Letters to my children

21 May

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Especially now that I have children of my own, my parents are constantly telling me stories about how I was when I was younger, and what they used to think and do, and how they felt during certain moments in my life. When Lil M was born I had so much to tell her, there was so much I wanted her to know right there and then, but she won’t ever know or understand what I am saying. I knew there would be so much I would want to share with her and I wanted her to know my feelings of her in real time. So I designed a letterhead just for her and kept an empty letter in an envelope in my hospital bag, so I could write her a letter telling her exactly how it felt to meet her, no details missing to my memory. Then I realised I would always have so much to say, so I printed out more, and every now and then I sit down to pen a letter to my little darling. Of course I have continued this with the birth of Mr Lil M. I put each one in an envelope and date them and keep them in a box along with all the cards and notes we have given her so far, even Christmas tags from her first Christmas.

I tell her how much she amazes us with her curiosity and determination to learn and to soak up the world around her, how much of a little adrenaline seeker she is, which I love, but scares me at the same time, but I know I have to let her explore, and that she will get her own bumps and scratches along the way, that she is such a funny little entertainer, with such a huge personality, always trying to make us laugh, and that she loves to dance (love is an understatement, especially if Pharrell’s Happy comes on) and how kind and nurturing she is (her toys get the most kisses in the house), I also tell her how she can also be so naughty, but that at the same time it can be so funny when she chucks a tanty and that she is so brilliant at ‘fake’ crying and peeking through her hands to see if we are watching (how does a 2 year old know how to do these things?!), and that we have to hide or turn around to hide our laughter. Or that time I had to carry her under my arm to the car whilst kicking and screaming, whilst pushing Mr Lil M in the pram to the car, because she didn’t want to leave and wanted to hang out with a weird and freaky looking doll (from my point of view, any real life looking baby doll freaks me out!) from a playgroup. Or how recently she has heard me say the ‘F’ word once which I rarely ever say, and now she has been using it in a Monster voice tone whenever she drops something, and now I’m in damage control to get her back to saying Oh no! (it’s slowly working if you are interested, and I’m constantly ‘dropping’ things in her presence saying ‘Oh no!’)

Mr Lil M, so far only has one letter, but his next one I’ll be sure to tell him that he doesn’t give me much sleep lately, but that on the upside it means I get sneaky warm cuddles while everyone is sleeping, that when he smiles my heart absolutely melts, and that I wonder whoever else’s heart he may melt in the future, and that he loves really long ‘chats’ with Daddy, and that his sister absolutely well and truly adores him and thinks it’s the funniest when he ‘does big fart’ or ‘big burp’.

To be honest I had not opened the box for a while properly, I’ve only put things in it, until this morning to take some pictures for his post, and so many gorgeous moments came flooding back to me, even just my eye catching Lil M’s hospital band when she was born made me feel so elated, I am so happy to have this box not just for my children (who I will give them their boxes and contents at a very later stage to keep, in the mean time I can’t wait to read them the letters or let them read them, once they are much older, enough to understand and to appreciate the moments shared – maybe when they are 18 or 21? Who knows, I’ll know when) but also for me and the Mister to go back in time a little, as time is moving far too quickly for our liking.

Don’t think that it is too late to start either, I think that any memory you can hold onto is one to be cherished. x

I actually picked this box up at one of my fav secondhand markets straight of the bat, it’s part of 3 that nest together, as Lil M’s collection grew I needed a bigger box and this was perfect and now I also have another the same for Mr Lil M.

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If you would like a custom pdf letterhead designed by me for your child, please feel free to contact me Muskaelvis@gmail.com x

DIY Easter surprise! An ‘almost’ choc free toddler gift

11 Apr

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How is Easter get here already!? It’s already a quarter of a year over! So Lil M is still only 2 so I think we will be waiting until next year for her first easter egg hunt which I cannot wait for, and being so little we are also not giving her a truck load of chocolate. Last year she received a super cute yellow spot egg cup (which has since broken – not by her) a good sized Max Brenner egg (that took her about a month to eat a little bit here and here ha! And it was one of her first tastes of the good stuff) and who we all now know as Spot, a Craftholic rab toy we purchased for her in Singapore earlier that year who is now one of her besties!

This year I went a bit DIY. I am in love with all the blank goods available from Blank. As soon as I saw the blank hollow eggs, I was sold and I had so many ideas running through my head for Lil M, she loves nesting dolls, we have a few OMM sets that she adores, so I thought she would love opening these to find a little surprise in each!

This was so much fun to do, although I changed my mind on one and I did a complete overhaul, many coates later I was happy (the gold and peach egg), I just used acrylic paint, to do the perfect spots, I cut holes out of some very low tack white sticker paper I had, then used them as a mask to paint over, then peeled off.

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One egg is filled with a big heap of scratch ‘n sniff stickers – again this little lady is crazy for stickers, the scent is an added bonus to the excitement! Another is filled with hair clips from The Kid Store (co-lab with Milk n Soda), and the other is filled with a Lindt chicken – only one just fit, but she can have the rest hanging outside,  oh and the little wooden rabbit toy is a little click clack I also bought from The Kid Store, she already has a pig that was a gift that keeps her busy for a while racing him along the floors!

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As for the little guy, well definitely no choc for him, but I made him this little bandit bunny that I created out of some calico scraps, and left over scraps from one of his change mats I had made. I haven’t finished him yet and I’m not sure if he will work out to be what I had in my head, but if he is, you will be sure to meet him…

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Here are a few of my picks for some choc free easter pressies!

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1.Oak bunny ears egg cup by Hop & Peck   2. Rabs by Craftholic   3. Miss Rabbit onsie (illustration) by Laura Blythman available at The Club of Odd Volumes   4. Mr Agent poster available from MiniWilla   5. Graphic Knitten beanies available from Larkstore   6. Animal egg cups also available at Larkstore   7. Balthazar the knitted bunny available from Bla Bla   8. Bunny plate by Omm available from Made590   9. Miffy Books available from Kinokuniya   10. Amugurumi Moustache Crochet Bunny available from Whitesundays on Etsy   11. Bunny Girl illustration by Nomuu   12. Miffy money box available at Shorties Kids

Happy Easter have a wonderful time spent with family and friends! xx

Mr Foxy Face Printables available now!

5 Apr

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Ohhh Mr Foxy Face!

I original designed this little guy for an A4 print, and then used his face for a felt cut out card, and now he is crashing in on printable gift wrap, gift tags and greeting cards (a banner and poster prints to come later this week). Check him out in my Etsy store, everything is under $5 (AUD), and the best thing is, is that once you have the file, you can print as many as you like, and have it at easy reach for when you need to glam up a pressie or pen a note to someone special! Enjoy the many faces, of Mr Foxy Face! x

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Welcome Lil Mr M – A few tips on bringing home baby

1 Apr

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(These are the thank you cards I created for all the lovely gifts & visits Lil Mr M has been receiving)

Hello there! So Lil Mr M (no we didn’t name him an ‘M’ name on purpose, somehow we must just gravitate towards the M’s) has arrived, he arrived safely on the morning of Friday 28th February, looking like his sisters twin at the same moment that we got to meet him. He has been settling in very well into our now family of 4 (still so surreal we have not one but 2 children), and I have been recovering really well!

This time round was a little different, as I was always booked in for a planned c-section due to complications with my first, this was a safer/less risk option for us. I have to admit, knowing the date was very weird, instead of waiting for those contractions to come, at every pang in your stomach thinking is today the day? I thought knowing the day would have me super organised, but instead it also made me procrastinate on a few things as I knew how many days I could buy, such as putting the new double pram together (we had it for a month and half in the box, before I decided to put it together 3 weeks beforehand), getting the second car capsule installed, which I did about a week and half before. But I did sew and cook like a mad pregnant lady as much as I could until a few days before surgery I was just so tired and sore I decided that was it, no more, whatever I hadn’t done, was not going to be done.

I did manage to get through a lot and took into consideration how different it would be having a toddler and a newborn, and that Lil M would be having her 2nd birthday while I was still in hospital, knowing I would have to stay in there for at least 5 days (which I hated, being away from my two).

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(I created this balloon to give to Lil M on her 2nd birthday when she came to visit, alas it had half of the tassels if not less by the time she was done with it, but she had and fun and it’s still up in her room)

So now that they are all tried and tested I thought I would share with you some tips that have made it easier and less stress free, bringing baby home and also some tips that are working for us so far also having a toddler in tow.

1. We learnt with Lil M that you can never have enough bassinet or change mat covers, sometimes we would go through 2 – 3 a night at the beginning when she was getting used to my milk. If you can sew make your own ( This tutorial is the closest to how I make mine, here). It’s very simple and once you have made one, you will find it very easy to keep going. I remember buying Lil M a very basic pink striped change mat cover for about $40 + postage, this time for about $100 I made 4 bassinet fitted sheets (I made 6 in total with fabric I already had) and 4 change mat covers. It may seem excessive, but living in a 2 storey home we made sure that we have the same bassinet upstairs and downstairs, and another change station downstairs. Sounds expensive to have two, but it’s not, I bought the second bassinet 2nd hand – remember that most 2nd hand bassinets will be in great condition as babies only tend to sleep in them for a short amount of time, its a King Parrot / Boori Urbane bassinet – we have one in teak and one in white , I love that all sides are mesh which means its easy for baby to breathe even if they move right up to the edge, it’s a simple, sturdy wood design, and it has wheels and breaks, and the size is perfect, not too small and not too big.

Keep a towel, an extra wrap and outfit in your change station, along with your toddlers nappies, if you have another child, still in nappies.

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(ok so please excuse the pic and the wrinkled cover, but hey this is real life haha! But I wanted to show you the convenience of having another change station if you have multiple levels at home. We just keep the mat and the carry box at the side of the couch ready to pull out on top of our low ottoman)

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(2 of the many bassinet sheets / change covers I made, I will be showing them all in a post all about Lil Mr M’s nursery)

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(Sneak peak of Lil Mr M’s nursery)

2. Pre cook meals and freeze! The last thing you want to do when you come home with your new baby is cook dinner, and you need to eat good meals, and nourish your tired selves! I made a few favourites, and meals that the Mister could also just pop in the oven when it was just him and Lil M while I was still in hospital, or we could have as lunch meals too. Sorry I haven’t included the recipes, if I did we would be in for a super duper looong post, but I have put reference where you can find them, or you can email me if you really want it, no problem!

*Pork & Ginger wontons (for wonton noodle soup) – Donna Hay Classics
*Lamb Kofta (we have these with spiced cous cous or in wraps) – Jamie Oliver’s 15 min meals
*Pork & Fennel sausage rolls – Bourke St Bakery recipe book
*Beef & Vegetable lasagne – Own recipe
*Italian lamb meatballs (Own recipe to have with pasta)
*Chicken & mushroom mini pies – Altered recipe from my pie maker recipe book
*Honey soy garlic chicken fillets (to have with salad, on a roll, with veg or rice)
*Protein power balls – you can find these under Table Tonics Blog – Sunday night power ball recipe
*Tuna tarts
*Chicken & sweet potato soup

It’s been just over 2 weeks (now 5 weeks as I finish his post) and I don’t think I’ll be cooking a meal from scratch for a few weeks yet! yay!

3. How to make it easier on your toddler/child with new baby. This I wasn’t too worried about as Lil M is a very social little thing, and has never showed jealousy when my attention is on other children, and she is very interested in babies since she knew we were having one, but you still never know. It was going to be a big change for her me not being home for 5 days. The Mister and Lil M would come to visit me twice a day for a few hours. The day Lil Mr M was born we gave her a ‘Big Sister’ card and a gift from him to her – she is crazy about shoes, so we bought her a cool pair of kicks, and yes she adored them and wore them straight away. We took in one of her playmats that stayed in my room, and we bought a few new books and a few small toys that would stay at the hospital and we would surprise her with each day. As it was her birthday we spread her gifts out over that week. In the end as each day went by, she did become a bit distant with me and more clingy to Dad, but having her toys and things she was familiar with at the hospital made it easy for me to continue playing with her.

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(Poppy and Nan Nan, gave her this Duplo set for her birthday on a visit and it stayed at hospital while I was there, was a great way to keep her occupied and a way for us to still engage with her and bond with baby)

4. So many friends with more than one child told us the best thing to do is to involve your toddler with the baby, e.g., asking for help to change the baby, bath the baby. This rings so true! Lil M is wonderful at setting up the change station for me down stairs when I have my arms full, and she seems so proud to of helped, she helps Daddy bath Lil Mr M and that is only the short of it. I have also found that while I’m feeding Mr Lil M, she enjoys bringing a book over for me to read to her

5. Pre prepare for any birthdays/events within the month or so you have, while bringing baby home. I had a lot of birthdays this month, so I made sure I had any presents sorted, cards made and ready to send/give before I went into hospital.

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(I had this wonderful cake made by Forget Me Not Cakes we celebrated Lil M’s birthday with cake the weekend after I got home, every birthday needs cake!)

6. As sleep deprived as you may feel when you bring baby home, as easy as it is to stay in your PJ’s all day, I always still got up had a shower and got dressed (whatever as long as it was not what I slept in) with Lil M and have done the same with Lil Mr M, and take it easy, the washing can be done later, I don’t think I took it easy enough to recover first time round, this time I am, but I need to always get out in the fresh air, so if we have been home all day we make sure we get out to the park, or for a short walk by the beach in the afternoon/evening, just something to get us all out to refresh. (as I finish this post finally, I am currently running off  about 4 hours sleep possibly less! ha!)

7. Just take each day is it comes, and go with flow, it will make it a lot easier, remember they are only babies, and only babies for such a short amount of time, so enjoy, take it all in, and try to see the funny side of all the vomit ruined outfits, the poo explosions, and the fact they are always grizzly just as you want to sleep and enjoy your new little addition :) x

Coming soon will be all about Lil Mr M’s nursery, his own little space…

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DIY side tables – spruce up an old favourite!

11 Feb

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Everybody knows this stool/table, and if you don’t have one, you know someone who has one. It’s the Frosta stool from Ikea, at I think about $14.99 it’s a steal. We actually bought one to put into Lil M’s nursery beside her feeding chair so I could place a drink (and maybe a snack or two) onto it. Once M was crawling, it became a fun tiny tunnel for her to crawl through, once she was walking it became a flying saucer, where we would turn it upside down, while she held onto the legs and bopped ‘go go go!’ with excitement as we slowly pushed her around the carpet on it. Then finally it became a makeshift bedside table for me when we moved into our new home, until we found ones that we liked.

But then one day we looked at it differently and decide it could stay, we would buy it a twin and give them just a little bit of colour….

All you need is some masking tape and a can of paint in your colour choice!


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Mask up where you want the colour to start and finish on the legs, and then mask the very edge of the top of the stool, so that the colour will be only applied to the outer edging.

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Then spray and allow to dry, it’s really as simple as that, you may look at the little Frosta differently too next time :) x

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(and yes I spruced up what was on my bedside table for these pics, of course in reality it was more interesting than the usual baby monitor, my water bottle and my iPhone on charge! hehehe)

The princess of spots! DIY fabric sequin spot crown. (and a short note on where I have been and being present with my tiny)

9 Feb

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Ok here I go with apologies again, about being so absent on here! The past 6-7 months have been super busy, super busy in the sense that I’m pregnant with our second, we did a big house move, and I’m chasing after a very active Lil M. You know there is this pre-conceived idea that when you are home with a baby/toddler that you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want, like you are a lady/man of leisure…WRONG, to be honest going back to work and working part time 2 days a week, those days were more low key, than the days I was at home with the tiny, it can be full on at home – I’m not complaining, just saying! And don’t get me wrong I had this pre-conceived idea too before I had a child. In the early days she slept lots and I could do what I wanted when she slept, and very quickly (I’m talking months) she was awake more and more, and when she is awake my full attention is on her. Maybe it can work for other parents but for me, I cannot sit on the computer and design, let alone answer an email properly without absent mindedly writing ‘do you want a moo cow shake?’ and any other conversation I am having with her at the same time, nor can I sew, I can’t even cut out fabric if she is on the loose (while she is in her high chair yes maybe – she is super quick and gets into anything and everything and almost every week we are finding something new that needs to be put higher or another child lock on it).

But you know what I also don’t want to, she is only little once, these times are so precious and she is growing up way too fast – ( insert tear here), so I decide to work around it, I try to get up early before she wakes and I can get an hour (maybe 2 if I’m lucky) to do what I need to do. I’m lucky she sleeps well so I often get a few hours in the day at nap time and I work away like a mad woman, and then once she is in bed. Sounds like a lot of time, but in reality some days, I may wake at 6am and she decides to wake at 6.30am, and then she may only want to sleep a hour at nap time, once the Mister is home I really love family time, we have a blast together, and then hey I’m pregnant and when she is in bed after we tidy, shower whatever else is needed, I just want to hang with the Mister and watch a movie and eat cake! (Oh and about this pregnancy thing I’ve been madly making things for new bub and nesting and organising for it’s arrival in a matter of about 3 weeks! Lots of posts about this to come.) So I’m really trying to be present with her, with our lives being so busy these days trying to multitask the world and social media in our faces, I want to sit on the ground and do puzzles with her, and draw a car 20 times over whenever she asks, and take her out to be in the fresh air and explore, and play little people farms for ages making animal noises with her.

The Mister even decided his new years resolution was to not engage on his phone while with her, to just be with her. I think this is very important, so this is why I have I have been so slack on here, although I have plenty of posts in the making, it is just finding the time to get them out (ps. It’s 12.50am right now on a Sat night)- but have no fear they will all get out, and I am very regular on my Instagram account if you just like updated visuals, so please come by and say hello @muskaelvis. I am still here :) x

Ok, ok so enough of that you just want to see the spotty crown!!!!
Here we go, as I have explained before I’m an amateur sewer, and take on a bit of a cow girl approach and just go for it, so you won’t see perfect edges and articulate sewing! :)

Lil M was invited to a princess party and alas, she is not a real dress up princess type (yet, who knows we will see), so I thought I’d make her a crown to wear that was really her! So I put together this fluro sequin spot crown, and she loves it, some mornings she asks to put it on and just goes about her daily routine, you know eats breakfast in it, we have taken her grocery shopping in it, it was a winner!

You will need

Fabric (size is dependant on your crown size)
Interfacing – I used thick iron on
Velcro – only about 15cm
Sequins

Ok so measure your child’s (or adults) head and then add about another 8-10cm for growth and overlap – use a piece of string if you don’t have a measuring tape. I drew up how high I wanted the crown 15cm – it will vary on your child’s head, there is no right or wrong height, then I drew up the triangle peaks onto A4 card then used this as template and repeated it, for the length (the length is your child’s head plus the extra).

I firstly ironed on my interfacing to the underside of my fabric, – so fold your fabric in half, and trace your template, remembering to leave sewing allowance for the outer sides.

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And cut out

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If you are going to sew sequins or embellishments, this is when you have to do it. I only had sequins on the outside, so I took one piece of the cut out brown and sewed sequins onto the spots randomly – keeping in mind where the seams would be.

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Once you are done, work out where you want the velcro to go, put the 2 crown pieces back together – right side of fabric out as shown, you want to have one end of the velcro at the very edge of the crown side and then fold it over to work out where you want the sizing to be – keeping in mind, he idea of the velcro is so that you can easily re-size the crown around the head and pin, and then sew.

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Now turn the crown pieces so that the right sides of the fabric are facing in, and then sew them together, leaving an opening so you can turn it inside out. Cut straight along the peaks, this helps to have better points once you turn it back around. I also trimmed the raw edges. Then hand sew up the small opening once your crown is right way around.

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Give it a little iron (keeping off the velcro – I didn’t and melted some of the velcro teeth), and there you have it an awesome fabric crown, enjoyed by all, for all of your princesses and princes and kings and queens! x

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DIY Printable Valentine’s Day Love Cookie / Candy Label

6 Feb

Valentine’s Day is next week, why not make some home baked treats and package them in my printable love cookie labels! Only $5 for 2 designs,
print as many as you like x
(ribbon for visual only)

You can purchase this file from my Etsy shop here

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