Thursday, 30 September 2010


Waving goodbye to September, the end of the Summer although some recent days have still been sunny and hot. The chill is in the air more now, the nights are drawing in, the leaves are turning and natures bounty is falling. Time for collecting Acorns, Conkers, and soon Walnuts and Sweet Chestnuts.

Savouring September

If summer is a symphony,
September is a minuet.
Though September plays host to summer's end.
There is a delicacy as the first leaf falls gracefully
From a tree.
There is a quietude in our spirits
As twilight descends ever so much earlier.
We remember we picked up our books
And returned to school.
We recall how lovely it was
To walk in the late afternoon
Surrounded by such beauty,
Of autumn's splendor.
And the first time we needed that
Gorgeous sweater.
And we gather in
During this golden time
To our private places,
And to our ultimate thoughts.
We seek our joys by the fireplace,
Rekindled after its summer rest.
And gather in the beauty
And treasure every moment
Of this golden time of year!


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

5 years old

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun.
Enjoy the trip. ~Author Unknown

Yes, Imogen is now 5 years old and loving being 5. For a few weeks she's been talking about being taller when she's 5, showing us part way down her forehead how tall she was when she was 4! So it was inevitable that one of the first things she did on the morning of her 5th birthday was to stand by the wall where we have measured her height since young and would you believe it ... she had grown from the week before when she last wanted to be measured.

Imogen loved her bunting, her crown and badge made by Mama. I do enjoy making these things, so much more personal than shop bought ones. She opened her cards and a couple of presents before school and wanted to leave the rest until her return.

Her day at school was made lovely. She got to blow out a pretend candle on the teachers birthday "cake" box and open the box to find a little present; she looked after the birthday bear for the day, and the end of day assembly was made special for her as they all sang happy birthday to her. One of the teachers had said to me in the morning that he would look forward to having a "birthday assembly" later (he's a big kid, lovely with it). So she felt very special, and that day the local papers came to take photographs of the classes too.

home from school
opening our gifts

Returning home to freshly baked muffins, the cake of choice for her birthday, and pizza dough rising for the requested birthday tea, Imogen set about opening her remaining presents. There was a bit of a theme with her presents this year ... mostly Toy Story figures which she absolutely loves. Other presents were a DVD, a game, some books and a Weather Tree poster to complete for the year.
The Weather Tree for the next 365 days

Fun and games
birthday muffin cake

A lovely day for a beautiful daughter, and a trip to the farm at the weekend for some more fun. What a wonderful time it has been spending these 5 years with you in our lives, and we shall enjoy the journey to 6 and beyond as much if not more. Happy Birthday Imogen.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Time flies, felting and a 5th birthday ...

Well, so many blog posts have been written in my head, but then something else takes priority over my time and it doesn't get posted to the blog. I hope to write them more often again now.

So since last week, when I last posted, the main thing I have been spending time on is finishing off some knitted personalised bunting for Imogen's 5th birthday which has come out lovely. Lots of different sizes as I wanted to use up some odds and ends of wools and they were different thicknesses. Sewn onto a long piece of finger knitted wool. I shall adapt this each year with her age.

knitted bunting
Imogen 5

Other crafting has been making her a birthday crown which this year I decided to needle-felt and am pleased with the result, what do you think?

needle felted crown and badge

And then a little more needle felting to create this lovely badge for her to wear too. Simple but effective, I really like how it looks.

our beautiful 5 year old daughter

So we are enjoying birthday celebrations here, planning some quality family time at the weekend - a few options depending on the weather. A birthday update soon.

Back soon with other things going on, autumn crafts, planning for Christmas (yes, I said the C word!), and more. Now it's officially Autumn, happy Autumn everyone

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
- George Eliot

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

To a Child ...

With only a few more days of being 4, I was reading this earlier and thought how beautiful it was, so wanted to share

To A Child
The greatest poem ever known
Is one all poets have outgrown:
The poetry, innate, untold,
Of being only four years old.

Still young enough to be a part
Of Nature's great impulsive heart,
Born comrade of bird, beast, and tree
And unselfconscious as the bee--

And yet with lovely reason skilled
Each day new paradise to build;
Elate explorer of each sense,
Without dismay, without pretense!

In your unstained transparent eyes
There is no conscience, no surprise:
Life's queer conundrums you accept,
Your strange divinity still kept.

Being, that now absorbs you, all
Harmonious, unit, integral,
Will shred into perplexing bits,--
Oh, contradictions of the wits!

And Life, that sets all things in rhyme,
may make you poet, too, in time--
But there were days, O tender elf,
When you were Poetry itself!
Christopher Morley

I'm sure that even when Imogen is 5 and beyond, she will still be many of these things, enjoying and exploring the wonders of nature; making up her own rhymes, songs and imaginative games. The joys of childhood.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

NGS, Giant Veg, wonderful herbs, Carvings and a beautiful Romany caravan

Giant veg and NGS veg show 2010

Where does the time go, I can't believe it's over a week ago since we went to the national gardening show in Shepton Mallet. The main attraction for us was to see the vegetable show and giant veg show, but there was so much more to pack into the day. (warning: lots of photo's but worth it!).

On arrival we saw the shed with the veg show to our left but decided to leave that one until later in the day and walked instead around all the outside displays. Lots of plant sales and garden sundries, a little something for everyone.

We saw some absolutely fantastic furniture.

We love these chairs and table, so tactile

beautiful carved bowls

We visited the National Trust marquee and made some paper flowers (we did attempt to follow some instructions we had but they were harder to make than we realised). We also made a pledge to hang on the tree.
our paper flowers
The beekeepers

There was a wonderful Beekeeping display, cleverly they put up an 8ft-ish screen around the area so you could see the beekeepers at work, and the bees but you weren't getting them flying in your face as they were flying higher (genius idea for a show).

We then followed a woodland trail, and had our very own little going on a bear hunt explore. We met this lovely tree elf.
tree elf

On coming out of the woodland we fund animals, lovely range of chickens for sale, some friendly pygmy goats, and some fluffy alpaca who became aware of a dog walking by. Did you know that alpaca are great to have as company for sheep? They act as guards basically, especially in lambing season and will guard the sheep from wild animals and wandering dogs in fields. They are however very friendly if the dogs are pets or farm dogs.
Alpaca spotting a dog

Beautiful birds of prey

Lots of other displays, antique cars, tree houses, a lady woad dyeing, some wonderful birds of prey, and lots of wood carvings - some lovely work here too.

So beautiful, I loved this carving and the dragonfly

Are you wondering about the Romany caravan I mentioned in the title? Later ... there's still the flowers and veg show.

We then went around the show marquees, the dahlias were bright and very big. There were some wonderful floral decorations too, and this category of "delightful and delicious" - cakes but made from flowers and seeds, etc - they were beautiful and looked good enough to eat!

The winning floral cake
and look at this beautiful one - would be great at a wedding for decoration
Dahlia's as big as yer head

The plant displays were wonderful too, with herbs, flowers, and a favourite was the Heuchera's from the New Forest (not too far away). I do love heuchera plants. We bought a couple of plants at the show - a new perennial sorrel we hadn't heard of before (later I got some seed for it too, so more to grow) that was so delicious; a lovely Basil that I'm hoping to overwinter well as it was lovely and a Woad for dyeing of course. We picked up some other heritage seeds too.

Heucheraholics - aptly titled plant nursery for me!

Onto the veg show and wow, some great displays. Leeks way taller than Imogen, lovely big onions and this was before approaching the giant veg tables!

The veg show hall
Wonderful displays, tall leeks

The giant veg, well the pictures speak for themselves really ...
Giant beetroot
Want to know some of the weights and measurements of the giant veg winners? I'll tell you anyway
Heaviest leek - 8kg
Heaviest tomato - 2.28kg
Heaviest potato - 3.76kg
Heaviest marrow - 67.5 kg (yes, 67.5kg)
(Imogen demonstrating how big the marrows were)
Heaviest celery - 21.5kg
(yes, it's a celery!)
Heaviest Squash - 323.5kg(the squash (heaviest is 2nd from right) and pumpkins)
Heaviest pumpkin - 550kg (1210 lbs)
Longest beetroot - 548cm
Longest carrot - 477cm
Longest parsnip - 352.2cm

Wow, is all I can say - it was fascinating to see such lovely displays and the giant veg were just "massive" as Imogen put it. Great show, we will be going there again.

So, the Romany caravan then. These are newly built, insulated, can have electrics fitted into them, a lovely wood burner (forgot to photograph it though) and the company who makes them come to visit where you want to place it so they decide on the best axle to fit on it. It sparked off some lovely dreams of having the land to have one (or maybe two!), perhaps a study, or a little craft room - oh yes, I could see myself in there with the radio on spinning on my wheel, or weaving or .................. (sorry, where was I!).

So here it is, lovely aren't they?

and inside, beautiful

Great show, we will be going there again. Hope you've enjoyed the pictures.

Crafting post to follow I think as Imogen did some wet felting with me last week and I've been doing some knitting for her birthday coming soon and had the needle felting out too for Autumn crafts, and more planned.

A beautiful image

I saw this on another blog, and just wanted to share the image. Such a powerful image of people coming together for the anniversary of a tragedy 9 years ago yesterday.

Credit for photo

Thursday, 9 September 2010

So ...

We had a fantastic day at the National Gardening Show but I will do pictures in another post about that, saw some amazing exhibitions and some amazing stalls to buy things too.

The big news this week is that our beautiful daughter has started school, and oh she was excited to start and is loving every minute of it. She thinks her teacher is great and has proclaimed she wants to be a teacher. It was lovely on the first day as there were only a few children starting - just those born in Autumn/Winter, and today the Spring children started, the Summer ones start next week. We're hearing all about what they are doing and it all seems like such fun. She is attending mornings only for a while before staying for lunch and then the early afternoon.

Ready for school!

So all good news, she went in first, happy as anything and without a backward glance - glad we got some hugs and a kiss before the door opened. The school is lovely, has a bit of woodland, with a wooden playground area, a vegetable garden, and other play areas. Inside there are a few rooms they use well equipped with lots of sturdy wooden toys. A whole wooden home corner with cooker sink, etc; Wooden dolls house, fire station and tree house dwelling; lots of wooden people, toys and more. Then there are all the books, reading corners, the craft room, computers, chill out areas, and no doubt things I've forgotten or that we haven't discovered yet! A happy environment.

So more catching up soon, but busy at the moment with school starting, many family birthdays coming up next week and a little girl's 5th birthday soon too. So a little crafting is in progress too for that and for Autumn which appears to be here now. Every day we come home with a handful of Autumn colours in leaves and acorns and chestnuts and conkers. Plenty for the season corner that needs an update.

Friday, 3 September 2010

A bit of culture for a Friday afternoon

We have been having a relaxing day today as we have a big day out planned tomorrow at the national gardening show I mentioned in my last post.

A quick trip to the library to pick up a book I had reserved on dyeing with plants and lichens. An interesting read for the weekend perhaps. Anyway, they have an offer on at the moment on their DVD loans so I asked Imogen if she'd like to take one home to watch later.

She chose Peter and the Wolf - the classic story by Sergei Prokofiev. This is a beautifully made stop-frame model animation (like Wallace & Gromit films) and set to the wonderful music played by the Philharmonic Orchestra. This adaptation won several Academy Awards and well deserved too as it was lovely to watch. No dialogue, just music and sound effects but it was made so well that you could follow the story. You could recognise approaching animals by the different orchestral instruments, and sense the feelings of Peter at being sad when his best friend the duck was eaten alive, and then later not wishing the Wolf to be sold to the circus. A lovely ending as he release the wolf, walking through the stunned crowd and the wolf runs away into the forest.

(Oh, and the duck in the story? "if one would listen very carefully, he would hear the duck quacking inside the wolf; because the wolf in his hurry had swallowed her alive.").

So a lovely choice of a DVD, Imogen was a little surprised at first that no-one talked but enjoyed it. We're ending the afternoon with a muffin baking session too ... yum!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Busy doing ...

... lots of things. People to see, places to go, fun to have. Really must find some time again to catch up on here though.

Today we are going to the local library for an activity day based on Elmer. There will be reading and making of Elmer crafts. When I reminded Imogen of this event this morning, she was jumping for joy. She does love Elmer.

Imogen's mama made Elmer

At the weekend, we shall be going to The National Gardening Show, at the Bath & West showground.

"the Finest in Autumn Gardening. The popular Scarecrow Competition will be down in the woodland area along with trails for children. Other attractions range from advice on allotments to running a smallholding with animals and poultry on show. "

There will be show gardens, and flower marquees as with most gardening shows. However, the main attraction for us visiting is to see the Fruit and Vegetable competitions, Home Economics competitions and the big one ... The UK National Giant Vegetables competition.

As we are involved and like to enter our local show, it will be great to see such a big show, and get to see the competition entries, be inspired maybe. We also go to the Autumn pumpkin festival locally in October in Victoria Country Park, Netley. The Paton brothers bring along their huge record holding pumpkins and it's great to see, and a fun event too. The brothers will also be at the national giant veg show at the weekend.

So we are looking forward to today, and then the weekend, and next week Imogen starts school and she's pretty excited about going. We've been decorating and filling a small box this week that the school gave her, so they can talk about the things they like and what they enjoy doing during the first few days - I think this is a lovely idea. Oh and she's obviously excited about the fact that it's her birthday later in the month too - I'm asked daily at the moment "how many days until I'm 5?"