Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Our new arrival has finally arrived

So Christmas day came and there were still no real signs of the baby arriving any time soon but things moved along pretty quickly during Christmas Day night.  And over a week late we finally welcomed our new baby on boxing day morning.  A beautiful baby girl safe, perfect and tiny.  We are all delighted and Little L is loving being a big sister.  
The best Christmas present in the world has been the safe arrival of our new daughter and the happy reaction of her big sister.

Happy 2013!

Christmas Day

After a very hard slog of working almost solidly through December my other half managed to get home on Christmas Eve in time to help Little L prep for the big visit.  We had to put mince pies and milk out for Father Christmas and a carrot and some water for the reindeer.  We put the socks out on the landing ready to be filled (fingers crossed) and watched the snowman and snow dog (well heavily pregnant mummy watched it) Little L just wanted to play with Daddy.

Christmas Day was very relaxed no travelling or visiting for us this year.  So we opened presents, well Little L opened her presents and any others for Mummy and Daddy.  These are some of my favourites!

 I cooked a lovely lunch that everyone enjoyed and ate.  Followed by a little sleep for Little L and some visitors.  A very relaxed Christmas, no visiting or rushing about and yes we spent christmas day still waiting!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Waiting ..............

So this week me and Little L have nearly managed to get rid of our colds.

We have made a Christmas wreath, made and frozen mince pies, finished last minute gift buying,

wrapped all the presents, caught up with friends, written and posted cards, the cupboards, fridge and freezer are full of food, the house is reasonably clean, Christmas party attended, Christmas decorations up ......... and we now just need baby to make an appearance.
I'm not very good at waiting

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Making the most of the heat you have

I bought curtains for our front door in the summer.  Yes I was going to make them myself but I found end of line lined curtains at Argos for £15 so there was no point.  Plus I bought the curtain rail but alas they sat untouched for months.  Once I had finished making the blinds for the kitchen my momentum just carried on and I set to attaching the track to the wall.  I had to attach a wooden batten first otherwise the track would have been really difficult to put up plus the curtains would have been too close to the wall.  That done and appeared to be straight onto the curtains.   Had to take a couple of inches off the length and then hand stitch.  With the leftover fabric I made a tie back which was really easy.  I just traced around another tie back to get the shape and used some D rings from old tie backs.

The curtains do clash with the green walls in the hallway but that was the choice of the old owners.  I did think about decorating the hallway before baby arrives but was told "No Way" by the other half spoilsport!  Hopefully next year some time I will paint the hallway beige/cream and the curtains will then match.
Not sure whether they make much difference heat wise as it's not been that cold yet.  But it does get very cold in the hallway so hopefully they will help a bit.

Another thing off the "To do" list and in a quest to spread the heat was drilling a 2 inch holes between the chimney recess above the fire into the kitchen which my dad kindly did for us.  The idea is that some of the heat that rises above the stove now goes into the kitchen.  It does work but hasn't made a vast difference.

And finally we bought ourselves a stove top fan,  we didn't get the original "Ecofan" as these were upwards of £100 but we got one from Ebay which works exactly the same way and was half the price.  This definitely works, it spreads the heat around the room and helps the washing dry quicker.  I would certainly recommend.

Been another busy week with groups and Little L's nativity play (that girl is a star and sooo cute in her costume). Plus I got the lurgy so we have both been ill all week. It's sad but at the moment my post birth craving/want is a lemsip.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Getting things done - Roman blinds

These last few weeks have been very productive if not a bit exhausting.  The mammoth "Things To do before baby arrives" list has been slowly shrinking and I have done some of the jobs on there that I had been putting off.

Top of the most put off was new blinds for the kitchen.  Now I did make new blinds back in March when I redecorated the kitchen but due to the bulk of the material and the rubbishness of the fittings they would never shut which isn't a problem in the summer but as we have one window that looks out at the front of the house I wanted that one at least to be able to shut during the winter when people walking past can spy into the kitchen.  So over the summer I had been collecting together the bits needed to make the roman blinds mainly from wilkinsons, diy shops and abakhan.  But still I couldn't faced doing them until about six weeks ago when the clocks changed.

Firstly I had to take down and carefully unpick the blinds as I wanted/had to re-use the fabric.

Then I had to make the linings, sew channels in them, sew them to the outer fabric.  Making sure that everything was straight and central.  Hand stitched the side seams.  Attached velcro and hemmed the top.  And hemmed the bottom by hand.  Then all the little rings had to be stitched in place.

Then onto the window fittings, using L shaped brackets I attached the wooden batten to the window.  Put velcro on it and screwed in the eyelets that would guide the cord.  

Then lots of ironing and trying to get them to hang straight followed.  And that was one blind made!  the day after I made the bigger blind, same idea but more difficult and I had to be even more careful to keep checking it would hang straight.  I am pleased with the result.  The small one is shut every night and is standing up fine.  The big one never gets shut really as we aren't overlooked.  Glad I made them myself, much cheaper and I got to have the fabric that I liked.  Then I moved on to hanging curtains but that post will have to wait.  

Do excuse the lack of blogging at the moment but I am counting down the days till baby is due and trying to get things ready for Christmas.  Plus attending all the usual playgroups, swimming lessons and appointments plus Little L has come down with a stinker of a cold hhhmmm great timing. 

Bye for now.  

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Granny Stripe Pram Blanket

Today I should be in Harrogate at the Knitting and Stitching Show but alas after lost of thinking about it the last couple of days I decided with just over three weeks till due date it wasn't the best of ideas.  It is so busy there and with a pram as well, last year I spent most of the day waiting for people to let me through spaces so I thought I'd give it a miss this year.  Hopefully next year I will be able to go.  So after shopping and library crafts with Little L this morning I finally got round to finishing off this little blanket when she had her sleep.  

I worked in granny stripes and used a 5mm hook and James C Brett Aran with wool in cream and red (to match the new pram and they are unisex colours too).  I made the border up and probably should have done less stitches down the sides because the pattern is a bit bunched up.  I did block it but no amount of stretching could smooth those scallops.  

I stitched the ends in  at the end and yes there were lots of them.  I could have worked over them as I went which I did a few but half were the wrong colour to work in as you go so they had to be sewn in at the end.  The blanket is big enough for in the pram folded in half or for the car seat, or neither if I have a sicky baby!  

Thursday, 7 November 2013

New pram liners

I have been on a roll lately getting things done off the "Things to do before baby arrives" list and one such job was to make covers/liners for the new pram seats.  They are red and whilst the new baby will be in a carry cot or a footmuff for all of winter Little L certainly won't be in a footmuff.  In fact I do well to make her tolerate a blanket over her legs.  So I thought to avoid endless washing of the red padded seat liner I would make simple covers that can be washed and dried easily.

So months ago I bought a cheap red fleece blanket from Ikea (these blankets work out cheaper than buying fleece by the metre and the quality is fine too).  I washed it and it sat and lingered on my to do list for a couple of months at least until yesterday.  

When Little L had her sleep after lunch I got the sewing machine out, cleared the table and started cutting.  I simply cut the shape of the liner and then an extra section to form a flap on the back.  Hemmed it all (by the way I hate sewing with fleece even though I do have a walking foot for my machine my results are never great) and then set to marking out the holes (like large buttonholes) that would need stitching and cutting to allow for the seat harness to pass through.  This is quite fiddly and if you look closely some aren't straight but they will be fine. 
 I added a bit a ribbon to tie securely at the bottom and done.   
Plus I have half a blanket left which will be enough for a baby or toddler blanket.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween

Little L is still too young to understand the concept of Halloween.  How do you explain dressing up in scary outfits and trying to scare people in return for sweets???  But nevertheless we got a pumpkin and made pumpkin soup together.  

And we carved a face in the pumpkin.  Little L really wanted to hold the knife so I carved it very quickly.
We decorated gingerbread men.  I don't think Little L realised the sweets etc were edible cos she didn't eat one.
And we lit our pumpkin and ghost (well Little L decided it was a cow)
Hope you have had a good Halloween.  

Monday, 14 October 2013

Baby's first Cardigan and Hat

I confess I finished both of these months ago and they have sat in the cupboard waiting for the ends to be sewn in and the buttons attached.  What can I say I get easily distracted.  So as the time is ticking by pretty quickly I decided I better finish them off so that baby will have something to wear.

I knitted the Zoom cardigan again because it is such an easy pattern to follow.  I used James C Brett Aran with wool which is lovely and soft.  Perfect for a winter baby. Added some cute ladybird buttons and ta-dah one newborn cardigan.

The hat pattern was Chunky Organic Cotton baby Beanie but I modified it to account for using Aran and hopefully it will fit a newborn.

Not knitting anything else until the baby arrives because I don't want to knit more unisex colours.  I probably won't have time to knit anything when the baby arrives but I can at least buy the wool and get other people to knit them??

Friday, 11 October 2013

Heat or Eat?

One of the main energy suppliers SSE announced yesterday an 8% rise in gas and electricity prices. Although we aren't with SSE our direct debits have gone up this month due to our fixed price deal ending last month and despite lots of searching our monthly bill has gone up by about 10%.  If we chose to heat our home modestly with central heating our bill would double instantly so no we don't heat with gas but we do have a wood burning stove and without that we would freeze.

I listened to the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 this lunchtime and they were discussing this.  One lady phoned in and was really struggling single, no dependents so no benefits/help, low paid job and after her bills etc she had £20 a month left over.  She survived on toast and margarine and during the winter got home from work and went to bed because it was so cold and she couldn't heat her tiny flat.
She wasn't choosing to heat or eat.  She couldn't afford to heat and could barely afford to eat.  That is not a life it is barely an existence.  David Cameron and the politicians have no idea at all what it is like for lots of people in this country spending four/five months of the year freezing, barely able to afford food, and often living very lonely miserable lives.  Where will this end?? 

So please spare a thought for others if you are lucky enough to switch the heating on when cold and to buy nice food.  Not sure how these people in food/fuel poverty can be helped but we give food to the local food bank at the toddler group we attend when I remember, so maybe there is one near you or perhaps you know someone/have a neighbour you could help.        

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A walk and some painting

The weather here is really mild at the moment and we are making the most of it by being outside as much as possible.  Despite the grass being pretty wet with dew most of the time Little L is still playing out with gusto.  I am really not looking forward to spending days stuck in the house when the weather turns.  So yesterday we had our usual walk to the park which Little L loves and then we headed a bit further into the village to walk down the canal.  

The walk is one we do a lot (admittedly not so much these last few months with being pregnant) it is an easy 3 mile circular route.

Little L was armed with a carrot for the horses which she insisted on holding "me hold tight" all the way there, I am surprised it made it in one piece and with no nibbles taken out. 
Carrot horsey .....

Mummy gave the carrots to the horses as they have big teeth
After our walk, lunch, sleep and snack we were outside again this time painting.  Not me for once Little L
Very artistic, I now have maybe 10 pictures that all look virtually the same????

Monday, 30 September 2013


On Saturday we had a day at Yarndale.  

Me, my Sister, Mum and Niece went (no Little L she was with her Daddy thank goodness as it would have been a nightmare with a pram) to Skipton.  It was a lovely sunny day and we were there early.  There was lots to see, some very talented people displaying there makes.  I saw a lovely stall Knitwits (don't think they have a website) but they sell beautiful cardigans, jumpers and hats for babies to toddlers.  Little L has a cardigan from them with butterflies on which we bought at the Westmorland Show.  If I had known what we were expecting I would have bought a cardigan for baby.  They do the neatest fairisle colourwork I have ever seen and they wash well.  If we have a baby girl she will certainly be wearing Little L's butterfly cardigan when it fits.  Another lady (Gwennol designer hand knits) was selling beautiful hand made baby blankets, I was tempted but again would need to be unisex!  
We had a lovely morning at the show and then down into Skipton for the afternoon on the free bus.  I didn't buy anything at the show, my pockets aren't that deep, and I like my yarn ready to go, I don't wind hanks into balls, I don't spin wool and I like to be able to buy enough for a project without breaking the bank.  But there was certainly some nice things to see and if it runs next year I will make the trip.   

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Snuggly for carrycot

I did this a few weeks ago but only just got around to posting it.  I bought the carrycot to go in the new pram and well it was pretty plain.  And the design is a bit stupid because it won't go in the washing machine (unless I'm missing something which is possible).  So the lining is a black cotton which won't stand up to baby sick that well I don't think!

So I had a hunt and came up with some fleece and calico

Then I simply measured and cut and sewed the two sides together and ta dah a little snuggly fleece mattress for the carrycot.    

Much more appealing for a newborn plus it will go in the washing machine

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Holiday in Wales

Just got back from our week away.  It went so fast but we had a great time.  We had a 8am hospital eye clinic on the Monday morning to check Little L's eye and it was fine so we set off on holiday straight from the hospital.  We managed to call a few places near where we used to live on our way.  Firstly Cheshire Oaks, we had a good look around.  Tried to get Little L some new shoes from the Clarks outlet but there wasn't anything I liked, much too summery.  I will just have to go to normal Clarks otherwise she will soon be wearing wellies or slippers.

We also visited my favourite fabric/wool/craft shop - the Abakhan in Mostyn - if you haven't been it is definitely worth a trip if you are in the area.  They have a wool shop, a craft shop, a discount shop (though this is closed at the moment for work), and a fabric shop.  They are currently renovating the old water wheel and there will be a new cafe in that building.  I picked up a few things for new roman blinds that I am making (when I have some time that is) and I got some red aran wool for a pram blanket for baby.  Plus a few other things.  I don't really have any sewing projects on at the moment (well apart from the blinds) so I didn't get any material though there was some lovely stuff.  A really nice toadstool print very similar to the Cath Kidston latest print but at £12 a metre I couldn't justify 2m to make a apron.

Anyway onto the holiday we couldn't stay at Abakhan all day!!  We had a lovely week, we stayed on a caravan site next to the sea, it had great pool facilities and play parks.  We don't go in for the amusements/club etc but if that's your thing then they had them too.  But we went for walks on the beach every night and played on the park.  We had some days out in nearby towns and on some of our favourite beaches (we used to live quite close to North Wales so know the area well).  The weather was pretty good considering.  We got wet on a couple of afternoons and one night it rained pretty hard but not bad.

This was just next to where we were staying

Little L loved it, she could of and tried to stay on the beach all day and had to be tempted away with food?? and even then there were tears.  It was so nice to enjoy the simple things with her, no need to spend lots of money just days collecting shells and stones, running around and swimming. 

We went on the Great Orme Tram in Llandudno

On the beach 

Looking over Llandudno bay, I couldn't walk up the Great Orme but I did managed to walk down.

Another beach

We were sad to leave partly because it means summer is over but mainly because it will be our last holiday with Little L on her own, next time there will be four of us.  Only 3 months to go until our lives are turned upside down!    

Sunday, 8 September 2013

I need a holiday

So this week has been pretty full on -
  • Running around after Little L
  • Swimming
  • Taking the kitchen out and redoing the floor
  • Speaking at the local Planning Committee meeting against a proposal to build houses on our local park
  • More kitchen stuff
  • Last swimming lesson disaster as I had a flat tyre on the way there and so missed lesson
  • Problems with other half's work meaning he had to work more
  • Cutting through the hedge trimmer wire whilst trying to cut the hedge
  • Little L spraying de-icer in her eye, casualty on Sunday afternoon and eye clinic appointment for Monday morning at the hospital
  • And trying to get ready for our holidays which we are setting off tomorrow at 7.30am with a visit to the hospital en route.
Yes I really do need a holiday, if we can just get packed and sorted we will be setting off to Wales tomorrow for a week of seaside fun.  That's assuming we don't have any more disasters before then!!!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A New Pram

Well a couple of months ago we went on a little spending spree and bought ourselves a new pram like this one!!  Wow ??? maybe not that exciting in itself but look closely ..... whats that..... yes two seats. 

Come December all being well we will be bringing home a new baby!!  So excited.  We haven't found out whether it will be a boy or girl as we want a surprise like last time (I was tempted because neutral knitting is really difficult), the pram is in storage and I have a To Do list as long as my arm of things to get done before baby arrives.

Friday, 6 September 2013

DIY SOS - The kitchen floor

We all have these jobs/issues in our homes that linger, fester, keep you awake some nights, get steadily worse and just seem so potentially catastrophic that you put them off.  Well ours has been the kitchen floor.....last summer I noticed that the gap between the top of the washing machine and the work top seemed to have gotten bigger ?? no can't be.  But some delving around with torch and pulling plinths from the bottom of the cupboards revealed that there was a small (1cm) gap below the bottom of the skirting board and the actual floor along the wall underneath our kitchen sink.   Had it been like that since we moved in??? not sure so decided to keep an eye on it.

Well steadily over the last year the gap had become about an inch and a half, the washing machine had to be put on a board to bridge the hole in the floor underneath it and the units were beginning to drop.  So with thought it was decided it would have to be tackled.

So my other half had a day off work yesterday and my Mum and Dad (with the best nothing can't be fixed type of attitude) came down and we began.

You can see the gap

Sink disconnected, units taken out and very expensive lino carefully rolled back.

So looks rotten ......yes it is completely rotten and the floor joist at the back had actually broken

Floor ripped out 

Several hours later, joists replaced/strengthened, new flooring laid.

Floor down and yes I thought I'd just paint behind the washer whilst I had the chance

Finished, no leaks, no breakages or damage and a nice strong floor.  All in two days and thanks to my mum and dad we probably saved ourselves £500-£1000 by doing it ourselves
I can sleep soundly now knowing I wont fall through the floor.  Yes a lot of DIY of late and yes there is a reason for the sudden sense of urgency.....

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