Friday, May 31, 2013

A book review :- The Dark by Lemony Snicket

So, from time to time I randomly choose books to review. 
Sometimes I have never read them before....which is the case with
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen.

I was attracted to the 'dark' cover of the book, the illustrations were different and it made me very curious as to what the story was about.

I know a lot of children are afraid of the dark and I thought this might be a book to help them overcome that fear.  However, after reading it I'm a little confused as to whom the book is intended for.  I don't think I would read this book to a small child who is afraid of the dark.....I honestly found it a little creepy.....but that's just me!  I'd be interested to hear what other people have to say about it.

Anyway the story is about a small boy, Laszlo, who is afraid of the dark......but the dark is not afraid of poor old Laszlo.  Laszlo lives in what appears to be a large house with not much furniture and no sign of any parents.  While I love the illustrations that are painted in gauche I do find that they give the impression of a creepy, haunted house and a poor little boy all alone.

So back to the story, one night, it appears that Laszlo's night light bulb goes out and of course the dark creeps into his room (usually it stays mostly in the basement).  The dark lures Laszlo out of his room with a flashlight to explore the house and leads him down to the basement.

What happens next?  Well......I could say you'll have to find the book to see what happens but I'm not sure I would recommend spending $16.99 on this one.  So......the dark tells Laszlo to open a drawer and it shows him where the supply of night light bulbs are!!!!!  And voila, a certain little boy is not afraid of the dark anymore.  I know I know I can see your frowning's odd!

If you're curious about this book I would suggest spend 5 mins checking it out in a bookstore or library before committing to the purchase!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Norland College on 20/20 with Barbara Walters

Well how funny is that?  My last post was all about trying to distinguish between a babysitter, a nanny, a Norland Nanny and an Au-Pair Click here to read it.  And then along comes Barbara Walters last night and backs up my story with her 20/20 show featuring Norland College.

It was an hour long program on the royal baby to be but there was a nice long segment on what it takes to be a Norland Nanny and a look around some of the college. It was great publicity for the college and I hope that it produces more business for them and for the agencies that house Norland Nannies too.

It's hard to convey to people over here in the states the actual reality of a being a trained nanny and how we are different from a labelled babysitter or nanny with no training.....20/20 really backed up my last post....thanks Babs!

My training at Norland has given me a career as a Nanny for 21 years which I am forever grateful.  Thanks to all the intense sewing lessons and a wonderfully patient teacher (Mrs. Williams) I am able to add a new branch in my career and have started a business creating and selling hand made baby and children's accessories.  If this new venture turns out to be as successful as my career as a Norland Nanny I'll be in good stead for a pleasant retirement, if not well then I might just be the oldest working Norland Nanny out there  LOL

Click HERE to visit my shop

 ORGANIC Blanket /  Tag Blanket / ORGANIC Lovie  / ORGANIC Sensory Ribbon Blanket     London Baby Bib / British Baby / London Bus / London Taxi

 Baby Blanket / NYC Baby / New York     Graduation Card / Congratulations Graduate / Bird Congratulations Card

 Baby Bib and Burp cloth set / Bird Baby Gift Set /     Button Hair Elastics/ Hair ties in Chevron/ set of 5 elastics/ties

 Colorful pillow cover / cushion cover     Bunting/ Party Flags/ Decorative Banner/ Fabric Flags


Friday, May 24, 2013

The difference between a Babysitter, a Nanny (a Norland Nanny) and an Au-Pair

People in the states often refer to their nannies as babysitters......drives me insane.....I personally think that's a HUGE insult to someone who has made a career from taking care of children.

In my experience it can sometimes be flippant in mid conversation and I can't be bothered to deal with it and other times when people ask me "Are you Miss I's babysitter"? I say "No, I'm her nanny" and the look that crosses their face is complete confusion.  Sometimes I get asked "what's the difference" here is my take on it all.

I used to be a babysitter before I was a nanny.  I used to go around to people's houses at night when the children were all ready for bed and even sometimes asleep and I would stay with them, while their parents went out for a few hours.  I used to have a regular job on a Tuesday night for my math teacher when he and his wife went to their Morris Dancing lessons  :o)  (Wow....I just looked up Morris Dancing in Wiki and there was a pic of my home town Skipton, that's quite a shock.....even more shocking when I clicked on the pic was the author of the photograph 'Rod Hull and Emu' have to be British to appreciate the humour in that)!

I digress.....I believe a babysitter is someone who is employed on a temporary basis for a few hours in the home to take care of the children.  Their pay is an hourly rate that has been agreed upon and it's usually a temporary situation. 

A nanny is someone who takes care of children in a families home as her career of choice.  Hours and pay is established and often a contract is in place to secure all the details.  They are paid a salary, not by the hour.
A nanny is someone who is serious about childcare, it is of the utmost importance to a nanny that the child is well cared for, nurtured and educated on a daily basis.  A good nanny will treat her charges as she would treat her own children, be invested in teaching good manners and skills, and educate them in all areas of life.
A good nanny will be trained in CPR and will have attended child care classes (although not as common in the states as in the U.K.)

As you may know if you've been reading this blog, I take great pride in being a Norland Nanny.  Norland is the college I trained at and is renown for being the top nanny training college because of it's extensive education.  When I graduated 21 years ago (OMG) it was a 2 year course, now they have added a BA honors degree to the basic course.  So here are a few things that set a Norlander apart....

They have to wear a uniform whilst at college....Mary Poppins eat your heart can't match a Norland uniform, brown felt hat, white gloves, sensible brown lace up shoes and a beautiful beige dress  :o)  want to see a pic? click here

The training rivals any other child care training, talk about going above and our 2 year course we had to work in a primary school, a creche, a special needs class, various stages of daycare from 6 weeks to 5 yrs and even had to spend 6 weeks working in a hospital (maternity or pediatric ward).  And let's not forget the children's hotel!!  An area of the college where parents could leave their children for a few days to have a break, the children were assigned a nanny to be by their side at all times, even to sleep in the same room as them.  Outings and activities were planned, the children had a blast and the nannies got to experience what it's like look after a child on a daily basis.

Norlanders these days excel even further for example they take Tae Kwon Do classes to defend themselves and the children they care for from kidnappers and attackers and drive through skid pad training courses in order to make safe, clean getaways from the paparazzi (or if there's ice on the road they know how to handle it - but that's slightly less exciting to discuss) about SUPERNANNY!

You may think that's a little extreme but many Norlanders go on to work for well established, financially secure, famous and royal employers quite often with bodyguards.

So are you now wondering what Au-pairs are?  I guess I better cover that too.

Au-Pair means 'on par with the family'  The Au-pair program was designed to give young girls the chance to live in and explore another country.  Au-pairs are connected with a family and they have to live in with them for no more than a year.  They have a set amount of hours that they are not supposed to work over, and are expected to do light household chores as well as take care of the children.  For this they are paid a low salary, basically intended as pocket money to go and explore the country they are in and in return the family receive child care that is not too expensive.  Candidates are carefully interviewed in their own countries by members of the program and background checks are made and references checked for both family and Au-pair.  When an Au-Pair is matched with a  family the Au-Pair is sent to that country and first stop is to stay with a group of other Au-pairs usually in a hotel where they receive 2 days of lectures on child care.  How do I know all of this?  Well in order to receive my work visa I had to go through the Au-Pair America scheme.....that's right, I had to pretend I knew nothing about child care for 2 wasn't easy!  I stayed in Manhattan right by the park so it was nice to experience NYC.

I hope that clarifies things a bit.  This is only my opinion.....I have read others on the Internet, some have very similar beliefs to mine and then there are others that I really don't agree with especially one from   They go to the trouble of distinguishing a nanny in a very professional manner and then in a later statement state that some nannies live in with the families and they are called live in nannies or Au-pairs!!!  Get your facts straight!!!!  What a load of rubbish!

And on that note I will bid you a lovely Memorial Day weekend.....I hope the weather is good and you all enjoy your BBQing. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Make a teacher appreciation award card

I was working on a new card this morning for teacher appreciation seeing as though the end of the school year is approaching at an alarming rate.....I think we have 2 full weeks left.

Teacher Appreciation Card / Teacher Thank You Card/ Best Teacher Card / Award Ribbon
click here to buy

I used this Yo-yo tutorial to make the back of the award, then punched out circles of polka dot paper and glued them on a metal rimmed tag from Staples!  With my printer I printed out BEST TEACHER AWARD in various colours, punched out a circle with a smaller punch, added ribbons and glued it on the card.  I'm working on ones for bus drivers too....they'll be in the shop as soon as I can make them.

I'm also aiming to make them into badges/pins so that they can be removed from the card and either worn or pinned to a pin board, bag etc etc

I'm sure once Miss 'I' sees these she's going to want to make them for her teachers too!

I also have this teacher appreciation card and bag for sale too!

Teacher Appreciation Gift


Friday, May 17, 2013

Crazy employers!

Happy Friday my friends.

Today is a very short post.  I have the day off to prepare for a whole weekend long yard sale I'm having!  I'm taking a 5 min break to write this and then it's back to the boxes and setting up the tables.  Last year we made over $1,000 so it's worth the hard work....a win win ...we get rid of clutter and make money at the same time!!!

Anyway I thought I would tell you about my friend Lisa who is currently working for a very demanding crazy family who have little manners and respect for others.  One day Lisa was asked to buy red apples for the family as part of her grocery shopping.  No problem, she picks up plenty of red apples for this family of 7.  The next day Lisa arrives at work to this......

"Lisa I know I asked you to buy red apples yesterday but these apples are just far too red!!!  We like the ones with a little red and a little green"

NO JOKE!!!!  Lisa had to go out and buy the apples with a little red and a little green!

You can't make this up!

P.S.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent!

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crafters A.D.D. picture update

It appears I'm still have a problem with blogger with my pics.....going to be switching out of blogger in the near future....but meanwhile for all of you that didn't receive the pic via email yesterday I think I've solved the problem.....

Here's the hoop art that didn't come through yesterday

Pretty cute for a first attempt right?  I still need to finish it will have a nice neat edge and back when I'm done.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Crafters A.D.D.

I think I have Crafter's A.D.D.   Is it a real condition?

I seem to be able to focus well in plenty of other areas in my life but when it comes to playing around with fabric, paper, glitter and glue I can't seem to keep my attention focused on one thing for too long.

I start one project and half way through get an idea for another and then another and another and it spirals until there's barely room to move in my studio (I should insert a picture here but I'm far too embarrassed)....I'm tripping over boxes of ribbon because i have to find the perfect match and swiping my tables and shoving things to one side to make room to focus on the most dominant project for that 10 minutes of attention.

I'm not always like this!  If my studio is tidy and I am focused for example making blankets that morning, it runs very smoothly.  I think it's when I'm in design mode....trying to piece coordinating fabrics together, to get the pattern for a new item just so, to decorate the card with just the right trimmings, a little of this a little of that and before you know it I can't find the table.

My space is designed pretty well I think, I painted it my favourite colour, a bold Kelly green and made sure I had lots of white accessories to brighten it up.  It's a small room but I managed to squeeze 3 tables in, 1 for sewing, 1 for the computer and 1 for designing, cutting, crafting etc.  I have those IKEA cubbies that everyone seems to have but they are very useful (I have the 16 cubby version) and the closet is a pretty good size - I pulled out the clothes rod and my carpenter friend John put in 4 huge, strong shelves and everything is in plastic totes and labelled.  If you catch me on a good, tidy day you would think I'm as organized as Martha Stewart (which is my nickname amongst my friends).

Unfortunately it's a mess right now!  I had a designing day yesterday.....had the house to myself and nothing essential to do so I thought I would get a couple of projects knocked off that's been on my mind (and several 'To- Do' lists for a while now).  I have created a new style of bib, a bib for droolers so it's shorter....and it's so's definitely leaning towards 'I need to be a girl bib'.  I'll share it soon but first it has to go to my test baby so it can be 'mother approved'...heads up Katie!!  Hopefully it will be in the shop in the next few weeks, I'm very excited about this so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to redesign it.

I also worked on 'Hoop Art' which I convey as a stitched picture in an embroidery hoop.  Here's my first attempt ( I need to trim the fabric and finish off the back but this is just to give you an idea).

Hoop Art....soon to hit the shop!

The creative mind is just so amazing.  I mean I do love it.....but I feel like I don't relax or sleep as much as I should....I envy my boyfriend....he can take a nap sitting upright on the couch at any given moment....even half way through a conversation if he's really tired.  But I've always leaned towards the 'being productive' mode rather than the 'relaxing' mode!  I guess it's genetics!  Any other crafters feel the same way?  I know I can't be alone   :o)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Book Review - The Night Before Mother's Day by Natasha Wing


'Twas the night before Mother's Day
when, as quiet as a mouse,
Dad told us his plan
to get Mom out of the house.

Who can resist an opening like that?

This is a paperback book (not sure if it comes in hard back) and it's not just the beginning that resembles the poem 'The night before Christmas' it has references and similarities the whole way through.

It's a cute little story about preparing for Mum's special day and cost only $3.99 at Target.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A new trend in gift giving

So I've been a nanny for over 20 years and in those 20 year I have attended A LOT of children's parties!  And what wonderful parties there has been.

The amazing spring time tea party where invitations were a spring flower planted in a teacup with saucer, laid in a pretty box with a tag attached with all the party details.  The box was hand delivered, the cake was absolutely amazing made by a renown NYC cake maker, made to resemble the garden of the house the child lived in.  The girls wore their best party dresses and had afternoon tea in the formal dinning room.

Then there was the Medieval Times outing with I don't know how many 10 year old boys to round up and keep in line.

Petting zoo parties
Ice skating parties
Pony riding parties
Build-a-bear parties
Candy shop parties

You name it I've been to it or heard of it.

Anyway with all these parties come all the presents!  And when you invite every child in the class it's such an excessive amount!
More and more I am seeing party invitations with 'No Presents Please' attached to the end of the invite.  
I'm also seeing a lot more 'In lieu of gifts *name of child* requests that you make a donation to her favourite charity'.

Ms. 'I' (the little girl I take care of) turned 7 yrs old last month and opted to ask that instead of gifts from her school mates they make a donation (if they would like to) to the charity of her choice!

I have to say I think this is very big of any child to do this and a wonderful life lesson.  Pay it forward and help others less fortunate than yourself!

Interested in having your child donate?  Here are just a few charities that help children who are less fortunate.

- March of Dimes
   Improves the health of babies

- Make-a-Wish Foundation
  Grants wishes to children with life threatening medical conditions

- Locks of Love
  Provides hair pieces to children with long term hair loss medical conditions

- Canines for Disabled Kids
  Provides assistance dogs for disabled children

- My Stuff Bags Foundation
  Provides bags to children who are pulled out of dangerous homes.  The bags are filled
  with items they need  to settle into their new environment.

These are just a few of the amazing charities, there are so many more.  Here is a link to help you decide

Friday, May 3, 2013

Making handmade cards

I have a few cards for sale in the shop, all contain fabric in some shape or form.  So I thought I would do a quick tutorial today on how I make them.

I chose this versatile dress template, it can be made into so many different occasion cards!

 Sweet Sixteen Birthday Card / Sweet 16 Birthday Card

Here's what you need.....

Fabric for the dress
Iron on interfacing
Card and envelope
Template (I used a stamp)
Fabric and paper scissors
Bone folder
Multipurpose glue

I used a stamp as my template.  Stamped it with ink, let it dry, cut it out and voila you have a template.

Take your iron and iron on the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.

I always place the iron on the fabric not the interfacing.....follow manufacturer's instructions....usually it's no steam!

Trace around your template onto your fabric and cut out making sure you cut inside the lines so you have no pencil mark on your card

Position your trim on your dress

I glued the trim on with a permanent fabric glue but the multipurpose glue works fine too

Once the glue on the trim is dry flip over the dress and trim off the excess

Glue your dress to your card and let dry.  I printed my card with the wording before gluing on the dress

If you love the cards but are short on time to make them.....hop on over to the Textile Trolley Etsy shop where you can buy them already made with just a simple click!!!  You can choose different wording and ribbon color!  I'll be adding more next week.

Quinceanera Card / Feliz Quinceanera / 15th Birthday Card

Sweet Sixteen Birthday Card / Sweet 16 Birthday Card

First Holy Communion Card/ Confirmation Card / Wording can be changed

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Highly annoying!!!

Hi all.....I'm a little frustrated blogger doesn't seem to be accepting my pictures.  I had a great post for you on making your own handmade cards with lots of pics and I have been stalled!
It's taken 4 pictures and it won't take anymore....I think it's on strike!  I've tried rebooting the computer, closing down windows and opening them up again and nothing is jolting this lazy bloggers butt!  So I have to give up for today (worked on it this morning and tonight) grrrrrrrrrrr  hopefully tomorrow!

Stay tuned!