Monthly Archives

May 2015

Family Milestones Pip



I love putting together the children’s milestone pictures each month, they’ve always been the perfect way for me to actually get around to recording a little of what they were like and what they were up to each month.  But there are some milestones that require a little bit more than a mention on their pictures, and Pip has just reached one.

As of last Thursday he was mobile, but would get around the room by rolling towards whatever he wanted, then pushing himself up to sitting and sort of bunny hopping and then flopping forwards to get to it.  He would sit in the middle of the floor and then tip forward to being on all fours and stay there rocking back and forth and back and forth, desperately willing himself to move forward but not quite sure how to do it.

But Friday, Friday the penny dropped.  I left him on the lounge floor and went to take a cup out to the kitchen and when I came back he was all the way over the other side of the room, quite a bit further than I thought he could get in that time by bunny hopping.

And sure enough, as I stood in the doorway he turned and with a mixture of ‘left then right’ and bunny hopping he scuttle-crawled all the way across until he was near enough to throw himself into my hands and come up for a cuddle.

And since then he’s only got quicker and quicker.  We went up to Yorkshire to visit the family for the long weekend and he had a whale of a time cruising around Grandma’s lounge and across the kitchen floor, usually making a beeline for the telly, any one of a number of charming ornaments placed at just about his height, or the tea service.  Fortunately for us, if not for him, he never actually attained any of his targets.  Poor boy.

I find it fascinating that whereas both sisters commando crawled for a bit before figuring the bottom up in the air and on all fours crawling, Pip never bothered with the commando crawling, he was straight up on his knees.  If he’s anything like his sisters on the speed crawling front though we’re going to have to watch out.

You’d think after three children our house would be fairly well baby proofed and it’s true that there’s nothing precious, or that belongs to H or me that is in the firing line any more, but as the sisters have grown up, so their bits and pieces have started to get smaller, and it’s just not good enough to put the really exciting and potentially edible things (conkers, play pizza toppings, small chunks of crayon) beyond his reach any more, we’re having to round them all up and keep them in pots on top of the play kitchen.  And with it comes a new chapter in parenting the big sisters, that moment when you try to explain just why it’s really important that they don’t leave tiny pieces of lego, or their bead collection over the floor.

It seems that every stage with every child is a learning curve, no matter how many babies you’ve already brought through it, and I still have no idea what we’re doing about stair gates this time around.

But for the most part those are the thoughts in the back of my head, because  at the moment in our house everything stops when you see this:

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life


One little boy gearing himself up, finding the thing he wants to grab and chew, and setting off determinedly in pursuit.  It’s the cutest thing since his sisters started to crawl!


Family Milestones Photography Pip

Pip in May


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life


PS – if you’re looking for What We’re Reading, we’re still in the middle of a wonderful bedtime chapter book, but as Kitty keeps moving the bookmark backwards because she doesn’t want her Sylvia stories to end, and we were away for the weekend, we haven’t quite finished it yet. We’ll be back next week but in the meantime if you’re looking for something to read there are some wonderful suggestions in the Pinterest booklist here

Elma Family Kitty Living Arrows Photography Pip

Living Arrows 2015: 20/52



Is it the very nature of having children that whatever was once yours is now fair game? H and my hobbies mean that there have always been a fairly wide aray of nice crafty things around the house.  There are a few bits and pieces in his art stash that are off limits for little girls but for the most part we’ve let the girls try out differnet sorts of paints, chalks, pastels, paper, board, canvas and all the rest.  H is an artist not a hoarder of paint supplies so it’s all there to be used, and in the same way my stamps and cutters and wiggly scissors have migrated into the girls’ craft cupboard, where I should mention that they get a lot more use than they did tucked in the back of my desk drawer.

But the latest filch from the studio isn’t paint or paper or even some of those very nice stickers that Kitty has been eyeing up, it’s a piece of MDF.

H has two, and they are just very simple straightforward slabs of board, cut to about A2 size in the shop.  Their intended use is as painting boards for watercolour paper, you can soak it, lay it down on them and then tape it into place to stretch it, and it’s nice and portable to take to art class.

But even though that’s a very good use, and even though this board has two small ink and wash pictures still taped to the back of it, I’m afraid it’s now wholly in the possession of the children.

We had used it as a painting board on the dining room table in a vague effort to protect the tablecloth (unsuccessfully as it turned out) but then came the day when I realised that it was exactly the right size to fit a slice of one of our giant rolls of paper from IKEA.

And with that it became a drawing board.  Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

If I need to get something done, or just need the girls to settle down for a bit, I can set it up, wrap a fresh piece of paper around, plonk it on the floor and add their crayons and let them get to work.

  Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

We’ve had pictures of Kitty’s nursery school trip (a Daddy long legs, her teacher’s house -imagined- and a hairslide), pictures of the two of them at ballet class, a huge number of rainbows requested by the girls and drawn by me and lots of scribbles by Elma and odd dots of colour from Pip.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

I think that having the board, and being able to be on the floor gives us enough space for all four of us to be around it, and makes it easy for everyone to join in, or not join in as the case may be (Elma loves stacking up the block crayons instead).

And so when I remember and when we’re next in town, we have a job to go and get another board cut for Daddy, because I don’t think we’re giving this one back.

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip {the ordinary moments}

Utterly ordinary


On Thursday morning I loaded all three children into the car, added changes of clothes, and swimming cossies, and drinks and a handful of snacks for the journey and set off.  We drove for about two hours including a stint on the world’s most uninteresting car park (the M25) and then we were there.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that an expedition of this magnitude should be for some really amazing day out, a trip to an as yet undiscovered theme park that combines a water park, painting, Duplo, a yarn shop, cake and a spa for Mummy, but alas no such place exists although I may just have had a really great idea for a business venture.

In fact we spent the day sitting on the floor, playing shop, building a robot, playing jigsaws and Duplo and car garage.  We ate lunch, played in the garden, and had frozen yoghurt for tea. And it was wonderful.

And the reason why we went so far for what was pretty much an ordinary day at home was this little man, and his Mum.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Because for all the fun we have chatting over FaceTime, waving at the tiny nephew and setting the world to rights with my sis, there’s nothing quite like being together in person.

It was wonderful.  And in some ways unexpectedly wonderful.  Between us we have four children aged four, two, two and eight months and so for the last few years we’ve always been part chatting, part parenting, that sort of conversation where you jump between making Duplo flowers and putting teddy’s jumper back on to whatever it was you were talking about and back again.

But our little ones are getting bigger and while Pip rolled around on the floor and got rid of all of his wiggles from being tucked up in the car, the three biggest set up a very elaborate game of supermarket checkout.  And we sat down 0n the floor next to each other and just watched them play while we talked.

They weren’t entirely self sufficient of course, we we still dipped in and out to stop Pip trying to eat the play food and to help build a robot and get the scanner to scan, but it marked a watershed; the start of the moment where we don’t need to be so very present in their play, they’ve got it.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

After lunch we filled up the paddling pool and brought out my nephew’s play house to act as a bit of shade (it’s a ticket office for the tube and the tunnel is a tube train) and it felt exactly like summers should feel.  Pip sat and splashed and splashed and splashed in the pool, and occasionally reached back over the edge to grab a handful of grass for a sneaky chomp.  Kitty splashed, she and her cousin tried to water the garden, and mostly watered the fence and the next door neighbour’s garden, and Elma curled up like a cat in the sun to snuggle with her blanky.


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

But the best was yet to come. My Dad was staying the night and when he arrived there was a very lengthy queue of little grandchildren wanting cuddles, and to climb on his knee and tell him all about the day.

Sitting around the table together felt so much like our big family holiday in Putsborough last summer, and not just because it was spag bol and strawberries again. It was the same sense of being exactly where we should be, sunkissed and full of good food and even better company.

And my favourite moment of the day? Well apart from putting all four kids in the tub at once where there was so little space that there was no danger of Pip ever falling over, it was reliving a memory from my childhood, Dad, now Grandpa, reading the bedtime story.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And of course, before we popped my trio back in the car to head north into the twilight, we had to take our now customary photo of Grandpa plus all his grandchildren on the red sofa.  We have pictures of Grandpa and all three at various ages from a newborn nephew onwards but this is the first with all four,Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

And I think this latest in the series is definitely my most favourite yet!

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

21/52 {The 52 Project}


Linking up with Jodi with a portrait of each of my children once every week for 2015.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Kitty: You had so much fun visiting your Auntie and cousin this week; you were the best big sister to everyone in reach, playing with your cousin’s toys, trying to show him how to use the hose and running around the garden at top speed

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/200, f/7.1, ISO 100)

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Elma: I took Pip outside to take some pictures of our tiny veggie garden this week and as soon as you saw the door open you were sprinting out of it.  You and Pip sat and giggled at me, and then tried to dig up several handfuls of our seedlings.  I’m not quite sure why you’ve brought my ex-pastry brush; I know you’re very fond of it, which is why it was relegated to “ex” the day I found you dusting the potty with it, and why I keep having to hide the replacement.  I love this picture of you with Pip, my two littlest together and you in full big sister mode.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/160, f/3.5 , ISO 100)

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Pip: I think you might be the biggest fan of our new interest in gardening.  Aside from the fairly consistent attempts to eat the grass whenever it appears within reach, you’ve discovered that you can pull yourself up and across to the top of the veg beds and dig your fingers in the soil.  Your enthusiasm is very cute – and only slightly dinted when you end up with mud all over your head.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/160, f/3.5, ISO 100)