Friday, September 26, 2014

Six Weeks

Wow the first six weeks of motherhood were no joke! The sleeplessness, the feeding, the laundry... it took me a while to realise that when people say 'sleep when the baby sleeps' they do mean it literally - you never know which nap could be your last! Over the last week though things seem to have clicked into place - everything is easier all of a sudden. Probably a combination of Orla being a little bit bigger and Ciaran and I getting the hang of things. Now Orla and I go out every day with the pram - for walks around the village, to the pub to meet our other new Mum friends for lunch and last week I even brought her along to Kirsty Allsopp's Handmade Fair!

Orla is a dream, I love her so much it's unreal! I wish you could see her funny face when she wakes up in the morning and looks around her or the little 'ahhhhhh' sound she makes after she sneezes. She's been really alert from day one (she had her eyes open as soon as she was born!) but now that she recognises my face as well as my voice I get the most amazing smiles and giggles!

She currently weighs a robust 8lb 10 and finally fits into her 'newborn' size clothes. Although it's obviously brilliant that she's gaining weight and getting bigger I can't help feeling a little sad that she's growing up so fast. I try to savour every moment and remember that she won't always fall asleep on my shoulder or curled up on my chest, though at the same time I can't wait for the future - getting to know this amazing little girl. Motherhood is brilliant!

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's that time of year again...

My favourite time. Summer is on it's way out and Autumn is on it's way in!

You've got to make a wish when the chimney sweep's brush pokes out the top of the chimney and shake his hand for good luck.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pom Pom Garland DIY Tutorial

I made this fun pom pom garland a few weeks ago whilst waiting for Orla to arrive! It looks bright and cheerful adorning a wall in her nursery, though you could use it to brighten up a corner in any room! Pom poms are so fun and simple to make too - I recommend investing in a pom pom maker, though you can do it the good old fashioned way and make a cardboard template if you prefer. I love pink and green together - particularly these raspberry and pistachio shades! You can make a pom pom garland too with my super simple tutorial!

You will need...

Approx. 85 meters of yarn in your main colour (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton in Raspberry)
Approx. 55 meters of yarn in a contrasting colour (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton in Celery)
35mm pom pom maker (get 'em here!)
Crochet hook (I used a 3.5 mm size hook but you can pick your size depending on what yarn you're using)
Tapestry needle

Step 1:

Make a sliding knot as follows...

Hold out two fingers and loop the yarn round twice clockwise. Bring the loose end of the yarn over towards the left hand side of your loops then tuck it behind and bring a new loop under the two original strands...just like in picture number 4!

Insert the crochet hook into the loop then pull it tight like a little noose. You now have a super handy sliding knot!

Work in chain stitch until your garland is the desired length - I made mine just over 1.5 meters!

Step 2: 

To make a pom pom, first take your pom pom maker and open up the coloured 'arms'. Start wrapping your yarn around the arms, first one side and then the other. For a really fluffy, plush pom pom try and cram as much yarn on there as possible whilst still allowing the arms to pretty much fold back into their original position.

Once you've filled both sets of arms with yarn and folded them in, take a small pair of scissors and snip the yarn right the way round.

Take a small length of yarn and wrap it round the pom pom maker, pulling it tight and securing with a double knot. It's important for the yarn to be tight so it holds your pom pom together nicely!

Carefully pull apart the pom pom maker to release your pom pom then fluff it up a bit with your fingers!

You might notice that your pom pom looks a little bit wonky at this point and is shaped more like a hamburger than a little plump sphere. All you need to do is take a pair of scissors and give it a little trim! Like giving Barbie a haircut, you might feel nervous and a little tentative at first but as you snip away you'll get more and more confident as the true shape of the pom pom is revealed!

I made six green pom poms and five pink pom poms.

Step 3: 

Thread your tapestry needle with a short length of yarn and thread each pom pom onto your chain stitch garland. Secure each pom pom with a double knot and trim the ends of the thread. I found it helpful to spread the garland out on the floor first to figure out how to space out the pom poms evenly before attaching them to the garland.

Your pom pom garland is now ready to hang!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Orla Anne Mullaney

She's here! Our baby girl bounced into the world at 12.21am on Saturday 9th August weighing a petite 5.5lb. We spent a few days in hospital so the midwives could keep an eye on her weight but she's doing absolutely brilliantly and we're at home now, getting settled into life as a family of four (fur babies still count right?). I'm absolutely in love and could stare for hours at that cheeky little face which is changing before my eyes every day. I can't believe she's almost a week old already! When my Dad visited us in hospital he said that having a newborn baby is like watching a Polaroid photograph develop and he's right! I want to take a hundred photos of her every day and savour every single second with her. Welcome Orla, we're so happy you're here!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lavender fields and a bumpdate...

On Saturday morning Ciaran and I decided to walk in my cakes footsteps and visit the beautiful Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey! It was so lovely to be amongst the fields of pretty purple flowers and breath in their lovely, calming fragrance.

39 weeks today you guys! Remember how I said I was going to be really busy and productive during my maternity leave and was going to get loads of stuff done? Yeah... turns out it's too hot to sleep and although my bump is pretty compact, the (now fairly frequent) Braxston Hicks contractions make walking anywhere pretty uncomfortable so I've decided to shift my goals more towards putting my feet up, sleeping in and sitting in the garden reading fun and cheesy novels (I'm currently reading this and it's brilliant). I hope you're having a sweet Summer so far!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prima Makes Magazine

Have you picked up your copy of the latest Prima Makes magazine yet? Issue 3 features an excerpt from Selina Lake's fabulous new book 'Outdoor Living' - Selina commissioned me to make the cupcakes, wedding cake and layer cake for this gorgeous photoshoot set in Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey! I love the way the white vanilla buttercream contrasts with the beautiful purple flowers. The lavender at Mayfield Lavender Farm is in full bloom right now - I'm hoping to squeeze in a visit before baby arrives!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sweetpea and strawberry picking...

Flo and I went sweetpea and strawberry picking in the Summer sun on Tuesday - it was loads of fun! These beautiful blooms were only 10p a stem, can you believe it? They smelled absolutely amazing - though they only lasted a couple of days they were worth it. We're so lucky to have Garson's Farm on our doorstep - at this time of year you can pick every type of Summer berry imaginable as well as all kinds of fruit and veg. It works out super cheap too compared with buying them from the farm shop - I'm planning on going back for more tomorrow though it doesn't look like the weather will be on my side this time!

Yesterday I turned 29 which feels like a good age. Our little baby could be with us any day now - I've got a huge stack of tiny white babygrows next to me waiting to be ironed so I think I better put the kettle on and get started! Have a wonderful weekend whatever you're doing!

Edited 15.09.14: White babygrows. WHITE babygrows. Why did no one tell me baby poop is bright yellow?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

DIY Liberty Print Ballet Pumps...

Here's a fun and fresh DIY that's sure to put a spring in your step! With a tiny piece of Liberty print fabric you can perk up an old pair of ballet flats in the space of an afternoon. These pretty pumps are perfect for Summer afternoons spent cycling about town, stopping only to buy coffee and flowers (and perhaps the odd bit of thrift store rummaging too!).

Materials & Equipment:

An old pair of ballet pumps
Liberty print bias binding (I made mine from a 10 inch by 10 inch square of Liberty print fabric using this fantastic tutorial from Coletterie!)
Stitch unpicker
Needle for hand sewing
Matching thread
Thimble (not essential but recommended!)

Top tip: Due to the tiny surface area on show, a smaller scale print will work best for this project. I chose a slightly abstract, micro floral which might be one of my favourite Liberty prints to date! The smaller the piece of fabric the better it seems to look and the more detail I notice. I think Tiny Poppytot, Ella and Libby or Clarisse from Liberty's new season fabric collection would work just as well!

Step 1: Take a look at your pumps and you should see a thin strip of tape running around the outside edge. Using your stitch unpicker simply cut the thread and whip off that existing edging!

You'll be left with a raw leather edge conveniently perforated with evenly spaced holes.

Step 2: Take one end of your bias tape and open out the folds. With the wrong side facing you, fold the end of the fabric back on itself to create a neat hem and then re-fold the tape.

Step 3: With the wrong side still facing, open out your bias tape. Starting at the inside edge of one of your pumps, line the top edge of the bias binding up with the top of the shoe and hand stitch into the crease of the bias binding all the way round, fixing the fabric to the shoe.

Top tip: Easing the tape around the curve of the toe is tricky, but you can do it! Take it slow and have a tea break if you need to. Try holding the fabric in place using paperclips to make it easier!

Step 4: Once you've sewn the bias binding in place all the way round, re-fold the tape and wrap it round onto the inside of the shoe.

Step 5: Slip stitch the bias binding in place by sewing into the lining of the shoe and the crease of the fabric - this way your stitches will be invisible!

You're all done! Wear those Liberty print pumps with pride!