Birthday cake, a Minion and Writing Lots and Lots

birthday cake

It’s the boy’s birthday next week and already he’s really excited. We’ve got him a whole load of Dr Who things (including a sonic screwdriver!) and his grandparents are coming to ours tomorrow to give him their gifts. For an extra special treat, me, hubby and the girl will also be taking him to see Nativity 3. We have the first two films on DVD and he really loves them. He wants to go to McDonalds afterwards, so we’ll take him there too. I will also bake him his birthday cake this weekend…yum!

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So how have you all been? I’ve been busy today getting on with my Christmas makes. I’ve done the bulk of the two Minion plushies I’m making for my offspring. I’ll show you the finished pair once I’ve completed them. Am doing them whilst the kids are at school, so won’t be getting back to them til next week. It’s really hard keeping something like this a secret as the two of them love to stick their noses into everything. It’s “what’s this mum?” and “can I have that?”. They are well hidden, but every time one of the kids goes near the area the toys are hidden my heart’s in my mouth in case they discover them. Here’s an image of the pattern I’m making…

minion

Anyway…

I’ve also been busily writing away, although not so much today or yesterday. I’ll do some tonight…the planning’s done…just need to write it up. My word count is currently standing at just under 20,000 words…only 30,000 (minimum) to go!! Hope I can keep it up…it’s not easy.

Right, that’s me for just now. My hand is aching from all the knitting and sewing and typing I’ve been doing today (bring out the violins!). Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

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Hedgehogs, flowers and quiet times

Crowned Crane

Hello! How’s things? What’s been happening? Life has been trundling along nicely…can’t believe another week has passed so quickly! I have started my making for Christmas. I like to make the kids and some family members and friends little gifts for Christmas. I love doing it and I hope they like receiving them. Last year I made nearly everyone lap blankets for cosying up under during the winter. I also made some toys for the kids. This year, I have a few wee things in mind to make, but I’m keeping it under my hat and I’ll share with you at another time.

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In case you’re wondering, the photos for this week’s blog have absolutely nothing to do with what I’m writing about. I just like them. They are pretty or cute or cheerful.

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I love hedgehogs. We have a hedgehog who visits our garden. I haven’t seen her or him for a while, but he or she enjoyed the Guinea Pig nuggets that were left on the grass after the outdoor pen had been put away.

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I’m sorry I don’t have a lot to tell this week. The kids have been off for the October holidays, but I’ve been working so I’ve not managed to get anywhere interesting of late. To be truthful, I’ve just wanted a quiet life lately. Sometimes it’s nice to have nothing planned.

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Of course, the days when I’m not at work it has to rain. It’s been dry all week and sunny and lovely, but today – the day when I’m not working – I woke up to rain. It’s stopped now, so hopefully it’ll stay off. We have a friend’s daughter here this morning and I was hoping to take them out for a walk or something this morning. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I’m going to go. I have the house to clean and some night’s out with friends to organise for November and December (I might like the quiet life, but I like to go out too!).

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

Ballet, piano and Bette Davis

Well, I’ve gone and voted and once I got to the ballot box I was under no doubt  which way I was voting. The last couple of weeks have been both exhilarating and a bit scary. Independence is a huge step and today is historic. Am waiting with bated breath to see what happens when they announce the result tomorrow.

This week has been overtaken with the Referendum. You just couldn’t get away from it. However, apart from that we’ve seen a few things happening. The boy had a really bad ear infection recently and it’s now cleared up. He also started piano lessons last week and seems to like them…so far. The girl is still in love with ballet. I bought a ballet exercise DVD so we can do something together (the boy and I have piano) plus it will hopefully get me fitter. Over the last five years I’ve put on more than a stone in weight. I don’t eat any more than I did before and I certainly am busier than ever. I think it’s the fact that I’m over 40 and have a sedentary job. Sigh. Anyway, ballet here we come!! Am sure a few plies will sort out my thighs!

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Hubby celebrated his 51st birthday last week too. Me and the kids took him out a local Chinese restaurant for a meal and various members of the family visited with presents or sent cards. On his actual birthday, I made him a special meal for every meal time. The kids insisted on having pancakes for breakfast, I made veggie tortillas (from The Fussy Eater’s Cookbook by Tana Ramsay) for lunch and we had Hungarian Ghoulash for dinner…yum. There was also birthday cake and custard…lovely.

Bette Davis 1

Am currently reading Bette Davis’ The Lonely Life and it’s excellent. Her voice and strong opinions ring through the book and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. As you know I am a huge fan. All About Eve is in my top ten all time films…she’s fabulous in that. Other fave Bette films include Now Voyager and Jezebel.

Bette Davis 2

While I greatly admire Ms Davis, what else rings through the book is her absolute determination to get to the top no matter the cost. I think she was used to getting her own way. She was a strong woman who didn’t put up with rubbish. Some may call her a bitch. I think she had to be to pursue her dreams. Anyway, she’s very inspiring and her book is full of great stories and truths.

What else has been happening? I took the plunge and bought myself a new sewing machine. My machine was secondhand when my parents gave it to me when I was 11 or 12, so it’s at least 30 years old! It’s not reliable. I’m hoping a new one will be so that I can get on with sewing.

Right, that’s it for this week. I am going to finish up here for now. Until next time!

Dawn xx

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing little creatures and a walk around Glasgow Green

I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches to a few wee presents I’ve been making various people. Apart from crocheted lap blankets – which are super cosy for telly watching – I’ve also been making this…

Here's one I made for a friend's daughter from Rebecca Danger's Knitted Monsters books...I love him!

Here’s one I made for a friend’s daughter from Rebecca Danger’s Knitted Monsters books…I love him!

…and these…

These are from A Monster to Love on Craftsy. These are for my kids, but I mean to make one and send one to the charity as a thanks.

These are from A Monster to Love on Craftsy. These are for my kids, but I mean to make one and send one to the charity as a thanks.

And here’s a wee walk around Glasgow Green the other day. Was a really mild and pleasant winter’s day…didn’t even need gloves, which isn’t normal for this time of year here!

People's Palace and Winter Gardens

People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

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Above – the Templeton carpet factory (as was) which was modelled along the lines of the Doges Palace.

Right, am really hungry, so am going to end this short blog here. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Back to Knitting

baby 3

baby 4

Now I’ve finished all my editing and publishing of ebooks (and editing the third DarkIsle book), I have a bit of time to get back to hobbies. I’ve nearly finished a cardigan for the boy (still have to finish the collar trim which I have ripped out twice already because I can’t seem to get the right number of stitches to make it lie flat…will finish it today) and a poncho for the girl (just got to add the fringing).

I also completed a lovely wee cardie (pictured) for my friend Shona’s new wee boy and a pair of bootees. The cardie pattern came from Knitting Magazine’s summer kids patterns from last year (I think) and the bootees from a knitting book I have.

baby 1

baby 2

Was nice to knit for the baby, especially as I didn’t get back into knitting until after my two were out of their babyhood, something I kind of regret. I used to knit when I was a kid then gave it up as a teenager because it was uncool then and I couldn’t afford the yarn. Now, I don’t care what people think about my knitting and sewing addiction plus Shona was delighted with the gift, so that makes it all worthwhile for me.

Next projects? I have a shirt and trousers to sew for the boy. Am also thinking of knitting a 60s style top for me and sewing myself something. Am thinking maybe a little dress.

So there’s not other news chez moi. I’m back at work next week and the kids go back to school as well. Everything will return to the madness it always is when we have to get up early and get out for school and work. I’ve really enjoyed being off (on and off) over the summer. The weather was fantastic for a good bit of it, I did a lot of things, got a lot of books finished and generally enjoyed watching the kids playing. I shall miss it when we go back to normal. Sigh. Not to worry.

Anyway, enough of my wistfulness. I am off to pick up my needles and finish the boy’s new cardie. Will show pics of it, the poncho and the girl’s new dress I sewed for her next time. Til then.

Dawn xxx

Do all boys have an allergy to soap and water?

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What is it with boys and showering?? Are they all the same? Yesterday I had an argument with the boy about going for a shower. He refused to have one and before I knew it, he had gone and gotten himself dressed for school. This is from the boy who takes ages to get dressed (normally) and can never get the buttons done on his shirt because “I can’t do it!”. Well I know now what I always knew and that is: he can do it and he can do it quickly. He had a shower this morning – I forced him into it for two reasons: 1) I don’t want him thinking he can get away without washing and 2) he soaked our bed last night – he sleeps really deeply and often doesn’t feel himself peeing. Last night, around 3.45am I suddenly woke up, realised he was in beside me and his dad and then…well…you know how you just know something isn’t right? I tentatively put out a hand and patted around about the boy. The bed seemed dry. I patted his legs and bingo! He was wet. So, I got him up, cleaned and changed and put him back in his own bed. Then I had to wake hubby – who was working today – and strip our bed. No wonder we are both tired today!!!

Yesterday, spent a happy day in Glasgow with my friend Tracy looking at fabric and notions in Mandor’s store near Sauchiehall Street. It was raining on and off yesterday, but that didn’t stop us oohing and ahhing at all the lovely things the store had. Then we walked down Sauchiehall St in search of some lunch. We headed down the bottom end of the street and dropped into Dino’s restaurant for a fry up. Dino’s doesn’t look at all fancy from the outside, but is a traditional Italian restaurant that does great pizzas and pasta. I love it because the food’s good and decor doesn’t look like it’s changed since the 70s. The staff are really nice too. We had a full breakfast with tea and it was lovely. We’d been too early for pizza, but the food was good anyway.

After Dino’s, Lakeland called. Based within Buchanan Galleries, the store is one of my favourites. I know there are folk out there who won’t understand why, but if you love cooking and home-making, Lakeland’s the place for you. Picked up some rennet to give cheesemaking a go. We’ll see what happens with that!! They also have a nice range of kitchen utensils, which neither I nor Tracy could resist coohing over. It’s great having a friend who loves all that stuff too!!

On the writing front, I am about the point where I am going to publish my book for adults on Amazon as a Kindle book. I will also look at doing it in other formats too. The book is called Dusting Down Alcudia, it’s an adventure story about a female archeologist who goes treasure hunting on Mallorca. It’s inspired by a holiday hubby and I had many years ago before our two kids came along. Watch this space for more information – I am planning to put up the first chapter for you to read. While Dusting Down Alcudia is not 50 Shades, there is a bit of romance going on there…nuff said!

Right, am off to put another washing out on this lovely sunny day we are (unusually) having today and start on the housework I was supposed to do yesterday!

Until next time!

Dawn xxx

PS images are some shots I took of the garden this morning.

A pram, a snazzy bag and a bow

pram, bag and bow

I had to include this image as the inspiration of this post. I’ve not been blogging for the last two weeks for two reasons: I’ve been really really  busy and the main reason: I haven’t had a clue about what to write. So I was walking down the stairs about ten minutes ago and I came across the above ensemble. These do not, as you might think, belong to the girl. No, they are some of the boy’s most prized possessions and they make me smile. The pram he was given as a toddler along with a baby because my husband and I didn’t want him to feel left out when we bought our daughter a buggy and baby. He still plays with it although you are more likely to see Action Man or a toy car in there. The bow was given to him by his uncle. The snazzy evening bag was his gran’s. My mum lets the kids raid her jewellery box and dressing up bag. He came home with this about a year ago. He loves it. We just let him get on with it. We want him to have a happy childhood where he’s allowed to be himself so we just let him play with the stuff that makes him happy. He’s no less boyish and boisterous because he likes his evening bag. Also, this gives us great images to show his first girlfriend when he’s older or display at his 21st!!! Teee heeee…evil parent laugh!

Right, firstly I want to get something off my chest. To the person who sent me a message who said my blog was boring and that he could help make it more interesting…I thank you for being so blunt, but I don’t write my blog for you, I don’t want to be really clever with headlines and if I want to put film up on my blog I will. I suspect the message was from some company trying to get me to spend cash with them so that they can revamp my blog. I don’t need it. I like my blog the way it is. It may be boring to some, but I like it. I don’t live a pretentious, glamorous lifestyle. I’m a working mum who likes to craft and loves to write…that’s it.

Talking about crafting. Here are a couple of pics of the dresses I made my girl’s toys…firstly Elizabeth models a knitted dress I got from Ravelry. Thank you to the creator of this. This is the pink version. I also knitted a white one.

Elizabeth models a knitted dress in a lovely candy pink!

Elizabeth models a knitted dress in a lovely candy pink!

And Ruby…

Ruby, meanwhile, sports a lovely summer frock made from a free bag I got with a magazine. I like the material, but the bag was too wee to be really useful.

Ruby, meanwhile, sports a lovely summer frock made from a free bag I got with a magazine. I like the material, but the bag was too wee to be really useful.

Okay, apart from sewing and knitting, I’ve recently finished my fourth module of my Mindfulness course. It was great, I loved it. Mindfulness is great for just slowing you down, putting stuff into perspective and making you really appreciate life as it is. Am definitely going to keep my formal practise (meditation) and informal practise (being more mindful generally) up because I really feel the benefits: I am less stressed, happier, I sleep better and I appreciate things more. Totally win/win.

I’ve also been doing a lot of driving the kids around to parties. They had three parties this weekend alone! I dropped both off at a local soft play area on Friday morning (they were off school due to an in service day) and scarpered to my friend’s house for tea, cake and putting the world to rights! We like a lot of the same things so we spent a lot of time talking sewing, meditation and general life. The kids meanwhile had a great time at the party.

Yesterday, party number two, was my neice’s tenth birthday party. The whole family were there at my sister’s lovely 1930s bungalow. Her husband did the barbeque, the table was groaning with food and we had a great laugh catching up and playing with a £2.99 sheet that reminded me of the seaside boards where you put your head through the hole and have your picture taken. Much merriment was to be had.

Party number three was today at a local community centre. I took the boy, he was there five minutes and then refused to stay. It was the quickest kids party I had even been at. Normally I would have made him stay, but I couldn’t be bothered with the whining. We went to ASDA instead to buy milk. I’ve stopped shopping there as much because I find it quite expensive compared to Lidl and Aldi, but I sometimes drop in for the odd wee thing. As usual on a Sunday, it was packed. We left as soon as we could.

I’ve also been writing my books for adult. The first is now complete and with a couple of friends for comment. The second I’m still working on. They were both written several years ago, but I’ve gone back to revamp them with a view to selling them as e-books. We shall see if they are successful or not.

Right, I am away to sew up another dress for a dolly and three pairs of dolly knickers. I also have to cut a few patterns out for the boy’s doll Tom, including pants. I’m of a mind to make mini y-fronts for a laugh!

Until next time.

Dawn xxxx

PS Game of Thrones – Ouch…that was painful to watch Jaime Lannister lose a hand a couple of weeks ago, but what a wheeze when Cersei was told she would have to marry Loris last week. That certainly wiped the smile of her face. Saw the actress who plays Cersei – Lena Headey – as Mama in the new Judge Dredd pic. Wasn’t a bad movie and even with a huge scar running down her sneering face, Lena managed to look stunning.

PPS Currently reading: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. It’s excellent, especially for anyone with socialist tendancies.

Chocolate, GB Sewing Bee and Game of Thrones…Heaven!

Easter 2013

This house has been Choc-tastic this week with the amount of yummy Easter Eggs the kids have been given. Hubby and I also gave each other one and mine is now finished (it was  Munchies egg with two packets of Munchies, a lovely choc egg and a mug – it was delicious and calorific but I enjoyed every bite!!). I’ve been rationing the kids. The girl has been known to eat sweets until she is sick (at my parents’ house…thanks mum!!) plus I don’t want them overloading on sugar, so they still have quite a bit of the chocolate left. In saying that, it’s only Wednesday and they should have some left.

So how’s your Easter been? Hubby and I were both off Friday – Monday this week, so it was nice to have everyone around. We didn’t do much, but it was nice just to pootle around the house and have a bit of family time. We took the offspring up to Geilston Gardens to do the annual Easter Egg hunt…it was really cold, but the gardens were still beautiful and we had a lovely time following the clues so our two could get their eggs in the end.

Yesterday, we had a gang of kids round getting their pictures taken for something I’m doing at work. The house was heaving with kids and adults, but it was fun.

Today, the girl has already left for a sleepover, the boy is playing a game and I’m catching up on writing (DI3 draft is away to my publisher), housework (mound of ironing waiting to be done…sigh. You know how much I “love” ironing) and other stuff. The girl has put in a few orders for dresses for her dolls. I made one already – I would have shown it but she’s away to her sleepover with doll and dress – and have a few more to do. I may start another one tonight, depends on how I get on today. I’m wanting to start re-editing my book for adults today. Am keen to get that away.

Did anyone see the Great British Sewing Bee programme last night? Myself and my friend watched it in our own homes, but commented via text on the various things that were being made. We both thought the older lady was a pretty good sewer and felt poor Michelle, who was a bit ambitious about using silk for a reversible dress,  shouldn’t have been put out. She seemed to me to be a better seamstress than the two men.  Anyway, there was nothing made last night that I can truly say I liked, although I quite liked the car fabric and the green dress fabric. Roll on next week, I say. I enjoyed the programme and as a novice sewer myself thought the tips were quite good. We shall see if it holds my attention.

Talking of telly, did anyone see the first episode of the new series of Game of Thrones on Monday night? I just love Game of Thrones. The first episode was a bit tame, but the previous series’ first episodes were the same, they are mainly there to set the scene for what comes after. Just invested in a complete set of the books so far, but am worried that if I read past book 2, I’ll be spoiling the tv programme for myself. Dilemma dilemma. Hey, if that’s the worst thing I’ve to worry about, I’m doing okay! Anyway, am looking forward to the rest of the series. Tyrion Lannister is still my fave character!!

Also back is Castle AND a new series of The Big Bang Theory starts soon! This is great because there has been a dearth of good tv programmes recently and I haven’t been watching an awful lot of it. Just Elementary and reruns of Poirot (although I think I’ve now seen every episode at least twice by now). I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m not the telly addict I once was…means I get on with other stuff.

The other thing I’ve been doing is making bread in my new bread maker. Just bought a cheap one out of Argos, but it makes really nice bread. Don’t get me wrong, I do prefer to make bread by hand (now that I have finally learned how to do it after years of making bricks!!), but I often don’t have the time or inclination. The bread maker means I can just bung some ingredients into the maker and just leave it…excellent. This means we have fresh bread more often…double excellent. Thank you little sister for being the first in the family to buy a bread maker and sing its praises thus encouraging our mum and then me to buy one for ourselves!!!

Right am off. Until next time and Happy Easter!!

Dawn xxx

Downton Abbey and Bletchley Circle…what more could a girl ask for?

Is it sad that I couldn’t wait to bundle the kids off to school this morning so that I could finally watch Sunday night’s episode of Downton Abbey in peace and quiet? And it certainly didn’t disappoint. What a show. I just love it. I get a thrill just thinking about it, sad though that admission is!! I really got into the storylines this morning and could have whacked Lady Mary for not understanding Matthew’s point of view and being all ‘you’re not on our side’. Then there’s Tom and Sybil…my view is that he may soften in his Republican you-are-all-the-oppressors stance the more he’s at Downton…will this lead to an internal struggle??

And dear old Lady Edith (above). I do hope she gets her beau even if he is a good bit older than her. Of course the ladies who really steal the show for me are Maggie Smith (aka the Dowager Countess) and Penelope Wilton (as Isobel Crawley) whose spats have entertained me greatly. What will they make of Shirley MacLaine (very top) is thrown into the mix as Martha Levinson, Cora’s mother? She’s already come out with some good one liners…I see sparks flying between the three later on.

That’s not the only programme I’ve been glued to recently. Apart from the World War II Farm (I’ve watched most of those series, they are very good), I’ve been emersed in The Bletchly Circle starring Anna Maxwell Martin as Susan, Rachael Stirling (who was on Radio Scotland yesterday promoting her play at The Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow later this month – I didn’t know she had been brought up in Stirling up here!) as Millie, Sophie Rundle as Lucy and Julie Graham as Jean.  It’s superb. Had me on the edge of my seat. I can hardly wait for tonight’s episode. It’s the last one. The killer has Susan in his grips and the other ladies are busy looking after poor battered Lucy (who really needs to leave that horrible husband of hers)…will they get to her in time before he  makes her his 13th victim? Oh the suspense.

Am still reading The Family Fang and quite enjoying it. It reminded me a bit of The Royal Tenenbaums, a film I really like and find quite sad but amusing. Then I read a testimonial at the back of the book which said something along the same lines…ie it was a bit like the Royal Tenenbaums, not the sad/amusing bit. Still don’t find it hilarious. Am wondering if I’ve lost my sense of humour or if I’m just a different type of person to those sited on the book jacket as finding it so funny? I think the latter. However, I am enjoying it and am looking forward to getting back to it tonight.

Apart from watching telly, I’ve been doing a bit of writing today on my adult book and attempting to save the life of my daughter’s favourite thing…an old cot blanket known in the house as Blankie. Basically it’s one of the types of blankets that have holes in it…you know what I mean? And it’s now so old (well she’s nearly eight and it’s been everywhere with her) that it’s falling apart one loose strand at a time. I find bits of it all over the house and have what we in Scotland call a nanny rooney (ie got fairly angry) with her for not picking it up. Meanwhile, poor old sad Blankie continued to fray and shrink. So I’ve put a chenille fabric backing on to it and folded over the edges so that it makes a neat edge. It took me about two hours to do it all this morning (with a brief lunch break) and I broke my sewing machine just as I finished (the feeder feet won’t work…sigh). Hopefully all that trauma will mean no more bits of Blankie (they’ve actually turned out quite useful as proof to where she’s been in the house!! She can’t say ‘It wasn’t me.’ or ‘I wasn’t there.’ if a small bit of Blankie is lying on the ground saying otherwise!) dropped on the floor and no more fraying. I doubt it!

Anyway, I’ll need to sign off just now until next time.

Dawn xx