Happy Monday

This wall hanging used to be in my room when I was small.  I can remember it clearly and how happy it made me feel.  Somehow despite the many moves and houses we lived in, I found it again when D was born and hung it over his cot.  It still hangs in his bedroom.  I wish I knew where it came from and who gave it to my mother.   It is such a happy picture, isn’t it?  Its not the children’s faces so much as the bright, beautiful colours of their clothes and the balloons.  Happy Monday everyone!

At home

As you may have gathered we have spent the last few days out and about.  Its been so good to get away from the house and the endless tidying.

I found myself able to look at our living room with fresh eyes this morning and not only tidy but make a few changes.  This is the room where we live and play and it gets quite crowded. (The same room we put the shelves up in.)

I finally put up my old school map and patched the torn corner.  I rescued this from the bin in the classroom I taught in for two years.  I love the colours.  I also brought down the IKEA shelves which have been in the loft.  I moved the rug, and put away the fireguard (it is summer, right?).  The Duplo building is something D has been adding to every day.  K has just get the hang of building with the bricks and the two of them will sit for ages just adding bricks.

So here it is.  Still a bit crowded, but a little bit more organised.  Lets see how long we can keep it tidy.


Sneak peaks


I have all sorts of pictures in my head of how our house will look one day but neither my husband or I are enthusiastic about actually doing the work (after we’ve had supper, bathed the kids and put them to bed, washed up, tidied up, brushed up, no-one really wants to get out the hammer and nails).   Still, these shelves are the result of a Sunday afternoon where I did the measuring and R did the sawing. The painting happened this week, much later, with the help of the in-laws.  I love the green behind them, just love it – it makes me feel I am looking at sun shining through new leaves. It does need a second coat before this can really be called finished. Maybe one day.

After                                                          Before



Please know, that I am generally put off taking photos of any room by the mess of toys, clothes and just general stuff that floats around on the floor and every available surface. As can be seen in this picture showing how we used the alcove for the last two years (taken during D’s long jump practice).  The ‘before’ shot was taken the day we moved in.  Not only do we now have shelves, we also have no more yellow pine doors and no more magnolia.  Hurrah!

Right now

Right now I am:

Listening to the sound of little K in her cot, hoping she goes to sleep soon.

Glad that D is asleep, wondering how bad his chickenpox are going to be in the morning.

Wondering if K will get chickenpox too, and if so when.

Happy to have a reasonably tidy and clean house.

Enjoying a browsing a new blog (Attic24) and reflecting on the nature of blogging.

Recognising that I find encouragement and inspiration from reading the blogs of creative home-makers and mothers.  Wishing I knew more of them to meet face to face.

Feeling satisfied that I have had a chance to tidy my workspace this afternoon.

Feeling hugely grateful for the arrival of the ‘folks’ (my in-laws) with their patience, time and child-minding abilities!

Looking forward to some me-time and us-time while they are here.

Wishing it wasn’t still so cold and wet.

Feeling satisfied about some thrifted purchases this week from my two favourite ‘thrift’ shops.

Planning some other posts in my head.

Deciding to start posting some ‘sneak-peaks’ of our house, starting with this corner of our ‘sun-room’.

Work space

I wrote a while ago about my mother’s sewing machine.  Last week, after it started to sew a bit erratically (tangled thread, loose stiches) I gave it a service: vacuumed and oiled.  It now runs along smoothly without any chug-chugging.  Seeing the sun shining this morning, I thought it was too beautiful not to photograph.  It also gives me a chance to show you where I do my stitching.  Very messy, I know, but I am so grateful for this sunny space.



Can you feel the love tonight?

We have been celebrating Valentine’s Day here today (or Balancetimes as Daniel is calling it).  This is part of my decision this year to celebrate more, a big break for me.  In the past, I have always downplayed special dates and days.  I can blame it on culture, character or upbringing but I have always had an underlying sense that days like this are commercialised to such an extent that is better to ignore them all together.  Or perhaps I dread them always being a disappointment.  Well, no more.  This year, I am going to reclaim what those marketing men have stolen: those feast days, high days and holidays which give the year shape and colour.  I want to use them to create our own celebrations in our family.  I hardly go into shops anyway now, so we’ll do things our way and create our own traditions as we go.  We’ll try something different, be creative, celebrate together.

So this was Valentine’s.  What better than a day to celebrate the people we love.  A precious card was waiting for me from my dearly beloved on the breakfast table and that was good.  Daniel is just getting the idea of making a card and keeping it as a surprise so we made one together for Daddy.  He is also just able to trace his name in letters so he signed it too.  I made three cards, one for each one; Kirsten decorated hearts at Toddlers and there were pink heart biscuits made together.

Many of the cards I’ve been making recently have been made using a set of alphabet stamps that I got for my birthday from Cox and Cox.  They open up all sorts of creative possibilities and Daniel loves them.  A very good thing to have.

A well-watered garden

We are just at that time of year (and in on of those lucky places on the earth) when suddenly everything is blossoming, growing, burgeoning, sprouting, flourishing, developing.  Looking round my garden this afternoon, I noted how many of my growing things have come from friends.

So here is my thanks:  Thank-you for my mint, Sam and Gary, Frankie and Peggy.  For my tomato and pea seedlings, thank-you sister Sarah.  For verbascum seedlings and ladybird poppies, Jennie my thanks.  Thank-you for my lambs lugs, Kate – they have survived the journey from your garden to our flat in Raynes Park, to Dundee, to my garden here.  For my chive seedings and basil, just coming through, thank-you for your help with planting, Hannah.  Thank-you for the mixed bulbs you gave us, Anne and Jim – they are filling the spaces under the apple trees.  And finally, to the unknown person and people who planted flowers in this garden over the years.  This peony which I did nothing to nurture, is a tribute to them.  Thank-you.


Daniel has moved into a big bed this weekend.  He slept all night in it last night.  The cot is now Kirsten’s: she is napping in it right now.  Kirsten is just ready to start solids.  Big changes all round. And, oh yes, there are snowdrops in the garden.

(Photo of K to be added when she wakes up.)

Unpacking my books

Today I have been unpacking our books from the boxes they have sat in for 18 long months.  What a delight to see them again.  We have had a complete lack of book shelves to put them on but I found a small second-hand bookcase on Friday and decided it was time to get them out.  It makes me feel settled to see the boxes emptying and the shelves filling.  Here they are.

There is one bookcase in our ‘sunroom’, one in the sitting-room and one in our guest bedroom.  Trying to decide which books to put where is complicated.  Which ones do we want people to glance at when they get bored while drinking coffee?  Which books would a guest like to find in the cupboard of their room before they drop off to sleep?  Which books do I want hand, easy to pick up and put down?  I suspect the books will rotate in and out of their shelves, from room to room, via the bedroom and the floor and maybe some other houses every now and again.