Wednesday, 28 March 2012

From Little Acorns

There are some downsides to being freelance but I have to say that the advantages far out weigh them. So today, with nothing particularly pressing or urgent work wise, Mr B & I decided to go and embrace the gorgeous weather with a day trip to Tetbury & Westonbirt Arboretum. We can't really book holidays in advance as we have no idea when our gaps will be. But suddenly today, we found ourselves looking at six days straight where we can take a little break, spend some time having fun as the three of us, and we're heading off to Paris on Friday to celebrate Mr B's 30th birthday too.
It was an absolutely magical day to take our first trip to Westonbirt Arboretum. Not a cloud in the sky, a gentle breeze, and lots of shade in all those trees so that our little one, with his pale skin and blonde hair, didn't go too red. Little B took his first licks of an ice lolly as we meandered through the trees.
Tetbury is absolutely chock a block with antiques shops but they were so hideously overpriced that we avoided them and instead enjoyed a yummy pub lunch sat in a beer garden, grabbed some hot cross buns at the Hobbs House Bakery, and had a mooch round a couple of charity shops. We came up trumps with a set of duplo, a kit bag crammed full of Brio construction pieces, and eight children's books, all for about a tenner. Next stop, Paris. Whoop, whoop.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Splashing

It's been blooming hot in Bath this weekend so we dug out the sandals and the shorts, and cracked open one of B's Christmas presents which has been patiently waiting for warmer weather in the shed ... a water play table. So cute to see B's chubby grubby legs supporting him whilst he dangles over the edge and splashes. This boy loves water.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Spoons

When he reached about eight months old, our little fella decided he didn't want to be spoon fed any more. Having always done a combination of spoon feeding with finger foods, we had managed to dupe him into eating mouthfuls from a spoon if we distracted him with tasty morsels which he could pick up. But he couldn't be fooled for long and started refusing point blank to be fed from a spoon unless he was in charge of it. I'd been searching high and low on the high street to find tilted spoons which would make the process of self spoon-feeding a little easier for him, but to no avail. So I jumped on Amazon and came across Boon's Benders which have adaptable necks so you can angle them for your toddler's mouth.
We love this spoon. Little B has quickly become a pro at using his and we've found that the small size of the actual spoon part is great as it means that even if he gets the angle wrong, he's still got a good chance of getting the food off when it's in his mouth.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Weekend Bits and Bobbins

We had a lovely lazy weekend in Bath celebrating my first Mothering Sunday (with a little bit of work thrown in for good measure too). On Saturday, we hung out with friends and drank champagne to celebrate special news, and took a trip to The Egg Children's Theatre to see a show. It was Little B's 11th trip to the theatre and he rested his chin on his arm on the balcony and was transfixed for a good twenty minutes! So cute. 

On Sunday, I was spoiled rotten by my boys with cards, daffodils, a gorgeous embroidered dress from my favourite Bath boutique Found, and a yummy roast dinner followed by an episode of Mildred Pierce. Have you seen that show? HBO at its best and some amazing dresses. Plus I baked some baby muffins - plum ones and blueberry ones - from this book. I freeze batches of them and after 30 seconds in the microwave they are defrosted and ready to eat. Yum. I hope you had a lovely weekend too. x

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Get 'em whilst they're hot

That darn talented sister of mine, the Little Peach, has been at it again and has just brought out her first line of prints. All hand screen printed in her little studio in the outhouse, I think they are the bomb. We've ordered La Luna (above), but I think any of them would look absolutely lovely on a little one's wall (or a big one's wall too for that matter). They are limited editions and unframed prices start from a bargainous £15. She has two more coming out soon so watch this space. The prints can be bought here, here, or here.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Daddy Chair

It is not only me who likes to get their craft on in the Biddle household. Mr B has been known to get the craft bug from time to time, and when the mood takes him, there's no stopping him. This is a man who today bought a ladder. Not a flimsy fly-by-night step ladder. A proper, manly step/stairs/wall ladder. A ladder befitting a Daddy who will turn the big three oh this Spring. 

Before Little B was born, we found a wreck of a children's armchair in GB Antiques in Lancaster which we snapped up for £8. It has since been sitting in the shed until last week when it was seized by Mr B in a fit of paint scraping, sanding, new seat fashioning, painting and staple gunning.

BEFORE ...
AFTER ...
Isn't it now the cutest little chair ever? We bought a little pot of Farrow & Ball Babouche a while back when Mr B did up this little chair for the Vintage Baby. I'd been saving a last piece of this gorgeous Kokka illustrated linen featuring The Owl and the Pussycat especially to grace the seat. Hasn't it turned out beautifully? Mr B is my hero.
And here it is in action for our little man who loves to stand. He loves his Daddy Chair.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Let the Sunshine in

Sunshine ... the theme of todays post seems appropriately timed for the amazing weather we enjoyed in the UK yesterday (at least here in Bath). It were proper roasting. We had my four oldest school friends and their fellas here to stay for the weekend - we were celebrating 20 years of friendship with much pink fizz and yummy food. And Baby B was in his element hanging out with his fabulous Northern aunties. We even sat out in the garden yesterday afternoon eating pancakes (and more fizz) after a lovely canal side stroll.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been over the moon to get lovely big blog thumbs up from two of my favourite blogs. First up, I received a Liebster Blog Award from the Vintage Bride who is one of the most stylish Mommas I've ever met. This award is to pass on blog love to blogs who have less than 200 followers.
Then I was blown away to receive a sunshine award from another very stylish Momma - Kerry from the utterly gorgeous and triangle filled blog Seventy Tree. Since following Kerry's blog, it's become one of my favourite daily reads (plus she has an Albert too). The Sunshine award involves answering some questions and then passing on the sunshine to five other blogs. I thought I'd combine my passing on of Liebster & Sunshine love, and pass the sunny rays of yesterday on to a handful of gorgeous blogs I love with a smaller number of followers.

Favourite Colour: In home decoration, I'm a sucker for green, especially mid shades like apple & mint. I seem to wear a lot of cream and navy (although not in a jaunty nautical fashion!).
Favourite Animal: I'm not a big animal fan really. We had cats growing up and I do love their independent nature.
Favourite non-alcoholic drink: I'm a proper coffee girl. Plus whilst pregnant, I became a traditional lemonade connoisseur.
Facebook or Twitter: Neither. I'm not on facebook, and I've only got a twitter account so I could join Pinterest.
Favourite Number: Umm? 30. Because when I turned this number last year I liked feeling like I'd finally become an adult!
Favourite day of the week: Being freelance, any, as we aren't always at the mercy of weeks vs weekends. Although at the moment I do love a Wednesday as it's the day of parent & baby cinema here in Bath so I can get my culture fix.
My passions?: My family & friends, theatre & film, sewing, hoarding fabric, being organised & making lists, reading the Saturday Guardian & The Observer, hunting round charity shops, pinning & blogging.
Getting or giving presents: Giving.
Favourite Pattern: I love florals, especially vintage ones (although Cath Kidston has slightly taken the wind out of that sail).
Favourite Flower: Peonies - our wedding flower. I love how they start so small and tight, then explode in such beauty. And that they are only available in early summer (a good reminder that our wedding anniversary is approaching).

So some sunny sunny sunshine shooting its way to the following five lovely blogs ...

  • Cirque du Bebe - for her awesome taste in fabric and non-stop sewing splendour
  • Holly Made - for the beautiful little boys clothes she creates
  • Lover of Vintage - for the pretty home decoration inspiration
  • Little Peach Print Company - My favourite illustrator ever (and my sister too)
  • Postcards from Battersea - Because reading her blog, I sometimes I wish I lived in Crystal Palace so I could go for brews with this stylish Momma and her cutie pie little one.
Ah. Isn't the blog world a lovely place? x

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Fabric Baby Ball Tutorial

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting the darling new daughter of fellow blogger and Bath resident, Nell, who writes the gorgeous blog On the First Day of Marriage. Over coffee and croissants, I cooed over beautiful Josephine with her shock of chestnut coloured hair whilst Baby B gently shook her hand. It was very cute indeed.

In honour of Nell's craftiness and love of all things vintage, I couldn't resist making Josephine a couple of handmade gifts, and I decided to create a couple of tutorials of them to share with you. So here's the first one in celebration of teeny Phiney: Fabric Baby Balls. If you've ever considered trying paper piecing, say with hexagons or triangles, to make a quilt, but then couldn't be bothered with how long that would take, this is a really lovely way to try the technique and make something really pretty and in a short space of time.

Fabric Baby Balls: A Tutorial

What you need:

  • Pentagon templates printed or drawn onto paper
  • Scissors
  • A selection of fabric scraps
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Stuffing (I use the insides of an old pillow)
  • Little bells (optional)
  • Ribbons (optional)

What to do:

one. Print and cut out 12 perfect pentagon shapes, all in the same size. Alternatively, draw round a pentagon template onto scrap paper and cut out.
two. Cut out 12 pieces of co-ordinating scrap fabric. Make each piece a little larger than your pentagons.
three. Take one pentagon and one piece of scrap fabric. Place the pentagon in the middle of the WRONG side of your fabric and fold an edge over one side of the paper pentagon. Knot the end of your thread and bring your needle up through the two layers of fabric and one layer of paper.
four. Keep folding each edge of the fabric over the pentagon and tacking with the thread as you go. These stitches do not have to be neat.
five. When all your edges are done, pull your thread back and forwards through the fabric a couple of times to keep it in place. That's one pentagon done.
six. Repeat this process with all 12 pieces of fabric.
seven. Sort your finished pentagons into two groups of six. These will form the two halves of your ball.
eight. Take two pentagons and place them RIGHT sides together. Take your thread, and stitch the two pentagons together by daintily catching the very outer edges of the fabric with your needle. Here, I normally double my thread for extra strength. There's no need to tie off and snip your thread when you get to the end.
nine. Keep adding pentagons on in the same way as stage eight until you end up with a flower shape using six of them, like so.
ten. Now join together the gaps by folding the flower in half with RIGHT sides together.
eleven. You now have one half of your ball complete. Repeat the process with the remaining six pentagons.
twelve. With RIGHT sides together, now continue the same type of stitching and sew the two halves together, leaving two edges open in a gap for stuffing.
thirteen. Now for the fun bit. Snip all of your first tacking stitches from stages three, four & five, and remove them along with all the paper pentagons. Turn your ball right side out.
fourteen. Stuff your ball. You may want to add a bell or rattle to delight the ears of little ones. I added three little bells to Josephine's ball as the sound of one got a bit lost in all the stuffing. 
fifteen. Finally, use dainty stitches to close up the last two edges. I also added a label at this point, though you could do this earlier in the process. You could also add a whole host of ribbon tabs to the ball for extra texture for those little chubby fingers to play with.
sixteen. Whoop whoop. You are done. Make a whole host of them in different sizes.