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A little decorating

2014 December 17
by Kelly

Today has been a hard day. It started with me waking in Piran’s bed after some middle of the night shenanigans. It seems that he wakes around 2 -2.30am every night and then comes into our room for a cuddle. Sometimes he says he had a bad dream, other times that he just wants a cuddle. Whatever the reason we are trying to teach him yet again that getting up is not acceptable and he is not allowed to sleep in our bed. It seems so harsh, particularly because I actually love sleeping with him but not when there are three of us in the bed. And so at the moment we are trying to get him to go back to bed on his own but if he is really bloody stubborn about it one of us will go into his bed with him. If he falls asleep quickly or if I wake again I always go back to our room, but I want sleep more than he does so I generally fall asleep first. We will have to start trying to get him settled without us again but the fight has gone out of us at night time again and we just don’t have the resolve at the moment. There is only so many months and years you can fight the same battle.

Both children were complete nightmares before school, Kate was in the same mood for most of the day. Seriously why the fuck will they not just do as they are told? Unrealistic I know because they are kids but it is only getting dressed, brushing teeth and getting ready to leave for school. I am not asking them to do anything unreasonable!

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Anyway. I took half an hour, some battery fairy lights and a couple of Christmas tree offcuts this afternoon and strung them up our bannister. I wanted the smell of a Christmas tree and I love the idea of decorating with greenery. I have a Bay wreath planned for later in the week which I hope works out. I managed to hide what I was doing from Kate for most of the time which was good as once she got involved it all went rapidly downhill. It looks great and although the pine needles will annoy Mr C I just love it. It is hard to photograph but this is an IG shot from earlier.

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What is your favourite decoration this year?

Something and nothing

2014 December 16
by Kelly

Today’s 15 minute post is bought to you thanks to a Wiggles DVD and permission to bounce on my bed.

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The past two days have been crazy. There is so much happening at this time of year. For me this week it has been helping out at the school and nursery parties. The little preschoolers were so excited to see Santa yesterday but I did the Infants today and lots of them were trying to guess which teacher it was dressed up. I am not ready for the tricky questions about Santa. I can’t think on my feet quick enough to be convincing. What with the advent fairies in our house and the tooth fairy who has made a couple of appearances this year there are a lot of opportunities to just put my foot in it.

Two afternoons of helping out with large amounts of children has left me feeling pretty drained and a bit braindead. The annoying thing for me is that they both fell on what would have been child free time for me and so when I popped into my studio this morning for a couple hours I made sure I cleared up a bit. I usually get to spend time there Monday, Tuesday and Friday but this week Kate’s nursery is closed on Friday so I will have her home. The holidays mean that I probably won’t get much sewing time at all at the studio at least so I have been planning some hand sewing that I can do at home. I have been working on an embroidery and I have a quilt to hand sew the binding to so that should keep me going. Mr C is out tomorrow and Thursday night so I have planned binge watching the last series of How I Met Your Mother and some happy sewing time. Those things will not last for the whole 2 week break though so I need to get my thinking cap on about what I could make next. Now all the Christmas gifts have been made I am a bit lost. Perhaps I could even make something for me!

Time is up and I have dinner to finish. I have a feeling that a lot of these posts will be about something and nothing but it does feel good to be writing again and that is the point!

Tutorial: Glitter gift tags / tree ornaments

2014 December 15
by Kelly

I am a sucker for presents wrapped in brown paper and so for the last few years it has been my go to Christmas wrapping on choice. There is always a variation on the theme, red raffia instead of ribbon, bakers twine and buttons, potato stamps to decorate the paper, but this year I wanted to do something that would look pretty but also could be used as a tree decoration afterwards.

And so I made these lovely glitter tags.

I bought my wooden shapes and the red glitter from eBay.

Glitter tags 1

Make a mixture of equal parts glitter, PVA glue and water (I used a tablespoon of each and that did 20 tags).

Cover the front of each tag with glue. I found it was best to really load up the brush and dab it on. I decided to go up to the edge but not over and I love the way that turned out. You want to add a thick layer so all of the wood is covered. I managed full coverage with only one coat doing it this way.

Glitter tags 2

The glue will be white at this point but will dry clear. Leave to dry.

Glitter tags 3

Thread the tags (mine had holes in already) using a thick needle and bakers twine.

Write on the back and then add to the present. I also used green twine for the parcels. I love the way they look, and can’t wait to see them all under the Christmas tree.

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To be continued…

2014 December 15

It would appear that some where along the line I have stopped blogging. I have always loved that if you look back at my blog you can see the ebb and fall of posting and being present. But recently it makes me sad that I don’t seem to write much or share much in this space. I think part of the problem is that I don’t know why I blog any more. I like to write about things I have made, but that in itself is something as I have a new creative outlet in sewing and so perhaps that takes away from having the time and inclination to blog. I do have free time though so that shouldn’t be an issue. Part of the problem I think is perfection. I don’t like sharing a post without a photograph in it, and then it needs to be the right photo and perhaps there is some editing to do and then that all seems like too much work and so I don’t do it.

The other contributing factor is perhaps that life is actually quite good. I used to pour my heart out on here about feeling so depressed and struggling so much. These days my day to day life is manageable. I am busy and happy that I am busy. There are things that I think about blogging about but sometimes just don’t know where to start and maybe part of me thinks that no one is interested in hearing me carry on about just stuff. Maybe I just don’t think that day to day life is bloggable.

That makes me sad though and so I have decided to set myself a challenge to sit and write for 15 minutes about nothing. And something. Whatever I have been doing, reading, thinking, talking about, watching. Just fifteen minutes of writing. If I have a photo that is relevant I will pop it in but only that, no fiddling, no editing. I will set my timer and off I will go. Really I just want to see some words on the page. (I also have a post from drafts and a review to do today so sorry if you are bombarded)

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I cannot believe that it is the last week before school finishes. In fact today is Kate’s last day at nursery before Christmas. Thankfully I am properly prepared this year. Last year was a panicked disaster! Cards written, presents made or bought, wrapped and sent or squirreled away. I am excited because when Piran breaks up on Friday so does Mr C and he is off for the whole two weeks that the kids are. This makes me very happy. He has been away so much in this past year that I am really looking forward to having him home and all of us being together. We are having Christmas at home and will be visiting my family at some point too. I love Cornwall in the winter, I am hoping for some sunny days for beach walks. Fingers crossed. Mr C always seems so much happier and a lot less stressed when he is walking on a beach so I definitely prescribe some of that for him. He has worked so hard this year and is very tired and run down as a result. The fresh air will definitely do us all some good.

And that is my time for today. Happy Monday everyone.

 

 

Review: Giftwrapped by Jane Means

2014 December 15
tags:
by Kelly

I met Jane at Blogtacular last year. I had heard of and seen her ribbons in the past and it was very nice to put a face to the name. I was really excited when I was asked if I would like to review a copy of her new book “Giftwrapped”. I like to make an effort when wrapping presents but I am often stumped for ideas or by a strange shape so I was looking forward to getting my hands on the book.

Published in Hardback in November 2014 by Jaqui Small the book is a visual feast. From the beautiful end papers right through the book there is so much to see. With sections on materials, wrapping, tying, special occasions and tools and equipment there is so much to see. I love the inclusion of mood boards such as pastels and vibrants and then there are ideas broken down by theme for example recycled or glamour.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves to give gifts. Not only does it show you how to wrap everything from a simple box to something round, or a bottle it also gives you ideas for gifts themselves. Jane uses all sorts of materials in really interesting ways and the book is so full of inspiration it really is wonderful. I love how there is everything from the simplest ideas right through to the most stunning embellished gifts. Something for everyone. And I now know that double sided tape is the key to professional looking gifts! This book would make a fantastic gift for someone. My mum was here and had a look through and she loved the book too.

Speaking of my mum I decided to go though the book and find inspiration on how I should wrap and present her birthday present. I had made a set of Christmas napkins and a little pincushion for her and I wanted to make it look special. I used Jane’s instructions to make my own gift bag. I used a wallpaper sample that I had got a while age from the DIY shop. I followed the instructions in the book and they were clear and concise and I was really happy with the outcome. I used some organza I had to make a ribbon for it. My mum was suitably impressed too.

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I don’t think that I would have purchased this book for myself but I would have been very happy to receive it as a gift and I am very pleased that I now own a copy. The RRP is £20 but I have a special offer for my readers below. Overall this is a beautiful book and one that I will, refer to time and time again to make presents for people special.

Offer: To order Giftwrapped at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG252.
*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Snippets: Pj bottoms and Christmas gifts

2014 November 26
by Kelly

This week has been a bit rubbish really what with falling over in the house Monday night and everyone not appearing to want to sleep much this week (except me that is who wants to sleep but is kept awake all the time).

I have made myself new PJ bottoms with my overlocker (called Margot)

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I have made a little something for my mums Christmas gift.

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And finished a quite lovely table mat for a unit in our hallway. Pictures of that to come in December.

Five

2014 November 23
by Kelly

Dear Piran,

I am sorry that it has been a while since I wrote you a letter. As you would say, Naughty Mummy.

Looking back at all the other letters to you it has actually been a really long time since I wrote you a proper letter. I think that when I come to put fingers to keys there seems so much to capture that I think I will not do it justice and so I stop. Not this time though, I am determined to get something written down. For me as much as for you.

I sat and watched you yesterday afternoon. You were sitting on the sofa, legs raised. Watching Lego Chima on a tablet balanced on your knees. You were eating an apple that I had peeled and cut up (because you are lacking in teeth at the moment). You then ate a second apple. You looked so old all of a sudden. Not me old, but growing up too fast old. I cannot believe you are only five years old. You are all gangly limbs and pointy elbows and knees. You are bruises and dirt. You have lost two front bottom teeth. That shocked me, it seemed far too soon, but sure enough the new ones are coming through already. All trace of the baby and toddler have gone. I look at baby pictures of you and I hardly recognise you.

You are a kind and generous child. You love your sister fiercely. Every day you tell her you are going to marry her, even though as I put you to bed at night you tell me sadly that you know you aren’t really allowed to marry her. If we talk about girls at school you get really cross and shout at us. If I say or do something that you don’t like you hiss at me with your teeth bared like a cat. It is frightening and amazing all at once. You are very aware at the moment of how people see you and get very unhappy if we laugh at you when you don’t think something is funny. (although walking into the wheelie bin WAS funny, sorry). You like dressing up, usually as a Power Ranger or Spiderman.

Piran and Kate

You love: playing football at break time, football cards (I do not love these at all), playing football in the house with a bouncy flashy ball, being ‘Goaler’, your ‘Goaler’ gloves, Power Rangers, Lego Chima, Lego Star Wars, Hot Wheels cars, writing and drawing, making and wrapping little presents for us, sending letters to people, playing with your sister, Castles and Knights (your topic at school this term), running and climbing, your Dad. You are apparently a Chelsea supporter, much to your Dad’s disgust. Grandad Derek is happy though.

Piran at Bodiam

Your Dad has been away again a lot this year and you miss him terribly. You are however very brave about it all and love ‘being Daddy’ when he is away. You look after me so well, and will always give me a hug when I am missing your Dad.

We have spent a lot of time and energy working on getting you to sleep in your own bed by yourself and going to bed nicely in the evenings. We still have some challenges with this but I am so proud of you and how much you have tried to do as we ask. You have always wanted company at night time and would sleep with us every night if you could but we are all much happier and better people after a good nights sleep. You can be stubborn and willful but in life that is no bad thing, I just wish sometimes that you wouldn’t answer me back so much, it makes my blood boil. We all shout a little too much at times, and so you helped me pick a special word that any of us can say when we are shouting and if we hear it we have to stop immediately, hug, and then have a discussion in our normal voice. I think it has made life around these parts a little better. I wonder if you will remember that word if you ever read this letter.

School has had an incredible effect on your shyness and confidence levels. The boy that used to refuse to talk to anyone when I was there is now polite and chatty and engaging. It is a joy to see it. You always get lovely reports from your teachers about how nice you are to your friends and all your teachers and I am so very proud of the little boy you have become (you would say big boy but you are still my little boy for a bit longer I promise).

Piran September 2015

I love you more than you can ever imagine.

Mum x

Make it: Advent Bunting Tutorial

2014 November 9

It feels like a very long time since I shared a tutorial with you. I actually made this and took all the images last year but it was too late for advent. At last I can finally share it with you.

advent bunting tutorial

You will need:

Fabric for pocket (24)  3.5″ wide x 6″ tall

Fabric for flag fronts (24) 3.5″ wide x 5″ tall

Muslin or fabric for flag backing (24) 3.5″ x 5″

Bias binding (I used 1″ – 2.5m)

Iron on numbers 1 – 24

Notes:

Quarter inch seams unless otherwise stated

I used muslin for the back of the flags as mine is designed to hang against a wall. You might want to pick something different if you would like the back of the flags on show.

My iron on numbers came as a set from eBay.

Instructions:

* Fold the pocket pieces in half along the long side and press. It will now measure 3.5″ x 3″.

* To make each flag lay the large front piece right sides up and place the pocket on top right sides up with the raw edges along the bottom. Ensure any directional material is the right way up.

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* Align the bottom raw edges and then place the backing on top, right sides down. Pin together.

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* Sew down one side, along the bottom and back up the other side using a quarter inch seam. Pivot on the corners and leave the top edge completely open.

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* Trim the corners to reduce bulk.

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* Turn right sides out, making sure the pocket sits on the front. Use a chopstick or similar to push the corners out. Press.

* Add your numbers according to the instructions. Mine just simply ironed on. You could also use stamps to make the numbers.

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* Take the bias binding and iron in half. Set your machine to a zigzag stitch and sew 10cm along the folded bias before adding the first pocket. Ensure all raw edges are enclosed before sewing along the bias securing the pocket.

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* You can space your pockets however you like. I decided to have them close together so the finished bunting wasn’t too long but you could spread them out and have two sets of bunting – 1 to 12 and 13 to 24 if you preferred.

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* When all the pockets have been added continue to sew for a further 10cm so you have something to hang your bunting with.

 

I really love our home made advent calendars. We have the more traditional rectangular ones – I wrote a tutorial for that style previously:

Christmas-Advent-Calendar-Tutorial

I just love thinking of Christmassy things to do, and writing little notes to pop in each one. This year I have bought a Playmobil advent calendar which I will add odd bits to the pockets as we go through December. If they are lucky they might even get the odd chocolate coin.

If you like this Advent Bunting but don’t want to make it yourself I have this one for sale in my Etsy shop ***SOLD*** (along with lots of other Christmas goodies).

 

I am linking this post up with Chris’ Festive Friday which is back this week. Happy days.

Review: Dyson DC59

2014 October 30
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by Kelly
dyson dc59

Even Knights need to help with the cleaning sometimes.

First impressions: I was very excited when I received a handheld Dyson. I had seen one on another blog and had wanted one ever since. First impressions were great – it is sleek and shiny and a great purple colour. It was easy to get started – worked straight out of the box.

We liked: I love how quickly I can use this on our laminate floor. We used to brush the floor and then use a handheld hover to pick up the pile of dust but it is much quicker to just use the Dyson. It has all the attachments that I need. Brilliant for a quick clear up under the table after dinner, I really wish that I had this when the kids were smaller. It fixed quickly and easily to the wall (although Mr C did put the holder on the wall upside down to start with!) and I love how it just starts charging as soon as it is back in the holder. The fact it is cordless makes it really quick to whizz around, cleaning up spillages easily when needed.

We didn’t like: When you are holding the hoover and it is on the fan blows the air out the back which is directly at you. Slightly unpleasant when it is near your face and as we discovered at a friends house not great when you clear up anything smelly like spices. It is noisy and that makes my children freak out but all hoovers are noisy and all loud noises freak them out.

Overall: The price tag on the Dyson DC59 is high – RRP is around £350. The good news however is that John Lewis have £49 off the price at the moment making it £299.95. I do think that we could have this as our only hoover but I am not sure that we could do the whole house in one go but that doesn’t happen often anyway! The cordless aspect more than makes up for it meaning that I can do the car and other places that need cleaning where there might not be a power socket.

The review that convinced  me I wanted one of these handheld Dysons included a fantastic film which Kat from Housewife Confidential has kindly allowed me to include in this post. Really the proof is in the cleaning!

Disclosure: We were sent a Dyson DC59 free of charge for the purpose of this review.

Bringing Children’s Books to Life: Paper Dolls

2014 October 28

Way back in June (cough) Kate at Little Lewes joined in with a blog challenge started by Hattie at Free our Kids to create an activity from the pages of a favourite children’s book. I loved Kate’s Inspired by Matisse post. I want the ‘Henri’s Scissors’ for myself.

Ohh, brilliant I thought, that is right up my street. And it will be a perfect thing to do in the summer holidays with the children.

Anyway, time passed and the school holidays flew by and by the time I remembered it was too late. Then, as we settled into our routine I found that the two days I have at home with Kate each week are perfect for doing things like this. And so it popped into my mind. Even more serendipitous was the fact that Kate had pulled out Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb again recently and had been asking for me to make her some dolls.

I love everything about this book (spoiler: except the boy with the scissors). I love the idea of generations of mothers doing the same thing with their daughters (although clearly paper dolls are not a girl only activity. Piran loves making them too). I am sure that my mother made paper dolls with me, I loved making them as a child.

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I drew and cut out the dolls. Kate decided she wanted three boys and three girls. She was totally amazed at the way they held hands when we opened them up.

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Next she wanted to colour them in. She drew in their faces and I gave hair where instructed. I let her make all the decisions, I just did as I was told.

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Coloring in was hard for her so I thought the water colour paints would be great for this. Kate painted tops and bottoms for all of her people, chatting away about each one as she did it. The paints looked really great, we just had to be a bit careful when they were wet as the paper was thin and quite fragile.

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In the book the little girl gives all her dolls names so we had to as well. They are (from L:R) John, Piran, Michael, Lin, Ann and Kate.

This is a ,lovely book which is all about imagination and adventures and memories. You can’t go wrong with Julia Donaldson. I haven’t added a link to the book but I do encourage you to find a local children’s bookstore and go and buy one.

This was a really lovely activity to do. I think that Emily at Mummylimited should have a go next – I know she is a very busy lady with her hands full but bearing in mind it took me 4 months to do this I am sure she can think of something.