Monday, September 24, 2012

Barn Owl Kit on Etsy

The autumn equinox was this weekend and the evenings are getting darker and darker. (Well, at least until the clock goes back next weekend.) It seems an apt time to put up this new kit on Etsy to make a barn owl in needle felt. 
Barn owls are elusive creatures - I've not seen many in my time, and most of those were in the UK. But I did hear one in the trees in front of our house once. It's nice to know they are there anyway even if we don't see them!
This is a needle felting kit, with full instructions and all you need to make an owl.

 And for this week only, there is a 10% discount off it, hooray!
Just enter the code OWL10 at the checkout.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homemade maternity

I thought I'd put together a list of some of the maternity stuff I made that was really useful. Some are easy to make without a pattern, and where you need a pattern I have linked to the ones I used. It's unbelievable how much baby stuff costs, and so much of it is easy to make yourself...

This is my top, I mean, top fifteen...

1. Nursing pillow. (Pattern I used here.) Cost: about 10 euro, as opposed to 40-60 euro in the shop. 
Brilliant. If you have back problems, completely essential. I even made a matching one for the little fella's head to stop him rolling about in the pram/car seat - very handy if the roads are appalling where you live...

 2. Christine's Stay-on Booties. (Pattern I adapted from here) Cost: scraps of yarn I had anyway. They do indeed stay on, which is a rare skill for a pair of baby booties. I've made many booties for people in the past, these are the only ones I'd bother making again. Warm, cosy, and they stay on!

 3. Rae's Baby pants. (Pattern here) Cost: scraps of fabric, or repurposed clothes. Great pants, easy to make and somehow they put a smile on your face...

 4. Ribbed Baby Jumper (Ravelry link to pattern) It's nice and warm and keeps his neck warm in bed (the only part sticking out of enswaddlement). It is a little on the short side, so next time I would knit it longer. A good allround baby knit and very easy to get a baby into, with only one button to close. I will definitely make bigger ones as he grows.

 5. Changing mats. Oil-cloth on one side, fabric on the other, wadding in between. Simple as that and handy to have a few to throw in the washing machine or put one in a changing bag. I added some buttons and elastic to roll it up too. Cost: Pretty cheap. I got Ikea oil-cloth, which is pretty cheap and Ikea's cheapest fabric too. As you can see I used the same fabrics for everything, which means you can make a lot from 1 yd of each fabric...
 Changing mat rolled up.

 6. Wet bag for holding used cloth nappies. (Pattern here) Handy. And waaaay cheaper than buying one...

 7. Puerperium cardigan (Ravelry link) I like this cardigan, although it has a lot of buttons to do up. Also because of the bad weather this summer, short sleeved stuff hasn't been that good. It's also not so warm around the neck.

 8. Various wool blankets. The top one is a selection of hand-spun rare-breed yarns knit up in this pattern. (Ravelry link) I accidentally felted it in the machine, but that made it even softer and it's SO warm! It was cheap to make as I spun the wool myself.
The bottom one is a larger granny-style crochet blanket in Drops Superwash Merino, which is not as superwash as it would make itself out to be (gets a little wrinkly after washing.) Also, it's bloody expensive in the amount you need for a blanket. Still, its a lovely blanket to have, even if his fingers occasionally get stuck in the holes. (I think he also likes sticking his fingers through the holes to play.) 
Knitting baby blankets out of soft wool is expensive. I haven't really found an affordable way to do it, beyond spinning the wool yourself.

 9. Breast pads. (Pattern for contoured ones here.) I didn't find them that handy, but having a few is nice (in the way that having handmade things about you cheers you up) and they take about 5 minutes to make with scraps of material. 

 10. Knitted hats and mittens. A must-have. Patterns abound everywhere.

 11. Cloth hats. I used some of his hats as templates and made these from old t-shirts. Handy to have a few as they are always getting puked on and I find the shop-bought ones seem to just fall off. Also, baby stuff comes in such crap colours that it's nice to have a few better-coloured ones.

 12. Oslo Hoody. Love this pattern, but if I was making it again I would make the sleeves much larger in circumference. They look tiny to get little arms down. I haven't tried it yet as he needs to grow into it, but included it because it's lovely!

13. Ring Sling. Easy tutorial here. Get inexpensive rings here. I used a bedsheet and two rings. Pretty cheap. It's a reasonable carrier - not great on the back as it only goes over one shoulder but easy to put him in and out quickly (after some practice). I wouldn't bother buying one but it's a very easy one to make.
(Sorry for the bad quality bathroom mirror photo!)

14. Mei Tai. (Excellent pattern here.) I like this carrier better, but it is fiddly to put on. Good back support though. It takes a fair bit of fabric - I was lucky to have some lying around, but it could cost a fair bit in fabric otherwise. 

15. Even thought these shoes are impractical and fall off, they are just so cute I couldn't help making some. How can you not love polka-dot shoes? Pattern here.

And why not include this lovely blanket here, made by my knitting group! Aww, thanks folks!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


 It's not every day you find a stag stuck in your hammock.

Which is good, or I wouldn't have any more hammocks.

The fabulous K went to check on his mushroom logs and found this fella who thankfully hadn't been there too long, and also thankfully hadn't broken a leg. Assistance came from our amazing friends and neighbours who happen to be wildlife rangers, and the deer was freed, at the cost of my Dunnes Stores 14.99 hammock in lime green (part of which, as you can see below, is now forming a rather fetching adornment on his antlers.)

On a more serious note, it felt a bit strange to be rescuing this creature when in another situation other people, or even we ourselves in the future might have killed him for food. Deer are a pest around here and are culled. I have very mixed feelings about it. I love seeing them, they are incredibly beautiful creatures, and at the same time, they destroy all the trees we plant - they destroyed about 80 trees the first year we were here. We've had to resort to huge electric fencing to get any trees planted since, which is bonkers, so its both lovely to see them but bad news for our trees. 

Anyway, this lucky boy got away. For now anyhow. Hopefully his antler decorations will soon fall off. Or at the very least impress the lady deer for him.