Tuesday, 22 March 2016

What We're Reading - Miles Kelly Nursery Library

We recently rediscovered a lovely collection of books I had bought D for his first Christmas. When we had originally got the books D was too young to really want to use them. He was happy for us to just sing the nursery rhymes to him, as he got older we did start reading the classic fairy tales inside too. However as our book collection grew and we moved house they weren't used. I had been sorting out D's bookshelf for Easter themed books and came across the collection again. Since then we have been reading through some of the books daily and we have some very clear favourites already!


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The collection of books is a set of 10 books from Miles Kelly called the Nursery Library. You can see the front of all 10 books in the collection above. I must say I really do love

Sunday, 20 March 2016

#My Sunday Photo

Well guys, it is Sunday! How fast has this week disappeared? Anyway, by now I am sure you all know it is time for #MySundayPhoto with Phot a life. Pop over an have a look at some other beautiful photo's.


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I fell in love with this photo the minute I took it. I had been wondering what the inside of a rose would look like. This resulted in me pealing back the layers of one of my roses that was starting to wither. I love the angle of this photo and how the petals look with their various shades of red.



Photalife

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Competition Wins February 2016

After my very slow December and January I was a giving starting to give up a bit in February. Honestly I was expecting maybe another win or two but I was more than happy with the six I got. It might not seem like much but I do think that for me it is a pretty good amount.  So here are my wins.


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My first win was a £20 One 4 All gift card. I was delighted with this win as I have been entering their weekly competitions for months on both Facebook and Twitter! I was a little shocked when

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Handmade With Love - Marketstall

It has been quite some time since I wrote a handmade post. I have still been making things in the background over the last few months. Over the month of February I set to making something that was both different and fun for D's birthday.

It all started when I was talking to Simon about what we should get him. I knew that I would be making D some felt food (I will be sharing this with you soon) and so I really wanted to look into getting either a wooden kitchen or some kind of market. After looking online for a while I had seen nothing that I really loved. There where a few kitchens online that I did like but they would have been to big for our house. Which was a big no go area.

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While we where out doing our shopping I spotted the perfect market stall. The only problem was that it was in pretty bad condition, there where black marks all over the yellow sides, I hate the colour yellow and there was a pole along with the awning missing. The awning wasn't that much of a problem as I could easily sew a new one but I had never sanded and repainted any toy before. There where so many questions running through my head while I was standing there staring through the window of a second-hand shop. Honestly I probably looked a bit crazy standing there staring into the abyss of the window. I couldn't get a really good look at it as it was behind some other items. Here it is above washed down.

Anyway, we went back after a week of talking it out and researching all the ways I could fix the market stall back to how it looked before or even better to make it look completely different. I knew I would have to put some real work into it for it to come out looking at least okay.

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I set to work the first night we got it home. I needed to really take the whole thing apart piece by piece and clean each section/piece with a Dettol spray (My favourite disinfectant) I only used a small amount as most of the stall is just wood with no paint or protection. The cleaned parts are what you can see in the picture above.

  My next step was to combat that yellow colour that by this point I really did hate. Cleaning all the pieces had shown me that it had mostly just been dirty and that there wasn't many scratches in the wood or paint. It also showed up the yellow more and the more I seen the greater my distaste came. The only way to get rid of the yellow was to sand it all away. Considering I had never tried something this big before and that I didn't have any specialised equipment for sanding I used some regular sanding blocks that I picked up in Poundland.

I did sand down the first side in 3 days by dry sanding it and I realised that at that rate I would never be finished sanding the yellow away. So I went on google again in search of a way to properly sand it down faster. The only 'faster' way I could find that wouldn't require me to buy a tool for sanding was to wet sand it. Now I tried to wet sand the second side (The back of the first piece) from the start without doing any dry sanding first, this didn't go well. I stood in my back garden for over half an hour sanding away and I barely got any paint off. Why wasn't it working??

Well the answer was that there was a protective spray over the top of the paint which would only come off with a quick dry sanding. This took me another while to figure out as I had to dry the piece and leave it for a while just to make sure it was actually dry. Using one of the sanding blocks I lightly sanded the whole section before I tried the wet sanding again. It actually worked and it worked really well.

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I managed to sand down the whole section in one day. I don't know how long it took as I ended up coming back out every time I went in the kitchen for 5-10 minutes and getting it done little by little. Why? Well because sanding constantly hurts! It really hurts after a while. This was the only way I could make progress without rendering my arms useless. I sanded down the other section of yellow and you can see in the above picture what I was getting to with the sanded section. (I forgot to take a picture before I pained them)

It took a while throughout the days of sanding for me to decide how I was going to create a lasting finish/ colour that would be waterproof and have a good look. To simply paint the market stall with a brush would require a primer which can take up to 24 hours to dry on each side along with the paint and then finally a clear gloss. That would be a lot of painting and a lot more time waiting. I didn't really want to spend another 5 - 6 days painting the stall. The only other way I could find which would be faster and would actually work out cheaper was spray paint.

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I have never used spray paint before and I knew there was a lot I needed to learn and I needed to learn it quickly. This is where I spent my nights in bed searching google for all the information and tips I could find on spray paint and how to use it properly. I must say Google really was my friend during this project! After a while I got the gist of how to use it and what to do in order to protect myself from the fumes. I used some bubble wrap and a plastic sheet to protect the back garden (it's really a yard but any how). I had chosen the green and blue colours of the spray paint above for the market stall.

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Now for the fun bit. I discovered I really enjoyed spray painting! With each piece set out on separate areas for different colours I was ready to start. It wasn't easy to hold my breath and spray at the same time as holding my mask on. (I thought it would be safer not to breathe during the actual spraying to limit the amount of fumes I was breathing in. ) It didn't take long to completely coat each piece on one side and it took even less time for it to dry! I did leave it an hour or two between each side to be safe it was dry. You can see an example of each piece in the picture above.

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There was only three things left to do and the first was to put the market stall back together. This probably took around 25 minutes while I tried to remember where everything was supposed to go and how each screw went in. It looked so different when I had finished! Don't you think?

Now came a bit I hadn't really thought about during the process. There was a long wooden pole missing. If I had thought about this I would have simply found a DIY shop near us and went to get one in the right size. I had completely forgot about it. I also forgot that the only store near us that did them was now shut down! Oops. I did have one pole of wood but it was to big. So I set about using my newly learnt skills to saw the pole to length (I knew how to use the saw before  I had watched Simon use the saw before.It didn't look that hard..)  and to sand down the ends at an angle to ensure they fitted into the circular area cut out on the stall for the pole. This did take quite a while but I got there in the end.

The final piece to do was the awning. I knew what I wanted the awning to look like and the colours I wanted the fabric to be, ideally it would have been the blue and green colour in stripes. However the fabric shop didn't have any fabric that was striped in blue and green of any kind. In the end it was between the blue and green spotted fabric which was pretty thick or the green and white striped fabric which was quite thin. D got to choose and he wanted the spotty fabric so he got the spotty fabric. I set to work after D went to bed and had the awning finished in a few hours. It was easy to make with only having to measure the fabric against the area for the awning on the stall and deciding how low I wanted it to reach. Then all I had to do was use the machine and sew a few lines. One to join the two bottom pieces together along with the side. I then had to measure the section again to see where The first loop for the top pole needed to go and again for the bottom pole. All that was left was two lines of stitching and it was done!

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I had almost finished! I only needed to put the awning on the stall and that would be it. Here is the stall with the awning.

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I was delighted with the finished product! It looked brilliant and I loved all the colour. D loves the market stall which would have originally came from Asda. Here it is above out ready for D to wake up on his birthday. All in all I did spend more on making the stall than it would have originally cost.I don't mind that we spent a bit more on the stall as it is now perfect for D and I know that it will be played with for a long time to come. I spent around £20 - £25 on finishing the stall with the stall itself included which cost £5 to buy. The most expensive part of the stall was the spray paint which I got on an offer of 4 for £20 meaning each can cost £5. I do have another project in mind for the pink and purple paint. Hopefully I will get that one done in the summer.
Wednesday, 9 March 2016

D at 3

Last Friday D turned 3 years old. I can't quite believe it even now. It has been three years since D was born and it feels more like 3 minutes. He has grown and changed quite a bit in the last few months but first I want to tell you about his birthday itself.

For D's first and second birthday's we had a party. The first I spent hours upon hours making cupcakes and a birthday cake and getting everything ready for it. We had been expecting around 30 people to come maybe a few more. Obviously I then had to make sure we had enough of everything for those attending. In the end around 15 people showed up and a few only stayed for a little while. I ended up with so much food left over I didn't know what to do with it! For his second birthday we spent the day together and had a small party with just my family that evening (we had visited Simon's family the day before). That one actually went okay and everyone had fun. The only problem is that I don't speak to many people in my family now and those I do speak to live in England, a whole ocean away.


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D's Birthday Cake

So this year Me and Simon sat down trying to figure out what to do. In the end we decided to take D out to one of his favourite places and spend the day just us. We took a trip to the Ulster Museum in Belfast to see everything and to take part in a few more of the activities than we had last time.

I must say D was very excited about going and I knew the minute we left the house that we had made the right decision. D practically ran the whole way and refused to stop for longer than a minute or two! He was so excited to get there and to see everything to do with dinosaurs! Now there are a few good exhibits which relate to dinosaurs or other animals but they where pretty spaced out.

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We kept D occupied by completing all the little activity areas in the museum and I think D was most impressed by the art section where he played with the light table and coloured blocks.

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He also loved playing dress up in all the clothing they had out from times through history. They even had a big screen with frames cut out where D and Simon took great pleasure in dressing up for pictures.

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Especially Simon, He didn't even need D to be with him!


He liked the nature area too where he learned all about animals.

All round we had a great day and we where all tired out by the time we got home!

Now onto his development. D's speech is still growing as well as his understanding of what the words actually mean to everyone else. For a while he did seem to have his own personal system for the meaning of words and no one else knew it. Can make having a conversation difficult. D is starting to speak in full sentences now and doesn't seem to have any difficulty in telling us how is feeling or what he is doing. He has developed a few new phrases which he will repeat like a mantra in any given situation. Today we where walking home and he kept telling me 'I do my best, forget the rest!' (This is from the delightful programme Shimmer and Shine on Nick Jr. Thanks for that Nick Jr!) I do love that it is positive however when you hear this at least 10 times a day and mainly hear it for no other reason than that D wants to say it. It can become a bit annoying.

D is still very interested in reading and can read every single book we own for read with me scout and for his Leap frog reader from memory. I will need to get some new books and try to help him along with some more reading. However he does seem to be recognising more words on the page. While we are reading during the day he will sometimes say the words he knows while I am reading. He is also getting pretty good at spelling. You know how there are some words that you do not under any circumstances want your child to hear due to what these words can entail after they are uttered? Yep those words. Not words that are essentially bad but they do seem to create quite the kick up. D can spell most of those words now. Words like Bath, Train, Bed, Bum, and there are a few more. D will catch on pretty quickly to a word that we don't want him to spell! It does make life a little harder when you are trying to talk in code to each other. Guess we need a new code! Any ideas?

D is also becoming very interested in what is happening around him and will constantly be asking what we are doing or where we are going. He likes to know where the bus is taking us and how long the bus will take to get there. It can be pretty hard to explain that I don't know how long it takes the bus to get there. He has started to really understand how traffic lights work. Which is pretty good. He has known how to use the lights to cross for a good bit now but he never really understood why cars and buses have to stop at the lights. He now knows to look for the lights and counts how long it takes them to change. They do seem to take a little while longer than the number D can count to which is currently 17 (I know such a strange number! ) which means we usually have to start again and D forgets that it takes twice the amount of counting.

D is starting to like colouring and drawing. He wasn't ever really all that interested in drawing pictures or when he was they had to involve more than paper and a crayon. He can hold a pencil/ crayon/ pen in the way we are taught to at school and will know how to move it around the page with a varying force to create different impressions and a different colour. He enjoys drawing circles and lines but hasn't got to the part where they make different shapes by joining up. He does love colouring in and has done for a while. He can now make the colours go in different areas (not all inside the lines but almost!) and is not so interested in making the whole page one colour. He doesn't like just colouring on a blank page, it has to have a picture on it. He has been learning about how different papers need different crayons, pencils, pens or paint to show the colours up properly and he has been enjoying it so far.

All in all D is coming along pretty well and he is very interested in the world around him. He will point out things to us that we probably wouldn't have noticed on our way to places. He still insists on calling all the adults around him Big people and will now openly call them big people. This can get particularly embarrassing when D is talking to people who are of a bigger body size. I then have to explain to people that no he is not trying to call them fat, he is simply telling them that they are tall compared to him! Not sure why they seem to think he is calling them as to be fair I am of a bigger body size myself!

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