I do love a good tidy up, often if I'm stressed a good sort out of a cupboard or drawer can really help me relax.
Last evening I had the urge to tidy and reorganise Ernest's toys and books.
I do wish I had more space to rotate toys out on display, but sadly that's not an option right now, instead we just have to keep everything to a minimum...though I refuse to throw out the wooden puzzles with a piece missing, because I know as soon as I do the missing pieces will show up! Instead those puzzles are in a box tucked out of sight.
I've labelled all the toy boxes in the misguided belief that the children will all put everything back in the right boxes at the end of each day, and anyway I thought they might go down well at my forthcoming Ofsted inspection.
I think another trip to jolly old Ikea is needed for a few more baskets, some dolls and some play kitchen equipment.
I also had great fun last night putting together a treasure basket and a toddler basket.
I usually collect together non toy things I think Ernest will enjoy exploring, I've done it with all of my children, but I've never actually purposefully made a treasure basket before...more brownie points from Ofsted I hope.
I found these articles very helpful and interesting.
My toddler basket doesn't strictly follow the heuristic play rules, I've just popped things in there I either already know, or think will occupy Ernest.
There's the pipe cleaners woven through a holey pot .
The straws in a bottle
Plus various other household items he can stack, make patterns with or just generally use to experiment.
Ernest has been wearing disposable nappies (Shock horror!) for several months now. I don't like them, they smell funny, they don't work terribly well, they create so much waste, but I've been struggling with the laundry mountain, and Ernest is the wriggliest of all my children when it comes to nappy changes, my beloved terry nappies are a disaster with such a wriggler.
I prefer cloth nappies, and it does seem rather odd that as a former nappy designer I should have my Ernie in disposables, so yesterday I set about using up the last of my nappy making fabrics to make him some Tiddlybums, which I guess these days might be considered pretty retro. (they were afterall designed nearly 10 years ago!)
My last pieces of burley knit terry and killington flannel, all gone, which makes me feel slightly on edge...I'm sure other fabric addicts reading might understand that.
I still have about 2000 Tiddlybums labels to use up...ideas of what to do with them on a postcard please!
Hoping Ernest will oblige with a good long nap today so I can finish these nappies and make room for more interesting stitching.
I also whipped up four new pairs of wool longies from Grandad's old golf sweaters.
Ernest is wearing a pair today (over a disposable), I did try to get a photograph, but the results are all rather blurry...
He's fast up those stairs!
I hadn't really heard of Ice Lanterns until I read about them here.I thought they sounded, and looked lovely and really wanted to have a go at making them for Florence's grave for Christmas eve.
I half followed the instructions given, but I forgot to take out the middle section and had to defrost a little and then re freeze.
I used some plastic tubs and for the mid section some metal yeast tubs.
Woody came up with a plan to use pennies to weight down the middle section, which worked better, since we could remove the pennies and use warm water in the yeast tubs to remove them easily from the frozen lantern.
Such a simple idea, but so effective when lit.
After the success of the grave lanterns I thought I'd experiment with making a large lantern for the Christmas dinner table.
This time I used a large ice cream tub, filled it about 1/3 of the way with water and left it to freeze solid. Then I added my weighted yeast tin, which sat nicely on the frozen water. I surrounded this with water and dropped in some holly berries and tiny pine cones from the garden.
I left this to freeze until about 15 minutes before dinner, then removed the yeast tin with a little hot water, and added my candle.
I did have to sit the lantern on a saucer to catch the drips, but it was so pretty and just kept on getting prettier as the ice melted and the berries and pinecones appeared.
I'll definately be making these again. x
...and for all your babies too.
I made these ice lanterns and we took them to the cemetery at dusk. We lit them for Florence and for everyone else missing their children this evening.
Wishing you all peace at Christmas. x
The sun shone today as we decorated Florence's grave for Christmas. India captured these images, and they've lifted my heart a little.
We shouldn't be decorating a grave, we should be wrapping gifts for a two and a half year old little girl.
Instead she gets a little pink tree covered in butterflies and pretty blue baubles.
And finding I'm cross, so very very cross. I don't want to be. I want to be elegant and dignified in my two and a half year old grief, but it doesn't really work like that.
I've been meaning to do this for ages. My fireplace was very orange pine, and despite Woody's obvious worry about me painting the fireplace, I went ahead and did it anyway. I really like it, and I'm pleased to say Woody does too.
I really wanted to buy a nice new mirror, something in an old silver or gold, but finances are super tight so instead I've painted the old one in a shabby chic rustic style.I think it needs a little wax rubbed in and possibly a touch of metallic...
I've also finally got around to giving my ancient and much used nursing chair a set of new covers.
This chair was given to me by my lovely friend Anton, sadly lost to breast cancer almost seven years ago.
I'm pretty certain it was second hand when she first got it for her children, it's rocked a lot of babies over the years.
I have fond memories of breastfeeding my children in this chair, but especially Angus who would share my lap with his best friend James who would be feeding from a bottle at the same time.
Now that the chair has new covers I'm also pondering painting the frame.....
Things are still massively hectic around here, which is probably a good thing. I haven't had time to think too much about Christmas. About our third Christmas without Florence. Every now and again, I let my guard slip and find I'm in a puddle of tears. They don't last long. I don't let them. I'm too busy to let them.
It's so very dark today. I finally got around to re covering this chair,but I can't get any decent photos, it's soooo dark!
Trying to cosy up my lounge in time for Christmas, and also in time for my Ofsted inspection which is looming.
I haven't mentioned it here before, but I'm in the process of becoming a registered childminder so that I can take care of a very special little one in April when his Mummy goes back to work.
There's a lot to do. I've completed the pre registration course, and updated my first aid certificate. Now I'm concentrating on preparing my home and myself for the inspection.
That's just another thing that's been keeping me busy right now.
There was time today mid chair covering to stop for a snuggle, some milk and a nap.
PS, winners of the giveaway, scroll down to the next post......
so, using Random.Org, I've picked four winners:
Please email me your addresses to jeanette dot archer at gmail dot com
I'll get these off to you asap. x
Today is my turn to take part in this years 25 Days of Giveaways. This is the third year of taking part for me, and I'm glad to be participating again.
The first year I took part, I remember vividly sitting (too) quietly sewing away and making my giveaways. For me, stitching, creating is a kind of meditation, it calms my soul, it gives me a focus, and that first year I was so very glad to be making something and desperate to send some love out into the world to other parents hurting like I was.
I still feel this way. I don't (thankfully) have the quiet and the time these days, but I made time for this project. I needed that little slice of time to create and to hopefully stitch a little love into these little birds to send out to those that need it.
Long time readers will recognise these little birds. I first used them on baby carriers I made while pregnant with Florence, and then on her burial gown. I've also used them in her memory book, on clothing for myself,and even incorporated them into a fabric design.
I guess these little birds will always remind me of Florence.
I have four of these to give away. I was hoping for more, but at midnight last night, with raw fingers and tired eyes I realised it was time to sleep and stop stitching.
This is what the birds looked like at tea time yesterday.
So, I don't think I did too badly...well ok, I am dissapointed in myself that I couldn't get more completed, but hey...
So, if you would like one of these little doves to come and live with you, if you have lost a child through miscarriage,stillbirth, neo natal death or any other reason, please leave me a comment.
Tell me if you have a little somerhing always associated with your child.
I will leave this give away up for a full 24 hours to give all my international readers a chance to leave a comment. (It's 9.10 am as I type)
then I will use random.org to pick four winners.
Love to you all. x
I've been meaning to make myself a shower cap for ages, just haven't found the time, something in very short supply around here right now.
Two of my lovely friends had birthdays this week though, and both have just had new bathrooms fitted, so they both had the dubious pleasure of being the first victims of my shower cap attempts.
I did throw in a little zippered pouch each and a jar of vanilla sugar scrub too.
I used the fab, super quick and easy tutorial for the pouch from the lovely Snug Bug.
I will make myself a shower cap too, and maybe share a tutorial here.
One of the things that's been keeping me so busy lately.
Almost six years after founding Manchester's first Slingmeet, my good friends, Rachel, Souad, Dominique, and myself have started working together on Manchester's first Babywearing Consultancy
It's exciting and nerve wrecking all at once.
This is our temporary banner, we have a fab new logo being designed , and hopefully will be ready to unveil very soon.
We are going to be offering babywearing classes from mid January 2012 at Glo Family in Cheadle...fab fab premises, with so much for little ones and their parents.
For all you local Mamas (and Papas), take a look at our website, and let us know what you think. x
I made a cake!
November is Newvember, try something new every day in November. Doesn't have to be a big thing, just something small to improve your day.
Yesterday we left for school ten minutes early and instead of walking our usual route along a very busy road, we diverted through the park.
It was lovely, peaceful and a few moments of calm before school. I don't know why we haven't ever done it before.
Today I decided I wanted to bake a chocolate cake for tea. I never bake anything except a very simple apple cake, so this stupidly childish chocolate cake decorated with milky way magic stars is quite an achievement for me.
I feel like a proper grown up Mummy!
It doesn't really matter, except it does, because each time my heart breaks. My beautiful girl, my beautiful beautiful longed for, loved little girl, and she's just not relevant, not worth mentioning.
She was 9lbs, 3 1/2 ounces, she had a little red/brown hair, and long fingers and toes just like me. She had big feet and a round tummy.I think her eyes were blue....she is so so relevant, and I love her, I miss her with every fibre of my being, and I have to keep it in, speak the right words at official meetings, not upset anyone, but I want to scream, and cry and yell.
I want to say "yes, Sid is a reserved little boy, and yes he always was, but he's thinking thinking all the time. And did you know he held his baby sister in his arms after she died? Did you know, my beautiful boy who doesn't say much came to me the other day to tell me he knew why his sister died? He wanted to go and tell the doctors, it was because her heart stopped. He thought he had the answer"
I don't say that though, I say yes he's a quiet little guy, yes his writing is coming on, and his maths too.."
And anyway I don't want to scare his lovely new young teacher with stories of dead children, I don't want her to think I'm that strange woman who relates eveything back to her dead daughter...
....You need to say "Sod it" to the housework, and the to do list, put on your wellies and head for the woods. Which is exactly what we did this afternoon.
We went on one of our fave walks in Styal, Quarry Bank Mill. The walk is just long enough to run off boy energy, and get everyone refreshed.
Yep, I've still got an untidy house, but it was worth it.
Clearing out my Etsy store ready for new stock, and all pinafores are now reduced to clear. Some, like this one are half price with free shipping in the UK, so grab a bargain while they are there!
Click on the linkie in my side bar. x
As my real life friends know only too well, my lounge has been in dire need of face lift for some time, and this weekend I finally made a start on the long list of "to dos".
I started with the blinds. These blinds have been upcycled so many times now, I think I might deserve some sort of recyclers award!
They started life as curtains twelve years ago when we moved here.
We moved from a two up two down terrace, with tiny windows, so were not prepared for large bay windows, and the previous owners had taken the curtains with them.
We bought the only pair of ready made curtains we could find that fitted our non standard sized window. The only pair we could afford at the time, and in a hurry. They were honestly a bit blah!
Soon realising that we were not going to be able to afford full length and generously gathered curtains for this window, I decided to make the curtains into roman blinds.
We lived with those until about six years ago when I re covered them with teal and brown silk.
And now, I've removed the teal and brown silk, replaced the cords, and any broken rings, and re covered this time with Joel Dewberry fabric and dupion silk.
So, four incarnations from one set of boring high street curtains, that's pretty impressive "make do and mending" I think!