Friday, 19 December 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment, and here's mine...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Monday, 15 December 2014

Misbehaving Hexies Tamed

Way back in October, I was having trouble with some hexies (here), they just wouldn't work together as I'd hoped and I ended up having a complete rethink and turning just one of my hexie 'flowers' into this. 

I actually finished it ages and ages ago (as you can see from the real flowers in bloom here at our local RHS gardens), but I was not very prompt at sending it off to its new home. Getting round to posting things is never my strong point!

The front is all from wool blankets and it's backed with a soft, stripey, flannel sheet. I just quilted the centre hexagon and around the 'flower'.

So I still have 6 other wool hexie 'flowers' now without a plan. They may go a similar way to this one or something else might occur to me.

It feels quite strange to be posting something on here that is in no way connected to Christmas,all making round here seems to be revolving around that at the moment! Is anyone else having any feelings of slight panic that they're nowhere near finishing anything like what they'd hoped to?! Only 10 more sleeps to go, yikes!


Sunday, 14 December 2014

This Moment

Here's a late link to Soulemama's moment, and here are our moments, Christmas tree moments, and lovely to think there are so many Christmas tree moments going on in so many homes around this time of year...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ten in the Bed - what we're reading and making

Carie, over at Space for the Butterflies, who writes beautifully about her family and her making, and always seems to put into perfect words parenting experiences and moments that ring so many bells with me, has a weekly feature that I love - What we're reading. We have a huge number of books in the house, and after 4 children I did think I was a bit of a know it all with children's books. But I have discovered some wonderful new authors, and even new books by favourite authors, from Carie's reviews. I think, because we have so many books we love already, that I'd stopped  keeping up with any new talent out there, so a fresh pair of eyes has suddenly shed a whole different light on it.

Now a children's book review isn't necessarily something that would fit with what I tend to write about here. But, it just so happens that my latest making is directly linked to 'what we're reading', so I feel I can completely legitimately write it here and link it up over at Carie's! 

It is an old favourite, rather than any wonderful new story, and I have taken lots of photos of the making but none whatsoever of the reading, or the book itself. Pretty poor review really! Here's Amazon's picture for you:

It's a book that I've read, and sung, with all the children. A very simple book, based completely on the song, but we love the song and we love the illustrations in there. The 'little one' in question has a wonderfully eclectic mix of 'toys', who share his bed and 'fall' out, one by one. Maria is possibly a little old for it in some ways now, but she was reading it to herself a couple of weeks ago, and enjoying it so beautifully that I just had to stand and watch her. When she spotted me I had to go and read it with her, and then we started talking about which animals we'd like to make up our dream 'Ten in the Bed'. The talking turned into drawing...

I was allowed to contribute a couple of the occupants of our bed - the mouse and the owl, and to help drawing a dog! So often I find that books we read lead on naturally to other areas of learning.
After we'd finished the drawing, writing and all the singing that went with it, I remembered a gorgeous little make I'd 'pinned' a while back that was very much inspired by the song - find it here. And Maria's dream ten seemed perfect to secretly turn into another Christmas present for her, especially as I could use the same basic design of the 'doll's bed rug' to create the 'bed' here.

I started out with 3 pieces of scruffy wool blanket for the bed - one for the base, a slightly smaller piece for the 'covers' and a thin strip for the 'pillow'.

The 'covers' piece, I patchworked...

It sort of changed part way through, when I remembered I wanted to 'write' on it too, so it didn't turn out anything like I'd planned, and I'm not entirely happy with my colours as a result, but I think Maria will quite like them.

The top green strip is higher than the top of the wool piece, and I folded it over the back of the 'covers' and sewed it down as part of the 'quilting' to finish that top edge.

The finished back.

The pillow had a strip double the width folded over too...

Here's the back.

So the bottom of the pillow is the neat, folded edge, and I just quilted the detail and the middle line here.

The 'base' of the bed (the largest piece of wool) just has two whole pieces of fabric and is quilted - very wonkily, it was late at night! All the edges on it are unfinished at this stage.

Once the 3 separate components are complete, it's very straightforward to put them together...

And then sew all the way round the outside 4 edges, making sure you catch all 3 layers. Then I finished those outside edges with binding as I would a normal quilt.

The covers are loose at the top to slip in any doll or animal...

And the pillow is loose at the bottom to either pad up a little or to store accessories etc...

Obviously this 'bed' is quite wide to squeeze ten into it! And the 'ten' were lots of fun to make...

The cats, a Mummy and her kitten, were possibly my favourites. I didn't try and exactly copy any of Maria's drawings, the scale was all a bit out for starters, but I did try and get a flavour of her drawing in the fabric version, and I think the cats definitely have this - although I did leave out all their claws which were in the drawing.

The owl and the mouse.

The teddy bear and 'little one', slightly Maria-ish!

Snail and ladybird.

And butterfly and dog, Maria has a larger, soft toy dog in a similar style that's pink, ('pinky dog') which is why I made this one pink.

All made from wools and all very lightly 'stuffed'.

And they all, kind of, squeeze in together..

Until, of course, one falls out...


PS Talking about 'learning', which I think I did very briefly mention way up above somewhere, Maria is pretty good on her number bonds to 10 already (possibly partly through reading this book countless times!) but don't you think this make is just a perfect way to help to put those number bonds into practice? So much sweeter than moving beads along an abacus kind of thing!

Monday, 8 December 2014

'Doll's bed' rug

This is something I made quite a few years ago, and looking at it now I'm happy my making has progressed in lots of ways - so basically don't look too closely at it!

I wanted to make a simple, bedroom rug to hide a stain on a wooden floor, and this is what I came up with - a rug that's a bed for a little flat doll (in fact there are 2 dolls, one for each of the girls, but the other one seems to be missing right now!)

I'm currently making something, which is smaller, different and not a rug at all, but which I'm making along the same lines. So this rug has been downstairs while I've been reminding myself how I originally constructed it, and it seemed about time I took some photos of it for here.

When I initially made it, I had plans to make several different outfits for the dolls. But I have to confess that they've both stayed completely naked the whole time.

I quickly whipped up the yellow dress for this one, at the weekend, to give her a little more dignity in her photo shoot! Now I've realised how quickly I can make a few dresses, perhaps they'll get those outfits after all.

I'm hoping I might finish my current make tomorrow, and then I'll show you how I put it together. But it is very simple, a basic quilted piece on the back...

And the front has 'covers' to slip the doll inside. The top section is meant to be the pillows on the bed and they're loose along the bottom too, so the girls can pad them up as proper pillows if they want - I think the idea might have been that the dolls' extensive wardrobe of clothes would be stored in there!

Maria would have been a much better fit in here, but Venetia decided to photo bomb me and wriggled in as fast as she could!

I vaguely remember she wasn't hugely too big for it when I first made it, they grow much too fast!


Friday, 5 December 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment, and here's mine...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Charity Shop Christmas buying

I was dithering tonight about whether or not to post this. You all know by now I love thrifting, was there anything that original or interesting that I was going to say or show? But I just did a bit of catching up on blog reading whilst dithering, and Magpie Monday over at Me and My Shadow has got me all fired up, in a good way I should add. Yes, of course I should post this! Charity Shops are amazing places to go and find inspiration for Christmas buying and that's definitely worth saying again and again. Magpie Monday makes the case brilliantly for spending some of our gift buying budgets there and has some great ideas on how to incorporate Charity Shop buys into your Christmas this year. It's definitely worth a read, I especially love the wrapping ideas and the tea cup bird feeders.

And here are a couple of my ideas for joint presents for the girls from Charity Shop buys. First up a basket of nail varnishes.

Baskets are great Charity Shop buys, they're wonderful for pulling a present together somehow, turning a few odd bits and pieces into a mini hamper, making something that little bit more special and thoughtfully presented. And Charity Shops are a great place to find them cheaply. I was really lucky here and also found all the nail varnishes in a Charity Shop. Now it's not something I would buy second hand to give to other people usually, but I know the girls will be very happy with them and will not care that they had a previous owner - especially as they're all pretty much full, and they're the best kind of varnishes - that have a very fine 'pen' in them as well as the brush, so you can draw detail on to your nails (like ladybird spots!). Most importantly if I'd been buying them at 'new' prices then they'd have got just a small handful of colours, but at Charity Shop prices they get a huge variety of colours.

I'm not a big fan, personally, of nail varnish. It's not something I ever wear. But I can appreciate the attraction for the girls (and if it encourages Venetia to stop biting her nails even better!). What I don't appreciate is the mess it sometimes involves. Both girls have been known to sneak off quietly with a pot of nail varnish and beautify themselves, usually spilling the pungent stuff over a table or windowsill (then it might drip down a radiator too) in the process. Venetia is the worst at the moment, she likes decorating conkers with nail varnish! And it's not the easiest thing to clean up. So I sewed up a very simple, quick mat to include with the basket, so that they can do any varnishing on the mat rather than any other surface. The top is a leftover piece of wipeable, pvc type fabric (passed on to me by a friend, thank you!) and I just used some wool on the back to give it a bit of weight so it lies nice and flat.

There was enough fabric to line the bottom of the basket too.

 Next up, another basket, turned into a mini hamper of cake decorating goodies. As well as decorating their nails, the girls love to decorate cakes! I'm not about to tell you that the cake decorating bits and pieces were all miraculously found in a Charity Shop, but I did find 2 beautiful, bright folky aprons in one...

And that's what set me off putting this present together.

There are various pots of sprinkles, some edible glitter, wafers etc. And here are a few of my favourites:

Some reusable silicone mini flowerpot muffin cases (Lakeland), along with some sugar flower decorations to 'grow'.  And some good old 'pop cake' moulds and sticks (Poundland bargains!). I also 'burned' the girls' names into a couple of wooden spoons.

Combining new with pre-loved is a great way to incorporate Charity Shop buys into your gifting. And all of a sudden your gift is more special for that extra bit of thought that's gone into it.

So what do you think? Would you buy somethng at a Charity Shop to then gift? Have you already this year?


PS My friend, Emma, who works for a Charity helping the homeless, recently posted this great idea, which kind of fits in with the gifts and charity theme.

'Does anyone think they can convince their work place to ditch the normal secret Santa routine, where you end up with a present you don't really need or want, and instead all donate a pair of socks to your local homeless charity? Socks are always in great need as no one gives olds socks to charities (thankfully!) but they are always needed for client out on the streets, as keeping feet warm and dry is essential.'