#CraftBlogClub – ‘You Complete Me’ Challenge Reveal…

craftblogclub badgeSo, I have a little confession to make before I get into trawling your wonderful makes!  I haven’t completed my project :(.  I feel like the worst host ever, but I was inadvertently left without a table on which to use my sewing machine for nearly three weeks, which has inevitably left me very little time to complete ANYTHING I need to.  I’m behind with my sewing projects already BUT, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Here’s my WIP so far…

The Scrappy Patchwork Chair

chair 1The purpose of ‘You Complete Me’, was to bring to light just how many WIPs us crafty lot have and really take the time to get ONE thing finished.  I blame external incidents for my unfortunate half-finished masterpiece, that and a particularly nasty delivery driver.  BUT, it has been fabulous to see so many of our #craftblogclub crew working so hard on projects they had near forgotten about, over the last few weeks – my Twitter feed has been littered with lovely WIP photos and posts and I can’t WAIT to see some finished projects.  So please, do link up below and share your work!

For my ‘You Complete Me’ challenge, I decided to challenge myself with some new crafting ideas and creating something of a statement in my lounge.  These old chairs were given to us me by some relatives who had no use for them anymore.  Though they were specifically ‘conservatory chairs’, at the time I really liked the shape of them and the comfort too – plus the footstool would be a great added extra for lazy knitting evenings sat in front of the TV.  They did, however, need a lot of TLC and I thought our ‘You Complete Me’ challenge would be the perfect time for me to get to grips with covering them.

patchwork close upAs I’m in the midst of painting and DIY-ing my house at the mo, I decided to try and make this chair a real statement in my lounge.  I had already painted a red accent wall and decided to trawl through my fabric and see how little I could spend patchworking the chair.  I had a lot of teals, turquoises and blues, which I felt would blend in really well with the red.  To finish, I decided to contrast the footstool by knitting a stripy cover using the same colour palette.  This would blend in with the blue hues on my sofa cushions and I even have a couple of knitted squares, ready for a sofa throw in the same palette too.  What could go wrong, thought I?  Well, to be honest, I’ve never patchworked a thing in my life.

Being the renegade crafter that I am, I thought starting off with big patches measured, ironed and sewn into place, couldn’t be too difficult – luckily I possess a lot of the ‘how hard can it be’ attitude, so the effect is already really starting to look great on the chair.  Being quite the sewing novice still, I decided to sew each of the top cushion sections and leave an open end on both.  I’m toying with the idea of hand-sewing press studs to secure the cover in place, but it does seem to fold and sit quite nicely without, footstoolwhich I’ll be thankful for when it comes to washing the covers!  I’ll get there, just not this month.  I did have to purchase a little more fabric, but the total spend on this project was just £11.98 – though I should replace the foam at a later date too.

I’m planning to get this baby finished as soon as I can, then I’ll post some finished photos and updates on my new lounge.  It has been a great way of working with patchwork and I do feel I’ve created something really unique for my home too.  I think it has a charm to it, the not-so-perfect patches, there is something quite fairytale-cottagey about it, which I think I quite like!  Just nod and smile.

So what about you guys?  What have you been up to and DID you manage to complete this project on time??  Stay tuned, I’ll be setting up a #CraftBlogClub makes board on Pinterest to showcase our wonderful work!

armchair 1Stay Peachy x

Come Join Us..



Reflections: Six Months In….

love financesWell, I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface of creating a ‘homemade life’ and I’ve just realised I’m six months in to my Frugally Fabulous Year already.  And what a year it has been!

This month has really been a time to reflect on the past six months and, amongst all the list-making, I do feel that I’m starting to re-evaluate my goals for this year and make some long term plans for me and D, my career, our house (mostly patchworking) and our future,

With that, comes the ever-present need to continue watching, monitoring and (hopefully) growing our finances.  So what exactly is it that I’m ‘saving’ on this year??  I think I gotta get serious with the ‘nitty gritty’ side of being frugally fabulous – when I write about my ‘previous London life’, it seems almost a million years ago.  All that Starbucks-guzzling, Whistles-wardrobe-stuffing and band-chasing seems lost in the midst of time, babies and DIY-obsessing.  So how do I really know HOW to save on what I’ve already cut back?  So, six months in, I gave myself a little financial refresh – here’s what I’m doing…

BE METICULOUS – OFTEN

It seems like the most BORING job in the world, but someone has to do it.  And until you can afford an accountant to balance your incomings and outgoings, it needs to be YOU.  At the moment, I am finding it easiest to manage my finances on a fortnightly basis.  Every two weeks, I painstakingly go through my bills to stay on top of my finances.  YAWNSVILLE, I know BUT – at this point in the year I have paid off 75% of my overall debt, so it’s gotta be worth doing, right?

joy jarREMEMBER YOUR JOY JAR!

I had this Joy Jar idea back along – a little jar (beautifully decorated with lace, it was) for all the money you save each month (no matter how little).  Despite my retirement from High Street shopping, I’m still a great believer in treating yourself to something off the wishlist.  So, whatever the dream, keep your joy jar brimming with whatever you manage to save and that necklace, vintage dress or holiday will seem that little bit closer!

GIVE YOUR HOUSEHOLD BILLS A SPRING CLEAN

With my break up, came all the necessary paperwork, bills transfers and a new consetina file to stuff it all in.  BUT, it was also a great opportunity to give my bills a bit of an overhaul and I managed to lower my electricity and gas bill by £12 a month – based on current meter readings and usage over the past 6 months.  What’s more?  My electricity and gas company of choice, also recommend a re-check every 3 months so, to get the best out of your bills, take advantage of this regular overhaul.

LITTLE LISTS…LITTLE LIFESAVERS

List-making is a way of life for me! Shopping lists save time and idle wandering, meal planning saves precious time with Miss D and a little extra cash in the bank (not to mention space in the wastebin) and even wishlists give you a, sort of, focus.  Lists provide the limits that we need, sometimes BUT they are, in themselves, limitless.  Starting small, I’m in the process of setting myself daily, weekly and monthly goals and so on and so forth.  These aren’t all financial, it has to be said, but does put the four quarters of life into a stark (and often exciting) reality.

receipt reflectionsAnd FINALLY…THE BEST EBAY BUYS ARE SEASONS AHEAD

If there’s one thing to take from years in fashion retail, as discussed with my equally fabulous friend this week, who is busy scaling the dizzy heights of Liberty these days, it’s that you possess the unequalled ability to shop SEASONS AHEAD!  Once a fashion retail muggle, you will forever be shopping the trends rather than what’s just hitting the shops…so how does this save money?  Well, whatever your shopping style, you’re bound to find the best out-of-season bargains exactly then, out of season.  If you’re serious about bargain hunting in the wardrobe department, why not take a little bit of Pinterest and Vogue around with you and keep your eyes open for winter coats in the heat of Summer and Summer skirts in the January sales.  My mind is already turning to customising one of my favourite winter capes and just how I could integrate some Bradshaw-inspired dusk pink into my blacker than black wardrobe!

Do you feel the need for a little financial overhaul?  What tips do you have for penny pinching?

IMG_20140604_164025Stay Peachy x

 

 

 

Reflections: Exhausted Workers and ‘Vintage’ Overuse

Wardrobe 1Last night, I decided to opt for some quiet time and recorded the new programme ‘This Old Thing'; in which the ever-wonderful Dawn O’Porter tried to convince fashion and High Street lovers that Vintage is the way forward.  I had some great feedback about the programme from friends and visitors to my FB page, so great that, in fact, I thought there was just too much media fodder NOT to talk about the art of vintage/secondhand shopping.

In truth, has there ever been more of a prevalent time to shop second hand and source your clothes from somewhere other than the High Street, than now?  I’m not talking economic downturns, I’m talking about the shocking story in the media this week about the Primark shopper who found this rather sobering label in her recent purchase, presumably written by a despairing over-worked employee in one of their sweatshops, or a bunch of guerrilla crafty-minded activists. 6213002-large Sadly, this isn’t the only case like this that has been reported, yet Primark and its other fast-fashion conglomerates continue to rake in profits like no tomorrow whilst shoppers give little or no thought to how or why their beautiful, affordable clothing really are SO cheap.  Everything, no matter which way you look at it, or what side of the world you are fortunate to live on, comes at a price.

After catching up with ‘This Old Thing’, some of the attitudes of not-easily-persuaded shoppers feel almost alien to me, as someone who revels in rummaging through charity shops and thrives on the adrenalin of eBay bids.  I’ve said it plenty before on this blog and I’ll say it again, for all its fast fixes – I don’t miss the High Street at all.  But it does lead me to question, is a love of vintage and secondhand really innate, does it grow with your own personal style?  Or can it be taught?

Firstly, like some of my Facebook Peachy People, I’m not sure I like the word ‘Vintage’ being banded around as often as it is.  It is, after all, mostly a euphemism for ‘second hand’, just as ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ was a euphemism for ‘hardly anything on your freakin’ plate’.  My love of vintage stems from my desire to not look like anyone else and the freedom a mix and match wardrobe of good quality pieces from all the very best decades can bring you.  I’m in love with fashion in the same way that Coco Chanel was, I love how clothes can accentuate your personality and make you feel.  I’m not a follower of trends, I like to think I look comfortable in my own skin and I like to feel unique, that has been a lifelong desire of mine.

I don’t think about whose bodies my clothes have previously encapsulated my ‘vintage’ finds, a common concern for the guests on Dawn O’s show.  I have a washing machine after all.  I really do enjoy the process of rummaging through the bits and bobs, as I know many people do.  I like the feeling of authenticity in my pieces, I love the stories and tales that could be hidden, pressed into each thread, I like that my wardrobe is a mish mash of one-offs and  quirky tastes.  It is a more rewarding hobby, in my opinion, to find your own fashion in the treasures of people’s pasts than in the racks of monotony.  But that’s just me.

Becoming a lover of vintage secondhand, in favour of all things High Street, is not a learned behaviour, I don’t think.  I think one has to feel connected to the past, long to relive decades gone by, to find their own sense of personal style in everything that has, sort of, been already.  Yes, you can do the ‘Mad Men’ trend, for as long as H&M stocks that shape, but a love of real secondhand fashion takes dedication, focus and a little bit of disappointment, sometimes.  Which simply isn’t for everyone.

But, with all this news of hidden labels and cries for help, can we really afford to be so in love with fast fashion anymore?  With news that H&M has a sweatshop running in the UK, the problems faced by these exploited workers – all in aid of all things ‘affordable’ – are even closer to home than we like to imagine.  So, with that in mind, I’d like to fly the flag for all things vintage, secondhand and even me-made, safe in the knowledge that I won’t be finding any hidden labels in my clothes anytime soon.

Are you following a Frugally Fabulous Year?  Fancy doing it?  Keep it here for more handy tips on life without the High Street!

meStay Peachy x

 

Sherwood Art Week and A Crafty Meet-Up

bannerLast weekend sort of flashed by in a yarn-bombing blur and, to be honest, much the same is to be said for this week so far.

On Saturday, I had the great pleasure of finally meeting my wonderful two #CraftBlogClub co-hosts, Katie and Fiona, in Nottingham.  Since the two lovely ladies hopped on board the good ship Craft, they have been such a huge help and it was lovely to finally meet up and talk big plans for driving #CraftBlogClub forward.  More on that to come, in the meantime we were all busy updating the Twitter account and brainstorming new challenges and topic ideas for our weekly chat.

We spent the majority of the day at the Nottingham Contemporary – a perfect gallery venue with a cafe bar, freshly prepared food and child friendly too.  We chatted about all things craft, business and The Tudors (that was mostly me, lowering the tone).  It was so wonderful to meet the ladies I have been chatting to, and who have provided such great support for my idea, in ‘real life’!  Both Katie and Fiona are passionate about craft and passionate about the community we have built, I look forward to sharing more information with you all soon – but a huge thanks to Fiona and Katie for such a lovely day and, if you haven’t already, please check their blogs out!

CraftBlogClub ladiesSundays in Sherwood tend to be pretty quiet, but with the lovely weather and the tale end of Sherwood Art Week, Little D and I decided to take a walk up to the community centre to check out the Remarkable Recycling Gala; a fab day featuring recycling workshops, lots of interesting info and some lovely craft stalls.  D was a little young for most of the workshops, but it was fantastic to see lots of local children getting involved with craft projects and learning new skills.

Sherwood WIFor me, the real magic of Sherwood Art Week lies in the installations that pop up along Mansfield Road – this year there were some amazing Yarnbombs and some wonderful installations celebrating local artists in the shop windows.  So, with that in mind, what kind of renegade craft-blogger would I be if I didn’t share some of these with you?!  Check out some of these lovely images from our stroll on Sunday – I can’t wait for Sherwood Art Week next year!

benchyarn bikebike close upcaterpillar

Stay Peachy x

The Frugal Kitchen: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

IMG_20140617_180410It isn’t often, at the moment, that I’m getting a sweet craving; but when I do…I need it NOW!  I’ve taken to keeping a few bars of Lidl dark chocolate in the house, just in case the baking mood overtakes me! And on Monday…it sure overtook me!

I make no secret of the fact that I potentially view Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as one of the greatest creations of the modern day.  I love those things, the familiar orange, garish packaging, the satisfying crunch that leads to a smooth hit of peanut butter.  If you’ve seen Fifty First Dates and you’re anything like me, then that scene when Adam Sandler is given a huge box stuffed to the brim with Reese’s is a bit like porn!

Anyway, with a taste for peanut butter and about half a jar left milling around in my cupboard, I decided to try my hand at a cookie homage to my favourite sweet.  I tried a basic peanut butter based recipe and dipped half the cookies in melted dark chocolate for an extra hit.  As usual, I rustled these up from bits hanging around in the kitchen cupboards – and the choice of Lidl chocolate is only 35p per slab, an absolute bargain!  Try them if you dare…

Ingredients (To Make Approximately 8 Large Cookies)

100g Golden Caster Sugar

100g Demerara Sugar

140g Plain Flour

120g Butter (softened)

1 Large Egg

1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

Approx 3 heaped tbsps Smooth Peanut Butter (crunchy is an option)!

100g Dark Chocolate

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 C /150 C for Fan Oven.  Grease a flat baking tray and line with greaseproof paper.IMG_20140617_180513

In a mixing bowl, cream together both sugars and the butter until light and a little fluffy.  Then add your egg and beat until combined.

Follow this by adding the dry ingredients to your mixture – the flour, bicarb and salt.  Mix with a spatula and ensure that the mixture is all incorporated.  Finally, dollop your peanut butter in and mix until combined.

Using a dessert spoon to roughly measure, separate your dough into 8 equal sized balls and place on your prepared baking tray.

Place the cookies in the oven for approximately 20 minutes – the cookies should be golden brown in colour but not hard.  Remove and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, over a pan of boling water, heat your dark chocolate in a bowl.  Once the cookies have cooled, dip one side of each cookie in the melted chocolate, place onto a cooling rack and allow to harden.

Go put the kettle on, relax and enjoy a cuppa with your new favourite frugal cookie!

IMG_20140617_180449Stay Peachy x

Living In a Material World And I WAS A Material Girl….

Jelly KittenI’m writing this post just as the week from hell is about to close.  Hell as in my kind of hell, no deaths, destruction (of sorts) or even power cuts.  This was the week the shit decided to fly at the fan.  We’ve had lost toys, replacement toys lost, courier mix-ups, new dining tables not delivered, paying through the nose for further deliveries, rude tweeple and learning how NOT to promote ANYTHING you EVER do on TWITTER.  If I had the world’s biggest hood, I would happily wrap myself up in it and hibernate until at least September.

Whilst I’m not expecting a call from the Red Cross ‘Peachy Aid – Dining Table Crisis Fund’ anytime soon, it has certainly been one of the first weeks in a very long time, that I have moped.  And boy, have I moped long and hard.  What started with a lost bunny rabbit in town, became a fiasco in which I felt physically cheated out of £7.50 by an anonymous playgroup bully.

I don’t often write about Little D on this blog.  But I will say this – for all of the 15 months she has been alive on this planet, she has been a total joy.  She is a happy, lovely little girl who shrugs her shoulders like my Great Grandmother did and waves at invisible people in my kitchen.  She’s well behaved, funny and going on about 12 already.  So, when one of her beloved Jelly Cat Bunnies finally took a tumble into the lost world of town, I wanted to treat her to a replacement.  The replacement, to my surprise, was an even smaller Jelly Cat kitten that she appeared to fall in love with whilst I was faffing about with a magenta bunny in the shop.  At £7.50, he was a bargain compared to his Jelly Cat posh friends, so we bought him, took him home and for three glorious days, he didn’t leave D’s side.

Thursday morning came and went with the usual chaos of singing group and the laughably named ‘Carnage’ ‘Chill Out’ playgroup session, that I barely recognised the absence of ‘Little Kitten’, until we were halfway out the door and D was halfway to Nod Land.  A few firm promises from the (it should be said ‘very helpful’) volunteers from playgroup later, I returned home with a snoring child and a seething attitude.

It wasn’t until later that I actually started thinking about what value I had placed on this little ball of synthetic fluff.  More to the point, who was I really upset for?  I mean, sure, Jelly Kitten filled a fluffy void for a bit, he wasn’t cheap, but the little girl he belonged to didn’t seem to have a care in the world.  I was being materialistic.Jelly Kitten Book  Perhaps Jelly Kitten hadn’t indeed fallen into the hands of a playgroup terror, or been prised from D’s unsuspecting baby-grasp by a big bully three times her size.  Perhaps he was found abandoned on the floor, discarded for lunch or something new to play with, by a lovely little girl who thought she could offer him a new and loving home.  Either way, we are talking about D, a baby whose favourite toy to cuddle up with, is a battered, old cuddly cow who can be seen photobombing pictures of MY birth in 1984.  Buying a replacement stuffed kitten didn’t make her any happier, or even more aware of the sad passing of Little Bun.  She awoke later that day, completely unphased by the whole thing, ready to face an afternoon of pretending to read old Ladybird books, trying to grab at remote controls and other things she generally isn’t allowed near and singing along with those dreadful Pajanimals; ‘I could learn a lot from this child,’ I thought, as she collapsed in a heap of laughter, whilst trying to talk through a toilet roll.

And I think I’m right.  The more that time passes on this Frugally Fabulous Year, the more I am really learning about what I place my value on and just how it affects me.  Long gone are the days of replacement clothing and shopping sprees to fill the void.  I needed to learn that if I was willing to risk £7.50 in the first place then I had to be willing to let it go.  Peachy, thought I, you are failing at this bloody task, steering clear of the High Street is one thing, teaching your daughter all manner of pinning value on a teeny stuff animal just because he was NEW, is NOT!

So, there was no replacement toy mark II (though I’m still hopeful of finding Jelly Kitten amongst all the other old, stained playgroup toy boxes next week).  Instead, I took D out to the back garden and watched her gleefully water her shoes the plants and pull out all subsequent plant labels.  And you know what?  That memory will absolutely last a lifetime, no £7.50 cost incurred!

Jelly Kitten GardenStay Peachy x

The Frugal Kitchen: Garlic Naan Hack!

IMG_20140604_163629A very quick little piece of heaven for you today – I’m aiming to get my Friday posts back to being all about food because, well, I love food.  Food glorious food!

Coming to the end of the week, I always try and eek as much as I can out of my existing ingredients, to avoid going for a food shop.  So, having whipped up a quick veggie curry, using all the veg I had left in my fridge, some chopped toms and the remainder of some tikka masala paste, I really fancied a side to go with it!  A quick check in my bread bin gave me some inspiration…why not have a go yourself at my Crunchy Tortilla Garlic Naans.

Ingredients

One Flour Tortilla (per person)

About a tablespoon of Garlic Paste with Veg Oil (You can also use crushed garlic – ensure it is crushed smoothly)

Salt to taste

ingredientsMethod

Place your tortilla on a flat surface and, using a spreadable knife, smear a very thin layer of garlic paste over the tortilla and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Be sure not to over fill with the paste.

Fold the tortilla in half and repeat the same process – keeping the paste to a minimum.

Finally, fold the tortilla in half again and spread another very thin layer and finish with a sprinkle of salt.

Place under a grill for approximately 4-5 minutes on a medium heat, until the corners of your tortilla naan are starting to brown and the naan itself is hardening.  Serve as a starter or side dish!

Sounds simple?  It’s a great hack and a real money saver too – with very little work and a delicious, crunchy, flour-y taste!

Why not try with ground almonds and a dab of almond oil for a peshwari-style taste?

IMG_20140604_163607Stay Peachy x

#Project34 Week 5 – The Tunic To Skirt Hack

IMG_20140604_164025#Project34 Week 5 – The Ultimate Tunic Skirt Hack

 Time Taken – 45 minutes before teatime!

So, what with my new found love for my sewing machine, I thought it was high time I started a bit of work ‘that there wardrobe of mine’.  The truth?  Not giving yourself the freedom to pop into H&M for a quick update is HARD – I’m still between sizes but, with the weather warming up as it so irregularly is, I’m in need of a constant wardrobe update!

IMG_20140604_163938Being that as I am, I tend to steer clear of Summer pastels and crop tops – they just aren’t me, the last time I wore flip flops I was trudging between lectures at uni and I have one pair of trusty Dior sunglasses that I simply couldn’t live without.  I’m not very, well, ‘Summery’.  I was, however, in possession of two rather gorgeous velvet tunics that felt a little short – which gave me a brainwave!

You might remember I wrote a little post about hacking a black tunic up to make a sumptuous velvet skirt – well, I did the same with my burgundy version and here is a ‘sort of’ tutorial if you fancy hacking up your own wardrobe!

As much as I’m a dress girl through and through, the versatility of skirts is just astonishing when you are a) on a budget or b) bored of your wardrobe.  Since their creation, my velvet mateys have been invaluable in creating new looks and styling up with various charity-shop bought tops and blouses that I have.  I ended up replacing the elastic in my original black skirt hack with a thinner, softer elastic and opted for more of a ‘pencil’ length with my burgundy one.  Read on to find out more!

You Will Need

An old tunic

Soft elastic – around 1.5 inches thick

Matching thread.

Now Do This

Choose the length you want your skirt to be and cut the top off your tunic to the desired length – I opted to cut just below the arms and work lower if I wanted to.

IMG_20140604_163909Measuring your waist, cut a length of elastic and around the waist-line of your new skirt.  Thread your sewing machine with matching thread and, using a straight stitch, stitch along the top line, securing the elastic to the waistline.

Once this is completed, turn your waistline over (the same thickness as the elastic) to create a neater edge and stitch again along the top line to secure in place.

IMG_20140604_163847That is it, you are good to go – providing your stitches are secure you have one rather beautiful skirt and a whole new world of stylish opportunities!

That's me on the left...with the Absinthe Fairy

That’s me on the left…with the Absinthe Fairy

Stay Peachy x

The ‘Move More Challenge’

movemore2With Summer well and truly on its way well, occasionally, it’s getting easier to get out and about with Little D.  Always conscious of beating ‘cabin fever’, getting my own exercise and mingling in amongst nature, I’m a walker – even in the pre-pram days.  Being as accustomed as I am to the rain and gloom of England, one cannot help but be a little bit in love with the dry, especially with a tottering 15 month old, who gets bored easily.

I’m a pretty active lady, I walk EVERYWHERE and try to put as much energy as I can into our daily routine.  As an ex-dancer, I’m only too aware of how energy levels can slump and becoming a mama, does throw your so-called lifestyle out the window.  Gyms and classes are out of the question, so it’s down to keeping active in my daily life.  So I was really interested to be contacted by a representative from World Cancer Research Fund, who have just launched their new campaign, the Move More Challenge, to get families out and about and improve their health.

movemore3Following Cancer Prevention week, the World Cancer Research Fund, is encouraging families to sign up to an interactive, two week challenge – the Move More Challenge – supported by a website full of ideas to help you get out, about and stay fit and healthy, whatever your lifestyle.  Research from the University of Bristol has shown that time spent outdoors can have the most positive effect on children; however the researchers concluded that most children spend their afterschool hours indoors alone, or with parents.

So, somewhere in between struggling to find easy ways to stay fit with a tiny in tow and wanting to keep my fitness levels up and shift a bit of post-baby weight, I decided to sign up for the two week challenge and I’m starting today!

By just taking a simple questionnaire, the website has offered several indoors and outdoors activities to undertake with D – from beanbag games to treasure hunts, I’m looking forward to adapting some of these suggestions for a younger babe and seeing how much better I feel after two weeks.  Being out and about doesn’t have to cost the earth, or anything, if you’re lucky enough to have a fair-sized garden (no chance) or a decent park nearby (thank God).  With the Move More Challenge, you are encouraged to try new ideas that help you get a little bit more exercise, without signing up to a fitness regime that doesn’t work with you or your life, whilst setting a healthy example for the whole family.

So, if you’re looking for new ways to get your family out and about, or just an excuse to get out in the sunshine, why not sign up for the two week challenge yourself?

movemore1Stay Peachy x

#Project34 – Sensory Toys for Busy Baby Hands

daisy and box#Project34 Week 3 – Sensory Shape Sorter

Time Taken – About 20 minutes – on a borderline hangover, absolutely Reznor-ized!

A little catch up needed here…the end of May came and went in the blink of an eye and I got so busy planning and starting my project for the next #craftblogclub challenge, I’ve barely had time to get behind the sewing machine and knock up another project for #project34.  I have, however, been busy putting a few bits together for Little Miss D and her busy little hands.

At fifteen months, Miss D is developing the most intrigued and clever character; like her peers she has been busy forming words, interacting and learning more about the world around her.  She loves puzzles, books and generally a lot of other things she isn’t allowed to have – so I started collecting odd bits and pieces to make sensory toys that will keep her busy and learning too.  And mostly, out of the kitchen cupboards.

So, one sunny Sunday, armed with little more than a very tired half-a-brain, some polkadot wrapping paper, an old cardboard box that once housed my new iron and about 50,000 plastic balls to fill D’s paddling pool, I made this easy shape sorter.

boxUsing a thick craft knife to punch three adequate sized holes in the sides of the cardboard box.  I covered the box in wrapping paper – not necessary but it does make it look very pretty – and filled the box with about 8 plastic balls.  Then, I watched the fun commence!

It’s funny how something so simple can entertain a child – When she’s a little more aware of the ‘sorting’ part, I might highlight each hole with different colours to match the coloured balls.  But, simply put, this very quick make is ideal for frugal entertaining on a rainy day!

#Project34 Week 4 – Fabric and Felt House Puzzle

Time Taken – About an hour – with plenty of Elvis on Spotify and tea by the bucketload

finished houseSo, not being content with just cutting up a cardboard box, I wanted to do something colourful for D with this mountain of primary colour felt I had left over in my stash.  I’ll be honest, bright yellow isn’t usually my go-to choice for felt projects – but when it comes to baby sensory projects, you can’t go wrong with the original and best!

felt mountainUsing a square of black canvas, I cut and sewed some leftover red polkadot fabric to it, to create a base. sewing I then cut a very simple yellow square for the house template, a red roof, a brown door and some green windows.  I used a black fabric pen to decorate the windows etc simply.

I bought a stash of sticky velcro from my local DIY store, costing a total of £2, cut to small sizes and placed on the back of each piece of the house puzzle.  I used one in each corner for the house and two for the roof – enough to ensure each piece sits securely. It was then probably best to leave the velcro to adjust to its surroundings for a couple of hours (or stitch it, if you have the inclination) – sadly my velcro was pulled about within seconds BUT it has held fast!

I absolutely love this idea and I’d love to make more for Miss D.  They can be rolled up and packed in the bag for the little ones during boring lunches out and they are a great way of using up those last few felt bits that just don’t work with your projects!

velcro stripsdaisy and house

So, I guess I’m pretty pleased with these two ideas – do you have any sensory toys that your little one loves to use?

Stay Peachy x