Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dinosaurs and mushrooms

More t-shirts! The Bean had been asking for a dinosaur t-shirt for a while and I tried to convince her that a nice brontosaurus was the way to go, but she wanted a "scary dinosaur that says rrraaaahhhh" so I had to oblige. I made both, but the brontosaurus (which apparently is meant to be called an apatosaurus, who knew?) was immediately given to Bug, who happily seemed very pleased with it. The Bean is delighted with her scary T-Rex.
The most complicated stencil I have done so far was a t-shirt for D for Christmas. It was a multi-layer job so took a bit of time. It's also my first time using white, and rather disappointingly it has already started to crack after just a few washes, something I have not experienced with any of the other colours. I had to use rather a lot on the dark purple though, so it's my fault. I should have paid more for an ink made especially for dark colours. We live and learn! It's very noticeable that the white has a rather plasticy feel on the t-shirt where as you can easily see from the dinosaurs above, the other colours are more like true dyes. So I think in the future the white will be limited to lighter backgrounds. I'm still pretty pleased with the result though!


Spring was suddenly in the air today! Blue skies and sun, it was beautiful. As if by magic our first crocus appeared, and the snowdrops finally opened.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chart of the week

The Bean has recently become very interested in what day it is and what happens on each day. So of course I decided to make a chart to show her. I think this came about due to starting preschool and having that fixed every week and this is a really nice way for her to get up each morning and know what is going on that day. She got rather excited about it this morning and has been informing me that we are going to Little Fishes playgroup and then Grandma is coming!
The board is just one of those thick cardboard circles you get pizzas on, and I just drew the events and covered them in selotape. Everything is stuck on with bluetack so can be moved around as necessary. Hardest part: dividing a circle into 7 sectors without a protractor.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Playhouse and kitchen

Way way back in the Summer I found this amazing playhouse in a skip. Being a bit of a scavenger I carried it home (I think the excitement of a bargain might have raised my adrenalin as it is pretty heavy).
The girls loved it and it has been happily located outside under the gazebo for the summer, and then into the shed for the Autumn. We resurrected it for the winter since we don't use the French windows when it is so cold and wet and it has been taking up rather a lot of room in our lounge since.
I wanted something a bit more exciting for the girls to do in there than just sit around, and being skint I didn't want to buy a nice kids kitchen for them so I have had my eyes open for more skip goods. I found this shelving unit by the side of the road and for ages it has been just sitting in the house, happily played with by the girls but while they were away this weekend I decided to get down and sort it out.
So here's the new kitchen. The unit slotted together really easily, so it was simple to change the layout, and I just added a little shelf at the top. I'd been collecting Calpol lids for this purpose and just screwed them in lightly to give oven knobs. I usually use tester pots of paint for this sort of thing, but I had some leftover paint from decorating our house and from my parents so there was plenty.
Here it is in situ. The girls love it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Birthday cake

For months before the Bean's birthday she was asking for another Peppa Pig cake the same as last year.
Then out of the blue she changed her mind the week before in favour of Pingu. So I had to come up with a Pingu cake. I am not a fan of that icing you buy and is ready for use (Royal icing?) as it tastes gross, so I decided against a big novelty Pingu character in favour of an igloo. Of course the easiest thing would have been to bake it in a bowl to give me a nice shape, but I didn't have a bowl big enough and time was of the essence. I baked two marbled Madeira cakes, one smaller than the other, froze them, and then carved them when frozen. A nice bit of maple syrup butter icing covered the lot and then I cut up marshmallows and stuck them all over.

This picture makes me chuckle a reminds me of a former life of science where my fumehood looked pretty much exactly like this. Chaos. I liked to wash up once a week.

The characters are the disgusting ready icing, but they are just for decoration. Even Bean and Bug could only face eating their heads. The little snowballs are those Cadbury sweets. Yum!


More t-shirts! Same idea, same process. You might recognise these butterflies from Cerys' curtains. The thing with stencilling 262 butterflies is that I now have a lot of butterfly cut-outs! The make pretty good t-shirts though, and the Bean loves them. Similarly I had the negative image from this t-shirt, so I thought I'd just use it for Bug.

If you would like a t-shirt or indeed anything stencilled in a similar manner send me a mail at and I'll let you know if I can do it.

The Horniman Museum

If you have kids and live anywhere near London you have to go to this's fab!

School bag upgrade

The Bean started preschool in September and I had been unable to resist buying her a special school bag from Poundland (I know, I really spoil my kids) as it was the exact same colour as her uniform. Also I rather fancied it myself. I thought she would be happy with a nice messenger bag but when it came to the big day she wanted a rucksack, so a super-fast bit of sewing later and I customised it to a little rucksack. The key with rucksacks for tinies is the chest strap. I had one of those little clips in the sewing box anyway so it was easy to add one in...and luckily there was plenty of strap on the bag to make a loop to hang on her peg.

Really I should take a photo of her and the bag, but hey, she's in bed.

Eat this!...Banana muffins

Man these were good. Asda was selling off bananas for 20p per kilo so what could I do but buy stacks and stacks. Much banana related cookery resulted but these really were the star of the show. Made a couple of dozen and froze them. They are fantastic straight out the freezer and into the microwave. Yum.
9 oz plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 large bananas
1 egg
2 1/2 oz brown sugar
50 mL vegetable oil
as many raisins as you like.
Mash the bananas and beat in the egg, sugar and oil. Add the dry ingredients and beat in gradually. Add the raisins. 3/4 fill muffin cases and bake at gas 5 for 20-25 mins.


We decided to give Anneli a birthday party for friends this year for the first time...mainly because she seems to know now that you have party when it is your birthday. So we had to make some invitations. I got this brilliant shaker pack of coloured stars from the local garden centre (with the Christmas decorations for some reason) and both the girls love it. I was in charge of glue but everything else was up to Anneli. I'm pretty impressed with the result, and her writing is really coming on as you can see.

Apples on the Downs

What happens when you ask your kids to wait by the car...

...and the grass has just been mown.

Wow doesn't the summer seem so long ago now? The girls made a lovely nest of grass on the pavement that quickly dried into a sort of grass pancake.

By the way here's a lovely pic of my beautifully coloured car. I like to think that I make it cool despite it being gross. D calls it mouldy gold but I think it is dirty lime. Either way, I just tell people to look for the worst coloured car in the car park and that is mine. Of course we shortly won't be able to fit in with 3 car seats (why don't family cars fit 3 children any more?) so we'll be saying goodbye at some point.

blog blog slog

How did I ever have time to blog...I can't work out where and when I got it done. It's only going to get worse of course as I am now 36 weeks pregnant with number 3. Got to try and get into a routine of doing it! So I am still trying to catch up...still got summer bits and bobs to put in and it is now January!