peppermints & poppies

where life imitates art

The elusive purple poppy and other stories… June 28, 2011

Filed under: Baby,Crochet,Photography,Sewing — Katherine @ 5:03 pm


It’s poppy season again. The time of year our garden actually looks halfway decent as we have quite a healthy poppy population growing back there. But this year brought something different. A single purple poppy sprouted among the red ones. I made a mental note to take a photo of it when the baby was in bed. 15 minutes before she went upstairs, a rainstorm washed all the petals off.

I waited two weeks for the other bud to unfold and the SAME THING HAPPENED AGAIN! What are the chances?! Obviously the purple poppy and our garden were not meant to be.

This morning I noticed the universe had arrived at a compromise, and a half red, half purple poppy had snuck up in the night.

In other news, there are two babies due within a week of each other at work, so I’ve been working on baby ripples.

Baby Ripple 1

One of the girls has found out the flavour (pink!) and one doesn’t want to know. I’m doing the girly one first, cause it’s easy, and allows me time to ponder unisex-but-still-interesting colours.

This yarn is new in at my local yarn shop and I am in love. It’s Katia Merino 100%, and it’s amazing. Soft, squooshy and machine washable! What else do you need in a baby yarn?


The other thing I’ve been working on is baby shoes. I got a big bag of leather scraps from my local mill shop, and they’re just right for making those soft slipper-type shoes. Even Phoebe, who at one point was militantly anti-shoe, will keep them on and had now started waving them at me and pointing to her feet.


I’m making a few up to sell after the lady in the cake shop round the corner saw them and got very overexcited. They sell handmade things in the shop, and she thinks they’ll do well. Everyone loves baby shoes, after all.


The ones I’ve made so far are a 6-12 month size, and I’ve given them leather or suede soles so little movers and shakers have a bit of grip. I’m planning to do some 0-6 month sizes in softer fabrics for less mobile, more delicate tiny babies, and also 12 month + sizes in slipper-type materials. Cute.

Speaking of little movers and shakers, our little one will be one on Friday. I’m not sure I can believe it.


well… December 6, 2010

Filed under: Photography — Katherine @ 5:22 pm


Remember last year when eight inches of snow fell in one day, and we feeble islanders were all in a kerfuffle about it?

The last day of November saw fourteen inches fall in one day. FOURTEEN. See?:


Now I snowboard, I’ve travelled, and I’m aware that in a lot of places fourteen inches of snow is a mere sprinkling, but over here this is a BIG DEAL. I heard on the radio that this is the worst December weather in our region since December 1981, and the worst single day of snow since some time in the 60s that I didn’t commit to memory cause I wasn’t even alive then.

And due to our driveway and the road out of our estate looking like this:


…(they’re both under there somewhere), we have been a weeny bit stranded. For a week. So I’ve got a good deal of knitting to show you. Just gotta wait for better light.


things we saw on our holidays… September 19, 2010

Filed under: Photography — Katherine @ 9:28 am

We went on holiday to the Lake District and we saw…


Water, water everywhere! Lakes, puddles, HUGE rainclouds, swollen rivers, streams, tears (oh dear).


Boat in the Rain

Lots of boats on the water. Pressure from other half to undertake a boat trip in torrential rain and near gale force winds (no thanks). Rowboats and yachts and steamers (oh my!).


Sun at last – hooray! And the rather misleadingly-named Grange-over-Sands, which actually features only the above marshy quicksand and grass. No good for baby’s first walk on the beach. They should rename it Grange-no-Sands.


It was mighty pretty though! I made eyes at these houses on the sea front.

Holy Moly

And this church on the top of the hill.


We followed the sign post to ‘Leisure Facilities’, which actually turned out to be a bowling green, the world’s smallest tennis court and a disused model boating lake.


But on the way we saw a butterfly.


And a sunflower.


And then both!


We stayed in the Lyth Valley, which apparently is damson country!


See? Although TUT at whoever wrote this sign and their punctuation!


Wordsworth’s grave (behind the best gingerbread shop in the world). This photo, which is not actually Wordsworth’s grave (it was obscured by tourists), was actually taken by my husband, who later confessed he actually had no idea who Wordsworth was. Bless.


And all of this making for a very tired little baby.


things I have learned about motherhood… July 22, 2010

Filed under: Baby,Crochet,Photography,Project Projects! — Katherine @ 9:05 am

Thus far, I have learned that new motherhood involves the following:

Gifts. Flowers (see above), clothes, blankets with tiny zoo animals on, food! Very welcome.

Unsolicited advice regarding newborn care circa 1948/1979/1981/1992, generally followed by shock that laying your baby to sleep on their front/drinking a pint of stout a day while breastfeeding/utilising lead-based paints in your nursery is generally discouraged by healthcare professionals these days.

Poo. Lots and lots of poo. Ditto pee, sick, drool and milk (oh god, milk is EVERYWHERE).

Sleepless nights (obviously).

A great deal of one-handed 1am, 4am and 6.30am internetting.

An intense urge to craft for the baby, but a severe lack of time in which to do so. P.S. Ooh, finished sunburst blanket!

Pride at very simple actions on the part of your infant. She sneezed! Clever girl! The confidence that your child is supremely advanced. Obviously, as she was born with hair and can already fart AND hiccup AT THE SAME TIME. Wonder if Mensa has a minimum age?

Fear. Sometimes bordering on blind panic that the most simple of your actions, or inactions, will damage your child in some horrific way. The baby hasn’t slept all night, is she poorly? Or scared? Panic. The baby has slept soundly for 5 hours straight, is she dead? Panic. She is feeding too much, she is not feeding enough, is that a spot or a rash? Etc.

Did I already say sleepless nights?

Joy in simple pleasures. Such as breakfast. Or taking a shower.



a comfy kind of picnic… April 18, 2010

Filed under: Photography,Writing — Katherine @ 11:27 am

What better way to spend a spring day than lazily picnicking somewhere quiet and picturesque? Yesterday dawned bright and unseasonably warm, and as Heather was making the trip here anyway, so she could have a snoop round my local yarny shop, we decided afterwards to pick up some snacks and head out to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to laze about in the sun. Or, more accurately, to laze on a bench in the shade. Lovely.

We decided on a bench, rather than the ground, mainly for the fear that I wouldn’t be able to get back up off it.

The Sculpture Park (or more accurately, Bretton Hall – the building that the park surrounds) always has a special place in my heart because it’s where I did my degree. I spent four years traipsing round these grounds, to-ing and fro-ing from my veritable dump of a student house. In my first year I spent much of my time in the ground floor Orangery, watching squirrels and bunnies from the full length windows when I probably should have been working. The next three years I mostly spent on the top floor of this building:

Bretton Hall College, formerly an independent college focusing on teacher training and the arts, merged with the University of Leeds in 2001. I graduated in 2004. In the summer of 2007, all departments were closed, and relocated to the Leeds city university campus. The Hall is now awaiting its new incarnation as a luxury hotel and spa. To be honest, that makes me a little bit sad.

Happily, for all us creative souls, the Sculpture Park in the grounds lives on.

So, anyway, a spring picnic!

Of course! Nothing says spring like a good covering of daffs. I’ve been admiring the healthy crop on the driveway to our estate every morning on my way to work, but the park was just covered, and along with the budding trees, made us feel like our cobwebs were being well and truly blown off.

So we ate, people-watched, took pictures and talked babies, sausage dogs, families, babies, hair, babies and babies. I spent some time stalking a cheeky robin, paparazzi-style (except without actually getting up off the bench, of course) until I finally managed to get him:

And as the light started to falter, and we were joined by Mr Heather, we had a final wander round the grounds before home, allowing me to participate in a level of tree climbing suitable for the seventh month of pregnancy:

All in all, another really rather nice day.


six things to love about sunday… March 21, 2010

Filed under: Crochet,Knitting,Photography,Project Projects!,Sewing — Katherine @ 6:36 pm

Cracking on with Sage Remedy. The front is finished, and I’m a good 6 inches into the back. Hooray! Hope I’ll still fit in it once it’s done.

The new yarn I picked up for baby p&p’s summer blanket.

My new cake stand! Which just happens to go so well with…

…our lovely tea and sugar jars! I lovelovelove these!

Baby Granny Blanket. Not quite finished, but getting a bit of use in before the weather warms up too much!

And some awesome cupcake fabric I spied walking through Leeds market the other week. Probably going to end up as a baby item of some description, but for now I’m just enjoying looking at it!


a seasidey kind of day… March 7, 2010

Filed under: Photography — Katherine @ 1:04 pm

It was my birthday on Tuesday (hooray!) and as has become a custom in our house, my birthday means our annual bracing early March visit to the seaside.

The last two years we’ve been to Whitby (which I do still love) but this year, as I was involved in the decision making (pregnancy and surprise trips are not always great bedfellows), we decided to shake it up a bit, and we set off to Scarborough.

First to the castle, which looked vastly different to the last time we were there, in May, when the grounds were littered with historical re-enacters, squealing families and fronds of wild flowers. And of course, as I already have approximately three billion photos of Scarborough castle, I busied myself finding other things to take photos of, while P took the step-by-step audio tour.

I was getting into taking macro shots of the tiny weeds growing on the castle walls, until I discovered something altogether more exciting.


I particularly love the way that all the drops bead on that kind of grass, like a cluster of tiny magnifying glasses. Sadly a combination of growing bump and soggy grass cut my dew exploration somewhat short. Boo

Before I was forced to get up and restore the circulation to my legs, I found this lonely little feather on the grass, and rather fancied that it might belong to some sort of mythical creature. The kind that might live in the ruins of a castle. That or a seagull, of course.

After a well-deserved (my opinion, of course) waffle with fresh cream and toffee sauce, eaten on a world-weary bench on the sea front, we headed off up to the North Bay and popped into the Sealife Centre.

I do love aquariums, and the jellyfish in this particular one are every variety of excellent, but they’re not so great for taking pictures. So you’ll have to believe me that the jellyfish and the seahorses and the rays and the sharks were brilliant.

What I can show you are the little fellas we found outside.

Like this chirpy little dude who hurriedly waddled over to see me, presumably thinking I might feed him.

And this big old seal, who was more interested in lazily floating on his back and scratching his seal belly.

And then we went for a walk by the rock pools, nearly caught our death of cold, and drove all the way home.

All in all, a really rather nice kind of day.