Polka bag

polka bagI’m enjoying sewing so much at the minute!  I love that you can turn a pile of fabric, ribbon and lace into something you can be pretty proud of, in not much time (a naptime for me!).

When I pick Scarlett up from nursery, I seem to be gathering little items up and balancing them, or stuffing them into various pockets, so I thought it may be handy to have a drawstring bag to hold her change of clothes, comforter, note, bib, etc., at the end of the day.

polka bag 1

I bought this fabric this week, I thought this red ribbon would really pop against the blue, and I still have some of the broderie anglaise lace left from when I made her party dress.

Et voilà!  I’m really proud of this – so proud, I think I might add this to my repertoire for Baby Brain.  Speaking of which, I’ve just opened a Facebook Store, please nip over and check it out!

www.facebook.com/BabyBrainBoutique

A study in sewing

StudyMy desk in the study, which I don’t think I’ve ever shown you, is looking rather busy at the moment.  Since my sewing machine arrived on my desk, I’ve been sewing project after project.

Other than Baby Brain creations, my machine’s been whirring away on bunting recently.  I have a trip planned to Ikea in the next week, to have a look at some storage solutions – as you can see, it’s overflowing with buttons, fabric and paperwork!

Polka dot cake: the reveal

I showed the preparation for Scarlett’s birthday cake in yesterday’s post.  A week later, I defrosted the cake and the decorations were dry; a few broken, mostly because I’m clumsy.

Lenka suggested that I watch YouTube videos on icing a cake with ready rolled icing before I started it – this is what I really should have done before icing the Spiderman cake.  That’s what I spent my lunch hour doing the day before I put it all together.

No idea what year this video was filmed, but this one with Pat Lock was the most useful one by far.  I wrote myself a checklist of everything I had to do based mostly on this video!

I’ve put together a little gallery of the various stages – the photos explain better than I can!  If you click on the first one, you can go through them in order (and captioned!).

What a lovely day, and the cake was enjoyed by all of us at the tea party, we took some to nursery and I took some to work.  Now to buy a cake smoother…

Polka dot cake

Cake idea

What a year it’s been!  To celebrate my daughter, Scarlett, turning a whole one year old, I thought I might make a cake for her birthday tea party.  Fine.  Then I started looking to Pinterest for a little inspiration.  This is where it all blew up, because there are some AWESOME cakes out there!  Up to now, my nephew’s Spiderman cake of ’12 was by far the best cake I’d made, and I really, really did not know what I was doing.  Yeah, I can bake a cake, but I really have little clue when it comes to icing and decorating.

Tweet tweet.jpg

I drew out the little doodle above after all of my Pinterest madness.  My bird actually ended up looking pretty much exactly like this!  Yes, it looks a bit like a duck.  As well as all the amazing cakes, I was inspired by the polka dot birds hanging in her room.

Luckily for me, I have a bona fide cake expert in my friend Lenka, who creates beautiful and yummy delights (check out her facebook page!) – she made Scarlett’s Christening cake.  She repeatedly set me on the right track.

A week before Scarlett’s birthday, Lenka dropped into conversation that I needed to be making the decorations for the cake so that they’d dry in time.  Cue panic stations!  To combat said panic, Lenka provided me with:

  • 2 x 12″ cake tins
  • 2 sets of letters to spell out Scarlett
  • The number 1
  • The top of a piping bag to stamp out polka dots
  • A cake smoother.  I’ll get to this, it’s BRILLIANT!

So, if Lenka hadn’t been involved, I would have pretty much had a plain cake, with whatever Tesco’s Dr Oetker display had to offer thrown at it.

Cake decorations 1A week before the big day, I baked four cakes.  Yes, you read that right.  I had a dream of a graduating pink creation.  We’ll brush straight past that one, because it didn’t work.  I didn’t put enough food colouring in.  I then stacked the cakes in colour order (I was still crossing my fingers at that point) and froze them.  With Barry’s family coming to stay, I thought I wouldn’t have time to bake, ice, and decorate a cake as well as clean, etc.

The following day, I started making the decorations in two shades of pink.  Here are the polka dots, along with birds, letters, numbers and I iced the cake board for good measure.

Cake decorations 2For the birds, I drew around the ones in her room onto greaseproof paper and cut them out to draw around.  I made so many decorations because I thought some may crack and break, which they did.  I do wish I’d had a bit more patience with the letter R, because it was very stubborn and ended up looking, erm, full of character.  My friend Jemima said I’m not allowed to say it was crap.

I then waited a week to put it all together, but I won’t make you wait that long…

Plasterific

all filled in 1

Thanks to Barry, the holes in the ceiling in the living room and kitchen are now filled in and the living room lights are once again a-go-go.  It’s nice to see his lovely face again.  Whilst it added ambience, the light from the one standing lamp dragged from upstairs wasn’t excellent for eating tea by.

all filled in 2

We now have many huge grey patches of plaster that need to be sanded and repainted, but that’s going to wait until after Scarlett’s tea party when we are permitted to have a dusty house!

Sorry for the awful cameraphone shots!  If you looked down, you would see a hungry baby sat on my foot in this one.

There’s a hole in my ceiling

holey moley

Dear Liza, dear Liza.  Our living room lights decided to stop working last week.  If you’re a regular reader, you may already be in possession of the very useful fact that we have 13 lights in our living room.

These are the holes that poor Barry has had to saw into the ceiling that he painstakingly plastered after putting the lights in.

holey moley 2

He’s decided to forgo sourcing the problem after we lost count of the holes, and has instead run another wire from the kitchen into the living room, bypassing the problem area before the ceiling fell in on our heads.

Barry’s mum and dad are visiting at the end of next week (for Scarlett’s first birthday, already!), so the pressure’s on to make it right!

Babyproofing

Since I last posted in early December (I’m just going to breeze past the shame), we’ve obviously had a Christmas tree and decorations up and down, you missed the awesome Christmas bunting and Santa’s sack I made, so I’ll save that for next year.

We’ve also painted over the splodge of hot pink on our bedroom wall because I’m sick of looking at it.  Not painted the entire wall, you understand.  Just painted over the splodge in off-white it so it’s not as much of an eyesore.

Along with making FOURTEEN dresses and some other orders for Baby Brain, I’ve been busy busy busy with work, other sewing projects, and trying to stop my baby eating furballs made from my hair amalgamated under the sofa (mostly unsuccessfully).

A new addition to the kitchen is a range of magnetic drawer and cupboard locks so Scarlett can’t accidentally find the hand blender, have pans crashing down on her head, or drink laundry liquid.  We have a hard enough time stopping her from climbing into the dishawasher on a regular basis.  We wanted some that you didn’t have to screw into the shiny gloss cabinets we’d so carefully chosen, so went with the magnetic ones.

I’m getting used to them now, it’s been a couple of weeks, but for the first week, I nearly yanked my arm off trying to open cupboards.  Those magnets are strong!  I was also warned to get a spare key to open the locks (by the way, you need to remember where they’re placed or you go all over the place trying to listen for that click!).  I didn’t.  I’m cheap.  I may regret this decision, but you live and you learn…