Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Birthday DIY / 02

Like every two year old in the world (or at least I presume this to be the case), B has suddenly found a wholehearted love for ice cream. Often, when we ask him what he'd like to eat, a cheeky grin spreads across his face and he says "ice cream" with a giggle. In the tiny teasing moments we've had of summer, we've been making home made 99s to lick in the garden. His ice cream obsession suddenly reminded me of this little plastic play ice cream set that I bought in Ikea about three years ago. It was intended as a gift but got forgotten at the back of our present cupboard. So I decided to craft some little felt scoops of ice cream, complete with sprinkles, ready for B's birthday. 

Here's the underneath view, in case you ever fancy making your own balls of felt ice cream. You basically sew together one smaller circle to one larger circle using pins at regular intervals to keep them together, and stuffing them before completing the sewing.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Super Seaside

What a truly ace weekend we've had. Yesterday was spent picnicking and playing in the garden all day long with great friends. And Saturday, oh Saturday. How we'll remember you for a long time. We awoke with no plans for the day. 'What do we fancy doing?' we asked. The weather was sunny and warm, so how about a trip to Weston-Super-Mare? Within the hour, we were up, breakfasted, dressed, packed and on the road, taking the winding, scenic route from Bath to the coast through picture perfect villages and over lush green hills.
I'd never been to Weston-Super-Mare before. We've visited Clevedon a number of times but never it's Seaside town cousin. It appeared to us, through sun soaked spectacles, to have the perfect blend of soft sandy beaches that go on for miles with just the right amount of seaside kitsch. We were able to dip into all the wonderfully tacky arcade-fuelled craziness, before retreating far away up the prom to an almost deserted stretch of golden beach, where we took shelter from the cool breeze in a little tent, and B spent about two hours rolling around on the warm, soft sand whilst Mr B built sandcastles and I took industrial quantities of photos and read the Guardian.
Our day was packed full of all the perfect seaside activities. A ride on the carousel, Fish and Chips eaten with little wooden forks, a walk along the prom, a stroll up the pier, meeting the donkeys, eating ice creams really fast before they melted down our arms, feeling the sand between our toes and building sand castles. B opted for a ride in a little train pulled by a shire horse rather than a donkey ride.

As the sun started to go down, we packed up and poured bucket loads of sand out of every crevice of B's clothes and body! Then we drove home to eat hot chicken sandwiches and glow with sun soaked skin.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Crafternoons/05

We are very lucky indeed to live five minutes walk from two gorgeous little parks in Bath. One of them, Sydney Gardens, was where Jane Austen used to take her morning stroll. It is pretty as a picture, with the train line and the canal running through it, zigzagged by lots of little bridges on which I regularly now stand with B to shout "Choo choo" as the trains whizz past. If we're lucky, the London Paddington drivers toot their horn at us as we wave to them, much to the delight of B. Sydney Gardens is also home of the Holburne Museum, a beautiful art gallery with a fancy cafe attached. At the weekend, the Holburne hosted a hot air balloon in their gardens so we took a teething toddler along in the evening to cheer him up and help him forget all about his poorly mouth. 
As it was a lovely mild evening, we were expecting a huge crowd to see the balloon glow in the twilight, but in fact we were practically the only people there. So we had a glass of wine and chatted to friends whilst B ran happily around the gardens mesmerised by the balloon.
Inspired by our magical evening, we decided to crack open a new palette of water colours for B and make a hot air balloon of our own. This was B's first time using this type of paint and it took him a little while to get used to washing his brush in between colours. I love the overlapping of muted tones he's put on his hot air balloon - such a pretty mix.
Again, this craft barely requires explanation, but just in case, here's what we did: I cut out a balloon and basket shape from white card and got B to decorate them with his paints. Then using washi tape and some white embroidery floss, I attached them together, adding a little loop at the top for hanging purposes. And I couldn't resist popping a little photo of B in the basket as a finishing touch. Here's a little close up of his cheeky face flying high into the sky!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pigs and Horses

Two more cushions as gifts for friends: one who loves Babushka Dolls and one who grew up on a farm. They are married and have two children, so the colours were intended to be playful and match too.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Birthday DIY / 01

In two weeks, my baby boy turns two. Two?! How did that happen? For his birthday this year, Mr Biddle and I are crafting him three gifts which I'll share with you as and when they get finished. We decided that with a little more time on our hands than this time last year, and with him at an age where he'll happily accept handmade gifts rather than choosing branded things at the toy shop, we'd seize the opportunity. So the first of our handmade gifts is ... ta da. A recovered mini pram.
B loves to push his own pram round the park and at toddler group, he often makes a beeline for the toy pushchairs. I'd been keeping my eye out for a cheap one from a charity shop for ages, so I was delighted when I found this doll's pram in our local Oxfam for the grand sum of £2.99. And even better, I swiftly ascertained that the naff 80s fabric seat was removable and could therefore be replaced.
Using the original seat as a pattern, I created a new one from a fat quarter of some Kokka Robot fabric that I'd had sitting in my stash for yonks. For the edging, I used some ribbon I'd got for an absolute bargain in a post-Christmas sale at the White Company.
Here's how it turned out ...
I think that B will love this to push his favourite cuddly toys to the park in ... who says prams are just for little girls?!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Crafternoons/04

A little earlier in the year, we spent a handful of days at the Longleat Center Parcs with some wonderful friends from Bristol. So one new born, two toddlers, three couples and a baby bump (not mine!) piled into a woodland lodge with all the ridiculous amounts of stuff one needs to spend three nights away with a small child, and enjoyed good food, hearty strolls, and great company. B was delighted to hang out with one of his best mates C - a fantastic little fella who is a touch older than B so has been showing him the ropes to life since B was born. We got so many cute photos of the two toddlers together, that on our return home B and I created two matching storybooks all about our holiday - one for us to keep and one to post to C. Here's what we did ...
For each book, we used 8 photos (using Photobox to print out Instagram pictures). I got B to decorate two sheets of white card on both sides with paints and pens. Once dry, I printed out some little captions onto white paper, and then B helped me stick the photos and captions to the card with pritt stick. Finally, I used my sewing machine to make a line of stitches up the middle to bind the book together.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Memories in Thread

This is my little sister and I, in a camper van on the Welsh coast eating hula hoops and looking scarily similar to how little B now looks. My darling sister turned 30 in April and for her birthday, I sewed her up a very special quilt. This quilt has been 3 years in the making. It's not been a continuous effort - I had an initial frenzy of paper piecing hexagons. Then a baby and life got in the way, and I picked up my quilt making efforts with fervour earlier this year. [please forgive the photos below - they were all taken on my phone after I dropped our fancy camera and broke the focus!].
The inspiration for this quilt is fabric which I collected from our beloved Nan's house after she passed away. The white cotton covered in little pink roses was a duvet which always graced her bed - a bed that us two girls often climbed into, a place where we snuggled down in the warmth of an electric blanket and our Nan's deep love, to watch episodes of Coronation Street and to see the New Year in when our Mum was having a well deserved night out. This rose patterned fabric became to backing and edging for the quilt, as well as being scattered through the top layer.
Other plain pink fabrics from our Nan's also went into the quilt, along with the fabric my sister wore as a bridesmaid at my wedding, and a pale plain blue which was once curtains belonging to our Great-Grandparents. Mixed in to these memories in thread are a wonderful array of modern cottons.
Determined to get the quilt finished in time for her surprise party, I kept the quilt a kind of long thin strip so that it can be placed as a runner over the end of her bed. Here's B helping to flatten it out with his toy Dyson. Paper piecing an entire quilt is quite a challenge and so I'm sure I'll only ever attempt a handful of them in my life (and maybe finish the one I started for B two years ago). But my sister is a truly wonderful, talented person and so special to me. I'm so proud of her and so I poured love into every stitch and I wish her a very happy 30th birthday.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A New Bed

So the time came for B to move out of his cot. We started to get the vibe from him that he was ready to make the transition and so seized the opportunity by taking a swift trip to Ikea and buying a 'big boy bed' with him. We'd spent the week building up to this, talking to him about the change.
We went for the mini version of a bed we already have in both king and queen size - we're like the bed part of Goldilocks and the Three Bears! It's called the Minnen and was an early birthday present from my Mum and Step-dad. We chose this one, not only because it looks so lovely, but also because it is extendable so will last him ages though isn't too big for him just yet (the mattress comes with add on parts too), and the little decorative struts at the side also act a kind of guard rail to stop him rolling out.
 
Once we got the bed home, B helped to dismantle his cot and construct his new bed. He was so blooming excited when it was finally up and covered with his duvet. And whilst the first three nights found him rather scared and unsettled at bedtime, he has got used to his new sleeping situation brilliantly and it's so cute to hear his little patter of feet coming to say good morning now that he can climb in and out by himself. Here's the bed in situ (and looking more well made than it will ever be again!).
Just in case you're wondering, the owl lampshade is the Gulort Shade from Ikea and is the bargain sum of £6. The poster of the Balloon Boy is by Ingela P. Arrhenius from The Pippa and Ike Show. The Dream Big Little One cushion is by the amazing Robin and Mould. And the Alain Gree print came from the Anorak Magazine shop. The bike fabric is a Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabric and I bought the cot bed duvet and pillow inserts from Mothercare. I think everything else has come from second hand furniture shops and flea markets, or have been amazing gifts from friends.