A heartfelt thank you


Thank you all for the kind words and good wishes on my last post.  I cannot tell you how much they mean to our family.  We are grateful for your friendship.

Ma is very much better.  We’ve had the all clear on blood clots, so that’s a huge relief.

The plasterer starts work in 3 weeks, closely followed by the decorator.  I need to get my act together and choose a colour scheme for the sewing room!

And Miss B had her best competition yet at the weekend.  She reached the quarter-finals for the Pas De Bas, semi-finals for her Cha-Cha, and placed 5th for her Waltz. That’s her waltzing in the picture above.

Mr B had a shock weekend and didn’t place at all.  It’s caused a bit of a ripple of discussion (not just at our dance school) as to why, but it’s so subjective, and he can’t win them all. Losing graciously is a life skill he’s not quite mastered. We’re working on it!

I’ll be back soon with another finished project.  You’ll be hard pushed to guess what it is.

Or maybe not 😉


I’m in a reflective mood so no knitting or sewing to share at the moment.  I’ll be back soon with some new socks to share. 

The seasons have turned and autumn is with us.  This is without question my favourite season. Crisp mornings. Mist. Warm boots.  Cosy sweaters.  A legitimate reason to stay indoors with tea, cake and knitting.  But the best weather for walking in the park before curling up on the sofa.

We are surrounded by trees in our new house so I can stand at the window and watch the leaves falling in a shower of gold, copper, russet and bronze and chase each other up and down the drive and garden on the wings of a chill wind.

It’s something of a melancholy season but one I always embrace.  I always feel most like me at this time of the year.

But the season of our life here has turned too.  Ma had a TIA a few weeks ago. She’s lost sight in one eye, but we are considering ourselves immensely lucky that this is currently the only long term damage. She’s doing well and is at home, knitting and sewing and galavanting around with her friends just like she always did. She has more tests to be done, and the hospital is keeping a close eye on her, but, fingers crossed, other than the eye all is well.

We have also entered a new season with the kids.  As you know they are adopted, but what you probably don’t know is that they had a fairly rough start in life and, as such, are now facing some big challenges; emotionally, physiologically and educationally.  We have spent much of their lives engaged with the medical profession.  First for divergent squints and in-turned feet. For speech and nasal problems. We are currently awaiting ear surgery for the boy.

Now we are lining up tests for a raft of potential diagnoses.  Or non at all.  Imagine a skein of alpaca thats been played with by a basket of kittens.  It’s like trying to untangle that!

It’s unsettling for all of us.  And the system is neither sufficiently resourced nor imbued with any sense of urgency.  This could take us years to fully explore.

It would help if there was any sense that the Educational, Paediatric and Social services operated in anything other than silos.  But it is what it is.  And we are united as a family and with school to push back against the system until we get the children the answers they need.

So as you can imagine it’s pretty busy here.  As the nights draw in I’m drawing up battle plans to get everyone the support they need.  I’m working in the house to build us a safe haven and fortress where everyone has their space, and we can come together with family and friends to eat and play and relax.  Husband is taking the business forward and is securing our future. I’m immeasurably proud of him too. Earlier this week we hit the final marker for our five year plan.  It’s taken us only 2 and half years to do it.  We’re a pretty awesome team and have achieved so much together that neither of us would have managed on our own.

We are squirrels…harvesting our nuts and storing them until they are needed, and building our nest.

Thankfully there is lots of fun stuff happening too.  And though I would probably sell one of the children for a decent nights sleep and a plate of posh pasta, I’m counting our blessings as they considerably outweigh the challenges.

But here are my happiest moments this month.   I’m sorry for the grainy pictures.  I’m not sorry for being the most ridiculously proud and boastful mother in all creation.


Miss B dancing her way the the quarter finals of the biggest dance competition of the year at the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.  Last year the Irish teams, who are amazing, swept the board.  This year, they didn’t have it all their own way.  Quarter finals after one year of dancing, against girls who have danced since they could walk (I’m not kidding). It is such a huge achievement it takes my breath away.  Especially from a girl who is falls behind her peers in so many other ways, and who struggles so hard every day to keep focused on the task in hand.


Shortly after this picture was taken Mr D forgot his routine.  His lovely partner said “don’t worry, I’ll dance around you until you remember”.  So she did.  And he remembered.  And he placed second in the final!  He also placed first in the quickstep.  He was the only boy on the floor leading a partner. Every other boy had a teacher with them.  He’s 7.  He wept with joy when he came first.  I wept with pride. Only a few short years ago he couldn’t walk into a shop without becoming hysterical and terribly distressed.  Now he leads a girl onto a dance floor in front of a crowd of hundreds of people.


A very emotional pair. He’d just placed first in the quickstep.

Guess how proud I am of them?   My kids are awesome.

Rum Paradise Socks

Ooof!  I had no intention of falling off the edge of the world for another month. There’s a whole lot of life happening here at the moment.

I’ve also been busy getting quotes for all the trades that we need in to help us bring this house to life and make it a home, and happily, the first of those starts work next week.  I’m hopeful that by Christmas I’ll have a big chunk of decorating done and will be in a position to start setting up the sewing room.

Until then, everything is still in boxes so my creativity is limited to knitting. I even had to borrow needle and thread to sew name labels in the kids new uniforms!

And you won’t be surprised to learn that I’ve been knitting socks!


Wildly coloured, fabulously striped socks!


They are delightfully gaudy, and very cheery on some of the rainy days we’ve had recently.


Basically everything The Husband loves in a hand knitted sock.

Project details

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock pattern

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply Cocktail Range 

Colourway:                      Rum Paradise

Yarn cost:                         £7.20

Hand made frocks and new houses

I just wanted to say a big thank you to all who have commented on the last couple of posts.

I read your comments to Miss B and she was so genuinely touched by the kindness of your words that it filled my heart with joy.  You guys are the best and have done such a Very Good Thing for one small girl.


I am eternally grateful.

Thanks also for your kind words about the new house.  We’ve been here just over a week and it feels like home.  We have so much more space to breathe, and the proximity to family and the park for walks and play has improved our quality of life no end.

As soon as my trades are available the work begins on making it home.  I need plug sockets and coving (crown moulding) before I can start to decorate.  Some of the decorating will be done by the decorator but I’ll be doing some of it myself.

If I can get the sewing room and office decorated and unpacked, that’s the worst of it done. I also need the sewing room ready so I can get to work on the blinds and curtains we need for each room.   So. Many. Blinds!

This is what the sewing room looks like today!


The wallpaper is depressing, and we’ve lots of stuff that needs to go to other rooms, but….it’s going to be AWESOME!

Wood floors, view over the front garden and masses of space.  I’ll have a table for my sewing machines, a custom height cutting table and plenty of storage for all my patterns, books, notions and fabric.

Fingers crossed I can get to it fairly quickly once the kids go back to school in September. Until then we are just chillin’ and enjoying usually lovely weather for this part of the world.


Home sweet home


After a years of searching, 2 failed house purchases, and over 4 months of wrangling on this purchase, we are, finally, in our new home.

We have a lot to do, and I’m going to have fun making this place into a wonderful home for our family.

For now…I’ve a million boxes to unpack and an awful lot of cleaning to do!  Not cool, but worth it.

Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes over the past few weeks, and to the grandparents for wrangling two very excited small peeps over the removal weekend.

This quick and blurry snap was taken on Sunday evening whilst we walked the short path from our front door to our favourite park.  If a picture tells a thousand words, this is why we moved.


Oh….and a separate sewing room 😉

Newlook 6024 – Review

Yet more flamingos for Miss Button.


A cute summer dress that looks like polka dots from a distance but gives you a happy surprise close up.


It fastens with a side zip and cute halter neck.  Elastic at the top of the back keeps it snug and modest. And no pattern matching is required!


Most importantly….it has the twirl factor!


I was astonished to get Miss B into this dress today.  She’s been really reluctant to wear her handmade clothes recently.  However we finally got to the bottom of it this weekend (thanks Nana!).

A girl at a school party had commented that she looked “awkward” in this dress!

They’re 8 and already the mean girl stuff starts!  It’s horrifying and heartbreaking. She’s already having confidence issues, but this is the second time this particular girl has said something thats knocked her sideways.  Last time it was that Miss B is “fat”. Please feel free to insert your own expletive at this point.  I did!

Sadly the girl’s mother isn’t remotely engaged.  School keeps a tight rein on unpleasantness, but still it sneaks through.

As someone who was bullied hideously at school I’m trying to arm Miss B with the tools to fight this nonsense.  And reminding her how beautiful she is…inside and out, how individuality is to be cherished, and how the people who love her love her for the amazing person she is.  Anyone else’s idiocy doesn’t count in our family.


Thankfully, she’s got enough personality to bounce back, as these outtakes show.



This is her “rock chick” pose and face. Often accompanied by air guitar!

These are the Miss B we know and love.

Project details

Pattern:                             Newlook 6204

Pattern cost:                     £2.98  (on half price sale)

Fabric:                               Cotton flamingo print – John Lewis

Fabric cost:                       £10/mtr – I used 1.5 mtr.

Life in a northern town – July 2016, part 2

Today is the first day of the summer holidays.  We’ve had a slow start to the day. The kids are having a water fight in the garden.  We’re still alive at lunchtime.  It bodes well for the rest of the holidays.

Two weeks today, with a bit of luck and nobody playing silly buggers at the last minute, we will be moving house.  Even though we’re having the place professionally packed for us, there still seems so much to do.  I tidied away my sewing machine last night.  I’m not entirely sure if it will come out again in this house, and just how quickly I’ll get it unpacked in the new house.

Number 2 makes me ever so slightly anxious.

But I will have a lovely and spacious sewing room in the new house so it will be worth a little while without sewing.

Won’t it????

I will get some lovely photos of George soon and share them with you.  But till then, this little face will have to do!


We weren’t planning on getting a new puppy until after the school holidays.

Sometimes it’s good just to throw the plan out of the window!

We had a dance competition for The Boy at the weekend.  Note to self, when travelling over an hour from home to the competition venue at 7am in the morning…it really helps to pack his dance shoes!

Number 9 is Reason 876 why I love The Husband. He drove back home to collect the dance shoes.

The Boy won.  Again.  First place for quickstep and for jive in the 6-7 year old age group.

With his lovely dance partner

With his lovely dance partner for the day.

I may be ever-so-slightly ridiculously proud of him.

His success may have prompted his sister (who is equally talented as a dancer but decidedly more work shy) to up her game.

I’ll leave you with my current favourite pictures of my wee man.  I’ll be beating the girls away with a stick in a few years!



Summer in the City


It’s nice to share some sewn stitches for a change.


How could I resist this adorable London themed fabric?  It’s so very charming.


How cute is this?  I just love it.


Fabric constraints meant that I couldn’t pattern match the bodice.  So I fussy cut cute scenes instead. I’m happy with how it works.


I cut the skirt as one piece to maintain the integrity of the design, and managed to get an almost perfect match on the seam there.


Thankfully, Miss Button loves it too.

I’ll call that a win!

Project details

Pattern:                             Geranium from Made by Rae

Pattern cost:                     £10 – this is my 5th version, so it’s excellent value for money

Fabric:                               Cotton novelty print from The Buttonhole

Fabric cost:                       £5/mtr (I think).  I used 1 mtr.


Fruit pastille socks

If you’re the lady we met on the train to Birmingham, and you’re here to check in on the socks I started, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed today.

Sock knitting has been slowed down by the siren song of an aran weight cardigan for Button, that now only needs….you guessed it….buttons!

And swatching to find a yarn to make up a pattern that calls for Quince & Co…which would need importing and is also way beyond my budget.

But…I do have another, different pair of socks to share with you.


These have been done for a while and the husband is keen for me to get them photographed so he can have them back to wear.


I swear I don’t believe the weather will ever be anything else but grey here. The sun broke through for about 30 seconds, but by the time I’d set up the socks and the camera the heavens had opened again. So I’m sucking it up and sharing somewhat gloomy photos.


But even gloomy photos of socks can be cheery on the greyest of days.  Especially when they bring to mind a roll of fruit pastille sweeties.


And now I’ve shared I can go back to knitting the anticipated, and very, very jolly socks that I started on the train to Birmingham.

Project details

Yarn:                             Debbie Bliss Realto Sock

Colour:                          2 – Roskilde

Purchased from:          Fabrix, Lancaster

Cost:                               £9.95

Needles:                        2.75mm

Size:                               64 stitch cast on

Flamingo geranium top

The majority of things I’ve made this year (and my productivity isn’t high at the moment) have been woolly socks for my lovely husband.  However I’ve also been sewing for Miss Button, but getting her to pose for pictures has been a whole other ballgame.  8 is the new 14! Small girls are so stroppy!

However, en route to a friend’s party at the weekend, she was in a good enough mood for a quick 5 minutes of photos, despite the overcast and gloomy weather.


She’s mad for flamingos at the moment so I couldn’t resist this cute and colourful retro Hawaiian flamingo print.  This is yet another geranium top (my fourth time with this fabulous pattern, I think).


Oh she looks so very, very tired.  Summer holidays can’t come quickly enough!


I’ll be honest that I made no attempt at pattern matching.  And because of this I managed to squeeze this top out of a metre of fabric.  I had to skimp a bit on the gathering of the skirt.  We’ve reached a tipping point where I need to start buying a bit extra fabric for her. She’s growing so quickly these days.


Ah….that’s my girl!

As always the Geranium was a quick and simple make that gives great results.  The simple lines really show off the fabric at it’s best.  This is a sweet pattern for little girls and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Project Summary

Pattern:              Geranium from Made By Rae

Pattern Cost:      $10

Fabric:                 Hawaiian-style flamingo print cotton

Fabric Source:   Fabrix, Lancaster

Fabric Cost:        £5.95/mtr