Saturday, 28 September 2013

London with little ones #7 The Great Fire of London

This week in school MJ has been studying The Great Fire of London. He has inspired us all so we decided to take a day out in London to help us learn a little more.

We used the 'London Adventure Walks for families' book as a starting point and a friend reminded me that The Museum of London also has an exhibit on the story.

We started our trail at the Tower of London, the furthermost point to which the fire spread. Apparently there is a statue called the Golden Boy on Gitspur Street which marks the spot where the fire ended but we only found this out at the end of our day! Next time! We followed the river westward past the old sugar warehouses. I'm sure I read somewhere that the fire melted the sugar in the stores and it ran down the streets and turned to toffee. I have no idea when or where I read this and didn't see any mention of it today so I may well have dreamt it!

We found Pudding Lane where the fire began and the monument which Sir Christopher Wren designed to remember the event.


From here we made our way to 'Museum of London' on the London Wall. The exhibit is fairly small but enough to fill the minds of little ones and it has a very helped film to watch too.

As usual our trip involved a couple of coffee shop stops, lunch and a visit to the Museum shop where we purchased the Usborne 'Story of London Sticker book' which entertained us on our way home.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

What do we do with it all?

Each day when I arrive at Preschool to take Lj home I am presented with my child and a collection of paintings, drawings and models. Today it was a model of a house, a painting of an elephant and a collage lion mask. I dutifully bring them home, show them to M and then try to smuggle them into the recycling bin (over a period of days in the hope they won't be missed...sometimes they are!).

She certainly has a love of painting, cutting and sticking. I remember when MJ started Pre school they repeatedly told me that they had encouraged him to come to the making table to do some painting or colouring but he would never go, preferring to continue playing with the train track or something similar. Interestingly he loves to make things now and often brings his own creations home from school. In the holidays we went to the Planetarium and I could have left all day in the craft room where he was making a rocket, space buggies etc from plastic bottles, sellotape and the like.

When I feel guilty about throwing another 100 drawings/paintings of Lj's in the bin I wonder about storing some of them...but how do you store them? Today her teacher suggested I stick them in a scrapbook and keep them for her for when she older. At this rate I would need a scrap book a week and I'm really not sure how interested she will in them when she is 21! Plus I am not a hoarder and am not sure I could cope with scrapbook upon scrapbook on shelves gathering dust.

The only other solution I can think of is to take a photo of the odd one and log them on here so it becomes a diary for when she is older.

On Saturday she wanted to use her Usbourne 'Fairy and Princess making book' so we created this (see below). At the same time I was thinking it looked like an angel and could be used in Christmas cards. So from this one we went on to produce 40 more.

I loved this picture of our friend and her newborn baby. The baby really does spend most of its time nuzzled into her Mama's chest. This was drawn by Lj on her Megasketcher.

A few weeks ago we went to Chartwell, a National Trust property. The weather was not good and we had a lot of time to kill while waiting for M to return from his game of golf and pick us up. So we purchased an Usbourne, Art Sticker book in the gift shop and set to work. Then we even used the paper bag that the book was sold in to draw our own works of art based on 'shapes'.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Designing a door stop

Today it has taken me three attempts to make a door stop which I am happy to reproduce. The first attempt produced one which was mini and would look silly holding a door open, the second was too large and could now be used as a shopping bag but the third attempt was 'just right'!

I had an idea for a pattern, based on a 'zippy bag' or my 'reversible summer bag' pattern but I was unsure how it could be finished off with the handle. I would like to make a few of these to sell at some Christmas craft fairs which I have signed up for so they needed to be cut out and assembled quickly. I'm happy with the results although on third attempt I realised that I could do the final closing seam at the bottom which would be in a less obvious position...I was also eager to avoid hand sewing if possible!

Now I can begin cutting my Ashley Wilde, Elsie fabric which was another holiday purchase from The cotton Print Factory shop in Belfast.

Monday, 16 September 2013

A very autumnal Monday

 If ever I have spoken negatively about Autumn I apologise. Today has changed my opinion. Today is a beautiful Autumnal day. The skies are blue, there is a coolness in the air but not a chill and the wind blowing is drying my clothes beautifully.

Lj and I have been picking apples in a friends garden and potting up some hyacinths in the hope they will be blooming for Christmas.
 This photo is taken from 'Homemade-Gorgeous things to make with love'

And now while I have a couple of childfree hours I have been for a run...(I am not a runner but I would like to be someone who exercises regularly so I'm trying running again and I'm hoping by mentioning it on here I will be held accountable and keep running). It is not me in the picture, it is another runner who overtook me while I stopped and got my phone out to take a pic of the leaves changing colour and creating a beautiful scene.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Workshop 4.1 Make a cushion cover with a covered button

 I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of the girls and their finished cushion covers at last nights workshop. Well that's not actually true...I can believe I forgot, as it was one of those evenings where we were all feeling tired after the first full week of back to school. We did a lot of tiredness induced laughing and struggled to work out how to do a button hole on 4 different machines. But we got there and completed lovely cushion covers, with button holes and matching covered buttons. Well done girls!

This was my sample cushion with a little added sharpieness to add a bit of detail.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Pins & Needles #2

As promised, a pin cushion to match!
I haven't put them together as a 'Sew your own' kit...but still thinking about it!
Meanwhile, I have been to the market today and purchased lots of ribbon and Christmas fabrics. Then on the way back to the car I stopped in the library and borrowed...
I have been needing to make something for a 1yr old boy but have been struggling to get ideas. I have found the perfect idea in 'Recraft by Buttonbag'.

While in town I tried on these beautiful shoes...

I would need to sell approx. 15 pin cushions to purchase them...Hmmm...better get sewing!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Pins & Needles

Today I started making some things for the stalls I hope to do nearer Christmas.
These are little needle cases made from rather funky material I found when on holiday. I think I will make matching pin cushions and perhaps sell them as a set. I'm also thinking of producing them as a 'sew your own' range so that those who would enjoy the challenge of making one can sew their own.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Covering buttons in our pyjamas.

The boys are still in bed and LJ and I are still in our pyjamas. We have been distracted by covering buttons in all sorts of fabric. I need to be careful I don't cover them all as I ordered them for my cushion covering workshop on Friday night. There is something quite addictive about covering buttons!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Autumn's Coming Soon

I'm not sure whether I am looking forward to or dreading Autumn this year. I look forward to getting back into routine and having a bit more time for 'Lilyjean, Quirky&Handmade' but I dread the cold days and dark nights.

On a trip to London last week I got the chance to pop into the Marimeko shop in St Christopher's Place, just off Oxford Street. Although out of my price range I was inspired by their new Autumn designs. They have looked to the weather for their inspiration and are celebrating 'rain'. I would really have to dig deep to be inspired by 'rain' but they have come up with some beautiful images.

I especially love this last image 'Drip tunic' and can see a little girls dress design with lots of rain drops and a colourful umbrella as a possible winter design. This will be Lj's first Autumn of preschool so I may even have enough free time to realise the picture which is currently in my head!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Last day of summer?

Today it was hot (for us!). The car read 26oC at 7.30 when we went to pick M up from the station. Yet the forecast for tomorrow is rain and 17oC, if we are lucky. So today really did feel like it might be the end of an amazingly warm Summer. To make the most if it we played and ate outside. Tidied all the garden toys away and prepared for the change in seasons.

Goodbye sandals, shorts and bare arms!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Humorous MJ

I wrote this post a few months ago but never got round to finishing it and then it was forgotton. Today I witnessed again some of the personality which I have written about below and was reminded of this lost post!


1. He is developing a fun sense of humour.
I noticed it on Sunday and again today. On Sunday we were at a BBQ in an unfamiliar place with all but 3 unfamiliar people (a situation MJ would not normally be comfortable in). As we were eating, one of the young ladies from church got up to go to the bathroom. Before leaving she asked MJ not to let anyone take her plate, but as soon as she had gone MJ picked it up and moved it two places along so that on her return she thought it was missing. MJ's giggles gave the joke away very quickly but the incident really made me see a new part of him emerge.

Today I took the girls (Lj and my niece) along to his school sports day. I would have photos to show had I not left the battery on charge at home, but I digress. As he waited with his team for their next event I watched as he plucked at the grass and then deposited it on a little girl's head, who was sitting in front of him. She swiped them off her hair and he sat back looking smug. Following the next race again they were sitting waiting and the same girl was now two ahead of him and so I watched as he plucked more grass and reached over the girl in front and popped it onto the original little girl's hair. To which she swung round and was rather surprised to see a very innocent looking girl behind her and not MJ who she had been suspecting!

He loves his practical jokes and tried a few out on me today. Lj in her naivety loves them and looks at him admiringly as he works his 'magic'!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Goodbye Summer...

Today's title has been taken from a little song we sing with the kids to help them remember the months of the year. As the school holidays draw to a close I have been reflecting on our Summer and preparing for a new Season. 'Autumn's coming soon' will hopefully be my next post!

The weather this Summer has been and continues to be amazing. We were genuinely surprised to wake to rain on Saturday morning but thankfully that has dried up and we have returned to warm and sunny days. The nights however are closing in and getting cooler so we know that these hot and sunny days will not last forever.

The holidays have flown by and while last Summer (2012) was marked by MJ's physical achievements such as learning to ride his bike and becoming more confident in the water, this summer has been about mental progress. Everyday we have tried to work on his Numeracy and Literacy so that he can keep up with his classmates. He has grown to love Maths and it has been a joy to see him and M work together on which method they should use for each problem. He is much less keen on reading and spelling but I can see his confidence developing in this area too. With the new term starting soon and with it more extra curricular activities I really hope we can maintain our breakfast/worksheet routine.

Lj is a quick learner, I overheard her helping MJ out with one of his words as he spelt the months of the Year. So while he is doing his work, we encourage Lj to also sit and work on her tasks...or just get her to sit and finish breakfast(which is an achievement in itself!). Her determination and independence gets her into a few scraps but after a word from MJ on disobedience (which I overheard while at a distance) she keeps telling me that she is trying to obey and wants to be a 'good' girl. So far, so good!

 A fun day in Hatfield Forest with good friends.

 Walking in the river at Gosford Forest Park, just before Lj fell in!

 Fun in the garden with Great Auntie Liz.

 Visiting Grandad, Nanna and all our cousins in N.Ireland.

Enjoying the Wales.

It has been a simple out doors Summer. With tree climbing, picnicing, pond dipping, crabbing, train riding, beach combing, hut building, sand castle building, bike riding, fruit picking and plane spotting in North Wales, N.Ireland and home!