Sunday, December 18, 2011

PHB Final Days

I did it!  365 days and every single day bar one in May (when I was very ill) I had my baby wearing at least one handmade item.
(Read about the original challenge/idea here)
Here are the final days of Project Handmade Baby:

 Day 364 - December 4th: the 'b is for' appliqued onesie, and the chocolate brown overalls with striped Levana merino lining.  Plus all the bibs, nappies, etc. etc. etc!

 Day 365 - December 5th: the darling blue sideways-knit short-sleeved vest from The Spot in Johnsonville.  The foreboding runny nose was just the beginning of yet another challenging week...

 And the piece de resistance!!
I mentioned earlier on the blog that I learnt how to crochet this year.  Also I have a thing about Pinterest at present where instead of just Pinning wildly, I'm trying to DO as many things as I can.  So... I crocheted a Very Hungry Caterpillar beanie!!  Complete with purplue antennae, just like the book (not brown as I'd seen on Pinterest pins).  The plan was for him to wear them for his 1st Birthday Party which I'd planned so thoroughly to be a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme!  More on that later (if I can manage, I was soooo disappointed it didn't go ahead!).  There were a few wonderful friends coming to the party, which was more for us to say thanks: in the early days of our family becoming four we had a lot of challenges, and were so, so blessed by friends who cooked and baked for us, would lend a hand where they could, and generally kept us above water.  Le Sigh.

My poor sick birthday boy! December 6th 2011
 Sadly we had to cancel the birthday party as both he and I became very unwell with different things...  We spent 8 hours in Wellington A&E instead.  It was AMAZING weather - no wind (yes I'm serious, no wind in Wellington!!!) and slightly cloudy skies, it was the perfect day to have a party.  I made a VHC onesie (see below) which he didn't get to show off as he was being treated for wheezing in hospital.  My poor wee angel.  Both my boys have had a rough run with health, and this was just rotten timing.  If I get the chance I'll do another post about the party prep, but I have boxed it all up and one of the boys can have a VHC party next year I think - at least most of the prep is done huh!!  That's me: always a silver lining. 

So here's the onesie prep: take one unworn onesie, one Very Hungry Caterpillar t-shirt which didn't really fit that well, and some sewing supplies.  Half an hour later and I had a very sweet onesie for my boy to wear - I attached a cutout of the image to the front, sewed it into the side seams, did a few other magic touches and voila!

So that's the end!  365 days of Project Handmade Baby.
What have I learnt from this?
1. It feels great to make clothes for your rugrats and enjoy them wearing a bit of your hard work.
2. You can score some great knitwear at second-hand sales for great prices!
3. Handmade clothes last a whole lot longer than bought ones in a lot of cases!
4. The more you crochet/sew/knit, the greater your skills for mending and 'upcycling' (I love that word!)
5. Babies in handknits still look like babies.
6. It's much more fun to have your rugrats wearing unique outfits rather than generic store-bought clothes.
7. I love getting compliments on my baby's outfits when I know how much work I've put into it.

... and 8. I really, really love my kids.

Happy 1st Birthday Mr B, my new kid.  You're such a beautiful boy and we love you, your mischievous gleam in your eye, and your Tintin hair so much.  We are so blessed to have you.

Christmas Tree 2011

There's just something I love about Christmas.

image from my instagram

It might be the New Zealand summer Christmas with the pohutakawa beauty all around.

It might be the gift-buying, wrapping and giving that creates excitement, anticipation and smiles.

It could be the great excuse for family to get together.

Or it could be decorating the tree. 

Growing up, my Dad would always drive 'down the road' and spend about $10 on a pine tree that would be erected, tied up and decorated in our rumpus room.  When I was old enough it morphed into my responsibility to decorate the Christmas tree.  Mum had (in good ol' Virgo manner) packed the ornaments carefully away the previous year, and I'd carefully take them out of their box and space them evenly around the tree which had been adorned with coloured fairy lights and tinsel.  It felt so special to be in charge of the Christmas tree, and every time I smell a radiata pine up close it takes me back to that place.

(There's another fabulous 'baby of the family', a dear friend of mine, who also does an amazing, uh-maaaazing job of decorating her tree and shares my affinity with fairy lights - check out her fabulous and inspirational design blog here!)

This year I have a 3 year old who is my special little helper - he has heped me decorate our family Christmas tree which has been carefully guarded behind half a playpen so that the resident tummy-kayaking, super-curious 1 year old doesn't attack it.  The Husband has objected for the last 7 Christmases we have spent in the same house (holy moly we've been together a while!!) so we have an artificial tree... perhaps one year I'll just erect a real tree and tell him to get used to it... perhaps!!  I did get in early and wind the fairy lights, twisted sparkly organza and tinsel around the tree, and put my special ornaments up high, then the rest of the baubles (side note - cutest thing ever to listen to a 3 year old trying to say baubles, we've had many variations on the word!!) were hung in concentration at toddler height, on one side of the tree.  It warms my heart to see him enjoying it so much.

A week out from Christmas and I am so looking forward to having both sides of our family (minus my sister-in-law who has relocated to the UK) gathering at our house for dinner on Christmas Eve, with a few presents passed around and a few bottles of wine to be consumed.

What 'does it' for you at Christmas time?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pinned it, Did it.

Angry Birds balloons - thank you for the idea Pinterest!

One of my biggest annoyances at myself is that I absorb so many wonderful ideas and inspirations, but seldom get around to actually DOING things.  So to remedy that I've been challenging myself to DO things that I Pin on and it's been great!  I'm seeing how many of my Pins I can add a comment below to saying "Pinned it, Did it!".  I feel great about doing things around the house, and also no longer feel that Pinterest is a little bit of a timewaster.

I saw something on my friend's blog Mend and Make New called 'Pin Real Life' and my short-term memory, shot as it is, couldn't remember what the point of it was at the time, but thought it was a good idea.  Don't just Pin things, Do things.

(At this point it might be helpful to explain Pinning: if you're not yet familiar with it is a fabulous and free site which acts as a virtual pinboard.  Instead of bookmarking sites with ideas that interest you, and going back to try to find the URL or site description in a wordy list, you can organise visual images from those sites into virtual pinboards - you can have as many boards as you wish on your own Pinterest login - and add a quick description about what they are.  Then people can follow you or see your pins in the general mass of things, and if they like them they can 'like' the pin or even 'repin' it to their own pinboard.  Clear as mud?)

Take for example this Pin.  Setting up a really simple washing line on a wall in your laundry that says 'Department of Missing Socks' with pegs already attached so that lone socks might one day be rejoined with their mate.  I took one large paint chip (don't get me started on paint chips, new addiction warning!!!), threaded a length of thick felted wool yarn through it, wrote 'Department of Lone Socks' on it, added pegs and pinned it to the wall  next to my dryer.  Not only has it caused a giggle with my family, but on the first day alone I matched three pairs of teeny socks to their sad lonely mate.  Success!  So I went to that Pin, and added the comment "Pinned it, Did it!".

After my older son's Angry Birds birthday party I was able to add that comment to a few Pins as I'd gained lots of fun ideas all care of Pinterest.  The covered boxes made to look like wood blocks, the Angry Birds balloons, a bit of cupcake inspiration, and more.

So my challenge to all you other Pinners - Pin it, Do it!

Friday, December 02, 2011

PHB Days 361-363

 Day 361: Wearing the custom-order imba hoodie teamed with some equally comfy JK Kids merino pants. 
 Day 362: This is really something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue!  Something old: it is a vintage styled romper suit; something new: this is the first time the new kid has worn it; something borrowed: in a way it is borrowed as it is a hand-me-down item; and something blue: well that is pretty self-explanatory!  The romper he is wearing was a very early edition of the goshorty romper suits.  A new batch in four sizes between 3 months - 18 months is almost ready, they just need their snaps and a press and they will be in store soon.
Day 363: The wee guy's Godmother and I took the boys down to the local(ish) Christmas parade and we had a lovely time.  A certain someone was clapping their hands and tapping their goshorty-slippered feet in time with a Batucada (I think I've spelt it right!) drumming ensemble who were really loud - just the way I like it!  Little bit of a photo fail, you can only just see the slippers in the corner of the shot... oops!