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Keepsake Blanket | Turn old baby clothes into a momento

Keepsake Blanket | Turn old baby clothes into a momento

A good way to make it easier to let go of those cute baby-grows that your once newborn baby has grown out of is to make them into a keepsake blanket. There is no denying that we all fall in love with a few items of clothes (blokes included, don’t try be all macho on me now fellas). When it comes to getting rid of them it can tug on the heart strings, probably moreso with your firstborn as it’s a new experience. Your baby is growing up and they grow out of the cute baby clothes in next to no time.

There’s something about a baby-grow. Besides getting all the cuddles, they look so damn cosy with their closed feet, and buttoned all the way up. For the first few months, they might live in baby-grows almost full time! They’re toasty warm, easy to deal with (unless you’ve got a wriggler in which case it’s like trying to put an octopus in a bag), and you get fit hundreds in your changing bag. You need plenty for all those times your baby gets food everywhere (or covers them in shit. Nice).

Keepsake blanket

Before I go on I should note that I have zero sewing skills. Wifey did this and made a bloody good job of it too! I should also add that this is a bit of a crash course. I can’t sew for toffee so I’m pretty sure I can’t write about it too well either! There’s a more comprehensive guide over at QuiltKeepSake.com

Keepsake Blanket
Our Keepsake Blanket (click for larger view)

The first task at hand is to decide which baby-grows to put on the blanket. Think carefully here as you’ll shortly be chopping them up. You’ll want to find about 24 pieces, which have a suitable square you can cut out around 10″ square.

Top Tip – Cut out a 10″ square from paper, you can use it as an overlay to make sure the design will all fit in the square when you start chopping. You can also use it to cut round to make sure your squares are all the same size.

Spend time on this bit. These are the baby-grows you’re keeping a little piece of as a momento so think about the outfit you brought your baby home from hospital in, and so on. My personal favourite was a little blue and white polka-dot from Carters baby-grow with little pink foxes on the feet. I always used to call PG foxy-feet when she wore it. Just look how freakin’ cute she looked in it! (and look how snuggly she looked in her Babymoov Sleep Positioner)

Foxy Feet Baby Grow (from Carters) that was included in keepsake blanket
PG in her foxy feet baby-grow that we included in the keepsake blanket

Cut out your 24 ten inch squares and arrange them on the floor how you want them. Next comes the tricky bit. You’ll want to have someone who is handy with a needle or sewing machine for this part. You are aiming for six rows of four squares, so stitch the squares together one row at a time, then stitch the rows together.

You should now have a single sheet of squares all sewn together. Tack it onto a large piece of wadding (using wadding is a load easier than using fluffy stuffing). For extra thickness you might choose to use more than one piece of wadding. Keep in mind if you plan on actually using it as a blanket you don’t want to it to be too thick as your child may get too hot.

Now sew the whole thing to piece of cotton, which will make the back of the blanket. Just sewing round the edge should be fine, but Wifey sewed a small cross into the intersections of each square for a little added stickiness (is that even a sewing word? I’ve no idea either). Finish the blanket off with some edging and voila, it should look like a blanket (if it doesn’t use a different guide or draught in someone who can actually sew like your Granny!).

What to do with the rest of the clothes

Whatever you do, DON’T chuck them in the bin. That’s crap for the planet. Unless they have holes in and are physically no good, there are many many different ways of disposing of your old clothes. There’ll be no need to teach you to suck eggs here, but as a starter for ten (or three at least!)

  1. Take them to a charity shop. Each town has several and most stock baby clothes.
  2. Take them to a baby bank. Much like the charity shop idea but they usually deal specifically with families with little ones, so the items will go directly to someone who really needs them. Check where your nearest baby bank is online (there’s a good list over at Stripey Stork), or do your own research.
  3. If you’ve space and plan to expand the family, save them. You’ll be thankful of it when you start all over again as it’ll be a few less things to buy.

Made a keepsake blanket before? Let me know how you got on in the comments.

Ttfn
Pete

Home-made toys can be so much fun!

Home-made toys can be so much fun!

As promised earlier in the week, I want to write all about home-made toys which can be just as entertaining. I run a tight ship when it comes to money in our house (ask Wifey she’ll have plenty to say on the matter), but one thing I’ll never do is deny Phoebe G of anything she needs (or indeed wants, of course without her ending up a spoilt brat). With Wifey being such a crafty bugger, she quite often comes up with little ideas of things she can quickly whip together for the mini beast to play with. I want to introduce you to three of these items, all of which Phoebe loves and all of which cost well under a fiver to make and have their own various benefits.

Organza Crinkle Bags

First up is the Organza Crinkle Bag. A noisy but fun sensory toy which both feels good and sounds amazing (and probably tastes of something too, seeing as most things end up in a child’s mouth!)

What you need:

  • Small organza bag(s). Not the teeny tiny ones you get wedding favours in, something a bit large, something like these from Amazon. £2.29 for 10, so if you’ve some other mummy/daddy friends these can work out really cheap.
  • An emergency blanket. This offers a bit more fun than tin foil, and won’t rip after the first use. We got this one from Amazon, at £1.53. This blanket is huge, and you really don’t need it all.

Even without splitting the material cost with your mummy and daddy friends, it still comes in at £3.82. If you find just one other person to share costs and materials with, it makes this £1.91.

Organza Bags - What you need
Organza Bags – What you need

Making it is pretty self explanatory – cut a 2ft square (or appropriately sized piece for your bags) of the emergency blanket. It needs to be big enough to fill the bag but not too big that it won’t scrunch in the bag. Pull the ribbon to tie the bag and you’re done! Pass it over to baby and watch them have hours (literally) of fun. This is one of Phoebe’s favourite things to play with at the moment!

OrganzaToy

 

Organza Crinkle Bag Sensory Toy
Before the foil made it in the bag!

Ribbons, Ribbons, Ribbons

The next fun toy is even easier. A load of ribbons tied together! It doesn’t matter what colours you use (we used the rainbow colours, so seven different ribbons).

Sensory silk ribbon toy for babies
Phoebe enjoying her ribbon toy!

Grab a metre long piece of each colour from your local craft shop (double satin ribbon is essential here so it’s silky on both sides. It’s the feel that babies love). Using a lighter, gently burn each end of each ribbon. This will make sure they don’t fray. Tie the ribbons in a knot, making sure the knot is in the centre and voila! You’re done! At about 60p a metre of ribbon, this comes up at a crippling total of £3.50, and you can probably get the ribbon cheaper if you shop around (or flutter your eyelashes if you’re a MILF hottie).

Silky ribbons are great for babies to feel
Silky ribbons are great for babies to feel

The Twiddle

Sadly Wifey can’t take any credit for this one. Our friends over at Life as Mrs N came up with this simple idea, after making tutu’s for their daughter’s second birthday party. This couldn’t be easier to make (providing you can plait!).

The Twiddle is a firm favourite!
The Twiddle is a firm favourite!

What you need:

  • Three bits of tulle. The lengths only need to be about a metre long. You can get long rolls online at around £4.80 for 100 yards (seriously why are people still using yards, it’s like being with my Gran). This works out at about 5.2p per metre. You’re best going to a local craft/material shop to have a scout round.

All you need to do is tie the three pieces in a knot (have the knot right at the top). If you’re a plaiting novice, sticky tape the knotted tulle to a surface so you can pull it tight as you plait. Now plait the three pieces together and knot the tulle at the other end, then you’re done! Even at 50p a metre this will only cost £1.50 which is a small price to pay for the amount of use it’ll get.

The Twiddle - Simple baby toy made from tulle
The Twiddle

Your child will love running this through their fingers, twiddling it with their hands (hence the name!). Phoebe finds The Twiddle in particular very comforting and uses it most days.

As with all these I’m sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but this is all for under a tenner so worth the investment.

Let me know what you think! I’m sure there’ll be plenty more things we make over the next few months which I’ll share with you! If you’ve made your child toys that they’ve loved, share them here!

Ttfn

Pete

 

Sunshine – a thing of beauty and a pain in the ass

Sunshine – a thing of beauty and a pain in the ass

Right. It’s a well known fact that us miserable Brits get ever so excited at even the suggestion of sunshine. Heck even sunshine in January gets the barbecues out. We have to seize the moment in case it doesn’t put in an appearance for another twelve months. Don’t get me wrong we love the sun and like nothing more than to chill in the garden or go for a walk on a hot sunny day.

We’ve just been on holiday (in England) and boy were we unprepared for the lovely weather that we were fortunate enough to have. 

Picture the scene. A nice sunny day. Wifey, Phoebe G and me ready to go out on an adventure. Car all packed so off we go. Destination reached and out of the car we get, stepping out on a nice walk. So far so good. The sun was in front of us beaming on our pasty white faces. Phoebe is a happy little girl in her car seat looking at us and around at the trees. All was well until we turned a corner. Suddenly the sun is behind us, Phoebe has a face like a slapped arse and begins to whinge and moan. Oh no, we’ve no sunshade. How could we miss such a vital thing (perhaps because we are British and so used to crap weather). The game of “move your head and body so baby’s face is in your shade” is surprisingly difficult when you’re moving, so much so we gave up and Phoebe had to just lump it. We were in a village and the only shop was a post office so absolutely no chance of a baby shade in there. The only option was to walk due North until the sun went down and it was safe to go the other way. Ok that’s a joke, we carried on our walk and then eventually headed back to the car.

Fast forward to the next day and a quick nip into Poundland. Awesome shop and not just because I’m a penny pincher (I’m not as bad anymore, ask Wifey). Wifey has a light bulb moment and picks up a quid umbrella. Into the sun we go, wedged the brolley in the car seat/pram and PROBLEM SOLVED! She even got a cute one. 

 

All Wifey’s idea!
 
Phoebe was happy again and we could walk in all directions with no screaming. 

 

Happy as Larry under the sunbrella
 
So a top tip for you all, make sure you’ve got a sun shade of some description! We’ve got a proper pram shade now from Amazon, but the quid umbrella was a life saver!

Ttfn

Pete

Daddy’s Little Star

Daddy’s Little Star

If I’d have started blogging earlier, then this would have been a second trimester post. Your child starts to hear from around 18 weeks, and you should make plenty time to sit and talk to her. Yes, at first it’s pretty weird sat staring at mummy’s bump and chatting/singing to it, but this is the part where the baby starts to learn the sound of your voice. The more familiar they get with it then, the more settled they’ll be when they’re out of their safe cocoon in the big wide world.

I come from a very musical family and hope that Phoebe follows in the same footsteps – Little ones are always cute playing the piano after all – so I made a point of singing to her from around 18-20 weeks, usually the well known kiddies favourite Twinkle Twinkle Star. Luckily I can hold a semi-decent tune, but even if you can’t don’t worry. It’s the sound and tone of your voice you want to teach them so who cares if you can’t sing (okay so your other half might, especially if they’re trying to get some much needed shut-eye!)

It pays off, too. When Phoebe was born we went to sleep every night for a good few weeks with either me singing, or listening to a piano medley on YouTube that put us to sleep too!

So have a good cough and get the dust of those vocal chords. You’ll be thankful for it when baby is born.

Ttfn

Pete

Baby Burrito

Baby Burrito

No I’m not talking about a small Mexican dish, although they’re tasty too. Your baby has spent 9 months cooped up in mummy’s tum and it’s perfectly normal for them to want to feel enclosed when they’re really young so they feel safe and secure. Getting them wrapped up nice and tight is easy peasy. Please welcome, the Baby Burrito (or swaddling to you normal folk). Phoebe liked to be swaddled until she was a couple of months old (if that), then preferred to be able to let her limbs be free! It got to the point where it was like trying to put an octopus in a bag, so we gave up with it!

There’s a great walk through on Baby Centre with photos, and the finished product is super cute. Whack on salsa sauce and guacamole and you’re good to go… that’s a joke, don’t eat them.

Ttfn

Pete