It’s BRAINZZZZ for dinner

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Halloween again! Or at least it was a couple of weeks ago and yet again, we had loads of activities planned.  There was a party at a softplay, a horror walk, pumpkin carving, a Halloween breakfast, Halloween movies and of course, trick or treating.

I know that in the US any costume goes but for me, Halloween should be scary.  After all, it’s when ghouls and goblins walk the earth so we’re supposed to dress as scary as possible to blend in! Luckily, my big two share my feelings on the matter so Roux and Hurricane want blood and gore when it comes to their costumes.

Last year, I went on a zombie walk so attempted some zombie face paint (which I was really chuffed with at the time) and Monster came along for the ride.  It was a great baby wearing costume but this year, I didn’t need one.

I asked Roux and Hurricane what they wanted to do this year and they decided we’d be a family of zombies. Obviously my love of all things zombie has come shining through!  I was really pleased as I’d seen an amazing tutorial on YouTube by Bonnie Corban and desperately wanted to try it out.

As Halloween fell on a Saturday a very good friend and drinking partner had agreed that we’d go out around the local pubs and clubs in fancy dress.  It was brilliant!  I was ever so chuffed with how my costume turned out although I kept getting grabbed for photos.  I do wonder how many people woke up on Sunday morning to find a picture of my face on their ‘phone.

Starting with the children, they wanted lots of blood so I got 3 plain white t shirts (2 for £2.50 in Asda) and tore them up then covered them in blood.  The blood was very red so looked a bit too fresh. A quick google told me that if you mix the shop bought blood with gravy it’ll darken it up nicely.  Unfortunately, none of the google searches said that you would reek of roast beef! It was quite something, we absolutely STANK.

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I bought myself a dress from a charity shop for the grand total of £1! Then I ripped the top, shredded the hem at the bottom and covered it in gravy smelling fake blood.  The smell really was horrific, it permeated the house so next time, I’ll use black food colouring m’kay.

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For the soft play party they both wanted lots of blood.  It stains.  Thankfully they were dressing up again the next day so face paint covered it all.  Unfortunately, Monster wasn’t keen on being a zombie at all, I couldn’t help but laugh when he saw himself in the mirror and cried (bad mother).  He was massively over tired and quite hungry when I attempted to do this so perhaps that wasn’t the best but never mind – at least I hadn’t spent a fortune on his costume.  A quick change of clothes and a swoosh with a baby wipe and he was happy again.

The next day, we were doing the horror experience and some trick or treating so we went same costume but different face paint.

They were really getting into the swing of it and constantly walked like zombies whilst trying to bite their cousins.

Now to me… following the tutorial upthread and wearing the dress I first put on some latex and tissue…

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Then I matted my hair with copious amounts of dry shampoo, texture powder and a lot of back combing, finished my face paint…

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Added some white zombie contacts…

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And then started to bite everyone…

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Nativity life lesson.

This week I learnt an important life lesson about ASSUMPTIONS and hopefully if you hear my woeful tale you’ll be saved from the same curse of the Assumption.

Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start…

A few weeks ago Hurricane’s (reception age) teacher took me to one side and gave me the good news that she’s been picked to take the lead in the Christmas Play. I was handed her lines and ASSUMED that also meant I had to provide a costume. ASSUMED.

Miss wasn’t pleased as the main part was a figure called The Sleepy Shepherd. She didn’t want to be a shepherd, she wanted to be an angel. Little madam. I laughed about this in school and said I’d make her something bright and the teacher didn’t flinch.

Costume made and I took it in this week. School were over the moon and then dropped the bombshell – they are providing all the costumes! Gah! Apparently though they’re all very tatty and just cobbled together as none of the staff sew. Due to this, she’s going to find me this time next year and ask me to make/remodel them! I’m practicing saying “no” now. Do you think it’ll work?

Anyway, here she is. I’m writing up a ‘how to guide’ so I’ll put that up when I get a second.

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Holding out for a Superhero

Gosh, it’s taken me a long time to get around to doing this post, I’m very much a victim of Life, it gets in the way.  On the 14th November it was Children In Need day and as such, school children around the country attended their lessons in a variety of costumes from pyjamas to fancy dress.

Our school decided to dress as a Superhero so for the boys this opened up opportunities to attend as all manner of their favourite comic book heroes, for girls however, I just knew the classes would be full of Princesses.  I’ve got nothing against Princesses at all but I do get a bee in my bonnet over them NOT being superheroes in just the same way I dislike boys going in on World Book Day as Spiderman.

Anyhow, Roux has quite a few superhero costumes to choose from in his wardrobe so I thought I’d start with the easiest, he could wear one of his – Ben10, Spiderman, Superman, Batman and the SuperRoux outfit that I made him last year.  Did he want any of these?  No, that would be too easy.  He wanted to be The Green Lantern.  *Sigh*  That’s me making a Green Lantern Costume too but how! How would I do that?  I had a quick google search and all the ones I found were skin-tight and full of padding, my skills aren’t up to that and he didn’t have any green clothing whatsoever that I could mangle into a costume.  Bummer.

His Godfather is superhero daft and loves all things DC/Marvel so I asked for his help, what Green Lantern image did he think of when the name sprang to mind?

10 things we discovered about Green Lantern at Comic Con today!

Well this gave me an epiphany!  See that green bit? Well wouldn’t it work as a bib?  Felt on a roll turned into a tabard with the logo on the front, some long gloves, black clothes underneath and some boot covers and I’d be done.

Using felt on the roll, I cut out the tabard and put elastic on the sides to hold it together.  I also used the same felt to make boot covers that slipped onto the leg using elastic.  The symbol on the front is made from felt and glued on using PVA.  Next up was the gloves, they’re knitted white gloves (2 pairs for £1) with white felt sewn on.  The lamp is made from green metallic card with a battery operated tea light and the ring is made from loom bands with a bead in the centre and I painted his face.  He adored it which is all that counts.

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Then it came to Hurricane, as I said up there I wanted to do everything in my power to stop her going as a Princess.  We love Princesses here in this house and for about 6 months, she refused to be called anything other than Princess but they have their place and that place isn’t as a superhero.  She accepted the news that she couldn’t go as Elsa pretty quickly so I ran through a few options with her (Batwoman, SuperGirl, She Ra etc) or perhaps a real life one like a doctor, firewoman, (me ha!) she declared very vehemently that she wanted to be Poison Ivy.  Ok, that’s a super villain but who cares, it’s better than Belle.

On doing a few GIS they’re all very, umm, sexy costumes and totally unsuitable for a 4 year old!  There was no way that I could allow that much flesh on show so I needed to get my thinking cap on.  In the end I settled for a pair of her green school tights, a black leotard, some green netting to make a half skirt with lots and lots (98 at last count) green leaves hand stitched on with a red wig we already had thrown in for good measure.  I found the net green gloves and thought they’d be perfect and also made her some loom band bracelets as she wanted a super power so I convinced her that she could shoot branches out of her bracelets that wrapped people up.

I’m pretty self depreciating normally but even I’m happy to say that this is pretty damn good.  I love it and so does she.

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Grrrr Arrrgghhh *insert other zombie noises here*

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Well this weekend has been an absolute blast and allowed me to indulge in a bit of an obsession of mine…Zombies!  Long have I wanted to do one of the experiences where you’re chased by zombies but I’ve never had the opportunity so when a very good friend of mine told me about a local Zombie Walk I jumped at the chance.

The idea is a basic one, you dress as a zombie then join a group of other zombie fans and shuffle through the town centre of a few hours scaring all the locals whilst shaking a few buckets for charity.  Sounds easy?  Well I’ll admit, the slow, limping drag of the undead is actually quite hard to keep up for that length of time but it’s fun!

Roux and Hurricane were at their Dads this weekend so sadly couldn’t join me (now they’ve seen the pictures, they’re quite gutted – next year children!) so it was left to the Monster and I to do our bit.  I’d seen a picture on Pinterest ages ago of a woman wearing a baby facing out under a t shirt and I’d been desperate to give it a go so I was killing two zombies birds with one stone so to speak.

The actual costume part was super simple – a very large t shirt (I got xxl and it was only £2.99) and some fake blood from the pound shop.  Obviously you also need a baby carrier, in this instance I used my Melkaj Mai Tai, a baby helps and I also bought a couple of fake limbs that Monster was supposed to play with while we were wandering around.

I cut small notches in the t shirt where the head and arms needed to go, once I’d done that I tore the holes larger so it looked like he’d burst out a bit more.  Then I was quite liberal with the fake blood and gave the openings and the front of the t shirt a good dousing with the stuff.  I’ll warn you, it took days to dry and in the end I took a hair dryer to it.  Despite that, it still rubbed off on anything it touched and as of yet, I’ve not yet got it out of the top Monster wore underneath.  It also stained my fingers pretty badly as you can see here, it took 4 days or so for that to wear off.

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The make up was a littler harder but no where near as difficult as I’d envisaged.  It probably helps that as I do only get 4 hours sleep a night I do a good impression of a zombie most mornings but in reality, I followed a very good tutorial by Natalia Issa and it pretty much used items I already had in my make up.

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This is old, cheap make up that I’d been bought approximately 10 years ago (*cough* hoarder) and had never used.  It was absolutely perfect for this.

I’d had my hair cut the previous day and it was looking beautiful but I took the comb to it and backcombed it like crazy so after just 20 minutes I looked like this…

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It goes to say that you know you’ve done a good job when even your own Mum doesn’t recognise you!  I sent the picture to my sister as well and she had to be told it was me.  I was very chuffed with the result but when I got to my friends house she had latex which I’d never played with so I slapped some on my cheek bones and turned to this.

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Monster didn’t escape either, he’d fallen asleep so I didn’t get chance to change him into his dark coloured clothing but I did take advantage and did my best and gently attacking him with facepaint.

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See that fake blood around his mouth?  Well I’d put that on top of white face paint hoping it would stop it staining his skin.  It didn’t.  *hollow laugh*

Once I got there, I strapped him onto my front, whacked the t shirt over us both and made our way to the pub that we were meeting at.

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See him there playing with the hands?  Well that’s the ONLY time he deigned to play with his two fake limbs.  I had images of him chewing on those limbs looking even more like a scary zombie baby than he already did but would he play ball?  No.  Not one bit!

Once we got there one of the fellow zombie enthusiasts let me into a secret – Black Jack sweets.  Give them a good old chew then push them into your gums and they give you blackened teeth.

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Quite disgusting isn’t it!  The costume went down a storm and Monster got a lot of attention from bystanders that weren’t running away from us.  I’ve never worn him facing out before so it was quite an odd sensation but he loved it and even joined in making zombie noises for part of it.  It’s such a shame he was a bit too big for the outfit really as his feet stuck out the bottom of the t shirt which did spoil the look.  He’s 14 months now so I suppose this would have been better with a 6 month old but Halloween happens in October not February and I can’t shrink him so we just went with the flow.

I absolutely loved this and I’m so glad I took part.  I’m already counting down to next years and wondering what I can do for our next costume.

Photos enclosed are by me (obviously!), the wonderful Tom McGuire and Ken McDonald.

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Mermaid Crown

photo 4Hello and here’s to my first tutorial on my new shiny blog!  I’ve been using another popular platform for blogging but I didn’t find it too user friendly so thought I’d have a bit of a change, now all I’ve got to do is work out how to transfer everything from that one to this.  Not today though!

So, to Mermaids… my life has been taken over by these fishy ladies recently.  Niece #2 and Hurricane are mad about them and set me to making mermaid tails for their numerous dolls, this led to watching mermaid cartoons on YouTube and before I knew it Niece #2 was battering down the bathroom door whilst I was using the facilities as she was so desperate to show me Brooke and Bailey of CuteGirlsHairstyles swimming about in their Mermaid tails.

The challenge was set, could I make a Mermaid tail, nay, a Mermaid OUTFIT! With two very eager faces staring at me how could I say no?  I’m halfway through the tails but my sewing machine has developed an issue or two (I think it’s fed up of purple lycra and has demanded a rest) so in order to have a break I made a start on some crowns/headdresses/headpieces/something pretty to wear in their hair. Here is how you can do it too.

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You will need:

  • A strip of hessian fabric approximately 75 inches by 2.5 inches (I’d advise wearing an apron as this gets everywhere)
  • Ribbon approximately 40 inches
  • Wire (you can use strong thread instead)
  • Shells
  • A selection of pearls, beads, buttons and shiny things
  • Some fake tropical flowers
  • Thin elastic
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters

I had most of this in my craft stash luckily so my only outlays were:

  • Hessian was £6.25 a metre in Boyes so 63p for a strip
  • Ribbon cost 45p
  • Large diamantés  were £1.99 for 6 but I only used 3 per headdress so cost was £1
  • A few extra buttons that I couldn’t say no too cost me another £2 per crown
  • Lucky spot of the shells was £2.99 but this gave me enough for two with some left over so I’m going to say £1
  • Fake flowers were £1.99 with again, enough for 2 so cost for 1 is £1

That gives an extra cost of £6.08 which I didn’t think was too bad.  I didn’t have to purchase the extra buttons or the large diamantés so could have made a saving there.  The shells were a lucky find, I live right near to the beach so my original plan was to collect some and glue them on using my gun but these had a hole so could dangle which was something I thought I’d prefer, well, it’ll be easier!

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So to start….

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Cut a strip of hessian that’s approximately 2.5″ wide and 75″ long, if you can crochet or make chains by hand then chain this along it’s length.  If not, divide this strip into 3 smaller strips 25″ long, knot them together with a strip of ribbon and plait it, securing it at both ends.

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Your finished length of chains or plait should be approximately 18″ long.  This won’t fit around your head, we’re going to use elastic eventually to close it and make it fit on your head.

Now get your ribbon, I’ve obviously chosen purple to match the beads and shizzle that I’ve already selected.

Attach it to one end of your chain/braid.  You see those little loose threads in the picture below? Well I tucked the ribbon under the chain then tied it together using those threads.

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Once it was secure, I wrapped it round and through and round and through before securing it at the other end in the same way.  I wrapped another shade of purple ribbon through as well.

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Now for the fun bit, all those lovely beads, buttons, shells and sparkly gubbins needed to be added on with the help of some wire.  Don’t worry if you haven’t got wire, this would work if you used some strong sewing cotton.  I’d recommend you use at least two length of threads held together for extra strength.

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As you can see, what I’ve done here is push the wire through the hessian and then knotted it on itself to secure.

At this point you need to randomly add beads and buttons using the same method as the ribbon, wrap it around and push it through the hessian.

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I got these fantastic buttons from my local yarn shop, I love the pattern of the wheel type ones.

IMG_1918I know this is slightly teaching you how to suck eggs to attach the buttons you thread through one hole, push down to the chain/braid and then loop the wire through the second hole and pull tight.

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At some point you’re going to want to add at least one flower.  I purchased these flowers from a local shop called Chiltern Mills but you find them all over.  I wanted a tropical flower but didn’t find the ones I wanted at a price I was willing to pay so I settled for these purple orchards.

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As I said before, these orchards were super cheap but good quality so I settled on these rather than continue looking for something more tropical.  You can get fake flowers everywhere from terribly expensive ones that look incredibly real to the almost transparent ones in poundshops and the like.

They’ve often got thin wire going through the centre of the plastic but a large pair of scissors should be sufficient to cut through.  Separate the flowers from the stem and decide how many you want to use.  To attach to the headdress you can wrap wire around them tightly but I found a pony bead fitted the short stems perfectly.

IMG_1900 See look, it’s a perfect fit!IMG_1913 Now, I hope I can explain this clearly enough as I think it’s a bit difficult to see in the photographs.  Thread the pony bead onto the wire then push the short stem through the bead.  Make sure you hide the stem in one of the folds of hessian.  Now wrap the wire around the stem above and below the bead.  That should make it pretty secure.IMG_1922IMG_1923At this point I was joined by my eldest, Le Roux, who wanted part of the table for his modelling clay!IMG_1932 It was also discovered that some of the pearly buttons made fantastic shields for lego figures.IMG_1931The shells, luckily for me already had holes in so I just threaded them on like beads.

Once you’ve threaded as many buttons, beads, diamantes, shells and flowers as you think it needs secure the wire to the end of the chain/braid and you’ve nearly finished!

Lastly, take the elastic (this is about 1/4″) and tie in the same way you attached the ribbon.  Test it on a head, I’m using my daughter, Hurricane, here with the 4 braid plait that she asked for this morning looking quite messy now after a day at school and just see how big you need to make it.  Knot it to the other side, trim the excess and you’ve done!

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I would absolutely love to see ones that you’ve made so please comment to let me know how you get on.  photo 2 photo 2(1)

Skylanders, a whole new language.

Last September Roux started school and came home talking about Skylanders. I don’t have a clue and as we have no games console roundly ignored it all.

Skylanders chat continued. 
The adverts on tv started. 
“Can I have Skylanders for Christmas”
In January I gave in and bought an Xbox360 and the game (plus nearly 20 Skylanders!) in the sales and with it bore a new obsession in Chez KitschStitch. Roll on February and I’m now planning a Skylander party for a very excited nearly 5 year old. 
Just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Party I threw for him last year, there was very little in the way of official merchandise that I could get in the UK (and I was unwilling to import from the US for megabucks) so I had little choice but to get crafting. 
The Skylander figures themselves are highly detailed so I’ve left them for now but do have some ideas. Instead I decided to choose the first bad guy you encounter in the game – Chompies. 

These wee critters arrive en masse frequently and are pretty easily killed, they also looked to be fairly simple and the easier to start with. So I gathered together a few supplies and decided to have a go. 
You will need:
• Polysterene balls (about 3″ in diameter)
• Floristry wire or any other sturdy wire. I chose floristry wire as it’s already green. 
• Green tissue paper 
• Green poster paint 
• Modelling clay (air dry) or fimo 
• White paper
• Red card
• PVA glue
• Black felt tip pen
• Masking tape
You will also need scissors, wire cutters, paint brush and a pot to mix the glue. 
First, take some modelling clay and divide into two equal parts. Roll these into balls approximately half an inch in diameter. 
Cut the floristry wire into 3 inch sections. 
Squash the balls into rectangular shapes and mould into feet, ensuring that you get them almost identical so they look like a pair. 
Push the wire into the bottom of the Polysterene and then into the feet. 
Repeat for the others. 

I’ve used quick drying modelling clay but you could have just as easily used coloured fimo. This will need to dry over night before painting but it was considerably cheaper than fimo and my shoestring budget meant I selected cost over my time. 
Next you need to make the eyes. In the Swapforce version of Skylanders, Chompies have large almost oval eyes so for this, I made a quick template of an elongated oval with a flat bottom that was about two thirds the height of the ball. 
As I like to recycle where I can I used the packaging for the Polysterene balls to make the eyes. 
For the eyeballs I drew around the template the drew a smaller shape inside of that and cut it out. The space at the bottoms indicates where the outer eye section will be folded and attached to the head. 
Using this smaller template I cut out the eyeballs from thin white paper (I used plain copier paper) and drew the pupil on with a black pen. 
Putting the eyeballs to one side (to be glued on after the head has been made green) I attached the outer eyes to the heads with a small strip of masking tape. 

To make the heads green I first attempted to paint them but it failed miserably as you can see in the photograph below. 
The left side of this shows the head after 3 coats of thick paint. You could still see the Polysterene and the brush strokes were visable. It just wasn’t going to work. 
Instead, I decided to do something similar to papier mâché so made up a mix of PVA glue and water (60:40) and using tissue paper started covering the head. 

If you’ve never done this technique before it’s really easy. First apply a thin layer of the glue and water mix to the Polysterene, then apply a couple of squares of tissue paper. Paint over the tissue paper with the glue mix and apply another layer and so on. Continue until the head is covered and there are enough layers to ensure you can see the Polysterene. 
Once you’ve covered the head, paint the now dry clay and add the eyeballs. 
Draw a mouth onto some white paper with a black pen. Cut it out and glue it onto some red thin paper. Cut that out and apply to the face with glue. 
Now make 5 more!
And done! Roux spotted them in the morning and declared them to be amazing Chompies so I’m very happy they are recogniseable. 
I hope you found this tutorial useful and if you do make any please share them with me. I’d love to see all your Skylander makes and could set up a gallery to show them off. 
Next up are bigger ones and a chompy pod. 

Incy Wincy Spider

Hallowe’en has been rapidly approaching (in my mind) as I had lots of crafting things that I’d been pinning with a view to trying and I’d been giving a lot of thought to costumes…

Roux and Hurricane were simple, he was desperate to go as a Werewolf and Hurricane swung between a Princess (roll eyes) and a Princess.  She definitely wanted to be a Princess.  In the end I managed to talk her into being a Vampire Bride which is at least slightly scary.  I don’t know if it’s a British thing but when I look at Hallowe’en costumes from over the pond they seem to just be general fancy dress and anything goes but over here, in Britain we like our costumes to frighten so a Princess just would. Not. Do.

Those sorted I looked to mine and Elf’s, he’s recently been christened that moniker as he often resembles a very grumpy Elf when he’s not getting his own way.  In other words if I’m not feeding him, gazing into his eyes, entertaining him or if I dare to commit the sin of actually putting him down I’m frowned at and quite often cried at.  Anyway, due to his dislike of being out of my arms I needed to be able to incorporate him into my outfit and me into his.  99% of the time he’s either worn in a sling/Mai Tei/Close carrier/ring sling or in my arms so whatever I put him in wouldn’t really be seen.  I started googling and scanning Pinterest but most of the (frankly amazing) outfits were for back carries, facing out or weren’t scary.  We’ve already covered that it had to be a ‘scary’ outfit so dressing as a cute ladybird just wouldn’t do.

I came across this image from the ergobaby blog a few times but couldn’t find anything about it so I set about making my own.  It’s not exactly scary but it’s a spider and they’re vaguely frightening aren’t they?  I used to be terrified of them until I had mad moment and stuck a tarantula on my bonce and solved my fear in one foul swoop, sorry, I digress…  Unfortunately for me, the internet went down for quite a bit of the night I started making it and I couldn’t get pinterest to load meaning that I had no image to reference to.  If I had my time again I’d have done quite a few things differently and when I eventually managed to see the photo (after I’d finished) I realised where I’d made a few mistakes and there is lots I’d do differently but that’s what this blogs for – I’ve made the mistakes for you and I encourage you to make it again correctly.

Shopping list

  • Fake Fur (around half a metre will do with left over)
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Buttons for the eyes or black felt
  • Elastic or ribbon
  • String or thick cotton
  • Knitting needle, piece of dowel or just something long and thin to help with turning of the legs
  • Scissors, needle, thread, sticky tape
I’d wanted black fur but my carrier is grey so grey would be better.  
I took half a metre (it cost £3 from Boyes) and roughly measured from one edge of my Close Caboo to the other and used that as a guide for the width.  The sides are slightly curved with a straight edge at the top and a rounded bottom, I’ve shown this in the photo below.  I also cut 8 strips that were approximately 3 inches wide for the legs

Once you’ve cut out the body, flip it over and sew elastic or ribbon to the two top corners.  Elf didn’t want me to make this costume and spent most of the evening grizzling so you can see I just grabbed the first cotton reel to hand (blue) and everything is sewn rather messily as a lot of it was one handed while nursing.

That done, you need to add eyes, I do think large black circles of felt would have been better but hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it.  I tried a combination of black and white buttons until I found something suitable and then centred them towards the top (again, knowing what I do now I wouldn’t have put them so high up)

That’s the main part of the body done, now attention turned to the legs.  These took the longest and I’ll admit they are very awkward.  First, you need to sew each of the legs up one side so you create an inside out tube with the fur on the inside.  Doing it this way means that the stitches will be hidden.  An example of this is photographed below along with the pipe cleaners that I started twisting together to the length of the legs.  As you can see, Elf had deigned to lay down at this point but wanted to be a hindrance involved.   Also evident around the body you can see a proof of the other downside of using faux fur – it’s all over the carpet and got all over my clothing too, there was quite a bit of cleaning up to do.

Turning was so difficult/time consuming I didn’t really manage to get any images of me doing it.  It doesn’t really matter though as it’s pretty self explanatory, start turning it and just feed it through with your fingers, if you get a bit stuck then you might find a knitting needle will help.  If you don’t have a knitting needle then a piece of dowelling or something else long, thin and not sharp will suffice.  
Once you’ve sewn and turned all the legs you’ll need to twist the pipe cleaners to the right length and feed them through the legs.  I found that two strands made the legs just right, not too floppy and not too stiff.  The only problem is that it’s they catch on the inside as you try and feed them through, I do have a solution though and it’s not pretty but it works.  You need that sticky tape that’s in the photo below.
Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaners around the top of the knitting needle/pointy thing and tape it down then just push it through the leg with ease then sew one end (the foot if you will) closed.

Evidence of my shabby oh-no-why-do-you-want-constant-nursing-when-i’m-trying-to-craft sewing is clear here.  Sew the open end of the legs to the body making sure you don’t go all the way through the body so the stitches don’t show on the front.  

Sew them to all four corners first then sew the remaining legs in between.
And the body is done!  I’m missing a picture here, it was getting very late so I’ll pop back with one when I get chance to lay it out properly.
Now to the web, you need the string and a large area of floor to work in (at least the span of your arms)
Again, more hindsight notes – use thicker cotton/string than I did here and do more strands to the web.
Roughly measure the span of your arms and use that as a guide for the length of the spokes of the web.  Here I used two strands of cotton per spoke.  First make a cross and knot them together in the centre then lay more lengths the same size making more spokes always anchoring them with a knot in the middle.
Once you have the number of spokes desired knot a long piece of cotton the top of one spoke as pictured below and keep knotting to the top of every spoke.
Then start on the inner rings.  By this point Elf was very grumpy so I did one ring and gave up, I advise you to do many more.  I also attached small wrist loops.

And it’s done!  I didn’t have a mirror to hand so couldn’t check the positioning before it was taken.  I’d just thrown it on in the hallway when we arrived so I need to get a better one quickly.

If you’re here from Handmade Monday please say hello.

A very special Kitsch Stitch make

Hopefully you’ll forgive the shortness of this blog post as my Handmade Monday project required quite a lot of work.

Peanut made his grand appearance at 41+1, on Thursday morning an hour after the midwife appeared. He was born in my childhood bedroom at my parents home and the labour was perfect. Just over an hour of contractions, no pain relief and totally relaxed. The midwives said it was a privilege to have been a part of it.

I’m absolutely smitten with him as are his big brother and sister. He’s an eager beaver when it comes to feeding so for now, I have to concentrate on him and my other projects will have to be sidelined. 
When you’ve got this wee face to gaze at though it’s hardly a sacrifice. 
Just because I can look at his two siblings, so in love with their new baby brother. 

Softplay and crochet lessons

Well I’d hoped that this Handmade Monday I’d be introducing you to a handmade baby but at 40+4, Peanut is still incredibly comfy and showing no sign of making an appearance.  Despite contractions that have been happening on and off since Tuesday it seems that I’ll be pregnant for a few more days at least.  Never mind, I won’t be pregnant forever and I’ll miss my bump once it’s gone.

So, in an effort to keep both myself and the children occupied I’ve been filling our days with all sorts of activities, one of those that I enjoy as I get to sit down and drink decaffeinated lattes and crochet is a lovely softplay.

Earlier in the week I’d gone through a few stitches with her and we’d tried the Lionbrand Gecko that I tend to use as a teaching tool so now we went to softplay armed with a magazine she’d bought, a hook and some yarn and she picked it up so quickly I was incredibly proud.  I can’t really explain the feeling I get when I teach people how to crochet or do other crafts, I’m proud of myself for being able to pass this skill on and so happy when the person finally clicks.  I suppose I get a bit of a big head really but crochet and crafting is such a big part of my life and gives me so much pleasure that knowing I’ve passed that onto someone else is a wonderful feeling.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for her to click with the pattern and after we’d done the first square together.  The pattern is from this weeks months Simply Crochet which has some adorable patterns in it this month, it’s the first time I’ve bought it but I’m definitely going to look at it again next month.

She’d purchased some lovely pink chunky yarn and fancied making this Sherbet Dip blanket by Nikki Trench who is a favourite designer of mine.  It’s a really simple pattern that’s incredibly similar to a granny square so it didn’t take long for us to both finish our first squares.  

Although at first, it was a bit problematic as it’s the first proper pattern she’s followed so she needed a snazzy chart to help her count the stitches.  As you can see, drawing charts isn’t my forte.

Mine and hers.  There is a little difference in size but her tension is very good. This was the only square I did, the rest is all her own work.

She tagged me in this picture on facebook yesterday to show her progress and I’m amazed.  She’s absolutely addicted and I can’t believe how many she’s made in such a short space of time.  Would you believe this blanket is for Lily, her spaniel pup!  All of this effort and she’s giving the blanket to a dog.  I’ve also introduced her to Ravelry and the amount of patterns she’s liked means that she’s now going to be busy every night for the next 20 years!

As a ‘well done’ gift I bought her some wool needles (I’ve always called them bodkins, does anyone else?) and some wool pins.  I’d mentioned that she’d need probably need some and she looked at me blankly so I thought I’d get her the ones that I tend to use by Pony. 
Earlier this week, she’d seen a Minion Hat I’d been making and said how much she loved the colour combination of bright yellow and blue, I couldn’t give her the needles and pins (Oh, there goes an earworm!) without something to store them in so I whipped up a quick needle case.  
I had some scraps of this fabric and I thought it contrast well with some bright blue cotton.

 I replicated the flower and swirl as best I could, added some bobble edging and a felt inner et voila!  It was so easy I almost feel silly writing a pattern for it but I need to practice putting patterns on Ravelry so I think I might have a go with this one.  It certainly would have been a good starter project for Laura to have a go on as it’s just rows and rows of double crochet then a circle.  If the baby doesn’t make an arrival I’ll definitely write up the pattern and put it here and on Ravelry.  
At the moment I’m finishing up an evil minion hat then I hope to have patterns and photo tutorials for that too.
If you’re popping over here from Handmade Monday do say hello.