What do you get for your niece and nephew when you’re the coolest aunt in the world? Why, handmade teddy bears, of course! It’s a project that has been six months in the making and now the bears are finally wrapped up and flying across the sea to reach the little ones in Ireland in time for Christmas. Now, I’m not saying that it took me six months to actually sew the bears – the making part is quite a simple process (thanks to the new teddy bear pattern I used) – it was all the planning that went into the project that took some time and I’ll tell you why.I wanted to make a keepsake teddy bear for each child, so I wanted them to be personalised in some way. When I first opened up the pattern I could see that it would be easy to make the pattern pieces fit into items of my niece and nephew’s clothing. What better way to make a personalised gift, and to upcycle old clothing at the same time, than to reuse their baby clothes to make them a teddy bear? I asked their parents if they had any of their tiny outfits left, and luckily they did. I asked for non-stretchy items (which are easier to sew) and it wasn’t long before a bag of baby clothes arrived. I got the newly launched Charlie teddy bear pattern from Amazing Craft and studied the instructions from front to back before getting started. There’s only a handful of pattern pieces and the construction seemed so much more straightforward than bear patterns I’ve used in the past. I was eager to get started and see just how the pattern worked. I’m pleased to report that this is the most simple-to-use set of instructions, and having fewer pattern pieces meant much less tacking, pinning and fiddling. I whizzed up the arms and legs in no time at all. The body is the only piece that has any darts in it, and even then there’s only two small darts so it’s really uncomplicated to construct. I guess the pattern does what it says on the cover – it truly is ‘bear making for beginners’ and it couldn’t be easier to follow. It’s available as printed instructions (which I got, at £6.99) or as a digital download to print at home for only £4.99. The little trousers were the perfect base to make the arms and legs of the teddies – the linen fabric wasn’t at all stretchy and I could make a feature out of the details on the trousers. I positioned the pattern pieces so that my niece’s bear would have the spotty trim from the trousers around the outside of the paws, and my nephew’s bear has tiny pockets on the legs. I could even reuse the lining of my nephew’s trousers to make a soft inner arm, and I added little monster designs from his tiny t-shirt to make contrasting paws and feet. I used a floral baby-grow to make the insides my of niece’s bear’s arms and even the bears’ ears have a patterned underside. I wanted the bears to be safe for the little ones to carry around, so I got some safety eyes and plastic safety joints from Amazing Craft. This means that the head, arms and legs are poseable and the eyes can’t be bitten off because they pop together and clamp into place. In fact, I couldn’t even get the joints apart again if I tried! My tip for using these is to get the position of the arms and legs right first time, because you won’t be able to take them off again if they’re in the wrong place, so double-check the position before pushing the joints together. Soaking the joints in hot water for a minute will make them a littler easier to pop together. The plastic joints are also safe to go in the washing machine, which is good news because we all know how mucky kid’s teddies get!
If you like buses, trams, motor bikes, old trucks and fire engines (or lawnmowers, for that matter) this is the museum for you. It’s packed full of vintage vehicles and, while it looks unassuming from the outside, it’s like a tardis inside. There are plenty of additional display that lead off from the main bus station hanger, and you can even see inside the workshops where restoration projects are ongoing. But it’s not just an interesting history exhibit – there are plenty of interactive displays too. With opportunities to hop aboard retro buses and trams, it’s simply fascinating for the little ones. Plus, they can even have a go on the fire engine! Here are some snaps from my visit to the transport museum and my tips for making a visit. Parking – While I didn’t spot a dedicated car park, there’s plenty of parking space available beside the industrial road which runs alongside the museum hangar. And there’s no charge to park.
Food and drink – The Sunbeam Tea Rooms offers food and drink at reasonable prices, or you could take a picnic to enjoy on the grassed area outside the front of the museum. We popped in and out of the museum all day long, so readmission is possible.
I’m taking glamping to the next level. Yes, I’m talking about camping indoors. Okay, maybe this playden for the little ones isn’t quite waterproof, so it’s not really festival-friendly. And it’s more a playhouse than a stayhouse. Even so, it’s something that my nephew really wanted – his very own campervan, just like daddy. One sunny afternoon I set about making a mini-version of a VW camper especially for him, and actually stitched it up in my own caravan workshop. How many caravans went into making this playhouse? At least two! Read on to find out how to make a mini camper den for your children, your friend’s little ones or your nephews and nieces.
The campervan den is actually a table cover. Its frame is created by the dining table so the first step is to take the measurements of the table you’re planning to use. It could be a fold out picnic table, a 8 person dining table, whatever kind of table you have at home is fine, as long as the kids can sit underneath it. The table will determine the side of the playhouse you’ll be able to make so measure the top and each side so that you have the measurements you’ll need to cut out a cover from fabric. I used the measurements to make a paper template of all four sides and the top. I then divided the sides into thirds, cutting the top section out of strong white fabric, and the bottom two-thirds from green canvas. The top was the same white fabric and I simply cut one of the longer sizes in half to create a door entrance. If you want to create a VW campervan effect on the front of the cover, cut a ‘V’ shape at the bottom of the white fabric to extend into the green area. I drew the symbol on the fabric using a permanent pen, but you could sew on the shape at this stage if you prefer.Use a cereal box to make a template for rounded window holes. When you’re happy with the size of the windows, trace two holes onto the front white piece of fabric, two on the side piece, one on each ‘door’ and one window on the back piece. Cut out the holes and then – the fun part – I used some sparkly silver tulle to cover the windows.
After waiting all year for the summer holidays to arrive, it’s unfortunate when the weather forecast looks gloomy. Even though we’ve been having lovely sunny days here recently, it’s almost inevitable that a couple of days will be drizzly during the long summer break. So what can you do with the kids when they’re stuck inside on grey days? I’ve come up with a couple of ideas to keep little ones entertained but that don’t cost a fortune.
I love to bake with my niece and nephew and try to do it as often as I can. It’s so lovely to watch them get stuck into stirring up a recipe and see the concentration on their faces as they follow the recipe instructions. Add the ingredients to your weekly shopping in the run up to the summer holidays and you could have everything you need in the cupboard, ready for a rainy day. You can mix up a simple can’t-go-wrong recipe for milk loaf with the kids in the morning, and they can turn it into sandwiches by lunchtime. Baking scones or cornflake cakes during the afternoon guarantees a calm tea-time as they sit down to enjoy the treats they made.
Build a den
Remember how much fun it was to build a den when you were little? It costs nothing to make – you just need some sheets, pegs and bits of furniture. Use a drying rack to prop up blankets as a roof, and throw duvets and cushions on the floor for comfort. And when your den is complete, take some snacks and treats (perhaps something they’ve baked themselves) inside it to enjoy an indoor picnic, or get out the colouring books.
I love winter weddings. The festive atmosphere puts everyone in a party mood and the cold weather can sometimes even deliver snow – how amazing would that be on your wedding day?! Had I not held my wedding in august, my second choice would have been December, as it’s my favourite month. The only problem with winter weddings is that the wedding industry kind of has a ‘season’, so it’s more difficult to find pretty formal outfits in the shops at this time of year. There’s less choice, and the things that are available tend to be more expensive.
Are you planning on attending a wedding with your family, but are on a shoestring budget that’s causing you concern, especially when it comes to being able to dress your child for your big event? First off, rest assured that there are ways around the seasonal nature of wedding shopping in winter, and you can work with your budget in order to make everyone in your family look fabulous for the big day. Continue reading to learn more!
Visit charity shops There are plenty of great reasons to visit charity shops. In addition to staying within your budget, you can find a variety of styles, especially when it comes to formal attire. Therefore, there’s no reason to be ashamed of shopping at a thrift store, especially if you like to style your kids a little bit outside the box and maybe even go for a bit of a vintage vibe.
Borrow an outfit In addition to second-hand shops, you can also stick to your budget by borrowing a children’s outfit from friends or other family members. You may even be able to find something that will not only fit your child but will also match the colour scheme of the wedding that you’ll be attending.
Celebrate your little girl’s love of fairies and all things magical by turning her bedroom into a beautiful fairy cove, no matter what size the room is or your pocket. Here are a few simple ways you can add a touch of fairy dust and sparkle to your girl’s bedroom that she will love and cherish.
Drape, Drape, Drape
There’s no easier way to create a dreamy, soft atmosphere than to drape billowy, light fabrics around the room. Use cream or white coloured sheer fabric that you can buy cheaply to create curtains for windows or attach to the ceiling with simple hooks and string to drape over the bed. Your little one will love entering into her luxury little chamber at night with a simple draped covering.
Speaking of beds, the sleeping space in a small room can often take over it completely. You can find plenty of affordable mid-sleeper beds for kids with perfect fairy themes that are often multi-purpose as they feature a desk, storage drawers or play spaces to boost the functionality of the room.
One advantage of your little girl being into fairies is that there are endless amounts of cheap and fun craft activities that they can do. Spend some playtime getting creative and making fairy-themed decorations for her room like fairy drawings with real flowers that you can frame and hang. Make simple hanging vines out of green string and tissue paper leaves or cut symmetrical butterfly wing paper shapes that your kids can paint or colour with their own designs (don’t forget the glitter!). You can either hang their crafted ornaments around the room or place them carefully on windowsills or surfaces. Another clever idea is constructing a toadstool seat out of reclaimed wood and an up-turned salad bowl!
Wall of Lights
No fairy bedroom is complete without soft, twinkling fairy lights. These can be bought cheaply, especially after Christmas time and why not create a fairy light wall by hanging the lights across in a zig-zag pattern with a couple of nails. You can even add tiny wooden pegs that they can use to hang their favourite pictures or some of their crafts up on the wall too.
Your little one is bound to love all of these additions to their room. Not only do they add to the enjoyment of their own space but it also shows how much you care about what interests them. It’s easy to go out and spend loads of money on expensive decorations and interior designs but by creating your own you can get your kids more involved in the process, adding that personal, heartfelt touch to your family home.
I’ve been thinking it’s about time that my Tuesday Shoesday blog posts begin looking at something different. So far, I’ve always focused on ladies shoes – I know I mentioned mens brogues a couple of weeks ago, but somehow I managed to turn it into a women’s fashion post again. Well this week I am focusing on the little people in our lives and their tiny feet – is there actually anything cuter?!
This week I have had the pleasure of reviewing a gorgeous pair of Start-rite boots with the help of my adorable little nephew. When I first flicked through the online Start-rite lookbook I was overwhelmed by how cute the tiny toddler shoes were, and couldn’t believe that the brand had actually managed to recreate shoes that any adult would be happy to wear, but for tiiiiiny feet. There were so many pairs that I wanted for myself – I know I’ve got small feet, but not that small – but I was equally happy to choose a pair of tiny stylish chelsea boots for my favourite little man.
There were squeals galore when the tiny shoe box arrived containing the world’s smallest replica of a pair of mens leather boots – so well packaged and fantastic quality! I know that whole point of getting a pair of Start-rite shoes is to give your children’s’ feet the best possible support and fit so that they don’t damage their growing feet when they start walking, but honestly, the main attraction for me was how fantastically well-designed and fashionable they look! But as I said, that’s not the point, it’s all about protecting young feet and Start-rite offer whole and half sizes plus 6 width fittings so I can be sure that they are exactly the right size for my little nephew and won’t compromise the development of his tiny feet.
I’ve been bursting to share these gorgeous photos of my lovely nephew wearing a pair of Start-rite Digby boots. As soon as we popped the boots on his feet, he was off! Running, jumping around and kicking up the leaves at the playground – for a child who’d only ever toddled around a bit, he was certainly getting a move on now that he had the right footwear! As you can imagine, the boots fitted him to perfection, and they were flexible yet the durable materials were strong enough to withstand all of the mucky activities he was getting stuck into. I think he looks super-cool in the boots and they’ll be great for the whole of the winter. I can’t see them getting ruined or breaking anytime soon, so even after he grows out of them I’m sure they will be polished up ready to hand down to the next addition to the family – or otherwise I want them back, just to look at!
With all the attention I’ve been lavishing on my bedroom during the sleep challenge combined with the interior design ideas I’ve been researching for bedrooms, I thought I would write a little blog post focusing on the cute decor ideas I’ve found for the little ones in your life. I’m a proud aunty with another little niece or nephew on the way, so I couldn’t help being drawn into the adorable design ideas that are out there for babies’ nurseries! Here’s my moodboard of miniature bedroom ideas:
I love how these bedrooms from My Crib Rocks look like proper grown-up rooms, just with smaller furniture in them! It will be super-easy for the child to grow into the space without the need to redecorate or replace the furniture regularly. I especially love the plum-coloured walls: they are so classy and I’d be happy to have them in MY bedroom! A moses basket is always the cutest accessory and it’s so exciting when a family introduces a moses basket into their interior design, because that means a little bundle of joy has just arrived! My husband enjoyed my nephew’s moses basket so much that he considered buying cream waffle sheets for our own bed because it looked so cosy in my nephew’s crib!
I also love the idea of DIY decorations for your baby’s bedroom, to make it even more unique. This DIY bedroom idea was shared by the Dos Family blog and it features a cool tree design over the crib cut from vinyl. The same vinyl has been used to make wildlife decals to decorate the furniture, and animal accessories complete the forest theme. This is great to inspire your child as they grow up, with stories coming to life around them – imagine reading them the Animals of Farthing Wood while they sleep in a bedroom like this – what amazing dreams they would have!
It’s lovely to make personalised things for your child’s bedroom, such as these hand-crafted mobiles and letter frames below. These items can be easily crafted as a gift to celebrate the new baby, and they will be likely to be kept as heirlooms, which can be passed down to the next child, or even to the next generation – imagine your baby hanging the same homemade mobile above his childs’ cot, how cute is that?! Check out my children’s Pinterest board for image links and more inspiration.
Yes, I’ve been making tutus this week, as usual – but I was extra-excited when a custom order arrived for a fabulous rainbow ballet tutu because this really is one of my favourite tutus!
I love using the bright colours and also enjoy the challenge of getting 2 full rainbows (front and back) to match up while still fitting within the waistband measurement I’m using – lots of measuring and pins involved 😉 There’s actually a lot more work required in making one of these beauties compared to single colour tutus, but it always give a really satisfying result – and the rainbow tutus are the same price as all the other fairy tutus, so it’s a bargain really!
This tutu is super-full and fluffy for a special event, and I hope that my fairy-customer really enjoys wearing it! I make these for children too – this one is an adult size – Here’s the pics of my little fairy-helper wearing one below:
Have a look at www.TutusWingsandPrettyThings.com for dressing-up inspiration and to get your own custom-made tutu in any colours!
- Today is an exciting day (cassiefairy.com)
- Famous Tutus – Doing it for the kidz (cassiefairy.com)
- Inspiration for making your own fancy dress costume (cassiefairy.com)
- Fabulous fantasy magazines – Faeries and Enchantment & Mermaids (cassiefairy.com)
- Happy Easter from Tutus, Wings & Pretty Things (cassiefairy.com)
Most of my “Famous Tutus” post feature adults getting their princess-vibe on wearing tutus for fancy dress or as fashion items. But in truth, who are tutus really for? That’s right – the little ‘uns! And it’s about time I shared with you some of the famous offspring who have chosen tutus as their look-de-jour and who make these tutus look even cuter than I could have ever thought possible!
Here’s Nicole Ritchie with her cute daughter Harlow Madden and the Queen of Pop MDNA with her adopted daughter Mercy. Below is Helena Bonham-Carter and her baby girl Nell, Sarah Michelle Geller with toddler Charlotte and the gorgeous Isla Fisher & little Olive.
And finally, the style icon of little girls everywhere, Suri Cruise – who famously wears stylish tutus whenever she can get the chance!
Wow! I wish I was a little girl again, I’d definitely make the most of being small and cute and would wear a tutu day-in day-out!
If you want to recreate the style of these famous little princesses, please visit www.TutusWingsandPrettyThings.com for child tutus and even matching adult tutus for mum!
- Famous Tutus – Rihanna’s ballerina outfit (cassiefairy.com)
- Famous Tutus – Helena Bonham-Carter (cassiefairy.com)
- Tutus spotted – Little princess in Ecover TV advert 2012 (cassiefairy.com)
- www.TutusWingsandPrettyThings.com Has Launched! (cassiefairy.com)
- A Springtime Fairy Tea Party (cassiefairy.com)