Category Archives: Me and my family

World Book Day 2017 :: Amelia Jane and Mary Poppins

World Book Day is upon us and this year we have a Mary Poppins and an Amelia Jane.

Charlotte decided early on that she wanted to be Amelia Jane as she really loves those stories. She reads them over and over again. Amelia Jane really is a naughty doll! Charlotte has modelled herself on the most recent incarnation of Amelia Jane. She worked out that she had the right dress and tights in her wardrobe and that all she needed were some red shoes (thank you ebay) and for me to put her hair up in pig tails.

Amelia Jane inspiration for World Book Day 2017

I made her a couple of felt bows for her hair (curse that glue gun) and gave her some rosy cheeks and the apparently very important freckle, placed very specifically on her upper right cheek!

Emily took a little longer to decide on her character of choice, but eventually settled on Mary Poppins. Admittedly she loves Mary Poppins as she has seen the film a gazillion times, but she’s only 6 so I’ll forgive her for not having read the book!

Emily’s costume was also thankfully quite straight forward. She wore a school summer shirt, along with a black skirt and tights. I made her a felt bow tie (curse that glue gun again) and a felt hat headband.

#worldbookday costume for Emily #marypoppins #marypoppinshat #hatheadband #feltbowtie #gluegun

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The headband was made from three circles of felt, layered with decovil light in the middle for stiffness. I then made a little tube of felt which was topped with a smaller circle of felt. I constructed it partly with some hand stitching and partly with that blasted glue gun (I truly managed to get glue everywhere). The hat was then topped with a ribbon band, a folded bow and a little flower (from the Easter supplies at Wilko). I even managed to squeeze her short hair around a little hair doughnut….just!

They look the part don’t they?

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Pinned It, Tried It :: Tooth Fairy Pillow

Charlotte has a wobbly tooth, in fact she has two wobbly teeth. By co-incidence I saw a picture on pinterest the other day for a tooth shaped Tooth Fairy Pillow. Despite being busy with work and Christmas orders I decided to whip one up….well, you just don’t know when that first tooth is going to fall out!

Tooth Fairy Pillow tutorial from mmmcrafts

I bought some white fleece from my local fabric store when I was there on Saturday stocking up on few essentials. I roughly sketched out some wings and a crown and cut them out of felt that I had in my stash. The sparkly ribbon was also from the stash…no idea where it came from but it was the perfect choice

Tooth Fairy Pillow Front

I then embroidered on some (slightly wonky) closed eyes and eyelashes and sewed on a pair of rosy pink felt cheeks

The Tooth Fairy Pillow tutorial from mmmcrafts was really great, well drawn and with great instructions. The only material change I made was to move the positioning of the slit for turning so that I could position a pocket on the back to hide the stitching

Tooth Fairy Pillow Pocket Detail

Charlotte is completely over the moon with her Tooth Fairy Pillow and can’t wait for her first tooth to fall out!

 Have you Pinned and Tried anything recently?

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Be a Hero :: Pinned It, Tried It … in aid of Children in Need

Today is Children In Need and Charlotte’s school are taking part by asking all of the children to come to school dressed as a hero for the day. Cue panic as I realise that we have nothing but princess, fairy, pirate and Halloween dressing up clothes and accessories in this house!

A quick trawl of pinterest later and I had formulated a plan. Charlotte’s outfit was made up as follows…..

One set of trainer flashes as inspired by the tutorial on I am Momma Hear Me Roar. I used some of the glittery foam sheets that I had left over from the Strictly Come Dancing score cards that I made recently.

Superhero Trainers

A Superhero mask using the template from Slow Mama and a few hastily drawn lightening bolts (and seemingly hastily sewn edge stitching…so wonky!)

Superhero Mask

A felt belt and two matching wristbands, made using felt and elastic

Superhero Belt and Wristbands

A cape made from a thrifted t-shirt. I cut along the overlocked/serged side seams, cut off the sleeves and cut around the neckline. I then added some iron-on hook and loop at the neck. Job done!

Superhero Cape

All added to one gymnastics leotard and a pair of leggings and we have one superhero outfit!

Superhero Wristbands

Sadly the superhero outfit hasn’t come with any superpowers…she’s fallen over in the playground at school and has a massive egg on the side of her head. Poor super Charlotte 🙁


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Kids Clothes Week :: Blank Slate Schooldays Skirt

Did you take part in Kid’s Clothes Week in October? I took part and managed to complete two great items for Charlotte.

The first of which was a Schoolday Skirt from Blank Slate Patterns. I made it in ‘school standard’ grey so that she could have something to wear to school that hasn’t been made out of terrible quality jersey (I swear one of the skirts she has started to bobble after the first wear) or has been made out of cheap and stiff polyester. Don’t get me wrong, the uniform you can buy from supermarkets and department stores is amazingly cheap, but they aren’t exactly made from lovely fabrics.

Schoolday Skirt

The Schoolday Skirt is a lovely pattern that features a flat sailor type front with buttons, a softly elasticated back and a lower skirt full of perfectly pleasing pleats!

Schoolday Skirt

The pattern was really easy to follow and there were lots of photographs to support the nice and clear step by step instructions. The only change I made was to use a lining fabric for the facing of the front sections, rather than a self fabric facing as I was concerned about adding too much bulk with the fabric that I had selected. In the end I think I may have been able to get away with it. The only hitch was a wonky button hole that I had to unpick…I seriously hate unpicking, so the fact that this skirt was finished was a minor miracle!

Schoolday Skirt Twirl 1

Charlotte loves her new school skirt because as you can see….it gives good twirl (the twirl barometer is of course the measure of any young girl’s skirt or dress!)

Schoolday Skirt Twirl 2

do not try to replicate the above photograph unless you have had extensive ballet training…

Did you take part in Kid’s Clothes Week this October? How did you get on?

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My Birthday Day Out and Visit to Guthrie & Ghani

It was my Birthday the other week and I had a fabulous day out with Charlotte before she went off the big full time proper school. We had pastries and hot chocolate for breakfast, a walk by the canal, a visit to the Sea Life Centre (see evidence of 4D show below), a mooch around the shops, hot dogs from Ed’s Easy Diner in Selfridges and an ice-cream from an ice-cream van (not for me though I was stuffed after lunch!)

The day was topped off by a visit to Guthrie & Ghani. Those of you that watched the first series (yes there is a second series!) of The Great British Sewing Bee may know that Guthrie & Ghani is owned by Lauren, one of the finalists.


It was a stunning shop that was light bright an airy. It was filled with interesting fabrics, a great selection of yarns and some accessories that I’d never seen. They also had a cafe where you could grab a cuppa and a piece of cake. Sadly we weren’t staying that long otherwise I would have made myself at home! Charlotte, however did have enough time to make friends with Lauren…telling her all about our trip to the Sea Life Centre…thanks Lauren for being so lovely.

Check out the amazing cabinet they had for storing their wonderful bits and pieces. I seriously want one of these!

I bought some lovely bright voile to make a Sorbetto top and some lace edged bias binding for the armholes

I also picked up a paper version of the Oliver+S Music Box Jumper Dress sewing pattern to make a school dress for Charlotte

All in all I had a really fabulous day. A belated thank you to everyone for my Birthday wishes!

Sally Dresses All Sewn Up

I am so pleased that I can finally share with you the Sally dresses that I made as part of the testing that I did for Shannon of luvinthemommyhood fame

In this household I can’t make something for one, without making for the other, especially when it comes to dresses! I am such a sucker, and love to see the girls wearing something that I have made for them. So, two dresses it was…

First up was Charlotte’s dress, the size I was actually testing for Shannon. The dress for Charlotte was made with some fabric from my stash that I think I picked up a few years ago in Spotlight in Australia

Sally Dress Charlotte FrontThe Sally dress is a rally fab pattern and the dress doesn’t take long to make. I love the shoulder detail and the fully lined bodice, and of course, Charlotte loves the cavernous pockets!

Sally Dress Charlotte Pocket

Charlotte loves how she can take it off on her own without any help or fuss as the Sally dress has been designed without any tricky zips or buttons. But best of all, Charlotte loves how it twirls!Sally Dress Charlotte Twirl

So, I have a question for you….When is a dress not a dress?

Sally Dress for Emily Shoulder Detail

Well, in the case of Emily a dress is not a dress if it’s not a Pretty Dress. I’m not totally sure what the definition is of a Pretty Dress, but I think it has something to do with a full skirt and a pretty pattern. Emily is such a ready to go rough and tumble kind of girl, but she just loves to wear dresses. Skirts and tops are just not good enough and as for trousers and jeans…pah!

Sally Dress for Emily Pocket Detail

Dresses have to be Pretty Dresses and thankfully the Sally dress seems to fit the bill! Sally Dress for Emily Front Detail

Emily also love the twirliness of the Sally dress and the large pockets, she can fit all sorts in there…including stones from the garden…told you she was a bit rough and tumble.Sally Dress for Emily

The fabric I used for Emily’s dress is called Fiesta and came from my local fabric store Watson and Thornton. They are so friendly and helpful in there, I am lucky to have such a great shop nearby.

The Sally dress comes in three different styles. I chose the sleeveless version to make, but there is a version with short sleeves and a version with 3/4 length sleeves. If time allows I will be making Emily a Sally dress with short sleeves in some really sweet printed needle cord that I have.

If you fancy making a Sally dress of your own, or more likely one for a little girl (the pattern comes in sizes 2-8), then you can buy and download yourself a copy from Shannon via Very Shannon or Etsy

This pattern comes highly recommended by me! Have fun sewing

Happy Birthday Me and an offer for you!

It’s my Birthday today …you’ll have to guess or work out how old I am. I’m not publishing that kind of thing on my blog….if I did I would have to kill you and I’m not sure I can afford the travel expenses!

Creative Button Sewing Birthday Cake With Candles

image from pinterest

Charlotte starts school next week (sniff) so today we are having a day out together, just the two of us. I am anticipating lots of shops, some cakes and an aquarium! If we are not back when you drop by, just leave all large and expensive gifts in the garage….

As a little celebration I am offering 20% off everything in my Etsy store for the rest of the day, just enter BIRTHDAY20 at the checkout for your discount

A long way from home

You may have noticed that it has been a little quiet around here. Well, I have been a very long way from home….

A long way from home

I’ve been in Australia visiting my parents for the last four weeks. I had a truly brilliant time. I had intended to post on the blog a few times whilst I was away, but I was having such a good time and figured that time was better spent with my family than working. Makes sense, don’t you think?

So, I am back now and after a 39 hour door to door journey on my own with the two girls (does that make sense), I am almost back in the land of the living!

Finger Puppets for a Long Haul Flight – will they save our sanity?

As you may or may not know I grew up in Australia, but all of our family still lived in England. Most years we flew from Australia to the UK and this was in a time where there were no individual televisions in the back of the seat in front and certainly no iPads to keep us amused! For each flight Mum used to pull together loads of really exciting stuff for us to do on the flight. She would pack our in-flight bags and we wouldn’t be able to open them until we had taken off and the pilot had turned off the seat belt sign! I can’t really remember what she packed for us, but I remember being so excited and loving all of the things that she had found.

I have a long haul flight (UK to Australia) with two little ones (Charlotte is now 4 1/2 and Emily is not long gone 2) coming up soon and have been thinking about what to pack to keep them amused. Lucky for us we will have individual televisions in the back of the seat in front and even more fortunately for us we will also have an iPad.

I was thinking, however that the iPad battery will only last so long and that 24 hours of non-stop Peppa Pig can’t be good for anyone. With that in mind I have been pulling together a list of ideas of what to take with us on the plane to keep them amused. The last time I did this trip I was newly pregnant with Emily and Charlotte was about 20 months old, so my list of what to pack will be radically different to last time.

One idea that I had was some little felt finger puppets. They are small, light, cute and will give an opportunity for some imaginative play and a break from the monotony of flying such a long way.

Felt Bunny Finger Puppet

This little bunny was first to be designed last week (when I should have been finishing off something else). Isn’t she sweet? Charlotte loves her, but I am hiding her away with a few friends so that they are a surprise when she finds them in her in flight bag.

I have decided to make a sewing pattern of this little bunny and a few friends, so keep your eyes peeled for the downloadable pdf on the next week or so

Have you had experience of flying with two young children? How have you found it? Have you got any great ideas as to what I can pack that will help keep them amused?

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone popping by the Little Black Duck blog!

I really appreciate that you take the time to read the blog and this year I hope to fill it with lots of lovely sewing patterns, crafty tutorials, knitting stuff and the odd random post about nothing in particular.

Things are almost back to ‘normal’ around here. I have stopped eating my own body weight in chocolate every day and the house is back to looking it’s normal self (I really hate putting the Christmas decorations away!). My husband is back at work and the girls are very happily playing with all of their new toys (thankfully the knitted jumper for teddy went down well as did the oven gloves).

I’m not really back working yet, but am in planning mode. I do however have a few sewing patterns in the works, so keep your eyes peeled for something new in the not too distant future!