Saturday, 27 July 2013

DID YOU KNOW ...? (71)

A school that had only five students when it was first established in 1959 now holds the world record of the largest school in terms of pupils. According to a news article, Guinness Book of Records has Lucknow City Montessori School in India as the world's biggest school with 39,437 students in 1,000 classrooms in the academic year of 2010-2011. However, it is claimed by the school's website that the school now has over 47,000 students.
Photo Credit

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Travelling with Young Children: What to Know?

My recommendations to people who are planning a lengthy travel with their babies and toddlers especially by plane are as follows:

Photo Credit

1) Apart from a front baby carrier, make sure you arrange a cot for your baby to sleep in on the plane. The best way to do this is to enquire about it while purchasing your ticket as well as checking in approximately two hours in advance as they generally work with 'first in, first serve' policy. They only have a limited number of baby bassinets they can offer on planes. Also, keep in mind that there is an age and weight limit to the use of the cots on planes for safety purposes.

2) If your baby is breastfed and you prefer to be covered while feeding, make sure you bring something to serve the purpose with you. Some businesses sell 'breastfeed covers' but you can easily make your own in less than half a minute and it doesn't even involve any sewing! Take a large shawl with you, fold it in half lengthwise, pretend it is a top that you can wear and where your shoulder is (the one that is not close to the folded end), attach a safety pin. This shape simply allows you to 'wear it' and lay on your shoulders while having the flexibility to bring your baby/toddler under it and breastfeed comfortably. This is not only an easy and functional breastfeed cover, but is also something that you can wear to keep yourself warm with and it doesn't have to add to your luggage weight at all as you can get on the plane with the shawl on you. It can also easily become a little blanket over yourself or your baby while having a little nap or a read/watch. (I will be making a visual post on this breastfeed cover sometime soon. Stay tuned!) 

3) While taking off and landing, make sure your baby/toddler suckles something, whether it be you (if breastfed), a pacifier or their own fingers. This allows babies to handle the pressure that builds in ears better, hopefully totally pain-free. 

4) Bring some age-appropriate toys/books with you. Taking a few favourite toys of your child is always a good idea. However, I also suggest that you take some new toys/books to catch their attention and make them curious so that hopefully they spend some time with them. Take them out one at a time. 

Some books come with a hook that allows you to attach them to some other objects so they don't keep falling on the floor. As for the toys, if you can attach some nice cheap baby rings to them, do so as they will help them stay still (they can even chew on them). 

If your baby is teething, bring some items such as teething rings to give him something to chew. 

5) If your baby is attached to a certain object, do not forget to bring it with you.

6) Keep some large objects (such as a hair accessory for yourself) handy. Sometimes, your everyday objects keep them busier than their own toys. 

7) Depending on your baby's age, bring some plane-safe foods, drinks, snacks with you. Sometimes, it takes a while before they serve you on the plane and babies are not the most patient human beings on earth as you would be well aware by now. Your baby's milk and food is not subject to the same maximum restrictions for aeroplane cabin baggage. You are allowed to carry enough for your baby's journey. 

8) I always take some extra clothing and other necessary items than usual in case your baby reacts differently on that day (vomits, has a diarrhoea, spills food/drinks on him etc).  

9) Back to the toys again.. Make sure your toys are not too hard or noisy for the plane. Not everyone is patient, has a baby or can emphasise.

10) Keep a nice bib or two handy with you. There are some bibs that has a 'waterproof side' and the other side is nice and soft. It may become your best friend on the plane. One side is the best for drinks or fluids in general, the other can be used for solid foods. It is also preferable especially on the plane if it has a pocket as well as it makes it less messy. Also, make sure it is easily washed and can dry fast. 

11) I would not wear any jewellery while travelling with a baby or a young child. To me, it is a safety issue (both mine as well as my baby's. Some babies tend to pull things and a family member's ear was ripped while her baby son at the time decided to use all his strength and pull the earring off her mum's ear). 

12) Especially if you will be transferred from one plane to the other during your journey, you may want to consider bringing a lightweight stroller with you.

13) Don't forget your 'must have' items (eg. wet tissues, nappies, change mat, some bags to put dirty clothes/nappies in etc.)

14) Walking on the plane is one of the most favourite activities babies/children tend to have. So, try to make sure you are well rested and are wearing some comfortable shoes and clothes as you may have a good workout walking up and down with your little precious one during your travel.

15) It can be an overwhelming experience for your baby, so try to be patient. You being calm will surely help them in a positive way as well. Whatever you do, keep in mind that it is a new experience for your baby and try to capture/feel the excitement they are likely to have in their eyes while it is there.  

I hope these recommendations are of some help to you. I am sure there are many other tips that people with experience would have in mind. Please do share your tips with us all in the comments section below. 

Enjoy your trip to wherever you are planning on going!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sleeping Bag: An Upcycling Project

I have been longing to make a sleeping bag for Miss Junior for a while but it took me some time before I could find the time and courage to work on it. When I saw the gorgeous Abby's sleeping bags for her beautiful son and the tutorial she has put together on her page,, I thought it was the time I made an extra effort to make one for my daughter as well.

As usual, I actually tried to find more tutorials on it online but unfortunately there weren't many that I thought was great. I think Abby's tutorial was still the best option of them all even though there were some page navigations to be done at times and I was hoping to avoid that. Regardless, I set my mind to it and voila! My little beauty now has a new sleeping sack!

Before moving on to the sleeping bag project of mine, I will share a few photos from my precious new fat quarter stash. Aren't they just amazing? I can look at them with a smiley face and some wildly running ideas in mind for hours and wouldn't even recognise it has been hours!

Fabric addiction

Fat quarters

Now, this much drooling over the gorgeous fabrics of mine should be enough. Lets move on to the actual topic of this post: an upcycling project of turning some baby blankets into a sleeping bag.

Here is how I have made it. I first made a rough pattern on some newspaper pages using one of Miss Junior's sleeping bags. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of making the neck too big at this stage and I only noticed it after I pretty much completed the project. Too late to change it but it is still OK for me as even Mr. Junior wants to wear it at times. It fits him as well. Also, it is all about learning, isn't it? It has taught me a lesson and I am happy to take it. I now know what not to do next time.

Then, I pinned the paper pattern onto some of my children's baby blankets that weren't in much use anymore. I particularly chose the warm materials. I had a pink and a small blue fleece blanket for the outer, and some soft thick 100% cotton blankets for the lining inside.

Tutorial: Sleeping bag

I must say, for me, the trickiest part was the decision of how to place the zipper and also make it reversible. After a few trials, I think the zipper worked well, but not so reversible (the installation of the zipper was easy, it was the planning of it that was challenging for me). For the ones who have dreaded working with a zip, don't! It is actually surprisingly easy to install one. If you don't believe people who say 'trust me', then just do a quick search online and you will find lots of tutorials on it. Here is only one of the videos that you may find useful (it has brief information on different types of 'feet' for a particular branded sewing machine but also explains how to install a zipper as well). Otherwise, if you would rather prefer pictorial tutorials, you can try this link.

Unlike the tutorial, I cut the two front fabrics (both the pink fleece and also the cotton lining) in half upto the point where my zip was going to end as the zip I had was shorter than the whole length of the sleeping bag but was definitely a good size for my daughter to get in and out easily. Then, I tried to follow the tutorial with the rest of the project.

Sleeping bag tutorial

I was hoping to make it reversible initially, just like the very skillful Abby has made it, but I couldn't (I had to go back and forth to another site here and I didn't have that much time for it). So, I kept going and instead, used some bias tape around the neck and the armholes to give it a professional finish. I must also admit that it was also because I actually really like this finish. It just gives it a more character and adds value to it.

I may also add some fabric cover over the zipper on top of the sleeping bag to make it harder for my daughter to open it. I can close it with a snap fastener or a button.

Baby blankets turned into a sleeping bag

Since my pink blanket was larger than what I needed at the front and my blue piece was not big enough for the back, I simply used a bit of both at the back.

The back of the sleeping bag

Sleeping bag tutorial

Here are a few notes for myself for the next time:
* Your daughter is petite. This sleeping bag will possibly fit her until she is at least a teenager. You can aim for a smaller fit next time.
* As you have noticed after trying it on yourself, the neck suits you perfectly well. Since it is originally made for your 2 year old daughter, not for yourself, make sure you make the neck-hole much smaller next time. 
* Follow instructions well. Do not get lazy. Otherwise, be happy with your 'not-so-reversible' sleeping bag. 

Make something that you enjoy making today!

Monday, 8 July 2013

DIY KIDS: Bucket Stilt Balancing Fun

Diy Kids Toys

Here, it is the second week of school holidays. In my opinion, it is a great time to stock up on some easy and affordable activity/toy ideas to keep the little ones happily busy. Busy kids, happy parents!

Easy DIY Kids Toys

Stilt walking challenge will not only amaze your child(ren) during their school-free time but is sure to make a great party activity too.

DIY Kids Activities

What you need for this stilt fun is as follows:

- a drill to make holes with, 
- some rope, 
- two buckets, strong enough to carry your child(ren).

Simply, drill two holes on the bottom of your buckets across from each other just large enough for your rope to go through. Secure each side of the rope with a knot inside the bucket, where the holes are. Make another knot less than halfway through the rope on the outside and voila! That is all there is to it. 

DIY Toys for Kids

Have a joyful day!