On the first day of Christmas my true love made for me…a calendar of origami

Yes, I know it is not the first day of Christmas, but why let that get in the way of a good post title!


Last night I manically finished my origami advent calendar. My previous post had some different ideas for homemade calendars and I went for the easy option, the origami one. It’s not quite as fancy as the one in my link, but it does look good. I haven’t added anything to hang it yet though.

The tutorial for the origami pockets is here. I used origami paper, but you could use an sort of paper, magazines, wrapping paper. I used stick on numbers from Hobbycraft. In each pocket is a piece of paper with an activity, mostly for Betty’s benefit (but a couple for us!).


Examples of activities are: Elf Yourself, watch a Christmas film, make reindeer cakes for the Christmas Fair.

I’m really pleased with it, though not sure about it’s longevity with the kids, being made of paper, but it was easy to make so nothing lost. The pockets are glued on to a large piece of foam board type thing, £2.50 from Hobbycraft.


Today’s activity is ‘Write a letter to Father Christmas’ which we will be sending here and awaiting our reply!

A post about not very much

So, I’m having a bit of bloggers’ block. Well, not in the way that I have nothing to say. I ALWAYS have something to say. But none of it is particularly interesting. This blog has been great at helping me focus, but the more I get into the blogosphere the more pressure I feel to say something insightful, entertaining or useful.

Sometime I get caught up thinking about all of the crap accumulating on the internet. Terabytes and terabytes, petabytes even of information (a petabyte is 1000 terabytes. Now don’t say I’m not educational!) being sent out into the ether. Where does it go? Will we one day be subsumed by digital information? Swallowed by web pages such as The Pylon Appreciation Society, Scarf Collecting and Paris Hilton. Can you recycle bytes? You can save over stuff I suppose. But where does the stuff that you’ve saved go? It doesn’t just disintegrate. Surely it stays etched in microchips forever. In case someone does actually press delete on a massive server somewhere the Wayback Machine has been archiving the internet since 1996.

I bemoaned my bloggers’ block on the Mumsnet Bloggers Network earlier, and one of my fellow bloggers pointed out that blogs are a reflection of ourselves, and I promised when I started this blog that I would be honest, non-smuggy, and try not to portray an unrealistic lifestyle. So, I am going to stop comparing my blog to some of the other picture perfect blogs out there and just be myself. Well, a version of myself anyway…

I’m one of those people who if you ask “How are you?” I’ll really tell you! So, thanks for asking, I’m ok. Had a tough day with the kids. Iris is slowly gaining two molars and has a cold so is clingy and grumpy. Betty has an asthmatic cough with is keeping her awake at night, so between the two of them we are not getting much sleep. DH was a at work today, so I was grumpy and the kids watched TV.

We did have a brief sojourn to the newly opened Hobbycraft in town. I both love and loathe Hobbycraft, it’s easy and covers many crafts, but I find it expensive and the staff inexperienced. It promotes crafting by numbers. There was a DIY gingerbread house kit with the gingerbread already made! However, I decided stop stop being so snobby and appreciate that many people are embracing crafting in a variety of ways.

I was gunning for a goody bag, but despite getting there 5 minutes after it opened, it was packed already and I missed out. DH had taken the stroller in his car and left me with the pushchair with a flat tyre. So not a great start. Plus it is hard to concentrate with a whining 1 year old and a 4 year old who wants everything. So all in all not very successful. I did see a couple if friends in there which was nice though. I am still making stuff, but it’s pretty slow going at the moment. I think that is contributing to the bloggers’ block.

My Sainsbury’s shopping delivery came, with a nice treat of some Hagan Daaz which I am going to enjoy tonight. Belgian Chocolate is the flavour for me. An early night to follow, and no, not in a fun way. To compensate for the night wakings. It’s a bit miserable though, as it means very little time between the kids going to bed and me going to bed.

Still, it won’t last. And nor will this bloggers’ block hopefully.

Too cool for school

Remember my post about a week ago It’s gone dark in here where I teased you with my new project but it turned out I’d bought the wrong thing? Well I’ve finally finished and an ready to share. This is one of those projects that takes less than 5 minutes to actually do but 3 weeks to gather up the materials! So here it is, ta-da! My embroidery hoop chalk board!

Now I can leave passive aggressive messages to my husband!

The tutorial for this super easy project is here at Burlap+Blue, but the gist is get embroidery hoop, chalkboard fabric, scissors and some chalk. Cut fabric, stick it in hoop and trim. Job’s a good’n! I’ve had the embroidery hoop for a few weeks in anticipation. When I tried to buy chalkboard fabric what I actually mistakenly bought was a chalkboard vinyl sticker, which no doubt I will find an alternative use for. What I needed was chalkboard fabric, much like oil cloth which is actually quite hard to find here in the UK. But I’ve done the research so you don’t have to. You can buy it at oilcloth.co.uk. It’s not cheap but I bought half a metre and have plenty left for more projects.

The other thing that took me ages to find was chalk. You’d think with a 4 year old I’d have plenty in the house, but the reality is I actually really hate chalk, well not so much chalk as proper chalk boards. The sound of them makes me shudder and reminds me of being at school, which is why we’ve never had one. But this chalk board is way too cool for school, and the oilcloth is not nearly as cringe-making though. Getting hold of some chalk was a nightmare. Now I am back at work part time I am loath to spend days hauling the kids into town. I eventually found some at my trusty nemesis Hobbycraft.

I’ll probably be quiet over the weekend as we are off to see more faaaamily. This time we are off Up North to celebrate my dad’s wedding. Look forward to showing you what I’m whipping up as a present for them.

Hobbycraft: the Tesco of the craft world. But not as cheap.

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