Sunday, 15 January 2012

Easy like Sunday

Hello! Just popping in for a quick little chat on this fine, sunny day!  What a blessing it is when January affords us a few days like this - it makes you think, "Yep, I can make it to Spring - not long now!"

We've been making the most of it in the Welch household over the last couple of days and in keeping with my new found chilled out vibe at the weekend, we have had our first lunch around the fire outside. Yummy bacon and egg sandwiches.....mmmmmmmm

and a cup of tea.......there's something about that combination, isn't there?!  (Notice I am wearing my furry winter coat - it was still quite chilly outside - lovely though!)

I remember when Jonny was building this brilliant feature in our garden, it was such a struggle.  When you have a small baby in the house - everything seems like a colossal effort.  Just to find the time out from changing nappies and feeding is an achievement.  I once wrote to my best friend, who had a baby a few weeks old, that if all you had done all day was feed your baby - you'd done a whole day's work!  Squeezing in projects like building an outdoor fireplace - and at the time, a fort for our boys, was an extraordinary thing to be doing really.  It's such a prized corner of our tiny garden now though and many an opportunity to sit, cup of tea, or glass of wine in hand have been taken over the last couple of years.  We even spent last New Year's eve out there, watching the fireworks all around us and toasting the new year, snuggled up in blankets round a roaring fire.

I was contemplating this as we walked around Blackdown Hill this morning.   It was a scramble for the car as it always is with five boys, all of whom needed to be kitted out in wellies, hats, gloves and coats, but it was well worth the effort and I realised that recently, things have felt easier!  I'm telling you this, because I know it's something people have often said to me, "Oh, it does get easier!", as I stand with a child tucked under each arm, both screaming, the dinner ready to be served and the shopping still where it has been on the floor since it was delivered that morning.  This sort of chaotic scene is not uncommon in our house.  This IS our house most of the time.  Our house is chaos held together with threads of order.

However, They are right.  It does get easier and I am beginning, just beginning to see little chinks of light, where I catch myself thinking, "Why does this feel so easy?" and then I realise - it's because the older ones have got their own wellies on and are sitting in the car waiting.  Little by little it's getting easier to extend the moments of calm and enjoy.  This bit of parenting is physical hard work.  Every day is physical effort and it's no wonder we feel tired!  Gradually though there will be less of this and more of the harder bit of parenting;  the constant working out, pondering, ordering, second guessing and motivating you do!

It really is beautiful out there and we had a wonderful walk, watching the boys dodge oncoming walkers, bikes and numerous dogs and pretending to be on a great adventure.

I have also been working busily on etsy this week and have managed to list a few of my items over there, so do visit my little shop - won't you?

Well, for now I will love you and leave you - I'm off to find a pattern for a crochet ear warmer after our chilly walk on the highest place in Sussex (apparently).  Who knows, I may even get one finished in time for next Winter!


Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy Hour

What a lovely, sunny morning we've had here!  Truly a welcome change from the storms that have buffeted us over the last few days.  Days like this fill you with hope for the year ahead and certainly make my mind race with hundreds of ideas for projects I'd like to get done.  So, this morning I am ignoring the way the sunlight brings to life the dust and dirt of the winter months and just doing the cleaning I can - a new regime of "Friday Clean" for maximum weekend family time.  AND....the boys' sheets are drying on the line outside!  I know it's a small thing - but there is something so pleasurable about hanging washing outside for the first time this year - Spring is on her way and soon the house will not feel so much like a laundry and the washing will smell a little less like dinner!

Other than that, I have managed to balance The Clean with time with Noah.  I am determined to savour the days I have with him now his hours at Pre-school have increased.  So, this morning we played snap with his new Octonauts cards, animal dominoes, a Peppa Pig Floor puzzle and some Gruffalo colouring with his magic colour changing pens (How I loved these as a child - and the wonder has not gone with age - I enjoyed them as much as he did!)

I hope I don't sound smug - because believe me, most days this sort of perfect calm activity is not achieved and that's why I celebrate the days it does!
I even made myself a proper lunch of a yummy salad - something I am hoping to do as often as I can this year - too often I settle for a slice of toast (if that!  Naughty, naughty....).

The lovely sunshine and my new resolution to Love My Home inspired me to take a few photos to share with you of some things I love.  For Christmas my younger brother made us a beautiful wooden chopping board, which now sits proudly underneath one of my Dad's Trug baskets and next to his little spice grinder - ready to whip up some Kashmir Garam Masala at some point soon.

Our little kitchen window sill houses the Flour Jar I found in a charity shop in Bath for my bread and pasta making hubby - and some ceramic bottles bought from two sweet girls who had a table outside the village church a few months ago, raising money for their trip to faraway lands....

A cheeky comic strip sign hangs on the dresser - a gift from my good friend, Esther, who knows me so well!  The beaded "Home" sign at the top of this post was another gift from my friend Sally - a beautiful reminder to me every time I see it that that is what this place is.

The dresser contains a few of my cake stands, gleaned like treasure from charity shops over the years.  The Paper Pom pom was created for our Make Space Christmas Craft Night - but I can't quite bring myself to put it away, so it may stay there!  

A pretty pink plate found on Cinnamon Kid's stall at Grittenham Barn Craft market - a tiny treat to myself and other precious cakey things including a bowl and cupcake stand given to me by my mum and Auntie, a cupcake timer from my sister in law and a little piggy, found in the mud at my childhood home the day we went to do a final clear out.  My Dad loved pigs and this was probably a little ornament we gave him for a birthday when we were kids - so he remains a precious smile prompter of my Dad.

A beautiful cake plate from my Auntie, A blue teacup and saucer left here when we moved in, My Granny's favourite teacup with a very Sussex scene and two funky teacups found whilst Christmas shopping!

Yes, you can see we are Jamie fans in this house - perhaps it's all the pasta recipes!  And you can't go wrong with a bit of Nigella.  The Hummingbird Bakery book, a present from my friend Bev has already become sticky with use - always a good sign for a baking book!

The inventive gift tags our presents came with from my brother Tim and his wife Jo - aren't they lovely?!

So, I hope you've enjoyed the little tour around my kitchen.  It has made me realise how much I am surrounded by evidence of the generosity of others and the love that has been described in the many, many gifts we hold dear.  It does the soul good to have a peek around your home and see what reminds you of the people you love and how much they love you too.  Thank you to all my lovely friends and family who make this house a home.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Playing Hooky

 The children have gone back to school after what was one of the loveliest Christmas Breaks we have had for a good few years.  It was full and busy, as it always is, but especially in the few days grace between Christmas and school beginning I think I managed the most amazing feat for many mums - I relaxed!  Things in the house ticked over - the washing piled up a little more than usual, meals still got cooked, the vast mountain of recycling was dealt with....but no mad dashing round the house in a constant round of clearing away.  Let them play.

Walks in the woods to visit "Wildcat camp" happened.  Jigsaws were made. Family films were delighted in.  Cosying on the sofa under blankets was indulged in.  And it was really lovely - for everyone.  Mental note to self - the more chilled out I am - the more everyone in the house can relax.

So, on that note, I am sitting at my dining table with the rain and sunshine battling for who will win the day outside and dreaming about what this year will hold. this is something I rarely afford myself - little window of time to wander through the pages of a magazine, have a cup of tea (and a few cheeky chocolates) and think about some things I'd like to make happen this year.  There are lots of "must achieve" lists for this year, including on line shops, craft fairs and other such business venture things, but this mental check list is of a different kind.

Recently I've realised that it has been 5 years since we moved in to this house and although we have decorated it, I have never really "fallen in love" with it.  To be frank - I've been too busy having three more babies and working out where to put beds!  So, this year is all about loving my home.  It has some lovely corners, that given the right touch of creativity could bring me so much pleasure.  I'm starting with the lounge and dreaming about recovering our two sofas in the huge stash of denim I have been collecting and then making flamboyant cushions from all these bright fabrics I have been saving. Then the crocheted blankets that are gradually finding their way downstairs to be snuggled into in the evenings will look more at home.  In my head it will be a joyful, cosy, welcoming and friendly room, in which the daily changing scene of toys will be enhanced - if you have to have lots of brightly coloured plastic objects strewn across the floor every day - go with it I think!

I am determined to use the lovely coasters my boys bought me for my birthday last year - cups of tea galore - hopefully shared with friends.

And what shall I do with these gorgeous beauties that keep appearing around the place?  I'm wondering about a collage of some sort.....

I am also going to learn to crochet properly this year - I can manage simple projects, but I would really like to be able to make a blanket or two of my own.  One of my favourite blogs is Attic 24.  Sliding over to Lucy's world is almost an automatic response to a dull moment in the day and it brings me so much joy to have a little colourful place I can escape to every now and then and glean some inspiration in the midst of a hectic day.  If anyone reading this is into crafting, especially crochet, I can't recommend her blog enough - and even if you're not, a quick read can't fail to cheer you up.  Anyway, she crochets beautiful blankets and I have my heart set on creating on of her wavy ripple ones.

Also on the list is to create an "office" space for Redeem.  Every inch of space in this house is used to it's full capacity and I often wander round pondering about how we could squeeze a little more use out of this corner or that.  It's become apparent that I need somewhere to organise a growing business, away form little hands and as I spend many days at the dining room table already, surrounded by piles of paperwork, orders, accounts and such like, it seems sensible to use the wall space in there to create a place to organise myself!  So, shelves, drawers, pin boards and hanging tidies are in the design process.  meanwhile - I am finding a few cheerful items to make this side of the business a little more appealing.  Can't miss out on the opportunity for some new stationary, eh?!

It feels a little like I am playing hooky today - there are a million things I guess I should be doing while R sleeps, but once in a while (as my lovely husband often tells me) it's important to do something just to feel like me again.  There's always a reason not to do this - as I'm sure many of you will understand.  But perhaps precisely because there is always a reason not to put it at the top of the list is why it should be there.  Every now and again.

When was the last time you cleared the decks for a bit of time for yourself, put that project you've been dreaming of at the top of the list, above the domestics.......and played hooky?

Something for our bedroom in these colours I think....