Archive for the ‘Homemade Christmas’ Category

…so basically a week in a post! Not sure how this week went by so quickly – I guess the this post may give me some clues… :)

Toddler Tuesday

Last Wednesday we went to lunch with my mother in law, she’d made a delicious quiche and kept some pastry for the Bean to play with.

I’d not introduced the Bean to play-doh yet as I wasn’t sure how much of it she’d eat. Yes, it’s non-toxic but even so…


However, she played brilliantly (only nibbling a teeny bit…) and spent ages rolling it out time and time again and making ‘pattens pattens’ with any of the cookie cutters which didn’t happen to be doubling as bracelets at the time.


Apparently it was all quite funny!

The quiche was amazing too!

Work In Progress Wednesday

I’ve mentioned before that I like to try and make as many of my Christmas gifts as possible, but always end up finishing them in a panicky rush on Christmas eve…so, I’ve decided this year will be different (yeah, right!) and have started my Christmas gift list already and have made a start with two* cute knitted pigs from Knitted Toy Tales by Laura Long.

(I may have mentioned before that I was lucky enough to be given lots of craft books for Christmas and my Birthday, which I will, one day, get around to sharing and reviewing here. The reason for the delay is that you’ll all want to buy the books for yourself, so by then they’ll be on sale…so really I’m being thoughtful by taking so long about it…).


It’s a really quick pattern to knit as the head and body are knit in one, just adding the ears and feet. The body is only about 60 rows and the shaping is very simple. Over a couple of evenings I’ve almost knit enough for the two pigs, I just need to finish half a body. The knitting is the easy bit I feel…I hate the sewing up. That’s the time I’ll really mess it up and make a lovely knitted toy look mean…many’s the time I’ll sew up a (potentially) cute toy and see it turn to the dark side with just a few (un)carefully placed embroidery stitches…ugh…wish me luck…


*I was explaining to the Bean that I was knitting a little piggy toy for one of my friends ‘and Issey’. she adds. ‘Oh, do you think Issey would like one too Bean?’, ‘Yes…and Mummy’, ‘Well, I’ll knit one for Issey’, ‘and Mummy’…so it may end up being three. I’ll have to practise looking surprised on Christmas day. :)

Thrifty Thursday

Just a quick one this week – I’ve been looking for old toy knitting patterns lately (more opportunities to create accidentally scary toys…) and found these beauties!

Plenty of things to add to the ever growing Christmas list (yeay, just what I need!)

This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. Inspired by Soulemama.

Here’s hoping you get a chance to stretch out and relax too this weekend!


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Some of my lucky (?) friends and family got lovely handmade goodies for Christmas…here is just some of the crafting goodness that went on…

These cushions were made for a couple of friends. The cushion on the left is of the flag of our county – (thankfully it’s quite a simple flag  – gotta love straight lines!) but my favourite is the bunting cushion on lovely thick cotton sheeting, which gives the cushion a nice crisp, weighty feel. Thanks to a recent discovery of ‘Bondaweb’ this cushion was ridiculously simple to make. I simply cut out a large rectangle for the actual cushion, hemming the ends. I then cut out four triangles from fabric and Bondaweb and ironed them onto the cushion*. I then zig-zag stitched around each triangle to add definition and (hopefully) longevity.  *Before getting angry with the Bondaweb and curse it for not working, check you have first removed the backing paper…and that’s all I have to say about that.


I was really pleased with how this turned out (once ironed). It was a idea that had been floating about in my head for some time (at any one time, a small proportion of my brain is always thinking about bunting), which is always dangerous as if it had turned out badly I’d have been all the more disappointed, but it actually turned out really well. 

I also made some felt Christmas tree decorations in a variety of designs, some decorated with buttons in muted tones, some bright and some ‘vintage’ shirt buttons (i.e. cut off an old shirt destined for the recycling but let’s call it vintage and it sounds so much better).

I also made a little bunny for my niece T. It’s always a bit worrying giving a toy to a child as you have no idea how well it’s going to be recieved – so naturally I was thrilled when she immediately hugged her and said “Oh, I shall call her Ballerina Bunny Love”…erm…okay then, as long as you’re happy…

My favourite part was the little shoe laces (admitedly that’s probably not the technical ballet term).

They looked somewhat different after a night of hugging.

Tsk, I nearly forgot (again). Although not at all related to Christmas crafting, here’s a shot of Poorly Micheal which I made for cheering the Bean up when she gets sick. I’ve shown it to her and she’s pretty much shunned it, however I’m hoping he’ll grow on her, or she’ll never get sick, either suits me fine.    : )


I got the idea from Nicole at One Hook Wonder, who in turn got the idea from the inspirational Molly Chicken blog (I’ll try to find the proper links later). I love the way we have all interpreted the idea in a different way whilst still keeping similar elements.

That’s all for now folks…

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Ugh, okay, so apparently I am quite bad at this regular blogging lark. Ho hum. Well, there’s an advert out promoting healthy living which says ‘Start again in 2010’, which is what I’m going to do (start again I mean, not eat healthily – I love chocolate too much for that…)

So, Christmas was pretty wonderful around here – quite, peaceful and spent with family, exactly as I’d hoped it would be. The Bean ‘helped’ fold out the branches on our (ridiculously small) Christmas tree and then got a little over excited by rugby tackling it and squishing it all up again.  Adding the jingly bells she chose was her favourite part (well, that and playing with ‘jingly bag’ (apparently it’s all about bells this Christmas).


The tree was the perfect size for the knitted decorations I made earlier in the year


and just big enough for my lovely tree topper which I found on sale the year before last (but was too shattered to put decoration up last year) (the Bean was only 7 weeks old at the time).

The Bean loved her dolls cot and crocheted blanket (so much so that she tried to climb into the cot at first sight) and loves tucking teddy up to sleep (then dragging him out by his leg).

The bargain of the decade was the whirly bug ladybird I found at a car boot sale for £3. Yep, £3.

I’ll post some pictures of Christmas crafts soon (hopefully tomorrow but hey…who knows?!) Along with shots (finally) of this little character (can you tell who he is yet?)

Here’s one of the presents Father Christmas brought me (I told you I liked Chocolate…)

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Can you guess what I have been doing for the last two weeks? Admittedly the title gives it away somewhat. 

The Friday before last, I sat down with a children’s ‘how to’ book of crochet, intending to watch the last episode of ‘The Prisoner*’ and fulfill my New Year’s resolution of learning how to crochet. Just as I was about to start there was a knock at the door and one of our friends had come over for an unannounced visit (I love it when that happens). When she mentioned that she had to finish off a crochet blanket for a friend’s new baby, she probably wasn’t expecting me so squeak so excitedly – half an hour of (very) patient tuition later and I could crochet! The gods of crochet were obviously smiling on me. 

So, after a little practise I set about crocheting a border onto the Christmas blanket for Bean’s doll’s cot.

Crochet 1  Crochet 2

Okay, so it’s not a neat as it could be…it’s a bit wiggly in places (and *very* wiggly in others) but I’m so proud of myself! I’m proud not just because I’ve fulfilled my New Year’s resolution (never mind that it’s now October) but because whereas I normally flit from project to project for ages before finishing any of them, I really concentrated on this one and finished it before starting anything else, I’m not entirely sure how I managed this, given how busy my brain is at the minute (is anyone else thinking Christmas crafting yet?).

As a result, I now LOVE crochet! Okay, so I only know a few (okay, one) stitch(es) but that just means that there are more to learn. It’s so portable and because I can stop at any point in the crochet, I can pick it up for 5 minutes when the Bean is napping, rather than having to rush to finish a row of knitting if the Bean wakes early!

So, I wouldn’t have thought it but I may be a convert – more practise is needed and it’ll never replace knitting in terms of being able to sit on the sofa and relax and knit in front of a film without looking at my needles  but I’m liking the possibilities.  

Well, so now I can crochet (did you hear? I can crochet!) I can share with you one of my favourite craft blogs. I stumbled across this blog back in Feb while looking at someones blogroll – the name caught my eye with my New Year’s resolution in mind and I thought I’d check it out… I’m so glad I did. It’s ‘One Hook Wonder’ and is written by Nicole. It’s basically a tale of crochet, crafting (and more recently Montessori) and essentially the story of a family having fun. Not the kind of fun you admire and think ‘if only’ but the kind of proper, special family fun that anyone can share in. I don’t know if it’s the variety of activities, the super cute family or the laugh out loud humour of Nicole’s writing that makes me love it so much but it’s really inspiring and I hope you enjoy it too…well, that would be if I could add a link to this blinking post. You’ll have to look on the blogroll on the right.   

Anyhoo…the Bean turns one next week…where did all that wonderful time go?

Ride em!

*The last episode of ‘The Prisoner’ made even less sense than any of the other episodes (and they made NO sense at all…)

Be seein’ you.

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I spent this weekend in Sunny Windsor, at a hen party for my future sister in law – it was brilliant fun and the long journey left lots of time for crafting. I had planned for a while to make a rainbow blanket for the Bean, however I decided to make a small version first and i’m so glad I did as the colours don’t go together as well as I had hoped. It’ll look lovely on a Christmas toy cot though! I’m intending to add a crochet border (one I’ve learned how, that is!)

WIP 1  WIP 2

I’d not been to Windsor before but it’s beautiful!

Windsor CastleSwans CastleCrooked HouseWindsor

  As much fun as Windsor was, I was very glad to get home to the Bean. 

Where’s the Bean…?  There she is!

Peek-a  Boo! 

Hope you all had great weekends too!

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The Bean and I spent part of Saturday at my Mum and Dad’s house, which meant that while the Bean was playing with blocks (more destructing than creating it has to be said)…


I attacked a pile of sheets with elastic bands (as you do)…

Sheets 2 

…to make some lovely tie-dye goodness!

 TD 1

Not sure what i’m going to do with these (there were just a ‘few’ more), i’m thinking either quilt backs or made into tote bags for Christmas.

Last week I finished up a little craft project for T and P, it’s felt cookie dough for their play kitchen (like I need to explain…)

Molly 20th September 2009 023 Molly 20th September 2009 024

Molly 20th September 2009 025 Molly 20th September 2009 026

Admittedly not the most complicated thing I have even made but probably hopefully still fun if you are 2 and 4. Perhaps I won’t give them the big wooden rolling pin though.

Just because

And a picture of the Bean, just because.

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For the past few years I have dreamed of an entirely handmade Christmas…i.e. all presents handmade by me, wrapped in handstamped brown paper, with matching parcel tags neatly attached. All arranged under a beautiful tree covered in lovingly crafted decorations and the house looking like something out of a magazine. Guess how many times that has happened? If you guessed 1, congratulations – you are only off by 1. Last year, for Bean’s FIRST christmas we didn’t even have a tree up. Our new-parent exhaustion was coupled with the poor little Bean having some sort of bug and being sick numerous times a day for over a week, over the Christmas period. To be honest, we just didn’t have the energy, although we did make sure to have a picture of the Bean next to her Granny’s tree – so at least that can go in the album later on. I did manage to make some gifts but not as many as i’d have liked.

This year, well, I have the Christmas list all written and I’d say about 75% of the gifts will (in theory) be handmade (I’m trying to be realistic)(If I was managing to be realistic, it would probably be about 50%). 

If not entirely handmade, one of the presents for the little Bean will be this wooden doll’s cot that I found at a car boot sale.

Doll cot

It cost the princely sum of £1.50! One of the reasons I love car boot sales (flea markets, charity shops, jumble sales, antique fairs…)  is that you never know what you are going to find. This chance find a couple of months ago has entirely shaped my idea of what we are going to give the Bean. The wooden frame needs re-gluing and re-varnishing (which my very kind Dad offered to do) and I have washed the quilt, pillow and matching sheet. To go with the cot Bean will also have a rag doll, which thinking about it, I actually bought from Sainsbury’s for £3.99 (not doing very well on the handmade front for poor Bean!). I am also going to make some new sheets and blankets for the cot so the doll can have new bed covers every once in a while (plus they will be super easy to make and increase the handmade count).

To get fully into the Christmas mindset, we went for a boiling hot walk to a local Daymarker (like a lighthouse but about 50% less useful). Despite the rough terrain Bean’s smart new pushchair coped admirably, as did Tim when pushing her up the massive hill!

The Daymarker   The view    The view, too

A perfect afternoon. Just the thing to get you in the mood for Christmas crafting!

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