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



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



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!


My templates and tutorials are free for personal use only.


Finally finished

Next to nicx quilt


They say that every quilt tells a story.

This one certainly does!

I started it before Munchkin was born. Last Summer, my friend and quilter extraordinaire Lynne, went with me via ferry to Thonon les Bains in France to pick out fabric. It turned out to be one of the hottest days that Summer and neither of us was dealing very well with the heat. I was seven months pregnant and feeling every bit of it!

But I was determined to get a quilt finished for Munchkin to come home in. So I waddled around Thonon and we selected the fabrics. Then over the weeks that turned into months, Lynne taught me how to cut the fabric out, sew it together and quilt it.

I struggled though-out the pregnancy. It turns out I’m not one of those people who glows and feels fabulous and honestly, I didn’t like being pregnant at all. Probably because it felt like I was unwell for most of it.

My sewing machine even attempted to die before I’d completed the project! It threw out springs and twisted bits of metal in a cartoonish fashion, only missing the associated “SPROING!!”.

Thankfully we were able to get it working again. And poignantly, this quilt turned out to be the last project I’d do on this machine. My mother gave it to me about 10 years ago, it was second or third hand when I received it and it had survived being lugged halfway around the world when we moved to Switzerland. But I now own a beautiful new machine, given to me for Christmas by DM and Munchkin.




At some point I gave up on having the quilt done to bring Munchkin home in. Only digging it back out to give quilting it one more try the day before I was due to be induced. I’d been having regular contractions for 11 days by this point. I was exhausted… and scared. In an effort to distract ourselves, DM commenced painting a robot and I finished quilting my quilt.

Amusingly you can see when I had contractions in the quilting. In places it resembles the monitor they plugged me into frequently over the last weeks of my pregnancy! The stitching goes from lovely, straight and ‘in the ditch’, to off tangent quite badly, and then back ‘in the ditch’!

Finally I packed it away, a little disappointed that I’d not managed to complete it (I had the binding and hand sewing to do), and we went to the clinic to meet Munchkin.

Munchkin entered our lives in something of a rush as I eventually needed an emergency cesarean. And she came home almost a week later swaddled in a super soft Aden + Anais muslin square instead of in one of my creations. I didn’t have time to feel disappointed. We spent the next 6 months learning about each-other, falling head over heels in love, doing all we could to help her thrive and enjoying our beautiful little spirited sprite.


Munchkin arriving home


Then, Lynne came around for one final quilting lesson and, at one point with Munchkin looking on, we made and sewed on the binding using my new machine.

I did the hand sewing, a little at a time, over the following few weeks (I’m not great at hand sewing, particularly when tired! ;))

And it’s complete! Almost a year since it was started my darling little girl is sleeping under it.

I love it. It’s perfectly flawed and I feel it tells the start of our story wonderfully.


Next to nicx quilt


I’ve been told it’s traditional to name a quilt and have it embroidered on the back. But I’ve been struggling to come up with anything other than “Contraction Quilt” which isn’t very romantic.

What do you think I should call it?


Next to nicx quilt


Quilting details: I used the pattern created by See Kate Sew as a guide but made a few changes. Lynne made up an alternate pattern piece that allowed for the triangle to have seam allowances added, meaning that it was much easier to get the points closer to lining up. The quilt Lynne made up as a test had the points matching perfectly! And I put my quilt pieces together randomly, only ensuring that the same colour didn’t sit adjacent.


See Kate Sew Quilt

The last 10 days in instagram pictures

Are we there yet?

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!

Munchkin's nursery (temporary)

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.

Munchkins bassinet in our room

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.

Munchkin shoes, cut out

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.

Munchkin shoes in progress

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!

Bassinet munchkin

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.

Present from our crafty friends, dalek, Dr Who, baby blanket

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.

Crochet aviator helmet for nephew

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.


All photos from next to nicx instagram account

I ♥ iron

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!


Quilt in progress



Crochet Cherry Pattern


Crochet Cherry

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

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 3 and tr 17 into the Magic Ring. Pull the Magic ring tight and join to third ch using the Invisible Fasten Off Method.  

Crochet Cherry
Crochet Cherry

  Repeat to create two cherries. In the colour you have selected for the Stems and Leaves (I used DMC 966 Embroidery thread) and using a 2.5 mm crochet hook; 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.  

Crochet Cherry

  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  

Crochet Cherry
New to crochet?

Here are a whole heap of tutorials and videos for you to use to create this project: Magic Ring hdc (half double crochet) dc (double crochet) sl st (slip stitch) tr (treble or triple crochet) Invisible Fasten Off Method

Crochet Cherry

My templates and tutorials are free for personal use only.


Knitting for Munchkin #3


Knitting for Munchkin #3


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.


Knitting for Munchkin #3


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!


Phildar Mittens


Seriously cute

I’ve just backed this project on Kickstarter. It’s so very cute! I backed it for Munchkin. Seriously I did. Not for me. No. Not for me at all… I’m not dying to play with them and set up a series of them looking all gorgeous, cute and quirky in her nursery**.

The project is currently 92% funded and has 8 days to go.


**I’ve just discovered a side benefit of having kids! Being able to legitimately buy all the cool toys you really want.



Knitting for Munchkin #2


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.


La Droguerie Alpaca Baby Cardigan


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.


La Droguerie Alpaca Baby Cardigan


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.


This post is unsponsored.

Fabulous finds for Munchkin #1

I’ve spent a fair amount of time browsing the interwebs of late. Looking for inspiration and ideas for Munchkins wardrobe and nursery (we hope to find out what flavour we’re having at the next big scan in a couple of weeks). I’ve found so many fabulous things! I just have to share a few of them with you!

lion handmade coat eco- friendly little goodall coaters europe
handmade animal coats eco friendly coaters little goodalls

I may have tried to convince DM that Munchkin needs one of these gorgeous wool felt coats now…

I failed. I did see his reasoning, but why shouldn’t a 3 month old (in December) have one? I did get a commitment to order one next year though!

I found these beautiful items on the Petit à Petit and family blog. They’re handmade in the United States and each one takes about 15 hours to put together. They’re available in the states from Little Goodall and from Coaters in Europe.

Precious Knit Blankies for Baby- Sheep blankie

From Precious Knit Blankies for Baby, this gorgeous blankie instantly made it’s way onto my ‘todo’ list. I’m going to need a knitting machine if I’ve any chance of getting through them all! Available from Amazon here.


A thousand words. Daniels Duvet cover DIY

Check out this amazing tutorial! I’d thought of using Spoonflower to create bedding. But this is genius! Jen from A Thousand Words traced her sons artwork onto his bedding. She’s created a tutorial here if you’d like to do it too. This is something I hope to use in future. I’ll just have to be patient and wait until Munchkin is old enough to be artistic.

Sarah Trumbauer Papercut artist Birth Announcement

Sarah Trumbauer is a paper cut artist who makes these wonderful creations. I think they’d make splendid baby announcements. You can buy prints of her work on Etsy or she does work on commission. I may have added a custom commission to my future wish list (once I work out just what I’m doing to Munchkins nursery).
There are a ton more wonderful items I’ve stumbled across. I’ll list more of them next week. But now I’ve got to get back to work to finish the tutorial I’ve been trying to put up on the blog for the last few days.


Knitting for Munchkin #1

I’ve found myself at a crossroads with the nursery. I just can’t go forward any further with my ideas until I know what we’re having. But hopefully that should be rectified in the next couple of weeks at our next scan. In the meantime I’m doing what I can. We’ve found someone to take the guest bed (as the guest bedroom is going to become the nursery), I’m looking for a wall of wardrobes and am mentally Spring cleaning the room. It’s accumulated a ton of clutter over the years!

I’ve a few other projects in progress. One of which is a baby blanket I’m knitting for the chilly Winter Munchkin will experience not long after it enters the world.


La Droguerie Baby Blanket
La Droguerie Baby Blanket


Made out of the softest 100% alpaca yarn and with a gorgeous Liberty Print binding to go around the edge, I purchased the kit from La Drougerie last year when I was in Paris. I’ve been knitting it at the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch I go to on Wednesday evenings as it doesn’t require counting. I find I end up undoing most of the complicated work I do on Wednesdays as I’m too busy chatting and listening to focus properly. It comes in a gorgeous tin and it fits in my handbag. So it’s perfect!

I may change the binding if it turns out I’m having a little girl, for something that brings out more of the purples and pinks in the blanket. But otherwise it’s coming together perfectly and I love it!

You can order the kits from La Drougerie 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.