16 September 2014

small things. gardening.

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This was one of those impromptu activities that you actually realise they could spend hours on and they keep asking you to do for days after.
I wrote here about the small things being the big things and it struck me that this was another of those moments. And how actually, when we stop to take stock...that our dailies; the seemingly small and insignificant, the ordinary and routine
 are brimming with these 'little bigs'.
If only we notice.
I'm not a big gardener so this is novelty for us. They were so engrossed and completely content. The bonus is our front door looks so colourful and gorgeous!
Any other ideas for easy but engaging outdoor activities?

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11 September 2014


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For as long as Johnny has had the playhouse on the go, I've had a few things in the back of my mind to make for it.
This bunting that can stay up in all weathers wasn't the first on my to do list but made it to the top somehow!
It is super easy and the girls helped me out...fuelled in their efforts by a bit of a mid morning snack.

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This is what you need:
*long piece of string 
*oil cloth
*glue gun
*sewing machine (optional)

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I gave the girls each a stencil, folded a piece of oil cloth over and got them to draw and cut round. The triangles were far from perfect but I love they were all cut out by them!

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I made 12 of the diamond shapes to fit into our space but this can be adapted to suit whatever space you want to fill.

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Lay the string along the centre fold of the diamond shape.
I glued this in position using the glue gun as I didn't want the triangles to move about.
Glue an edge right around the triangle and fold the diamond over onto itself to give you the triangle shape with the string secured between the fold.

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Leave a space between each triangle and repeat until you've used up all your cut outs.
At this point you can sew around the edge (I did - as I want it to last as long as possible!) but this is completely optional!

I am so pleased with how it turned out and adds a little colour to the front...hopefully this will be a little brightener in the midst of winter!

To see who I'm linking up with see here.

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8 September 2014

the small things.

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I remember reading a quote on Pinterest that really resonated with me...that when I read it, I realised that the small things are really the big things. I have mulled on this so much this week, I don't know why. 

We did so many small, simple things this weekend. A lot of time together. A lot of time outdoors and in the elements. Nothing special or out of the ordinary...hot chocolate and a fire in the forest, a cycle by the coast, a trip to my parents to see an airshow. Each one a small thing in it's own right but each one actually each a big thing. The things memories are made of and a life together is built. Importance placed on being together, the chat, the craic.
Importance placed on each little person being an intrinsic part of us, who we are. A unit. Each valued and having something to give, to offer.


I don't want to miss the small things, to get bent out of shape by the things that aren't important.
I want to keep in mind that it's the small things that are really the big things.

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28 August 2014

easing back into school...reflecting.

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This week after reading this article, I have endeavoured to create more space in our day for some routines that will help settle the girls back into some rhythms for school.
There have been things that have worked and things that are harder...routines that need more time to establish than a few days.
So we did our best; some structure, whilst trying to balance it with the freedom of the last days of summer and the loveliness of days free of time restraints. It worked ok and flexibility reigned as days of baking and walking in the forest with friends maybe took the place of the library and a set table routine.

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I have read a couple of school related articles, this one which I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with and this one, which I love elements of.

I am always torn at this time of year...the newness of a school year and the excitement that it holds for the girls and the loss of time to just be.  The laid back side of my nature finds such soul restoration in the summer months.

The other side of the coin is that, a lot of time in each others company (which they're not used to) leads to my all time big trigger...bickering, teasing and a general unkindness to each other. 
That gentleness I try to employ in my parenting seems to fly out the window in an instant!
So I think the rhythms of the year are a great thing...rest and restoration where they are needed, both for us and the girls. Restorative so that when they reach an end we are upbeat about the year ahead.

27 August 2014

back to school diys.

I've done a few wee bits and bobs for the girls heading back to school...check out these if you fancy a bit of sewing before school starts back up!! photo DIY_zps15a0da94.jpg
** easy sew pencil case...perfect for all those newly sharpened pencils! **

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** drawstring bags using vintage fabric and an old duvet cover...perfect for PE gutties! **

And for some other inspiration head to these sites. I'm definitely going to give them a go!
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** liberty fabric drawstring bags...I love the neon straps **
The Purl Bee

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** felt covered notebooks...perfect for all those homework books! **
Everything Etsy

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** I looove this so much...the perfect wee backpack for a little one! **
Hart & Sew

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** washi tape notebooks and pencils...so easy and perfect for all that wash tape we all store! **
Lia Griffith

24 August 2014

sewing with kids. easy cushions.

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Now that the playhouse is nearing an end, we have a couple of things to sew to decorate it and make it cosy! I want to involve the girls in as many of these as I can so when we chatted about making cushions for the sofa, we sought out inspiration on pinterest! Abi saw these and wanted to make a cloud with eyes but with a flat base (not specific at all!), Annie liked the raindrop and we stuck to a basic envelope cushion for Maddie.
Apologies...this is a bit of a long post but 3 in 1 so good value!

The fabrics they chose...
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the cloud:

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// I made a stencil which Abi used to draw the cloud shape onto the back of the fabric using disappearing fabric marker. She then cut out 2 pieces of the fabric.

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// We put one of the fabric pieces in an embroidery hoop to keep it taut while she hand stitched the eyes and mouth. (She drew the face using the disappearing pen so she knew where to stitch)
// When done, we took it out of the hoop and pressed both pieces of fabric.

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// Sitich around the shape leaving an opening of a couple of inches.
// Snip around the curved edges.

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// Turn right side round, fill with stuffing and hand stitch close.


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the raindrop:

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// Following the same steps as the cloud cushion, we cut out 2 pieces of raindrop shaped fabric.
// Place one in an embroidery hoop and hand stitch the face.
// Remove from the hoop and press.

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// Place right sides together and stitch around, leaving a gap at the base.

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// Turn right side round and fill with stuffing.
// Hand stitch the gap closed.

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basic envelope cushion:

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To see other versions of this see here and here.

// We used this ikea cushion inner so cut 3 pieces of fabric. (One square 40cm x 40 cm and 2 pieces 40cm x 30cm)
// Fold the edges of the two smaller pieces over to create a hemmed edge and press.
// Stitch these on the machine.

This is a little aside to say that Madeleine is only just turned 4.  She doesn't like to be left out and loves to press the pedal of the machine when I sew. I love that she wants to join in so as she 'sews' I help her guide the fabric...her eyes are mainly on her feet though! She managed really well to get a good speed and was able to stop at the corners, help me lift the foot and turn the fabric.  I think it's great to let them feel like it's theirs and they've made it.

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// Lay the square fabric face up and the 2 other pieces face down on top.  These should overlap which will create your envelope that allows your cushion to slip easily inside.
// Pin in place and sew around the outside edge of the cushion.

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// Remove the pins and turn right side round.
// At this point I sewed 2 rows of stitching around the edge of the cushion to give it a bit of an edge and I think the padded part really stands out but this is entirely optional.

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// Your cushion inner should fit snugly inside.

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They're now planning their next ones: animals!!!
To see who I'm linking up with check out here!

22 August 2014

easing back to school; routines and rhythms

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Johnny's back at work and we have a bit of time before the girls are back.
The summer is slowly slipping away and I'm glad we made the most of the opportunities to be free from time restraints and allow the girls to just be;
be giggly
be loud
be energetic
be chilled out 
be free.
Those slow, lazy mornings were savoured and enjoyed. 
In spite of that though, part of me is always glad to get back into some rhythms again; maybe because we live our lives by the clock a lot of the time, the summer is the absolute opposite; a life without structure.

This week I'm planning to ease the girls into some rhythms to make the transition back to school a little easier.
I read this and loved the idea of a content rich home...I've always been a bit of a home bird and I want my girls to love where they are; for it to be a place where they feel free to be creative, learn about life and explore new ideas.

So here's what my plan for the next week is:

book rich:

a basket full of books || a quiet time of reading every day after they're washed and ready for the day.

audio cds ||  we're hitting the library this afternoon and as well as some books for their basket we're going to get some cds for their down time

novels  ||  because it's so light these nights and they're playing out til a bit later, reading to them has been squeezed into a short story or out altogether...we're going to get back into our wee night time snuggles and stories

mind rich:

i have set out a few things from their last years work that I want to go over before they go back into school...we've done bits and pieces of mental maths and spellings here and there over the last couple of months but we're going to sit down and have a regular wee space to do this each day before school starts back up

after lunch we're going to have a bit of down time, to do something quietly and alone...i don't mind what that is or where it is but just a break from everyone else!

body rich:

get outside as much as possible...whether that's with their friends outside or a walk or cycle as our wee family; a bit of fresh air before the classroom walls contain.

Little rhythms, each not too long and lots a part of their summer months anyway (just not in a set structure or a directed activity) so nothing very new, but more a time to ease back into the normal rhythms of school term and to help them settle a little more easily to structure and daily routine.

I'll let you know how we get on!!