Domestic Quest – Little Man’s very own alphabet!

We have been working on setting up Little Man with his very own play area, the downstairs of our house isn’t very crawling baby safe or free flowing so we have had to section off the front room, but I wanted somewhere safe to pop LM while I hoover or cook, somewhere where he can play without me worrying about what he is up to. I will be posting more on this soon as we are nearly done. But one idea I had was that I wanted to block off the bottom of the radiator, when LM first started crawling he’d roll near it and almost hit his head on the underside, we had some MDF left over from his tree, so Hubs quickly cut it down to size and I hatched a plan to make LM his very own alphabet full of geekery. Much of the credit for how this turned out goes to Hubs, without his drawing skills, this would have just been a great idea very poorly executed!

First we decided on what each letter would stand for, then I painted the wood with a few coats of primer and some white silk paint, and then I got designing LM’s letters on Photoshop, using free fonts from DaFont to create letters that were similar in style to their theme.

We then printed the images onto paper and cut them out. Hubs then traced around the letters and freehand copied the detail, sometimes with incredible attention to detail!

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We then began to paint each letter with acrylic paint:

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When each letter was completed we outlined the detail with permanent marker.

2014-04-14 19.35.07We still need to seal the finished alphabet with some acrylic paint sealant to keep it wipe able to stop little hands getting it grubby, but we are so happy with how it has turned out, and LM loves it.

My favourites are P, F and Y!

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Little Man’s Alphabet:

A is for Avengers

B is for Batman

C is for Cat in the Hat

D is for Disney

E is for Elephant

F is for Fish (One, Two, Red & Blue!)

G is for Gruffalo

H is for Harry Potter

I is for Isaac

J is for Jedi

K is for King

L is for Love

M is for Mickey Mouse

N is for Nemo

O is for Octopus

P is for Pooh Bear

Q is for Queen

R is for Rainbow

S is for Superman

T is for Tiger

U is for Umbrella (Yellow of course *HIMYM*)

V is for Very Hungry Caterpillar

W is for Where the Wild Things Are

X is for X-Men

Y is for Yoda

Z is for Zebra

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Bubs Neighbor Totoro – Grannies Totoro Jumper

Have been meaning to share a picture of the jumper that my incredible Granny knitted Little Man for Christmas.

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She proudly told me that she didn’t even use a pattern, when she visited us she snuck into LM’s nursery, took a picture of the Totoro decal on the wall and used that as a guide. LM is still a little too small for it but we can’t wait for him to be able to wear it.

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Bubs My Neighbor Totoro Nursery

As mentioned in a previous post, it was decided very early on that regardless of bubs gender we wanted a My Neighbor Totoro themed nursery, its one of my favourite animated movies and I loved the idea of filling the room with Totoros, toadstools and other woodland wonders.

As we rent our house (and lack artistic ability) a full wall style murial like this amazing Ghibli themed room was out of the question

We decided to use something more like this as our inspiration, using wall decals that we can easily take with us should we move.

Even though we rent, I wanted the room to be colourful so we have painted it with Dulux Melon Sorbet, originally I wanted a pale sagey green for the walls and this is slightly brighter but I love it now as its much brighter for my little one and feels like more of a childs room.

After a lot of hard work and a few lengthy projects the outcome was this:

We brought the large colour Totoro wall decal on Etsy, I made the patchwork blanket using Totoro fabric found on Spoonflower, my Gran helped to make Bub’s one of a kind Totoro Amigurumi mobile, and we painted Ikea Spice Racks with satin paint to create forward facing bookshelves.

We made the Tree shelving ourselves.

We also made the shelving unit above the changer, and we printed soot sprites on to vinyl decal paper ourselves and stuck them up in the corner of the room.

We are so happy with the outcome, its perhaps not as Totoro heavy as I’d have liked but living in the UK options are limited without paying large shipping costs from Japan, but hopefully over time we can add a few more bits and bobs that come up on Ebay or Etsy.

All the room needs now is for its new resident to make his appearance, hurry up Bub, we are so ready to meet you!!!

You can see all of my posts about creating Bub’s Totoro Nursery here!

Bub’s Roomate Totoro: Amigurumi Totoro Mobile

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but that doesn’t mean my obsession with preparing for Bub’s arrival has stopped, there are just several large projects all on the go at them moment, the main one being getting the nursery sorted, but I did this week manage to finally finish one element of the room, Bub’s My Neighbor Totoro Amigurumi Mobile.

I’d seen several examples of a crocheted Totoro mobile online and instantly fell in love with the idea, but not with the cost, this amazing one goes on Etsy for over £50, and when you add on the shipping to get it to the UK it was just simply too much for us to spend on a mobile.

Crochet Totoro Nursery Mobile (Made-To-Order) CustomizableDisheartened I showed it to my Gran while discussing her various knitting projects that started as soon as she found out we were expecting (she is really incredible and has knitted us so many lovely bits for Bub), after a few minutes of looking bemused while I explained exactly what Totoro was and why we wanted this rather than just say ”Winnie the Pooh” she said that if I could find her some patterns she’d happily give one a go.

I managed to find some amazing free amigurumi patterns online (listed below) and emailed them over to my Gran and sent down some wool I’d picked out, a few days later when ringing to talk her through the patterns, she informed me she was done (like I said…she’s incredible!) not only that but she’s fallen in love with amigurumi and has been out and brought a book so she can make Bub some more Japanese influenced cuddly critters. A few days later I received a box full of Totoros and foresty goodies in the post!

Finally after a few months of figuring out how to put it all together and how we would hang it over the cot, I by chance came across my old mobile in my mums loft this was the result:

I’m so chuffed with the outcome and after cleaning up my old mobile, removing the old sticker on the music box and replacing it with my own, printed onto Vinyl paper and wrapping the arm in green wool to cover up the evidence of age I couldn’t clear up with soap and sandpaper, I had the brainwave to wrap the wooden top of the mobile in wool also, up to that point they had been connected by a large crocheted ball similar to the Etsy example, I’m much happier with how it looks now, as it meant that I could hide the wool attachments, where as before the wool had simply been wrapped around the wood and looked somewhat messy.

So that’s one thing crossed of the never ending list of things to do for Bub’s room, we are getting there, slowly but surely and with only 6 weeks left we need to get a move on. I can’t wait to share the finished room with you all.

Amigurumi patterns used for mobile:

White Chibi Totoro: http://lucyravenscar.blogspot.fr/2012/04/all-totoros.html (Gran also made the smaller blue pattern, but it was too big for the mobile)

Totoro: http://www.amigurumitogo.com/2012/12/large-grey-totoro.html

All of the rest my Gran did from looking at pictures of crocheted raindrops, toadstools, trees and acorns and for the Soot Sprite I just asked her to do a black sphere similar to the colored ones she’d already done and add some eyes, there is also a marble inside of him to help counteract the weight of Totoro.

My Neighbor Totoro Patchwork Baby Blanket

As soon as we started trying to get pregnant, it was decided that whether Boy or GIrl, our Nursery theme would be My Neighbor Totoro. It’s one of my favourite animated films and I love the idea of nature being important to my little one, so the opportunity to make a nice foresty themed Totoro nursery where Totoro could possibly be joined by a range of woodland animals, seemed perfect.

As I planned and pinned away my inspirations for Bubs room, it became apparent that being in the UK, choosing a Japanese theme may not be the most convenient and cost effective choice…however, my Gran had already crocheted an amazing Totoro mobile for us (post coming soon) and I really did love the idea, so I decided I would just have to use some workarounds.

So when I found this amazing Totoro print fabric on Spoonflower and discovered that they only charge $2 for postage to the UK, it was decided, instead of spending a lot of money importing a blanket from Japan, I was going to make him a one of a kind, patchwork Totoro blanket with my own two hands…..once I found a way to cut the fabric to size and sew the blanket seeing as it had been 12 years since I last touched a sewing machine.

I checked out Pinterest for inspiration and tutorials suitable for a beginner, my post on my inspirations can be found here and as mentioned in that post the tutorial I ended up following is this one. And also sourced the rest of my fabric:

This cute one from frumble.co.uk

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and this plain fabric from plushaddict.co.uk

One of my best friends is an avid sewer so I recruited her, along with her rotary cutter, mat and ruler and we spent an afternoon cutting all the fabrics to 5”x5” squares, then I borrowed my Nan’s ”vintage” (read super old!) sewing machine, laid out my squares in the right order, took a picture to follow and got to work following the steps of the tutorial.

           Blanket LayoutPiecing the strips together

My blanket is 5 squares by 8 squares, so about 40”x25” give or take a bit due to my inexperience at sewing seams of the same width, my squares don’t line up perfectly and sewing the strips together got messy, but I don’t care as once it was all put together, it looked great and I was super chuffed with myself, it only took me a few hours and I was eager to find some backing material so that I could finish it off.

Fabric completed

I decided to get a fleece throw from Tesco for the backing material and found one that was the perfect colour, I cut it down to size, pinned it; right sides together, to my patchwork and got to work sewing a 1/4” (ish) seam, leaving one corner open so I could turn it right way out.

All backedThen after practicing my top stitch on a blanket of less importance, I pinned the corner opening, ironed the blanket and finished the blanket up with a top stitch.

I am so happy with the way this turned out as it was my first sewing project in years, and I have developed a new obsession with patchwork blankets and next plan on turning all my old gig shirts into a rag t-shirt quilt before starting work on another blanket for bub. I have my eye on this adorable Soot Sprite print fabric, just need to find some other fabrics to go with it.

We are starting the Nursery this weekend, so stay tuned for a before/after style post and also that post about the amazing crocheted mobile that my Gran made for us…here’s a sneak peek.

Totoro & Chibi-TotoroPattern sourced here.

Patchwork Pinspiration: 5 Patchwork Quilts on Pinterest that inspired me to give it a go!

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So that My Neighbor Totoro Patchwork Baby Blanket post is coming! But in preparation I thought I would share 5 of the Patchwork Quilts I came across on Pinterest that inspired me to give it a go as my first big sewing machine project.

1. One of many beautiful patchwork quilts made by Gemma and featured on her blog. Amazing that the first one was completed by hand, I don’t think I have the patience for that, but some of the lovely details added to her blankets make me wish I did.

http://gemmaslittlebubble.wordpress.com/patchwork/

2. This gorgeous Yellow & Grey Elephant Blanket from LittleNecessities on Etsy

ORGANIC modern patchwork baby blanket- elephants and dots- ready to ship

http://www.etsy.com/listing/106044772/organic-modern-patchwork-baby-blanket

3. This bright and cosy looking blanket from KBExquisites on Etsy.

Modern Owls Patchwork Baby Crib  Blanket 32 x 32 MADE TO ORDER

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/151285072/modern-owls-patchwork-baby-crib-blanket?

4. More Elephants from GiggleSixBaby on Etsy

Custom baby bedding - Grey and Aqua 4

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/117016303/custom-baby-bedding-grey-and-aqua-4?

5. And finally the tutorial I followed for my patchwork quilt. The steps were nice and clear and the only thing I changed was using fleece for my backing rather than Minky Dots fabric, although seeing how cosy the blankets above look when made with Minky Dots I think I will treat Bub once I’ve gathered enough patchwork fabric for the next blanket I make for him.

How to make an easy baby quilt

http://crazylittleprojects.com/2013/01/easy-baby-blanket.html

What has Pinterest inspired you to give a go?

Practice makes perfect….

So about a week ago I borrowed my Nans old…and I mean old, sewing machine because I wanted to give making a patchwork blanket for Bubs My Neighbor Totoro themed nursery, said patchwork blanket is almost finished and I’ll be posting about it shortly, but long story short, having not used a sewing machine for about 15 years, I’m not sewing so straight, especially on things blanket sized, so I am nervous about completing the last stage of the blanket, the top stitch.

I am so happy with it so far I don’t want to ruin it at the last moment with a wonky seam, so I grabbed some cute fabric I found in the remnants section of my local haberdashery and the fleece left over from backing the patchwork blanket and thought I would practice by making another blanket of less emotional investment.

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The fleece had been cut pretty wonky in the process of trimming it down to back the patchwork blanket, so I found the widest section I could and got to work on cutting it down to a relatively straight rectangle (in my eagerness to continue my newest obsession of sewing, I am cutting a few corners…worry not, the rotary cutter is on its way!). I pinned this to my lovely new found fabric (right sides together) and cut around the fleece so the fabric matched the ”rectangle”.

Then I got to work sewing a nice seam all the way around leaving one corner open so I could turn the blanket right way out, snipping the corners at an angle first so they would turn out nice and square, after pinning the opening ready to be closed up with the top stitch, I ironed the whole thing, making the edges nice and tidy and then got to work sewing a nice, straightish top stitch (considering the already wonky nature of the blanket…lets call it character, not wonkiness), and the result….

Bubs Animal Blanket

Bubs Animal Blanket

Not bad for an afternoons work, and it has left me feeling much more confident about tackling the top stitch for Bubs Totoro Patchwork blanket, so stay tuned, I will be posting the result in a few days time, but here’s a sneak peek, and even if your not a My Neighbor Totoro fan, check it out purely for my Nans super old sewing machine….

See…I told you it was old!

Pinspiration Post no.1: Cabled Baby Cocoon

This was the first thing I finished for my little man, and really the first big knitting project I’ve ever completed.

I’m sure my Nan taught me to knit when I was younger, but I never really retained any of the wisdom she had passed down to me, until a few years ago when I decided I’d quite like a new hobby and I asked her once again to show me how it is done. A few mug cosies later I was hooked and several of my family members received little jumpers for their tea cups under their Christmas trees, however like most of my new hobbies, knitting fell by the wayside as I concentrated on planning our holiday and the nights got warmer and knitting a scarf felt like less of a priority. UNTIL I found out I was pregnant and the urge to knit returned, ever the optimist I chose this cable knit cocoon as my first big baby project, alongside a blanket which I’m sure I will post pictures of once complete (in about three years time).

I searched Pinterest for a free pattern and eventually found one I liked the look of, completed on straight needles it eliminated the fear of circular knitting that I am yet to face:

http://tinkerknits.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/cabled-baby-cocoon-free-knitting.html

I used 2 and a bit skeins of Sirdar Big SoftieFleckie (350) – 50g yarn and this was the end result:

Overall I am very happy with the cocoon as it was my first big project and also the fact that I seemed to handle the cabling reasonably well for my first time. The only issue was an error in the original pattern on the buttonhole row, which I didn’t catch first time round but once I realised I’d made a mistake and was more familiar with the pattern by the second buttonhole row, I managed to amend the second buttonhole row. This resulted in a slight error on the knit, but I’m happy that I learnt from it and could fix it, it has made me more confident reading patterns going forward. The row has now been amended in the comments section of the original post.

Can’t wait to snuggle my little guy in this cosy cocoon, will make a super cute picture too!

Here we go….

I’ve always been obsessive, it was probably the first personality trait I became really aware of at a young age. Back then it was boybands, movie stars and movies and its since moved on to tv shows, tv stars, man bands….only joking, it’s moved on to slightly more productive (though not much healthier) obsessions, like planning our perfect wedding and last year planning our dream road trip in the states. But one thing that has always been present within these desires to plan and perfect is creativity.

Whether it was learning Photoshop in my teen years to enable myself to make some pretty impressive Ewan McGregor screensavers and wallpapers, or teaching myself web design at 13 to create my own Friends fan page, right up to designing and making all of the stationary for my wedding, my sister in laws wedding and even designing graphics, scavenger hunt sheets and itineraries for our big US adventure, I love having the creativity my Granny taught me growing up, through card making and cake making to help me make the most of my ever present obsessions.

So in my latest obsession, preparing for the arrival of our first child, I have again turned to creativity, although this time most of it is taking the form of knitting, sewing, general ideas gathered from Pinterest and my ever faithful Photoshop skills. So I thought that I would start a blog to show off everything that I have been doing, and possibly some things from the past. Also expect the odd post about some of the wonderful things the MUCH more experienced people in my life have made for our impending bundle of joy.