What's an English muffin?

I've got a to-do list in my head and I thought that making some summer clothes for my daughter - and for me - was at the top of it (what with it already being summer, and all...). I just can't seem to settle down and get started, though.
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This is what I've been up to instead: pretend food
I've got all sorts of ideas for more play food rattling around in my head, but have apparently started on the most important of all the food groups...
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The cupcakes were from a pattern, though. I didn't bother knitting the cherry and I also altered the pattern slightly for the cupcake shown above, by adding a couple of extra rows to the base and removing a couple of rows from the icing. When I bake fairy cakes they don't tend to rise much...
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I also made a really quick and easy peg loom today for my kids as a cheap introduction to weaving. All I did was hammer some nails into a battered old picture frame that I no longer use, then wrap string around the nails.
The plan was to add more nails once the kids had got the hang of it. Looks like I'd better do that now, as this was the work of my just-turned 3 year old, with only a little verbal couching along the lines of 'watch out, you missed a string there' from mum. I'm looking forward to seeing what her brother might produce.
nb. I think it helped to have an even number of pegs, so that each row is started the same way - ie. always going under first, then over. My inspiration was this tutorial on making a loom from a Styrofoam tray and there's also more details on how to weave there, too.
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Translation of the day:
UK English: biscuit = cookie in US English
US English: biscuit = no idea: they look like scones, yet taste a little different and tend to be used in place of a dinner roll or as a topping for some baked dishes etc.
US English: English muffin = no idea. Looks a little like a crumpet. All I know is that they laugh at you if you are an English person asking the waiter 'what is an English muffin?' in an American restaurant.
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I'm having a craving for battenberg cake...

Just living is not enough, said the butterfly

One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower ~Hans Christian Anderson
When I told my son that the 2 butterflies we saw, um, engaging in a bit of how's your father, were "just stuck together for a bit", I heard a lady nearby snicker...

Probably the only time you'll ever see me in an apron

There are some who might say that someone with my culinary skills is not in dire need of an apron. To be honest, I only use one when baking a cake (and the last time I baked a cake I made the mistake of using a trans fat free spread, which apparently does not work...).
Still, all I had was an old black apron from a steakhouse that my husband once worked at, so I made an Emmeline apron. I managed to watch both The Godfather parts I & II while sewing this (Part III is tonight. Everyone in my life always wanted to rent something else as they had already seen the trilogy, so I decided that it was finally time for me to sit down and watch them). This is an indication of how ridiculously slow I am at hand sewing, by the way, not the difficulty of the pattern. The pattern was nice and easy to follow.
The pattern is by Sew Liberated (formally Montessori by Hand).
Yes, it's reversible. I did have a lovely pale fabric in mind for one of the sides, then I remembered that I have kids and I went for the darker more practical / stain disguising fabric.
Oh, this photo is just to prove that the gathers were even on the blue bodice, despite how the light makes them look in the first photo: Translation of the day:
UK English: pig's ear = a poor job, something you've made a mess of. For example, 'The last time I attempted to make a cake I made a right pig's ear of it'.

Still, with this apron I'll at least look good while making a pig's ear of things in the kitchen...

Looks like I had better clean that mirror.

Flower pot three years later

Cutting stamps out of a potato - about 10 minutes by mum
Painting flowerpot using potato stamps - about half an hour total (not including drying time between colours) by 2 year old
Varnishing flowerpot - longer than 3 years, including the very important stage of being allowed to gather dust in a cupboard, while mum thinks, 'I'll really should get around to that one day'.
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I finally pulled it out of the cupboard today and then couldn't find the varnish... Maybe next year.
That's probably saved a plant's life, though. So far I've killed all 3 plants that my son has brought home from preschool. I don't have a great track record with indoor plants...

Butterflies

Car repaired, bees removed, internet connection mended, wallet emptied...
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This is just a flying visit, but have you seen the Crafty Crow? It's a blog full of craft ideas for children, so you might want to check it out if you are looking for ideas to keep little ones entertained during the summer.
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One of the things posted was a coffee filter butterfly. My son made one of those at preschool this year, while they were studying the life cycle of butterflies (nb. These studies led to lots of questions for mum about whether he was ever in an egg etc. We've finally boiled it down to: He came from an egg, then grew in mum's tummy. Then mum went to the doctor and the doctor took him out of mum's tummy. He was a tiny baby, all covered in blood and crying - this detail apparently remembered from him seeing a photo in the album. Luckily this version has him satisfied for now...).

Ok, enough of the birds and the bees. Anyway, these butterflies reminded me of these ones hung up from my daughter's ceiling, that I made when she was a baby. I first made one of these a long time ago when I was a brownie (that's a young girl scout - do they call them brownies here?). Just take 2 squares of paper, one about an inch larger than the other. Fold them in half along the diagonal, then continue folding them accordion style across the remainder of the square. Then all you have to do is twist a pipe cleaner around the middle of the 2 folded squares to secure them together, then pull the folds open a bit, to resemble butterfly wings. I then trimmed them a little to improve the shape.
The lines on the photo are the fishing line used to string them up. Now here's a really awful photo, thanks to the poor light in my daughter's room and the ugly popcorn ceiling. It's supposed to show you the butterflies strung up on the ceiling, so please attempt to ignore the poor picture quality. Maybe squinting would help...
Just so I can pretend that I put some effort into decorating her room, here's some clothes hooks that I painted to match, hung on a fake wood grain closet door (you're getting a wee insight into the taste of the former owners here...):
Ok, that's enough 70's decor for now. Take care all.

Not as busy as a bee

We had uninvited guests show up this week. No advance warning. They completely took over our laundry area on laundry day, no less. I haven't been able to do laundry in days - including pre-washing the fabric that I want to make into an apron. The timing really has been most inconvenient, especially as my husband and I have been sharing a car (his car has been at the garage for 3 weeks now. I'm starting to get nervous. Maybe someone stole it a couple of weeks ago and none of the mechanics noticed...). I haven't been able to get to my bike and its trailer this time around, though. Why?
Yep, bees. Did you know that they tell you to wait a couple of days, hoping that the bees will move on of their own accord. That's not that helpful when they're in your garage. Unlike the rural area I lived in in the UK, you do not get some friendly beekeeper come and remove them for free here, either. Hopefully the mechanic and the bee man will spend our economic stimulus cheque wisely...
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Quick aside: my uncle and aunt used to keep bees. They made the most wonderful tasting honey, with a lovely thick texture. I have never found another honey that tasted so good.
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Anyway, I've got nothing for you. I can't imagine that you're interested in the extra row or two added to my scarf or the denim shorts that I shortened to my length or any of the other mundane things I've done while waiting to use my washing machine. The good news is that the stragglers are supposed to clear out by tomorrow. Hey, at least I finally folded the fabric stash (apparently I plan on making a lot of red, blue or brown stuff...).
As promised, today's translations of the day are the baby related terms:
UK English: cot = crib in US English
UK English: dummy = pacifier in US English
UK English: nappy = diaper in US English
UK English: pram = baby carriage in US English
UK English: buggy = baby carriage in US English
UK English: crèche = daycare in US English
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As for these, I think I have got this right, but to be honest, I had never used either the Brit or the American terms before having kids of my own, which didn't happen until I was Stateside.
UK English: romper = sleep n' play in US English
UK English: bodysuit = onesie US English
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I had to read the 'what you need for when your baby arrives' list with a dictionary nearby.
PS. Our Internet connection has been very temperamental these last few days, so my apologies to anyone that I'm taking a while to get back to.

Tote finally

I've been having one of those of those weeks. It's been one dopey mistake / clumsy moment / silly accident / forgotten thing after another. In a week when you get to the swimming pool before discovering that you left your swimming costume at home / open a cupboard just to have a large bagful of M&Ms rain down over you / forget the dinner in the oven / skid on spilt soap and fall on your bum etc. etc. etc. (really, the list goes on and on) it's probably to be expected that all does not go to plan when making a bag for the first time.
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I'm not counting those clutch bags as proper bags, by the way. Or the awful creation I made at school when I was 11. You know, just a few tips and words of advice back then could have made all the difference. Instead, I was left with a fear of sewing machines and a ugly blue one-dimensional tote with wonky tacked on handles...
Anyway, despite several dumb mistakes in the early stages (cutting the fabric in the wrong direction, then cutting the wrong piece in half, then not double checking that the fabrics actually were right sides facing before sewing... twice... You get the picture. Apparently more sleep was needed around here after all), when it came to actually sewing it together, this tote bag for my son's preschool teacher was much easier than I was expecting.
It's reversible, so she can turn it inside out and have the blue paisley fabric showing on days that she doesn't want the school themed fabric.
I made it slightly smaller than originally planned, as I overheard her say that the class' share bag was missing (the kids take turns to take the share bag home and bring back something to share with the class the next school day). That's why the patches of the letter fabric are narrower. I figured that she could use this if the share bag doesn't show up, as it's not too big for a preschooler to carry. But hopefully it's still large enough to be useful for an adult.
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I hope she likes it. I'm going through the usual doubt and uncertainty over giving a handmade gift...
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I had a list of UK baby terms for the translation of the day, but, in keeping with the rest of the week, I've mislaid it. Next time.
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Take care.
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PS. The main fabric is brown - we're having a rare overcast day, so the colours look a little off in the photos.