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  • Hi there

    We are back home from our holiday...and I'm feeling more exhausted than before I went! Holidays with young children are fun but they are definitely non-stop!

    So.... as promised here are some images from our latest 'handmade birthday party'  This year was a Mermaid and Pirate party.

    I so love setting the scene for the children so their imagination can run wild!

    The dining room was completely emptied and transformed into an under the sea scene.

    As we only had an evening to dress the room and the garden, we spent a few evenings in the lead up to the party, making the props. We made everything apart from the fab deep sea back drop.... an unexpected find in our local joke shop. We covered the back wall from floor to ceiling with this plastic sea covering and it transformed the room!  We also popped a sand and seaweed seabed mural along the bottom edge that 'dad' had painted on a roll of lining paper, using sponges and poster paint.

    We draped two lengths of blue netting across the ceiling to give the effect of being under the sea.  I cut wavey strips of crepe paper, and curled parcel ribbon. These were stapled along lengths of parcel ribbon and strung across the ceiling and windows. Varous fish silhouettes had been cut out and were ready to stick onto the backdrop.

    I had also made a few jelly fish the night before. They were very quick and easy to make. I used some cellophane cake presentation/gift bags and bubblewrap. I blew air into each bag and deflated it slightly so I could push up the bottom to look like a Box Jellyfish.  As the bags are made of cellophane this shape stays in place. (plastic bags won't work). I then sealed the top with the metal ties that come with the bags. I cut thin strips of bubble wrap and used PVA to stick them around the underside of the jellyfish. PVA is great as it becomes transparent when fully dry. We hung the jellyfish from the ceiling using thin cotton thread.

    I also made a net out of string which hung from the ceiling. I borrowed some realistic toy crabs and a lobster for the 'catch'.

    When the children came downstairs in the morning they were so surprised. Our daughter just said "Oh my! Wow! and our son said "Cooool" But what I loved the most was that both of them rushed upstairs to put on their mermaid and pirate costumes, and couldn't wait for the other children to arrive. The party started at 11.30am so they didn't have too long to wait.

    The children played mermaid and pirate themed action games, along with Musical Chairs and Pass the Parcel which are always so popular. We put pink shrimp sweets and chocolate coins in each Pass the Parcel layer.

    A row of childrens tables and chairs were placed in the 'under the sea' room for the party tea. The tables were covered with the same sea water fabric. The girls each had a sparkly mermaid princess tiara and the boys had an eye patch and ear ring, to wear at the table. The table was simply dressed with silver paper plates, blue clear cups, crazy straws, and plastic fish shaped serving platters in the centre of the tables.

    The birthday cake was made up of 4 thin layers of sponge in different shades of blue......mmmmm yum.....yes very blue!  I asked a cake decorating shop to make the mermaid as cake decorating doesn't come easily to me.  All I had to do then was to pipe some cream wavey icing between the layers, add some rough sea on the top and pop the mermaid in the sea!

    As we had previously put on a Pirate party for my son we had lots of pirate props stashed away.  Some pirate bunting, a flag pole, some pirate flags, balloons, and a ships wheel transformed the playhouse into a pirate ship.

    We played a version of Grandma's Footsteps but called it 'Sleeping Pirate', where the children had to steel the treasure from the pirates treasure chest.

    The children also had a treasure hunt in the sandpit, and an obstacle course which included 'walking the plank'. One little pirate didn't want to stop and walked the plank 16 times.

    Lots of fun!

    I wonder what next year's party will be?

    Speak soon

    Linda Whaley

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    Hi there

    I am just emerging again after a busy and fun few weeks watching the children in two sports days, a gymnastic show, a performing arts show, and the end of year class open days.

    We also put on an Under the Water birthday party for some little mermaids and pirates yesterday.... It was another of our handmade kids parties, which was so much fun to do. The preparations kept me very busy in the evenings this last week.  I will post some photos later this week....but today I am taking it easy!

    This afternoon I have been relaxing and enjoying the garden in the .... yes... hurray.... sunshine!!!

    I just had to take a photo of my Hollyhocks in all their glory.  

    Hope it's sunny where you are too.

    Back to a normal working day tomorrow.

    Speak soon

    Linda Whaley

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    Morning

    Oooh wouldn't it be nice to curl up on the sofa with a book....or a pair of knitting needles of course..... and pretend it isn't Monday!

    I have pulled together some images of the three blankets I designed for Rowan last year that are in my Little Rowan Blossom book.

    I designed this pretty crochet blanket in these fresh floral shades mixed with cream. I feel this floral blanket would remain your little girls favourite for years to come. I have used Rowan's Softknit Cotton, colours:  Cream, Lupin, Willow, Tea Rose and China.

    Calla is also knitted in Rowan's Softknit Cotton. This lace and cable knit blanket looks lush in this leafy green colour, Willow.  It would also look beautiful in pretty floral shades.

    The third blanket in my Blossom collection is a simple striped blanket that would be perfect for a new knitter. I used Rowan Handknit Cotton. Delphinium, Sugar, Celery, Flamingo and Cloud.

    I will be posting some more images for you over the next week or so.

    Rowan have said that Blossom should be appearing in your local stockists now.

    Happy knitting!

    Linda Whaley

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    Hi there

    I am so excited to tell you that my second Rowan book 'Blossom' has just been published!
    Back in January 2015 I put forward my ideas and mood boards for several collections and Blossom was one of two chosen.  This book features 15 pretty knits for girls aged 3-7 years. 

    I know just how difficult it is to have the right knit for the various activities that little girls do, and the looks they want. The little cardigan to wear over a pretty party dress, the cosy casual knit... that is still pretty... to wear with leggings, the knit for playing on the beach or in the garden, worn with shorts or capri pants. So I set about designing a collection of knits that would complete a little girls wardrobe. I designed knits that also varied in length so they hit the waist, the hips or mid thigh, so the proportions work with a range little girls clothes. 

    This first collage of images that I've pulled together shows the handknits on 'princess' days when our little girls just want to feel pretty.

    I will feature more designs over the next week or so.

    I remember saying to the Rowan team that my aim for this collection was that customers would want to knit most of the designs in this book and not just one or two. As you can imagine, I was so pleased when I received this lovely message two days ago. I hope lots more of you love them too!

    "Hello
        I bought your new book 'Rowan Little Blossom' and wanted to let you know that i think it is absolutely BEAUTFUL! Each and every pattern is just delightful and my little 5 year old daughter and i love it 😍. Thank you for such a wonderful collection that i cannot wait to knit each and every thing from. Kindest regards from Jackie "

    If you are tempted to buy Blossom, www.knitrowan has a full list of both online Rowan stockists and high street wool shops that stock Rowan books and yarns.

    Speak soon

    Linda Whaley

     

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