Wednesday, September 28, 2011

But this I know

There are very few certainties in life, aside from death and taxes, as the saying goes.

As I grow older I find I become less certain, less opinionated, more easily swayed. I know this is not true of everyone, many people become more sure of their thoughts and views as time passes, I suspect it may be particular to this stage of motherhood. As the boy works his way through age 12 I find my firmest certainties tested on a regular basis.

I can no longer can be sure of his clothing tastes, it seems Gap is grounds for playground bullying and even buying underpants or socks is fraught with difficulty. I pace the store, pick up, put down, not sure. Not sure.

Food is surprisingly tricky too, why did both my children develop a strong hatred of bananas at around age 6, a food they were practically weaned on. I know for certain that during the toddler years I never left the house without an emergency banana in my bag yet now they visibly gag and bananas cannot even be absorbed in undercover, chocolate covered disguise.

The Tomato Tart greeted with glee one week will be heckled with abandon a month later.

But this I know for sure, my Apple Cake is loved by the boy. It is in his top 10 of favourite foods and for a boy with a top 100 this is no mean feat.

This cake will not win the beauty prize it is a homely sort of cake, a hint of almond and dense, damp apple sponge are its secret weapons. A cake for tea, a cake for after school, a cake for lunch boxes. A cake certain to please.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Every button tells a story

One of the things I really enjoy about selling at fairs and markets is the people I meet. My working day is norm
ally a quiet and solitary one so market days are quite a contrast.

Ideas are exchanged, stories swapped and I always keep a little sketchbook to hand as inspiration often strikes as a result of something that happens on my stall that day. A number of new products and a great many products in pipeline are as a direct result of conversations with customers.

One such conversation resulted in the most wonderful gift to me.

A lady was pondering my stall and suddenly asked if I might have use of
her Mother's Button Tin. You can imagine just how very enthusiastic I was and today that lovely lady delivered those buttons.

I know that many of you reading will appreciate exactly how wonderful this gift was to me. Buttons are lovely things and given the choice between old and new I would choose old every time. Charity shops are great sources of old buttons but to receive a whole collection, well, words fail.

The vintage sweet tin is a thing of beauty in itself but this afternoon Tilly and I opened up that tin and spent a very happy hour or so going through the treasure within.

I love to think of one person collecting these buttons, a life-time's worth, within this tin a family story contained. Many of the buttons have been sorted and threaded into groups. This lady and I shared a favour for certain colour combinations.

I am rather thrilled that she looped the red, aqua and cream buttons together, what a pleasing combination. I wonder why she put them together? For her own pleasure or with thoughts of a project?

The little blue butterflies took Tilly's eye immediately.

And the dark, fancy, evening style buttons. All strung together, properly categorized. I wonder what what parties they attended, the clothes they adorned? My glamour girl suggested I sew them to a disco suit, I thought maybe disco brooches would be more appropriate.

That lady's daughter was so very generous to give me this tin of treasure, I know that she is glad to think of them being put to use and I am fairly certain that her mother, that careful saver of buttons, would be pleased to know that her collection was so appreciated. As I sew with these buttons I will think about their stories, imagine the adventures behind them and the new stories ahead.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

The younger man

For about a month each year The Technical Advisor thoroughly enjoys the privilege of being the younger man.

It is only a month but he does not let me forget my Mrs Robinson status for a moment. A few days ago the balance was re-dressed and we are the same age once again.

I have been enjoying the remains of his birthday cake this week. Taken outside with coffee, bathed in the golden sunlight of these September mornings.

Listening to the pine needles fall and watching the grapes begin to ripen.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

When desire wins out

I was knitting something else. Another Whisper , in red it would be a useful addition to my wardrobe. I knit with very practical applications. But Whisper is a cardigan for Spring and Summer and as the light changed day by day it simply did not feel quite right. I felt unable to commit. Something else was calling.

Softest Vail, by Classic Elite.

Bought in Loop a few weeks ago. I walked in with a list of several possible project requirements, each pattern carefully researched and the considered. The yarn choices properly weighed, their pros and cons long thought about.

Needless to say my list was abandoned.

And faced with "Knitters Wall" I panicked.

I was overwhelmed with desire.

I impulse shopped. This was the softest yarn, the most gentle of shades. The one I could not stop thinking about as I walked around the shop.

And of course it had to be lace. Another shawl upon the needles, a lightweight version of Brooklyn Tweed's beautiful Terra. It feels like coming home after a long journey. Soothing and comforting. The perfect knitting to make the end of summer feel easier, the right sort of knit to accompany me upon the sofa as the season changes, as Autumn beds in.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

If you go down to the woods

As summer continues to wind down I need to reflect upon all that has been. One of the many good things to come out of blogging is the recording of moments that might otherwise have been forgotten.

I am simply dreadful at doing anything with those hundreds, no, thousands, of photographs digitally stored. So at least the blog creates a record of sorts. Enough to jog a memory. Enough to make a smile.

So it would be very remiss of me not to blog about our Yorkshire adventure.

Early in August two mummies and four children went Glamping. Th
e mummies packed wrecklessly without the influence of their husbands. They casually flung things into their cars with no regard for creating a neat and tidy boot space, no consideration whatsoever for the science of packing the car.

One mummy packed no waterproofs or fleeces. She sensibly reasoned that it would only be more washing at the end of the day.

They brought an interesting selection of food. There were three different varieties of olive oil. Some brioche rolls. One cooked ham. One large sticky ginger cake. Four bottles of jolly good wine. A box of cocoa Shreddies. A jar of stuffed peppers. And plenty of chocolate.

The first evening's dinner was declared a great success by the five year old in particular. At the age of five life doesn't get much better than Brioche ham sandwiches and ginger cake all on the same plate.

Day two and the Mummies had grand ambitions centred around the barbeque. Two chickens, a tray of roasted vegetables and maybe a cream sauce. Several hours later they laughed together in the kitchen as they mashed assorted root vegetables and tore the half-cooked meat from the chicken carcass with the help of a bread knif
e. The haphazardly filleted chicken pieces were quite successfully sauted over the two ring gas burners and the Mummies agreed that barbecuing certainly should be left to men, indeed, they are most welcome to it.

Dinner was quite late that night. The twelve year old had rather overdone things through the day and one bite of creamy chicken was too much. You have never seen so much vomit.

In a tent.

One Mummy cupped her hand and the other held a saucepan out. The Mummies still laughed.

It rained every night. Heavily. But we kept the wood stove burning and rather enjoyed the noise of it. It dampened spirits not one bit. And I think the children enjoyed the outdoors all the more for the mud.

By day three the Mummies had lost track of time altogether. I know we ate chocolate and ginger cake but cannot remember much else. We all appeared to thrive on whatever meals were eaten and at whatever strange times of day. The children were completely feral now.

All refused any suggestions of bathing apart from five year old who had become quite entranced by the "funny bath".

The children were rarely seen but sometimes their war-cries could be heard in the distance, as they ran through the woods with the pack.

They could generally be rounded up late at night, the rustle of a marshmallow packet usually brought them to the fireside.

Day five. Some people ate meringues with cream and strawberries for breakfast.

It was so very hard to leave.

*We stayed at the Jolly Days Campsite in Yorkshire and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. The sort of holiday that dreams and memories are made of.

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