Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has been, generally, a good day. A few sibling squabbles here and there but plenty of fun, lots of lovely smells and food, and, fortunately, very productive all round!

Overall the balance of chaos to Christmassy-ness has improved. The exception to this would be, predictably, the kitchen; that looks exactly like 4 children have made gingerbread houses in it, as well as lots of other cooking and baking. I'm off to tackle it in a minute.

Pompom making finally finished.

I think we have 20 white pompoms to string like this, as well as quite a few red ones that went on our driftwood tree.

Mince pies were made and eaten.

Games were played and books read and a teeny bit of last minute making was squeezed in. All making for tomorrow is now finished, hurray! But there is a little bit of finishing still to be done for presents to be delivered later in the week - loads of time for that!

And then, with much excitement, bedtime...

The boys both sleep up high, in bunk style beds, and were far too tricky to risk photographing, but the girls, having their sleepover together, were much too cute to resist nipping down for my camera, especially as they'd conveniently left on their light!

Still a little wrapping to finish now as well, but very much manageable. So, a Happy Christmas to you all. Hope you have a wonderful, peaceful time filled with family and friends.

Sally XXX

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Reindeer Take 5

The Christmas making season seemed to start with robins and is now ending with a flurry of reindeer creativity...

1) It all started when the girls had a charity 'Wear a Christmas Jumper' day at school near the end of term. Unfortunately, although Maria is the proud owner of a sparkly penguin jumper (present!), Venetia is Christmas jumperless. I know, I know, tis a deprived childhood we're providing for her! But since I had no desire to go out and buy one we decided to improvise and make a little brooch to go on a plain jumper. I did suggest a robin, but, like Maria, I think Venetia had had enough of the little birdies and firmly requested a reindeer. So this is what I came up with for starters...

Which I do really like. But then I wondered why I hadn't gone down the Rudolf route since it was for a child not an adult, so I had to make another...

Just several layers of wool stitched together, with brooch backs sewn on to them.

2) After that it was a short hop and a skip to a reindeer head cushion from recycled wools...

3) And some reindeer and pompom bunting to accompany it...

But I do have to say that, although I love this in theory, in practice it keeps getting tangled, is a nightmare to photograph, and I think possibly the antlers may droop when it's hanging!

4) Those of you who know me, and therefore know how completely rubbish I am with any kind of hair 'styling', will realise how impressive this next one was...

Idea spotted on Pinterest and pinched - find it here.

Please ignore Theo's pallet building site off to the right!

5) And the last one is a bit of a cheat because they're still under construction, but I'm fast running out of posting time here so it can't wait any longer. Sam and I managed to go off for a lovely, long walk last week, along a beautiful river to the sea (Watersmeet to Lynmouth for anyone in N Devon).

Don't be fooled by the shorts, it was pretty cold!
 And as well as enjoying some fresh air and gorgeous scenery...

We were rewarded, when we reached our end destination, by a beach full of amazing driftwood.

So, of course, we gathered up as much as we possibly could to take home with us! And it seemed perfect to try and recreate these deer that we spotted, scattered around the woods in the Forest School group Maria and I went to last year.

So this is the plan. They're started, but I'm not entirely sure they'll be finished! Not necessarily for this Christmas anyway. Since, despite all my best intentions, we are still not wonderfully organised! There's crazy pompom making going on, by all of us, for a decoration I really want to get finished, gingerbread house pieces are cooked but awaiting assembly tomorrow, there might even be a couple of presents nearly but not completely finished, plenty of cooking still on the 'to do' list, and the house is looking far more chaotic than Christmassy! Maybe one year I'll manage it! Hope you're all more on track than I am.


PS Nearly forgot, still got half the wrapping to do too - but, looking at the positive, that's half less than this time last year!

Friday, 19 December 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment, and here's mine...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Monday, 15 December 2014

Misbehaving Hexies Tamed

Way back in October, I was having trouble with some hexies (here), they just wouldn't work together as I'd hoped and I ended up having a complete rethink and turning just one of my hexie 'flowers' into this. 

I actually finished it ages and ages ago (as you can see from the real flowers in bloom here at our local RHS gardens), but I was not very prompt at sending it off to its new home. Getting round to posting things is never my strong point!

The front is all from wool blankets and it's backed with a soft, stripey, flannel sheet. I just quilted the centre hexagon and around the 'flower'.

So I still have 6 other wool hexie 'flowers' now without a plan. They may go a similar way to this one or something else might occur to me.

It feels quite strange to be posting something on here that is in no way connected to Christmas,all making round here seems to be revolving around that at the moment! Is anyone else having any feelings of slight panic that they're nowhere near finishing anything like what they'd hoped to?! Only 10 more sleeps to go, yikes!


Sunday, 14 December 2014

This Moment

Here's a late link to Soulemama's moment, and here are our moments, Christmas tree moments, and lovely to think there are so many Christmas tree moments going on in so many homes around this time of year...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ten in the Bed - what we're reading and making

Carie, over at Space for the Butterflies, who writes beautifully about her family and her making, and always seems to put into perfect words parenting experiences and moments that ring so many bells with me, has a weekly feature that I love - What we're reading. We have a huge number of books in the house, and after 4 children I did think I was a bit of a know it all with children's books. But I have discovered some wonderful new authors, and even new books by favourite authors, from Carie's reviews. I think, because we have so many books we love already, that I'd stopped  keeping up with any new talent out there, so a fresh pair of eyes has suddenly shed a whole different light on it.

Now a children's book review isn't necessarily something that would fit with what I tend to write about here. But, it just so happens that my latest making is directly linked to 'what we're reading', so I feel I can completely legitimately write it here and link it up over at Carie's! 

It is an old favourite, rather than any wonderful new story, and I have taken lots of photos of the making but none whatsoever of the reading, or the book itself. Pretty poor review really! Here's Amazon's picture for you:

It's a book that I've read, and sung, with all the children. A very simple book, based completely on the song, but we love the song and we love the illustrations in there. The 'little one' in question has a wonderfully eclectic mix of 'toys', who share his bed and 'fall' out, one by one. Maria is possibly a little old for it in some ways now, but she was reading it to herself a couple of weeks ago, and enjoying it so beautifully that I just had to stand and watch her. When she spotted me I had to go and read it with her, and then we started talking about which animals we'd like to make up our dream 'Ten in the Bed'. The talking turned into drawing...

I was allowed to contribute a couple of the occupants of our bed - the mouse and the owl, and to help drawing a dog! So often I find that books we read lead on naturally to other areas of learning.
After we'd finished the drawing, writing and all the singing that went with it, I remembered a gorgeous little make I'd 'pinned' a while back that was very much inspired by the song - find it here. And Maria's dream ten seemed perfect to secretly turn into another Christmas present for her, especially as I could use the same basic design of the 'doll's bed rug' to create the 'bed' here.

I started out with 3 pieces of scruffy wool blanket for the bed - one for the base, a slightly smaller piece for the 'covers' and a thin strip for the 'pillow'.

The 'covers' piece, I patchworked...

It sort of changed part way through, when I remembered I wanted to 'write' on it too, so it didn't turn out anything like I'd planned, and I'm not entirely happy with my colours as a result, but I think Maria will quite like them.

The top green strip is higher than the top of the wool piece, and I folded it over the back of the 'covers' and sewed it down as part of the 'quilting' to finish that top edge.

The finished back.

The pillow had a strip double the width folded over too...

Here's the back.

So the bottom of the pillow is the neat, folded edge, and I just quilted the detail and the middle line here.

The 'base' of the bed (the largest piece of wool) just has two whole pieces of fabric and is quilted - very wonkily, it was late at night! All the edges on it are unfinished at this stage.

Once the 3 separate components are complete, it's very straightforward to put them together...

And then sew all the way round the outside 4 edges, making sure you catch all 3 layers. Then I finished those outside edges with binding as I would a normal quilt.

The covers are loose at the top to slip in any doll or animal...

And the pillow is loose at the bottom to either pad up a little or to store accessories etc...

Obviously this 'bed' is quite wide to squeeze ten into it! And the 'ten' were lots of fun to make...

The cats, a Mummy and her kitten, were possibly my favourites. I didn't try and exactly copy any of Maria's drawings, the scale was all a bit out for starters, but I did try and get a flavour of her drawing in the fabric version, and I think the cats definitely have this - although I did leave out all their claws which were in the drawing.

The owl and the mouse.

The teddy bear and 'little one', slightly Maria-ish!

Snail and ladybird.

And butterfly and dog, Maria has a larger, soft toy dog in a similar style that's pink, ('pinky dog') which is why I made this one pink.

All made from wools and all very lightly 'stuffed'.

And they all, kind of, squeeze in together..

Until, of course, one falls out...


PS Talking about 'learning', which I think I did very briefly mention way up above somewhere, Maria is pretty good on her number bonds to 10 already (possibly partly through reading this book countless times!) but don't you think this make is just a perfect way to help to put those number bonds into practice? So much sweeter than moving beads along an abacus kind of thing!