Chez Spud

Slipping away

Posted under People I love

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Sunset

1 September and, though the sun has shone and it’s been unusually hot today, I can feel the summer slipping away. The way the light moves around the house has noticeably changed in the last few days, the evenings come to a close quicker and the heat of the day slopes off with surprising abruptness. The glut of early summer veg is long gone, leaving a bounty of tomatoes ripening faster than we can eat them, a couple of sugar sweet melons, some stubbornly unripe peppers and chillis and a pumpkin patch which is threatening to take over the garden. We’ve just harvested the last of our main crop potatoes, and planted our seed spuds ready for Christmas Day. Last week’s holiday to Cornwall seems like a month ago, and the deliciously pure ‘fresh’ light in my photos seems like something from a lifestyle magazine rather than how it really was. Whichever way you measure it, summer is slipping away.

I’m fending off the back-to-school glums. It’s been a glorious summer holiday, gone all too soon…how I will miss my little chums. Only 5 more sleeps until my baby starts school and my big boy goes in to Year 1. Hardly seems like a minute since Bertie started school and, yet, here we are and Digby is about to join him. Having resigned, I have no job and no plans at this point. I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike but nothing beyond a vague desire to feel ‘successful’ has presented itself. My measure of ‘success’ is also rather ill defined at the moment. I’m sure it will all muddle itself out for the best.

For now I’m clinging on to the last few days of the holiday, trying to erase the mental image of Diggy in his school uniform and wondering where the time has gone. Let me get through next week, Bertie’s 6th birthday and the eight (yes, eight) birthday parties in the calendar and then I’ll re-group and Make A Plan.

Really? My baby is going to school? Not right, not right at all…potters off quietly, shaking head.

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Portrait photoshoot – WINNER!

Posted under Photography, Witterings

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Thanks to everyone who took part in the wish.co.uk portrait photoshoot competition. I had two little helpers write the names of all the entrants on pieces of paper and we went for the Old Skool ‘name out of a hat’ method.

Congratulations to Lisa, I’ll put you in touch with wish.co.uk directly to arrange your photoshoot.

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Competition! Win a family portrait shoot courtesy wish.co.uk

Posted under Photography

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How many fabulous photos do you have of your family, with YOU in it rather than just taking it, do you you? I have none. Not one. I have plenty of lovely photos of the boys, and quite a few with MrSpud in, and handful with me in and absolutely none of all four of us. What a huge omission, must put that right.

I bet most of you haven’t got many, if any, fabulous family portraits either so I’m giving away a family portrait shoot (including one, free 10×8 print) and luckily for winner it’s not me taking the photos, it’s a Real Professional Photographer courtesy the lovely people at wish.co.uk. They have hundreds of studios all over the UK, please see here for a list of the counties.

This fantastic photography package is the perfect way to get your family together and create a selection of pictures that you can look back on forever. You’ll all be posing together for a professional photographer with all the latest equipment, and you’ll round the session off with a chance to view and select your favourite pictures. One 10×8 print is included with the option to purchase more if you wish.

How to enter

Easy, just leave me a comment and I’ll pick someone at random on Wednesday 17 August. I will put the winner in touch with the people at wish.co.uk to coordinate the details.

More about wish.co.uk

Offering everything from exciting flying experiences and fun days out to relaxing and pampering spa day gifts, Wish.co.uk is the ultimate place to shop for experience days. Every order comes with the benefit of free, fast delivery, a sleek gift box and you can shop safe in the knowledge that Wish guarantee the best price, or you get double the difference back.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment, either monetary or in kind, for this post…nothing in it for me! I just thought it would make for a great opportunity for one of my UK readers. Good luck!

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Can’t stop crocheting. Send help.

Posted under Crochet

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Japanese stole

I’m crochet obsessed at the moment. Can’t stop making things, or researching the next project, or lusting over yarn and falling in to yarn shops (both bricks & mortar and clicks & mortar ones) and accidentally adding to the Stash of Shame. No matter how many projects I tackle the Stash of Shame just keeps growing. Puzzled face…

I have three projects on the go at the moment. A Japanese Flower Stole (pictured above), copied from inspired by Attic24 . I’ve worked like a fiend on this and it will be finished in less than a week. Can you tell that the Megaboys have taken a jaunt to Granny’s for a couple of days? I love the soft, silky yarn (Debbie Bliss Andes) but I’m not 100% smitten with the colours. I think the bright pink was a mistake, possibly. But without it the colours would have been very muted. The pattern is fantastic however, and I’ve already lined up yarn for the next two stoles it’s such a joy to make…even though it did involve deciphering complicated charts since the pattern book is Japanese.

A few weeks ago I decorated bottles of wine for the staff at the boys’ school and nursery as thank you gifts, pattern courtesy Mollie Makes magazine. Cards courtesy the Megaboys.

Mollie Makes butterflies

Also lurking in my To Be Finished pile is a huge chunky scarf which is a Christmas gift. It’s miserable to make. I hate using vast crochet hooks. Meh.

And then there is the baby ripple blanket, a gift for baby Merle (oh I LOVE the name) who was born last week. I really enjoyed making this, it’s taken months though as it’s surprisingly large for a baby blanket. I love the delicate ripple and the unusual colours. I think the deep purple scallop edging is absolutely lovely. Tricky to photograph however.

Yarn is Baby Rooster which comes in lovely colours, and I think it will be hardier than Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (my usual preference for baby blankets). However I’ve since discovered Millamia yarn which is my new Best Favourite, though I wish they did a wider range of colours.

The Pattern comes from Cute & Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench. I really like this book, I’ve made a few things from it now and there are plenty more on The List.

Ripple baby blanket

Oh look, there’s my first EVER crochet project sneaking in…the Granny Square…

Ripple baby blanket

Also sneaking in is yet another project On The Go, just seen…a pile of granny squares, a blanket for Digby to replace the first one I made for him. He was sick on it (weep) so I washed it on a delicate cycle in the washing machine. Alas the VERY expensive Mirasol Tupa yarn (50% silk, 50% merino) is handwash only so I ended up felting the blanket. It’s now the size of a small bathmat. I won’t make that mistake again.

Ripple baby blanket
Soon my attention will turn again to photography, reading, writing and blogging…all of which are burbling along too. But, for now, it’s all about the hooky. And the Stash of Shame…

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The one where I confess a sin

Posted under Books I love

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43 365 Books do furnish a room

I’m squirming in my seat as I write this. The words ‘I was wrong’ might actually have to come out of my mouth. That never sits comfortably with me to be honest. Still, good for the soul and all that.

In the past I have been quite forthright in my criticism of reading books in any other format other than ‘the right one’, i.e. an actual book with paper and a cover. I may even have blogged about how reading isn’t just about the words, it’s a sensory thing. I may, possibly, have been very critical of MrSpud and his strange love of reading books on his iphone.

Hmm. Funny how things come back to haunt you sometimes isn’t it? Damn you blog, for providing evidence of my fickle ways…

Two weeks ago I read three books in five days. But that’s not what this is about. I had a day of very, very long train journeys and I decided to experiment by downloading a couple of books on Kindle for the iPad (which, I gather, is on its way out?). I was dubious. I was so dubious I took my book, an actual book, as well which perhaps defeated the point. In one day I galloped through Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman and I loved it.  Encouraged, though shame faced, I quickly downloaded Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I don’t even know who Tina Fey is really, but I enjoyed that too.  In a rush of KindleLove I then bought Grace Dent’s How to Leave Twitter and that was pretty good too.

I’m no book reviewer, and this isn’t a book review. En passant I will mention that Caitlin Moran’s book is absolutely extraordinary, it blew me away actually (once I’d got over its no mucking about straight up tell it how it is style). I have never considered myself a feminist because, it turns out, I never really KNEW what feminism means anymore. I thought it didn’t apply to me. Turns out I’m stupid. You’ll have to read it to get it. If you’re a woman, or a man who loves women, you need to read it. Hey, I read it in a DAY. I don’t give over a day of my life for any old crap you know.

But this isn’t about the book. This is about the medium for the reading thereof and I think you know what’s coming.  I read the book on my iPad. And I really, really enjoyed the experience. I thought it would be a kind of clinical experience, and it is in some ways. But the convenience, the beauty of the backlight typeface, not having to hold a heavy book is quite beguiling.  I’m ashamed of myself.

I don’t want to fall out of love with books (the real ones). I LOVE books, they do so furnish a room, they feel and look just right…I keep postcards and newspaper cuttings in them (well, I did when I read newspapers..before the internet came along…hang on….there’s a theme here). I would hate never to feel the weight of a good book, smell it, admire its cover and run my fingers over the paper to feel how it ‘is’. But there’s a place in my life now for online reading.

I have a half-read copy of The Tiger’s Wife by my bed. It’s been half read since I started reading How to be a Woman. Since then I’ve read Bossypants (on the iPad), How to Leave Twitter (on the iPad) and I’ve made a start on Home (also on the iPad).

Shameful. Absolutely shameful.

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