Monthly Archives

January 2011




January 272
What is this internet thing that Mummy is playing with?  Hello?  Are there people?  How can it be fun for Mummy?  I don’t see any milk? 

Maybe it’s Daddy.  Mummy packs Daddy away in a little black box each morning but I can still hear him. 


Are you there?  

Can you see me?

Kitty Sewing

Birdies, Buttons and Bows


I never did get back to you on my New Year’s Resolution.  I do have one of sorts I promise, it’s just a bit fuzzy around the edges.  It could probably best be summed up as ‘Just Do It’.  Part of this is an organisational aim; it’s incredibly easy to procrastinate as there are very few things as a stay at home Mum that can’t be put off for a little bit if you want to (feeding and changing/providing the where with all for humans large and small being about the only exception) so I’m trying to push myself to do the odd jobs that always get left while I can still make the time to do them.  Things like finding a new drawer oprganiser for the kitchen cutlery drawer that actually fits the drawer for example.

The other side of my New Year’s coin  is more crafty and therefore infinitely more fun.  There are so many beautiful and lovely things that I’ve flipped past in books or bookmarked on blogs and said to myself, I must make that/ bake that/ do that someday, and then something gets in the way and I never do, so this year, and particularly these last few months of maternity leave I’m going to start turning some of those dreams into reality.

That’s not to say that I’m simply giving in to a raging bout of startitis – everything in my stash was bought with a view to becoming something more than simply a pile of fabric or yarn; but I’m going to re-look through my books and magazines and bopokmarks and start working out what I have and what I’ll need for any project and then as I work through them, and as means allow, I might start finishing a few things this side of the next decade, or even better, before Kitty grows too big for the raw materials to cope.

So with all of this in mind I started re-reading my birthday crafty books which have lots of baby sewing patterns in them.  I want to get better at my dressmaking and what better way than to practice on my very own tiny person.  Now four months of parenting a our wee princess has taught me some very crucial things about little-girl wear.  Aside from the boring practicalities such as it’s useful if a garment will fit over her head and be big enough so that she doesn’t outgrow it after only one wearing, there must also be:

(a) Some element of pink.

January 250

(b) Some cute animal.  Preferably of the baby or teeny tiny variety.
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Check (and bonus points for more pink)

(c) Bows.
January 252
Check.  Well sort of, I know I said bows plural and this is a bow singular, but it is spotty.  I’m claiming substitute credit for the spots.  We also have funky little turned up cuff sleeves.
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Put it all together and what do we have:
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An Empire-Line top from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones. Graded at level 4 difficulty and possibly the most complicated piece opf usable clothing that I have ever made.  Seriously peeps there are gathers, and elasticated bits, and those very cute cuffs, and a lined bodice and zig-zagged seam allowances (note to self: add ‘learn to use the overlocker’ to the to do list).

I spent a couple of nursing sessions reading the pattern and trying to visualise how it would all come together, and just took it nice and slowly.  The pattern was well written and the diagrams were really useful  so that’s definitely a positive first experience of using this book, and there are a few more things thst I’d like to try now.

And to demonstrate my commitment to my re-appreciation of my stash I can tell you that the only thing I bought was a fat quarter of the bird fabric, everything else was stash.  The orange spot is a Kaffe Fasset print which we bought in Liberty’s a few years ago.  I had a 60cm length which was just enough for all the pieces for this 6-9 month size with a bit of jiggery pokery.  The bodice pieces came easily from a fat quarter as long as you don’t mind cutting out the backs separately.

Oh no, I forgot, I did buy a button.
January 293
Well every girl’s dress should have a pretty button right?  It still makes the total spend on the dress under £3 (I had thread and elastic in the sewing box), which isn’t bad for a pretty little top for Kitty to posset down.

And now for the final test.  Question number 1 – Does it fit?

January 234
Yes – although without quite as much growing room as I was hoping for.

Question number 2 – does Kitty like it?
January 229

Success all round. All hail the sewing-machine conquering hero. Next up – world peace. Or not.


Sew many little things


First of all thank you for the recommendations for pasty recipes.  I vow I will not be defeated merely because my first attempt could accurately be described as drier than the Gobi Desert and with a somewhat similar sand-like consistency.  Nor will my latent Devonian need to cast nastushiums at something which claims to be Cornish lead me to put aside my lard in favour of its more refined artery-clogging cousin, clotted cream (although scones do sound pretty good right now).  Come back later for a surfeit of pastry and a comparison of the relative merits of Delia, the Hairy Bikers and the good old St Michael Freezer Cookery Book (a legacy from a time when Chicken a la Kiev was something rather new and exciting).

Having ever so slightly possibly sworn off cooking in a fit of pique at the state of Pasties Mark 1, I turned to my sewing machine for a little solace, and as Miss Kitty seems quite happy to sit in her bouncy seat alongside Mummy and play with Emily-dolly while Mummy sews, I’ve actually managed to get a few things finished.  That and I got in the zone on Satuday night and stayed up after her highness had gone to bed.

First off the machine; a final block from the block of the month club.  I knew it was meant to be Drunkard’s Path and I’m equally certain that this is not the one they did in class, but I found it by the wonders of Google-fu:
January 168

A three-colour Drunkard.

I also did a bit of Google magic for a block to replace my Celtic Knot.  I had originally planned to do a repeat block but your comments helped me to decide to go hunting for something new and complimentary.  And so it came to pass that I discovered Jacob’s Ladder blocks and their three-colour variation which goes by a myriad of names but which I like to call:
January 266

The Tail on Benjamin’s Kite. It’s also known as Stepping Stones and Underground Railroad among other things.

And so we have our final 12:
Sampler Quilt
Now all I need is a little sashing and binding and we might just have a quilt by my self imposed deadline of the end of the month.

The only thing that could get in the way with that otherwise excellent plan is a little project which has a serious deadline on it.  A ‘finish it before the recipient moves halfway aropund the world’ kind of deadline.

One of the Mummies in my group of friends is about to go far far away on a year’s secondment for her husband’s job.  As a keepsake for her daughter the plan is to fabric paint handprint all our babies and then use those prints as the centre of a quilt block.  H and I tried it out using Kitty as our test-baby and I knocked up a prototype from the scraps basket, et voila:
January 259a

The smudge underneath isn’t a smudge it’s her real name and the star pattern is courtesey of AmandaJean’s great tutorial here.  I’m quite pleased with this as a first draft – not least because my piecing has got so much more accurate since I first made a version of this star for my big blue and white quilt.

My questiopn to you all is; if I go with a mixture of dark fabrics for the background, do you think it would look best if they were an organised mixture like the prototype, completely random (a bit like this), or more consistant (ie one star, one background)? 


Hit and Miss


One of the loveliest benefits of being a stay at home Mum (and to tell the truth there are many), is having more time to cook properly and do a little bit of experimenting in the kitchen while Miss Kitty sits in her buggy in the corner and chatters away to me.  We’ve been doing a little baking over the last couple of weeks and some of it has worked and some of it really really hasn’t.

My lovely sister Zee, knowing how much I like my collection of Nordicware cake tins, added another one to the kitchen cupboard at Christmas, in the form of some Zoo Animals.

I’m not quite sure where exactly in the world Nordicware found a Zoo on which to base their cake tin because it’s certainly got an unusual mixture of animals.  We start our tour with a whale:

January 120
And then we move on to a lion?
January 119
Before encountering, an elephant, a hippo, two goldfish, a giraffe, a rhino and a monkey.
January 117
The assortment may be unusual but that cakes were delicious; made to the back of the tin recipe which turned out to be a moist buttery little sponge bite.  These ones were just vanilla flavoured but next time I might add a little lemon zest and juice to give them a little zing.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my next incarnation.  I was trying to make Cornish Pasties from the recipe from Nigella’s Domestic Goddess for lunch today.  I think the first problem was when I overrode my own instinct and didn’t use any egg to bind the pastry, following the recipe instead to use just flour, lard and iced water.  The more I think about it, the more I think it must be a printing error; every other recipe has egg in the instructions for the pastry, and I always use it when I’m making a shortcrust pastry off the bat.

So failing number one was a batch of pastry that didn’t want to hang together; and then got left in the fridge for a little longer courtesy of a nappy emergency.

The filling was looking good but the same nappy emergency led to the pan staying on the stove just a smidge longer than it should have done so it was a bit too dry for, well anything really.

And so it came to pass the I made, not a Cornish pasty but what I would like to newly christen:
January 213
A Warwickshire splat.  I did cook them, and we even tried eating them but alas
January 222
Only suitable for thudding crumily into the bin.  We ordered pizza.


Now we are 4


Months that is.  Yes it’s true, and I can’t really believe it myself, little Kitty is the very great age of four months old.
January 133
Well my little squeaky peach you have changed in so many ways in the last month and it’s wonderful to see.

Now that you are four months you:

– Sleep in your big girl cot in your own room (after Mummy and Daddy finally admitted that you had actually grown out of your moses basket), but you’re never too big to snuggle up with Mummy and Daddy in their bed.

– Suck your thumb.  And your fingers.  And your dolly Emily. And anything else that comes into view really.
January 170

January 169

– Can scoot around in circles on your playmat if we put you down on your back, and you’ve just started experimenting with rolling onto your side but you haven’t figured out how to get all the way over onto your front.

– Are starting to enjoy playing on your front with your teddies during tummy-time.

– Give yourself hiccups giggling at Mummy pulling funny faces and singing to you.
January 186
– Are on the cusp of 6-9 month old clothes.  This means that you have grown out of two baby-gros that Mummy adored (they were from JoJo Maman Bebe; one with pink and purple flowers on a cream background and one with polar bears and penguins on pale blue, and are so cute)
January 106
– Snuggle up to Mummy for the same bedtime story every night.  We like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, thank you Auntie Zee who gave it to us.

– Have definitely got more hair.

– Are currently squeaking for more food.

We love you little pip-squeak

love Mummy