Friday, 31 August 2012

A Busy Summer Nearly Over

Firstly, please let me apologise for the lengthy gap in posts this time; we had a very busy week with the Magpie cousins and then this week I have been trying to catch up on boring things like house work and getting the children ready to go back to school.

This morning I was up bright and early in anticipation of our log delivery. Whilst Mr Magpie was flexing his muscles at the gym, I was flexing mine at home, busy turning this:

Into this. In just under an hour! 

What kept me going when performing this task was the thought of all the knitting and crochet I will be doing in front of the fire this coming Winter. I was quite proud of myself, although this is only a temporary measure. Our proper wood store is under the decking at the back of the house but I knew that Mr Magpie would want to arrange it in his own special fashion. My haphazard stacking was done just so it is possible to access the front door without having to clamber over the pile. The postman got especially grumpy when faced with this task last Autumn.

Earlier this week I took the eldest two to buy their shoes and then went on to the uniform shop. Miss Magpie Jr's uniform can only be bought from one of two specialist shops. It is ridiculously expensive and shockingly bad quality. Somehow she had managed to get paint all over her blazer (bought only last year - I was hoping it would last her for her final two years) and it cost an eye-watering £34 to replace.

Between the shoes, uniforms and the holidays in general my purse is feeling the strain. Luckily it is the Bournemouth Air festival this weekend so we can amuse the children without the need for a second mortgage.

My own 'amusement' will be in continuing to sew name tapes into said newly purchased uniform. Now that there are four pairs of trousers, two skirts, six jumpers and twelve shirts, plus assorted P.E items, book bags, lunch boxes, coats etc, I am anticipating this occupation to last for some time yet. Ouch.

Happily, the outdoor knitting time I have been enjoying has seen the completion of Hitchhiker #2.

I only just managed 42 teeth on this one, and even then I was about half a yard short for the cast off row. I improvised by using some of the leftover yarn from Hitchhiker #1 but hopefully it doesn't notice.

Thankfully, this was the only mishap with this knit and I am really pleased that I got it finished. It definitely isn't as soft as #1 but I love the colours and will take extra special care of it.

Granny Magpie did suggest labelling it with my name and address, which I did give serious thought to but decided against in the end.


Next on the needles is an experiment with some lovely yarn I bought  from here a few weeks ago on a quick trip to Devon to see some friends. The shop was amazing and I was even made a cup of tea to enjoy whilst browsing. I will tell you some more about it at a later date.

For now, I must dash as I need to make a picnic to take to the beach so that we can see some of the air show. I have got lots of half-written posts waiting in the wings for pictures and some editing; I will be back to my regular-ish blogging self as soon as I have reclaimed the house. I've got a few new makes and tutorials to show you soon.

Thanks for stopping by,

Beth x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Few Quick Makes

The rain returned to Bournemouth again this morning, so apart from making the dreaded pilgrimage to the local shoe shop to buy the youngest his first ever pair of school shoes (sob!) I have had some time to sew.

First on the list was some bean bags, ordered by the Mr for his work's sports day on Friday. I whipped these up very crudely out of some bright waterproof material I've got. There were two reasons for using this. Firstly, it's the type of material I seem to remember our school beanbags being made of and secondly, they are slippery so there can be no cheating when balancing them on the noggin; it will be necessary to walk completely upright and straight to keep them from sliding off.

Technically, these are rice bags, not bean bags. I thought that beans would make a sticky orange mess so opted for a cheap rice from the supermarket. When I was trying to decide how many kilos of rice I would need to fill four bags I tested the weight of different packs by balancing them on my head. After several funny looks from the other shoppers I did decide to enlighten them lest I be carried away by security. One helpful lady pointed out that the rice would get mushy if it got wet so I shared my plan of using waterproof material with her. Anyway, I imagine that after their outing on Friday they will be destined to live in a cupboard.

My next make is a custom order for one of my knitting friends, who requested a simple little bag that could be used by a toddler. This is what I have come up with so far.

It has been lovely sitting and stitching for a few hours, hopefully I will get some more making time in the next few days before Mr Magpie takes a well-earned week off and the Magpie cousins come to stay.

Thanks for stopping by,

Beth x

p.s. I am joking about the beans. Just to clarify.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Holiday Fun (and a little bit of knitting and crochet)

The summer holidays are in full swing over here at Magpie Towers and we have been getting out and about as much as we can. Over the last week we haven't managed to get to the beach, but tomorrow's forecast is looking good so we will be getting out the buckets and spades once again.

In the last week or so we have enjoyed picnics aplenty in a variety of touristy destinations; it is great living in a seaside town, you feel you are on holiday just by popping a mile up the road. Actually, last year every time we went to the town centre, the littlest Magpie would gleefully announce 'We're at the holiday!'

As well as the picnics, we have been crabbing, swimming, walking, playing at the park (well, several parks) exploring a model town and having a few adventures.

Examining the catch, the final tally was 7!

A brave new friend.

A Model Town

The littlest Magpie wanted to take this cutie home.

That's me - I did the monkey bars!!

My Hitchhiker#2 has been living in my handbag so that it can be whipped out at any available opportunity while the boys are otherwise occupied and has been growing steadily. The missing Hitchhiker#1 got to 45 teeth and I think that the yarn ball looked slightly smaller than this one. I'm on tooth 30 now, so still a way to go but I am proud to say that there are still no mistakes in this one and I aim to keep it that way!

I have also been adding the odd new stripe to my Granny blanket when I get settled enough of an evening. This picture shows 20 more stripes than when I last blogged about the blanket here. Because we have been using the blanket so much already I have changed my mind about making this double-bed sized because I think that if I do it will get left on a bed and would be too big to be carried around by the kids or to be a useful size.

I have just completed stripe 55 and think that I will probably continue to a nice round 60 before moving on to the border.

Granny Magpie has been making her very own Granny Stripe, her first crochet project and I can't wait to see it. A good friend of mine who asked me to show her how to crochet has also been making her own blanket so hopefully soon I can show you pictures of three finished masterpieces!

This weekend we will be having a visit from Grandad, who will be taking the middle-sized Magpie back up to the Midlands to spend a week with Granny Magpie. After a relatively quiet week we will be visited by the Magpie cousins and are looking forward to all the Magpies enjoying some holiday time together as Mr Magpie will be off work too.

I hope that you are enjoying your summer too,

Thanks for reading,

Beth x