Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Pants for Pipi*

(*And a  little friend)

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Yesterday I made these little baby pants. The top two are for Pipi and the darker grey pair with striped knee patches are for a friend who has recently announced her pregnancy and is due at the end of the year.

They are super quick and easy to make. I made Pipi’s ones first and they took me a bit longer as I was working out what I was doing and also didn’t sew the knee patches on until after sewing up the pants – rookie mistake! It was very hard (impossible) to sew them with the sewing machine (I ended up doing most of it by hand!)

I whipped the pair I made as a gift much quicker – in about half an hour (with a Pipi feeding and changing break in the middle) and made sure I sewed the knee patches on at the beginning this time! I did make one mistake though when cutting out and was left with much less of the dark grey fabric as a result,  meaning that the legs were shorter so I made the cuffs longer. This turned out being a happy accident because I like the bigger cuff look better, and intend making them like this from now on.

The fabric is all stretchy knit fabric and is mostly made from old T-shirts (all except the owl and floral fabrics). The pants are a relaxed style – known as Sarouels (kind of like harem pants), with a dropped crotch. I think this style is really cute and also goes great with cloth nappies which I use. (Well Pipi will start wearing cloth when this big box of new born disposables runs out… or maybe I’ll buy a second box! Anyway I digress…)

I drafted my own pattern using a pair of Pipi’s leggings and this tutorial (which I adapted a bit – I didn’t do drawstrings or pockets and added knee patches and a waist band.)

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I have HEAPS more ideas for these pants.. lots more colour combinations and I want to make for Isabelle too, maybe in merino – it’s getting cold round here!

…But this will have to wait, we have a very busy weekend hosting family. My Dad and Step Mum arrive from Christchurch tonight and we will be seeing a lot of Andrew’s family too, with a conference at our church this weekend that they are all coming up for. It will likely be a crazy busy time, but lots of fun too – and I’m so excited for everyone to meet little Pipi for the first time!

I hope wherever you are you are warm and happy!

Jen x

Joining in with my creative spaceShow and Tell  and make it wear it

And see here for more baby sewing ideas, including a baby hats tutorial, my hexagon baby quilt and hot air balloon mobile

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Motorola MBP36 Baby Monitor Review

I enjoy reviewing products. But, I’m selective about what I put my name to, so when Kiwi Mummy Blogs sent me this Motorola Digital Wireless Video Baby Monitor to review, I wondered how it would go.

I should explain. Despite previously having 2 other babies this is the first time we have owned a baby monitor. We hadn’t previously felt the need to own one as being of the attachment parenting philosophy we’ve had our babies in our room for pretty much the first 6 months of their lives and, to be honest I wondered if a monitor could potentially make a new mother over-paranoid, glued to it all the time, responding to ever little movement or tiny noise made by their baby.*

(*I should at this point state that if our babies had been born premature, unwell or unable to sleep in our bedroom then I probably wouldn’t have held this opinion. I should also state that I have ‘helicopter’ Mum tendencies anyway, so Mum paranoia is something I personally, have to actively guard myself against.)

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I shouldn’t have worried. Instead of finding it a source of paranoia, I’ve found this baby monitor to be an excellent tool that I can use settle my baby and to confidently care for her.

The Motorola MBP36 Baby Monitor is a rather high spec devise as far as monitors go. I’ve found that I can use it’s advanced technology to suit my specific needs. Our bedroom (where Pipi also currently sleeps) is right next to the kitchen and lounge where I spend most of my time, so I’ve found that I don’t need to use the monitor as much as I would if it was in a more remote part of the house. But I still find myself using it a lot.

These are the features I love and why:

1) It’s wireless and has a video display

- Perfect when I want to have a shower (I just take the wireless video display (parent unit) into the bathroom and position it on the vanity so I can see it from the shower, then if Pipi starts crying I can hear and know to hurry up. Previously I would have just worried the whole time and not got to relax and enjoy my shower!)

- When I’m out of the room and want to keep an eye on the besotted siblings vis-a-vis the baby. (See photo below!)

2) It has up to 300m range

- Great if I want to pop out to hang a few things out on the washing line when Pipi is sleeping.

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3) The Lullaby Function

- It has 5 lullaby options (see above left). If I put Pipi down and she is having difficulty settling I will often put on lullaby (obviously after already making sure she isn’t hungry, needing a nappy change etc). 8 times out of 10 this will help settle her down and she will go to sleep.

Likewise, I imagine as Pipi gets older the ‘Talk Mode’ whereby I can talk to her through the parent unit; may also be a helpful tool when it comes to settling. (At the moment Noah thinks it’s his own personal walkie talkie!)

4)  The Temperature Display

I find it so helpful that the parent unit displays a temperature reading (see below) – especially since Pipi is my first Winter baby! This way I feel confident that the temperature in her room is kept at a warm and consistent temperature.

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There are lots of other aspects of this monitor that have made it really helpful to us, such as:

- Ability to pan, tilt, zoom and adjust the brightness of the display;

- Night Vision Mode (Infrared – yeah baby!); and

- All round ease of use – for a reasonable high tech devise, it is remarkably initiative and easy to use.

In summary – Despite initially being sceptical as to how the Motorola MBP36 Baby Monitor how slot into our lives, I’ve found it to be really useful and something that builds my confidence as a parent rather than detracts from it. It’s many features mean that a parent can use it as little or as much as they need, depending on their situation. Although I wouldn’t have thought it would be something I’d be willing to fork out for (its relatively pricey at RRP $399), now I’m wondering how I’d do without it!

Thank you to Kiwi Mummy Blogs and Motorola for providing me with this product to review

 Do you you have a product or service that you want me to review that you think would mesh well with Mend and Make New and my readers? Please email me (Jenny) at noahandisy@gmail.com

Friday, 24 May 2013

21/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Noah:  Making gingerbread – this boy loves baking!

Isabelle: Finally able to properly cuddle her little sister, now that the dreaded hand, foot and mouth virus is finally behind her (some remnants of it remain in fading marks on her face.) Here she is graciously sharing her favourite blankie and having a tea party with Pipi.

Pipi: My little angel. A great sleeper (most of the time!)

Joining in over here

To see more of my weekly portraits go here.

Jen x

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Handmade Generosity

When I first started this blogging lark I was aiming to just to record memories of my kid’s childhoods and things I made. But very quickly I began to desire connections with other bloggers and some lovely new friendships were made.

Ros from Sew Delicious and Abby from Things for Boys are couple of Australian bloggers that I’ve never meet in met in ‘real’ life but nonetheless count as real life friends.

You might remember that recently Ros, myself and a few other crafty bloggers surprised Abby (who is expecting baby boy #2 soon) with a virtual baby shower… Well… now it was Ros and Abby’s turn to surprise me!

A couple of days ago I received this parcel of handmade goodness in the mail…

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Ros made the 2 gorgeous bibs and lovely zip pouch and Abby made the cute little pants. The handmade cards are pretty adorable too, right?

Thanks so much, you guys – you are so sweet!

I also recently received this cute little ruffle tee from a friend Lydia, who has a business - Little Kiwis – making and selling baby clothes.

Thanks Lydia, I can’t wait ‘til Pipi grows into it!

There’s just one more piece of cuteness I want to share with you. Yesterday I was at my friend, Anna’s house and she gave me (well actually Pipi – but these gifts sometimes feel like they are for me) a gorgeous grey merino top and this cute little Belle & Boo card that she had framed and personalised.

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I feel very spoilt!

…Actually, I have told you a lie… I just said that would be the last bit of cuteness I was sharing, but that is not true … because I can’t seem to resist writing a blog post without this little face making an appearance somewhere … 2 weeks old today!

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I think the only thing that could top this amazing handmade haul was if I was to win this AMAZING giveaway hosted by the lovely Stella! Pretty, pretty please!

Jen x

Monday, 20 May 2013

Then & Now

I am so blessed to live in a beautiful part of New Zealand. Since last December we’ve been living in Clive, Hawkes Bay and are literally 5-10mins walk from amazing limestone tracks that edge both sides of the Clive River. I have to confess, though, that since living out here I hadn’t walked these tracks… that is until now.

We first walked along the limestone paths almost 2 weeks ago now on Wednesday 8 May. My sister (Auntie) Holly was staying with us and I had been experiencing pretty consistent contactions since Monday (but in the early stages with slow progress), so the walk was great to try and speed things up and also to take my mind off things and get some fresh air at the same time. We walked with Mum, her partner Tony and their dogs and also Isabelle who along with Noah, Mum had been looking after since Monday – so it was great to see them too. (Noah was at kindy at the time.)

The weather was glorious, the company superb and scenery beautiful. We walked for about 2 hours and at the end of it I felt good, refreshed and energised and my contractions increased in frequency and intensity.

(I ended up having Pipi the next day.)

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And now …

On Thursday 16 May we once again walked the limestone tracks with Mum, Tony, Isabelle and the dogs. Once again Noah was at kindy. Two key things were different though – Auntie Holly had returned to Wellington and Pipi was now with us – in the outside world – well all rugged up in the inside of her buggy at least – it was a slightly chillier day than our previous walk.

We also took the path on the opposite side of the river this time.

As we walked along chatting and remembering our previous walk, it suddenly dawned on us that Pipi was 1 week old on that day and at 4.15pm we looked at our watches and remembered. (Or in my case I looked at the time on my cell phone as my watch had recently broken – possibly a sign to slow down and enjoy this fleeting time with a newborn, perhaps?)

We’ve since walked this track again, on Saturday – this time just our little family unit – Andrew, I and our 3 kids. I think it’s going to become a favourite family pastime.

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And while I’m on the topic of ‘then and now’ I really should make mention of something I raised in my last post. I said ‘things were going really well’ etc etc… Well, what a difference a couple of days can make! Things are still going pretty well, in that Pipi is a pretty cruisy baby and all that, but on Sunday Isabelle and I were both struck down with a tummy bug! Not nice, especially when you’ve still got to feed a hungry baby and can’t eat or drink anything yourself! Fortunately, we were grateful for small victories such as – the fact that Mum had recently helped getting my dryer back working (spewed on washing and heavy rain is not a good combo); that the bug was very short lived (just one day) and that no one else (including Pipi) got it. Actually I’m claiming those last 2 as big victories!

I saw my midwife yesterday and she told me to expect Pipi to feed LOTS in the next 24 hours to make up for the fact that I’d had the bug and to re-boost my milk supply… and my goodness she was NOT joking! Last night was pretty exhausting! BUT … I’m grateful to know that this will be short-lived too and for a good reason. Knowledge really is power!

Have you ever had a tummy bug with a young baby before? I have once before when Isabelle was a couple of months old and I managed to faint on the census lady who knocked on the door at the wrong time! Poor lady!

I hope your week is going well and that you’re staying in good health!

Jenny x

Friday, 17 May 2013

20/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Noah:  Daddy bought the kids some new duplo. Noah asked me to photograph him and his “tall towers”

Isabelle: My poor darling has been struck down with a bad case of the hand, foot and mouth virus. She’s been completely out of sorts all week, but was happy to spend a morning painting and eating ice blocks.

Pipi: All bundled up for her first outing. She charmed a table full of elderly citizens at our local cafe.

Joining in over here

To see more of my weekly portraits go here.

Jen x

P.S. Thanks to all of you for your lovely well wishes and messages of congratulations. I’ve also had a few people remark with surprise that I’m back blogging having only just had a baby. To be honest I’m a bit surprised too – I totally anticipated taking a blog break (not that I wont take one later, I’m just going with how I’m feeling), but things have been going really well. We’ve been spending a lot of time at home and taking things slowly. I like this because I’m a bit of a home body.

We’ve also had amazing support – my sister and sister-in-law did all domestic jobs round the house those first few days, my Mum’s taken the (bigger) kids out quite a bit and had them stay over and I’ve had meals cooked every night by people from church. This combined with the fact that (so far) Pipi seems to be a dream baby, my mastery of one finger typing while feeding, and my desire to share with the WORLD how gorgeous my baby is … has meant that I’ve been blogging more than I thought I would. Also most of my posts are basically just photos and some were pre-written … but please be assured that I am taking time out to rest and relax … actually I tend to find crafting and blogging pretty restful and relaxing.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Little Feet

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Yesterday I painted Pipi’s feet gold and made these cute little prints of them; in an unashamed copy of this idea from Bleubird Vintage.

It proved trickier than I thought because Pipi kept curling her little toes right at the wrong moments. But I’m very happy with the result.

And here I am once again unashamedly re-sharing this photo, just because it’s so darn cute! Love those tootsies!

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You might remember that this idea was in my baby room inspiration post. I’m feeling pretty good that I’ve managed to tick a few things off that list.

Jen x

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Mocka Giveaway Winner

My Mocka Kids Tree Hanger Giveaway finished last night and I have drawn a winner using  good old random.org … and the lucky person is … (drum roll please!)

#17 – Stella from The Golden Adventures! Congrats Stella I will be in contact shortly.

But to the rest of you who missed out, never fear Mocka have the Kids Tree Hangers on special this week at the price of $39.95 down from $49.95, so you can nab your own.

And while you’re at it check out all the other awesome products that Mocka stocks… cots, balance bikes, high chairs and even some adults furniture … plus much, much more!

Thanks to everyone that entered and thanks to Mocka for making this giveaway possible.

Jen x

P.S. I will be back shortly with a mini DIY I’ve just completed

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Things For Baby Boys (A Virtual Baby Shower) – Baby Hats

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A while back I was contacted by Laura of Craftstorming to see if I’d be interested in participating in an online baby shower for our mutual blog friend, Abby from Things for Boys. The idea being that a group us all make Abby a baby shower gift and post a tutorial of what we’ve made – all linking back to each other’s posts. Isn’t it an awesome idea?

Here’s what everyone made:

1: Baby Change Mats by Ros from Sew Delicious

2: Flat Teddy by Narelle from Cook Clean Craft

3: Handmade Baby Boy Shoes by Janelle from Emmaline Bags

4: Baby Hats by Jenny from Mend and Make New

5: Upcycled Cashmere Baby Pants by Dara from Coffee and Lilacs

6: Nappy / Baby Bag by Jo from Bubala

7: Little Kid Kimono Set by Laura from Craftstorming

Baby Hat Tut

I made these little knotted baby hats. These hats grow with your baby. As your baby’s head gets larger you simply untie and move the position of the knot.

They are made of stretch (knit) fabric and are super easy to make. I used my overlocker (serger), but they can be made on a normal machine using a small zig zag stitch or twin needle. (For more excellent hints on sewing with knit fabric see here.) I used a 1cm seam allowance throughout.

To make your own here’s what you need to do:

1. Print off my free pattern (yes, it’s pretty rustic) – these are for basically new born/ 0-3 month size using fabric with around 1cm stretch, so you may need to adjust the size  based on the stretchiness of your fabric and/or size of your recipient.

2. Select your fabric and pin and cut out your pattern. You will need to cut out 2 of the hat and one band measuring 30cm long and 4cm wide (on the fold – if you were to open it out it would measure 30cm x 8cm). The stretch of the fabric should be across the hat and band.

As mentioned above, my fabric has around 1cm of stretch (this is ideal). I used merino (grey and teal) and the owl fabric is a knit cotton fabric.

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3. Place the 2 hat pieces right sides together and sew along the edges. (Of course don’t sew up the head hole!)

4. Now take the band. Unfold it and sew along the short edge right sides together. Fold it back up giving a circular band, 4 cm wide.

5. With the hat still inside out take the band and stretch and pin it around the hat, with all 3 raw edges together at the bottom.

6. Turn the hat in the right way (perhaps using a chopstick or something to poke the end out) and flip the band over.

7. Attach the band using little stitches along each side seam (see right picture below). Tie knot in desired place.

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8. You are done! Find a cute baby*, put it on it’s head and admire your handiwork!

[*It is preferable to have the permission of the baby’s parents first.]

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Make sure you check out all the other tutorials with everyone else’s lovely creations in the links above… And while your at it make sure you check out Abby's blog. She is a super talented sewer and cook/ baker. I especially loved her Peter Rabbit Jacket she sewed for Kids Clothing Week recently. I love the connections you make through blogging and I have to say that I count Abby as a ‘real life’ friend even though we have never met in person. All the best Abby, with your impending arrival!

Jenny

Also joining in with my creative spaceShow and Tell  and make it wear it

Monday, 13 May 2013

Babymooning

I’ve been enjoying soaking up some time bonding with little Pipi Grace these last few days. Of course, not everything is 100% rosy all of the time  – I can see that life with 3 is much more hard work than life with 2 (obviously), and poor little Isy’s been struck down with a bad case of the hand, foot and mouth virus; but I’ve had such amazing support from family and friends and every time I look at that little girl I can’t help but smile.

I’ve also really been enjoying my baby nook. It’s such a lovely place to feed and rest and I love that I was able to create it so cheaply, everything is either handmade or second hand.

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1. Tiny, wrinkly slightly overcooked feet.

2 – 6. Some little corners of my baby nook (as seen previously, in various stages of completeness here and here.)

7. My little Pipi Grace loving her hammock

8. Baby paraphernalia

9. Lovely gifts of soap for pampering

10. Is it just me or does the quilt suddenly look HUGE

11. Little beady eyes

Joining in with the weekly ‘stills collection’ over with Em at The Beetle Shack.

x