Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

The big one carved at midnight last night, and the little one by middle child a little earlier. I love the glow they give. Happy Halloween! And a huge welcome to all my new followers, and especially those of you who have left such lovely comments. I'll be popping by your blogs a little later to say hi. x

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A busy couple of days of sewing... Bliss!

I've been managing to get a lot of crafting and sewing done this week - I have bursts of activity I find. This week I've been working more on my script dogs - this one with a romantic theme, and this one with a baking theme:

I love script fabrics, as you probably have guessed by now! :)
I've also been making more notebooks - I still love using Cath Kidston:

and another in another script fabric, this time travel related:

It's been a lot of fun.

Some of these have made it into my Sew Happy Folksy shop, Visit Sew Happy

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ezy roller and Letterbox - a favourite old friend!

How cool is this little oh so up-to-date version of the go kart I used to use as a kid?! Best of all, it's self-propelled - no need for pulling/pushing/tugging, just lots of fun on wheels and it's been well used over the past couple of weeks in the Lacey household.

At this time of year chez Lace, we begin thinking on what to buy the kids as a joint present for Christmas. We tend to do this, and then give them smaller individual pressies, as I love the shared play it always generates. We've always done it, so they are well used to it. I aim for it not to be electrical, though I have to admit that a couple of years back we joined the pressure and caved in to give them a Wii. Last Christmas, in contrast, it was a crafty badge maker. Both have had lots of use, and created lots of fun in different ways.

A few weeks back my youngest came home really excited, because his friend had been given one of these:

An Ezy roller. I thought it looked fun, and also saw the 4-14 tag when I looked it up - aha... a possible one for Christmas. It's won several toy awards and parenting awards so has been well tested where it's appeared (New Zealand, Canada, the USA), but I think it's only more recently come to the UK. The following week the Letterbox catalogue popped onto the mat

I've been on the Letterbox mailing list since my kids were born, so that's an awfully long long long time - over the years, they've been brilliant for party gifts, and easy given it's all mail order. This time, my son, like a sniffer dog, found the Ezy roller in there - it was the first thing he found given he spotted it on the front cover.

Best of all, it was a Union Jack one with a cool red frame. And so... it was absolutely lovely when with great timeliness, the folks at Letterbox asked if I'd like to test something for them and offered the chance of an Ezy roller.

I used to trial toys when the children were younger for a high street store, and it was always great fun. I love Letterbox - when the kids were smaller, they were useful because they've always had a fabulous pocket money favourites section. I hadn't thought to look at them more recently because I thought mine were getting a bit old. How wrong I was. The catalogue is stuffed with goodies for all ages. So I jumped at the chance they offered and soon afterwards a lovely big box arrived...

And the kids got stuck in when they got home from school...

Unpacking and pre-testing (notice my 10 yr old's feet on the footrests already! He was thrilled...

And what a result. The Ezy roller is brilliant, I have to say. The kids have all used it.

I was doubtful that it would suit all three - they range from 10-14, but true to the hype, it really does. I've also had a go (!). It has an adaptor (a long pole that can be added or removed from the basic frame and is very simple to do), so it can be altered, but to be honest, the medium size suits us all, so we don't need to keep changing it. I've since spoken to a friend who has one and her 3 year old is adept at it. Sounds more adept than me (and no, I won't be posting a pic of me on it, though I've spent quite a time having fun). Oh, okay, here's one of my legs...

It is easy to use - it has a brake, and it works simply by moving your legs slightly back and forwards to create a forward roll. The kids can work it easily up a slight hill. I can't do that bit, but am working on it! I think I'm very unfit. I love it most of all because it encourages my lot to play outside, and they are always happier after doing that, and always find ways to play together.

So, thank you Letterbox - it's a winner. We love it, and I think lots of people would agree it's a fab gift for kids (especially for those like us who like to find toys to share for their little-lies).

Friday, 7 October 2011

The birth of a birthday cake! Yay!

It's that time of year again. As people who follow me know, I love making cakes for my three and always have done. When they were younger, it was easy and I had a free rein. Now they have Opinions and are very clear about what They Want and more especially what they Do Not Want. This year...

"Okay, what do you want?"
"Um, dunno."
"Something more grown up?"
A few more days of this (teenage speak can be very tedious and is never enlightening at the best of times) and we managed to find a picture online that she fell in love with (it had four tiers, mind you. "S-ok, I don'twantfouryoucandometwo") ;-)

However, it had painted sides and I'm no artist. I think I got a U in GCSE Art! Anyway, I got going yesterday and the cake developed today, with the lappy close beside me with the picture of the finished cake I trying to use for inspiration.

I started with

Then popped them together and covered them in a sky blue icing...

The next step was to ice the board with a grassy green and create a river bordered with icing pebbles (hard to stop little hands from eating these and reminded me of the tiles on my troll cake shown in my side bar and at the bottom of the post here, though didn't take as long!).

Painting the mountains wasn't as hard as I'd thought, but it's not brilliant. But she's happy.

The figure on top represents the birthday girl.
"But mum, you've given me a pot belly"
"It's icing, there's not much I can do"
"I've squashed it in, see"
She loves reading so the book was very appropriate. The bees have appeared on every cake since they were first made several years back. The beauty of modelling paste is it never seems to get damaged.

The trees were an easy bit.

All ready for the party tomorrow, when it will be heartily demolished. Yum! Actually, I need to add some butterflies first. And some candles. Happy birthday sweetheart! x

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Yep, we did it! We went to the coast!

We joined the hordes at the weekend who headed for the coast. Yes, the traffic was bad, but not disasterous, and certainly not enough to spoil the day. We were all glad we went. The beach was the busiest I've ever seen it, but it's so long, there was ample space for everyone. We all went in - the sea was lovely...and it's a long long time since I've been in English sea so it must have been.

We dug the inevitable youngest wanted to crawl through a tunnel, which was a big no from me!

We had a picnic with us, and had plenty of food which was a relief, as the cafe had 45 minute queues (at least according to our poor beach neighbour) and ran out of hot food. Late in the day some balloons begun to take off, which was fun:

I love watching hot air balloons but I don't think you'd ever get me up in one!

And there was also an air display by a passing private pilot who treated us to some loops. To top it all, on the way home we were treated to a huge firework display.

We all agreed it was a pretty special day.