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.
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 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:
I received an email from Ikea yesterday and immediately made arrangements to go and check out my local store. Why? It’s not like they were handing out free Sczchfgdudnkfdskj’s, and I’m not a huge fan of their disposable furniture. Like with my chocolate, I’m more a ‘one good quality piece rather than a 400 gram block of average stuff’ girl. But I do like their gluten-free cake! And cheap glassware, lighting and teacups for parties.
They do a roaring trade with the expats here. Where else can you go, do a confusingly long, windy lap through a warehouse and walk out the front door with a complete house-full of furniture and appliances?! We do have some pieces bought over the years that I’ve yet to find suitable replacements for, but that’s mainly because second hand and vintage are so insanely expensive here; and as up until recently we’ve not had a car for me to take ‘brocante excursions’ in.
So why was I heading to Ikea with haste?
I went to check out their new Paperstore. I love paper-stores! Switzerland isn’t the best place to buy wrapping paper or stationery. When we arrived here almost 4 years ago it was near on impossible to buy wrapping paper or cards that weren’t bedazzled in some form (usually with glitter AND metallic foiling) and that often cost more than the item you wanted to wrap! Thankfully the situation has changed of late, and whilst still expensive, the range and quality have improved. For example Globus have come so far as to stock limited ranges of letterpress stationery.
So the prospect of cheap wrapping paper and stationery lured me in and I went for an ogle. It’s not earth-shattering. The designs are relatively modern but nothing that you’ve not seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they take it in and how up to date they keep the ranges. I like the black and white, and brown paper and white ranges but wasn’t overly enamoured with the green, blue or pink options. But it is cheap (eg. 10 gift tags for 1.95 chf) and going by the number of people filling yellow bags with notebooks and gift tags, is quite popular. So if you find yourself having to wrap presents galore, need party favours or have decided that the Sczchfgdudnkfdskj you’ve just bought needs to be wrapped before you take it home, it’s the perfect place to go.
I’ve almost finished Munchkins heart cardigan! I’ve just to decide if I want to add a zipper or buttons to the front closure. I’m really quite happy with the results, what do you think? I’m tempted to go with a zip, if only because I found this gorgeous little teddy bear zipper tag made by Union Knopf that I’m itching to use.
I used a Phildar pattern from their catalogue No. 74 and adjusted the pattern a little as I didn’t like the peak being quite so high or the little floating hearts around the head once I’d knitted it. The hood was unravelled a couple of times more than I’d have liked. But that’s the benefit of working with tiny clothes; they go together so quickly!
The pattern book is all in French but all the patterns are written out in full and colour coordinated for sizes. So with a little knitting knowledge, a little French knowledge or/ and access to google translate, the patterns are not hard to follow at all.
I also didn’t use the Phildar yarn as my yarn store didn’t stock it, instead I used a 100% merino wool that’s machine washable and so very soft, made by Lana Grossa (it’s their Bingo range).
Frustratingly, it seems that all of my favourite yarn stores in Lausanne have closed for a few weeks for Summer Vacation and I’m itching to start a new project. But due to the heat I’ve been unable to continue knitting large items. I’m very tempted to order the latest Phildar Catalog and some yarn online. There are just so many cute items! Just look at these gorgeous little mittens!
We’re currently holidaying in South-West France. Enjoying some sunshine, sea air and the relaxed surfing culture that Hossegor provides. I’ve just commenced the third trimester and Munchkin is growing quickly! For this reason we are in the mood for a low key holiday. Lots of relaxing by the pool and beach, drives up and down the coast and attempting to eat our bodyweight in fresh seafood are on the agenda.
But before I left I put together a couple of posts that I’ll be sharing with you whilst we’re away. One of them is this cute envelope template! I love the coral and mint colours this season and have a bit of an addiction to paper doilies. So combining them all was something of a given. I love the results. They could be fabulous for letters, invitations, birth announcements, birthday cards or thank you notes… anything that requires a pretty envelope!
They’re really easy to put together. Just print out on A3 paper and print the inside pattern of your choice on the reverse side. Cut out and follow the instructions on the template to score and glue.
I’ve been having some fun of late creating packaging and gift boxes. This diamond shaped one is one of my favourites (second only to my tea cups). They’d make really cute packaging for party favours, for small gifts or just as decoration.
They’re really easy to put together once you know how and can be printed on a standard A4 piece of card stock. I’ve left the template blank so that you can customise and decorate it to your hearts content! Following is the tutorial. click on the images for a larger view. Read more
I’m really honoured to be included in the latest issue of Inside Out Magazine. Inside Out Magazine was one of my regular reads when I lived in Australia. So to find myself featured in their ’6 blogs to bookmark’ section held even more excitement!
I’ve since found out it is now possible to subscribe online to the magazine via Zinio. Why not check them out for a monthly dose of design and interiors goodness?
We’re really excited. I had a 21 week scan last week and we now know that Munchkin is a little girl! As far as they could tell she’s healthy. They counted her fingers and toes (as well as a whole heap of other things) and she has the appropriate number so all is going splendiferously well.
This has however thrown me into a bit of a spin. I now need to get my act in gear to get the nursery finished before I grow to whale-esk proportions. We’ve gone through the spare room (soon to be nursery) and have de-cluttered and culled. We sold the spare bed and we’ve ordered new wardrobes and bathroom cabinets; all to be delivered in a week. We’ve been living in this apartment for over three years but we’re finally ‘moving in’.
We have commenced serious research into all things baby and took our first trip to the baby store. We were the shell shocked and very lost ones wandering aimlessly. We did succeed in buying Munchkin’s first outfit. We’ve spent countless hours researching baby gizmo’s, gadgets and furniture since. Goodness all of it is elaborate and confusing!
I’m still trying to find the exact shades I want for the nursery. But the design is firming up and we’re planning expeditions into France to find furniture etc.
We do have some things though, one of which is this little cardigan I made from this kit available from La Droguerie. It’s made of gorgeous 100% alpaca yarn and is just so gloriously soft!
The kit came with everything I needed to put it together, including knitting needles! And as we bought it before we knew what flavour Munchkin was, it is a perfectly practical colour. I’m now looking for some cute little additions to add to make it a little more feminine.
If you’re new to knitting, it’s a perfect item to start with as it’s very easy.
It’s sized for a three to six month old, which is perfect as Munchkin will be 3 months in December and after visiting family in Australia for Christmas, will experiencing a very chilly Swiss winter!
You can order the kits from La Droguerie via telephone but you’ll need your best French. Otherwise you can head to one of the many stores they have dotted around France and Japan.