Catching up - The Hooded Baby Towel {Sewing}

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

I am a bit late - the tutorial of my baby hooded towel has been posted a while ago on the Simply Solids blog now. But I thought you might be interested in seeing in action - in case you are short of inspiration for a present for a baby. 

I had made an owl version for Baby MiH (which we still use) - the basis for this version, which includes curved corners. It is all organic and I am using it all the time! 

Handmade Wrapping Paper | Le Challenge {Ink}

Sunday, 14 December 2014

I am very surprised that I have anything to show you for this le challenge. It is a very quick project - which seems to be a theme on this blog at the moment, but still a useful project. My Mum's Christmas present requires a big box - I had a box that was perfect but it did not look Christmas-y, so what to do... Get some Christmas stamps, kraft paper, silver ink - and stamp, stamp, stamp... And then cover the box. Easy, peasy - and pretty special. 

I used:

- some kraft paper (bought at WH Smith)
- Some stamps bought from the English stamp company
- ink (ColorBox Ink Pad)

I did make this an activity with Baby MiH (although his final paper did not make it on the box)- he did enjoy it, for half an hour or so. But then moved on to licking the stamp.. not ideal. However the ink pad I used washes very easily from toddler fingers and surfaces - which is great news! 

I wanted to show you the box full of my Mum's Christmas present, but I did not manage to finish it. And now that she is here for the weekend, I may not be able to progress much with it. I will try to share it later. 

For all the other 'ink' projects, head to le challenge - and if you enter a project (big or small), you get a chance to win a $25 voucher at the Fat Quarter Shop! 

Wooden Snowflakes | Christmas 2014

Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas is nearly here - and I am making the final elements to our decorations (during afternoon naptimes, so it has to be quick projects) - thanks to easy tutorials found on Pinterest. I will put everything up on Saturday night, so that when Baby MiH wakes up on Sunday (for his birthday) it is Christmas! Yes my boys will have to love Christmas as much as I do, 

This last project is one I was really keen on making when I pinned this picture a wee while ago. Unfortunately I did not have enough big wooden beads to make a massive snowflake - maybe another year - but I do have small ones to make ornaments the size of my straw ones. 

You will need 48 beads - which is quite a lot for a big snowflake. The original tutorial can be found here, but I worked it out from the below diagram really, It took me half an hour per snowflake, some thread and a needle (because my beads are so small) - et voil√†, two more ornaments. 

I was not sure how to use these small beads so I am very pleased they have become such beautiful ornaments that compliment my colour scheme. 

Only 12 days to Christmas!! We are off to France - we managed to get Little Baby MiH his passport on time! So it is going to be very exciting to have 4 generations around the table. Cannot wait!

Catching up - The Tibi skirt {Sewing}

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

I am slowly catching up with blogging - not much to be fair, catching up with sleep has become my priority these days. However when one of my makes appear on a blog, I will make time to read it. 

A while ago I had a post about the Tibi skirt - and had found a Butterick pattern that looked quite similar. Well, a skirt was made and now styled by Cee and appeared last week on her stylish blog

I followed the pattern except for the length - I added 12 cm. The fabric is a dupion silk - in a lovely midnight blue colour. I added horsehair braid (found here) at the bottom to give it more volume - following Gertie's tutorial.   

The pattern is not that hard, but the fabric was a bit of a pain, it frays quite easily and I spent some time trying to tidy the seams, and I am still not super happy with it. 

However I love the result - what a beautiful skirt for a fraction of the price of the Tibi one. I will try to make one with folds that match the real thing, so stay tune!

One week

Thursday, 27 November 2014

I wrote a post when Baby MiH was born - just to record how I felt. And with Thanksgiving being celebrated I thought I could give you an insight on how I feel about having 2 kids - when you never expected to have any. 

I never thought I was going to have a second baby. In fact I was so adamant I was not going to have another baby that I got rid of baby clothes, steriliser, bottles. I was lucky that the prams I have can still be used by Baby MiH, otherwise they too would have gone.

But Little Baby MiH is such an obvious addition to our family. Of course we have been talking about him for 5 months now. Baby MiH knew his name and had to include him in everything he was doing with me. When Little Baby MiH came he was so excited, everything in his world revolves around what Little Baby MiH does now. Look at that smile, it is genuine, he was desperate for a brother. I had an inkling, but I had no idea how much he was actually yearning for one. Good thing too because they will have to share everything! 

Little Baby MiH completes our family - to the point that he totally slotted in our routine. He is awake to say bye to Baby MiH when he leaves for nursery, he sleeps when we eat with Baby MiH so we can focus on that (we need to) and awakes usually for bath and reading times - as if he just knew. 

I don't think I could be more grateful today. All my fears were unfounded - and I should have trusted that we were meant to be a family of 4. I cannot wait to see how the boys relationship develops and how we grow as a family and individually. 

And, as it is a time to be grateful, I am SO grateful to have met so many people through the blog that inspire me and find my blog interesting. 

Anyway normal activity real resumes and of course the MiH boys will appear soon with some new crafty projects. 

November knits | WIP {Knitting}

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Many thanks for all your lovely comments here, on IG and on Facebook following the birth of Little Baby MiH. We are now back home and enjoying family bonding time - and some knitting too in between naptimes. 

I have had a few frustrating projects lately - my first sock (ever) has turned too big and not really what I hoped for _ so that's frogged, I also started a Christmas present with what seems to be the wrong yarn. Again, frogged. So when this happens, I just take a step back with a pattern all written out  for me - and just cast on. 

The Palomino mittens is published in November knits (fairly appropriate) and I am quite in love with the pattern. And it means that I will have a second pair of mittens, they do predict a cold winter. 

I also knew that I had the perfect yarn for it, courtesy of my parents-in-law who have just returned from New Zealand. They came back with yarn that has some possum fur in it. It is a bit fuzzy, so I added a lace yarn that will highlight the cable work. 

I have managed to knit the cuffs, and struggled a bit with the set up round but now the exciting cable work is starting and I cannot wait to see it happen as I carry on with the knitting. And I do have some biscuits to keep me going. 

So what do you do when you have had some frustrating projects?

Joining others at Ginny's and KCCO today. 

Our Advent Calendar | Christmas 2014

Friday, 21 November 2014

Making our advent calendar with Baby MiH and Mr MiH was a lot of fun - it may have involved eating raw pastry and smarties, but that is why I prefer baking than playing with play-do. 

It is a bit early to make an advent calendar - especially one involving biscuits (they need to last for a bit of time) but as I was not sure whether I would have time to make it for the first of December I decided that last weekend was as good as any - and I could make fresher biscuits in between and these could be decorative.

I probably got out all the cookie cutters I have in my possession to make the cutting interesting, but also the advent calendar a bit more special. As you can see from the icing - this is very much homemade. Baby MiH was involved in the cutting but not in the icing - I am not really good at it, so with a toddler I dread to think what we would have ended up with. 

I used a new cookie recipe for these biscuits - from this book. It is an ok-ish book but it does have an interesting section on baking with children. I think it is the third time we baked with Baby MiH - and actually the first time with a pastry that does not stick everywhere, and got him interested for a whole hour! So it is probably worth using pastries like this with toddlers. 

The recipe is for classic honey cookies - these are super sweet (Baby MiH cannot get enough of them, we are a bit less keen, but they do smell wonderful!). You need to make the pastry beforehand - so just be aware of it, if you have mentioned to one little toddler that he will be baking soon... 

You will need (this makes a lot of pastry - way enough for the advent calendar and more; I followed the proportions because I wanted thick ones and I was worried I needed spares for the calendar because of icing accidents - but I think you can reduce the amounts by a third):

- 1 jar of clear honey (450g)
- 225g of light brown cane sugar 
- 225g butter
- 10g of baking powder
- 2 tbsp of rosewater
- 1 kg of flour
- 2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1tsp ground ginger, and 1tsp ground cloves

How to make the pastry:

Bring the honey, sugar and butter to the boil, stirring constantly, and leave to cool. Dissolve the baking powder in the rosewater, stir the wet ingredients into the tepid honey mixture and add half of the flour, mixed with the spices. Mix well and gradually add the remaining flour. Knead the dough, put it in a plastic bag, and rest in a cool place for 24 hours (I left it for an afternoon in my garage...). 

Roll out the dough to the thickness you want, cut into pieces and bake at 200 C for 15-18 minutes. 

Let them cool down. And then get on with the icing, once the toddler has gone to bed. I used some already made icing (this one in red and white)- so much easier to handle. 

I know this is not perfect, but the fact that we all contributed to make our advent calendar is pretty cool (although I am not saying it is less expensive than one off the shelf). Also it did allow me to keep with the theme I have in mind for this Christmas. I am just wondering now how I am going to display it. It is one thing to display them neatly on my vintage trunk and another to make a Christmas garland out of them... 

What is your take on advent calendars this year? And do you have kids pastry recipes you would recommend?