Elisa, Katja, Knitting

2015 Crafty Disaster No. 1

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It’s only three weeks in and I’ve already hit my first craft disaster of the year! This does not bode well..

Now I have a confession. I didn’t swatch. Instead I was cocky and figured that as I’ve done some colourwork in this yarn before and got gauge with that there wasn’t any point. And to be fair, it starts off fine but it grows. I started with 7 stitches to the inch and now I’m getting 6. That’s a 3″ difference over 128 stitches. So I’m not so sure that a swatch would have seen off this particular nightmare.

I had been thinking of lining this one with something super soft and slightly less itchy, but now I’m not so sure that this will be enough to save it so I’m trying to emotionally come to terms with the idea of ripping it all out and starting again. The only saving grace with that is that as I want it to be smaller I’ll be able to reuse the yarn – good thing I hadn’t sewn in all those ends yet!

The smaller size is only 4 stitches difference so I guess I’ll go down a needle size and also down a hat size. But right at this very minute I want to shove it all in a bag and throw it into the back of the cupboard 🙁 Such a shame – I was really enjoying this one!

How would you handle this one? Would you rip back or try to somehow pull it in? Would you toss it aside or get started on a new one straight away?

In other news

We went to the Camera Obscura with E and A last week and the kids had an absolute ball. The Camera people were putting on a Toddler week and they did a brilliant job – they even set up one of their meeting rooms to be a break room complete with high chairs, toys and coffee. That was truly inspired – more venues should do this.

Elisa is now walking, albeit unsteadily unless she’s holding onto something. It’s quite scary considering she’s only 9 months old but I guess the incentive to keep up with Katja is probably a great motivator.

Yesterday E and A popped round and we did some biscuit baking, lots of fun. Although next time I think I’ll premix all the ingredients to save some time.

News & Updates, Parenthood

Welcome Elisa

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As we headed into the hospital on Monday morning we had every expectation of being home on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. This expectation was based on prior experience – when induced for Katja I was delivered just 7 hours later. However it soon became clear that this would be a very different experience.

Finally on Thursday came the welcome news that my waters could be broken. We waited for Christian to finish up at home and make his way in and then we headed to delivery room 8.

Now I’ll spare you all of the details and just say that after my waters being broken it took just 4 intense hours until little Elisa was placed on my chest just past 1 on Friday morning. It was fabulous having Christian there – he asked for the morphine injection once he judged that my pain level was close to when I had needed it for Katja.

But that was not to be the end of the story. After being judged low risk and being installed in the birthing centre’s plush post natal ward I lost some blood, reckoned to be about a litre and enough that when you added my ghost white face and the fact that all I wanted to do was sleep meant that I was soon wheeled back down to a room where there were lots of machines going ping, hooked up to monitors and drips and became the centre of attention for a while.

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In the end it wasn’t until Sunday evening that they were finally happy with us leaving – an entire week in hospital, the longest I ever have spent before and hopefully the longest stint for a long time to come.

I have to say that all of the staff I encountered were absolutely wonderful, and all of the interactions I witnessed between staff and students (Edinburgh Royal Infirmary is a teaching hospital) leave me confident that anyone who gives birth there in the future will also have as great an experience as possible.

My only complaints were that one of the meals labelled a “real Cornish pasty” really was not at all, and that one of the women on my shared ward decided that making a continuous round of shouty phone calls until past 11pm was an acceptable thing to do. Oh and the internet access was woeful – which meant that I couldn’t look up the how to vids and find out how to finish my socks!

Anyway, it’s wonderful to be home. It’s delightful watching Katja interacting with “Baby” and so lovely to have our completed family.

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Craft, sewing

New Sheets

D-Day for Bump’s arrival is getting ever closer. We’ve confirmed with the consultants that I shall be induced a few days before the due date. This is due to my age. Even though all of the growth scans look perfect and Bump is wriggling around like a mad thing statistics support the routine inducement of women over 40 years at or just before term. It seems that going over the chances of something going drastically wrong rises sharply. From my perspective, we get to meet Bump earlier and hopefully she’ll be a few grams lighter and thus easier.

Anyway, this week appears to be nesting week. We’ve started with setting up the crib. In the end we went for a simple swinging crib. When ordering the crib I naturally looked to order some sheets for it as well. Seems the going rate is £15 for two fitted sheets. Meanwhile the going rate for a doona (duvet) cover and pillowcase cover for Katja is about £30. It’s utter madness and there’s no way I’m spending more on sheets for the girls than I do on sheets for myself.

Aldi was selling sheets last weekend, so I popped in and grabbed a single set for £8. (I also spent £2 on elastic) Yesterday I got to work on them. I laid the doona cover on the floor and Katja’s existing one over the top, matching up one of the corners. I then cut out the size leaving about 1 inch on the side and two inches along the top as seam allowances.

Next I sewed up the side seam, just a simple straight seam and overedged with zigzag. I folded over the end and sewed that with a straight stitch and then sewed it together leaving a gap of about 40cm in the middle to allow for the doona to be placed inside. At this point I could have added a couple of buttonholes and then buttons but so far I haven’t bothered (yes I know, I’m lazy). Toddler doona cover done.

The pillow case was easier. I lined the edge up with the open end of the pillowcase – this meant that I could take advantage of the folded over bit in the original. I then cut to size, sewed up with straight stitches and overedged. Fits her mini pillow perfectly.

Next I moved on to the crib sheets. Using the left overs from the single doona cover I cut out two pieces the same size as the crib mattress according to the instructions on Cintia’s blog MyPoppet. It was incredibly simple and took less than an hour to make up both sheets.

So all in all, £10 spent and £35 saved – and even better I’ve got much much prettier sheets than any I’ve seen at those silly prices. I call this a win, in fact I’m dead chuffed with myself for this project.

Parenthood, Shopping, Stuff

Baby Box vs Bounty

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In Finland every expectant mother receives a Baby Box, for free. No matter how much they earn. Above is the 2012-2013 baby box and contents. It’s full of everything you need for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. The box itself doubles as a moses basket and it even comes with a mattress to make that a viable proposition as well as a sleeping bag and snow suit. For full contents you can see the website. Of course not every mother needs the box, you can opt for a €140 grant instead (the box and contents is worth about €200)

Tastefully selected, there is a real push from companies to supply (imagine the size of the orders!) so it obviously costs the government much less than it would cost each family to purchase all items separately.

As well as being down right handy, the box also is a huge stress reliever for new parents. No panic over what do I need to buy and how much? Have I forgotten something vital? No pouring over stupid lists in magazines which tell you invariably that you simply cannot cope without a baby wipes warmer or some other ridiculous piece of useless kit. You simply open your box and there it is.

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So, let’s look at Britain. Here we have the Bounty pack.

On your first midwife visit you receive your first pack – thereby highlighting it’s legitimacy and importance. You’re told that the plastic sleeve is the perfect size for your folder of medical notes to stop it getting wet, like it was meant to be. Inside you find all sorts of bits of information. Here’s my latest first Bounty pack –

Inside was the following

– NHS Scotland leaflet on Whooping Cough
– photocopy of Unicef leaflet “Feeding Your New Baby”
– NHS leaflet (photocopy) “A guide to your baby’s movements during pregnancy”
– NHS Scotland booklet “Off to a good start” about breastfeeding
– NHS DVD “from bump to breastfeeding”
– Money Advice Service booklet “Having a baby”
– Money Advice Service booklet “Parent’s guide to money”
– business card for Tommy’s PregnancyLine (talk to a midwife)

So far, so good (although there are other options for feeding which a new mum might need information on)

But, here’s the rest

– form to complete to take in to a select number of stores to pick up my next Bounty pack
– Cussons stretch mark cream sample and 30p off voucher (stretch mark creams are not proven to do anything)
– advertising from Family Investments
– advertising from Ocado – £20 off first shop over £80
– voucher from photobox – free prints or 1 free poster print
– advertising from Sainsbury’s for £15 off first online shop (ie doesn’t apply to me)
– strange card for framing your scan pic from Bepanthen
– advertising from mamabloom.com
– advertising from 24studio.co.uk
– voucher for £1.50 off pregnancy vitamins
– magnet for the fridge with list of foods to avoid, although confusingly looks like foods to eat
– form to join the Bounty club
– Bounty magazine

So, an awful lot of useless stuff mixed in with some actually quite important stuff and only one pathetic sample for a product that is not scientifically proven to do anything at all.

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Today I took in the form to pick up the second Bounty pack. This pack is much much thicker so hopefully has some more useful things inside.

– sample of fairy washing powder
– sample of simple hydrating light moisturiser
– sample of sudocrem (I’m allergic to it!)
– sample of Tena liner
– newborn size baby towel with 2 x persil washing liquid samples and 2 x comfort fabric softener samples and vouchers off full priced products (impressed, this wasn’t in my pack for Katja)
– ovaltine sample (hot chocolate drink)
– advertising from Dettol sealed in a plastic bag to make it look like a sample
– card from bliss re premature baby support
– ocado, photobox, sainsburys advertising as before
– advert from 24ace.co.uk – looks just as dodgy as the 24studio.co.uk one
– catalogue from Babies R Us
– catalogue from Anglecare
– catalogue from Fisher-Price
– voucher for a free rattle providing you join the Fisher Price club (free)
– Bounty magazine

So, another bag largely full of useless, although admittedly better than the first for samples this one is woefully short on actual information.

Apparently Asda gives additional samples with the packs, but I was unable to locate an Asda that I could get to that had stock and after two months gave up and collected mine from Boots.

I can’t help wondering how many people actually use all those silly advertising things. Surely companies like Sainsbury’s would be better off including a sample of one of the body suits (which are actually very good). I’m impressed by the Persil/Comfort inclusion, but it’s pathetic compared to Finland!

Anyway, I thought other new mums might be interested in seeing what you get when you sign up to the horror of Bounty!

Stuff

Introducing…

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We are so very excited to be able to introduce you to Bump version 2.

Yes, we finally got to see our second Bump and are pleased to say that this little one is quite a wriggler. It kept stretching out and rolling over and was clearly wide awake during the scan. Such an amazing thing to see. We haven’t found out what flavour yet – that’s not until the next scan. This one is to do a few medical tests and to figure out the official due date which is 31st March 2014.

Craft, Finished Projects, sewing

Fancy New Nappy Bag

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I’m so proud of my new nappy bag, just have to show it off! I started this one before Christmas and it’s sat there, mostly done, while I tried to figure out how to finish it. Finally yesterday I got it sorted. Granted it’s not professional-quality finished, but then I’m not exactly trying to sell it and I’ll never make another.

There’s so many lovely nappy (for Americans a nappy is a diaper) bags out there but they cost a fortune. Most have heaps of little pockets and matching change mats and the like. But at the end of the day you just need a bag to carry stuff, trying to figure out which pocket you put your keys in when you have a crying baby and you’re standing in front of your door in the pouring rain is not fun and I’m convinced it’s no quicker than just rummaging in a large sack anyway.

Typical me, most of the bags were also not quite right – the ones with great designs and nifty features tended to be horrid colours and those with the nice colours were ghastly expensive or impractical. Hence the genius idea of making my own.

I started off with this tutorial from Feather’s Flights and made a few mods, most I gleaned from other tutorials along the way. As I wanted to change the dimensions I had to start with a fair bit of working out and measuring and to be honest it *IS* a little big! Since I started we’ve managed to really par down the amount of stuff we travel with, but a big bag will never go astray – I can carry of of my stuff along with Katja’s in this one. I made it as wide as the pram.

The button is a gorgeous 3-piece affair I picked up in Fulda while we were there for Christmas, the colour matches in perfectly. The fabric is curtain fabric from Laura Ashley which I got on sale. Even so I reckon this bag came in at the same price as a reasonably expensive shop bought one.

This bag was fiddly to make, every pocket is lined, most pieces are interfaced plus there’s wadding used to give additional body to the bag walls and a mass of top-stitching. Given that I’ve never had a sewing lesson in my life I was really flying by the seat of my pants here!

I’m totally chuffed with the results and looking forward to many years of use even after I nolonger need to carry nappies about.