Archives For At Home

Merry Christmas

Helen —  December 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

Candlelit Shawl in Skein

Have a very Merry Christmas full of feasting and relaxing.

I hope you’ve finished all your holiday knitting in time and that Santa brings you just what you want!




Curious Handmade Podcast Episode 45

This week I’m answering a listener question about how I juggle designing with family life.

What’s in the WIP?

A lot of secret knitting.

Next Dream Big pattern will be released next week.

Next week is the last week of the Curious Collective DKAL.

The Simple Life – a listener question

Today I’m answering a question from TanyaMarie who hosts the Sampler Girl podcast about how I balance design and knitting time with my family life.


Stay tuned to the end of the show as I draw the lucky winner of the madelinetosh Prairie yarn from commenters on last week’s episode.

Thanks so much to everyone who commented.

Don’t forget to play the Instagram game!

Zen Cleaning

Helen —  January 18, 2014 — 2 Comments

Today I started on decluttering and streamlining around the house.

I wrote a list of all the spaces in the house I want to tackle, mostly so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off when I’m done.

In the kitchen, the top of the range hood was a small yet very glaring area, so I picked that place to start.

This area is home to a set of copper pans from France I was given for my birthday a couple of years ago, and they were looking a little unloved.

I googled how to clean them and was very happy to find the solution was both natural, and items I had at home.

A simple mixture of lemon juice and granular salt, plus a little bit of elbow grease.

I found this tip on the Martha Stewart site and people also said white vinegar and salt works well.


copper pan

copper pan


copper pan

copper pan

This project took some energy to carefully rub all the pots clean but the result is hugely satisfying. I became engrossed with rubbing and scrubbing and let myself relax and enjoy the results instead of resenting the task.

I highly recommend starting a decluttering project in an area that is both really annoying and in your face every day, as well as not being too big or daunting.

I’m now motivated to tackle the next job, sorting out the girls clothes. Wow do those kids grow fast!

Simple Sunday Pleasures

Helen —  September 1, 2013 — Leave a comment

This morning I asked my daughter what she would like to do.

“Stamps!”, she said excitedly.

“Er what do you mean?”.


Ah OK. Mr Maker (BBC kids show) has a lot to answer for!

Luckily we had all gear required for a spot of potato stamping and got to work.

Potato Stamps

Happily, I had seen a recent idea on Pinterest to use cookie cutters to make the shapes. It worked a treat and we were up and running pretty quickly.

Potato Stamps

Serious face. When she saw this picture she exclaimed, “I’m still wearing my pyjamas!!”. Yup….slummy mummy strikes again.

I think pyjamas after midday is allowed on a Sunday tho.

Potato Stamps

I enjoyed the process as much as she did. Early homemade Christmas cards perhaps?!

Potato Stamps

Proud artist. Mission accomplished without tears. Winner.

Potato Stamps

Simple Sunday Pleasures

Helen —  June 17, 2013 — 3 Comments

Peony season makes me very happy!






Simple Sunday Pleasures

Helen —  May 20, 2013 — 2 Comments

After the incredible excitement of the launch of the Curious Collective Shawl Project it was difficult to calm down on Sunday (and has been since!).

I decided to try a “soft launch” with a few friends to test out the new polling gizmo I am using and that the instructions were clear. But as soon as I posted it on Ravelry it went crazy. I am so happy that people think this is a fun idea!

I can’t believe what a close run race it is between lace and texture so far! It really isn’t clear what the final result will be this week.

I did manage a few more down to earth activities on the weekend.

I finally cast on and managed a few rows of my Radiance shawl for the Curious Handmade KAL.

Sweet Clement yarn

This colour is electric. Miss L was rather taken by it too. I think she is appreciating the cashmere content!


I did a bit of cooking on Friday for meals for the kids and to stock up the freezer. I made a massive batch of spaghetti bolognaise. In an attempt to include veggies I followed a tip from my friend Oliva who told me about her Green Brew trick. This is a bag of baby spinach and head of broccoli after being steamed and pureed with the cooking water. Mixed in with the mince, the kids were none the wiser. I also added grated carrot to the sauce. I didn’t think it impacted the taste much but the texture was a little weird!

Green Brew

A lovely BBQ with friends on Sunday evening finished the weekend on a very relaxed note. The kids ran around and we caught up on life. Everyone was happy.

Simple Pleasures Sunday

Helen —  April 16, 2013 — 6 Comments

We had a relaxed Sunday last weekend, hanging out at home, letting the first sunny day of spring warm us up.

While we ate a simple lunch of bread, ham and cheese I watched with fascination as the magnolia blooms started opening up.

Magnolia in bloom

Magnolia blooms

When we bought the house neither Steve or I had a clue what this tree in our garden was and it has turned out to be the biggest gift we could have received.

There was a gentle breeze when I was taking these pics which gives it a bit of a weird effect!


Lunch was made even more delicious with Lotta’s chutney and jam. I love jam! Rhubarb and vanilla – yum! Thank you Lotta.

chutney and jam

Speaking of eating, the babe enjoyed her home made spag bol. That girl really likes her pasta. Like, a lot!

I love how this pic captures her innocence and love for life. I wish I could put my whole face into my food sometimes!


Then I discovered my two peony plants weren’t completely lost (like many, many of my other gardening disasters). I learnt from Katie that’s just what they do – and I should look for little red shoots. I’m encouraged from that video that a cold winter means more blooms. There may still be an upside of that ridiculous winter we had! I think they look beautiful already!

peony shoots

And my orchid that I bought from the supermarket a few years ago is rewarding me for totally ignoring and neglecting it with yet more beautiful blooms. Without a doubt the best £6.99 I ever spent on a plant. I learnt a tip from a green fingered colleague that the trick is to chop off the stalks from the blooms when they have finished. It seems to work!



After all that gardening taking pictures of flowers I hung out in the hammock with the girls, thinking about how lucky I am. Until they got too rowdy.