Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday crafting…

In addition to the peg bag, fudge and cinnamon buns, there were some other crafty moments this winter…

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First foray into socks, albeit worked in the flat… Pattern free here, made in a now discontinued shade of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino 4ply…

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First foray into homemade lemon meringue pie using this Waitrose recipe (though I did bake mum’s pastry blind first rather than use a bought crust..). Delish indeed!!

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And my second foray into the Granny Stripe for my Mum, who’s ability to drop hints for crafty present requests is nearly as good as mine! I learned from the best…I forgot to take specific pictures – can you tell??

Also – as with all good things in life, what goes around, comes around, and Tilly received some mightily pretty homemade pressies herself…

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An amazing replica of a family heirloom made by my Mother-in-Law for the Boy, now duplicated for the Tilster… Fabric alphabet with velcro-ed motifs to be made and added to over the coming years…

And Tilly’s very clever Auntie Cate knocked up this little pinafore in her spare time this autumn, job hunting. I’m delighted to say that she managed great success on both fronts: the frock is a great hit, and she has landed her dream job too, albeit too bl**dy far away, on the other side of the Atlantic…

Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all…

Monday, December 20, 2010

Believing in the Mummy in Me

At the risk of being overly poetic, I was watching Eddie Izzard's documentary Believe this afternoon and his theory is that you have to believe you can be an acrobat [or whatever] before you can achieve at being an acrobat... Maybe that's what this year has been about: believing that I can actually be a mummy and not just pretend at playing with babies. I'm really starting to enjoy Tilly now (and hopefully, she me) and I'm touched by the responses I have had in person and online. It's hard to know what 'everyone else' is doing behind closed doors and you imagine everyone else is experiencing some version of the Von Trapps/Supernanny ‘success’ at parenting far beyond your own efforts. Or maybe that's just me.

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I also attempted fudge this afternoon too, in an 'oh crikey need more presents for unexpected people and have no pennies' moment... Hoping it will set slightly beyond its current state. The consistency of Marmite is not ideal for cutting and jarring purposes.

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I’ve also been productive on a more long-term present-giving basis in the form of peg bags for the Mummy-in-law and another one for one of my BFFs. Vintage fabrics, found coathangers and a bit of internet tutorial… Very pleased indeed. Thrifty, useful and pretty.

In a further bout of pre-holiday (or are we now mid-holiday) gluttony, I've managed to purchase a packet of yeast that I'm dying to try out - never worked with yeast before - but actual bread scares me... I’m debating starting out with a sweet recipe (quelle surprise) in the form of Nigella’s Snail Bun recipe…I may have to hand them out to passersby if they actually work. All the domesticity doesn't half take its toll on my behind!

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NB: Update: These were made from the first edition hardback recipe, which further internet research revealed was missing a crucial line after the ‘Knead well’… Online instructions include the words: ‘Knead well for ten minutes by hand or six by dough hook, adding flour if necessary to get a rollable consistency’.

After covering my hands in yeasty gloop and no small amount of swearing, we finally managed to salvage the batch into these. Suffice to say, they were thoroughly enjoyed. Woops. There goes the rear-of-the-year awards…

Friday, December 17, 2010

Laugh out Loud

The Tilster has a cold.


I need a giggle today.

£2.25 each from fabulous Papermash.

Not sure if I would prefer the £2.25 to be spent on a more expensive bottle, but all the same…

Monday, December 13, 2010

The dust settles…


After a glorious weekend


With not a little bit of playing


And not a little bit of cake


And not a little bit of food


And not a little bit of fun


And now, an awful lot of relief…


And the next round of preparations, baking and playing begins…

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Getting there… getting there…    

Not on the High Street Prettiness

Tea & Ceremony – printed papers and retro sentiments

Vintage Buttons Notepad

Catherine Aitkin – Scottish tweed purses and bags

Tippi Hebridean Handbag

Sarah Hickey – gloriously tactile and textured jewellery

Citrine And Carnelian Necklace

Breagha – I was lucky enough to be given her yellow Harris tweed bag for Christmas last year (but it was sadly swiftly usurped by a diaper bag, much to my shoulder’s disgust…) This year, she’s gone from Etsy to NOTHS and is even more stunning…and maybe even a little bit more wearable… Though let’s be honest, that yellow is MIGHTY FINE…

Herringbone Harris No More

Gertie and Mabel – decadent and fabulous ribbons and trims – supposedly for wrapping, but I’d only do that if I could guarantee getting them back again after the present’s been revealed…

Vintage Style Danish Ribbon

Get rummaging, get clicking, get link-sending and get some guarantees that you won’t be doomed with a White Musk bathroom kit or another &^%*%^%* fondue set come the 25th of the month…

Friday, December 10, 2010

365 days

Hello Tilly

P1050778Tomorrow you are a year old. I hope you like your present. Daddy has spent days and days de-rusting it, repainting it and making your very own licence plate. I hope you don’t mind that it cost £2. I hope when you’re older you’ll be impressed and proud that it cost £2. It only cost £2 because we have spent the whole of this year with a direct debit set up at the local chemist. All hopes for eco-mummy went out with the first tummy-bug and any ideas of reusable nappies and free and ‘easy’ breastfeeding were quickly obliterated by your fiercesome suckle. So formula, nappies and clothes are the way forward.

I’m sitting waiting for Granny and Grandad to arrive and have made you a big cake shaped like a Number One as well as a little House-shaped cake from the leftover cut-off bits that we can eat with Granny before the big Party on Saturday for all your little friends and our big friends.

All this preparation, baking, tidying, restoring and general nest-feathering is in your honour, but I hope you know that it is also, I hope, not too enormously over-compensating for my general disinterest and disengagement over the last 360 days. I say 360 because, over the last few days, there have been no end of developments in your personality that make my stomach flip every time you perform. There’s the little royal wave that greets every look in your direction, the noise mimicking (everything from shrieks, mammamamas, dadadadadas and gagagaggas), the 12 steps unaided that mark the beginning of the unassisted walker (goodness help us), the facial interest and delight that is cementing your cheeky, interested, tricksy and gleeful personality.

You take delight in emptying any container you come across, be it a handbag, a cupboard, a drawer, a nappy bag or a toybox, meticulously and individually selecting and discarding each item in turn. You are a fabulously interested eater and have so far only eschewed scrambled egg (albeit temporarily)… Favourites are the obligatory fromage frais, satsumas, cream cheese sandwiches, hummous… Chocolate is a rare treat courtesy of Granny’s Advent Calendar.

Tomorrow we’re going to soft play for the morning and then a pub restaurant for lunch. I’m at ease with you, I’m enjoying you. I feel like you were the right choice. You are just what I wanted. It’s taken me 360 days to feel complete. 

I’m relieved and relaxed and rejuvenated. This is me. This is amazing. This is us. And you are my daughter. What a feeling.

Happy Birthday!


Friday, December 03, 2010

Holiday Frockery

IMG_4031I have had a lovely time this week creating a fabulously festive dress for the Tilster. The pattern is taken from a bodice that I had in a ‘baby wardrobe’ pattern, and then just OODLES of layers of gathered rectangles of organza. Truth be told, the tafetta is from an abortive dress of mine that had long since been relegated to the UFO pile, and the organza is actually curtaining voile from the local upholsterer… I think the whole thing cost about £2 to actually make…

Then came the hunt for appropriate cardigan/coverup to complete the ensemble and make sure she stays warm as toast for the various events she’s got in her busy social calendar…As you will see, I eventually went with the M&S number, but these ones were in the running too…

I love this one: the cerise would clash wonderfully with the red… £18 from JoJo Maman Bebe…


In fairness, though, these ones are even more gorgeous…£20 to £24 from Monsoon…

Baby Girl Bella Bow CardiganBaby Girl Pearl Bobble Pink CardiganBaby Girl Posie Cardigan

Or this for fabulous clashing?? But not very christmassy perhaps... From M&S for £18


Maybe this is a bit too christmassy… From £7 at Matalan…

Girls Cardigan

Or finally this… for utter elegance and reusability throughout the winter… from £13 from Debenhams…


Hmmmm…. shopping for babies is so much more fun than shopping for me!!