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.

Kawaii Halloween Ghosty Giftboxes

 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Ghosty

 
As I’ve mentioned in posts before, we don’t really celebrate Halloween beyond making sure I have a packet of something to give to the one or two children who might turn up with their parents.

But I know that a large number of you lovely readers, and quite a few of my friends here in Switzerland, do celebrate it! So I decided to revisit my Kawaii Halloween Cupcake Toppers and to play with the design a little! I’ve come up with two designs (the other I’ll share with you next week) to make some easy gift boxes.

This gift box template could be used for Halloween, for a Ghoulish Birthday Party, or just as a gift box for your favourite Goth or Kawaii fan.
 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Ghosty

 
Each box comes to 130mm x 115mm and is 40mm deep. The inside compartment is (at it’s widest) 115mm x 80mm. They’re fairly large, but you can easily scale them down if you want something smaller. Just make sure to scale all the templates the same percentage.

To make this little Kawaii Ghosty, you just need to print out the three templates in the PDF file attached onto A4 card stock. Use the thickest you can get through your printer. I used 200gsm.
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Gluten-free Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Gluten-free Vanilla Sugar Cookies

 

One of the most talked about parts of Munchkin’s birthday party were the cookies we gave away as gifts. My wonderfully talented friend Nikki from Toute Sweet took some time out with her friend Summer from The Sweet Life, who is also a very talented cookie decorator, to make these stunning cookies.

I adapted Nikki’s sugar cookie recipe (gifted to me at Christmas with a bottle of her delicious homemade vanilla essence) and baked a batch of cookies. She then took my gift box template design (more info on those in the next few weeks) and garnered inspiration from this amazing cookie design to come up with these!  They fit the theme, invitations and gift boxes perfectly.

 

Munchkin's first birthday

 

Unfortunately I couldn’t get them wrapped and into the boxes without damaging some of the wings as they sit up from the cookie; and so decided to wrap them loosely in cellophane bags and to gift them separately. But this worked splendidly as it gave everyone ample opportunity to have a good look at them. They’re just beautiful!

Here’s the adapted recipe, for those of you who like me, love sugar cookies but can’t eat them due to health reasons. The cookies are slightly more crumbly than a normal glutenous sugar cookie, but when they were fresh out of the oven had a lovely snap! Just keep them in an air tight container and they should maintain their crispness.

 

Gluten-free Vanilla Sugar Cookies

 

Gluten-free Vanilla Sugar Cookies

 

Ingredients
  • 500 grams of unsalted butter
  • 40 grams of caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 15ml of vanilla essence
  • 700 grams of Schaer patisserie mix C or your preferred gluten-free flour mix
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

 

Method
  • Cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Add eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition.
  • Sift all of the dry ingredients together.
  • Add the flour mixture slowly, until well combined. But try to avoid over-mixing.
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour.
  • Roll cooled dough between pieces of baking paper. I used 3mm rolling guides to ensure an even thickness.
  • Place in the freezer for half an hour, ensuring it’s flat.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • Taking the rolled from the freezer, quickly cut out into the shapes you want, lying out on new pieces of baking paper. And place cookies back into the freezer for ten minutes.
  • Take cookies directly from the freezer and place in the oven. The baking of frozen cookies ensures that they keep their shape and don’t spread. The batch I didn’t freeze spread more than I was happy with.
  • Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.
  • Take the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray, don’t try to remove them from the baking paper until cooled or they’ll crumble. The cookies become much firmer as they cool.
  • Decorate to your hearts desire!

 

 

Gift box photo by Hayley Hay

In Print…

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

In a couple of my past blog posts I’ve hinted at this project but I haven’t been able share it with you. Not until today!

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

A friend bought a copy of the latest issue of Mollie Makes back from the UK, and guess who has a project in it?

Not just in it, but including all the bits and bobs you need to make it yourself?

Me! *happy dance*

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

I’ve loved Mollie Makes ever since a friend introduced me to the iPad version of it a few years ago. I never dreamed I would be commissioned to create a project for them!

P1090717

I worked alongside the lovely Charlie to create a kit that allows each reader to make up their own Crochet Cherry Brooch.

It contains everything you need. Yarn, crochet hook and brooch back are included in the kit. The instructions are inside the magazine.

Mollie Makes Crochet Cherry

Copious thanks to Hayley Hay who took some fabulous photos of Munchkin and I. One of which was used in the magazine.

Nicola Pravato - Hayley Hay Photography - Mollie Makes Magazine

So if you’re in the UK, go and want a cherry to add something special to your favourite outfit, head to your nearest newsagent.

If you’re not in the UK, you can download a digital version of Mollie Makes or find my original tutorial online.

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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.

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