Monday, September 30, 2013


Dulcie and I are enjoying a long weekend of rest and relaxation at my parents' house in Elgin.  We've been keeping quite busy with trips to beaches and charity shops, but Dulcie has been setting a good example and reminding me that our true purpose in life is to rest.  It's amazing how tired a late-September dip in the North Sea can make a child...!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

amalgamate please

 Unable to capture THE definitive image of the romper suit I made for Dulcie, I have decided to blog a multitude of shots from the weekend in the hope that we'll all be able to amalgamate them in our minds and form that definitive image ourselves.  This outfit is seriously and insanely cute in person so it's driving me mad that I can't quite capture it for posterity/bragging rights.  I won't say any more, for fear that I distract you from your mental amalgamating.  Now go and amalgamate, my friends, and don't come back until you fully appreciate how flamin' wonderful this romper suit is!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

allow me to plan your evening's viewing

I should have blogged about this earlier in the week (you only have nine hours left to watch it on iplayer!) but did anyone see The Fabric Of Britain: Knitting's Golden Age on BBC Four last week?  My mum (who does all my knitting for me these days - I just dangle the chosen pattern in front of her!) and I watched it together and both really enjoyed it.  The knitting ranges from the sublime (Fair Isle sweaters and baby jackets from the 1940s) to the ridiculous (Gyles Brandreth's jumper collection and poodle wine bottle covers).  Even if you're not a knitter, it's well worth watching for pure entertainment value, and if you are interested in craft, history or design, I am sure you will enjoy it.  Tonight's episode (it's a mini season) is all about wallpaper, so I'm looking forward to that too.

Also worth watching from BBC Four this week, A Very British Murder With Lucy Worsley.  I love Lucy Worsley so much!  I don't think she's had a bad series yet.  She always manages to find an interesting slant on whatever period of history she's looking at and is such a gorgeously enthusiastic history boffin, it's just impossible not to love her.  I can't think of anyone else who would be willing to dress up and act out historical scenes in the possession of so little acting prowess.  Go, Lucy!  She featured in the What I See When I Look In The Mirror column in The Guardian recently, where she waxed lyrical about her gorgeous eyes and eyelashes before sharing her mantra, gleaned from the comments of a French television producer/director, who told her, "Your terrible posture does not matter - you are an intellectual!"  She's so great!

So, your evening... 8.00pm - Knitting's Golden Age, 9.00pm - The Story Of Wallpaper (live!), 10.00pm - A Very British Murder.  No need to thank me :)

he used to give me roses...*

Photo by CasaAbril

I have a love/hate relationship with flowers.  I love the sentiment behind them and they do brighten up my shabby house temporarily, but I'm not very good at throwing them out in time so I usually end up with brown-edged petals falling all over the place and I CAN NEVER FIND A SUITABLE VASE!  This causes me no end of stress and guilt since flowers are not cheap and I hate to feel unappreciative.  I'm sorely tempted to treat myself to this vase by CasaAbril on Etsy but I know I need to be holding onto as many pennies as possible right now and the postage on this item (while absolutely not unreasonable) would push this into the big treat category.  Oh, but it would make me so happy and you could still have it out on display even without flowers so there would be no storage issues...  Hmmm, I smell a self-inflicted sales pitch brewing!  I also love these little pots - ideal for succulents.  I need more ceramics in my life/on my shelves, I think.  Maybe I should reopen my Etsy shop and try to make enough money to treat myself to this.  That would practically be a swap, wouldn't it?  You know I'm going to talk myself round eventually, don't you?  I just hope nobody swoops in and buys this while I dither!

* This title is not a comment on Graham, I just got the Prisoner Cell Block H theme tune stuck in my head while writing this post!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

my kind of business meeting

On Sunday we headed down to the Children's Wood where all sorts was happening.  As well as cakes, music and handmade goodies, Katy and Jo from Mimi & Will had a stall, drumming up business for all their fab T-shirts.  It was the first time I'd seen my T-shirt in the flesh and I was so chuffed with how it looked.  All the designs looked great actually, but my wee number was definitely holding its own among all the REAL talent!

Katy had very kindly saved me a cupcake with my design on it.  I was going to photograph it before letting Dulcie eat it as a post-nursery snack, but...
...we got in on Monday afternoon to find this scene!  This is just the sort of thing that always happens when we leave the cats unattended for more than a moment.  The effing blighters had even eaten the transfer with my design on it!  So no photos for the blog and no cake for Dulcie :(
 I'm not sure Lola was the culprit, despite being caught fleeing the scene.  Poppy, the prime suspect, was suspiciously contented in bed all afternoon.  Hmmm...

Edited to add:  Mimi & Will have a special early-bird offer running at the moment, so you can get any one T-shirt for the special reduced price of £15.  You'll need to be quick, though, as there are only a handful left!  You don't even need to decide which design you want just yet, so if you're torn between two (or three!) you can order now, bag a bargain and make your decision later.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I motherfreakin' made something else!

After cutting out the pieces for Dulcie's forthcoming dress (watch this space!) I had JUST enough material to whip up a little top from the same pattern for her friend Sunniva's second birthday.  This top turned out really cute (credit should probably go to the lovely fabric, I'll admit) and makes me excited for the sewing together of Dulcie's dress.  I'm hoping there might be enough bee material left to make the same top again for Dulcie too.  If not, I will using start using up my vintage sheets and curtains at long last.  The discovery of how easy it is to sew clothes for little girls could be just the stash-buster I've been needing for a long while!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

news from nursery

Dulcie is still working hard at nursery, gradually building up her hours and her confidence.  Friday was her longest session yet and she even stayed for lunch.  The whole affair is really going very well.  I'm hardly staying any time at all now, just sneaking out after the first five minutes or so.  Dulcie's making lots of new friends and is always excited when we arrive.  When I appear to pick her up, she is pleased to see me but just wants to show me what she's been doing rather than cling onto me or run away.  In a couple of weeks' time, she should be up to her three full days a week.  She's doing so well and I couldn't be happier with the nursery we chose.

Despite having 14 months on the waiting list to prepare ourselves, I am woefully disorganised and Dulcie still doesn't have most of the things she needs to take with her.  In the absence of an appropriately sized bag (preferably one with Peppa Pig on it if you listen to Dulcie) we have been making use of my old Spider-man school bag in the meantime.  I knew I'd hung onto it all these decades for a reason!  I actually think we might just keep using this one - at least none of the other children will have one quite the same and I think Dulcie really likes it, despite the fact it is nearly as big as her!

Dulcie has to take a packed lunch with her.  So far she's had leftovers from the previous night's dinner, but I'm hoping I'll have a few brainwaves and be able to fill the freezer with things I can pop in her bento-style lunch box in a jiffy - vegetable samosas, savoury muffins, homemade soup...  The nursery can reheat things for her, but it would all have to be otherwise ready.  Does anybody have any great ideas for easy and nutritious packed lunches for a toddler?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

we went and played in the milky night

Graham and I went out to see Laetitia Sadier (formerly of Stereolab) this week.  She was performing on her own, singing and strumming an electric guitar, with no other music to back her up, and actually she was not very good on the guitar, but still I thought it was great.  I had forgotten how much I love her voice.  She was also surprisingly charming in her between-song chats.  I was amazed that someone could stand with greasy hair in a slightly dingy basement, talk in a language that is not their first, and have everyone smiling, laughing and agreeing with everything they said.  Well, I guess a French accent and dimples will get a girl a long way in this world!

The night we saw Laetitia (see, her rapport was so good that I'm on first name terms with her!) was a night I should have been working if I wasn't signed off sick.  I counteracted my guilt by reminding myself that a night out with Graham was good rest for my mental health.  This was true, but I think the physicality of going out was really not such a good plan after all and I struggled with the nursery run etc. the following day.  I am trying hard to rest and having my mum here this week certainly makes it easier, but I am so scared and stressed that I'm just not really sleeping at all, so I'm getting more and more tired, finding things harder and harder, getting more and more scared, sleeping less and less...  A horrible downward spiral, or maybe "a vicious circle" would be a more positive way of putting it - ha!  But Dulcie is great.  Dulcie is great, Dulcie is great, Dulcie is great.

Well, I have finished my cup of tea so I think I might head back to bed for a while and continue my journey into nocturnalism, or perhaps I will read my book for a bit.  I have a good book on the go at least - The Journal Of Dora Damage, which I would never have picked on the basis of its cover.  Thanks for the recommendation, Lynsey!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

best jigsaw ever?

 My mum recently found this jigsaw for Dulcie at a Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland stall at a car-boot sale.  I think she paid around 50p for it.  The pieces were sellotaped in place so she couldn't tell what was behind them.
You can imagine she was pretty delighted when she got it home and discovered this!

I flaming love this jigsaw!  Dulcie is pretty keen on it too.  She's not usually the most masterful master of fitting shapes into spaces, but her skills have definitely come on a bit since she started playing with this.  I wonder how old this jigsaw is and who it used to belong to.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

bad art

I spotted this terrible public art on a nearby railing about six weeks ago and totally forgot about it until I went to look through our holiday photos.  In fairness to the "artist", I think this piece had had its legs stolen.  Thankfully, the marshmallows were intact.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

top top

In keeping with my recent interest in small-size fashion, I just wanted to share this lovely top that I bought from This Is Lullaby on Etsy.  It's such a sweet and simple use of vintage fabric.  I noticed some of her other items were made with fabrics I have in my stash (and they looked great!) so I'm feeling quite inspired to try something like this myself.  This would go much better with some jeans and a yellow top underneath, I think, but Dulcie's jeans were in the wash that day and she doesn't own a plain yellow top, something I hope to rectify shortly.  I should apologise to the top's maker for not showing her wares in the best light.  Trust me, it's lovely.
Rocking librarian chic.
The addition of bright pink wellies to the ensemble was entirely Dulcie's doing...
...but everyone knows wellies are essential for drawing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dulcie laughs like a loon

Just a little clip demonstrating how utterly hilarious Dulcie finds her dad.  I hope her laughter helps to make a small dent in any Monday-based blues you may be experiencing.  She always manages to cheer me up when I need it :)

the weather girls

This is a picture of Dulcie with her friend Sunniva.  They go to toddler group or toddler cinema together most weeks and I usually go for a coffee with Sunniva's dad afterwards.  We have this photo on our fridge and Dulcie loves to point it out when she's sitting in her high chair.  She can't quite say her own name, let alone Sunniva's, so she refers to them as Dull and Sunny, the weather girls.  How cute?
Dull and Sunny love getting up to all sorts of high jinx together.
Sunniva, being a few months older, is definitely the top dog in this relationship.  
Every week she tries to steal Dulcie's clothes (although she will usually swap an item of her own clothing, to be fair) and she usually succeeds.  We have to prise Dulcie's jacket off her (amid much weeping and wailing) at home time.
Even the shoes are not safe.  These two are so funny together.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

the unwilling model

Unable to get a half-decent photo of Dulcie in her new romper suit, I had to resort to a video instead.  She seems to like it.  It's a bit big for her, but I think this is a good thing.  Hopefully it will still be fitting her come spring/summer when the weather is a bit more romper suit appropriate.  I'm so chuffed that I actually made something, although I probably got more pleasure from looking at it on the hanger...  I have a fairly sizable piece of bee material left, so I'm thinking I might make her the top from the same pattern.  It's just like the romper suit but shorter and with no legs and possibly no pockets, so it should be even easier.  I had forgotten the thrill of the sewing machine and now want to use it every day.  Sadly, tomorrow is Monday again and it's back to full-time solo toddler wrangling, i.e. no sewing, no resting, no nothing but toddler wrangling.  Boo.  Thank goodness my toddler is such good company.  We can chat about being grumpy and happy all day long!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

romping along

How long ago did I cut out the pieces to make this romper suit for Dulcie?  Maybe about 4 or 5 months ago?  Well, ta-da!  I have been signed off work for a while with strict instructions to rest, but I'm not very good at doing nothing and can't concentrate on reading right now, so when Graham took Dulcie to the park for a couple of hours, I found my sewing machine, dusted it down and got stitching.  I couldn't really understand the instructions, but decided to throw caution to the wind and launch myself in head first, taking the better to try and fail than never to try at all stance.  In all honesty, I was hoping the greatness of the material would distract people from any blips and imperfections.  Now that I'm finished, I can claim this worked well, but a couple of hours ago I was cursing and swearing and looking at two tubes joined by a gusset that no human would ever fit in!  I'll try to get some photos of Dulcie wearing this tomorrow, but I did try it on her part of the way through, so I'm fairly confident it will fit her.  I think the design is sort of short and wide, whereas Dulcie is long and slim, but it looked OK at the halfway point, so fingers crossed it still fits OK now...  Dulcie was very excited about the bee material when she saw it and enjoyed sitting on my knee "helping" with the sewing machine.
 Here's a close-up of the lovely buttons.  I got these (for this purpose) when we were on holiday, from a lovely wee shop in Dunkeld called The Blue Magpie.  I wasn't 100% sure about the brown colour, but once I held it against the fabric I decided it was just right, more of a blacky-brown and totally suitable for bees to buzz round.  These buttons were quite expensive (a couple of pounds each maybe?) but when you only need two, I think it is OK to push the boat out.

Oh, here's the girl herself, back from the shops, so I will go and wrestle her into it, I think.

someone's woken up in a good mood

 This blog post is coming to you virtually live!  This is the scene this morning.  Heard of the expression, "Mad as a box of frogs?"  I think this could be the visual representation of, "Happy as a box of toys."  Climbing is the big attraction these days, whether it's climbing on things or in things.  Yesterday I turned my back for two seconds only to find Dulcie standing on the kitchen table when I turned back round.  I'm not quite sure how she managed it.
And here she is playing the guitar.  She was getting her doll to strum the guitar while she danced - multitasking or what?!  I see a career as a one-man band on the horizon.  We'll need to get some knee cymbals.

Dulcie is going to be starting nursery soon (after 14 months on the waiting list!) and has been doing a bit of settling in this week.  It really couldn't be going any better.  Yesterday was the first time I left her there (I was sent to have a cup of tea in the next room for 45 minutes) and she was absolutely fine, had a whale of a time, in fact.  The lady who is going to be looking after her is really nice and she made friends with the sweetest wee girl and the nursery has giant cuddly Peppa and George toys, so she was just over the moon with that.  She's been talking about it all ever since.  What a sweetheart.

Friday, September 13, 2013

flower girl

Dulcie loves flowers.
We have to walk past these ones on a daily basis.  How lucky.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

you can't give a baby booze*

A couple of weeks ago Graham had to take a day off work to look after Dulcie while I went to some appointments at the hospital.  Fortunately, I was all done by the early afternoon, so managed to meet Graham and Dulcie for a lovely lunch in Two Figs.  I had a half pint of local beer, most refreshing after spending the morning pedalling an exercise bike while hooked up to all sorts of monitors.
Dulcie was too late in her attempt to siphon off the booze and only got a beer-flavoured bubble for her efforts.  She seemed to like it though.  Dulcie had insanely garlicky (garlic-y?) houmous and flatbread for her lunch and literally licked the bowl clean, much to the amusement of the waitress.
She was very chuffed with her little window seat.  Definitely a lady who lunches in the making.

* unless it's Babycham.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

aberfeldy, august 2013

 It's now a month since Graham, Dulcie and I went on holiday.  I couldn't sleep tonight and 4am one month after the fact seemed like as good a time as any to upload the photos from my camera at last.  There are so many that I am not going to attempt to group them or reorder them in any way, but this random selection probably gives you a pretty good overview of the week we had.
 We were all very happy to be staying in a simple house with only the bare essentials.  No clutter meant plenty of space to play, although (clutter or not) you should never blow bubbles inside!  A-hem...
 On our last day, we went to a farmers market in a small town called Logierait.  It was great!  Dulcie loved wandering around all the stalls and dancing to the amateur fiddle group (you can just see them in the background there).  I made a few lovely handmade and vintage type purchases, but they'll have to wait until 2014 as I haven't photographed them yet.  One of them was a hat for Dulcie so you can be sure that you'll see photos of that in use as soon as the cold weather really kicks in!
 The house we were staying in had a duck pond nearby so we took a couple of slices of bread with us on our way out each morning, much to Dulcie's delight.  She is still saying, "Duck! Bread! Pomd!" on an almost daily basis.
 Mum and Dulcie taking a breather at the park on a day when Dulcie had some crazy bed-head going on!  (Not sure why I have started referring to myself in the third person...)
 The happy duck face.  I've got this picture as the screensaver on my phone at the moment and it makes me smile every time I see it.  This jumper (a gift from Graham's mum) is so classic.
 And another one of Dulcie and I.
 Puddles are very popular lately.  Thank goodness for the trusty wellies and puddle suit.
 It was so nice to have a garden for a week.  When the weather/wasps allowed, we would eat outside and Graham and I played plenty of frisbee while Dulcie pottered around.
 Lunch with a very friendly dog was a definite highlight for Dulcie, who made lots of doggie pals everywhere she went.
Getting to know each other, they discovered a shared love of sticks.  What are the chances?
 The park, where we went pretty much every day, I think, was surrounded by lovely hills.  There was also a bowling green here, where Graham and I managed to get in a game (my first every game of bowls) when my mum and dad came to join us for the last couple of days.  For the record, I won, but only because Graham gambled his 21-2 lead for the thrill of one final winner-takes-all round.  Sucker!
 Dulcie got all cuddly on this big swing every time we went on it.  It was so relaxing.
 Plenty for the "grown-ups" to do in this park as well as the children.
 The little house at the top of the slide was JUST big enough for two...
 ..and was spacious for one.
 While we sheltered from a dramatic rain storm, Dulcie took the opportunity to stand under the drips coming off the end of the shelter.  I repeat, thank goodness for the puddle suit and wellies.  We went for restorative coffee and cake after this while we dried off.
 The big slide was great fun, if a little scary.
 My trousers were dangerously fast (odd statement!) and I flew off the end and skint my arm - quite a nostalgic sort of injury.
 We walked around a lot and picked some delicious wild raspberries.  Dulcie gobbled them up by the handful and left only a few for her bush-prickled parents.
The sun came out often enough to indulge Dulcie's interest in shadows.

So that was our holiday.  What else did we do?  Well, we went to the swimming pool pretty much every day.  Dulcie got a sweet crush on a random older man and is still talking about how he gave her her ball back and she said, "Ta."  Graham and I went for dinner and a movie at the new cinema, which is well worth a visit.  Over the years, we've bought various raffle tickets and souvenirs to help with their fundraising, so it was really nice to see it open at last.  We fantasised about winning the lottery (but it didn't happen) and found a house we wanted to buy just for the lovely garden.  We ate bags of chips in the town square and visited the charity shop where we got a pretty mammoth haul for pennies.  We ate lots of cheese and drank plenty of wine and had a charcoal-tasting barbecue courtesy of Graham, whose burgers shrivelled up so much that Dulcie mistook them for biscuits.  All in all, a pretty classic holiday :)