29 January 2012

The birthday

So on Friday we celebrated Theo's first birthday. When we woke up I made a special breakfast of blueberry pancakes (as blueberries are Theo's favourites, and pancakes are a birthday tradition). We opened the cards and presents we had already received. It was really fun to see him looking at all the cards and flipping through the books. We then had a little play before we had to get ready to go out.

We met Oma (Rob's mum) for lunch. We went to a sweet little Italian place which we pretty much had to ourselves, Theo did really well, eating lots and not making too much noise! He had a little birthday treat of amazing blackcurrant sorbet. We then had to do some last minute shopping for party supplies, including a giant helium filled balloon which we had to carry down the street!

After this we took a last minute trip to visit my mum in Malvern. My Mum has been quite sick recently, and had to go to hospital, meaning she couldn't come down as planned for Theo's birthday. So it was really great just to be able to last minute pop in the car and go and see her. I think seeing Theo on his birthday really cheered her up, and I'm so glad we made it. We ended up staying the night back at her house as it got really late, and we had an over-tired grumpy baby on our hands and I couldn't face the drive, meaning we had a bit of a rush the next day, but was all worth it.


Saturday was party day, which meant lots to make, prepare and bake! When we arrived home we ran around putting up decorations, blowing up balloons, tidying and baking lemon and poppy seed cupcakes (my favourite!). My very good friend Tilly arrived to visit and help out and we put her to work babysitting and sandwich making! It was such a relief to have an extra pair of hands, I don't think we would have made it otherwise! But finally it all came together. I tried to get Theo to nap before the party, but he must have sensed something exciting was going on as he would not go to sleep! So we gave up trying and I frantically got showered and changed just as people started to arrive.

After everyone had arrived, it got pretty manic and busy, lots of babies crawling/walking/playing everywhere! We ate some food, blew some bubbles, opened presents and did the Birthday cake (made by Oma)

It went pretty fast, but was pretty tiring too! We had a really good party though, and think Theo thoroughly enjoyed having all his friends in one place and lots of new amazing toys to play with! It was so nice to see most of my friends I have made in Bristol all in one place, as I know them all from different places! I'm so grateful for people coming along and of course all the wonderful presents Theo received! I hope everyone enjoyed the party as much as we did...but boy children's parties are exhausting!

We're going on a little respite after our hectic couple of days, down to Devon to visit Rob's grandparents. Which should be a lovely and very welcome break, and a good way to spend Robs last week off before he starts work.

Goodnight (from one very tired mama!)

27 January 2012

One Year Old

So it happened, Theo turned one today (well at 2.30am to be precise, but we slept through that)

I think I still can't really believe it, that a year has passed so quickly, and that we all survived! It has most definitely been the best year of my life, the hardest yes, but the best. I think my heart has melted and burst a million times, and I'm very proud of what we've produced and achieved.

I just keep looking at Theo and reminding myself that he's not a baby anymore, he's a boy, a child and totally his own little person. This fact freaks me out more than anything, but also makes me incredibly happy. As amazing as this year has been watching Theo grow and learn and change SO much, I just can't wait for the future, and for the adventures we will go on, the things we shall share and the memories we will make. I love this little man more than anything.

I have one wish for this next year, and that's that Theo remains a happy and healthy little boy.


So here is the second installment of Theo's video, hope you enjoy it!

26 January 2012

Look what I made!

So I took the plunge and made Theo a Tipi for his birthday. My friend originally shared this pattern with me, which looked simple and great. We decided to go to Ikea to have a look at fabric, as it's close and fairly cheap for interesting designs. We chose some nice fabric and bought it. Only later did I realise I'd made a bit of a rooky error, and had bought fabric with a vertical design, where the pattern needs a design that is horizontal as it wraps around the frame. Doh!

So after a bit of fretting I decided that instead of buying new fabric I would just have to make my own pattern up. After looking over the other tipis I posted I figured out a fairly simple way of doing it. But it would be fair to say I made most of it up as I went along, changed and added bits and prayed it wouldn't all end up a horrible mess.

(I attempted to take photos as I went along, but at one point I got to bit to engrossed in my work and forgot to take pictures of my progress, sorry)

So with a baby free house, some good music (First Aid Kit and The Tallest Man on Earth) to keep me going, I set to work!

First of all I laid out my fabric, which was 3m long x1.5m wide. Which is what the original pattern I was going to follow needed.

Originally I was going to try and get six panals out of the whole sheet, by splitting it in half and then into three, but after a bit of measuring I decided that it would be too short (a metre high) so I went with four panels of 150cms long x 75 cm wide. (my fabric was slightly under 150cm wide with the edges taken off but I just halved it anyway)

I measured and cut my fabric into four equal rectangles. I then on some separate white fabric of the same dimensions, measured out my triangle (I did this first as a test, but then used it as a template for real fabric). I measured the mid point at the top of the rectangle and marked it. I then measured 4 centimeters to each side of the mid point and marked those. I then drew two diagonal lines from the bottom corners to meet at the top points. I left a 8cm gap at the top, which would be easier to work on.

When I had my four panels (now triangles) cut out I had a play with the structure. I had 6 bamboo poles about 2m long. I realised that I would need 5 panels of fabric to make the tipi shape (otherwise it would be a square tent!) and to use 5 poles.

This is where I would have run into a bit of trouble and would have needed to either go out and get more of the same fabric, or use a different fabric for the extra panel. This is where I had to improvise majorly! Luckily I had enough of the plain white fabric I used as a test in my fabric stash, so decided I would use that for the extra panel.

So I measured and cut out a new triangle out of the white sheet. I lay this on top of one of my original panels to check the size, and realised that it looked better with the white fabric as a liner. (This is something I didn't consider before I started, but am glad I added in.) So I ended up cutting four new triangles to use as a liner, as well as the extra one for the spare panel.

I pinned the liner and the fabric together then lay them all out next to each other.

I then pinned all the edges together, with the two seams meeting on the inside to create a neat seam on the outside. Next I had to figure out how I would secure the poles to the fabric. Originally I was going to have the poles on the outside of the fabric, with sleeves sewn on the outside to hold them in place, but I decided that this was unnecessary extra work, as I could slide the poles between the fabric and the liner, and then sew a pocket to hold the poles at the seams.

I used one pole per triangle, and put it on the right edge of each one. As you can see in the picture I attached the extra plain white panel to the edge, which would become the door. The panel that joined this one when a full circle (the far right one) then needed two poles to make the structure secure.

I slid the poles inbetween the fabrics and used pins to mark how wide the pocket needed to be. I wanted the pocket to be fairly snug, to stop them slipping and to make the structure tighter.

 With everything pinned I was ready to start sewing it together! All the measuring, cutting and pinning took me about 5 hours, so I called it a day after that. My knees and back were killing me by this point! (Theo better appreciate all the effort that went into this hah!)

The next afternoon I started up work again ( I might mention that none of this would have been possible had it not been for Rob being on holiday and taking Theo out for the afternoons)

I also made up lots of the sewing part as I went along, as I realised easier and better ways of doing it. If I were to make another one it would probably take me half the time, and would be neater, but this was my first attempt!

I started with the door panel side first, attaching that to the main fabric. I folded the join in half and sewed along the inside edge. The seam join was also on the right, next to the pole pocket. After sewing the length of the triangle I hemmed the bottom and the top, making sure I left a gap at the top above the pole pocket. On the first two panels I sewed the seam in one line, then two lines to create the pocket. After the first two I then figured out that I could just use the edge of the seam as one side of the pocket, saving me some time! (does that make sense?)

Far right stitch is the seam, next stitch is the edge of the pocket that I ended up not sewing with the rest of the panels. and forgive my messy work
So instead of having three separate stitched lines I only had two. The joining seam and one edge of the pocket.

This I repeated until I reached the last panel where I had to sew a pole pocket on each side. I then attached the door to this last panel, so I had a complete inside out circle. I turned the fabric the right way and voila- I had my Tipi!

With a bit of help from Rob we threaded the poles into their pockets and stood it up. Oh I might just add that the pockets were sealed at the bottom, so the poles don't stick out the end onto the floor. At the top of the tipi to keep the fabric from sliding down the poles and making the structure less stable (the fabric needs to be taut to hold the poles in place) I used some yarn wrapped tightly around the top of the fabric and the poles, and for now it seems to be doing the job. I am thinking that I could use a staple gun to secure the fabric to the poles as well, but I'll have to see how well it holds on it's own for the next few days! Once the fabric was held in place and the structure taut, I cut a slit up the white panel to create the flaps for the door. I need to figure out a way to hem these so it doesn't fray, perhaps some bias binding hand sewn on. But for now here you are!

Alma get acquainted. Please excuse the MASSIVE mess in the background, a result of trying to keep Theo entertained!

The happy bebe!

I know it's supposed to be for his birthday, but we've left it up and had a bit of a play in it already. Mainly peekaboo through the door (me inside) and hide and seek from daddy (us both inside!) and its fair to say Theo loves it!

So there you have it, my slightly bodged job which actually turned out ok! If anyone wants to try their own version feel free to use my (made up) design, but please credit me if publishing it online (thanks!) Alternatively, if anyone wants to commission me to make their child a tipi I would love to give it a go, just email me!

25 January 2012

Spot the difference

Yesterday my dad sent me a little picture of myself when I was about Theo's age, and I think it's fair to say he looks a lot like me!

ta daa!

(i know i know, I am a proper butch looking baby)

24 January 2012

Daddy love

Yesterday evening we were all sitting on the sofa, Theo in the middle, when I looked down and saw that Rob and Theo were holding hands.

I said, "is Theo holding your hand?" and Rob informed me that he had been doing it all day, whilst they had been out adventuring together.

Yesterday afternoon they went out so I could get to work on Theo's tipi. I didn't know where they were going, but they took the bus into town together. Rob took Theo for a walk around the docks and got chips, the same thing he used to do with his dad. They then went to a playground and played on the slides. They took another bus to go see a friend, had a walk around and returned home 5 hours later.

I love this. I love the thought of them riding the bus together, holding hands, daddy and son. Adventuring around the city together. It makes me heart melt just a little bit.

I love seeing their relationship grow and like that Theo doesn't need me all the time and can go for long stretched of time without me. I love that Rob is there to do these things with him, that they have their own connection and love for each other.

I can't wait to sit back and watch it grow and grow in the future. Hooray for dads.

21 January 2012

What a nice suprise!

This morning the postman knocked on the door and handed Rob a little package addressed to myself and Theo. Now we hardly ever get nice exciting post, so I was massively suprised!

I opened it up and inside was a beautiful gift from the lovely Sarah Dyer. It's a book for Theo's birthday, so I probably should have put it away ready for next week, but it was so lovely I couldn't help but sneak a look and well, read the whole thing!

Sarah and I have recently become acquainted through 'Instagram' and through our blogs, as our sons are close in age and we have lots of common interests. Through looking at her website and blog I have admired her skill and talent as an illustrator, so was over the moon to be sent one of her children's books that she wrote and illustrated. It is such a sweet gift and we love it!

So if you haven't already seen her brilliant work, then please go check her out! I know I will be getting her other books to add to my collection as her illustrations and stories are great. This one made me smile tons!

Hooray for talented mamas!

18 January 2012

Out and about: play time

This is Rob's first week of being off, so I've decided to give him a little taster of what I usually do with my time, and an insight into being a mum. I've been feeling a little under the weather (again) this week, so it's been great to have someone else around to help entertain Theo, but we've still got out of the house, trying to do exciting things for the bebe.

Yesterday, after doing a few errands we visited a place called Portico Play on Gloucester Road. I've been quite a few times before, as I used to meet up with my antenatal group there when Theo was little, but we only stayed in the baby room with the bouncy chairs and play mats. They have quite a few rooms with different age level appropriate toys which is great. If your child is under one then it's £1 entry, with no time limit, which I think is a great deal! They have healthy snacks and drinks for both adults and children, so you can stay for quite a while if you wanted!

In the middle is a huge cornered off play area with loads of different toys to play with. This is generally for the older children, as they can run around and play dress up etc, but we tried Theo in there for the first time, and he loved it. As they can't get out it's perfect for him to crawl around playing without us having to chase him every 2 minutes when he tries to escape! Theo's favourite at the moment are the play kitchens, and they have loads of different units to play with. He can open and close the cupboard doors to his hearts content here!

Rob went in to the play area with him, whilst I sat at the side watching. You can sit all around the side with a good view of the play area, which is great. It means mums can have a little sit down!

(sorry for the bad picture quality, I only had my phone!)

So we had a fun afternoon! Also here is a little video we managed to get of Theo taking a few steps! he's getting pretty confident now on his feet and tries to walk all the time, even if he does only get a little way before falling over!

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