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November 2017

Family Me and Mine

Me and Mine 2017: November


Ever since my first Me and Mine photo, with a bemused baby Elma under the shade of a giant sycamore, a one and a bit year old Kitty and not even the tiniest twinkle of a Pip I’ve loved how the photos document our family of four and then five.  We’re family in the most traditional sense, Mummy, Daddy and a parade of tiny feet that follow and I love the consistency of a series of snaps that has seen the children grow and John and I grow more tired.  I joined because I thought it would be a bit of fun, and I could never have imagined how long we’d keep it up, or that they would come to be some of my most treasured pictures, even the dodgy slightly out of focus ones where Kitty’s sticking her tongue out or Pip refuses to have anything to do with the camera.  Every photo, from the time we dressed up in Halloween costumes and climbed up to the Windmill, to the shots we’ve taken curled up in our house tells the story of the five of us.


We’ve snuck in a few extras along the way too; there have been plenty of months where we’ve been visiting John’s parents, or met up with my sister and my Dad, or added a cousin or two into the mix and for this month, bookended by my nephew’s christening at the beginning and a big family get together at the end, it seems only appropriate that November be all about an extended Me and Mine.

John grew up surrounded by uncles and aunts and cousins but until very recently I’ve never had that experience of living near to family.  When I was little my aunts and uncles lived all over the country, and occasionally all over the world.  My grandparents lived in the next village but my Grannie didn’t drive and so it was always about us going to see her rather than being able to meet up or just pop round and now that we have it, and I know that my cousins are just up the road one way, and my aunt and uncle no more than five minutes the other, it is for me one of the absolute stand out highlights of our cross country move.

The local cohort were well represented at the tiny nephew’s christening; we overtook my aunt and uncle just before we got to the M25, to the great delight of three small people in the back of our car and so the tiny man of the hour was feted, adored and cuddled to within an inch of his life by aunts (of both the great and the generally awesome variety), uncles, grandpa and one very smitten biggest cousin.  We all wrote in a book of wishes; our hopes and dreams for him as he grows up, and mine was that he always knows that he is so loved; despite the funny faces (thanks my kids), despite the giggles and the fact that someone is almost inevitably moving and yes sweetie, Auntie Carie did make you be outside for all of the photos, this picture is the proof of that wish.

Full of love and laughter and pure happiness.

Grandpa and all five grandchildren

It’s that feeling of being immersed in family; it was the same last weekend when we squished twelve of us around our dining room table; the five of us, my cousins and their girls, my Dad and my aunt and uncle.  We were all elbow to elbow, the table was groaning with food in the best possible way and we spent the afternoon pottering between the lounge and the dining room as John rolled out his magic tricks for the kids and the rest of us had a good catch up and a chance to just enjoy being all together.  It’s the very best thing about being part of a big family.

Me and lots of mine, in November:

Family Siblings

Siblings 2017: November


If I told you that I bribed the children for these photos with lemon drizzle cake you might be forgiven for thinking that the three of them had inhaled half the loaf.  Believe me, my friends, believe me, when I tell you that that had had not a tiniest taste of the lemony sugar crystals that drift across the top, not the slightest scent of damp sponge nor heard the tiniest crinkle of its cellophane prison.  They don’t need sugar to spend Sunday afternoon rugby tackling each other over the front lawn, they simply need to be back together.

Their separation had been neither lengthy nor without purpose; Kitty and I spent most of Sunday at a birthday party for one of her dearest class friends, heading off mid morning leaving John with the little two, a radiator to remove from the wall and two large bags of plaster.  After having only each other for company, both Elma and Pip were utterly delighted to have their big sister back in the fold, and chose to demonstrate this in time honoured tradition by alternately trying to push her over, and smothering her in adoring hugs.  She in return spent most of the time trying to get them both in head locks for the photos as her best idea as to how to make them stay still long enough to be in focus.  It’s love, pure and simple.

As we went back to school for the second half of term at the beginning of the month it’s been really interesting to see how this school year, when all three are in separate classes, has shown up in their individual development and in their relationships as a little trio.  I always think of the bonds between them as being somehow elastic, a line between Kitty and Elma and a line between Elma and Pip with one big band keeping the three of them roughly together.  At any given time, one of the bonds will be stretched as one or two pull away from the rest, and one of the bonds will be slack as they become closer together despite the age difference, and no matter where there’s tension, it all seems to even out in the long run.

Sometimes the stretch will be between Pip and the sisters he calls “m’girls”, and it was very visible last summer when they were in the same class at school and Pip was still the little baby at home with Daddy; they had a shared vocabulary of songs and experience, and were less interested in involving Pip the destructive in some of their make believe, for somewhat understandable toddler tornado reasons.

Right now the stretch is between Kitty and the littler ones; she has thrown herself into school life even more so than last year and is just soaking up every scrap of information she can lay her hands on.  A lot of her learning is through singing and reciting verse (with actions) and she got beautifully peeved with me the other night because I got stuck reciting the last section of Skimbleshanks (from memory, in the dark) when to her mind a poem is something you say a couple of times in class and then you’ve got it (Mummy’s brain holds far more useless information than yours sweetheart, there’s less space available for railway themed poetry).  I love hearing her singing around the house or trying to test my entirely non-existent German.  If it’s got a bit of a latin root then I can have an educated guess but “curtains” and “chalk” were entirely beyond me.

Last week saw our first lantern parade (we missed last year’s because it was too far to travel) and it was so sweet to see her off with her class and all their gorgeous papier ache lanterns, right in the thick it, while Pip and Elma stayed back with us to wield paper box lanterns and admire the tea lights glowing through their painting, and sniff the paraffin burning in my vintage hurricane.  Kitty’s class will be starting to gear up to their end of term festival soon and I will move heaven, earth and meetings to be there to see what thriving really looks like.

And with that stretch, the slack has fallen between Elma and Pip; with only 20 months between them, once Pip left his baby days behind him, the age gaps was only going to close, and at quite some speed.  Pip has caught up, and while Elma is still learning and growing and changing every day, she isn’t doing it so speedily that she’s dashing away from him again. They’re pretty much the same size, though Pip weighs more, borrow each other’s clothes and spend half the time considering their wellies to be entirely interchangeable and the other half protesting loudly if you present them with the wrong ones.

Next year they’ll be in the same class and I can see them playing together in class far more than Kitty and Elma ever really did.  In the last week Pip has spend a morning in Elma’s class (and looked pleased as punch at being so grown up) and Elma has spend a morning with Pip, just because they wanted to be with each other.  They’re a contented little pair and without Kitty in the picture they treat each other as equals which is both adorable and on occasion leads to some pretty impressive falling out.  But after all, isn’t that what being a sibling is all about.

Two little sisters, and their brother too, in November:

Do go and say hi to my co-hosts: Donna at What the Redhead Said Natalie at Little Jam Pot Life,  Keri-Anne at GingerLily Tea, Amber at Meet the Wildes, and Katie at Mummy Daddy Me. Our fearless leader, Lucy at Dear Beautiful, has been laid up poorly so you might want to pop back later in the week for her post but in the meantime go here to see her latest big news.  And then link up your Siblings posts below, and if you’re joining in on Instagram if you use the hashtag #siblingsproject and tag @siblings_project_ we’ll be able to see them too!




The un-moody blues {handmade}


Part finish, part work in progress, here, in yarn and stitches, is the proof that I’m an eternal optimist.  An un-moody blanket from a glass half full sort of knitter.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Way back when, two whole months ago, in the glorious hustle, bustle and yarn fumes of Yarndale, there was one stand that I just kept gravitating back towards every time I was in the area.  Hopefully she didn’t think I was stalking her, because Jem Weston‘s beautiful, beautiful stand was a haven of some of my most favourite colours, all teals and blues and yellows, with a dash of burnt orange for good measure.

There was not a single thing on that stand that I did not instantly want to start knitting (and her website is full of all the pretties that I worked hard to resist and some that I didn’t), but right at the front sat her Moody Blues blanket, snuggled up in just the perfect spot to be petted and stroked, and longed for.

It was soft and snuggly.  It looked fun to knit but not too taxing on an overworked brain.  It would be the perfect colours for Pip’s room.  It was in one of my favourite yarns (Rooster Almerino – just about the only thing with alpaca in that I can knit and not start scratching).

But I have a blanket underway.  I have Hydrangea, which I adore.  It’s the size of a slightly large scarf right now and I love every row of it.  I didn’t need a new blanket to make, and by the size of the ever bulging Yarndale bag, I wasn’t going to be short of things to knit.

Well we all know how that went.  In my defence I held out until we were almost ready to go home, telling myself that if, despite all the overwhelming yarn fumes, I still really really wanted it, the first five balls and the pattern could come home with me.

It was addictive before I’d finished the first square.  For the last few weeks, every night after I’ve finished work and finished my writing course homework (and yes that’s why there have been very few blog posts around here of late), I sit down and knit a stripe.

Each week runs corner to corner, so Mondays and Sundays are quite tiny and Thursday is a nice big stripe across the centre of the week, and all the colours depend on what sort of day it’s been.

Yellow (custard) is for the very best days, the sort of days that hold memories you’ll treasure, even if they’re only little moments.  There are weekend adventures and a visit home to Devon, visits to us by friends and family, and friends that we hope will become family, the day when John brought the children in to meet me for lunch and the odd day of profesisonal success.


Turquoise (beach) is a happy day; fun but not quite so stellar; those tend to be good work days and the rest of the weekends.

Pale duck-egg (glace) is for middle of the road days; the ones that are just normal, and tend to be a large part of my working week.

Teal (ocean) is for the days that are a bit stressful, an annoying day at work or when everyone at home is just plain out of sorts.

Grey (caviar) is for the really stressful days.  There’s only one of those so far and it was the day when Elma went to hospital in an ambulance, which I think is fair enough (she’s absolutely fine now, it was just a virus that gave her symptoms of asthma).

Five balls, one of each, has produced five squares, and just the start of the fifth, and what is abundantly clear is that my days are middle of the road, or happy, or happiest, and I’m convinced the only reason I haven’t run out of quite so much yellow is because the weekends run out to the corner.

The thing is, that however my day has been, when I sit down to think about the stripe, and my hand hovers near a teal or a duck-egg, I start to think about all the little moments that have been special; the children waiting for me on the doorstep when I come home from a really long day; the glowing endorsement from a client that makes all of the work to get that result completley justified; John bringing me home a box of my favourite bath bombs because he’d taken the children for another round of shoes while I stayed home to work and he wanted me to know how much all four of them love me and appreciate the breadwinning.  There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about the things that make me grateful.

These little knitted squares, I love.  The finished blanket, whether I do the snuggle version or the full on blanket, will be gorgeous any which way, and when I finish it, and wrap it around my tiny son as he pretends to go to sleep each night, he’ll be cuddled up in the memories of happy days and I life for which I am truly thankful.


Pick up a penguin {handmade}


It’s past Halloween, the mornings are grey with pre-dawn mist, and I come home by streetlamp, one puddle of light leading to the next, all the way up the hill, as the tip of my nose longs for the warmth of home.  It’s time.

I don’t believe in spoilers for the Christmas knitting, even if John has seen my current project every time he’s gone diving in my handbag for the car keys he’s well versed enough in knitting to know that at this time of year it’s better not to ask.  I have Christmas knitting plans, both the ambitious and the rather more realistic but every little thing that may or may not get finished gets tucked away in one of the many Christmas present hiding places.  And generally it means that as far as blogging goes it suddenly starts to look as though my creativity has fallen off a cliff.

So this week it is my great delight to share a little something that while definitely festive, is also not really a Christmas present.  Plus the intended recipient is a 4 year old boy and while naturally he’s terribly terribly clever because he’s my nephew, he’s not quite up to reading a blog post and finding out that his Auntie Carie has been indulging his love of penguins.

I thought of him the minute I saw the kit on the cover of the magazine; teeny tiny little penguins to stitch up of an evening and turn into tags.

I’ve started with the snuggliest, and with a bit of effort and some careful planning I should be able to squeeze all eight different penguins onto the tags.  In theory anyway, but these little peeps only take a couple of hours to stitch and that makes them a very satisfying break from all of the knitting.  Sometimes you just need to finish something, and these are the perfect something.

The fringe is made simply by pulling a block’s worth of thread away from each edge; I start it with the needle and then just pull with my fingers and it comes away easily enough, and then I used a couple of glue dots to hold penguin to tag.

He’s sitting on my bedside table, slightly glittery, but ready and waiting – just as soon as I work out what the present will be – does anyone have any ideas for a penguin-crazy four year old?

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