Nursery On A Shoestring

After such a long time away, it’s hard to know where to start catching up. The Christmas and New Years break was hectic yet productive and we got to visit most of our friends and family on the list. It was so lovely to see everyone that we managed to, and sad not to see the ones we missed but fingers crossed we’ll see them next time.

I had good intentions to get back to blogging and working on pieces for the etsy and folksy shops soon after we got back. Unfortunately good intentions alone won’t get things done. I quickly realised after packing away all the Christmas decs that there was far too much to do in respect to getting the house ready for the baby’s arrival in March and the nursery was still a store room, jammed packed with stuff. So with an ever increasing belly, an ever decreasing budget and time left in the schedule, my husband and I set aside everything else that could wait and set to on the renovations.
We had to get in a guy who calls himself “the window doctor” to replace the blown unit in the window but the rest of the work we did ourselves. I did the plastering and polyfillering and we both then started painting, but I had to drop out of that activity as I couldn’t reach below my knees or above my shoulders very well. It was decided that my husband could do a better job of the painting by himself and I would go and get on with framing pictures and other little and less bump straining tasks.
This weekend the shelves went up and we are finally finished, with just over 3 weeks until the due date.
So here is the nursery before we got going:
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And after:
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Roll of wallpaper to make the tree and animals (drawn freehand with Sharpie pens) – £1.
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Spot the hospital bags packed and ready. Cot donated by our old Land Lady, and very nice it is too.
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Charity shop picture frames, £3 each. The prints I already had from an old exhibition of mine.
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Renovated chest of drawers free from Freecycle and homemade crochet lampshade.
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The awesome nappy changing bag, that actually plays music.
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The beautifully hand crafted (by my Mum) moses basket bedding and accessories. [Moses basket £5 from a charity shop]
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Froggy 50 pence at a nearly new sale, and his chair £5 at a car boot sale. Another piece lovingly restored by my Mum.
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One of my favourite finds, £1 pair of curtains from a charity shop. They were a little too short so I added the red and white gingham myself.
I am so relieved to have finished it. Hospital bags are packed too, so now all I need to do is rest and prepare for the big day. :-)
If you don’t hear from me again for a while it’ll be because our baby has arrived, I do hope to get one or two more blog posts done before then. We shall see.
Love and groovy vibes to all xXx

Fake Christmas!

Last week was certainly a busy one, preparing for the arrival of my family for “Fake Christmas” – an event very similar to real Christmas, only held on a different date, usually before the 25th December and generally because my husband can rarely get enough time off work these days to visit family during the “real” holidays.

We had a lovely festive time together, playing games, exchanging gifts and eating copious amounts of food including this rather excellently decorated (if I do say so myself), if not so excellently baked cake.

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My “Merry Fake Christmas” cake 2012.

As is so often the case with good times and family times, the weekend went far too quickly for my liking and although utterly exhausted and in need of days rest I was sad to see them all go. Not too sad though as I’ll be seeing them again in January :-)

So apart from the making of the cake and some of the presents (which of course I forgot to photograph in my haste last week), I haven’t had much chance to be getting on with other creative works. I am currently working on another two crochet baby blankets and to avoid getting bored with either one, I keep switching between the two, though this does make it tricky to figure out when they might be finished.

 

Such a hectic time of year, and having only recently moved house, and being 28 weeks pregnant, it feels all the more frantic. I’m going to be taking a short break from the blog for the holidays and I hope to be back next year with renewed energy and ready to take on 2013.

 

I’ll leave you with a couple of sneak preview pictures of my two crochet baby blankets in progress…

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

See y’all in 2013 xXx

Technology and I Aren’t Friends At The Moment – At Last A New Shop

I can’t quite believe how long it’s taken me to get the Foksy shop up and running, but here it is at last. I’m not too excited though as I’ve only managed to get two items listed as my stock pile is rather low and there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day – a common complaint I’m sure.

So for your viewing, or even shopping (yes please do shop), pleasure may I present; Littlegemm at Folksy;

folksy.com/shops/littlegemm

I am endeavouring to finish another item for the shop by the end of the weekend. It’s a crochet owl shopping bag and was actually due to be finished this afternoon, but alas time has ticked on by and as usual my ambitious plans to fit everything in have come to nothing, as life itself inevitably and quite regularly, in my case, gets in the way. Perhaps that’s a little over dramatic, but you try being reasonable after 2 solid days wrestling with cameras, computers and the internet to try and complete what should have been a fairly simple task. Obviously I don’t mean literally wrestling, more of a battle of wills. I wont go into details as I’m sure everyone has experienced the frustrating feeling that technology is working against them!

So, that done with for the week, I am looking forward to a very rare night out with my husband at his works Christmas party tonight. Although I wont be able to join in with the bowling, as I’m too pregnant and can’t lift the ball, I am still very much excited about the meal afterwards. I do love a good curry.

I’ll leave you with a little sneaky peak of the lovely hot water bottle cover I just listed on Folksy.ImageImage

Happy Friday everyone! xXx

Trimming the Tree & My Top Five Easy, Homemade, Christmas Decorations and Tutorials

This year the 1st of December thankfully fell on a Saturday. This meant I would have some muscle on hand (in the form of my handy husband) should I need any heavy lifting done, or any clambering up into the loft to fetch more decorations or lights. For the past few years we have had a fairly unconventional tree. Basically a pot of sticks, freshly pruned from whatever there is available in the garden, that I spray with spray paint.

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My lovely husband and our pooch last year with the “Twig Tree”

It’s quite charming really, but this year I felt I needed something more robust as my collection of decorations is getting rather large. I do love a real tree, the smell is just amazing. Our very own live Blue Spruce, or Bruce as we know him, is still very poorly from the Christmas, four years ago, that he spent inside. I don’t think he minded all the lights and decorations, but he definitely wasn’t a fan of the central heating. Poor Bruce :-(

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Poor old Bruce, still in recovery outside.

So until Bruce has recovered we are going without a live tree, or a real tree. And this year to make life as easy as possible in my pregnant state (less vacuuming up the needles) we have gone for a conventional artificial tree. I can’t decide if I’m disappointed with it or not. The decs and lights definitely make it a lot better. I guess, it’s just got less character than Bruce or the Twig tree.

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This years festive creation.

It’s certainly festive enough though, and in the evening with the fire roaring and crackling and all the lights twinkling and decs sparkling it’s definitely doing the job.

So, onto my Top 5 Easy Homemade Christmas Decorations and Tutorials:

Number 5: The Moustache Bauble

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I saw this one and just had to try and make it. It’s basically just some interior gloss white paint over an ordinary plastic bauble (a great way to breath new life into the older more tired looking ones) and some gingham ribbon to hang it. Then take a sharpie (other permanent marker pens are available) to it for the “stash”.

Here’s a couple of others I made using the same technique. There’s no end to what you could create.

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There’s no tutorial for this one, I’m afraid, sorry about that. You can buy one if you follow the link here though:

http://wanelo.com/p/262006/christmas-ornament-ceramic-ball-with-mustache-by-lennymud-on-etsy

Number 4: The Stuffed Paper Heart Map

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This one is kind of a combination of two separate ideas. The first idea was for a map decoration showing where you first met your someone special or where you got married, in this case it shows where we owned our first home together. The second idea is for stuffed paper hearts and that’s the tutorial I have the link to:

http://www.thescrapshoppeblog.com/2012/01/stuffed-paper-hearts.html

You can see that I’ve tweaked it a little in my version, but that’s what being creative is all about, you have to add a bit of your own personality to everything you make, it’s pretty much unavoidable!

Number 3: The Yarn Ball and Needles

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This is one of the first decorations that I made after pinning so many lovely, merry treats to my “Festive Christmas” board on Pinterest. [You’re welcome to follow me there BTW - http://pinterest.com/littlegemm] I made another one of these as a present for a good friend of mine and actually I think that one worked better as it was a dual colour yarn. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of that one. Here’s the tutorial that it’s based on:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=211860.msg2273643#msg2273643

Number 2: The Crochet Christmas Pudding

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I couldn’t leave this one out of my top 5 Christmas decs, even though I didn’t make it myself and it’s not necessarily an easy one to make unless you know your crochet. It was made by a very good friend of mine and given to me as a present. I have found an online tutorial which shows you how to make something very, very similar, but having never tried it, I don’t know how good it is. From a quick scan through, looks like it’s pretty good though. Let me know how you get on if you try it:

http://www.planetjune.com/blog/free-crochet-patterns/christmas-pudding/

Number 1: The Up-cycled Light Bulb Penguin

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This is definitely my favourite as it’s such a simple idea, aren’t they always the best?! And I love penguins as they’re so cute.

I went totally off-piste with this tutorial as I was supposed to be making a snowman! Here’s the tutorial anyway, hopefully someday I’ll get round to making the awesome snowman too:

http://www.kelseybang.com/2011/11/snowman-lightbulb-ornament-and-giveaway.html

Thanks to Kelsey Bang, June Gilbank, and Michele at the Scrapshoppe, for their fab tutorials. If you have a go yourself, I hope you enjoy making these decorations as much as I did.

Happy Holidays Y’all! xXx

How To Upcycle Old Christmas Cards Into Gift Tags – A Craft & Crochet Tutorial

So, time to get down to something creative in the freshly organised studio – exciting!

Whilst clearing out the studio I came across a massive amount of hoarded old Christmas cards. Whilst sorting through them all I had three separate piles; 1) To chuck out, 2) To keep for sentimental reasons, and 3) To keep for crafty Christmas projects like this one.

A friend of mine suggested this as something useful to do with all the cards I have kept and all in all I think it’s worked quite well.

You will need: IMGP5706 Some old Christmas cards

Some cotton thread

A needle

Scissors

Blue tak (or in my case white tak)

A bradawl (or any sharp pointy tool)

A 2.5mm crochet hook

Some gold embroidery thread (or other festive looking embroidery thread)

First choose a card and cut out a gift tag size part of it. One of my favourite Christmas images is the robin so this was an easy choice for me.

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You can see that I cut around the tail here, but actually that proved to be too fiddly in the next couple of steps so I ended up cutting it off. The simpler the shape the better really.

Then put the blue (or white) tak underneath the edge of the card and pierce holes through the edge at regular intervals of about 5mm.

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Then take the needle and thread and sew a blanket stitch through the pre-pierced holes around the edge.

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Next, using the embroidery thread and your crochet hook, make one single crochet stitch into each of the blanket stitches all around the edge. Once you have completed one full round, make a slip stitch to join the embroidery thread to the beginning and secure, leaving a long enough tail to use as a loop for attaching the gift tag to a gift.

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Finally; write your Christmas message on the back, in whatever style and colours you fancy.

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…And that’s it. Simple.

I am very much looking forward to tomorrow as it will be the 1st of December. The day I finally let myself get all festive after resisting the media and commercial hype since before Halloween – Wow it starts early! So I shall be trimming the tree and putting up some lights to the joyful sounds of my Christmas music playlists. Can’t wait! :-)

Ho ho hope to see you soon for the next riveting instalment ;-)

Finally A Studio I Can Work In

Well, I’ll be back-tracking slightly here, as I finished my work on organising the studio before I went to Bath and now I’m back, I’ve finally got time to write about it. As readers of my previous post may remember, I was hoping to get rid of more clutter and, well let’s just say the total number of bin bags filled was nine, yes nine! Roughly half for charity and half for rubbish/ recycling. I could probably chuck more but that will be for another day I think. For now I have the space I need to work and, other than the sofa covered in bits that I have yet to find a home for, I think it’s a pretty calm and organised studio. A good place to get in the creative zone :-)

As promised here are the “after” pictures. And just in case you can’t remember what I had to start with, the before pictures too.

The Studio Before (above)

And after. Just look at that spacious, clear desk top! 

Now all I have to do is stay on top of it and try to keep it tidy and organised :-)

A Lovely Few Days in Bath

 25 weeks pregnant today and the bump has definitely had a growth spurt. Feeling very large already!

Last week ended with the studio pretty much organised and ready to use. I can now happily type this at my desk, which is no longer totally covered in stuff. Pictures to follow in another post, I’m not that organised yet. There was a big push to get things tidy and organised, not just for the baby’s arrival in March but, for the weekend too as my lovely Mum was treating me to a few days away, relaxing in Bath. I certainly didn’t want to go and get myself all relaxed and then come back home to stress over the state of the studio again! I was supposed to travel to and from Bath on the train but of course public transport in the UK never can cope with any weather and considering the somewhat severe, in some cases, flooding we have had in the South West it was no surprise that my trains were cancelled. So last minute arrangements were made and my hero husband offered to drive me most of the way to meet up with my Mum who would drive the rest.

 Image View from the car on the way into Bath.

Travel arrangements aside, I had a fantastic few days. I ate extremely well (and a lot!), enjoyed browsing around the Christmas market and soaking up the festive atmosphere, had an awesome time relaxing at the Thermae Spa for the day, and was very relieved when we finally came across a shop that sold comfy over the bump leggings in my now larger size (possibly due to all the eating!). Most of all it was great to spend some quality time with my Mum, before I become a Mummy too and she becomes a Nanny.

Image The view from our hotel room.

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:-)

 

So cute – the hot water bottles left on our beds in the hotel room. Not that we needed them, it was plenty warm enough.

 

Bath Christmas Market and some of the many pretty Christmas lights.

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The Christmas lights were very pretty and Bath itself, I thought, was a stunning place, despite the drizzle. Beautiful architecture, a great selection of high street and boutique type shops, small enough to not get too lost and yet so much to see, we definitely could have done with a couple more days. My favourite day was most certainly the day at the Thermae Spa. http://www.thermaebathspa.com/ A thoroughly relaxing day, surrounded by yet more stunning architecture in the beautiful spa building and from the surrounding buildings in the view from the rooftop bath. What an experience, bobbing about in the warm relaxing waters outside on a cold November day with steam rising off the water’s surface. Simply stunning. :-)

 

Poolside at the Thermae Spa in Bath, on the rooftop. Me; looking rather large at 24 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The gorgeous City of Bath behind me. 

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My beautiful Mum xxx

Many, many thanks to my wonderful and very generous Mum for such a luxurious treat and also to my heroic chauffer husband for coming to the rescue with the last minute travel disruptions. Love you both very, very, very much xxx

Don’t touch that dial, back soon…