Munchkin’s year on Instagram – in a box

Polabox

 

I very rarely do product posts. But I just received our first Polabox in the mail and I love it!

There’s something just so satisfying about holding physical copies of my Instagram photographs. We ordered a test box of thirty, containing photos of Munchkin’s first year to send to her Great-Grandmother in Australia. We’re so happy with the result, we’re in the process of ordering a whole heap more for her Nana, other Great-Grandmother, Aunt who struggles with things technical, Nono and a copy for us.

You can either download the app to your phone or select your photos etc online. You’re not limited to Instagram, any photo you can access on your device can be used.

Thirty photo’s in a cute and very sturdy box are 16.95 euro. They’re created in Paris and shipped toute de suite. Ours took just 5 days to arrive (over a weekend).

The box they arrive in is sturdy and wrapped in a bubble wrap package. But you could easily tape the box shut, add a shipping label and a stamp and send it on. The contents would be perfectly safe. And as the box is just 2cm high, this is a great option for those of us who live in Switzerland and are trying to cut down on shipping charges, 2cm is classified as a letter, not a parcel.

For those of you who want to try the service – here’s a promocode that will give you 5 euros off - NICPRN 

I’m now looking at printing photobooks. I really love the look of My Little Photobook, have you tried them? If so what do you think of the results?

In the interest of full disclosure, when you use this code, I also receive a credit on my next order. Otherwise this post is unsponsored.

Almost a year of parenthood celebrated

Munchkin's first birthday

 
Note; this blog mainly consists of ramblings about the past year with Munchkin and motherhood. The photos are a sneak peek of our recent celebration of Munchkin’s first birthday. I’ll have more photos, templates, recipes and tutorials to share in the coming weeks.

I can’t believe that at this time just last year I was desperately trying to sleep and failing. I was due to be induced the following morning. After 12 very long days of regular contractions that just weren’t strong enough, the doctor decided enough was enough. Munchkin was coming out, one way or the other.

Late that night, DM and I had a discussion about what we hoped our bundle, of what then felt like all elbows and knees doing the hokey pokey in a very confined space, would be like.

A year in, and I can say she’s everything we hoped for and a little bit more. She’s generous, loving, independent, strong, social, gentle but no pushover, scarily intelligent and just because she’s ours, perfect.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
It hasn’t been an easy year. My fitness, sanity and health has taken something of a beating due to iron deficiency, sleep deprivation and adjusting my life expectations to my new reality.

Breastfeeding and getting our little one to thrive took about four stressful weeks to work out. There were what seemed like endless days as my butt became one with the couch as Munchkin fed every hour threatening my dwindling sanity.

Our marriage feels stronger, as it feels it has now been forged by fire. The fire of months of colic and walking paths around the dining table, our hearts breaking as we tried anything and everything to soothe our tiny, sweet bundle.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
But it’s also been the most amazing year of my life.

I never dreamed I could want to do nothing but stare at my baby for days on end… and I did. I’ve experienced the seemingly indescribable joy of seeing my little one accomplish something and look at me with pride as she’s just learned to roll over, clap her hands, say “Mum”, stand up, bottom shuffle or get a spoon into her mouth and not her nose, ear or forehead.

I’ve loved living in this little nest we’ve made. My priorities and goals have shifted in ways I never dreamed would be possible. I thought Motherhood and I would be a tough fit and avoided it for as long as possible. It turns out I’m not as terrible at it as I feared. I love it.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
And through all of this DM has worked tirelessly, both at his job and then when he got home. He’s perfected cooking and has made dinner more times than I. He can cook some of “my recipes” better than I can now! He’s been home most of the time to give Munchkin her bath (and me a few quiet moments alone). He’s rocked, soothed, fed, bathed, read, played, chatted and revelled in fatherhood. He’s done an excellent job. Frequently, in the early days, he’d arrive home, take the screaming Munchkin, soothe some of my frazzled feathers, make me a cup of tea and take over. Definitely not the easiest year!

And, in amongst all of this, he’s almost completed a thesis.

I have no idea how he has done it. My admiration, pride in and love for DM is limitless.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
All of this needed to be celebrated. So we invited our nearest and dearest in Lausanne and threw a party to celebrate the amazing miracle that is Munchkin’s first year.

I got to making, designing, baking, crocheting, adding faux gold foil to invites, making packaging, trying my hand at floristry and stocking up on champagne.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
I’ll share patterns, templates, recipes and the rest with you in the upcoming weeks.
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 
I’m so happy with the result! It seems worthy of what feels to us, and I’m sure to all parents, the gorgeous accomplishment of a lifetime. And we’ve only just begun!
 

Munchkin's first birthday

 

All the amazing photography in this post is by the fantastically talented Hayley Hay

Munchkin’s first, first birthday party

Munchkin's first first birthday

Munchkin’s birthday isn’t for nine days, but her grandparents are here in Switzerland at the moment. So we decided to have a little party before the big one with friends next weekend. It just so happened to coincide with Australian Father’s Day, so we’ve had double the reason to celebrate!

Munchkin's first first birthday

I made a little gluten-free, organic, vanilla butter cake made with rapadura sugar and swiss meringue buttercream. Then I topped it with a Miffy plaque and candle I’d made out of modelling chocolate. Munchkin adores books and Miffy is currently one of her favourites.

Munchkin's first first birthday

For decoration I bought a couple of helium filled balloons and a cute little number one that were all anchored with some streamers.

So Munchkin, after her nap, was greeted with this… (along with four very excited family members)

Munchkin's first first birthday

She loved it!

Munchkin's first first birthday

After the prerequisite off-key singing, Munchkin was presented with her first ever piece of cake.

Munchkin's first first birthday

Devoured with almost no mess, I’m assuming this means it was liked!

Munchkin's first first birthday

Our little party was perfect and we’ve had a gorgeous day!
I’ve now got to get back to work for next weeks party!

 

Crochet rattle ball

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

One of Munchkin’s favourite toys, ever since we bought it for her when she was just 6 weeks old, is a soft ball made of cotton that has a bell in it. It was fabulous as all the seams are on the outside and she could grab, throw and play with it very easily. And as she’s grown, she’s continued to enjoy it. Almost every day it gets launched across the room or skittles over the floor, tinkling as it goes.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

I’ve a couple of friends who are pregnant and so I went to buy some to give as gifts. Only to discover that they no longer make them. So I took this as a sign that I should change the pattern, make it a whole heap more colourful and get crocheting! The only down side is that Munchkin has discovered them and now thinks that they’re hers. It looks like I’ll be making some more!

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

I started this pattern in much the same way as I did the crochet baby noise makers. By filling a Kinder Surprise cylinder with popping corn kernels and taping it firmly closed. But you can use film canisters, small take away sauce tubs, anything that you can tape closed and that makes a good rattling noise. Or you could even recycle the rattle or bell out of an old baby toy.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Then you get crocheting! I used a 3.5mm hook and 100% cotton. Just check the hook size nominated on your yarn and adjust the hook size appropriately. You don’t want large holes in your work so that little fingers can’t pry out the stuffing.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Crochet Rattle Ball Pattern

 

Stitches you need to know:

Magic Ring

Chain = ch

Double Crochet = dc

Single Crochet = sc

Increase (2 single crochet in the same stitch) = inc

 

Materials

Cotton yarn in at least two colours

3.5mm crochet hook

Cotton wadding (using this instead of normal stuffing makes it much harder for little fingers to get at it, but either will work fine).

Plastic container insert from a Kinder Surprise or alternate small plastic container that you can seal.

Seeds, Grains etc

 

Pattern

In yarn colour 1

Row 1: Create a Magic Ring and sc 10. Pull magic ring closed. Sl st in first dc, to join. (10)

Row 2: ch 2. dc inc 10. Sl st in second ch, to join. (20)

Row 3: ch 2. *dc 1, dc inc 1.* Repeat *to* 10 times. Sl st in second ch, to join. (30)

Change yarn to second highlight colour

Row 4: ch 2. *sc 2, dc inc 1.* Repeat *to* 10 times. Sl st in second ch, to join. Fasten off and sew in the ends. (40)

Repeat 12 times to make 12 circles.

Stitching below the last row of crochet using the holes in the crochet with a large needle. Stitch two circles together, using the increased stitches as a guide. Stitch between 2 sets of increased stitches as shown below.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Repeat with 4 following circles until your work looks like the image below. You need to stitch the sides together too, using the increased stitches as a guide again. Finish off and sew in your ends.

Repeat the above steps with your six remaining circles until you have two ball halves.

 

Crochet Rattle Ball

 

Taking the two ball halves, align the middle increased stitch on the open end of a circle with a seam on the opposing ball half. Sew together, leaving enough open to insert the filling.

Then, wrapping the shaker egg in wadding until it’s the size you want and push it in. This item is nice for younger children with less wadding making it softer and less likely to roll away. It also makes it much easier to grasp. For older children, you can make it firmer and the ball will roll if pushed.

Finally sew the remaining open portion together with the wadding and shaker inside. Finish of and sew in your ends.

I hope your little ones enjoy it as much as Munchkin!

Nicx

My templates and tutorials are free for personal use only.

T&Cs-2

Ramblings: Ten and a half months in; a report card.

Munchkin and I

 

I thought I’d be shopping for publishers right about now. I didn’t tell anyone apart from my close friends and some family, but my grand plan for the first year after Munchkin was born was to put together a craft book.

I thought that every day I’d wander into the studio during Munchkin’s nap time and that by the end of a year I’d have a book.

We’re ten and a half months in, and I’m not even close.

What I do have is a pile of paper cut thank you cards for beautiful presents given to Munchkin. They’re so late that I’m not even sure I should bother sending them. She’s grown out of pretty much all she was given.

My gym/ pool/ spa membership has lapsed because I didn’t have the energy to go after my husband got home from work. There’s no point paying for something I wasn’t using.

My brain was mush. I had lists for lists for lists and I’d still forget things. Repeated trips to the grocery on the same day became regular.

The house was tidy (most of the time), Munchkin was clean, fed and clothed (most of the time), my husband and I were eating well (except for dodgy takeout Friday night). But in all other things, it felt like too much effort to tie my shoelaces.

I was more exhausted post baby than when I was carrying her.

“Baby brain”, They said.

“Motherhood”, They said.

I didn’t get depressed, but I got seriously concerned.

I decided to quit the blog. Then I got a commission for a magazine. It took every ounce of energy I could muster but completed it.

Where was the driven woman I used to be? Was this motherhood? Did I just have to adjust my expectations further? How was I going to stay sane?

It became clear that if we didn’t do something I would start to resent motherhood. The festering seeds of resentment had already started to sprout in other areas. Seeing DM leave for work each morning had me wishing I was getting dressed, eating breakfast and heading to work to do something productive.

We hired a baby sitter for two afternoons a week. Each time she and Munchkin walked out the front door, I made a beeline straight into the studio. After the 2 minute pity party when Munchkin stopped getting upset she was leaving me and instead waved goodbye with a big smile, I got to work. It felt great.

But then I got so exhausted that when they left, I went to bed.

I decided to put the blog on hold for a year. But then some of you gorgeous people wrote me encouraging emails, and I decided to stick with it a bit longer.

But still I had no energy.

I got frustrated. My fuse was short.

“Depression”, They hinted.

Maybe I wasn’t mum material? Was I aiming too high? Was it possible that our hopes of my continuing a part-time creative career whilst being a mum were just not possible?

“Rubbish**”, my brain said. There had to be something more wrong. If it was depression, I’d get treatment for it.

I finally took myself off to the doctor.

All it took was some iron infused and some vitamin B supplements.

The lights turned on.

Foggy brain started clearing within hours. Energy increased in the following days. Happiness levels rocketed. Creativity returned.

I hit the studio.

Then a slight bump in the road, the babysitter found full-time work and quit. But Munchkin was accepted into the daycare centre for two half days per week and she starts mid August.

I’m looking for a new gym membership. I’m back in the studio. I’m no closer to having a book, but I have some other collaborations and fun works in progress.

 

I’m giving myself an A for effort and a C for execution.

I should have listened to myself a lot sooner.

‘They’ were wrong.

And Munchkin?

She’s perfect. A+

 

**Or some other non PG rated word