Thursday, September 30, 2010

On height

P1050412 As a woman of stature, it has been noted that I am, as one person put it, ‘long’… or another, ‘High’… It is important to note, however, that I have never been deemed ‘lanky’… That accolade belongs to the Boy and the Boy alone. I fear Tilly and I will be forever pronounced ‘gorgeous’…

Anyway… it would now seem that, along with my towering build, I also bring other versions of height to bear on my personality… it seems that I am…

  • high functioning
  • have high standards
  • have high expectations
  • high anxiety
  • high maintenance
  • high volume and high energy levels

(Rearrange the order of that list depending on the time of day, volume of wine consumed and event for which I am preparing/dressing/worrying)

It has been not without a degree of resistance that i have spent the summer taking part in wonderfully insightful and disturbingly accurate sessions of CBT. It transpires that, for all this time, a series of handouts have been waiting, rather like the Prophesies in Harry Potter, to be discovered, written only for and solely about me and my various concerns, thoughts, worries, idiosyncracies and neuroses…

That, or I am part and parcel of a tediously predictable cliché of ‘high’ women…

The Boy has bought me a yet-to-be-taken hot air balloon ride for my birthday and I coincidentally spotted the self-same company’s aircraft high above me this evening on my walk home.

I’m looking forward to the trip into the skies, simultaneously precarious and secure, simultaneously high and low, and simultaneously exhilarated and terrified. Something tells me I should, by now, be used to these emotions…

I’m looking forward to the point in the future when I can look down on my life from a height and recognise my scurrying for what it is: normal, laudable, a degree or two excessive, only a little bit endearing and largely unnecessary…

For now, I am able to see beautiful perspective from a distance of approximately ten minutes after an attack… One day, the CBT will nip it in the bud and I will be relaxed, engaged, interested and nonchalant…

Ha! And one day, a lanky Boy and a gorgeous Girl will fly…

Monday, September 27, 2010

Classic Evening Dress ideas…

I’ve got a fabulous invitation to a fabulous event this weekend coming… It’s a wedding celebration party following the gorgeously mini-registry office ‘do’ this weekend just gone.

My grand plans for outfits have slightly stumbled at the first hurdle when it transpired that my lovely go-to cotton print evening frock is a '*little* snug around the middriff…

I’ve got a scrumptious long red dress which I am considering… and then a little spark of  memory recalled a frock.

A long, elegant, comfortable, modest-of-shoulder and -decollatage gown that, in a luxurious but understated fabric (I’m thinking a heavy, black silk crepe) would be the go-to-gown for those tricky upmarket but semi-relaxed events as well as a maxi-dress for day-to-evening parties… Also – it being a full-length gown means flat sandals. And I am ALWAYS pro that…

The closest two patterns are this one for jerseys

And this one for non-stretch fabrics

The only question now is… how can I get hold of a New Look pattern at short notice…

And do I have enough time before Saturday evening to run it up???

Or will this one do the trick if I gather the fabric instead of stitch the darts under the bust and add a tie-on sash over the top??

Edited to add: GADZOOKS – Newlook 6001 is not yet available in this country. I want to cry. And I shall wear the red dress this weekend. And it will be glorious.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Christmas. Don’t hate me.

These tags make me inordinately happy. I can’t decide whether to use them for all my present wrapping (maybe tied on with rick rack and wrapped in the obligatory brown paper) or give them as presents in their own right.

One of the best make-your-own-gift guides is to be found here at Skip to My Lou. Presents that you wouldn’t mind making and, more importantly, wouldn’t mind giving or receiving either!

Dangerously, Cox & Cox has just released its Autumn range too…That, coupled with the Amazon Universal Wish List Toolbar Button, can only result in my demanding an AWFUL lot of crafty loveliness for the holidays. If you’re feeling creative (and rich) feel free to nick all their lovely ideas for wrapping, crafting and giving… Glorious gorgeousness…

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crafty Crafty Tutorial Fabulousness

Roundup of inspiring and wonderful things that I’m sure you lot have already come across and just not told me about…

Silk hair flowers – am DEFINITELY trying this one later this weekend, when I’ve finished my MAHUSIVE list of ‘to-do’ jobs… sad times…

Coffee Filter Paper Flowers (including dying instructions)

Fully printable, fully customisable, fully AWESOME, FREE wedding stationery available here – this MUST be all over blogland, and if not, why not?? Thanks to How About Orange for this heads up! Her roll call of Free Printables is incredibly impressive, btw…

And then gorgeous stickers for the little ‘uns here that will help with a multitude of Thank You letters and suchlike…

Oh lovely internet… how inspiring you are…

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In my next life…

I am going to be this woman.

And release this range.

And be as fabulously creative, flexible, consumer-friendly and innovative as each and every one of those items…

Favourites include…

Four plates £25

Jug & sugar bowl £18

Sandwich Tray £16

All the bedlinen in the land

Oh so pretty… Oh so pretty indeed…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Baby, The Boy and the Pincushion…

Yesterday was fun.

The Boy described it well. I will leave it in his words to explain what we’ve been up to…

Good story....
Tilly had her first visit to hospital (she's home and fine before you worry)
She’s had a cold and cough since last Thursday – her first day after nursery! – but has generally been in good spirits.
Yesterday evening H turned her back on T for a minute in front room,
all obvious things well out of reach....came back into room seconds
later to find Tilly, pin cushion in hand with a few pins out on
floor....did she eat one....or not….
Seemed to be fine for rest of evening and went to bed as normal.Cried at about 11pm...disappointing we thought...H went into her and
next I heard was scream from Helen. Went running to Tilly’s room to see
in half light baby vomit in two huge patches on the sheet and Tilly heaving on her hands and knees at one end... But the patches were red....hence Helen’s scream....blood from the damaged gut from pin???....on closer inspection was more purply than red....what had Tilly had for dinner...pasta sauce with her main, and summer fruits for pudding...all very red/purple. Either way Tilly very distressed by whole thing as she's never been properly sick before.
She seems ok. We decide it isn't blood, but decide to keep close eye
on her so move travel cot into our room. Restless night for us both,
waking constantly to listen out for Tilly noise. Seems ok in morning.
Has her milk, dramatically vomits it back up a few minutes later. Hmm, just a virus or is there something going on in her gut what with the pins etc?? Decide to watch during day and see how she goes. I go to work. H calls at lunchtime increasingly worried as T been vomiting everything she
drinks. Dry nappies. I'm meant to be presenting at various meetings
but drive home to see Tilly, and bring her back to A&E...Leave her
there with one of the Paeds doctors, run off to present at meeting. Come back, she's smiling at all the staff, making everyone laugh....typical. Put special metal detector up to her...silence....relief, except is only designed for detecting swallowed coins and batteries etc...Fear the pin may be too small to be found anyway… Decide to get xray to confirm.
Meanwhile I'm on call so running up and down between wards. Xray shows what looks suspiciously like a pin in her stomach...oh Lord. We discuss with consultant radiologist, having already had two paediatric consultants involved...he's not convinced. We get senior radiographer over to examine the film used to take xray...could small scratch cause similar
appearance...?? There is small scratch....but how can we be sure...if
there is pin would need surgery or endoscopy (camera down
throat)...Persuade radiographer to repeat xray...2 films later and it
turns out there was no pin afterall....and Tilly not vomiting anymore.
We brought a smiley but tired Tilly and a wholeheartedly stressed Helen home.
What a fiasco. She seems fine this evening, no more vomiting as yet.
Suspect just viral infection continuing from the cold causing and pin
complete red herring...but all very stressful!

Deep joy. Have decided (!) that she is a bit of a minx and nosey little so-and-so and have, to be honest, been quite relieved today to have the ‘excuse’ to sit on the floor and give her one-to-one attention all day long. Have now managed to catch the cold that she brought home so little movement, much playing and much walking with cart full of bricks.

And no pincushions within a 12 mile radius.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Swaparama Razzmataz!

P1050340 P1050335 P1050337 P1050338

A lovely lovely Lucy/Ravelry swop

A lovely lovely chance to chatter with friends far and wide and new and lovely

A lovely lovely hoard of my NBFs – Countrytime Lemonade and Pretzel M&Ms

A lovely lovely stash of Yarn

A lovely lovely note

A lovely lovely example of how the internet is a force for good.

A smile in a frazzled afternoon.*

Vomit, A&E, xrays and urine tests… the Monster is fine, and the parents are just a bit more gray of head. Virus masquerading as swallowed pins/needles. Oh hell.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Birthdays and big girls

P1050328A little girl has been on this earth for 9 months. Longer out than in now… Which is a funny thought…

And I am now in my thirtieth year… Which is a funny thought too.

People have been generous. Cakes have been eaten. Presents have been sent. Cards have been posted.

The day has been sent in sunny London, with a crawling baby and a lot of wine.




The sun is shining in my head recently too. It’s been a better few days. The need to dissolve, to disappear, to remove myself from the harm I felt I caused, is dissipating for now. I’m still a bit precarious, and it doesn’t take much for the clouds to gather, but for now, the Indian Summer is fine.

I fear that this may be related to a more engaged and engaging baby. She reaches out for the Boy and I by choice when she sees us, and she was delighted today by a train trip, a river, a pigeon and a helium balloon, in turn. I thought I had reached adulthood, in some form, but turns out that appreciation and responses from a 9 month old baby is what is required to make me feel worthy and engaged.

Can’t help but feel a little bit pathetic… But not a little relieved too…

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Creative endeavours


Craftiness is a funny thing and goes to the very heart of your personality: ultimately, it’s a question of taste…

One person’s gorgeous details is another person’s twee

One person’s minimalism is another person’s blank boredom

One person’s unique is another person’s inconsistent

I wrote my MA thesis on the subject of the market for craft purchasing in this country, based heavily on the Craft Council study into the same. I then went on to investigate the role and opportunities for Open Studios in central London on behalf of the creative industries organisation I was working for at the time.

The crux of the matter is: there is an audience for individualistic, story-based products that are local and/or sustainable and/or recycled and/or nostalgic.


However, in this age of ‘PriMarnis’ and Swedish flatpack, it’s inevitable that the market demands a particular price point, and the retailer demands a particular profit margin.


Of all this, I was aware.

What I had not anticipated was the market, and thus by extension, the retail outlet, judging the two products on a ‘like for like’ basis. I would not consider a kitchen crafted by hand by a local woodworker to be in any way comparable to one purchased from a nationwide, if not international, warehouse-based outlet. I’m not being a snob; it’s purely a matter of levels of engagement, levels of expectation and levels of quality, none of which, in that circumstance, to me, seem to be in any way on a par.




If you get one person sitting in their room making things.

If that one person is not working in a sweatshop.

If the things have provenance, nostalgia, narrative and individuality…

They should surely not be compared at face value with a machined, industrialised, blandly consistent product made in its thousands, if not millions.

P1040504It’s a toughie, and I don’t think that craftspeople are entitled to special measures… A growing desire for the individual and personal (see the exponential continuing success of Not On The High Street  for example) should, with any luck, exist alongside a recognition for, understanding of, and willingness to financially recognise, the disparity between these products.

Or am I being overly optimistic?


Friday, September 10, 2010

Walking (rather than Waltzing) Matilda…

The progress continues apace…

We’ve decided to make use of the subsidised nursery at the Boy’s workplace and started Tils on her one-day-a-week-so-Mummy-doesn’t-spontaneously-combust routine yesterday.

I had thought on the tour that the two cots placed in the corner of the brightly lit, engaging, toy- and fun-filled playroom was rather ambitious.

She slept for 20 minutes in 8 hours and was, to quote the nursery nurse, ‘Not a happy camper…’

Lunchtime, however, was a breeze. She ate all her food. And someone else’s too.


What can I say boyo?? You snooze, you lose.

Thankfully, after yesterday, today was all about the snooze… albeit in six twenty minute bursts…

Monday, September 06, 2010

A lovely holiday, a dearth of evidence

I’m taking it as a positive for my addled brain, albeit a negative for my lovely readers, that there are hardly any ‘stop and smell the flowers’ photographs for you to vicariously enjoy my little break in the Cotswolds.


A nephew turned three and his obsession with Peppa Pig was celebrated with a scrumptious cake of Chocolate and Sour Cream with fondant decoration handcrafted from leftovers from the Non-Christening Cake.


There were trips to villages. There were cakes to devour. There were shops and boutiques and fairs and fun.


There were rivers, stones, ducklings, teas and many small children…

And there are very few pictures to tell you about it.

It was lovely and scrumptious and sunny and summery.

So you’ll just have to take my word for it…

The monster lives…


The monster smiles!


The monster grows…


The monster pulls herself to standing and is starting to cruise…

Just back from a week’s break in the Cotswolds en famille. Will fill you in on the quaint and the cookery shortly. xx