Monday, December 13, 2010

A Couple of Completed Gifts

I have way too many unfinished projects going on right now, but these two were quick and easy to complete in one sitting. Hopefully they'll be headed to the post office today.

These quilted notecards are for my husband's grandmother, who is the only person I know who still sends a handwritten note for no special reason. I love it. I would say it's something I'm going to start doing, but who am I kidding? I'm just going to keep sending facebook messages to my friends. Gross but true.

Fantastic way to use up some of my mountain of scraps. And I always love a project that doesn't require careful measuring and cutting of fabric. That is my least favorite part of sewing.

Also made a couple of these for 2 little artists I love. These are so fun. I'm thinking I need to make a crayon roll version next to stick in H's diaper bag.

This is the third Christmas since I've started sewing, and gifts are definitely my favorite thing to make. It's nice to think that these kind of gifts won't be the ones going to Goodwill in a year or two... I would hope. I also love that I am hibernating up in my sewing room instead of navigating snowy, crowded mall parking lots. Ugh. But no matter how you are gifting this year, I hope it is fun and stress-free!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wrapping Paper Painted by Toddler

First, decide that an unnecessary Christmas craft with your toddler is indeed necessary because, well, we are starting traditions here.

Then, put on Justin Timberlake's Justified album. You might think you would want a favorite Christmas album here, but you would be wrong.

Next, prep:
I used those little fisher-price shape blocks as patterns for cutting out my sponges. Some very washable kid's paint- check. And for the paper, I used some blank newsprint sheets. Someone gave me a TON of it a while ago and it is handy for many things. You could also use butcher paper, recycled paper bags, also those rolls of banner paper from the craft store would be good.

Next, go to town. Go there with jingle bells on. But no pants. (He did get the stamping thing, but I admittedly did a bunch of the stamps too. Duh, he's one.5. He really liked pressing the sponge down after I put it on the paper, using his big muscle grunts and everything.)


Out to dry.

Clean up.

Don't forget the lips, if said toddler maybe tried to eat a little paint.

Clean up on the kitchen floor wasn't bad either, I just had to spot clean with a clorox wipe. Of course, if you have a kid who actually enjoys the feel of paint on their hands, it might require a full mopping. We lost interest after just 3 sheets, but hopefully that's enough for the grandparents' gifts. Really, who will love this more than them anyway?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yule-y Smells and Tastes

Made some more of these yummies this past weekend. They always disappear very quickly, but are also very easy to make more of. This week I want to try it with dried apricots. I don't think they'll be quite as good as the juicy clementines, but I'm big fan of apricots too. 


= Mmmmmmm

This time I decided to put all the peels to use too. I put them in a pot with a little water, cinnamon, and ginger and simmered them all evening. I also threw in a few craisins. You could use cloves, vanilla and cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, whatever wintery things you have on hand. Half my apartment smelled like winter tastiness and the other half like winter woodsiness from our tree. Also, it's fun to say you are "mulling" things.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kid's Christmas Gifts... need. more. time.

I started to make my lists today for gifts I need to make and buy. I know there are a lot of people who are so on top of things that they did this in September, but I'm just pleased that I'm squeaking in a few days before December.

There are so many fun kid gifts that I want to make, but they won't all get done without hiring elves or something. I've sifted out my favorites and thought you might want to see. Really, you can never have too many handmade gift round-ups.

1. Paratrooper Softies by Chez Beeper Bebe
2. Rollie Pollie chair, pattern at MADE
3. Kid's Drawing Case from The Long Thread
4. Little Lamb Pillows, The Purl Bee

1. Felt Mail from Lu Bird Baby
2. Mail Bag from So Much For My Plans
3. Play Stove by frokenskicklig
4. Roll-Up Kitchen Playmat at Balancing Everything

1. Counting Bean Bags from Chez Beeper Bebe
2. Quiet Book ideas at Homemade by Jill
3. Art Smock by Prudent Baby
4. Barnyard Playmat at The Crafty Cupboard

What other kid-goodies do you plan on making this year?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Travel Fabric "High Chair"

It's more like a child harness than a high chair. But it works! I love love love it when sewing can easily meet an immediate need. We are flying to Florida on Monday, and I made this in an effort to minimize the number of large child accessories we have to lug around.

The tutorial is here, which I found from Homemade by Jill's version. I just wish I had made that bottom piece a few inches longer. It's fine, but he's pantless here so it will probably just barely reach over the strap part when he has pants on. Also, the tutorial says to use quilted fabric or batting in between layers, but I did neither. I think whatever kind of non-stretch cotton fabric you have on hand would work just fine.

 Here it is from the back of the chair. (Ignore the "cushion pile" in the background, that's a daily occurrence at our house.)

I think I'm also going to add a couple more strips of velcro for extra reinforcement. Knowing this kid, he'll probably figure out how to get out of it a day or two into our trip. Then he'll just wander around at Thanksgiving gatherings, mooching from various family members like a less annoying, more adorable schnauzer. Well, it might still be annoying, but his parents are the oblivious type that assume everyone else loves him nearly as much as they do :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bacon Makes Everything Better

I don't really have weird cravings when I'm pregnant, more like temporary food obsessions. I fixate on eating certain food items over and over for a week or two, then I never want to see them again. Right now it's Chex Mix and sandwiches. I'm thinking I won't eventually be repulsed by sandwiches because they lend themselves to such delicious variety and creativity.

Here's one I made last week and happened to snap a picture of cuz it just looked so durn fine.

From the ground up, hummus, arugula, tomato, apple, bacon and feta. The next day I made one with just hummus, apple, bacon, and muenster cheese. It was good, but not quite as epic as the first one.

Then for dinner that same day I made a grilled cheese with sharp cheddar, apples, and dijon mustard. This is apparently Tyler's ultimate grilled cheese as told to me by a fb friend, but his has bacon. I shouldn't have skipped the bacon, of course.

Some others I want to try:

For next Friday, obviously. Recipe here on Food52. (Which is a pretty cool site by the way, they run a recipe contest each week featuring a different ingredient.)

Fried Green Tomato BL(A)T which I would have to make at my mom's house because I love her fried greens way too much to face the disappointment of attempting my own.

Cranberry-walnut chicken salad, maybe on some of the brown bread rolls from Outback. Yes, I would go to Outback just for that but I guess I'll take a bloom to go if I must. From the beautiful smitten kitchen.

And for dessert, Strawberry Grilled Cheese.  With angel food cake and brie? Um, yes please. Maybe with bacon too :)

sigh...I'm so hungry all the time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

But Spiderman Doesn't Wear a Cape...

Our downstairs neighbor and good friend Elie turned 4 yesterday. Every time she comes over to play with Hendrix she pretends to be several different superheroes, so I knew I wanted to make her a reversible cape. Lately her favorite is "black spiderman," which I don't know if that is really his name, I didn't catch the second spiderman movie. And yeah, he doesn't have a cape, but I don't think I'm ready to tackle the full spandex leotard yet.

 Hendrix models, as he tries to tear into her other present. (BTW, does anyone else get unreasonably insecure sometimes about giving a handmade gift and feel the need to supplement with something store bought? I don't know why I do that, because people always really appreciate their handmade gifts. And I'm canceling out the benefit I have of not having to buy crap from the store. Dumb. Anyway, just wondered if I'm the only one...)

The pink side for "Super Elie."

I roughly followed these instructions, as I did when I made this cape about a year ago. But when I posted about that cape, I failed to write about the lessons I had learned in making it, which is a big reason I even blog about this stuff- so I can remember and learn from my mistakes.

Anyway, the thing I failed to mention to myself was to use interfacing when appliqueing a stretchy knit onto another stretchy knit. Luckily, I realized that after doing the E side, and added interfacing to the back of the spider side, which would have been a total disaster without it.

Today's crafting soundtrack: Well, Jonsi of course. But also, a little group called Mountain Man that we saw open for him. Look them up on itunes, they are mesmerizing.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Epic Date Night (Jonsi!!!)

Nick and I are headed to Columbus tonight to see this incredibleness-

I could not be more excited. We have loved Sigur Ros for years and used a lot of their music in our wedding. We saw them at Bonnaroo a couple of years ago, and that was hands down the most amazing live show I've ever seen. I'm gonna go ahead and say it's kind of a magical experience... and I hate when people use that word, but it is appropriate. I'm thinking tonight's stage show will even top that. And besides all that, I'm feeling somewhat like my old self and I am actually wearing real clothes and makeup. Very exciting.

Here's more about the uber-creative stage and video production if you're interested:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I made a couple of bags this week for good friends. I didn't want to charge these lovely ladies, and since they are both makers of things as well, I suggested we barter. How very Oregon Trail of us.

For Olivia, I made this bag (which I'm totally spoiling for her since she hasn't received it yet)

And I'm going to get this adorable print from her shop:

And for my newlywed friend Jessica, I made this bag

For which I've already received a large jar of her honey:

That's right, she keeps bees in her backyard, and harvests (is that the right word?) their yummy TN honey herself. How cool is that? It's delicious. (Although I'm not supposed to eat it right now, I sometimes have to sneak some.)

So this makes me think about the whole swapping thing. There are lots of us bloggers/etsy-ers who make things, and would also like the things that others make. Does anyone know of any sites set up for organizing swaps? It would be nice if you could put a handmade item out there, and also let people know what kind of thing you are looking to swap for, whether it be art, supplies, edibles, or other specific handmade items. Once you have a taker, you could organize the rest on your own terms. I'm sure there is something like that out there. If not, maybe we could just make our own? Suggestions? Thoughts?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fox Costume!

So these pictures aren't the greatest, but the costume is done and I couldn't resist posting it. I don't know if he knows what he is, but he does love wearing it.

 And I love the way it turned out, which is really most important. Not really. But kind of. Seriously.

I was afraid the big tail would be a bit cumbersome, but he loves it. And it's just about the cutest thing ever swinging on his little booty when he walks.

Here's a nice tail shot- It even gets out of the way for foxes who need to sit down and do puzzles!

Some details on how I made it, for those who like that sort of thing...
Wasn't easy to find plain orange clothes without monsters or ghosts or pumpkins on them, so I bought a plain white toddler tee at Target for $6 I think. I died that with some orange RIT, along with a couple of old Hanes undershirts. I cut the sleeves off of one of those and made them into the hat. I had no idea what I was doing, but I went with it and it was super easy. I made the rest of the tshirt into the pants, using one of his pajama pairs as a pattern. I cut three tail shapes from the other tshirt, kind of like stretched out football shapes I guess, and put white felt on the ends. Then sewed those together and stuffed. I just have it safety pinned to the back of the waist band so we can take it off for the car. 
The black legs are just a pair of knee socks from Target I cut up and slipped on his legs and wrists. That's it! I also had a patch of white felt on the front of the shirt, which he promptly ripped off. So I need to actually attach it well, or just do without it. I can't decide if we really need it or not, we'll see. 

Halloween is the cutest ever.

Friday, October 22, 2010

GIVEAWAY starts today!

The very lovely Mollie is doing a giveaway of one of my monsters over on her super fun blog, Wild Olive. (Welcome if you are visiting from there!) It starts today and goes through the weekend, so if you'd like to win a FREE monster from my shop, head here and leave a comment to enter! And the best part is, you get to pick your prize.

I've never done a giveaway before. Giveaway virg. Just thought I'd go ahead and get that out there in case this was a little awkward :)

And more monsters are coming to the shop soon for Christmas. Kids of all ages love them, so you know, it's a possibility. Or just go ahead and buy your nephew something plastic from China, no pressure :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Decorating for short attention spans

This past weekend we got into the fall spirit with a little pumpkin painting. We got the gourds at Shaw Farms in Milford the week before. (Which is definitely the place to go for fall fun if you are local.)

We just kept it simple with washable kid paint and some Halloween foam stickers. This is actually my friend Edie's idea, she's been doing it with her kids the past couple of years. And HG's friend Elie from downstairs joined in as well.

It's also fun to paint your legs and feet when you are bored with your pumpkin.

A couple other neighborhood kids came and helped out too, which was a good thing, because Hendrix was on to playing ball after about a minute and half. Impromptu Halloween block party.

And yes, my parents were in town and that is my dad giving my mom a little shoulder rub. That pretty much sums up their Nana-and-Grandpa-adorableness.