Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crafting Weekend

As I have another assignment due in Monday week, which I am embarassed to say I haven't even looked at, I have allowed myself the indulgence of crafting this weekend with the hopes of focusing on my studies in the coming week.

Unfortunately, I have had relatively little time to indulge, since I was busy most of Saturday and this afternoon, but I have still managed to make several Easter cards (which I can't post pictures of, yet) and this cute little bunny ornament, which I suspect will make its way into Nikki's Easter basket.

I got the pattern in an impulse-buy craft magazine. For some reason, I can either get the colour or the focus right, so the bunny is actually turquoise and navy, not the sky-blue and almost-black of the picture. But the cuteness comes across well enough. (It was only after I stitched him up that I settled on 'cute' rather than 'scary' as the description)

Friday, March 25, 2011


I've finally finished the counting cookies I started yesterday. They took about two hours longer than I expected so I am left with a pile of dirty dishes and no desire to clean them... such is life.

So, the set is 13 cookies, with chocolate chips for all quanities from 0-12, all in a cute little decorated bag. I plan to make numeral and sign cards, but haven't managed yet.

The signs here are just written in marker on notepaper to give an idea of what I'm planning. I have actually devised a whole series of maths games around the cookies, teaching quantity, bigger-smaller and eventually addition and subtraction. I'll try and get some 'action' shots at some point, but they are very hard to come by, since Nikki usually grins or grabs the second he notices the camera.

Here is a rare example of him focusing on his 'work' (putting buttons in a jar) rather than the camera:

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This evening, Nicholas and I were practicing our counting in English and Russian as I got him ready for bed. We had just finished checking he had the right number of fingers and toes when he (unprompted and unaided) said 'one, two, three'!!! It is made more impressive, since we had counted in Russian after English, so he wasn't simply parroting (or at least not without a pause and change of language). I'm thrilled!

On the topic of counting, I was hoping to finish a set of counting cookies for Nicholas today. I have revised my original plan of 6 cookies to 13 (ie. numbers 0-12) but have run out of the original brown felt I used and the one I have now is a different colour so I have had to remake the entire set (because it would drive me nuts if they didn't match - the other cookies will make a lovely gift) Unfortunately, my sister and cousin came over this evening so I lost over two hours' sewing time and am thus not going to finish today.

Anyhow - I want to try and get a couple more finished before bed...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Little Mouse

I finally managed to get a picture of the little mouse that has been gnawing holes in the back of my dining chairs...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Self Discipline...

This is something I have problems with. Unfortunately. I am a great planner, but lack the self-discipline to put most of those plans into action. This is not the best quality for someone who is taking courses which require independent learning.

Sorry - the philosophical ranting has been inspired by the fact that for the third time, I have left my assignment to the last possible minute. What makes it worse is that I had completed a third of it three weeks ago, spending a lot of time ensuring it was perfect, and then spent two days desparately finishing the other four questions so that I could send it off in time. Although I had planned to cover the material in plenty of time, I was too interested in doing other things!

I think the problem stems from my obsessive nature - I get an idea in my head and I want to focus entirely on that one thing, be it creating learning-aids for Nicholas or crafting or studying... I don't know how to focus myself in such a way as to complete those things that *must* be done, while still allowing myself to obsess!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

School Fair

It was Harry's school fair this morning. I decided to walk the 2-odd miles there and have now got blisters on top of the blisters I acquired Thursday. Poor me.

The fair itself was lovely. I managed not to waste my money on any of the tombolas... except the Easter egg one. I now have a buttons egg and a creme egg egg tempting me with their chocolatey goodness. Funny enough, when Nicholas spotted the big display of Easter eggs, he got excited as if he *knew* they were chocolate - despite the fact he was too young last year to remember...

This time we didn't win on the raffle, unfortunately. Usually, Nicholas wins something on the ticket that Uncle Harry buys for him. Last year he won 'Twister' at the Spring fair, and a Roald Dahl collection at the summer one.

After the fair, Mum and Vikki came over for tea. Vikki was very excited by the over-priced card making hole punch set that I bought her as bribery for babysitting on Thursday. She was equally excited by the gingerbread man ribbon I tied around it. Maybe I should have saved some money and just given her the ribbon...

I've been a bad mother this evening - I burnt Nicholas' rice and he was impatient for dinner so I gave him shreddies. His dessert was 1/4 of an apple and several handfuls of grapes, but I still feel bad that it wasn't a 'proper' meal.

Tomorrow is going to be a dedicated maths day, as I still have four questions to do on my assignment.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Redecorating Nikki's Corner

For some reason, the people who designed the flats where I live decided that adding a rather odd-shaped corner onto the living room was a good idea. Apparently they were designed to be dining areas, but considering you'd be hard pressed to fit a table for two in the tiny space... so I 'gave' it to Nicholas as his play corner.

It actually works perfectly for this, allowing Nikki to have his play space without taking over the whole room (in theory, at least). When his dad visited, we were presented with a selection of wall stickers - just the thing, since I was planning on removing the more baby-oriented stickers and now I had something to replace them. I took the old ones down last weekend, but have only just finished putting up the new ones.

He now has some numbers to help him count out the prices on his menu board. (Thanks Uncle Harry for filling it out!)

An alphabet catterpillar (my favourite) complete with cyrillic letters. Unfortunately I made the first downward loop a bit too pointy. Underneath are more numbers, this time with the Russian word underneath.

To give a bit more context, here is the whole corner:

The dinosaur accessories were birthday presents and will eventually move to his room when he out-grows Baby Roo and moves on to a prehistoric theme!


Well, between yesterday evening and Nicholas' nap and meal-times today, I have completed my dragonfly! I have no idea what I will do with it now, though!

I also spent some time creating a pattern for a beaded barn owl. I will have to wait until I have more beads to make that one, though! I'm currently thinking of making a big tapestry of either bugs or birds - not sure which or what for, yet!

I suppose this evening I must subject myself to the joys of mathcad and integration - I have an incomplete assignment that needs posting on Monday that I have been willfully neglecting!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A New Hobby

Today, Sammy and I went to the Stitch and Craft show in London which was great! We had lots of fun looking (and buying) all the different crafty things, and found me a new hobby (beadwork)... or possibly two, since she also convinced me that I needed to start a blog!

Why Dancing with Dinosaurs? Well, I'm not very good at thinking up catchy names and since this blog is primarily a way of documenting Nikki's childhood, I picked two of his favourite things - moving to music and dinosaurs.

Nicholas is now 17 months old. He is a very clever baby - a definite 'thinker'. He is also lazy and stubborn - he has no interest in walking, and is seemingly content to use the fastest and wackiest commando crawl I've ever seen. He also refuses to move into and out of a sitting position - going so far as to out-stubborn my sister and sit for over two hours because she wouldn't help him down to crawl!

We see a physiotherapist every few months, since he was 10 weeks premature and they like to keep tabs on his development, and she confirmed that he has great balance and understanding (of spoken instruction/requests) but although she is sure he could soon start walking if he wanted to, he just doesn't want to. As I said, lazy and stubborn.

His fine motor skills are, however, very advanced. He somehow got hold of a pair of earrings I had on a card, and was putting one of them in and out of the hole with precision and accuracy! I couldn't believe it! Unfortunately I had to confiscate the contraband earrings, but have since bought him a peg board which has become his new favourite toy.

Nicholas stayed with Favourite Auntie V today, allowing me my first grown-up day out for I don't know how long. Apparently he was a very good boy, although he fed himself more than the ducks! He also spent a good hour pointing at Auntie V's boobs and saying 'milk'. Apparently he wasn't convinced when she told him the only milk she had for him was in his cup. Silly baby!

The craft show was lovely - if somewhat overwhelming in the sheer quanitiy and variety on offer. I even anaged to stay on budget... almost! (I spent a lot more on babysitting bribery than I had intended.)

I am currently torn between two projects - an intriguing ball of wool for making a fancy scarf and a beadwork dragonfly. I also bought myself a cup of felting wool (which Nicholas found fascinating - he kept pointing and saying 'blue', trying to figure out how to get at the wool inside) and a corner cutter to round the corners on the many hundreds of things that I laminate for Nikki.

I think I shall start with the dragonfly...