The frost has gone and replaced by rain. Not heavy but enough for me to change my dog walking route and opt for a quiet weekend. I’m not keen on mud season. I seem to spend too much time trying to keep mud out of the house, only to start again the next day. One day, I will just give up, throw seeds at it and see what plants we have growing in the house by summer. Might be quite interesting. Peppers and tomatoes growing in easy reach for my salad preparation.
My theory is that there is always an upside, or silver lining, if you look hard enough. This weekend was good. We did the Big Garden Birdwatch as a family. We do it each year. Despite the rain, there were a good number of different types of birds, to count. Improving everyone’s identification skills. There was also a creative vibe bouncing around the house, hitting everyone. Even the Pup whittled a stick by the fire, although it looked more like an attempt to make kindling rather than a great masterpiece. I live in hope.
After homework was
reluctantly, by some, complete, the paints were out. All three children, at one stage, were busy painting. Birds, feathers and eyes. Just experimenting away from the pressure of a classroom.
finally enthusiastically decorated the gingerbread house. We are coming up to Candlemas, half way through winter. It seemed a good time to mark it with gingerbread. We’ll be celebrating with Candlemas activities later in the week, as usual. I wouldn’t miss it.
I love the jelly bellies they gave the gingerbread men. The tummy buttons sank down due to lack of room. Not that any of it lasted long after this photo was taken. A small piece was reserved for today’s packed lunch.
In between it all, I was creative too. I positioned the old Singer machine at the end of the kitchen table and started on a patchwork. Not for long. Middle daughter hovered.
It wasn’t long before, she reappeared with patchwork squares, cut up and ready to go.
I didn’t mind, did I?
I was hardly going to say no. Especially as she went on to bake the cake in the top photo, later on in the day.
For her patchwork, she laid out the squares on her bed. Running up and down the stairs to fetch the next strip to sew. Loving using her great great grandmother’s hand cranked sewing machine. There is something rather special about sewing with this machine.
She finished it too. That evening, when I went up to say goodnight, I found she’d laid the finished quilt top on the end of her bed. It looked pretty, but lacks the warmth of a quilt, yet. Next stage is to sandwich the layers and quilt it. My patchwork is a long way off that stage. Partly as I’ve changed the scope. It started off as a small pincushion, but as I eased into the process, it grew to a cushion cover and then full steam exploding into a lap quilt.
I’m enjoying making the stars. Up to now, I’ve favoured handstitching over machine piecing. This project is changing my mind. Even cutting them out is obstacle free. I’ve figured out the best way to construct them, so they are a joy to make. Diamond bunting spins out from behind the sewing machine, when I’m in full swing. When I had a chance, I should add. I’m heading for a scrappy quilt. Mixing patterns with a nod to random, as it progresses. Opinions on favourites change as each new star is formed. I’m really, absolutely enjoying this quilt. It is not a quick one, but I don’t mind. The old Singer sewing machine is perfect for the job.
It was a good weekend. As the children grow, weekends are subtly changing. No afternoon walk this weekend, as we had hoped, but there was less screen time. (Not completely free, although they do seem to learn cooperation through Minecraft than I never anticipated. And coding too, which is good as it’s in context.) There was more making and reading. More family time. Together.
So how was your weekend? Hope you had a good time.
You’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve forsaken all other craft apart from knitting recently. I guess it’s temporarily true, but not for the want of trying. The problem is that I lack machine oil. It’s on order, but it does mean the sewing projects lined up are sitting idle, while my knitting needles are left to click.
So here I am again talking knitting. Although I do have another yarn to share too, but first it’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to share my latest book and knitting project.
My sock knitting, from last week, is waiting in the wings. I added a bit more, but a more pressing need raised its head, or maybe I should say hands. A small pair of cold hands. Regular readers will have seen my finished grey gloves. For me.
You might remember that I had almost a full ball of yarn left, which I was eyeing up to make a pair of gloves for my youngest. Would it work, or would it not? Curiosity got the better of me and I went for it. Casting on for a smaller pair of gloves.
I’ve finished one glove, but now I’m playing yarn chicken with the second. I’ve warned my boy that I may not have enough yarn and the glove will be unravelled, but I’m also thinking creatively. I have no similar yarn to mix in, and, as I’m on a stash busting year, I’m not going to buy any more. They may become fingerless gloves. I may have enough yarn. We’ll see.
Book-wise, I’m still reading Incredible Numbers, but as a lighter book, I’ve chosen a Rumpole. I really don’t want to read anything heavy in January. It is a month that needs every help it can get. For me at least. Something light, witty and cheery. Rumpole. To be precise Rumpole and the Angel of Death, which now I write it down, doesn’t seem like a cheery title at all. Maybe we shouldn’t judge a book by its title, as well as its cover.
Now to the yarn, I promised at the beginning. We’ve solved our own mystery this week. Playing Rumpole, indeed!
Back in the summer, we grew sunflowers to store for the winter. The idea was to bring a sunflower head out for each of the cold months, to feed the birds. So far, so good. We’ve learnt a few lessons along the way, but it has been a success. We’ll be planting more ready to repeat this again, this new year.
Anyway. First month, I put the stored sunflower head out. The little birds loved it and pecked it clean within the week.
The next month was colder, so I put out a bigger head. I stood back ready to enjoy the sight of little birds pecking happily away. Not to be. Within a day, it had disappeared. Gone. Completely. No trace. I checked the garden, but there was no sign. It was a big head. I put it down to an ambitious crow and drew up plans to nail the next one (sunflower head, not crow) to a fence post. That would sort out any crow shenanigans. I continued to mutter about how crows should stick to the surrounding farm fields.
Then this weekend, I was talking about the Fibonacci sequence with middle daughter, and how it’s easy to find it in nature. I produced a stored sunflower seed to demonstrate my point.
I wasn’t ready for what happened next. The pup, who had been fast asleep, or so I thought, suddenly leapt up and tore the sunflower head out of my hand. She started to rip the dried leaves off and toss them above her head. Sending them flying through the air and scattering sunflower seeds around the kitchen.
She knew what this was. She’d played with one before. It made a wonderful crunchy noise. It was fun. Lots of fun, which she intended to repeat with this new sunflower head. How kind of her mistress to bring her one again.
I think we’ve found our culprit. (oops! Sorry, crows.) Rumpole would be proud.
p.s. Before you start searching, I don’t think John Mortimer wrote a book with the title Rumpole and the Sunflower Thief, as my blog title might suggest. Although if he did, I bet it would be a good read.