Crafty Things

Making for Baby Boy

It’s been a ridiculously long time since I sewed anything more than a button. I am hoping that I will get to make at least of couple of projects that are at the very early stage of I Want to Make It.



Like I did for Evelina, I want to make a twin bed size quilt for Baby Boy. I have really struggled to find the fabric I want, though, and I may have to resign myself to paying high import fees / VAT and buy it from the States. These are a couple of quilts I have seen on Etsy that are inspiring my vision for the nursery and I would love to get fabrics like these (in similar colouring).


Quilt 1; Quilt 2; Quilt 3

I also want to make a wall hanging for the nursery inspired by this wall mural:


I have bought some fabric for this project so I am hoping to make a start on it this week.


Saturday Lists

Things on my Sky Planner which are ridiculous but I keep watching:

  • Dr G: Medical Examiner
  • Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta
  • Say Yes to the Dress – Bridesmaids
  • Hoarders
  • 24 Hours in A&E

Things I’ve done today

  • Took Evelina to Stagecoach (drama, singing, dancing classes – she loves it);
  • Raced back to get her bag which we forgot and then raced back to Stagecoach;
  • Went into Leamington for a bit of gift shopping;
  • Printed address labels for thank you cards;
  • Did a shop around Sainsbury’s;
  • Watched Evelina give an empassioned dance recital in the living room which left me in soppy, loving tears;
  • Gave Evelina a quick bath and read two of my favourite stories of hers: Blueberries for Sal and Miss Rumphius;
  • Sat down with tea and cookies in the armchair, watching Avatar.

Things that made me cry today:

  • Being told I should provide a drink and snack for Evelina while at Stagecoach (which I knew and had rushed home to rectify in vain apparently);
  • Evelina being amazing;
  • There was something else but I literally can’t remember when or why it happened. Pregnancy hormones be crazy.

50 Book Challenge


So far I am on track for my goal of reading 50 books in 2016. So far I have read:

  1. The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson – I know this is a children’s books and I am not going to cheat by adding all the books I read with Evelina but this is a ‘proper’ book in length with actual chapters. It was a favourite when I was small (despite never actually being afraid of the dark myself). It’s the story of Plop the barn owl and all the people he meets tell him how great nighttime is.
  2. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham – this was my first audiobook finished of the year – some might argue that listening is not reading but I think it counts. I enjoyed this story about a new actress making her way in New York. It certainly helped having Lauren Graham (herself a successful actress known for her roles in Gilmore Girls and Parenthood amongst other things) read her book as it added to the entertainment factor. It won’t win any literary awards but it was engaging and enjoyable – I don’t really want much else from this kind of book.
  3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – this book is written from the point of view of two different teenagers called Will GRayson with each author taking one of the Wills. The Wills bump into each other and their lives are changed by the meeting. It’s pretty typical Green/Levithan YA fayre and I enjoyed it without LOVING it.

Next up: Allegiant by Veronica Roth and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.


Journal, Mama


My emotions have been a little bit all over the place with wonderful, excited highs and snappy, grouchy lows. Going from an all-consuming job to having so much spare time (and so little energy to use it) is an adjustment. 

I am now 37 weeks pregnant which is classed as full-term. I could do with having this weekend to get Baby Boy’s room a bit more sorted although his clothing and bedding is all washed and folded which is satisfying. But otherwise I’m ready to get this show on the road.


5 Songs for Welcoming Baby Playlist

I need to get this made and I’m not sure what kind of thing I’ll feel like listening to so I’ll start with songs that I can lose myself in:

  1. Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
  2. Falling – The Civil Wars 
  3. Disarm – The Smashing Pumpkins
  4. The Day I Tried to Live – Soundgarden
  5. State of Love and Trust – Pearl Jam

The Hospital Bag(s)

So naturally it starts with a list. I am using  modified version of the one I used last time.

For baby

  • 3 sleepsuits plus one for going home
  • 3 short-sleeved vests
  • 3 long-sleeved vests
  • hat
  • snowsuit
  • 3 muslins plus one giant muslin
  • 10 new baby nappies
  • nappy disposal bags
  • new born baby wipes
  • blanket
  • cotton wool pads
  • Bethanthen cream
  • 2 Aptamil baby formula (in case the breastfeeding doesn’t work out)

And then for my bag:

Inside this huge bag, are smaller bags to make it easier to find things.

In the flat spotty bag:

  • Notepad and pencil
  • Headphones
  • Phone charger
  • Charging unit
  • Purse (will be packed last minute)
  • Maternity notes (will be packed last minute)
  • Phone (will be packed last minute)

In the large spotty bag:

All my clothes for during the labour and afterwards including:

  • Nursing nightwear
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Going home clothes
  • The nightie I wore when Evelina was born
  • Bed socks

In the red toiletry bag:

  • Shampoo / conditioner / shower cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm
  • Water spray
  • Hair brush / grips / bobble
  • Deodorant
  • Make-up (yeah right!)
  • Toothbrush and paste

And at the bottom of the bag is a pillow from home as the ones in hospital are not great especially with the waterproof covers.

If you would like a copy of the list, you can click here to download.


Books on Writing


Does anyone else have a bookshelf like this? I’ve accumulated several books on writing from my degree and from my own interest in developing my craft (*cringe*). I feel like this is what a noob writer does – read about writing to avoid actually having to, you know, write.

I think my favourite book on writing is Stephen King’s On Writing which simultaneously inspires me and terrifies me.


He doesn’t muck about, does he? And whilst I am rarely sitting around waiting for inspiration, I do put off writing because I have this weird feeling of shame – like I’m playing Writer Dress-Up and someone is going to walk in on me and laugh. It’s good to be reminded that it is work and so long as you are working at it, you deserve to call yourself a writer.


The most practical and useful book in terms of planning was the Ready, Set, Novel ! Writer’s Workbook which gives prompts and step by step activities to help you start to outline a novel. For a newbie like me who is not really expecting to write for anything other than my own benefit (although I always hear a tiny, distant whisper of ‘Who knows..?’ whenever I think that), it was just what I needed to get started and I have since made a start on my (perhaps over-ambitious) First Novel. I’m only 2000-odd words in but it’s a start and I really need to get that habit of daily writing underway (not just here!) so that I can make some progress.


My New Planner


As a stationery fiend, I have been eyeing a lifestyle planner for 2016 that I could use for to-do lists, home admin, appointments and anything else that will help me remember what is meant to be happening around me once the new mama haze sets in.

I loved the look of Elise Blaha‘s Get To Work Book but the shipping costs made it prohibitive. Erin Condren’s LifePlanners are gorgeous but again, so pricey coming from the States. So I decided to look this side of the pond and found the Pirongs website. I had bought a non-personalised teacher planner from them when I was a student teacher so I knew that their products we of a high quality. Their Unique Lifestyle Planner was definitely the best option since it also allowed me to personalise what pages to include and which format I want the diary pages to come in. Rich got me a gift voucher for Christmas knowing I would want to spend time choosing the different options (front cover, size etc.)


I chose an A5 size with the hearts cover as it had a stitch design which I loved. I added gold rings, bookmark and elastic holder for a bit of glitz. I covered the predesigned ‘This planner belongs to’ front page (I had already put my name on the front cover after all!) and added the picture of one of my favourite writing quotations instead. Next is a Year-to-View double page.


Next are the diary pages. Each month starts with a Month-to-View double page which I will use for birthdays and any important events.


I chose the vertical Week-to-View design – I like the space for Weekly goals, to-dos and daily to-dos which I will use for important tasks and blog post planning.


Note the gorgeous platinum-plated pen – another gift from Rich this Christmas!

After the diary pages, there are home organisation / lifestyle pages which I chose:



Then there are some holiday planning pages (planning list page and packing checklist).



Then I added some cleaning planner pages where I can list chores.




Finally, I added a pen holder and a plastic wallet at the back in which I’m keeping the stickers that came with the planner. With all the extras and the delivery, it came in under £30 which is not at all bad, especially compared to the cost of buying an American equivalent. I am a happy lady and look forward to busting out the washi tape to make it even prettier on the inside.


Journal, Mama, Simple Life

Nurture – My Word for 2016


I haven’t had a proper think about New Year’s Resolutions yet. I might. But I haven’t yet. They seem to follow the same tune each year so it seems somewhat pointless to rehash the same old wistful optimism that This Year will the year where I eat better, read more, write more, watch less TV and generally make better use of Time.

This year, though, I have an imminent arrival of a new human to care for and as such, I do not feel inclined to load myself with the usual expectations. This doesn’t stop me from wanting to do things differently; I just am not sure I am ready to commit those wants to the screen.

I have decided what my Word will be for 2016. Last year, I wanted to be Positive, the year before, Tough. This year, I will focus on the word Nurture. This will apply to our new baby, our daughter, my husband, my parents, all my other relationships and, not to be forgotten, myself. I am only a good mother if I remember to take care of myself too.

One of the best things about blogging, which I hadn’t realised I’d been missing until I started up again this year, is that it gives me time to reflect properly on what is happening around me. The fog of teaching often means that you are too tired or busy to be properly present in your life and I am so looking forward to rediscovering what it is like to live in a more simple, intentional way. I don’t even care how ridiculous that sounds! I will be able to make this blog be part of my nurturing as I take time to just think.



Currently Reading

For the third year running, I’ve set myself the challenge of reading 50 books in a year. I have year to manage it, falling 9 or 10 books short but I’m determined! Right now, I’m reading 4 books:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) – a re-read so I can read Go Set a Watchtower with TKAM fresh in my mind.
  2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan) – because I love John Green and after reading Every Day, also David Levithan.
  3. Allegiant (Veronica Roth) – a kid at school gave away a huge spoiler so I put off reading it but with the film coming out this year, I want to read it first.
  4. Someday, Someday, Maybe (Lauren Graham) – I have discovered the joy of listening to audio books in the car or at bedtime when I’m struggling to sleep.