Hearts and buttons

IMG_6978Last Tuesday felt like a day to sit down and do a bit of button sewing-on. It seemed like the first time in ages when the house was quiet and I could indulge. I had enough hearts crocheted and stiffened to make two more hanging decorations. In the time that babykins was a playgroup I managed to stitch on almost all the buttons for them both. Stitching them all together into the final hanging shape always takes me ages but I finished one last night. Getting good pictures of these is so difficult. I wish I could afford a professional product photographer! When I do it there are shadows where I don’t want them, the colours don’t show at their best and the focus is off in places! I think it’s partly that they are so long – 60cm or 2′ from the top bit of crochet to the bottom. hanging heartsWhat a difference natural light makes to an amateur photographer. The photo in the centre above was taken at night with a flash and a Canon digital ixus 80IS. I have played around a little with it but it still looks wrong. The two outer photos were done in natural light with an iPhone in HD mode (iPhone 5 I think, it was my Mum’s).

I have one more decoration to finish off and then I will have to get on with more crocheting and blocking out and experimenting with more photography. Maybe I should take them out into the garden and hang them amongst some branches? I’d be happy to hear any top tips, bearing in mind that my cameras are limited those mentioned above.

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52 weeks of happy 7/52

IMG_6262I’m a little bit behind this week. Blame half term.

This time last week it was Shrove Tuesday, the day for pancakes! This year we shared it with friends who are new to the tradition. All the children had a go at flipping a pancake (under supervision of course), even Babykins. Some of them even managed to get their pancake to turn over and land in the pan again – happy days. We ate ours with lemon and sugar, golden syrup, chocolate sauce, cheese and ham and later, the grown ups had mushrooms in a milky sauce too. Note to self – pancakes are better when served for dessert only.

IMG_6311We’ve had some beautiful skies this week. The above was a sunset and below is a sunrise. Both taken with my iphone and jazzed up a bit with instagram.


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Both these skyscapes predicted the weather correctly: ‘Red sky at night, shepherds delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning’. The clear delicate, pinky sunset led to a cold frosty night and sunny morning. The fiery sunrise led to a cold day with lots of snow showers. Brrrr. Both the colours in the sky and the fact that I could get it right as an amateur meteorologist made me happy this week.

IMG_6313Who wouldn’t be happy at the sight of snowdrops? What made these special was being presented with them by my little Babykins and then watching him carefully put them in the old jam jar vase. It reminded me of his antics this time last year.

IMG_6317This last picture is a bit of a strange one. These jeans belong to my son but he won’t be wearing them. Despite the fact that they were clearly a waste of money, that makes me happy.

They are far too big around the waist.

I bought them a long time ago when he was still taking steroids monthly as part of his treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Plus size jeans are hard to come by so when I found some, I bought the next size too. I just didn’t realise how much those monthly steroid courses were affecting his build (to see what steroids can do click here). Now he’s been steroid free for well over a year and is looking more like a classic 7 year old boy – skinny. Today I took them out of his wardrobe and packed them away to sell at a later date. Happy, happy, happy to be further and further away from cancer.

Out and about on a school night

The appearance of the sun on Monday galvanised me into action. I have been wanting to go to Saltburn again to view the new Jubilee themed yarnbombing. I packed up the car with sand toys and a picnic, scooped up the children as quickly as I could from school and headed over there. It was still half past four by the time we arrived. Nothing ever happens fast round here.

By the time I had unloaded the children from the car and attempted to squeeze all my bags under the pushchair, time was running out. The cliff lift was only open until 5, the yarnbombing was at the top and there was no way I was pushing my groaning pushchair up that hill. We just had enough time to go to the top, inspect the knitting and ride back down again.

It was very satisfactory actually. I am so impressed with the skill and sense of humour of the knitter or knitters. Riding the cliff lift is a fun experience. The inside is wide enough for a pushchair or wheel chair. You get a lovely view out to sea and the windows themselves are worth looking at. They have beautiful stained glass that my photo really doesn’t do justice to.

Once we were back down at promenade level and had negotiated the inevitable toilet stop, we had a little walk on the pier to see the Olympic yarnbombing. But there was no holding the children back – they were ready for some sand action. They scampered off onto the beach via the steps. I was left with the fun task of trying to get Babykins and the pushchair down the very rutted and ridged stone slope (see first picture).

I was tickled by how the older two had arranged their shoes. They were wedged in behind a big rock “Keeping the sand out of them, Mum”. Wishful thinking.

They indulged in much digging and fetching of water, the eternal childhood pleasures of a trip to the seaside. It felt as if it was the first time that I had been able to sit back and let them get on with it. When they were younger I think I supervised the sandcastle building a bit too much. Nowadays I am just too preoccupied with keeping an eye on Babykins to worry too much about the older ones.

I finally managed to get the picnic out and persuade the children to keep a bucket of water nearby to rinse their sandy hands in. Nevertheless, I think Babykins managed to ingest his fair share of sand. Why is it that at home, he is very keen on using cutlery but when his hands are holding half the beach he thinks its a good idea to use his fingers?

Despite my preparations, there was one essential piece of kit that I had left behind. I normally have my swiss army knife in my bag (you never know when you might need scissors or tweezers) but typically, on the day when the ring pull came off our can of sweetcorn, I’d taken it out.

No problem, Son Number One had the answer.

Him: “Why don’t you take it up to one of the cafes and see if they’ll open it for you Mum?”.

Me: “Yes son, but I don’t want to pack up all our stuff and I don’t want to leave you guys on the beach on your own”.

Him: “I can do it”.

I pondered for a moment. He’s at the age where he wants to be more independent. He needs the practice at asking for things from people like shop assistants. Not long ago he would have been terrified of the idea of speaking to someone he didn’t know. I would be able to see him the whole time and there were no traffic issues.

Me: Alright then, off you go.

Result! The kind ice cream parlour owner helped us out. She was even sensible enough not to send him back with a sharp can lid. What my boy will do for sweetcorn.

Time was getting on again and Babykins was starting to get cold. The Middle Miss requested an ice cream and I was happy to oblige. They had done a good job with their picnic tea in difficult (sandy) conditions and I was all in the mood for treats. Alas, the ice cream shop had been shutting when Son Number One went to get our can opened. Instead, we had a couple of portions of chips and sat up on the prom to eat them. As far as I am concerned it’s practically obligatory to eat chips when you go to the seaside.

As we sat, the light changed. The sun shone just that bit more and was lower in the sky. It really lit up the beach beautifully.

We decided to finish our trip by walking the full length of the pier.

You can just about make out the cliff lift in this picture. The carriages are half way up because it is closed.

The shadows were really starting to lengthen as we headed back to the car. It was half past eight by the time I got them home and into bed but I had one of the best trips with my children that I’ve ever had.

I don’t regret going out on a ‘school night’ though I wouldn’t stay out as long on a regular basis. In the ‘summer’ we are having, you’ve got to take the chance when you can.

I hope enjoyed reading about our little trip. Make the most of the the sun today because tomorrow it’s going to rain. Again. A lot.