Browsing Category


Handmade Handmade for Pip Pip

Nautical and Navy {handmade for Pip}


If last week I was getting predictable, this week this leggings addiction is getting silly.

I suspect it may be because they’re pretty much the sewing equivalent instant gratification; a little bit of cutting out, a couple of seams and ta da, you have a pair of leggings.  Or two.


The first of this week’s pair is from the last of the lengths of jersey bought from Innsbruck, it’s such a gorgeous blue and perfect for my obsession with dressing Pip in blue and yellow.


It’s not exactly the same pattern as his monkey pair; I started with that pattern, and cut it freehand to be a little bit wider in the leg, and then traced around the one leg to make the second to match.

20161026-dsc_0022 20161026-dsc_0046

To make sure that this pair last for more than five minutes before he grows out of them I added cuffs by cutting strips of the same fabric 4″ x the circumference of the bottom of the leg, overlocking them to form a tube, folding the tube in half wrong sides together and overlocking that to the bottom of the leg.  It’s given me another couple of inches so this pair is comfortably long enough, and I’ll probably do something similar to the monkey pair when he grows out of them.


Other than that they are exactly as before, and seem to be just as comfy cosy for Pip to wear while he tears around the garden.

That really should have been it as far as leggings were concerned, I’d used all the fabric I had piled up, the kids all had leggings galore, except…


Well last winter John well and truly wore through the sleeves of his then favourite, very nice, very warm, very cosy wool jumper.  And when we say “wore through” we mean holes big enough to fit a flock of sheep through.  The body of the jumper was still in pretty good nick though so I’d held onto it with the thought of using it for something for the children.  And so when I finished one pair and looked around to see what else I could make, there it was.

It feels incredibly naughty cutting into clothes, even clothes that would otherwise be destined for the recycling bin. With a bit of extra length, and using the existing jumper hem for the bottom of the legs, I had just enough length to get a Pip-sized pair of leggings out of the front and back.


I cut them to the skinnier of my two patterns because I think these are most likely to be worn as long johns underneath waterproofs in the winter and so I wanted them to be a little bit fitted and they fit him beautifully.


For the top I just overlocked the top and made an elastic casing as with all the other pairs, with a little snip of elephant ribbon in to mark the back.


And so, with a ceremonial flourish, I shall now remove the twin needle from my sewing machine, and tuck my overlocker back on its shelf. There is nothing more in my stash to turn into leggings and far too much stash to justify doing any shopping and so the leggings obsession will have to have run its course. For now anyway.

Tell me I’m not the only one who things Christmas leggings could be a pretty awesome thing to find under the tree when you’re 6, 4 and 2?

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On and Make Do and Push for Funky Kid Friday
Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

43/52 {the 2016 portraits}


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

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Kitty: We had a skip delivered this week which now contains huge amounts of broken fence panels, a garden seat that we took down to make room for your playhouse, and not a little bit of extraneous clutter. The day it was delivered you were just about bouncing off the walls with excitement; it was the most entertaining part of your half term thus far, and so you asked to have your photo taken in front of it. Well why not!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/400, f/3.2, ISO 200)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Elma: never has a skip been quite so photographed, or two little girls so thrilled to see it arrive!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/160, f/3.2, ISO 200)

Space for the Butterflies - the 52 project

Pip: My champion monkey rascal; you were mildly interested in the skip, and a lot more interesting in pulling funny faces at all and sundry!

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/400, f/3.2, ISO 200)

Finished Handmade Handmade for Pip Pip Sewing

My little monkey {handmade for Pip}


If it seems that all I’m making at the moment is leggings, you might just have a point.  I am doing a little bit of secret knitting on the side, mostly because you can’t take a sewing machine and overlocker on the train without getting some seriously funny looks; although now that I think about it I’d love to take a sewing machine on one of the big trains that has charge points by the table and sit there sewing – I think the looks would be on a whole new level to the sideways glances you get for knitting!

Anyway, back to the sewing. I actually have a huge pile of sewing sat next to the machine but it takes me so long to thread all the needles and get my desk organised to be able to overlock and use the twin needle on my sewing machine that I’ not moving them, or fitting another needle until I’m fully up to date on the leggings front.  And, if I make the leggings before I get to the point of needing to do a big proper grown up declutter and tidy up of the studio then I don’t have to find somewhere for the fabric to be stashed.  It’s slow tidying at its very best.

And with the girls’ pairs all finished, and worn, and sat in muddy puddles, and washed and worn again, it was time for some for Pip.

I love leggings for little people, they’re so cosy and they’ve got room to wriggle and move and stretch and do all the things that babies and toddlers should do, while also looking incredibly cute.  We’ve had some gorgeous pairs over the years (and if you’re not planning on getting to grips with an overlocker I can happily enable a legging addiction by pointing you in the direction of Lottie and Lysh and Maybelle & Bo!), but that little boy of mine possesses spectacular abilities to grow both out of and through his trousers.  Perhaps three children is what it takes to wear holes in the knees or perhaps he just does it in style!

Space for the Butterflies - Monkey Leggings for Pip

So, back to Innsbruck and the wonderful wall of jersey: we chose two prints for Pip on the basis that if I was only having half a metre of each then we could stretch to two.  There’s still a nautical pair in my future, but I couldn’t resist starting with these monkeys.

I seem to have developed a bit of a habit of underestimating my son’s height on all available opportunities.  I know I held up a tape measure vaguely in Pip’s direction and half a metre seemed loads, even allowing for shrinkage, but somehow when I got that half metre home it just didn’t look that big any more.  I’d tried Elma’s elephants on him and while baggy, they weren’t ridiculously huge, and that’s an age 5. Only when I laid the age 5 pattern piece over the fabric did I remember that they’d fitted nicely into 3/4 of a metre.

Space for the Butterflies - Monkey Leggings for Pip

This patten started out life as the age 5 size of that Oliver + S pattern but with some fairly heavy macgyvering to end up with something that fits him more closely but without being too stretched, so he can pull fleecy waterproof trousers over the top without them bunching up.

Although I knit while the children are up and about and awake, sewing tends to be a nighttime pursuit for me, and if I’m making something for one of them I always start second guessing how big they’ve got and wondering whether it’s too big or too small or just too too. With Pip’s monkeys I was worried that the ankles would be too tight; I was so tempted, not to wake him up exactly, but maybe to sneak a little foot out of his sleeping bag and just try it on.  I’m sure he wouldn’t have woken up; well maybe not.

Space for the Butterflies - Monkey Leggings for Pip

The sewing fates were on my side though; the ankles fit, and the chosen length of ‘this is the longest I can make it’, turns out to be just about long enough, at least for the next five minutes.  The hem on them is absolutely tiny though; literally the ends finished on the overlocker, flipped under and sewn down so for the next pair I’m going to cut them slightly wider and put cuffs in.

Space for the Butterflies - Monkey Leggings for Pip

And the verdict from their small wearer:

“Mine monkey trousies!”

Space for the Butterflies - Monkey Leggings for Pip

He wouldn’t let me take them off him when it was bedtime; and so after we’d washed off the mud, and his sisters’ efforts at decorating, back on they went – I think that makes them a hit!

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


Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip {the ordinary moments}

Not my everyday


It’s been one of those weeks when I’ve spent more time attached to my laptop than with the family, when I got to Friday and couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken time just for me, and not been parenting, working, or crashed out asleep. I forced myself to leave the laptop at work over the weekend and it wasn’t until at least half way down the G&T at my colleague’s leaving drinks that I stopped twitching about its absence.

I’ve been thinking a bit this week about my ordinary moments.  Prompted a little by wondering what to write about this week, given that the weather has been grey and the dark has closed in around either end of my working day and I’m back in those months of very limited photo ops, and in part prompted by writing my Me and Mine post for September.  Even though our photos were taken in our garden, on the at that stage unfinished playhouse, with a slide and a rather muddy looking paddling pool probably visible in the background, I loved them for what they represented, the joy in just being together as a five, and time that we’d had to fight for agains the competing calls of work and actually getting even a teeny tiny bit of sleep.

When push came to shove and I had to consider what was motivating me to bribe and corrupt a slightly unwilling and under the weather family to haul themselves outside, it was the yearning to record us, just us, just how we are, in the simplest possible way; the moments that feel like they are our everyday ordinary.  Kitty practicing her jumping on and off the swing as taught by a new school friend; the way that Elma looks when she spots you peeking around the corner, or Pip and his constant and never-ending love for all things sport.

Space for the Butterflies - the not so everyday ordinary moments

Except they’re not my ordinary moments. Not really.  And neither are most of my pictures that I share here as part of the series of ordinary moments.  If you wanted a picture of my ordinary moments, how I spend most of my time, most days of the week, it would be me at work with laptop, me on the train with laptop, me on the train telling someone that the train is late, me on the train home trying to stay awake, and me at home with the laptop.   Now I like my job, don’t get me wrong, but it mostly involves me sitting at a nice brown desk doing my job, and occasionally falling over our nice blue files which blend in perfectly with our nice blue carpet tiles. Photogenic it is not.

Space for the Butterflies - the not so everyday ordinary moments

I love and treasure every moment that I get to be parenting, and the truth is that the moments I share each week are the highlights of my week; the time I have snatched back from the busyness of the everyday to make sure that what I cannot give my children in quantity, we make up for in quantity.  Perhaps they are everyday in the sense that they are rarely extraordinary (exceptions for MADs finals and meeting an Olympic Medal and its owner; neither of which will ever be anything but exceptional), just tiny snippets of family life, but few of them are truly everyday, at least not for me.

Space for the Butterflies - the not so everyday ordinary moments

I see pictures and videos of what they’ve all been up to, and I hear from the girls about school and nursery, and from Pip about hockey, and when I work at home I can hear them all pottering about the house, and in an ideal world I would of course be both entirely present with them and able to feed, clothe and house them, but that’s unrealistic even by my standards of optimism.

Space for the Butterflies - the not so everyday ordinary moments Space for the Butterflies - the not so everyday ordinary moments  Space for the Butterflies - the not so everyday ordinary moments

This week’s highlight was spending some time sitting in the garden in the sunshine while all three little ones closeted themselves away in their playhouse with a packet of felt tip pens and a worrying aura of silence; cue lots of very colourful legs and tummies.  We played hockey, the littlest two dug in the mud for a bit, and Kitty pulled a chair over next to me and cuddled up while we read Penguin and You Can’t Take an Elephant on the Bus.  We didn’t go out anywhere, we didn’t really do anything special, even the promised plans to make ginger cookies were shelved because we ran out of time to both make them, and wash the mud/glue/felt tip off Pip before supper.

John came home while all three of them were making the most spectacular racket in the bath; the sort that has water all over the floor and up the walls.  Kitty was singing Jingle Bells at full volume, Elma appeared to be eating the bubbles, and Pip was doing the biggest kicks he could manage and babbling with glee at the same time and it was a while before we noticed his head poked around the door. The kids shouted “DADDY!!” as one, and he had to duck back around the corner to avoid the volley of water that followed.

Tiny moments, ordinary maybe; cherished beyond measure.

Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for The Ordinary Moments



Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip Siblings

Siblings 2016 {October}


Some of my absolute all time favourite photos from the Siblings project are the pictures taken at the same place each year.  We take these pictures to record and notice the changes in our children month on month, and it’s lovely to look back over a year and see what a difference each month has made, but it’s the ones taken in the same place that really ram it home how fast they’re growing.

One of our favourite parks has a big saucer swing; it’s been the perfect thing for rocking little tiny babies too little to sit up in the big swing, and now it’s just right for three big kids who all want pushing at the same time when even the two toddler swings are too far apart for me to push both at the same time, let alone reach around the corner Mr Tickle style to push Kitty as well.

Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project

The last set of pictures from this swing were from November, so it’s not exactly a full year ago, but wow what a difference 11 months has made.  Gone is my teeny tiny little baby, just starting to walk, and looking so little next to his sisters, and in his place is my blond fluffy-haired boy, giggling at the girls as they swoop back and forwards, and fixing me with a very stern expression if I should even suggest that anyone might want to get down.

Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project

He’s grown through the wellies that Elma was wearing in the November pictures and into the ones she only just handed down now, luckily he thinks pink waterproof trousers and purple Cinderella wellies are the height of toddler aspirations.

The littlest two snuggled in together while Kitty was doing her best Tarzan impression around the rest of the playground, to the point that I thought they might almost fall asleep.

Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project

Kitty had some other ideas though; she’s tall enough now that her knees hang over the edge and she can get the saucer swinging higher and higher by herself.Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project

However much these little siblings of hers can wind her up and run off with her Lego, she loves them as only a big sister can (equal parts adoration and button pushing).  She can make them giggle like they’ll never stop, and have them chasing each other around the house in a heartbeat.  Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project

And Elma, my little middle girl; she is the glue that keeps that trio together; big enough to follow along with Kitty’s plans for make believe, and little enough to be Pip’s very best friend and still play at the level that he can keep up with, even if he does still rugby tackle her to the floor half the time he tries to give her a hug.

Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project

The older they get, the more we’re moving out of the baby stage; we can go out without the buggy or a sling if we’re not going too far, and much as I loved the little baby stage, it is so much fun to see them now as they become more and more independent and more and more their own little gang of three,

Two little sisters and their brother too, in October:

Space for the Butterflies - the Siblings Project

Do go and say hi to my lovely cohosts; Lucy at Dear Beautiful, Katie at Mummy Daddy Me, Amber at Goblin Child,  and Keri-Anne at Gingerlilly Tea; and to show us your sibling photos just link up below or come and play on Instagram under the #siblingsproject and tag @siblings_project_