Bring on the apple

We made the decision to try the little one on some food. He’s been watching us eat for a couple of weeks now and makes the occasional grab for my cup of tea and then on Sunday he managed to get a piece of apple peel and was in seventh heaven licking it (to the point that he got very distressed when it broke!) With this in mind I stewed up some apple ready for our first attempt as he seemed to already like the taste.

Deciding whether it was time has been tricky with so much advise around about when is the right time. Lots of Mummies I know have already started their little ones on food at around the four month mark, other people say wait until six months. Our little one has never been a very consistent eater as well, some days he will take almost a litre of milk in a day and other days we are lucky to get him to have more than 700ml. I had been advised to wait until he was more consistent but to be honest I don’t think he ever will be so we decided to try and figured if he wasn’t interested he wouldn’t take it. In other words nothing tried, nothing gained. All this advice is enough to make someone want to tear their hair out!

I guess that’s the problem with babies, there is so much “advice” out there that you can end up feeling very over whelmed. As a first time Mum I want someone to tell me what to do, after all I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but there is no one answer and there never will be. It’s taken time but I realise that what works for my little one doesn’t work for another. Some of the babies I know sleep and eat like champions, some lie quietly taking the world in, some are big, some are small. My little boy is a power napping, constantly wiggling,fussy eating little monkey! Together Hubby and I are slowly working out what works and also figuring out that what works one day might not work the next, it’s all good as we are learning together.

He didn’t look too impressed with the new experience of apple and pulled some wonderful faces. Fingers crossed he will slowly grow to like the experience of eating and we will have fun giving him the chance to try new flavours.

There’s an octopus on your babies head!

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!

A new venture

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 continuing tale of the toy box

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.

Another crazy crochet hat

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!

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Monster 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!

Progress report

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.

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The toy box so far

Finally

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

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.

Teaching Hubby

I’m going to try and teach a friend to crochet tomorrow. I’ve been crocheting for years now and am pretty quick (I can do a granny square almost without looking) so I know I need to slow it down and work out how to describe everything. With this in mind I asked hubby if I could try and teach him this weekend and bless him he said yes.

He loves to watch me crochet, especially when I am making cool things for the little one, but has never expressed an interest in actually learning. He undertook the lesson with enthusiasm though and we were aiming to make a crochet jellyfish.

We started with a simple chain and he quickly picked that up, producing a tentacle in no time at all. Pleased with his progress he wanted to move onto the body, confident he could make the other tentacles later. To do the body I needed to explain double crochet (or single depending on where you are from), a much more tricky undertaking. I learnt one lesson very quickly, dark wool is not good for beginners as it makes seeing the stitches quite tricky. I also learnt that it is surprising how much goes into a good explanation of a stitch. Hubby got frustrated with me for not explaining things well, I got frustrated for him not understanding me and taking a while (my impatience rather than any fault of his) but he was definitely starting to get the hang of it by the end of the weekend. I’ll see if he will let me publish a picture of his jellyfish when it is finished.

I feel much more prepared for my next attempt at teaching my friend tomorrow although it could be interesting as we will have two baby boys with us…fingers crossed they sleep!

My boy looks awesome in hats

The aviator hat

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 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!

Easy cake for busy Mums

I love to make cakes and both hubby and I love to eat cake too! With the little one around finding the time to make cake is difficult unless I bake in the evening when he’s gone to bed. That was until I remembered a recipe I used to use when I was little, the easiest cake in the world, Honey Cake from a little book called “Pooh’s Fireside Recipes”.

The reason it is easy is you simply melt some of the ingredients, add some eggs and flour and then cook. It takes about ten minutes to make and then half an hour to cook and best of all it tastes yummy. The book is hard to find now as I think it is out of print so I will share it here with you.

Ingredients
175g self raising flour
125g butter
100g soft brown sugar
150g honey (3 rounded tablespoons)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water

Method
Grease and line a cake tin (I use a loaf tin) and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Measure the butter, sugar, honey and water into a saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted (do not allow to boil). Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes. Beat the eggs in with a wooden spoon one at a time. Fold in the flour and then mix well to ensure there are no lumps. Pour into the prepared tin and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. When cooked leave it to cool for a few minutes and then remove it from the tin to cool.

This cake is yummy with a lovely cup of tea or just when you feel like a little something naughty! I’ve really enjoyed taking a trip back to my childhood and getting to have a nice slice of cake without the need for a trip to the shops. If you give this a go let me know what you thought.