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We’re waiting for Ben and Tess to arrive with Edgar for Jim to take them to the airport to fly out to Vancouver. It’s only for nine months  – or a year – and it will be a fantastic experience for them, but we shall miss them so much, especially Edgar of course. We seem to have just built up such a special relationship with him, and he’s at such   a lovely stage at the moment , happy and outgoing,  he recognises us now, and he’s such a joy.

We had a super  evening with him last night though, he was on great form despite having a bloody nose from having thrown himself off the sofa earlier in the day. He amused us all by his fascination with my earings and the way he kept looking from one side of my head to the other as though he couldn’t believe there was an earing each side -clearly a genius to have spotted that at such an early age!

Thank goodness for Skype, at least we will be able to see him growing and learning to walk – which I’m sure won’t be long  as he’s getting ever steadier on his feet -although it won’t make up for not being able to cuddle him and feel the silkiness of his skin – we will even miss the dribbles! 

Roll on June, when we will visit him.

Whew!

I have spent the best part of the last two days putting together an application  for the first stage towards  being credited with sufficient previous learning experience to cover the first level of a distance learning Creative Arts degree through the Open College of the Arts – www.oca-uk.com – and I can’t believe quite how exhausting it’s been.  The first level of the degree comprises three units, which in my case would, I hope,  be Drawing Skills, Writing Skills, and Illustration, and as I’ve done a lot of all three things over the years I am hoping I will be able to skip the first level and begin at the second. 

 I am very excited to have found this degree, as it combines some of the things I most love doing and offers a lot of variety. But it has been surprisingly difficult putting together a portfolio for each and making a convincing case  within the requirements for a pre-application application, which will give me an idea for £50 whether I am likely to be successful and if it’s worth paying the  £250 for a full application. It’s possible to send more information with the full application, and I am worried I won’t send the right  bits first time to convince them I have a chance. The standard of my work should speak for me, I know, but I cleared out so much stuff last year when  we moved and this year has been so busy that I haven’t  done so much,  so I’m not sure I’ve got enough variety. And where I’ve had choices have I chosen the right one?   Oh dear!

Still, I can only give it a go, and I’ve certainly spent a lot of time trying to make it a persuasive bid,  so now I will send it off and keep my fingers crossed!

Christmas is over

Seaside sampler for Sandie

So much preparation and it’s all over so quickly. It almost feels as though we missed it this year, as I had a rotten cold so wasn’t feeling very festive, and it was a very quiet Christmas, just the two of us. We had been looking forward to it but I have to admit I felt miserable, and we were a bit worried over Christmas about Jon, too, as he was very poorly on his own in London instead of enjoying himself in Edinburgh. Still, we’re all feeling better now, and luckily we did have a good family get-together the weekend before Christmas – even had an impromptu Christmas dinner at Jon’s request rather than the lasagne I’d planned. Lucky for Jon as all he could eat on Christmas Day was a few veg mashed with gravy, due to a serious throat infection.

I feel at a  bit of a loss now, as the run-up to Christmas was a mad rush to finish various projects for Chrstmas presents – including the seaside sampler, above, that I stitched for my sister-in-law Sandie – and I don’t have any projects on the go at all. Sandie  and Alan have just bought a caravan down in Cornwall and decorated it in seaside style,  but I did originally start out to stitch a picture for them  rather than a wall hanging. It took longer to stitch than I expected, so I ordered a frame before it was done, and miscalculated, so a few days before Christmas I was frantically looking for a suitable frame that would actually fit when I had an inspiration and turned it into a wall-hanging. I managed to get some suitable stripey fabric and I think it probably worked better. The bit of driftwood they found to hang it from looks perfect, doesn’t it?
Now that my cold has gone I shall be looking for one or two new projects  –  some painting for a change I think, having knitted and stitched myself to a standstill with all  the Christmas presents. Although I did say I wanted to master knitting socks , so maybe I’ll be getting the double ended needles out to wrestle with once again.
 
Still New Year to look forward to though. We don’t usually do much, but as Mum was away with Alan and Sandie over Christmas we’ve asked her to come here for New Year, and having family here for tea on New Year’s Day.  So good job the cold’s gone- touch wood – and Jim hasn’t got it – touch wood! Fingers crossed!

Time Flies!

 

 

Wow, what a hectic few weeks  it seems to have been. I had an art exhibition and a craft fair together one weekend, so a lot of time went into preparing for those, plus all the usual things at this time of year. Last week was the TG carol service, and we won a stack of sachets of Dorset Cereals gingerbread porridge to hand out to everyone there, that went down very well as you can imagine. And we’ve had two lots of close friends here for meals this last weekend, which was lovely. But I don’t seem to have got round to adding anything to the blog for a long time.

This week is , at last, looking a bit quieter. Time to relax a little before our “mini Christmas” on Sunday –  as we won’t behaving Jon or Ben here on Christmas Day we thought we’d do something the weekend before to get everyone together .Jon is off to Edinburgh, and Ben is, of course, hoping for a quiet day at home so he and Tess can enjoy their first Christmas as parents. They are popping in on Christmas Eve though.
 

standing and working the noisy bits himself now!

We are trying to make the most of Eggles as they have announced they are off to Vancouver for a nine-month contract in January. We are devastated, of course, at missing out on so much of Edgar’s first years, but we do realise it is very exciting for them all and a great opportunity, so are trying to be positive about it. We will visit them – have already decided on June – but I am dreading the flying.  The thought of having to go to Canada seemed almost as bad as the thought of not seeing them for so long, at first, but Jim has booked me onto a Flying Without Fear course run by Virgin Atlantic, in February, so I am pinning my hopes on that.  It had better work, as my stomach is churning already just at the thought of flying all that way!

 

Eggles is growing fast – he’s now crawling very well and pulling himself up to stand. We had him on Friday morning so Tess could go Christmas shopping, and enjoyed taking him out in his pram. We took him to the Sandpits Park at the end of our road, and he was fascinated by the water in the stream that runs down through the park. We just hope they really will only be gone for nine months as we look forward to taking him to play in  the park when he’s walking.

We’re babysitting again on Wednesday evening, so are making the most of him while he’s here, and enjoying him. He is just so gorgeous!

A while ago I designed some penguin  digital stamps for the Christmas issue of PaperCraft Inspirations, and the mag is published soon. Jenny, the editor, chose five of my designs and I said I’d make the other four available on my blog, so here they are!  Just click on the file names, and save them, then you can print them out and have fun with them!

penguin009        penguin001

2penguins   snowballpeng

Edgar’s book

Gorgeous guy on the cover…

This is the fabric book I made Edgar for his 6 months birthday. I’d done a fabric scrapbook for ScrapBook Inspirations a few years ago, using some brilliant fabric sheets from Crafty Computer Papers that go through inkjet printers, and that gave me the idea. I thought Edgar might like a book that had pictures of himself and his family in.

 
I find the cotton fabric with an adhesive backing is the best, it goes through the printer more easily, and the adhesive backing is good for positioning the pictures for sewing them on to the backing fabric without them moving around.
 
Edgar loves bright colours so I tried to use a mix of plain and
patterned fabricsin cheerful primary colours, although I wanted to
       use fabrics from my stash – I knew if I let myself go in to a fabric
       shop to buy one or two extra bits it could get very expensive –        I’m terrible when faced with the temptation of any sort of craft
        shop!
 
          I printed out photos of Edgar with each of the members of his close
          family, and some simple words, and I then created the pages with
          some extra fabrics, ribbons, ric rac etc. It was frustrating not to be
          able to use buttons, but I didn’t want to risk Edgar being able to
          pull them off. As it was, I made sure I stitched everything down
          really well using my machine. I used a lot of zig zag stitches,
          mainly in red thread, giving a good edge to the pictures.
 
 
It was fun trying to think of different ways to do each page. I tried
to give them some texture and add things for Edgar to play with like
ribbon loops, but I didn’t have enough time to try making pockets
or flaps to hide pictures – maybe  next time!  
 
The pages, put together, make a small book that Edgar can handle, but it was still a bit thick to sew together, and my sewing machine had to be coaxed. I bound the “spine ” of the book with fabric to neaten it, and made sure all the ends and edges were well finished off.   
 
Everything goes straight into Edgar’s mouth at the moment, so, although the fabric is supposed to be colourfast and washable I tested
a few scraps with some water – not by chewing it as some of the family expected! – and the colours didn’t run.  But I expect Ben and Tess will
supervise him with it until he’s old enough not to mangle it completely. 
 
I really enjoyed doing this – it’s been a while since I’ve done very much with my sewing machine other than things for the house, but I can see myself  making a few more things for Eggles before he’s very much older.   
   

There was a bit of a dinosaur theme, with hats and cups too

It’s a bit unusual to have a 6 months old birthday party, but as Ben and Tess aren’t having Edgar christened they thought his 6 months birthday would be a good excuse for a family get -together, so we’ve had a lovely party today at their flat. Four generations were there,  with his  two great-grandmothers , and the birthday boy was in great form. He didn’t seem to mind being the floor show – he’s nearly there with the crawling now – and was quite happy to be passed from person to person. His Mummmy and his Auntie Agata played Happy Birthday and his Daddy blew out the candle on the cake that I made. And, as you would expect, he liked the blue wrapping paper more than any of the pile of presents he was given!

He seems to like the book I made for him...

 
 
 
 
It’s lovely how a new baby unites the generations and brings such pleasure to everyone. And it was really good to have such a great get-together. Ben and Tess worked hard and gave us a lovely day.