I know I’ve been absent without leave for quite a while now so I should probably start with an update on the world of Handmade Mummy. I now have two children! When the little man was about eight months old we discovered that we were expecting another little person. It turns out that it a girl, born in July at a whopping 4.68kg (10lb 5oz to those who work in old measurements) and so we now have a little miss too. Thankfully she is a pretty chilled and very smily baby so the transition hasn’t been too painful so far.
You may remember that we were due to move as well, that happened and we now live in Wellington, New Zealand. It took quite a while to feel settled here but we’ve got there slowly and I am happy to have found an awesome group of fellow crafters to share my passions with.
In the world of crafting I have been busy with the crochet hooks as ever, making hats mainly. Hubby and I have a big project on the go at the moment but more about that later.
I decided I wanted to share the crafty journeys I have been on again so decided to resurrect this blog as a means to do this. As always I will share the projects I have been working on, my insights into life as a mummy and general musings on life.
I love my sewing machine. It is a calming influence on my life and delivers hours of relaxation. Through it I can fully unleash my need to create in a purposeful and useful way. Skirts, trousers, bibs and toys have all been born with its help providing clothing for my family and fun for my little man. I don’t say I’m particularly good at using it and there is still so much I have to learn about it (I only discovered yesterday for example I can type a whole word into it, press the peddle and “Bob’s your uncle”, you have a perfectly embroidered word!) but that’s part of the fun, discovering all the secrets it has hiding away and then finding new and exciting ways to use them.
As I have said before there is something so incredibly satisfying about making something yourself. I will admit to feeling a little smug when someone asks me where a skirt I made is from and they give me an impressed look when I tell them I made it. I don’t think it is hard to make things yourself it’s just that it is so cheap not too and people, rightly or wrongly, feel they don’t have the time so they don’t bother. I love the fact that the things I make are one of a kind, no one else can have one like it as I only made one. It’s great to see some fabric I like and with the help of my machine turn it into something I can wear or use.
The fabric from my last post is already a skirt (although frustratingly without its lace trim thanks to a measuring error at the shop) and hopefully will soon be a pair of trousers too. A pile of fabric scraps became a cuddly toy yesterday and I know my machine and I have many more sewing adventures to come. So yes, my sewing machine really is the bee’s knees, hence I dedicate this blog post to it!
I have no time to make things for us any more, all my crafting time is taken up with making hats for other people! I’m not complaining though as it is nice to have something purposeful to do, to be bringing in a little extra cash for treats and to have the beginnings of a little business (maybe!). I currently have 10 hats on order and excitingly a few repeat orders which suggests I did a good job of the first hat!
I am in the process of designing myself a little logo and have been refining my ideas. This week I have made a rugby themed bobble hat (as the local team won the Super 14 championship), a beanie with a digger on it and a couple of minion hats. Next on the list is a little fedora style hat. Despite being busy with these I am making plenty of time for my little man who is very time demanding! I never want this to completely take over my life as it is supposed to be a means to gain some extra cash more than an attempt to bring in an extra salary and I am aware that most of my orders are from friends and that they will only want so many hats! I’m still awaiting my first on line order.
Hubby is impressed with my efforts and celebrates every new order with me, he’s even become chief bobble maker (he’s very good at getting them kind of splodgy, if that’s even a word!). Possibly in the future I might look to sell at craft fairs but we have a trip to the UK to get out of the way first and then some other news that I will share in my next post, so I think that will be a development maybe for next year.
A little digger hat for a little man.
I am the first to admit that sometimes my ideas can be a little bit out there, a little bit strange, a little bit kooky! Well my inner odd voice certainly took control when I decided to make my next baby hat and somehow I came up with the idea of a hat with a little octopus sitting on it. I think I may have been slightly influenced by this Mitsubishi advert in which an octopus takes up residence on a boys head and stays there until he sees a much more attractive prospect, the Mitsubishi.
I am getting a bit of a pro at making my basic bonnet now and another quick search on the internet came up with the perfect Octopus pattern which I could adapt. The octopus was nice and quick to make up and I think he looks rather nice in his two tone red (yes I ran out of wool and had to change but I can pretend it was deliberate!). I added a red and yellow border to the hat, my usual plaited ties and a little yellow starfish on one of the ear flaps and Bob’s your uncle one rather … umm … interesting hat had been created!
The hat is being added to my Felt shop so fingers crossed someone out there shares my love on the slightly unusual! Although saying that I have already had a request from a friend for an adult sized one!
Being on maternity leave is great and I love spending time with my little man(providing he’s not screaming his head of for no fathomable reason!) but there are times when I wish I could contribute again. With this in mind I made the decision this week to start trying to sell some of my crochet baby hats and set myself up a Felt shop.
It is exciting to have my hand made hats up for sale but at the same time a little daunting. A lot of people sell crochet baby hats so trying to make mine stand out is hard work. I like to think that I am making lovely items but obviously the only way to know that other people think the same is when they buy something. Pricing the items is tricky too. If they are too expensive people won’t buy them but if they are too cheap you are devaluing the labour that goes into producing a handmade item. Felt is a New Zealand based craft website though so I keep my fingers crossed that the people selling there will recognise this and already have made the decision that handmade is worth something.
I put my first hat up on Wednesday and two more have followed. Since then I have checked numerous times to see how many times they’ve been looked at with fingers crossed that one might have sold! So far all three are still on offer and another (rather kooky) one is being made. Fingers crossed they do get noticed though as I am rather proud of them.
The toy box is continuing to take shape thanks to another afternoon nap. The front panel is done with the detail added and I have now painted one of the side panels too with a little robot. I just have to decide what is going to go onto the other panel and then it will be all ready for varnish. Fingers crossed the little one will let me get the last panel done in the next couple of days so I can varnish at the weekend. You’ve got to admit that it looks quite different to when we bought it! Keep an eye out for further updates.
The front panel
The right side panel
We got given some clothes for the little one by one of our neighbours so I decided that I needed to make a thank you for the slightly less little boy who owned them originally. As I was in a crochet hat mood I decided to try and make another crazy crochet hat!
I found another pattern on The Boy Trifecta to use as my base and rummaged in the stash to find some wool I could use. I found a ball of variegated wool in purple with a hint of pink (I know pink for a boy but I decided it wasn’t too much pink and anyway boys can wear pink, can’t they?!). The pattern was easy to follow and quick to make, the mouth part looked a little odd to begin with but made sense when I added the accessories. I used big blue buttons, a piece of cream felt and some google eyes to create the big monster eyes and then some yellow felt to make the teeth. Finally I added some strands of sparkly yellow wool to the top to create hair (I made them different looks to create a shaggy look).
The hat fits perfectly and the new owner tells me he likes it! It was fun to make, especially as it gave me the chance to let my imagination run away a little in order to add the finishing touches. Let me know what you think or what you would do to create your monster look.
Thank fully my little one is sleeping a little more again after a week of not napping so projects and housework are possible again, crafting is so much easier with a sleeping baby!
As promised I have a picture of progress on the toy box. I have painted the first of the panels since yesterday (although it will need another coat and still has detail to be added). It’s a slow job, speeded up enormously thanks to Hubby being home today to help with the little one, but at least progress is being made now.
The toy box so far
The little one has been good this week and has been taking sustained afternoon naps which allows me to get stuff done. My number one priority was the toy box, it’s been sitting in the garage gathering dust since we bought it, waiting for me to strip the black paint off it to give it a new lease on life. Yesterday I did just that.
The toy box to be
I bought some paint stripping goo (it really was quite goo like!), slapped it on and scrapped away to get the worst of the paint off. It worked like a charm although after watching it in action I was very careful not to get it on my hands! With the paint off I gave it a bit of a rub down and it was ready for its new colours.
Next I slapped on a coat of water based undercoat and it was ready for the real painting. I’m painting the panels and framing cream and the main body blue. My intention is to mark off a space themed design on each of the panels and then using a stencilling technique leave the detail in the cream and the rest paint blue (I hope that makes sense!). My job for tonight is to try and come up with a design.
I don’t have a photo at the moment (maybe tomorrow) but trust me when I say it is looking better already and I have a great sense of satisfaction for starting to give the tired old blanket box a new lease on life.
The aviator hat
As I have said before I love making hats for the little one and that is what I have been busy doing. Firstly I made a new aviator hat (pattern by Kat Goldin of Slugs on the Refrigirator) as the one he came home in is now too small. It’s a really easy pattern to follow and I can make one in about three hours all toll (providing the boy behaves).
I also decided that I might try and sell some of my hats in order to bring in a few extra cents and I was given my first commission, a fedora hat. Now I had no idea what one of those was but thank goodness for the internet I was quickly enlightened and a pattern was downloading itself onto my computer.
The Fedora hat
The pattern was from Posh Patterns at Craftsy and was very well written. It was easy to follow and the base of the hat was made within about an hour and a half (afternoon naps are great!). I decided the hat looked a little plain without some colour so set about making a two tone band to go round it which then took me another hour and a half (although that was partly due to the nap ending!). I’m really happy with how it turned out and the little one looks so cute in it. The lady who asked me to make one likes it too so now I need to make another one!