Wrapped in (expensive!) wool

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I’ve been knitting for five years and yet I still haven’t knitted something for myself.  Last year I was so over stretched that I didn’t manage much knitting when I was pregnant.  So for the last 8 months I’ve been trying to catch up on all the projects I had planned for baby Arthur.  Although, in the back of my mind I kept thinking “In the new year I’m gonna make something JUST for me to wear”. I’ve also been picking up and dropping a tea leaves cardigan I’m knitting for a friend.  It’s getting there but I have too much emotions wrapped in making it.  It’s silly really.

For Christmas I asked family if they could give me vouchers for John Lewis because they have a lovey yarn selection.  And the best bit?  Well they have a massive boxing day sale and selected yarns are cut to half price. Really it’s a perfect combination of gorgeous yarns, reduced prices, and talented staff.  The store has a resident member at hand to pass on her vast skills and knowledge.  I told her the patterns I had in mind and she knew them all! She knew them like the days of the week. I plan on making the modified adult version of an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern and the help I got was wonderful! She told me to leave out the eyelets because I have a bust and what stitches I should pick up on the arms to help it pull less. Plus she carried Arthur while I picked the yarns I liked best.

The other yarns are tagged for Graham and the kids, and I’m equally excited to see them wear the end results.  Did you see the Rowan Cocoon? It is unbelievably soft and will be put aside for Arthur’s first birthday. I want to knit him this then I want to snuggle him like a teddy bear when he wears it. Yum! I think Beth will be getting new leg warmers to wear in the spring months and Graham is getting a hat. Every attempt to knit a hat thus far has been too small on his huge head. Hats seem to be my down fall.

I cast on my February Sweater last night but we had friends visiting so I put the needles down.  I’ve long learnt that wine and knitting is a terrible combination for me. So this morning I plan on getting properly into it while simultaneously supervising Arthur furniture walking around the house.  He keeps playing with the bin and hiding behind the Christmas tree. What a pest! The days of knitting with a sleeping babe on my chest have passed yet again.

Holidays are coming

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We aren’t religious in this house but we do celebrate Christmas.  To my family it is a time of love, warmth and giving.  In celebration of the winter solstice we welcome the end of the long nights and the beginning of another year. This solstice was pretty busy.  We had family, friends and lovely food. It was a great day.

It took Graham and I a few years to work out what we wanted Christmas to mean to our family, and how we would celebrate it. Using Santa Claus as a tool for discipline just doesn’t sit well with me. Right now it seems every shop you go into, every parent you pass, all you hear is “If you keeping doing that Santa wont give you any presents” or “Have you been good for Santa?” Yuck! Beth was getting a bit confused with the whole thing.  To start off she is frightened that a stranger comes into the house while you sleep, and then she thought on Christmas day she would be turning five because of the gift opening. Sigh! So Graham and I talked about how we’d make our own Christmas magic.  Since we don’t follow a Christian faith The Nativity story isn’t part of our celebrations.  Instead, to us Christmas is a time for love.  You give gifts to show your love, you spend time wrapped in the warmth of that love, and spread that love to those you care for. So our children will receive gifts but will gave gifts to show their love too. It’s a work in progress so it might be tweaked a bit as they get older.

To begin with we looked at rituals from other beliefs and cultures and kind of made them our own. The Druids believed mistletoe brought good luck and fertility, and children in Scandinavia hang it above their doors to welcome fairies in from the cold. So when Beth wondered how Santa was going to come into our house since we don’t have a chimney, I found a house for them to live in on our Christmas tree.  During the summer some fairies camped in our garden but now they’ve found their way into our home thanks to the mistletoe above the door.  Kindly the fairies are going to let Santa in on Christmas eve. Phew!

And Santa? Well he is a jolly spirit that gives a gift to all boys and girls to remind them they are loved. When Beth has asked why some parents talk about being on the good list I simply told her they’re only saying that to get the kid to behave.  A double bluff!

The pagans and Old Norse brought evergreen into their homes as a reminder that Mother Nature is only sleeping.  Although, they would never have cut down a tree because that would be too destructive.  Instead they would bring in branch clippings.  So we adapted it and have a potted tree. Today at the play group Christmas party I asked the florists, who use the space to make up their Christmas flowers, if I could take some of their oasis foam so we could make a table decoration on Christmas eve, but kindly they gave me a huge bag of thistles, holly, fir branches, pine cones and dried oranges, so tomorrow we are going to be starting another new Christmas ritual. We are going to make our table piece for the celebrations ahead.  We’ll also be doing the Julkarve tradition.

And one day? One day we’ll have that yule log burning in our fireplace.

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Beth’s photographs

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Beth took these photos over the weekend.  She actually took over 100 photographs but most of them were of her rabbit teddies.  She is digging bunnies like nothing else these days.  I get it, I was obsessed with snow lions when I was four.

We had quite a full on weekend.  Saturday was a whirl of birthday parties, sleepovers, and a ballet workshop ran by The Scottish Ballet.  (We are going to this on Friday and the workshop was a warm up for it.) And Sunday was supposed to be quite but on the drive home from Queen’s Park the electrics failed in our car. I’m glad our days were much slower during the week!

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Beth took pictures of this and I thought I would share it with you.  We found this bit of wood on the shore line during the summer.  Once it dried out in Graham’s parents’ green house we brought it back home and Graham added these jars. Very shabby chic, huh?

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I made this on Friday since we had friends coming for dinner.  I used soya products so it isn’t as stiff as it should have been but it was ace!

Little red riding hood

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With these darker nights and shorter days we’ve been taking it slow, spending more time playing inside the house.  A favorite game is the tale of a little girl who visited her sick Grandma only to find she had been eaten by a greedy wolf (played always by the ferocious Arthur).

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I want to give this red cape to Beth for Solstice but I couldn’t resist putting it on her for a few photographs.  It was so quick and easy to sew.  Generally I find I’m too inpatient to put much concentration into sewing but this took 30 mins. Simply, I sewed an inch seam around the length, then I folded the two corners together and sewed the top to create a hood.  To add the tie I folded the material 1/3 down and sewed a seam.  The I threaded a red glittery ribbon left over from the tag rag rug I’ve made Arthur for Solstice.

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Also, our big bad wolf has started crawling.  I tried to take a better photo but Beth kept ridding on his back! I’m a bit worried about his teeth.  His incisors are cutting threw but his front two teeth are not showing any sign of coming soon. He keeps falling over and off things so hopefully he hasn’t damaged to two front teeth! As I type he has four huge red marks on his head. I’m glad he has lots of great hats to hide it from concerned members of the public! My Mum says maybe he is just waiting for Santa to give him his two front teeth for Christmas, Oh ho ho!

I have a really busy weekend ahead starting with friends coming for dinner tonight but I have nothing to feed them.  Is beans on toast acceptable?

Sugar Plum Ballerina

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Beth has been going to ballet classes since she was two and their Christmas show was this Saturday.  My Mum has my dance displays on VHS Video and they are so dated!  The 80’s had a big influence on my dance school.  I remember pineapple smoke, neon costumes and top hats playing a big role.

Beth’s show, however, was just very sweet and elegant.  Although, one of the younger dancers forgot she was on stage and spent the time shouting “Mum, have you seen that Christmas Tree?” Ha!

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A date with my daughter

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Yesterday there was a fun fair at The Glasgow Transport Museum. It was celebrating steam and horse powered amusements and everything was free!  Beth and I were meant to be meeting another family there but my friend had to cancel at the last minuet.  Nevertheless we had a pretty special time.

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Normally the museum is very busy but yesterday we were only three of a few people who visited and with this large space full of antique treasures to enjoy it was much more fun.  We pretended we were visiting Edinburgh so we checked in our bags, took a plane then rode the underground train and jumped on a tram.  Once in Edinburgh we visited the Victorian street and Beth poured me a pint in the bar.  Then outside we became a family of hungry swans.  We often play together but I had forgotten how fun it is to do these things together when it is just us.  In the past I wouldn’t have thought to go to the museum without a friend to join us but this way was much more enjoyable.

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{this moment} First snow in Glasgow

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{this moment- I’m joining Soulemama today in this weekly event}

A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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Paper Play

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We make a lot of things out of paper in our house. Bus tickets become airplanes, gifts are decorated with origami flowers, scrap paper become a bed for a teddy or a farm for the animals. So it was only natural that we have some festive paper fun. The toymaker has a great resource of free printable paper crafts.

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I am developing a crazy obsession with Sweden. Why you ask? Well, I read an article about this British family that couldn’t afford a house in the UK and after years of struggling and working hard for little reward the family on a spur of the moment decided to buy a house out right in a small village in Sweden.  For what cash they had saved up over the years they bought a 5 bedroom farm house with tons of surrounding land.  They couldn’t speak any Swedish and hadn’t even been to the country before the day they moved in to their new house. It’s inspiring that they took this gamble. Their kids have opportunities they couldn’t afford in the UK and the family now own 17 sleigh dogs and run their own business. Their sink or swim attitude forced them to learn the language and start the life they wanted. And Sweden? Well it’s a pretty great place to live.

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So through this new found passion I found a recipe for traditional meat balls.  It’s fully of dairy and will stick to your ribs but it was so delicious and warming. I think the writer of this recipe is just a wee bit in love with Sweden too. I made double the amount of meatballs and froze them for another meal.  Really, we’ve had four meals out of this recipe.

Coming inside

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It’s been a while since I wrote here.  Both kids have been ill and any spare time online has been donated to finding seasonal crafts and gift ideas.  Last year I was exhausted balancing a full time job in a busy medical ward, being a hands on parent, and being pregnant to boot.  We didn’t have very much support available to us then, and not having a car to save time on travailing, or much money to make life more comfortable, meant we were pretty poor in every way of the word.

This year?  Well this year has been a blessing.  Maternity leave has allowed me to spend much needed time to recover from the difficult year before, and my attitude towards being active has really changed.  I feel more centered now we have a monthly rhythm.  Before this year we were always out and about, with no real set schedule, but in recent months I’ve really found an inner peace in doing less and enjoying the smaller moments more.  It has also had a great impact on my family’s relationship with each other.  Graham and I seem to have more fun spending time together than we did before, and by allowing a slower pace to be introduced, family time has become a much greater priority in our household.

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Beth has taken to wanting to sleep anywhere but in her bed.  I don’t think she dislikes her bed, rather I think she is just getting a bit bored of it.  The same bed every night gets a bit repetitive, doesn’t it? So she likes to mix it up.  I don’t mind, I’m the same way too.

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The Christmas crafting has already started in our house. Today we are making tree decorations and from there we’ll start the gifts. Graham and I are planning to make everyone a small token gift this year but we’ll have to see how well it works out.

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