Monday, 28 May 2012

Mad May Round up # II

It's been another busy weekend in the Welch household.  This is our "Birthday season", in which we celebrate 3 sons' birthdays in the space of 6 weeks! 
It's lovely - but I look at a post from this time last year and wonder how I ever managed to fit in decorating for a wedding and making a wedding cake! (Mad May roundup).

Thankfully the sun has shone on us this last week and Ben was able to have his Lego themed birthday party out in the garden, under a hastily erected piece of camouflage tarp for shade.

I love making their cakes, if I have enough time not to get too stressed and as this year, my lovely mum took the remaining children off my hands for the day on Friday, I was able to be quite relaxed about it.  I'm learning to be a bit more like this with birthdays.  I always have about 3 times the number of ideas as I can fulfil at these times, so I have to be realistic with myself and learn not to be disappointed if I don't get to do them.  After all - they never knew these things were even being planned, and to be honest, are more than happy with having friends over and a special cake.  With 5 children, I try to give them one day a year that is just about them, and let their creativity run loose a bit too.  If it's a Lego Chewbacca cake they want, then off to Pinterest I go.  (Trouble is, you find so many more things there you want to have a go at!)

The garden is blossoming too and Jonny's new fire pit has been christened with a meal of Mexican wraps for the birthday boy, who managed to fit in a 5.30 pm trip to the doctors for some urgent asthma attention in the middle of it all too. 

Yes, that is an old trug basket burning on the fire....I too was concerned when I saw this - but after Jonny told me he had found it under a bush, rotten and beyond repair and that he thought it was kind of appropriate that the fire pit built from Dad's old Truggery was lit for the first time with one of his baskets, I felt better and actually thought how beautiful the moment was.  Dad would have loved it.
The decision to forget veg and go with flowers is paying off now too and the new border is blooming marvellously. 

I am so pleased I can hardly stop smiling when I walk out there and although today my favourite chair is covered in folded washing - it looks increasingly at home in our little patch.  Jonny lifted this chair out of a rubbish heap behind his house when we were teenagers after my insistence that it was beautiful and could be had no wooden slats and was covered in rust, but I could see potential!  It took me the next10 years or so to get round to stripping the old paint and cleaning it with a wire brush - after a promise from my dad that he would make new slats for me if I did.  I didn't get round to painting it, and unfortunately, Dad never got the chance to finish it for me.  Imagine how touched and emotional I felt this Christmas when my older brother presented it back to me after sneaking it away from my mum's house - fully restored and ready to be sat in!  It's a gift that so special, because it's not just about the time and skills that went into it, but about the skills passed on from my Dad and the honour it does his memory.

I have tidied my studio this morning, all ready for a new burst of creativity.  June is my month for Redeem to get going.  I keep telling myself!  Trouble is, my brain is suffering from a touch of "too many directions".  But I'm trying to go easy on it and let it settle a while!  It can easily become a race to try to "do something creative" while I have a minute without children, which ends in frustration, because you can't force these things. 

 Well, I hope you too are enjoying the sunshine.  I'm off to clear that chair off and have a cup of tea and a ponder.....


Monday, 21 May 2012

Making Memories

Some memories just happen.  Others have to be made.

Another wonderful inheritance I received from my Dad is the importance of doing this and the huge catalogue of memories I have from growing up.  We were always encouraged to experience life - touch, taste, smell, feel - grasp it with both hands.

This is why we ended up hurling ourselves into rivers in Yorkshire in small inflatables and being thrown over rapids, spluttering with exhilaration.  This is why we dug holes in the fields behind our garden and camped out in them.  This is why mum and dad woke us up again way after bedtime because it had snowed and ran laughing into the park opposite our house as a family, tumbling and falling in the deep, glistening whiteness. This is why we turned our hands yellow from picking hundreds of dandelions for Dad's wine. This is why Dad built ram shackled tents from wood and tarpaulin to house "Midsummer Nights Eve" parties, stringing wild flowers and fairy lights in the dusky evening air.

 Sometimes if you don't just do it - do something, the moment is gone and it will never be given back to you. 
That's why last Sunday we packed a picnic (in a hurry!) and headed off for the sea.

The essentials for a Welch family trip of this kind are definitely spare clothes - a full set for each child - because the inevitable always happens and anyway, the fun is being able to let them wade and paddle unrestricted.

I love bundling them up again in fresh clothes and back into a warm car.  This time we stopped off for an ice cream at Whiteways on Bury Hill on the way back (because obviously, there are no icecreams at the beach!).  This provided ample opportunity for Jonny to inspect every motorbike of the possibly 100 or more that were parked up.  The boys are beginning to appreciate this pass time too.  Memories.
I've also been pondering this week about the importance of objects in memories.  There are some objects that I can't ever remember being without - a candlestick holder that was my mum's - which I took for granted as part of the fabric of our home when I was little, but which is now mine, and has a newly appreciated beauty.

I love bringing it out for a special dinner - even though it is cracked and broken.  It's beautiful.
A row of wooden houses made by my Dad for me to paint.

I never painted them, but I love them as they are, lined up along my mantelpiece as a little reminder of the lengths he would go to to support my creativity.
A crocheted blanket made for Reuben by my Sister-in-law.  One of the most special gifts anyone has ever given me - because of the love that went into creating it and the story it grew out of.  It marked a special time.

Love this photo of a very cross Reuben wrapped in his blanket!

Today I received, in the post a beautifully wrapped "Box of Sunshine" from a friend; filled to the brim with goodies to brighten my day.  Sometimes objects - things - can be just the pinprick of light you need!

Never underestimate the power of a random gift and never hesitate to go for it and give one - (even if you feel it's beyond the point your friendship is at).  Creative and thoughtful gifts, given with love are always in order.

Lastly, I had the pleasure of finishing the patchwork quilt for a friend's daughter's wedding this week.  The patchwork itself had been done - all by hand, mostly by my friend Jan, but also by a whole array of other people.

All that needed doing was the actual basting, quilting and edging.  I can honestly say it was a joy to do it - not only because I love doing this sort of thing, but also because I could feel the love in each stitch my machine crossed.  This object was imbued with love - it was literally stitched into it.  To hold something like that for a short time and have the privilege of bringing it to completion is not something you get to do very often and it was.....Heavenly.

I tucked my littlies into bed tonight, littlest without Teddy - who was lost as he often is - but never at bedtime.  I thought I could do it.  I thought I would be able to leave him as I listened from behind the bedroom door to his smallest and most disappointed voice saying "where Teddy gone?"  No, I couldn't do it.  Off out into the garden  for one last look and after climbing into several bushes, found Teddy and was able to reunite the two of them for restful sleep.  Some Things are just too special to be without.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Brighter. Better.

Hello Lovelies.  This is going to be a short little post to say thank you for all the concern and thoughtfulness following my last blog post.  I feel the corner has been turned and I have a few tools in my hands for the task ahead.  Sometimes that's all you need, isn't it?  Someone to hand you the right tools - not to do the job for you , because they can't.  But to care enough to seek out the tools they have to pass on to you.

My little companion whilst I was making things this week.

Busy working on these this week.
I am blessed with some truly creative and generous friends who over the last few days have bestowed encouragement and practical support on me.  Thank you people, you know who you are. xx

A new teddy to add the the growing family on Reu's bed!  Our birthday present to him.

I have had a couple of days mixing making with the daily activities of feeding, cleaning and washing, mothering.  But it's been a good couple of days and I feel I am carrying it a little lighter.

Noah tucking "Dewey" into his sleeping bag.  A regular bedtime ritual.
A colour theme emerging...A specially commissioned Bra rucksack for a Pink Ribbon walk, new Yoyo crochet hair clips and yummy chocolates, which were a thank you for the bag!
 I just thought I'd share that with you anyway.  I'm off now to make another embroidered ring - think it's going to be a snail this time......