Sunday 31 May 2009


The world did not end

Yesterday we went to the zoo with Vonnie and her family and had a lovely sun-drenched day. You'll just have to take my word for it because, being a muppet, I didn't take a single picture. Perhaps I thought that if I took a picture of any of our new friends, once home and uploaded, we'd see that they were in fact figments of imagination. Because surely such nice and friend-compatible people don't exist. And if Baby Greer doesn't win the title of Best Baby Ever, I'll eat my hat.

There were a couple hiccups in the day, the most fundamental being that we shelled out a fortune between our two families to get into the zoo and the kids weren't interested in the animals one bit. They only wanted to play on the playground. Which somewhat lost its luster (to me anyway) when a little boy 'dropped trou' and had a poo in the doorway of the wooden ship. The only doorway. Maia was tired and hot, so whinged and whined all day and showed none of the spirit and independence I brag about. Jamie kept loudly asking 'What's his name?' about Nairn, despite shouting 'Nay-er!' in excess of 500 times during the day. For those of you who like gymnastics, Jamie executed a near-perfect double back-flip with two and a half twists dismount from a wall. We only scored him 8.5 because he landed on his elbow instead of his feet.

Despite these (inconsequential) niggles, we all had a smashing day and can't wait to see our new friends again!

EDIT: Courtesy of Bob, photographic proof!

Saturday 30 May 2009


Bedtime: A revision

You might have seen the video I posted earlier in the week of my kids 'winding down' for bed. Scandalous, wasn't it? I mean, really, how are they meant to fall gently and peacefully off to sleep when the post-bath/ pre-bed time is spent circling the living room like mental animals in the zoo? 'That's enough!' I said, 'Have some quiet time for God's sake!' Maia picked up her little portable kitchen and carried it around the back of the couch. 'This looks promising,' I thought, 'Some nice and gentle role play...' As if:

Friday 29 May 2009


My dark secret

I've got a confession to make: I have multiple personality disorder. Not in the medical sense, mind, in the cyber sense. Would it shock if I said that in the real world I am shy, private and introverted? If I had a pound for every time someone said 'Gee, I didn't use to like you. You come across as very aloof', I could buy a bottle of semi-decent wine. And then drink to numb the pain. Because I really don't like giving people the impression I'm aloof, in my heart I'm warm and engaging and maybe even a tiny bit charming. Even my own mom said recently that she liked reading my blog because she's learning more about me, that it's like a 'secret' diary.

When I first started writing this blog, I worried about finding my voice and *gasp* people who would want to read it. It's taken me awhile to feel comfortable writing and sharing but I've realised something a little bit alarming: I can be who I really am here. And being myself here is helping me be myself out there. Slowly. I don't think it's a coincidence that my three and a half year stint in therapy for depression is finally coming to an end.

So why the confession today? Because tomorrow (drumroll please...), my family is meeting up with Vonnie's family and going to the zoo. We've all been getting to know each other cyber-style: she reads my blog, I read her blog, last night Steven read Bob's blog. In the absence of Steven having a blog, I wrote a personal ad on his behalf for Bob to read. And I'm worried that when we meet she'll think, 'Who's this imposter? She's nothing like her blog!' But I'm getting there. And thanks for helping :)

Thursday 28 May 2009


Made a top, then booked a breast reduction

Robert Burns wrote; 'The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray...' And never is this more true than when you have big boobs. One of my bloggy friends, Domestic Cat, pointed my in the direction of a Spring Ruffle Top tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew. Look how lovely it is:

I pictured my head on this body and wanted to sew myself one so much! When my inner voice said 'But Amanda, what of your big boobs?' I stuck my fingers in my ears and said La, la, la until it stopped. And so I made myself one.

What a pretty bodice! So far so good, let's zoom out!

Uh-oh, it's all going a bit tent like... Maybe we should check out the side view...

Egads, check out that bosom shelf!

Wednesday 27 May 2009


A rose by any other name does not smell as sweet

I think I've posted before about Jamie's obsession with Ryvita (or Dida as we call it). 'Tis the breakfast of champions. And the lunch. And the dinner. So prolific is his appetite for Ryvita, that a couple weeks ago we questioned our ability to fund his habit. So, casting a critical eye over the health food aisle, I noticed that generic supermarket own-brand Ryvita is half the cost of proper Ryvita. 'Great,' I thought as I piled the imposters into the trolley, 'He'll never tell the difference' . Because they are made of cardboard and fibre, and taste of air.

Later that day, I proffered the pseudo-Dida lathered in peanut butter to the connosiuer. With one tiny nibble, he swivelled his head towards me while pushing the plate away. 'Is not Dida,' he said, 'Tastes like Crisp Dida'. I wasn't aware of this distinction, but it is apparently a deal-breaker. And so the love affair for Ryvita ended, he would not entertain it any longer. His fickle heart turned to rice cakes. Which, you might be aware, are so bereft of nutritional content that I believe there is a limit on the number you can give your child before they are taken into care. And so, I was determined to resurrect the mighty Dida.

Another thing I might have told you about Jaim is that he has a superhuman sense of smell. In fact, I think this is the reason he refuses to entertain eating new foods. Everything is held below his little nostrils for a sniff, before the dismissal, 'I no like, it smells like carrots', 'I no like, it smells like pasta'. Or my own personal favourite, 'I no like, it smell like PJs'. As in pajamas. Right.

Yesterday I bought a fresh box of fully-fledged, 100% certified Ryvita. I showed him the box to demonstrate their authenticity. No game. I took one from the packet and offered it to him. Expecting further subterfuge, he reluctantly took it and cast a wary eye over the familiar furrows and grains. A small sniff, the beginnings of a smile. A bigger sniff, pure joy lit up his face, 'It's not Crisp Dita, it's Dita!'

When I was telling my mom this story on the phone last night (because she doesn't always remember to screen her calls), she wondered, 'What does it mean? What do you think he could use his talent to be?' A wine expert? A man who checks for gas leaks? A BO consultant? Nope, a serial killer. Because this particular little eccentricity always reminds me of Perfume, the (fantastic) book by Patrick Suskind. To quote Amazon, it is the story of a young man who:
"grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odor he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill."


Tuesday 26 May 2009


Bank holiday round up

We had a lovely four day weekend here, with a bit of nice weather yesterday, but it's back to business as usual. So just a quick one from me today, I'm not going to tell you how many emails I'm behind on, but it's shocking.
  • Transactions I submitted feedback for on Etsy this morning: 182 (oops)
  • Number of orange bird coats sold: 1
  • Remaining metres of orange bird print fabric after cutting coat: <1
  • Therefore, totally justifiable trips to IKEA to get more: 1
  • Hours spent on bus going to and from IKEA: 2
  • Number of pages of Stephen Fry's autobiography read on bus: 152
  • Number of metres of orange bird fabric I panic bought: 13
  • Number of metres of red twill I panic bought: 3
  • Number of metres of a lovely new fabric I guiltily impulse bought: 2
  • Total metres of fabric I carried home in a massively heavy backpack: 18
  • Pairs of shoes we intended on buying at Vincent's: 2
  • Pairs of shoes we did buy at Vincent's: 4
  • Rubbish movies watched: 1 (The Day the Earth Stood Still)
  • Good movies watched: 3 (Gomorrah, Milk, Frost/Nixon)
  • Number of times my new friend Lucy's adorable baby Emily sold a Matryoshka shirt for me: 2
  • Number of cheerios eaten off the floor 'like a doggy': 400
  • Number of pillowcase dresses I sold that I'd never shared on my blog: 1
  • Number of times I thought, "I wish the kids would relax before bed instead of running around like lunatics: infinite

Monday 25 May 2009


If you like your sharks conceptual

I started (and finished!) my first book for awhile over the weekend, The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall. His debut work, the author has been hyped as one to watch and the book has already been added to the 'cult novel' lexicon by some pretty respected and influential people. Has anyone else read it? Because I really can't decide if it was good or not...

The story follows a man named Eric Sanderson, who wakes up in a flat with no memory of who he is or his life before that moment. He finds a note instructing him to contact the psychologist who was treating him before he lost his memory, and through her learns a bit about his previous life: this has happened before, and the original dissociative condition was precipitated by the tragic loss of his girlfriend four years prior. She instructs him not to follow any instructions the first Eric Sanderson may have pre-arranged for him to receive, which he ignores. And then it gets complicated.

The first Eric Sanderson tells him that he is being pursued by a conceptual shark, a Ludovician, that devours memories. Yes, I said conceptual shark. Not a real one, but a concept of a shark, made of words. But hell bent on eating him right up. Eric gains a guide in the form of Scout, who may or may not be his dead girlfriend. Or the concept of her. And they adventure through un-space (yep, I said un-space) in pursuit of the scientist who's an expert in the field of conceptual fish. Who lives in a cathedral constructed of phonebooks. I'll not give the denouement away because I don't know myself want to be a spoilsport, but it's a doozy.

The problem I have with this book (and a lot of 'cult' books) is that it's too clever by half. Or, if you really want to get into the spirit of things, it's probably too clever by π. The 36 'un-chapters' that aren't included in the book but are hidden in cyberspace or real world. Plot and logic sacrificed for hip post-modern references and visual special effect (40 page flip book of the word-shark's approach?!). It smacks of a house of cards. A conceptual house of cards, I mean.

Sunday 24 May 2009


Smock top in action

I managed to get outside for some pics yesterday and (if I do say so myself), I'm really pleased with how it looks on!

I think it's slightly wider than it needs to be in the shoulders / neckline, so I will probably add some length to the body to make this the 3T / 4T size.

The bodice and sleeves are very gathered so it's nice and flouncy. I'm hoping to offer four different sleeve options: sleeveless, butterfly sleeves, short sleeves and long sleeves. The short and long sleeves could also be elasticated at the hem. What do you think... is it too much choice for a single pattern or a bonus to have so many options?

I designed it with a wee notch at the back, as it was important to me that it not have any buttons or closures required to get it over the head. In the end it was unnecessary because the neckline is generous enough, but it does look quite nice (and would look nice in the front too methinks). So, should I keep it?

And finally, anyone have any ideas on what should I call it?!

Saturday 23 May 2009


Jamie pimps me out

As anticipated, Friend Sarah and I went clothes shopping on Thursday night and I did indeed buy a couple of things that were not ill-fitting or ridiculous. One of my new tops made it's debut when I went to collect Jamie from nursery. It's peasant-ish and gingham, and I look a bit like a Bavarian milkmaid. But hopefully in a good way. If I were a horse, I'd look a bit like this:

So mundane and predictable is my wardrobe, Jamie immediately noticed that I had a new top and made a fuss over me, 'Oh, Mummy, I like your new top. It nice. You so smart.' I picked him up onto my hip, and gave him a cuddle. I was pleased, and thought 'Aww, what a wee sweetheart...'.

But then he turned to the janitor (who was loitering waiting for all the kids to leave), and said, 'You like my mum? You like her top?' Blushing as I attempted to clip his wretched buggy straps, I muttered, 'Shh, Jaim, it's fine, just leave it.' But he persisted, and stepped up the sales pitch. As I leaned over him, he cupped his small hand around my bosom, making a feature of it. 'You like? You think she nice?', inviting the janitor to look at my chest. He's never needed an invitation before, but now he was being given carte blanche. 'Mmm,' he leered in full Carry On style, 'Yes, I do like your mum.' Jamie was pleased, I was mortified.

Friday 22 May 2009


Smocky summer top

This is my new summer blouse pattern! Square neck, gathered puffy sleeves, very full and flouncy. What do you think?

Thursday 21 May 2009


Tag, I'm it!

I've been tagged by not one, but two people. First by Nicky of Sparkly Treasures, and then by Jennifer of Little Birds Fly. So here goes....

8 Things I am looking Forward too.....

  1. Going into town with Friend Sarah this evening. We're going to hit the shops, and then to eat and drink and be merry. I might buy some clothes, which I haven't done in almost a year.
  2. Meeting my new nephew Calvin, he's coming up to two months old now and is already probably too big for the clothes I made but not sent :(
  3. Sunshine and Heat. Part and parcel of a trip home to the US in the summer.
  4. Everyone's legs getting out. See above. The kids legs are so chubby and delicious they deserve to be seen at all times.
  5. Reading a book again. I'm a voracious reader but have had a moratorium on reading for a couple of months now as I've been so busy with the business.
  6. I think *gulp* I might be meeting up with Vonnie soon, the object of my sapphic cyber crush. Although she warns that we have so much in common us meeting might rip a hole in the fabric of the universe.
  7. My birthday in August. I'm going to be 30, and Friend Sarah has offered to look after the kids so we can go away. Although it worries me that after looking after the kids, she might not be my friend anymore. She might be in an asylum.
  8. The next time I can justify fabric shopping. It's got to happen some time, right?
8 Things I Did Yesterday...
  1. Talked to my Dad on the phone in the afternoon. We talked about the book 'Raising your Spirited Child' in relation to Jamie.
  2. Talked to my mom on the phone in the evening. I was meant to be 'going to bed early', but instead blabbed away for an hour and a half, and then went to bed at 1AM. Oops.
  3. Hid Tesco Cheerios inside the box for normal Cheerios to try to trick the kids. Maia, tricked. Jamie, not tricked.
  4. Bought Jamie a special treat (a big bubble wand) for not sleeping with us for the second time in 10 months. He sneaked in again last night, so the treat did not incentivise him.
  5. Ate the last of Maia's birthday icing.
  6. Fixed two tires on the buggy. Again.
  7. Sketched and cut out the pattern pieces for a new summer blouse I'm hoping to make.
  8. Watched The Apprentice through my fingers. I get so stressed.
8 Things I Wish I Could Do....
  1. Speak Italian.
  2. Sleep at least six hours a night.
  3. Service my own sewing machines.
  4. Figure out how to scale my coat patterns to adult sizes.
  5. Dress myself in non-boring clothes without feeling like an imposter.
  6. Afford to send my patterns to a printer so I don't have to trace anymore.
  7. Get my UK driver's license.
  8. Relax.
8 Shows I Watch....
  1. The Apprentice (through fingers)
  2. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (through fingers)
  3. Ashes to Ashes
  4. Dexter
  5. Heroes
  6. Damages
  7. Skins
  8. America's / Britain's Next Top Model *looks shifty*
Okay, that's me. My turn to tag you. Here's the rules, just in case you want to follow them:

1. Mention the name of the person who tagged you.
2. Do the lists of 8.
3. Tag 8 bloggers of your choice.
4. Let them know that they have been tagged!

And, I'll tag:

Wednesday 20 May 2009


Situation vacant: Mummys' boys need not apply

You might remember that I revealed my age-inappropriate crush on Shia La Beouf a couple of months back. But now I'm reeling, because he recently gave an interview (in Playboy no less) and said this:
'Probably the sexiest woman I know is my mother. She's an ethereal angel. Nobody looks like that woman. If I could meet my mother and marry her, I would. I would be with my mother now, if she weren't my mother, as sick as that sounds.'
Yes, that's both bad and wrong, not to mention creepy. But I was (almost) prepared to turn a blind eye, as it's a perfect quote for inserting 'Jamie and Maia's mum' for 'my mother':
'Probably the sexiest woman I know is Jamie and Maia's mum. She's an ethereal angel. Nobody looks like that woman. If I could meet my Jamie and Maia's mum and marry her, I would. I would be with Jamie and Maia's mum now, if she weren't Jamie and Maia's mum, as sick as that sounds.'
Doesn't that sound much better? Anyway... a couple of days after declaring incestuous love for his mother, this picture was published:
It's him, and his mother, and she just wiped his nose, in public. I'm so over him.

But now the situation is vacant, so can anyone recommend an age-inappropriate crush to fill the void?

Tuesday 19 May 2009


My reward

I've been working super hard to get my Etsy shop full to the brim with my ready-to-ship stock. It's tedious, it's demoralising, it's time-consuming, and... it's done! Seventy four different articles of clothing photographed and listed. And what a lovely end to my four day exercise, one of my peasant tops has made it into a treasury dedicated to pears. Yay! Go check it out and show some love, it's her first treasury and I think it's rather nice:)

Monday 18 May 2009


Something cool, something clever and something random

  • Something cool:

    I got an email from my sister in law in Boston with a very mind-blowing story. When she was at the local playground with my niece, she saw a little girl wearing my polka-dot asymetrical coat. When she asked the lady where she bought it, she said she bought it online from a seller in Europe!

  • Something clever:

    Our house has turned into a set of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Jamie has discovered that saying 'Are you sure?' repeatedly causes a crisis in confidence that sends other family members into a tailspin. When asking his sister 'You want to play in my bedroom?', her negative response can turn into a positive result the more he persists in questioning her original answer. And I certainly feel more amenable when (in the middle of working on something) I decline playing with him when he responds, 'You no wanna play with me. Are you sure?'. Clever little passive aggressive bugger.

  • Something random:

    When I was walking to the shops yesterday, a fox came out of a lane and walked with me until a passing black lab scared him off.

Sunday 17 May 2009


How did I not know about this?!

After a mostly agreeable photoshoot with the kids yesterday afternoon, I spent the remainder of the day updating my Etsy shop with all my Ready To Ship stock. It's soooo laborious going through each one individually and by the time I'd added more than thirty listings, I was ready to (insert your own melodramatic behaviour here).

Then I saw a twitter: 'wow, so glad i found etsyhacks, makes supply listing SO much easier" and I was intrigued. I went over to Etsyhacks and found that if I installed Firefox and a couple of other programmes that I could make subsequent listings based on existing listings: No copy and pasting descriptions, no re-tagging 14 things, no re-categorising, no shipping profiles. It's all carried through, except for the photos. Whilst I wish that I had known about this yesterday morning, I'm happy that I can use it to finish filling up my shop with greater ease.

Now that I've been chanting 'shop, shop, shop' I'm sure you feel subliminally compelled to check it out for yourself. Click on the links below to see dozens of cute pics in the relevant categories. Ignore that Jamie makes a camp 'hands on hips' pose in most shots, I'm just grateful he let me take some pictures at all. Hopefully my shop will be fully stocked tonight, although I've discovered that a second Maia photoshoot is required....

Saturday 16 May 2009


Birthday roundup: smallpox cake and excursions

Okay, I know you've all been dying to see which cartoon character I bastardized in cake form (as is the tradition in this family) for Maia's birthday. Spongebob and Peppa Pig were the forerunners, I even considered a tandem friendship shot but it probably would have blown their wee minds, as well as look doubly terrible. So Peppa it was. This was probably my most risky endevour to date, as Peppa has a somewhat *ahem* phallic bone structure so it could have gone oh-so-inappropriately wrong. In the end I downsized her snout and upsized her face, which was clearly deliberate rather than just my artistic shortcomings. When my cake when baking, it gained a crispy flaky crust which I should have scraped off before icing (but didn't), so Peppa has the appearance of the pox under her pan-stick make-up exterior. She's smiling to put on a brave face, but her cold dead raisin eyes tell a different story. But nevermind, Jamie ate with relish. Maia turned her nose up.

So what of the rest of the day? We went to East Links Country farm, where the kids patently ignored the animals but instead availed themselves of all the other activities on offer. Apologies for the number of pics, I normally create a wee slideshow in Kodakgallery for such occassions but I'm too lazy busy to multitask.

Riding trikes


Going down tunnels



Being chauffered about

Being taught by Mum to take risks and be adventurous

But Jamie can't bear to look and Maia is indifferent

Eating ice cream


Taking a train through the white light of the afterlife animal enclosure

Checking out the animals

Watching / performing magic. This was their favourite bit, in the Shooting Ball Room. After filling this tube with foam balls, a push of the button and they'd all shoot out.

I love the wonder on their faces...

Friday 15 May 2009


350 seconds is all I need

I was hoping to be able to post a big birthday roundup of yesterday's celebrations but Maia is not feeling well and clinging to me like a wee limpet. When Miss Independant is clingy, that's when you know it's bad...

So, instead, I'll post some shirred dress modelling pics. She allowed me a 350 second photo bonanza yesterday before declaring, 'Off, off!' and tearing at the dress and herself in a pique, but I guess that's all I need!