Saturday, 31 March 2012

How to make a simple drawing book for a child

All you need is one piece of paper to create an 8 page book for your child to use to create their own stories,  no, really, one single, solitary piece of paper, no staples, no glue, just a piece of paper.

So, here's how to do it. First fold the paper in half lengthways.

drawing book tutorial

Then in half along the width.

drawing book tutorial

Then, fold each of the short edges into the middle fold line.

drawing book tutorial

You should now have a piece of paper divided into 8 sections (2 rows of 4)

Now cut along the lengthways fold from the points where the last 2 folds were made (points A and B on this picture)

drawing book tutorial

Fold along this line and pull out the middle fold by the cut to create a diamond shaped hole.

drawing book tutorial

Close up this hole and you'll have a cross

drawing book tutorial

Fold these together to form a book

drawing book tutorial

See, told you it was just one piece of paper.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

One Line a Day

One line a day memory book

I'm very proud of my commitment to this little project, I've never managed to keep a diary for more than a month before, but for my children I have kept a daily diary about them for 2 whole years!  It does help that I have these gorgeous little books to help me, who wouldn't want to make a beautiful pale blue leather bound book even more precious by storing their memories in them?

These are 'One Line a Day Five Year Memory Books' (I've done one for each child) so I just look to the entry above to see how they have grown in the last year. Also because my children have birthdays only 2 days apart I am able to compare what each of them was doing at exactly the same age (without having to work out how many months old they were at the time).

Some of my favourite entries are:

"Why does Daddy have a meteor?" (he had a meeting) aged 3 1/2

"I can see a ladybird, its pink and stripy"  aged 2

Your reaction to watching a Formula 1 crash - "whoops" aged 2 1/2

My Quotable kid
For those days when there just isn't room to write a funny conversation we've had I've also bought this book; 'My Quotable kid' (just one to share between the kids as there is a space to write down which one said the funny thing). A quick flick through that book bought up these gems:

Daughter (at nearly 4 years old): "Mummy I saw I squashed ladybird. His friends are going to knit him a new shell so he can crawl"
Me: "I didn't know ladybirds could knit"
Daughter "Yes, they get the spiders to help

and my son (aged 2 1/2) :" I eat Cinnamons [his breakfast cereal] inside so they don't fly away. When my custard flies away birds eat it"

Friday, 23 March 2012

Where do I get more arms?

Right, thats it, I'm booking in for the operation the NHS offer all mums - the grafting on of extra arms...... What do you mean they don't offer that on the NHS!? .......Do I have to go private? .......It doesn't exist?....... Why not?...... Is it because all the senior doctors aren't mothers and nobody has bothered to do the research into it?

When someone does invent this technique I'll be first in the queue. Today, coming home from preschool I have had to deal with; one toddler on reigns, one preschooler who needs her hand held to cross the road, three precariously taped together box models, one very cute but still very sticky easter chick covered in glue and paint, my handbag, a lunchbox and three teddy bears that my daughter has volunteered me to fix (because Mummy is good at sewing).

I think at a very minimum that would have required 8 arms, possibly more. As I forgot to bring our pet octopus on the school run to help me carry everything home it became a finely judged balancing act.

No help at all
I think I've finally forgiven my Mum for leaving a pasta picture I made at playschool on top of the car and driving off, after all she wasn't offered the extra arm operation either.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Blog Party

I met the most wonderful bunch of people last night. I made friends based on two facts; that we are parents and we blog. We are from different places, with different backgrounds and different jobs (or former jobs in the case of the stay-at-home parents). Old bloggers, new bloggers, those with lots of followers and some (like me) trying to reach out to new people.

Some people had met before, others hadn't. Drink was consumed, themed stag parties confused us, a band took forever to tune up, the cake was minty and green and I received a compliment that I haven't heard in years. I met someone who was aware of the work of a bit part actor I was friends with (which I think means he is a Star Wars geek). I had an interesting conversation about a device I am off to purchase on Monday. There was a plastic Unicorn. I stayed up way past bedtime!

Thanks for a really fun night Motherventing, Purple Mum, Mammasaurus, Actually Mummy, Pink Oddy, SAHD and Proud, BabberBlog, HPMcQ and JBmumofone

Friday, 16 March 2012


On my way home on the preschool run out of the corner of my eye I noticed something fall from a woman’s coat as she left a shop. Suddenly I realised what it was and raced off after it, leaving a very bemused friend mid-sentence.

When I caught up with its owner she was amazed that someone would be so honest as to chase after her to give back a ten pound note. She said she’d never met someone so honest in her 22 years and wanted God to bring me everything I desired (possibly a little over the top, it not like I saved her firstborn from a speeding train).

It got me thinking, if I had pocketed that tenner, knowing who its owner was I would have felt like I had taken it right out of her wallet. Surely most people would have the same reaction as me, if you’d seen it fall you would give it back.

But what about when you don’t know whose money it is? Do you pocket it or put it in the nearest charity bucket?

If it’s a coin I pocket it and don’t give it a second thought, but if I find a note, I do have mixed feelings; yeah I’ve got £5 I didn’t expect to have, but there is a person who thought they had a fiver in their pocket going into a shop and realising they can’t pay. Oddly how these feelings are weighted depends on where I am when I find it. If I find money on the floor of a shop I feel obliged to put it in the charity box, if it is on the street away from shops then its finders keepers.

There is an under-5’s play area near us where you can buy a block entry card. I found one of these cards (with 2 entries left so worth £5) on the pavement about 6 weeks ago. There was nobody around who it might belong to, so I picked it up. But I feel guilty and haven’t used it. If I had found it in the immediate vicinity of the play area I think I would have handed it in to staff, but I found it a good fifteen-minute walk away – so is it mine?

What would you do? Are there unwritten rules to govern your behaviour in these situations that I am not aware of?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bemz replacement slipcovers for Ikea furniture

We’ve an Ektorp 2-seater sofa-bed which is just right for us (and an extremely comfortable bed).  We’ve had it for 12 years and it is still going strong, but 2 small children and a husband who spills more than the kids meant that the slipcover had seen better days.

But we had a problem; Ikea no longer makes this sofa (they now make a 3-seater Ektorp sofa bed) so no longer makes the right replacement covers. We tried to buy one on eBay with disastrous results (I had to get eBay involved to get a refund) and had resorted to covering the stains with a throw – until I discovered

Bemz make slipcovers for a huge range of Ikea furniture, including discontinued models like ours. They have a great range of fabrics to choose from and you can get swatches sent to you free of charge. Some of the more expensive fabrics looked gorgeous, but we will wait until the kids are bigger before we get one of those (and I will ban my husband from the sofa too! Honestly he is so bad I didn’t want to sit next to him on our wedding day in case he spilt his meal on my white dress!). We’ve opted for the cheapest one available – Cotton Panama, in ‘sand beige’. To cover our sofa this came in at £179, but we could have spent over £500, so you can see they have a huge range to suit all pockets and styles.

Bemz, replacement covers, Ikea

Bemz make each cover up as it is ordered, so their website states delivery will take 4 weeks, and I’m pleased to say it arrived in a little over 3. I was also impressed with how little the postage was (only £15) not bad seeing as it has to come all the way from Lithuania.

the label I had worried about

Having read other online reviews there were two points that made me worry about this purchase; 
1) That the covers were very tight and difficult to put on. Ours are fine; in fact they are a little easier to put on than the original Ikea ones.
2) That they have a visible label coming out of the seam. Yes it does, but it is very discreet and on the back of the sofa (I’ve put a photo so you can see).
So I needn’t have worried.

Bemz claims that their fabrics are treated against staining. We haven’t had it long enough to test this (won’t be long, remember my husband), but when one of the kids dripped water onto it (only an hour after I had taken delivery) the droplets just sat there and didn’t soak in. I think this bodes well for staining.

Really my only complaint with the whole process was that I think they should have the option of sorting the fabric choices by price on their website. At the moment you can sort them by colour, designer and “lifestyle” (which doesn’t mean “my lifestyle involves 2 small children”). It would have been easier to view them based on how much we were willing to pay. So we just had to click on each one we liked in our colour scheme to find our how much it was.

As that is only a minor niggle I am very pleased with my purchase.

I didn’t receive anything from Bemz for this post; I’m just a happy customer.

UPDATE! since publishing this post we have managed to spill some of the kids turquoise suncream onto the sofa. It took 2 goes through the washing machine, but I am happy to report that the stain has come out. So Bemz's stain claims appear to be true.


Monday, 5 March 2012

Pinterest Challenge - Reindeer cupcakes

I found some Reindeer cupcakes, made by "with sprinkles on top" on Pinterest that made very clever use of pretzels to make antlers, so I had to have a go myself.


They were very simple to put together (my kids have since made their own versions). I adapted the original to stuff I had in, using circles of ready roll icing for the muzzle and eye whites and smarties for the nose and pupils (such a shame I had to eat all the other colours!)


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Tea Tasting

I've had a lovely weekend (probably because its been a big break from the kids), today my lovely husband has been on parenting (and popping to B&Q) duties as I've been painting the dining room. Yesterday he was on parenting duties whilst I went off and enjoyed myself.

Firstly I went and had my haircut and with my wonderfully tamed locks I went to meet a friend for a tea tasting session at a specialist tea cafe (Oh and there was cake too!)

We started by drinking white tea, this is just the buds straight off the bush, dried and brewed. Our verdict was that it had a pleasant smell of damp rabbits (although that sounds horrible I promise it was a nice smell) but taste wise just didn't have enough oomph to it.

Next we moved onto green tea, very nice indeed, but again I do like a bit of a kick with my tea.

Now this next one was my favourite; Oolong tea. It sits somewhere between green and black teas. It was very refreshing and surprisingly economical as you can steep the same leaves four times (or more) so you can keep going back and adding hot water to the leaves and making another cup. I've bought myself a tin so I can enjoy this one at home.

Now we were able to enjoy our cakes as we moved onto the black tea. This is the first of the teas we tasted that had to be brewed at boiling point and the first that couldn't be re-steeped. Again it was nice, but I think if I'm going to have black tea its going to be a mug of 'builders' with milk.

We finally moved onto the oddest of the teas we tasted; Pu 'erh. We were warned that this wasn't often to Western tastes, in fact the person at the next table discarded hers, but I have to say I found it to be delicious. Its made by fermenting the leaves underground (a bit like compost) and has a very earthy taste, very un-tea like. It's tea Jim, but not as we know it.

I really enjoyed the tea and the company, it made for a very pleasant couple of hours. I do recommend searching out Oolong and Pu'erh (just maybe try the Pu'erh before investing in a whole packet).

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