Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Polka-dotted Infant Coverall

Hubby asked me to make gifts for the two first-time mamas who work in his department. Both are having boys, so I settled on a cheerful bunting or coverall or snowsuit...whatever you want to call it.

I used the "Corduroy baby coverall" pattern from Ottobre 6/2007 (#10, size 62).  I followed the pattern for the most part, with just a few minor changes -- like snaps instead of buttons up the front, and making the bird an applique rather than a 3D stuffed critter.  Oh, and I made the pacifier tether with a snap on the end rather than one big loop that could prove to be a strangulation hazard.

The shell is soft baby wale corduroy I picked out at JoAnn specifically for this project.  The lining is organic cotton sweater knit from Fabric.com that I had leftover from some clothes I made for Miss M.  I ended up using every last bit of it!  It's very, very soft and snuggly!  I got the blue, red, and orange ribbons at Hobby Lobby, using  scrap of the corduroy to match polka-dot colors.  I didn't originally envision red snaps (with the orange lining, it wasn't intitive), but once it came down to it, they just looked so right!  I really love how cheery they turned out!  Perfect for a long drab winter!

I made two, virtually identical, but I didn't photograph them together before packing them off to their recipients.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How much can you do in an hour?

Sometimes the house is such a mess it's hard to know where to start.  Sometimes I want to bury my head in a pillow and hope the mess goes away on its own.  Sometimes I do...but it never does.  I've figured out a few mind games to play with myself that have been quite effective.

First, don't let Tuesday off the hook.  Tuesday likes you to think it's an unimportant beginning-of-the-week kind of day.  There's a whisper in your ear, "It's just Tuesday, you have plenty of time before Friday."  But somehow, it jumps from Tuesday to Thursday in the blink of an eye and that means Friday is the next day!  I have learned that Tuesday is pivotal.  If I slack off on Tuesday, I'll regret it on Thursday and Friday.  If I banish much of my To Do list on Tuesday, the rest of my week flows much more smoothly!

Second, set the timer.  Maybe I just work well under pressure, but it seems if I ask myself, "How much can you do in an hour?" and then set the timer for precisely that length of time, I can get a surprising amount done!

My kitchen was a mess...dishes from the weekend...toys, craft supplies, and clothes left by the children...drygoods from Sam's Club not yet put away.  So I set the timer for an hour, cranked up the music, and went to work.  An hour later (okay, only 50 minutes this time...Little Guy came and asked to nurse -- he can sign it now -- and I had to quit early) my kitchen was a decent place again!

I didn't get to sweep, but if I hadn't been interrupted by my wee man, I'd have finished that in the remaining 10 minutes -- might have gotten it mopped too!

 So how much can you do in an hour?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What does your mama do?

My mama sweeps the floor.

My mama carries cookies on a tray.

My mama irons a dress.

My mama puts the baby to sleep.

And that is how Miss M answers the question, "What does your mama do?"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall 2010 SWAP progress II

 Monday was the deadline for my Fall SWAP.  Um...I'm not quite done. (And I'm not quite sure how I started this post Monday and now it's suddenly Friday, but that's a different story).  I did, however, make more good progress before the deadline went flying by!

I made a second Puolukka bodysuit (Ottobre 6/2009, #1), this time of organic cotton baby rib knit from Fabric.com.  It's delicious!  I am going to have to order some in other colors to make myself undershirts for winter.  It's so soft and comfy!  Again, this is for Miss M to wear under dresses and with skirts this fall and winter.  It'll look especially nice with the Vadelma pinafore dress that isn't quite done (and therefore not pictured here).

The Dolly dress (Ottobre 6/2008 #6) is darling, albeit a wee bit too short for a "dress."  But that's alright, I prefer Miss M to wear leggings in the fall and winter anyway, so no harm done.  It's funny though...Miss M is 80 inches tall, so I made the size 74 width and size 86 length.  Oh well, it's easy enough to lengthen it next time.  It's made from Michael Miller's Birds of Norway babywale corduroy.

The Jänönheinä tunic (Ottobre 4/2010, #2) and Lilac triangular scarf (Ottobre 3/2010, #40) are made of dark green Kona cotton.  I'm very pleased with the fit and shape of the Jänönheinä.  When I was making it, I looked at the front and back pieces and said, "This could almost fit me!"  But it turned out to be just right once it was gathered to the neckline binding.  It was a last minute stroke of genius (if I do say so myself) to add the lace along both sides of the button band.  Doesn't it finish it off nicely?  I love it when that happens!

I didn't realize at first that the Montmartre skirt (Ottobre 4/2010, #25) is as full as a circle skirt.  It's made of some lovely cotton velveteen by Hilco that I splurged ridiculous amounts of money on.  (At least for me).  But I'm glad I did.  The colors are so appealing...and Miss M likes it too, which is important 'cause she's mighty particular about what she wants to wear.

I've made the Little Rosy cape (Ottobre 6/2008, #22A) once before and thought it could use a little length, so I added about 4 inches at the bottom and maybe 2 to the height of the hood.  I used some good ol' Red Heart yarn to blanket stitch around the front edges and fashion ties and a braided tassel on the hood.

I'll have to interrupt my work on the SWAP to whip up two baby buntings for Hubby's coworkers who are having babies and then I'll get to the final two shirts and the St. Germain trenchcoat.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cute Knit Bird

I found this darling knit bird pattern free from the Handmade Holiday post on Plain and Joyful Living.  I made a little I-cord worm to go with it per Miss M's insistence.

To make it a little safer for my young children, I used a pipe cleaner for the feet (it's all one piece and the sharp ends go way inside the stuffing so even the baby can handle it) and felt for the beak.  I really like the look of the wooden feet in the original pattern, but it wouldn't have been practical for our home.  (I wanted to make a toy, not a decoration).

If I can wrest it away from Miss M, it will be a Christmas present for one of her cousins.

The pretty purple yarn was just a two inch ball of wool (leftovers my mom gave me).  It suits the birdie perfectly, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More PreK

It's been quiet around here.  Well, not quiet exactly.  Rather noisy in fact.  Just very little remarkable taking place.  Little Guy is teething, and therefore not sleeping very well, which means Mama doesn't sleep well either.  And that leads to Mama taking a nap with the kiddos midday and not getting done the things she wants to do. But such is life with kids, isn't it?

We took a bit of a break toward the end of summer, but are back in the swing of things with Miss M's homeschooling.  We started PreK in March and are continuing it, along with lots of game-like supplements since she's very much interested in letters and spelling (though she's not quite reading yet). Her handwriting is getting to be really quite impressive for someone not quite four years old!

Some days we don't "do" school and instead she sews,



and explores all sorts of things!  She's learning all the time, so I don't mind a bit if we don't "do" school every day.

We joined a brand new homeschool co-op with families who have younger kids (so far lots of preschool, preK, and kindergarten kids)!  We had our kickoff event on Friday and it was a blast!  Here I am making blueberry pancakes with the kids for snack time.

As Hubby put it, we've just taken the first steps of a long journey.  One that will last us the better part of the next two decades.  It's exciting and not a little scary.  However, I am excited to follow this path God has laid before us and dedicate myself to this period of our lives.  A great deal of my identity in the next period of my life will be wrapped up in "homeschool mom."  I think I like the sound of that.


I uploaded a file of Miss M and her ukelele.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Apple Butter

Last year we went to Applefest in Weston, MO where I waited a half hour to purchase a pint off fresh, hot apple butter.  Oh, how disappointed I was when I got home and tasted it.  The nutmeg was overpowering!  I'm not a big fan of nutmeg.  I prefer cinnamon with my apples.  I vowed that I would make my own next time.  Well, Applefest is just around the corner and I won't have to buy any nutmeg-laden apple butter, because...I made my own!  (Though mine has very little nutmeg!)

Half the fun was picking the apples ourselves at our favorite local orchard.  Apple picking is a yearly family tradition.

Only the Galas were open for picking that day.  They were kind of ugly since most had split open, but they made great applesauce and apple butter, so who cares what they looked like before?

I used a recipe my friend found online (with only half the nutmeg called for) that used up the apple peels from making apple sauce.  It made more than I expected...12 pints!  I only had 10 pint jars, so I dumped the rest into a quart jar and threw it in the fridge. I've been eating it on toast every morning. YUM!

These will make wonderful Christmas presents for Hubby's co-workers and some people at church.  (What? You didn't think I'd eat it all by myself, did you?)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall 2010 SWAP progress

For some reason, I was unable to find time to sew a single stitch for several weeks.  (Ever wonder how time gets away from you so quickly?)  But once I got started, things progressed quickly!  I have five of my SWAP garments done.

I sat down and did both pairs of Vilkas velour pants (Ottobre 4/2008, #2) in one evening.  One pair is chocolate brown stretch velvet I got from Chez Ami last year (remember this skirt?) and the other pair is from organic cotton sweatshirt knit I got from Fabric.com.  When it first arrived in the mail, it was a little brighter than I had anticipated and looked like a construction zone or hunter's vest, but Hubby picked it out of the pile and repeatedly told me how much he liked it, so I opted to keep it instead of exchanging it.

Next I made the Puolukka bodysuit (Ottobre 6/2009, #1).  It may seem a bit strange to make a "baby" garment for my nearly-four-year-old daughter, but in addition to being warm, I thought it would afford nice coverage when she wears skirts and dresses.  She loves to wear girly clothes, but she's very active and not always very modest yet.  I made it of Michael Miller's Carnival Bloom interlock and a sturdy brown rib knit.  I love it!  So soft and thick!  Not at all like the cheap stuff store-bought clothes are made from.

My fingers are crossed, hoping someone has some brilliant inspiration on how to keep the Bubblegum dot skirt (Ottobre 4/2009, #6) from looking so much like a pumpkin!  I didn't want to applique the same flowers on it like I did the orange pants...maybe a bit of embroidery? But what subject?  I thought a simple outline (done with thick yarn?) of something might be nice, but I haven't been struck with inspiration yet.  The skirt is made of the same organic sweatshirt knit with a sturdy rib knit in dark green.  I would have used the same brown ribbing as in the bodysuit, but I used every last scrap making the neck binding!

I had a very hard time wrapping my mind around the placement of the ties for the Cecilia jacket (Ottobre 6/2008, #4).  I think the instructions may have been a little off, but after some serious pinning and pretending-to-wear-a-garment-not-yet-constructed, I finally had everything right.  The flower is made of the very last tiny scraps of brown rib knit and a frosted pink button left over from some bridesmaids dresses my mom sewed when I was about 12!

My SWAP plan has undergone a few changes since I last posted it.  I am making two Puolukka bodysuits (the other will be plain pink) and getting rid of the Retrokukka dress. I also added a Little Rosy cape made from polar fleece that matches my colors perfectly!  It's actually already made, but I'm doing some hand sewing on it, so it's not quite ready to be photographed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cardboard project: a wagon

Next week we start our 2010-11 school year.  Of course, Miss M is only in preschool, so it's a very easy school year.  I expect we'll do about an hour a day of "schoolwork" and the rest of the time will be spent learning through play as kids ought to do.

Today Miss M wanted to do a craft, so I gave her some pieces of cardboard to decorate and we assemled them into a wagon.  (Yes, the wheels are from Laughing Cow cheese boxes...it's dangerous to have in the house as I tend to eat it all day long till it's gone!)

It's perfect to carry her sidewalk chalk!

Little Guy likes to ride his big sister's tricycle.

It's follow-the-leader on wheels!

In sewing news, I finally started sewing my Fall SWAP.  Yesterday I made two pairs of knit pants and today I nearly finished a bodysuit (like a long-sleeved t-shirt that snaps between the legs...it'll be great for wearing under pinafores and skirts!)  Once the top is finished, I'll get some pictures and post them here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cats have striped tails

Miss M asked to use her rubber stamp set the other day.  While I was tending to Little Guy, she sat peaceably at the table making this piece of art.

Lolo means grandpa in Tagalog.  I drew the face of the far right cat (I'm no artist!) and she gained the confidence to draw some of her own. She even finished mine off for me! I love their striped tails!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


As every mother knows, that first year of their kid's life goes so FAST!  So many changes and stages all within such a short period of time.  Little Guy learned to crawl this week. And on the same day, he stood alone (without holding onto anything) for more than just a few seconds.  I've been taking time every day to just play with him, snuggle him, enjoy him as he is because before long he won't be a baby anymore!

Miss M is already growing into a tall preschooler. She isn't a toddler anymore. And Oh! The ideas she comes up with!

"Daddy, will you type me at work?  I'll type you back, okay?"  By this she means, she'll wake up before Mama does, launch the word processing program on the family computer (conveniently left on by daddy when he went to work), type "d-a-d-d-y" and press enter.  Yes, this actually happened.

"Mama, you know, tadpoles turn into frogs and are baby frogs."  How does she come by this knowledge anyway!?

"Why do honey bees make honey?  Do they eat it?  How?  Do they have mouths?  Why do they have stingers?"  She's been fixated on bees and wasps lately.  I ordered her a book about bees from Amazon. It should be here tomorrow.  Today she told me, "Bees are so cute! But not their stingers."

When Hubby came home, Miss M told him she wants to be Scooby Doo for Halloween (she wants to be something else every other day, so we just take it in stride).  Hubby teasingly said, "Don't you want to be Marcus Fenix?"  She looked at him, rolled her eyes, and in a very mature voice said, "Daddy!  Don't make me be your favorite!"

(Little Guy explores everything with his one pointer finger.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

At the county fair

At the county fair, Hubby moved like a special ops guy (he'd like that description) through the displays and straight to Madam Pig.  Before I knew it, he was back at my side. "Second," he said.

Yes, it seems our dear friend Humpty Dumpty trumped the piggies and ran off with First Place.  Doesn't he look pleased with himself!?  (You don't suppose it'll all go to his head, do you?)

And my Indoor Hopscotch got Fourth Place in the Toys category.

I entered some of the clothes I made over the past year (here, here and here) and received ribbons on two of them. I was delighted to see that there was a lot more competition in the Clothes category this year! Last year I won first, second, and third but there were only a few other entries and most of them were aprons.

But the best fun of all was getting the Committee's Choice Ribbon for Madam Pig and her piglets!  It turns out they did charm the judges after all!

Tomorrow I'll show you some other people's entries that caught my eye.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fall 2010 SWAP

It's time for another SWAP, that is, Sewing With a Plan.  Miss M has grown an inch in height since March.  Her girth on the other hand hasn't changed a bit.  Which means store-bought clothes are not going to fit her well this fall, especially pants.  Which is a bit of a problem since it can get pretty cold in the fall and pants are a must.  Enter the ability to sew! (Not to mention it's just plain fun!)

I followed the basic guideline set forth by the lovely ladies in the Ottobre English group on Yahoo.  I already had some fabric and put in an order last night for the rest.  I always get fabric envy for the gorgeous designer prints I see out there, so I figured it's time to allow myself the pleasure of using some high-quality prints before Miss M's clothes require too much yardage for it to be feasible.  Among my choices are a Michael Miller corduroy and a Hilco velveteen. Yum!

You can click on the picture to see it full-sized.

I do have some fabric I'll use for the trenchcoat...I just didn't bother taking a picture of it for the storyboard.

Of course, some things will probably get changed, switched around once I have the fabric in hand, but this is the basic scheme.  Is it completely nuts that I'm delighted to begin sewing long sleeved shirts and jackets when it's nearly 100 degrees outside?

Roly poly PIG

Meet Madam Pig.

And her six wee piglets.

They are preparing themselves to go to the county fair.

Where they will charm the judges...

And delight the  masses...

With their roly poly antics.

I <heart> them!

The pattern is from LiEr at Ikatbag.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tea Party in the Backyard

After "marrying her husband" this morning, Miss M thought it would be nice to "have a tea party with him."

Using the tea set she received for Christmas last year...

And a pink tupperware of freshly baked shortbread cookies*...

And real tea with real sugar and cream...

I think she made the little man quite pleased!  And hopefully these "special occasions" will be fondly remembered when she grows up.

*I usually add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. almond extract to the recipe.  If you don't like shortbread cookies from a tin, try these! They are infinitely better!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fourth of July Dress

We were rained out this Fourth of July.  A storm came through right at nightfall.  The local fireworks show was postponed until July 5th, but we weren't allowed to do our personal ones (at least, not in the city limits...we could probably take them up to the Farm and do them, but we aren't planning to).  Still, I think Miss M had a mighty fine day.  She's always begging me to let her play in the rain, but most of the time there's too much thunder and lightening to allow her that pleasure.  This time, however, the rain was warm, there was no thunder, and I let her stay out till lunchtime.  Unfortunately, she was wearing the Fourth of July Dress I made her and she had to change into dry clothes before I got a chance to snap her picture.  I finally got her to put it back on today for a quick photo session.

I used the "Polka dot blouse" pattern (#16 from Ottobre 1/2008) in a size 98.  I really like this pattern because it's cute and comfy and has no buttons, zippers, or elastic!  Size 98 is a it big for Miss M, but for this particular pattern it doesn't matter too much...plus, she'll be able to wear it next year!  The changes I made were to cut the sleeves short and lengthen the hem (at an A-line) about 14 inches.  I added a ruffle about 1.5 times as long as the lower edge circumference.

The headscarf is #40 from Ottobre 3/2010.

I have one more dress in the works for Miss M and then I'm planning to turn my thoughts to fall and winter.  Both kids have enough for the rest of the summer, but they'll both need things for cooler weather.  I need to figure out what sort of a SWAP to do.  Insanely ambitious with one for each kid?  A mini SWAP for each kid?  Just jackets?  What about a bit of sewing for me?  Hmm...decisions, decisions.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Linen sundress

I rarely make clothes for myself.  Mostly because patterns don't fit me well and it takes too much time to get them to fit right.  I wear my clothes to death and then buy what I need on sale from a local outlet store.  Last weekend I convinced hubby to let me buy a piece of fabric from JoAnn's specifically to make myself a sundress.  I came away with a yard and a half of linen for just under $9 with tax.  I was originally going to use this tutorial*, but decided this pattern would be more suitable for the material I had purchased.

It turns out I made the dress just in time.  This past weekend was my 10 year high school reunion and, boy, was it hot!  It was about  97 degrees and humid!  There are a bunch of pictures of me wearing the dress at the zoo, but only one really bad one of the front of the dress.  I was under some sort of walkway with windows to see the otters which did something really strange to the light, so I apologize for the quality of this shot.

I was very pleased with how the dress turned out and was also glad I added 3 inches to the length.  It sure was nice to have something cool to wear!  And now I think I should make another one...

*I still want to make a dress from the first link, but I want a slightly lighter weight material for it just like this one.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Letter posters with memory verses

I have very fond memories of the cursive letter banner that was posted around the top of the walls in my fifth grade classroom.  I thought it would be fun to make something similar for our homeschool classroom (a.k.a. our kitchen).

I decided to include a Bible verse for each letter.  At this point it's mostly for my own benefit since Miss M doesn't read yet.  They serve as great reminders to help her memorize these important bits of Scripture while her little mind is still a sponge.  (It saddens me that my memorization skills are not what they were when I was a kid!)   The fun part is I saved my work in a pdf file for you to use too!

Just click the image above to download the file.  I laminated mine before sticking them around my kitchen walls with ticky tacky.  (The laminator is a new toy!)  Enjoy!