So, despite my inability to sew buttons onto a few dresses (still not done...), Sam somehow caught me at a good moment and convinced me to help him sew a rabbit for Viv.
So, despite my inability to sew buttons onto a few dresses (still not done...), Sam somehow caught me at a good moment and convinced me to help him sew a rabbit for Viv.
Imagine looking up and seeing a sky full of fairies hovering above you. These are the things that spark a child's imagination. And it's easy to make your very own fairy mobile! This project is great to do with children ages 4-10 or for a friend who's expecting. What a fun baby shower gift or blessingway project it would make!
Here's what you need:
I had never heard of a haramake until the spritely Kathy from Bliss Beyond Naptime emailed me. She's here to tell us what they are and why we might need them!
This was such a fun project I did for PiccoliniTV. The result is sophisticated, but the process is so simple that your toddler can totally help. We love turning down the lights at night and having our very own shadow puppet theater performance, so cozy and sweet:)
Hey there! I'm still producing a few videos for Barilla's PiccoliniTV (the contract runs through the summer, I think), so I'll post here whenever a new one is up. This week's video is about making instruments; Sam and I had such a fun time:)
If you watch the video, hang in there until the end when the kids do a little demo. I'm a bit biased about the adorableness of my kids, but the last bit really is cute:) So, if you've got a full recycling bin and don't mind a little noise (er, I mean music...), this is a really fun afternoon project.
So what have you guys been up to? What's new in the blogosphere? I miss you! Though, I have to admit there have been more trips to the park, more sewing projects completed, more sleeping in and snuggling... The house still isn't any cleaner though!
Have a wonderful weekend and happy 4th of July!
Remember the big painting Sam did? We made a video for Piccolini.TV and you can see how he made it from the initial laying on of texture and base coat, to color selection, painting and the final result over the mantle. It makes me happy every time I see this huge splash of color in our living room:)
While spring has certainly arrived, she's certainly not wearing her party dress, but rather something more along the lines of muck boots and overalls. The view from our front window is still pretty dreary, mostly the grays and browns of early spring. There are a few hints of green here and there. But we decided we needed LOTS of green with bright, cheerful spring colors. So, we painted our own flower garden right on the window! Now, the view through the front window is decidedly spring-like.
Often our best projects are those last-minute, completely unplanned, lets-do-something-crazy kind of projects. Sam was getting cabin-fever and as I gazed out the window past the paper snowflakes that (still) hung as reminders of the season only recently left behind, I realized that his washable paints would be the perfect thing to dress up our window and perk up a rather boring afternoon.
We just used those regular old acrylic paints, a few brushes and a flower shaped stamp I had lying around. The project was really kid-friendly because it just involved lots of green stripes and stamping the flower over and over and over.
Vivian was very impressed with our handiwork, perhaps transfixed would be the more accurate term. As soon as she caught sight of the window she practically leapt right out of my arms to get to it. She loves trying to grab all the pretty colors.
Whenever I happen to glance out the window, I can almost imagine for a minute that it really is a yard full of flowers I'm gazing out at. Try it; if you squint your eyes a little, don't you think it kind of works? Until the real flowers start blooming, I think these cheerful approximations will stand in nicely.
Some days I feel as if I can't get out of my own way. At the end of the day I can't think of a single thing I've started and actually finished... Nothing to show for my incredibly long, exhausting day! Such is the life of a mom. The "product" we produce is a lack of chaos, nothing you can hold up proudly and say, "Look what I did!" but rather, a lack of dirty dishes in the sink, a lack of hungry tummies, a lack of piles of dirty laundry. If we do our jobs well enough, it's hardly noticeable, just a clean, well-run home to show for it. It looks so easy from the outside! I think this is why things like sewing and knitting, and creating things are so appealing to me. There's actually a concrete object to show for my work, something I can hold in my hands (aside from sweet, happy babies, of course; they're plenty holdable, huggable and clear evidence of a labor of love). So, after a day of feeling as if I've accomplished nothing, it feels good to sit down to a quick and satisfying project. The mittens I made Sam last year got a hole in the thumb. I fixed it, but it made the thumb considerably shorter and they were getting a bit small anyway. So, I dug into the basket of felted wool sweaters and whipped up a few more pairs for Sam. The first time I traced his hand to make a pattern. This time I just traced the already made mitten, adding a bit more for a seam allowance to to make them slightly larger, since he's a year older. These are the absolute easiest project in the world, and it feels so satisfying to see a stack of something, anything, actually finished. It helps when Sam dances around with glee when I make him things too:) I also whipped up a few pairs of leg warmers from some worn out socks for Vivian. Got to keep those babies warm!
We're all missing the easy days of summer here when I could just send Sam out into the backyard for hours on end. His outdoor time has shortened considerably; it's about equal to the time it takes me to bundle him up and get him ready to head out! Before long he's chilly and back inside, ready for some indoor play. We've had to get a little creative with our indoor activities. Yesterday's was a big hit though. It involved using an entire spool of thread, but it was so worth it. And the clean up wasn't nearly as bad as it looks. After snipping in a few crucial places all the thread easily gathered into a ball.
Sam's been in a spider phase and has been wearing the costume his dad made each and every day and only taking it off for bed and meals (the extra legs get in the way of eating). I suggested that he might like to spin a web like a real spider and he immediately lit up at the idea.
It was so great because it didn't require him to follow any particular pattern or anything to make it look awesome. We just set up some chairs opposite the piano and the leg of a plant stand and he wove back and forth, over and under, back and forth until, before long, he had himself a very impressive web. So effective, in fact, that he tangled himself in it several times. I loved watching him concentrate and seeing him learn as he went, trying first one way, then another.
Once the web was complete Sam donned the costume again (he did have to remove it while making the web as he kept getting his own legs tangled in it!) and spent the afternoon trapping bugs and dreaming about being a spider.
This weekend is our first Secret Santa Saturday. I've been compiling list after list of fun ideas!! But first I thought I'd start out with a list of some excellent books to get you in the mood, books about making everything from homemade mustard to go-carts. And, of course, I'm hoping you will leave your own favorite books and resources in the comments for all to see.
That should get you started! On Saturday I'll have a whole list of fun project ideas.
:: Links ::
Yarn is KnitPicks Wild West
I couldn't even wait until after Thanksgiving to get started on Christmas presents! Of course, starting early is probably a good idea if I'm really going to do handmade gifts for everyone. So far I've started, but haven't finished, a gift for Clay, my parents, Vivian, and my secret sibling gift exchange person. There are still quite a few more on the list...
Both of the kids are getting a stuffed animal from Bird and Little Bird; a fox for Sam, and rabbit for Vivian. I'm doing both from kits and I'm totally sold on the idea. Doing a stuffed animal all on my own sounded a little too intimidating, but Annie sends out these charming kits with super easy instructions (pictures for every tiny step!) and the pieces are even cut out already! I've only had a chance to sit down to it once or twice, but I already have all four limbs and the ears sewn and some of them stuffed (progress was made after the above picture was taken; at that point I only had one ear done, but look how dang cute it is!). I just about die of cuteness every time I see the almost-put-together Ms. Rabbit. I think I'll set their animals by their stockings Christmas morning... I can hardly wait!
I've also got a sweater on the needles for Vivian. It's the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket, which was the easiest one I could find. If you recall, Viv's booties are the most complicated thing I've attempted yet and it took a lot of brain power to figure out! If this goes well, maybe I'll try a toddler one for Sam...
What about you guys? Am I the only crazy lady that's already starting on Christmas presents or are you busy planning and making too?
They won't be coming for a month, but get excited, Secret Santa Saturdays are going to be awesome! I'm doubling up on weekend giveaways for the month of November and will end giveaways for the year with a Holiday Gift Guide. Starting in December, Saturdays will be devoted to inspiration and how-tos for a handmade holiday!
I've already begun compiling lists and websites and I'm getting so excited! I think I've figured out what I'm going to make for everyone. And we might just hit the Hundred Dollar Holiday goal! If you'd like to join us, or just want to add a little handmade goodness to your holidays, I hope that Secret Santa Saturdays will be a great source of inspiration.
The plan is to start with the more ambitious project ideas at the beginning of the month and work our way into more last-minute, quick-to-whip-up projects towards the end (for all us procrastinators!). So, enjoy a month of double giveaways and another month of so many fun ideas you'll wish the holidays came twice a year!
image from Little Sister Handmade
The fabric scraps are flying; we're knee deep in faux fur! Ah, the week before Halloween. I love dressing up and making costumes, and luckily I married someone who gets equally excited about it.
Clay is in charge of making Sam's costume and I'm in charge of Vivian's. Sam picked out what he wants to be, so we're making Vivian a co-ordinating outfit. Can you guess what they're dressing up as?
We'll have the big reveal next Monday after Halloween...
Posting that picture of Sam eating his baked oatmeal in his big, plaid bib reminded that I wanted to tell you about it! Sam had some great bibs that worked for awhile when he was small. But as he outgrew his bibs, he didn't necessarily outgrow his need for them. And bibs that only hit mid-chest do little to minimize the effects of enthusiastic toddler eating.
And so, it was off to the scrap pile to see if we couldn't make something more suitable.
All I really did was make a rectangle with a circle on top (I trimmed the top corners of the rectangle though). Piece. of. cake. The material was that same outdoor picnic cloth I used for the cloth ziploc bags. I folded it over (so both sides were the waterproof material), cut out the shape and then stitched the sides together. Because I was in a hurry I just left them like that. But, were you so inclined, you could make them much neater by folding them under and then sewing, or adding some sort of bias tape or something. But, it does the job it was designed for beautifully. No more chunks of soggy oatmeal in Sam's lap and it's a snap to run it under the faucet or wipe it off with a sponge. And Sam, that little sweetheart, has said several times, "This is a really nice bib, Mom!" He feels so special
when I make stuff for him. And so, I will continue to do so for as long as he likes:)
I've had this cozy basket of roving sitting in my craft room, patiently waiting to be turned into something for quite some time now. I'd been curious to try the felt ball in nylon stockings thing that I've seen floating around the web. So, last week Sam and I gave it a try.
Sam is 100% on board with anything involving water. I recently moved this bench into the kitchen and it has turned into Sam's "work station." He cooks there, with dry beans, wooden spoons and silver bowls, while I'm making dinner. He gives his plastic animals baths in the same silver bowls and uses the bench as a work space for building clay creations. It's wonderful because I spend so much time in the kitchen and he can be right there alongside me. So, the bench was the perfect place to set up our felting station.
There are a few steps not pictured here. What we did first was cut up some strips of felted sweater scraps from my stash and wrap them around a jingle bell in a rough ball shape. Then we wrapped the fluffy roving around that base. We built up a nice round ball shape and then stuffed it into an old nylon and knotted it. We make a whole row of these, like little round, felt sausages, and then tossed it into the washer on a hot cycle with a little dish soap.
When they came out we did some refining in hot, soapy water with our hands and then rinsed them in cool water. We left them to dry for a day or two and now we have a whole pile of felted, jingling balls for Vivian to play with when she gets a little bigger. Ideally I would have found some sort of tiny, plastic thing to put the bells in so they jingled louder, but I got tired of waiting for myself to remember to do that, so we just went ahead and made them. In some of them the sound is kind of muted, but that's okay. They still look great and will still be a ball to play with:)
Before Vivian was even born I had plans to make her a special dress for the day she received her baby blessing at church. I got a pattern and laboriously cut out all the little pieces. I normally sew the same way I cook; I take a little inspiration from a pattern or recipe, but mostly make it up as I go along. But with this dress I wanted it to be just right so I was determined to be very careful and deliberate about each step along the way. However, when it came to the actual sewing I only got about two steps into the directions when it became very clear that something was wrong- the bodice looked closer to my size than a newborn's. Okay, truth be told I did do a little bit of winging it; I skipped the whole interfacing bit. Turns out that was sort of important...
So, rather than tear all my hair out trying to follow the cryptic instructions and piece together the million bitty pieces, I just made up my own pattern (there was a wee bit of hair pulling as I tried to tape back together one of the pattern pieces that Sam decided to modify with some scissors, but it all worked out in the end). It felt good to be doing it my way; it went faster and was a much more pleasant experience, even if it wasn't "perfect." About a year ago I was all geared up to take a sewing class and then it just didn't happen. Maybe this fall or winter I finally will.
You can't really tell from the outside, but the inside is a dead giveaway that someone who really has no idea what they're doing made it. But I just figure those are the marks of love. Hopefully Vivian will look at it some day and realize that my desire to make something special for her was greater than my skill, but I just went for it anyway.
There is something so sweet and pure about a little girl. I loved seeing her in this pretty, sweet and simple dress. I didn't want anything too frilly or over-the-top, but rather something that let her own sweetness shine through.
In my characteristic, labor-saving way, I used some vintage linens that were already trimmed with that crocheted edge. Then I just incorporated it into the pattern and cut the pieces accordingly. Much easier than sewing the trim on myself, or heavens, crocheting it myself!
The lace on the bonnet and neckline was purchased, but I thought it fit in well enough with the rest.
The blessing is a really neat time because generally the baby's father gives it. He holds the baby while standing in a circle of brothers, fathers, uncles, friends etc. There's something special about the baby blessing being a gift that the father can give when so much of a newborn's life is focused on the mother and vice versa. It's also wonderful to see the combination of strength and tenderness that is a circle of men blessing a tiny baby. Vivian was a peach and fell asleep just before it was time to bless her and stayed angelically (and reverently) asleep throughout the affair. I'll write about it in her baby book for her to read when she's a little older.
I meant to tell you about these blankets quite awhile ago, but then Vivian arrived and oh, you know that goes... But before she was born, when I was in my productive nesting phase (I sure do miss that energy!) I bought a bunch of this wonderful cotton gauze to make my July baby some lightweight swaddling blankets. They're kind of like those aden + anais blankets everyone's getting. I suppose it's a bit late in the season for this project, but certainly something you could tuck in the back of your hat for next season. Though I'm still getting plenty of use out of ours. I really love them so much more than bulkier baby blankets. And you could definitely do the same thing with flannel for a lightweight, but cozy fall/winter swaddling blanket.
I had the pieces cut to just over a yard, so I didn't have to do any cutting at home. This is pretty much the simplest project ever. All I did was double hem the edges and then stack them neatly to wait for baby. I gave a few away as gifts and Sam claimed the stripey one above as his own special blanket. Though he's very generous in sharing it with Vivian and often drapes it over her in her bouncy seat (as you can see in the yawning picture below).
We've been using them everywhere and for everything; swaddling at night, a light cover during the day, an impromptu changing pad etc. Above is Vivian's quilt I made her, which we took on a family picnic. She's just wrapped up in all sorts of handmade, blanket-y love!
Hope you all have a lovely weekend; I'll get back on those Make and Do posts next week, I promise!
I love these sorts of simple projects that you know will get so much use and love. Jeanine from Rosie Girl Dreams shares simple instructions for making a sling for your child's doll. What a sweet way to encourage nurturing and tenderness in your youngest family members. I bet Sam would get a kick out of having a sling to carry Piggy around in!
This is a quick, simple guide to making a recycled or new Children’s Toy Baby Carrier. As I currently do most of my sewing without patterns, these basic instructions are meant to inspire and guide you.
Here are my two little ones…baby #3 due in just a few days. Ever since I’d made a baby carrier for my oldest when I was last expecting, I’ve wanted to make another. And finally, success! The baby carrier on the right took 45 minutes to make.
That was while
(1) husband was at work,
(2) during the mid-morning (which are our still-capable-of-productivity hours), and
(3) includes the time it took to take the not so wonderful, but hopefully useful photos that accompany.
So, if you’ve thought of it and decided a project like this is too hard, requires too much sewing, or too much time… think again. As usual, the hardest part is simply getting started.
By the way, although this is a great toy for any child, it would also make a lovely gift for a soon-to-be older sibling, as it allows for such endless, imaginative nurture-play. And if you are going the re-purpose/recycled route, you could use an old sheet or a plain colored fabric and give fabric paints or markers for the child to decorate on their own.
30 minutes-1 hour (depending on if you choose to hand sew or use a machine)
* 1 piece of fabric/material (approximately 3-4 feet-ish long by 2.5-3.5 feet wide)
Re-purpose Ideas: Cut open two sides of a pillowcase down the long seams. Leave the bottom end intact. Now you have one long sheet of material. Or, old/thrifted sheets or light-weight curtains would work great.
* One 2 to 5 inch ring
Ideas: You could use an old belt loop, shower curtain hook (if it’s round, smooth and can be completely closed in place), or purchase something at a thrift or craft store. I used a thrifted wooden loop that I removed the decorative fabric backing from for this carrier.
* 1 larger needle (to sew through many layers of material
where it’s folded at the ring)
* 1 spool of strong thread or embroidery floss (for sewing through the many layers)
* If hand sewing the hem:
1 needle (quilting or general)
1 spool of thread or embroidery floss
* Or, if machine sewing:
Fully loaded machine, set to go with whichever color thread you’d like
1. Gather all materials.
2. Consider ironing your cloth/material (ironed material is easier to work with). This step is not necessary, as the baby carrier/sling will end up being a long swath of bunched up fabric anyhow.
7. Now grab the other end of the fabric (the tail end) and pull it through the loop and drape. It’s ready to go!
I started these booties while we were still waiting for Vivian to arrive. I actually ended up with one and a half pairs, being ambitious and thinking I would make another, larger size for her to grow into. But, as it is, she'll probably never see that second, larger booty. All I had left to do on the tiny pair was attach some buttons, which seemed the perfect taking it easy kind of task. So, while she napped, I lounged beside her, adding the finishing touches. The weather is still too warm for her to really need booties, but perhaps when we finally venture on an outing she can wear them just to be fancy.
I used the Ravelry pattern for Saartje's Booties and found it pretty easy for my first non-flat knitting project (the hats don't count because they knit flat and then were stitched into a cone shape). This involved increasing and decreasing to get the rounded toe shape. Pretty advanced stuff for a beginner like me:)
I love making things for my kiddos. There's something about serving other people that makes you love them more. Of course, as moms, our lives are all about serving. But creating something in an intentional, purposeful way gives me more time to reflect on them and the act of loving and caring for them. I hope as they grow older they'll appreciate the love and reflection that is knit into their mama-made toys and clothing. Sam already seems to appreciate the things I make for him and loves to observe me as I sew for him. I'm thinking of making him some new PJs just so he can have a physical manifestation of mama's love, something I think he has being needing some reassurance about lately with the new baby and all.
Here's a fun post from Jeannette about how to make a baby bonnet from a vintage handkerchief. This is actually perfect timing as a woman from church recently gave me a stack of pretty hankies for just this purpose. I imagine you could also use any type of fabric if you started with the same dimensions. Jeannette also has some really wonderful recipes on her blog if you're looking for something new and tasty.
This morning I shipped off a package to my sister for my new little niece. I made her a bonnet to wear as she's given her name and blessing in church this upcoming Sunday. It is different religiously-- but could be considered similar socially-- as a baby christening in other religions.
Today's guest post comes from Jennifer at the inspired Sewn Natural Studio. You know how in love I am with the beautiful little girls clothing they make, as well as everything else. I have a feeling Miss Vivian may find herself the proud owner of some of those sweet smocks.
I love Jennifer's post and the beautiful pictures below. It totally takes me back to weaving flowers with my best girlfriend during those hot, childhood summers. I can almost feel the grass tickling the backs of my legs as we sat in the field, stringing wildflowers together...
Well, thank goodness Abbey sent me that beautiful baby quilt because as happy as I am with this one, it certainly wouldn't pass for a baby quilt! I was feeling bad that I hadn't made Vivi her own quilt so I said to myself, "Well, this quilt will be in honor of Vivian and I'll make it extra girly." But, in the end, it was still a big grownup quilt with pretty flowers on it. And that's okay too. I'm sure she'll enjoy plenty of afternoons in the sun and picnics and tea parties on it some day.
I wanted something light colored and lightweight for summer, but still rugged enough to haul up the canyon for picnics. The solutions was large patches (+12" square) of pretty vintage sheets, tied onto an old cotton blanket with no batting. It's just the right thickness and I don't have to worry about the pretty fabric on top getting yucky because the back is a heavy woven, tan material, perfect for putting down on dew damp grass, sandy beaches or the backyard.
We took it out for a test drive for Clay's Father's Day picnic and mini-hike and it made the whole affair seem much more festive to be eating on such a pretty "table." I'm envisioning plenty more backyard picnics.
This isn't the loveliest or most exciting project, but I just thought I would share it in case there are any other parents out there that loathe the idea of dismantling the car seat to wash the cover. It is such a pain! It only took one accident in the car seat for me to start religiously grabbing an old felted wool sweater to tuck under Sam on road trips. We've only had two accidents in the car (not bad for a newly potty trained two year old, bless his heart!) and the one with the felted wool was definitely WAY less of a big deal. However, I knew I could come up with a better looking solution. So, one quite afternoon while Sam was napping I headed out to the car with some paper, scotch tape and scissors and made a really rough template of the shape a car seat pad would need to be.
If you do this, don't worry about being super accurate or fancy. Just tuck the paper in, trim and tape it to the shape you want and make sure to include things like slits for the straps. Mine was basically a rectangle with little triangle pieces that I folded up and sewed so that it was curved to fit the seat. And I made sure to mark a T where the lower strap would need to fit through.
After that I just found my thickest felted wool sweater scrap, trimmed it to the right shape and sewed up those two corners and that was it! Now there's a nice, little pad in there that actually fits instead of a haphazardly stuffed in piece of cloth. I will never cease to be amazed at all the useful things you can do with felted wool. It is really one of my very favorite materials to work with. And this simple little 5 minute project has given me much more peace of mind about traveling with a tiny, diaper-less person.
As you may or may not know, I have something of a love affair with felted wool. It's one of my very things to craft and sew with. Consequently I have a (very) large basket overflowing with felted sweaters and scrap bits. A few months ago, Sam stopped using diapers altogether. We still had him in something absorbent at night though. However, since he was waking up dry every morning, we decided to just go for it and make it baby boxers all the time. Buuuut, not without a teeny little bit of back up, just in case.
I love the idea of those felted wool pads for toddlers' beds (or nursing and/or cosleeping parents), but they're kind of expensive. That's when I realized I could put all those small and oddly shaped scraps of felted wool to work! I gathered up a big pile and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle, then pinned the seams together. This required a bit of finagling and trimming, but wool is a forgiving fabric.
Once it was all pinned I just zipped all those seams together on the sewing machine and that was that. I had to go back over a few spots that turned out kind of wonky or lumpy. It was a pretty imprecise project, but it didn't need to be perfect, just water resistant. And, were I so inclined, I could have sewed a cute binding around the edge or something. But, as it was, I just tossed it on his bed, where it's been ever since. And I must add, where it's remained perfectly dry. Have to give credit where credit is due!
Here's Sam modeling the comfiness of the pad. This is how he normally looks in the morning, covers tossed off, hair a fuzzy halo, but with eyes closed:) Now that it's gotten warmer I've just layered a light cotton over it so he's not right on the wool. Although, wool actually stays pretty cool in the summer if you're just laying on it, not wrapping up in it, of course. Unfortunately (or not...), this only made the slightest dent in my wool stash, which means there are more felted wool projects to come!