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Have you seen my baby?

Posted on 25 February, 2015

Recently, it feels like Ewan has accelerated into a fully grown toddler. He is making little sentences, he is growing at a rate of knots and he is even chasing boys and girls to tickle them! He has turned from the child who wouldn’t leave my hip at parent and toddler group to a fearless adventurer (well, kind of!).

This week we visited a play school that he will hopefully be going to in September. It was lovely and ticked all the right boxes. It has lovely staff, small numbers, outside space for stick finding and puddles but I couldn’t help have a little tear in my eye as we left even though he left with us.

My little soft cheeked toddler will be going to a place with the word school in it in a few short months. Admittedly, it also has the word play in it and he’ll only be there for a couple of hours, but still the premise is the same. He will be going into the big bad world unaided by a family member in only a few months!

The manager showed us around the garden first and as soon as we all walked  inside a little girl came straight up to Ewan and pushed him. This is the real world that I’m going to be letting him lose in. People push people, I mean come on people!!PicMonkey CollageWatching him play at home I never want to let him leave. (That is probably the most Kathy Bates sentence I have ever said!).

The more I think about the outside world the more it seems like the sensible parenting choice to build a cocoon around him, put him in a helmet  and vet everyone he comes in contact with!

While I want to say I don’t mean it and he should run free into the great unknown, right now I don’t think I can!  I’m sure I’ll get all big and grown up by the time September comes but right now I’m going to cuddle him until he’s blue and adopt a captive-style of parenting!

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Cardi Cards

Posted on 22 February, 2015

felt cards, needle felt cards

If you have a shrunken cardi teasing you with it obsolescence  then this is the DIY  project for you! For months I considered what I could do with a cardi that the drier had claimed as yet another conquest. I thought of making Christmas decorations out of it but that never came about and now it’s February! Then I saw this felt elbow patch tutorial and it got me thinking. I wasn’t willing to donate any of my fully functional cardis to be elbow patched  but I was curious to try needle felting so my squashed shrunken cardigan was just the thing. I used the same process as the tutorial to make it but  I used a cut strip of the shrunken fabric and I glued the end result to folded card .

This is unbelievably simple (and cheap!)  plus I got to use my glue gun again (any excuse really!)

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It’s as simple as putting a cookie cutter on to your chosen fabric and placing them both on top of a foam pad for felting.

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Then you stuff the cookie cutter with felt…

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..and repeatedly stabbing it with a felting needle. (As a little side note the tutorial said 36 gauge felting needle and my local craft shop didn’t have the same kind of needles but after helpful staff Googled it for me we discovered it was the same as a medium felting needle)

Stabbing felt wool with a felting needle is by far the most fun I have had with a needle. You just stab into the felt wool and it goes through the  fabric and into the sponge. It’s a series of  straight up and down jabbing motions that makes you feel maniacal, but in a good way. It really is worth trying!

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Once you’ve stabbed your heart out (or house in this case) then you peel off your fabric from the sponge.

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A quick run of the iron with steam and squirts of water then it’s ready to be glue to the card.

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And there you have it. The whole thing only takes about ten minutes and it really is fun, so get stabbing!!

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So far I’ve made this house for a friends house party and  this heart for valentines.

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With limited cookie cutters in my life I’ll be keeping and eye out for cheerful cutters so I can expand my cardi card repertoire!

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Pancakes disaster

Posted on 17 February, 2015

I feel this blog is getting into a trend of calamities well today is another one!

I had a vision of how cooking pancakes with Ewan would be, let us say that reality did not live up to the vision! He missed out last year on eating pancakes and I thought this year we’ll have the works. Nutella, blueberries, sugar,lemon, bananas it was going to be smörgåsbord of tasty delights with perfect pancakes bringing it all together.

In reality this is what happened….

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Take this as a visual representation of how the afternoon went. I have no idea why it went so wrong I used the same recipe as last year, and the year before that, and I have the same child as yesterday ( oh, what a delightful day yesterday was!) but alas something went terribly wrong. Initially, I blamed the frying pan but after making a mess of three frying pans and one skillet that argument seems thin. Then I blamed Ewan for his incessant repeating of “hunnnggrrrryyyyyyyy” with a tone that could win him an Oscar for a chilling personification of starvation but once I used Fireman Sam as a babysitter and I was no longer subject to his demands that excuse failed too. Basically, I have no idea how it all went so pear-shaped, the afternoon just land slided all the way to me throwing a very private and very insane adult sized tantrum in the kitchen which actually involved me jumping up and down miming ” aaahhhhhhhhh”. After I pieced together a random selection of things for Ewan to eat instead of pancakes I decided that we both needed out of the house.

In desperation I suggested going to the park. Of course I forgot that it’s across town, in traffic. Nevertheless, on we ploughed into the traffic with Ewan alternating between saying “snacks” and “paaaarrrrkkk” all the way. We got out of the car, both of us rather cheery only to be greeted by a man approaching us with speed. “Where are you going?” He hollered at us. (I fear he is yet to gauge how close you have to be to someone before you can start talking to them). Ewan legged it off into the grass in pursuit of a stick. “What?” I replied frazzled. After much too-ing and fro-ing he informed me that the park was closing soon and if I didn’t want to get locked in I was to stay by the playground and be gone in 10-15 minutes. After my recent locked out experiences  I was not keen on an over-nighter in the park. So we hurriedly ran around the playground at toddler Olympic speed,Ewan picked a souvenir stick and we were off. So in a cruel exchange 40 minutes in the car resulted in 10 minutes in the park.

But now it’s done. At 7:27pm I’m calling this day done.

The two pancakes I braved eating are congealing in my stomach, the ones Ewan refused to eat have solidified in the bin and all is calm again. The house is quiet with Ewan asleep and I am adopting a zen-like feeling and living in the present. The tantrum filled afternoon is gone  and  tomorrow is a new day with new food that isn’t pancakes.

 

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DIY Felt Wall Hanging

Posted on 13 February, 2015

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Earlier this month I roped my friend Colette into teaching me about felting. Not only is Colette one of the easiest people in the world to get along withbut she is also an artist, a fantastic cookie baker and a stay at-home mum of two gorgeous boys.  She started by teaching me how to make strips of felt from fleece. Over tea and chats this seemed methodical, relaxing and even fun.

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I will concede that once I got home and I was felting on my own for hours and hours and hours I would say it got less fun.

The process is pretty straight forward and if I was to do it again I would tackle a smaller project . I’m not used to writing step by step DIY posts so bare with me and if anything isn’t clear just ask! (Then I’ll ask Colette!)

You will need:

Fleece /Felting Wool like this 

Bowl of warm water and a towel

Regular soap

A sushi mat or a placemat in the same style

A wooden frame (I used a cheap canvas from a Pound shop and took off the canvas)

A staple gun

A glue gun

Pegs (optional)

Wooden Dowel of some kind ( I used a bamboo stick from the garden)

Rope

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Alrighty here we go.

First, you decide how long you want your felt strips to be based on the frame you have chosen. You gently pull the fleece to the desired length . I was giving it a good tug and it wouldn’t come apart so gentle seems to be key to getting it to separate.  For all the ropes I mixed different colour fleeces. For plainer ropes I mixed the cream natural fleece with some silkier fleece for texture. I tried not to over think the colours. Once I had picked my colour palette of the fleece I just went for it.

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Before you start open up the fleeces by pulling them apart and putting them together again.  Then once your strands have intertwined a little you get your hands nice and soapy and you rub the fleece through your soapy wet hands. You want the strand to be quiet wet and soapy. Now you’re ready to get rollin’ rollin’ rollin’.

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Put the soapy fleece on the mat and roll the mat over the fleece. The towel underneath the mat is to help draw out the moisture and helps everything from sliding all over the place. You then roll and roll like you’ve never rolled before.

When you think you’re done, you’re not! Keep going. It will dry out so you should keep wetting it and soaping it. The combination of the soap, warm water and friction is what binds it together.  You can’t over do it but you can under do it. If you under do it (which I did a few times when Colette wasn’t looking) they fall apart when they dry so it’s worth giving the extra few minutes.

If there are some bits that don’t seem to be felting together just pull them apart a little and rub them between your fingers to help them knit together.

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I can’t stress this enough. You roll and roll and roll….

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I made 16 long ropes and 20 horizontal ropes and the end result was some blisters, wrinkly hands but 36 lovely felted ropes ready for weaving!

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The next bit is super simple and it gets fun again I promise!

Start by stapling the long ropes to the top and bottom of the frame. Keep them very close together and taut. Make sure to leave enough rope on the top to wrap around your wooden dowel. IMG_9855

Once the lengths are stapled you can start weaving. This means taking the shorter ropes and weaving them over and under the lengths. You  alternate how you start off each row. So if the first short rope started by going over the first length then the second short rope starts under the first lenght and so on.

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This part is pretty forgiving so if you make a mistake you can just pull them out and weave it in again.

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Once you have finished weaving it will look like a crazy bug…

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Now it’s time for my beloved glue gun to tidy up the wiggly bits.

I decided to leave the bottom  ends ragged and so I tidied the sides and stuck the top ends to the wooded dowel with the glue gun. I used clothes pegs to hold the ropes in place while  the glue was drying. This was a bit of overkill because the glue dried very quickly but I wanted to be sure they stuck because I had no intention of sewing them. Luckily, the glue worked a treat.

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So after  wrapping the rope around the wooden dowel, tying knots at either end  it was FINISHED!!!

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Not only am I thrilled with the end result but I am proud to have made something that I will have forever.

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A huge thank you is due to Colette for teaching me a new skill ,loading me up with tea and being a pillar of patience!

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Vintage Fashion and a rescue

Posted on 10 February, 2015

Today I headed out in the cold to take some photos of a vintage dress I bought this weekend. I bought three second hand dresses and had great plans to take pictures of all three to show you. As it turns out the day took a turn so it’s a one dress affair for today. I bought this dress from Mercury Goes Retrograde in Drawbridge Street and I love it. This shop is one of my favourite spots for vintage clothes and I always something to tempt me which is why I try to limit my visits there!

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IMG_9771 IMG_9772 I ran around during Ewan’s nap time with tripod in hand and the camera set to timer. It turns out the whole thing took a lot longer than I had expected and so I roped Steve in to taking some pictures once I ran out of nap time. Leaving Ewan loose near a tri-pod has never ended well. Steve graciously obliged but on his way back in he happened to lock us in the back garden!

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We live in a terrace and we couldn’t get through the neighbours’ gardens. Without my phone banging on the back door and screaming “STTEEEEVVVEE”  was all I could think of doing. None of this helped as his office is to the front of the house and so he worked away oblivious. Shrieking over the wall at our hard-of-hearing neighbour didn’t yield any results either (other than making Ewan cry) So after 50 minutes of banging, throwing things at windows, stacking up the garden furniture to try and scale the wall eventually a kind builder at a neighbours house heard us and sent someone around to ring the door bell. Luckily Steve answered the door to be told ” Your missus is stuck in the garden” and so Steve came to rescue us from our frozen state. A couple of cups of tea later and blanket snuggles for Ewan and all is well again. Who would have thought taking photos in the garden would lead to such a hullabaloo!!

Taken before we figured out were locked out!

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A week in photos

Posted on 6 February, 2015

Ewan and I have been experimenting with walking into town without the buggy as back up! I’m trying to figure out how far he will walk before sitting on the ground and refusing to move. So far I’ve been impressed and with a bit of encouraging he is walking further than I had thought. Still though his walking is very much mood dependent and  I never leave the house without the bus fare in my pocket,  just in case!

IMG_9495We’ve had a few bird encounters on our  walking adventures:)

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Last week I spent the evenings  a thousand tissues deep on the couch sniffling with the cold that never ends. This week I took my cold out with me and sniffled on others instead. IMG_9567One of these night time outings  was to a friends house for a lesson in felting. This is my first venture in felting and, with her help ,I hope to have something amazing to show you soon (ish!)IMG_9581 IMG_9594

In the spirit of new ventures I’ve shaken things up in the hair department too.  I’m now sporting the latest hair trend, a fringe! I fully believe in the amazing restorative powers of a hair cut. So after a lack lustre January I’ve chopped off the split ends and I’m ready for new ventures.

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Blogging with a family

Posted on 2 February, 2015

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This is a tricky old post to write.

Let me start by saying I love blogging. I love taking time to photograph something pretty, a vintage find or a moment out and about with Ewan. I love writing up a piece, especially the longer ones that I let linger in the drafts pile before re-visiting and tweaking. I love publishing the post and checking back to see if there are any comments.As I rule I get very excited when people leave comments!

I spend a lot of time in a land of blogs where people share their every move. Everything is fair game. Where they went on a dates with their husbands, what they wore, what they ate, what the children did with the babysitter, their kids fevers and troubles at school, nappy training problems, when they last had sex, what it was like, EVERYTHING is shared. I love all that stuff, it’s addictive and enthralling. It also means that, in my mind, my blog isn’t overly personal at all when you compare it to others.

But my opinion isn’t the only one that matters. I’m not on my own. I’m part of this family. I have parents who prefer their photos not to be on the blog, I have friends who would prefer not to be on the blog, I have friends who never want their children to be on the blog. Steve, my partner in everything,  wants there to be minimal content about him on the blog. I understand where all of these people are coming from and I can understand their need to keep their lives private.

Steve  works in IT and his version of what should be kept private is very different from mine. We’ve had talks about whether things we do as a family are fodder for the blog or are they activities just for us. We’ve talked a lot about when are our private moments no longer private ? Do the moments start to belong less to us when they are shared? What will Ewan think of this when he’s older?

If I’m honest it would be much easier not to think of these questions but I’m old enough and wise enough to be glad that I have Steve asking these questions of me and me asking them of myself.

I don’t write in a journal or diary because I like the public nature of the blog. I enjoy getting feedback, I like meeting people who say “I read the one you did about…” and off our conversation starts from there. I like the feeling that I’m putting together a body of work that I feel proud of and I will keep on doing it.

But I want to do it with a bit of integrity. I don’t want to use photos of Ewan as a lazy way to do a blog post. I have done that on more than one occasion and I generally do it because I’m tired or it has been an uneventful week. In my eyes he is pretty darn cute and posting some photos of him has been a nice and easy blog post for me to do. But I don’t want that to be my default blog post and I don’t want to end up having an online photo documentary of his life because I haven’t done much myself.

If I post photos of him then I want it to have something to do with the blog post as a whole. I never want to feel like I have nothing to say for myself “So here, look at my lovely child” (and let’s face it, he is a cutie). Saying all of this doesn’t mean that Ewan won’t be on the blog. Ewan and I spend 12 hours a day together to leave him out would seem weird to me  but I am giving thought to how and when he is on the blog.

I never want to feel like I use my family to fill space on the blog so I’m taking things slowly and thinking. Overall, I trust my judgement but it’s bloody tough though! I wish someone had a manual called “How to blog respectfully” or something similar.  But the reality is there is no one size fits all. It’s about what you and the people who make up your family are happy with and after over a year of blogging  I still don’t feel like I have it nailed yet. So I’m slowing down.

Right now,I can’t see an obvious answer but I feel like I can’t go too far wrong trusting my gut and with Steve by my side. He would never seek to edit the blog but he does give me his honest opinion when I ask for it. So I guess we need to keep talking, I need to keep asking and when he’s not comfortable he needs to say. (In case your wondering I’ve talked with him about this post).

So if I’m not here that often that is why.I’m not rushing to post photos to fill space. I’m starting the year off by slowing down and I hope that you’ll bear with me and that what I do post keeps being something that I can be proud of and that you’ll want to read and see.  So when you don’t hear from me as often please remember I’m still be here and don’t forget to drop by to say hi.

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