Stocking up: Love Keep Create do Christmas!

This one is for all those people like me, people who have trouble getting rid of baby clothes, but don’t have a large annexe available for storing the piles of them that it seems impossible to give/throw away.

I’ve written about the brilliant Love Keep Create before here, but hey – they just keep coming up with good ideas, so they’re more than deserving of a repeat mention!

Christmas clothing, and outfits that your kids have worn on Christmases past are a lovely thing to keep, but they tend to be one-trick-pony-type outfits. It would be rare to see a young chap toddling about in July proudly wearing a My First Christmas jumper. (Although, technically, until they can read, you can get away with quite a lot, wording-wise.)

If you, like me, have held on to those My First Christmas tops/babygros/bibs/outfits unsure quite of what to actually do with them past January 1st of your babies’ first Christmas, then this is a great plan. Dig out those Christmas pudding-stained tops from the loft. give them a wash and send them to the wonderful people at Love Keep Create. They’ll make them into the loveliest stocking for your child!

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So you can keep them, and enjoy them long after you’ve been able to squish a 3-6m top over your childs’ head, without having to stash them in a bin bag in the loft. And that makes me happy.

You can see how to order the Christmas stockings here. You need to order by 21st November if you’d like them for this Christmas. They also do gift vouchers, so if someone you know would love to have a stocking, or another keepsake item made from baby clothes, that also makes a great present.

Ummm, yes, this is a Christmas-themed blog in not-quite-November. Although I am very much of the same view as Love Keep Create on this one: I am a disorganised but huge Christmas fan! In fact, this year might be the year I get it together and finally make the Mary Berry Christmas Cake Kit that has been sitting on top of our fridge for THREE YEARS. (I have actually broken into it and used the icing kit for another cake project, but every time I look at the packet I feel Mary’s eyes judging me. This year, Mary! I promise!)

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PKU- and proud.

I’ve already mentioned these t-shirts in a previous blog post, but this is a special preview of them for some V.I.P PKU guests! I would apologise to those who have seen these before, but they are DEFINITELY worth a second look…!

So a while ago (around this kind of time…) I got the idea of making some charity t-shirts to raise some money for research into the genetic condition that Polly was born with (PKU.) And I managed to chance upon a fantastic graphic designer who responded to my Twitter plea for help with some artwork for them. I wanted them to be really beautiful, and worth having even without the fundraising aspect.  There are loads of boring charity t-shirts, and people with PKU deserve better, frankly. They already have a restricted diet; they need interesting t-shirt design. So Beth (her lovely website is here) designed these little beauties! They say PKU and proud, because there are many negative aspects of PKU – but there are also really positive things to be found – that sticking to your diet enables you to live a full and ‘normal’ life, that actually, the fruit and vegetable-based diet together with the perfectly balanced supplements, and lots of home-made food can be really healthy, and that each year the food gets better and better: new products and recipes appear all the time. I’m all for some PKU positivity; hence the slogan.

BethBurrPKU

The designs around the text are inspired by the natural elements of a fruit and vegetable diet, as well as protein structures.

This is the more grown up design:

BethBurrPKU2

I want to get these printed on t-shirts, on babygros, on  hoodies. I want the slogan ‘PKU and proud’ to be on a range of information sheets I am currently working  on (I’ll have to get all the info cleared by professionals first)  which can be downloaded and printed by parents coming to terms with the fact that their babies have just been diagnosed with PKU, and by kids who aren’t sure how to talk about PKU. I want to do everything I can to raise some money to go directly into researching new treatments, and I want the message that you can be positive about living with PKU to get to as many people as possible. Including Polly, who is going through a bit of a tough time with it at the moment. So.  Next up: organizing the printing of these lovely t’s. Spread the word, people! Let’s get some orders!

Poetry, and some great design. A perfect match.

I’ve been absent from my blog for a bit, due to working on exciting Other Stuff. I’m actually missing it a bit, which is either lovely or a sign that I need to get out more. Or both!

Sleeping Keys

Two things: Firstly, it’s National Poetry Day today, apparently. And, as luck would have it, I’ve just bought my first new poetry book in ages, after hearing the author Jean Sprackland on Womens’ Hour. (Yes, I do listen whenever I get the chance. I love it! AND the Archers. Although after that I do usually switch to 6music just to remind myself that I’m not actually my parents. Yet. And incidentally, whilst we’re on the subject of radio, I now find it impossible to do housework without listening – and singing along to – Absolute Radio 90s. Britpop and a bit of light house music turns out to be a perfect soundtrack to washing the kitchen floor and dusting. Don’t tell Blur that though.)

ANYWAY. Sleeping Keys is a really beautiful collection, and I can totally recommend it to anyone who likes easily accessible and elegantly crafted poetry. (Oh, and check out Jean Sprakland’s website. It’s also beautiful.) There’s also a great review of the poems here, which explains far better than I can why this is such a good collection.

Sometimes particular lines of poetry catch me because of their familiarity. In the poem ‘In’ she writes:

“First week in the new house and there’s a muddle over keys.

She’s back from somewhere with her daughter in her arms,

Three months old, electric with hunger. ”

I especially love ‘electric with hunger.’ The screaming of a hungry baby does have that about it. And I have done that very thing, and been stood in a doorway, sheltering from the rain, with a weeping toddler clinging on to my knee, and a screaming baby, realising that I am locked out. That is truly a feeling of utter despair, and possibly best viewed from a distance.

The other thing is that I while ago I mentioned that I’d had my blog header redesigned, and that I love it. The masterpiece is by a brilliant young lady called Beth Burr, who I ‘met’ totally by chance when I tweeted about needing someone to design some charity t’s. I was so impressed by her work, that I asked her to make me a new blog header too, while she was at it. She is clearly going to be a massive graphic-design superstar, and you should all check out her work here, immediately.

And the charity t’s? Well they are going to be in production very soon. But they’re so fab I can’t resist showing off a sneak-peek. They’re going to raise money for the charity which supports people with the rare condition that Polly was born with, PKU. They are so lovely I almost can’t get over them!

BethBurrPKU BethBurrPKU2

The patterns in the second one are based on protein structures. PKU necessitates a low-protein diet. I didn’t ask Beth to do that (I hadn’t even thought of it!) – she just did it. Such a simple idea, but it somehow makes these all the more special.