Monday, 30 November 2009

On becoming the mother of a 4 year old

4 years?! Really? How did this time fly by so quickly and what am I going to do with a small person who knows everything, is always right, speaks to you like she's the parent ("Don't you just do that! I've told you....") and is a bit of a drama queen?

I'm sure I don't know, but keeping her occupied seems to help :)

It was the small person's actual birthday yesterday. The dolls house didn't get completely finished because we still needed to order some bits and pieces and the glodd wouldn't dry on the front door, so roof tiles, patio, front door and dormer windows will be added at some point over the coming months. We did give it to her yesterday though because it's still perfectly fine for playing with. Mr Bogert did a fantastic job :D I wallpapered and carpeted the inside.

Sunday morning she wasn't awake when we woke up, so we were creeping around trying to get dressed etc so we could wake her by singing happy birthday. We almost made it aswell. I was ready by her door, Mr Bogert wasn't far behind, when she suddenly sat straight up from her sleep , put her legs over the side of the bed and said "It's my birthday." Fact, not exclamation. Then she sleepily smiled at us. What a cutie :)

So she got dressed while I made breakfast and drinks, then came downstairs with Daddy. She got part way down the stairs, saw the rather obviously shaped wrapped gift from me and her Daddy and exclaimed "A house!" and started moving quicker down the stairs. I said it might just be a really odd shaped box and not a house. She looked at me like "come on Mummy, I'm 4 now. I'm not that stupid". Put me in my place.

So she had a lovely time opening presents which included drawing, art and craft sets, some lovely clothes, the house and sylvanian's to go with it, and a couple of DVD's. Nanny, Auntie Helen, Grandma, Grandpa and Nana called in for a cup of tea and more presents. (more Sylvanian bits, more clothes and some nice new boots) and we sang happy birthday with a yoghurt cake bought from the WI stall at Saturdays Christmas Fayre (which I will tell you all about, but later).

After all the family left we headed out in the car to Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Park. This is something we had promised her months ago since she saw it advertised on telly and quite a few of her friends have been. The main park is closed for the end of the season, and this is always what happens when we try to find places we can take Alexandra for her birthday. Usually it's just after everything has closed and there's no where left to go. Thomas Land was however still open and having a special event from 28th November until 3rd of January "Santa come to Sodor" and they have all of the christmas decorations out, christmas songs playing and snow machines going every now and then. They also have on a special christmas 20 minute animated movied in the 4D cinema. (included in admission price). There's a mini show with Santa, the Fat Controller and a few other characters.

I have to say, even I enjoyed it. It's perfect for little ones even if they aren't that into Thomas the Tank. All the rides are aimed at smaller children, with only a couple being for slightly bigger kids, and there's an indoor play area too. The small person said she had a really nice birthday, and I'm glad. It felt christmassy too with the lights and decorations. We went on a 100 year old carousel too (twice). On our way out, we stopped at the sweet shop in Sodor and filled a bag for the small person's ride home.

We ate Sunday dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's when we returned (my nana and grandad who only live about 5 doors away from us) then got to our house with a little time to spare for the small person's Godtather to visit and some play time with her new toys. A good (busy) day. Now I just need to survive the party next Saturday!

I still have lots to do for that. I need to get the fresh food on Friday, prepare as much as I can Friday night, bake and decorate a cake, sort out the rest of the decorations and name stickers, and contact the lady who is doing the entertainment! I'm going to be absolutely shattered by Sunday (which I have been informed is when Christmas officially starts by Mr Bogert who's fed up of waiting any longer!)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Pom pom how to

I have to admit, I'm still feeling a bit bleurgh. It has not been one of my most fantastical days (or weeks actually). My crafty mojo will be found by the weekend though I'm sure (I hope, because I have plenty to do!) and in the mean time with all the pom pom crazies out there, how about a pom pom how to?

Find a sturdy piece of card, fold in half and draw a large cirlce with a smaller circle inside. (I've used a roll of double sided tape and a vaseline lid, but if you're really smart you could use something easier like a compass!)

Cut the around the outside circle throgh both layers of card (so you have 2) and then cut the a notch through the outside circle and around the inside circle. You should now have what looks like to broken circles/letter "c".

Start wrapping you yarn around both card cut outs you have made, overlapping to hold the end of the yarn in place. The cut out notch makes it easier for you to wind the yarn (as the ball of yarn doesn't have to pass through the smaller circle centre)

Wrap around evenly across most of the card cut outs to your desired thickness (the thicker you wind the yarn around, the fuller your pom pom will be) and cut from the yarn ball when finished

Whilst carefully holding your yarn in place on the card, insert your scissors between the 2 pieces of card and up under the wrapped yarn. Cut all around.

(You now have lots of short pieces of yarn.) Still holding your yarn in place, slip a length of yarn between the 2 pieces of card

Tightly tie the length of yarn with a double knot to hold the pom pom together. If possible, wrap around the middle tightly several more times and tie again.

Remove the card pieces and trim any uneven ends on your pom pom.

Finished! Now what to make.....

Well, there are a few ideas mentioned in this post, but how about a few more?

The long ends from the tying the pom poms can come in very handy for attaching them to things, or creating loops so that they can be hung. Why not create a loop from the long threads, add a bit of sparkle and hang on your tree (you could use metallic yarn so you don't need to add sparkle). You can make all sorts of sizes for a very different look.

How about stitching many pom poms to a length of fabric, ribbon or tape and creating a neck warmer.

Pom pom animals for kids are heaps of fun. Try poodles, chicks, bears, caterpillars and expecially at this time of year, snowmen :) You could even get really creative and make pom pom monsters who are hungry for your yarn stash! Eeek!

Try a pom pom garland. Great for decorating the tree or hanging along the stairs or mantle. With a few pegs it could even double as a card hanger. Hust tie your pom poms along a length of ribbon, or use some of your yarn to make a plaited rope/string, and attach them to this.

Pom pom accessories - Hairbands and clips and brooches and bag charms. (And tons more!)

There are lots of things you can make with pom poms and I'd love to hear any of your ideas or about things you've already made.

EDIT - This post has been ready to go since last Thursday but I have been having major issues with uploading piccies. It just did not want to cooperate! Anyway, better late than never. x

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Pine cone angels, whatever next!

I've been intending to post since Sunday (my first full day off from my "real" job), but things have conspired against me. One incident in particular I just can't shake from my brain and it's left me feeling confused, disbelieving, cross, light headed and now just generally ick and deflated - in that order. I would really love to air my views about this matter on here because talking it through (although technically I could be talking to myself on here!) always seems to help things make sense and I can at least vent if nothing else, but due to the seriousness of his "thing" I can't go into any details. Suffice to say it's left me feeling a little non enthusiastic about most things and too fidgety to concentrate on any of my craft projects.

So, I really haven't got much progress to show on my current WIPs. The only new thing I can share is what the band of small people at Toddler group have been up to today. We've been decorating pine cone angels for our Chrsitmas tree for the church tree festival. I'm very proud of all of their lovely creations, and they should be too. Our tree will look lovely. Fact, not opinion :D

These 2 angels are mine and Alexandra's.

If you feel inclined to make one of these you will need:

  • a pine cone
  • a scrap of bright coloured paper or card
  • a pen
  • a wooden bead
  • some string or yarn
  • glue
  • glitter
  • a craft pipe cleaner
  • 2 feathers
  1. These pine cone were actually bleached (by my nan who wasn't thinking so much of colour but more of cleanliness for the kids. She likes her bleach!) and left to dry for a few days so they are a paler colour.
  2. Tie your yarn or string to the rounded end (that is normally connected to the tree) and tie a knot in the very end to form a hanging loop.
  3. Thread the wooden bead onto the loop you've just tied and secure with a small amount of glue. Leave this to dry (the first 3 steps I did as preperation for today).
  4. Cover the pine cone body in glue and sprinkle with glitter.
  5. Make a small circle from twisting the pipe cleaner to thread over the yarn loop and glue to the bead "head"
  6. Cut a strip of the coloured card/paper to make the name tag and slightly roll the ends to make it appear like a scroll. Write your message/name.
  7. Glue this to the front of your angel
  8. Glue the 2 feathers to the back of your angel to form the wings
  9. If you like, you can draw a face on the wooden bead.

Obviousy the kids used PVA glue which was messy and fun, but took some while to set. For making my example, I used hot glue so that it would set quickly and securely. It just depends on who's going to be making it really!

I've also had a few more donations for our raffle prize for the Christmas fayre (which is fast approaching this Saturday). I would still have like to have seen more support (only 2 donators were people that bring children to the group), but any support is welcome and brings a smile. Roughly working it out, our Children's Christmas hamper contents is worth around £50. That's generosity :) I'm really looking forward to it and feeling quite optimistic about raising funds.

Sunday the small person turns 4 and we'll be taking her out for the day. Her party is the following weekend, same weekend as our Christmas tree festival. Two busy weekends! (and that project Mr Bogert was working on isn't finished yet! Eeek! We're waiting for windows to arrive in the post. Poor Mr Bogert might have a late night coming up.)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Pom poms! Hurrah!

After I finished chatting away on here yesterday I acually got around to a quick craft project that was actually a neccessity. Pom poms. What do you mean pom poms aren't a neccessity? Of course they are. Christmas is just around the corner and they seem to be very popular for the festive season this year. I've seen people making pom poms for gift decorations, to hang from trees, for winter warmer knitted items and even some fabulous pom pom door wreathes.

My pom poms are a neccesity because I need something extra to brighten up and fill out our toddler group tree for the church Christmas tree festival at the start of next month. I was going to just buy some itty bitty baubles, but seeing pom poms on tons of other blogs I thought that was much more fun and definately in keeping with the children theme. And pom poms, come on, what's not to love!? Only trouble is, the ones I've made look so lovely and bright and fluffy, like a pom pom rainbow, I wish we had a bigger tree so I could justify making more :)

One extra crafty foot note before I go. I made a snuggie yesterday. (That would be after the blogging and before the pom poms, and somewhere in and around the knitting of the scarf). Now for those of you that don't know, a snuggie or a slanket (apparently slanket came first and snuggie was a copy, but slanket doesn't sound nearly as nice as snuggie) is a big blanket with oversized sleeves so you can have your arms free or wear it. Mr Bogert has demanded he own one.

The one I made yesterday though is for the small person for Christmas and was super quick to make. I used an existing fleecey blanket from Primark so I didn't need to hem (and it actually worked out cheaper than buying the same amount of a similar fabric. Go figure!). I used a zig zag/over edge stitch so it finished the edges of the sleeve seams at the same time as stitching them together. It was super quick to make which I'm very pleased about because I have another 3 to make in time for Christmas day.

Wow. That's a long foot note.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Show and tell time

As promised here's the piccies, although I don't know why I bothered waiting, the light still wasn't good :(

These are the fabrics (well minus one blue fabric) all cut and ready for the recovering of the chairs. A plain orange and a turquoise/greeny colour with sea prints on (like red crabs, blue and pink shells, green seaweed and orangey other bits). I wanted something bright a fun looking. I've used the original covers taken apart (and carefully labelled as I went) as pattern pieces. These will replace the very worn red and white stripe covers that are totally ingrained with dirt and have been used since I went to the group as a toddler! I'll post before and afters once I'm done.

These are the small person birthday party invitations. Some of you who visit my blog regularly will have seen part finished versions of these anyway. Blue for the boys, pink for the girls. The little pirate was cut using a baby sizzix die. The bandanas were cut freehand using printed paper. The ships were found on the internet and resized then cut using tiny nail scissors. the "ahoy shipmates! Party sighted! banner was created in photoshop and again cut with tiny nail scissors. The sea was cut from various blue papers in my stash with scallop edged scissors. I tea stained some A4 printer paper and printed out the inside wording on this using "arr matey" font. I got rather carried away with the wording and just hope the parents get what I'm on about and don't keep their kids away from the party because they think I'm a loon!

"Ahoy Shipmates!
Ye be invited t' Captain Alexandra's 4th birthday bash! We be in need of shipmates t' swab the deck, so come dressed in your best pirate finery. (fancy dress)
We set sail on
blaa blaa blaa
so chart yer'course fer
blaa blaa blaa
and join us fer some fun, games and grub.
Wave yer flag if ye be attendin', if not ye'll have t' walk the plank!"

This is the latest knitting project I mentioned. It's not going too badly, but I remember why I favour crochet. I find it a great deal harder to keep track of what I'm doing and where I am in the pattern (yes, even on something as simple as a scarf). Crochet also grows much quicker, so you have finished results much quicker. I must admit, I do feel as though I've acomplished more doing a knitted item. This is the easy part anyway. There's still matching wrist warmers, leg warmers and hat to go with this. The pattern is from the Autumn special of Women's Weekly Knitting and Crochet. If I don't completely mess this up, I want to try knitting something for Mr Bogert, but we'll see. It may take me until next Christmas to get this finished!

And finally, of course yesterday was Tuesday which means toddler group. We just had a free painting session. Partly because this was one session I didn't have anything planned in advance for and didn't have much time, and partly because we don't do nearly enough painting at toddlers. It's always sticking because it usually turns out less messy. I don't mind the mess (well, not at toddlers anyway) so I say paint away! I did use pudsey bear colours though. After mentioning this to the small person she decided she wanted to paint pudsey. Can you just about make him out? Over there on the right? With arms legs and ears and very red face? And he's surrounded by his spots :)

I still have heaps to get through before christmas. I hope me and my crafty makes get there :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What! No pictures!

I thought about taking piccies of the things I've been doing and want to tell you about (and lets face it, I'm the Queen of too many pictures!), but by the time I got back from my Nana and Grandads it was far too dark to get any decent photos. So in a rare moment of photographic restraint, I promise to show you tomorrow.

I finished Alexandra's birthday invitations and they've all been sent. The goody bags are filled (minus cake, obviously) now that the eye patches are all done, and they're all lined up looking rather pretty (even if I do say so myself) as we've used pale blue and pale pink paper bags.

I've started a little knitting project as a chritsmas gift for the small person. It's so weird trying to get back into knitting. I've never been a strong knitter and all I've done for the last 18 months or so is crochet. I was fine until I came to purl and my mind went blank! Several tries later and it all came flooding back! Let's hope the project turns out usable :)

I've also been sorting out the christmas gifts for the toddler group kids. Every christmas if they're going to be there last day of term, they get a little gift (which comes out of the money we've collected from weekly payments) and we also have a tea party. Shopping lists coming out of my ears! Lists for gifts, lists for tea party food, lists for the small person's birthday, lists for xmas day....... Now I just need a list to keep track of the lists!

Over the weekend Mr Bogert and I went to our village art club exhibition. There were some lovely paintings and drawings. I'm too short on cash and wall space to invest in a piece of art though :( Mr Bogert says I'll have to paint our own. We also spoke to the people running it because we (photo club) are sharing exhibition space at the christmas fayre in a couple of weeks time. So we have photographs, mounts and labels to prepare.

Mr Bogert has finally given in to my gentle prods and signed photo club up for the christmas tree festival at the church too. I managed to get some battery operated lights from Wilkinsons (but then found some cheaper ones at Ikea!). So now we need to prepare for that! More photos 6x4 this time to peg onto the tree, and toddler group is making pine cone angels next Tuesday for the toddler group tree (I'll probably be making some brightly coloured pom poms too to fill out the decor) Phew! We don't like to make things easy for ourselves.

Sunday was our 10 year anniversary (not wedding, just togetherness). Can you believe that! I can't, it's gone so fast. The first year together we counted every month and it too a long time to reach that magic 12 month milestone. Now all of a sudden (or it feels like it) we're 3 houses, 1 child, several jobs, a wedding and 10 years down the line! I hope the rest of it doesn't pass this quickly, I'm quite enjoying it! :D

Mr Bogert bought me a lovely long length knitted jumper with a hood. Funnily enough, I bought him a cable knit zip up wool jacket. It must be a thing that once you get so far into your time together you feel the need to buy knitwear to keep them warm and snuggly instead of raunchy underwear or romantic things! I supposed at least it's a step up from a set of saucepans (although I think I'd be really quite happy with them too!)

We promised each other no computers etc, hence the no posting. In the eveing we left the small person with a babysitter (in the shape of Nanny) and went for a curry at The Five Rivers in Leamington. So very yummy. We had big plans for pudding, but were far too stuffed by the time we'd finished our mains.

Mr Bogert also had the day off yesterday so we could have a proper "weekend" together (with me working Saturdays). We had to have more Starbucks eggnog latte. No really, we're addicted now and it's impossible to resist it's call. We just had a nice chilled family day together. Ikea, dobbies garden centre, a christmas movie and an action movie (whilst knitting, with many comments of "you just missed that!" "are you even watching this?") for after the small person was deposited in bed.

Ikea made me want to spend lots of money again. I didn't, but I did spend some toddler group money on fabric to recover the falling apart mini chairs for the reading corner. I have been cutting out lovliness in 3 fabrics all afternoon. Well, I like it anyway :)

Of course, all this has left me thinking that today is actually Monday and I'm living a very confused day.

Pictures, I know, tomorrow. I promise.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

For the fallen

image courtesy of

For The Fallen - 1914

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal

Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

-Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Light trails rock :D

Last night was our monthly Camera Club night. We were learning about shutter speed so for the shooting part of the evening we were playing around with lights trails (or painting with light). I love this :D It takes me back to the days when I used to write my name with sparklers on bonfire night! Mr Bogert being as organised as I normally am, left it until the last minute to get some lights/mini torches to play with. He asked me to take a trip to the village shop to see what I could find during yesterday day. All I could find were light up push pops. But hey they worked, and now we can eat them! Bonus!

Last night I was however being busy playing tea lady and pot wash, so missed parts of the conversations, and then somehow I was enlisted to help one of the other people. No idea why. I haven't got a clue what I'm doing either! So, by the end of the night, I'd managed to get through without taking a single photo :(

So we set it all up in the living room when we got home and I got to draw angel wings and a devil tail on Mr Bogert! I'm just a big kid really :D

We also voted on some of the prints we're going to display at the village Christmas fair. 2 per person at the moment. These are mine that were chosen. I'm quite happy with them. I really like the one I took of the war memorial, but I thought I had stronger ones than the one of the water.

Top - Our village war memorial cross in the church yard. Bottom - The River Fal

Ofcourse we also had toddler group today. We made poppies for remembrance. The small person however thought they looked more like eyes and so we ended up with this.

Top - Where I intended for the black dot to be. Bottom - Alexandra's new and improved poppy eyes

On the one hand toddlers was great today because we had 5 new kids, and for once we made an actual proffit which can go towards the christmas presents and tea party or restocking the craft supplies. An added bonus was one of the volunteers pointed out a huge black bin bag full of unclaimed christmas gifts from last year, which helps our very low bank balance (and I get to sit there and unwrap every single one to find out what's inside, before re-wrapping it to give out!). The down side to today was that last week I put a request out for small donations of little gifts (like chocolate money, colouring pencils, little toys) to go into a child's christmas hamper to be the main raffle prize for our stall at the Christmas fair (which I'm hoping is going to raise some much needed funds), and apart from one grandmother, not one single person has donated a thing or even acknowledge that we're going to be at the fair :( I was really disappointed. I don't like to sell to the parents or ask them for too much money, but I'm trying really hard to keep the group open. We have enough children on the books to run smoothly, but they don't come every week, so I'm having to resort to other methods of making money. Still, very disappointing. Maybe next week. Glass half full mentality - we have two more sessions before the fair.

This afternoon, now that all the eyepatches are finished, I've also been packaging up the goody bags and have them all lined up in a box ready for cake to be added and then Alexandra to give them out. I feel very organised having them all lined up (and they look very pretty because we've used plain pink and plain blue paper bags). I just wish everything were that easy!
Tomorrow I need to sew. There's no urgency for anything to be finished right this minute, but I feel the need to sew. It might just stop my head exploding. Craft therapy :)

Monday, 9 November 2009

Fantastically wonderful!

What a fantastically wonderful weekend I've had. All weekends should be like that!

Firstly, not quite the weekend, but it all runs into one, Friday I did really well with my Christmas shopping! I am so nearly done! And being organised makes me smiley :) I did however manage to stretch my shoulder muscle a tad too far with the carrying and my bad hip made me pay too (I didn't even walk that far :c ). Note to self: When shopping before collecting the small person from Nursery, take into account the extra bags that will be added once she is picked up. Then we went to Starbucks and I fell in love with their Eggnog Latte. Sooo yummy. Now Mr Bogert is hooked too.

Saturday I agreed to start work at stupid o'clock (stupid o'clock being translated is 5am), but although it didn't feel like it around 4am, it was worth it because I finished early and got to go to a Christmas craft Fair at Hatton Country World. Yay! It wasn't very big, but there were some lovely things. I even saw one lady there who I've recently voted for on Craftjuice. (I'm dreaming of owning one of her gorgeous bags). Another that really took my eye was Blee bears. They are absolutely adorable and have such character. They are out of my allowed* price range though. But she does sell patterns, so all hope is not lost.

*allowed - Whatever Mr Bogert will turn a blind eye to when purchasing something not actually essential, but definately gorgeous.

This was followed by a trip to subway (so no cooking lunch or washing up) and another trip to Starbucks for those yummy eggnog lattes! We trawled B&Q's Christmas decoration section which we always love because they put tons of lights up, and then bought MDF for a project I'll tell you about in a bit.

Later that night we went to the Village bonfire night with a neighbour and one of his kids. Great time. All 3 of us (grown ups) are in the photo club, so we set up tripods and tried to get some nice shots. It was such a lovely atmosphere and seeing faces you know all gathered in one place enjoying hot food and soup, and the lovely big bonfire (we did get a bit smoked out when it was first lit, but it was all taken good humouredly and passed reasonably quickly) then the firework display was far better than expected and we got some quite good shots. We were back in time for the small person's bed time, and then spent the evening watching telly all snuggled up.

Sunday we (small person and I) needed to vacate the house so that Mr Bogert could get started on the MDF project I mentioned. The small person's birthday is at the end of this month and she's getting alot of Sylvanian family furniture and the Maces mouse family. We loooked at the houses, but none of them had the number of rooms we wanted. Mr Bogert said "Well I'll just build one" (he has since forgotten that it was his idea, and much moaning was heard when I was explaining about size and windows etc). The main shell is about ready. He still has the partitions to put in, the hinges to attach and the windows and doors to fit. Once it's built, I get to decorate :) I'm really excited about seeing Alexandra's face when she opens it! I'll post progress photos as it goes on.

This picture looks a little odd because the house is on it's side. There are 2 reasons for this. 1 - The small person is about and I have to snap it quick without her seeing. 2- Mr Bogert has put it like this and if I move it and something goes horribly wrong I'll be in BIG trouble!

Meanwhile, at Grandma's house (my Nan's) we were playing games and eating bacon sandwichs and then watching the remembrance day parade at the cenotaph on TV. We took a short break for a family (with Mr Bogert, who wanted to look at dolls house doors) trip to Hobbycraft. How much better could the weekend get? Hobbycraft without complaints from the hubby!? So I bought the small person a little wooden tree to decorate and some wool for me which was on sale. Kicking myself though, 'cos I should have bought more and ordered the helium balloons for the pirate party.

Mr Bogert went back to house building and Alexandra and I went back to Grandma's. We decorated the wooden tree with felt pens, sequins and little pom poms. We had a lovely cooked dinner with my nana and grandad, then sat watching The Wizard of Oz. Alexandra has never seen it before and she was totally mesmerised! I wish I'd recorded it now. We also watched The Aristocats. I sat finishing the last of the pirate eye patches for the goody bags at Alexandra's party, and sewing a bit more on the fairy costume.

Before and after

More movies when we returned home. Tinkerbell for Alex before bed, then once she was tucked up "The Oxford Murders" which I enjoyed 'cos I love ones where you can sit there and try and guess who did it and why, and then "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" which I thought might make me cringe, but was actually ok. Mr Bogert and I laughed alot when Simon Pegg stands up at the 4th July party shouting "England! England! Oi Orlando! You used to be English, come on!" But we might have weird senses of humour ;)

So, I loved my weekend. Craft, shopping, bonfires, good movies, yummy food, fireworks. What did you get up to?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Remember, remember.....

Remember, remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

On the 5th of November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught attempting to blow up the houses of parliament. English Catholics who had been persectued under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I had hoped things would improve when James I took was crowned. It didn't and a so a group of 13 men led by Robert Catesby decided to take action. Guy Fawkes and the other men involved were tried as traitors. Guy Fawkes was sentenced to death by being hung, drawn and quatered. Not a nice way to go.

From 1606 onward it became custom to commemorate the day to remind all people and future generations what the price for treason was and "to never forget". We still mark this day now with fireworks and bonfires (which were lit on the original night of the conspiracy to celebrate the safety of the King) on which we burn effigies of Guy Fawkes made from old clothes and newspapers. The "guy".

And that brings me to my point. I'm not so useless after all! The small person got to make her Guy. We made him from 2 pairs of tights stuffed with newspaper.

  • The first pair of tights we cut the legs short and tied knots in the end. We stuffed this to make the legs and body and tide the top (waistband) in a knot to hold the papers in.

  • We used a cut off portion of the smae pair of tights stuffed to create a round ball for a head, and tied this on.

  • Next we tied the legs of the 2nd pair of tights part way down to shorten them, turned them inside out (so you can't see the knots) and stuffed just the leg portions.

  • This was then tied around the "neck".
Hey presto! Blank guy to decorate!

I sorted some bits and pieces out of Alexandra's craft drawers (yes, she has her very own 3 drawer craft stash) including some face stickers (eyes, mouths etc).

I carried on cooking our bangers, mash and leeks and the small person to supervise Mr Bogert in the decorating part. I think they did a rather smashing job. Well done family peeps :)

Yes, Alexandra's hair usually looks like this after a full day at nursery. Think about the energy that must go into getting it into this state!

Mr Guy Fawkes even has his own hat to cover his ginger hair :)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Getting distracted

Well, I was supposed to be making a Guy for bonfire night with the small person today. I'd already sorted out some bits and pieces, but then I thought "I'd better sort out those christmas bits and pieces first so that I know what I still need to get....". And that was that. I drifted out of November and landed in my happy place :)
So instead, this afternoon, I've been planning a gift for the small person and Mr Bogert that until now was just a few words in my head (now there are accompanying pictures and construction ideas), and also getting a bit further with the gift I started a while back for someone else's small person.

This was the fun bit. Look sparkly things!

Anyway, suddenly it's back to reality time. Mr Bogert's on his way back from work expecting to be fed, nursery things need to be packed, work clothes need putting out, baths need to be ran and had.... Oh dear Alex. I promise tomorrow we'll make that Guy.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Crafting with the kids for Bonfire night

I absolutely love this time of year! The nights are darker so things feel cosier, and the freshness in the air always reminds me of shopping in town ready for Christmas. There's craft fairs and christmas fairs popping up all over the place and I love nothing better than closing the blinds on a dark night and crafting away on the sofa (and all over the table and floor too. I like to spread myself around a bit!).

I have so many things to do at the moment it's unlikely I'll be able to add anything new and fun to my crafting list, but that doesn't mean I can't have fun with the small person. Today at toddler group we made rockets from toilet roll middles (which I've been saving for a few months now! Mr Bogert will be pleased to see they have left the kitchen).

This is the small person's wonderful creation

To make this we used
  • red paint (but you can use any colour you like)
  • glitter
  • pva glue
  • cirlce of paper (we used an already gummed piece because it was easier for making the number we needed for the group, but plain will work just as well)
  • ribbons/crepe paper in red, yellow, orange, silver, gold. Fiery colours.
  • toilet roll middle
  1. First get your small person to paint the toilet roll middler all over. This is the fun bit, because it's the messiest!
  2. Once it's wet all over, sprinkle glitter where you want so that it sticks to the paint.
  3. Take your paper circle and cut from the edge to the centre and pull the edges over each other to form a cone shape. Fix with glue or tape. (If you have an older child they can do this themselves, but as we have plenty of littlies at toddler group, we did this for them.)
  4. Add glue to the top edge of your toilet roll middle and fix the cone to this.
  5. Lastly, use either glue or tape to stick strands of the paper/ribbon to the inside of the bottom edge of your toilet roll middle. These are the flames as your rocket takes off!

We're going to hang ours outside on bonfire night from a string :)

I've been thinking of other things I can do craft wise with her and this is what I've come up with:

  • Wax resist pictures. use brightly coloured crayons to drawn bursts and scribbles of colour all over a sheet of paper or card, then use black paint all over and see the colours reappear through the paint like fireworks on a dark night.

  • Firework print pictures. Use ordinairy objects like cotton reels, hand cut potato stamps, cookie cutters etc to stamp pretty colourful "fireworks" on dark paper or card then sprinkle with glitter before the paint dries.

  • Another variation of the above. Use bright coloured paints that stand out well against dark paper or card and use a paint brush to apply a large blob of colour to the page, then use a straw to blow through and spread the paint out in a startburst. Again add the glitter, and hey presto, instant fireworks!

  • Very small children could use their hands as the firework print. Paint the hands up with a bright coloured paint and hand stamp all over the page, then again use glitter to add some sparkle.

  • How about a bonfire collage? Gather some small sticks from the garden (or in our case we've used the old burnt long matches left over from lighting the pumpkins), glue them to the bottom of a page. Tear strips of fiery coloured tissue paper and glue above and between the sticks to act as flames, then again, you guessed it, add loads of glitter! (The glue's still wet on this one!)

  • How about making a Guy? Guy Fawkes needn't be scary (but this could make the idea a bit cooler for older kids) he could just be a cute stuffed dummy :) Use things you would normally throw away. A pair of tights with a ladder or hole will work fine as a body, head, arms, legs etc. and can be stuffed with old newspapers. Once stuffed his face could be collaged from cuttings from magazines, or shapes from paper/card/felt etc or anything else that you might have lying around yours or the small persons craft stash. You can use bits of ribbon or wool for hair, and he can be dressed in old clothes that have seen their last day, or scraps of rag/fabric/dusters etc. This can be alot of fun! I think I'm going to start finding bits for ours right now!

I'd love to hear from you if you have any other good ideas for Guy Fawkes craft, or even if you've tried any of the ones I've suggested here.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Halloween that was

I hope you all had a spooky Halloween! We had great fun at the Wishes household, but were so short on remaining time that I couldn't post until now. Sorry folks :)
The small person really enjoyed dressing up as a mummy and happily posed for photographs at various houses. I used 7 bandages in all and I thought it was more interesting to give her pigtails and a hair bow (yes, my crochet hair bows). She's already put in her order for next year. A ghost. It's not very imaginative, but I can work with that!

In our village we only call at the houses that display decorations of some sort so that you know they are happy to take part. That way you don't offend anyone, the kids don't get turned away from any doors or ignored and everyone is happy. We were so pleased to see new houses joining in this year! Hopefully it will become even more popular next year. I even found out last years toddler group craft items to use for decor at our house. These were the bungee bats we made

and these were the pumpkin masks (and we made them again this year.)

We carved 3 pumpkins. Winnie the pooh, Tigger and Eeyore and then put out our usual lights and decs. I carved an extra pumpkin for my nan and grandad too, and they bought some extra bits and pieces this year like a bat and broomstick.

After all the trick or treating we visited a party in our street, so we had plenty of halloween fun. How did you spend your halloween?
Sunday was no rest for the wicked either. Mr Bogert had a wedding show, so the small person got packed off to Grandad's (where she had far more fun than she would have with us) and we went off to the venue. I spent most of my time alone on the stand as Mr Bogert was "networking". Apparantly. I call it gossiping, but there you go. I enjoyed the day because there were some lovely people there, but the weather was bad and the advertising hadn't been great, so there were very few brides came through the door. We're not expecting any bookings from this one. I did get a free ring clean from the jeweller, free lunch paid for by Mr Bogert, and a free cake from the cake lady though :)

Tomorrow is Mr Bogert's mum's birthday, but as he's working tomorrow day and at a photo shoot tomorrow night, we're going to visit this evening. I can't wait to see her reaction to the mug Alexandra painted for her :D I've just finished making her a card too, but I'm not at all happy with it. I haven't got time for a do over. I'll only show it to you if you promise not to laugh.

It's not exactly the look I was going for :(

Tomorrow is a new day and halloween has been and gone. Now we have bonfire night to look forward to, so we're making toilet roll middle rockets at toddler group tomorrow, then we've got the village bonfire this coming Saturday. I love the bonfire and hot dogs and burgers :D