Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's that time of year again

Halloween is just around the corner and the kids (well and me) are getting ready for it.  We've decided that Halloween will now run from October 1st until after Thanksgiving. Well you've got to get your monies worth out of the decorations.

Jonah has asked for a fog machine but I think that may be going slightly overboard.  Max and the girls have decorated the front window with a hundred and one stickers and I made this 'spooky' Halloween table runner following this great tutorial from Diary of a Quilter.

The kids are still deciding what they would like to dress up as for Halloween.  Madeleine thinks she'd like to be a black cat, Olivia an orange one and Max a red one but this morning there was talk of ghosts!!  I think we should dress up as a family of Superheroes with me being Wonder Woman of course.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Busy sewing

I've also had the sewing bug so most of my time is spent at my machine.

Presents for the teachers

A bag for my sister

Patchwork table runner

Jonah's camping pillow

Camping pillows for the other three

Yikes it's July

I've been away for a long time, life just gets busy and then Jonah hogs the laptop so I hardly get a look in anymore.

The kids finished school 4 weeks ago and we've been keeping busy.  Jonah has so far done a music camp, a tennis camp and this week he is doing fencing.  The girls have done their usual ballet camp and this week are doing a 'show tunes and shuffles' camp, Maxi isn't so keen but I have made him do one this week so I can have a couple of hours off each day, it's hard work entertaining four kids for 12 hours a day!

Of course they've been having their usual swim lessons too, Jonah and the girls are real water babies and will spend all day in the pool jumping in and diving.   Max isn't so keen and refused to have lessons, maybe next year...

Here's a few pictures of the kids, I'll try and do a couple more posts before the end of the week when we head off on our road trip to Montana!

Jonah with his new braces, a very controversial topic but we've opted for the American way
of making space for new teeth opposed to the UK way of pulling teeth to make space, who knows!

Maxi on his last day of Pre K

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Yikes where has that month gone!!!  The kids have been on spring break so we took them skiing to Mount Hood.   As expected the girls were off after the first lesson, they went up on the chairlift once with Ben and after that they didn't want to wait so were off on their own.

Jonah was a little more cautious than his sisters who just bombed headfirst down the hill but by the end of the day he was very comfortable and we didn't see much of him as he was happy just going up and down by himself.

Max was a little more cautious, it's not that he couldn't do it he chose not too.  He was very good at getting his skis off :)  The instructor took him up and down three times and he managed it all by himself, turning and stopping and I was very impressed by him.

I however was a bit of a disaster on the slopes.  I had no idea how to control my direction so the first two runs were spent mainly digging myself out of the ditch and falling over lots!!!  On the third attempt I went down with Max and Mike and he put me straight, apparently you need to lean left if you want to turn right (obvioulsy). Once I worked that one out I managed to make it down the hill (slowly) without any falls, hopefully next time I'll be able to pick up a bit of speed and catch my kids who wanted to send out a search party for me :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Every cloud has a silver lining....

I've been housebound for over a week now with my poorly boys, Jonah had something similar last week but didn't react as badly as Max.  So it means I've managed to get on with lots of sewing and trying out new things, I've even made my first buttonhole and put a zipper in which turns out is not as hard as it looks!!!

My first zip following this tutorial

Buttonholes using this kit

Pincushion from here

This turned into a pillow for Jonah from here

Jonah's blind

The girlies blind

Poor Max

He's been ill for the last week, finally took him to the Drs and he has an ear infection, fever, sore throat and a rash.  Actually this is a good picture as his face is covered in spots which have been weeping leaving a huge scab all over his nose and chin, poor little man.  He's looking much better today since taking the antibiotics, lets hope he's on the mend.

Monday, February 13, 2012

glimmer of things to come

The girls were very excited to see these crocuses pop us at the weekend, hopefully spring will be upon us soon......  We've been lucky so far with the weather and not as many torrential downpours as last year but there's always time and I've probably jinxed us now.

We had a fairly quiet weekend, the girls and Max had their hair trimmed (I'll take some pics later) and Jonah had his stitches out.......  I'll say no more but I think the PA and Ben were deaf for the rest of the day, sadly it's not healed that well and he will have a massive scar.  It's bandaged up again and hopefully by the end of the week we'll see some improvement otherwise it's no waterpark for Jonah on Sunday.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Log cabin pillows

This is my first attempt at patchwork, log cabin quilting and it's not as easy as it looks!!!  I learnt a few things along the way thanks to a lovely mum at preschool.  Firstly I had my stitches set too small and straight line quilting is actually quite difficult for a beginner as the block stretches and my fabric was moving all over the place, you can see how wonky it is.  So next time I need to pin like crazy and cut my backing larger to allow for this, I'll also purchase a walking foot for my machine so the fabric feeds through evenly .  Madeleine is chuffed to bits with it though and hopefully Olivia's will turn out slightly better.

Here is Olivia's which turned out slightly better, I stitched around the panels of fabric which stopped the stretching and was much quicker and easier.  However I do think the straight lines on Madeleine's look much nicer, just need to work how to do them properly.

I just wanted to add all my resources just incase they help someone else.  So I followed this video for a log cabin block and what I liked about this is you just make it up as you go along and no need to measure out strips.  

I also borrowed her book from a friend and found it very useful.  She has some great tips, one particular favourite was storing strips of fabric in ziplock bags and label them accordingly to size, 1inch, 2inch 3 inch etc....

Susan Beal

The other book I borrowed is this one and it had some really great tips for the quilt stitching as well as step by step instructions on how to put your quilt together.  

Elizabeth Hartman

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Joe's visit with us

Max got to bring home Joe the bear from pre-school this weekend, after the initial excitement wore off poor old Joe got left to fend for him self.

Today we hiked up Saddle Mountain which was a four hour round trip, we were very impressed with the kids.  Max didn't want to carry Joe up so Jonah very kindly offered, I think he quite liked Joe.

Joe almost at the top

Joe with his new buddies, Racoon and Teddies 1&2
Joe proved to be very good at puzzles

Getting ready to sleep

Joe making the most of the space

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pillow slips for the girls....

The girls and Max went to a swimming party this afternoon and whilst they were gone I managed to whip up a couple of pillow slips.  Jonah is supposed to be making his own when his thumb is better, I followed  this tutorial where another 9 year old boy made his own.

Another new bike

This time it was Jonah's turn for a new bike, we picked this one up 2nd hand for a good price and he begged us to buy it for him.  He has no excuse now for not coming out on a long ride with me in the morning, well apart from his dodgy thumb at the moment.

Specialized Allez Jnr

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our first emergency visit

Jonah someone managed to cut himself on a metal pole today and ended up with nine stitches and a lot of screaming.  He told me he will always do as he's told from now on and never play where he's not allowed....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Music man

Jonah is loving his piano lessons, I was supposed to be splitting the hour between them but he loves it so much I let him have 45 minutes and then the girls get a little bit of time at the end.  I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon but we're rolling with it whilst he's is keen.  So far he can play Harry Potter, Clocks by Coldplay and an Irish jig.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ta dah!!

I finished the girls quilts this week and they look really cute.  My only regret is that I didn't make them bigger but I didn't realise at the time how easy they would be.  My sewing is by no means perfect and the squares don't quite line up but that is the beauty of the rag quilt.

I also made Max a little bag for carrying his cars around, I'm really pleased how well it turned out and I even managed to put a little pocket on the inside for him.  Just need to make one for Jonah and the girls now.


Not sure I ever showed you my new bike, it's a cargo bike called a Mundo Yuba.  We love it, Max rides on the back everyday and we can even bring home a few friends from school!!  I can fit the weekly shop in the side panniers and all the junk that comes with four kids.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blown away..


I had the bright idea of going to the beach yesterday even though it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale.

The weather was slightly better at this stage, when we first arrived you couldn't even get out of the car.  We watched other people trying to walk and it was virtually impossible so we tried to walk down to the beach via the woods so we'd be out of the worst of it.   We made it half way until it was too exposed to go any further, kids were soaked but enjoyed the fresh sea air and I'd wrapped them up in waterproofs so not too wet.  Ben however had his jeans on.....

My two drowned rats.

No pictures of Max as he wasn't being very co-operative!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We got snow......

.....and then it rained!!

We were very excited when Ben came home from work the day before yesterday covered in snow, I even woke up in the middle of the night and saw a lovely white blanket outside.

Alas by the morning it had started to rain so instead of a snow day the kids had to trudge to school in three inches of slush, not the kind of fun they had in mind.

It seems that was the end of our snow and now it's rained constantly for the last day, our basement is slightly wet but at least we have a pump should it get too bad.

I guess the rainy season has finally started, shouldn't complain though we had a good run of dry weather up until now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Resolved to sew 2012

That will teach me not to save my posts, I've just lost a whole page of waffling :)

Anyhow I had written about how the one thing I wanted to do before we left America was to make myself an American quilt but I really had no idea how I was going to manage it.  So I've just dived right in bought myself a sewing machine and am attemping to make my simple quilts, then hopefully I can start on my project.  I really wish I'd paid more attention to my mum though when she was making stuff for us as children, I'm sure it wouldn't be such a struggle but I am really enjoying it and can't wait to get my machine out in the evening.  Hopefully my little bit of crafting will encourage some of my friends to give it ago and see what great stuff they can whip up with a little bit of effort and very satisfying.  Although I think it's going to take me years to get neat and tidy with my sewing and I'm not sure I have the patience for anything that needs accurate measuring, I think my quilts will always be a bit wonky.

One of the other things I've been enjoying is finding out about a whole new world of craft blogging, you'll see lots of my favourite sites down the right side bar.  One of my favourites is Very Berry Handmade and Ali makes some fabulous creations (some of you have even had them as presents) and she has organised this fabulous fabric give away, click here to see and maybe even enter yourself.

I can't decide which one I like best but I think this would make a cute tote for the girls.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photo booth

I forgot to share our photo booth pictures from this years school fayre