Monday, 10 December 2012

The endless cycle

It only takes one very early morning "Mummy, (or more accurately, Daddy - my children somehow have the innate sense that to wake mummy at 3am is a BAD idea) I've had an accident. In my bed." to take me from laundry status 'just back from holiday' to 'DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON!' I fear I am facing the 3 day washing sit-in. This is my kitchen. There's more upstairs. Hold me.

More on the holiday later, though like the div I am I didn't take a single picture, so don't get too excited!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Hearing a heartbeat

I am lucky enough to have a home doppler, and last week I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time. It's a bit magical, there's a tiny little (4cms) person inside me. And I can hear them. It's incredibly reassuring as I miss out on a 12 week scan because I had one at 8 weeks. It looks kind of like a potato, but here he/she is...

That's my baby :) The bit that looks like a leg, is in fact cord. The white curve over the tummy is an arm, that wiggled when we saw it! We have finally told Ethan, so fairly soon we'll be going fully public.

I had another listen this morning, and it was lovely. Afterwards, I noticed I'd pressed it so hard to my skin it left a circle :S whoops!

Morning sickness, or should I say nausea is still a bit of a killer. Actually the nausea is starting to fade thank goodness, but the heightened gag reflex has not. The other day the wind blew some hair into my mouth and I started heaving. I kid you not. 12 weeks today though, so roll on the second trimester. Trimester always feels to me like a very american word. Is there an English alternative?

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Harry Potter Studio Tour

We had an AMAZING time at the Studio Tour, absolutely brilliant. I went with Rich, Jess and Jonny, though I think it was a little wasted on the men!

Harry's Cupboard - This is actually right at the start, at the side of where you queue to go in. Speaking of the queue, it looked very long, but went through quickly. You go through to a sort of holding area (lol) while you wait for the group before you to move on from the cinema, but even here there are screens with pictures and a guide giving light commentary and the very few rules. Then you go into the cinema. Another little bit by a tour guide, ours was quite funny. He told us all to take the seat belts from the left of our seats and strap in. dutifully, everyone went to do it, then looked confused when they couldn't find it. He had a good chuckle! 
The short film was the only bit that I thought was a bit naff. There were nice behind the scenes clips and things, but there was a fair bit of waffling from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. I was eager to get on!

 Doors to the Great Hall. If it's your birthday when you go, you get to be the ones to push the doors! Then it's into the great hall, which has amazing details that you never even see in the films, paintings on the walls and carvings. It seemed much narrower than on screen, but it was amazing, and filled with costumes and all sorts. We learnt that the floating candles weren't all added digitally, they started with them all hanging from wires that were digitally removed. The candles were fake-ish - they were filled with oil that they burnt rather than an actual candle. They removed many of them though when they burned through the wires and fell on people! They still used some, but digitally added the rest.
 Neville's cardigan! They also had Harry's first robes, but I had to have a limit on photos!
 The detail on all the props and scenery was incredible, this lectern had amazing details right down to the floor.
 Ron's bed. All the bedside tables had individual touches.
 The mirror of Erised
 Gryffindor common room. All the sets had information about them nearby. One of the paintings in the Gryffindor common room is of a young professor McGonagall. You'd never know from the movies, but everything has a little back story.
 The giant clock.This was swinging, and it is HUGE. And a teeny bit ominous.
 The stairs to Dumbledore's office. This one was just the statue, but there was one built that functioned, with a 12 foot hole under it that the moving stairs came up out of.
 The door to the Chamber of Secrets. The snakes on it actually moved, when in front of it you can see the tracks. Next to it is a door from a Gringott's vault, the parts of which also moved. The craftsmanship on them was so intricate, it was so cool.
 The Black Family Tree. It's huge, it wrapped around the top of the room.
 The Marauder's Map. This was in a case absolutely rammed with props, books, Weasley Wizard Wheezes, copies of The Daily Prophet and all sorts. Including Harry's photo album from Hagrid.
 Tom Riddle Snr's grave.
 The Potter house.
 Dobby. Jess noticed that though his sack/clothes were covered in blood, there's no tear from the knife. Also I've just realised that surely by this film he should be wearing his odd assortment of clothes?
 Absolutely amazing concept art. There were walls and walls of it and it was all brilliant. When I'm a gazillionaire I'm going back to buy some.

 Giant Hogwarts at the end. Absolutely huge, and the lights change to reflect the differing lights of day and night, and little lights come on inside the windows and on little lanterns.
The time turner I chose in the gift shop. Ah, the gift shop. The snag in the brilliant afternoon. It was ridiculous. Very expensive, though that was sort of expected, no queueing system for the tills, things in multiple spots in the shop with no real order to it at all, skinny aisles, and basically no system at all. And a very grumpy woman who pushed in the queue because she was too stupid to look and see where she was supposed to go.

There was a refreshment place about halfway round selling a small selection of sandwiches and crisps and things, and there was also a butterbeer counter. It was disgusting. some kind of fruity fizzy drink with a sort of ice cream on top, only it just tasted like very cold cream. Jess liked it, I think Jonny thought it was ok, Rich refused to try it. I gave mine to Jess. But it was only £2.95, so I didn't begrudge trying it. Much. 

The tour was great, but I think I missed some bits. It's not laid out in a set way to walk around, which is good because you don't get stuck in a line the whole way, but I think it was quite easy to miss bits. I wouldn't take kids, we saw a few bored ones. I also wouldn't take anyone not particularly mad about Harry Potter, the husbands got bored and wandered off LONG before we did. 

But my sister Amy didn't get to come with us, so I'll get another chance to go. Yay!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 5 November 2012


So, I emailed a link to the boys halloween costumes on here to Jen of Epbot and Cakewrecks. I totally didn't expect a reply at all, as she's super cool and gets a ton of emails.

EXCEPT SHE DID! I am geeking out! And she said they were brilliant and she thinks they're her favourite Thor and Loki this year :) Love it!

That's all, except to say if you don't already check out her sites, you should! :D

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Ethan, God of Thunder and Sam, God of Mischief!

Ta-da! I'm really please with how these turned out. I think I probably could have done better if I'd not left it so late to do, I was working on them right up until the morning of Halloween.

On to the making! Ethan's costume was quite a bit simpler than Sam's, because I already had the suit from Asda, leaving only the helmet and mjolnir (the hammer to you and me), which were very easy. The helmet started the same as Sam's, paper mache and a balloon.
 Then I used this photo (found via good old google, I think it's from the movie release posters) for reference to cut out the wings from craft foam - amazing stuff - and used my glue gun to add detail like so:
 Not too shabby! A tad wobbly, but alright for a kids costume. Then I glued wire to the back to help shape them. I could have used heat, if you heat fab foam a little you can re-form it and it'll stay in the new shape. I forgot that until after the hot glue though. You can see the wire in the next picture.
 You can also see Mjolinr, which was really simple. I had the cardboard tube and a small cardboard box. Hole in the box, stick in the tube. Bang, done. I also put a layer of foam on the box because it was a little bashed. Then I sprayed, which was fun til I got some on the patio slabs and could smell it all day long.

A little more glue, and the helmet was done, really really easy. The handle of the hammer I just added some dark brown foam strips for the straps and handle. Ethan later asked me to take it off as he didn't like the feel, but he kept it on for photos!
I also sewed a new cape for him as the one that came with the costume was pretty rubbish and thin, and had been hemmed so the shiny side was down. Simple enough job, buy a rectangle of shiny red fabric, hem the edges, sew on a bit of velcro at the top to attach. The suit already had velcro for the original cape so I didn't even have to bother with that.

On to Sam. His costume wasn't so much harder, but it had more details. This post shows how far I'd got with the helmet and jacket.

 Here's the jacket after a coat of gold spray paint (which I now hate) for the armour. I didn't end up putting more armour on the arms for 2 reasons - first, I ran out of time, and second, Sam had enough issues with the front piece! I used fabric glue from B&Q to glue it on, but I wasn't happy it was held on enough so added some superglue, and later used the glue gun a bit to patch it up. I had some leftover green satin fabric from making bow ties, so I cut that to size, hemmed it, put velcro on it and the jacket, and voila, another cape.

Helmet. It actually turned out easier than I thought, once I decided to make it this way. I used long thin triangles of foam for the horns to make them slightly pyramid-y as that's what they look like in most of the pictures I found, and glue gunned them in place. I looked at lots of other homemade ones, but didn't use their horn instructions as they just didn't look right. They are the place I discovered craft foam though which is absolutely brilliant.
 Then came the painting. Oh my goodness, how much do I hate the gold spray paint I used. I'm sure it was just a faulty can or other brands are better but grrrrr. The first can I used did the pieces on the jacket fine, and part of the helmet before it ran out (it was a small can). So I went and picked up another one. I don't know what I did wrong but somehow that one separated! I got some gold bits but a lot of silver bits. Either way, it looked a mess. The shop I'd gone to for the paint was in Leeds and this was the day before Halloween and I didn't have time (or the inclination!) to spend another £5 plus petrol going to get more. I looked through some shops here, no joy for spray, but in B&Q (again, awesome) I found some gold emulsion. Now, I don't know who the heck would paint their walls metallic gold, but I grabbed a tester pot and went with it. It was ok. It was drippy and took an absolute AGE to dry, but it covered the patchy awfulness.
 Ta-da again! Here also is Sam's staff of Loki, and of this I am quite proud. I tried to find pictures online but it's a pain, as he has 2 or 3 different ones in the film. I eventually found This brilliant blog post where a guy has finished his own (MUCH more professional!) staff. It gave me a great point of reference for shapes and general ideas.

I started off with a long cardboard tube again, it had previously been a sword for a knight costume for Ethan. Sam had a blue glitter and water filled bouncy ball which I thought would do well for the stone. I wanted to stick a torch inside the tube to light it up, but couldn't find one thin enough. Then I noticed on that blog that there was a sort of metal junction-y bit under the stone, and I had a torch small and thin enough for that. So...
There it is! the blade-like parts are all sprayed foam, the 2 sections under the ball are the torch. All glue gunned into place. It wasn't the neatest glue job, but again, time. I made a small cut away it the top of the tube so I could turn the torch on and off as the switch was annoyingly on the bottom end, then covered it with a flap of foam.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the results. I thought I might have bitten off more than I could chew with this, but it was all surprisingly simple once I'd got all the plans in my head. Sam didn't want to wear his helmet much, and it rained on us while 'trickle treating' as Ethan calls it, but we had a pretty good time anyway, and they got plenty of treats!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sam is two!

I can't believe it, two already. Feels like only yesterday I was panting my way to the hospital in the car, preparing to have him. Little did I know he'd arrive about 20 minutes after we got there!

 Now it's all about the nee-naws, and choo-choos. Speaking of which -
 We had a lovely afternoon on the Kirklees Light Railway, which is near us. They have several steam engines and two playgrounds, and the boys love it, Sam especially.
 Though Ethan is quite impressed too :) Sam's cake request was Peppa Pig, and I thought great! simple! I can make that! Peppa Pig is a very simple cartoon, so I thought super easy. Unfortunately I had a very unwell week (don't worry, all fine) and just could not face making a cake, so Sam got to choose one off the shelf.
I also had a slight fail when I went to put on the candles - there weren't any. Sparklers did the job just fine! Happy Birthday to my lovely cheeky monkey. He's unfortunately settled into the terrible twos like a pro, but hopefully it'll pass. He's still a scrumptious little pest though ;)

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Morning Sickness

It's not fun.

I was extremely lucky with Ethan and Sam and didn't get sick at all. I have not been lucky this time. Well, I have escaped actually throwing up, so I guess I've been quite lucky, but oh my goodness, I feel so awful. I am managing to eat, but it's not enjoyable! at a guess I think I'm about 7 weeks, but I've got a scan on November the first to find out. I finally managed to track down all my sisters and tell them, which was nice, lots of excited squeals! We've also told both of our parents, but not Ethan and Sam yet. I can't wait to tell Ethan, I think he'll be very happy, especially as he's been asking recently when I'm going to have a baby!

You know what doesn't go well together? Morning sickness and a cough. Every time I cough I start to heave :( I cannot wait for this part to pass, not long I hope! Just a quick entry, I had to get it down somewhere!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sam's Loki Costume - in process.

So Halloween is approaching, less than two weeks to go. Eek! need to get a wriggle on with the costumes!

Luckily, they are proving to (so far) follow the simple ideas in my head. As they're just for the kids I've simplified a bit. In fact with Ethan I've completely cheated, the base of his Thor costume is shop bought, as I was having issues with finding tops in the right pattern and it was only £12.50. I'm planning on modifying it as it's not as detailed as I'd like. Anyway, onto progress pics!
I found this picture via Pinterest for a good front on view of Loki's armour and helmet. I decided to simplify it not only for ease, but also because when you're making it for a 2 year old, the pieces get slightly weeny, and sort of pointless.

So here is Sam's jacket so far -
 I intend to add the shoulder and forearm guard bits. The yellow is just craft foam, lightweight and bendy, practically indestructible even for my Sam. Each side piece is 2 pieces of foam, the curved main bits and the thinner top piece. to make the sort of wing-ish design I just cut into the foam but not right to the other side, so it's still all joined on the curved edge, and slightly overlapped them. I tried glueing them in place with PVA as I was told that'd work on craft foam. Not so if there is any sort of pull or resistance. Superglue however was brilliant, even if I did lose a couple of fingerprints in the process. The circles I just stuck on, again, superglue. The jacket was a simple black zip through sweater from Asda, £3 I think. Though they don't tend to sell black clothes for 2 year olds, so I bought it in age 3-4 and took it in, super easy, especially if you're not too fussy about the finished sleeves.There were literally no small boys clothes in a dark enough green, so black had to do. The foam isn't glued on yet, I'm going to spray it gold first. I'm not sure about how to attach the necklace type bit, probably glue on one side and velcro on the other so I can still get to the zip to put him in it.

And now, the helmet -
Paper mache. I've done 3 basic helmet shapes and it took the best part of 2 days, with layers and drying glue and what not. Why have I done 3 you ask? well. One for Sam, one for Ethan. The third was the first attempt of Sam's, but I made it too small, and it scratched his face putting it on. Whoops :S For the right size I measured their heads at the largest point, then added a couple of inches (I forgot to add the inches in the first attempt) then inflate a balloon, with the balloons widest point measuring the same. With Sam's second attempt it was actually a little bit too big, and he looked like a bobble head! Sigh. So this time I just cut a slit all the way up the back and overlapped the sides until it looked ok.

A tip to cut down on the time you spend paper mache-ing - draw the shape of the helmet on the balloon, and just make sure you overlap the lines a small amount. You can't see in the picture, but the back stops about halfway down the balloon. It leaves a bigger gap to get the thing on his head, and also stops it being too tall for his head too. This means that if you cover the whole balloon you're then cutting off an awful lot of waste, which you've just spent yonks glueing onto the balloon and waiting for it to dry. Can you tell I also did this on the first one?

The horns are plant wire I found in B&Q for a couple of pounds. I'll be adding craft foam to them to make them much fatter and more 3d. Then I'm going to try adding a few craft foam details to the helmet before spraying it gold. I've already sewn a rectangle of green satiny material for his cape, and he'll just wear dark trousers and wellies.

For a costume process post, this is a bit wordy! Will update with more progress when it happens!

P.S. Spellcheck says 'gluing' is the correct spelling. It just looks wrong though, so I've left the e in. Sorry if it makes you twitch ;)

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Unexpectedly expecting :D

So yeah, this happened...
It's a bit of a shock really! Not a total shock, as we were attempting it, but the medical appointments I've been having recently are related. Both Ethan and Sam had a little help getting here with some medication. I won't go into details, but my body wasn't behaving as normal, all easily fixed and done.

This time, we were waiting for me to start the medication again, and waiting and waiting as it has to be taken at a specific time o' the month. I'd made a second appointment to see the consultant (memo to me, cancel that on Monday) to see whether we needed to do any more tests or anything. I've been taking a random test every couple of weeks, and today, This showed up!

Shocked is not really the word! after the first test I screeched to Rich to come into the bathroom and check it for me, and he said yes, there were definitely two little blue lines, but that we should do another one and not get too excited until after that. He's a sensible man. He also suggesting getting the more expensive one that tells you how far along you are, which is what you see up there. I got showered and dressed with a goofy grin and jittery shakes while madly texting my lovely friend Harriet who is very recently post-natal herself and was possibly still in bed (sorry Hat!). I felt completely spaced out, and we went to run errands. ERRANDS I tell you. Eventually we got to Sainsbury's and bought the test, then went to lunch. Rich convinced me not to do it til we got home in case it was negative and I had to sit through lunch upset - again, sensible man - so once more we waited.

Eventually we made it home and I congratulated myself for not rushing us home, and promptly ran to the bathroom ;) And the rest, as they say, is history. I've no idea how far along I am, the test says 3+ weeks, but it counts differently to normal pregnancy counting, apparently it means at least 5 weeks pregnant. Who knows though, so on Monday I've got to get an appointment with the midwife and see what she says.

I'm SO excited! I love being pregnant, I am blessed in that I don't suffer with morning sickness very badly at all (fingers crossed!) and really enjoy the whole experience. I mean, I probably whinge as much as anyone else about being uncomfortable at the end, and other complaints that my mind has conveniently forgotten right now, but on the whole, I love it :)

P.S. I've found that Blogger will let me post this in the past, woohoo! So, hopefully, it'll appear in sequence, on the 6th of October, even though I won't be publishing it until I've been scanned and reassured. Sneaky!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Robots and Spaceships and Aliens oh my!

It's been a while! So, what have I been up to. I made another baby quilt, this one for my lovely friend Harriet's teeny weeny new boy, the very gorgeous William.
Isn't he scrummy? Also how gorgeous is this picture. You can completely see the total adoration, and it still doesn't quite capture it. That house is bursting with love.

Here's the blanket - I'm very pleased with this one, the fabric was such a good find, boys are difficult to shop for!
 The two materials came as a set too, perfect for a matching front and back piece. There was also a third pattern, like the front with the squares, but the pattern was much larger and so would have been great for a big blanket, but not a baby one. I'm very fussy about fabric. Even though the blankets are (so far) all for babies, I don't like picking a fabric that's too babyish, as my way, the babies don't out grow the patterns too quickly! My boys each have one, Ethan's was made by his auntie Sheri, and has dinosaur patterns, and Sam's was made by my mum and has animals and palm trees and stuff.

Last weekend we took Ethan for a treat day - I read an article recently about how sometimes we can get so caught up on telling off our kids, that they don't hear as many I love yous, and recommended treat days where the child gets to make the decisions and you get to just have a good time with them. I'm making it sound hippyish, but that's basically the gist, and really, it's about quality time together, with the focus on one child (the article recommended taking the child out without siblings if possible). It's supposed to also help 'reset' the child's behaviour and your responses to it, sort of a clean slate.

 So Ethan chose Sundown Adventureland, a children's theme park about an hour away. We've been before with school so he was very excited to go, and asked if Daddy and Sam could come too, and off we went.

 First came the Santa ride. It's open all year round and Rich was very excited, as he is a massive Christmas lover. The boys were excited too, and we went on it twice. There are actually two Santa rides there, but the second one only opens at the beginning of November. The boys were not impressed.
 Santa's sleigh crossing the moon! The whole park is (dated) animatronics, so it all moves.
 Santa's map. I'm not sure he's getting the best time with this route.
 On the tractor ride, and apparently not impressed with my photography skills.
 Getting onto the Robin Hood ride. There aren't any pictures of the ride in progress as I was too gobsmacked by the animatronics. At one point you're practically flashed by Maid Marion!
Attempting to release King Arthur's sword. There were lots of other rides and play areas, but I'm terrible in that I always forget to take pictures and end up with random insights to the day :)

So here's the skinny - I'd definitely recommend it, it was perfect for the kids, the rides were not in the slightest scary or fast, and it's not too expensive. £11 for adults and kids, and under 2's are free. There are 2 indoor play areas with food available, again, fairly cheap, and really good. Best of all, once you're in, the only things you pay for are food (although you can bring your own) and the gift shop, assuming you want to stop there. That too is reasonable.

All in all it was a brilliant day, we had loads of fun, there was no tellings off from us, and his behaviour was brilliant, with no whining, which recently had become pretty epic. A win I think!

Next time - an update Sam's Loki jacket for Halloween, it's going well so far!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!