Make it Monday: Birthday Shenanigans ‘Lord of the Rings’

I remember birthdays as a child, mostly the cake (the infamous ‘Rabbit Castle’ will go down in family history but that’s a story for another day) but parties and fun. Since having the Lamb we’ve tried to put extra special effort into celebrating birthdays, decorating the house and of course, baking a special cake. This year hubby celebrated a special birthday so the Lamb and I made and decorated the house, as well as baking an extra-special birthday. Can you guess the theme? IMG_2844.JPG

The assorted books by JRR Tolkien have long been hubby’s favourite so we created Middle Earth here in Devon!

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Our porch door became a Hobbit hole
It was a lot of fun creating the decorations and we used different craft skills.

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Shelob was a black pom pom.
It took quite a while to do all the lettering but luckily I found some sites on Pinterest to help. Of course, we needed a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner.

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And I also made a number of small banners, based on the different characters……

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Eeeeep! The white hand of the Urak Hai!

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My House of Rohan design. Getting the right shape of the horses head was a bit tricky but I’m happy with the result

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Gandalf’s symbol
Of course, we needed Sauron’s Eye to watch our celebrations….

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And I tested hubby on his Elvish…..

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Can you guess what this says? Not a traditional Elvish quote from the books, but thought it apt for hubby
Our hallway. Down the banister I knitted brown ‘branches’ with the leaves of Lothlorian while there were streamers and balloons from the ceiling as more branches and leaves.

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I needle-felted Gandalf (if you’d like one made to order, comment below or email bluebeaglebaby(at)gmail.com) which was fun and I look forward to making more. Perhaps I’ll eventually felt the other characters.

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And created these luggage/gift tags

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And finally the cake. And in-keeping with the books, we celebrated in Hobbiton!

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A very happy birthday to hubby!

What did you think of our Middle Earth birthday? Have you had a themed party? Let me know in the comments below!

Make it Monday: Room On The Broom inspired Quiet Book


We’re HUGE fans of Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler’s books here at Beagle HQ. So much so that the toddler’s last birthday was themed around some of their more famous books, but that’s a post for another day.

A zipper for a mouth
What’s inside? Some other characters!

I wanted to make the toddler something a bit different, so I combined some of her favourite characters with different openers and fasteners to help her improve her dexterity and coordination. The product was ‘Evie’s Quiet Book’.

Bird’s wing has a magnetic which helps it move. There’s also plenty of ribbon to practice tying bows

Quiet books seem to be hugely popular and it’s easy to see why: soft to touch for little hands, they are only limited by your imagination and can keep little people occupied for ages. 

Help Dog count bones

I created a page for each of the main characters: Witch, Cat, Dog, Bird, Frog, Dragon plus all of them on the broom.

What’s in Cat’s cauldron?
All the ingredients fro a witches brew! Each item is sewn onto a popper so can be removed for an endless mix of spells

I tried to use a mix of fabrics and materials to make it interesting to touch as well as various colours. Some worked better than others, with some of the coarser fabric fraying, however I think this adds to the characters. 

The Dragon isn’t too gruff here – he has a squeaker for a voice

There are also different fasteners including zips, poppers, buttons and clips, all of which encourage to toddler to explore and learn how to use them. They’ve helped her improve her manual dexterity while also teaching her some key skills for getting dressed. 

Help the Witch button her cardigan and plait her hair, but be careful not to lose her ribbon!

I think the Witch is my favourite page. Her long ginger hair is a mix of different wools, from very soft, to slightly more coarse and even a few strands from my rag doll I had as a baby! Perfect for learning how to plait, and to tie a ribbon! Her cardigan also needs buttoning. This was the only page where I used my sewing machine (for the cardigan), all the rest was sewn by hand.

And out flew, a magnificent broom!

The last page is the broom with all the characters sat safely in their seats. I made the finger puppets as a fun accompaniment when reading the book, but they can be used for reenactment while out and about, or for creating new adventures!

Endless fun with the finger puppets

Have you made a quiet book? Do you like the characters from the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom? Let me know in the comments below. 

Meet the Maker: Goals

So today we’re looking at goals. This is a slightly challenging topic to discuss, especially when your creative endeavours are so varied, and ever changing. When I bought my sewing machine, my aim was to make unique items for my daughter and I to wear. I’ve reached this goal (and ensured a steep learning curve!) but now I’d like to slowly start sharing what I make and hopefully start building clients and business.

For ease, I think I’ll divide it into writing goals and crafting goals.

Writing goals:

  • Keep writing! I’ve been pretty slack since I had my daughter so need to get back to writing regularly
  • Finish editing ‘Elesphere’ my young adult fantasy novel. I was pretty much finished but it needs a lot more work.
  • Ongoing work on my ‘Vampire’s Bodyguard’ series. More details on this to come!
  • Look into self publishing Elesphere and The Vampire’s Bodyguard next year. I’ve also got an idea to expand a short story but I’m keeping that a secret for now.
  • Obviously I’d love best-seller status but frankly, having people out there, reading my work is still surreal so I’ll just take a couple more happy readers. For now.

Crafting goals:

  • Ongoing skill development.
  • Improving my felting and learn to make fairies and characters.
  • Design and make a range of greetings cards to sell.

Meet the Maker: Recent Make

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I’ve recently discovered felting! I’m not sure what it is, but stabbing something multiple times is highly therapeutic 😉 I took a short class at the recent Crafts 4 Crafters show and made an adorable little lamb and frankly, I’ve been a little obsessed ever since! I’ve completed this set of cards recently, combining washi tape and felted decorations with assorted phrases hand stamped on too. These were so much fun to make and a big learning curve with regards to felting – blending wools, adding details such as the seams on the hot air balloon or adding a bit of sparkle to my snow flake. They are available to purchase, just message me below or via @bluebeaglebaby

March Meet the Maker: Tools

Instagram is running a #MarchMeetTheMaker and today’s theme is ‘tools’. I use a variety of tools in my assorted crafts (from a sewing machine, felting needles and blocks to basics like scissors and glue for cards) but my main ‘tool’ is definitely my notebooks. Like so many people I’m a complete stationery addict and generally have a new notebook for different writing projects. I also have a notebook for my sewing projects & designs, knitting patterns and assorted recipes (including my new endeavour of making my own toiletries!). So while I may use knitting needles, moulds, patterns and more, I’d never do without my notebooks!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@bluebeaglebaby) to see more of my creations!

March Meet the Maker: Favourite to Make

Welcome back!

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, go do it now! Yes now! @bluebeaglebaby) you’ll know that I’m taking part in the #MarchMeetTheMaker event. Today’s title is ‘Favourite to Make’.

Hmm, well this is a tricky one. I’m constantly told I need to concentrate on one ‘thing’ but as any creative knows, there’s too many voices in our heads to listen to just one! So, here’s a few of the things I create!

Geri's makes

In many respects my first ‘baby’ is my writing. I remember writing the opening chapter of what would become my first novel ‘Akane: Last of the Orions’ while travelling through Brazil. Given how many other things I’ve written, it’s funny that this sticks in my memory, and I’ve still got the original notes too! It took a further seven years to finish, edit and submit it to publishers before it finally found its home at Fox Spirit Books.

Weird Wild by G Clark HelleryI have assorted other books available, including my collection of short stories ‘Weird Wild’. I’ll also be making short stories available through my website soon so pop back soon.

I’ve always loved different craft activities and since the birth of my daughter I learned how to sew. I’ve been busy designing her some skirts (see the picture above or my Facebook page for more images) but have recently really enjoyed sewing capes. I was commissioned to sew a ‘family’ of capes for a customer and my daughter liked them so much, I had to sew her some in assorted colours. Seeing her and her friends running around wearing them is brilliant. I’m planning to work on a few cosplay pieces soon. If you’d like a cape made for your little person, feel free to contact me for a quote. Capes

I’ve recently started ‘felting’. There’s something very relaxing about stabbing a needle into felt and I’m planning on making some figures. In the meantime, I’ve ‘felted’ a mermaid toy and also a series of cards, including these for Mother’s Day.

Felted cards by G Clark Hellery