Archive for July, 2011

July 31, 2011


I love looking at the sky at dusk, bringing in one load of washing, putting out another and knowing it will be dry by morning.

I am seeing less of the night than I used to and a lot more of the morning. Some nights I am so tired that I am in bed by 11pm and I am missing being alert and able to think straight later in the day. I have a top cut and ready to sew for Miss Amoo but it is hard to sit and sew during the day and by the evening my concentration is wandering off into the dark woods looking for a dry patch of moss to rest on.

Tonight I am still here at 00.43 thanks to not getting out of bed til almost midday but I am yawning. See you tomorrow.

July 23, 2011

How to sew an easy fleece poncho

I know, I know, it’s summertime not wintertime but the evenings are cooler aren’t they?

Before we went camping I had in mind that ponchos would be useful instead of coats and I kept meaning to sew some then kept getting distracted. I ended up sewing two ponchos on the morning that we set off and it didn’t take long once I’d sussed the measurements. I used bits of a long piece of 25″ wide remnant I have from cutting Winter Sling Things which I wanted to use up without having much waste so I thought I’d try a two-rectangle poncho like the ones that knitters make.

Miss Amoo’s poncho was sewn from two rectangles measuring 30″ x 20″ and 30″ x 25″. I tried same size rectangles but the neck hole was huge. Making one narrower than the other solves this problem for some reason I have yet to quantify mathematically!

Cut the fleece rectangles and lie them out on the floor like this to make an L, with the wider piece being the at the top.

Stitch them together where shown on the picture to make a solid L.

Then take the top of the L and fold it over on itself right down to the bottom

Next take the right edge of the L and fold it over on itself to meet the edge of the bit you just folded down. You should have something that looks like a square with a corner cut out of it.

Turn it right side out and see if the hole fits over your small person’s head. If it doesn’t, you can cut the edges of the neck hole so that they are a bit curved, not straight and that will enlarge the hole a bit.

Here is a sleepy dolly modelling her new poncho

Cut slits in the front to enable the handling of mugs of hot chocolate or the eating of sweets, as required. Dolly will not be doing anything but sleeping so she can do without slits.

If you try this for a different size, let me know what dimensions you cut and I’ll add them here for future reference.

July 10, 2011

Easy days

Last week I went to get most of may hair cut off which was such a relief, then shed the burdens of the daily grind as well and went camping.

How easy it is to live without stuff. What was in the boot of the car is what we took for four days away and most of it is the sleeping stuff, chairs and a table. The girls each took a tiny backpack of clothes and I took what I was wearing plus light trousers, a skirt, a t-shirt, a vest, a jumper, me-made underwear and a fleece poncho.

We got a lot of use out of the ponchos and the waterproof trousers, the little gas stove and three solar garden lights from Poundland which are almost bright enough to read by if you hold them close to the page! The wool pads I used to use on our bed when we were ECing Miss Froo were great for insulating the foam mats we slept on and we all fitted in the double sleeping bag which kept us all cosy.

The girls found a rope swing across a brook, then another swing, and another swing and then another swing. It seemed as though every tree on the campsite had, or had had, a rope swing attached to it. The girls love these simple pleasures of traversing water and swinging and now feel that a rope hanging from a tree should be an essential part of life’s furniture.

They made friends and so did I. Who knew that I would end up speaking Spanish to a Brazilian woman married to an English man who both used to live in Argentina, and their friends who are a multi-lingual Danish woman married to a Brummie? The countryside is an amazingly diverse place you know!

We walked in the wilderness with the help of a map and compass, went to the beach, ate ice creams and lazed about. I have come home wanting to throw away almost everything we own so that I don’t have to tidy it up or wash it.

I had at least two conversations a day about how it was that we were on holiday when everyone else’s over fives were still at school. One chap I washed dishes next to said that his little people of four and two years old always seemed to come home for a trip away a little more wise and grown up. He said this would be their last trip like this as his older boy was starting school in September but that he had doubts about whether school was actually what his son needed at this age. I resisted the urge to get too evangelical but I hope he feels that there is a choice and not just one way to live.

All the adults we met commented on how well behaved and friendly Miss Froo and Miss Amoo are. They do know how to keep it all together when we are out and about! Folks who asked about HE were pleasantly surprised at how normal they are and how well they played with other children, which stopped the socialisation argument dead in its tracks.

I wanted to use these few days without electricity to try and change my sleeping habits because I am finding more and more that being nocturnal has its downsides in normal society. Sleeping from around 2am to 11am just doesn’t work. I drank no coffee and ate no black chocolate; I went to sleep well before midnight and got up by nine each day. Today was our first day at home and I managed to be up and about just after nine today too. Yay! I hope to keep this up as I have made long term plans that include being somewhere at 10am every Wednesday in a non-comatose state. I’ll let you know how that goes………