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Elma Family Kitty Pip Uncategorized {the ordinary moments}

Vroom vroom


Now that I don’t spend so much of my everyday with Pip I keep finding myself surprised by him.  In my mind the baby I leave at home every morning is a tiny snuggly little thing that curls up in my arms to sleep, head nestling into my neck and one arm clinging on around my shoulders.

But when I come home and look around the room for my baby, there standing up against the play kitchen, holding on with one hand and waving wildly with the other, is my Pip, every inch a little boy.

He’s rapidly cruising the furniture now and I know we’re only a few months at most away from him walking (please let those first steps be when I’m at home), and all his pulling up and climbing is opening up a whole new world.  Some of it, we’d rather he stopped exploring, the climbing onto the footstool to reach up and cling to the television being our favourite, and some is wonderful to see.

Starting with what is now Pip’s racing car.  I don’t think we’d had it out since before our Europe trip; Kitty and Elma have been so taken up with their bike and scooter collection that their once beloved car had been rather neglected.  We pulled it out, put it on the patio and helped Pip climb in.

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

And oh the expressions on that little boy’s face. First bemused, then tentatively reaching out to grab at the steering wheel, then letting go when it didn’t move, and then huge smiles when he realised that the steering wheel moves just like his favourite spot at the play park.

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Elma and Kitty came to have a look, because naturally even if you’ve shown no interest in something for the last month, if your brother has it then it’s something you ought to have instead, and once we’d convinced them that we really were serious when we said it was Pip’s go, and we really would take anyone inside who thought they’d just haul him out and have a go instead, they decided to show him exactly how it all works.

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Elma filled the car with fuel, and showed him how to beep the horn (cue even broader smiles) and then just in case it might rain, or possibly because it was blazingly sunny, she went to get an umbrella to hold over him.  Shades of the F1 grid for the world’s most stationary race car.  Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

His feet do touch the floor and I know that any minute now he’ll figure out how to propel himself around the patio and that will be another skill learned and another milestone reached but for now I’m going to enjoy every minute of my baby joyfully playing engines and try not to blink and find him all grown up too fast.

Space for the Butterflies - The Ordinary Moments

Finished Kitty Knitting Uncategorized

And a hat to match {handmade for Kitty}


With the best part of a skein of Malabrigo Rios sat in my lap after finishing Kitty’s Momo cardigan, a hat was the obvious choice for my next project.  You can never have too many hats, at least not in our house where they double up as dolly beds, mittens, and useful pots to put things in (usually Duplo).

But while any hat popped into our bag of winter hats and mittens will always eventually find a wearer, even if it’s Pip, I have also learned my lesson on the pattern front and sat Kitty down with Ravelry to some extensive hat pattern searching.  As a result of which I have a long list of hats she would like, a few that Elma would like and one for me, none of which will work with this yarn, or at least not in the amount I had.

70 ish grand of Aran weight is not an awful lot for a hat for a little girl whose head isn’t that much smaller than mine.  Nothing poofy (not enough yarn), nothing cabled (cables are beautiful, warm and eat yarn like no tomorrow), no doubled up ribbing, and with a little reluctance I had to concede, no pom-poms.

Which narrowed us down to one perfect pattern, the Cabernet hat.  I held my breath because if this one got a no, the only answer was me making something up on the fly and right now my knitting designer magic is being used for other things, like staying awake.  Kitty looked at it, clicked on another couple of pictures (mostly I think because she likes clicking), turned her head to one side and said:

“Mummy, I think that one!”


And aside from fitting all of our criteria it’s actually a great hat.  There’s lacework and the occasional giant cable but they balance each other out so it stays stretchy and after knitting miles upon miles of stocking stitch it was fun to have something a bit more technical to knit.

Space for the Butterflies - And a hat to match

The pattern describes itself as hard and from the description of the cable you’d think you were about to defuse a bomb while wearing mittens but it’s not actually that hard.  In essence you have eight stitches, you’re swapping the first and the eighth and leaving the others in their place.  I usually cable without any cable needle but I did find a spare DPN useful to hold those end stitches while I shuffled the middle six back and forth.

Space for the Butterflies - And a hat to match

As soon as it was finished it was lifted out of my lap and carted away.  Kitty both loves it and finds it a bit fidgety; the love because it’s pretty, soft, warm and matches her cardigan, and the fidgety because the size medium (child), while a perfect fit on the circumference, is probably a centimetre or two short on the height.  She keeps trying to pull it down a bit more to cover the bottom of her ears.  The pattern is written to bring the cables up to a beautiful point so there isn’t really anywhere obvious where I could have added more length. If I were to make another one I think I’d use the ribbing brim and add a few more rows, they could always be turned up if it was too much. It’s a great fit on Elma (my back up plan) but somehow I think she’s only going to get the chance to prove that when her sister is out!

Space for the Butterflies - And a hat to match

After a while Kitty forgets about the fidgeting though and then it looks very perfectly autumnal; the purple against the deep blues skies or the green gold of our trees, and there’s something about a hat that matches your cardie that can only be for a half way to winter kind of stage, the time of year when you don’t need your coat, your waterproofs and layers of thick woolly cables to keep you snug and warm.

Space for the Butterflies - And a hat to match

Which gives me a very good idea for a little Christmas knitting, at least the version of Christmas knitting in my head in which I whizz cheery jumpers off the needles while simultaneously making all the Christmas magic, being a fully engaged and present parent to my little trio, an attentive wife, oh and holding down a full time job.  I think I may also have invented a time machine.  But surely, even in reality there might be space for a little knitted cabled winter hat for Kitty – anyone got any good ideas for a pattern?

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, Frontier Dreams and Funky Kid Friday


Keeping a carousel promise


imageimageimageimageimageWay back in a cool and cloudy February H went on his Christmas present day trip to Paris.  And it was in explaining to Kitty just where Daddy had gone that she first saw a picture of a carousel in Paris, and fell in love.

And because she is her Daddy’s daughter, and because he (and I) adore giving the children experiences more than burying them under an avalanche of stuff, he made her a promise:

Paris, the summer, and a carousel ride.

Quite how this was to be accomplished was anyone’s guess, and we looked at Disney, hotels, a day trip and Airbnb.  And then when the idea of camping became more and more appealing it was easy.  Thre nights at a campsite somewhere on the outskirts of Paris, where we could take a train into the centre, and take the children to see the Eiffel Tower.

And that’s how on Wednesday afternoon, in 33 degree heat plus whatever humidity was knocking around, we found ourselves standing a little tired, hot and sweaty in front of a beautiful beautiful old fashioned carousel.

The girls love carousels and usually H takes them while I stand with Pip and the bags and the buggy or whatever other paraphernalia we have with us, but this one was sturdy enough for adults and we only had Pip in the sling on my front and the nappy bag on H’s back so we all went on.

Elma choose a spot in a little car called Benz, Kitty found a tiger, H an ostrich and Pip and I settled ourselves on a very fine brown horse with a pink saddle, and we were off.

Pip was I suspect mostly bemused by the whole affair, especially because our horse bobbed gently up and down, but Kitty next to me couldn’t keep from smiling and every time Elma turned around she looked the perfect mixture of elated little girl and concentrating serious driver.

Flying round and round all five of us, with the river on one side and the base of the tower on the other and the tiniest breeze cooling hot cheeks we kept our promise, and in the nicest possible way.

And as an addendum for today, I started writing this post, or at least I wrote the title and then Pip woke up and I went off to settle him.  And when I came back I found that H had, shall we say, “given me a headstart”, and write the post for me.  For anyone who wondered whether he was going to start blogging when I go back to work, this is why the answer is almost certainly no.

Our day in Paris, according to H:

we promised to take the girls on the carousel in Paris at the tour eifel and we did. The end.

Elma Family Kitty Pip Uncategorized {the ordinary moments}



It it started so silently, so utterly unnoticed. The grey sky grew no greyer as the raindrops turned imperceptibly to the first little frozen pellets . Only change in the sound as the raindrops flicked against the window and drizzled down the glass gave us any reason to look up from where we sat at the table eating lunch amid the detritus left over from a morning folding paper stars to brighten up our windows.

The first flurry came as a shower of frozen rain, tiny little dots of ice scattering as they hit the ground and swept by the wind into miniature slushy drifts in corners, enough to bury down into the lawn and give a faint whitening to the grass if you looked at it through screwed up eyes and hoped for the best.

“I think we might give the play park a miss this afternoon girls.”
“but why Mummy!”
“Because it’s really cold and snowing my love”
“But I want to go to play in the snow!”
“How about the garden?”

We settled on the garden and two excited little girls rushed off to find boots and waterproofs, to try to put them on, to put them on backwards or on the wrong feet, and finally to stand by the back door dressed up all warm and cosy and ready to take on the world.

Naturally by this point the first flurry had stopped and looked rather like it was starting to melt and we went outside more in the determination that if it was going to get around to actually snowing in Warwickshire we were going to see it, to touch it, to try to avoid being spotted tasting it (small girls, not so much Pip or me) and to stamp up and down in it for as long as we could cope with being outside in the cold.

We stomped up and down the patio, drew smiley faces in our table and Kitty even scooped our one and only snowball off the bottom of the monkey swing.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And then, just as we were starting to think about heading in again it started again, ice drops quickly turning to big feathery flakes, time in slow motion as the rapid little frozen rain drops that had pelted down became a whirl of languid drifting down.
Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life
It was bitterly cold, it was windy and the snow stuck in our hair and our hoods, and melted on Elma’s rather optimistic choice of headgear but it was snow and it was magical.
Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life
And while the storm cloud danced across the sky we stayed outside. The girls played on the trampoline, contemplated the slide but decided it was a step too far and made more swirly patterns and smiley faces wherever they could, right up to and including the bonnet of my car.

And Pip, my tiny boy nestled up in the sling, took one look at this new level of cold and decided that the best, nay the only thing to do in this weather was to snuggle down and have a little nap until he might wake up somewhere calmer and warmer.

It started to melt as quickly as it came, and by the time H was home rom work the roads were clear and only the ice still hiding in the grass told any part of our story.

I know plenty of people have had plenty more snow, enough for snow angels and igloos and snowmen, and if we were to wake up tomorrow to a foot of snow outside I would be absolutely thrilled, but I’m not letting that take away from the fun of our not so very snowy snow day. Or perhaps that should just be a snow moment?!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Elma Family Kitty Uncategorized {the ordinary moments}



More often than not of late, Kitty’s request for a bedtime story has not been one of her many beloved and slightly battered picture books. She’ll sit up in bed with bright eyes expecting a treat, and ask for “a story from your head”.

Oddly enough my powers of imaginary storytelling only work when two little girls are snuggled down in bed and the curtains closed but from then on I’m happy to scrape together an adventure for Princess Kitty and Princess Elma, with a bit of Snow White and Goldilocks thrown in for good measure. I tell them the stories of the days they were born, of cute things they did when really tiny, and the adventures H and I had before they were born. H tells tales from his childhood, or the adventures of Ethel the pink monkey and Kitty chips in with a few suggestions of her own.

It’s a bit of fun, and seems somehow so very representative of Kitty right now. Over the last few months her ability to imagine has really taken off and I’m loving watching what her mind can create.

She’ll dress up as a princess for fun, but doesn’t really try to reenact any of the films (which is a good thing because we’re all out of talking mice right now), but I do get to see her days at nursery through her eyes as she pretends to be “teacher”, or one of her friends, and tells Elma and I what we have to do to stand in for any number of nursery staff and fellow three and four year olds.

We’ve had a good few times of “you be the baby and I’ll be the Mummy!” and lots of playing at being at Jack and the Beanstalk, but the ones I love the best are the scenarios and games she makes up just for herself, or just for her and Elma.

We brought them home from nursery hot pink and and bit sweaty during the week and sent them straight out into the garden to sit in the shade while we brought out a big bucket of water for them to splash in. And because it’s us and because the girls seemed to enjoy it the bucket sat there for the rest of the week.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Kitty decided that it needed a duck or two and added a few handfuls of bath toys at some point which Elma likes to lift in and out and that seemed to be as far as they’d taken it, until I turned around from hanging out the laundry to discover that they’d got the plastic golf clubs and were vigorously sploshing them up and down in the water.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I watched, tried to work it out, failed and eventually curiousity got the better of me.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

“What are you playing lovelies?”

The answer?


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

But of course!