Monday, 8 April 2013

Family Time

The end of March is always a busy time as I have three very important birthdays on the bounce. It seems that I have a best mate with a birthday on the 28th, my Dad with a birthday on the 29th and a fabulous Mr B with a a birthday on the 30th. I now also have a nephew with a birthday on the 3rd April and a dear Nan to remember on the 6th. Add to that Easter and it always seems to be a very busy time.

Hand made cards are great, but not always when you have so many to put together. However with a little bit of planning there's less pressure and the creative streak can work its magic.

As I work with the sewing machines every day either teaching sewing or making soft furnishings I had decided that, if I was to feel like I had a proper break over the Easter week, I needed to refrain from sewing. Rather than sit on my fidgety hands all week I took to the crochet hook and started a little early to craft this card for my dear mate affectionately known as boat lady. (Long story for another day)! Whilst I didn't get chance to finish it with a stamped "happy birthday" as I had intended I did make the lovely crochet flower into a removable brooch. I thought she might like to have something cheery whilst we continue to suffer from the cold weather.

The cards for the males in my life are always harder but I took some inspiration from party decorations and put this one together for my dear Dad. A really simple idea that I'd seen somewhere and I pulled from the memory bank! As I was putting it together my head told me to use only blue and green for the strings but I rebelled and added some other colours. It looked all the better for it. Not to self, listen to the rebel within!

I didn't craft for my wonderful Mr B. Shameful? Possibly. However, he is a big fan of stick men drawings and I found the perfect stick man card for him a few months back. It produced the smile on his face that I had imagined when I had passed the money to the shopkeeper so decided that I need not feel guilty. Meanwhile Cait produced this great washi bunting card...

...... a style that Niamh and I stole yesterday to make two more for birthdays this week.

It was wonderful last week to spend some downtime with the girls and Mr B and try to disengage a little from my ever growing to do list. Working for yourself and from home is hard work. With a  tendency to grab odd moments for quick jobs you can constantly feel like you are stealing family time from work or work time from the family. I'm still working on allocating separate quality time! I did teach a  bespoke workshop and run a few work related errands but in the main the most that I did last week was keep an eye on the email. Time for some fun then!

With the weather still so cold it felt more like a February half term than an Easter break but we did get some outside time and our little Maebh has now broken through her fear of the outside and happily goes into the garden, even left unattended! For the past few weeks she would only go outside if we left the door open.. far too chilly for that most of the time. Break through number 1. 

Tuesday Niamh and I spent some time reacquainting ourselves with her bike and we're now riding confidently without stabilisers! Initially achieved last summer there had been little chance to practice and she had lost her nerve. Thanks to the lovely quiet roads around where we live she is now confidently riding on the the roads, actually preferring them to the pavement. Break through number 2.

All things come in threes as we know and break through number 3 was Cait's realisation that she could read crochet patterns after all. I think it just finally clicked. With that she was off. I had a wonderful crochet partner and she has been producing little amigurumi animals from this book by the lovely Nicki Trench. 

Nicki was the lady that taught me to crochet many moons ago and she always chooses a lovely palette of colours for her work. This is another great book of hers that I enjoy working with.

So what I have I been crocheting? Well I made this rather snazzy tin can cover and little flower. It is now residing very happily on our teeny tiny mantle to make me smile in the evenings

I have also been working my way through a number of these. I have made about ten now, stealing moments in the evening before watching may favourite box set and during the day over a cuppa or on the train. I would usually crochet watching telly but Mr B and I are watching a fabulous series called Borgen at the moment which is sub titled. It makes the crochet kind of tricky!

Ultimately they are all going to be put together with some chain stitch to create a colourful garland.

So saving the best until last.... the girls and I made a rainbow cake last week! 

I had bought all the food colourings last summer as I had intended to make one for Niamh's brithday but then run out of time. Cait had recently been on a trip to London and seen one at Harrods so we thought should have a go. It made for rather a messy kitchen as we had to split cake mix across seven bowls to get the range of colours that we needed. Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. The blue, indigo and violet were by far the hardest to get to the right shade but we were hopeful that once cooked the colours would become more vivid.

They looked rather fun as they started coming out of the oven. Thank goodness I had four cake tines in the cupboard that were all the same size. When my dear Nan and Gran both passed away a few years back I asked if I could having baking trays and sewing baskets.... things that I knew I would use in everyday life and that could remind me of them. Thanks Gran for the four tins the same size!

We made some scrummy cream cheese icing, pondering that butter cream may just be a bit too much. Not only do you need to cover the outside......

But in between each of the seven layers too.

Ta da! What do you think?

The blue and green came out similar, as did the indigo and red, but that just means that we need to have another go another time!

If you want to have a go yourself just make your vic sponge recipe and split it to add the colouring. We made a double batch of cake mix and split it across seven using smallish cake tins. Plenty big enough for us but they can look even better on a bigger scale. Here's a pic from the internet. Next time I think we just tip all the food colouring in!

Busy week but packed with lots of fun and quality time with the family. Perfect.


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