, what do you know, the sun has been shining ever since.
Here's what's inside the tin - six little chocolate discs.  I will "get rid" of these and keep the tin for goodness knows what.  I've been realising today that I have A LOT of tins and generally have no idea what to keep in them.

This sunny weather is most welcome and fairly lifts the spirits.  The tree outside our living room window has leaves squeezing their way out of the buds at last, a sight that makes me happy once each and every year.  And this year, the view is even better than usual as we are seeing it through new windows!  Our windows were cracked and drafty and, worst of all, impossible to open.  This week we are in the process of getting them all replaced with double glazed ones that I can open with one hand!  Even though it's not that warm, I keep opening windows wherever I go so that I can enjoy the novelty of fresh air in the flat.  The work has been more disruptive than I imagined.  I cannot believe how much dirt gets spewed inwards when the old windows are removed.  Everything we own is covered in a 0.5mm layer of hundred-year-old soot and it is absolutely disgusting.  Once the work is complete (we're maybe halfway through right now) we are going to have to clean every single item we own - not a fun thought.  I'm wishing I'd got a bit further with operation clear-out before now!  It's quite a good excuse for a spring clean though.  Now we know how much mess is created, we are completely clearing each room before it's worked on.  Today I was putting everything back in the kitchen and went a bit crazy, getting rid of heaps of stuff.  We have so much more cupboard space now (amazing!) and the things we use regularly have been put in the most accessible spots.  It's been a long time coming, people!  Other jobs forced by the window situation include the sad dismantling of my wall of many wonders (which had much more on it than in that early photo).  I'm hoping I'll be able to rehang most of it in my craft corner (once the craft room is turned into our bedroom and a wee corner of our current bedroom is turned into my crafting space) but I will probably have to downscale a fair bit and I know it will never be what it was.  I will miss having a space that I'm allowed to do what I like with (I think I've spoken before about how Graham and I can't agree on anything interior-deco related) but I'm looking forward to the flat's layout working better for us.  Bigger picture, bigger picture, Laura.  I'm hoping the upheaval and mess of the window installation will give us a shove to keep going to the bitter end.  There's a long way to go yet, mind you.  Talking of which, I should go and find some junk to send to the charity shop now.  Our bedroom window is to be the last to get replaced, but there is a lot of crap piling up in there (right by the window, too) so I should probably plough ahead with it now.

Hope you're having some sunshine where you are too.