First Granny Square Blanket Finished!

It’s true! My first granny square blanket is finished at last! Just over 2 months ago I shared the start of my first  granny square project . Since then it’s been growing at a fair pace considering all the interruptions I’ve had. When I ran out of wool I shared a quick update on how it was turning out and asked for suggestions for a border.

My First Granny Square blanket is finished

As suggested I went for a shell border & Izzy chose a gorgeous Robin Paintbox wool in Rumba for it. I like it but think perhaps a slightly bigger shell would have looked a little better. Izzy of course disagrees & I wasn’t allowed to change it! In all fairness I’m not good at deciding these things haha.

Shell border

144 squares hasn’t taken anywhere near as long as I expected. Whilst I had hoped to finish my first granny square blanket at least a week ago I am surprised how quickly it grew. I ran out of the blue and purple wool half way through. This meant I was stuck for a week or so. As soon as I picked up more I got back on it and somehow managed to work pretty fast though. Considering we’ve had a busy few weeks I am surprised!

My First Granny Square Blanket Is Finished!!

My first granny square blanket is finished

Whilst I can see where I need to make changes for future blankets I am quite pleased with my first attempt. I can see this being the first of many granny square blankets as I’ve really enjoyed working on this. It hasn’t taken as long as expected and Izzy loves how it’s turned out too. She’s spent the entire day snuggled up with her new blanket which is lovely to see!

I am definitely becoming more confident now and mistakes don’t stress me out as much as I know easy fixes now. Crochet has really helped me deal with pain and stress a lot better too. Having something to focus on is really calming and the finished product always gives me a sense of achievement. The only problem is..

Now I’m on the hunt for my next project.. any suggestions? 😂

 

Little Tiger Press Books 30th Birthday

The girls and I were invited to celebrate Little Tiger Press Books 30th birthday on Saturday, at Discover in Stratford – London. Eva was especially excited at the idea of getting to meet authors and illustrators as she has become a total bookworm. So excited she woke us at 6am that day!

Tracet Corderoy reading Fairytale Pets

When we arrived Author Tracey Corderoy read her book Fairytale Pets, an absolutely fantastic story full of fun characters. As Tracey read illustrator Jorge Martin drew the characters which was amazing to watch! Eva sat mesmerized listening to the story whilst Izzy was… well Izzy haha! She spent half the time listening and half trying to ‘pop’ balloons.

After Tracey read the story to us Beth from Little Tiger Press ran through what we would be doing. There were 4 tables where we would spend 15 minutes at each. Authors and illustrators had crafts laid out based on their book. They all looked fantastic but biscuits definitely lured all the children in!

Jonny Lambert Author Of An only lonely panda

I managed to coax the girls away from the biscuits and we sat with Jonny Lambert, Author & illustrator of An Only Lonely Panda. Jonny had Tiger masks to cut out and wear. He was brilliant with the girls, chatting away with us all and helping Eva whilst I helped Izzy.

The girls loved acting like tigers with their masks, getting out their claws and growling!

Tiny Tantrums - Caroline Crowe

At the next table we met Caroline Crowe, author of Tiny Tantrums.  Tiny Tantrum monsters had been cut out ready for decorating. Again the girls happily chatted away whilst making their monsters, adding googly eyes & colouring them.

As always Eva made her’s extra colourful whilst Izzy enjoyed giving her monster 4 eyes. They both brought home their monsters to finish off too.

Making Biscuits with Tracey Corderoy

We then moved on to the table the girls had their eye on at the start, Tracey Corderoy had delicious biscuits for them to decorate with icing and a range of sprinkles. The girls loved chatting to Tracey and covering their biscuits. They also made a paper bag grumpy bear from the story!

Izzy icing her biscuit

Izzy concentrated so much making her biscuit, no surprise there. She loves her food haha!

Making her own 'Actually that is MY blanket, baby!'

When the final bell rang Eva ran over to the final table. ‘That is Actually MY blanket, Baby!’ author Angie Morgan and illustrator Kate Alizadeh helped the children decorate their own blanket.

Izzy drawing with Jorge Martin

 

Whilst Eva was busy glittering, Jorge Martin sat with Izzy drawing a tiger. Izzy of course took over! Between them they made this cute tiger with a basket of fruit for him to eat.

Little Tiger by Izzy & Jorge Martin

 

Eva loved making her blanket and getting glitter everywhere. Izzy did get round to making her own blanket too but I accidentally left it behind. Oops.. bad mummy!

Izzy and Kate Alizadeh decorating a blanket

 

 

At the end Caroline Crowe read Tiny Tantrums and the girls had lots of fun joining in and stamping their feet. Izzy tried getting a little too involved . She loved the story and had to be pulled back. She was over the moon to discover she had a copy to take home at the end.

Caroline Crowe reading Tiny Tantrums

To finish celebrating Little Tiger Press Books 30th Birthday there was a buffet. Of course this made Izzy extremely happy! A Little Tiger tote was handed out too. Inside were the 4 books from each table. The girls were able to get them signed by the authors and illustrators too which of course made Eva ecstatic. A beautiful selection of books to add to their ever growing book case!

It was lovely being invited to Little Tiger Press Books 30th Birthday party. It was a brilliant afternoon & I got to meet another blogger too, Bell From Bow who surprised me by recognising me. Pretty cool but so unexpected I probably went bright red!

Discover

After the party we were able to explore Discover and it’s fantastic play areas. You may have seen from My Sunday Photo’s. The girls were amazed by it and I can’t deny I was too! The magical tree with it’s musical notes & hidey holes for the kids to play in, Hootahs flying observatory & the outside play area have to be our favourite parts. We spent well over an hour there before having to head back for the train. We will be going back there in the summer to play as it is so cool!

Did you know it was Little Tiger Press Books 30th Birthday? Do you have any of the books mentioned here?

 

Making Dreamcatchers

We’ve been making Dreamcatchers this week after Eva made one last week at forest school. Her’s broke as she decided to bring it home unfinished so we decided to make our own. We’ve been trying to find fun crafty activities for days at home including learning Origami which was great fun and making dreamcatchers sounded like a fun idea.

Dreamcatchers are simple to make & can be made using a range of materials. We had wire from previous crafts which we used for our hoop. We also used wool from my stash & some beads.

Making Dreamcatchers

1. We taped our hoop together using duct tape to make sure it was secure. 

2. Next we wound the wool around the hoop until it was covered, leaving a metre or 2 of wool for the next step.

3. Once the hoop was covered we began threading beads onto the wool. For each bead we added we crossed the wool across the hoop to create a pattern. 

4. After the hoop was complete we tied a piece of wool to the dreamcatcher to hang it on.

Whilst wrapping the hoop can take a bit of time & patience there are ways around that. Using a painted cross-stitch hoop would work just as well.

The pattern can be as simple as Eva’s or as hectic as the one Izzy & I made together. Feathers or ribbons can be attached to the bottom of the Dreamcatchers to pretty them up too.

Whilst winding the wool around the hoop takes a little bit of time this is a fantastic activity for kids around 5+.

Younger kids

Izzy obviously had a fair bit of help with her dreamcatcher but threaded the beads herself. To keep her occupied whilst I wound wool around her hoop she practised threading beads onto wool making a cute little keyring for herself. I thought I’d mention this as it can be a struggle with kids of different ages & abilities to find something the little ones can do to feel involved.

Simple, cute & Izzy felt super proud of herself!

Both girls love their dreamcatchers & have them hanging over their beds.

Have you made a dreamcatcher before? Do you have any tips or different materials that could be used?

10 Ways To Keep Kids Busy Indoors Without A Screen

I’ve put together a list of 10 ways to keep kids busy indoors without a screen. We don’t have a garden which limits what the girls can do if we stay at home. I try to keep screen time down, whilst they do have tablets I try to encourage the girls to play as much as possible. The girls are often looking for suggestions or asking for our help to set up some of their favourites from below, check out our list if you’ve run out of ideas.

10 Ways To Keep Kids Busy Indoors Without A Screen

1. Indoor tents

These can be made with sheets & blankets using pegs or bulldog clips to keep them together. Use the backs of dining chairs to create little dens and let the kids run with their imaginations. The girls have had castles, caves, houses & shops depending on what they decide to play each time. Use pillows & blankets inside to create ‘furniture’ & ‘walls’.

 

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2. Origami

We’ve been learning origami and not only does it keep us busy making they can make fabulous gifts such as bookmarks. Bookmarks are our favourite as they are so simple to make and can be decorated in so many ways.

10 ways to keep kids busy indoors without a screen - Origami

3. Washing up

Kids love playing with water! Whether it’s a plastic tea set or like Izzy some stones the kids have collected they will love washing them up. Set them up on the kitchen/bathroom (anywhere that can be mopped!) floor with a small wash bowl on a towel. Guaranteed they will be busy for hours!

stone washing

4. Colouring/drawing

We always have a ton of paper/card & colouring books around for the girls for colouring & drawing. They love colouring with sparkly gel pens, they keep them busy & quiet!

 

5. Tea parties/Indoor Picnic

My girls love setting up on the floor with a blanket & their tea sets for a tea party! Izzy especially loves using her Lucy Locket Wooden Tea-set. Both girls love to dress up and have princess tea parties, pirate picnics & more. As a treat sometimes we let the girls have a real picnic whilst they play too.

Glittery cake

6. Simple Crafts

Whether you have craft supplies or not there’s always something to be made! Toilet roll tubes are always handy they can be used as telescopes which can be coloured & decorated, Maybe a fancy toilet roll tube pencil pot? Perhaps simple picture to pop on the wall?Pound shops are fantastic for stocking up on foam shapes, card, glue etc!

 

Always a craft day here 👌😍 💜

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7. Baking

Cakes, cookies & biscuites are all quick & easy to make. Kiids of all ages can join in pouring & mixing. They are fun to decorate and of course delicious too! If you’re feeling a little adventurous why not try out or Italian Chocolate Chip Bread Recipe?

Italian chocolate chip bread

8. Building 

Whether it’s Lego, Mega bloks, Duplo, wooden blocks or even lolly pop sticks! Building is so much fun and allows kids to get creative! Build castles, houses, cars, planes, people, towers it all keeps them busy & helps with fine motor skills.

 

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9. Reading

There are always plenty of reading materials around, finding a series of books or magazines or comic can be a fantastic way to encourage children to read. Even young children will enjoy sitting with their favourite books. Izzy loves to ‘read’ books she knows well to me using the pictures.

10.Write/Draw Your Own Story 

Writing can be fun! Secret diaries are fantastic for encouraging older children to write. A fun activity for all ages is to create your own story, it could be a picture story, a comic strip, or simply writing. Covers can be made & decorated for their stories & split pins or staples mean they can keep their book together!

 

Crochet Catch Up – Granny Square Project

I figured it was time for a bit of a crochet catch up following my Granny Square Blanket post. Almost 2 months since I started but we all know I’m slow with projects! Most of the time it’s down to my indecisiveness, I hate making decisions and never know what colours or patterns to use. Luckily this time I used a fantastic pattern generator Mrs A from Hooks & Dragons (My crochet guru!) passed on to me. Using that plus some input from Izzy the granny square blanket I ended up with the pattern below.

Crochet catch up - granny square project

After finding myself motivated enough to keep on top of blogging, I shared a post of 10 blogging tips to stay motivated  of course that meant I then lost my motivation. Or rather I quickly found myself falling behind again as I became more motivated to crochet instead.
Granny square project in progress

 

I was ferociously crocheting granny squares for quite a while and the blanket began to grow quite quickly. I picked up a second hook in the same size to pop in my handbag with a small ball of wool for journeys. It really helps my anxiety & passes time quite quickly, the drive to the Rochester Dickens Festival went so fast whilst I crocheted another square.

Using the 4 colours has worked better than I expected though and even though I hate pink, I do love the way this blanket is working up! I have really enjoyed working on this blanket, Until I ran out of purple & blue wool! Now I’m at a bit of a standstill until I have bought more tomorrow.. One day I will learn to always pick up extra haha!

Working out the pattern means I know exactly how many squares of each colour scheme I need. Which also means it will be easier to continue once I have more wool. I am keeping track of the pattern so I can make another similar one for Eva too.

I’m currently around halfway through the blanket!

I still need to work out a border to finish it off, any suggestions? I’m not sure which colour or pattern to use for the border. I’m hoping to have the blanket finished by the end of summer. A nice slow easier project I can pick up & put down easily has been just what I needed. I will definitely be making more granny square projects!

So there you go a little crochet catch up for my readers. What have you been working on recently?  What do you think of the blanket? 

Learning Origami With The Girls

I’ve been learning Origami with the girls after the Mr picked up an Origami tricks book for Eva. I remembered spotting Origami paper in the craft section & picked up 2 packs of 120 coloured square sheets of paper. The girls love sitting and making things and Origami seemed something fun but easy to clear up after. Win!

Fortune tellers were something everyone could make when I was at school & I remember spending hours making and playing with them. The book showed how to make Fortune Tellers amongst other things & I made one to show Eva. She was really interested in making a ship’s wheel. The Mr sat with her and helped her a little bit and she soon proudly presented her ships wheel.

Ship's wheel origami

Izzy wanted me to make a frog she found in the book so I gave it a go. Feeling pleased with my first attempt I made a second one as Izzy wanted her frog to have a sister. She spent a whole morning playing with the frogs, making them hop & flip everywhere.

Frog Origami

 

 

Origami Animals

After making the frogs I decided I wanted to learn more Origami tricks so had a look around for some tutorials. I ended up making a cat & a dog whilst Izzy & the Mr went shopping haha! The cat most definitely needs improving but the dog didn’t turn out too bad. Izzy was impressed at least when she returned to find them lined up on the arm of the sofa waiting for her!

Cat Origami

Dog Origami

 

 

There are so many Origami tutorials online from book animals, bookmarks, characters, flowers and more! We ended up making a ladybird and bookmarks too. In just one day we managed to make quite a few different things.

Origami Makes

I love how simple some of these are to make and can see us having fun learning new Origami makes for quite some time. Such a cheap and fun activity to do with the kids!

 

Have you learnt Origami before? What I your best make to date?

 

Granny Square Project

I’ve started on a Granny square project after losing my motivation for a little while. I got the Mr to help me make a cheap & simple blocking board to help me keep them neat and got to work. The last few crochet projects I’ve done have been quite big and I struggled to stay motivated so I needed something simple and easy to put down. Izzy picked these 3 colours to begin with.

Granny Squares

Of course I haven’t done any of the important things, working out measurements, how many square I will need etc. For now I’m just going to enjoy getting lost in making lots of small squares. Working on a project in pieces like this is much more doable when you have children interrupting. I can make a square in around 15 minutes with interruptions! The small piles above quickly began to grow!

I like the fact  I can take a ball of wool & a hook out in my bag again and work on the go too, maybe now my phone will stop dying before I get somewhere? Maybe not.. especially if I’m taking pictures as I work too. Either way I’m enjoying doing something, even though it’s for the girls it gives me a nice sense of achievement with each completed square. I even treated myself to a new hook to pop in my bag for crocheting on the go!

I’m quite liking the colours Izzy has chosen light sparkly pink, dark sparkly pink, turquoise and this lovely light purple Izzy picked up in QD. I’ve been working on these granny squares for just over a week now. So far I have build up a stash of over 20 squares in my spare time! My squares are a bit neater than before, I’m definitely getting the hand of crocheting a little tighter.

Hopefully it doesn’t take too long for my stacks to grow so I can begin stitching them together and working out how big to make it & find a nice edging for it too.

What are you working on at the moment? What Granny Square projects have you made?

 

 

A Crafty Easter Half Term – Our Top 3 Makes

We’ve had quite a crafty Easter half term so far!

Our awesome friends Slim & his mum spoilt the girls with a ton of crafty gifts to keep them busy across the half term. I’ve also been building up our stash over the last few months so the girls have had tons of fun deciding what to make. We’ve been using the Bendon Craft project idea book from the giant craft jar, some we have adapted & made a little differently too!

Bendon craft projects idea book

Our Top 3 Makes

Peek-a-boo Puppet

Peek-a-boo puppet

The first craft the girls decided they both wanted to make at the same time was a peek-a-boo puppet from the crafts projects workbook included in the GIANT craft kit the girls received. These are cute little chicks in eggs and so simple to make even Izzy was able to literally get stuck in gluing the pieces on. Izzy mastered using the scissors thanks to this craft and it was finished within minutes.

Simply cut out an egg shape, use wonky scissors to cut it in half & stick each half on the front of the peg making sure the egg joins together. Then cut out & draw/decorate you chick & stick it to the back of the peg. Both girls really enjoyed making these and they are pretty cute too!

 

Owl Mask

Owl Mask

After that the girls decided to do different things, with Eva making necklaces using foam shapes & pipe cleaners (no photo’s please!) and Izzy deciding to make an Owl Mask using one of the templates from the craft kit. Izzy loves owls and was telling me to cut out purple paper for the eyes (yes the dodgy eyes are my doing haha!) and cutting out the eyebrows herself. Whilst Eva was busy cutting all the fluff off a pipe cleaner (I have no idea why I wasn’t allowed to know.. it was a top secret make it seems!) Izzy was stealing it all to add to her mask haha!

 

Pot of Flowers

Tiny bouquets

 

Love this little flower pot Izzy made this morning! 🌸🌵 #crafts #toddlercrafts #flowers #flowerpot #sparklycrafts #eastercrafts #artsandcrafts #kidscrafts

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Our absolute favourite make this week, which you may have already spotted over on Instagram, is the Pot of flowers Izzy made (and the monster to hide in them of course!). We adapted the idea using the craft project book and decided it was much easier to use foam flowers, push pipe cleaners through the middle & twisting it to secure the flower. After making several of these we found a metal seasoning pot which already had holes in the top and covered it in Washi tape before popping the flowers in. Izzy then decided it needed a butterfly on the front and eventually even a monster!

Of course Izzy! We were missing a monster hiding in the flowers.. how could I forget.. #toddlers #monster #monsterintheflowers #crafts #toddlercrafts #monstercrafts #monstervflowers #flowercrafts #artsandcrafts

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These crafts were simple yet fun to do and easy enough for Izzy to do most of the work. We will be using the craft kit & crafting project book again over the Easter half term and see what other makes we can come with!

Will you/are you having a crafty Easter half term? What crafts have you made/will you be making over the Easter half term?

 

Double the Monkey Business

My Sunday Photo – A Lovely New Crocheted Unicorn Friend

Izzy received her lovely new crocheted unicorn friend this week and I absolutely love how happy & smug she looks. After lots of arguing between the girls over Eva’s pink sparkly unicorn Izzy had to have her own!

She couldn’t be any happier with her stunning new friend Crocheted by the Lovely Mrs A/Tracey at Hooks & Dragons.

lovely new crocheted unicorn friend

I love this photo so much I had to share it as my Sunday photo even though I already shared it on Instagram! Both my girls now have their own unicorn in their favourite colours. Finally the arguing has stopped.. over unicorns at least…

 

Photalife

An Arty Day Out At The #LoveGrays Event

On Saturday the girls enjoyed an arty day out at the #LoveGrays event on in town. The Mr pointed the event out to me as he spotted it on facebook so I decided to drag the girls to town to see what was going on.

We only stayed for an hour or so as it was cold but the girls really enjoyed themselves!

#LoveGrays event

Eva headed straight to the stage where local’s performed across the day. She joined in with the dancing and Izzy followed but spent most of the time just staring at the stage or trying to be cute when the photographer’s were around.

We decided to go see what crafts were happening and the girls joined in drawing the things they love in grays. Izzy drew the ‘park & boats’ and a few other little pictures happily chatting away as she did. Eva drew her teachers & had hers put up on the display’s.

I actually loved the way the displays had been made with large reel’s stuck together and painted. They soon filled up with postcards by kids filled with pictures & writing about why they love Grays.

The girls then moved to another table where they got to pick a picture from a copy of local history books and stick it to a piece of card & draw/decorate/write on it however they wanted with Posca pens.

I was quite impressed with Eva coming up with the idea of outlining parts of hers.. I half expected her to just add hearts & flower’s everywhere haha! Eva loves these activities which are run by Metal  to get people involved in arts across Southend and south Essex.

Last summer we attended the Village Beach event too where Eva earned a certificate for designing & printing on a tote bag. She still has her bag & loved receiving her certificate last year too! We will definitely be keeping an eye out for any other upcoming events!

Do you have anything like this running in your area? Do you or your kids enjoy getting involved in events like this?