Friday 31 July 2009


The Secret Garden

If I'm going to be boring you with my holiday pictures breaking my holiday down into intricate detail for your pleasure over the next couple of weeks, I thought I'd give you some context. My parents' house is in the middle of the woods with no neighbours for miles. They largely built it themselves, or to be more honest, the building / renovating / modifying process is an organic one that is still ongoing twenty five years later. When I was a girl, the garden space was a pretty functional space with just grass and a kickboard for practicing my soccer skills. But since I have grown up and left, my parents have turned the outdoor space into a veritable Secret Garden full of whimsical delights. It's probably no coincidence that after I left they found magic lacking in their lives.

The Gazebo

The bird house bought by me someone with impeccable taste

The frog pond looking down from the deck

The wide shot up the path

Anonymous flowers

Day lillies

The brightest blue

Looking across the frog pond back up to the house

The little gargoyle contemplating the frogs

Thursday 30 July 2009


Who's this geek?

Is it the new Doctor Who?

Nope, it's Maia.

Wednesday 29 July 2009


Ever get the feeling that people are staring at you?

Well, we're here. A long 19 hours from door to door, but we've made it, and mostly unscathed. Those of you who read my blog often will have noticed the red flag waving wildly at my use of the term mostly unscathed. You'll be be nodding sagely, 'There's a story coming....'

So there we were about thirty minutes after take off on our Frankfurt to Boston flight. It was the biggest plane I've ever be on, and totally packed. Jamie and Steven were in the double seats in front of us, Maia and I together one row back. She was lying down with her head on my lap, looking up at me. I was stroking her forehead, she was reaching up and stroking my cheek, and I had a momentary thought 'This is one of those perfect motherhood moments. She's so sweet. I love her so much'. Her mouth opened... 'Is she going to say I love you too, mum?' I wondered.... No, she's going to projectile vomit, vertically, back on to her own head. I did what any mother would, I tried to catch it in my hands. In my panic to sit her up so she wouldn't choke, I hauled her into my lap, inviting her to throw up all over my torso. She heaved several more times and then stopped.

We looked at each other. We surveyed the damage. I tapped dad on the shoulder to interrupt him from his movie. He turned around. He eyes widened as he saw me covered in sick from shoulders to waist. Like a Wet T-shirt Contest that had gone badly, badly wrong. He looked at his daughter with every square inch of her body drenched, her hair saturated. He looked across the aisle at the woman who had turned her travel blanket into a burqa, shooting daggers in our direction. At the tourists behind us jabbering excitedly in Japanese, proffering tissues. The steward and stewardesses running full pelt down the aisle brandishing towels. We did the walk of shame to the bathroom with 200 pairs of eyes surveying our drenched and smelly fate.

We spent the next twenty minutes in the lilliputian toilets, using small moist towellettes to mop up our bodies and the tiny sink to wash our hair repeatedly. Of course I hadn't packed any spare clothes for me (I'm generally of the opinion that as I'm toilet trained I don't need to) so my only option was to wear Steven's zip up hoody. With no shirt. Just so you know, he is 6'1" and I am 5'4". The dread of not wearing a bra slightly outweighed wearing a sick-soaked one.

I don't know about anyone else, but when I travel I like to make a tiny bit of effort not to look my worst. Especially if I'm meeting relatives at the airport. Maybe I put a new t-shirt on, or jeans that I have to zip / unzip to get on, or I comb my hair. I might put on a little bit of makeup. So it was with some distress that I rocked my new look last night: a 'little bit of makeup', an XL hoody down to my knees, well fitted jeans, and wet hair. Nice d├ęcolletage though.

Tuesday 28 July 2009


We're off-ski!

The waiting is over...

They're ready.

We're not, but hopefully soon!

Monday 27 July 2009


Sharing clothes 15 years earlier than expected

Procrastination takes me down some pretty interesting paths. Last night when I was packing up our stuff, I suddenly thought, "I wonder if I have the body of a two year old?' And it turns out, I do. Here's some proof.

A shirred dress on Maia:

And on me as a top:

And as a skirt (please ignore the sassy pose, I don't know what came over me):

A pillowcase dress on Maia:

A pillowcase dress on me:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I should wear Maia's clothes. Only that I can.

Sunday 26 July 2009


I want to be a winner! Or die trying.

Other than The Whys, Jamie has another current obsession: being 'the winner'. By the winner, he means getting / doing things first. For example, this is how I start my mornings:

Scene: Doling out breakfast, handing two plates of toast to two toddlers at precisely the same time.
Jamie: (panicked) I want to be a winner with the toast!
Maia: I winner too!
Jamie: (paroxysms of anxiety) 'No, I'm the winner of the toast!'
Maia: No, I winner!
Jamie: (crying) I want to be the winner of the toast!
Maia: (crying) I winner too!
Me: (lamenting the absurdity of her life) For God's Sake! You're both winners of the toast!

And so it goes... Winner of the Shoes. Winner of the Juice. Winner of the Toothpaste. This competitive spirit has pervaded the minutiae of our lives.

So the other day, we took the bus across town to meet up with our new friend Lucy and her two kids Robert and Emily. We were all on foot because it's a lottery whether you get an evil bus driver who won't let you on with a buggy. As a bonus, it couldn't have been raining any harder. I'm sure you won't be shocked to hear that I find walking beside the road with two toddlers stressful, but as I'm not a driver we have a considerable experience of it. I devote most of my energy to attempting to hold Maia's hand / hood / back of her coat, keeping my body between her and the road, or just carrying her screaming and kicking under my arm if she doesn't listen. I more or less trust Jamie, because he is old enough to appreciate the danger of roads, and isn't a risk-taker like his sister. Or so I thought. As we approached the pedestrian crossing with the delectable button to press, he broke off at a full sprint to try to be the Winner of the Crossing. Finding Robert an obstacle to being the Winner, he executed a move normally seen in American Football and looped around him, slightly into the road. This is how my mind's eye remembers it:

Robert wasn't actually on a trike, but that's the only picture I had of him. And maybe the road didn't have a cement mixer, a Ferrari, a double decker bus, a steamroller, a fire engine, a motorcycle and a combine harvester all on it in a haphazard fashion, but it was still pretty dangerous and made my stomach clench in fear. I'm not really sure why I'm telling you this because I feel like a terrible mother for letting this happen on my watch. Like the Winner of the Guilt perhaps.

Saturday 25 July 2009


The 'happle dress'

I was so happy this morning to receive a stunning customer appreciation picture courtesy of one of my new Scottish customers. Her little one is wearing a Ginger Blossom peasant top with tile sleeves and her older daughter a blue apple babycord tunic. Or as she refers to it, 'her beautiful new happle dress'. Bless her :)

Friday 24 July 2009


Shock and Awe

Despite not being as well-publicised as this Shock and Awe:

My own Shock and Awe is no less dramatic:

That's a reenactment of me looking at the computer yesterday as my sale generated 500 hits to my blog and more orders than the two day fair I did last weekend. To be honest, we're all shocked here:

I'm so very grateful to everyone who re-tweeted, linked and blogged about my sale and, of course, all the people who've ordered. The strength of people's kindness and the power of social networking is awesome. I'm truly humbled.

Thursday 23 July 2009


Get 'em while they're hot (or at least dry)!

As you might have read, my summer fairs have been a total disaster due to inclement weather and now I'm in a bit of a pickle... I have a tremendous amount of stock! With my trip to the States quickly approaching, and a chance to replenish my now-meager fabric stash, I'm starting a big sale today. I've been loading all my ready to ship stock into galleries on my Facebook fan page with the available sizes.

First, the peasant tops. Normally £14, sale price is £11. Click here to be taken to the gallery.

Tunics, normally £18, sale price is now £14. Click here to be taken to the gallery.

Organic t-shirts, normally £12, sale price is now £9. Click here to be taken to the gallery.

Dresses, normally £20 to £25, sale price for all is now £16. Click here to be taken to the gallery.

Rompers, normally £14, sale price for all is now £11. Click here be taken to the gallery.

Coats, normally £45, sale price a massively discounted £30. Click here be taken to the gallery.

If you want to order anything, please email me at and I'll send you a Paypal invoice. Shipping is a flat rate of £2 for orders up to £25 and £3 for orders over £25. If you tweet, blog, link the sale in your Facebook etc I'll throw in free shipping! Please spread the word, this has really been a terrible summer for the business and I'm so keen to start over with new fabric :)

This sale is on only until Sunday, and then I'll be closing up shop for a couple of weeks!

Oh, and my US friends are more than welcome to order as I'll be in the States in less than a week and can ship from there!

Wednesday 22 July 2009


Eight things

Ooops, Vonnie tagged me a scandalously long time ago...

8 things I am looking forward to:

  1. Our trip to the States next week. Meeting the new nephew, seeing how much my niece and other nephews have grown since Christmas, hanging out with my parents, sunshine, Dairy Queen, going to the movies (in particular The Drive In) and possibly a couple nights on our own to celebrate my big birthday
  2. Jamie sleeping all night long, in his own bed
  3. Having enough money to buy some clothes that actually fit. At the moment I can pull on all my trousers without unzipping them. I look like a vagabond.
  4. The kids going to university. Think I'm going to go all Doogie Howser on them and make them go when they're pre-teens.
  5. Not wiping anyone's bum for them
  6. A hair cut
  7. Receiving the massive lump sum we're owed from being underpaid on Tax Credits
  8. Reading The Girl Who Played With Fire which my husband kindly bought me yesterday

8 things I did yesterday:

  1. Made one of these and one of these for orders
  2. Had my t-shirt on inside out all day, only realising my folly at bedtime (see 'vagabond' above)
  3. Pondered what the kids would do if I had an aneurysm in response to their fighting
  4. Tried to get a close up photo of Maia's eyeball
  5. Watched a thunderstorm through the window
  6. Tidied up the maelstrom, all day long
  7. Discussed experimenting with resin (off the crafty not druggy variety)
  8. Cleaned the inside of my sewing machine and chastised myself for not doing it more often

8 things I wish I could do:

  1. Find the correct balance between having ready made stock and actually selling it
  2. Drive in the UK
  3. Master my procrastinating tendencies
  4. Take an uninterrupted shower
  5. Speak foreign languages and be able to travel there to put it into practice
  6. Not get so stressed
  7. Make clothes for myself
  8. Put makeup on without looking like a transvestite

8 TV shows I watch:

  1. Criminal Minds
  2. The Street
  3. The In-Betweeners
  4. Lost
  5. Dexter
  6. CSI
  7. True Blood (well, the first episode anyway!)
  8. In. the. Bloody. Night. Garden. (makes my ears bleed)

I'm not going to tag anyone because I'm pretty sure everyone's already been tagged!

Monday 20 July 2009


A plague on our house

Since the summer holidays started it's been illness after illness here. First it was Maia and a middle ear infection, treated with antibiotics. Then one week later, with the mother of all nappy rashes and ulcers in her mouth, we were back at the doctors. I have to admit that I was a little bit shocked when the doctor said it was Hand, Foot and Mouth. Mostly because it seemed to me to be more like Mouth, Bits and Bum, but also because this is how they treat Foot and Mouth in the UK:

Luckily Hand, Foot and Mouth is not related to Foot and Mouth so we didn't need to burn Maia on a pyre. At my insistence, we were also given treatment for Thrush for the Bits and Bum element. Which she responded to, so it appears that my genetic contribution to Maia is not strictly limited to unruly hair and a persecution complex. And the half of her right eye that's blue:

And now the most terrifying affliction of all, which manifested in the boy child last week. I'm not, however, speaking of swine flu but of the less-publicised but more serious affliction: The Whys. Other mums have been talking of the dreaded Whys in hushed tones, eyes lolling in anxiety, "They just won't stop, make them stop, please God, make them stop..." Although I sympathised, I didn't appreciate how maddening The Whys is, until it struck our very own house. Now I don't just have to tell him to do or not to do things, I have to justify it:

Me: Don't use the puppet to fondle yourself.
J: Why?
Me: Because I said so.
J: Why?
Me: I don't like it.
J: Why?
Me: Because it creeps me out.
J: Why?
Me (crying): Just stop! For the love of God, stop!

Research suggests that this condition is terminal (for me at least) but there is palliative care:


Mini Mod dress winner

Great participation in my latest giveaway, thank you everyone! There were some pretty exotic food choices!

And without further ado, the winner is....
KID, MD! Congratulations and I look forward to seeing what you make.

Sunday 19 July 2009


Treefest: Day two debrief

Today was off to a good start, because I had Friend Sarah in tow to keep me from committing harakiri company. Until we got to the field. Tent, tent, tent, tent, no tent. 'Hey Sarah,' I said, 'look, no tent!' I left my tent overnight, as did everyone else. But whose tent wasn't standing in the morning? That's right, mine. It was dissembled on the ground. 'Hmm, guess we'll have to put it back up,' I puzzled. As we started to collect the poles, one of the event staff came over. 'Good luck with that,' he smirked. 'Did you take the tents down overnight?' I asked. Because it was stormy during the night with some seriously heavy rain. 'Nup, I tore it down this morning.' I didn't think tore sounded like a very good verb. 'See, when I came in this morning, your tent was upside down on top of that tent.' Me and Sarah looked at where he was pointing. 'My tent was upside down? On that tent?' We looked again. 'Yep, it's legs were sticking up in the air.' I had a mental image:

'So I had to take it apart, and most of the poles are broken. You'll not get it back together again,' he said. 'Whatever, Humpty Dumpty. This tent is going back together again. I am not buying a new tent every single outdoor fair I do.' So Sarah and I set to task, with a lot of tape and some cardboard to reinforce the breaks. We were nothing if not ingenious. Well, nothing if not ingenious and delusional. 'What am I going to do?' I asked Sarah, 'We have to have a tent!' Because the sky looked like this:

'Well, we can't borrow his one,' I thought, looking across the way:

Another vendor suggested we ask the organisers if we could have one of their tents for the day. You know, the ones they put up so the public could cower underneath them and not get wet. And luckily they agreed.

Here's Sarah in a rare non-t-shirt-chasing moment:

Yes, she does have a scarf on in July. And here's me and my depressingly over-stocked table:

And here's the sky by the time I got home:

And here's God laughing:


Little show offs

These were taken last weekend, when it wasn't raining.

Can I just remind you she only just turned two?

Because counting is for babies...

Saturday 18 July 2009


Treefest: Day One debrief

Weather fail:

Attendence fail:

Rail fail:

I orderd two extra rails on Wednesday, with overnight shipping. They're not getting delivered until Monday. My rail is c-r-o-w-d-e-d.

Table fail:

Laundry line fail:

The arrows indicate how they took turns getting blown up onto the tent roof and then sticking on the wet canvas

Competition fail

Child labour law fail

It's a shame that Failblog has already been registered or I'd be snapping that shit right up.