Archive for the ‘Craftiness’ Category

Shameful Secret


I have a secret, and I think it’s about time I admitted it.

Today is the 6th December and as it stands, only Twink will be getting any Christmas presents this year.

Okay, so actually that is a slight exaggeration…Squish has 5 books & a teddy bear with buttons to make it talk coming her way. Everyone else? Nothing. Husband? Nada. Best friend? Not a thing. All our close friends’ children who we know will be giving our children presents? Nope. Our parents? Er…you can probably guess the answer.

I am just in complete denial. I don’t even know how many shopping days till Christmas. Yes, I could work it out, but I’m not going to. I am sticking my fingers in my ears and LA LA LA I CAN”T HEAR YOU!!

I had big plans. I still do actually. I was going to make 95% of the presents. I even know exactly what I want to make for everyone…well, except my husband. Not a clue about him. But everyone else has a thoughtful gift just waiting to be made for them. I even have a tonne of fabric & yarn to make them with. Beans for bean bags. Stuffing for teddies. And yet every evening finds me collapsed on the sofa trying not to fall asleep.

Perhaps, you might think, I have a lot of works in progress, just waiting for the finishing touches. Um…well…I have two. One is a hat…well, it’s 10 rows of double crochet…so nearly a hat. The other is a cushion I am covering with a much loved t-shirt…I have the cushion & I have the t-shirt. Stitches so far? Zero.

What’s the problem? Well, apart from extreme exhaustion caused by (among other things) sick, non-sleeping children & a boiler that temporarily went kaput right when the cold snap started, I’ve been waiting for my room to be finished. My garage has been converted into a room for me. A library, an office, a spare room, and most importantly a sewing room. It’s more or less finished. There are shelves where I have lovingly arranged my fabric stash, and yet more shelves where I have plonked as many of my books as will fit. The desk is in there, as is my sewing machine. But there are also dismembered shelves sitting in the middle of the room, and boxes littering the floor. I’ve been waiting for it to be ready before I start, and I am running out of time.

My gorgeous, messy stash of stuff

So how long should I wait until I admit defeat and do a mad rush to the shops for some 3 for the price of 2 generic dull presents? Or should I hold out a bit longer and order everything off Amazon at the last minute? Or perhaps you can help by giving me a quick slap, chucking a bucket of cold water over me & telling me to get on with it.

…while I wait for your answer…I’m going to sleep….yes, my crocheted hat-to-be is sitting next to me…a hat specifically requested by a little girl who calls me Auntie…and yet I still can’t be bothered. Where the hell did I leave my motivation??

Adjusting the ‘Adjust with me’ Highchair


When Twink started weaning, we bought the Chicco Quick Adjust Table Seat as the clip on style seemed the most suitable for our space. Our dining room might be a decent size, but with a huge dining table, there isn’t space for a massive highchair if I still want to be able to walk around the table! I have to say, it was brilliant. It supported a tiny 6 month old well enough with a towel tucked in behind him, and it meant he was right up at the table with us. However, I soon discovered that it had a fatal flaw. The fabric, while it is wipe clean, cannot be removed from the frame for washing. All you can do is scrub it down as best you can…not easy when food is spread around by a BLW baby. Those corners can hide a surprising amount of food! Someone suggested sticking it in the dishwasher, which may have worked…if we hadn’t left it outside (by mistake!) for a couple of weeks. It went mouldy. The dishwasher didn’t help!

My first little monster in his clip on highchair

So when I was shopping for a highchair for Squish (at around 8 months old…I was lazy and had her in the bumbo before then), cleanability was very important. In an ideal world I would have either the Ikea Antilop (is there a highchair out there that is easier to clean??!!), or a Handysitt. Sadly, my lovely dining table is too tall for the first, and the chairs are too tall for the second. So I decided I wanted something Tripp Trappy, but without the price tag.

I found the Adjust with me highchair & thought it looked perfect. Some reviews mentioned the seat cushion can’t be removed without taking the seat apart, but I thought ‘what the hell, I’ve got scissors!’ So my new highchair arrived. I assembled it & Squish loved it! I was happy just giving the cushions a bit of a scrub with a flannel after each meal…it was clean enough…it’s not like she was eating off it…

Then we had sardines at dinner…

I walked past it the following day and all I could smell was fish! Right then, I went and grabbed my scissors & with a couple of snips I freed the seat cushion (seriously, who is ever going to reach for the allen key every time they want to wash it?!). Obviously, the stuffing immediately started bulging out, so I then dug out my sewing machine and satin stitched the edges closed. I then washed it. I really didn’t want to be sitting there sewing buttons on while it stank of sardines. Yuck!

I then decided to dye it a darker, more stain resistant colour. Black. Perhaps not the obvious choice for a baby’s highchair, but it looks fantastic, & unlike the previous beige based pattern, stains aren’t as obvious. On the other hand, the cat hair left behind when my cat sits in it, is glaringly obvious, but you can’t have everything.

The top of the seat cushion after I attacked it with scissors

The bottom of the cushion with new button closures

In my sewing fantasy world, I would have then sewn on buttons and button loops as soon as it was dry…in the real world, I left it for a few days. Maybe a week. Then decided it had to be done RIGHT NOW. Except I had no ribbon or elastic in a dark enough colour to make loops with. Which is how I found myself braiding brown shirring elastic…anyway, I sewed on button loops, and buttons (which I hate doing) and Squish’s chair is now perfect! Well, it’s horrendously messy sewing on my part, but I can easily remove both cushions to wash.

I think it looks really stylish with its new black cushions

And yes, I know the cushions are already due a wash! My little Squish loves her food, especially now she can sit up at the table with us all…she’d happily sit there eating for an hour!

And Now We Are Two


Twink turned 2 on Saturday. I am no longer the mother of 2 under 2! Strangely it doesn’t feel as momentous as I thought it would. Turning one was a huge event – my first child’s first birthday – and I was full of memories of giving birth to him the year before and how different life is with him. Now we’ve known him for two years I can’t quite remember life before him, so there’s less comparisons to be made between now and then.

He had a quiet birthday as his party will be next Saturday. I bought him a ginormous balloon (seriously, it’s bigger than he is!), we gave him some cards from friends and family that had been delivered during the week (including one from me & Hubby and one from Squishy) and made rice crispie cakes.

I'll just eat some of these rice crispies

Nom Nom Nom

You try some, Mummy!

We had a long, lazy lunch at our favourite pub (Twink ignored his lunch, ate my chips and flirted with the waitresses), then a friend came round with some presents for Twink (although I have a hunch he mainly bought duplo so that he could play with it himself!). Hubby & I have only just ordered his big birthday present…does that make me a bad mummy? Twink had a lovely relaxed day, but still has no real understanding that it was his birthday. However, he has definitely got the hang of opening cards and presents!! We will be wrapping up a few little things to give to him on Saturday, including this:

Exterminate! Exterminate!

It’s bubble bath! Not sure if I’ve mentioned my son’s obsession with Doctor Who, but he LOVES it. His favourite book is a Doctor Who annual which he frequently goes to bed cuddling (yes, really…he usually goes to bed with a few books, but has yet to take any interest in a teddy bear). He is going to go nuts when he sees this…& as for his birthday cake…watch this space!

I managed to make my gift for the party on Friday…

…not bad for my first attempt at freezer paper stencilling! I would have preferred to do another coat of paint, but ran out of time.

Project of this week has been a crocheted matinee jacket for Squishy. At this point it was going well:

Now it is not. I have made the skirt part (which is the bit in the picture) & am half way through the jacket body (next will come sleeves, then collar), however it is already obvious that all is not well. When you attach the jacket body to the skirt part, you are supposed to gather the skirt to make it fit…in my case it would require the jacket body to be gathered as somehow the skirt is the smaller of the two. I have no idea how that is even possible as I have definitely made the right number of stitches on both pieces (counted several times) and although the pieces use different stitches I can’t imagine that my tension changed quite so much…somehow I will have to bodge it to fit, as I really don’t want to start again…and I do feel the skirt could benefit with lots of edging on one end ;-)

Gratuitous picture of my daughter with her pretty blouse on for her brother’s birthday lunch!

Turning a top into a romper suit


Look at this:

After I put this top on this morning, I decided I didn’t like it. It’s just not long enough & people really don’t need to see my tummy. So I thought it would make a perfect romper suit for Squishy…I just love babies in stripes!! So began the bodge fest. Step one was to get some idea of a pattern. Obviously this involved dressing Squishy into the top and taking some ludicrously cute (& blurry – I’m not a photographer and she is very wriggly) photos that really didn’t get me any closer to a romper suit design.

Step 2 was more sensible – find romper suit that fits her & sort of cut round it. I say sort of, because I wanted to keep the pockets and all the neatly finished edges (because that way I don’t have to hem anything!). So it may turn out to be a little roomy in places, it is definitely not symmetrical and the sleeves are definitely going to balloon out at the back…but hey…I bet she’ll love having all that space for her elbows! I also didn’t have any matching thread, but babies like contrast…right?!

Basically I cut out a romper suit shape (without legs) from the front and back, detached the sleeves (keeping them the same shape as on the original top as each end was edged already) and saved a strip of edged material to add to the top of the back piece as the back of my top was taller than Squishy and had to be trimmed. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but as I’ve mentioned before, this was a bodge job and I just cut a little bit here and a little bit there until I thought it might do what I wanted it to. Then I just sewed it all together, turning the sleeves upside down so the bow is at the shoulder instead of the wrist. Sewing the sleeves involved lots of mini pleats which explains the odd shape, but sleeves have never been my forte and they usually look alright once they’re on.

So far I’ve done everything except finish the legs. That can wait until my model is awake and can try on her new outfit so I can adjust the waist (if Madam prefers a more fitted design) and figure out where the crotch needs to be. Here is the outfit so far:

This is the first real item of clothing I have made for myself or my family in too long. Thank goodness for the inspiration provided by my adorable daughter! One day I aim to make a larger proportion of my children’s wardrobes (my sewing room is a work in progress), but for now, every single item is a cause for celebration!¬†Hopefully tomorrow I can post a picture of Squishy in her new finished romper suit!

Edited: Here is the finished article:

Squish doesn’t stay still for very long, so I’m sorry about the blurred photograph. The romper suit is definitely a botched job, but it fits well enough, and the fabric is so lovely and soft. If I do it again I think I’ll either decide against randomly adding a gusset at the last minute or will actually make it properly. I.e. I’ll copy the shape of the gusset in the romper suit I copied rather than just cutting out an odd shaped bit of fabric, hemming it & sewing it on. It ended up ridiculously too small (to the point where it may as well not be there!) & is the cause of a rather large hole…but you can’t see that unless you’re actually looking at her crotch…and she’s always got her legs moving so fast you’d probably be struggling even then!

As with everything last minute, I had decided that I HAD to finish it that evening, so adding the poppers on was done in a rush and therefore had to be done several times. For the record, you can remove hammer in poppers with a pair of pliers and a helpful husband! I just kept on putting the stupid things in back to front…there’s some saying I could put here….something about haste and speed…but I won’t, because even though I know it’s true, the next time I get excited about a project for one of my children, I will once again be in a mad rush to Just Get It Finished!

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