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July 2016

Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography Pip

Me and Mine 2016: July


Perhaps this month it’s appropriate that our pictures are a little bit out of kilter and definitely nearer the unintentional outtake, because as we get to the end of July, the whole month feels out of kilter.


This first week out of school is known to be a bit of a humdinger while everyone shakes down and gets used to the rhythm of family days again and tries to recover from the end of term exhaustion, and there have been parts of our week that have duly hum-dinged, and may indeed explain why a certain very tired young lady, who is more than smart enough to have realised that if we’re all looking at the camera we can’t see what face she’s pulling, looks as though we’ve just served up a picnic lunch of worms pickled in over-cooked cabbage.


The car crash threw us all for a loop, especially Elma, who sits in the middle seat in our cars, saw the whole thing unfold, and now says “don’t crash this car Daddy!” whenever we set off anywhere, even though if you ask her she’ll happily tell you that “an idiot made our car crash”.

Right now on Saturday evening I should be sat in the late evening sunshine at our favourite campsite in Germany, sipping something cooled by being sat in the stream for half an hour, while the children make friends and run off the wriggles of the long drive at the start of this year’s European adventure.  Instead, I’m sat at home, with my arm still bandaged up because it starts to hurt pretty much as soon as I take the tubigrip off, desperately trying not to twitch because it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve done any knitting, crochet or sewing and it appears that I wasn’t joking when I said I needed to make things as a sort of daily multi-vitamin for general wellbeing.  Accepting that our dream trip wasn’t going to happen quite as we wanted it has taken a bit of coming to terms with but thanks to some very creative thinking on H’s part and a good dose of charm, all is not lost and we discovered today that we will still be going, just not yet.


The upheaval has thrown us out of our routine, and filled our time with calling insurance companies and car hire and writing statements and drawing up sketches.  So perhaps it’s a fair reflection that in these pictures the camera had slipped down, decapitating H and me, though framing Pip perfectly, and in most of the others, at least one person is frowning, looking puzzled, or both.



They’re just us, sat in the back garden, on a day that was warm, but threatened rain at every turn, hoping that we could make good on our early morning promise of a picnic picnic not a carpet picnic,

My little family, in July:


And yet if I’d been able to persuade everyone to look at the camera and smile angelically, that’s what we’d have been going with.  Because I think that is how our life is most of the time; filled with love, and laughter, and quite a lot of yawning.  There have been some wonderful highpoints this month; watching Kitty finish school and reading her first ever school report with a mixture of awe and pride, spending time with my aunt (and her strawberry fields and her pool!), finally recruiting a new team admin at work (sounds like a small thing I know but it’s going to make a huge difference), and my top of the list moment, celebrating my cousin’s wedding.

It was lovely to see him so happy, and to meet his wife, and to see my uncles and aunts and cousins and have a whole day together to catch up and we’ve got some definite plans for a few more catch ups over the summer.  That by itself would have been more than enough to fill my cup to overflowing, but there sat just in front of us in the church was the very familiar face of the only one of my cousins who doesn’t live in the Northern Hemisphere.  That H has only met him once before tells you how far away we all live, and it was a brilliant surprise to see him there and to catch up and compare notes (his two little ones being of very similar ages to our littlest two.

So I’m cheating (when am I every not) and sneaking in one more photo with which to remember this month, and not just to prove that Kitty really can smile – Me and Mine and my cousin!


The Me and Mine Project

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

31/52 {the 2016 portraits}


Linking up with Jodi with a portrait of each of my children once every week for 2016.

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Kitty: I spy with my little eye … Kitty and her cousin – both of you looking utterly adorable and having fun at my cousin’s wedding. It was a lovely day for so many reasons but I always treasure the chances you get to know your wider family, and you and your siblings and cousins were having a blast!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/320, f/4, ISO 100)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Elma: Still at the wedding, and I have no clue what you were trying to do in this photo – because who doesn’t just curl up in a ball on the floor in the middle of your aunts and uncles! You seemed to be enjoying yourself though!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/320, f/4, ISO 100)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Pip:Does this picture even need a caption? Suffice to say that I think you rather enjoyed the contents of your wedding party bag!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/80, f/5, ISO 125)


ttfn, or what I’ve been up to lately


The short version is, as Elma would say, “an idiot made our car crash”.

The slightly longer version is that as we came home the Sunday before last an [insert your favourite Anglo-Saxon here] driver shot out of a Give Way junction in front of us, suddenly braked and pulled into the side of the road  (all without indicating or using hazard warning lights), and then, as we moved to the right hand side of the carriageway to make sure we didn’t hit them and to be ready to overtake if necessary, they pulled a U-turn.  Across a 60mph road. Across cross hatching. Across us. All without warning lights or indicating again.  H had been braking since they’d jumped the junction but there was nothing we could do, and nowhere left for us to go.  We slammed into their driver’s side doors and their car rolled slowly away from us with sickening crunches, eventually coming to rest on the driver’s side doors in the far verge.

It’s a miracle that they, and their two children, walked away. Actually, it’s not a miracle, it’s because H is a good driver and was doing everything he could to loose speed from the moment their revealed their idiocy and so we hit nearer to 20 than 60. Even then our car is looking mighty scrunched up and the jury is still out as to whether it’s repairable.

And as for us, well the children are shaken up but thanks to the power of car seats, only Kitty had even any bruising, and the littlest two were fine.  H and I have whiplash and I have some pretty spectacular bruising, and most annoyingly I must have jarred my left arm in the impact because as well as a rather nice burn mark down the outside of my elbow, I’ve got soft tissue injuries to wrist and elbow, which basically gives me horrible carpal tunnel-esque symptoms and a feeling a bit like I’m a baby bird with a broken left wing.  I’m strapped up from knuckles to upper arm and been told not to use it.

I’m a mother of three, my job is pretty much entirely computer based, and my hobbies are writing, knitting and sewing – the enforced slow down is calling on every last shred of patience I have available.

And so I’m really just checking in one-handedly to say I don’t know when I’ll be back for more than the odd picture post.  I have a million things I want to write about, and occasions to remember and I know they’ll be a veritable avalanche of posts when I do get the all clear (and I’m going to knit EVERYTHING) but for now I have to be good.

I’m making no promises as to whether or not I’m grumpy about it though!




Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

30/52 {the 2016 portraits}


Linking up with Jodi with a portrait of each of my children once every week for 2016.

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Kitty: As I write this you’ve finally finally finished what must be the longest summer term ever known and you’re home for the holidays and we can all heave a big sigh of relief.  You’ve made me so very proud this year, not just in all the boxes ticked on your school report but in the comments that say how you are kind and generous and a good friend.  It seems only yesterday that you ran into school without a backward glance in September, and I can’t quite believe a whole year has gone already.  Now for summer fun!

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Elma: Strawberry picker extraordinaire – and for that matter, chief eater of strawberries too!

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Pip: I don’t think you’ve entirely got strawberry picking my little love. Or rather, you’ve got the picking bit down, just not the what to pick! You were loving it though so I think we can forgive a few green ones in the mix!

Finished Handmade Handmade for Baby Knitting

Camilla Babe {handmade for baby}


Let me tell you the worst kept secret among knitters – knitting for babies isn’t fun just because baby knits are small and cute and easy to make and you can finish them almost before you’ve thought of starting them.  It is all of that, don’t get me wrong, but if you’ve ever snuggled a baby in a hand knit jumper you’ll know there’s something just so squishably cuddleable about a wool-clad baby that you’d never want to put them down.  Baby knitting calls for the softest of soft soft yarn and so for the second baby knit of the summer I returned to one of my all time favourites (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran) in a deep blackcurranty purple that is utterly gorgeous in it’s own right, and will also go nicely with all the dinosaur handmedowns from its new owner’s big brothers.

Space for the Butterflies - Camilla Babe by Carrie Bostick Hoge

It’s been a little while since I knit for a baby girl (and it was in purple that time too) so I spent many happy hours searching Ravelry for the perfect pattern, one that said “adorable baby girl” without being overly flouncy and frilly, one that was nice and practical both to knit and to wear, and one that would suit her mama’s excellent taste in children’s clothes.

Space for the Butterflies - Camilla Babe by Carrie Bostick Hoge

I do usually make cardigans as baby knits because for newborns a jumper is a massive faff, you want to be able to get it off and on easily, and unbutton it if they fall asleep and get a bit hot, and leave it unbuttoned if they’re anything like my three and think milk is a gift to be returned as soon as possible.  But once I started to realise that it wasn’t very practical to be planning baby knits for a nice hot English summer either, and that a six month size was a much better bet, suddenly the field of jumpers opened up again.  At 6 months jumpers have always seemed more practical to me, for pretty much all the reasons that they don’t work so well for newborns, especially as my little ones had a well practiced habit of crawling out of their clothes whenever possible.  And so I came back to Camilla Babe, the teeny tiny version of Carrie Bostick Hoge’s grown up Camilla.

Space for the Butterflies - Camilla Babe by Carrie Bostick Hoge

I had so much fun knitting this jumper it took all my willpower not to dash out to buy the yarn to make a bigger one for Elma (in soft sea green – I’m already planning it for her birthday!).  Even in the round garter stitch knits up a treat and the pattern was easy enough that I could memorise it and carry it around with me.

Space for the Butterflies - Camilla Babe by Carrie Bostick Hoge

And so this little jumper has been knit in our garden, on the train to and from work, in the car, and even on the beaches of South Devon, and then it was washed (a lot), blocked, and left to dry.  The blocking just pulled the feather and fan pattern into shape and gave it its lovely curvy front and then it was ready to be sent on its way south, to a little girl who, given the weather of the last week, is not going to leave it for some time to come!

Space for the Butterflies - Camilla Babe by Carrie Bostick Hoge

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On