01 April 2015


I have long been fascinated by creativity and how to define it.  When I first started to read blogs I was left feeling woefully inadequate by the amazing things that I was reading about.  Things that I would have never thought of doing or making, and I have now come to realise that I never will.  Not so long ago I posted about my realisation that creativity is so much more that just producing amazing objects to share on your blog.  It encompasses so many areas of our lives and what it means to each of us is completely different.  What is most important though is that we make room for it in our lives, in whatever form it needs to take for us as individuals, and we own it.

I am fond of making the presents that I gift.  I recently made some fabric baskets for a friend, the pattern came from a book that I have on my shelves.  She asked to look at the book as she wanted to make some herself to give as gifts.  When she saw the pages in the book she looked at me and said, I would never have thought have making them at all looking at those pictures.  It was the perfect compliment to me.  But when you really look at all the things that people make and share pictures of, are they often as not fairly similar.  That is not to say that we are dull, boring and repetitive, far from it, but that as we all view the potential for something differently we make it slightly different or add our own twist.  But if it is something that we are new to and need to follow some instructions to gain confidence isn't it great that someone has been there before and made them up for you?

Last year I made a story sack for a friends child.  I actually made this for her eldest child, but it has become a favourite of her youngest.  Sadly the wee owls have not proved themselves to be sturdy enough and most of the babies have missing wings.  I wanted to make another story sack, with sturdier contents this time, but I was struggling with inspiration.  I often see projects which I would really love to make, this is itself is not a good enough reason for me to do so.  I have to need it or be able to gift it.  When I saw this delightful gnome I knew that it would be the perfect addition, it was sturdy and adorable.  But I needed to work out how it would make its way into a story sack.  I mulled it over for some time..............gnome stories? colour stories? rainbows!

A rainbow of gnomes, in a rainbow bag, with a delightful story about the colours of a rainbow.  I just hope that book doesn't get destroyed this time.........

So I took two patterns created by others put them together and made something out of them, inspired by a blogger showing me what she had made.  What I created was totally different, yet the same, I am not more or less creative, just given my own twist to an idea.


Pattern for gnomes is a combination of here and here
Tutorial for bag is here

30 March 2015


...this week of...

...happiness tidying and cleaning the house, a quiet weekend at home, a Spring equinox celebration at Forest School

...sadness at the events in the Alps

...creating a knitted sheep, the front of a cardigan, the start of a dress, a rainbow storysack, a plan for my garden

...reading The Making of the British Landscape by Francis Pryor, to the children Trouble at Rose Cottage by Emily Bearn and The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers

...learning about stars, black holes, density, galaxies, paper, lighting fires, Equinox, owls

...thinking about plans for the Easter weekend.

...wondering about and being frustrated by enthusiasm for ideas and folks actually committing to them

...hoping that a present I have posted is well received.

...enjoying this

...looking forward to a Maths course I have signed up for.

27 March 2015


As I open my curtains each morning, I welcome the world back into my house.  It's the best kind of surprise not knowing what will be revealed*.  It keeps me in check with the seasons, that first glimpse a feel for what weather each day might bring.  I never cease to be enchanted and many a day I take a long pause to soak it all in.

For now, my view includes lambs.  I could sit and watch them for hours.  Those first wobbly steps close to their mothers.  As they grow they group together, gambolling.  Its infectious.  All four limbs leave the ground.  The sheer exuberance of it the essence of spring.

Spring is an awakening.  In every sense.  Whilst watching those lambs my own limbs have a strong desire to move, to emerge from the stillness of Winter and hibernation.

I want to be outside.  I want to embrace the light, the warmth, the sounds, the smells, wrap myself up in them all.

I carry that morning memory with me as I start the day, I know all will be good.


*It was snow yesterday!


Prompted by writealm

25 March 2015


I am in love with March.

A month full of surprises.

Blue skies and sunshine,

Snow, rain, sleet.

Warmth on our faces,

Wet soggy boots.

Glimpses of lambs through hedges,

 tiny buds here and there.

We have run, we have walked,

we have learned, we have talked.

23 March 2015


...this week of...

...happiness a wonderful walk on a snowy hill, watching the eclipse through the clouds, a weekend with friends

...sadness friends in debt who take lots of expensive holidays, buy things when they want them rather than need them, scrimp on food quality and complain that they never have any money

...creating a front piece of a cardigan, a sewing pattern, a knitted piglet and sheep, lots of cake

...reading Secrets of the Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford, and to the children A Circus Adventure by Emily Bearn and several myths and legends about the sun.

...learning about the sun, friction, adding up, reading maps, contours, equinox, eclipses

...thinking about my garden

...wondering about presents for my niece and nephew

...hoping to give the house a bit of a spring clean and declutter this week

...enjoying this

...looking forward to a quiet weekend!


The photo is not the moon but the sun during a partial eclipse!

20 March 2015


We have been learning about the sun, moon and stars recently.  We started with the sky which we learnt gave us maps and our calendars.  A measurable day with the hours of daylight, the phases of the moon, our months, and the earth's cycle round the sun our year, but what of the seasons?  Nowadays there seems to be an arbitrary change which bears no relation to what is happening outside our doors.  We lament the time it takes for Spring to arrive, perhaps we are trying to ushering it in when it is not ready.  Our ancestors were not slaves to clocks and calendars like we are, they were much more in tune with what was happening around them, the phases of the moon, the lengthening/shortening of the days and all that those changes herald.

So rather than thinking that Spring should be arriving at the beginning of February after Imbolc/Candlemas or at the beginning of March because that makes everything neat and tidy, I am looking forward to Spring from now on after the Equinox of today.  The change in the season often marks a change in our rhythm.  A few years ago I came to realise how important this was to me and the children.  It anchors our days and week with its familiarity.  It isn't the same all year round something that I resisted for a while, in those early days.  I could feel it slipping away from me, a rhythm that worked in the Autumn and Winter was not right for the Summer and vice versa.  We spend far more time outside and are usually a lot busier in the warmer/lighter months balanced with quieter time hibernating during the cooler/darker months.

It is a constant balancing act.  One which I don't always get right.  Its hard work, if I look away or loose my focus it sags and we all lose our way for a bit until I get it back on track.  I have to write everything down, if I don't I forget things I have too many balls in air to keep track of everything in my head, writing it down is what works for me.  I have to make the time to plan the specifics of each week otherwise we start to drift.  I use a diary, one of these, with a diary page on the left and ruled page on the right.  When I am planning ahead or come across an event that might interest us,  I use post it notes stuck to the relevant page which I can move if I need to, and reuse as I write on them in pencil.

Over Advent we found a lovely way to celebrate which focused our learning towards topics or projects.  This really worked for us and we have continued that for this year.  We have learnt about birds, mammals and now were are focusing on the sun, moon and stars.  This topic has been really successful, the children have loved it and I can see this continuing for many weeks to come, after that?  Well, we will see.  Balanced with our learning at home we also venture out and about, some weeks this is every day which I am still pondering over whether this is too much, especially if we are busy at weekends too.  I always need to be aware of the bigger picture and make lots of use of the year planner in my diary to make sure that I can 'see' this, but I don't always get it right.........particularly when I say yes to things without checking my diary first!

I know that last year our late Spring and Summer weeks were far too busy, rushing from one thing to another we lost our focus and our rhythm stopped.  This year I need to work on how to fit in all the lovely things that we like to do outside, especially making good use of the outdoor pool in our village, and balance this with quiet time at home.  The garden needs to be fitted in too, it got rather neglected last year at times.

So in a week where, we have seen the green shoots of Spring in some places*, we have played in snow drifts, we have worn many layers, and shed the coats completely feeling the sun on our faces, the shoots of something new are starting to take some form in the continuous and exciting journey of home education.


* like different parts of the country and different countries in the northern hemisphere the timing of green shoots can really vary.  This photo was taken a half an hour drive from where I live, the shoots are much bigger than where I live.


This, blogger tells me, is my 700th post!

18 March 2015


I am getting near to the birthday season, I need to make lots of presents between now and the end of May.  Perhaps I should rephrase that I don't need to, I could buy them, but homemade presents are so much better don't you think?  May feels like a very long time away, not least because I am hoping that the temperatures outside will be considerably warmer than they are now.  The last birthday is in fact 72 days away, I know this because it is Alice's and she asks me almost every day how many days............

So, I was hoping that I would have some sewing to show you this week but most of it is work in progress, either in my head or as a paper pattern.  I find that my making and finishing always comes in fits and starts.  It always has to fit round everything else I do, I am under no illusion on that one, but when I have lots to make it feels like it won't happen in time.  Then suddenly it all comes together and it's all done.

So I have lots of part finished projects including some knitting for Alice.  I decided I wanted to knit her a cardigan for her birthday and remembered that I had some yarn left over from a project I knitted her a few years ago.  I didn't have that much yarn left and struggled to find a pattern I liked which used such a small amount of yarn.  I realised that I didn't really have enough for a cardigan but when I found a pattern for a fairisle jacket in a book in the local library I knew that I had found the solution.  I don't have enough yarn for full length sleeves, in fact I am not even sure I have enough yarn for any kind of sleeve but I am sure I can sort something out.........
I had lots of ends of balls leftover from other projects which all match together perfectly, don't you think?  The downside of this pattern is it is knitted in the flat which is not really my favourite, all that sewing up at the end.  But given that this is my first fairisle knit I didn't think it would be wise to try and convert this to a knit in the round pattern, one thing at a time, eh?

I have been reading a history of astronomy trilogy which was a fascinating read, the science was easy to understand and I loved the social history interwoven into the story.  I can thoroughly recommend all three books.  I am sticking with history for my next read, I am rather liking this genre at the moment and they are easy to find in my library, they helpfully have a small sticker of a castellated tower on the spine.  I have just started this book so I have yet to decided whether I like it or not but I do love this period of history so I am hoping I will.  Set in the 1400s it follows the lives of two remarkable women, both called Margaret who are pulling at the strings of succession during the War of the Roses.  I am a few chapters in and am making good use of the helpful list of key characters at the front of the book.