Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Round Up

Where has January gone?

I am pleased to say that I did manage to take a photo every day in January. They are split between my Canon 500d digital SLR and my iPhone, mainly using the Instagram App. It's lovely to look back and see my month in photos. Sometimes there are a reflection of what we did that day, sometimes just a glimpse at something I want to remember. Mainly they are pictures of Evie.

As much as it will be a diary of what we did, I am planning to make a scrapbook too, so I want my Project 366 photos to show off my photography skills as well - which admittedly are somewhat lacking at the moment. I do want to post all the photos here for you to see, but I will try and find a nice way of displaying them rather than just posting them all. For now you can see them all in my Facebook album.

Towards the end I did start to favour my iPhone as I upgraded my version 3G to the 4S, which has a much better camera, and this together with the Instagram app gives photos a really lovely effect. Unfortunately this isn't really the point of this exercise as I wanted to learn to use my camera, so I am planning to use it a bit more in February. I also need to start bringing it with me when I leave the house for a bit of veriety! I did get a bit lazy too in terms of posting the photos and would upload a few at a time rather than posting them daily, something else I plan to try being better at in February.

The main highlights of January were my 30th birthday, beginning to wean Evie onto solid food and getting back into my cake making.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Evie's Weaning Diary - Day 3

After we had tried the carrot yesterday I gave Evie a clean spoon to play with and she was pulling the same faces as she did when we had any food on it, so I begun to wonder if it was the spoon and method of feeding that was the problem, rather than the food. So today, we tried carrot again, hoping that it might be a bit more familar rather than confuse her with another flavour. Again she was pulling faces, so I tried putting a little bit on my finger and offering that. She seemed to be much more accepting of this and did a bit more sucking and 'gumming'.

We did lots of smiling and playing and even tried some (cooled boiled) water from her new 'big girls' cup.

In other weaning news, I bought a flexible ice cube tray and froze our sweet potato. Each cube holds 1 tablespoon of puree, so 2 cubes would make 1 portion.

When frozen  in the tray I removed the cubes and have put them in a labeled bag in the freezer. Is it just me or does this look like fudge to you too?

I think that we are going to take a little break from weaning for a few days. There are 2 reasons. The first is the recently Evie has been sick more than usual and not eating as much, this was before the weaning so not related, but I have lost a bit of confidence in whether I know she's hungry or not...if you know what I mean. So we're going to take a day or two to make sure we're doing ok and not confuse it with proper food. I have also been recommended a book by Gill Rapley on Baby-Led Weaning, and having read a bit about it, I think it may suit Evie as she is very keen to get involved herself. This does mean waiting til she's a bit older and making sure she can definitely sit up on her own before we start, but I've got the book reserved at the library so will read up a bit and see how we get on.

If you do have any weaning stories, advice, or tips, feel free to comment below. It does seem to be a bit of a minefield out there!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Evie's Weaning Diary Day 2

Following on from yesterday's taste of baby rice I decided to try some proper food today. I spent last night reading Annabel Karmel's Weaning book whch recommends carrot and sweet potato as first veg purees  and apple for fruit. So today I went on a puree making mission and within an hour and a half  (because that's how long the sweet potato took to cook) I had around 16 meals for Evie. Each 'meal' is around 2 tablespoons or 30ml.

2 apples made 5 meals, 2 carrots made 5 and 1 large sweet potato made about 6 portions. I ran out of pots, so not entirely sure of quantities yet.

I followed the directions in the book for cooking the fruit and veg, then pureed with a hand blender in a mug (which worked out to be just the right size for the job at hand) and added a bit of formula milk to get the purees to the right consistency - smooth and a similar thickness to yoghurt is what I was aiming for, which is how the baby rice came out yesterday. I'm not sure exactly how much formula I used in the apples or carrots, I know the sweet potato took a good ounce of formula.

Then, following Annabel's advice, I fed Evie her lunchtime feed at around 1pm and let her have her nap, then when she woke up she sat is her high chair and we tried a bit of a carrot. She still pulled the same kind of faces as yesterday, but she was a lot more interested in what was going on today, and definitely preferred it when she had control of the spoon.

While she didn't eat much, barely half a teaspoon in fact, I feel it went well today. Not sure what we'll do tomorrow. I may try carrot again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Evie's Weaning Diary - Day 1

Today we begun a new adventure in food - weaning Evie. I have been looking forward to this for a few months, to see Evie enjoying food and trying new things. I had heard that you can start weaning from 4 months, but when we asked the health visitor she said not to start before 6 months, plus I had read somewhere that if a baby is early you should add the number of weeks she was early onto the end. However, I spoke to a lot of mums and dads who all started weaning at around 5 months, if not earlier. Then I started reading up about it, especially the signs that baby is ready & noticed that Evie was already showing a few of these. The signs I have so far seen are her showing an interest in my food and reaching out for it, chewing on her hands and waking (again) for food in the night.

So as Evie is 5 months old today we decided to give it a try. 

Having spoken to a few people, and as we were starting yonger than recommended by the HV I thought we'd better take baby steps. So we begun with Baby Rice, something with a similar taste to formula milk, but a slightly more solid texture.

It didn't go down very well at all!

We tried twice during the day but she wouldn't take it. Even just putting it to her lips she'd pull a face. Not that I'm surprised to be honest! It didn't look or taste very appealing at all. We tried at around lunch time, when she was hungry, but a bit more reading suggests that we maybe should have waited until after a feed, or midway through.

I am now armed with the Cow & Gate 5 Step Weaning Guide and Annabel Karmel's website and Weaning book, so I plan to do a little more reading tonight and maybe we'll try again, or try something different tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

101 Things #22: Have a 30th Birthday Party

Last week, on January 12th, I turned 30 years old. I really can't believe I am 30, I still feel about 17 - and judging by the fact that I still get asked for ID every now and then, I think I still look it! ;)

I was actually looking forward to this birthday. I remember that I really did not enjoy turning 22. I think because I was in my final year of uni at the time and it felt as though I was actually going to have to be a grown up. Since then I have left uni, got a job, got a house, got married, had a baby - so there's no hiding from the 'being a grown up' thing anymore - except that I have come to realise that being 'grown up' isn't actually that different. And can sometimes be pretty great! You don't HAVE to tidy your bedroom or finish your meal before having pudding. There are so many things to experience, and I still have so much ahead of me. Anyway, I digress....

So, yeah, I turned 30 and on Saturday I had a birthday party. It was a really nice night with lots of family and friends. We had a local guy come and play the guitar, we had glow sticks, and a huge birthday cake.

It had 5 tiers - 2 chocolate and 2 vanilla, plus a tier of gluten free mini cupcakes.  The whole thing was covered in buttercream and decorated with sweets and glitter, then topped with ice fountains for a beautiful display.

We danced into the early hours and discovered that Evie is quite the party animal. She loved the flashing lights and the music and was quite happy to doze off every now and then, oblivious to what was going on around her. I couldn't imagine her not being there - even though it did mean a very sober night for me. :)

I also had some very lovely presents including:

A new addition to my Build-a-Bear family

A charm from Tiffany's, a dress from All Saints, a beautiful hamper from my auntie, with a Decopatched bottle of wine, a wobbly glass and handmade chocolate lollipops, some baking books, magazine subscription, some beautiful jewellery.....


This means I can now print photos, text, images, whatever I want on rice paper and icing sheets to use on my cakes. It's so very exciting and I have so many ideas, plus it's number 51 on my 101 Things list! Can't wait to show off my creations. :D

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP: Stash-Busting Blocks

This is a very quick post just to prove that I am still about. As part of my January challenge to use up the yarn in my stash I am going to start knitting some blocks for Evie to play with. There are loads of patterns out there, but my plan is to just knit a load of 3" squares, then sew them all together and stuff them with a foam cube.

In an attempt to get this project started, here is the first block. Nothing dramatic, just a simple stocking stitch square (try saying that quickly!) to get me going.

I am hoping to include some patterned squares containing letters, numbers and maybe some pictures, so if I do design anything I'll try and post the patterns here.

I do hope that this project will get me back into knitting as I feel a bit lost without a big project to work on, having finished Evie's Red Riding Hood.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP: Tree Blossom Fairy

I haven't had as much time for knitting and crafting as I'd like this last week. Mainly because of work committments, Evie being awake a lot more, and planning my birthday celebrations!! Yes, it's my birthday tomorrow, and today is my last day in my twenties. And I don't feel a day older than 17.

I will say my twenties have been pretty great. I met my current husband. I graduated uni. I moved into my house. I got married. I gave birth to my daughter. I've made some great friends. I've met some amazing people.

So all I can really say is - Thirties, you've got some living up to do! :D

Onto crafting news, I have finally finished all the knitting for my first fairy, just need to find the time to sit down and sew it all together.

Hopefully it'll be ready for FO Friday.

Friday, January 06, 2012

FO Friday: Red Riding Hood

It's finished! The duffle coat from Debbie Bliss' Ultimate Book of Baby Knits, was finally finished on new year's day. It's a lovely coat and a great fit for Evie. I made the 3-6 month size and it does have a bit of room to grow into. The knitting (all garter stitch) was very straight forward, unfortunately my making up needs a bit of work - but I won't let this put me off. The yarn used - Debbie Bliss Rialto DK - is lovely and soft and I love the colour. Plus I have 1 and a half left over balls of yarn, so may make a hat.

I am  so pleased with this. I love the hood and cute little pockets, and will most likely make it in the next size up. (I would love to try and scale it up for me, but I think that's a bit beyond my skillset at the moment.)

Now off to Tami's blog to see what everyone else has been up to...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

WIP: Knitted Fairy

I've had my days a bit out of order this week so completely missed WIP Wednesday yesterday. Here is what I am currently working on. It's the Blossom Tree Fairy from Fiona McDonald's 'Knitted Fairies' book.

I am using yarn from my stash, as per my January challenge and don't have the recommended yarns, but  have found quite good alternatives and it should look almost similar. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished fairy and get a feeling this could become quite addictive....

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

101 Things #4: Start a beauty blog

I did start this item on my list and created a blog though it was more general wellbeing rather than just beauty. However, I didn't stick to it. There are several reasons for this.

1. It is not my area of expertise. I know how I get by, but I don't wear make up every day nor do I experiment much, I buy beauty products based on its packaging rather than what it'll do for me, and I am rubbish at maintaining any kind of beauty regime for any serious length of time. 

2. There are so many (much better) beauty and lifestyle blogs out there mine was just lost amongst the noise and didn't really offer anything different.

3. I wasn't getting much out of it.

So I decided not to persue this any more. Instead I will focus my blogging efforts on this one, my craft one and my cake one. Each of these blogs I get something out of, and while they are not niche by any stretch, I know enough about each topic to hold my own in the 'blogsphere'. I also have another idea for a blog I may start soon, I'm just trying to gather my thoughts on how it will work, and spending time focusing on my other ventures.

So, item number 4 on my 101 Things list will be revised to: Post to a blog every day, starting January 1st 2012. You can follow my progress on tumblr if you are so inclined.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

101 Things #50: Project 366

It has come to my attention that I have been a bit slack at keeping on top of my 101 Things in 1001 Days list. With the start of a new year has come a renewed enthusiasm to start working on it again, especially as this is my last full year. With that in mind I have started item number 50 on my list.

Take a photo every day for a whole year.

(Yes, I would choose the longest year to start this!)

I started on January 1st and will be posting photos to my tumblr blog and to an album on Facebook. I imagine there will be plenty of photos of Evie, but I do hope it will be a good representation of my year and what we get up to. 

This is also a way for me to spend more time using my Canon 500d Digital SLR camera and get back into photography, I may even sign up for a photography class....maybe.

If you are doing Project 366 please let me know in the comments below and leave a link to your blog or photos so I can take some inspiration from you.

With regards to the other items on the list, I'm planning to go through them all and provide an update...it'll give me something to blog about anyway. ;)

Monday, January 02, 2012

A new year, a new challenge

Happy New Year! 

What a year 2011 was.  The highlight being welcoming my beautiful daughter into the world. I am really excited by 2012, I have so many plans and ideas - crafty and otherwise - and so many interesting opportunities and ventures ahead. But most of these will be covered on my other blog.

As you know I like my lists and challenges. It helps keep me organised and focussed, and this little blog has encouraged me to try new things, read new blogs and actually focus on finishing projects so I have something to show for FO Friday. And the promise of a new year is an ideal time to set some new crafty goals.

1. To have a fnished object to show EVERY Friday.
2. To work my way through my Crafty Bucket List.

That's it. I have a lot to focus on this year but I don't want my crafting to take a back seat and I hope this blog will encourage me to keep going.

And now, for my January Challenge - to use the yarn in my stash. I have plenty of yarn that's been hanging about for a while and it's time to start using it up to make way for some new and wonderful skeins. Luckily I have a few projects up my sleeve, ideal for such a challenge. Making some knitted blocks for Evie and knitting fairies from Fiona McDonalds lovely book.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Here's to 2012!

Happy New Year!

I am actually really looking forward to this year. I have a BIG birthday coming up in less than two weeks. I get to do a lost more firsts with my daughter - her first holiday, easter, a wedding, her birthday. I have plans for growing my cakey business. I have plans for my crafting. I have an exciting project with my best friend due to launch very soon.

All-in-all, its exciting and I am feeling pretty positive. However, with all this planned I will need to be a lot more pro active than I have been, more organised and motivated.

As you know I love my challenges and like to set myelf goals, even if I don't always meet them. They are there to motivate and encourage me, and I think a big part of it is not being distracted if I miss a day and just getting straight back into it instead of giving up completely.

Here are my new year's resolutions.

1. To continue on my eternal quest to have a clean & tidy home. This includes sorting out the attic, understairs cupboard, kitchen cupboards, my wardrobe and craft stash.

2. Photos. This is a huge one for me. I used to take loads of photos and would get them developed & put them in albums, but with my first digital camera, this all came to a bit of standstill. I managed to get some lovely photos over Christmas - including the first photo of me, hubby & little one together - and it's spurred me on. So, this resolution is split into several:
   a - To learn how to use my Digital SLR camera properly.
   b - To take a photo everyday.
   c - To organise my photos digitally & in albums.

3. To post to one of my blogs every day.

Here's to a great 2012. I hope you're looking forward to it as much as me.