Thursday, 14 March 2013

Happy Marchmass to us

On 1st December last year a dear friend and her sprog moved very far away. All the way to the south coast of England in-fact. What with it being March I had totally forgotten that she had promised Christmas presents in the new year. Yesterday they arrived! LOOK AT WHAT WE GOT!!!

Home made presents are the best, only to be topped by being Ghibli related! We share a love of the Japanese animations and so I rightly let slip a squeal of delight when I saw what she'd sent. No Face and soot sprites! We also got a wall sticker of the protagonists from many of the Ghibli releases. Chuffed doesn't cover it! Now I have an excuse to create a Ghibli wall *goes off to drool over Ghibli wall goodies*

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Chop chop chop!

That's right, at three and a half I decided Isaac was old enough to start using knives (!) I use the corer/slicer to cut it into wedges and then he uses a small paring knife to cut the wedges into pieces.

Am I mad? I don't think so.

He's a sensible little chap and I trust him not to use them when I'm not in the room as he's proven trust worthy with scissors since he was very small. 

And we have rules: 

1) Always cut down 
2) Never wave knives around 
3) Never use a knife without a grown up

There have been a few heart-in-mouth moments where I thought he might lose a bit of finger and I've leapt in to correct the path of the knife, but that's why I'm there until his motor skills are more developed. 

He really loves to do things on his own and I love to help him. Trust and mutual respect is earned; how can he earn it if I don't let him?

A few snaps

Most of these were taken on my phone as I'm forever forgetting to take my compact camera out with me and there is a battery issue with my Nikon, so please excuse the quality!

We had a real tree for the first time at Christmas. It was so lovely and hardly any needle droppage! 

It reads "Imagine waking tomorrow and all music has disappeared". I see this on my walk to Dan's house and it makes me shudder every time.

Isaac gets to grip with Reading Eggs. My Dad gave him a year's subscription to the site and he loves it! I was reluctant to get on the technology bandwagon while he's still so young, but it's actually teaching him to read so I figure it can't be all bad.

January snow.

Walking walking everywhere...I've lost a whole stone in weight since selling my car!

Local board game evening. Dan shows Isaac Othello. 

I knit some mitts! Officially over the knitting fear now and will give most things a go. Still working up to a big project (i.e.: something bigger than hats of mittens), but have been working on different stitches and pattern reading and it goes well.

February snow. It looks beautiful, but it's soooooooooooooo cold! We've had March snow too, a mini blizzard in-fact earlier this week. What's going on with the weather in this country huh?

So there we are, a few random snaps from while we've been away. The Nikon has been taken somewhere hopefully to fix it and I shall make more of an effort to take my camera out!

The end.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Not Mothering Sunday

After a few reasonably traumatic weeks (I know there seem to be a lot at the moment, fingers crossed that's the last of them for a while?) we had a really nice day today. We left the confines of Derby! On a bus! We only went the fourteen miles down the A52 to Nottingham, but that's quite an achievement for the boy who doesn't like to leave the house.

Isaac showcases his love of technology using Dan's phone
When Isaac was a baby I was introduced to a children's author by the name of Oliver Jeffers. Isaac and I love his books; the central character in three of them (that I know of) is "the boy" whose name isn't ever revealed. The tales are sweet and moving, the language simple and the images beautifully painted all of which portend a positive story experience for both Isaac and I. I never tire of reading these stories to my boy. So. As you can imagine, I was more than a little excited that a stage production of How To Catch a Star was coming to Nottingham. I held off booking tickets until last week and almost cried when Isaac shouted that he "DID NOT WANT TO GO" several times this morning. But. We made it! 

Isaac thoroughly enjoyed it which is what I was aiming for. Result! For me, I felt that transition to stage lost the simple beauty of Jeffers' style. The two performers were a hugely OTT with fill in noises and there was the inevitable addition to the story that comes with all children's-book-to-other-medium transfers which detracts from the essence of the narrative. However, all the children in the audience loved every minute of it so I'll stop my boring old adult grumbling! 

There are quite a few stage adaptation of children's stories around now I notice. We've been to see Julia Donaldson & Axel Sheffler's The Snail and The Whale fairly recently and less recently Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I'm so pleased that Isaac enjoys these trips to the theatre, I really am. We have tickets to see another one of Oliver Jeffer's next month - Stuck. We haven't read it yet and I think I might keep it that way. 

We arrived in Nottingham deliberately a couple of hours before the performance in order to eat some lunch which we did at The Malt Cross. If you're in Nottingham and peckish/thirsty, do go; it's SUCH a beautiful building inside. It was formerly the Victoria Music Hall (?) I learned today. Their food is very good, if a little pricey for pub food BUT all profit from the cafe goes to charity! How can you argue with that? The atmosphere is relaxed and they are fine with children (even if the clientele aren't as I overheard on a previous visit). Isaac actually ate some vegetables today! Well. A vegetable. Baby sweetcorn times three! WOOOOOOOH!

It's totally irrelevant and incredibly juvenile which is probably why it made me snigger: I saw a poster advertising some sort of comedy event with what can only be described as a fat Mister Maker.

Mister Maker
Piss Taker
If you've ever had the unfortunate luck to endure an episode of the Cbeebies show then you should be chortling to yourself right about now. The premise of the show is all good (get kids interested in being creative), but the man himself is irritating as hell. I should stop here before I launch into some sort of discussion about children's television shows and their presenters. Because I can and I will. I can see the words in my brain already. Stopping. Now. 

Our return bus journey culminated in gridlocked traffic as we arrived in Derby so we were let off early. Isaac had fallen asleep across our laps and was groggy so I strapped him on my back and waved goodbye to Dan as I boarded the bus home in a non-gridlocked part of town. We were greeted with the usual limitless enthusiasm of the furry one. And then Isaac weed on the sofa. *sigh* Unimpressed doesn't cover it. Anyway (there is a point to all this) I cleaned it up and stopped being mad about it. About an hour later he came over to me, sat on my lap, put his arms around my neck looked me straight in the eye and said "you're the best mummy in the world" and then kissed me on the nose. I'm welling up again now!

The sun wasn't shining and the British drizzle carried on regardless, but I will always remember today and smile. My non-Mothering Sunday Mother's Day. Perfect.

Friday, 8 March 2013

It keeps me out of trouble!

While I've been quiet on here I've been noisy elsewhere. Now I'm quiet over there I thought I'd be noisy about it over here! But what is it? It, my friends, is Pie Productions! You know I like to make stuff, right? Well, my house was getting pretty full of stuff that I made and friends (and indeed strangers) told me I should sell the things I make. So I am! 

Up until now I've made items to order, but things have been pretty quiet since Christmas so I'm just making stuff I like and listing it for sale now. My first in-stock item is this rather gorgeous dragon. It's made using the Fierce Little Dragon pattern by Lucy Collin in lovely spring jewel tones.  He can be washed by hand and has purple safety eyes.

£16 + p&p
If you would like to buy him, or indeed a dragon in a colour of your choice then send me a message on Facebook or an email to sarah [at] pie productions [dot] co [dot] uk

The most popular item that I make is easily the crocodile stitch booties which are available in baby right through to adult and I've made all sizes! They're so cute and very warm.

Baby size (6-9 months)
Newborn size
Newborn size
Child size (16cm) with optional non-slip sole
Adult size (UK ladies 3) with non-slip sole
I'v noticed spring fashions starting to pop up in the shops recently and summer will be here quicker than you know it! With this in mind I'm shamelessly plugging the little girl's top I make. 100% cotton with crocheted trim.

If there's anything you like then do get in touch. I'm quite crafty so we can discuss bespoke items too :-) There are loads more photos over on the Pie Productions page so take a look and say hi!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Hello 2013

My my it's been a very long time! Just over seven months in-fact. I'm very aware that my last post wasn't so positive, but it was a fair and accurate description of life at the time. Well. It didn't get any better. The terrible twos really took off into some horrible direction and we only now seem to be settling. There is still an awful lot of "I don't WANT to!" almost every time I suggest he get dressed, so much so that I've resorted to sticker charts...which work approximately 75% of the time. Bed time is another point of contention. Quite simply: I want him to go to bed and he doesn't! 

Staying calm, rational and not shouty is also a challenge when every night's sleep for as long as I can remember has been broken because Isaac wakes me up either wet, scared of something or wanting to get in with me. I do not object to these things and accept them as part of being a parent. I am fortunate that I do get to sleep right through when he stays at his father's. 

Relationship changes for me have caused ripples and probably haven't helped Isaac through a difficult time and then there's the ever upsetting money situation. Living within one's means when one's means isn't very much is trying and down right bloody difficult. 



Yes, life is on the move again. Yesterday was the first properly sunny day we've had and it was glorious. I didn't even wear a coat! There are little buds on trees and plants everywhere and bulbs shooting up left right and centre. Not in my garden, that would be a miracle. Winter this year has been a long hard slog and we are very ready for more outdoorsy weather. I had my first Couch Surfer since December 2011 on Monday night. An interesting fellow cycling from Chester to Vietnam over the course of six months culminating in a teaching job there. 

We did manage a trip to a local rec ground the other day (finally at about 3.30pm after talking about it with him all day - he agreed!) I haven't been there since Rinny was a puppy so it was lovely to see the new (to me) play area for children and be reminded of the big football pitch where we could let the dog off for a good run.

I made the executive decision to remove myself from Facebook. Which I did yesterday. And to stop using my HTC Desire smartphone in favour of my old Nokia C3-01. Why have I done these things? I have an addictive personality and was finding myself constantly wasting time on both which is essentially me ignoring my son. This is not acceptable and blatantly damaging to our relationship and what he accepts as normal. I think I've written about it before...a long time ago and possibly on a different blog. I get sucked in by technology. It has a place, but my little boy has the biggest and most important place in my life. 

I might still be a little bit addicted to Words With Friends and Hanging With Friends, but I'm investigating an Android app simulator for Windows called Blue Stacks. I shall see how that goes. It feels very strange to remove myself so completely from something that is such a huge part of many people's lives nowadays. 

So, here is to longer days, warmer weather and (fingers crossed) a sunnier little boy.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

If you try the patience of angels

It's been a while and here's why.

Someone has stolen my little boy and in his place put a child with multiple personalities who cannot make his mind up about anything. I kid ye not. Just under two months shy of his third birthday and we have finally arrived at the terrible twos. All those other things I thought were the terrible twos pale by comparison, heck I can't even remember what they were! We are on course for the terrifying tertiaries at this rate.

Life has become increasingly difficult in recent weeks for us both. I consider myself usually reasonably patient with him and people comment on how well behaved he is, but this new set of "I CAN'Ts" and "I DON'Ts" are proving worthy in their opponency of my composure. I've spoken before about how motherhood brought with it [for me] a marked heightening of emotions, an achievement unlocked upon sproglet entering the world if you will; I have NEVER been so mad with a small person EVER. I am ashamed at the end of each and every day about how I have felt about his meltdowns, but boy am I ready for his bedtime.

There are two sides to everything, often more and I'm sure beyond reasonable doubt the whole scenario is    pretty rubbish for him too. Crying approximately seven litres of tears a day must dehydrate him awfully and all the shouting at me must be making him hoarse! I jest (evil mummy). What else do I have? My child HATES ME! Unless he gets everything that he wants RIGHT NOW! then he is, of course, the picture of perfection. This is what it boils down to: we are locked into a battle of wills for sizeable portions of the day. 

On the other side of this coin of doom: he seems to be outgrowing naps which means we can do more, he has begun playing imaginatively and now calls other children we know his friends. His language is coming on leaps and bounds marred only by a reasonably frequent stammer (more on that another time). His little body is awash with hormones, emotions, demands, and new experiences. 

Of course I know he has a lot going on right now. If I thought there was a god I could blame the ridiculousness of the situations we end up disagreeing on on its sense of humour, but I don't. I shall instead focus on that it will  hopefully not be forever and that he is my boy and (as I tell him every night when I tuck him in) I love him more than anything in the whole universe

How can I not? Look at him!


Monday, 18 June 2012

Thirty plus one and a few t-shirts to boot

Last Thursday I turned thirty one years of age folks. It may come as a surprise to hear that last year I turned thirty on the exact same day! If you were there with me on that night you too will bear the mental scars and I trust you to keep the secrets! I've written about turning thirty, what was going on then and this isn't about that. This is about how amazing this year has been!

What brought this to my attention? Other than the fact that it's going on around me? Gig t-shirts. I kid you not. Gig shirts hold a special place in my wardrobe heart wardrobe...heart...ah well, you get it. I have to really like a band to buy a shirt and considering my average gig attendance of the past 5 years or so has been between one and two per year, for me to go to SEVEN gigs between June 2011 and June 2012 is astonishing! (By the time June ends the figure will be nine, but who's counting?)

Upon reflection of this collection I notice that this year has had me see bands that I absolutely love and all of the gigs have been excellent, with the exception of one. I'm sad to say that Funeral For a Friend aren't a band I shall see live again. The singer's voice is strained and they seem to be under the misguided delusion that they are more metal/punk than they actually are. Inciting a circle pit at your own gig is lame. That said I still hold the music dear.

All of the others, though, were immense. The best of the year? Impossible to tell. Capdown for sheer transporting-me-back-ten-years factor and for not having lost an ounce of energy, Rise Against for being the first gig I went to with Matty since we got together (and it was bloody amazing), Nada Surf because it's Nada Surf who NEVER tour the UK, Orbital because those guys are back on form, Gaslight because it was their only UK show in forever and everyone there wanted to be there very much and Coheed? Coheed was all the way across the pond in Gainesville FL!

I like to get a shirt from shows I go to for a few reasons. Nostalgia - whenever I put it on I'm reminded of the event, how I felt, who I was with, what we did, where it was and all the other stuff that happens at gigs. I've bought and lost/donated to charity many, many gig shirts/sweaters. I regret getting rid of each and every one I no longer possess. All the memories of the fun times spent with friends and making new friends. And the dancing! Ah, the dancing! And the drinking, but mostly the dancing! I also like getting gig shirts because the chances are they'll be specific to the tour and you are unlikely to find them in stores or on merch sites. 

So anway, this post is more for me than for anyone else. I want to remember what a fantastic year 2012 has been so far and how far removed it is from 2011, how much can change if you really want it to, how much better life can be and gig shirts are how I choose to remember. It's for me to be able to look back at and smile when I think of all the fun times I've had, what has been accomplished and how much I have to look forward to right now.

Seriously. I might burst.


A crocheted peg/clothes pin bag

With a sad sigh I decommissioned my peg bag last week. It's served me well for the duration of it's tour, but it was no longer fit for purpose what with purpose being containing the pegs, not spewing them all over the floor for Isaac to then scarper off with! I made that one too, using some sort of vinyl fabric stuff which I shan't recommend for sewing because it's not ideal as it tears along the stitch line!! Anyhoo, that was three years ago and I've learned a lot since then. So. I needed a peg bag. I saw a few patterns online, but I'm essentially lazy and so decided to make a really reeeeeeeeally easy peasy one. Then I decided to write it down...

Crocheted peg bag/clothes pin bag

A few points before you read on. 
1. This is my first attempt at writing a pattern so please bear with me. 
2. I have quite a few pegs which it why it's so long.
3. Stripes are not compulsory and I haven't included them in the pattern.
4. Oh yes, I'm writing it in US crochet terminology because that's how I learned!

I used:
2 balls Rowan Hand Knit DK Cotton
4mm/G crochet hook
A wire coat hanger (I got plastic coated ones from Wilko's)
A circle of substantial cardboard (i.e.: not junk mail or cereal box, unless you layer it up)

Make a magic ring. If you have no idea what this is, see an instructional video here (although I only have two loops on my finger to begin with so I only pull the tail rather than faffing with pulling two loops).

Round 1: ch 3, (first stitch), 11 dc into ring, pull tight & join with ss into back loop of top ch of first ch 3 (12 st incl. ch 3)
Round 2: ch 3, (becomes last stitch of round) *2 dc into next dc* 11 times, dc into same st as ch 3 so that the ch 3 is your last st, join with a ss into back loop of top ch of ch 3 (24 st  incl. ch 3)
Round 3: ch 3, *2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next dc* 11 times, 2 dc into dc before ch 3, join with a ss into back loop of top ch of ch 3 (36 st  incl. ch 3)
Round 4ch 3, *2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 2 dc* 11 times, 2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next dc & ch 3 becomes last st of round, join with a ss into  back loop of top ch of ch 3 (48 st  incl. ch 3)
Round 5ch 3, *2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 3 dc* 11 times, 2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 2 dc  & ch 3 becomes last st of roundjoin with a ss into  back loop of top ch of ch 3 (60 st  incl. ch 3)
Round 6ch 3, *2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 4 dc* 11 times, 2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 3 dc  & ch 3 becomes last st of roundjoin with a ss into back loop of top ch of ch 3 (72 st  incl. ch 3)
Round 7: ch 3, working into the back of the st only - dc in next dc & each dc around, join wit a ss into top ch of ch 3 (72 st incl. ch 3)
Round 8 - 28: ch 3, dc in each dc around (72 st incl. ch 3)
The final round may require some jiggery pokery on your part to do it how you want. I started by making the hook bit and bending it at a right angle to my crocheted round. I wanted it to be at the back of the bag which made things easier! After that I bent it round as I went so the shape was even and the right size.
Round 29: ch 2, hold the wire so that it sits on top of the dc, push your hook through the dc as you would normally so it goes under both loops of the st and the wire, yo and pull loop through, put hook over the wire, yo and pull through pulling tight so that the wire sits snugly inside your sc and isn't flapping about, carry on sc-ing in this way around the wire into each st around.

To finish off I did what I usually do at the end of a project worked in the round which is this: cut yarn with a good and long ish tail, pull tail through stitch, thread yarn into a needle, insert needle (from the back) into sc before ch 2 from beginning of round, pull through and insert needle back into st where tail originates and weave in ends.

Bend wire around hook part to secure and complete circular top.

Measure the radius of your base and use a compass to draw a circle on the cardboard. Alternatively you can draw around the base, but I am a geek and like to do things proper like. Place in the bottom of the bag. It doesn't need securing in any way because, let's face it, cardboard is inanimate and isn't likely to attempt escape. The cardboard isn't entirely necessary, but it prevents unsightly mis-shaping when the pegs are in-situ! I was planning on laminating my circle, but really couldn't be bothered. You could always crochet two circles and sew them together with a cardboard inner and then crochet up if you were really bothered about it roaming free inside your bag?

You can bend the opening to any shape you like and can even bend it flat so it shuts when not in use!

Et voila! The easiest peg bag EVER.

If you find any errors please let me know! Also if you do make one then I'd love to see it!
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