Martha’s tiny woodland nursery

Hello again everyone. As expected the blog is taking a real back seat. We met a couple in the village pub this week who are imminently expecting and said they had finished the nursery so were ready for their arrival. Two months in we have a finished nursery too! I can’t take much credit really, if it was only being done in the time my daughter is not feeding or sleeping on me it would never be finished! Mr Han must take all the plaudits, along with his mum who helped with the wall.

So, here it is….

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If you want more details here is what everything is, and where it came from:

“Martha” door letters, from painted by Martha’s Daddy

Cloud mobile, made by me, previously blogged about in this post. Sampler by Martha’s Great Auntie Deena.

Origami cranes, liberated (with permission!) from Laura’s crafty wedding. Wall stickers from the Nursery collcection at

Ceramic owl nightlight from Martha’s soft toy collection are all gifts, but did you spot the moose?

Owl lampshade, from Homebase.

Sampler by Great Auntie Deena.

Chest of drawers, John Lewis. Cot, Saplings. Shelves, Ikea.

Acorn cut out, this was a present to me that I thought fitted in well but my poor tired brain can’t recall who gave me it, I think Laura?

Wooden blocks, notonthehighstreet. A gift from Auntie Beth. Yellow rabbit, came in a kit to build and was given to me by Laura.

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One row at a time, and the ultimate WIP

I cast on the baby blanket on 1st August. I can’t quite believe it took so long to get it done, and wish I’d been a bit more dedicated and got it finished earlier, there were whole weeks I never picked it up. I used the Pine Forest Blanket pattern, found here. It uses gull lace and was really easy. I picked a yarn from Rowan – a washable pure wool worsted – in a forest green to go with the woodland theme of the nursery. It was nice to knit with and has produced quite a squishy blanket.

The reason that this took quite so long to finish was that the ultimate work in progress was finally ready! Our daughter Martha Rose entered the world a week late on New Year’s Eve. She is (of course) perfect and beautiful but in addition to the normal sixth sense babies have for when you pick up a fork, she also wakes up as soon as I pick up my knitting needles!


She’s very well endowed with hand knit items – so many from her grandma I can’t even list them, a stylish cardigan from Laura (of the amazingly handmade wedding), blankets from friends and the wife of a work colleague (knitter: “someone I’ve met once for 30 seconds is having a baby? Get me yarn right now!”) and even a blanket my own granny knitted for me when I was born. So I really shouldn’t have knitted a blanket but hey ho.

* I apologise for the fact that the photos on this blog are going to get even worse, they all now have to be taken on my mobile with one hand *


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Gingerbread House!

So this is what we got up to on Christmas Eve!

Front of gingerbread house

Back of gingerbread house

Boiled sweet windows, After Eight roof tiles, Tunnocks caramel wafer chimney, Matchmaker doors and windowsills and a Cadbury’s chocolate finger log pile. I think Mr Han’s log pile is my favourite bit! It was a lot of fun to do and didn’t actually take that long, maybe 2.5 or 3 hours. Just need some help eating it now…

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Foxy baby accessories

The blanket is still continuing, and the baby is still in, so there’s going to be time to finish that before the new year I think.  I’ve also been back at the sewing machine to make some things I needed for the baby.  I am planning to use cloth nappies as I was so horrified to find out how long disposables take to biodegrade, so when we are out and about I will need somewhere to stash the dirty ones until I can chuck them in the wash.

I bought some waterproofed fabric, known as PUL, from Plush Addict which is also anti fungal and anti bacterial.  I used this as the inner for a wet bag, and used the cool fox fabric I got from Fabric Rehab the other week as the outer (I can’t find the fabric on their website, they did say they thought it would sell out really fast and in fact it seems to be unavailable in the UK now, but it’s from this collection) – just because it’s going to hold dirty nappies doesn’t mean it can’t look cool. I didn’t really use a pattern, I’ve made zipped pouches before so just did the same things this time, but larger. If anyone wants instructions these and these could be useful.

Fox wetbagOne of the benefits of this PUL fabric is that is has a fabric feel on one side, not plasticky, and is also washable to 60C.  I needed a travel changing mat for out and about and decided to use the polyester knit side so it will be less cold for the baby to lie on.  This time I ironed some vilene fleece onto the fox fabric first so that there was a bit of padding too. Again I didn’t really have a pattern, I took some inspiration from here and here but pretty much made it up as I went along.  Still rubbish at mitred corners, but I doubt the baby will notice!

Folded mat Change mat

I’m hoping that tomorrow we will be making the ultimate Christmas make in the kitchen – a Gingerbread house! So I’ll try and put some pictures up, this will be a joint effort with Mr Han who has made a very impressive one before.

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Finally finished a baby make!

It’s been a while. Since the last post I’ve been doggedly knitting a blanket (still not done), made some bunting which it turns out doesn’t “go” in the baby’s room since Mr Han redecorated, finished work after training my maternity cover lady, and had 2 horrible colds. Actually I still have one of the colds so this project was finished in between forays to the tissue box.

The theme for the baby’s room is “woodland” (of course it is), despite the internet describing this as a boy only theme I think it’ll be nice if it’s a girl too. Girls can play in the woods too sexists! I decided to make a cloud mobile for a bit of ceiling staring and used the templates from an old issue of Mollie Makes. This mobile is actually from the Liberty book Simple Sewing.

A couple of weekends ago my favourite local fabric shop Fabric Rehab was open on a Saturday, yay! I was at a loose end as Mr Han had gone to watch Lincoln City (I know, super exciting) so I took a trip over there. I wanted to buy everything but managed to restrict myself to mobile fabrics – and an amazing fox print, watch this space. Luckily the lovely ladies helped me choose as I am horrendous at coordinating stuff. This is the best shop, friendly staff, amazing choices and such good prices (even postage is cheap fabric addicts…).

Sewing the clouds was easy, if a bit stop start on the machine as I’m not great with so many curves. Today I finally attached all the pieces and added the raindrop beads. That was a total fiddly pain in the butt! I was using metallic embroidery thread which probably didn’t help, but it took hours! Still the result is pretty sweet, and it will look even better hanging from the ceiling. It’ll have to be well out of baby’s reach though!


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Impressive but easy

Once a year at work we host a thank you dinner for our volunteers.  As a typical charity we probably have about 5 times as many volunteers as staff, and we like to try and thank them properly for giving up their time.  We take turns in who makes the main or the dessert, last year I did a chilli so this year it was my manager’s turn to do the main and I got to do dessert- yipee!

I needed something easy because I had almost no time but with 20 people coming I actually went for two things – Dutch Apple cake from Rachel Allen’s Bake which I’ve made many times with great success, and Chestnut Ice Cream Meringue Cake from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, which I’d never done before. It was pretty easy, and looked spectacular. Sadly I didn’t take a photo until I’d got the leftovers home, oops.

I can thoroughly recommend this recipe – several people asked for it with a view to making it as an alternative Christmas dessert. Super easy to do, and does make you look like a domestic goddess!

Messy but marvelous

Messy but marvelous

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Bye Bye Han Cave

It’s been a long while since the last post, but I am making things, just not getting anywhere with them. Updates to follow if/when I ever finish anything. The main news is that the Han Cave has to achieve its true destiny now.  My mother in law has been calling it “the nursery” since we moved in (to my dismay at first!) and now that is just what it must become. Goodbye Han Cave, you were a beautiful dream…

Sorting out somewhere for my sewing stuff to go was described by Mr Han as “a cog that will allow many other cogs to turn” – I think he meant “clear out that room or we can’t do anything to get ready for the baby”.  Anyway, proof that he loves me was that he got interested in helping me find a new sewing space in the house.  We settled on a corner of what we grandly call the Garden Room (it leads to the garden) which is one of the strange rooms of the house. It is double height and has a mezzanine section which holds an office he works from home in sometimes. It’s white and light so good for sewing.

I stalked Pinterest for ideas for small sewing corners and hit the jackpot with this . Which is how we ended up going to Ikea on the first rainy Sunday afternoon for weeks, with the rest of the world. Traumatic.  I bought a bureau after some dithering about whether the drop down leaf would be strong enough when the machine was in operation. I can now confirm it will hold an operational sewing machine, and a cat. Plenty strong enough.

We spent a Friday evening building the bureau – no cross words, we are ace at flat pack. I was genuinely excited about filling it up and organising things (saddo).  This necessitated lots of purchases of nice baskets of course, mainly from the Homebase sale (luckily, this new space is adding up in cost!). I spent several happy hours sorting things into them. I particularly enjoyed sorting the yarn.

Mmmm, yarn...

Mmmm, yarn…

There is actually more storage in the bureau than the Han Cave! The light is also very nice in there.  The first thing to be sewed at it was not at all glamorous – fitted sheets for the memory foam topper for the campervan bed made from a single duvet cover that was £4 in the sale, but I did do some proper seam finishing so they are quite smart.  I think I can look forward to some happy crafting time here, if the baby naps long enough anyway.

Next up I ordered some cork “off the internet” which was cut to size and then stuck in to the top doors with no more nails to be a pinboard.  As an aside, I am always the one who suggests the low effort version of DIY. As in “we need to fill the hole above the boiler pipe, I’ll get some plasterboard, cut it to size, then plaster over it to make it look neat” me: “no one looks in there, why don’t you just fill the hole with expanding foam?”. This type of thing is why we own no more nails.

DSCN1662 DSCN1665It’s very neat right now, but it probably won’t stay that way! Top cupboards are for sewing related things, bottom for knitting and felting. It was a lot of fun putting things in, seeing what needed to go where, what needed to be close to hand… I even managed to get the wool/knitting supplies stash nearly all in here, so it’s not in three different rooms anymore!DSCN1666

The nursery has started to be painted, but I have had nothing to do with that. My weekend working put paid to that, and also I suspect Mr Han raised a few eyebrows when he had to go and look at prams/pushchairs/strollers whatever the hell they’re called on his own – the only man in Mothercare!


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