Thursday, 24 June 2010

Lovely afternoon yesterday

Yesterday afternoon was spent in the house relaxing after our exploring and playing. I wanted to watch the football, yes the England match, so we settled to do some quiet things whilst this was on. Imogen wanted to create more pictures in a book so spent the time drawing and making up stories for her pictures, and cutting out pictures from old magazines to stick in the book.

Me, well I sat and carded wool and then sat spinning it whilst watching the match. What a lovely time it was, and very productive. I haven't spun much recently but came away from the guild meeting at the weekend (as I often do) and felt re-invigorated to spin. So since then I think I've spun up about 5 or 6 bobbins of wool, plied two skeins so far - more plying to do. They just need a quick wash now and then they can be wound into balls for more creating. I may do some dyeing first with a couple though - lovely weather outside to get a table out and lay out the wool for some hand painted or space dyed wool I think. Best of all, I have 5 empty bobbins, lots of wool needing carding ... more spinning opportunities.

Imogen took this picture of me carding the wool - she wanted to take one of mommy doing her spinning. Please excuse the pinny but fleece can be messy to card sometimes! Some of my in progress knitting on the arm of the sofa too.

Mommy carding wool

What wildlife did you see today?

ready to go exploring

We went out yesterday morning, on our way to meet friends to play and Imogen decided she wanted to take her binoculars to spot birds on the way. Fair enough, sounds like a lovely idea, there are some lovely birds around, filling the air with their birdsong. But what happened next I didn't expect ... no, not at all ...

shhh ... look what I can see

Imogen exclaimed I've just seen a rhinoceros Mommy, down their being chased by the van. And look up there amongst the long grass there's a lion licking his paws and resting in the shade. We had a lovely time describing an animal we thought we'd seen then we'd sneak up, or run to see if we could find it again ... oh the wonderful imagination of a child.

behind the trees to spot the giraffe

So what else did we see, we saw an elephant, a giraffe munching the leaves, an ostrich and more that I cannot remember now. We did see some British birds too, we say the Jays, sparrows, a robin, blackbirds gathering worms, a couple of redstarts and we heard but didn't see the woodpeckers. We had our sticks in case we needed to fight any baddies ... only the baddies were some nettles though, so a swish of the stick towards them are they were seen off.

arghh ... I have my stick too

It opened up lots of discussion about what the animals do, where they live, what they eat and more. Imogen really knows her animals, she loves the books she has of animals from all over the world, and can recall what she has read about so well, I'm learning too.

I wonder what we will see today

Monday, 21 June 2010

Hmmm ... blog title?

Running around flying her handmade kite

Can't really think of a title for this post. I have either been too tired to blog (I'm sure I've had a virus recently that has wiped me out) or been busy doing other things, or just not sure what to write about (again tiredness doesn't help). But you know you haven't put anything on your blog for a while when your husband comes home from work and tells you that you need to update your blog! You see he likes to look at it at lunchtimes sometimes.

So, what have we done in the last week or so. Enjoying the sunshine, gardening, water play, making things, reading and lots of singing (Imogen that is, not me!).

What else, well Imogen made a lovely card for Daddy for fathers day which he loved. She also made him a book last week which we spent a lot of time on. It was of things she likes doing with Daddy. We made a list of things and I helped her with some of the writing as there was lots (in her words), and she drew pictures and stuck cut out things on there and wrote the important messages. Another treasure, Alex loved it too.

We recently went to a show and Imogen made a kite with Solent Kite flyer's who were there and it's a fantastic kit - it actually flies unlike many you see in the shops that we see others have at parks and they never seem to fly (it's always put me off getting one) - not this is brilliant, and after only a few minutes Imogen was flying it expertly and running around madly too. She had so much fun.
Imogen the Kite flyer

Nanny and Grandad came to stay the other weekend so much fun was had at the parks flying our kite, playing football and going on the bouncy jungle run which Imogen just loves jumping from the top - here she is mid-flight.

Jungle Run Bouncy castle

Football with the grandparents

They also recently bought her a keyboard which came out at the weekend. My Dad has a keyboard which Imogen loves to play with when we visit them so he wanted to buy her one, it seems she has an interest in it as I did at that age although for me it was a piano that belonged to my Nan, and was then gifted to me. She's enjoying it, making up her own tunes and following Mommy's guidance. I think I shall enjoy rediscovering playing too.

Playing the keyboard

Alex and I bottled the champagne a few days ago and it was already fizzing away, so that should be lovely. We've also been given more empty champagne bottles so while the sun is shining and the elder flowers are perfect and fragrant, we shall do another batch. We weren't going to make any more but hey if you've got the bottles ... make champagne. I need to bottle the latest batch of cordial today too.

Champagne bottled - hopefully safer this year

I was at my guild meeting on Saturday which was lovely, I took a picture of the whole group for the July newsletter, there were lots of members there on Saturday which was great. I need to spend some tome over the next couple of weeks putting the newsletter together - it's our guild's 60th anniversary this year, so a bumper issue. Of course being there made me come home and want to spin at the weekend, so I did.

Back soon for more updates. Hoping everyone else has been enjoying the sunshine too.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Summer felting

So a little needle felting for an addition to the season corner which has finally transformed from late Spring to Summer (yes I know little late).

I really enjoyed a bit more time needle felting and plan to do lots more again now on my evenings, and ended up making two new figures.

Firstly is the Summer flower lady with climbing flowers on her skirt,

Summer flower girl

... and then a rainbow lady, I love rainbows so thought this would be an interesting one to try and make. Imogen thought this looked a little like me as when I was putting her on the season corner I had my hair tied up too.

Rainbow Mama

So both are on the Season Corner, along with my knitted lavender girl I made last year. What do you think? Plenty of space for any treasures we pick up whilst out and about.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Imogen made a bear

Making a teddy bear

We had a little crafting time together yesterday, and Imogen made this teddy bear from a kit we picked up very reasonably. There are two to make so no doubt the other one will be being made soon too.
concentrating on sewing

I showed her where the holes were to make the face and then sew on the paws and then sew around the bear before stuffing and finishing it off and away she went, only asking for help when she got her wool in a tangle one time.

taking a short break

She is so proud of her work, got a little tired a couple of times so popped it down for a break but not for long before she said she was ready to do more. I'm very proud of how focused she was on getting this made in an afternoon, whilst I sat beside her encouraging and knitting and crafting too. Great way to spend the afternoon.


Oh, Imogen made him a little bag afterwards too. Now she wants to make the other one on Friday when her grandparents come to stay for the weekend, so they can see how she does it.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

More felting

So I am planning some more felting as it is so enjoyable and I have missed doing it. Lots of ideas, and some outline plans so more on that soon.

In the meantime, take a look at this lovely website -, such fabulous work and there is a giveaway at the moment too - how wonderful would that be.

See you soon ...

Monday, 7 June 2010

What have we been doing ...

Our Guild's handmade yurt

Well, a little quiet on the blog lately except for making cordial and champagne. My mind has been elsewhere but back on track again now and these are some of the things we have been up to lately, enjoying the wonderful weather. Will be back more regularly with more details of things we are doing.

A visit to Mottisfont Abbey ...

our happy little girl

beautiful bright tulips

finding fish in the pond

pooh sticks down the lovely stream side walk

A visit to Manor Farm ...

Park days by the sea ...

Another visit to Manor Farm for Woolly weekend, seeing Guild members and sheep shearing

Imogen watching the Jacobs being sheared

An unusually well behaved Jacobs (they are known for being mischievous!) and no I didn't get the fleece - this one was hard work to shear as it was heavily felted.

1 day old piglets, 11 of them to Blossom the Mama pig

Braiding with my friend from the Guild

playing hopscotch outside the Victorian Schoolroom
and hoops (heavy metal ones!)

needle felting by a talented Guild member
- planning for a Halloween display

The Guild's yurt made entirely by themselves
with resources from Manor Farm - the coppiced sticks, wool, etc

I really love this yurt

inside the yurt

Happy days, lovely sunshine. So what else better to do than dye a bit of lovely washed fleece sunshine yellow, ready to spin or maybe a little felting.

See you all soon, hope you are enjoying the lovely sunshine too while it lasts, I hear rain is on the horizon this week ... we'll see, they are often wrong, mind you it will save me watering the plants a little and fill the water butts up a bit more hopefully.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Making champagne

So with the wonderfully sunny weather the Elder bushes are heaving now with beautiful smelling flowers so I have picked this weekend to get our Elderflower champagne (or at least the first batch) going.

Flowers picked ... and so heady with fragrance

  • 35 elderflower heads – pick the ones with the strongest scent
  • 2.5kg granulated sugar
  • 2 proper tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 5 litres boiling water & some cold water
  • Juice and grated skin (zest) of 5 lemons – unwaxed if possible
  • Juice and grated skin (zest) of 1 lime – also unwaxed
  • We have 5 recycled champagne bottles and a couple of heavy duty bottles with flip-top type tops that we are using for this batch, and maybe a couple of other bottles. These are all ones we know (hopefully) won't explode, although it will be popped out into the shed when bottled just in case.

    I have picked approximately 20-25 flower heads - all a good size and so fragrant. To start the champagne, the sugar is dissolved in boiling hot water (1kg to 1 litre of water) and then this is poured into the brewing container. We bought a large brewing container last year quite cheaply, any large container will do so long as you can cover it with muslin. Add more cold water to the sugar water up to the desired amount you want to make.

    Add the Elderflowers, the juice of a few lemons and the zest of the lemons, and 1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Give it a gentle stir or swish. Cover with a clean muslin and leave somewhere cool and airy for a couple of days to ferment. After a couple of days it should start to ferment - it'll look foamy on the top - and if not you could add a little yeast (we never needed to before). Cover it again and leave for another 4-5 days.

    Champagne making supplies

    After this period, strain through a clean muslin or fine sieve if you have one, and pour into sterilised bottles, seal and store. We bought proper champagne corks and metal cages very reasonably priced from a brewing shop. It will continue to ferment and should be left for at least a week before opening any, longer will be better. I think we drank our last bottle we made from last year about 9 months after bottling, but it could keep longer ... it just hasn't here.

    It is absolutely delicious, easy to make and so much cheaper. Several bottles of champagne for the cost of a bag of sugar, a couple of tbsp of white wine vinegar and some lemons (unless you grow your own) - the elder flowers are free to pick, and well water is on tap. The only other cost was very little on the seals, but necessary. Compare that to bought bottles of champagne, and with that lovely summery taste of elder flowers it tastes so much better, and we know exactly what is in it.

    The key for us this year is using the stronger bottles to avoid explosions, cleaning up the mess and losing precious and delicious champagne.

    Time now to watch and wait ...

  • 35 elderflower heads – pick the ones with the strongest scent
  • 2.5kg granulated sugar
  • 2 proper tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 5 litres boiling water & some cold water
  • Juice and grated skin (zest) of 5 lemons – unwaxed if possible
  • Juice and grated skin (zest) of 1 lime – also unwaxed
  • Tuesday, 1 June 2010

    Blog awards

    I have received a beautiful blogger award from Shell at My Handmade Haven, a beautiful blog.
    Now I feel I need to confess that I've been slack in the past at accepting and passing on blog awards, so this post intends to put that right. There are some lovely blogs out there, inspiring, fun and interesting to read.

    So firstly, thank you Shell for this award

    ... and thank you (belated) to Denise at A Smile A Day for this award in April

    ... and thank you (even more belated) to Jo at The Good Life for this award in March

    ... and now (embarrassingly belated) this lovely award from Little Garden Helpers in (cough) June 2009

    So I've caught up with my thank you's, and would like to pass on the blog love to blogs that I enjoy reading and visiting. I read a varied selection of blogs from like minded mamas, crafty people, gardeners/allotment folk, permaculture blogs, etc. So if you are a regular visitor here and I visit your blog, which is most likely, then this beautiful blogger award is for you, and I'd send it back to those that sent it to me too as I love all your blogs.

    I know I'm cheating, but it's hard to narrow it down to just a few blogs, and at the moment I have other things on my mind. Please bear with me if I am absent for a while.

    Hmmm, things about me you may not know. Ok, here goes ...

    I met the Queen when I was 7 years old, and gave her a flower arrangement that had to be checked by police for security reasons!

    I once wanted to tickle Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) when he was next to me at Reading Festival - yes, I had been drinking!

    I play the piano (well I did), classically trained and passed my grades, hope to return to it one day.

    I love spinning wool, felting and anything using natural fibres (oh, you probably know that)

    I'm a list person, always making lists and noting things down

    I love books, and love to find old books in charity shops - especially good old gardening ones

    I've always wanted to play the drums and have a drum kit myself (my brother had one instead of me and was taught by the fantastic Carl Palmer)

    I think that's enough about me. See you all soon.