Sunday, 31 July 2011

Grabbing the moment

It's been a typically busy week and both Grown Up Welchs have been full on engaged in various all-consuming activities, holiday club deliveries, Make Space inaugural workshops, young carers camps and such. Today was a day to get together again and we spent the afternoon in one of our favourite spots, on the top of Bignor Hill. Our old car just about made it to the top with all 6 children in the back (one friend came along too) and we set up camp around the sign post, as we usually do.

It was busy up there today - but sometimes that works in your favour when you bring along a hoard of children! At least it wasn't just us disturbing the peace and tranquility of the South Downs! So, while football, rugby, chalk finding and tree climbing went on, I was afforded the rare luxury of daylight magazine reading, all hastilly packed up in my Mag Bag. One of my favourite finds right now (as I am sure I have already mentioned) is Molly Makes. Leafing through its colourful pages, packed with websites I want to look up, books I want to buy, ideas I want to try and things I want to make - it's almost too much! In fact, it makes me feel a strange mixture of inspired excitement and anxiety - isn't that odd!? When am I ever going to find the time to pursue all these avenues, and when will I ever be able to realise my dreams in the way the people on these pages seem to?

I say this, because I have had conversations with many of you who feel the same way - not just about Molly Makes, but about life in general. It's an especially tricky thing when you are mum to little ones - the balancing act and the constant decisions about which dreams to lay down until children allow (knowing that the time may never come) and which to chase knowing that it is what gives you life and feeds life into your family.
What is reassuring to me is knowing that there are others out there who juggle the whole thing in much the same way as I do. Your time will come. For now, let's enjoy the precious, rare moments that life presents us - whether they are glorious craft interludes, or a hug with your growing-too-fast child - it's all good - it's all creative. Grab the little windows of opportunity.

And don't stop dreaming, dreamers.
(You know who you are )

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A little Thanks to you educators

Day one of the holiday - well, for most of the children of this country! An appropriate time to say Thank you and well done to all you educators out there. Whether you work with the littlies in reception, or the young people about to leave school , or all of those lovely children inbetween, you have earned a rest.

Maybe you are responsible for looking after pre-schoolies and making sure they are safe, happy and learning about life. It's a hard job and you deserve a sit down with a cup of tea (or something stronger!)

Perhaps you are delivering post-compulsory education in one of our Universities and colleges - you have had your fair share to deal with this year - may you be able to stay true to your passion for education and find time to rest over the summer.

Maybe you are a home educator, not only educating your children, but concerning yourselves with the very nature and business of education itself and hammering it out as you go. Stunning achievement. Well done!

Or maybe you are one of our "informal" educators in the Youth Service, for whom the Summer is not a break, but an exercise in cramming in as many activities as possible for the young people in your care, whilst keeping up with all the usual planning and paperwork. We take our hats off to you pick up where others leave off.

Lastly, but by no means least, thank you to all the mums and dads out there who are currently taking a deep breath and inventing numerous and varied ways of entertaining and educating their children over the summer break. You are doing the 24/7 job of preparing your children for life. well done. Enjoy the summer. It's such a precious time. May every minute of it be a joy.

Next time you see one of these lovely people who take the care of our children very seriously - give them a great big pat on the back and wish them all the best for next year.

Speech over!

# By the way - pics are of this year's presents for the educators in my childrens' lives.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Studio is calling me.....

Most evenings that little room, brimming with fabrics, buttons and goodies calls to me, through the dishwasher loading, baby bathing, floor sweeping, toy tidying, lunches packing and general home making. Tonight, I managed to get out there at 9.30ish, after completing all of the above + an online food shop.

I'm often asked when I have time.

There is the answer.

But who in their crafty right mind, could resist the charms of this place?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Once in a while something lovely comes along....

Every now and again, life throws you a little treat - just for you. Most of the time, it's not the most expensive thing, often it comes completely free. In this case, life threw me something I had held a hidden longing for since I was about 8. When we moved from Yorkshire to Sussex in my childhood, my precious doll's house did not make the moving van. My dad had made it for me and I can picture it now (although I am still hoping to one day come across an actual photo of it). It was white, with an open front and my mum had painted a swirly clock on the front. I think subconsciously I have been recreating this house ever since I lost it;

- in pictures and pixie houses

and in my little row of houses in my room.

It was the classic child's idea of a house and oh, how I loved it.

Anyway, my lovely neighbour, whilst clearing out his garage came across a doll's house that his wife had retrieved. Joan was a beautiful friend, gentle and kind and she treasured the simple, wonderful things of life like no one else I know. Eric offered the house to me and after weeks of trying to set a time to go get it,we finally caught each other the other day. Oh, my goodness - can you imagine how thrilled I was?! I mean - look at it!!!!

There is something so special about a miniature house and this one is all ready for me to make my own. It's blank, pretty much - completely unadorned, but beautifully proportioned. I promise you this won't become a Doll's House blog - but I hope you don't mind me sneaking in a few photos along the way as I decorate this lovely object. I am thinking at the moment to keep it simple, but nostalgic. I don't want it too fussy or frilly, but definitely girly. Any ideas? I think I may have to make a little family to live in it too! Can you tell I am excited?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The End of a LONG LIST!

Back in April, my lovely hubby helped me write a plan to get through the next few months of craziness, to include 3 birthday parties, a wedding, a stall at the Fete in the Park and all the other stuff that life throws at you! Today was the final thing to check off that list - number One's Birthday Party.

In true C style, he wanted not only a Harry Potter Party, but a party in the woods, with 11 friends. So, by borrowing Nanny and Grandads' super Camper van (with the all important toilet!), we were able to provide such a party! All day we looked out of the window, wondering whether to cancel, whether to decamp to the Youth Club (cool, but not very Potterish), or whether to go for it and hope all the other kids were as up for getting wet as C was! In the end, we decided to trust the weather forecast and go for it - and a little miracle happened - for 3 hours straight, after wind and rain, the sun shone in the woods and the children ran around like spring lambs!

I have to say, I found it hard to get this party together in my head - such fun, a Harry Potter party - so much inspiration to draw on, but I just couldn't get it straight in my head. Maybe it was the hundred other things I was trying to do at the same time!

In the end, we had a lovely time, Jonny did a brilliant treasure hunt around the "Forbidden Forest" and we had some fun games and food. The babies survived their two hours in the confines of the Camper van and had a lovely time with nanny - after romping about in their wet weather gear and jumping in as many puddles as they could find!

So, the list is at and end, but as you know, there are always more things being added than taken away - and actually in less than two weeks my good friend Jo and I are running the inaugural workshops of our new venture, Make Space. So on Monday morning, I will be sitting down once again with a cuppa and a new list.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

All the fun of the Fete

Well, what a lovely sunny (if a bit blowy) day it turned out to be today at the Fete in the Park! I had such a brilliant time and so enjoyed meeting lots of you and chatting about crafting, which is definitely one of many favourite pass times.
I had lots of visitors to my stall and eldest son did a fab job of selling the lucky dip!

Anna-Belle raised £23 for Children on the Edge, which is fantastic too and I'm sure she went to a very loving home. The dolls raised many "oooohs" and everyone seemed to fall in love with them. If anyone is interested in the dolls, they are £20 each and if you want one made to order, perhaps with hair the same colour as their new friend (dolls have friends, not owners!), or with a dress in a favourite colour, I would be more than happy to make one for you. Just contact me.

As always after a big event like this, I am exhausted! However, I want to especially thank my wonderful brother Tim, and his wife Jo, who helped me so much today and made the whole thing SO much more fun. Also thanks to my mum and my lovely husband, who not only looked after all 5 boys while I gallivanted off through the countryside, but also managed to clean the house for my return. Some of you out there will completely understand what a gesture like that means - to come home to a sparkly, sweet smelling home, when it could very easily be chaos upon chaos - what a joy!

So, for now friends, I am off to bed to get some long awaited sleep - and I will probably be dreaming of the next project! I will be reopening my etsy shop as soon as I recover....ah, sleep that knits the ravelled sleeve of care (as my dad would have said).

Monday, 4 July 2011


I think I'm going to call her Anna-Belle! Isn't she sweet?! I have to tell you - I have been trying for a good three days to meet Anna-Belle, but have had real trouble finding her! Making a doll is a bit like that, it's a very delicate process and each little thing you do changes their character completely. It took me quite a while to get her hair right, but I think the addition of her crochet flower really finishes the look off. She's going to hang around here for a few days, looking pretty until her trip to the Park

I have been busying away in my studio every minute available (which are not as many as I would like, as ever), making things for the Fete in the Park this Saturday. It's been a couple of years since I last set out my stall at this brilliant event, but I'm taking the plunge again, so I hope to see you there. It's a lovely day out, with loads to do and see for the children and I am sure the sun is going to shine on every picnic.

My good friend and fellow mum to 5, Jo is going to be there too and between us we are going to be grabbing every passer by and telling them about our fledgling project, "Make Space". We are hoping to start creative workshops for anyone and everyone who wants to have a go and have some fun. We're really hoping to do a bit of friendly questioning on what sort of thing people would like to have a go at - so if you're around and you like the sound of the idea, come and let us know what you've been longing to learn! We will be doing a bit of simple crochet at my stall too, so come and have a go.

Of course, I will be selling my makes too, including Anna-Belle, and perhaps a few of her little friends too - if there's time! Come and see us!