Hanging Owl Tutorial

I haven’t written a sewing post for a while – because I don’t seem to have sewn much! Lately,  I mainly sew more for other people. I guess because there’s a definite reason to get it done – and because everyone in this house already owns far too much stuff!

Sewing tutorial. How to make a hanging owl family. Suitable for twiggy tree, Christmas ornaments or hanging banner. Great for new baby gifts

I made these for a friend for her birthday but they could equally work as Christmas  ornaments, hung on a twiggy tree or can be strung together as a banner.     There there’s a two big ones and three little ones – one for each member of their family. They’re all hand sewn – which I liked because I could pick them up and do them anywhere. But I’m really, really slow at hand sewing so they were actually pretty late for her birthday!!

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the link and buy something I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you. I own all of the items I’ve linked to in this post.

What you need

  • Scraps of felt – I used all the same brown for the bodies but you could use different colours – I buy felt from Paper and String – it’s 40% wool so it’s lovely and soft.
  •  Buttons
  • Toy stuffing (You can pull apart an old teddy if you wish!)
  • Basic Sewing supplies
  • String/Ribbon

Directions

  • Cut out pattern – I drew my own – if there’s enough interest I’ll see if I can figure out how to make this downloadable.

Sewing tutorial. How to make a hanging own family. Suitable for twiggy tree, Christmas ornaments or hanging banner. Great for new baby gifts

  • Sew all the features onto the front of each owl using whipstitch. I only joined the wings on the inside so they look ‘flappy’.
  • Tie a loop in about 10cm of bakers twine or ribbon and clip into position. I like to use these clips rather than pins on the whole because I find them less fiddly and they don’t make holes.Sewing tutorial. How to make a hanging own family. Suitable for twiggy tree, Christmas ornaments or hanging banner. Great for new baby gifts
  • Join front to back using blanket stitch.  Because it’s felt, it won’t fray so you can just stitch it outside out without a seam. Make sure you leave a gap for stuffing.
  • Stuff it gently – you don’t want it too fat – and sew up the hole with more blanket stitch.

Sewing tutorial. How to make a hanging own family. Suitable for twiggy tree, Christmas ornaments or hanging banner. Great for new baby gifts

Ta-da! I think they turned out pretty good! I’m hoping 2017 is going to be the year I really get back into sewing (but I’m also ‘going’ to lose a load of weight, keep the house clean, stop playing around on my phone and basically be a super organised version of myself so we’ll see 😉 )

 

 

Two Tiny Hands
Posted in Sewing | 10 Comments

Setting New Year’s Resolutions with Children

To be honest I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions in January. Probably because I went straight from being in education to educating others,  I’ve always found that the beginning of a new school year is a good time to make changes rather than in the middle of winter.

But, I really liked an idea I saw on Under The Sycamore ‘s Facebook page. They make resolutions as a family and pop them in the stockings to find next  Christmas. If you’ve been around for a little while you probably know I’m a bit obsessed with Christmas traditions and I particularly like getting all of the Christmas themed stuff out gradually over December so this seemed perfect for us.

Obviously if I was a decent blogger I’d have done this before new year’s day so you could find it and do it yourself ! Maybe some of you are as disorganised as me??

 

Preparation

  • Cut a six sided star out of a piece of coloured paper  per person
  • On each side write one of sentence starter I chose:
    • In 2016 I loved …
    • I want to go…
    • I want to try… (I encouraged this to be about a new skill – E chose, ‘skating’ which was a bit random!!)
    • I want to get better at…
    • I want to do more…
    • I want to do less… (This one was about bad habits – I chose, ‘playing on my phone’ – so far it’s not really sticking!)

You could leave them blank but I find children often find it easier write if there’s some structure provided.

  • Gather a load of glitter, sequins, glue etc (this is obviously optional but it makes it seem fun 😉 )

We talked about about resolutions at the dinner table then sat and filled in our stars together. I was planning to write some for Little Miss but I think what she created is a good reflection of her at 18 months so I’m going to leave it as it is!

Have you set any resolutions as a family? I’d love to hear what you’ve done 🙂

Posted in Christmas, Primary School Children (5-10), Toddler | Leave a comment

Christmas Sensory Bin for Toddlers

As the Autumn Sensory Bin was such a success making a Christmas themed one was a bit of a no brainer.  This was day 7 of our advent activities. On the whole the activities have been mainly aimed at E. (because he’s the one who’s old enough to care) so it was nice to do something that was more for Little Miss.

My first step was of course to spend far too long on Pinterest. I gathered a load of ideas on my Winter Themed Activities Board.

 

 

Generally with sensory tubs I want them to be mainly full of things we already have on hand. So my inspiration was this one from ‘ Raising Little Superheroes’

Contents

  • Cotton Wool Balls
  • Bits of christmas tree – these actually came from a tree in our garden.
  • Jingle Bells
  • Little Baubles
  • Christmas themed tin
  • Muffin tray
  • Mini Christmas Tree – Mr B. and I bought this on our first christmas as a couple (17 years ago!! We were students and too cheap/poor to buy a real tree)
  • Wooden spoons – these came with a takeaway and we didn’t use them so I put them aside

If you’re interested in how we use sensory tubs and some of the benefits I went into more details in the Autumn post. 

Hints and warnings!

  • Obviously none of these things are officially toys and are not safety tested for young children – I never just leave sensory tubs out for general play.
  • Cotton wool makes a terrible mess when it’s all tipped onto the carpet! I assumed that it’d be mainly mess free – I assumed wrong!

 

This has been a bit less popular than the Autumn box – which is another advantage to it not costing much! It turns out Little Miss is not keen on the feel of cotton wool balls. I suppose the feeling of something you don’t like counts as a sensory experience too 😉 .

Two Tiny Hands

 

Posted in Christmas, Sensory play, Toddler | 13 Comments

Christmas Traditions (or could we all be a bit less judgmental?)

I’ve read quite a few things online this week about how people choose to celebrate Christmas and I’ve found it hard not to take it as a personal attack.
There have been newspaper articles, blog posts and forum posts stating that:

  • I’m spoiling my children and making them entitled little brats,
  • I’m stressing myself out and ruining my own Christmas,
  • I’m ruining Christmas for my kids and making them grow up too soon.
  • I probably shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas at all really!

It’s funny how the opinions of people I don’t know – and that aren’t actually aimed at me -can really grate on me and bother me long after they’ve forgotten they even wrote it.

Modern parenting seems to be set up to pitch us against each other. Social media and the internet have made parenting a much more public event. I think we spend so much time overthinking each little decision that we become convinced we are right and by default that means people who do differently are automatically wrong.

Of course the actual point (like everything in parenting) is we’re all just trying to get by and to do what we think is right by our own children. And to be honest, while I may internally roll my eyes, if you’re not actually harming your children or mine I don’t really care what you do with your children.

So, probably completely unnecessarily – because after all why should you care – here are a few things we do and don’t do.  (E is almost 8 and his little sister is 18 months, so I’m talking about both children but only one of them really cares either way!)

We Do

Go completely all out for advent– there are activities or little gifts for the 24 days. I like doing crafts with my children and I’ve found this is a good way of making sure I actually do all of the things I want to do with them.

Christmas Traditions (or could we all be a bit less judgmental?)

We Don’t 

Spoil our kids or drive ourselves crazy. Most of the ‘gifts’ come out every year and then go away to come out again next year- my 8 year old is genuinely excited to get his own things back!

We Don’t 

Tell our children Santa is real or go out of our way to pretend he is. We’ve never intentionally gone to a grotto or ridden on a Christmas train. E is aware I don’t believe in Santa and if / when he asks me outright I fully intend on telling him the truth.

We Do

Let our children be children, E. generally starts getting excited about Christmas in October it doesn’t matter to him whether there’s magic involved. In the past few years we’ve started leaving food out for Santa because he saw it on a film and he wants to.

We Do

Spend a lot of time as a family and with our extended family, making memories, enjoying each other’s company and eating to excess.

We Don’t 

Celebrate the birth of Christ. E is aware of the Christian basis for the celebration and its Pagan origins. He’s also aware that lots of cultures have a midwinter festival and that as atheists we can pick and choose how we celebrate.

Christmas Traditions (or could we all be a bit less judgmental?)
So there you go, clearly I’m ruining them forever – and maybe I need to spend less time on the internet and read an actual book occasionally.

Pink Pear Bear
Posted in Christmas, Life | 8 Comments

6 Christmas Themed Books

One of the reasons our Advent Activity Jars have stuck over the past 5 years is that they are a way of making things that could seem fairly ordinary extra fun.

Every year we buy a new Christmas themed book for Christmas Eve then, when we take the decorations down, we also put away all of the Christmas  themed books – including any others we’ve had as gifts and any that were part of sets – e.g. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! came as part of a whole set of Dr Suess books but I don’t really want to be reading that in August so it got squirrelled away with the Christmas books. All of the books came out again as the 3rd of our advent activities and E. sat and read all day.

This Christmas is E.’s 8th so we’ve got a fair few books now. Here are our favourites. I’ve ordered them vaguely in age order – but because they only come out once a year E. is pretty willing to read any of them.

6 Christmas themed books all of the family will love

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the link and buy something I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you. We own all of the books I’ve linked to in this post.

Babies and Toddlers

Dear Santa

This is the christmas version of theDear Zoo book which we also love. It has simple illustrations and lift up flaps so its a sure win with Little Miss.

6 Christmas themed books all of the family will love

Aliens Love Panta Claus

Again this is a spin off – this time of Aliens Love Underpants. It’s funny and it’s easy to read aloud with lovely bright illustrations.

6 Christmas themed books all of the family will love

Preschool

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Dr Suess is a bit of a ‘love him or hate him’ author I think. Personally I’m a big fan and I think this is a great book with a good moral (and it’s much better than the film 😉 )

6 Christmas themed books all of the family will love

Father Christmas

This is the book that inspired the classic Christmas film It’s written in comic format with a lot of the action taking place in the pictures rather than the words so, although it’s quite simple, the child needs to be old enough to focus on the pictures to really enjoy it.

6 Christmas themed books all of the family will love

Ages 5-8 (ish)

The Jolly Christmas Postman

This is a fantastic book. The story is set in a fairytale land with lots of references to nursery rhymes and fairytales. On alternate pages there are little envelopes with extra things to read or do in them. E. loves it and it’s the only one of the books we’ve kept far out of Little Miss’ reach!

6 Christmas themed books all of the family will love

How Santa Really Works

This is perfect for E at the moment, there are lots of funny facts, jokes and illustrations. It’s written as if it’s non-fiction book and every time you pick it up you seem to find something you missed the last time you read it.

6 Christmas themed books all of the family will love

 

I hope that’s been useful, all of the authors I’ve listed have also written great quality children’s books so even if you’re not looking for something for Christmas there is bound to be something you’d like.

We haven’t bought this year’s book(s) yet so I’d love some suggestions – E will be 8 at the beginning of January and Little Miss is 18 months.

Pink Pear Bear
Two Tiny Hands
Posted in Christmas | 28 Comments