Saturday, June 30, 2012


This picture was too funny not to share, even though it does paint me in a terrible light.  Every time I kissed Dulcie's cheek, she would smile like a crazy baby, but as soon as I got the camera out to capture it, she got distracted by the technology and came over all serious and studious, making me look like the world's worst (s)mother.  I don't know how she puts up with me!  Gah, she is so cute these days.  Teething is awful, but the rosy cheeks do look adorable.
Excuse my bedhead, but do you see that little short bit in my hair on the right hand side of my forehead there?  I have a mysterious fringe (or hairy horns) growing in and I have seen the same thing on a couple of other mums so it must be a pregnancy/hormone thing.  I am hoping this means an end to post-baby baldness.  Hooray!

Friday, June 29, 2012

doof doof doofus

I've been getting quite upset watching EastEnders over the last week, what with the premature baby storyline.  The episode where the baby was born was the worst.  Being unconscious during Dulcie's delivery, I didn't witness any panic or resuscitation, but did have to read about it in the medical reports later.  I never saw Dulcie in person while she was on the ventilator for the first few days of her life and I found it quite traumatic to watch Janine's little baby (Patricia - amazing!) with her chest pumping up and down like that.  I was feeding Dulcie as I watched it and had to give her a tearful squeeze.  I suppose it makes me picture the scary things I was slightly protected from at the time and it is hard to think about Dulcie being in that situation even thought she is OK now.  Of course, we have laughed at all the dreadful inaccuracies (don't these shows employ researchers?! pah!) but mostly it is just quite upsetting.  There is also a premature baby in Home & Away at the moment, as well as a character who has recently been diagnosed with heart failure.  Didn't I say my life was like a soap opera these days?  

The positives to be seen in all of this are as follows: 1) Dulcie is a totally different (gigantic) baby from what she was back then and 2) if any character has to have a premature baby storyline then I'm glad it's Janine as she is ace and quite a good actress and not too hammy... for someone who is on marriage number four, has killed at least one husband and recently inherited millions from an elderly relative.

I gave up EastEnders for a very long time and only started watching again because it coincided with breastfeeding time.  (Breastfeeding is also my excuse for knowing what is happening in Home & Away and I'm sticking to it!)  For a while I found it painful to watch, but I am slowly beginning to enjoy it again.  Michael is a crap character though, as is Derek.  Get rid of them and Jean, bring back Dot and Pat and Stacey, and make sure Janine features heavily in every single episode.  That is my considered advice to you, BBC, and don't listen to anyone who doesn't approve of raising characters from the dead.

Right, I'm off to phone the number for people affected by the issues raised in tonight's episode.  Not really.

life in miniature

One of the fun things about having a baby is all the tiny samples of things you get.  I like the ones that come as a miniature version of the full-size item, in proper scaled-down packaging like this tiny pot of Sudocrem that lives in our changing bag...
...and this tiny tube of Bepanthen bum cream.
Yesterday I received this tiny bottle of Cif (you'll always be Jif to me!) which left me particularly excited, even though it did come with a leaflet about household hygiene that suggested you use this to (among other things) wipe down the changing mat "before and after every change".  Seriously?!  We had eight (yes, eight!) dirty nappies yesterday, plus all the usual wet ones.  This bottle would have been used up by lunchtime!  This is where I discover that everybody else does disinfect the changing mat before and after every change and that I really am that bad a mother.  Ah well, you can't have it all and Dulcie's immune system is going to rock!

Monday, June 25, 2012

the mother (and baby) lode

 May I, helped by my glamorous (still in her pyjamas) assistant, present to you the mother of all charity shop finds that I mentioned in my last post.  I found all these vintage girl's clothes in the rummage bin of the Salvation Army on Saturday and paid (wait for it) 50p a pop for them!  As you can see, Dulcie has a bit of growing to do before she'll fit into them, but hey, that gives me plenty of time to get that musty vintage smell out of them :)
 Even the man at the till, usually not very talkative, exclaimed at the cuteness of this one.
 Classic checks with a touch of lace on the collar and a big red bow on the back.
 Aw!  Might not be too long until she fits this one.
 This one is my absolute favourite and I nearly didn't spot it.  Yes, those are rosy red apples on the pockets.  Eep!
It really will be a long time before Dulcie can wear this one and by that time she might know her own mind well enough to be a vintage refuser, but given the anchors and the 50p price tag, I definitely thought it was worth a punt.

As well as these, we got two sun hats, two books and a computer version of Trivial Pursuit, which turns out to be far inferior to the board version.  That's like a lucky full day's haul and we only set foot in one shop.  Most satisfactory!  I joked (sort of) to Graham that if we didn't have a little girl to put in these clothes then I'd probably be setting up a life-changing online business with these bad boys.  Ah well, I'd rather see Dulcie wearing them than use them to start my multi-million-pound empire.  Honest!

Dulcie's expression is rather vacant/unimpressed in all these photos.  She's actually in a very bouncy and smiley mood today, thank goodness, but she's developed a bit of a fascination with technology lately and gives the camera serious contemplation whenever she notices it pointed at her.  She also loves the computer, my phone (if you can call that old thing technology) and the TV remote control.  Or maybe she just doesn't like vintage clothes?  Disaster!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


 Yesterday we made the most of a break in the rain to go along to the Mela in Kelvingrove Park (via a charity shop, but more on that another day...) to see what was happening.  Turns out there were lots of exciting costumes, smells, sounds, sights and entertainments.  Dulcie enjoyed it too, when she finally woke up!  Excuse the glare of these and other recent photos, by the way.  I think something happened to my camera settings, but hopefully I have fixed it now.
 The best thing we saw, I think, were these dancers.
 Just look at this scary costume - claws and everything!

Today was a bit more low key.  I think I mentioned Dulcie is teething?  Well, she was up and crying from 5am and had already been up for a feed before that after going to bed fairly late, so today we were all very tired.  Graham went to visit his stookied mother so I was left on my tod with the grumpy girl and we had a pretty quiet time.  Well, quiet in one sense of the word, but very noisy in other ways!  Waaaah!
 We went for a wee walk to the park and the supermarket, the only event of the day, to see if Dulcie would sleep in the pram (she did) and I cheekily snapped these photos of our neighbours' window as I was leaving.  The little girl who occupies this bedroom had arranged all her soft toys on the windowsill, but look a little closer and.... of the toys was real!  Bo (Beau?) the lovely ginger kitten was having the world's comfiest snooze amongst them.  By the time we came back, only his tummy and back legs were visible.  Too cute.  Actually, that really is too cute, isn't it, for a grown woman to blog about?  But I'm sure someone reading this will be enjoying it as much as I did!

Tonight I reached a milestone achievement and gave myself a big pat on the back.  Since Dulcie arrived on the scene, I find it nigh on impossible to make dinner because her mood disintegrates rapidly from around 4pm and she becomes more and more needy and grumpy from then until bedtime.  This means Graham very nearly always has to make dinner for us both when he gets in from work.  I know it's not like I haven't been working hard all day too, but I do want him to feel appreciated and I want to get some non-baby things shoehorned back into my days (everyday chores seem like such a novelty to me now!) so I set myself the challenge of making dinner for us every day for a week.  Tonight was dinner number seven in a row (vegetable pie and roast potatoes no less - proper Sunday fare!) so I think I have broken the curse and will be able to fulfill my share of the culinary duties from now on.  I quite enjoyed feeling so normal and useful this week so I think I will try to keep it up a few days longer.  Hopefully Dulcie will get better at entertaining herself while I cook the more we do it.  And if she gives up the screaming tomorrow, I will also set myself the task of photographing yesterday's mother lode of charity shop hauls. Intrigued?  You should be!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

dulcie update

 I haven't blogged about Dulcie in a wee while (oh, at least a week!) but she's been coming on great guns behind the scenes.  She's still absolutely loving her food and now eats two meals a day, sometimes two-coursers.  She's had avocado, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, peas, sweet potato, peach, banana, prunes (we had a bit of a constipation issue for a while!), cucumber, parsnip, peppers, melon, apple, pear, grapefruit, blueberries, beetroot and a tiny taste of curry.  I think that's about it.  So far she hasn't refused anything, although she didn't look too impressed with today's combo of broccoli, potato and butternut squash.  She likes to steal the spoon from me and feed herself and always wants to try what the grown-ups are eating/drinking.  At her weigh-in this week she was 5.16 kilos (11lbs 5oz) which is just over three times her birth weight!  She has finally started wearing the second size of nappies, although she still has plenty of room in most of her 0-3 month clothes.  Over the last three weeks she has mastered rolling over from her tummy to her back and, as you can see, is getting much better at sitting up.  She's teething at the moment so has been a bit rosy-cheeked and grumpy but can always be cheered up by a spot of singing.  She goes from red-faced roaring to full-on smiling in a split second if I sing her Ali Bali Bee.
Graham produces a similar (but slightly more hypnotic) effect by singing Summertime.  Here she is giving him a special father's day look of love as he sang to keep her entertained in Paisley train station.  Dulcie and I took Graham to Ad Lib for a very tasty lunch on father's day, but then we had to go through to Paisley to visit Graham's mum in hospital.  She had a very nasty fall last week and broke her knee and elbow.  She's back home now and on the mend, all stookied up.  Poor Granma!

Friday, June 22, 2012


This card is available here.

It is four years to the day since I started blogging.  My first blog post was mainly about the GSA degree show.  (This year I didn't get around to blogging about the degree show, so I will just say quickly that I really liked Kate Costigan's illustrations.)

I often feel like my life doesn't change much or that I'm just coasting along/not doing life properly, but when I think back to how things were four years ago, I realise a lot has changed.  Since then I have qualified as a primary teacher, left teaching (hooray!) and got a job as a subtitler, the first job I've ever had where I've felt comfortable.  I've blogged a lot, crafted a fair bit, set up an online shop, sold my wares at various craft markets.  I've had a baby (the best baby ever!) and been diagnosed with advanced heart failure.  That's like a full 30-minute episode of a soap opera right there, albeit one that probably doesn't do so great in the ratings.  Right now I'm living in the doof-doof moment of the heart diagnosis and finding that cliffhangers in real life are a lot less fun than those on screen :(

I had thought about having a giveaway to celebrate these four years in the business, but instead I have decided to do things a little differently and surprise four of my readers.  I will say no more about the nature of the surprise other than that it is pleasant, so no need to be looking over your shoulder or living in fear!  I have already selected the lucky four.  Could it be you?

Thursday, June 21, 2012


spam by Tall Scientist
spam, a photo by Tall Scientist on Flickr.
Why has Blogger started emailing me all my spam comments? I was quite happy with the previous system, where they emailed me real comments and sent all suspicious comments to the spam folder where I could check them at my leisure. Every day I have a handful of comments from "Anonymous" to dredge and delete. Yesterday I woke to eleven of the blighters, all from the same source! While these spam comments are annoying, a few of them do make me chuckle and I thought I'd share two highlights from yesterday's batch with you.

Most comments take the form of fawning flattery, which (of course!) I just LOVE to read, especially when the flattery misses the mark and is applied to the most inappropriate of posts. This is the spam comment I received about my "anal lard duo" post, where I blogged about the fact that my name is an anagram of "anal lard duo", pretty earth-shattering stuff:

"Excellent post. I am going through many of these issues as well. [link to high-interest short-term loans site]"

Well, I'm glad to have been of assistance! Perhaps we should set up a support group for us poor souls who have names that provide such filthy anagrams with bum references in...

On top of this, yesterday's spam comments yielded a rare gem - an abusive comment! The same commenter, who was so personally moved by my "anal lard duo" post, had their opinion of me drastically changed just moments later when they read my "smiling in the face of adversity!" post, prompting them to leave this comment:

"The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I genuinely thought you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention. [link to high-interest short-term loans site]"

Bit harsh, especially considering that post was about my 5lb-odd, just-reached-her-due-date premature baby being hospitalised with pneumonia and stopping breathing every time she fell asleep! And I thought I was really quite positive and restrained in that post!

Much as the inappropriateness of these random spam comments can make me laugh, I would really rather not have them emailed to me umpteen times a day. Does anybody know if there's some way to stop Blogger forwarding them? If not, I fear I may have to turn back on the annoying word verification feature.

You might be surprised to see me blogging here when I just said I was going to take a break from it, but I might have found a sensible solution to my blogging problems. It's kind of an ingenious plan, I think, but it does involve me turning to the dark side and joining Facebook, something I've managed to avoid thus far. I thought that if I posted some general chit-chat and photos of Dulcie on Facebook, then the people who make me a bit uncomfortable here (as my friend pointed out, people who probably are not particularly interested in what my blog was all about when I started it) could get their fill over on Facebook and would have no reason to hang around here. Of course, they might still want to visit now and again, but I can handle that level of lurking, leaving me free to blog without feeling like there are lots of heads peering over my shoulder as I type. And I really don't want this blog to turn into one huge moan-fest, so it would be good to have some sort of policing readership to keep me on the positive straight and narrow. Goodness only knows when I'll get round to joining Facebook (or who else might start stalking me as a result! paranoid? moi?) but I'm just quite happy to have thought of a positive solution and am enjoying feeling like this is my place again :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

an umpty flump

Here's a link to the video for anyone who can't see it here and is wondering what "umpty" means!

I'm feeling umpty today.  It's been a too-much morning (and afternoon/evening/week/month/year) and I'm upmty.  I'm fed up.  Yup, "umpty" is definitely the best word to describe me these days.  Umpty.

I'm finding it very hard to blog at the moment.  I wish I'd kept this blog more anonymous, but when I started it I didn't think anybody would actually read it or that it would become so important to me.  Nowadays quite a lot of people who know/know of me in real life have started visiting this space.  I usually discover this about six months after the fact when they let something slip or mention it to Graham.  I actually keep my blogging secret, mostly, and a lot of my friends have no idea I do this.  My immediate family have never mentioned my blog to me, but I find it hard to believe they've never googled me and ended up here, and wouldn't they visit again once they'd found it?

Of course I don't want to banish anyone from Dropstitchland but, given the turns my life has taken over the last year, I'd really like to be able to use this space to vent some of my less upbeat thoughts now and again, and I just don't feel I can do that with so many people looking over my shoulder.

I spend a lot of time in my "real" life trying to appear positive and unconcerned about everything that's going on (I can't stand the thought of people close to me being worried on my account) and I could really do with not having to do that here as well.  Not that I want to turn this blog into one big gripe-fest.  The reason I blog rather than keep a diary is so that I don't focus too much on the negative.  If I know someone could read what I write (whether they actually do or not) then I'm too embarrassed to launch into an everybody-hates-me / I-am-useless sort of wail, and tend to remain slightly more sane and rational than I would if my words were safely behind a heart-shaped padlock.  Blogging worked well for me when my life was peachy, but now I feel more like I'm being artificially upbeat rather than avoiding being unnecessarily downbeat, and it's not very easy to maintain a blog when (pardon the pun!) your heart's not really in it.

I'm not sure what the solution is.  Start a parallel and anonymous blog?  (Time consuming and might render this blog even more redundant.)  Say what I want here and stop worrying about who might be reading and whether they'd be upset by what I said?  (May not be possible and could make seeming cheery in real life harder/lead to conversations I don't want to have.)  Stop blogging altogether and break out that paper and padlock?  (A sure road to depression and a life behind closed curtains!)  In the meantime, I think I might just take a little blog break and see how I feel.  Or maybe not.

Does anyone else have issues with their real-life/blog-life divide?  Bah! Ignore me, I'm umpty.

Friday, June 15, 2012

holida-ay! celebra-ate!

Dulcie and I have been away on our holidays this week, visiting my mum and dad in Elgin.  Graham got Dulcie prepared for every eventuality, but I doubt training in the wearing of sunglasses was necessary really.  I'm sure Dulcie and I have been having a lovely time, but I can't give you any further details since I am writing this post from the past.  Ooh, spooky!  Scheduling blog posts is a great burglar deterrent.  By the time any would-be breakers and enterers read this we'll already be on our way back.  Foiled again, burglars!

 Excuse Dulcie's stained appearance here - this photo was taken just after her first experience with bananas.  She loved them, naturally.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

white elephants

Recently I was lucky enough to win a copy of White Elephants by Katie Haegele in a giveaway over at Helen's blog, Memo.  (Helen is responsible for the fantastic illustrations in the book and on the cover.)  I'm never very comfortable with reviewing/recommending things here, but I read this book a week or two ago, really enjoyed it and thought it was the type of book that quite a lot of this blog's readers would enjoy but might not necessarily hear about so I wanted to share it.  The book is a non-fiction account of Katie's trips to yard sales and jumble sales with her mum over a period of about four years (I think) and I can honestly say that reading it was like having a first-rate day of charity shopping without having to leave the house/come home with lots of stuff to clutter up the place.  One of the reasons I love charity shopping (aside from finding great stuff) is all the random people you see in charity shops and the funny little experiences you have.  This book was full of little stories like that as well as really nice insights into Katie's life and her relationship with her mum.  It was also reassuring to hear first-hand from someone else who wants to buy every dolls' house and typewriter she sees!

I think this book is published in about a month's time in the UK and I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy it if you enjoy charity shopping, maybe even if you don't.  It's only a slim volume too, so you're bound to be able to find space for it amongst all your second-hand clutter.

And there ends my primary-school style book review.  Thank you for reading.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

too much?

 I dressed Dulcie up like a marshmallow for our cinema outing last week.  I do love this hat and this cardigan, but the combination of the two may have been a step too far?  I figured there is a limit to how long a child will put up with being dressed like this and I may as well make the most of it while I can.  I don't think you can quite see the brilliance of this cardigan in photographs.  It has a big rolled collar, Starsky and Hutch style.  I love it!
Talking of too much...  I just had to take a photo of Dulcie at Bounce & Rhyme on Friday.  The combination of her cardigan, the ripple blanket and the amazing library carpet was a real assault on the eyeballs.  The ripple blanket has a strange magnetic effect on babies, I have discovered.  Whenever we take it to Bounce & Rhyme, babies crawl and shuffle over from all around the room, desperate to touch it or lie on it, a bit like a Lynx advert/zombie film.  Dulcie doesn't seem to understand the blanket's attraction and always looks a bit freaked out by all the attention.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

last weekend

 The hormones I was blaming for my lack of charity shop purchases over the last year are obviously waning as I went a bit mad last weekend and bought, among other things, 18 Storyteller tapes!  My sister and I used to love Storyteller but were forced to give away all our tapes except the Christmas special, which I still like to listen to on Christmas Eve.  My plan is to transfer all the stories onto CD so they are a bit less cumbersome and so that I can make copies to send to my sister's children too.  I was hoping Graham might do this for me, but when he saw my arms groaning under such a huge pile of cassettes the first thing he said was, "By the way, I'm not transferring them onto CD for you."  Fair enough, I suppose, and he has promised to show me how to do it, at least.  I just hope I manage to get it done before Dulcie starts school!  Every time I look at the carrier bag full of tapes I feel a bit sick that I didn't resist.  Oh well, once the transferring job is done it will all be worth it and I can always re-donate the actual tapes.  Dulcie did pretty well and got a couple of books as well as the adorable cardigan in the picture above.
 Graham must have been reading the blog post where I complained that Dulcie and I were never photographed together (the power of blogging!) because he took all these photos in one day.
 Here we are during a coffee break at Tramway where we met my friend Kristy and her little boy, Duncan.  It's not very easy to catch up when one of you has a baby and the other has a toddler.  We definitely had the easier end of the deal - at least Dulcie can't run away yet!
The day's charity shopping left Dulcie (and us!) feeling quite exhausted, as you can see.

Does anyone else remember Storyteller?

Friday, June 8, 2012

flamin' heck!

This afternoon the Olympic torch passed a couple of hundred metres from our front door.
 Lots of people turned out to see it.
 I thought Dulcie and I should go along and be part of a historical moment, albeit one that was over in a bit of a flash.  In ten years' time we can show her this blog post to prove she was there.  It's a shame I didn't have time to wash all the carrot and pear off her face before we left the house!

It really was quite exciting to see the Olympic flame and it was funny to see all the gubbins that went along with it.  One man had the job of sitting by an open door on a minibus, waving the arm of a giant soft toy version of one of the Olympic mascots.  I had the feeling he'd been waving its arm all the way from Athens - he certainly looked bored enough!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


The transition to solid foods continues to go well.  Dulcie has now added beetroot to her repertoire, but only eats it on days when she is wearing vaguely beetroot-coloured clothes.  Thankfully, this favourite outfit escaped unscathed and her purple nose righted itself in the bath, though I fear the bouncy chair will never look the same again.
Every time Dulcie tries a new food for the first time, she freezes and contemplates hard when the first spoonful enters her mouth.  Once she's considered the new flavour for a few seconds, she swallows it, wolfs down the lot and adds it to her taste repertoire.  The next time she has that same food, she doesn't stop to think at all.  It's funny how quickly she comes to recognise tastes.  It's obviously quite tiring though, as you can see from this post-beetroot picture of her napping like an old man... on an old man!  Har-har!  Sorry, Graham.

You might recall we had a day out charity shopping last weekend.  We didn't manage to complete our route, mostly thanks to me having a migraine and needing to hide in a cafe for half the afternoon, so we're heading back out to revisit a few shops and try to make it along to all the ones we missed last week.  We are also owed an ice cream from the Queens Cafe.  Last weekend the Southside Festival was on and the Queens Cafe was too busy to get into!  I had never seen the like!  I already have the best charity-shop find ever waiting to share here (oh, the suspense!) once I have taken a few photos, so I suppose it doesn't matter to anyone reading this blog whether I find anything today, but please wish us good charity-shop karma anyway.  Last weekend I got two books, Graham got two records and Dulcie got one outfit - a very respectable haul.

Friday, June 1, 2012

family resemblance

 Dulcie still hasn't met her French cousins, but already the family ties are strong, apparently.  Here she is with a baby photo of her eldest cousin from my side of the family, Kim (who'll be turning seven this summer) and the resemblance is uncanny, wouldn't you say?
We obviously have a genetic predisposition for high-waisted red tights on my side of the family!

Isn't Dulcie's mini quilt lovely?  It's handmade and was a present from a mysterious benefactor.  All the babies in neonatal intensive care were given one as a welcome-to-the-world present.  The neonatal wards were awash with handmade donations.  The babies all slept under beautiful hand-knitted blankets and each got one to keep on Christmas Day.  I'm hoping I can muster some craft skills and spare time to make something for the neonatal ward one day as those little touches really made a big difference to me during the difficult days of Dulcie's hospitalisation.  Maybe they'd like some mini bunting for all the cots and incubators!