Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Carrot cupcakes

Last Sunday big monkey and I baked carrot cupcakes. We got the recipe with our vegetable box and as the required carrots and oranges came in this box we decided to give it a go. I couldn't find mascapone cheese so we decorated them with a blood orange sugar icing and sprinkles instead. I have to confess I haven't searched hard for the mascapone. You just can't go wrong with sprinkles.

Personally I still think cakes with vegetables rather weird. But this one was actually very nice, not too sweet and no nuts. I think that's why I normally don't like carrot cake. Big monkey was a big help, little monkey only helped with demolishing. Sadly, none of the cupcakes lived long enough to be a present for the Easter bunny. He will have to do with a plain ol' carrot.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

What to do on a rainy afternoon...

Ask your mummy for an orange. Or anything that's hard to peel and takes a while to get ready. Then when she turns her back quickly grab a piece of paper out of her filing box. Close the box. Then run and post the paper through the letter box out into the front garden. Quickly go back and grab another paper and post it too. Repeat until she notices. Then smile sweetly and ask for the orange. While she goes to collect all the papers filling up the entrance grab her mobile phone. Then make some phone calls to some exotic far away place with an enormously long number and a name that nobody can pronounce. That is if you can get past the keypad lock but keep on trying at some point the phone has to give in. If all fails and you have to surrender the phone go outside and play in the pouring rain until you get soaked and need lots of cuddles and a cake to warm up again. Or how about playing hide the loo roll? However, the chances of success with this game are greatly diminished if you caused a blockage and an out call of the plumber after you played that wonderful game only last week.
Wishing you the best of fun
Little monkey

Monday, 29 March 2010

Big sister love

Ah, it's nice to have a big sister - I can only presume as I don't have one. You know, someone who wakes you up in the morning screaming wakey, wakey on top of her lungs. Someone to feed you milk that stood on the bedside table for the past several hours... yum! Yes, someone to boss you around. Very nice. I've been missing out...

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Friday, 26 March 2010

Even more from the daffodils

Now that the daffodils are out in force in my garden I picked one to make another colour experiment. This time with red food colouring and straight into the water the moment I put the flower in. And tataa within a few hours the veins showed up red. The cat and I were impressed. Big monkey - not so. When I showed her, she said, oh, yes in a way only a six year old going onto 15 can. Those schools, they do too much with them. How can I impress her with those little things? (I'm not really complaining.) Granted I never even thought of dyeing a daffodil but still... It reminds me of the garish coloured gerberas though. Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to turn those pretty flowers blue? Haven't seen them in a while, maybe they saw sense.
Anyhow, big monkey dressed up in spring colours for school today, we spent a long time looking for THE t-shirt with the bunnies from Grandma. Why is it that the thing one searches for is always at the furthest most place in the drawer hiding behind some garment that's too small?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Outside adventures and one inside...

As usual we took our chance with the weather and walked to the park. Again. No lorries, no police this time but ducks and deer and a few tractors. We got duck food for the swans and ducks and a few lucky pigeons... They were so happy we couldn't get rid off them. Little monkey shooed and stomped his little foot for all his might and still they didn't fly away. We also visited the deer in their enclosure. There were some men in tractors on the other end which scared them and a monkey. So they all cowered on this end of the cage watching the men making noise.

Once big monkey came home from school the monkeys started to blow bubbles.

All those bubbles drew my attention from the fact that little monkey had filled the toilet with a whole roll of paper. Various monkeys, visiting and resident, used it afterwards which resulted in an unsightly flood. Something I didn't notice because I had to take pictures of monkeys being cute and looking innocent. Ah, well a nice surprise for daddy monkey to discover. For some reason he wasn't that pleased?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A simple trip to the Park

What excitement we had at the park yesterday. On our way home we spotted the builders who relay the stones on the pavement. A big lorry came to move earth and sand. Little monkey was absolutely mesmerized. He ate his blueberries while watching like popcorn at the movies. Just when the lorry left a police van drove up and four officers jumped out. I thought we never make it home in time to pick up the big monkey from school.

I've started a class with Jessica Sprague and this is my first digital layout using a template about Mother's Day.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Another day, another monkey smoothie

Another day and little monkey requested another drink in a cardboard box. Another chance to point out the mistake that has been made when it came to the distribution of Mother's Day gifts.
However, no shoes were filled up and only a little amount of juice ended up on the floor. Which always makes me happy.

Big monkey had a Winter Olympics day for Sports relief at school. Her task was to bounce a ball for which we sponsored her. She tried out her new bouncy ball in the playroom. On Sunday daddy monkey said he'd give her a pound for every bounce she can do. He was sure he would get away cheaply. However, to properly bounce a ball you have to go outside in the garden, right? Makes all the difference and she bounced the ball 31 times. Not so cheap after all but it's all for a good cause.

Monday, 22 March 2010


On Friday big monkey decided that she didn't want to scrapbook with me after all. Go upstairs and check your email, she ordered, I'm busy. Right, after 10 minutes she told me that I could come downstairs to check out her latest piece of artwork. She painted the little flowerpot she had chosen for me as a Mother's Day present.
After that big monkey was ready to spend some time with me, but not for anything artistic she wanted to do a scientific experiment. Sounds like fun, we decided to start with something easy and test the ph of various things we could find in the kitchen. We read in our book that we could use a red cabbage concoction for this. But due to the lack of any cabbages in the house we had to resort to plain old test paper. We still had fun and enjoyed some together time without little monkey.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

A good way to spend some time...

I managed to start quite a few layouts at the crop last week. I didn't have any alphabets with me so I had to finish them at home. As usual here in Monkey Towers it takes a while to get things done if they don't involve a washing machine. I think I still have to add something here, some journaling I think... A friend had lent me the edge punch for the paper and promptly led me astray with that, now I own a lovely Martha Stewart edge punch too. I stitched the centre flower myself out of some scrap pieces of fabric. It does look sophisticated, doesn't it? But so easy to do, once you know how. All is revealed here and along with some great instructions to make even more flowers.
In any case this was in France in December. We stayed in a very lovely castle on our way back from the snow and cold. It was still cold here too but at least sunny which made all the difference. We actually felt like taking a walk around the grounds. Big monkey thought the castle marvelous, it had towers and a proper moat. You can't argue with that now, can you. Unfortunately we had still a long way to go and catch the ferry so we couldn't explore as much as we would have liked.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Signs of Spring

After the past few warm and sunny days the flowers have come out in force. It's so nice to see some colour.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Is it wise?

To give the little monkey more monkey juice? He still calls it mon-ee and he gets awfully excited when he spots the box perched on the top shelf in the utility room. He hops up and down and points to try and get his wish. So after a week of no-more-drinks-that-come-in-a-box I gave in. No, turning up side down, I told him, no filling of shoes or other things. I'm watching. It's a good thing it only takes him five minutes to finish this. I stared at him for the whole time, I think I hardly even blinked to make sure not a drop got astray. For a change everything went well with that, although I suspect the little monkey did not enjoy this smoothie as much as the times he managed to distribute it everywhere.
Big monkey is off on a school trip today to the National Portrait Gallery to see paintings by the painter who sticks everything on the wrong places - otherwise also called Pablo Picasso. They have learned about him this term and made sculptures and paintings themselves. Although it has to be said, that big monkey wasn't the most adventurous as the only thing she did was to draw the school logo upside down on her portrait of her friend.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Cats can be monkeys too

My cat is rather boring as has been pointed out numerous times by big monkey. She is not very keen on toys, cuddles or playing. Yesterday however she had a rare moment of playfulness. Little monkey tried to cut pieces of paper into even smaller pieces of paper which he then shattered around the room. The cat suddenly decided those pieces made wonderful toys and ran to shatter them even further around. Little monkey got rather scared by such weird behaviour, it took him a while to understand that the cat hasn't lost its mind... In any case it didn't last long and she had to retire under a warm radiator to snooze for the rest of the day.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Mother's Day

It was Mother's Day yesterday. Considering how excited big monkey was about this she let me sleep in for a long time. She had written me a lovely poem in a frame and she did it all by herself, she even made the wrapping paper. The only thing she didn't make was the ribbon. She informed me of that a week ago. I also got a necklace, clearly this was a mistake. It should have gone to somebody entirely different... Little monkey loved the necklace and insisted it was his. Shame it didn't fit over his head! How could such a lovely necklace not be for him? After a little persuasion I managed to grab it from him and put it on so big monkey and I could admire my new necklace for a while. Here he is still furiously pointing at his neck and calling mine, mine to draw our attention to our obvious mistake...
On another note, big monkey is still all for monkeying around for the camera. This is her interpretation of a cute smile.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Eat the camera

Little monkey loves having his photo taken. Because it means that there's the off chance that he is allowed to press a few buttons to see the photos. It also means that he runs up to not miss his chance before I even get round to take a picture. Most time he is way too close or moving too fast to get a photo that's actually in focus. Very often only part of him is actually on the photo.

Friday, 12 March 2010


Today I finished an art journal I made to document December and Christmas. I made the book all by myself with Fabriano watercolour paper pages and a quilted soft fabric cover. The fabric squares don't add up on the front and on the back only because of some clever ironing. But the front, well no amount of ironing would solve a difference like that. Still I'm really happy with the book, I'm particularly fond of the star quilted on. The inside pages are painted or with collages and I used prompts to write something every day. Of course towards the end of the year I thought it appropriate to write down New Years resolutions and a little account of the year, achievements and milestones things like that. Oh, this is hard I thought, nothing really major happened this year... No big firsts really. I started to write some general things, thinking there were not many first words from the little monkey, he still doesn't say much, he's better in running, jumping around and he has done that for what? must be years, right? Months? That's right he took his first steps last February... I think this qualifies as a milestone! I can't believe it's only been that short a time. But this was a powerful reminder to keep on writing down what has happened and to take lots of photos. I started well this year to take a photo every day but lately there have been a few days I missed to take a picture... I took this a few days back and it really makes me smile, not the best photo in terms of focus like many of my pictures. But they are very much how life is round here. Considering also that I take many of my photos with a little mobile phone camera on a moving subject in bad lighting they don't out half bad.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Party for monkeys

Big monkey has been invited to a party. It was one of her friends little brother's 4th Birthday. His mum very kindly invited the little monkey too. As the party was at a soft play centre this was very much appreciated. For some reason he realized where we were the moment we entered the car park. He's never been there but he got all excited - the promise of brightly coloured equipment and running around crazily penetrating the air? Within minutes we climbed around well, like monkeys in a tree. Thing is, he's a bit too small for that and I'm a bit too tall for it and would he go in the under 5s area? No, of course not. Especially not once he spotted big monkey running up and down with her friends. Then he wanted to follow her. She graciously took him with her for a minute or two but quickly had to go off on her own to higher up levels. Luckily after a while we found the pipes to squash balls in. Not before we had to go through the slide that gave us a little electric hit every time we crossed a bolt, of course. I have no idea what happens to those balls once they leave the pipes at the top of the structure. Probably hit some unexpecting kid, who knows. In any case I liked that feature. Because it had a bench for mummy to sit on not because it hits somebody I hasten to add!It took some persuasion to get little monkey away from that. Cupcakes are a good argument but can you be sure until you actually hold them? Not really but there really were cupcakes so it turned out all well. Cupcakes make for happy monkeys. He managed to hold still while eating that cupcake. For a moment he actually stopped dancing on the chair. Ah, the power of a sugary treat... As a side note, after all the birthday presents he received he now knows perfectly well what a wrapped up parcel means. Yes, toys! He would have loved to help the birthday boy to open them all but for some reason mummy monkey said no...

Monday, 8 March 2010

Train tracks

The first thing little monkey does when we come home from nursery is to run into the playroom and get the box with the train track out. Sometimes he lets me take off his coat. But more often than not he escapes fully dressed up to his woolly hat to get a train out. To get his shoes off we have a wrestling match between the four-way-crossing and the green tunnel... The first train normally starts its journey once we've put down six pieces that are nowhere close to matching up. This has to be accompanied with loud screams of uh-oh. By the time mummy monkey has laid a track that matches up little monkey has long lost interest and the train circles around on its own until it derails or the batteries run out, which ever is first...

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Art quilts

I've made my first mixed media art quilts recently for a swap I joined. I had planned to do one for quite some while but didn't get round get started.
I made the butterflies out of silk cocoon strippings and silk throwster's waste, I had them laying around for a long time, never quite sure what to do with them. I also worried about the mess factor but as it turned out it wasn't too bad, I didn't dye the computer screen red again... The throwster's waste fibres were a bit more tricky to use but resulted in some lovely thin ethereal paper perfect for floaty butterflies. I also got a chance to finally use the pellon sheets I have had for ages which I used as the batting. That way the art quilt has some weight and strength to itself. For the background I made a simple fabric paper and coloursprays. On it's own it looked rather autumny but once I had added everything together it looked as spring like as I had envisioned it. To round it all up I added a few lines of a poem by Heinrich Heine.

I'm really pleased on how they turned out, they are fairly similar with only minor differences, that way is was easy to send one away. The recipient sounded happy about her little quilt too. Hopefully it brightened her day while it's still gloomy outside most days.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


I saw a lovely tooth fairy pillow on my friend Aleta's blog who found the tutorial for them here. Do check out those two blogs, both worth to while away an hour or two...
After a few hic-ups I managed to make those two pillows, one for big monkey and one for a friend of hers. But then of course I had to make one for my niece and the little monkey. Even though he doesn't have all his teeth yet, so another two had to be made. Meanwhile I have seen a much more suitable tooth fairy pillow for a boy so now I have a little pillow all without a home... I don't know why the wings can't be seen on this picture. They have a lovely set of sparkly and shimmery wings.

More about the hairbands

This is big monkey's hairband turned the other way. I've made some fabric yoyo's to customize them. The yoyo's can be stuck onto a bobby pin and slided onto the hairband. Maybe I make some felt flowers next, I also found a lovely tutorial to make fabric flowers. But I'm running out of fabric, due to my lack of sewing skills I've only ever bought cheap remnants. I've inherited a few pieces from my Mum but I've used all the lovely ones and now all that's left are the drab and solemn pieces. Not really suitable for little monkeys. I think a trip to a fabric store is in order, I have some more things planned that I'd like to sew.
Here are the other two hairbands I made with the fabric yoyo's laying on top. The little rose on the pink hairband was made by a friend in a swap. Looks like it was made for it, doesn't it.

Of course big monkey can't pose for a serious photo for too long. Back to monkeying around.

Oh and the daffodil? That's still bright yellow without a hint of green veins. I might try that some other time again once the daffodils are out in our garden.

Friday, 5 March 2010

more from the Daffodils and a Hairband

The daffodil has now completely opened. Last night a friend told me that if you add food colouring to the water the daffodil will get coloured veins. Sounds fun so I put some green food colour in, which was the only one I had in the cupboards. Then another friend came to look what I was doing there and said, oh, yes we did that at school too. Right, at least it will be fun for big monkey I thought. Except she came in a minute later to say, oh, yes we did that in school... So, I'm the only one who never coloured daffodils? In any case it didn't work. I put the colouring in last night and today it's still lovely and yellow without a hint of a different colour. I feel slightly cheated I have to say, I was looking forward to a funky looking daffodil.

Recently I've started to sew a few simple things like tooth fairy pillows and cuffs. One thing I also made were headbands, now that big monkeys hair is only just about long enough to put it into a ponytail it doesn't stay that way very long. So when I came across this tutorial for a headband I thought that looks easy enough. And it was, even I understood the directions. Apart from a few dizzy moments on my part it came together really quickly and big monkey was rather pleased with it, too. It's reversible which I'm rather proud of. I made some more because monkey cousin will come for a visit soon and she will most certainly need a hairband too.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Daffodils from Wales

On Monday big monkey brought a daffodil bud from a school friend to commemorate St. David's day. St. David is the patron saint of Wales. He killed dragons and proofs that there are Gods according to big monkey, she was absolutely certain about that and that "daviddils" are his flowers. The bud was all green and tightly closed but this morning I noticed little bits of yellow and by afternoon it looked like this

Lots of excitement all round and big monkey had to do a "daviddil" ballet to honor the braveness of the little flower.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Monkey business

Little monkey was very keen to have a fruit smoothie in a carton with a straw aptly named Happy Monkey smoothie. So what does a little monkey do with something like that? Empty it of course. On the floor. But the best place for it must be Daddy's shoes. Why didn't anybody else think of that before? A good lashing of smoothie is exactly what they need. Mummy monkey never learns... what we need is an un-squashable, spill proof drink carton. And not sure Daddy monkey will agree with the new alteration to his shoes...

Monday, 1 March 2010

Sunshine at last

Lovely sunshine today, all day. Little monkey and I decided to head to the park, rattle the gates a bit. What's the fascination of that? He's obsessed. Gate open, squeeze through, gate close, gate open, squeeze through, gate close, gate open... Repeat and repeat. Then repeat some more. It only stoppen when I dragged him to the slide where he now has managed to climb up the wooden ladder with the chain. He doesn't use the chain but climbs up confidently like the little monkey that he is. We were very impressed.

Why is it that toddlers take such a long time to walk anywhere? I know it's all about the experience but all the other little ones are sitting happily in their buggies while mine jumps into every puddle, tries to eat bark, leaves and twigs and visits every front garden. He wants to balance on garden walls, at least today we found a lovely tree trunk to stand on

What a shiny car. Not mine, mine is always in the need of a clean. Well, we made it home eventually, only took about 40 minutes instead of 15...