Monthly Archives

October 2014

Elma Family Kitty Living Arrows Photography

Living Arrows 43/52


“I want Elsa! And Anna! And Snow White” said Kitty waving her soup spoon wildly at the computer as the screen scrolled down.

“Mickeymouseclubmouse!!” replied Elma

“Umm” I thought.  Perhaps it wasn’t exactly the best idea to search google for pumpkin carving images.  At least, maybe not with the girls around.  I’m terribly flattered by their confidence in my abilities to wield a paring knife with skill but given that I have carved I think three pumpkins before in my entire life, two of which were the traditional spooky face, and the other of which was a cat, which is pretty much a spooky face with ears and whiskers, the entire cast of Frozen rendered in miniature orange silhouette really is beyond me.

With a bit of persuasion they refined their plans and I sketched out a few ideas; and then we made them even simpler, and smaller when I realised just how teeny tiny the pumpkins that girls had picked out actually are when you’re trying to carve a picture into them.  Note to self: buy bigger pumpkins.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Last time we tried pumpkin carving Kitty was most decidedly unimpressed about the idea of putting her hand into the pumpkin and scooping out the guts, and as Elma is now a similar age it was no real surprise that she took one look at her pumpkin and turned to me with a slightly worried expression:

“No like it. Mummy do it.”

So Mummy did Elma’s while Kitty attacked her pumpkin with gusto and an ice cream scoop.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Pumpkin seeds and orange slime went flying.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I’m beginning to think that a really clean scoop out is one of the keys to a neat and tidy looking carved pumpkin but we haven’t mastered that yet, so we went for the best we could manage before all enthusiasm for the subject went out the window.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

My other top tip gleaned from the internet was to cut the bottom not the top of the pumpkin to scoop it out, then you have a nice flat bottom to balance the pumpkin on, and you can light a candle and lower the pumpkin over it rather than trying to light through your carving.


And so I sat looking at two small pumpkins, one paring knife, one barbeque skewer and the expectations of my daughters.  Well if we’re going to go for cliches: in for a penny, in for a pound, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and practice makes perfect.

May I present this year’s pumpkins:

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (Elma’s) and Slinky Malinki (Kitty’s).

They’re not technically very impressive (there’s a carousel with horses pictured on google that’s just jaw dropping if you want impressive) but sat out on the garden wall with tea lights flickering away underneath them they look rather sweet; lightening the darkness and bringing cheer to the greyest of days.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

living arrows

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip {the ordinary moments}



As H gets ready to leave for work each morning a little tousled blond head appears at his side:

“Daddy! Are you staying home with us today?”
“Not today sweetheart, I have to go to work.”
“But I want you to stay because I just really love you the most Daddy!!”

Nothing like making Mummy feel really cherished first thing in the morning is there Kitty-cakes?

I know it’s just the novelty value as it were; Mummy is always here, Mummy does not appear with Milkybars in her pockets, Mummy can’t hold small daughters upside down by their ankles, Mummy just isn’t as exciting. And truth be told there are mornings where Mummy would also quite like it if Daddy was staying home!

But at the weekend or on odd days of holiday when the answer is a resounding “yes” it’s lovely to see her enormous smiles, even if H rather wishes they weren’t immediately followed by two small girls using him as a climbing frame in what seems to be a quest to be the first to sit on his head. (Seriously, Elma’s knees gave him two neat little purple bruises on his stomach the other week when she flung herself at him!)

There are days when we come up with an adventure, or we’ve got plans to meet friends, and lots of our weekends revolve around hockey matches but sometimes the very best days are the ones with no plan at all, the days when we go as the whim takes us.

We might be snuggled up at home having family film afternoon while the rain drips down the windows, or sat around the table playing all sorts of glueing painting and sticking, or in this case running around the park in a window of sunshine before the rain moved in again.

The park has a policy of tidying up fallen trees but leaving them mostly in situ so they can be clambered all over, and this little log was just irresistible to Kitty. And where Kitty goes, there follows Elma, even if she might need a little fatherly assistance to stop her splatting straight into a puddle!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

So while I rocked a sleepy Pip back and forth in his pram, my intrepid trio set about exploring. They wibbled a bit, wobbled a bit, and then jumped!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It was a tiny moment in a very everyday sort of day, but they’re the days where we seem to really revel in being a family of five; days of utter contentment. It’s the emotional equivalent of that feeling of being slightly stuffed but very happy that you get sat in front of a roaring fire after a really great roast lunch followed by apple crumble and custard.

The days when I look around at our little family and feel how truly blessed we are. These very wonderful ordinary days.

Knitting Work in Progress

Autumnal Nesting


There’s been a definite nip in the air these past few weeks. Even when the day dawns bright and sunny, so sunny that Kitty and I have to have the oft repeated discussion about how sunshine does not equal hot, at least not when you live in Warwickshire, and no a sundress is not suitable clothing for the day unless you want to add tights and a long sleeved t-shirt to the mix, there’s been an undercurrent of crispness, a little bite in the early morning air to put roses in our cheeks as we head out to nursery.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

There’s been rain too, but not the steaming rain of the summer when you watched it drizzle down, noses pressed to the back door, longing for it to stop so you could rush outside again, but a steady drizzle punctuated with phenomenal cloud burst and stunning rainbows to follow, rain to make you reach for the soup pot, the wooly socks and the central heating switch, rain to make you hibernate.

And whether it’s the season or some overdue pregnancy hormones making a last hurrah I am nesting. Properly nesting. Well for me anyway. And no that doesn’t mean I’ve discovered a strong an unnatural urge to do. The housework, or that we’re very much, if at all, further forward on the grand studio makeover, although I did move the bookcase into its new position last week so that definitely counts, you just have to overlook the piles of boxes on the floor that still need sorting.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

No, nesting for me means yarn, and fibre, and fabric and a million and one plans of all the things I’m going to make in that time which I don’t have.

We will be warm and cozy this winter because (a) we live in England and (b) we have central heating, so why does autumn make me want to prepare as if we’re about to face a blizzard armed with nothing more than what I can make? (You don’t need to answer that one!)

So I started with the yarn stash. Once upon a time my yarn lived in a small plastic box on a shelf in my room in my house in London. That was a long time ago! Now it takes up all of a Billy bookcase with doors on and a few skeins and baskets and odd balls found lying around the house. And yet whenever I saw a project on Ravelry or on someone else’s blog that I really really wanted to make I never seemed to have the right yarn or enough yarn, just a cupboard full of odd balls and projects that I haven’t got round to yet. So I pulled it all out. Apart from the sock yarn stash which has a whole shelf of its own I filled three Ikea cubes, and I’m sure there’s still a few odd bits and bobs lying around the place.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And then the sorting began, first into piles by weight and then the harder bit, the letting go bit. I think I was pretty ruthless, at least I tried to be. It’s obvious to keep the sweater’s worths, the yarn where I know what it wants to be, but there were a good few odd balls in the mix too, leftovers from a previous project or just bought to swatch and experiment with. And a whole heap of those have gone in the donate bag. To find new lives either with friends who knit for charity or in Kitty’s art room at nursery.

I’m sure I’ve kept more than I should but I’ve made a little mental note to do this again next year and there are a few things that have got a year to be knit up before they too find themselves on the art project list.

And in a fit of obsessive organisation I’ve also been putting what I kept into my Ravelry page, and rearranging my queue and tidying out my favourites. I found so much that I’d forgotten I had, probably because there can be quite a gap between the buying and the knitting nowadays, and it feels oddly comforting to be able to see it all at a glance, to know that the only thing I’m going to need to make a Christmas jumper for Pip is the pattern and a handful of buttons because the yarn is right there waiting for me.

Even though the realist in me knows that I’m not going to knit through my entire stash this winter, or probably get to even half the projects I’m planning in my head, there’s something oddly comforting about knowing that it’s there ready and waiting. And now terribly terribly organised!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life