Monday 28 February 2011

More ways of using a Chipper Nelly product...and Muriel gets her portrait done!

I've LOVED seeing my products used in various ways (if you missed it, Charis photographed a Love Block beautifully for her photography business) and this week was no exception...

First off I got an email from my friend Lady P who used a Chipper Nelly special as her open/closed sign in her new clinic

Then I found the vintage nursery blocks (and some love blocks for good measure) being used to excellent effect by my blogging friend Sarah as backgound to some of  her new makes

Sarah's fabulous shop
Then, as if the week couldn't get any more varied...I heard from my newest Flickr pal Robin, who has been following the story of rescue chickens Muriel and Gladys and what's more, painting them in aid of the Battery Hen Rescue Organisation.

Here is Muriel's first portrait

you can see more of Robins art on her website
All these things made me smile. It's not every day your chicken gets herself painted!!! fee x

Sunday 27 February 2011

Moaning all day but a little family sing song cheers everyone up!

I try hard to avoid moaning for tooooo long (usually able to catch a grip pretty quickly) but a major computor virus has made me whinge and whine for much of the day. 

Apart for paying a decent amount for protection I also purchased a couple of other clean up programmes today - all to no avail...the spyware has well and truly embedded itself. So, off to be (hopefully) fixed tomorrow.

Since it was raining I decided a family film was in order, and decided it HAD to be The Sound of Music! The boys took some convincing  but 2 out of 3 boys stuck with it. 

Alfie thought Frederick and Kurt dressed up in curtain lederhosen looked like Bruno - made us all laugh...

(when did he see Bruno?)

We had to forward through all the nuns singing bits (and none of them could look at the big snog between The Captain and Maria) but, on the whole, it was a success!

Moaning has ceased, uniform is ready (yawn) and life is back in perspective (thanks Viv at, your 'self indulgent' post did me good)....virus shmirus....fee x

Saturday 26 February 2011

The Gruffalo story stones get an airing....

Despite always looking forward to my boys growing up a bit...I now feel like I long for the days when they were little! (is the grass always greener?)
 I think it might have something to do with my younger brother and sister both having babies but also because my own biggest boy is becoming increasingly 'pre-teen' ish and seeking more and more independance.

I feel like, in his eyes, I've gone from the person who knows everything to the person who knows nothing, literally overnight! How did that happen???

Anyway, I felt it again today while watching Alfie play in a very muddy and 'full body contact' aggressive game of made for hard watching!

Meanwhile, back at home, Cleggy was  photographing something I made for the boys when they were little - some Gruffalo story stones. Like many children across the world The Gruffalo is an absolute all time favourite with our boys (I still know the words verbatim!). 

I painted these (on pebbles we saved from a holiday in Wales) one rainy afternoon for them to 'act out' the story.....

It was lovely to see them again - and most surprisingly, find that they were all together. My boys aren't the best at looking after things - a frequent rant!
They have been played with for years, so lovely and smooth and the images a little worn
and the little mouse is especially tactile...
I'm sure that The Gruffalo book will be around forever - and I hope these stones last a long time too - so my boys can give them to their children, and then, when they are my age, long for the time when their children were young!
fee x
(nice photos Cleggy!)

Friday 25 February 2011

A whole day in the workshop, with a little visit from Mabel

Nelly and Mabel were over today - not for a social visit, but to work with Cleggy on a business idea. Nelly managed to park the baby brain and the old one (way sharper) kicked in just like the old days! Helped by some toast...

(we frequently congratulate ourselves on how well we make's hardly difficult!)

 Mabel had a little snooze in the sunshine, then I tried to get one of the brand new smiles she seemingly saves especially for Granny....but she spent the whole time trying to focus on my outfit, which consisted of spots, stripes and florals. Her brand new eyes were really struggling, and when I caught sight of myself in a a shop window a couple of hours later I completely saw where she was coming from. Proper crazy lady outfit.

 Mabel had a lovely home knit cardy on, which made me think I should start knitting again, 'til I remembered the half made dress on the dining table and the pile of half started cross stitch.

Anyway, I heard a quote today that went something like..

"a clean desk is the sign of an empty mind" it's a good job I didn't clean up the workshop as planned and instead played with wood and paper some more!
New boxes

and some new blocks

There were some exciting developments on the basement conversion too as our (still lovely) builders finally made the gap for the main door.

It's looking great inside too -  there's a family trip (!) planned down there for tomorrow when the builders aren't there.
Here's to the weekend....fee x

Thursday 24 February 2011

Creating a chicken spa!

A grand day out it was not! For various reasons (concerning secondary schools, our middle son Kenzie who had cancer as a toddler, unfair policy....and therefore many tears on my part and lots of 'don't worry we'll sort it outs' from Cleggy) we didn't manage to get out and needed cheering to the garden we went!
lovely spring flowers on the grass    

The chicken area is starting to look great and since it was such lovely weather we made the ladies a proper dust bath. All the information suggested that when offered such spa facilities the chickens should relish a good roll around to spruce up their feathers.
When making said spa the ladies were very interested
yes, that's a beautiful original belfast sink being used as a chicken bath!

....but other than that they showed little interest. 
The rescue girls loved it - although they seemed to jump in, have a little preen, then a snooze in the sun!
I managed to sneak in half an hour in the workshop (went in under the guise of fetching a drink and never came back!) and, inspired by the garden, tried out a little string of birds and eggs tied together with twine...

Think it's got potential!
Now, off to break the 'no wine on a school night rule'!!
fee x

Wednesday 23 February 2011

The man from The Beano gives Chipper Nelly a call....

...and it wasn't good news! 

Seemingly, the man in question represents the company who have the sole license to sell 'Beano' products and the Beano Blocks for sale by little ol' me have come to their attention. Their main concern seems to be that my products may 'cause commercial confusion'. 
I WISH!! (love the idea of someone going into John Lewis and asking someone to personalise a block!)

Anyway, I guess the rules are the rules (and the man seemed very sure about them) so for the time being Beano Blocks are no longer available. I'm looking into what I can sell in their place, maybe something called 'Vintage Comic Blocks'? If anyone out there in blogland knows anything about licensing please get in touch!

Meantime, here are some more lovely 'vintage comic' pictures for your visual pleasure...

Cleggy and I had a jolly day out - we managed lunch but no film, so fingers crossed for tomorrow.

The rescue girls are continuing to hold their own, although when Cleggy went to lock up the coop last night he couldn't find Gladys anywhere...turns out she had got in the coop but was underneath Betty! 

Poor Muriel was out in the cold and yet again the door was being guarded by Pearl. Maybe she's going for divide and conquer! Either way, harsh!

The weather man has just announced 'spring like weather' for tomorrow - hope there's enough to go round...fee x

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Special time together!

Due to the fact that Cleggy was convinced the boys half term holiday was this week (to be fair, for many people, it is...)
and therefore isn't working, we have found three days almost free of anything else to share together! THREE FULL DAYS!
(when I say full, I do of course mean between drop off and pick up)

We have been very (very) well behaved and 'done' the huge stack of boring paperwork that comes with running 2 businesses on day 1. 
It made our heads hurt (not helped by persistant banging from the basement - update tomorrow) but we stuck with it. 

I, for one, resisted both 'America's next top model' (sorry - sad but true, addicted) and some lovely new stamps that arrived in the post from Paperbag Studios (also in America)...which I LOVE!
My favourite is this one

can't wait to have a play...   

We didn't get it all finished but did enough to warrent a couple of days playing out tomorrow.

Now, I gave my little sister Nelly a good talking to today about the guilt that comes with motherhood. I found myself saying that it never leaves you...not sure how that helped her, but my point was that it's normal! (Mabel had been v v tricksy yesterday and Nelly felt bad for not enjoying it!). 

So, not sure why I feel bad doing anything fun, just me and Cleggy, without our gorgeous boys...but I do.

To limit the guilt I think we'll go to see a film they wouldn't enjoy (The King's Speech), eat somewhere that wouldn't top their list (YO Sushi!) and mooch around John Lewis, spending money we now know (from said paperwork) we don't have!!! Guilt appeased...?

I also wanted to share some words I read on one of todays blog was written by someone following a really sad family tradgedy so it didn't feel right to link to it but here are the words I'm going to try and keep in my head 

"...we have today. I have today- with my girls, with my husband with strangers with friends. I have this one special day to show LOVE. I don’t know about the future but I know I have now. I want each moment to count and know I’ve done all I can to love fully each day

We can’t always choose what happens in life. We can sit back and fight it and become hardened and angry. Or we can embrace the path we walk on and allow our hearts to grow fuller and richer and show that to others in each day we have."

That's it....fee x
p.s who am I kidding....the boys love sushi!

Monday 21 February 2011

Dress making proves tricky....but I managed a brooch!

So, as expected, turns out making a dress IS much harder than it looks! (knew it!)

The pattern clearly said 'Easy' but I'm wondering who it was aimed at, clearly not me. Saying that, Mum and I got half way through before stopping (giving up hurts) and my lack of patience/boredom threshold didn't spoil the afternoon...

She's taking my (super complicated) half made dress and pattern to one of her pals tomorrow for some expert advice, and we're back on the project on Wednesday evening.

I did learn some things
1) you have to look after your pattern (Mum said that about ten times!)
2) you always need more pins to keep in place than you think/can be bothered
3 I won't be wearing my dress anytime soon (and hard dress making does not justify cake)

I couldn't bear the thought of sewing all day without producing something, so took a few little bits and pieces along to the hairdressers
Beautiful little sewing purse bought by Cleggy last year (many brownie points were banked)v handy for sewing in hairdressers

and managed to produce a cute little brooch....felt better as a result.

Must just add that due to frolics with Cleggy yesterday (not that kind...) neither of us can move very fast (or in anyway other than forward and upright)today.

We decided that we couldn't wait for a team of burley builders to move the railway sleepers - we could do it ourselves (over confidence in ability wrapped up as 'spirit of adventure' yet again)

I'm not kidding, they weigh A TON. And had to be moved from the front garden to the very bottom (150 feet?) then dug into the chicken area. However many times Cleggy told me to try I simply couldn't even remotely lift one end.
GB digging with Gladys. Yes, he kept his PJ's on all day week.
 The boys were all in charge of keeping the chickens amused and out the way following a near decapitation when Muriel literally leapt under the pickaxe (Alfie maintains it was a suicidal leap)
and after some serious huffing, puffing and engineering skate board carrying contraptions, we finally got the sleepers in place
they look sooooo small and moveable here!
We wanted to watch the brood get themselves to bed but there was a 'no wine on school days' rule to be broken, so went down later to check they had all gone into the coop.

We had been wondering why the two new girls didn't go in at dusk and last night found out...Pearl sits at the coop door and refuses to let them in!!! Mean.

So Gladys and Muriel were asleep behind the compost bin
Think it might take a while for them to be fully accepted...
fee x

Saturday 19 February 2011

Brightening up a grey day...and one big happy family?

Yes, it's raining in Manchester, but not enough to make me change my plans...
I've been looking forward to a free hour or so to brighten up the outside of the workshop, and since Cleggy and the boys have been busy remodelling the chicken's area, there seemed no better time than today.
 I couldn't resist adding some spring bunting 
to the bird table

And using the boy's buckets before the sun comes out for real
Round the back in the chicken area the new girls have been let loose into the main area...and the pecking order seemed to be based around who was the tallest;

Muriel tried the sticks
Gladys tried on top of the straw...
...and Florence (herself near the bottom) tried any stone she could get on!
OMG, maybe they were re-enacting the story of the 3 little pigs!!! Clever chickens.

It was the first time the rescue girls had been able to get into the main coop - and Muriel seemed to like keeping guard - whether awake or asleep
They had the best time when Cleggy was digging up some roots - there were worms a plenty and since Muriel and Gladys are unbelievably tame they were literally jumping on the trowel waiting for the next bite...
Hours of fun!
And it's saturday night so off to have the weekly takeaway debate. After all that gardening I will happily take anything put infront of me! fee x
ps. loving Treme, but not sure I understood half of the dialogue, and not sure it's ever going to replace The Wire?