You were not supposed to Do It Yourself!

You all know, how proud we can be about ourselves when engaging in some activity that falls under the definition of DIY. We are proud we were so creative, smart, and came up with a relatively nice result.

Well, yes, but there are things we were not supposed to do ourselves, in our homes, without the suitable tools.

My son, Paddington, got into a new daycare recently. It is a facility that is provided by a nice lady, who is taking care of 4 children at the same time, in her own home. Seeing that it is a private home, she obviously doesn’t have the equipment as an average daycare, therefore we, parents have to provide her with for example proms, so she can rock the children to sleep in them. So last week, when Paddington started there, we showed up at her place, carrying tons of extra diapers, clothes, jackets, jumpsuits, hats, gloves and boots, and of course, a little prom, that is easy to to fold and transport in a car. The lady (who is by the way very nice) looked at the prom, and said that she was not sure, if this little, folding prom complies with the rules they have… Well, ok, no problem, I said, we just bring the big prom instead. However, coming home I realised, that this huuuuuuge big prom we have, is missing the belt from it, which is also very important, according to the daycare rules, so I informed the lady, that first I have to buy some belt, then I am coming with the other prom.

Yesterday we bought the belt for the prom, and I was very happy, that now we are going to have an absolutely safe huge prom, with the belt in it, so Paddington cannot fall or climb out of it under any circumstances. When coming home, I placed the package, containing the belt on the kitchen counter. I had this nice plan, that in the morning I will just grab the belt, place it in the prom, and set out with the kids.

Today started very good. My husband left early, because he has a meeting in Copenhagen, I slept a little bit more, then got up together with the kids, we had breakfast, I dressed everyone up, cleaned up after the puppy, and grabbed the belt that was lying on the counter, as I planned. I opened the plastic bag it was wrapped up in, and this was the point, when I got very surprised…

You know that magnetic anti-theft thingy they put in products at shops, so you cannot just walk out with them without paying? Yes, one of those was sitting happily on the belt… I swallowed a curse (I am trying to use as few nasty words in the presence of my kids as possible – not always feasible), and started to look for tools to remove the magnetic thingy.

I remember one Christmas, I was still living at home with my parents, and my Dad got  a shirt from my aunt as a present. Well, yes, when my Dad opened the shirt, he found one of these magnetic things on it as well 🙂 Obviously, the shirt was bought in a shop, where they don’t use this system, just like we bought the belt in a supermarket as well. However, my Dad thanked my aunt, saying, she shouldn’t have gotten herself into so much trouble and steal a shirt for him, my aunt was understandably shocked and embarrassed, we all laughed, then tried to remove the thing from the shirt. Well, it was not easy. These things are designed so you cannot take them off without the proper magnetic board found the the cashier in the shops, so of course we really struggled with removing the piece. It took hours to finally damage it, my Dad was starting to get very annoyed and angry, my aunt very sad and ashamed, my Mum frustrated, but finally we managed.

That was the picture that popped into my mind this morning. Only that I knew, I didn’t have hours to sit around and play with the magnetic thingy, we were running on a schedule. Naturally these kind of things always have to happen, when you are in a hurry (Murphy).

I started to run around the house, looking for the perfect tools I can use in my battle against the anti-theft gadget. Finally I went to war with the help of a chisel, a hammer and a pair of gardening scissors…

I don’t know how, but after 10 minutes of intensive fight, cursing, struggling, and slightly injuring my left thumb, I managed to crack the thingy open, and remove it from the belt. Success! Actually, I start to wonder, why did it take hours for my parents to solve the same problem…

Now, I am pretty sure, we all get into a situation like this at some point in our lives, but that is definitely not something we should do ourselves… and it is definitely not DIY. Unless we use this abbreviation as in Damage It Yourself

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The Paper Crane Mobiles

I have an addiction. I fold origami cranes…

 

Actually, now, that I am a mother of two, being responsible for a whole household (can you imagine?), not having much time to just sit around, doing nothing, this addiction has faded a little. But years ago, especially when I studied at different business schools, it was at its peak.

Generally I am not very good at origami. I can fold the simple things, boats, hearts, birds etc easily, but don’t expect me to present you with the paper edition of Neuschwanstein Castle, for instance. It will never happen.

However, I learned how to fold the cranes at 6th grade, from one of my dearest teachers (who happened to be a very good friend of my Mum -who, by the way was, and still is, also a teacher at the very same school). I was fascinated by the fact, that I created something nice with my own hands, and this fascination hasn’t disappeared during the years, I still get genuinely shocked and amazed if I make something that looks good.

Years has passed, and the origami cranes kind of became my “trade mark”. I folded them when I got bored and could get a hold on a piece of paper, I gave them as presents to my friends, left them behind at random places, hoping to bring a little happiness to those, who stumble upon them. I will never forget the 4 years of my bachelor, when sitting at painful, never-ending, boring exciting seminars and lectures, folding cranes to make time go by a little faster, and then giving them to my best friend, who was drawing hedgehogs, snails and sheep in my notebook at the same time as an exchange 🙂 Ah, those were the times… (she now works at a ministry, I really hope she is not drawing hedgehogs, snails and sheep publicly anymore…)

So when the time came to make a mobile for my kids, the choice of origami cranes was almost obvious. I didn’t really have a plan for the mobiles, to begin with. I just collected a lot of sheets of papers in my liking, made birds out of them, and let the whole thing evolve by itself. I choose pink-green-yellow dominated papers for my daughter, and blue-red-brown-grey for my son. Folding all these birds took some time, I was mainly working in the evenings, once the children were sleeping, and we were watching movies with my husband.

All these years of folding paper birds, this was the first time that I happened to work with real origami paper. You see, I was a little bit skeptical, I mean paper is just paper, and even though they look nice, why does origami paper cost so much more than any other paper? Well I realised it very soon: origami paper is just fantastic, it almost folds automatically, all the edges just fall into their places without effort, it is amazing!

Anyway, a few months, two times 45 pieces of origami cranes, about 180 pieces of pearls and pom-poms and a few meters of thread later, I came up with these:

For Cherry’s room:

 

For Paddington’s room:

After I was done with these two, my life (and mainly my evenings) suddenly seemed shallow and empty, so I quickly put together another very small crane bunting as well, just to hang it up randomly in the playing/reading corner.

 

Now, I shared my greatest weakness with you. What is yours? 

The Princess Pony Skirt

It is nice to have a girly-to-the-bone 3-year-old daughter. It is nice, because she is sweet, she is a diva, she is affectionate, and she has her clear preferences.

My husband -not knowing then- started an avalanche on a nice spring day, by asking Cherry if she would like to see a new cartoon, and then put in “My Little Pony – The Movie” for her. Cherry became a fan at an instant. Her love evolved into crazy admiration, and before we knew, she became a pony horse herself. But not any horse, she became a horsey. And not any horsey, but a princess horsey!  It was around this time, that we went to a garage market, and found a pink pony castle for our princess horsey, and also got a huge bag of pony figures with it. By summer the situation became so serious, that Miss Princess Horsey refused to wear any outfits, if it didn’t include at least one item with a horse on… I managed to solve the problem by buying 10 pairs of socks with my little ponies on them, so if nothing else, at least the socks have ponies on them, but I also had to improvise a little bit more, and for example apply a pink horse-figure on a lovely green summer dress I made for her, but she simply refused to put on. After the horse was on its place, she was the happiest little girl on earth, to run around in her horsey dress.

As time went on, we watched more and more My Little Pony cartoons, and I have to admit, I started to like the new series by Lauren Faust, “Friendship is Magic“. So did Cherry 🙂 So when I made her the next skirt, I decided to make it a Princess Pony Skirt 🙂

I followed the instructions of Dana to make a very simple circle skirt. Instead of rubber, I used some pink jersey fabric for the waist, because I find it more comfy for kids. I also added some ribbons to spice the skirt up a little bit, obviously the ribbon had rocking horses on… 🙂 Once the skirt was done, I grabbed Cherry’s favourite colouring book, and copied an image of Princess Celestia, and one of Princess Luna (Don’t worry, a few months ago I had no idea either…) and drew them onto the skirt with chalk. I used an embroidery loop to keep the fabric smooth and tight.

Once I was done with this, I simply sew along the drawings. Here are the pony princesses, after being washed and ironed:

Yes, my daughter was very happy for the skirt, yay 🙂 The things we do for our children, eh…?

Naturally, the first thing she did in the skirt was to jump into the first poodle she found… Kids…