Thursday, July 30, 2009


i saw these cute chickens in my aunts house, i want to make some!! they are very simple, i think, cotton, ribbon, rope and filling. love the photo, it's taken in the room my aunt keeps for her grandchildren, there's always been a huge assortment of playmobil in her house, and i'm glad to see it's still there! my granddad used to make willow baskets, i wonder did he make this one...
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Monday, July 20, 2009

rain rain rain

it's too depressing to take pictures of, so here some photos from last week, when it was lovely and warm!

my nephew's cousin had this cool gadget for observing little critters

like this fat caterpillar!
you can't see it in this photo, but it's pretending to be a one eyed lizzard! no idea what it's called!

the older kids were delighted to get a ride on the combine harvester

i used the rain to do some sewing though, with fabric i got in IKEA (bedlinen).
A purl frog, I drew the pattern on an a4 sheet of paper (printer no work), I think he's quite similar to the original!
doesn't he look so at home in the rainsoaked greenery?

and a little turtle, from this book i think (i only brought the pattern, not the book!)

oh, i forgot to mention the most exciting and scary thing, I applied for a career break, and i got it!! 3 years off! I'm delighted to get the chance to spend so much time with my little one, i feel so privileged! we won't have much money to spare but i think we'll be OK, and time with the babe will be worth so much more than money ever could be!

I really should be sleeping... I better go to bed!

a 1st birthday party

my nephew turned one and we had a lovely afternoon in my SIL's beautiful garden! there were bubbles and games and toys and a paddling pool!

we had a champagne cocktail (made with this raspberry liqueur (with real raspberries in the bottle, i have to bring a bottle back to ireland!) and italian sparkling wine), after coffee and cakes and before a BBQ, the life, i tell you!

here some pictures of her garden!

these tables and chairs are really only for decoration, there is wooden garden furniture on the big patio off the living room, what luxury! there are advantages to country living...

love that little yellow bird house!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

the crossover smock

Making the most of being surrounded by willing 'babysitters' i made a little smock for Emm, using this pattern. I shortened it a little, so it'll fit my little 8 months old, but kept the width as is.

This one is the first attempt with this pattern, so my mum gave me an old stripy shirt that my dad doesn't wear any more, it matched the turquoise-blue plain fabric I brought from Ireland really well.

I cut the pattern out of the stripy fabric, then pinned it, right sides together, onto the plain fabric. I sewed all around, leaving a gap to turn. Ironed, turned, ironed again and topstitched all around.

It didn't seem to fit very well when I was knotting the straps, so instead I attached snap buttons, and folded the pointy edge of the strap under. In this picture she's wearing it tied losely once, then buttoned. If that makes any sense, it's hard to describe in words... I will make another one, I'm sure, but I think I might make the straps longer, with a square edge instead of the pointy ones, so that it'll look a little bit like ribbons. Or I might attach actual ribbons?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

vintage crochet baby dress

about 40 years ago, before she was married, and i think before she was even engaged, my mum crocheted a little red baby dress, and embroidered some flowers onto it. Years later she had a baby girl, and another, but somehow didn't get round to putting the dress on them, but she kept it through all these years! And presented it to my little daughter last week! the style and colour are very nearly back in fashion, and it's super cute over jeans! you can see in the second photo emm has discovered her tongue and uses it a lot to make interesting sounds, mostly gerrell, brell, babblabblabb! she's having so much fun! the only downside is it's hard to take a picture that doesn't have a little pink tongue in it!!

i'm really touched to think she kept it all these years!

at home

It's strange being at home, it's hard settling in, with being a mother, but at the same time being my parents' daughter, fitting into their routine. I'm missing the husband, and of course Emm is missing her dada. It's strange being in my home country, in the lush country side, everything so green, I think it's greener than Ireland at the moment! I chose to live in Ireland, and not at home, for good reasons, but on a nice day, a leisurely day, it seems mad. There's such a strong network here, of neighbours and friends and family, I know it's partly why I moved away, I felt suffocated and fenced in, but at the same time, I miss it when I'm in Ireland.

Everything here seems so nice and well looked after, I missed several turns when driving around town, because many streets don't look like streets any more, no tarmac and sidewalks but everything paved or cobble locked, with flower beds and potted trees to calm traffic. I kept thinking it's somebody's driveway! But of course on a weekday I see the price that's payed for having everything picture perfect, an awful lot of work and money goes into keeping everything looking so tidy. I was talking to my brother about herbs I have in my garden. He asked
'Herbs? What for?'
'Cooking of course, it's much cheaper and fresher to grow them, rather than buy them'
'But all the sachets and jars already have herbs in them already!'
'Oh, do you use them often?'
'Yeah, of course, do you think we want to spend half an hour every day cooking, and chopping herbs and mixing it up ourselves?'
' - '
'We wouldn't have the time!'

I was really surprised. His wife is a stay at home mum of two little boys, and I thought she'd have lots of time. But that's the thing, healthy food, or 'slow food' is just not a priority for them. Food is made quickly and eaten quickly. It takes a lot of time to keep the house clean and super tidy, and the garden, too, and she does a lot of DIY home decorating projects. So different to us, we try to keep on top of the house, and do the projects that need doing, but we spend lots of time on cooking and eating, and we buy good quality unprocessed food wherever we can. And I'm glad we are able to live our lives that way, making time for meals and getting some time to ourselves rather than 'trying to keep up with the Joneses' when it comes to garden ornaments and polished windows.

Also, my family here hardly ever go out just the two of them, or my brother with just his family, all the leisure time goes on outings with 'the circle of friends' and the football club, and the neighbourhood, and the extended family (or getting the house ready to receive same). So much more couple and family time for P and me...

Being an expat is great in a way, I don't take anything for granted or feel I have to do something because 'it's the done thing', I always have the other perspective and can pick and choose from two cultures!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

homeward bound!

My little one and me are catching a flight this afternoon and my parents are picking us up at the other end. Everybody's quite excited to see her, I can tell! I mean, my parents always looked forwards to seeing me, too, but for little Emm they just can't hide their excitement! Better go and make some lunch, and pack the last few bits and pieces! And put the many portions of bolognese into freezer, so my hubby won't have to cook every night!