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Urgh, disastrous morning chez Tante. I am at home with the Tantettes today, DH doesn’t get back till half seven tonight. 11 hours with the little cherubs…. I really needed some craft bits so I thought I would combine a trip to Hobbycraft with a visit to Toys ‘R’ Us. There is your clue as to how my morning has gone.

After a short negotiation with Betty, in which she threatened a tantrum and I compromised, we agreed Toys ‘R’ us first, then Hobbycraft. That was a mistake as once we were out of Toy ‘R’ Us I no longer had any leverage. I managed to dissuade her from buying poxy Moxie Dolls and Dora The Explorer tat, and she settled on some clothes for her doll Rupert. I also wanted to get a doll for Iris as she has taken a bit of a shine to Rupert, much to Betty’s chagrin. Let me tell you, it is practically impossible to find a soft bodied doll which doesn’t walk, talk, cry (why, why would you want to buy your child a doll that cries, just when you are coming out of the endless crying stage of parenting yourself?). At the last minute I managed to find one that didn’t cost £40 (no Baby Annabel for us.)

I then dragged Betty past the hideous fibre glass ride on toy where you can pay 50p to be rocked back and forth on Iggle Piggle’s boat with the man himself for a total of 27 seconds. Into Hobbycraft, hissing at Betty that if she whinges or complains after I’ve spent an hour in Toys ‘R’ A Fecking Rip-Off then I would take her newly purchased toys away, which of course she did, and I didn’t. It wasn’t worth the tantrum.

Hobbycraft is a necessary evil in my life. It’s crafting by numbers. It’s the Tesco of craft supplies, selling just enough of a variety of craft supplies to get you to go there for convenience, but never that one product that you need. In my case it was chalkboard fabric. I asked one of the assistants who didn’t take my making a request of her very well and looked at me like I had asked her to sacrifice her first born child. I was well ready to sacrifice mine at that point. Suffice to say they didn’t have any, so I picked up a couple of wooden embroidery hoops; stood in front of the embroidery floss for a while, overwhelmed and not really sure what I wanted; then realised that it’s a friend’s birthday tomorrow and wondering if I could cobble together a necklace for her with some jewellery making supplies and my non-existent jewellery making skills. Before I knew it I had spent half an hour growling at the kids (well, they were growling at me first), spent £23 and not really got anything I needed.

That’s the other thing about this crafting business, it’s blooming expensive! I know  that shopping at Hobbycraft doesn’t help. It pains me. I really want to be one of these thrifty crafters who knocks something up from supplies they found for 20p in a charity shop, but really, who has the time to shop in charity shops? I do love them but I just don’t have the tenacity for them, especially when I am dragging around my children. I also don’t have the eye to spot something cheap and hideous that I can magically make into something lovely. Nor can I make 1970’s kitchen crap look retro. I just can’t pull off retro chic. Or shabby chic. Or even handmade chic. That’s why I’ve always avoided all these (admittedly wonderful) blogs. They make me feel dazzlingly inadequate. Still, maybe if I read them enough some of their magic will rub off on me.

Only four and a half hours till DH is home…

Let's see if I can make these into a necklace someone might actually want to wear