Last-minute Mummy-make: No-sew sheep costume

Sorry to have been quiet of late, moving house whilst heavily pregnant has put paid to much crafting. 

My Little Man started pre-school last month, his first foray into the world of childcare. At the grand old age of two, he’s able to express to me that he’s not all that happen about this recent development. Shortly after he started, I was notified that he was going to be a sheep in their nativity play. Me being me, my immediate thought was ‘How can I make him a costume?’ even though I’m moving house in a matter of weeks and will have no time to do so. I spotted some sheep costumes in the supermarket and I was going to go back and buy one so I had something in reserve ‘just in case’. Of course, I’ve been back multiple times since and they’ve never had his size. How many times do I need to learn the lesson of: buy something when you see it. So, that left me with no choice but to do a Mummy-make. What I’m sure is going to be the first of many costumes …

Never one to leave things til the last minute šŸ˜‰, I began work on this yesterday afternoon. (His nativity was today!) Luckily for me, this was a quick make. I based it on a costume I saw here.

For the body, I used a long-sleeved plain white t-shirt, two bags of cotton wool balls, a glue gun and about 10 glue sticks:


I stuck the balls of cotton wool on in sections, like this: 
Voila! I used a clump of balls at the back, for a tail and left it hung up to dry for a bit. The top took about 20 minutes to make, super quick!

  
Once Little Man was safely tucked up in bed last night, and I’d reattached some cotton wool balls which had fallen off the top, I set out to make him a sheep headband. Luckily, I happened to have a white alice band, which also fitted his had, so I used that. I had some leftover black and white felt, from which I cut out two white ears and two black ears, and a circle of white for the head. I’d run out of cotton wool at this point, so ending up ripping some bits of leftover wadding into balls (this actually worked much better than the cotton wool and I wished I used it for the top too).  

Rather than get my sewing machine put, I opted to stick one ear piece in white felt to the corresponding black piece, times two. I stuck the wadding balls to the white circle and stuck the circle to the alice band. I stuck the ears either side of the circle and used extra wadding balls to hide the joins.    

The finished outfit. 

  
Little Man doesn’t own any black trousers or long sleeved-tops, so I left the sleeves as they were and put him in an old pair of grey jogging bottoms. The cotton wool didn’t last long, by the time he made his stage debut, there were a few bald patches!

  
There were cotton wool balls scattered around the hall and he left a trail through the car park on our way back to the car. šŸ˜³

Mummy and her, somewhat unimpressed, little lamb.  

Lessons learnt:

  • For a more durable costume, it would have been better to sew the cotton wool on. Or, use a fabric glue, perhaps.
  • Using wadding scraps is better than using cheap cotton wool.
  • This is a hot outfit to wear and cotton wool gets everywhere!

Do you have any costume successes or failures you’d like to share?

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A cake, a quilt and a yearning for yarn

Back in April, I made my nephew a memory bear and a car-themed birthday cake for his second birthday. Last week, my son turned two; with him also being car-mad, I felt obliged to recreate the car cake for his birthday party at the weekend.

I baked the two sponge cakes to make up the cake on Friday afternoon. However, when I cut into the first one, it was still raw inside. So, at 9pm the night before the party I had to start again, sending my husband out into the dark and cold for more butter. (A week of baking disasters, if you saw my last blog post.) This also left me in the slight predicament on Saturday morning of having a cake to ice whilst looking after a two-year old (my husband had to work). Fortunately, my Mum came to the rescue and took over childcare, leaving me free to ice the cake. Two hours later, it was done. It tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself.  

Now that I’ve finished the baby cardigan I spent aaaaaaaaages knitting, I needed to think about what’s next. My ‘to do’ list is as follows:

  • Knit a second baby cardigan, for a friend who is due next month. Despite having a whole hamper full of wool, I might just pay the haberdashery at John Lewis a visit tomorrow …  
  • Two memory cushions, to accompany the memory quilts I made last year.
  • A quilt from the hay bale covers I made for my friend’s wedding. (I’ve warned her she’s unlikely to see this before her first wedding anniversary!)
  • My hairdresser has commissioned a memory lion made from her baby’s clothes. 

Plenty to be getting on with then šŸ˜¬

I’ve often wondered what had become of the giraffe quilt I made for my niece. Tonight, I was delighted to receive a photo of my niece with said quilt. It’s helping her keep warm at night. That’s made my day, if not my week! 

  

Five little ducks …

… went swimming one day … onto a cardigan front. I’ve finished the garter stitch cardigan! Cue fanfare …

My fears about the joining together of pieces, weaving in of ends and sewing together of the sleeves and sides were unfounded.  

Next up, the pattern suggested adding a crochet edge, buttons and buttonholes. It’s been a while since I crocheted, so it was lucky that I had my weekly lunchtime pub craft date with ThePolkaDotGiraffe. I was soon on my way.  

This cardigan is intended for a friend’s baby. She is due next week. So, for regular readers, something amazing has happened – I’ve finished something ahead of schedule! She doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or girl, so I needed to choose some unisex buttons. I was going to go for yellow ducks, but then I stumbled across some teal ducks in John Lewis and had to buy them. Anyone who knows me, knows my love of the colour teal. My mother in law calls it ‘Kate’s colour’. So, buttons purchased in ‘my’ colour, I finished the cardigan last night.  

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve found the pattern (Garter Stitch Cardigan from Lullaby Knits) challenging. I started knitting this in June and have taken several breaks from it, and almost thrown in the towel. I’m glad I persevered and confronted my fear of knitting things that need sewing together.  I may even make another for a friend who is expecting a baby next month. 

From a success to a failure. A colleague recently offered up cooking apples from her garden, and I ended up with a bag of 20 apples. Having made two of my trusty Dorset Apple traybakes (which always go down a treat in the office), I was on the hunt for other apple-based recipes. Apple rose cupcakes were suggested to me, I think these are a bit of a trendy bake at the moment. These are a puff pastry dessert in which very thin slices of apple are rolled to make a rose effect. I made two errors: my puff pastry was too thick and my apple slices weren’t thin enough. They didn’t look too bad before going in the oven.

  
After baking.   

Generously dusted with icing sugar.  

Unfortunately, despite a second stint in the oven, the pastry was still raw in the middle. And the apples were burnt on top. They had to be binned šŸ˜¢

You win some. You lose some. 

To end on a happier note, the birthday card I made to appear on children’s TV for my son’s birthday made the cut! His card featured on CBeebies today. Whilst my now 2-yr-old was somewhat ambivalent to this momentous occasion, I was beside myself with excitement.  

That’s all from me for now. Do you have a recent success or failure you’d care to share?

(Not much) progress update

Now, where did I leave things … I had started knitting the first sleeve of the garter stitch baby cardigan I started back in June. Hence the title of this post šŸ˜Š.

Well, nearly a month on, I now have two sleeves knitted. So, next up is putting it all together. Gulp. Time to procrastinate – my usual approach when I don’t know what to do next. Oh, and I need to weave in the ends too. Another thing I hate doing!  

So, I’ve started work on a secret project. Also of the knitting variety. I don’t think said recipient reads this blog, but just in case, I shall keep schtum. This is as far as I’ve got. The deadline for this is next Fri, and then I’ll have to return to confronting my cardigan-assembling fears.

  
I’ve also been baking again. My son turns two in a couple of weeks and we’re now at the tail-end of five 2nd-birthday parties in the space of three weeks! Today, he had a joint party with 7 of his friends. Ideal, as we split the cost of hiring a brilliant venue near us called Little Street, which they then had the run of for 90 minutes. It is exactly as it’s named: a little street containing a mini supermarket, beauty salon, cafe, doctor’s surgery, building site, etc., in which the children can play. Anyway, I made the birthday cake for the party, utilising another of the number moulds my mother-in-law bought me. I made a chocolate sponge, iced it with chocolate buttercream and began decorating it with chocolate fingers, Smarties and white chocolate buttons. But, disaster struck. Last night, three packets of chocolate fingers later, I was only two-thirds of the way round the cake. And I was home alone with my son and couldn’t persuade anyone to do a chocolate fingers mercy dash for me. 

  

I bought another three packets this morning and finished it off, using a touch of hot water to melt the icing a bit to make them stick. Voila! I had to cut the chocolate fingers down a bit as my sponge wasn’t very well risen and they looked a bit silly at full height.   

 

As an end note, a friend sent me this earlier, she said it reminded her of me!

  

As an editor, the lower-case ‘I’ very much bothers me, but I like the statement. I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant and feeling the time pressures of finishing up a variety of craft projects before baby no.2 arrives I never have free time again.
 

Knit, knit, slow

It’s slow progress on the knitting front. I started knitting a baby cardigan back in June. I’m undecided yet as to whether it’s for a friend’s baby due in October or another one due in November. Depends how big the October baby is as it’s coming up pretty small …

I got off to a frustrating start when I couldn’t work out how to ‘continue knitting in pattern’. Having put out a cry for help on my local craft group’s Facebook page, I was soon on my way again and finished the back of the cardigan.   

And then knitting got put firmly on the back burner while I was making all things wedding-related for my friend’s wedding.

Now, I’m back on it, I ran into problems again when knitting up the fronts of the cardigan. It was the knitting in pattern again that I struggled with. Even more so the fact that ‘stitches made and lost in the pattern are not included in the stitch count after row 12’. Kept getting my sums wrong and having to unpick and start again. But, I worked it out in the end, and the left front of the cardigan took much less time than the right.   

Today, I’ve started on the sleeves during my weekly Wednesday pubcraft trip with my friend ThePolkaDotGiraffe. We’ve recently changed our choice of pub and the past two weeks people have commented on us knitting in the pub, but not today. Maybe they’re getting used to the sight of two women in their 30s knitting/crocheting over a Coke and some pickled onion Monster Munch šŸ˜€

Meanwhile, I’ve also been busy making a birthday card for my little man’s upcoming 2nd birthday. It’s now been sent off to CBeebies (a children’s TV station for non-UK readers) to arrive well within their required deadline (at least a month before the child’s birthday). Only half the cards that get sent in get shown on air, so I don’t rate my chances. Last year, I submitted the card less than a month before his birthday and it didn’t make the cut. That was a much better card too in terms of the efforts that went into it.  šŸ˜« This year, I’ve gone down the easy cheat’s route of buying a magazine and cutting out pictures of his characters, rather than creating them myself, as I did last year. Lazy Mummy. However, I did include a door, behind which there is a photo of the man himself. They love a photo hiding behind a flap on CBeebies, so fingers crossed it makes it on TV! I gave Little Man a sneaky peak before it went in the post as the cards don’t get returned. 

  
 
Oh, and I also made some Peppa Pig-themed fairy cakes for a 2nd birthday party last weekend. I’ve saved 12 cake toppers as I have quite a few nieces and nephews who are Peppa Pig fans.   

That’s all from me for now, time to watch The Great British Bake Off and carry on with my knitting …

Westie has a wash

Can’t quite believe that it’s been 6 months since I finished my Westie cross stitch. I never did make a decision about framing him or making him into a cushion. Now that I’m going to be visiting my grandmother – who the cross stitch is for – in a couple of weeks, it was decision time. I opted for framing. But, this meant I needed to give him another press and, possibly a wash.

I found a really useful tutorial on how to wash a cross stitch, here

Before – a bit crumpled and a bit marked from the hoop:  

Into the washing-up bowl: lukewarm water and a little Fairy Liquid, soaked for 15 minutes. I put a little lemon juice on one of the marks before soaking. Note to self: don’t do this in future.  

Onto a white towel, folded in half and then rolled to remove some of the excess water.

  
 

Then onto another white towel and topped with a clean tea towel, pressed with a warm iron until dry.

 
After:  

In the light of day this morning, the lemon juice had left a bit of a mark. But, the framer assures me it won’t be noticeable once it’s mounted and framed properly. Just as well, for the amount it’s costing! Just the 6-8 week wait for the finished frame …

My best friend’s wedding

My mad crafting came to an end as it was my friend’s wedding last Saturday (15th Aug). It was a frantic week or so leading up to it, trying to finish everything off, but I’m pleased to say I did. I even met my goal of finishing the bunting by the end of July.

I packaged up what I like to call ‘a wedding box of loveliness’, which my parents very kindly hand-delivered to my friend the week before her wedding.

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It contained delights such as THE bunting that I’ve spent months making. I was working towards 120 metres, but ran out of flags way before then, so I reckon it was a mere 90 metres or so instead.

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Personalised bunting.Ā The wedding was festival themed;Ā the Mr and Mrs-to-be would be Mr & Mrs Jones. So, Jonesfest was born. Festival-themed weddings are all the rage in the UK at the moment. I used leftover fabric from the bunting and appliquĆ©d the letters onto the flags, using contrasting colours (pink, orange or yellow).

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I used some more leftover fabricĀ scraps from the bunting to make heart decorations to hang around the jars the bride wanted to use for flowers.

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Finally, I made 6 hay bale covers. As this was a festival-themed wedding, and the brief was ‘informal and fun’ the happy couple opted for hay bale seating – no formal table plan, no sit-down meal. And I have to say, on the day, it didn’t feel like anything was ‘missing’ in that respect. It only added to the relaxed and friendly vibe.

Months ago. I bought a fewĀ double sheets from a charity shop, two yellow, one pink. With the intention of making hay bale covers. I went for the ‘no sew’ option, which basically involved cutting them into the required rectangular size using my trusting pinking blade on my rotary cutter. I then used up more leftover fabric scraps from the bunting by tracing letters onto bondaweb, cutting them out and ironing them onto the sheets, to create phrases. I was going to appliquĆ© round the edges of the letters, but time was against me and I actually thought they looked nice as they were. My iron needed a clean after every session with the bondaweb. Thank god for my iron cleaner stick.

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I was one of six bridesmaids at the wedding. We all assembled for our duties on Thursday night/Friday morning and had a lovely day on Friday decorating the village hall and the fields behind, both of whichĀ were to be used for the wedding reception. As luck would have it, there was exactly enough bunting! Myself and one of the other bridesmaids had a productive couple of hours decorating jars and milk bottles with ribbon and lace, before arranging flowers in them. it really did look lovely once we’d finished.

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On the day itself, we walked from the bride’s house to the village church, stopping for various photo opportunities on the way. After the church service, we all walked down to the village hall where a Ceilidh band was in full swing ready for our arrival. Instead of a wedding cake, the newlyweds had invitedĀ guests to bake a cake to be entered into ‘The Great Jonesfest Bake-Off’, which was to be judged by the Best Men.

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Our bridesmaids dresses were all different, which looked really good. The only rules wereĀ that they needed to be knee-length,Ā chiffon and in one of three colours: fuchsia, watermelon or daffodil. Having ordered my dress when I wasn’t pregnant, I ended up panic-buying a second dress a month or two ago, thinking that I wouldn’t fit in my ‘normal’ dress when the time came. As it happened, I did. But I did switch into my maternity dress in the evening, which was more comfortable by that time in the day. Breaking with convention again (well in the UK, at least), the bride had asked each of the bridesmaids to prepare a speech. Very nerve-wracking considering there were 200 guests. But, with the Ceilidh dancing beforehand, we didn’t have too much time to get nervous and it was a wonderful feeling once it was over and done with. Here’s aĀ photo of us with the happy couple (I’m the blonde one in yellow).

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The dayĀ ended with a silent disco. For those not familiar with the concept, it’s when everyoneĀ wears a pair of headphones so that you can dance to music, without disturbing others. A good option for a village hall wedding reception like this, where the rule was no noise after 10pm. In this case, there were three channels to choose from on the headphones: the groom’s playlist, the bride’s playlist and the people’s playlist (songs requested by the wedding guests in their RSVP).

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The bride mentioned to me that they’re now using the hay bale covers I made on the beds in their home. Which cemented in my mind a little idea i’d had – which was to turn them into a quilt! New project alert! I’d actually had a little something else in mind, to use up more of the leftover bunting scraps, but I’m going to try and incorporate this into the quilt. I’ll have to wait until October until I get the hay bale covers back, so plenty of time to come up with ideas how to do this.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the new Mr and Mrs Jones!

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