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I knit, I sew, I look after children, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

That's like me blaming owls for how bad I suck at analogies.

The holidays are over.  We were in Bristol for the second week - abandoned by Simon, we drove as fast as we could down the M4, almost running out of petrol between the last services and the M32 exit on the M4.  

Some pictures.

We had a brilliant time.  My former colleague and his wife have two children, the girl a few weeks younger than Lucy, the boy a year or so younger than Hattie, so actually, I didn't have to do very much at all for a few days beyond go for lunch and look after all four children occasionally.  It was absolutely lovely, and I'm looking forward to the return match in July.  It's handy knowing other teachers with young children; you've always got someone to visit in the holidays.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them.

I banged on and on about sewing a dress for the Sew Dolly Clackett event ages ago, and I've only gone and done it.

It's not the greatest of photos, but you get the general idea.  It's a Cambie dress, and it was a bit of a pain in the bum to make.  I found that either my measurements were incorrect or I can't read numbers, and the toile made the bodice way too big and the waist way too small.  Lots of swearing later, and the lining of the bodice fits well, but the shell is a bit big.  I had to make the bust darts deeper, and shorten the straps, so this picture is not a very accurate one. Still, the fabric is terrific and I love it, and I will wear it when I'm not at work.  For a first attempt at making a fitted lined pattern, this isn't that bad.  Shame about the state of the kitchen.

There are thousands of other Sew Dolly Clackett dresses on flickr; you can find them here.  You can find out about Roisin and her intended here, and you can find a Cambie sewing pattern here.  The pattern is lovely, and all errors were mine.  The instructions are very clear too, and I am going to have a go at making another one soon. 

I've had a bit of a break from blogging recently, what with one thing and another, but I've got all sorts of things to say, and now we're safely back at home, I can find the time and space to say them.  

Lucky old you.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.

Photos from last week.  Half way through the Easter holidays already.  Boo.

Linton, Norwich, Wimpole, elephants, new godsons, a million daffodils, sunshine, cake, playgrounds, swings and ice cream.  All in a day's work.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.

A few days off turned into almost two weeks.  All I had to say was that my back was sore, and that I was busy and tired, so I stopped talking.  My back's better, and term is ended, and we had a few days in Cambridge, and I'm quite keen to start writing again.

Two weeks of portraits.

Week 14

Hattie is balancing on the step into the conservatory, using a strip from my Coco dress.  I have given up trying to explain her.

Lucy wanted a go at driving the car.  She's sitting on Simon's lap, steering pretty well.  Hattie had a go too, which was terrifying.  

Week 15

Friday.  The laziest girls in Ealing.  It must have been about half ten, and they're in my bed, watching Octonauts.  Marvellous, as Hattie says.

A bonus shot of Lucy with a life sized model of a polar bear.  Taken today, at London Zoo.  I didn't really realise just how big they were; they are actually quite terrifyingly huge.

Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Because I'm not a Vanderbilt, suddenly I'm white trash? I grew up in Bel Air, Warner. Across the street from Aaron Spelling. I think most people would agree that's a lot better than some stinky old Vanderbilt.

It's about crafty stuff again, not politics, so don't feel you have to read on.

Handmade Monday again, and I should probably do some sort of update on the list of a Year of Projects as well.

The List:

Wisteria - on hold; but I've just bought some more yarn for it
Idlewood - split for the sleeves; plugging away on the body
Blue and Grey Socks - one sock done still done (lost in the stash)
Elephant blanket - two stripes still almost finished.  For Hattie's birthday (December)
Peacock Mittens - one finished, bar the thumb (still) (lost in the stash too)
Ringo and Elwood mittens - still queued (still want to make them, but the urge lessens)

Owl Blanket - finished and done
Paper Dolls - finished and done
Peerie Flooers - finished and done
Alphabet Blanket for Noah - done
Granny's a Square Afghan - done

Hexipuff Quilt - 147/500 hexipuffs done (I'm going to take it to Cambridge with me next week)
The Weather in the Streets - 67/400 squares done (there have been 90 days this year - that is NOT BAD AT ALL)

It's only now, when I don't really feel like doing anything, that I realise exactly how much I do.  I sat in Ealing A&E with my crochet, unable to focus; just sitting is jolly HARD WORK.

I have a new-found respect for people who live with chronic pain all the time, and still manage to be cheerful and positive.

March Madness 31/31 - I did it.  31 posts of varying interest to other people; although some had more than 50 page views.  Inconceivable.  I might take a bit of a break in April, you'll be devastated to hear.

I'll leave you with a picture of my Wisteria jumper.  Without me in it.

I'm having terrific trouble with it.  I'm not entirely sure that it won't be much, much too big for me, and I'm decreasing like crazy across the back in a desperate attempt to reduce the sheer volume of bulky knitted fabric.  Oh dear, oh dear.  

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Maybe we could sell the show if we wrote in more special exploding socks!

We started the music and lit the lights; the girls didn't enjoy it as much as we did, Hattie got very upset every time we saw the WRONG KERMIT, and both cried at the end, so another jolly family day out.

Of course, we'd booked to go to The Muppets Most Wanted before realising what a beautiful weekend it would be, so we went to the park after church to enjoy some sunshine.  I spent half an hour or so walking around; my back doesn't hurt as much if I keep moving.

A Simnel Cake for Mothers' Day.  We took it to church; it was all gone by half 11.

Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

You don't need glasses, you're just weak, WEAK

I spent the afternoon in Ealing A&E, waiting to see a doctor about my back.  It's fine, apparently, and should take about a week to stop hurting.  It's not whiplash, which is a good thing.  Shame it's meant I've got nothing else to say.

Maybe I'll be more inspired tomorrow. Sorry.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Cruising down the Sunset Strip, and there's nothing that's not, not within my grip

Someone crashed into my car today.  I'm not really in the mood to write anything deeply profound, or even to show off my new top.  I'm OK, just shocked, worn out, adrenaline depleted and grumpy with a sore back, the car can almost certainly be mended and apart from a bit of a wasted afternoon of being completely out of it, there's no harm done.

Actually, what the hell.  Another Coco.  Made out of the fleece stash.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

Reasons to go on strike.

I'm a good teacher, not outstanding, not bad, but good.  I enjoy my job, and I work very hard.  My little band of happy three year olds are doing very well, thanks, and I often go the extra mile or so. I'm contracted to do about 20 hours a week, but generally end up doing at least 25.  It doesn't sound much, particularly when you hear that the average for a full time primary school teacher is a 60 hour week, but I am part time for two very good reasons, and it's only because the children are in nearly full time education that I can do the hours I do.  Last year was far more stressful, as I could only work extra hours after school; at least now I can go in early and work in the staff room.

If you really want your children to be at school for 50 weeks a year, because that is more convenient for you, take a long hard look at yourself. 

If you think that the main purpose of school is to be free childcare, remember that we are parents too, we have lives outside our work, and we have childcare problems too.

If you seriously believe that teachers start at 5 to 9, finish at 3 and have 13 weeks of freedom a year, grow up.

If you believe that those who can do, those who can't teach, we can never be friends.

If you don't yet realise that childhood is short and precious, and shouldn't be spent entirely at school, learn this.

If you believe that teachers are solely responsible for your child's education, look at what you've learned in your life.  How much of that happened between the ages 5 and 18?  

It doesn't fit the pattern, but I've found that the parents most likely to complain about the inconvenience of a strike day are also the ones most likely to withdraw their child for holidays during term time.  Apparently, that's not disruptive.

It's not a race to the bottom.  It's not a crap jobs competition.  Our education system is being constantly undermined by someone whose main qualification for the job appears to be "I went to school."  A private style system is a great idea, but there's a reason that that costs 10 grand a year.  

I won't go on.  I will strike again; regretfully, it seems to be the only way to be heard, even if it damages the thing we are trying so very hard to protect.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

It's good to be merry and wIse; it's good to be honest and true; It's best to be off with the old love; Before you are on with the new.

What with all this sewing, I bet you are all deeply concerned about the state of my knitting.

Here is my latest WIP.  It is a lovely jumper, with a big cowl.  Everything I've read suggests that it basically knits itself, but apparently leaving it mouldering on the sofa doesn't work. 

Cascade 220, from the States about a year ago.  Simon is going out there in a few weeks, so I thought I'd better knit some of it up before then, particularly as I want him to bring more back, plus a load of fabric from Hawthorne Fabrics, probably the lemon print and something equally beautiful.  Can't load up him up too much APPARENTLY, although what's the point of him going away if he's not going to be useful.

I've been on strike today.  I will write about it later.  I don't feel the need to apologise or explain, but I quite fancy a rant.

March Madness, 26/31