Half term fun

Half term is upon us. This is our 2nd since having Baby Critter but first was Christmas holiday so was slightly dreading this one.

So Monday was our Narnia outing.

Tuesday I decided should be lego day!!! So here’s what we built:

Lego cafe complete with treasure chest & horse drinking area. Guests included Loki, Iron Man, Sponge Bob, a yeti, a ninja & a horse.

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Space Ships accompanied by a few Star Wars crew.

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Big Critter proud of his makes

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Baby Critter watching the fun.

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My houses copied from the front of the lego box. As you can see from picture at the left bricks were all over floor so Daddy could find the bricks we needed easily.

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The Stars Wars crew immediately moved in although tensions ran high with enemies living next door.

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Saturday we did decopatch cats ready for Mother’s Day gifts.

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We did other stuff but it was rather boring.

tracy

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Decopatch Cats

As a different Mother’s Day gift this year I liked the look of decopatch &  thought Big Critter could help me. I decided on cats as looked cute.

I got my tools : cats, brushes & paper from The Crafty Crocodile.

First we ripped the paper into stamp sized pieces & popped the glue in a tub.

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Next we spread a little glue on the cat.

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Avoiding sticky fingers we picked the paper up using our brush, pattern side up.

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Then apply to the cat & cover with more glue to secure.

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Once whole cat is covered check as best you can for missed areas.

Leave to dry for about half hour so glue is no longer white. Once glue is a little dried we checked for missed spots.Using same method cover missed parts & leave whole thing to dry for a good 24 hours

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Ours are as above but you can now varnish, add gems, glitter, paint, eyes anything you wish. If you add extras is a good idea to varnish & if to be kept in damp place like a kitchen bathroom or windowsill then advised to varnish.

Big Critter is 5 & really enjoyed this project finding it fairly simple although too quick for his liking & not enough glue involved!!

tracy

My Favourite Sewing Tools

As you may or may not know I love sewing. They are a few tools that make this easier for me so thought would show you what they are.

MAGNETIC SEAM GUIDE

The clue is definitely in the title with this one you place it on your metal needle plate on machine & just keep fabric next to it should have perfectly even seam allowance. I use this for the bottom of my pin box too. Its a good strong magnet & if my box falls over or off the table then most stay together instead of scattering. Also because I’ve used it for a while the pins are magnetised so stick in clumps when fall out & the rest I can pick up with the magnet leaving my fingers pin free.

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LIGHTER, TAPE MEASURE, PENCIL, RULER, CHALK, SMALL SCISSORS & PATTERN MARKER

LIGHTER: This is fab for finishing off the edge or ribbon, cord, even elastic so doesn’t fray!

TAPE MEASURE: Its good for measuring everything, easy to po round your shoulders so always handy.

PENCIL & RULER: Maybe obvious one but handy all the same for drawing up patterns, measuring etc

CHALK: Handy to mark material with but easy to wipe or wash off shows up better than pencils & last longer than pens

SMALL SCISSORS: These are fab because sharp good, to get into small tight areas of a make & good for cutting open button holes

PATTERN MARKER:  This is a mark free way of marking your pattern onto fabric. Also works to mark pattern onto paper. Sounds daft? well its perfect for multi sized patterns you may wish to not cut so can use again & again it just makes tint holes to mark.

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ZIPLOC BAGS

May seem an odd one but if your like me with limited space for draws & shelves but have 20 projects waiting to be made these are great! I put all the bits I need in for a project- material, pattern etc then use smaller ones for buttons so don’t get lost amongst the rest of it. Makes starting new project so much easier.

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SEWING MACHINE

This is my second sewing machine & I love it! If your sewing a machine isn’t always necessary because can use hand needle however I prefer the quickness & neatness of an electrical machine.

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BIG SCISSORS  & SEAM RIPPER

BIG SCISSORS: I use my big scissors more than the little ones. They can be used for pattern cutting & for chopping small threads. I would recommend having separate paper & material scissors otherwise you risk blunting your material scissors using them on paper & ruining your fabric by using paper scissors.

SEAM RIPPER: We have all gone wrong & had to redo what we did or at least undo a couple of stitches. This is where the seam ripper comes in. You can do a slow job taking few stitches out one by one or rip your seam open quickly without ruining your project.

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PINS

Versatile item. Used to pin pattern to fabric, fabric to fabric to sew, undo small stitches or mark a starting or finish point. You can sew over them although most of mine are bent from doing so & if you get glass head ones can iron over them.

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SCISSOR SHARPENER

I sew a lot therefore use my scissors a lot so they get blunt. Rather than buy more i chose to get this to prolong their life! Its fab & works!

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ADJUSTABLE ZIPPER FOOT

Most machines come with a zipper foot however these don’t allow you to get close to your zip at all. This foot does. Its adjustable so can use for variety of things like when using popper tape for example.

Hope this was of some use for you & made you look at your tools differently or better still introduced you to something didn’t know could get.

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tracy

True definition of a WAHM

Now you may think this will be short blog WAHM means Work At Home Mum/Mom/Mummy/Mother. You’d be right it does but what does that actually mean!

Well here’s my day:

7am Wake up sort baby bottles, clothes & bags

730am Wake Big Critter up by this time Baby Critter is hungry so its a juggle of iron school uniform (yes I know I should do it night before!!) feeding baby getting Big Critter dressed (lots of counting & shouting) then attempt to look civil myself.

8am Rush is on to make sure everyone fed, clean & ready to leave

8.15am Coats on, shoes on, bags ready ,baby poo-ed! yikes

8.25am Leave house as fast as possible because bus due any minute!

8.35am Bus comes takes us to school

9am I’m 1 child down.

10am Arrive home where baby decides to wake screaming! so it’s another bouncing, cuddling session

10.30am Once he’s calmed I’ve had a cuppa & breakfast time to sew.

11am Baby wants feeding again followed by nappy change

12pm Time to finally do something. start sewing, cutting, emailing whatever is needed & baby is moaning. so with me doing what I need to do I tell Baby Critter exactly what I’m doing in the most interesting silly voice I can. WOW cutting material out whilst catching my finger in scissors never sounded sooo exciting.

1pm Baby is finally asleep so decide to grab quick lunch

1.30pm Time to sew again whilst baby quiet.

2pm Not long till have to pick Big Critter up. thankfully Daddy takes on this duty 4 time out of 5.

2.30pm Daddy leaves the house to get Big Critter. Baby wakes up for a bottle followed by another nappy change.

3.30pm Big Critter home with Daddy so I get an hour to work whilst he tends to both.

4.30pm Time to make tea whilst Baby Critter decides would be fab time to scream for no reason

5.30pm Sit to eat. yum.

6.30pm Big Critter has spent the last hour moaning & crying he hates what I made to eat whilst also claiming to be hungry but finding time to sneak off to play whilst laughing at us when we tell him off. Baby Critter sits happily loving the drama

7.00pm Finally managed to bribe Big Critter to eat (hmm well 10% of time maybe) so time for bed. Now depending on if he ate or not depends what level of whinge we get thrown at us:

He ate: He runs off usually excitedly screaming at same time as I’m nooot tiiireeddd gets spat out. Finally wrestle him to bathroom to do teeth where there’s shouting & screaming he’s been deliberately hurt. Teeth done, wee done & nice story with Daddy whilst I tidy up.

He didn’t eat: He runs off usually excitedly screaming at same time as I’m huuuuuunnngrrrrryyyyy is screeched. Finally wrestle him to bathroom to do teeth where there’s shouting & screaming he’s been deliberately hurt. Teeth done, wee done & nice story with Daddy whilst I tidy up.

Spot the difference 😉

I finally get some quiet time & you guessed it Baby Critter either moans for attention, nappy change, bottle or embarrassingly & not encouraged he wants to see the telly!

8pm Baby Critter will either be quiet where we have a repeat of happily explaining the minor details of sewing to the 3 month old or he will be screaming because of his teeth or wind. At the same time Big Critter will be sneaking out of bed with a number of excuses:

I need a wee, I need a drink, I need a cuddle, there’s shadow/noise, dog next door is howling so I can’t sleep & best one is I had a nightmare before he’d even slept .

 9pm Usually I finally have enough peace to sew uninterrupted for longer than 10 minutes.

10.30-11pm I stop work to relax. by this point baby is either asleep or awake if he’s asleep i get to have a cuppa & relax which usually results in me dropping off. If he’s awake he wants cuddles, food & nappy change.

12am Give up & go to bed (if I’ve not already fallen asleep)

5am-7am Baby moans periodically for his dummy

7am Zombie mummy arises for the next day.

I look at what I’ve achieved & feel deflated & tired. People are chasing me for orders so promise to get done apologise for a bad night then have to ignore baby to get done. When I get chance to sew I do it fast (quality still achieved but I’ve learnt how to get it done!) & feel proud its finally ready to send.

Then the weekend hits!!!! Who invented weekends for WAHM was laughing their socks off whilst doing so giggling at the trauma & stress they suffer. Monday morning never looked so good!! OH NO its half term!!!!! its like a huge extended never ending weekend!

Now my day is stupidly talking to baby whilst being interrupted every 10 seconds maybe more with:

Mummmmmyyyyyy

Yes Critter?

Choose from following: can I have a snack, can you play lego with me, can I watch a DVD, can we go out, will you play with me, can we play a game, I’ve done a poo, I trumped/burped, the baby trumped/burped, is it lunch time yet, when is daddy coming,

Response is either: smile, sulk, cry scream, oooohhhhhhh, YES!!!!, whoo hoo or crossed arms & lots of stomping.

Phew!!

Summer holidays you holler?? If you swear at me again I will not speak to you again!

So next time you wonder what the hell is taking me or other WAHM so long to get sewing look at this blog & give them another week whilst smugly smiling because your baby sleeps lol!!

Have to add though 99% of time there’s a smile on my face.

tracy

Cross Stitch Basics

My mum taught me to cross stitch when I was younger so thought I would pass it on plus some bits I’ve learnt along the way.

 First what do you sew on?

 
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left: 14 count white aida

top middle: waste canvas

bottom middle: 28 count evenweave

top right: plastic canvas

bottom right: pink 12 count aida

14 Count Aida

This is the most common material used for cross stitch. Aida can be bought in variety of colours and sizes.

Waste Canvas

This can be used to cross stitch a design onto to normal material or clothes then removed after use. you can tack it on do your design as normal then take away.

To take waste canvas off you soak it for about a minute in warm water & slowly take the strands out with tweezers sounds time consuming but is relatively quick job

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As can see easily removed even when dry.

28 Count Evenweave

Evenweave has a higher count than aida so is often softer & makes the holes less noticeable. This comes in variety of earthy colours mostly beiges.

Comes in variety of counts all high. When sewing this you don’t use every hole like usual you only use every other hole.

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project using evenweave

project using evenweave

 

Plastic Canvas

This is a flexible plastic with holes for cross stitch. Perfect for decorations because can sew & cut out unlike normal aida which frays. This material is also good for making fabric boxes sturdy.

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project using plastic canvas

 

12 Count Aida

If hadn’t realised the smaller the normal the bigger the ‘holes’ look. The higher the number the smaller because the count refers to how many threads make up the fabric. This is good for bigger projects like cushions. The crosses done will be bigger than with 14 or high count.

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project using 12 count

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mum’s tips

These are the top tips I was taught!

  • When start a new project start with the light colours & work your way up to dark & bright ones. This is to prevent the dark showing through under bare parts of your work or worse through the light stitching.
  • Do all stitches in same direction because although can see in picture below its barely noticeable there is a very subtle difference if go in different directions.CIMG7987
  • Use an embroidery hoop. This keeps your work steady & the aida evenly spread. If you don’t use a hoop your work can get squashed up & look uneven when finished
  • Handy tools to have to hand are: embroidery scissors, pen or crayon for marking which squares you’ve sewn, spare needle & something to put them all in.

How To

We start with 2 strands together & a needle.

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Put your needle through start point leaving about 1 inch at back.

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On other side put needle back in towards the back diagonal to other stitch to create a slanted stitch. The first half of your cross.

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At the back you can trap your tail under stitches you’re doing. This makes it neat & importantly keeps it flat with no bulky knots.

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 This is example of sewing in same direction.Sew in rows doing all half stitches.

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Once you have finished your row work your way back by crossing your stitches as shown.

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When you finish a strand you can trap the excess in existing stitches. Stop sewing with about 2 inches to spare you will mostly likely find it too hard to sew .

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Now to back-stitch. When you back-stitch you only use 1 strand of thread with your needle.

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You start again at back leaving 1 inch to the back. Because we’re sewing in a straight line you can’t ‘trap’ the excess the same so you should do this before starting sewing. Pull it to front and insert back in the hole to the right, next to it.

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Bring back to the front through next hole to the right…

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.. & back towards the back through the hole to the left, so you complete your line as you go rather than come back. Continue till all done & secure at back.

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You can also add beads to projects if like me you can’t do a french knot to save your life.

Here are a few extra projects I’ve done.

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xas cush 

tracy

Through the wardrobe…..

The Narnia Experience kicked off our half term yesterday. A Christian group have set this interactive experience up.

We had emailed previous asking about babies coming & was told thats fine there are free but don’t bring a pram or will be asked to leave it in cloakroom so we took the sling.

This is me, Big Critter & Baby Critter.

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Daddy & Big Critter playing races on the way.

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What we know of the group that run it are called In Another Place & are a charity! They are based as far as I can tell in Crosby & do this for free using it as a way to get their Christian message across.

They started small in a church & found there way here:

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Once inside the experience starts! We are transported back to the 1940’s where the original book The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe took place.

We are greeted at the door asked for our ticket then asked to go up some stairs to a waiting area. At the old fashioned ticket booth a man sits to tell you were the loo’s are & to ask you to sit in the waiting room to wait your turn.

The show starts with girls dancing on a station platform however by time it got to our turn the girls had disappeared to get changed ready for home. We also got a video they had created showing the beginning of the story.

The housekeeper then shows us to a room where we are told the rules & asked to pick a trail. Lucy or Edmund.

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We chose Lucy so we could visit Mr Tummus’ house, although Big Critter called him Mr Tumble & Mr Thomas.

So off we went through the wardrobe. At this point your not allowed to take photos which is understandable because it would ruin the atmostsphere but also would have been nice to show you how cosy it all was!

Narnia forest smelt delicious like Christmas all over again, where Mr Tummus greeted us by throwing parcels at us. Next we got to meet the Beaver then run off to the icy waterfall.

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We got a ride in ‘Santas’ sleigh then to meet Aslan. The White Witch turned up from the Edmund Trail at which point we went to the stone table where Aslan dies & is reborn.

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After this we needed to go to the Witch’s Castle where we set the people of Narnia free which resulted in an expressive dance.

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Once this was completed we where crowned King’s & Queen’s of Narnia!! Once a King or Queen of Narnia always a King or Queen of Narnia.

Of course it can’t last forever & we had to head back home through the wardrobe where the Professor wanted to speak us about what we’d learnt on our journey.

Aslan wanted to speak to us one last time, although this is out of order of the book this is what occurred.

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He was rather cuddly looking & I snuck a photo in.

As a last activity we were offered chance to add a prayer or wish to their lovely paper trees.

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Big Critter just draw a lovely picture but some of the prayers were well awesome! The first that struck us was the wish ” I want to be a pony”. Others included the wish that their favourite football team would win, some thank you’s for a ‘grate’ day. There were also lovely ones wishing everyone else had a great/nice/fab time at the experience & wishing family & friends the best.

All in all it was a good day however as always I have a few niggly points that I must mention.

The first thing we noticed was because it was held in one big hall with 2 groups going round at same time (split into 4) that we could overhear other parts of the experience others were having. Mr Tummus wasn’t able to be heard over them.

The other gripe I has is I wanted to meet the first Aslan we encountered with the White Witch. Gutted is not the word fancied a huge cuddle!

The final gripe was it was short! I would have loved to have seen more parts of Narnia & some parts to be longer & more interactive. The chance to explore & take photos afterwards also would have been a nice luxury.

However these are small points & was worth the money to get out & have fun.

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tracy

Baby Show

So I went to the Baby Show in Liverpool today with a friend and her children. We attended a similar event in Manchester last year when Baby Critter was about 6 months gestation.

Talking today about which show was better as both were very very different we had differing views.

My friend felt the Liverpool show was better because we got more freebies and cost us less. I used a groupon offer for £6 ticket, she got hers for free in exchange she wore her baby in a sling that day.

The freebies we got were: allergy medicine, weaning spoon x2, fruit puree pouch, 3 magazines, balloons for the kids, lots of sweets (for the kids of course), cream sachets and some multigrain snack. There was no obvious nappy change or breastfeeding area we could see.

At Manchester we got a free Tommee Tippee bottle then a goody bag with dummy, fruit puree pouch, spoon, wipes and some sort of snack but this cost us £2 and 2 tickets to gain entry were £16. There was also free extra fruit & veg puree pouches in a feeding area, special feeding area with curtains for breastfeeding mums and nappy change area with free nappies & wipes provided.

Another difference was the show guide. Free at Manchester £2 at Liverpool. We didn’t buy one the show was so much smaller there was no need and to be fair a rip off, although proceeds are donated to Alder Hey which is a fab children’s hospital.

I enjoyed the Manchester show and hoped for similar stalls today so could look at stuff for Baby Critter who was still a womb dweller at the Manchester show.

I expected highchairs, prams, toys, sit in toys, more prams and baby food stalls. We got none of that well nearly there was 2 pram stalls both selling big prams whereas I wanted to play with buggies & small prams. The only high chairs at Liverpool was the free ones to use at the snack area & only toys were those children pre owned or the stalls put out for show not to play with or buy.

I felt the Liverpool show was less aimed at babies at more at anyone who strolled by. I say this because amongst the more obvious stalls was also a cheese company, a racecourse & posh hotel which let’s face it most parents can’t afford even if can find a sitter.

At Manchester we saw all the big brands with endless baby products especially LOTS of prams hehe.

However there were some fab stalls I didn’t see at the Manchester show like Sands, The Liverpool & Wirral Sling Library and the Vital Baby Stall (they were at Manchester but we didn’t look till today & would like to say will be buying more products).

So if you want to attend a baby show either get a cheap or free ticket or make sure it’s got more child orientated stalls than not & don’t worry so much about the freebies they are nice but not worth the trip just for them.

Roll on the next Manchester show!

tracy