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Birthdays Family Pip Video

Pip Squeak: the year you were two

25/08/2017

We’re back on the internet just in time.  I can be late on Siblings posts and stack up ideas until they’re ready to burst out of my head and write themselves, but I would have been really gutted if I’d missed one of the children’s birthday videos.  I love making them; looking back on the year and seeing just how much change has slipped me by, even when I was really focussed on remembering every little thing about all three of them.

Tomorrow is Pip’s third birthday, although he’s decided he’s going to be four, and gets very cross with anyone that suggests anything to the contrary, and as we move well and truly out of the baby days, it’s time to look back at the year that began with a baby and ended with a little boy:

Family Pip

Pip the tiny golfer

10/01/2017

If yo’ve watched, well, pretty much any little film I’ve made since Pip was big enough to sit up, you’ll have seen our tiny boy playing golf, or hockey, or some substitute using the camping mallet, a sturdy looking piece of Duplo, train tracks, or a table tennis bat found goodness knows where during a big clear out.

I can (happily) be 100% certain that my son was not born with a golf club or a hockey stick in his hand, but given half a chance I’m sure he’d have figured something out.

He is entirely his Daddy’s boy when it comes to sporting ability.  The nicest thing my school reports ever said about competitive sport and me was that I played with enthusiasm, and I had a habit of ending up in the distance events in inter-house athletics, my chief merit being that I actually finished, and to be fair to the house sports captain, I did usually end up sixth out of eight because a couple of people would drop out half way round, not wanting to be seen coming in in the second half in front of all the boys (ah the joys of the teenage years).   John on the other hand has never met a sport he didn’t like, and that includes competitive tiddlywinks.

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Ever since he could toddle off to the cupboard to rescue one of John’s hockey sticks or golf clubs we’ve found him winding up for his biggest swing while standing perilously close to one sister and aiming at the other.  He has a mini hockey stick that used to belong to his auntie that he adores, and inherited a tiny golf set that was given to Kitty when we went on holiday to Spain with John’s parents.  He’s got a decent swing and gives the ball a fair wallop most times but he’s almost always using the back of the stick. All hockey sticks are right handed, and Kitty’s golf clubs are, but whether Pip is left handed, or just not figured out right handed yet, he’s fairly consistent in trying to swing left handed.

Which is what made his Christmas present from his Grandad just perfect; a tiny left handed golf club.

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Fortunately Grandma’s lounge survived his first attempts at trying it out on wrapping paper and other people’s Christmas presents, and one of the afternoons we were up in Yorkshire was sunny enough to let him loose in the garden.

And wow what a difference it makes.  Suddenly his brilliantly orange golf ball was scooting across the garden, soaring a foot or so above the ground every few goes.

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

I tried to learn how to play golf for a little while.  I could get my head around the rules and tactics, I just couldn’t hit the ball more than 50 yards regardless of club, and only got it into the air occasionally, which means that at two and nearly a half, Pip is officially better at golf than me.  It was never going to take very long!

I love how intense his concentration is in all of these photos; he was having the most wonderful time, protested wildly when we said it was time to go back indoors, and was very bemused when we “lost’ his club for the evening, but in not one single photos is he actually smiling.

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

It’s been far too wet to play in the garden since we got home; our lawn is close to resembling a quagmire at this stage of the winter, but hopefully before too long he can be out in our garden.  No matter how many times we’ve tried to rescue all of the golf balls from our garden, every time he goes out there he finds another, to the point that I’m starting to suspect that he has a secret stash, to be retrieved while our attention is with Kitty and Elma, while he takes careful aim at the windows.

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Space for the Butterflies - tiny golfer

Given the front door, the dining room window and the dart-meets-radiator incident from her son, my mother in law would definitely consider that karma.

Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Pip Pip

How to make a child’s apron {handmade for Pip}

06/01/2017

Four days before Christmas I wandered through town waiting for inspiration to strike.  I’d bought the buttons for Elma’s Wee Chickadee and nearly finished Kitty’s Toy Box Skort and I had nothing mama-made for Pip save for four inches of inky blue hem, and even to my eternally optimistic mind, not nearly enough days in which to finish it.  I needed a plan.

Trousers I couldn’t get the ribbing I wanted, anything more complicated with an actual pattern was going to end up half finished, and shorts didn’t exactly seem weather appropriate even if tiny princes wear them all year round.  Inspiration came to me at Cath Kidston.  Lots of things come to me at Cath Kidston, usually wrapped up in one of their nice blue bags and accompanied by a receipt and the groaning of my bank card, but this time it was free, and rather appropriate.

The fact is, I have a bit of an apron obsession collection.  There are coming up to a dozen usually hanging from the kitchen door; stripy ones, John’s Christmas one, a Mickey Mouse one from Disney and the beautiful butterfly one that my mother gave me at my baby shower for Kitty and has never ever been used.  And quite a few Cath Kidston ones because they’re just so pretty.

Pip loves helping in the kitchen, especially when it gets to be just him and his Daddy, but he doesn’t have a pinny unless one of his sisters is out or not interested and then he gets theirs.  Staring at the pretty display of floral beauties, the penny dropped.

As dusk turned to dark I dashed back to the fabric shop and there found some thick red cotton, near identical to John’s apron, some stripy ticking, and a couple of D-rings.  It made up into an apron in an evening, and while Pip was initially a bit puzzled as to what he’d been given, when he’d sorted out the back to fronts and upside downs and put it on, I think it met with approval.

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron

And because it looks really sweet on him, because I’m never going to be the only one in need of an emergency handmade present, or with a neglected third child who doesn’t have an apron, I’ve made a little tutorial.  In my best Blue Peter spirit, here’s how to make a child’s apron:

Before we start I should stress that this is a big apron on him; Pip is a very tall two, currently wearing age 3-4 clothes, and nearer the 4 on a number of them, and this comes down past his knees and goes nearly all the way round him. Knowing Pip as I do, this is definitely a good thing.  In a cotton I don’t think that’s a problem because it will happily bend with him but if you were to make it out of oilcloth or something really heavy it might be more of a straightjacket.

Also, fabric is sold in metric in the UK so I’ve given requirements in cm, but despite being entirely educated in the metric system, I cook and sew in inches because that’s what my Mum taught me, so the measurements are in inches.

 

As well as the usual sewing accoutrements you will need:

  • 60cm medium to heavyweight cotton (sometimes described as decorator weight cotton).
  • 30cm ticking, or other mediumweight cotton for the pocket and ties.
  • Two inch wide D rings.
  • Tailor’s Chalk or other removable marker (air erase, water erase etc)
  • To be able to see this pattern:

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron

How to:

  1. Fold your fabric in half raw edge to raw edge.
  2. Measure and draw onto the folded fabric the apron outline, making sure that the long side is at the fold, and cut along those lines.  You could just sketch out the whole apron and cut it out that way but by cutting on the fold you ensure that the two sides are the same.
  3. Hem the armholes.  Fold the curved edged in 1/4″ to the wrong side and press, then fold in a further 1/4″ and press again.  Edge stitch the hems to secure.  You will find that the edges fold in easily as they are cut on the bias.
  4. Hem the sides. Fold the sides in 1/4″ to the wrong side and press, then fold in a further 1/4″ and press again.  Edge stitch the hems to secure.
  5. Hem the top. Repeat as for the sides.
  6. Hem the bottom. Fold the bottom hem 1″ to the wrong side and press, then fold in a further 1″, press and edge stitch to secure.  This hem is deeper than the others to give a bit of weight to the bottom of the apron and help it hang nicely.  It’s also a great excuse for fancy embroidery stitches if your sewing machine does that.
    Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron
  7. Make the pocket.  Cut a rectangle 5 1/2″ high by 9 3/4″ wide from the striped ticking. If you cut it the other way round don’t worry, you’ll have slightly shorter ties but they’ll still be plenty long enough. Fold in half, press to mark the centre fold, then open up again. Hem the top of the pocket as for the sides of the apron (step 4).  Fold the remaining three sides 1/4″ to the wrong side and press.
  8. Stitch the pocket to the apron.  The centre fold of the pocket should line up with the centre fold of the apron, and the top of the pocket should line up[where] below the start of the armholes. I include a central line of vertical stitching to divide it into two pockets rather than one big pocket that might become baggy with time but that’s optional.
  9. Make the ties.  Cut the width of your fabric by 2 1/2″.  Fold wrong sides together lengthways and sew around one short seam and the long seam with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Turn the right way round.
  10. Repeat to make two very long ties.  From this you should have enough length to cut two waist ties at 27″ each, the neck strap at 24″ and a 4″ piece to form the loop for the D-rings.
    Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron
  11. Attach a waist tie at the bottom of the armhole on each side of the apron, tucking raw edges in as you go. I like to do a square with a cross in it for extra sturdiness.
  12. Threading the D-rings into the loop before sewing, attach both ends of the 4″ strap to the top right corner of the apron (as you would wear it), and the neck strap to the top left, again, tucking in raw edges as you do.

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron

And there you have it, one apron just ready to tie on and get making a giant mess cooking jaffa cakes (or is that just my children?)

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On and Make Do and Push for A Lively Style

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

45/52 {the 2016 portraits}

05/11/2016

A portrait of each of my children once every week for 2016.

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project - Halloween

Kitty: You haven’t seen a cat marmalising a penguin before? I’m pretty sure you were trying to get your Daddy to sit up, alas to no avail, but your squeals of laughter and solid determination to make things go your way set the tone for one of my favourite ever Me and Mine photo shoots.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 100)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project - Halloween

Elma: Halloween Princess Elma, complete with possibly the craziest wig we’ve acquired so far.  You love this costume to distraction, you dress up at least once every day, and for the last week this has even trumped the Cinderella dress with butterflies on the skirt; well it is pink!  I just hope it fits next year because it’s going to be hard to find something you love more.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 100)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project - Halloween

Pip: the world’s smiliest pirate, complete with genuinely accidental fake pirate scar after being just that bit too interested in something your sister was drawing.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/100, f/4.5, ISO 100)

Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

44/52 {the 2016 portraits}

29/10/2016

A portrait of each of my children once every week for 2016.

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Kitty: Watching the three of you hanging out together this half term it’s noticeable how effortlessly you are the ringleader in all plans both parent-approved and otherwise.  This first half of term at school has given you courage and confidence and you are thriving.  Striding out along the path you were completely in your element, and very keen to get pond dipping even if it isn’t exactly the time of year for it.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/100, f/2.8, ISO 100)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Elma: Another one who couldn’t wait to get to the pond dipping.  Even if the net was taller than you, and leaves the only thing on the water today you had your pink jacket and your bug box and the water trays and you were going to pond dip until there was nothing left to dip.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/125, f/3.5, ISO 125)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Pip: And speaking of pond dipping … where the girls lead, you happily follow – and your collection of lake leaves was very impressive!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/125, f/3.5, ISO 125)