Grahamstown Botannical Gardens

I “work from home”* on Friday afternoons. So last Friday I took Little Man for an walk through our local Bot Gardens. The weekend’s weather was forecast to wet wet and more wet. So we enjoyed the sunshine and I took some photos. Many many of Little Man…but here are a couple that are not. Enjoy.

Top to Bottom: Old Oak Tree | Law Library from the Bridge | Oak Tree Look Up | Leaf Boat | Moss | Light through the Leaves | The Fig Tree with a Hole in It | Another Fig Tree | Wet Muddy Shoes & Socks | More Pretty Leaves

*Work from home: Answer emails and other crucial stuff after Little Man has gone to bed!

Crochet Fingerless Gloves for Toddlers {Free Pattern}

I’ve been crocheting for ages, but this is the first pattern I’ve ever written down! If you have any problems, please get in touch and I’ll try to help!

Fingerless Gloves for Toddlers (~2 years old)
We are expecting lots and lots of rain and cold weather this weekend, and Litttle Man being a typical boy, still wants to spend every second outside! I’ve made him several beanies, but his little hands are always red with cold. These are a super simple design. You are creating a flat piece, twice as wide as the palm. This is then folded in half lengthwise and stitched together along the edge, leaving a gap for the thumb. It took me less than 30 minutes to make up a pair of these fingerless gloves, a superb stash-buster! I love that they are so quick, I can make him several pairs so that when they get dirty and wet, we can change them easily. I also like that his fingers are free, he is still able to play and build and practice fine motor control but his hands are warmer than they would be otherwise.

You’ll need:
crochet hook
~25g wool

I used a 5mm hook and chunky acrylic yarn. Adjust your hook size to suit your yarn if necessary.

Make 2:
To start: Chain 21. (Check that this chain is twice as wide as the child’s palm at the level of the knuckles. Add or remove chains as needed)
Row 1: HDC in each chain. Chain 1 and turn
Rows 2 – 6 . SC in each stitch across. Chain 1 and turn.
Rows 7- 10: DC in each stitch across. Do not cut yarn.
(Optional): You can continue to add DC rows to make longer gloves. Stop when you’ve reached desired length.

To construct:
Fold you work in half, lengthwise. The DC rows are the bottom of the gloves. Insert your hook through both layers, yarn over and pull through to complete a slip stitch. Slip stitch along the end until you reach Row 4 (the third SC row). Slip stitch through the TOP layer only until you reach Row 1 (the HDC row). Insert your hook through both layers and slip stitch to the end. Cut yarn, pull through and fasten off. Stitch in ends.

 

 

New Routines

We are slowly, slowly, gently trying wean from breastfeeding to sleep. It’s very bitter-sweet for me as I work full time and most evening have something on immediately after work. I come home and plunge straight into the evening routine. Breastfeeding feels like the only thing that was mine and his alone. At times this so frustrating because I/my boobs have had to be there every time he goes to sleep. I feel shackled to his bedside. However, at the same time, how wonderful it’s been. Those moments. Sleepy warm body, smelling of baby cream, Tousled hair, footed pyjamas, warm hands and fuzzy blanket, quiet reconnection of Mom and baby at the end of the day. A moment where all else must pause, where there is no choice but to rest and relax.

Now though, many evenings, John plays with him after work. Gives him dinner and pops him in the bath. Allowing him to splash and kick far more than boring Mom does! I usually arrive home to hear shriek of delight coming from the bathroom. Gratifyingly, Little Man is thrilled when I poke my head around the door. John and I trade places. He goes off to prepare our dinner, or catch up on last minute emails. Little Man and I play for a bit, before he tidies away the bath toys and pulls out the plug. often he lies down on his tummy, watching the water form a funnel and swirl down the drain until it’s “Algone!”. The he stands and lifts his arms to be, ready to be wrapped up tight in a fluffy blanket. On a warm evening I stop to snap a selfie in the bathroom mirror. His naked body makes me conscious of how little he still is, but also, how much bigger his is that last week, last month, this morning.

Toothpaste and toothbrush provide distraction while I slather him in baby cream. Covering every bit of him in the scent that has been a part of this ritual since the beginning. I put on his night time nappy & waterproof cover and finally footed pyjamas that I had to really search for in his size; they all seem to stop at the 6-12 month size for some strange reason.

I gather him up, grab the fuzzy blanket and taggie and we go through to say good night to Dad. Little Man has learnt how to give breathy open mouth kisses and he will now pull us in for a cuddle, a strong little arms around my neck that squeezes my heart until it explodes. Then, it’s time for “sto-weeeee! Bumbumbum”. We pick up the bright pink book “Whose Bum is this?” and settle on the couch at the foot of his bed to read.

It takes time. I can hear John pottering around readying dinner things, or rinsing nappies ready for the wash cycle. Quietly Pepper, one of our cats slips in and settles on the end of my son’s bed. She’s learnt that story time means the heater is on. Smart cat. The Bum book pushed aside in favour of another. A few pages from The Gruffalo, then An African ABC, then another, and another. Finally, he rests against me, growing soft and heavy. Eyes glazed over, staring at a page from The Yellow Balloon. I lower my voice. read slower. Begin to hum then sing softly. Moon River. Our song; the only tune that popped into my mind in the wee hours of those very early weeks, when pacing up and down and up and down was the only thing that worked. Asleep now, I carefully, lower him into bed. An extra blanket tucked around him and I tiptoe out. Grateful for new routines that still allow lots of cuddles.

Twenthy Five Things

If I could keep only 25 things….what would they be? Apart from the obvious “things” like husband and child, health and whatnot I found it surprisingly difficult to answer today’s #LifeCaptured prompt

  1. My photographs of all my family both the printed versions and the ones still lingering on memory cards and in my Google photos albums.
  2. My camera & lenses. I’m not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, but I do really love the challenge of capturing moments and memories in as beautiful a way as possible.
  3. My rings. I wear three every day, I almost never take them off and if I do I feel completely naked without them. One is my wedding set; my engagement & wedding bands (fused together). The second is a slim gold band which belonged to my Dad’s mother, and finally a silver & citrine band I had made which I will eventually give to Little Man.
  4. My cast iron pots and pans. Each has a value to me beyond simply cookware. Each has a story and their heft is familiar and comforting.
  5. Similarly my copper saucepan I bought at a flea-market in Denmark. I love the pot, but I also love the story behind it and how it reminds me of that trip.
  6. My blue, cable knit jersey. Made by my Gran for my dad, it is probably 30 years old and still perfect. I wear it often and think of them both.
  7. My crocheted blanket. The first really big (enormous!) project I completed. Many hours of meditation are contained there as well as the comfort of the finished item.
  8. My crochet hooks and knitting needles. My instruments of meditation.
  9. The scribbly pants that were one of the first outfits Little Man wore.
  10. The teddy bear my Gran had made for me
  11. My iPad/smart phone. I have to confess, it irks me that this is something I would choose to keep. But then I think of the pleasure I get from writing here, as well as reading other blogs. The friends I have made or kept in touch with via Facebook and my last-thing-at-night habit of scrolling through my Instagram feed. I believe that these devices can be agents of connection if used wisely.
  12. A home. It doesn’t much matter where it is, or particularly what it is, though if I could have the choice I would keep my parent’s home in Harare. The huge rolling lawn, practically unending to a child’s mind, still enormous now as an adult. The mature trees, the sparkling pool, the spot on the carpet in the sun, shared with the dogs & cats, the bird-life, tea on the verandah. So long as there is space to gather my family close, that is home.
  13. The book of stories we gave Little Man for his first Christmas present. He’s still a bit young but I hope he’ll get many years of reading pleasure from it.
  14. A pair of fuzzy sheepskin slippers. There is nothing quite like slipping on a pair at the end of a long day, it’s especially delicious when it’s cold and miserable outside
  15. Ditto my fuzzy dressing gown. Especially in winter.
  16. My mini Le Creuset teapot, a Christmas gift from John, and the tiny house shaped tea strainer that was once my Gran’s
  17. My railway sleeper jewellery box. A 16th birthday gift
  18. The painting we bought as a wedding gift to one another
  19. A decadent bottle of bubble bath
  20. Scented candles
  21. The knife my BIL made for use to use to cut out wedding cake. Now our fancy carving knife. The handle is a funky piece of driftwood we picked up at Lake Kariba.
  22. My friends. Some are as close or closer than family. I am a better person because of them.
  23. The old cookbook my Mom gave me. I will one day have it rebound.
  24. A bottle of really good whiskey (Laphroig would be a winner…)
  25. A bottle of perfume…because everyday is a good day to wear perfume.

On reflection, it seems the stuff that’s important to me involves being able to create something (food, crochet, sewing), food, and sentimental stuff. I’m quite happy with that collection.

Twenty-Nine | 52

A portrait of my child, each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity

I must confess that I have hardly picked up my camera in recent weeks. But this was a special day. My parents in-law celebrating 35 years married, Uncle Pete and Liza visiting from Kenya. A warm(ish) sunny day and a braai. You entertained yourself, (and Liza & Carlotta) by poking bits of reed into the mud for ages and ages. Glancing up only occasionally to dazzle me with those blue eyes of yours and naughty grin. It’s been wonderful having Nana and Gumgum to stay. Thankfully there were no tears when you realised they weren’t here this morning for ‘storwwee’. Counting down the days to warmer weather and your birthday trip to KZN to see them.

{Last Year}

Making Friends & Weekend Musings

I’ve always felt that I find it quite hard to make new friends. I feel I am quite shy. I don’t like to intrude or interrupt or put anyone to any trouble by my presence. Often if I am the new person in a social setting I’ll sit listening quietly to the flow of conversation rather than jumping in and offering my voice. It takes me a long time to feel as though I have move from the acquaintance stage to friends. To feel comfortable enough to relax and chat and become a part of the crowd.

I am quite a home-body. I love spending time at home, crocheting, pottering in the garden, baking or cooking. I can spend a whole week in my own company and not really feel the need to have a face to face conversation with anyone. I see a lot of my Mom in that; she strikes me as having a similar personality. A handful of very close friends and an extended circle of others.

In a way, living in a small town has somewhat forced me out of my comfort zone. It’s so easy to get together and have a braai or a meal. Pop out for coffee and a chat. And then of course, kids are the ultimate ice-breaker. I love having a group of Moms I can message and suggest a Friday afternoon walk or a meet-up for  playdate. But I also fine that I can get stuck in a rut of my own making. People love to be busybusybusy and if you don’t initiate something then weeks…days…months slip by.

These musings brought you you by today’s #LifeCapturedProject prompt….

In other news, the cold has arrived. Festival has left town. I have actually RUN our local ParkRun 3 weeks in a row! That first sub-40 minute time turned out not to be a fluke! My pace may be indistinguishable from that of someone walking, particularly heading up The Hill on the second loop…but I shuffle along and breath and just.keep.going. until it’s all over. The coffee and chocolate croissant afterwards are always the best thing ever!

We took a stroll through a small part of Rhodes campus yesterday. I was reminded of what a beautiful place it is. The twisted tree outside Geography has always been on of my favourite parts… We also visited Chappie’s Fountain and the ‘Cycle of Life’ sculpture.


It’s been lovely to have John’s parents staying with us for a few weeks. Little Man has adored having Nanna and Grandpa here. Climbing into bed with them in the mornings for tea and stories and we have enjoyed having a little bit of slack in our routines. This weekend we are off to the beach for a bit of a get away and to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

I made some awesome shark socks for a friend (from this paid pattern) and I’ve finally started on a blanket for Little Man. 100% cotton. I hope to enter it in next year’s Bathurst Show…just for fun! I have a list of other thing that I want to make!

There’s are a few new shops in town. I’m most excited about the Wakaberry. Is it bad that I’ve been 4 times and they’ve only been open 10days? (Say no…) The Mugg & Bean should open soon…and I have yet to pop into the Crazy store. Yes, it’s a small town. These are the exciting things!

 

Twenty-Eight | 52

A portrait of my child, each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

Nanna & Grandpa joined us at the ParkRun this morning. Grandpa carried you, Nanna walked, Dad walked Riddly. Mom managed to run the route again. Afterwards we enjoyed hot coffee and chocolate croissants before going to a short stroll through the university campus. Visiting the fountain and the Cycle of Life sculpture erected for the centennial celebrations is a rite of passage. Especially getting to clamber on the bicycles…even though one is not supposed to!

Phone photo, edited to b&w in Instagram

{Last Year}

PS…today four years ago….I started this here little blog. 812 posts and still going strong! Thanks for coming along!

#LifeCapturedProject: Three Things

I want to write more in this little space. I love my weekly photo project, but there’s so much that I don’t capture by focussing on Little Man. I stumbled across the #LifeCaptured project and I think I’m going to give it a try. I doubt I’ll keep up with the daily prompts, instead I’ll pick and choose what speaks to me. Today’s prompt is all about being thankful.

Three things I am thankful for…

Nanna Trish staying with us. She’s helped cook dinner, reads to Little Man in the mornings, entertains him, and allows John & I the time to grab supper and a show at the National Arts Festival. She also spoils us with frozen yoghurt from Wakaberry

I’m thankful that it’s Thursday, the first evening in the week where I don’t have something on after work. I love my pilates and Zumba but it feels luxurious to go home and stay at home. I might even be able to get some crochet done.

I’m thankful for this small town life. For the friends and connections made. For red wine in a drafty pub-tent and fantastic food and conversation.

Twenty-Seven | 52

A portrait of my child, each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

 

We have reuseable wipes on your changing table. We wet them with a squirt from this bottle. Which you have learnt how to use! The late afternoon sun made for some dramatic lighting and you thoroughly enjoyed the 10 minutes of being allowed to squirt the bottle where ever you liked so Mom could get some photos! It was tough to pick a favourite, I love the one above because the focus is one the spray…but I love the action and your expression in the one below!

 

{Last Year}