It has been the best summer ever has 2014.
How ace that I got to spend it with my gorgeous, growing girl, we've been busy feasting off the full cupboard of life, romping in meadows, skipping through daisies, that kind of thing.
It is quite safe to say that Betsy has had the greatest summer a one year old could have, technically she has been 20 to 22 months so a bit older and more able to enjoy doing summer stuff, I know non-parents hate us saying "she's 22 months blah blah blah" rather than she is one but there is a massive difference in a 12 month old to a 22 month old so deal with it.
She has become a pro dog walker and swing swinger, proficient in French, lover of tarte aux framboises and in possession of the most amazing bouncy ball collection and summer wardrobe I've ever seen (thank the lord for h&m and her aunties Vicky and Emily). I love her dresses, skirts, patterns, pinkness and brightness, I'm gutted it's all going to get packed away and won't fit next year. She has a quite unique style of her own, in the way that toddler girls do, a combination of bizarre hat choices, upside down sunglasses, a bracelet obsession and her habit of carrying a bear with her wherever she goes.
|erm nothing to see here, move along|
She loves Peppa Pig (what kid doesn't), her wellies, her mama and her daddy, Bruno and Bunny, apples, sleep, chocolate buttons, blueberries and yoga, man does she ever do a mean downward facing dog. She happily goes down for her nap at twelve, sleeps for two to three hours and then happily goes off to bed again at seven, she loves baths, showers, swimming and colouring.
|bunny and bruno are swingers|
She has a curl that kills me every. single. day. I love it, it's the most commented on thing about her, the killer curl. Sometimes I'm half tempted to cut the gorgeous thing off and keep it in a box for a forever memory but it becomes her, it's her statement, her gorgeous, lovely statement so it remains and maybe one day there will be more curls and I can cut one off and not feel like I'm snipping a little piece of personality away.
I'm sensing a pink theme, are you sensing a pink theme? We like pink in this house.
What I will say about sharing summer with a one year is this. I am knackered, we are knackered. We are like her servants, following her around and providing for her every whim, she is exhausting because she is so full of energy and life. I feel bad sometimes that I'm so old and so knackered, I would like to keep up with her but honestly the girl got some super strength life force going on and I'm struggling. I would like some sleep, I need some more sleep, have fantasies about sleep, I would sell a kidney for some sleep and she isn't even that early a riser so that tells you something about what it feels like to have a toddler when you're in your forties!
In conclusion I know I'm the lucky one, I know I have many more exhausting days and sleepless nights ahead of me but they are going to be so bloody worth it so I put my slap on to cover the bags, drink a gallon of tea every morning and just get on with my job.
Meet my 2014 summer holiday yarn project. I made this! I actually made this. I still can't quite believe that me, so clumsy and a bit fat of finger can manage to turn a ball of yarn into something as pretty as this.
This shawl has been on my 'one day' list for an age. I always quite fancied it, never thought it would happen though, there always seemed to be other things to do and easier projects to be getting along with. Plus I'm on a 'not allowed to start any new yarn projects until I've finished the bag of incomplete ones' year and so far I've been really good, purchased hardly any wool at all. Hardly. Any. Wool. At. All.
I had my eye on the pattern ever since it graced this front cover. You can see why I wanted to make it, how pretty?
To make sure I could do it, I swatched it (yes I swatched! I'm a goddam crochet hero!), this was to check I could understand the pattern (sometimes it's like reading Greek!) and to see how it looked. Well it looked nothing, NOTHING like the finished article in the magazine. In fact it looked a bit shit.
I was thinking that I'd completely buggered it, rampant thoughts of under achieving swirled around my head but I was reassured (by the powers of instagram!) that it just required the blocking of it's life. Block the hell out of it woman, BLOCK it like MAD!
Thus off I went to the south of France with my bag of silky yarn and every night I sat and happily crocheted (rock and roll), following the pattern like my life depended on it. After a while, a really long while (probably because of my excessive consumption of French red), I fell into the rhythm of the pattern and it became quite meditative, soothing, I didn't want the shawl to ever end.
But end it did, unlike other shawls I've made, this one is constructed long edge first so it is a set length, you can't make it any bigger unless you do the maths and start with a longer opening chain (too much brain work for me). I finished it on our last night in France and it sat in a bag for a few weeks while I plucked up the courage to block it.
I swotted up on 'aggressive' blocking and found out it means submerging the whole piece in warm water, wringing it out in a towel and then stretching the piece into the shape and size you want it to be. It sounds so harsh, too much room for error and I was convinced I'd bugger it up. Sometimes you've got to take the bull by the horns and just do it, so I did, fretted about it the whole time, even once it was all stretched, pinned and sitting up on the dining room table to dry.
Then tick tock, tick tock, waiting, procrastinating and pretending not to see it for a few weeks. Kept telling myself I had to make sure it was dry even though it probably dried that first day I did it. One day I woke up and knew that it was shawl reveal day. I faced the challenge, unpinned it, held my breath the whole time and after all that drama I needn't have worried at all, it came out lovely and I'm already planning another one in black.
The best bit of this story is that I've now got a lovely new shawl to wear. Brilliant.