Saturday, 21 January 2017

Patchwork Baby Cot Quilt

A simple nine patch square or irish chain baby quilt.  

I cut long strips of plain brown and patterned fabric the width of my little squares plus seam allowance and as long as the fabric allowed.  They were sewn together into long strips of plain brown, patterned and plain brown.  Another batch the same and a third batch with plain brown in the middle.  Then cut to the right width (square width plus seam allowance).  And finally each block of three was sewn together to make a nine patch square.  

Each nine patch square was sewn to a piece of patterned fabric the same size.  And all sewn together to make the quilt.  

I edges the quilt in some brown cotton I had.  It's backed in plain brown fabric, quilted and bound with satin bias tape.  

It's a very useful dust cover and leaves my daughter's nursery looking lovely and co-ordinated.  

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hair Bobbles as Toys?

I bought my daughter some hair bobbles to pop in her advent calendar.  I assumed we'd need some in the near future and as it's tough to find small inexpensive items so I was running short on ideas.  I hoped she'd like them, bright colours an' all but I wasn't actually expecting her to play with them.

They live on a neglected teddy elephant's trunk.  Today she has demanded the elephant and has then spent the last hour - yes I said hour - pulling them off the elephant and pushing them onto her arm.  Pulling them off and putting them back on.  One full hour of peace and quiet - TV and guilt free.

I figured this was worth sharing . . .

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Valentines Project - Date Night Cards

Here's a little idea for a thoughtful valentine's gift that can be perfectly tailored to your budget.

I used some stiff card to make a little box with a bone folder and score board.  I don't mess around too much when making boxes, there's all sorts of complicated equations out there.  None of that for me.  I look at my score board and pick a line that's as far from the edge as I want my box to be deep.  I roughly measure that and add that measurement to the size I'd like my box base.  I cut one piece of card to that size and one very slightly (1/8 inch) bigger.  I score along all four sides of both pieces and across the little square created at each corner.  I then fold them inwards pushing each little triangle corner inwards and glueing them in place.  Simple, quick and easy, no messing about.

The cards are just a sheet of stiff card with a slightly smaller sheet of decorative paper stuck onto them.  I've used First Edition's Love Story but of course you can do this with any papers.

Each card has a date idea written on it.  You can hand write them or print them as I've done.  You can tailor the ideas to your lifestyle / budget etc.  For example I made most of mine baby and dog friendly like a trip to the beach - no sitter required.  I also included about half with little to no money required, like watching the sunset or a picnic,  But I did include some splurge dates like a canal boat trip (which was awesome btw) and a posh meal out.  There's loads of ideas online if you search for "date night ideas".

I included 12 different date nights, one for ecah month.  You could do more or less as suits your needs.  If your budget permits you could also book and pay for some or all of your dates.  That way they're locked down in the calendar and there's no excuse to not make time.

Incidentally, why is this just for couples?  What's wrong with making a box of dates for me time?  When you think about it, it's just as (if not more) important to spend quality time with ourselves as our partners, or families.  So how about family dates or dates with yourself - oh a few hours in country pub with a good book, a walk alone!!!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Window Pane Pram Blanket in Cotton

This pattern is by Morris & Sons and is availible as a free Ravelry download.  I'm pretty sure you need to have a Ravelry account to access it but if you don't have one - get one!  It's free and you don't get sent any junk.  Just access to oodles of free knitting and crochet patterns.  

I've knitted it in Pegasus Dishcloth Cotton with 4mm needles.  I believe it took me just under four balls to make a square blanket.  It's been a lovely blanket, nice and soft but hard wearing and 100% cotton for a low price.  This yarn is great to knit with, I've done a few projects with it but this was my first blanket.  It's really easy to knit with and I highly recommend it for beginners.  I used to have a lot (and I really do mean a lot) of blind customers who used this yarn to make dishcloths and blankets for charity.  It's ideal because it doesn't split, it's really easy not just to see what's happening with your stitches but to feel it too.  

Sunday, 15 January 2017

East Lancashire Railway - A Trip Aboard a Steam Train

I never intended this to be a parenting blog but to keep the focus on crafting.  But as I try to figure out who I am without my former craft retailer title I'm finding my focus quite rightly pulled towards my new title of full time mummy.  The days do seem to run into one another amidst piles of washing, cooking and cleaning.  I find the need to keep some sort of record of the nice things in between, the things that at the end of the day are the things that really matter.  Perhaps these ideas might be of interest to some people or maybe just to me.  Either way here goes . . . 

A toddler friendly day out amid what was supposed to be a period of severe weather.  I came up with the idea of taking a trip on a steam train.

My little one is becoming fascinated with anything with wheels and trains seem to be emerging as a particular favourite.  I'm keen to relive my "deprived" childhood and get the Hornby set I always converted so I'm very happy to encourage this emerging trend.

I was pretty sure she'd enjoy a nice day out somewhere new with new experiences and all that jazz.  To be honest I half expected the train journey itself to be a bit of an anti-climax.

But no, she spent the whole journey, both ways, gleefully staring out of the window pointing and giggling away.  I think it was the freedom of not being confined to a car seat and being able to sit right next to the window.

She was even excited to see the actual train itself after we alighted.

There were several other families with young children and the same idea.  They all seemed to really enjoy it.  The conductors, drivers and ticket collectors were all really engaged with the children.  Even the tickets were old fashioned thick cardboard punched with an old fashioned ticket punch.  

This wasn't the cheapest day out but it's one we'll definitely be treating ourselves to again.  And given my daughter's clear interest I'm sure we'll be going along to one of the Thomas the Tank Engine event days.  

On the off chance that anyone want's it here's the link to the details of the trains we took -  It set us back £23 ish for two adult return tickets, Little Miss travels free until she's 5.