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A winter miscellany

How are you, how has your weekend been so far? Ours got off to a lovely start with friends for dinner on Friday night.  Harry stayed up to say hello and enjoyed a mocktail of mango juice and rainbow sprinkles, accessorised with a cocktail umbrella and glacé cherry whilst we opened a bottle of fizz.  I think we all secretly wanted a taste of his.

Whilst shopping for ingredients the day before, I came across these beautiful Romanescos  - a sort of cabbage that apparently tastes like broccoli, and looks like a miniature Christmas tree..have you tried them?

Romanesco

I say they apparently tatse like broccoli; I intended to chop them up and cook them, but decided they were too lovely for that so instead Harry carefully wrote out everyone’s names and they became cheery place-settings instead…

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Talking of all things green, Harry and I have a new project; we are determined to grow a HUGE avocado plant.  Preferably by next weekend, in order to have guacamole for tea.  We have got precisely this far after 24 hours, despite progress checks approximately every 10 minutes:

Plant an avocado stone

In the meantime I have harvested some hardy Hellebores from the garden and planted them up in an old copper trough on the counter; a reminder that we will see Spring before too long.

Blog Jan 2016

In other domestic news, I’ve had a brief attempt at trying to bring order and discipline to our laundry (really, what was I thinking?), buying these inexpensive sorters from IKEA and painting helpful labels so that even the youngest member of the household (you know who you are) can colour-sort his dirty clothes.  I doubt it will work, but they look pretty nonetheless.

labels copy

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Weather like this requires cake, and cake is also a helpful excuse to drop in on friends, so we also made some of our favourite lemon and poppyseed loaf cake – one of those wonderful recipes where you get to throw everything in a bowl and then pour it into a tin, and do very little else other than congratulate yourself on your Domestic Goddessery  (if you do follow the recipe above, I skip the first step – if life is too short to stuff a mushroom, it is certainly too short to soak a poppyseed).   Try it; I promise you it works a treat..

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And now an epic fail to close.  Firstly, if our avocado stone is yet to bloom, my New Year sourdough starter is looking even rockier.  I had visions of it looking exactly like this:

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…but instead it looks exactly like this:

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It smells like a brewery, which is promising if a little alarming, but I cannot see it causing a loaf of bread to rise anytime this year.  All suggestions welcome please, including alternative uses for it (a solution for loose plaster?).

Know your limits, they say; I think I have met mine.  Any kitchen ingredient which requires daily feeding and careful measuring was, in retrospect, doomed.

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p.s. photo of entirely perfect and well-risen sourdough starter from a true guru here.

Welcome to the Art Room!

Art Room Materials 1

 

When we moved into our dream house a few years ago, we began by gradually restoring the most important rooms, starting with the kitchen.  Most of the rooms in our rambling, period house are part of the original footprint of the house, but there is a little annex attached to one side which housed a peculiar, 1980s-style kitchen, complete with carpeted floor and faux-wood cabinets.  It was so bizarre – and so unlovely – that for a couple of years we essentially ignored it (and indeed didn’t take a single photo of it).

Then some time ago we decided to rip out the kitchen, whitewash the walls and lay a cheap laminate floor, thinking it would make a good office space.  Instead, Harry and I have gradually staked our claim, filling the room with a growing tide of papers, paints, scissors, crayons, works of genius and  - everywhere – tiny drifts of sticky tape that briefly adhere you to the floor, or indeed any surface you may lean on.  It is, without doubt, now The Art Room…

The Art Room

Harry and I each have a desk; simple white worktops on IKEA trestle legs, which hold all of our most precious materials.  Harry’s is very clearly marked in case there is any ambiguity about ownership, and bedecked with various masterpieces;

Art Room Drawing Desk

Art room 2

I have noticed, as a random aside, that I always look in Harry’s pictures as if I have recently dismounted from a horse.  I am trying not to wonder what this may mean.

Art room 1

We love thick Giotto mega colouring pencils for their intensity of colour and ease of grip; not cheap but they last seemingly forever.  Then jam-jars of brushes, pencils, Sharpie pens, pastels and tactile, jewell-shaped crayons; a legacy from Harry’s early childhood but too enticing to move on from completely…

IMG_5590 Art Room Caryons

The Art Room has a mysterious, scrolled staircase which ascends to a cosy alcove in the roof; too small for an adult to stand up in, but perfect for a child.  We don’t know what it was intended for, but now it becomes variously a den, a reading nook, a hiding place and THE best place in the house to squash 25 people into when playing Sardines.  It’s the only accent wall in the room, wallpapered (by me! After a glass of wine, as well!) with Scrapwood paper by Piet Hein Eek.

Scrapwood wallpaper

The stair-rail is strung with a random assortment of half-finished projects and decorative finds, like this vintage flag, driftwood garlands and my ever-increasing collection of beautiful stars..

Art Room flag

And under the stairs?  Our Dreaming Chair, where we can curl up and read, think, snooze or just chill out.  A gift from friends who were moving house, it looks like it is a million years old and has lived many interesting lives.  Each year on Fathers Day we take a photo of H and my husband in the chair together, and I intend to do this for at least another 40yrs.

Art Room chair

The Art Room overlooks the unlovely driveway, so to mask that and to filter the light which in summer is blazing and intense, I propped old window shutters from our last house against the wall.  They allow the weak, blueish northern winter light through and then do a great job when the weather turns warmer.

Art room shutters

What else?  A few nods to storage include a display box of old projects and keepsakes, and a couple of museum shelves just deep enough to hold propped-up treasures..

Box Shelf

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We use Ikea’s Asker hanging herb pots to store pens and brushes; mine are hung on the wall;

Wall pots

And Harry’s stand on his desk (the giraffe ruler was a treasure found in his Christmas stocking, but we suspect Santa might have sourced it here).

Art Room Materials 1

And our eBay-find vintage plan chest stores gorgeous papers and completed art works (you can glimpse it in the main room photo above)…

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Most of our other paints, glitters and craft stuff is stored on make-shift shelves in a shallow fuse-box cupboard just outside in the corridor; unbeautiful, but very useful, and somewhere that Harry can go without help to choose whatever he needs..

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So that is our tour, of possibly my favourite room in the house, and one with  - already – some incredible memories.  A room to be messy in (in fact my husband smiled at these photos, so unrepresentative are they of the daily chaos and flamboyant mess more usually found within), to play in and to be happy in.  Very happy indeed, in fact.

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Art Room Sign

 

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Separations and Reunions

Travelling 1

The New Year began at a million miles an hour with a flurry of back-to-work-and-school panic and then, for me, a week of transatlantic travel.   I’ve periodically travelled for work since my son was born, usually to the US, and these partings have been easy enough for both of us to manage.  Of late, though, it’s a little harder.  Time has lost some of its elasticity for Harry, and there are moments for both of us when I’m travelling that the distance feels very hard indeed.

We’ve been working on a few ways to make it easier, and this time I think we cracked it.  Some are conventional; others?  Well…

Saying good bye

On this last trip, I gave Harry a boxful of kisses when we woke up on the morning of my flight.  We talked about how whenever he was thinking of me he could open the bottle and find a kiss.  He tucked them in his pocket and went off to the playroom, where I caught glimspses of him busy with scissors and paper.  He appeared quite some time later with a square cardboard box.  In case you are struggling with the flamboyant spelling, it says ‘Here’s some hugs’…

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And inside? Two beautifully, secretly constructed figures of Harry and me who fit together perfectly into a hug.  ’You can take them out whenever you need a hug from me Mummy’. I was amazed.  And yes, hopelessly emotional…

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Bedtimes

It’s a long-standing tradition that every evening I sing to Harry when he is just dropping off to sleep.  In babyhood I sang him lullabies, and then gradually stopped, until a year ago when he asked for me to sing again ‘to help me switch my head off from thinking’.  So now our bedtime routine always includes a rendition of ‘Dream a little dream‘ by Mama Cass, and I worried about whether he’d miss this when I was away.  I used to try and sing it over the phone, but it was never quite the same, and usually involved me huddling in the corner of conference rooms or bathrooms and crooning sotto voce which didn’t help my tunefulness at all.  So my husband stepped in…

… and now on the nights I’m away, he dons a long blonde wig (I daren’t ask where he found this; secrets in a marriage are not always unhelpful) and does a cabaret version of the song, sometimes alternating with other favourites such as ‘How much is that doggie in the window?’.  I’m not sure that it helps induce sleep but it’s certainly a potent distraction, and one which generates many requests for encores.  You’ll be relieved to know that I have no pictures of this.

 Staying connected

On this last trip I took one of Harry’s soft toys with me; Hopalong, the smallest and most docile of The Boys.  Each day, I sent back pictures of Hopalong so that Harry could track our movements; at the airport, the gym, the office …and even raiding the hotel minibar and spreading crumbs all over my bed…

Hoppy

Harry loved getting the pictures, and then one day last week I woke up to find an email from home with the rest of Harry’s toys having decided to join in.  Each day, Harry devised a new activity for The Boys, and my husband sent me a picture.  They took a shower together, raided the fridge in search of sausages; altogether, it sounded like the teddy bear equivalent of a frat party…

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One of the best things though was a letter from Harry, tucked into my case and discovered on arrival in Philadelphia, when I was feeling jetlagged and far from home….

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Because to be loved more than water pistols is as much as any mother could ever wish for.

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All is Calm, All is Bright.

Merry Christmas from Katescreativespace

So, Christmas is drawing close and we have an evening of gift wrapping, fire-lighting and – yes! – champagne drinking ahead.  Bliss.  The house is ready at last; the loyal dogs who guard our front door have dressed for the occasion…

Dogs in hats 2

Dogs in hats

The North Pole Sorting Office has once again taken up residence in the hallway, joined this year by my favourite bicycle, Delilah, who has been repurposed as a festive delivery bike and perches atop the hall table, bedecked with gifts and lights…

Delivery bike decoration for christmas Delivery bike gifts Delivery bike for christmas

Mistletoe is strung from every light fitting and I am making it my business to deplete as many berries as I can during the Christmas period; beware those who cross the threshold..

Misteltoe

Even the Montgolfieres Mice have decorated their basket for the holidays, and swing gently in the hallway, glittering with light.

Christmas mice

In the snug, I strung the columns with ribbon and cut delicate paper tree silhouettes out of paper for the window panes; they look beautiful in daylight with the sun streaming through and even prettier at night when lit from within…

Winter forest windows

paper winter trees

And so we are ready, I think; time to sign off now with just two big sleeps to go.

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and a joyful, relaxing break – thank you for another year of reading, following and commenting; it’s been absolutely lovely!

Here’s to 2016….

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Nutcracker Peg Doll Decorations

DIY Nutcracker decorations

Inspired by The Nutcracker ballet, I’ve been making festive peg doll deocrations to hang on our tree.  Requiring little more than a steady hand and an array of paints, it’s a lovely thing to have a go at on a darky and rainy night – or around the kitchen table with restless children who are done with school for the year but still have way too many Big Sleeps to go until Christmas (though only 7 now!).

You’ll need:

  • A pack of wooden clothes pegs; I used these
  • Wooden hats (optional); I used these craft ‘candle cups’ which have ahandy hole in the top for threading
  • Selection of paints; the tiny tins designed for model-makers are ideal, found at all good craft shops.  You’ll need red, white, blue, black and gold. (Red and white mix to make pink for the skin tone, or add brown to your list if you prefer).
  • Brushes of varying thickness, but make sure you have a very fine brush for the facial features.
  • Fluff!  For the hair… I used a few strands of quilt batting leftover from this project, but any good fluff or fibre will do…
  • Thread for making a hanging loop.

Nutcracker decorations

  1. Start by mixing your pink paint for the face and brush that on; don’t worry about neatness.  Peg your dolls around a mug rim as they dry
  2. Now the black; paint the legs to the waist, and also paint your hat.
  3. White next! paint a tent-shaped triangle above the waist, as if the jacket is cut away to reveal the white shirt.  Add two circles for eyes on the peg head, and a rectangle for the teeth (you’ll add the definition later).
  4. And now red for the jacket; cover the rest of the top half of the peg doll, carefully edging around the white shirtHow to make Nutcracker peg dolls
  5. Gold accents next; brush two stripes around the cuffs of the legs, and a wider band around the waist for a gold belt.  Do the same around the neckline and add a few swooping semi-circles to mimic gold chain across the jacket front.  Do the same across the front of the hat, and add a gold band rim.
  6. Now the face, and the trickiest bit.  Examine your hand carefully for steadiness, and rest it on the table as you paint.  If all else fails, just repaint a new layer of pink to cover up any mistakes.  Start with the black paint and add chunky eyebrows and a moustache.  Now blue dots for the irisis, and a red mouth with your thinnest brush tip.
  7. For the hair, cover the sides of the peg head with glue and press on a fingertip’s worth of fibres, which you can trim to shape and style later.
  8. Finally, thread a knotted cord through the hat to make a loop before glueing the hat to you doll’s head.  Ta-da!!  Job done…
  1. A set of DIY Nutcracker peg dolls  Nutcracker Peg Dolls

We’ve hung ours on the Christmas tree, and mighty fine they look too.

We’ve a busy weekend ahead; we throw our doors open tomorrow to family and friends for our annual Open House of eating, drinking, dancing, gossiping and general chaos.  Father Christmas usually wanders up the lane as darkness falls, adding an additional buzz of excitement.  I am hopelessly behind in my preparations, though the beauty of having good friends come is that a lack of perfection is easily forgiven;  mulled wine, a real fire and festive cookies will go a long way to being all we need.

Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are and whatever you’re up to!

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The Fir Lady returns once again

Christmas Lady

Christmas began to arrive in our home yesterday, as I staggered back from the garden centre with armfuls of pine, eucalyptus and berries.  Now the house is filled with resiny scent, as is my hair, my clothes, my hands… it’s intoxicating.

And the fir lady has once again come in from the cold and taken shelter in a corner of the kitchen; this year she is sporting a bright red military-style jacket (a charity shop find) and standing 9ft tall, thanks to an old chest we dragged in from the back of the shed.  Pine cones are dotted amongst her skirts, and boughs of red berries peek around her hem.

The Fir Lady close up

Fir Lady Skirts

Here’s last year’s Fir Lady, who sported a hessian bodice and a skirt adorned with simple wooden stars..

The Fir Lady 2014

And the original, 2013 Lady who had a rather more risqué skirt and a nipped-in waist..

Fir Lady for Christmas

If you have a spare mannequin lying around (and who doesn’t?) I gave a vague tutorial last year, with tips about how to build up a skirt and thread all the greenery together (tip: chicken wire is your secret weapon).  Mostly though it just requires trial and error, and is aided by a glass of red wine.  Or mulled wine.  Any wine in fact, but probably just the one glass, especially if using a ladder.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend; we’re lighting the fire and curling up for a Christmas movie; Elf and Arthur Christmas are the top contenders; popcorn and hot chocolate will be crucial.

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The Best of Christmas past… Paper!

As a Monday stocking filler for those newish to the blog, here’s the first of a couple of romps through the archives of some of the most festively crafty posts since I began writing back in 2012… with many new ones to come over December!  Enjoy…

For Christmas paper crafts, why not try making a torn paper Santa;

DIY Torn-Paper Santa

 

Or button Christmas tree cards;

button christmas tree cards

 

 

For the littles in your life, this simple handprint reindeer card was one of my earliest posts;

handprint reindeer christmas card

Or (if you hurry) you could knock up a homemade advent calendar;

Handmade Advent Calendar

 

Or maybe crackers for the Christmas table

DIY crackers from katescreativespace

 

These Dutch House Luminaries would look beautiful on the mantlepiece this winter…

DIY Dutch House Luminaries

 

Or try making your own 3-d stars (an even simpler tutorial coming in the next couple of weeks!)

starstruck at christmas time

 

In readiness for the big day, use these templates to make your own North Pole Telegram;

North Pole Telegram 2013

And start making plans to entice the reindeer to linger a while with this Magic Reindeer Food;

magic reindeer food december

And finally these folded books aren’t just for the holidays but they do look very lovely as decorations;

folded decorations II

A new craft to come next, and then a round-up of some edible Christmas ideas  (and then maybe a break from Christmas, lest we peak too soon :-) )

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The Wobbly Tooth

Tooth Fairy Door

It’s been a momentus week in our household; on Monday, Harry announced that he had a wobbly tooth.

My immediate reaction was to assume this was a false alarm; Harry has long been aware of the Tooth Fairy and the riches she bestows, and often checks my teeth for their general sturdiness, declaring many to be ‘close to falling out’.  This used to send me to the mirror in a panic,  but after a clean bill of health from the dentist I have learned to put this down to 5yr -old wishful thinking.  Or a budding career in dentristy, one or the other.  This time, however, Harry was right, and after a week of dogged tooth-wobbling, his loose tooth finally fell out on Friday.

I say it fell out; in fact it might have had something to do with me suggesting that Harry change into a t-shirt which later turned out to be designed for Ages 3-4, and which caught on his tooth – a rather painful and accidental extraction, but no less exciting for all that.  We carefully located the tooth, and placed it into a small jar together with some glitter stars, because everyone knows that fairies like glitter.  Proud of our own cunning, we attached a small bell to the jar in the hope that she might ring it and we’d catch a glimpse of her..

Tooth for the tooth fairy

We hung the jar over Harry’s bed, and then went off for bathtime and teeth-cleaning.

How to attract the Tooth Fairy

On returning to Harry’s bedroom, we were astonished to find a door had appeared, high on the wall above his bed….

Tooth Fairy entrance door

Apparently the Tooth Fairy Door appears on your bedroom wall only on the night that a tooth falls out, and is gone again by morning.  Who knew?

….And it seems the Tooth Fairy did indeed come that night, because this is what Harry found in the morning, under his pillow;

Note from the Tooth Fairy

Believing in magic can be very rewarding…

 

I made the Tooth Fairy’s door using an MDF letter ‘m’ turned upside down; it really resembled a tooth!  You could use an ordinary doll’s house door like these or these.  I attached it with blu-tack and stuck it high enough on the wall that it was out of reach of small hands.  Do be careful what you attach it with; wrestling it off the wall in the middle of the night in the dark requires something with pretty minimal adhesion… oh, and start preparing when the wobbling begins, so that you’re not scrabbling to sort out fairy entrances whilst still hunting for the lost tooth at the moment-critique.

To help the Tooth Fairy with her personal administration, I printed her letter using the free-to-download Blackadder font, and slipped it into a small vellum envelope, using a monogram seal stamped with a rubber stamp from here.

To get a very shiny pound coin you can wipe it with copper cleaner or drop it into a cup of hot water and vinegar for a few minutes.

If you have more than one child or this is the tenth milk tooth that has been lost in your household already this year and such effort seems absurd, I suggest just stuffing a £5/$5 note under the pillow and returning to your glass of wine.  Life is short, after all ;-)

Opened note from the Tooth Fairy

Have a great week, and enjoy the last few precious hours of the weekend!

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Stitched with love: the baby-clothes quilt

Make a quilt from baby clothes

Up in the loft I have 2 huge bags of Harry’s baby clothes, full of treasured items which hold such potent memories that I could never give them away.  About once a year I stumble across them whilst looking for something crucial (a feather boa, say, or a camping stove – I never seem to come down from the loft with the thing I actually went in search of), and I finally resolved last month to do something with them.

My interest in having a go at quilting was stimulated over a year ago by this trip to Amsterdam, and with the winter nights drawing in I decided to make a quilt for Harry that could be snuggled under for a cosy night in, draped over his bed for extra warmth, or used as a playmat….

Make a quilt from old baby clothes 2

I sorted through the piles of baby clothes (which, let me warn you, are incredibly small for making a decent quilt!), setting aside everything which dates from the crucial 2 month period during which Harry discovered the world of solid food, and specifically bananas; despite boil washing, everything still seems to have ghostly banana-y handprints all over it.  Have a look at this and you’ll understand why;

Harry and food copy

I eventually chose two pairs of Harry’s toddler pyjamas to make the body of the quilt, and cut up an old white tablecloth as a backdrop.  Some of Harry’s tiniest tops, bottoms and dungarees provided a perfect border – and made me realise that in the hormonally-charged, sleep-deprived first year of motherhood I apparently dressed him entirely in red, blue and plaid.  It could have been worse.

I taught myself the rudimentary basics of quilting from this library book, and would not dream of offering anything in the way of advice here; I used a square cut from a cereal box as a template, a ruler from the toybox to measure my seams and a felt tip pen to mark everything up, all of which should rightly draw gasps of horror from more accomplished seamstresses… but it worked, showing that anyone should feel brave enough to give this a whirl…

Make a baby clothes quilt

I realised very quickly that actually quilting the duvet would be beyond my sewing-machine skills, so once I’d inserted the wadding I stitched the buttons from Harry’s shirts at intervals all over the quilt, which holds the batting in place and looks very sweet.

quiltingThe quilt has other secrets too; when I cut up the pyjamas I kept all the pockets and incorporated them into the squares, so there are now little sections where Lego men, torches and important messages can be stored…

pocket square

I am very proud of my first quilt, and I love that Harry has immediately adopted it.  We’ve spent many an evening examining the squares and discussing where they came from (‘tell me what I did when I wore those, mummy’); there’s something magical to Harry about these being the clothes he once wore, in a time he can barely remember.

make a kids quilt using baby clothes

A perfectly imperfect quilt, then, and something of a metaphor for first-time motherhood too –  the seams are crooked and will doubtless unravel at times; the squares are uneven and occasionally speckled from the wounds of pinpricks and needle-stabs..but what runs through every stitch of this quilt is love; the very deepest and most sustaining kind.

Certainly enough to keep one small person warm for a lifetime.

Quilt

 

Two cool ways to wrap a bottle…

Two fun wine bottle styling ideas

Like many, I am a huge fan of Pinterest (you can follow me here)  and regularly Pin inspirational pics and projects to try at home.  A few weeks ago I stumbled across a link to a wonderful site by Sylvain Allard, who teaches packaging design.  He’d asked his students to design a wine bottle sleeve from a single sheet of paper; the results were beautiful.  One sleeve in particular caught my eye, so I had a go at recreating it at home, wondering if it would prove to be easy enough to become a new, chic way of bringing-a-bottle to parties this coming holiday season.

Firstly, I drew out a rough template of rectangles, each slightly deeper than the next.  Using a craft knife I cut along three sides, rolling each strip back on itself as shown below….

bottle 12

I folded and glued each strip in an arc, slightly offset, sticking it at an angle as shown below…

bottle 11

I practised on a rough sheet of paper first, but when I then wrapped it round a wine bottle it looked a little plain, so I added a corkscrew image to my template as well, as you see above and below.  To attach the sleeve, I just used colourful washi tape to hold the ends together.  Voila!

bottle 4  bottle 2

Making the sleeve took me about half an hour, which included the time to deconstruct and reinterpret the picture I’d seen on Sylvain’s site.  You can make it even more quickly by using my template (below; PDF link at the bottom) – let me know how you get on!

Wine bottle sleeve template

Suddenly wrapping bottles seemed like a great way to spend the evening, so I found a few leftover vintage envelope prints I had from making our hot air ballon and used them to make this other sleeve below..

botttle 1

I had googled ‘vintage envelopes’ and found some lovely free-to-download examples including some here (worth a rummage in this treasure-trove of free printables)

bottle 13

I simply cut a rectangle of brown paper, scrunched it up and flattened it, glued on an envelope and secured it around the bottle with string.  This one was much quicker but looked just as lovely.

So, why not wait for a rainy evening ahead of the party season and have a play!

bottle sleeve paper sculpture

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Room to Grow

Room to grow

Cuddling Harry has suddenly become like wrestling a small giraffe.  Every limb has to be  folded, origami-style, into place, and no sooner is one contained than the others spring free.  I am at a loss to explain how my tiny swaddled newborn has become this dashing mini-man with wild, untameable hair and views and opinions of his very own.  It can only have happened whilst I was asleep, although heaven knows there’s been a lot less sleep these past five years than in those that came before.

When he was four, Harry helpfully explained to me how you grow up.  It went like this;

‘First you’re a baby;

Then you’re a toddler;

Then you’re a person;

Then you’re a ninja;

Then you’re a grownup’.

(I love it that you only get to be an actual person once you’ve made it through the toddler years… and that teenagers are so indescribably cool that they are in fact  ninjas).

Either way, whether I have been paying close attention or not the progression to ninja-hood has undoubtedly begun, and all things babyish are being cast aside at a rate of knots.  Harry’s bedroom, that sweet domain of early childhood, is scheduled for a grown-up makeover.  The charming alphabet poster will be consigned to the loft I am sure, and anything soft and fluffy will come under very intense, 5yr old scrutiny.  ’I think this room needs to be more boyish‘ said Harry firmly, as he viewed it with a critical eye.  ’Maybe with more swords and things’ .

Consider this post therefore an act of historical preservation, and allow me a quick final tour…

I  shared a pic of the room once before when we papered the wall in this fun fox wallpaper;

Boys bedroom in progress

I later added a blackout blind in the same colourway, and made curtains to pull around Harry’s treehouse bed, making a useful den in which to hide torches, books, snacks, oversized dogs and friends you are trying to kidnap so they don’t ever have to go home..

boy bedroom

Harry adores his bed (an eBay find; they were once sold by British store Next, now sadly no longer available).  It did present challenges for bedtime stories though, so we invested in this lovely Story Stool on which we perch each night, in order to deliver fantastical tales through the treehouse window…

Bedtime story chair

Whilst Lola the bunny is seldom invited into the Treehouse these days, Wilberforce the polar bear retains his position at the head of the bed, as the longest-serving member of The Boys, Harry’s troop of animals.  The monogram canvas was a gorgeous gift from Harry’s godparents, from here.

gorgeous graffitti

When we redecorated Harry’s room in early 2014 we ripped out an old, broken fireplace and added a simple oak beam in its place.  We thought the chimney was sealed, but obviously not because one day, Alfred the dinosaur flew down it and got trapped….

Alfred and the chimney

I made Alfred by mounting one of these fun animal heads onto an old mirror frame, and made a sign for his neck.  Alfred, we decided, is a vegetarian dinosaur, so we added a carrot from Harry’s play kitchen so stop him from feeling hungry.  We have to be careful with feeding Alfred though, if we’re ever going to get him unstuck.  I made Alfred’s tail out of felt and faux leather (see a similar tutorial here), and stuffed it before hanging on a nail inside the chimney breast.

Alfred

Alfred will survive Harry’s room makeover I’m sure, but this beautiful alphabet wall poster from will be rehomed elsewhere in the house.. isn’t it lovely?

Alphabet print

Also at risk is this watercolour sketch (below) I did for Harry when he was a baby of his favourite book, Orange Pear Apple Bear… he adored that book; it was the first thing that ever made him laugh, so I drew a picture of the bear in homage to Emily Gravett’s beautiful illustrations, and stuck it to his cot.  I later framed it, and it’s hung in his room ever since…

Orange Apple Pear Bear

The puppet theatre may once again revert to being a bookcase and shelf for boyish treasures, though I’m sure it will be brought back into life every now and then for a few curtain-call performances…

play theatre

 

Whilst there’s a poignancy to the continual evolution of what began as the bedroom of a toddler, there’s also something very lovely about planning the next update together, with a small boy who is very much now a person by his own definition, and has magical if wholly impractical ideas for what we should add (‘a roof that lifts off! …A slide down to the garden!…A button that delivers a snack!…’).

Wish me luck with that…

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