Thursday, 2 October 2008

A Thousand Apologies

It has been soooOoo long, I am so sorry for not updating more often.
The last few weeks have been so very hectic, there have been deaths, births, and massive changes afoot in the Hoola Household, at times, it has been extremely overwhelming.

Before I continue, I want to extend my apologies to those of you who have emailed, I will respond soon, promise! Also to those of you who are STILL waiting for swaps, you have not been forgotten! Also those of you who have sent me sweet treats, I will include you all in my next update. And Jacky, I am SO sorry, your package is sat here on my desk STILL, I haven't forgotten you either!

I will be back shortly with more of the news, but here is what I suspect you have all been waiting for...

On the 14th of September at 12:26AM after a 2 hour labour and just ONE push, our little baby girl arrived weighing 2.9kg.....

We named her Bluebelle, in keeping with our nature theme for the children's names, a sister for Amber and Hazel, 3 girls, oh my!
I should note that she WAS called Bluebell (without the E), but Papa Simon registered the birth and we all know men are crap at spelling!

My little fairy baby even has perfect pixie ears, look!

More photos and mucho news to follow, a million thank you's to you all for your patience and love <3

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Fruit for Jam

I have been swinging between crazy tiredness and random bursts of energy, hence my recent absence! Just 12 weeks to go before baby is due and I feel so unprepared, for everything! How did the time go so fast?

Anyways, I have been busily stitching, lots of new creations, mostly all for swaps, will share soon, I haven't had a chance to photograph them yet, but will be back ASAP with pics galore!

I have also been busily stirring up a storm at the stove for the last few days. Lots of fruit grows on our land, and lots comes from our kind neighbours, so the Jam Pot has barely been out of use in recent weeks.
I now have enough Jam to feed a small country, I'm sure!

Check out the scrumptious fruit!

Raspberries and blackberries mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

The cherries came from Monsieur Honesty's garden, despite the fact we have 4 cherry tree's, and he only has 1! Our tree's netted us a total of about um, 2 cherries, the birds were just too fast for us lazy pickers and gobbled them all up. Monsieur Honesty had about 50kg off his one tree, and he didn't net his either, I can only assume the local resident Swallows think our cherries taste better, though this I can't guarantee since I barely tasted a single one, look, here is one lone cherry in our tree, ces't la vie!

The children reminded me that cherrie's are much more than a delicious snack....

Cherry earrings! How sad that stores don't sell cherries in bunches like this anymore, in the UK at least, all cherries have to be seperated (some bizarre Government food legislation), millions of kids will grow up not knowing about cherry earrings, someone should write to the Primeminister! :) Or at least, plant a cherry tree in your garden, just make sure you get there before the birdies!

I forgot to photograph the HUGE glut of apricots we had too, in the jam pot they went!
Everything else is sprouting foliage like wild fire, we can barely keep up with the growth in recent weeks. This being our first summer here (and previously having had a gardener for our French house when we lived full time in the UK), we had no idea how much work was involved with simply cutting the acres of grass and meadow, pruning tree's and generally keeping things from turning into a Jungle!
I dare say, I shouldn't really complain too much about this, since Simon does most of the hard labour (given my present condition), whilst I sun myself and watch :)

I am now plotting what on earth we are going to do with the apples this autumn, the tree's are bowing under the weight of more kinds of apples than I even knew existed, and to think the orchard is only at 1/4 of it's potential capacity, owing to most of it being buried (still!) under a bramble jungle.
So apples, any ideas? Cider is a must, apple puree for baby, what else is there to do with several hundred KG of apples?

One of my favourite things about summer..... BASIL.
I just planted these up in an old French crate I found at a local brocante recently, I LOVE the smell of Basil, to me, Basil IS summer, torn up and tossed into salads, on to fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, mmmmmmmmmmmm.

AnyhooOOoO, duty calls, dinner will not cook itself! I am using more apricots to make an Apricot Bread and Butter Pudding this evening, will share the results and recipe tomorrow :) Until then, Bon Weekend!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Kittens, Kingfishers & Humpy Time

Ooops, I did it again! I can't believe it has been two weeks since I posted, and I had sooo much to tell you, better late than never?

The last two weeks have been complete mayhem, so much going on, ah where to begin?
Well, it all started when I was quietly minding my own business and going about my housework, suddenly I heard something hit the window, and immediately shouted at the children, who were hurling balls at one another, to mind the windows. I went to inspect the damage, and to my complete surprise, found this little darling unconscious on the floor.

A kingfisher! This silly young thing had flown into the window at such speed that he knocked himself out cold. Kingfishers, I am sure, are a rare sight at the best of times, we occasionally catch a glimpse of their vivid blue plumage as they flit across the lake, but to see one up close, THIS CLOSE, was quite a magnificent sight.

Poor Mr Kingfisher was in a sorry state, he sat quietly, cupped in Simon's big strong hands without even so much as a flutter of his wings.
It is not the first time we have had a bird in hand under much the same circumstances, country life delivers all manner of creatures into our home, and over the months we have had swallows, blue tits and bats, amongst many things, all render themselves unconscious after flying head first into our windows.
They normally always recover their composure after a few minutes and fly back to wherever it is they came from, but Mr Kingfisher stayed put.

Simon thought it would be a good idea to carry him closer to the lake where he might recognise his surroundings better and fly away. No sooner had we reached the lakes bank Mr Kingfisher took off, one gloriously high swoop before he fell, with great speed, right into the water! He kind of half sunk, half floated, Simon quickly fetched the boat, which was perilously close to sinking on account of being full of rain water, and heroically set out to rescue Mr Kingfisher from drowning.

Back on safe ground, Mr Kingfisher sat, once again, quietly in Simon's hands. After much time had passed and darkness began to draw in, we decided to make a wee nest for Mr Kingfisher and pop him in a nearby tree where he could recover in peace. An old plastic plant pot stuffed with hay and dry grass cuttings was positioned carefully and Mr Kingfisher nestled gently on top. Ambear and Hoozel trooped back and forth from house to tree, in pyjamas and wellington boots, diligent in their self-appointed nursing duties, to check on Mr Kingfisher at regular intervals, eventually, as the sun went down, off they went to bed, chatting excitedly about their new avian friend.

I returned to my housework and Simon to the Football on tv, when Mr Pip alerted us to the imminent arrival of Minnu's kittens. He was busy giving her a monkey nibble (this weird affectionate nibbling thing he does to loved ones) and generally paying her too much attention, we quickly realised her panting was due to labour and not Pips amorous chomping at her neck, and were all, once again, on tenterhooks the entire evening.

The first kitten popped out and into the world at midnight, and I was awake all night beside Minnu, as she pushed out two more wee bundles of fluff, the last being at 8am the next morning, when Ambear was excitedly awaiting it's arrival, an incident which did much to answer my inquisitive 8 year olds questions about my own imminent labour - though it took some explaining as to why humans are not born in sacks and mum's don't hungrily start chomping on the placenta!

By now I was dog tired and took myself to bed, no sooner had I settled down to sleep I heard the hounds making a racket, and thus discovered them moments later, attached at the groin after obviously enjoying some humpy time. We had not even been aware that Nala was in season, and planned to get her spayed before Pip came of age, but he quite literally, pipped us at the post! Two weeks on from this very hectic 24 hours of injured birds, birthing cats and humping dogs, we now wait with baited breath for Nala's vet appointment to find out if she is pregnant, and we have three very cute little bundles of kitten to occupy us in the meantime!

I should add, that Mr Kingfisher was not in his new nest the following morning, and we have regularly spotted that blaze of blue darting back and forth across the lake, so can safely assume he recovered and returned to his own abode!

During my absence I have also been back to England, to take the dreaded Driving Theory test. My approach to study and revision is somewhat haphazard, and so no one was more surprised than me when I passed with flying colours! So, I am now a driver in theory, and will be returning to the UK again soon to take my practical driving test.
I am no longer able to ride my bicycle on account of my bump having skewed my balance. I must also accept the idea that once the bump is deflated and replaced by a screaming bundle of cuteness, that cycling is not going to be much of a daily occurance anyway (and I don't much fancy one of those strange pram contraptions that attach to the rear end of a bicycle), so driving a car, after many years of having happily travelled on foot, is suddenly looking like a rather attractive prospect, since I would be lucky to reach my neighbours on foot in one morning, let alone the local shops.

All my adult life I have walked, cycled or braved the perils and filth of public transport to get from A to B, but rural France demands a car, and a car I will have, all in good time.
Of course, cars tend not to deliver themselves unto your doorstep, there is no magic wand to be waved that miraculously alerts you as to the perfect vehicle for you, and so the search has begun, and my god how boring is finding a car?!

My first choice was a vintage Morris Minor, Simon pointed out, that since I am soon to be a mother of 3 sproglets, a vintage car is perhaps not the most practical or reliable choice. I stewed about this for a few days, really I did, I mean, have you seen Morris Minors? They are so cute, and charming, and I dare say, SO ME.

Alas, Simon said I will not be allowed a pale blue polka dotted Morris Minor (it would have to be polka dotted of course!), and that I really ought to consider a proper MUM car, like say, a Citroen Xsara Picasso, yawwwwwwwwn, or dare I even say it, a Renault Espace - if I WERE a practical person then I would be inclined to agree, alas I am not, I am most impractical, and being mother to 3 children before I am 30 will probably not change that, at least I am fighting, with all my wrath, against it, for now at least, perhaps I can compromise.....

I wonder what a Xsara Picasso would look like with Polka Dots?

Anyways, I am now moving into my third trimester of pregnancy, I am heavy, BIG and oh so cumbersome, the blisteringly hot weather is somewhat hard to bare and once again I can feel that dreaded fatigue closing in on me, I need to start sewing, and fast!

On a final note, my lovely wonderful friend Sena, has just started her own
blog, be a darling and go and take a peek, she is a super sweet gal and has a super sweet new blog to match! By The Blue Grass.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Egg on Legs

That's how I feel, like a great rotund egg on legs. Never has the following dedication been more appropriate....

This is the charming work of Green Phoenix, dedicated to yours truly, how sweet is that? FankOoo muchly Miss Phoenix for thinking of me, and my hormonal woes, it certainly brought a smile to my face!

Now I have so so so so SO much to tell you all, lots of super exciting news, but I am very tired and haven't prepared the photos, but I will be back, I promise I will be back, very soon!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Etsy Love & Blog Envy

It's that time again!
I have some really lovely finds for you this week my pretties, first up the Etsy Love, let's go!

It probably comes as no surprise that I have been scanning Etsy for sweet treats for the new baby. I have stumbled upon some reeeeally cute stuffs!

I am loving the colourful creations of Funky Shapes, it comes as no surprise that the brains behind these booties is from Chile, the amazing use of colour was a clue, people from that corner of the world seem to have the most amazing knack for combining rich glorious colours and this Mum, living in the Isle of Wight, is no exception, just check out these cuties....

That, my friends, is a Bootie Call! Yum!

I stumbled upon the ChARiTy Elise store completely by accident, and was instantly smitten by her bright and cheerful Pottery.

This talented mama from Atlanta, USA, creates a whole menagerie of wonderful pieces, from plates, magnets and mugs to earrings and pendants, her prices are a treat, there is something here to please everyones pocket.
My favourite piece is this the super pretty soap dish, loving those colours...

Finally, I found this next store of delights via Flickr, and my heart skipped several beats. Colorful Dayz has the most beautifully vibrant pretties, I'm warning you, you will not be able to visit this store without parting with some of your hard earned cash....

I fell head over heels with this amazing sketchbook/journal keeper, featuring some wonderful embroidery. I want it, I want it so bad, it is top of my wish list!

This is available as a custom piece, in whichever size/colours etc you wish, always a bonus!

So, let's have a little Blog Envy too! Searching for inspiring blogs is one of my favourite things. Here are my recent favourites...

How could I not include a blog called My Polka Dotted World, I mean seriously, a woman after my own heart!

Kristin is from Oceanside, I will pretend I know where that is, um, possibly the USA... anyway, she is so super inspiring I nearly keeled over and died of pleasure when I happened upon her delightful candy coloured creations.
Her blog shares lots of her crafts, including some beautiful paper crafts/journals, vintage finds and photos of her super sweet home, check it out...

So much cuteness!

Next up, Resurrection Fern is one of those blogs that lights up a little corner of your soul. Margaret Oomen is a wonderful writer, so many of her posts take you on a wee magical journey, like this one, I defy you not to read this and immediately want to go and sniff out some beautiful lilacs and old forgotten buildings.

She is a seriously talented madam, her embroidery work in particular, leaves me breathless...

An awe inspiring mixture of well written posts, beautiful photography and inspiring crafts, Margaret's blog is one not to miss!

Last, but of course, not least, is the good enough to eat Be, Dream, Play... Elizabeth Bunsen is a mixed media artist, who displays her work here in glorious technicoloured abundance. Her collages are especially beautiful, and her various musings and prettyfull photography draw you in and make you want to Be, Dream and Play a little in her world, before skipping off to dream up your own.

Truly magical!
Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Paper Goodies Giveaway....

The time has cometh my pretties, all names went in a hat, and as the sproglets were soundly sleeping, Monsieur Simon drew out a name, I can now reveal, that the winner of the French paper goodies is.....

Yay for Jacky!
Please drop me an email with your address so I can send your package :)

Thanks everyone for joining in the fun!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Hey Doodle Doodle

Just a wee reminder that I will be drawing names out of a hat for the blog give away, tomorrow night! There is still time to enter here, just leave a comment and you're in!

Just quickly, here are my latest doodles. Note to self - buy felt tips that are water resistant, le sigh.

See you tomorrow.... <3

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Hello Hormones!

I have been very mindful of not turning my blog into an all singing all dancing pregnancy and baby zone, but today, I am afraid, I cannot ignore the thumping inside my womb.

I would like to say that I am one of those women who relishes every aspect of pregnancy, indeed they do exist. I see them often, they are always the ones that "bloom", develop a perfect little bump that actually makes them look pregnant, as opposed to the enormous all encompassing bulge that assaults every inch of my physical body and just makes me look fat. They relentlessly stroke said bump, with a twinkle in their eye as they toss their blooming silky hair and tell you that pregnancy is just wonderful! They always look slick and stylish despite said bump, and seem to glide through their pregnancy as though the 20 pound mass attached to their abdomen never once wreaked havok with their back. I wish I was she, alas I am not. Bitter? Moi? um, not much.

I love babie's, I am very excited about our little girl popping out, if not only to finally meet the little munchkin that I am so very curious about. But more than anything, I just want to get the damn thing out and into the open so I can feel like a normal human being again. All the time I struggle with the notion that I must be an evil, horrid mother to have such thoughts, because pregnancy is supposed to be beautiful, we are supposed to embrace the ultimate act of woman hood, and revel in the presence of the child within. If only...

So, anyway, I slept badly last night, actually, that's a lie, I didn't really sleep at all, I tossed and turned all night feeling as though my chest would implode, such was the horrendous never relenting burning sensation of pregnancy indigestion.

I mean who's flipping idea was it to put our womb in it's present position anyway? Right in the middle of our abdomen where it squeezes your bladder so tight that even a sip of tea has you running for the loo.... Right where it crushes your stomach into believing it is full after one bite of toast and thus promptly shoves all that hot indigested food back up your wind pipe, whos flipping idea was that?! Why not put it on our back? We might have a bump that likens us to something akin to The Hunchback of Notre Dam's long lost cousin, but at least our backs could hold the weight and there are no stomach muscles there to be assaulted into sagging like an old ladie's backside, leaving us with a tummy like a rotting piece of fruit that hangs somewhere in the knee region when the baby is finally ejected, so cruel .

When I finally dragged my weary body from my bed this morning, I was told by Simon that we had run out of milk. To any normal human being, I am sure this news would be met with no interest at all, perhaps a mere grumble about not being able to have the morning cuppa.
To a pregnant woman, for whom milk is the only respite for that dreaded indigestion, and is indeed the only thing she craves relentlessly, this was worse than an impending nuclear war.
Confronted with this information, and the realisation, having glanced out of the window, that it was once again raining, combined with a broken tumble dryer and a towering pile of dirty laundry was enough to send me flying over the edge of all rational thought.
My bottom lip quivered, and within seconds I was a heaving, sobbing mass of pregnant misery, much to Simon's dismay, he is never quite sure what to do when the hormones kick in, and seeing me in all my naked pregnant glory, slumped over the toilet sobbing like a child who lost their favourite teddy is perhaps, understandably, a somewhat disturbing sight to any man.

Aren't hormones a wonderful thing? The most irritating thing about such outbursts, is that at the time, when all that emotion comes tumbling out, it seems perfectly normal, and then afterwards I end up feeling just a wee bit silly and irrational, until next time...

On the few occasions that the sproglets have witnessed these displays of childish sobbing they have been both shocked and amused. 8 yr old Ambear tries very hard not to laugh at the sight of her mother blubbing like a baby as she contemplates an evening without tea, milk, or clean pyjamas. The poor Hoozel, aged 7 and slightly less world wise, and who thoroughly enjoys a good cry and all the attention it brings, takes it all very seriously and strokes my hair and hugs me with all the sympathy she can muster, all the time a look of complete innocence and naivety crosses her concerned little face.

To add insult to injury, my cat is pregnant. In my present hormonal state I even feel jealous of the way she seems to carry her baby weight to elegantly as she sashays to and fro, purring like a cat that got the effing cream, silently mocking my bulk. Smug cow.

Now that I am half way to the big day, my mind has turned to memories of child birth. Never has the term "Ignorance is bliss" seemed more true, when you are having your third child you know what lays ahead and being in a foreign country where they are still clinging to the archaic notion that women in the throes of labour should be on their backs with their feet in stirrups does nothing for my morale. Did you know it is actually illegal in France to intentionally give birth unassisted at home? Crazy world.

So, Simon has hidden himself away, from my hormonal rage, in his new home office (AKA Le Sad Caravan) - which is actually a touchy subject because, as you know, I had Le Caravan ear marked as a little guest retreat, it was to be my little decorating project whilst the house is rendered a No Decor Zone as a result of the impending extension and new roof. Hey ho.
The children are safely cosseted in their classroom away from the scary pregnant woman, and for but a few hours I can enjoy some peace, sans milk (sob), though having had no sleep, I suspect I am going to be one over tired hormonal wreck this evening, Poor Simon, Poor Sproglets, let your thoughts be with them, and thank your lucky stars today, that I don't live with you.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Hoola Fairy's and Mothers Day Treats

Back with more, as promised!
Today is still grey grey grey, but at least it isn't raining, managed to take a few pics, yay!

First up, the Sunday just passed was Mothers Day in France. We already celebrated Mothers day on the UK date in March, so I was spoiled twice!
The girls made these lovely mirrors for me at school, how sweet!

The Hoozel told me that since I already received a Mothers Day gift from her, would I mind very much if she sent the mirror she made to Her Nana Ann, who is very poorly and needs cheering up, so the blue mirror, will be packed up and sent to our dear Nana Ann, I am sure it WILL indeed cheer her up, how could it not? So cute!

Ambear also wrote me a lovely mothers day poem in FRENCH. I was so delighted, not only by the poem, but also that she is coming along so well with this new alien language that has been thrust upon her.
I feigned ignorance and asked her to read it for me and to translate, just so I could hear that beautiful French accent, which she speaks so effortlessly, and so much more eloquently than any adult learning a new language could ever hope to achieve, brought a wee tear to my eye when she read it out loud, she was so shy about it too...

I have been busy making two dolls for two super late swaps, starting to wonder if I will ever catch up! Still, progress is progress and I so enjoyed stepping out of my box and creating something new, I introduce, the very first Hoola Fairy!

Isn't she sweet? She is not much bigger than a Dotee Doll, about 5". The wand is a tiny twig from the garden with felt and fabric.
This one is being sent out as part of the "Where Women Create" Swap I joined a while ago, for which I had to create anything of my liking, and send it off with a little note about where I create, my swap partner has been super patient, I really hope she will like her Hoola Fairy!

I am still putting the finishing touches to another wee fairy, here is a sneak preview...

This one is a touch bigger, and was much easier to make, those arms and legs are sOOoOOo fiddly, I might make an even bigger one next time!

I treated myself to some Berol Felt Tips recently, the fine tip and brush tip. I appreciate felt tips aren't the most sophisticated medium to work with, but I love doodling, and I love the colours of these felt tips, they remind me of my youth!
Here is an A4 doodle drawing I did last night, now pinned in the girls bedroom, they stole it away before I could even blink, only seems fair since I steal away all their drawings to pin on the kitchen wall!

I am looking forward to having more fun with felt tips, a vastly under rated, if somewhat juvenile, medium!

That's all for now, there is still plenty of time to join my Blog Giveaway (see post below), I will probably draw the names this time next week.
Happy Wednesday to you my lovelies!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Blog Give Away! Yay!

Hello my lovelies! How kind of you to visit!
So much to tell you and so much to show you, but it has been raining and pouring for two days straight, grey skies do not great photos make, so, I shall save my crafty bits and bobs until tomorrow, in the meantime, some news to share!

First of all, I had my second scan yesterday, which revealed that the bump can now be referred to as a SHE, yay! It's a little girl! I was quite surprised, after two girls, I expected this one might be a boy, still 3 little girls I shall have, which is all good, dressing up little girls is one of my favourite things!

So, baby news aside. I also want to tell you about some wee bits and pieces I have decided to part with...
My paper ephemera collection is at bursting point, also, I am working a lot more with fabric these days. That's not to say I won't be doing any collage or paper crafts in the future, just that right now, I am limited on space, and something had to give, with all the new fabric coming in, something has to go out, and alas, some of the paper it is.

So, I have started listing some in my Etsy store already, but there is SO much, that I think I am going to be doing this for a few weeks, so, if you like French paper stuff, go see, and check back often, I will try and add new things every day, time allowing. I had no idea how to price everything, most of the pieces I have don't seem to be available by other Etsy sellers (aside from Postcards - and I have mostly priced these cheaper than others - unless they are rare/special), I am very mindful of not over charging and so would genuinely appreciate your feedback on the prices I have set, let me know what you think!

In the mix are various items, including many vintage postcards, vintage French fashion magazines, oh my! Also, my ever so hard to part with collection of vintage labels, including lots of pharmacy and perfume labels too!

This all surely calls, for a bit of a Blog giveaway too! So I have prepared this wee package of delights....

The giveaway includes, a few sheets of vintage French music, a 1950's French fashion magazine, complete with the most wonderful illustrations and adverts, 10 vintage postcards, mostly French, some vintage pharmacy labels, a fat quarter of adorable vintage French fabric, and some cute French trim.

I should add, that after I took this photo, and left this neat little package on the table, one of the cats puked on it! As I am sure you can imagine, paper does not really recover well from being puked on, hence, I have had to replace the postcards and magazine shown in the picture with similar ones, everything else survived the puking, fabric and trim included, phew! and BAH those cats!

For a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. I will ask the sproglets to draw a name from a hat in the next few days, so say Hello, and all this lovely stuff could be yours! I am happy to send the package international, so don't be put off if you are in Timbuktu!

Back soon with lots of photos to share, Happy Tuesday to you! <3

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Can you tell....?

I have a thing for colour and florals right now?
These are all Kaffe Fasset, yum, yum, yum and more yum!

and of course, polka dots are ALWAYS good!

This last one is from Etsy seller From Holland with Love, so prettyfull!

This is the last of my fabric buying splurge, I swear!