Secret book safe

OK, so if you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen a sneaky preview of this project (along with a promise to get this post written last week, but, you know, life and stuff…) And here it is!

The idea for this actually came from an excellent book I bought big brother for Christmas, called “The Boys Book of Things To Make”.
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If you have a little boy I can highly recommend tracking down a copy of it, it’s fab! Full of fun craft projects and aimed at just the right level for kids to get involved with.

But this book safe isn’t only a good project for kids, it’s actually quite a good idea to have around the house. My husband is already planning on hiding things (credit cards, passports, etc) in it when we’re away. I might have to make another one for him to avoid arguments 😉

For this project you will need:

One large, hardback book
Craft knife
Ruler
PVA glue
Paintbrush

Open the book and flip passed the first few pages, the idea being that it’ll look like a regular book to a casual observer (this is hilarious if you’re 3 apparently!). Then with the ruler and craft knife you need to start cutting out the centre of the remaining pages. As a rough guide the outside edge of the text area is an ideal line to follow. You don’t want to cut too close to the edge of the pages otherwise your book safe won’t be strong enough to hold anything without buckling.

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You won’t be able to cut through all the pages in one go, so find something heavy to weigh down the cut pages after you’ve turned them.

This is the long part, especially if you’ve chosen a 600+ page book… 😉 So if you’re doing it with a little person, don’t be surprised if they lose interest a little at this point.

Don’t worry if your craft knife slips a little while you’re cutting, as long as it isn’t on the first page you won’t be able to see it when you’re finished.
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Continue until there are roughly 10 pages left at the end of the book. Then put down your craft knife and retrieve your small person for the next fun part 🙂

The final part of the project is to glue the cut pages together to create a solid box in which to hide your treasures. Pour a little of the PVA glue into a dish and water it down with slightly less than the same amount of water. Mix until you have a thinned glue mixture and paint it liberally onto the insides and outsides of the cut pages of your book.
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Place something non stick between the cut and glued pages and the first pages in the book (you don’t want them to stick together otherwise it defeats the purpose somewhat!). Close your book and weigh it down to dry, this will help the pages to stick.

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Meet our ferengi. He’s full of pennies so is nice and heavy for the job!

Leave overnight and repeat the gluing process if necessary. And now you have your very own secret hiding place!

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Personalised trinket dishes

Hands up: who’s not ready for Christmas yet? Not just me I hope!

If you’re still looking for an easy little present or stocking filler, here’s a very simple idea that doesn’t take long to do.

Personalised trinket dishes

You will need:

Porcelain dishes (or mugs/cups/plates)
Porcelain pen
An idea of something to doodle!

I would recommend using a proper porcelain pen and not just a marker, as it will mean your finished piece can safely be washed without your design coming off. I bought mine at hobbycraft. This one can (apparently, I’ve not tested it yet!) even be put through the dishwasher at up to 50°!

Then comes the fun part: drawing on your design!

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I’ve gone for simple repeating patterns to keep it easy to decorate, but you could go as complex or personalised as you like. For example: write a word, name or phrase; draw a more complex picture; a significant date or location. Really, you’re only limited by your imagination!

It’s also good to know that until the ink is fully dry and set, you can still wash off your design and start again if you’re not happy *phew* 😉

Then just follow the instructions on your marker. I’ve got to leave mine to dry for 4 hours, bake for 30 minutes at 160° before leaving them to cool completely in the oven.

I’ve got some cups and saucers I’ve been meaning to decorate for myself for ages. Maybe once the Christmas craziness is over I’ll have a chance to do it!

Happy crafting! 🙂

Simple crocheted Santa hat (with free pattern!)

Eeee! It’s December! I’m so excited for Christmas this year! With big brother being 3 1/2 now he’s getting excited and I’m really looking forward to making it magical for him 🙂 Little brother obviously still has no idea what’s going on but he’s enjoying looking at the Christmas tree and all our decorations.

Speaking of little brother, I really can’t believe he’s going to be 1 in only 11 days! My little baby is nearly a proper toddler, this has been a very quick year!

But anyway, back to Christmas:

I’ve made a couple of new things so far this year. First of all I made a felt advent calendar which I’m very pleased with, and which big brother is really enjoying every morning:

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The next thing I whipped up was this very quick and easy crocheted Santa hat:

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It was made entirely on a whim and with leftover yarn in my stash. But I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and, even better, big brother loves it and proudly tells everyone that I made it for him 🙂

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As you can see from the photo it is a little bit on the big side, so if you wish to make it smaller then start with ch 88 white then skip the row 2 of the red instructions so that the first ‘sk next tr’ comes after 21 stitches, not 22. Likewise if you wish to make it bigger then ch 96 and add an extra row with the ‘sk next tr’ decrease after 23 stitches.

I hope that makes sense! Actually, I hope this whole pattern makers sense, I’ve never written a crochet pattern before, or even followed one for that matter! So if anyone has any (constructive!) criticism about my instructions please let me know 🙂

Simple Crocheted Santa Hat

Materials:
Red and white dk weight yarn, approximately 40g of red and 20g of white.
3.5mm crochet hook
Wool needle
Pom pom made from the same white yarn as the band.

White band
Row 1: ch 92 then join chain into a circle with a sl st into 1st stitch.
Row 2: ch 2, 91 dc in every remaining ch, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 3-7: ch 2, 91 dc in front lp of each previous row dc, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2, fasten off.

Red hat
Row 1: change to red yarn, make a slip knot, sl st into back lp of last white dc, ch 1, tr 91 in back lp of each dc of last white row, join in beg ch-1.
Row 2: ch 2, (tr 21, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 21, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 3: ch 2, (tr 20, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 20, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 4: ch 2, (tr 19, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 19, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 5: ch 2, (tr 18, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 18, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 6: ch 2, (tr 17, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 17, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 7: ch 2, (tr 16, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 16, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 8: ch 2, (tr 15, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 15, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 9: ch 2, (tr 14, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 14, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 10: ch 2, (tr 13, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 13, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 11: ch 2, (tr 12, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 12, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 12: ch 2, (tr 11, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 11, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 13: ch 2, (tr 10, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 10, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 14: ch 2, (tr 9, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 9, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 15: ch 2, (tr 8, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 8, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 16: ch 2, (tr 7, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 7, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 15: ch 2, (tr 6, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 6, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 16: ch 2, (tr 5, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 5, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 17: ch 2, (tr 4, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 4, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 18: ch 2, (tr 3, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 3, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 19: ch 2, (tr 2, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 2, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 20: ch 2, (tr 1, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 1, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 21: ch 2, (sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2, fasten off.

Finish by sewing in the ends and attaching a pom pom on the top. Then wear and spread Christmas cheer! 🙂

Chilly mornings just got cosier!

Well, for one small person anyway 😉

Big brother has been in need of a new dressing gown to keep him warm on chilly mornings. As in, he was still squeezing into one meant for a 1 year old… So ages ago we chose a lovely beach towel from IKEA (when it was in the sale, obviously 😉 ) and I intended to turn it into a new ‘big boy’ dressing gown.

But then the towel got put away and it slipped down the to do list. Until this week that is! I actually intended to start on Wednesday but I forgot I hadn’t prewashed the towel, so that had to come first. No point putting in all the effort of making something, just to have it shrink or warp in a strange way on the first wash.

So by Friday I finally had that magical combination of prepared fabric, the desire to sew, and little brother napping. Project dressing gown was a go!

I drafted a quick pattern based on big brother’s measurements, with some growing room to ensure it lasts him a while. I also used every shortcut I could think of to make it as quick and easy a project as possible.

For example:
* there are no side seams as I cut the whole body from the width of the towel with the arm holes cut out

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* the loops to hold the tie are the offcut pieces of the selvedge edge, just trimmed to the seam line.

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* I used the hemmed edges of the towel for the bottom hem and the sleeve ends so there was no hemming needed.

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So with minimal sewing we ended up with:

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One very grown up looking little man! And it must be comfy because he said “mummy, I really love my new dressing gown. I’m going to wear it all day till bedtime!” Which, I think, is about as big a compliment as you can get from a three year old 😀

Now, I haven’t included a copy of my pattern here, would you be interested in it? Comment below and let me know, and if you ask really nicely I’ll try to find the time to do it! 😉 haha

New knitting pattern: falling leaves hat and scarf!

I’m excited to say that my first lace knitting pattern is now available to buy here on Ravelry and you can also buy it by clicking the link (no need to be a ravelry member):

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It’s a classy leaf lace pattern hat and scarf, knitted in beautifully soft DROPS Alpaca yarn which will appeal to experienced and new lace knitters alike. It is an excellent choice for a first lace knitting project as it only requires a few stitches to create a beautiful repeating leaf pattern. The pattern is also classy enough to take you from everyday wear to a night out, all while staying nice and cosy.

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The pattern includes instructions for two different hat sizes: S/M (teenage/small adult) and M/L (adult), and a one size fits all scarf, with both written instructions and a chart.

The hat has been designed so that the leaf pattern continues to the crown, so there is no break in the pattern and the leaves cover the whole hat. It is worked in the round on either a circular or double pointed needles.

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The 2 part set requires 150g (3 x 50g balls) of DROPS Alpaca yarn, using 50g for the hat, and 100g for the scarf. It is knitted on 3.75mm needles.

And you’ll be please to know it’s already been tested against the winds brought over by ‘Abigail’ and kept me nice and cosy 😉

I hope you like it! Let me know what you think 🙂

Chocolate, banana, chickpea and raisin flour-less cookies

Dear blog,
I’m sorry to admit that I’ve been cheating on you with Instagram. It’s just so quick and easy and I’ve not had the time to give you the love you deserve. Please accept this delicious and healthy cookie recipe I came up with as my apology! I’ll be back soon, I promise. Big kisses x

Ingredients

3/4 cup ground porridge oats
1/2 cup homemade peanut butter
1 can drained chickpeas
1 large banana
6 tbsp aquafaba
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 180°c and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a food processor blitz the oats to a fine consistency, then tip into a mixing bowl and set aside. Add the peanut butter to the bowl.

Open the can of chickpeas carefully and drain the aquafaba into a separate container. Tip the chickpeas and 3 tbsp of aquafaba, along with the banana, into the food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the remaining aquafaba, cocoa powder, agave nectar, salt and baking powder and mix until combined.

Scoop the chickpea mixture into the mixing bowl and gently stir in the oats and peanut butter. Add in the raisins and stir until they are well distributed.

Place a large spoonful of the mixture onto the baking tray and form into a cookie shape, repeating until all of the mixture is used up. I got 23 fat cookies.

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Bake for 18-20 minutes until the outsides have browned and are firm to the touch. Note however these will be quite soft cookies even when done, so don’t overbake!

Cool (or not, they’re also delicious hot!), eat, and store in an airtight container.

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Enjoy! 🙂

And I promise I’ll try to be back to business as usual soon!

Recent goings on!

Well, I did promise a longer post to let you know what I’ve been up to!

I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of weeks doing what I can for the current refugee crisis. I took it upon myself to get fundraising started in my local community. We had a community meeting and decided that we would support Oxfam and the excellent work they are undertaking in the refugee camps out in Lebanon and Jordan (amongst other things).

We kicked off our fundraising with a coffee morning and bake sale in a local church hall last Saturday where we raised £600 and enjoyed some delicious cakes too!

My cakey contribution:

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It was pretty busy all morning, we estimate there were at least 100 people which was an excellent turnout!

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The lovely group of volunteers who helped me to run it:

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We’ve also been having some tasty home baking at our mother and toddler group and have raised another £20 this way so far.

I’ve also been having a rummage through the house for suitable clothes and things I could donate to the charities taking supplies out to the refugees. I’m pleased to say I was able to find quite a lot, including: 2 sleeping bags, 3 roll mats, 4 coats, trousers, jumpers, wellies, backpacks, vac packed food, matches, water purification tablets. And my mum and I combined it with a few things bought specially including: underwear, socks, toiletries, medicine, stationary, nappies. It felt like a lot of stuff, and yet not a lot at the same time.

I also wrote little notes and put them in pockets and under straps. I hope whoever receives my donations can take some comfort in knowing that people still care about them. My lovely big boy also insisted on doing some drawings “for the people who had to run away from their homes”.

And because, as my dad always says, you can be sure your good deeds will not go unpunished, some charming person decided to key my car, also last Saturday.

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Very kind… I’m not sure who I’ve offended to quite that degree but to attack my car in my driveway like that, it must be bad. And it goes the whole way from the headlights to the taillights. Great.

But, to end on a more positive note, we have finally finished our front garden transformation! We had grey pebbles which just looked so… bleh. Now we still have the veg patch, and we lifted the remainder of the stones and created a curved corner flowerbed and laid turf:

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I’m so pleased with the finished garden, it looks so much more alive and inviting! I feel like we actually have some kerb appeal now!