DIY Dolls House for Moomins

I'd seen this bookcase and knew I'd love to get my hands on it. It's plainess was just begging for some colour and pattern and messing around with.

So we bought it and I used scrapbook papers and ribbons and stickers and other lovely things to make it into a doll's house for Grier. I had so much fun decorating this house it kind of felt more like a present for me than her.

She has a beautiful doll's house at Nana and Grandad's house which one day she will inherit but it's delicate and she's only two so I wanted something that she could go to town with and we wouldn't be hovering over her asking her to be more careful.

I ordered this furniture for it because it's wooden and not all pink which were important. I scoured ebay for furniture but this ended up being a better deal and should last a while.

I really had problems finding people for the house. Seriously, every dolls house family I found were seriously freaky. This is what I mean.

So I ordered some Moomins. Because Grier (and I) love Moomins. I ordered them from here but unfortunately they took ages to deliver and sent me the wrong set. Normally I'd have sent them back but there wasn't time to get replacements before Christmas and I thought Santa would be a bit out of order leaving a fully furnished house with no inhabitants so we had to make do. I did complain and tweet shame but no luck - but they won't be getting any more business from this Moomin fan , no way. I really wanted this set as Grier has all the books with these characters.

She loves to rearrange things and put the Moomins (and Kitty and Mimmy) to bed or let them have some telly time if they are good. We can use it for storage if one day a doll's house is fun anymore (or I might just have it in my room......) The bookcase was inexpensive but seems sturdy, I'm ashamed to say all the decorations came from my overflowing stash of craft materials and we can pass the furniture on one day, so it felt like a useful, sustainable and fun gift for my girl.

I decorated the 'study' with these bunny buttons from Amanda Mercer which I bought at the Country Living Christmas Fair. I knew they'd come in handy!

*Post contains affiliate links. Not to The Moomin Shop obviously, they are dead to me

A Fishy Quilt

Christmas 2013. It was by far my most fun Christmas ever. A combination of perfectly aged kids and lots of family and friends and fun outings and realistic expectations.

Part of that last bit was not making too many handmade gifts and putting too much pressure on myself. I made a Christmas quilt and tree skirt which have been on my making wish list for a few years and it made me very happy to complete some things for my family (well mostly me) to enjoy. 

I did want to make a few handmade things for the kids though. I have no idea whether they will remember these things in years to come but it gave me great pleasure to make things just for them.

Brodie has been asking for a quilt of his own for some time and I've been on the lookout for the right fabric for a long time. It had to be 'sea creature' themed but most of what I could find was meant for a baby nursery or was a bit boh-ring and serious. 

I eventually found this on Spoonflower. (Psssssst, if you want to lose several hours of your life have a scroll through the Spoonflower website, it is amazing, but you have been warned....)The fabric itself was not massively expensive but I had to pay taxes when it came into the country which added a fair bit. It was worth it though as it was just what I wanted. It has a good range of creatures for Brodie to spot and had a modern design and colour palette to keep me happy.

I wanted to keep the main fabric as a solid area so I used this pin to inspire a plaid like design on the back. I picked up the cotton solids  for this and the binding at John Lewis. I impressed myself by buying exactly the right amount which I can assure you all was was a complete fluke. I used a double layer of batting for the first time and it gives the quilt a nice bounce.

Because the design was so simple it was easy to sew and didn't take long, which was just as well as I didn't have long to make it.

It's snuggly (see above), it's fishy and it was made just for him. I think he likes it.

I know it feels like Christmas was about 6 months ago - or is that just me? I'm hoping to post all the gifts I made over the next few weeks and then start on next years (just kidding, or am l?)


Secret Santa

This is a little something I made to send as a Secret Santa gift as part of the #craftblogclub gift exchange.

It was organised by the lovely Emma, you can read her blog here, and you should, she really is a good 'un.

I made this little guy for Fiona.

She makes lovely things and after a nosey about on her site I thought she might like a decoration made with lovely wool felt.

 

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He was an easy make, I just traced an illustration to come up with a template and handstitched him with a little stuffing inside to make him soft. I really wanted him to be there in plenty of time as I didn't want Fiona thinking her Secret Santa had forgotten about her and I know he made it as she tweeted that he had arrived safely which was a lovely moment!

 

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I received my own Secret Santa gift last week and I can honestly say it was one of my favourite ever Christmas moments.

 

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Someone - I still don't know who, made me this paper cut. Someone who doesn't know me in real life only through the tinternet took the time to make me a very personal gift and packaged it beautifully. I am very touched, thank you Santa, I love handmade and I love this.

Festiveness

I'm winning at this festive season, well that's what I'm telling myself. This year we started shopping for gifts earlier than ever which has taken a lot of stress out of December. We made a list of toys for the kids and stuck to it - a small assortment of thoughtfully chosen ones will hopefully mean smiles for miles after the guy in the big red suit has been. I don't think we're the only parents who made a conscious effort to pull back, pare down and try to make the season fun and meaningful. So far so good.

I haven't handmade a lot of gifts this year (collective sigh of relief from family and friends!) I've made bits and pieces for the kids - a couple of which I've been furiously trying to finish this week. Not having a million projects on the go has been freeing in both time and headspace.

Why is it then when we have all the gifts bought and mostly wrapped I still feel panicky when I'm near a shop? I still feel like I should be buying stuff, consuming stuff, amassing stuff and it's making me feel uncomfortable. I feel like I should be filling the cupboards with food - even though we don't actually host anyone for Christmas dinner and we aren't expecting a ton of visitors. I've never noticed this before because by this stage we are normally still picking up bits and pieces and are caught up in the last minute buying frenzy.

I'm resisting the urge to buy random stuff nobody needs. And focusing on making memories and to be honest keeping everyone calm in the lead up to the big day. I don't want the kids to peak too soon as it were and be too tired and cranky to actually enjoy themselves.

If you too want to avoid Christmas crap in favour of real Christmas cheer I suggest you don't bother visiting Edinburgh's Christmas Winter Wonderland. It has little to offer little ones, glum stall holders, too many sausages and rip off rides. It was good for pretty pictures though so I'll make you a deal. You enjoy looking at these and then go do something you really want to do, m'kay?

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