Monday, 24 August 2015

Diaper clutch and changing mat all in one!


I have a wonderful Phil and Teds Promenade stroller, one that will eventually be able to transform to be able to push two children at once. I love it to bits, but it is pretty big and as I don't drive...yet....Im often getting lifts with people to go places and if we want to go walking anywhere I have to put little one in a carrier, which is fine, but she is getting bigger and heavier and so its not super ideal. So we treated ourselves to a new stroller - the Quinny Yezz - which was on my wish list of baby items! It is super lightweight and goes down soooo small it can be slung over your shoulder like a back pack!


The only issue I had was that it has no parcel shelf underneath or place to hang the ginormous nappy bag us mum's cart everywhere! So I needed something small that I could use to take a few nappies and wipes along with me, and then I can take a small handbag (remember those!?) with toys and purse etc in.  Pattern link after the jump.....



I found this free downloadable pattern with a great tutorial for a diaper clutch from the amazing Deby at So Sew Easy. The pattern can be made in two different styles and It's the perfect size to take a couple of nappies and a half used pack of wipes (to keep it more compact) PLUS its a changing mat all in one go! Boom!

I wanted the clutch to match the jazzy urban feel of the buggy and be wipe clean for obvious reasons, so I used oil cloth fabric from John Lewis and purple and red bias binding from the market, the chevron fabric I bought when we were back in the States from Hobby Lobby.
I tried a tiny modification to the pattern for the button up attachment, which if I'm honest didn't go as well as I had planned, but it still works! See what you think!


This is the clutch all folded up, you can see I put the button on the top, and then made a slice in the oil cloth, and pushed the elastic in and stitched it in place. Not the tidiest job to be honest, I just thought it might be more comfortable than the baby lying on the button, but in hindsight, Ill just stick to the pattern next time! :-s

 

Here it is partially folded up......pockets fit nicely over each other. I usually pack between 3 and 4 nappies and half a pack of wipes.


This is the clutch laid out, pockets are easily accessible, and its a perfect size even for changing my current one year old on.

To have a go at your own version of this diaper clutch visit Deby at this link to her amazing blog: Tutorial and pattern download page

If you like this you may be interested in my other posts:
Easy Baby Teether - Tutorial
Baby car seat canopy - tutorial
Dribble Bibs -Free pattern

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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Easy DIY Educational toys for 0-1 year olds

I knew before our little Annabelle arrived that I didn't want to fill my house with shiny, loud plastic toys that flashed and sang at the touch of the button, they have their place and Annabelle does enjoy them,  but primarily I wanted her toys to be fun and educational, teaching her fine and gross motor skills and teaching her to enjoy learning to work things out and allow her to experience a variety of different materials and textures along the way. Below are a selection of the home made toys I have made her, super easy and cheap to make and she really enjoys playing with them and they have taught her a lot along the way! The cotton reel tub below and the milk bottle top posting box have been her firm favourites for ages now, they keep her happy for ages.



At around 9 months Annabelle developed a LOVE of posting things, I looked it up and kids often have urges to do certain things like posting, or hanging upside down (!) or climbing etc and they are called development schema, you can read more about them on the Nature Play blog here. This toy definitely fed her desire to post and was also very easy to make. All you need are empty cotton reels from ebay or something (ours were painted by her great Grandma when she was in the WI) , and an empty tub with a removable lid (mine was a candy floss tub from Warwick Castle), cut two holes with a scalpel, one so they can go in round end first, and a rectangle hole so they can go in sideways. If I tip these out, she will happily sit there until she has patiently "posted" them all back into the tub. Genius! I stuck the pink coloured card on the lid to give the holes more definition.

Click read more to see the other easy to make toys....



From about 3 months old I have made her a growing selection of "shakey shakeys" as we call them, different shapes and sizes and weights and materials to expand her sensory experiences and hand eye co-ordination and of course to have lots of fun!


For her shakers I have used an empty glass spice jar, single serving jam jar, plastic box my hubbys phone case came in and an unridged juice bottle. They are all filled with different things to get different sounds (I tried out things like rice etc, but they were too quiet!) So experiment with different fillings as the plastic beads against the glass make a lovely high pitch noise, much better than rice or buttons. The glass is heavy and cold and she often likes to suck on that too! The mini jam jar has a single but very weighty metal bead in it. This makes a completely different sound, but it a nice size to hold. Im not worried about her having glass to play with as our house is carpeted, but it is something to be aware of if you make your own. I think the different sizes and weights have really developed her fine motor skills. She is an excellent shaker! She also really loves bells too and these mini maracas we bought on Amazon, took a while to come from China but she really enjoyed them a lot.



This is super simple and so overly used, that this is the second box we have gone through! An empty tissue box, I have run clear cello tape around all the edges and corners to stop it falling apart where she is likely to suck, and then I have filled it with 10 green milk bottle tops, ten red and (almost) 10 blue ones.  Im buying our usual 6 pints of blue top milk in two's at the mo to speed up the waiting process!! Annabelle is was quick to learn to put her hand into the box to pull out the bottle tops, pick the thing up and shake it so they all fell out and is also learning to put them back in! (Now she is older she also puts other things in the box, and holds the box up to her face to see where it is and then gets it out! Looks hilarious!)



I put my hands up here! I saw this idea on Pinterest but it comes from a lovely blog called Laughing Kids Learn! Its called a tug box! Sooooo simple! I didn't actually follow her tutorial (which is very good by the way!) But I took a kids shoe box, covered it in glue, so the paper wouldn't lift off where the holes were made, wrapped it and then using a chop stick poked holes right the way through. I then attached the different ribbons to a kebab stick and threaded them through, knotting on either end enough times to stop it disappearing into the box. I added milk bottle tops for handles on one, and the links you use on a key ring to another for some different ways to tug at the ribbons. This is really good for developing that fine pincer movement needed to pick up small items and fulfils the urge she has to endlessly pull the wipes from the packet, or tissues from the box!



This is my most recent creation, Hubby and I call it the "Infipost!". I used some extra cardboard to build a slope on the inside so that when the ball falls it rolls down the slope and out the hole, I also put some cardboard in the front corners to angle the balls out so they don't get stuck in the corners.
I thought Annabelle would love it because she can just keep re-posting the same ball over and over. However, I think it annoyed her at first because the ball kept coming out every times she put it in the hole, and the thing she liked about posting was the fact they stayed put or "disappeared". Anyway she has very much warmed to it nw, and squeals every time the ball comes out an then re-posts it! She has also been experimenting posting other things in the hole and has been delighted that they come out too!


So these I didn't make but I wanted to share anyway. Annabelle LOVES these and we have passed many many many minutes playing with these tape measures. they are the sort that click while you pull them out and then there is a button you press to make the tape whizz back in again. Even from very young maybe 4-5 months she would hold the end of the tape, and I hold the rest of it, I pull it away, "click click click click" and then press the button and whizz it back to her hand = big smiles! And repeat and repeat and repeat until your arm gets tired!! For some reason she loves to hold it to her mouth, or hold it to her head, I guess she likes the vibration of the clicking! Simple but great fun!


The balls, believe it or not are cat toys!! Bought at my local pet shop, she LOVES these, they fit one in each hand and she will often shake and shake and shake them until she has let go and they have flung across the room!!! I think these will be a great encouragement to help her crawl, as they make noise when they roll away! I even stuffed one inside the patchwork ball above that I made her, you can make one too using my pattern and tutorial which I will post at a later date.

Just to cover myself here please don't leave your child unattended with these toys due to the small parts, be careful if using the glass not to use them on hard surfaces incase they break. Be careful not to make the ribbons too long on the tug box to prevent strangulation.

Id love to know if you have any success making these or you have any other ideas of cheap and fun toys to make for you kids. Comment below!

If you like this you may like:
Patchwork fabric Ball (coming soon!)

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Friday, 3 July 2015

Delicious Homemade Fudge

We used to make this fudge nearly every weekend as kids and its been a long while since I've made a batch, but it was my Dads birthday last weekend and traditionally, alongside Liquorice all sorts, fudge is another one of his favourites (at least I hope it is Dad and you aren't just being polite now!? ;-) So I whipped up a batch while Annabelle had breakfast, took me right back! Its super smooth and soft and wickedly moreish, the best thing is it's cheap and super easy too! Hope you enjoy it!


Click read more for the ingredients and recipe below



All you will need is:
1 can of Evaporated milk (410g can)
1lb (453g) of Golden Caster Sugar
Generous teaspoon of butter
20cm circular tin
20cm circle of greaseproof paper

  • Cut out your circle of greaseproof paper and place in the bottom of your tin. Grease the side of the tin with a little butter
  • Put all the ingredients in a thick bottomed pan on a low heat and wait till all the sugar has dissolved. No need to stir until the next step.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and bring the mixture to the boil, stir the mixture every now and then to make sure nothing is catching at the bottom or the sides. Be VERY CAREFUL as this can suddenly over boil and its a very sticky mess to clean up! 
  • You need to boil the mixture until it reaches the "soft ball" stage, to do this fill a bowl with cold water from the tap and every now and then drop a drip or two of the fudge mixture into the water. When the fudge is ready it will drop into a neat shape on the bottom of the bowl without any of the mixture dissolving and dispersing into the water. You may need to keep changing the water if it gets too cloudy. Use your finger tips and try and form the mixture into a small soft ball, when this happens, take the fudge off the heat.
  • Next comes the tiring part- Beating! Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture continuously until the mixture suddenly thickens and goes a bit like elephant skin, all wrinkled. I often find that tipping the saucepan on its side slightly helps, and employing the arm of other people in the house! (namely my hubby!)
  • Tip the mixture into your prepared tin, and then refrigerate. Alternatively you can now press toppings into the fudge like mini marshmallows, coffee beans, hundreds and thousands, or popping candy! Go wild!
  • After the fudge has cooled completely you should be able to easily tip it out of the tin and cut it up with a sharp knife. 
  • Wrap it up, box it up quickly otherwise you might just eat it all in one sitting! 

If you like this you may be interested in:


or my other popular posts:


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Sunday, 10 May 2015

How to use Bondaweb - Photo tutorial

This tutorial is for my friend Esther! Bondaweb is amazing stuff and enables you to do appliqué so crisp and neatly. So this is a very quick tutorial just to show you how to use it correctly, but the possibilities are endless and can give you such a neat professional finish. (Have a look at my previous post about simple ideas to quickly jazz up a blank T-shirt here
I love using this to do appliqué onto jersey fabrics especially as they tend to move about when you stitch onto them, but doing it this way the Bondaweb holds the design and the fabric in place. Below are two I have just recently done, one inspired by Fi Fi Lapin and the other is just something I drew.



So if you want to know how to use it, click read more!

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Sleep mask tutorial and free Pattern

Summer is definitely on its way, and with that comes bright early mornings! I have made a blackout blind for Annabelles room to prevent any unwanted early risings, but haven't made one for our room, and seen as my husband can sleep through anything, I figured I just needed to make it dark for myself, much easier and cheaper than buying/making blackout blinds! So here is a free pattern and photo tutorial for making yourself a sleep mask either to keep those pesky sunbeams at bay first thing in the morning, or to help you sleep on a long haul flight, or for whatever reason you may want a bit of personal darkness. Its a very quick project and I managed to get mine done in an hour and a bit despite having a 6 month old who needs attention! (If you don't have a baby I imagine it will take you much less time!!)


For the free pattern and photo tutorial click "Read more"

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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Crochect Chevron Blanket

I have finally finished crocheting my chevron blanket I started more a year ago! It really shouldn't of taken that long to do, but I hadn't decided on a way to finish it and so it has been left incomplete for a long time! As this was the first thing I had really crocheted (apart from the baby shoes) my tension wasn't quite right, and I'm not sure I had the correct hook size for the yarn and so my sides were a bit uneven, and I had also decided to fill in the zig zags at the top and bottom of the blanket which made it very lumpy looking.  I thought it really needed something extra to give it a better finish. So after much deliberation I decided to back it in a pale blue jersey fabric and then used matching embroidery thread to hand quilt the back to the front, much quicker and quirkier than other options. I machine stitched the jersey to the front of the blanket to create a border. In hindsight I should of planned the blanket a bit more carefully as the yarn I chose was although very smooth and soft, it was very expensive, and I needed waaaay more yarn than I anticipated! So her is the most expensive blanket I have ever made or been given! If you want to have a go yourself you can find a free pattern here.



So here it is! Its lovely and smooth for Annabelle to play on and because its so heavy it's also nice and warm to use over her in her carseat.
See more after the jump.....

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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Jazzing up baby t-shirts

Anabelle is growing very fast and in a bid to save some money I bought some plain t-shirts in the sales, a set of 3 for something like £2. Now that I don't have much time either (babies are quite time consuming !;-) I needed a quick and easy way to jazz them up, so I did some simple animal silhouettes using the wonder of Bondaweb and some cute ditsy print fabric! Wanting to keep traditional I decided to do woodland animals (apart from the Dashund, I just love them!), and found the sillouhettes using google images. I drew the shapes onto the paper side of bondaweb, ironed it onto the back of the fabric and then cut them out. I then ironed them into the t-shirts and stitched round the edge. I'm very pleased with the result, they look super cute and trendy. I will also be posting a "how to" bondaweb  for those who want to know how to use it properly. Let me know what you think!



More after the jump......

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