Valentines Day is fast approaching. Are you prepared?
For those of you who aren’t, I’ve collated a collection of free Valentines Day printables. So if you’re stuck for ideas, why not have a look? Just click on the images to link through to the respective blogs and downloadable files.
My husband and I are a bit rubbish at Valentines Day. It’s often forgotten until the day before or the morning of.
We avoid all the really commercial aspects of the day and don’t go out to crazily expensive and often mediocre dinners or buy each-other expensive gifts. But we do something. This year my husband will have just gotten off the plane after an 11 hour flight followed by a 2 1/2 hour train trip, having spent just 3 days in San Francisco. So we’re going for low key this year. I’m going to make us a nutritious and delicious dinner and then, if my lovely other half can keep his eyes open, we’ll watch a movie.
Usually I make a card. But last year I forgot about Valentines Day all-together as I was suffering from a hideous bout of morning sickness. I have no idea what I’m going to do this year. Some people appear to be using my Little Mr Robot Advent Calendar as a Valentines Gift, so I may do something similar.
I feel a bit like Alice. I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. I’ve met wonderful characters who have helped, sometimes hindered and oft times made my journey fun or just a little less stressful. Everything in my life is the same and different. And I am now slowly waking up to reality. But an adjusted reality. A reality that includes a little person who has no respect for sleeping hours or schedules. Like the little white rabbit, I’m always late (which those of you who know me ‘off blog’ understand is enough to give me a conniption!).
The cause of this adjusted reality, she’s perfectly gorgeous. I’m in love.
Before Munchkin arrived, I was certain that my life would get easier. After 12 days in the early stages of labour I was exhausted and ready for the next part. And after hearing from others who’d been able to do projects in the weeks following the birth of their children, I was certain that the 2/3rds completed projects and blogs I had would get completed and after a week or two my blog would continue. After all, newborns only eat and sleep right?! I’d get all of my projects done and the blog would continue much as it had been *insert unladylike snort here*.
I should have taken heed to what my pregnant friends who already have children were doing. They were all planning ‘maternity leave’ from their projects and blogs.
Unsurprisingly I was in for quite a bit of a shock. I’ve gone from having many hours alone, to struggling to find enough time to have a shower, let alone finish a tutorial and write a blog. And of an evening I usually resemble a zombie and anything I’ve written makes about as much sense as if it were written by the aforementioned brain-dead one.
So it’s over two months since Munchkins birth and I’m only just making my way back to the blog. The tutorials and templates are on their way. But it’s going a bit slower than I thought.
Thank you to all of you who wrote to ask for the little shoes templates and tutorial. I love that you’re all looking forward to making them! But I have to beg for a little patience. They’ll be done just as soon as I can. Hopefully next week; but don’t hold me to that. The Munchkin may have other plans she’s not informed me about.
It’s coming round to that time of year wherein I look at the calendar and panic. I’ve not even started to think about Christmas presents for friends and family, let alone creating an advent calendar. And this year is particularly difficult as I’m trying to do it all whilst sleep deprived and often with a Munchkin who won’t let me put her down. So this year, I’m remaking some of the advents I created last year and thought you might want to do so too.
So here’s a slightly revised Little Mr Robot advent blog post:
A friend of mine dropped into conversation that she thought that I sketch I’d done years ago would look rather cute as an advent calendar. So I spent a little time this week playing with it to see if I could get it to work. Et voilà!! Here is the result!
I’m not on bed rest (thank goodness!) but I have been ordered by my doctor not to do anything more energetic than a walk. Maybe she knows me too well… she specifically told me I’m not allowed to clean the house or start emptying cupboards. So I’m all ironed up and feel like I should be bouncing off the walls. But at 37 weeks pregnant, I’m fighting a persistent head/ chest cold and playing the waiting game… I’m continually tired and carrying what feels like an energetic and very uncomfortable bundle of elbows and knees.
Munchkin is running out of room and I’m running out of patience with being pregnant. But we have managed to get some stuff done!
We set up Munchkin’s temporary nursery. The rest of her furniture will arrive in a couple of months. But for now, we have everything she needs to start life. All of her clothes are washed and ready and she finally has her own space in the house which feels nice.
The reason we’re not overly worried about her nursery is that she’ll be sleeping in with us for the first few months. We’ve her Leander cradle all ready and waiting for her arrival.
On the days my brain works, and when I’ve not been trying to get all the paperwork etc together for Munchkin’s citizenship and passport or finding her a paediatrician, I’ve been playing with felt; making little shoes for Munchkin and for some friends who have recently had babies. I think I’m finally happy with the design. I love them in coral and grey! I now just have to work out the different sizings.
I can’t decide if I like the bows on the front or on the side. So I’m making Munchkin a pair of both!
We had a small get together with some of our friends on Sunday on the deck of my favourite gluten-free café in Cully. It wasn’t a baby shower in the traditional sense, but we really wanted to see our friends before we temporarily slip even further off the social scene after Munchkin arrives.
I wasn’t allowed to go all ‘Nicola’ on it. Frustratingly, all I was allowed to do was to book the space and to send out email/ Facebook invites. So it was a decidedly un-Nicola-like event, not a hot air balloon to be seen, but it was delightful nonetheless (DM soothed my ruffled feathers by reminding me that I have many, many future Munchkin birthdays and unbirthday parties to organise). And I have to admit, it was quite a novel experience not to have to worry about anything more than just turning up.
Munchkin received some seriously splendid gifts from our lovely and very generous friends. She already has a toy collection and wardrobe I’m envious of!
Some of our crafty friends had got together to create a gorgeous present for Munchkin. They each knit or crochet some panels and made them up into a beautiful baby blanket. They’d been sneaky enough to get DM to send them the colours I wanted for the nursery and in amongst the pretty patterns, they included a couple of sneaky geeky panels. One of a Dalek and the other of a storm trooper. It’s perfect and suits DM’s and my style exactly. I’m really looking forward to seeing Munchkin wrapped up in it.
I spent yesterday with my feet above my heart trying to get my swollen feet back to a size that would fit inside my slip on shoes and worked out this little pattern for a crochet aviators hat/ helmet for the little nephew we’re expecting in a few weeks. I then made another one for DM’s cousin who just had a little baby boy. I’m waiting for Munchkin to arrive so that I can custom make her one that fits perfectly.
Sorry it’s been a bit quiet around here the last couple of weeks. Remember me saying just the other day that I’d been needing a lot more down time with being pregnant but that the doctor said it was normal?
The following day I received a phone call regarding some blood tests my doctor had taken. It turns out it wasn’t normal. I was anaemic (severely lacking in iron), not just ‘pregnancy tired’. Due to a series of unfortunate events (the European Summer, my doctor taking a month off, me seeing another doctor and no blood tests having been taken during this time) over 2 1/2 months my iron levels had plummeted.
Thankfully it was an easy fix, requiring a huge infusion of iron. I had mental images of a giant steak fixing the problem but it turns out the doctor meant what she said… an infusion. Oh how I hate needles!
The nurse giving me the infusion told me that an iron level of 10 for a pregnant woman is viewed as extremely low and I was well below 10, hence the need for about a bazillion steaks worth infused directly into my bloodstream ASAP.
With in 24 hours my brain started to de-fog. I didn’t even know it was fogged as it all comes on quite gradually! But it turns out I’ve been walking around like a zombie (with close to the same mental capacity) and I’ve now received a fabulous mental and physical energy boost! Even my eyesight has improved! Even better, they should continue to improve over the next few weeks!
So all the projects I’d been struggling to find the energy to do are getting done! I’m going to Lynne’s today to try and complete Munchkin’s quilt and I’ve put together a prototype for a pair of shoes; I’ll share the template and tutorial with you as soon as they’re done.
And I’m finally making a little headway with her birth announcements!
Why is it that every time I start to wonder what I’m doing with my life and start to consider returning to a ‘normal’ profession something turns up to make me change my mind? In this case, the latest issue of Cupcake Heaven turned up in my letterbox.
I’m now 34 weeks pregnant and I’m feeling it! I look like I’ve eaten ALL THE CAKES and I’m now getting tired a lot earlier than usual. My social calendar has taken another hit as I find I’m needing more and more down time. But the Doctors say this is all normal and that Munchkin is perfectly healthy. So I’m slowly but surely working through the remains of my to-do list before Munchkin arrives.
This week I’m making her a cot quilt and trying to get the design for her birth announcements done. As I’ve never quilted before, I enlisted the aid of the lovely Lynne who is quite possibly the most prolific and fabulous quilter I’ve ever encountered. Under her expert tutelage I’m making fairly good progress and currently have only had to unpick about half a dozen triangles. I’ll keep you updated as to it’s progress and shall blog the finished product.
I’m also discovering that I get fairly strange cravings. After a horrendous night wherein Munchkin ensured I slept less than I thought was humanly possible, I found I was craving carbs and sugar. In particular I found myself feeling rather partial to one of my childhood favourites, pikelets, and so quickly whipped up a batch. They’re delicious! I used the recipe from the Common Sense Cookery book and substituted gluten-free flour for the normal flour. Voilà! Deliciousness on a plate! They’re perfect covered in jam and cream or slathered in salty butter. I’ve had to promise DM that I’ll make him some soon as I ate the remainder of them this morning for breakfast. For those of you who want to try them, I’ve put the recipe at the bottom of this post.
It was around about this point in time that my trusty old Brother sewing machine started spitting out small parts at me. Literally.
A little investigation revealed that these are in fact the pieces that turn the lights and power to my machine on and off. I can’t complain. The machine was my mothers before it was mine. And I know for a fact she inherited it from someone else. So it’s definitely seen it’s fair share of work and has travelled halfway around the world without grumbling, until now. The machine still works, I just have to power it on and off at the wall. And on the plus side it looks like I’ll be getting a new machine for my birthday! Any recommendations?
Gluten Free Pikelet Recipe
150 grams of gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons of gluten-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bi carb of soda
1/2 cup of sour milk or fresh milk plus 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon of melted butter
Sift flour, salt and soda
Place egg, milk, sugar and butter in centre of flour
Beat until smooth and a thick pouring consistency
Place a dessertspoonful into a teflon coated pan – cook until they brown, turn over and cook other side.
One of my favourite foods is in season! I’m currently addicted to watermelon and have found myself enabled by our local grocery as they’ve been selling deliciously sweet, organic, mini melons. I’ve been eating my fair share (possibly more)! I’ve also found I can’t get enough lemonade so when I saw a recipe for something called Watermelonade the other day, I had to try my hand at making up a version. I love it! It’s just the right combination of sweet/ sour and utterly refreshing.
But I’m now out of watermelon… I need to make another trip to the store!
One of my all time favourite wardrobe items is a silk and cashmere cardigan by Alana Hill that I’ve owned for about 7 years (bought when Alana Hill still made luxurious garments and not the disappointing polyester items you find now). I’ve worn it until it’s almost falling apart. My favourite part of it? It’s covered in crochet cherries!
A few years ago I decided another of my cardigans needed cherries and so created a few crochet cherry brooches. I sold a few of them on Etsy and then started to teach myself letterpress, and so the brooches were put to the side.
But today I decided that one of Munchkin’s onesie/ bodysuit needed a little decoration and pulled out one of my brooches. I’ve re-worked the pattern and I’ve decided to share it with you. They’re quick to do and look fabulous as brooches, sewn onto clothing, glued onto cards… the options are endless.
Never crochet before? No problem, go to the end of this post for a list of video tutorials and links you can use to teach yourself the stitches you need to make this project. All that’s required is a 2.5 mm crochet hook and some thread.
Crochet Cherry Pattern
In the colour you have selected for the Cherry (I used DMC 351 Embroidery thread as I needed such a little bit of thread for this project, I love the colour and it’s beautifully soft) and using a 2.5mm crochet hook create a ‘Magic Ring’.
ch 17. hdc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, tr in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, hdc into next ch, sl st into next ch, hdc in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, tr in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, hdc into last ch, ch 2 and turn work to start work on reverse side of chain.
hdc in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, tr in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, hdc into next ch, sl st into next ch, hdc in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, tr in next ch, dc into next 2 ch, hdc into last ch, ch 1, join to 1st chain using the Invisible Fasten Off Method.
In the colour for the Stems and Leaves, join to cherry, ch 5, connect to sl st (the center of the leaves) with a sl st and fasten off. Repeat with 2nd cherry. Use the remaining thread from the stems to stitch a center ‘vein’ through the chain in the middle of the leaves.
Now you’re ready to sew it on to whatever garment you’d like. I used a single thread of the matching DMC Embroidery thread to stitch my cherries to this cute onesie/ bodysuit from The White Company
New to crochet?
Here are a whole heap of tutorials and videos for you to use to create this project: