28 Feb 2014

Project Life: Kirkstall Deli Market

So as I mentioned before I am going back in time and scrapping a month by month approach from July 2013 when my little man was born. I already had the envelopes of prints just waiting and so its been an easy and fun process.

I blogged about our little family renuion in September for The Baby's blessing. We were so lucky that is coincided with the Kirkstall Deli market as we love that place. Kirkstall Abbey has great significance to us as a family as we had our wedding pictures shot here and so when we were here my lovely brother-in-law staged a little photo shoot of our family of three. I also got some bump shots and so I plan to make a layout of the three stages of our married life there. 

Since this was autumn I chose an autumnal colour scheme of rusts, bronze, yellow and blue. I used some Becky Higgins 'Midnight' cards, the gorgeous Studio Calico woodgrain card from Copper Mountain and embellished with mini saffrass letter stickers, sequins, wood veneers from Studio Calico and the gorgeous puffy asterix' from the Copper Mountain kit that I would love like one hundred packs of.

We all joke about how The Baby's strong eyebrows look like slugs in this picture. I cut the heart from a midnight card and like to use some of the cards for this instead of the whole card - just like you would with a 12 by 12 sheet of cardstock. 

The colours on this layout are very pleasing to my eye and I feel that I captured the event well - even though it is several months later. More September layouts to come soon and The Baby's seven month photo shoot. Eek how time flies!

24 Feb 2014

Small bump unknown...

Dear Pregnant Me,

People will tell you to make the most of your sleep, you will laugh along with them and smile knowingly as if you know how bad it is going to be. You don't. And you didn't take their advice. Or maybe sleeping when you're the size of a whale and it feels like a pack of ferrets was let loose in your belly wasn't as easy as they thought. (Or remembered.)

You know the nursery that you have spent hours/days preparing and getting ready? It will be trashed within a day or two. There will just be so much stuff and so little time. Those cute little drawers from Ikea will soon be piles of 'newborn' 'first size' and '0-3/3-6' as you need things that will fit the baby to be accessible and close at hand.

Those date nights you have been trying to make the most. Well really make the most of them. Never again will you just be able to go and see that new film that came out at the Hyde Park Picture House or go to Pizza Express on Orange Wednesdays on a whim. Date nights will become military operations. Sorting a babysitter weeks in advance, getting The Baby ready, bathed and in bed, leaving lists of instructions and then staring at your phone all night worrying. It will feel forced and you will often be too sleep deprived to enjoy it. So yes, really, make the most of them.

Spend time with your friends without babies - although the gap may already be apparent. Because when you become a walking, talking baby making machine you will find their eyes glaze over and you've become a little less interesting in their eyes. When you cancel your lunch date cos you've had a bad night or The Baby has a cold they won't get it - just like you don't now.

Your whole life is about to change in a big way and you have no idea. You have no idea how hard it will be. How relentless it will be. How it will test your relationship. But also how much love you can feel for this tiny baby squirming in your arms. How much it will rely on you. Need you. Love you in return. 

Yep nothing can prepare you for that.

Sleep-deprived me

P.S You have a boy so not the future crafter you were expecting. Get lots of good washing powder. Lots of muzzies, Lots of energy and embrace the madness!
This post was largely sponsored by a serious lack of sleep. We have started sleep training here and when we see some success I will do a post on that.

18 Feb 2014

Project Life: Scrapbooking the newborn pictures

So I am going back in time with my Project Life. I probably didn't have the time when he was a new born to 'Project Life' it and I was still a die hard scrapper then - albeit I had downsized from 12 by 12 to 8.5 by 11. These photos would have each had their own page with journalling and embellishments.
But early January I decided to switch and when I started loving the little pocket scrapbooking I realised I have so much of The Baby's first six months to catch up on.
Plus a huge wallet (or rather wallets) of photos needing a home.
My lovely instagram friend, Ashley, sent me some cards to start me off. She sent me a mix of Dear Lizzie 'Fifth and Frolic' and Maggie Holmes 'Flea Market' cards and these are mainly what I have used on these newborn layouts. 

Some techniques that I enjoyed trying on this layout:
  • Mixing up the gold sparkly and gold metallic thickers for the 'proud' caption. It really wasn't because I had run out of some of the letters.
  • The heart border and the star were created using the negatives from stickers with washi tape underneath. Love this technique.

My second layout is all about my parents being first time grandparents. These are the first pictures of each of them holding Ellis; after they had busted their way through the strict visitors hours by claiming to have travelled from 'very far away' and having to return shortly.
The harassed midwife came though and said she had a very distraught grandmother on her hands who was demanding to see me. The 'Australians' visiting from far away. This made me smile as my dad is from Belfast and has a strong Ulster accent and my mom is South African and still has a hint of this in her accent. I wondered what kind of stories they were telling to get to see me!
I understood why my mom was so keen to see me as the last she had heard at 10 p.m the night before was that things were not going well. I wouldn't let The Belgian out of my sight and so she only received the call at about 5 a.m reassuring her that both mother and baby were fine. She'd had an awful night pacing the floor and arrived at 9 a.m wanting to give her 'traumatised' daughter a big hug and they wanted her to wait till 2 p.m. This is a bit unreasonable on the very day her grandson was born.
It turned out they weren't telling fibs to see me. They had travelled from Shropshire (although they were staying in a hotel up the road) and the midwife must have confused the South African accent for Australian. 
However, they did return at two for another cuddle and she came in to change my dressing and really gave them a look. Lets just say there was no love lost between her and my mother.

Techniques I used on the cards:-
  • washi tape and a punched star stapled on for that rustic look
  • a line of stamped camera
  • some patterned cards used as is with no extra embellishment as the other cards were quite busy
  • twine tied around one of the photos 

So are you Team Midwife or Team Grandma?

17 Feb 2014

The Big Sleep...

I remember reading a blog post in the hazy days of life with a newborn where the blogger said she was composing a post all about sleep. Her husband looked over her shoulder and rolling his eyes said, "oh please! Who would anyone want to read about getting babies to sleep? You're obsessed." 
I'm pretty sure newly married-out dating my husband- busy as a full time teacher-me in my other life- would have had a similar response. But sleep and napping does become an obsession when you have a baby.
You see when they don't sleep, you don't sleep. When they don't sleep they become difficult and grouchy, when you don't sleep you become difficult and grouchy and dealing with them becomes ten times harder. 
So getting a good routine and getting your sleep becomes very important.
Important enough to write a blog post about.
Men, they just don't get it! 

Now in the early days The Baby used to sleep anywhere...

In his moses basket

On our chests...

On the sofa...on a chair...yes newborn babies sleep anywhere!

Now this post in not one spouting helpful advice on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. 
As somewhere around four to five months my baby became a reluctant napper and as we tried to introduce a new bedtime routine he also became a very reluctant sleeper.
In the early days he would have a dummy and this seemed to help him get off to sleep...

Then he started rejecting his dummy and wanted to feed to sleep and to continue sucking on his bottle to help him get to sleep.
So, in desperation (for a bit of us time) and to get him off, we started wedging his bottle in with a blanket or toy and then he would happily drift off to sleep and we would sneak back in and remove the bottle when he was deeply asleep.
I believe this is what experts would describe as making a rod for our own backs. 

What would happen when he wasn't hungry?
The window for getting him to sleep became very narrow and we had a difficult Christmas and New Years with him only settling down about ten 'o' clock.
But yet he was still waking at his normal time of eight a.m and so he wasn't getting enough sleep.
We certainly weren't.
He was still waking 2/3 times in the night as well.

So it was time to re-introduce the dummy as a sleeping aid.
So now our routine was this:
  • 6.40 bath time with daddy to splash around and use up his energy
  • 6:50 baby massage and put into his pj's with mummy
  • 7:00 go the nursery with mummy, get fed on the rocking chair and as he drifts off swap bottle for dummy
  • When he wakes in the night try to offer him a dummy instead of always giving him a bottle
But do any of you find that dummies are like socks? They seem to disappear into the ether with no trace. Especially the favourite dummy. The cherry teat dummy.

So when Wauwaa (a baby and parenting advice website and baby retailer) sent me a Snoozebaby I knew that it would be the perfect solution to our problem.
The Baby has always loved clutching soft textures and especially tags and this toy has a coiled tail to capture and hold onto the dummy.
So now when he cries at 4 a.m and I am groping around in his cot for his dummy it is a lot easier to locate and often he is still clutching onto it.
The brand Snoozebaby was invented by a mother who had a premature baby who would cry and cry for hours on end. She found that he was soothed by soft textures and so designed a whole range of baby toys and accessories made from soft textures. 
My baby certainly loves things with tags and labels and soft textures. If you want to read more go to the link above.

What techniques do you use to soothe your baby and aid their sleep? Any tips to get them sleeping through?

Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review by Wauwaa but all opinions included are my own.

11 Feb 2014

January Project Life: Home and Away

So it's been a month and I am still going strong with Project Life. To the degree that The Belgian claims I am now more addicted to Project Life than instagram. Well folks, that is serious! 
I have completed most of January, but am now waiting to do a big Snapfish order to finish the last couple of weeks. I am finding  it useful to make notes each week and state which pictures I plan to use on the spread. I was going to take a monthly approach but have decided that a weekly approach may help me to be more selective with my photos - as January is sprawling on for spread after spread. It has been a busy month with a break in Belgium and a weekend in London with the Baby and sister. 
So my thoughts on creative a Project Life layout with holiday pictures? Just take the same approach as you would to any week otherwise you'll procrastinate producing it. I chose an orange and green colour scheme and just went for it.
It is also important to point out that at this point I had not yet raided my piggy bank and spent far too much at Hobby Craft so Project Life cards were in short supply. Instead I just cut up 12 by 12 papers and noticed that most American Crafts pads have cut apart pages with ready made journalling cards ready to use. I used mainly Crate Paper and Amy Tangerine on this layout.

I dug out my stamps and made good use of some sets I brought at Two Peas last year. The first is a Simple Stories set which includes the camera and 'Oh Snap' phrase. I think I will be using this stamp set a lot as cameras are my favourite and it works well with all of the little photos. The second set I was using are a Maggie Holmes set and they contain phrases like 'happy day' and 'oh so sweet' and I can see them being used lots on my Project Life pages too. 
My main embellishments here are Freckled Fawn enamel dots and washi tape that I purchased from ebay. I used my favourite free editing website - picmonkey to add text to the photo and I love this font too. 

My second layout is the 'home' part of January. I wanted to capture some of the more everyday moments of our lives - since its not all waffles and Belgian chocolate! So I got a sling selfie as we often go for a wander in the sling in the afternoon. I know there are more sophisticated means like a self timer app - but this does the job. I also documented our current obsession with Grey's Anatomy and captured the shot with our favourite snack - popcorn. I also included a photo montage that I created using an app on my phone - photogrid for the android. I printed these instagram pics with pologram which prints them in a poloroid picture style - which is super cute but I had to trim them to include them in this size pocket. I have also used origrami and was really pleased with the quality and effect and loved that you could get your caption printed onto the back of it too. 
I used lots of Dear Lizzie and Amy Tangerine and some of the Maggie Holmes Flea Market Project Life cards. The pastel colours fitted with the photos and the mood of the page. The bottom middle card I cut the word strips from a 12 by 12 sheet and then stapled them onto the card.

So I am still learning but felt pleased with how I used my existing stash to create these two layouts.

Have you found any ways to stretch your stash in a layout or Project Life spread?

9 Feb 2014

One Photo Twenty Words: Baby Led Weaning

is the way to go,
they eat what you eat,
they say, 
so the menu today?

Linking up with the lovely Abi over at Creating Paper Dreams

5 Feb 2014

The 52 Project: January

So, as you all know, I am no stranger to taking lots of photos of my little baby boy. I have to make the most of it till he's old enough to protest. Recently he's been doing this big cheesy grin whenever I shove a camera in his face so, fingers crossed, he will never grow out of it.
So when I read about the 52 Project over at Practising Simplicity I knew that I wanted to get involved as although I do take a lot of photos I am lazy about using the big camera.
So I have decided to share them monthly. It was difficult to choose this month as once you get the big camera out you tend to snap away and you know everyone's a winner! I tried to choose pictures to reflect this stage of his development and his interests and personality at this stage in his life. 
So here is January:-

It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from God
love us.
 Charles Dickens

 A baby is born with a need to be loved... and never outgrows it.
 Frank A. Clark

 “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
A.A. Milne

"A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2014."
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