Monday 28 July 2014

Make-It Monday: Doll's Sleeping Bag

Elizabeth has been asking me for quite some time to make her a sleeping bag for her dolls. When Toby was younger and used one, Elizabeth would steal it at every available opportunity and put a teddy in it so they could sleep. Now that Zachary uses one, she has started doing this again. When I told her that it wasn't for playing with, she asked me to make one.

So using scrap fabric, I set to work. I've made this up as I've gone along so it does look a bit odd but it works so I'm not complaining. Neither is Elizabeth :) I did use this opportunity to 'play' a little. I used bias binding around the arms and neck, just to try something and practice my curves. I'm also adding poppers to the shoulders and side to make it easier to get the dolls in and out, but also to practice adding them on to fabric. I've not done it before, so again it's a good opportunity for me.  As you can see, I haven't yet finished the edges or put poppers on so it's still a work in progress.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Elizabeth's Nighttime Antics

Most nights now, when I go up to bed, I find Elizabeth in some strange state in her bedroom. Sometimes it's simply that she's fallen asleep whilst climbing into bed, so her feet are still hanging out. Other times it's a lot more elaborate, like last night. 

Last night, the floor was covered in toy food - Elizabeth had been feeding some of her teddies. The changing mat was out too so clearly someone had needed a nappy change at some point. My attention turned to the bed. Elizabeth had decided (again) to sleep down the wrong end of the bed but at least she had her head (sort of) on the pillow and was under her sheet. Only she wasn't wearing the pyjamas we'd put her in at bedtime. Alfred the bear was wearing those and was tucked up with her. Elizabeth was wearing her favourite pair of very warm winter pyjamas. I have no idea why because it's friggin' hot weather right now! (28°C yesterday and about 16°C overnight).

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Swimming Lessons

We love the children's swimming lessons with Tamara at Baby Swimming. We started when Elizabeth was just 10 weeks old and now she's three and a half YEARS old! Which means that it's time for her to move on. Dolphin Swimming School was recommended to us and I've just heard from them about classes for my little lady. She'll be doing their 9.30 Saturday class from September.

So this means that Zachary gets to start with Baby Swimming! His class will be right before Toby's, still on a Saturday. Exciting times :)

I think that Elizabeth has mixed feelings about swimming. She enjoys being in the water and splashing around with Daddy but isn't that bothered about actually learning to swim. Don't get me wrong, she loves that she can do a lot of it on her own but I can't see her wanting to continue lessons once she can swim properly. I doubt she'll be interested in progressing to diving or trying to improve her speed. I don't blame her either - I'm not a fan of the water. But she's still young enough not to know that she can stop and young enough to enjoy it all anyway.

Toby is quite different though. He also started when he was 10 weeks old and he'll be 2 in 8 weeks time, but his attitude to the water is very different to Elizabeth's. At the start of the year, we almost stopped his lessons as he just cried all the time. Then one week everything changed and we have no idea why - he loved it! Something clicked for him, I think. He started to realise that he could move himself in the water, rather than being dragged through it. And now Toby is a little swimming star. He wants to swim constantly when he's in the water, he wants to jump straight in if you stand him on the side and he can't wait to actually do the lesson. Of course he likes the play aspect too but he really just wants to swim. Toby may well want to continue swimming when he's older; he's clearly inherited his Daddy's love of the water.

Monday 21 July 2014

Make-it Monday: Summer Dress

This week I'd like to share a dress with you.  It's the first time I've used a pattern (although I vaguely remember using one in my teens when making something with my Mum...) and so I've really taken my time with this.  I spent a good while at each step making sure that I read it right and double checking everything.  I wanted to fully understand what I needed to do before diving in.  So this dress has probably taken around two weeks from start to finish but I'm so pleased with how it's turned out.  It's far from perfect but as I said last time, the most important thing is that it fits!

So this is the pattern I was following.  I chose the dress on the right and went for the most basic variation of it - no bows, no frills, just the dress.

The pattern consisted of four pieces; skirt front, skirt back, bodice front, bodice back.  In hindsight I should have paid a little more attention to where I was placing the pattern pieces to make sure that the finished dress would flow well across the join between the bodice and the skirt, but at the time I was just focusing on having the pattern the correct way round on the fabric and making my cutting-out accurate.

So the first new skill I had to overcome was bias binding.  I'd heard of it but had no idea what to do with it.  I found the instructions difficult to understand so I had to read them quite a few times and also consult Google before I felt ready to give it a go.  It turns out that once I'd done it, the instructions made total sense.  The neckline was relatively easy as it was square but I found the curve of the armholes much more difficult.  They're not really smooth but still sit well and look decent so I'm happy.

Then came the zip!  I've added zips onto simple cushion covers before but again, nothing like this.  I had to overlap the fabric from the front bodice section with the back bodice.  There was lots of reading and re-reading and consulting both Google and my Mum but I did it and am very pleased with how it turned out.

Everything else was really just basics.  I don't have an overlocker/serger so I used both stright stitches and zig zags for my seams.  I double-rolled the hem at the base of the skirt and was chuffed to bits that all my pieces and seams lined up well.

Elizabeth loves her new dress and ran into pre-school telling everyone that her Mummy had made it.  I love that she loves it and that's all the praise I need.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Nappy Free!

Hurrah! I finally have one child that doesn't wear nappies! Three weeks ago, the last weekend in June, we made the decision to stop putting Elizabeth in a nappy at nighttime. We had been talking about it with her for quite a while but it had got to the point where every other morning her nappy had leaked. She's just too big for them. So that Saturday morning we told Elizabeth that she didn't need to wear a nappy at night any more, even though she was showing no signs of being ready for this.

Bedtime came and we explained to E that she didn't need to wear a nappy any more. Her response was something like 'that's because I'm a big girl!' We told her that she could leave her bedroom if she needed the toilet and that she needed to wake up if she needed the toilet while she was sleeping. We heard her go to the toilet half a dozen times before she fell asleep and she was dry when we went to bed. She woke up needing the toilet at some point in the night so it was a great first night. The second night she slept through with no accidents. The third night we had an accident to clear up.

Since then we've had maybe 5 or 6 nights where E has had an accident but the problem is that E just sleeps through it and we need to wake her. I'm sure that'll stop but in the meantime I'm getting less sleep and doing more washing.

Elizabeth is so pleased with herself though and we're both very proud of her.

Wednesday 16 July 2014


What can I say about Frankie?  We've had our ups and downs with him but he is very much a part of our family.  He's been with us for more than two years now - where has the time gone?!  He's gone from being a dog we couldn't leave alone to a confident boy who loves his agility classes and makes a new friend at every turn.  Everyone loves him!

Frankie came to us with very little history. We know he was originally from Ireland and was adopted by someone here in the UK. For whatever reason, they couldn't keep Frankie and he ended up with someone who kept him in a cage and abused him.

When we saw him at Stokenchurch Dog Rescue, we were unsure if he was the right dog for us. We took him for a little walk and then came back another day with Elizabeth to see what he thought of her. She was 15 months old at the time. They got on well and we decided that we would bring Frankie home.

So now, two years later, we have three children. Frankie ignores the baby, tolerates Toby but just adores Elizabeth. They have a bond which started right from when we brought Frankie home. He will protect her if he thinks she's in trouble. He puts up with her pulling him and treating him like a teddy. She can lay on him, command him, play with him and he just takes it all. When he's had enough he just walks away. These two are close and they'll only get closer as they get older. It's wonderful to see.

Monday 14 July 2014

Make-It Monday: Cot-bed Duvet Cover

I got a sewing machine this year for my birthday and whilst that might not be everyone's cup of tea, I was over the moon! My birthday was quite a few months ago now but I haven't had the time to use it much, despite having a list as long as my arm of things I'd like to make. Now that I'm on maternity leave, I thought I would have more time to do a bit of sewing but that seems to have been a rather optimistic thought. So I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to try and do 15 minutes of sewing (or sewing related stuff) each day. My thinking was that if I only managed to thread the sewing machine, at least it was something, and every little helps.  It's working marvellously so I wanted to save my efforts to my blog, just to remind me about all this when I'm old and grey, hence 'Make-It Monday'. I might not get around to posting every week though, but I'll try.

My first proper 'project' was a duvet cover for Toby. We were given some duvets and duvet covers last year by my sister-in-law as her daughter had outgrown them. That meant they were a little girly, although of course Toby doesn't mind in the slightest. He sees a lot of pink every day. But I thought this was an easy enough thing to start with whilst also pushing me a little. I had to be fairly accurate with my measuring and sewing but it wouldn't matter if I made the duvet cover a centimetre too long or a centimetre narrower at the top. I'd not done buttonholes before so that was something a bit fun to try. 

So this is it, Toby's new duvet cover! He loves it and keeps pointing and saying 'raa'. And most importantly, it fits.

Friday 11 July 2014


I've just woken up to a grumbling Zachary; it's 4am and he's hungry. I can't believe the time as his last feed was 9 hours ago!! Over the past two or three weeks, he's done the odd night where he's slept for 4.5 hours, or one night was even 6.5 hours. At two months old, this is very different to my other two children. Whilst I accept that these longer sleeping stints are occasional, they're going a long way to helping me feel less tired every day. Thank you Son the Younger.