Friday, 27 January 2012

London Zoo + Little Pink Backpack

We decided to take Little Miss to the London Zoo in Regents park for a belated family outing for her recent birthday. It was a cold, yet sunny day and most of the animals were out enjoying the sunshine. Little Miss loved seeing all the penguins swim around their new home and saying "Hello monkey" to all the monkeys. I also liked how the zoo used Christmas trees as toys/entertainment for the animals (what a way to recycle).

Little Miss watching Lion vs. Christmas Tree

"Baby viewing platform"

Aside from having a great day out, Little Miss also needed an early bed time which game me some free time to do some sewing. Hooray!

I always wanted to try out this drawstring backpack tutorial pattern from Prudent Baby and managed to whip one up in less than an hour. Next time around I would use a thinner material for the straps but I used what I had in my stash. The finished product was a bit on the small side but just perfect for a 2 year old or a favorite stuffed animal!

My sewing space (aka..the kitchen table) before getting started.

Fabric from The Eternal Maker
Cotton tape (used as straps) is from John Lewis.

Chad Valley Easel

Little Miss was fortunate enough to receive this wonderful birthday present this year from our very good friends. They have two older children so they give me great advice about the best toys to get for the appropriate age. In this case, an easel for Little Miss's 2nd birthday. Although it was before her birthday, I didn't mind setting this one up early.

I did quite a lot of research into easels and thought the Chad Valley Easel was the best choice for the best price (this particular one was purchased at Argos).

(chalk board side w/ paper)

(white board side with magnetic numbers and letters)

(extra bits - magnets, chalk, eraser, leg extenders)


- Double sided w/ a magnetic white board and a chalkboard (hard to find both)
- Can be set up with or without legs. It's the perfect height now for a 2 year old but can be extended when she's older
- Clips on both sides to hold paper
- Accesories! (magnetic numbers & letters, chalk + eraser, whiteboard pens)


- well folks, it's plastic and as bright as a christmas tree

I found it very difficult to find an easel with all my requirements but these manufacturers came very close: ELC, IKEA, and Melissa & Doug.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Big Dot Marker Fun

We were so lucky to receive some really fun & creative gifts this past Christmas including 2 sets of Do-A-Dot Markers. 

Basically, it's a marker and paint pen in one (think bingo hall marker) and is far less messy then using paints. Each set comes with 5 markers in either primary, pastel or glitter colors.  I think ours were purchased from Michaels in the US and you can get them from Amazon here in the UK.

(little miss in action)

PS - I found this great blog post of "Do-A-Dot Marker Activities and Free Printables" from Simple Montessori. I'm a big fan of Montesorri methods so I'm looking forward to trying some of these out some of these activities at home.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Fat Quarter Crayon Rolls

I wanted to try and sew a few Christmas presents this year and decided to make some fat quarter crayon rolls for some of Little Miss's friends. My inspiration came from a crayon roll that I purchased at a craft fair earlier this year. I always keep it in my bag because it's great for occupying little ones when eating out.I used this tutorial from Rosey Corner Creations and the pattern was easy to follow and modify as needed.

A few small changes:
- I didn't use batting in between as I found it a bit bulky based on the fabrics I was using.
- I cut the fabric length to only 13" as my chunky crayons came in packs of 12.

Fabrics were purchased from the Eternal Maker booth (my favorite choice for japanese fabrics in the UK) during my last trip to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace. I used colored pony tail holders for the elastic (purchased from boots). The various buttons came from my stash.

New Year...New Charity Shop Booty

Now that the busy holiday season is over, I can focus on getting my blog up to speed for 2012 and get back into the swing of things. That includes a trip to my local children's charity shop! 

So I popped in the other day and came across some great finds...

Since we're huge fans of "The Gruffalo", I grab any books illustrated by Axel Scheffler (and it has pop ups too!). Little Miss loved "The Rainbow Fish" when I borrowed it from the library a few months ago and the number puzzle is a happy coincidence as we're just learning our numbers.