Monday, 27 October 2014

Kids Clothes Week - Autumn 2014: The Results!

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will already know how much I love Kids Clothes Week - I find it's a great opportunity to force myself to sit down and make stuff for fun, just for the love of it (and love of your kids.) And you can really have some fun too. You can see some of the things I have made over the years in these posts: Autumn 2011, Spring 2013,  Summer 2013,  Summer 2014 

Excuses, excuses but my new little daughter really isn't playing ball when it comes to letting Mama have time to sew but a couple of times this week she did actually go to sleep at bedtime and stay down for the night. Woohoo! It felt so good to be back behind the sewing machine again so I'm hoping that I'll be getting a bit more time now. We'll see I guess!

All my sewing this time was for Ferne (sorry Wiss!). Firstly, I decided to alter this beautiful dress I got from a local nearly-new sale. It's actually a Kenzo dress and it's wonderfully made from needlecord, but I don't really see the point of dresses on small babies: they just ride up all the time as you hold them and you spend all your time yanking them down again. So I altered this dress to become a little romper suit instead. I didn't have enough of the fabric to make a gusset though so it was a very basic alteration. I made the skirt into two legs to which I added elastic, then used bias binding to make a strong facing inside the crutch to take the poppers.

It worked really well, even if I do say so myself but unfortunately, Ferne has grown so much that it is already a bit snug on her (and when she's wearing her washable nappies there is no chance it will fit. Such a shame.)

Next I made her a sleepsack using this fab organic jersey from Birch (collection is called Elk Grove) Mine came from great fabric shop Ray Stitch. The arms and binding are upcycled from old t-shirts. I added a good few centimetres to my pattern as Ferne is very long. I really love this fabric and pattern so I'll definitely be using it to make some more clothes for her soon.

And finally I had time to make her this cute little outfit. I used a pattern for Skinny Harem Pants from Brindille & Twig, and the top is just a short version of the sleep sack. I am planning on using fabric paints to stencil 'Boo!' onto the top as it will be Ferne's Halloween outfit, but I thought it was simple enough to also be worn after the event. Both fabrics are from old t-shirts (I like to pick up shirts from charity shops or primark to use in this way.)

So this week wasn't my most productive ever, but it definitely wasn't a wash-out either. I guess I spent a total of 7 hours over 3 nights sewing. It goes to show just how much you can get done in a short space of time. So, did anyone else join in this season? Or has anyone been inspired to start sewing for their child? The next challenge will be for Winter 2014 so keep an eye on the Kids Clothes Week website for more details.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Kids Clothes Week - Autumn 2014

kid's clothes week <

Kids Clothes Week is an awesome and simple idea. We all spend an hour a day for a week sewing clothes for our kids. There's loads of inspiration, ideas, tutorials & giveaways on the site but basically it's just one hour a day. That's it! Easy, huh?

Wrong! My gorgeous and still very new daughter is not playing ball. She won't let her mama spend any time away from her and she's even decided napping is for other babies so I can't even sneak a bit in while she's sleeping. Grrrrr! Doesn't she know how many cute clothes I've got in mind for her?! So this is how I spent my hour yesterday!

I've readjusted my expectations of this week and have started by altering an existing dress rather than making something from scratch. I'll be posting a round up at the end of the week (hopefully I'll get something finished!)

Are any if you joining in with this seasons Kid Clothes Week? Leave me links below to your blog or tweet me @thisiswiss I'd love to see what you are sewing. If you're able!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

For the Kids - Toucan Box Review

If your kids are anything like my Wiss, they'll love making stuff and they'll love getting a package in the post even more! We were sent a Toucan Box to review and this exciting looking baby arrived on our doorstep...

Toucan Boxes contain everything you need to play, learn, create & explore. They come in various sizes, containing one, two or four projects and are aimed at 3-8 year olds. We received the Grande Toucan box and Wiss couldn't wait to get stuck in!

Inside were two smaller boxes, each containing a craft to make, plus there was a book to read and a colouring chart with stickers (that you can collect over time to claim a special prize.) Our box had a seaside theme which was echoed in the book as well as the makes, perfect for Wiss as he loves the beach and Octonauts, but there are loads of different themes to appeal to everyone - even a chill out yoga one! I particularly like the fact that they are non gender specific - all of them come in the same boxes.

The crafts are really original and come with a detailed and easy to follow instruction booklet. Wiss made two Hermit Crabs (pictured above) from a polystyrene cup complete with googly eyes and mini pegs for claws! And then we made Jellyfish Racers pictured below. Once you've made your jellyfish you can pull the ribbons to make them climb up the window or mirror. It got very competitive in our house!

The storybook is a great way to enjoy some quieter time together but still continue with the theme of your box. We received 'Titch the Tiddler'; a story about a little fish that saved the day.

We really enjoyed everything about our Toucan box - even the fantastic 'interactive' box has been played with regularly, as an airport and a multistory car park! I think a Toucan Box would make an excellent and original gift, and with half term just around the corner they're a great way to keep the kids entertained. If you sign up to their newsletter then you'll be given a code to entitle you to 50% off your first Toucan Box. What's not to love about that?!

Disclaimer: I was sent the Grande Toucan box for free for reviewing purposes but all opinions are mine (or Wiss's!) Normal retail price £12.95

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Graze Box Hack - part 3!

This blog is primarily about making stuff and I apologise that recently there hasn't been much of that going on. Damn cute babies getting in the way!

Anyway, today I have another brilliant Graze Box Hack to share with you. If you are a regular reader you'll know that I've been putting my empty Graze boxes to good use by turning them into portable toys. You can find those posts here and here.

This latest hack was actually made by my lovely friends & work colleagues Laurence and Laura as a surprise gift for Wiss when he became a big brother.

He was so excited as it arrived in the post for him, and look at what they made...

Graze Box Subbuteo!

They have thought of everything from the wobbly flickable players, the team names, the cheering crowd and there's even a way of keeping track of the score with little pegs in holes. Genius!

We've had loads of table top South London derbies already, and like all the other Graze Box Hacks it's totally portable. So you can play wherever you want!

Has anyone else been inspired to turn their empty Graze box into something else? Please feel free to leave me your links or photos below, or tweet me @thisiswiss I'd love to see them!

Monday, 6 October 2014

A New Kind of Normal

I've been pretty quiet on the blogfront recently. I've not really found much time for making stuff!

Yes, I had a baby 6 weeks ago, and yes, I've had a baby before, but honestly, I don't think I was fully prepared this time. I didn't realise quite how much our life would change with another one!

I think it's safe to say now, with hindsight, that I was in a bit of denial during my pregnancy. After all we went through the year before, and the termination of two, very wanted pregnancies, I guess I was worried throughout that something might happen and this baby would be taken from me too. People kept asking me if I thought I was carrying a girl or a boy, if I had an inkling either way. I really didn't know, and I realise now that I didn't dare to even think that far ahead. I was even in denial during the first part of labour! Those regular, increasingly painful 'contractions' weren't real contractions. No, of course not!

The birth was so quick that I think anyone would have been in shock, but that coupled with my minds denial and my huge desire for everything to just be ok, I really was knocked for six when our daughter was put in my arms.

Fast forward a week or so and things were going really well. My husband was on Paternity leave and we were having fun. It felt like we were all on holiday, even with a tiny baby in tow!

Skip forward another week or so and reality had hit. Except it wasn't a reality any of us knew. Wiss started primary school, my husband went back to work starting a new job, and I was also starting my new role: a stay-at-home mum of two, doing the school runs every day, looking after the house and our baby, and trying to run 'This is Wiss' at the same time. What was 'normal' life for all of us has radically changed. And it's taking a little bit of getting used to.

As well as the obvious changes there are many tiny adjustments to be made. I'm no longer able to be with Wiss whenever he wants me, for instance. If I'm feeding or settling Ferne he's had others attending to him instead. I know he's a big boy in many ways but it's still a big change to understand that he's no longer the centre of attention. He told me  that he preferred me "when you were normal, mama. Before you had Ferne in your tummy"! And to be honest, I miss being with him too. I've fallen into the trap of expecting Wiss to suddenly be more grown up a few times. He seems so big compared to Ferne that I have to remember he is still only 4 years old.

I'm also very aware that our whole life is moving at a different speed now. Before, we were able to go at Wiss's speed and enjoy the dilly-dallying, delight in taking our time. Now with school runs and a crying baby, we always seem to be in a hurry. I'm already sick of saying  "come on!"

I was feeling a little despondent last week about all this but a very wise friend on Twitter suggested we just needed to find our 'new kind of normal'. Life is all about adapting to changes big and small. In time, this becomes our 'normal' and we can barely remember how it used to be.

So I'm trying to embrace the way things are: slow down and enjoy the little stuff whenever we can, spend as much time with Wiss when Ferne is sleeping and accept that my time is not my own at the moment. But this too, will pass! Since starting to write this post a week ago, things have already changed: Ferne is sleeping better so not crying so much, I'm feeling more confident and am making a new network of friends to hang out with during the day. Plus, we're getting real smiles now and those make everything better!