Sunday, November 20, 2011

I’ve Still Got It

We had our baby boy’s blessing at the beginning of the month. When I knew it was coming up, I thought about trying to make him something to wear, but I would always put that idea out of my head as quickly as it arrived. With a new baby to care for, I haven’t entertained the possibility of getting any sewing done; I figured it would be months before I took the cover off “Old Reliable” and had some quality time with her.

But I didn’t really have anything for my little guy to wear to his blessing. I had a white kimono, but I wanted something a little fancier for my first (maybe only?) boy. We went shopping on the Friday before the blessing. I didn’t know where to find a white blessing outfit for a boy, but I was more interested in putting him in some nice looking church clothes anyway. Well, we searched many stores with no results. They had handsome looking clothes, but the smallest size I could find was 12 months. Apparently, boys don’t like to dress up when only 0-3 months.

Getting desperate, I tried to settle for something that was close enough. That’s when my smart hubby put his foot down. He said we weren’t going to buy something when I could make something even better. I tried to point out to him that I would only have one day to make something when I previously gave up the idea of making something when I had 2 weeks. He promised me he would take care of the kids and give me as much time to work as possible. He figured it wouldn’t take me too long to throw together a neck tie onesie, but I wanted to take it a step further and try something new.

Here’s how it turned out:111111_0018-1a web111111_0014-1a web111112_0011-1a web

I got this far, and my husband and I decided it was missing just one thing . . .

111112_0014-1a webElbow patches!111111_0019-1a web

Now that made it perfect. I loved it so much, I decided to give it a name: The Dapper Onesie. And the family didn’t fall apart while I was making it. In the past, a project like this would have taken me several days and several nervous fits, but I think all the practice I’ve had lately has paid off. It still took me all day. But I had to make my own pattern for the vest (yikes!), and I had never tried either of the tutorials before. Cut out time for eating and nursing and taking over when baby only wanted mommy, and I think I managed pretty well. If I had had more time, I would have made some booties to match, but I consoled myself by saying they would have fallen off anyway.

I didn’t come up with this all on my own. I’m no creative genius. I have to glean creativity from all the other amazing people I find on the web. Here’s what I did. I combined this tutorial for the vest with this tutorial for the bow tie, and the elbow patches were all me. I love how it turned out, and it felt so good to actually get some sewing done.

And this is the part where I get to show off pictures of how handsome my little guy looked . . .111106_0008-1a web111106_0013-1a web111106_0037-1a webwith his two doting sisters111106_0044-1a web111106_0069-1a webI think he looks rather dapper, don’t you?

Oh, and just for fun, I thought I’d share my “repeat” song for my completed projects. I tend to listen to music while I work on things, and more often than not, one song dominates the others in frequency. I tend to pause what I’m doing to make my favorite song play again before I can get back to work. I thought it would be fun to share so we could compare tastes, and one day I can look back at what songs I liked at what time. For this project, my repeat song was “Come Around” by Rosi Golan:

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I’ve Been Working On

I know I’ve been rather absent around here lately, and I apologize. It’s been a rather busy summer. I just haven’t been able to keep up. And now I have an entirely new reason to fall behind . . .

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My sweet little boy.

Weight: 7lbs 5oz

Height: 20in

Newborn smell: absolutely intoxicating

Parents: infatuated

Sisters: excited and proud

I am really proud of myself for accomplishing my third natural birth. I actually wondered whether I had it in me to do it again, but I pulled through. My husband was a wonderful support, and I had an awesome midwife who was there nearly the whole time. What an amazing experience.

I will try to get back to blogging sooner or later. For now, I’m just too busy snuggling my baby.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Comfort Food

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A few weekends ago, I enlisted the help of my husband, and we made 4 batches of blackberry jelly. The blackberries came from my freezer, where they have been waiting since blackberry season last year. The fall always seems to get so busy for us that I can only manage to pick as many blackberries as possible, but I never end up doing anything with them unless I freeze them. I guess springtime is my time for making jelly.

I just love blackberry jelly. I also love that blackberries grow like weeds here in Oregon, so the only cost is a few finger pricks and possibly some stained clothing (but mostly the stains end up on my girls’ chins—I have to try to pick faster than they can eat!). And I’m not the only one in this house who loves it. I think it has only been 3 weeks since we made jelly, and we’ve already used at least 2 pints. If my oldest had her druthers, she’d have toast with jelly for every meal, not to mention the increase in the number of PB&J sandwiches we’ve been making around here. I’m just hoping the amount we made will last until it’s blackberry season again.

Mmmmm, then we can use the fresh blackberries for cobbler! I won’t say I can’t wait for fall because we’re just beginning to get a taste of summer, but there are certainly good things to come!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Partial Review: The Red Tent

I haven’t really posted book reviews unless I have something particularly good to say about the book, but I decided I just want to be honest with my opinion. I don’t want to get too controversial or upset anyone who may have loved a book I didn’t. I realize we all have different tastes and sensibilities. I just want to share my opinion, and I’d love to hear yours if you have one.

As a preface to this review, I went into reading this book knowing that it was a historical fiction. And because of that, I made it a point NOT to read the portion of the bible portrayed just before reading the book so I could enjoy it for the fiction that it is without comparing it to the story and fussing over details. That being said, I think there still ought to be some level of reverence put into writing about biblical times, even if it’s for a fun work of fiction.

Without further ado, here is my honest review of the portion I read:

The Red TentThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was supposed to read this for book club, but I am just done! I normally have a compulsion to finish a book even if it’s terrible because you just never know if it could turn around and get better. I have no such hope for this book.

Each time I set the book down, I just felt uncomfortable. I kept weighing my options whether I wanted to miss out on socializing with my friends at book club so I wouldn’t have to finish it. Finally, I decided that a book that gives me that many second thoughts just isn’t worth my time—especially when I have so many good books I want to read with so little time to do it!

What’s wrong with this book? Well, in my opinion, the story was just way too sexualized. I only made it through 66 pages of the book, and I’m ashamed to admit I read that far. I understand that there was a lot of sex in the bible, but the bible certainly doesn’t take the time to describe each individual experience like this book did. I can only suppose that it was a New York Times bestseller for one reason: sex sells. I certainly don’t want to have those images and descriptions in my head the next time I read the bible!

I also agree with other reviews of this book that said they disliked how Jacob didn’t teach his wives about Jehovah, and they continued to worship idols. And I didn’t find Jacob to be nearly as faithful and devout as I would have liked him to be portrayed. I’m not going to continue reading this book. Maybe someone can let me know if I gave up after the worst part and it was actually worth finishing. I doubt it, but I’d be interested to know.

Have you read part or all of this book? What did you think? All opinions are welcome here; let’s just keep it a civil discussion, please.

Monday, June 20, 2011

IHF: Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

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I just love this picture of my husband and his girls. We had just finished a long hike. I wanted to get a picture of my girls in this pretty field next to the parking lot before we went home. The girls were worn out and wanted to be left alone to pick flowers rather than pose for a picture. I pleaded with my husband to try to get them to stand together for just a moment. He did what he does best: he played with them. This was the very first picture of the series, and I love it so much. I love my husband, and I’m grateful for the caring, attentive, and fun dad he has turned out to be.

This boy makes me feel like such a lucky girl!

To see more wonderful pictures of boys, young and old, click below to see all the entries at I Heart Faces this week.I_Heart_Faces_Photography_125

Friday, June 17, 2011


110615_0002-1a webI just love to watch these two in their moments of peace.

When no one is pestering, pushing buttons, or being territorial.

The pleasant absence of screams.

When they actually look like they just might possibly be . . . friends.110615_0009-1a web110615_0007-2a web

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ruffle Bum Onesies

110610_0015-1a webI got these onesies done in the nick of time before a baby shower last Friday. Since I won't be making anything ruffled for this baby, I had to get my girly fix crafting for someone else. I wish I had known about these when my girls were still small enough to wear them. I think they're so adorable!

They were a hit at the baby shower. I just love it when the recipient asks if I made the item, and when I say yes, there is a chorus around the room of "You made that?!" Don't you other crafters just love that reaction? It gives me warm fuzzies for taking the extra effort to do a handmade gift.110610_0013-1a web110610_0014-1a web

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There are tons of tutorials online for doing these (so of course I used one-- no need to try to reinvent the wheel). I ended up using THIS tutorial I found on Ucreate by Crap I've Made. She gives three different options for how to do them. I used the third because I don't have a serger or pinking shears (sigh- someday). And since I'm not the most experienced at gathers (the only time I've gathered fabric was for the gathered clutch I made in January), I decided to try a couple different methods to see which I like best. For the lemon onesie, I used a traditional gather; you can find great instructions on how to do that HERE. And for the red striped onesie, I used a method I found taught by Couturier Mommy using dental floss and a zigzag stitch. I found that the traditional method took longer to work the fabric into gathers, but it stayed in place fairly well once you had it gathered. The dental floss method was a cinch to gather, but it tended to flatten out if I didn't get it pinned in place right away. For the last onesie, I decided to use the traditional method again because it was easier to have the gathers stay in place when I was trying to pin to the stretchy onesie fabric. I don't know if you can see a difference in the ruffles based on which method I used.

I lucked out on the fabric. Both Joanne fabric stores in our city are under liquidation while they prep for a new location to open at the end of June. When I went in to get fabric, they had all their bolts wrapped in plastic except for two small rows. These fabrics were some of the best they had left, so I took what I could get.

In other news, I haven't been up to much other crafting. I've been working on one of my classic receiving blankets for baby boy, but my nesting for him so far seems to consist more of hoarding potential projects rather than actually completing any. I've brought my husband to the dark side with me: he has seen some of the designer fabrics online that I like, and when I drag him to a fabric store now, he doesn't like anything he sees compared to what is available online. Mwa ah ah! We've chosen a name for the little guy, but I'm too paranoid to share my kids' names on this blog :( sorry. My oldest wanted to name him Pudge Puppy. I told her that was more of a nickname than it was a name you would call him his whole life. She loved that idea and has dubbed it his official nickname. I doubt she'll forget about it by the time he's born, poor guy.

So many of my friends and family are pregnant right now that I can't decide whether to make things for myself or for them. I keep telling myself I'll finally brave the clothing frontier and make some skirts for the girls, but that has yet to happen. I have been searching like crazy for a car seat cover pattern-- one that will teach me to make a gorgeous new car seat cover for our infant car seat like Dana makes without telling me to pick my original one apart. I just don't have the guts to destroy my car seat cover if it depends on my skill to put it all back together! Have any of you seen a pattern like this out there?

What have you been crafting lately? Is it summer where you are yet? We seem to be having a very late spring around here. You're always welcome here. Leave a comment. Follow along. Thanks for stopping by!

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*Personal note: given to Melynnda/Brynlee

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lunch Bag

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I made this lunch bag for my mother for Christmas. Yes, it’s nearly June, and I still haven’t blogged all my Christmas projects. This project was even late for Christmas. My mother, bless her heart, knew that I was scrambling to finish all the projects I took on for my own family for Christmas, and she told me not to worry about it if I had to give her a rain check. I finished this and gave it to her mid-January, and I think she found it worth the wait. My mother works as a secretary at an elementary school, and I wanted her to have something nice to hold her lunch each day.

I found this wonderful tutorial for the lunch bag, and it was really helpful and easy to follow. I love the drawstring top on the bag to keep everything covered.

110116_0019-1a webI only made a few minor changes from the directions on the tutorial.

110116_0024-1a webI couldn’t find vinyl-coated fabric for the lining, so I bought some clear vinyl and sewed it in when I sewed the lining. (This is a view of the bag inside-out so you can see the vinyl lining.) Also, even though it was on the inside of the bag where no one would really see, I didn’t really like leaving the exposed seam between the drawstring portion and the lining; I’m just picky. So, to remedy that, I tucked the drawstring portion down into the bag while I sewed a couple rows of topstitching just below the orange band on the bag. You can see the stitching if you look closely at the picture below. It encased the exposed seam on the inside of the bag, added a little character on the outside, and pulled the starting point of the drawstring portion down just a bit. Works for me!110116_0014-1a web

110116_0025-1a webMy mother has loved taking it to work. She says she always gets compliments on it, and she loves being able to tell them her daughter made it for her. One of her co-workers even asked for the directions so she could make one (and of course I shared the link). I just love giving handmade gifts!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

21 Weeks

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I always enjoy seeing the faces of my favorite bloggers, but I rarely post pictures of myself. So I thought I’d share this just for fun. Here I am with my 21 week prego belly. A little make up probably would have helped, but I rarely wear make up. I thought I’d show you the real, everyday me.

I guess I haven’t officially announced here that this baby is a BOY. I have two girls. I feel comfortable with girls. A baby boy will be a whole new adventure. I’m really excited, but I’m also feeling really unprepared. I want to start sewing, sewing, sewing!

Is it just me, or are there very few options when it comes to masculine looking fabric? Every time I find a print that I like in the right color, I always find that they’ve added flowers or pink somewhere in the design. I know girls can pull off something with blue on it, but I don’t think that goes both ways. If I make something for my little man, I want it to be obvious that he is a little MAN. I searched around locally for any fabrics I might like on Saturday, and I was rather disappointed. I’m afraid I’m falling in love with way too many designer fabrics online that will cost us at least twice as much as what I usually buy.

Case in point, let me show you the fabric I’ve been pining over for a car seat canopy (“greeter deterrent”) even since before I learned it was a boy. I was actually hoping it would be a girl just so I wouldn’t have to try to talk myself out of this expensive fabric. It’s from the Beach Mod line by Monaluna:happy_summer_300medium_dot_mineral_300trees_meadow_300








(images borrowed from THIS site)

The cheapest price I can find for this fabric line is $16.50 a yard. OUCH! And I can’t find it locally, so there will be additional shipping charges. Oh, why did I have to fall in love with an organic fabric line?! The other night, I told my husband I was crushing on some really expensive fabric, and I showed it to him. He agreed that it was really cute, and told me to go for it. But as soon as the words were out of his mouth, his whole body shuddered. Poor, sweet guy! I forget he has a hard time telling me no when I’m pregnant; he loves to spoil me. I guess I’ll put a pin in it until I can convince myself to find another love for a car seat cover or until I just give in and buy it. I wish it would go on sale!

I also love, love, LOVE the fabric line that won Project Selvage over on Spoonflower:

fabrics(image source)

It’s called Backyard Baby by Patty Sloniger. It will be released this fall through Michael Miller fabrics. It reminds me of the rhyme my grandpa used to always tell me, “snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of.” How adorable are those bugs in the jars? I guess I’ll have to come up with some projects to do once baby is already here that will justify me having to buy this fabric. Oh, maybe I’ll try to make my very first quilt!

So what fabrics are you crushing on? Are there any great boy fabrics you love? Do you spring for designer fabrics, or do you stick with what is affordable? You’re always welcome here. Follow along. Let’s chat!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Little Cap

110205_0001-1a webI sewed my first hat back in February for a family baby shower. I used a pattern by Leila & Ben. The directions were really clear, and there were pictures for each step. Since there are no little boys in my house (yet) and the hat was too small for my girls, I had to get creative with the model. Our rocking horse was so cooperative!

110205_0006-1a webHere’s the back. This was probably my first time sewing with elastic, too.

110205_0007-1a webThe top.

I used the instructions from the Little Cap Sew Along on The Train to Crazy, but I couldn’t seem to make the top of my hat look like hers. Oh well. I think it’s cute enough.

110205_0008-1a webI love the soft flannel I used on the inside.

110205_0009-1a webAnd here’s a closer view of the argyle patch.

The pattern says to use a sturdy fabric such as canvas for the argyle. I used canvas, but the threads are so thick that when it frayed, it looked like the whole thing was going to come apart. By the time I was finished, it had already frayed past where I had sewn it on with the sewing machine. I dabbed a little fabric glue around the edges. It won’t have as much of a cute frayed look to it, but at least it won’t unravel completely in the wash.

I’ve made a few more of these, so I’ll have to post pictures soon.

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*Personal note: given to Autumn/Eman