Fun with magic water beads 

Before Christmas I saw a Pinterest post about these magic water bead thingys and ordered a bag on eBay. They only cost a couple of quid, but took weeks to come. I had every intention of them being a stocking filler for Iris, but put them away and completely forgot about them. 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them, and kind of thought they might be a bit rubbish. Especially as they cost next to nothing. 

I was wrong. I put them in a bowl of water, following the instructions, and was surprised to find a couple of hours later that they had increased from the size of pin heads to the size of marbles and they had absorbed all of the water. I topped it up, and by the next morning they were even bigger! With a crawling baby sister, Iris doesn’t get much chance to play with sensory stuff. Astrid just eats it. The only safe place for things like play dough is the kitchen table, and during the week that’s where Trevor often works. I planned to wait until Astrid napped, but Iris was impatient and so I put a towel down and popped her in the bath. Iris loves these kinds of sensory activities, but I have no imagination to think them up since having her and being sleep deprived for so long. The water beads kept her busy for ages, pouring them from one container to another, sorting them into colours, and trying to squish them hard enough to make them pop (not easy!). They’re really firm and rubbery. If you really squash them (or stand on them!) they do burst and have a kind of jelly consistency inside. I have absolutely no idea what they’re made of or how they work, but I love them! I am glad I put her in the bathtub though, as there was quite a lot of mess! I don’t know if they’ll be good for another play, as they seem to be getting softer and mushier, but I’ve put them in a big glass jug on my kitchen windowsill. Until Iris wants to play again, they’ll be turning the sunshine into rainbows in my kitchen. 

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Scarf making blogger challenge with @CosyWool. My Autumn #crochet scarf. 

  

I’ve been challenged by the guys at CosyWool.com to make a scarf using yarn from their website, using either knitting or crochet. I accepted immediately! I love both knitting and crochet, but struggle lately to find to the time or the energy to sit down and get some done. I’ve been feeling incredibly anxious lately, and as crafting is incredibly soothing this seemed like the perfect opportunity to take some time to relax and make something pretty. 

  
 Ordering from the CosyWool website is easy peasy. I’d never heard of the company before and usually use another big knitting supplies website or the little craft shop in Pontypridd. Whenever I’ve bought yarn online before I’ve had to be in to accept the delivery, or trek to the post office to pick it up. Not anymore! My favourite thing about CosyWool is that the orders always fit through your letterbox, because they vacuum pack them! It’s absolutely genius! It was a bit weird receiving a flat hard brick through the door when I was expecting squishy balls of softness, but I soon got used to it. Popping a hole in the packaging and watching the yarn reinflate was a lot of fun too!   

As it’s just starting to get pretty cold out, I went for a nice warm chunky yarn. I picked Stylecraft Special Chunky because I’ve used lots of Stylecraft yarns before and they wash and wear really well. I picked out what I thought were 7 autumnal colours, but then Trevor told me the teal was blue and made me think I was colourblind. I nearly took the teal out and used just 6 colours. I originally planned to do something elaborate with leaf shapes, sewing them all together at the end to make a scarf. The shapes themselves are easy enough to do, and I love to make flowers and leaves, but the deadline for finished scarves is 1st December and I was worried they’d take too long. 

So I’ve gone for a simple but effective long, thick and warm cowl. It can be worn long and wrapped around once, or short and doubled up for extra warmth. 

  
It’s easy enough to make, starting with a long chain and then joining it together. I did a double crochet round to start and finish, but the rest is just treble stitch. There’s no need for counting or keeping track of what stitch you’re on, so it’s the perfect project to work on when you’re too tired to function! 
Now that it’s finished I’ve decided to give it to my lovely sister as a birthday present. It’s always so hard to buy for people with December birthdays, and there’s nothing better than a handmade present. I love it so much that I’m going to make a short cowl of the same design with the leftovers. A shorter one will be better for when I’m babywearing the new little one in January as it won’t hang down far enough to touch her face. That’s the plan anyway! 

*CosyWool.com sent me two of the balls of yarn used for my scarf free of charge for the purpose of entering this challenge. I either bought the others or already had them in my ridiculously large stash of yarn. The prize for the winner of this challenge is a bundle of woolly goodies from the CosyWool website worth £60. Wish me luck!* 

A Christmas crafternoon with @JacDoBox

  
Me and Iris were lucky enough to be invited to an afternoon of Christmas crafts with JacDo (find them on Twitter @JacDoBox) in Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. Unfortunately the timing was awful, as Iris had a terrible weekend of teething and tantrums. She had a good go at the crafts and enjoyed being allowed access to some Sharpie markers, but was generally grumpy and spent much of the afternoon shouting at me! I felt that I didn’t really get a chance to talk to any of the other bloggers, which I would have loved to do, and I ended up running off without saying much as I couldn’t keep the brewing tantrum at bay any longer. 

  
JacDoBox is a monthly subscription service. There are various package deals depending on how many craft activities you’d like to receive each month, but every lovingly packaged box is put together in Wales and contains everything your children need for the craft activities. This is one of the main selling points for me. I can’t stand it when I buy a craft kit only to get it home and find I have to provide my own glue! My two stepdaughters enjoy the types of crafts included in the boxes, so I’m hoping to subscribe for them early next year (when we are a bit less penniless) to keep them busy on rainy days.  

 
Iris is very fond of her sock snowman we made on the day. She likes to take his hat on and off and push him around in the pushchair! I enjoyed the sewing activities. We made both a penguin and a reindeer hand puppet, and they’ve been played with lots since the event. As usual Iris liked the cake at the end best. She does love her food. 

I’m still gutted that after looking forward to our first blogger’s event it turned out to be a very stressful day! The bus and train journey home was a disaster and absolutely exhausting. The pouring rain and grumpy toddler just made getting around at 32 weeks pregnant even more tricky. I think it’ll be our last trip out on public transport for a while. It is time to calm down and do a bit less! 

*We were invited to the event and provided with craft activities (and cake!) but were under no obligation to write this post. Words and opinions all my own. I’ve linked this post with the #makinghome linky. Click the image below to find out more.*

www.mrscraftyb.co.uk