making a Christmas stocking

E stocking 4B
Hanging on E’s dooor handle on Christmas Eve will be my first Mum-made Christmas stocking, made using bits and bobs from my long neglected sewing box.  I pulled everything out a few weeks ago and spent some time drawing, cutting and pinning while E explored all my buttons and beads and made little presents of them wrapped in paper scraps.  How relaxing it was especially as only the night before I’d given up on the idea of having time to make one.  While E rooted through my stash of felt pieces I made a template by drawing round a cereal bowl for the heel and fashioning a toe and leg from there! I opted for an A4ish size stocking as that was the size of the felt pieces I had but also because I’d read this gentle reminder about keeping presents light on budget and waste and high in intrigue and excitement for E.
Stocking star 4B
I blinged it up with a little beady sparkle and we’re both pleased with the results.
I thought I’d share the templates for my Christmas stocking (see links below), partly for my own sake if I ever make any more but so you can make one too if feeling short of time or inspiration. All you need is 3 pieces of felt for the stocking, 1 piece for the trim and 1 piece for the name and stars. Total cost if you’re starting from scratch sourcing all materials is about £6 for felt, beads and thread (much less if you opt to save yourself some star sewing and go for felt with glitter stars printed on it, have buddies you can beg some beads from and fabric scraps for the trim and decorations).

As for filling E’s stocking, who knows what Santa will bring {wink}.   There are some great hand-made stocking stuffer ideas on Pinterest if the elves are looking for ideas.
Collage - stocking stuffers 4B
In preparation for the big day E’s been reading Santa is Coming to Gloucester and asking how Father Christmas will get into our house with no open chimney to climb down.  A magic key is the answer and this one will be put out on the doorstep along with the carrots and mince pie (which Father Christmas is expecting having responded to the letter E left for him on the wishing tree at Gloucester Folk Museum).
Santa's key
Footnote: total time to make approx 7 hours (or 3 episodes of Casualty/Holby and one watch of Cars with E!).

December 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm 1 comment

typing important fings

apologies for the re-post – darn phone (with accidental help from me) deleted original!

Such a lovely momento of a morning spent at Gloucester Folk Museum exploring, chatting and ”typing important fings” on a vintage typewriter.

December 17, 2014 at 11:06 am Leave a comment

wordless wednesday


December 17, 2014 at 10:09 am 1 comment


Is there really such a thing as too much glitter? Not when you’re 2 it seems.
The end result of a morning crafting – a very soggy sheet of green paper!
Then we moved on to whizzing a Thomas train through paints to create this.
And while the boy was busy making a creative mess Mummy made a crow!
Such great fun and it wasn’t even raining outside.

December 11, 2014 at 9:21 pm 1 comment

cuddles and creativity with Doodle Bear

Penny bear arrives 4B
It was love at first sight for E and Penny bear.
Penny bear and E 4B
She’s bright blue. She’s cuddly. She comes with 2 special pens to colour her in.
Penny bear colouring 4B
Penny is a Doodle Bear and custom made to be daubed with colour. We’ve had such fun writing and drawing and stamping her with butterflies. E understands that only Penny bears special pens can be used on her (we would have liked more than 2 colours) and is old enough to understand that she is the only one of his toys that can swim in the washing machine if coloured on. We tend to approach time spent with Penny as a craft activity and in that way it’s supervised for maximum enjoyment and minimum stress!
Penny bear doodled 4B
When your doodling hand gets tired you just pop Penny bear in the washing machine and she comes out looking brand new again. Seriously. I admit I scoffed at this claim on the back of the box when she arrived because she was so nicely designed and as cuddly as a really nice toy bear. I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s true and after 4 washes there is not a single trace of pen on Penny bear. The user guide suggests washing within 48 hours and we experimented with 12hrs, 40hrs, 2.5 days and 5 days, all on a 30 degree wash, and the results were consistently perfect. Penny bear is spotless.  What’s more if washed in the evening she’s dry again by morning (and she can cope with the heat of the dryer too if you can’t even wait that long!).
We sometimes take Penny bear out and about if it’s a wet day or we think E might like some quiet time at someone elses house.  Nana and Grandad moved house last month and while the business of loading up the removal van happened around us Penny Bear and E played quite happily on the kitchen floor.
Penny bear at Nana's
Oh how we love Penny bear.  She has two other Doodle Bear friends – Markie who’s pink and Drew who’s lavender. They’re available from Trends UK priced £19.99.

Disclosure: We were sent Doodle Bear to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

December 10, 2014 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

wordless wednesday


December 10, 2014 at 7:30 am 1 comment

further adventures in BOGS

Soon after reviewing E’s baby BOGS this Fishbowl Challenge video appeared on the BOGS footwear website. It would have been fun to submerge a sand filled boot in a bowl of water for one minute as part of our Baby BOGS review but falling into a compost heap was proof enough of their durability at the time! It’s been terrific having total confidence in E’s footwear whatever the weather, I only wish I could have as much fun without doing that boring adult thing of gingerly side-stepping puddles in unsuitable footwear (my spider ridden, leaky wellies were ditched when we let go of the allotment). If only I had all-weather boots so I was ready for any adventure too, be it rainy, snowy or sunny and breezy. Sigh, it’s a hard life being a grown up…
Bogs x2 4B
But what is this? My Fairy BOGSMother must have heard about my soggy feet and sent this lovely pair of Tacoma rain boots to my door. 100% water proof, non-slip soles and fully insulated and warm down to sub-zero temperatures what more could a girl want? (apart from an allotment to really get down and dirty with them that is). Hey ho, at least I knew we could rely on the Great British Weather to provide some puddles to jump in for my review. So off we two BOGS wearing explorers went one morning, with Nana and Grandad in tow, to a local Ford.
CK Ford
Sadly the Ford water was flowing too fast after heavy downpours all week for a paddle. So having decided it wasn’t safe to road test the traction of my non-slip rubber soles we moved on in our quest for puddles.
collage_bog walk
Walking in my new BOGS is certainly a very comfortable and cosy experience. They’re insulated with a Neo-Tech 4 way stretch inner bootie to provide total insulation against extremely cold weather (down to -15) while being completely breathable in milder weather. What’s more if your feet do get hot the BOGS Max-wick moves sweat away to keep them dry and the contoured footbed contains Durafresh earth friendly bio-technology that activates to fight unwanted odour.
Rethink comfort
Compared to how cold, uncomfortable, smelly and damp my feet used to get in my cheap shed stored B&Q wellies my feet feel positively pampered in my BOGS. The only redeeming feature of my old wellies was how easy they were to clean, or rather leave uncleaned in the shed. You can imagine how my Tacoma BOGS scored on that front too with their shiny rubber outer! On the BOGS website the only negative comment about these the Tacoma boots is that they don’t stay shiny over time. For me that’s a plus as I’m looking forward to them looking a bit roughed up being ill at ease with looking so smart when seeking out messy places with E!
Bog walk_puddle jumping 4B
At last we found some puddles, albeit little ones! Not a brilliant baptism of such sturdy boots but fun nevertheless. And since that initial outing they’ve been worn on many occasions and had their first mddu baptism in a churned up field for E’s first ever Pony ride. Good times and I’ve no doubt these boots will see many more adventures (although I need to ask Father Christmas to bring me some skinny fit shower proof trousers as I’ve only one pair of jeans that fit inside the leg of these equestrian style boots. Afterall it’s a shame to have all-weather boots and then have the task of washing muddy flares!)
If you’d like to ask Father Christmas to bring you some BOGS for Christmas there’s a fabulous all-seasons range at In the UK Santa’s elves can get the Tacoma boots from The Wellywarehouse, in these colours, for £76.50 + free P&P.
Collage BOGS
Disclosure: I was sent the Tacoma BOGS to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

© Charlton Kings Ford picture used with permission from the under the Creative Commons license

December 5, 2014 at 7:30 am Leave a comment

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