Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nearly birthday time

P turns 3 in a few weeks, so my project this week is to finish off all those little last minute things, like birthday invites, and present wrapping (and possibly making).  That way everything will be ready.  If only DH would decide if he wants a sandpit or not.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More montessori activities

My second round of Montessori activities is finished, and just like my first project, it was really easy to put everything together.  Of course it remains to be seen how P and J will like the activities, but I'll just have to wait for that one.
Maths - Number Wheel

This was an activity that I got in a swap a while ago, but we lost the original pegs, and P was a little young for it.  So I got hold of some small wooden pegs and drew numbers on them.  The idea is to match up the numbered pegs with the butterflies on the wheel.  P had a go at this, but wasn't particularly interested in making sure the numbers were right.

Sensorial - Sorting buttons
I bought a whole lot of buttons from my local $2 shop in a variety of colours, and put them on a tray with some containers.  The idea is for P and J to sort the buttons into their respective colours and then put them into a container.
J just likes to put them into the jars, which is fine, but I was surprised by how much P enjoyed sorting them into colours and then into containers.

Sensorial - Smelling bottles
I got the idea for these from here.  I only had 6 matching glass bottles, and I filled them with three matching pairs of smells.  I used peppermint, coconut and almond essense, which was from the supermarket.  Of course if you had essential oils you could use those.
I was really surprised by how difficult P found this activity.  I thought all three smells were fairly distinctive, but she really struggled to differentiate between them.

Practical Life - Open and close containers
I also found this activity on Counting Coconuts.  There are a variety of containers that have different kinds of fastenings.  I found all of these around the house.

Language - Pre writing printable
I found a free printable on kidssoup for P to trace over the dotted lines.  This is to improve her penmanship skills without actually learning letters, since I've already mentioned my unwillingness to teach her to read too early.

So that's what on P's shelves now.  We still have the fabric numbers out, and all the baskets/trays came from the Hospice Shop for $1 (that's $1 for ALL of them, not $1 each either!).

Montessori wrap up

I thought it would be a good idea, before posting about the new montessori activities I've created for the girls, to do a little recap of the ones that they already have.

The losers:
 P wasn't really interested in threading the pasta and straws, and they quickly disappeared through the house (I think I vacuumed them up in the end)

 I was a little disappointed that neither P or J were interested in the felt shapes, either as shapes, or as a house.  I thought this would be a really cool activity, but they just weren't interested.  Interestingly, P found a whole heap of felt scraps - random colours and shapes, and has been busily arranging these instead.

P was interested in her language basket, but only for a short space of time.  I think if I had a whole range of sounds that I could cycle through, this would work well.

The Winners:
 J spent a reasonable amount of time exploring all the elements of her blue basket, and seemed to enjoy herself.

Button snake was a huge hit, initially with P, who spent quite a lot of time putting the buttons on, and lately with J, who has been very keen to carry button snake around with the button holes and demand that someone put them on (or take them off).

But the undisputed King of the Heap is the fabric numbers.  P just adores her 'nummies'.  She takes them to bed, she matches them up with the numbers in her counting book, she brings them out and says "what this say?" as she pulls each of them out.  This activity has also had the happy consequence of giving DH something concrete to do with her.  He has been diligently teaching her to count using them, and they've both been having a great time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All wrapped up

All my finished knitting projects, all wrapped and ready to go.  And not a moment too soon since I heard this morning that one of my friends had a baby girl last night.  So her parcel is winging its way to Wellington (well providing DH posted it like I asked).

Its amazing how much difference it makes to just finish off all those little projects.  I find that if I don't complete them they just nag at my mind, a little accumulation of unfinished things.  But now I just have one more newborn project to complete and then I can have a little breather before the next lot of little babies start appearing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Regional Bags and other Montessori stuff

My project this week is to create some more Montessori inspired resources for P and J.  One of the ideas that jumped out at me from Counting Coconuts was the Continent bags.  I love the way these bring a whole range of different learning experiences to a single topic.  However, it occurred to me that we live on a couple of islands in the middle of a very large ocean, and it just didn't seem right to lump ourselves in with big landmasses, so I have renamed these regional bags, because I think it better represents the content (and besides, who really wants to be associated with Australia anyway).  I had intended to focus on Oceania, since that is where we are, but P has been watching the Lion King for a while and is rather taken by all the animals, so I thought the best place to start this week would be with Africa.  I'll also be creating a few more baskets along similar themes as my last attempt.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Knitting, knitting, knitting

My creative space this week has been all about finishing my various knitting projects.  I'm close to being on top of all the knitting, and it feels great.

Head over to Natural Suburbia for more creativity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baby knitting and organising

I decided to move this project up my list, because I was getting a little stressed out having so many knitting things to complete with a deadline.  I am just about finished with all my knitting projects for ladies having babies soon, so this week is mostly about finishing - blocking, seaming, putting buttons on.  I do also have a garment to knit, but it is going very well, and doesn't actually have to be finished this week anyway.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Circle skirt

Following on from my earlier skirt disappointment, I decided that I would make another skirt this week as well.  I dug out some old petticoat table cloths and decided to make this circle skirt.  After my disastrous measuring on the first skirt, I was extra careful to measure properly, and then followed the instructions meticulously.  Then I tried it on and it was far too large around my waist - as in, falling down if I didn't hold it up too large.  At this point there was much cursing and crying and then going to bed to think about the problem.

I decided to make a kind of faux waistband using the circle of fabric that I had already cut out.  This seemed to do the trick, and I now have a circle skirt that actually fits me.  Unfortunately the hem is wonky, which is probably the result of the waistband adding and stretching and altering that I had to do.

I am aware that this skirt is super ugly.  DH declared that he would never leave the house with me while I was wearing it.  I also think its ugly, but I think it goes past being super hideous into the territory of so bad its actually awesome.  And besides, most of looking good is about the confidence you feel when you wear the clothes, not the clothes themselves.

The best place to put the camera so you could all see my skirt endeavours was the kitchen bench - hence the incredibly awesome green kitchen (you'd think I'd have managed to close the cupboard door though).

Sewing skirts

My week of selfish sewing can only be described as a disappointment.  And it all started out so well.  In fact, to figure out where it all went wrong, its best to start at the beginning.  I found this awesome link with heaps of Free skirt patterns.  I was so excited to be sewing something for myself.  I had some fabric that I bought a little while ago specifically for me.  But this is where it all started to unravel.  I was so excited that I jumped right in and cut out a skirt without drafting a pattern first, or really thinking about what I wanted from the skirt - something I could wear to work.  I did end up with a skirt, but it isn't what I wanted at all.  I made several mistakes when I measured my hips, so ended up with a skirt that was far too large for what I had in my head.
I tried my best to fix it up, by taking it in around my hips, and then adding a pleat to the front, but now I have a skirt which is still too large, and also now sits funnily on me.  As DH would say, epic fail.

The tag that I made is probably my favourite part.  In fact it is so not what I intended, that I will have to redo it at some later point, which is a waste of my time and the lovely fabric.

So yes, disappointing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Selfish sewing

My project this week is some selfish sewing.  I am very excited to tackle some clothes, just for me.  My sister gave me a dress that is just too blousey at the top, and I'm going to take it in a little.  I also have some material that I bought ages ago to make myself a new work skirt out of.  I haven't made any adult clothes since before I had children, and I think my sewing skills have improved somewhat since then, so I am very hopeful that this week will be exciting and successful.

Now also seems the perfect time to mention the Sew Convert.  I am in awe of this woman's sewing abilities, a dress a week! Its great reading, and she has plenty of good tips to go with the outfits.  I would love to have a wardrobe that I made myself.  This is definitely a blog worth checking out.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Swap sewing

As promised, I have pictures from my sewing last week.  It was supposed to be baby sewing, but it got commandeered by sewing for the swap I am doing.  I entered a winter clothing swap for both P and J, and posting is at the end of the month.  I have already sewn one of my items, and I decided I needed to get on with the other.  Also my baby sewing project was supposed to be shoes, and you all know how I feel about baby shoes.  So I went through my pattern collection and came up with this.  Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away by showing the pattern, because I made a few modifications.  I decided to do a coat based on the dressing gown pattern, but when I opened the packet, I found that the instructions were actually for a completely different top.  I figured that it would be easy enough to put the three pieces of the pattern together, and it was. 

I sewed a lining and an outer layer, doing the lining first so I could see if there were any issues with the way I put it together, and it was really straightforward.  I am extremely pleased with how it turned out.  I still have to do the buttons, but that should be fine.

I will post pictures of the final product once it has been received by my swappee.  Hopefully I'll also have some lovely winter goodies to share in the next month or so as well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No project this week

Well the girls and I were hit by a stomach bug earlier this week, which was truly awful and fortunately only for a day and a half.  But the upshot of this is that the house is a mess and I am not really feeling the crafting love at all.  So, no project this week, I need a bit of a break, a chance to regroup and get back into the swing of things.  I've rejigged my list (which does all the way to the end of August!), so hopefully next week will see a much chirpier, more energised Mummyzilla.  I do still have photos to post on what I did last week - which was also kind of awesome, so there is that to look forward to.
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